Posted on June 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm

One of my great privileges as a working independent designer is being able to attend the trade show for our industry, known widely as TNNA. The 2015 show returned to its summer roots in Columbus, Ohio, home to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and the all the other great lunch options in North Market. If you pay attention to social media, you’d think all anyone does in Columbus is eat. Much of that is because while yarn companies are recognizing that photos from the show floor are part of a robust marketing presence, picture taking is only slowly becoming acceptable, so habitual Instagrammers retreat to the safe subjects of footwear(comfy) and food(ditto).

floor Checking out Ysolda‘s Anzula Yarns Baby shoot, with Sabrina herself*

I am not on a book track at the moment, so I approached this year’s show with an open mind. Historically, I never know what I’m going to accomplish there since some of my best opportunities have been surprisingly born over end of day cocktails, and one even grew out of a chat that started at the airport baggage carousel at the end of the homeward journey.

This year I learned I have a few collection and editorial slots to look forward to, and I made personal contacts at some new-to-me companies whose yarn I can’t wait to work with. And who knows what else? A lot comes home to roost much much later. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I met some wonderful folks I’ve admired for ages like Michelle WangCarol Feller and Hunter Hammersen. I knit during the zombie apocalypse* with Karen Templar, Bristol Ivy, Megan and Lydia of Pompom Quarterly, ate at Lemongrass for the first time with Amy Singer and Julia Grunau (with Martin Storey at the next table), and chatted in the wee hours with West Coast bestie Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep.


Bristol, Lydia, and me in the KnittedWit booth

Among so many other happy encounters, I finally got to meet Sarah of Fiberstory, whose yarn I got to use for Tambourine. And there at the front of her beautiful booth was indeed her own copy of my design, worked up in her Core DK in a beautiful deep teal. It was a thrill to meet Sarah IRL, so the acronym goes. As Bristol said during one stride down Aisle 1600, our work is all about relationships, and TNNA is one place we go to nurture them.



*photo courtesy of Amy Singer

**The Conference Center was also hosting the Midwest Haunters Convention that weekend, so Saturday night the Hyatt Lobby was teaming with cosplay Haunted House types, including human sized vampire bats, headhunting cannibals, and some clowns so frightening that some knitters were confined to their rooms. Visit Shannon Okey’s Instagram feed for a taste of the evening.