Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lots of TNNA Stuff

Hi Knitters,
I am home and let me just say it is a messy one! Well, there were lots of adventures over the past days and I want to fill you all in a bit. First things first, you can't bring cameras onto the floor of the convention at tnna. I guess this is due to new products being introduced and maintaining some control by the companies. So although I don't have lots of pictures from the event I have some good stories to share and a few pictures of some of the goodies I collected. Pictured above are two mini-pears I took from the hotel breakfast buffet to bring home for my girls. Aren't they cute? They are less than 2-inches high, very petite. My girls were thrilled and loved eating them. That's an easy gift, right?

I flew into LAX around noon on Thursday and grabbed a taxi to my hotel in Long Beach. I really had no idea how long this ride would be and was pleasantly surprised to find out is was only about 20-30 minutes. I had to kill several hours because my room wasn't ready yet. The man at the front desk said my room was vacant but it would take 3 hours before it was cleaned. He even called for a rush job on the cleaning and I was hopeful it would be ready sooner. Nope, no luck, 3 hours. I checked my bags and took off walking. I found the convention center and as I walked around I started seeing a ton of women wearing knitted garments. It was a strange feeling being surrounded by knitters out on the street. I felt I was entering a whole new world, full of knitters, full of yarn and full of sweaters of every sort imaginable. Heaven.

I finally got into my room and by that time Regan Clancy of Workman had called to check in with me as she was in charge of the dinner that night with the Royal book distributors. I was so excited to go to dinner that night with a bunch of fun people and knitters. A few you will recognize like Kristin Nicholas, Judith Durant and newcomer, Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Regan picked me up and we walked over to Tequila Jack's. Everyone was pretty tired out from the travels, especially the knitters I mentioned before because they all flew from the East Coast. I sat especially close to Judith and Melissa, who are both lovely and fun. Judith is very interesting and has great stories and a long industrious career in the knitting world. She worked for Interweave Knits for awhile and she has done many beading books along with the popular 101 One Skein Wonder books, very impressive. I think she has about 3 or 4 more books currently in the works right now. How does she do it and remain so fun and calm? Melissa, who is a teacher for Webs, just released Two At a Time Socks. I paged through this and it looks fantastic. If you are interested in this technique you should definitely check this one out. I think it is great that she has taught this technique so many times because this helps for writing a technique book.
Kristin came in a little later and we were already seated so I really only briefly said hello that night. Not to despair, I knew I was dining with her again the next night. You know my admiration for her. Above is some specially selected hot sauce I got for my brother at a small shop called, Hot Licks. He enjoys a painful hot sauce and I just envision him sweating and gasping as he tries these selections out. What a thoughtful sister I am.

Later that night my beloved, and somewhat famous, Workman publicist, Jaime Harder made her way to Long Beach. She called in the morning and we quickly grabbed breakfast and headed straight over to the convention. I was so glad to have a buddy at this enormous show. I know the Workman people would have included me but Jaime is a friend and she is just good fun to be around. We got right in there and started going through the aisles. I loved all of the products but much more so I loved spotting the famous knitters. Really, it was almost too much.

I stood only a couple of feet away from Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably. Kaffe is taller than I thought. He looks just like his pictures. He is one of my knitting heroes from over 20 years ago. I also love his mosaic book, it is fabulous. That was fun for me. I tried to tell Jaime what a moment that was for me but it is hard to explain.

We walked by Soho Publishing (Vogue Knitting) and met Nicky Epstein. She now has her own book imprint and has a new scarf book coming out. I told her I had just met Tanis Gray and Faith Hale when I was in New York and she quickly took us over to meet Adina Klein (editor in chief of Vogue Knitting) and Carla Scott (executive editor of Vogue Knitting). They were very friendly and Adina commented how she has been knitting for a special baby in her life lately. If you have the latest Vogue Knitting be sure to look at Tanis' latest design (number 12 on page 77), it is a cashmere hat and scarf set in off-white. It is to die for. I looked up the yarn she used and the set would cost well over $200 but there is always substitution and a dream...

I met Luisa Harding at her signing. I introduced myself, she had no idea who I was but I didn't expect her to. She was very sweet and English looking and she was dressed just like her new book. I have long admired Luisa's designs for Rowan and on her own, she is a talent.

