TNNA 2012 – a view from inside the mask

Well, I’m back from TNNA and still a little low on sleep, but I’ve got stories to tell and swag to show off, people to thank and pounds to lose. I’ll start with the stories, although some of the ones you might most want to hear I probably shouldn’t relate without the consent of all involved. Still, this is going to be a long post, without nearly enough photos (because we’re not supposed to take any on the show floor, and my wife needed my camera that weekend).

The first thing I did after arriving in Columbus was to head to the Designer Dinner. No, I tell a lie. The first thing I did was to head to Jeni’s for some ice cream — an event that would be repeated several times over the weekend. After a nice cup of the White House Cherry ice cream, I changed and headed to the designer dinner, where it turned out I was one of the few designers to actually handmake my own mask. After Marly’s ingenious voting system had generated the results, I was the only winner with a fully handmade mask. Still, I couldn’t beat Ann Kingstone, who was wearing a pair of underwear on her head. I did tie with Lily Chin, who had a scrap-yarn waterfall emanating from the wings of a plastic butterfly mask.

The dinner was lovely and the company was good — I was at the Cooperative Press annex table (there were just too many CP authors there!) with Anna Dalvi and Stephannie Tallent, and my old friends from Green Mountain Spinnery who were sponsors of the event. I won a Hadaki bag full of goodies, in addition to the even larger bag of goodies everyone got after the event. I’ll show this stuff off later in the post, and thank everyone involved as best I can.

On Saturday, I had a shift at the CP booth in the afternoon so I got to spend much of my day cruising the show floor and managed to make most of the networking connections I had planned to try for, leaving much of the rest of my weekend open. It’s all kind of a blur, and the order of events is a little fuzzy, so I’ll just hit some highlights:

  • I was heading to visit Ron from The Buffalo Wool Co, and encountered Ron and Theresa being interviewed by Melanie and Deborah from the Savvy Girls Podcast. I’d met them at Rhinebeck last year, so I waited and listened to the interview. They finished and we all struck up conversation which led to the Savvy Girls following me back to the CP booth where they interviewed me about the 52 Pickup scarf. I even got in a plug for CP’s new Knit Edge magazine, where I have an article about that project.
  • I was chatting with Jeane from Elemental Affects, who I had met last year, lamenting the difficulty in finding good long color fades (similar to Kauni) in weights other than Kauni’s fingering weight. She kindly introduced me to her friend Tina at Freia Handpaints. I had seen her yarn online but seeing it in person I decided it was worth a shot — so after showing her what I was working on, she was more than willing to let me take a few skeins after the show was over.
  • I was privileged to room with designer Daniel Yuhas, who has some really interesting and cute patterns that are well worth checking out. He was a good roommate and fine conversationalist, and while we didn’t see each other much during the day, I feel like we hit it off fairly well. It’s also nice to have another guy knitter to room with so we can save each other some money — and who knows, it could happen again!
  • Andi came back to the CP booth with a baggie of random bamboo needles and notions from Tulip, a vendor in line of sight from our booth. She said they were “just handing them out” so I tagged along with Heather. As has happened before, Heather plugged me to them after scoring her own baggie, and I pulled out my Parallax 2.0 to show them. They were stunned (apparently a common reaction) and gladly handed over another baggie for me. Tulip is a long-standing Japanese needles-and-notions maker that’s only just getting a foothold in the US thanks to Caron. Their interchangeable needle set is really unique and well designed, and I’d consider it for myself except that I just bought 3 HiyaHiya sets, which go down to size 2, and Tulips end at size 3 in any case. One really neat thing about them is that they come with endcaps and can also take Tunisian crochet hooks instead of needles. I haven’t tried the ones they gave me yet, but I’m happy to recommend that anyone in the market for bamboo interchangeables check them out.
  • Speaking of which, I did have to stop by the HiyaHiya booth to thank them for making the set I currently use. They’re known for being very free with the needles for any designer, and while I have all the needles I need, they did give me a new product — a pair of cord joiners, so I can construct larger cords. This is a fairly standard item but theirs are unique in how small they are. They challenged me to find the join between the two cords. I cheated and used my fingernail to find the slight texture difference, but otherwise it’s almost unnoticeable. They also put out an adaptor for the larger needles to the smaller cords — not useful for me, but cool nonetheless. I really enjoy the sets I use — they’re well priced and good quality.
  • I was excited to see that Charles Gandy had his book finished and was having fun at the Visionary booth with Cat Bordhi and Unicorn. It was mildly unfortunate that he had his book signing in the very last slot on the slowest day — Monday — of the show, but perhaps because of that I was able to convince the Unicorn folks to give me a ticket for his book (since I’m not a buyer, it’s usually “not done”). Since I had my ticket, I finished the trade by signing my book and giving it to him. He’s a great advocate for me and I’d like to return the favor, but he has no website I can find so I’ll just send folks to the Amazon page for his book.
  • I got to spend a lunch at the Indian place in North Market with Audrey Knight, who, despite the heat, was advertising for her new book with a double-knit scarf.
  • I got to spend a bunch of time with Sarah and Sam from Cephalopod Yarns, who didn’t have a booth but were hanging out at the CP booth much of the time, and Elizabeth who is Shannon’s second-in-command these days over at CP. The CP crew had rented a house for the week with a pool and hot tub, so needless to say there was much hanging out there after hours while most other people were at the Hyatt bar. We also got to wade for 10 blocks through the insane detritus of humanity that populates Columbus’ High St, at least during Com Fest weekend but probably all the time.
  • I was surprised that I was able to hear over the roar of what seemed like hundreds of knitters packed into a small upscale bar at the Craftsy birthday party, but I got to speak a little bit to Linda (I think) about my upcoming Craftsy workshop.

