***Warning – this is really long, but I promise, there are a lot of good links in here!***
It’s gearing up to be a wildly fun and productive summer! Spring has already lit a fire under my butt. I’m like Wile E. Coyote strapping himself to a bright red rocket and getting ready to blast off into the great unknown. Must. Go. Fast! I guess that makes the fiber community the Roadrunner? Not really sure how that all works out. Does Acme even make yarn?
First, I am so excited! Wonder Mike over at Fiber Beat interviewed Caro and I at TNNA Winter in Long Beach and it’s live, so go listen! Mike did an amazing job editing the interview and adding just the perfect songs and musical interludes. I want him to follow me around all the time from now on so he can make me sound articulate and not-at-all-like-a-dumbass. Thank you, Mike, you are a Master Podcaster!
Last week, I went to TNNA in Ohio with Caro (Splityarn), Amy (StashKnitRepeat) and Pam (FlintKnits) and it was such a great trip. I also got to spend some quality time with Jenn (Nipperknits), Elinor (ExcerciseBeforeKnitting), Miriam (MimKnits) and a whole host of other people. It really was the most amazing array of people you could imagine. I’ve been knitting and blogging since 2004. You guys, it’s 2011! That’s . . . ermmm . . . a number of years. A whole bunch of them. And it’s been amazing to watch my fellow fiber enthusists change and grow over those years.
(I’m going to do a big name/link drop at the end of this post and hopefully I won’t forget too many people. I always forget people, but if we met and laughed and possibly hugged, chime in to remind me because I’m really bad at remembering things.)
You couldn’t ask for a group of more brilliant and talented people to spend time with. I’m always amazed at the brain power we have managed to capture in this community. Luckily, we have decided to use that power for good, otherwise we’d be flying around in an intricately cabled cashmere Death Star. Take that, Rebel Alliance! Did you feel that disturbance? Yeah, that was us tangling up Alderaan with our sonacrylic ray beam. What are you gonna to do about it, huh? Bring it.
Festivals like Rhinebeck or NHSW are great for meeting and reconnecting with friends, spending the mortgage on yarn and generally relaxing among pals. Unlike those events, TNNA is an industry convention. That means people are there to buy and sell for retail shops, to network, to make contacts, to get business done. I can’t even tell you how invigorating it is to be able to consider knitting my “business”. I’m trying to figure out a way to make it pay the bills and software is still my primary business, but I’m really do lucky to be part of this industry. When I was a kid, my dad used to go to conventions for his work, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t nearly as much hugging and squeeing at the industrial brush convention. I could be wrong, I’m just assuming.
I knew it was going to be an amazing time when it began with a Designers Dinner hosted by the lovely Marly of Yarn Thing. It was one of those times when you look around at the other guests and think “How the hell did I manage to get invited to this?” The room was packed with people I’ve admired for ages and I considered myself a fangirl. And now I was there as a peer. Weird. And awesome!
Also? We all got freakishly good swag bags brimming with amazing things that Andi at Knit Brit has actually listed out and is giving away in a contest. And Namaste bags! I know!!! There were all kinds and colors, deals and trades were being made and everyone left with a glow that can only be had by cradling a new Namaste bag. I got the lime green Bitty Bag, which is just the right size for me. I lurve it.
Here are some of the highlights in no particular order because the whole thing is one big blur. (those of you who remember Romper Room, this is the part where I check you out through the Magic Mirror)
First off, I got to meet Bonne Marie Burns! She and Marnie MacLean are the two people single-handedly responsible for getting me interested in knitting in the first place. Their designs and blogs captured me immediately. I was truly star struck and Bonne Marie was just as sweet and funny and savvy as I had hoped she would be.
We magnanimously shared our flight from and to (well, I took a later flight home in exchange for a voucher) Boston with Clara Parkes (Knitters Review), who totally cracks me up all the time. Hob-nobbed with Carol Sulkosci (GoKnitInYourHat) – I love me some Carol. She’s wicked in the best way possible. We got caught up on Shannon Okey’s (Knitgrrl) continuing plans for world domination. We think she’s really on to something good with her new publishing venture. After years of following her online, I finally got to meet Jessica from Rose-Kim Knits! She’s been making Thursdays better for a helluva long time.
Amy Detjen is always a delight to run into, her smile is infectious and I can’t wait to have cocktails with her in September at The Creative Connection! (It will happen, Amy. Oh yes. It will.) And continuing with the contagiously delightful, Amy Singer (Knitty) was there and though I’ve met her briefly before, we actually got to hang out at the Columbus Airport for a long while and it was really great. We also enjoyed the company of Chris Bylsma, who I am now in love with. That woman is sass on a silver platter.
The winner of the “Blew My Mind” award goes to Alisdair (Fallingblox Designs), a fellow Common Cod Fiber Guild member, who is coming out with a book called Extreme Double-Knitting in the next few months and it’s stunning. Stun. Ning. He’s doing the book with Cooperative Press and they had pieces from the book there. I cannot wait to get my paws on this book. I’ve been wanting to try double-knitting for a while and this is just the thing to get me doing it. Very exciting! (Alisdair was also hanging out with us at the airport, it was quite a knitting group we amassed there.)
I met a whack of amazing people for the first time, including Andi (KnitBrit) – who I ran into every 5 seconds and was happy about it every single time, Mercedes (Kitchen Sink Dyeworks) who dyes amazing yarn in bold, bright colors, and Daniel Yuhas, a soon-to-be published designer with a website called Molting Yeti – I love this guy!
I was also super excited to meet Heather from Army of Knitters. Her designs make my heart go pitter-pat in a big way. She then introduced us to Ragga (Knitting Iceland), who does knitting tours of Iceland! This makes me love Heather even more because Ragga is also darling and does knitting tours of Iceland! We are totally going to go on a knitting tour of Iceland. I can’t wait!
We literally chased down Linda Permann (LindaMade) to check out her gorgeous crocheted sweater, which turned out to be called Peanut Butter! It is now on my To Do List. (hope we didn’t scare Linda with our lion/gazelle technique.)
We fondled lots of good yarn in brilliant colors. Alisha (Alisha Goes Around) is a firecracker to the tenth power and I can’t wait to use the super-soft superwash BFL in Charcoal she gave me to create my first actual clothing design that doesn’t use beer cans. Then I fell head over heels for Merri Fromm from Blue Sky Alpacas. She totally gets our retro asthetic, was so sweet and charming and she gave us a bunch of amazing yarn to play with! I’m working on a bag design using some of their seriously chunky wool/alpaca. I swatched it and it’s 3 stitches to the inch using 10.5 needles. Boo-ya!
Speaking of needles, the lovely and generous ladies at HiyaHiya gave me a bunch of needles and crochet hooks, including the thinnest knitting needles I’ve ever seen. At 1.2mm, they’re so delicate and the cable join is so smooth, I can’t wait to try out something special with that cobweb cashmere I’ve been squirreling away.
Whew, I think that’s a pretty good rundown. It’s impossible to list everyone. Just know that the future of the fiber industry looks very bright. So much passion and talent and know-how. From the folks at Ravelry to yarn shop owners to indie yarn dyers and designers, our fiber world is a force to be reckoned with and with so much momentum, I think the next few years are going to be really interesting. I forsee a lot of changes and innovation coming that will benefit us all. It’s a good time to love yarn!