Friday, June 6, 2014

TNNA Recap

This blog post is WAY late, but to say I've had some other things get in the way is a severe understatement. So, things happen when they happen these days. I was very excited to attend TNNA under my own designer name for the first time. As an employee of a retailer, I had attended many shows in the past, but there is something about representing yourself that is freeing and exciting. I slapped on my little badge and off I went to class on Thursday afternoon. I took a writing/editing patterns course that spanned Thursday night and Friday morning. Ugh, Friday morning came SO early that day. In a lot of ways, the class was a reconfirmation of how much my publishing career has helped me in my pattern writing and editing. We discussed things like conventions and templates. We went over writing your own style sheets and guides. Having written manuals of these things in my book publishing career, it is one of the first things that I did for Brownie Knits. If you write your own patterns, it is SUCH a good thing today. It will help you with consistency and take away some of the picky thinking that you have to do so that you can concentrate on the creative and fun side of designing. (It will also save you money on tech editing because the pattern will be cleaner and take less time for the TE.)

Side note: TNNA stands for The National Needlearts Association and it is a trade only show. Members are retail shops, designers, teachers, and other vendors who support crafts in needlearts.

But, like any knitting or crochet related class I take, I always come away questioning myself. Am I good enough? Does anybody really care to make what I design? How do these designers design without actually making the garment they are designing? Why does my mind process things differently from other people? And, is that a good or bad thing? These are all questions that surface when I take a class. No. Matter. What. Class. I've long since learned that this is just my personality type. My insecurities abound when in groups where you can fall into the comparison game. So, this time, I reminded myself of this on Friday night and tried very hard to let it all roll right off. Because the reality is that I'm not the greatest and I'm not the worst. That I am who I am and there are people who buy and make my patterns. The best I can do is design things that I like and want to make and design them in a way that I enjoy. The best I can do is provide accurate and well-written patterns and support my customers on their journey of creativity. I'm not teaching something that will win them a Nobel prize, but I am involved in an art and that is important, too, in a very different way. 

Saturday morning it was off to market with two of my closest friends and fellow yarnies. Both do work for Brownie Knits in forms of test knitting/crochet and editing. We set out with no concrete agenda outside of (for me) introducing myself to a few key vendors whose yarns are ones I design with a lot and to find a few people on the floor who I work with so that we could put names with faces. At the end of the day, I came away with four times the contacts I had as a goal, so I declared it a success! 

So what did we see that made us feel excited? That's what you really want to know, right!?! Here we go! I apologize first for not having more pictures. I was following the old rules of not taking pictures on the show floor. Apparently, it is okay to do this now as I've seen tons of pictures from other attendees, so next year I'll be sure to snap lots. I'm not a spinner, but I did grab a free roving sample from the Great Wall of Yarn. I just couldn't resist this bit from Sweet Georgia. I LOVE her yarn, so I can only imagine how great it would be for spinners to have this option. I was instantly drawn to her colors over the many other roving options that were close by. My little snack of roving will probably turn into some funky thrummed mittens or such.  

In terms of yarn, I was super impressed by Baa Ram Ewe Titus. First off, she is British and what American can't listen to their accent and speech patterns all day! Second, the yarn was so soft, full of drape, and yummy. The colors are all inspired by areas in their region (see the photos on the left...they inspired the color on the right). If I had to select one word to describe this yarn it would be feminine. It just looks so elegant, feels so soft, beautiful with a glow around it...feminine. 

From their website:
350 yards (320 metres) per 100g hank
50% Wensleydale 
20% Bluefaced Leicester 
30% UK Alpaca 
100% British

In terms of books and patterns, it probably isn't a huge shock that I was drawn to a book of afghan designs. I do so love to knit and crochet afghans. The new book (released in January), Building in Color, by Michelle Hunter is full of inspiring instruction. The book walks you through 10 patterns that you can combine together to form a gorgeous afghan. It is a follow up to her Building Blocks book. It really appealed to the teacher in me, too. The book is set up in such a great way and it would make a wonderful ongoing class at your LYS. 

Overall, the day was a fun one spent hanging out with good friends and lots of yarn. There were many other things that we saw, but I tried to pick my favorite yarn and pattern out to share here. I hope you are able to find some treasures as you head out to your LYS this summer and fall!

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