The last few days are a blur of activity, yarn, old friends, new acquaintances and knitting! Oy. One would think I’d been drinking…
I was based at the Artyarns booth – I love helping Iris and Elliot with their yarns, I find them very inspirational and I just love Iris so much! I’m almost embarrassed at how much Artyarns I will have in my next book, but once you start thinking in a yarn, it’s hard to stop!
When I left their booth to visit other yarn companies where I had business (meeting people face to face, picking up sample yarn, showing a partially finished sample, selecting another yarn for a book project) I noticed that I received a totally different reception when wearing a red-print vendor badge as opposed to the black-print shop owner / teacher badge I wore at TNNA San Diego. I think some folks thought I was a yarn spy. (Perhaps it’s my amazing resemblance to Jennifer Garner..?)
There’s always that fear – and it’s not unbased – that ‘yarn spies’ are on the move, checking out fiber and thinking of ways to recreate a competitor’s new fiber or colorway. However, you just have to do your own work – keep your head down and look at your own hands – and do what feels right. Of course there will be inspirations, even echoes of other folks’ inspiration, in my work. We can’t help but be influenced by the work we see around us. But as long as we do what comes from our own spirit we’re making our own contribution.
Someone whose designs I admire greatly (a fellow student in grad school) once said something to the effect, ‘If you’re not influenced by other designers, you’re working with your eyes closed.’
Being at TNNA was a tremendous ego equalizer for me. Not having any of my classes selected for the curriculum, not having a booth of my own, not having any reason to actually be at the show kept my head from growing too large for my hat. But being at the Artyarns booth, meeting so many folks who love their yarns and my designs, was very positive.
Every time I’d begin to get a slightly swelled head, though, hard reality would set in. Several times Iris would introduce me to someone and the blank look on their telegraphed that they had NO idea who I am or what I do (and it’s not like they should, really, but Iris has a higher opinion of me than might be merited!) I met equal amounts of folks who like my work and those who have no idea who I am, and both of those types of meetings are good for the soul.
Among other folks I met (or re-met) were Rob & Mat from Threadbear, Lorna Miser (hey Laura!), Edie Eckman, Beth and the whole Lorna’s Laces gang, Barry Klein from Trendsetter (I’m working up a scarf in one of their amazing yarns right now for Vogue), the Main Street Yarn crew and Debi from Whole Nine Yarns, Amy Swenson, the Lantern Moon folks and Leigh Radford (what a thrill THAT was!), the “Dixie Chicks” Ann and Kay (who oddly share a version of my own name, Annette Kay…). I connected with the Vogue Knitting ladies (hi Adina!), had lunch with Pam Allen (I love her) and reestablished a friendship with Nancy Thomas, who I used to work for and who I admire so much!
It was exciting to put names to faces I only read on email, and to reconnect with list friends like Jennifer Hansen and Chris de Longpre. And I got to meet Tilli Tomas herself – actually, Tracy – but it was a blast! And, lest I forget, just when I thought my feet would fall off my legs on Sunday afternoon Jim from Colonial Needles brought over his own leg and foot massager for me to use as I sat and chatted with folks! Bless him!
I feel so blank, now, I know that I’m leaving out hugely important and dear friends, but my brain is mushier than usual.
After leaving TNNA later than I wanted (2:00 pm) I drove into Ohio and over to Cambridge, then totally pooped out and felt that discretion was the better part of driving, so I pulled off and stayed overnight at a Best Western – enjoying the cable and the FREE high speed wireless internet (something that the Hilton wasn’t able to provide – go figure…) Up at 7:00, on the road at 8:00 and into Pittsburgh at 10:00 to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood (where I lived over 15 years ago when I took a stab at Carnegie Mellon U)
I’m at Knit One on Murray Ave in Pittsburgh right now, with an hour before my first class and a chance to rest and relax on their exceptionally lovely shabby chic sofa in some of the best light I’ve ever seen at a yarn shop! I put my makup on using it, it’s so great!
Last night I finished polishing the intro to Men Who Knit and sent it to Lark – that should be my last original contribution to the book (the rest will be revisions, corrections, etc.) I’m dismayed that the book won’t be out before Christmas, we were really hoping that this would be a holiday book. It bums me out (man). But, regardless of when it comes out, I’m hoping it will be an exciting and invigorating book!
And now back to my fevered knitting to get Romantic Knits done in time. Did I mention that I saw my editor at TNNA? We had a nice, short chat which ended with her saying, “July 7th…” – that’s my deadline. Yikes.