TNNA began on a high note this year — I touched down in the Columbus airport and found that the Delta terminal has — of all things — a Jeni’s Ice Cream vending machine. I took pictures in case you don’t believe me. You swipe your card, pick your flavor, there’s some churning noise and the thing spits out a cute little 1/4-pint serving. I had a serving of Pistachio-Honey ice cream while waiting for my hotel shuttle. It was delightful and just a little bit salty. Columbus, I have missed you.
Prior to TNNA, I did a whole bunch of prep — I had a couple of patterns in a pack for SampleIt this year (that’s an exclusive event where buyers have a chance to get special items for super-discounted prices from a bunch of different vendors) and printed/mailed over 200 copies. I also rebuilt my “crazy mannequin thing” so it’s actually significantly more portable, and I was able to fit it plus all my samples and clothes into a checked bag which was still under the 50-lb limit.
During the show, I tried to split my time fairly between staffing the booth, walking the floor, and food-tourism. I was happy to visit with old friends and make some new ones. I was especially excited to connect with Patty Nance, whose newly-published Bargello Knits seemed to be everywhere this year. As she said, there may be a collaboration of techniques in the future here — once I figure out a good way to do double-knit intarsia.
As with last year, I attended Marly Bird’s designer dinner on Friday night. There was no masquerade this time so I didn’t have a chance (or a need) to outdo last year’s outfit. It was a more casual affair, with a sort of “Let’s Make A Deal” game show theme, with prizes going to audience members who were the first to produce some obscure item. The items seemed overwhelmingly to be of the category “things one might find in a lady’s purse” so I got a hearty cheer when I was the first to produce a pair of tweezers (from my SwissCard). I received a lovely bag of 10 red balls of merino wool, but gave it to one of my tablemates who was eyeing it. Easy come, easy go!
During the course of the weekend, I was asked a number of times if I was teaching double-knitting this year. I’d never thought of TNNA as a teaching event since the attendees are there to scope out new yarns and notions for their stores and place orders. Here is where I learned something important a little too late — store owners are also taking classes from teachers to scope out teachers they might want to bring to their stores! How did it take me 3 years to figure that out? My primary reason for coming to TNNA is to network with shop owners and get more teaching gigs! The networking with yarn companies is just gravy. Next time, Gadget, next time! Although, next year TNNA will be in Indianapolis and in May on the same weekend as Maryland Sheep and Wool (WTF, TNNA?). Farewell, Jeni’s Ice Cream!
Speaking of networking with yarn companies, I just wanted to send shout-outs to a few awesome folks I met. First, a dyer I didn’t visit until later but her colorways are gorgeous and I want to knit with them — but can’t afford the $400 wholesale minimum (mostly in stash capacity, honestly): Happy Fuzzy Yarn. Her website makes yarn sound positively erotic, and when you see her colors, you’ll understand why. Even if I can’t afford to design in it right now, I hope I can drum up some business for her by talking her yarn up a bit. Also, while wearing my beloved “Know Your Cuts Of Lamb” t-shirt, I ran into Lorilee Beltman, who designed the t-shirt. She gave me a bunch of little Moo-cards that she uses to promote that design, and I ended up having just enough of them to pass out to every person who wanted to know where I got that shirt. If you saw it and didn’t ask — now you also know. Anzula Luxury Fibers had a booth with a bunch of vintage suitcases and army-surplus duffel bags that looked as if they were meant to be some kind of decoration, but it turned out that they were actually full of yarn! Any designer who wanted to use their yarn just had to ask and it was given. I got some amazing merino/cashmere/silk fingering called “Dreamy” that will get used in a new pattern I’m Dreaming up now. Other designers in the CP stables took much more than I did and I hope to see it all put to good use. Lastly, I reconnected with Dianna from the Knitting Boutique (where I taught earlier this year) who wanted me to design a new cowl in her new store-brand yarn. The dyer came by and passed me probably way more than I’ll need of a beautiful BFL/silk blend DK. I’m looking forward to that design, probably in early 2014.
In non-yarn-related news, I visited Jeni’s Ice Cream a total of 3 times (low for me) but visited the vending machine 3 times as well. I did not brave the “Everything Bagel” topping, although I’m sure I would have managed to try it eventually. I ended up searching for dinner alone on Saturday night and found a little hole-in-the-wall pizza place where I got a personal Mac and Cheese pizza for $8 including tax and tip. I ended up hooking up later with my friends from The Village Knitter and heading to a local Italian restaurant to disappoint the waiter by not drinking and ordering a salad. As a matter of fact, I ended up eating twice again on Sunday night — I joined my friends from CP, Anzula and Cephalopod Yarns at a local Thai Fusion place, then hopped over to another Italian place to have “appetizers” with the Craftsy crew and a bunch of other instructors. Let it never be said that Craftsy skimps on supporting its instructors!
With TNNA over, it’s time for me to batten down the hatches and get moving on my next few projects. I sent off Pattern #4 to Willow Yarns when I returned, and since Pattern #5 isn’t due until August, I’m working on my cards for the kClub. I’m actually kind of surprised that I’m going to be returning to my roots and doing the largest card in Lion Brand Thick & Quick. I also did one and will do another in (gasp) cotton! And it looks and feels great! More on that project later, though. The other major project I need to finish before the end of July is to split off the majority of my patterns from Extreme Double-Knitting to individual patterns. They’ll get listed and sold on Ravelry, Craftsy, Etsy, Patternfish, etc — so if you’ve been itching for a specific pattern but don’t want to spring for the whole book, your lucky day is coming!
Thanks for staying tuned and I’ll see you soon!