Oh boy, was this trip some mad adventure!
After 3 planes and some 30+hrs of travelling, we finally arrived in Columbus, Ohio. I travelled from London with Ann Kingstone and Carol Feller joined us the next day, the 3 of us room sharing to help keep the trip within budget. The pace never really slowed; when we weren't busy meeting people or setting up trunk shows or walking the floor, we were busy eating or socialising or sleeping. It really was non stop. Sleep was a tad elusive for me, and by monday sleep deprivation was doing it's worse, yet we went to meet & greet and that's exactly what we did, sleep or no sleep.
I don't really know where to start, as so much happened and we met so many people, so I'll write it all down as it pops into my head....
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On saturday I had a trunk show in the Ravelry booth, as part of their In-Store Sales promotion. This was fun, as I got to meet both Mary-Heather and Sarah + bump. Although most of the enquiries were from retailers interested in the programme, there were several store owners who came to see me, who stocked my patterns, and I found myself signing patterns or having my photograph taken! This was wonderful, I really loved being able to meet such great folks, and it was also slightly overwhelming for this partial recluse that tends to hide away in her bus in the countryside ;)
There was also a display of my Hats in the Deep South Fibers booth and I'm kicking myself for not taking any photos of that. I spent time there on saturday and at first I was a little dumb struck talking to retailers, as I'm so used to retail shows, not trade. But I soon got into the swing of it, mostly. Meeting Donna and the DSF crew was one of the benefits of travelling all that way - it really helps to put a face to names and voices to emails when you've being doing business with folks. And I've no doubt it benefited me too, to meet the lovely store owners who stock my patterns.
Of the fellow DSF designers, I was chuffed to finally meet Kate of Tot Toppers and Anne of Crafty Diversions. Both were lovely and friendly and very down to earth, which always helps! Infact, everyone was warm and welcoming, which was very much appreciated by this shy sort.
Like any other show I guess, the social aspect is as much about making connections as it is having a chat and winding down. There were a couple of evenings when I didn't go out as I was just too tired, which I do regret and am already planning sleep aids for next year, so I don't miss out. Here are a few of the random photos I took of everyone hanging out in the Hyatt Bar...
Carol & Ann - I think between the 3 of us our accents amused and confused many!
Tot Toppers Kate & Kristi Porter, cocktails abound
There were so, so many lovely people to meet, and this last photo gives you an idea of just how many would be hanging out at any given time! This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are a few of the lovely folks I met, many for the first time:
Cecily Glowick Macdonald of Winged Knits, Laura Nelkin (with whom I'd previously had dreadlock chats on Twitter), Michelle of Fickle Knitter who cracked me up (that means you made me laugh. A lot), Kristen Tendyke who I chatted with about her little house and down sized living, Miriam Felton, Hannah Fetig, Mercedes of Kitchen Sink DyeWorks and PieBird Designs, fellow Brit Andi of KnitBrits (who still has her accent after all years in the US!), Allegra of Petite Purls, Jaala of KnitCircus, Heather of Army of Knitters, Julia of PatternFish who was as lovely as I'd thought she'd be (and I'm sorry we didn't get to hang out more during the show!), Carol of Black Bunny Fibers who also cracked me up, Bonnie Marie Burns of Chic Knits, Chris Church with her wee baba, Susan B Anderson who was delightful, Sarah of The Sexy Knitter (who taught me all about spanx - who knew?!), Anna of KnitandKnag, Shannon of Knitgrrl fame, Jenn Jarvis of NipperKnits (wish we could have talked more), Pam of FlintKnits, Stefanie Japel and Romi of Designs by Romi (with whom I shared an incognito boob photo...) all of whom I met for the first time. There was also the chance to meet again Anne Hanson, Clara Parkes, Deb Robson, Annie Modesitt, Norah Gaughan and well, too many more to mention. Forgive me if I've missed anyone, blame the jetlag!
I've no doubt you'll find just about everyone talking about Jeni's Icecream, I guess it's another TNNA legend. I'm no big ice cream fan but I did enjoy their Bourbon Buttered Pecan flavour, and did partake more than once. For me though, my first trip to TNNA also meant my first trip to America, and that in turn meant bus envy. And it also meant I took far too many photos of trucks and mini tractors and buses to share with my boys.
This beast was simply amazing! I'm fond of the vintage Airstreams, and this bus had a similar aesthetic. So big and shiny! Can you imagine converting this beast for living? It'd be pretty cool.
Of course I had to snap a few American trucks and buses for Aran's benefit, and I won't bore you will all the details but I will share this one...
.... never ever have I seen a bike on a bus like this before!
I will go again, that I can say. And next time I won't rely on buying ear plugs when I get there, as I'll remember that most don't fit my ears or don't work. I'll also remember not to rely on getting an eye mask on the plane, even though wearing my (clean) knickers on my head proved somewhat effective. I got a lot out of the show, and I've no doubt I'd have got even more had I had more sleep whilst there. One thing I did come home with was the understanding that more people knew who I was than I expected, and that's still sinking in. Nearly everyone I spoke to or was introduced to had heard of Woolly Wormhead, which is pretty mind blowing.... even Martin Storey had!
Lots of new things came home with me too, especially from Marly's designer dinner! But right now I'm still jet lagged and out of words. Besides, I need to photograph it to do it all justice. There's a long list of people to thank for sponsorship and I'll be sharing some of the goodness too. So until then, I'll be sleeping and letting it all sink in!