I met Mags Kandis very briefly as she was waiting for her signing. She was signing her newest book for Interweave Knits, Folk Style. She was so fantastic looking, so well traveled and stylish. She wore brown cowboy boots and textured tights and carried a bag from some far off travels she told us about (can't remember where exactly). She was friendly and wonderful and just how you'd hope.
We ran by the Koigu booth and the wonderful man working there, I believe he was the husband, gave us handfuls of these little skeins of Koigu. He wore this great sushi printed shirt and was super friendly and funny. Later that night Jaime and I ran into him and his wife on the elevator, he still in the sushi, she wearing a full-out mitered square koigu sweater, so cool.

I made sure I stopped by the knitting at knoon booth. Chris is a great designer and she has a new line of knitted dinosaur toys that are so fun. She came to see me in Grand Rapids and she made an impression on me. I ran into Craig Rosenfeld the proprietor of loop in Philadelphia. He is always fun to talk to. He was taking a break from his knitting class with Brandon Mably. It was great to see him again. As we were running down the stairs, I introduced myself to Melissa Leapman. I have many of her books and love them.
Kristin Spurkland walked by after teaching a class on top down hats. She had a signing in the Unicorn booth on Sunday for her new book. My friend Alison Barlow from The Wool Cabin in Salt Lake City was in her class and came out with a great start to a hat. Alison's book is coming out in paperback soon, that's exciting.
Jaime and I stopped by the Skacel booth to admire the addi turbos and we were given a free pair of the new lace needles. They have a gold plated needle with an extra-long point and a red cord. Mine are size three and they are excellent. While we were there we talked to a woman named Joanne. She told us about a huge yarn festival in Seattle in July and we talked to Rob who is in charge of the whole thing. If I can swing it, I may just go and teach there. I would love to go to the northwest, it would be fantastic. Joanne gave us a boatload of shops to visit. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
My tag, above, has the ravelry dog, Bob, pin. I was hoping to get one but the only way to get a bob pin was to meet the inventors of ravelry, Casey and Jess. Jaime and I finally tracked them down in the lobby of the convention. They are superstars and everyone wanted to meet them. How can we thank them enough for creating such a fantastic resource for knitters. They were kind and gracious.
Are you wondering what type of yarn you are? The Potter Books booth had the cutest quiz you could take to find out. I am an angora and Jaime is a mohair. I can't remember what either of those are exactly but it was all good things. It was a cute idea and everyone loved the pins. My favorite was the odd ball pin. I sometimes feel like an odd ball but I am kind of glad I am not officially odd.
We met the Soak inventor and her mother. This product is on fire. She has gotten coverage in every major magazine and she is now having guest soak fragrances. See the green sample? That's Amy Butler's signature fragrance of Soak. I can't wait to try out these samples. The notebook is a gift from Jaime. It is filled with funny patterned paper and I love it, everything from beans and rice holding hands to a tomato pin cushion and pins.
We did see Joelle and Jennifer Hoverson, from purl and Last Minute Knitted Gifts, picking out books at the Unicorn books booth. I wanted to say hi but they were so entranced in the books that I didn't want to interrupt. I was happy to just see them from afar, they are so wonderfully creative.
Diane, I tried spinning! This was the wheel I tried and I was really into it. However the sad news is that I wasn't very good at it and the wheel wasn't pulling the yarn onto the spool so the woman had to keep fixing it. But I really liked it and I think I could do it with a little practice. I kept looking for the Ashford booth but I never found it. Anyway, I was encouraged. This is something I would like to pursue a bit in the future.
Okay, Clara Parkes signed at the Unicorn booth. She is a delight and I was dying to meet her. Her new book is incredibly well-received, just as you'd imagine, and I am so glad to have a signed copy. This book is a solid investment as it is crammed with information about yarn. Plus there are about 40 terrific patterns included. This book must have been an enormous undertaking and I am glad for Clara that knitters everywhere are enjoying it.
I met the author of Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful, Narumi Ogawa, and let me tell you, she is as adorable as her creations. North Light Books handed out the cutest buttons to go along with their books and I collected a few.
