I can’t believe it’s Friday already—it seems like just yesterday I was driving through 4 states to get to The National Needlearts Associaton’s summer trade show! Since I do most of my work on the weekends, attending the show meant I didn’t get any actual work done, and I’ve been scrambling to catch up all week. I think I’m almost there.
This was my first time attending the TNNA summer show—in case you’re unfamiliar, they have 2 trade shows each year, and the more popular one for all things knitting-related is the summer show (which is a bummer, because next year’s winter show is in Las Vegas!). The summer show in Columbus, OH, which is about a 6 hour drive for me--it wasn’t a bad drive at all, through the Blue Ridge Mountains and some very scenic areas of western Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Since this was my first show, I opted to just stay in the hotel where it was being held, and aside from generally smelling like stale cigarette smoke, the Hyatt was pretty nice—clean, friendly staff, lots of food options right on site. They were also hosting the Midwestern Haunters Convention for people who work in haunted houses and Halloween-related stuff. It made for some interesting walks through the convention center, as many of them were in costume.
Once I arrived and got settled into my room, I headed down to the hall to get my badge and head for the fashion show—Road to Giza was on the runway! At the show I ran into Corrina from PicnicKnits and she was SO nice. She introduced me to several people over the weekend, she was so helpful!
It was fun to see the knits coming down the runway, but the emcees—first, the copy for the show was super cringe-y with so many puns, but they were also butchering the pronunciation of just about everything. At least it was entertaining. And it was very exciting to see my pullover on the runway!
After the show I got to meet Lindsey and her husband from The Fiber Seed—I used her yarn for the Virginia Clemm cardigan in Charm City Kids, and her booth was hopping all weekend, so I hope lots of you will be seeing her yarn in your LYSs soon! I was crashing after my long drive at that point, so I called my boys to say goodnight, and headed to my room. (And it’s a good thing I did, because some other residents of my floor were apparently under the impression that it was a college dorm, rather than a hotel, and were making racket half the night.)
Saturday I was up early for my first class—I was really psyched to take a class on newsletters with Gwen Bortner; I’ve taken her Craftsy class on teaching, and she just has so much to share. It was a great class, and I’ve already started making some changes to my newsletter that I hope will make it more valuable for me AND for you guys!
After that it was time to hit the show floor. As opposed to a fiber festival where things are sort of crammed in, it was nice and open, with large booths, plenty of spaces to stop and talk. I snapped a picture of Road to Giza in the Shalimar Yarns booth, of course. And amazingly, I spotted a yarn company from Lima, Peru! I stopped to chat with the reps from Aslli, who were showcasing their beautiful naturally dyed yarns—they were very amused by my business name! I hope we’ll be seeing them locally soon.
Then I finally got to meet Stacey from Knit Picks, who I’ve been working with for several years on various KP collections! We decided to go get lunch—and made the very responsible choice of Jeni’s ice cream. We have the Jeni’s book at home, but it was great—and a lot less messy!—to get to try the real thing (I had a scoop of milk chocolate and a scoop of brown butter almond brittle).
After lunch I took a few more spins around the show floor, then it was back to my room for a rest before the evening activities. There was a member meeting for the Business and Creative Services section (that’s the TNNA segment I’m a part of), and then the super fun Business and Creative Services dinner at Brewcadia! I’m not particularly good at introducing myself to new people or networking, but it’s easier when that’s the whole point of the evening—and when you have some delicious beer to help! Plus, we got a fun swag bag with lots of new yarns to play with. I finished out the night having a beer and chat with Stacey and some other lovely designers/fiber artists.
Sunday I was up early again for my second class, with Tara Swiger. This one was on filling your classes—I will start offering classes and workshops at yarn shops in the fall, so this seemed like a good way to get a jump start. This one was also very helpful, and since it had a lot of shop owners in it as well, it was great to get different perspectives.
After that I spent a little more time on the show floor, and then it was time for me to head home!
It was a busy, exciting weekend, and it’s hard to believe it’s already come and gone. Since it was my first show and I didn’t know what to expect, I don’t feel I necessarily made the best use of my time, but I do think it was a valuable experience, and that if/when I attend again, I’ll be better prepared. Next summer, unfortunately, the show is scheduled over Father’s Day weekend, so I definitely won’t be in attendance, but who knows what the future will bring!