Posted in Knitting
June 17, 2006

Whew. That was a long week.

Last Friday, Andi and I drove to Indianapolis for TNNA. After a quick break in the suite I was sharing with Amy, Kim, Cecily and Amy’s summer intern Johanna (codename: Ginger), it was time for the fashion show and dinner.

Now…if you’ve never met me in person, you may not know this, but I am loud. Very loud. It’s not deliberate, it’s just the way my voice is. (Cecily says I’ve got a lot of bass). TV show sound people have had to turn my mike down when all others were cranked up. Etc etc. This alone, along with my previous experience as an art critic and overall life experience as a total smart mouth, should pretty much tell you that taking me to a fashion show is a bad, bad idea.

Some of the designs were quite nice. I’m just going to say that right up front. In particular: Suss’s designs, the Koigu skirt, the hexagonal blanket they draped on a model in order to send it down the runway (poncho-style), the nicely-shaped Classic Elite cabled sweater…heck, I adored the 100% over the top crazy cardigan from Ozark Handspun and would have worn it myself in a heartbeat. But oh… when things were bad, they were VERY very bad. I couldn’t stop the sighing. Or commenting to Stefanie and Yahaira behind us. Or outright attempting not to laugh. Or burying myself in Cecily’s (considerable) head of hair and giggling. The older women in front of us were ready to kill me.

Sorry, kids. You send some of that kinda craziness down a runway and expect me not to laugh? I’m only human, ok?

Dinner was an absolute blast. I booked a giant table at Buca di Beppo and here’s who came: Suss, Jill from her NYC store, Stefanie, Yahaira, Amy, Kim, Cecily, Johanna, Andi, Heather, Tricia from Interweave Press, Amy, Robyn, Vickie… my head is still swimming, but here are the two funniest things to take away from dinner:

1. Always order less than you think you should at Buca.
2. Kim isn’t always all manifesto-y like that, she was just wound up on caffeine.

As to #2 — towards the end of the night, someone asked an innocent question about crocheters’ second-class citizen status in much of the yarn world and Kim went off on a (intelligent, coherent, frequently punctuated by table-pounding) rant about it. Everything from crocheters having yarn taken out of their hands in shops to books that advertise “knit and crochet” patterns but split the number 80/20, to general ignorance about the craft.

At the end, Suss, in her sweet, lilting Swedish voice, says: “I did not know crocheters had so much…rage.” Then the entire table started to laugh. Perhaps the next book should be called Crochet Rage?

The show: TNNA is daunting. There are so many temptations — free book signings! seeing all your friends! checking out new stuff! — that it sometimes is difficult to get all the business you need to accomplish done. I met some really awesome new people, such as Jacqueline Sava. Those are some of her hats at left. (Her new fiber wash soak is just about the best-smelling laundry product I’ve ever, ever experienced…ask your LYS to stock it, you won’t be sorry! Print this and give it to them! I’ve been using the testers on all kinds of stuff and it’s great… Aquae is my favorite scent).

We also were first to learn that our beloved Amy Singer, of knitty.com, is quitting her day job to do Knitty and her books full time.

(Every time this was mentioned — “did you hear? Amy’s quitting her job!” — at least 33% of those present in the room jumped up and did a little happy dance for her. I swear. I’m not making that up at all).

Speaking of Big Girl divas, we desperately missed Jillian, and will not accept no for an answer come winter TNNA. It’s just not the same without you, Jillian!

I hadn’t seen Amy Swenson since…oh, Amy’s book signing for Knit Wit at Lettuce Knit and that was what, 2004? Given that she now has a whole yarn store to buy for, she was being remarkably restrained. (I was watching her order while waiting to talk to Gina at Alchemy Yarns, who, by the way, is so super-awesome it would make your head explode.

Speaking of super awesome: have I told you lately how much I love Lexie Barnes? Because I totally do. So totally that it even makes me use 1980s words like “totally.” Go buy lots of her bags — even conservative-looking older women were chatting me up in hotel elevators about my Lady B bag covered in crocheted skulls. Plus, she is even more adorable than her bags. Want proof? Here’s a photo, at right. Her newest fabrics are killer adorable, but the most torture-filled moment was when someone walked up with a vintage Lexie bag in a fabric that’s no longer available (it looked like a Kaffe Fassett poppy pattern). Oh, yum.

I spent lots of time in line (the best book signings inevitably have a line) with the women from Rosie’s Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia, just one spot on the fabulous fall book tour Kim and I are doing.

All in all, it was great. Then, Monday I drove to NYC with Kim and Cecily. We ended up staying overnight at a hotel in Hazleton, PA, too tired to drive any further. While it looked clean when we went to sleep, the next day we had an uninvited guest during Kim’s morning shower. Picture, if you will: Cecily in bed, I’m getting dressed. We hear a short yelp from the shower, the kind you’d do if the water temperature suddenly changed. Then another.

Me: “Kim, are you ok? Do you need help?”
Kim: “I’m naked.”
Me: “Well, that would preclude me helping you, then.”

I only remember this so clearly because Cecily was amused by my use of the word “preclude” and included it every time she told the story. As it turns out, a rather large cockroach had appeared in the bathroom and crawled up the side of the shower curtain, where it wiggled its antennae menacingly at Kim.

The rest of the day was much less eventful! One of the reasons Kim and Cecily came to NYC with me was for a photoshoot; I’m editing a crochet book, and Cecily hand-modeled for me (see left). She doesn’t call her site Such Sweet Hands for nothing! Armed with two of the most formidable forces in crochet photoshootery, we did a two-day shoot in one and amazed everyone involved. The rest of the week was devoted to meetings at publishers, a visit to Suss‘s (gorgeous) NY store, and a last-minute technical editing gig for a publisher I work with who desperately needed someone to de-Britishify a packaged knitting book they’d bought. Nice work, if you can get it. I was most excited about our book tour-related meetings…just wait til you see what we’ve got in store!

I received an absurdly thoughtful gift on my way out of town yesterday morning. My friend Erika, who used to sell her amazing dresses at my online shop site, got out of the business. So she gave me two dressforms and an EZ-Up tent, which is beyond useful for doing outdoor craft shows when you’re as pale as I am. I can’t thank her enough!

Sorry to be missing the Renegade Craft Fair today, but it feels good to be home!

p.s. One more hilarious thing: in the same convention center as TNNA, there was an Irish step dancing competition. You have never seen funny until you’ve seen a million little girls in clip-on curly wigs wearing those giant outfits running amok. Don’t believe me? Click here for photographic evidence).

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  • julie

    Totally excellent recap. It sounds like it was a blast.

    Ugh. Cockroach. I would’ve run out of the bathroom despite my nakedness.

    Tech editing is a pretty good gig.

    So straight hair is a big no-no in Irish Step Dancing, I thke it.

    Reply to julie
  • pippi

    hazleton is my “hometown”…
    wonder why i haven’t been back in 16 years? ha.

    Reply to pippi
  • Jennifer

    I was going to go to Renegade Craft fair this year, just to check it out and support the ladies, but chose not too. Mainly because its insanely hot and humid. Ick.

    I’m so excited that you’ll be in my neck of the woods on your book tour! I was so jealous of the ladies that they got to hang out with you. But I told them to say hello for me!

    Reply to Jennifer
  • Jacqueline

    It was fantastic to meet you too! We’re madly sending out our orders for Soak. We enjoyed handing out tons of mini-soak (samplers of our product) as well as meeting all of the fantastic store owners. See you soon on your book tour in Toronto! -j.

    Reply to Jacqueline

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