Last week was very special, as it was my very first time attending The National Needlearts Association trade show! For more pictures of how our booth looked, head over to Blue’s Blog, where Cousin Katie has written up a post that shows more of our serene-yet-eye-catching display! For Spud Says (the blog!), we’re going to focus on some of the people we got to meet and the fun we got to have!
How excited were we to get to TNNA? Pretty excited.
My very own Chloë doll came with me to TNNA and she was quite excited about the opportunity!
Columbus, which is where the show was held, is both Ohio’s state capital and its largest city! Ohio itself looks very much like Minnesota and Downtown Columbus looks very much like Downtown Minneapolis, so we all felt right at home straight away. Our hotel was the Hilton Columbus Downtown, built just last year! It is so beautiful and right in the middle of everything, with the convention center, dozens of amazing restaurants, the North Market (which houses a Jeni’s ice cream stand!), and a sweet, flower-laden park all within walking distance. The most interesting feature of the hotel is that all the artwork in the hotel, including sculptures, paintings, glasswork, and mixed media, is by local Ohio artists!
See that “painting” behind the front desk? That is actually an impressionist landscape by Christian Faur, an Ohio artist, made using 30,000 crayon tips! Amazing! Photo © tripadvisor.com
Speaking of amazing things in the lobby, check out that chair! We couldn’t resist trying it out.
What a cool chair! Just a sampling of the gorgeous decor scattered throughout the hotel.
Now that we’ve oriented ourselves a bit, let’s talk about the show! Though TNNA trade shows are one of the best places to learn about the new products and innovations of your favorite distributors and designers, they are also places of networking where individuals reconnect with old friends and make new ones—and, boy, did we do lots of both!
Where designers are concerned, I got to meet Jessica Anderson, Stacey Trock, and Olga Buraya-Kefelian, all of whom have designed patterns for either Blue Sky Alpacas or Spud & Chloë.
Cousin Katie and I ran across Alex Tinsley, who has a book coming out soon from Cooperative Press called Doomsday Knits (for more info, visit here)! In fact, I have a treat to share with you, dear readers. Alex was kind enough to send us a preview of a pattern in Doomsday Knits that features Blue Sky Alpacas yarn! It is called the Alpacalypse Sweater and it is by Michele Moskaluk. It can be found in the Nuclear Winter chapter, and it has not been released as a peek yet, so you’re seeing it here first! COOL! (Look for more info on Blue’s Blog once the book has been released!)
First peek at the Alpacalypse Sweater by Michele Moskaluk! Photo © Vivian Aubrey vivianaubrey.com for Doomsday Knits
A great many more designers, both established (like Laura Nelkin and Amy Herzog!) and upcoming, visited Cousin Katie while I flailed my excitement as maturely as possible in the background. I just missed seeing Susan B. Anderson (oh my gosh, I was in the same space as her!), who was right next door to us doing a signing at Unicorn for her new book called Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys: Magical Two-in-One Reversible Projects. Many of the patterns in the book use Spud & Chloë yarn!
Brandy Fortune of Pixie Purls stopped by, and not only did we get to talk about her new book, Just Like Me Knits, which features both Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloë yarns, I got to hold one of her very special Fig and Me dolls and pose for a photo op! This doll, named Katie, is just one of the dolls used in the photography for Brandy’s book (notice how Katie is sporting one of the designs from the book—how cute!)!
Neighbor Jillian and Katie, a Fig and Me doll that Brandy Fortune features in her new book! How I love her hair! (Poor Chloë looks a bit neglected in my apron pocket!)
Along with designers, so many of our wonderful shop owners also stopped by to say hi, including Barbara Sue from Barbara Sue Brodie Needleworks, who did a delightful interview on Blue’s Blog a few months ago. She is just as delightful in person! Much squeeing was involved when we saw each other. While standing in line for Jeni’s ice cream at the North Market, Susan Cropper from Loop, London, whom we interviewed only just recently on Blue’s Blog, walked by me and I was sure to say hi. During an exceptionally busy time in the booth, the Yarnover Truck ladies stopped in (if you missed our interview with them, read it here)! Sadly, their truck Debbie couldn’t make the drive, but I am so glad Barbra and Maridee were able to, especially since it gave us all a chance to congratulate them in person on winning the 2013 TNNA Business Innovation Award! How exciting to meet so many interviewees in person!
There were even some store owners that I have on my potential list of interviewees that I got to chat with, including Craig from Loop, PA and Patti McSkane (did she make up that last name? Sounds like “McSkein” to me! ^_~) from The Knitted Purl, whom I was standing right next to without even realizing it for several seconds and then we both realized who each other was at the same time. Much hugging ensued!
It was also important to appreciate the resources we use every day as a part of our jobs, so Cousin Katie and I stopped in to the booths for Ravelry (who among us doesn’t use Ravelry on a daily basis?) and Craftsy (where I learned how to make toe-up socks!). We met with Vogue Knitting (with whom we do lots of advertising and pattern collections), dashed over to say a quick hi to Lisa Shroyer to congratulate her on becoming the editor for Interweave Knits, and I got to say hi to Shannon Okey over at Cooperative Press (we have just started advertising in their Knit Edge magazine)!
A look at the Spud & Chloë side of the booth, featuring new colors in Fine and Outer and several new patterns!
Phew! As you can see, it was quite a whirlwind, but we have some great memories and made some great connections. We are so thankful to everyone who makes this industry such a pleasure to be a part of, and we can’t wait to see everyone again next year!