Saturday, July 7, 2012

TNNA: A Recap

Two weeks ago now, I attended the summer TNNA trade show in Columbus, Ohio. Since almost everyone else in knitblogland who went has already posted a recap, I'm guessing you all know what this show is all about....but just in case, TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) is an organization for yarn people, needlepoint people, design people, anyone associated with the needlearts. Their thrice-yearly shows are where those folks display their goods and shop owners from all over the country come to see them and put in their orders for that season.

(There was a lot going on that weekend, so let me apologize in advance for the unflattering iPhone photos that are to come.)

I got to go as part of Deep South Fibers, my wholesale distributor, who had a pretty big chunk of floor space. It was very cool -- designers were paired up and organized in booths around a central area where Deep South had all of our portfolios on display. I was lucky to be teamed up with Ann Kingstone (who just released a new book -- go check it out!), which was great because a. She's one of the sweetest people I've ever met in my life, and b. I got to stare at her gorgeous knits all weekend. Seriously, people would come by our booth and I'd have a really hard time not starting a conversation with, "Hi, I'm Hilary -- yeah, my stuff's right here, BUT HAVE YOU SEEN THIS AMAZING STOLE ANN MADE?!".

My side of the booth -- not too exciting, and I have LOTS of notes on how to spruce things up next time.

Ann's side -- pretty!

There were many wonderful business-related things about TNNA -- getting to see how this side of the knitting "industry" works, chatting with yarn shop owners, chatting with yarn producers, etc. A particularly awesome moment came when I got to meet Antonio of Malabrigo and convinced him to model Citron for me. Without that skein of Lace in my stash, there would be no Citron, and without Antonio, there would be no skein of Lace. So now the cycle is complete.

But meeting the people I've either worked with in the past or whose blogs I've read or whom I consider a friend I've never met was by far the best part.

It actually all started in the Denver airport, where I had my connection to Columbus and ended up boarding the plane right behind Stephanie Dosen of Tiny Owl Knits and her friend Katy, whom she'd brought along to help. I tapped her on the shoulder and had one of those awkward "Um, I think I know you from the internet..." moments, which luckily neither she nor Katy was weirded out by. Honestly, I was so relieved to see another Deep South exhibitor -- our flight was delayed about 100 times and I was freaking out that there wouldn't be enough time to set up that night. As you might guess, Stephanie is incredibly, incredibly sweet and has a very calming presence, so I immediately felt better.

Design swap.

At the show, I also got to meet and spend a lot of time with my long-time blog friends Thea (of Babycocktails -- seen at left below with my boothmate, Ann, in one of her super-cute dresses)...

Dierdre (who was standing in for Hannah Fettig at the Fibre Company booth) and Melynda (of French Press Knits), both of which I sadly have no photographic evidence of. :( And both of whom are wonderful people.

I saw RChrispy, my frequent tech editor, and met the adorable Stacey of Knit Picks, whom I've corresponded with so much over the past couple of years she also feels like an old friend!

And I met some other awesome designers, including Lee of Leethal Knits...

and The Sexy Knitter herself, Sarah Wilson:

The show was a bit of a whirlwind -- working the floor was a little exhausting for this introvert -- but there was still time for fun and the occasional silliness.

Clockwise from top, Stephanie, Katy, me, Alex. And our ice cream YUMIWANTSOMERIGHTNOW.

Me, Katy, reacting to a particularly..."interesting"...wardrobe choice in the corner of the room. I don't know if the Comfest going on brought out the crazies or what, because I saw more "interesting" dress in Columbus that weekend than I have ever seen in San Francisco. And, seriously, San Francisco is the US capital of "interesting" dress (or so I thought).

And then, it was time to leave (womp womp).

And the entire weekend's fun was reduced to these three bags.

Honestly, TNNA felt like knitting summer camp. Though it was hard being so far away from my guys, there wasn't really even time to think about it. And now I miss my new friends, and I miss being surrounded by such creativity, and I miss having folks to "talk shop" with. But I'm so looking forward to next time.

Next up, the yarn...


Aline said...

Awesome fun!

Teresa said...

That looks so amazing. I need to get my act together and see what I can't do about going next year!

a friend to knit with said...

i can NOT believe you were right across from where i was standing and i missed YOUR booth!!!!!!
oh goodness, i just am SO shocked and TOTALLY bummed!!!
oh, how i would have LOVED to have gotten to meet you in person and give you a giant hug and tell you how amazing your booth looked!!!

hugs from here, xx

French Press Knits said...

(Finally) Meeting you was a TNNA highlight. How the heck did we not get any pictures together?!? We'll have to wait until next time- hopefully it won't be a whole year until we meet again.

ps... still looking for peacock melons

Jane Richmond said...

Such a great recap!

Ann Kingstone said...

I'm so sorry I didn't see this post before! It brings back such lovely memories, when my enduring memories were of exhaustion and pain. And Hilary, I felt exactly the same about meeting you: that you are one of the sweetest, most beautiful people (inside and out) that I have ever met! It was a complete privilege to share a booth with you. :o)