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June 11, 2008
I just returned from TNNA in Columbus. Columbus is really a pleasant city for a convention -- good food at the North Market and nearby restaurants, a nice downtowny feeling with old brick buildings that have been gentrified but still have a bit of nostalgic grit, long freight trains carrying coal through the middle of town, not hard to navigate, reasonable prices... but it's a hard city to fly to! To get there by 5:00, I had to catch a 6 AM flight out of San Diego. So after a full day of travel, I drag in to the hotel to check in and here's the scene:
Amy Singer, Jillian, Abby Franquemont, the Harlot, Annie Modesitt, Knitspot Anne, Norah Gaughan, Mary Heather, Casey and Jess, Amanda from Lorna's Laces. This is totally like sitting with the cool kids at lunch! After a bit, I tear myself away (Jillian helped) and go to help set up the Stitch Cooperative booth.
The Stitch Coop is a group of independent knit and crochet designers who have banded together to distribute our patterns to yarn and craft stores. As a group, we can share some of the costs and responsibilities of self-publishing and for yarn stores, it's one-stop shopping for high quality patterns from independent designers. Many yarn stores, I think, would love to carry patterns from indies, but just can't manage the hassles of 20 designers' order forms and invoices, broken printers and family vacations. The Co-op will allow both sides to win, so I'm very excited about it. And with a league like this, who wouldn't be? That's Annie Modesitt, Robyn Chachula, Amy O'Neill Houck, Dora Ohrenstein, Shannon Okey and Jillian Moreno. Not in the photo, are Stefanie Japel, who hadn't arrived yet and Andi Moon, who couldn't make it to Columbus.
Aside from taking orders and getting the word out about the Stitch Coop, having a booth meant we had chairs on the showfloor. Guilt-free sitting! A place to shove your bags. This saved enormous wear and tear on my body. Last year I remember my shoulders aching and my feet being about ready to fall off. This year was better. Maybe due to the Keens. Apparently the official TNNA shoe, as everyone was sporting them it seemed. Can we maybe get a sponsorship out of that? Still by the end of the show, Jess, Mary Heather and I found ourselves apologetically putting our sore, bandaged feet on the marble slab room divider/bench in the Hyatt lobby and wishing for some sort of minty scrub. (Yes, this is the insider TNNA gossip you were hoping for!)
Here's are some shots from the floor:
Finally, after it's all over, the show breaks down. Here's Amy at the bitter end trying to cram everything in, claiming that her massive bags constituted her "purse" and her "personal item". I swear I wouldn't have been surprised if someone had given her a pony.
The weekend was exhausting and inspiring. A chance to see some wonderful new and new-to-me yarns. Re-connect with folks that are gettting to be old friends. Seeing people that you feel like you know well, but have never seen in the flesh. It may be hackneyed, but TNNA truly has that "there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met" quality. People who not only understand what it is you fill your days with, but why you can't imagine wanting to do anything else.
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