Bal Masqué at TNNA

Next weekend I’ll be in Columbus, Ohio eating Jeni’s Ice Cream all day, every day. Well, perhaps not quite. Actually, I’m going to TNNA! This will be the first time I’ve gotten to go as a published designer. OK, last year I had a couple of patterns out, but the book was not to be done until August (and later got pushed to October). We had some preview pages to drum up interest but this time, we actually have a book, and I’ll be at the Cooperative Press booth (#554) with a bunch of other awesome authors, all helping drive each others’ sales.

An odd thing about TNNA is that it’s an industry event for vendors to network with retailers — the people attending are yarn store owners and the like; they’re people who the vendors can market to. Therefore, everyone attending is either a vendor rep or a shop rep, for the most part. Designers, historically, have never had a set role at TNNA. They have to attend piggybacked onto a vendor or a shop, but can’t usually come on their own — even though it’s a huge networking opportunity for them. So instead, there’s an event thrown each year by the illustrious designer and podcaster Marly Bird in honor of the designers attending. Last year I wasn’t aware of it beforehand but this year, with a book and some new patterns under my belt, it’s time for me to show up and strut my stuff, or something.

Not having been to the Designer Dinner before, I don’t know if there’s often a theme, but this year they decided to make it a sort of masquerade ball. About a week ago, it occurred to me what that meant — I would be expected to design a masquerade mask.

I didn’t want this to take too much of my time. I decided to use worsted-weight wool that I already had on hand. I borrowed some double-knit cable techniques from Mounqaliba and the warped-checkerboard concept from Parallax, added some shaping and banged out a prototype in a weekend. The prototype had some issues, but I fixed them in the final version. If I were to publish this, I could make it even cleaner, but I think it’s fine as it is. And of course, it’s reversible so there are nominally 2 different way to wear it (but it’s just as good upside down so technically there are 4 different ways). It’s entirely plausible that there will be photos of me wearing it, along with others in similar regalia, in the not-too-distant future.

In other news, Franklin posted a book review over on the Panopticon, and there are still a couple of spaces left in my three-color double-knitting workshop at WEBS if you’re nearby and interested on Sunday, July 15th. Also, I’ve created a mailing list specifically for shop owners to sign up to, so they can get the first word when I’m starting to schedule for upcoming workshop seasons.

Keep an eye on this space in the next couple of weeks for a report on TNNA!

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