Now I’m ready to show my swag, and talk a bit about it and the exciting things that will happen to some of it. Some of this stuff is from the Designer Dinner goodie bags, some of it is stuff that I got from vendors. All of it is worth profuse thanks to those who supplied it (thanks already supplied above won’t be mentioned again down here)

  • Thanks to XRX for Victorian Lace Today and Knit One Below, both of which I got in goodie bags from the Designer Dinner. Thanks to the authors of Bead Crochet Jewelry for impressing me with probably the only technique that might actually encourage me to learn crochet, and for the copy of the book they provided.
  • Thanks to Dawn at RYN Yarn, US distributors of my favorite yarn, Kauni Effektgarn, who supplied 6 balls of yarn for my next two Parallax projects and promised me wholesale prices on any more Kauni I need in the future.
  • Thanks to Iris at Artyarns, who provided yarn — two skeins of Silk Pearl,  a skein of Ensemble Light and a skein of Ultrabulky, for me to design two new projects for the next One+One book coming out in late 2013 sometime.
  • Thanks to Alisha from Alisha Goes Around, who had no booth this year but instead brought a suitcase of lovely yarn which made its first stop at the CP booth. I got a pair of skeins of Tracks, which is her dyed version of a Buffalo Wool Co yarn.
  • Thanks to The Crochet Dude, Knitters Pride, and Indian Lake Artisans for some fantastic looking needles and crochet hooks, and to Namaste for a bag to keep them in.
  • Thanks to Rowan, HiKoo, Zealana, WEBS, The Alpaca Yarn Co, and Kollage for some beautiful yarn.
  • Thanks to Briggs & Little, who passed me a sample of their yarn at their booth again — these folks are a mainstay in Canada but don’t have much in the way of US presence. I wish I could help, but I’m not a store — the best I can do is to design something awesome using their yarn. I hope to do so as soon as I have a free moment.

Whew! There’s more, and if I forgot to relate your story or forgot to thank you for something you did for me or something you gave me, I apologize. It was an amazing time and I can’t wait for another opportunity to have this kind of experience again. Now — back to knitting!

4 thoughts on “TNNA 2012 – a view from inside the mask”

  1. Pingback: TNNA was a blast!
  2. Pingback: TNNA antics…

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