This was my first ever visit to America, so a complete adventure from start to finish. The fun of the adventure was wonderfully enhanced by my companions, fellow-Brit WoollyWormhead and our Irish friend Carol Feller. We designated our shared hotel room ‘The Eurozone’ and had an absolute blast together, despite insomnia (not helped by my snoring!) and extreme business around the show.
One of the most exciting things about the show was that very shortly before it Ravelry announced that they were going to have a booth to promote their In-Store Pattern Sales programme to yarn shop owners. I was honoured to be invited to host a trunk show at the booth on the Monday of the show. Woolly and Carol also had trunk shows at the booth, so these were discussed at length in our hotel room. They taught me how to put together a slideshow on my laptop (so simple!), and advised on which two garments to put on the rack that was in the booth all weekend. Here’s a picture of me at my trunk show, taken by the lovely Mary-Heather (Rainydaygoods) of the Ravelry team:
Another wonderful element of the show was meeting in person so many people who I have come to know online, both fellow designers and fellow knitters. On the Friday of the show I was delighted to meet Sarah Vendel, who I got to know through the first ever swap I participated in when I first joined Ravelry (The Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap). She has become a rep for a variety of yarn and fibre companies, and for Jordana Paige. She is so lovely and friendly that I immediately felt at home with her! Here’s a photo of us together in the Hyatt bar one evening:
See the lime-coloured elements on my top? They perfectly match the colour of the Namaste Monroe bag that I was given during the Designers Dinner that Yarn Thing hosted on Friday evening of the show. Marly of Yarn Thing had arranged some amazing sponsorship for the event, and we were overwhelmed by the abundance of the goody bags that every designer got. There were 65 designers at the dinner, and each received a Red Heart shopper tote full of goodies, and a Namaste bag full of goodies. It was so incredible that I was in shock for hours after! A list of the sponsors will follow this post, and I send my heartiest thanks to them all. I will soon be hosting some giveaways via this blog for much of the stuff I received, and more besides, so watch this space!
The exhibition hall containing the booths was enormous — there were 388 exhibitors in total! Needless to say, I didn’t get to visit them all over the course of the show, especially as I had deadline knitting with me (for ‘Jane Austen Knits’ — an Interweave publication coming out this autumn). Nevertheless I spent most of each day of the show on my feet wandering from one booth to another, checking out yarn in particular, and meeting many knitting celebrities along the way. I cannot list them all here, so here’s a select handful of name drops: Debbie Bliss, Martin Storey, Norah Gaughan, Ysolda Teague, Kristi Porter, Shannon Okey, Kate Oates (TotToppers), Anne Kuo Lukito (Crafty Diversions), Beth Brown-Rheinsel, Mary Beth Temple, Andi Smith, Miriam Felton, Sarah Wilson (‘TheSexyKnitter’, and oh my she is!), Heather Dixon (Army of Knit, ers), Anna Dalvi (check out her amazing shawls), Jaala Spiro (of Knit Circus magazine), Amy Singer (of Knitty), Clara Parkes (of Knitters Review).
There were many lovely less famous folk there, knitters and crafters who work in the industry. I particularly hit it off with Denise, ‘neesespieces’ on Ravelry. She is a very lovely, fun, and natural lady. We yarn bombed the Hyatt bar together on the Friday evening!
As well as all this meeting and greeting I managed to meet some very exciting goals! One major outcome from the show is that Shannon Okey of Cooperative Press (some of you may remember her as the one-time editor of British magazine, Yarn Forward) offered to publish Novel Knits for me in the US. So I am happy to say that it will be widely available in the US as well as the UK. I’ll post more about Novel Knits very soon as I know that this will be the first time that many of my readers have heard of it!
Another great outcome was that Deep South Fibers offered to distribute my patterns in the US. They are the most significant distributor in the US working with independent designers. I am very happy to join my friends WoollyWormhead, Carol Feller, Kate Oates, Crafty Diversions, Grace Akhrem, Heather Dixon, and Ysolda Teague as a Deep South Fibers designer!
So, yes, I spent much time with some very infamous knitters, including a very cosy dinner at a Greek restaurant on the Monday evening with WoollyWormhead, Anne Kuo Lukito, Kate Oates, Grace Akhrem, Ysolda Teague, and her lovely staff, Sarah and Rebecca (alas, Carol flew home on Monday morning). After this I handed in the project for Jane Austen Knits to Joaana, who was waiting in the Hyatt bar for it, having received various updates via Twitter from Kate Oates about my progress (I was knitting the whole time I wasn’t eating!). Phew!!
A few pictures from round and about Columbus that I took whilst walking out with Woolly the following day before heading to the airport:
The Yarn Thing Dinner sponsors. Thank you guys, your generosity blew me away!
Della, JHB, Soak, Bijou Basin, Kraemer, Simplicity Creative, Knitter’s Magazine, Namaste, Julie |& Co, Skacel, Coats & Clark, The Crochet Dude, The Knit Kit, The Buffalo Wool Company, Quince & Co, Random House Audio, The Fibersphere, Dublin Gift Company, Vickie Howell, Universal yarn, Malabrigo, Polar Knit, Lorna’s Laces, Eucalan, Craftsy.
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