Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A weekend spent among my people

Today is my re-entry day. I sort the mail, do the laundry, and avoid work as much as possible. Today is my day to recover.

What am I recovering from? The semi-annual trade show of the National Needlework Association, known as TNNA. This past weekend, the knitting, crochet and needlework industry gathered in beautiful San Diego.
This was the view from my hotel room at sunrise on Saturday. Not bad, eh?

While I spent the show working in the Kollage Yarns booth with my friends Mark and Susie Moraca, for me the show is mostly about relationship maintenance. 90% of my work is done at my desk at home. This gathering is the opportunity to re-connect with friends, clients and potential clients, and to polish the rust off my social skills.

After setting up the booth on Friday, I joined Marnie MacLean and Julia Trice for the Friday night festivities. These included a cocktail reception and fashion show. There was a photo booth set up at the party. We decided to forego the available props, but this strip of pics is pinned over my desk as a reminder of a great time.
We went to dinner after the Fashion Show at a fun Mexican restaurant. It was Julia's birthday, so margaritas were mandatory.

Saturday brought a full day in the booth, then dinner with the wonderful Amy Gunderson, Design Director for Universal Yarn. It's a good thing Amy doesn't live closer, because she and I would spend every evening together drinking and talking into the wee hours.

Sunday was another full day in the booth, then dinner with the brilliant Julia Grunau, Prime Minister of Patternfish.com, and Travis and Sara Romaine from Paradise Fibers. We went to a Russian restaurant. The only thing on the menu that was familiar to me was beef stroganoff (and I didn't think that Hamburger Helper Stroganoff was really a reasonable analog), so I was glad that Mark suggested we have the waitress order for us. The feast that followed was an incredible array of unusual flavor combinations. Russian food - who knew?

Monday began with a breakfast meeting with the brilliant Amy Herzog. I'm proud to be working with Amy to tech edit her upcoming book, so we had lots to talk about. She is also excellent company. If you haven't explored her new custom knitting pattern website, Custom Fit, click on over and spend some time. She is dedicated to enabling knitters to produce clothing that makes them feel beautiful. Isn't that a great mission?

The rest of Monday was spent in the booth. What were we showing? Let me give you a sneak peak of a yarn so new, it doesn't yet have labels.

Meet Happiness...

This is a superwash merino that Kollage Yarns just introduced at this show. It is spun and hand dyed by a small, family-owned mill here in the United States. Now hand-dyed merino is not unusual, but having this yarn spun in America is. I really appreciate Mark and Susie's commitment to creating American jobs.

Happiness will be available in worsted, DK and fingering weights in a delicious palette of 30 semi-solid colors. Kollage will have it for sale at Stitches West (only 6 weeks away!), and it will be shipping to local yarn shops soon.

I've cast-on for a Fair Isle hat, and will be working on new designs for all three weights. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The virtues of early flights

I'm at the airport, waiting to board my 7:00 am flight to San Diego for the gathering of the clan known as the National Needlework Association trade show.
SFO is a 90 minute drive from my house, so early morning flights mean getting up in the middle of the night and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in the pre-dawn hours. Most people would choose to fly later in the day. That is exactly why I often choose this sort of itinerary.
At 6 am, the airport is calm. The lines are short, and the staff haven't yet had time to remember that they detest the flying public. I can easily find a quiet corner to sit with my coffee and my knitting, without feeling oppressed by the crowd and the noise.
Also, TSA pre-check rocks. I don't know how I got on their "low threat" list, but I'm grateful. No more undressing, no need to empty my bag before screening. It feels like a return to pre-September 11 travel. What a pleasure to begin a trip with minimal stress.
I'm so happy to be traveling to spend time with friends I see far too infrequently. Watch this space for a report on the trade show early next week.