My sweet friend, Betz White, was represented at tnna. Her new book, Warm Fuzzies, shows off her talents to the fullest. This is not a knitting book but more of a fulled sweater and sewing book. If that interests you please check this one out. There are the ever popular cupcake pin cushions in the book but there is so much more to Betz than cupcakes. She is a phenomena! There are all sorts of patterns in the book from kids clothes, home accessories and adult accessories. She did an excellent job with this book and I am glad I got a cupcake pin. I didn't get the book at tnna, that's my own copy.
We stopped by the O-Wool booth to say hi. I am using O-Wool Balance in my newest book and I plan on using more from their line for more projects. This is great yarn and the people are super nice.
Friday night we went out to dinner with the Unicorn Books group. This is the booth where I had my signing. What a great, hard working group of people. The Unicorn booth always had a buzz about it through the entire weekend. I was impressed by how knowledgeable th staff was about the books and it showed in the reaction they were receiving. I enjoyed them very much. At this dinner I sat next to Kristin Nicholas, she's a joy. Kristin made sure to come over and say hello since we didn't really get to chat the night before and then I got to sit right by her. She is just how you'd think she'd be, comfy and warm and smart and really funny. She's a gem. I loved hearing about her farm and sheep and her yarn adventures. This was a highlight of the trip for me. The next day she took me under her wing a bit and introduced me to the fine people at Westminster Fibers, the distributor of her yarn, Julia.
The other fun knitter at the table besides Melissa Morgan-Oakes and Judith Durant was Debbie Stoller, whom I've never met before. She had great stories and it was fun to meet her. Her new book is doing well and Debbie's been touring up a storm so be sure to check out her schedule if you are interested in meeting her in person.
Be Sweet was there with their full line of yarn and bags. You've got to check these out, they are all simply wonderful. Jaime got that black bag with the white spots.
The yarn, the yarn, the yarn...it was fabulous. I loved the Shibui yarn people and they gave out balls of yarn and chocolates. The Potter booth gave out hand balm in cute tins. And my favorite was the Blue Sky Alpaca booth. I could use their yarns for every project I ever make it is so delicious. They gave out that crocheted bracelet which I wore all day on Saturday. This company is located in Minneapolis and the owner's parents live right down the street from me in Madison. I love that. I plan on using lots of blue sky in my next book and I got to check out all of their newest stuff, so fun.
Oh yeah, and then I had my signing at the Unicorn booth. Jaime snuck my camera out to get a few sneaky shots. It was great and I can never get over how fun it is to meet all of these knitters. Their enthusiasm touches me to no end. I will never tire of hearing about a baby or grandchild because there is nothing better than that. So keep the stories coming. We quickly went through all of the books and all was wonderful. Thank you to Unicorn for inviting me, I appreciate it.
I sure hope Brenda reads this blog because she was my favorite visitor of the event. She was an Itty-Bitty fan and she made me feel so good. Thank you so much Brenda for coming to see me. I loved meeting you.
Look at the basket in the picture. I just want to point out that Jaime, who I wish I had a picture of at this event, knitted all of those Itty-Bitty Nursery projects for a give-away for shop owners who ordered five or more copies of the book. They were entered in a raffle and I chose a shop out of Mississippi out of a bag for the win. She knitted the cupcake set, chickens, pacifier clips and the grumpy bear, all to give. I thought this was wonderful. All of the Workman people are the best, Regan and Kim, you are fantastic and I am glad to have spent time with you both.
Jaime and I ended our journey with a dinner with two of my all-time faves, Suzette and Alison, the owners of The Wool Cabin in SLC. These two women made me laugh so hard and that felt so good, you have no idea. You are fun and silly and two of the absolute best around. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to dine with us. I cherish the fact that I know you. And hi Kristi! I miss you!
One last thing, to Teruko, my new friend, thank you for driving to Long Beach. Your work is beyond beautiful and your daughter is spectacular. You inspire me. Thank you and let's keep in touch. There will be a next time, soon I hope!
If you are still here with me, and I am barely here, then I thank you for reading. I started this in the afternoon and now it is time for my kids (and me) to go to bed.
I missed you, knitters.
best, susie
p.s. Congratulations to Renee on her beautiful baby boy, William Tyler! He is a beauty.