How to describe TNNA? Well, first off, it's a trade show. So it pretty much looks like any other trade show. You're in the bowels of a convention center looking at row after row after row of booths. My boss and I had a huge stack of orders we wanted to get in and many places we knew we wanted to see. So our first day we dedicated ourselves to walking up and down every aisle. We talked to a lot of people, placed a few orders and gathered a lot of information. Day two we went back with our map and all the orders we wanted to place and just went through and hit those vendors. Day three I was on my own and walked the entire floor one last time to make sure we didn't miss anything and to place a few remaining orders. I had printed out a purchase order for every vendor we were reordering from. It made it very fast to walk into a booth and ask what's new and then hand off our order. The vendors all seemed to like it a lot that we were prepared and organized. One gold star for me.
So on top of all this everyone in the knitting world is at the show. As you walk the aisles you pass Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably, Erika Knight, Norah Gaughan, Wenlan Chia, Joan McGowan-Michael, Clara Parkes, Adina Klein, Barry Klien, Annie Modesitt, Cat Bordhi, Pam Allen and on and on and on. The funny thing is that while most designers names and work is so familiar to me, their faces are not. So everyone walks through the show scanning name tags.
The biggest stars of the show without a doubt were Jess and Casey from Ravelry. I bumped into them on the first morning just before the show opened and got my Bob pin. Every time I turned a corner they were talking with people, crowds gathering around them. And everyone was talking about Ravelry (although I had one rep who I am sure has no idea what it really is call it "Revelry").
If you didn't have a lot to accomplish at the show you could devote yourself to a fulltime schedule of collecting swag and chatting up famous people. I wasn't making a real effort to get swag but still came home with some new , books, tote bags, a few balls of yarn and a million pens and post it notes. By day two I was declining offers of free yarn!
When we went to place our order a the Interweave booth we found we had arrived just as they were having a reception with hot pretzels and chocolate dipped strawberries. I grabbed a pretzel (hadn't stopped for lunch) and was stuffing it in my face when I looked at the woman facing me.
Yes, it was Eunny Jang. Thankfully she was also stuffing a pretzel in her face. I introduced myself and the first thing she said to me was, "I thought you were taller." I told her I did too but I sound taller on my blog. We chatted a little. I got to see the preview of the upcoming IK which had just gone to the printer. I had realized the night before that the three projects I'm currently working on--Endpaper Mitts, Bayerische and Tangled Yoke--are all her designs. Perhaps I fawned a bit. I was mentioning to her that Ravelry has been a great tool in gauging interest in a book or magazine. When Eunny's first issue of IK hit the newstands you could see how quickly people were queuing projects and casting on. I made a point when I saw Casey the next day to talk to him more about how useful a tool Ravelry is for our business.
I would sum up the trends I saw as Eco-Everything. Everyone has a line that is eco-this, organic-that. And bamboo. Everyone has at least one or more bamboo yarns. Another trend is lace. Many companies were introducing new lace-weight yarns. I saw a lot of sherbet colors for spring. Sadly I missed the big fashion show on Thursday night which gives you a good sense of what all the designers and yarn companies think will be hot for the next season. I can't say I saw anything that will light the knitting world on fire. There wasn't a lot of new stuff since we're heading into spring. If I can go to the fall show in June in Columbus I think there will be more new, exciting things.
I headed to LAX at 12:30 on Sunday. While waiting in a HUGE line I got a text message from Wes saying that he was in a really long line at the food court at the zoo.
Message from me to Wes: Trying security at LAX.
Message from Wes to me: Touche.
While standing in the endless line I noticed a woman next to me checking her email on her Blackberry.
Yes, Eunny again. We got a chance to chat a bit more. I got a sense of how crazy her travel schedule is (a flight every 10 days for the last year).
Once I passed through security I had a lot of time to kill (the shuttle got me to the airport crazy early). I got some lunch and went to wait at my gate. About 45 mins before my flight it got canceled. Now originally I was supposed to fly from LAX to Seattle then they changed my flight to stopping over in Portland. the flight to Portland was canceled so I ran to the podium and asked if there were any seats on direct flights to Seattle (which I had asked a United rep about on the phone the night before). Yes, I got a boarding pass for a 7:45 flight. By the time I got on my plane I had been in LAX for 7 hours.
I took no pictures. Pictures aren't allowed in the show. I did attempt to Kinnear Rick Mondragon at breakfast. I wasn't all that successful.