Monday, June 20, 2011

TNNA: Dispatches from the Show Floor

monkey in disguise.
At last, we made it to Columbus!  We arrived Friday evening, checked into our hotel, and then I scurried off to meet up with my boss Leanne, head honcho at The Wool Wide Web, and Sarah, my fellow telecommuting coworker - both for the first time! It's pretty crazy to trade emails with someone for half of a year before meeting them in person, but we all got along quite well from the start and headed out in search of sushi.  Midway through dinner a torrential rain began to fall, complete with a crazy lightning show that caused the restaurant's power to flicker a few times...good thing we were ordered food that didn't require power to prepare!   Since the rain didn't let up, we flagged down a cab to take us the very short distance to our respective hotels, and I reconvened with my trip buddies, who were enjoying a Jeni's-based dessert back at the hotel. 

The next morning, it was time to hit the floor!  The last TNNA trade show in Columbus just happened to be my first-ever show I got to attend. Having spent four years dyeing yarn at Lorna's Laces, I'd heard many a story about the goings-ons at such events, so I had a vague idea of what to expect. If you've ever been to a Stitches event, that's pretty close to what my TNNA experience was like - except the floor isn't cash and carry, so I didn't leave Columbus totally destitute. I squished beautiful yarn like the crazy knitter lady I am, but was somewhat relieved that the temptation to buy was removed from the equation. When it comes to yarn and fiber, I have zero self-control.

My main mission was to talk to as many people as possible about my pet project that I've been working on with Leanne, Yarn Dealer, which is going to officially launch in August. Most of the folks I spoke with seemed genuinely interested in what Yarn Dealer has to offer - the main selling point certainly seemed to be the ability to manage Facebook, Twitter and Ravelry all in one spot. I know that I that feature to be extremely helpful whenever I have to post a new pattern all over the place!  As I filled people in on all the other exciting features we had available and in the works, I handed them a button and then continued on my merry way - I should probably admit that I was REALLY excited about making Yarn Dealer buttons.  Buttons are to indie rock kids as t-shirts are to sorority girls....but I digress.

Mission #2 was to procure more design work for myself, and despite the fact that I didn't have a 'designer' designation on my badge (being that I was there via The Wool Wide Web),  I was able to speak with several people who were interested in working with me some time in the future.

There were some really great booths, but I just wanted to highlight a few to give you a taste:
hungry for yarns....aren't we all??
  • Ysolda created a magical garden party on the show floor, complete with a photobooth and tons of design samples to play dress-up.
  • Imperial Stock Ranch made good use of their corner booth by creating a rustic ranch feel.
  • Berocco had a yarn bar where you could choose from several yarns to try knitting with.
  • Alisha Goes Around turned a lot of heads with an amazing knit polar bear she was kind enough to let me photograph.
  • Scarlet Fleece had several Rebecca Danger monsters hanging around their booth,  and some other great designs courtesy of boothmate Cheryl Beckerich (my favorite being a warm-looking chunky cabled hat)!
  • The ladies at Soak let us rest our tired feet for a bit on Sunday afternoon and recharge with some zippy peppermint Heel foot cream.
TNNA Swag - nothing to sneeze at.
I think the swag was better for retailers or designers (not complaining, just an observation!), but I did get some fun prizes along the way...and also procured a few Sample It! items, too.

We happened by many of the knitterati, usually by accident (which actually means 'while in line at Jeni's)...tried not to be all gushy or interrupt conversations, so I didn't end up taking to a great many of them...which is usually a good situation for me, as I tend to say silly things to people I admire, and then feel embarrassed about it later (great example being the time I talked to Bobby Hecksher after The Warlocks played the Empty Bottle, as Tyler can attest to).

We did the Jeni's thing, had breakfast and lunch at North Market a few times, drank a good amount of local micro-brews, and found some tasty dinner spots along the way....which makes me bummed that it will probably be a very long time before I return to Columbus - but without the excuse of a trade show, visiting family or exploring someplace new is higher in travel priority.

As the dust settles from the show, it's time to focus on designing and getting Yarn Dealer off the ground. You can bet I'll keep you posted!


  1. YAY! Meeting you was the highlight of my show...

  2. Same here! You are much skilled at wielding the plastic spoons, incidentally.