Saturday, January 13, 2007


I had to come back to the hotel to sit down, my feet hurt so bad. I want to write everything down before I forget. What a crazy experience this is!

A couple days ago, I reviewed the "show etiquette" for designers which was posted on one of my designer lists. Basically, we're there to observe and not disrupt any selling that is going on. We have to be careful not to be monopolizing exhibitor's time when they could be talking to shop owners! The writer of the "rules" also emphasized that we're there to present ourselves as professionals, and so to dress appropriately. I decided I'd wear some black pants and a blue Ann Taylor knit top. Not terribly dressy, but not sweatpants and a stained t-shirt (my usual uniform) either. As I was walking up to the convention center, I keep seeing women walking around in black suits and high heels. I started to get a little nervous - I mean, when she said to dress professionally, I didn't know that it was full-on office dress! Then, as I got closer, I realized that there was a big Mary Kay convention going on. I was so relieved! I hurried my business-casual self through as quick as I could, looking for the knitters. As soon as I started seeing khaki pants and lace shawls, I started to breathe again. Nothing against Mary Kay folk, but they definitely made me feel underdressed!

I wandered around for a couple hours, trying hard not to get in anyone's way. It wasn't too hard, but I did have to explain over and over that I didn't own a shop and I wasn't going to be buying any yarn from them. I also got recognized in a few places - that was nutty! Beth Casey from Lorna's Laces said, "Oh, hi, Chrissy!" when I walked into their booth. My name was fresh in her mind because they'd just sent me yarn for my next Interweave design. Later, I was hanging around the Classic Elite booth when one of the people there said "Chrissy Gardiner - as in the designer, Chrissy Gardiner?" She knew my name because of the designs I'm working on for them right now, and she made me promise to bring the one I have with me by their booth tomorrow.

One of the first things I saw was my Rutabaga bag, from the Spring Knitscene, hanging in the Interweave booth. I didn't know it was going to be there, so it was quite the thrill to see it hanging there! I also got to meet Amy Singer, who was hanging out promoting her new No Sheep For You book. I flipped through it, and I have to say, there are some really fantastic designs in there. I gave her a little flak for rejecting all the designs I sent in for that book, which I think embarrased her a little bit, so I told her that all was forgiven when they bought two of my designs for Big Girl Knits 2. Then I mumbled something about being a big fan of Knitty and got the heck out of there before I said something REALLY stupid...

More wandering brought me over to the Y2Knit booth where two of my designs were hanging. I got to meet Jill and Susan and chat a little bit (although I cruised by their booth several times before I got an opening - they were quite busy), and of course see my sweaters. I also ran into Leigh Radford, who was hanging out in the Lantern Moon booth promoting her new silk ribbon yarn.

After lunch at Starbucks (where I paid $7 for a really crummy sandwich that I could only choke down half of), I headed back in and unexpectedly ran into RaNaye and Mary from All About Yarn, an LYS in Portland. I tagged along with them for an hour or so and got to eavesdrop on all the inside info that the retailers get from the exhibitors. It was nice to feel a little less pariah-like (not that designers are treated like pariahs, but we certainly don't get the red carpet rolled out for us...). I got to fawn all over Norah Gaughan in the Berroco booth, spotted Lily Chin crocheting surrounded by her signature yarns, tried not to stare to obviously at Debbie Bliss as I slunk through the KFI booth, and almost got run over by Kaffe Fassett as he strolled down one of the aisles near the Classic Elite booth. Talk about a knitting celebfest! And those are just the ones I saw (there are plenty of others who I haven't managed to spot yet).

I also managed to do a little networking with a couple of small yarn companies. First I stopped by the Hand Jive Knits booth and drooled all over her Nature's Pallette yarn. Beatiful and environmentally-friendly! She's looking to get her yarn "out there", so we're going to see what kind of arrangement we can come up with, whether it be me submitting to mags with her yarn, using it in Gardiner Yarn Works patterns or designing for the Hand Jive pattern line. I also talked to Farmhouse Yarns after drooling all over their stuff. Carol, the owner, has a sheep farm and big ambitions. She pays royalties on her patterns, and I'm going to show her my portfolio tomorrow and see what happens. This is all starting to make me feel like an honest-to-goodness knit designer!

Okay, the cruise ship docked about five blocks away from here just blew its horn about eight times. That sucker is loud! I'm going to be a little bit surly if they do that at six in the morning tomorrow...

Now that you're thoroughly sick of my name-dropping blather, I'm going to go watch some TV. Maybe I'll even find a program with swears! And watch it without trying to cough or yell "bleep" over all the bad words so that my children aren't corrupted (although from what Sydney says she hears about at school, I don't think it's the television I need to be worrying about).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel my feet hurting just remembering TNNA last June in Indianapolis. It is overwhelming but sounds like you are making some great contacts. I know Darlene from Hand Jive Knits and she is such a great lady! Her yarns were one of the first in The Yarn Grove's lineup!

Enjoy yourself and we'll hopefully meet you in Columbus in June. We received your patterns and they are up!

5:23 PM  
Blogger Harriet said...

You don't know me, but... I am a local Portland knitting mom like you, and I just wanted to tell you that I am totally enjoying your trip vicariously. I have never yet had any reason/excuse to go away by myself, and I loved the way you looked forward to the plane trip alone, since I can perfectly identify with that! Make the most of it all, and keep telling us about the trip. I love the simultaneous Mary Kay conference, too :-)

5:23 PM  
Blogger Connie said...

Thanks for the peek at TNNA. Sounds like you're having a great time!

5:25 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

Loved your post! Drop all the names you want. It makes for fun reading.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

What you describe sounds exactly what I experienced at TNNA back in June- wish I was there now! Isn't it weird seeing your stuff on display and being recognized? It kind of freaked me out when it happened to me. Glad you're having a good time!

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Debbie Bliss is a real person? What a great trip.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

How exciting to see you designs out in "the wild"! Sounds like you had a fun time. Maybe you should wear a pedometer the next time, just for kicks!

8:39 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home