TNNA, the Midwest, New York: A Triptych

In keeping with The Law of Conservation of Blog Verbiage, this post is long enough to make up for almost two weeks of no blogging. I broke it up into three parts in case you need to take a break as you go.

Part I: TNNA

Picture this: five yarn fanatics in a two-room hotel suite for three nights. It was half dorm room, half summer camp, half business retreat. Cosmetics, clothes, and yarn in every corner.

The trade show was terrific. Not as crazy as the other two I've attended, but I think that had much to do with my exhaustion and aggressive schedule. First up: the fashion show. Although it ran more smoothly than in the past and I really like the way they set up the room with the runway down the center, it was a major disappointment. It's not a juried show – any company that wants to pay the fee can have two garments featured. Crochet was painfully underrepresented, and aside from a Doris Chan design and one or two others, the crochet that was shown was boring and hardly new or fresh. The only upside was that – again, aside from a few exceptions – the knitting was just as dull. Drop shoulders were abundant, and the phrase “using every colourway in the yarn line” was used a few too many times. In the case of drop shoulders, I must proclaim to all the internets something we should already know: they are unflattering and should only be used when stitch/color patterns require them. End of story. And as for colour, I repeat my most oft-repeated design statement: Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

TNNA DinnerNext up: Dinner for 15 at a family-style Italian restaurant. I drank a lot of Pepsi in hopes of battling jet lag and staying awake to enjoy the company of such fabulous women as Andi, Robyn (I love meeting Crochet me designers in person!), Cecily, Johanna, Amy, Yahaira, Stefanie, Shannon, Tricia, Vickie, Suss, and Jill. If you've been reading up on the events of last weekend, you may have come across a reference to my rant. It's true, dear readers: I made a scene at the restaurant, among some of the most important up-and-comers in the industry. Thankfully, I blew my gasket over something I have no regrets about. Here's the gist of my rant (it, too, comes in three parts).

  1. In a small industry where there is much fear of business slowing down and bottom lines hurting, it baffles me that crocheters are turned away as often as they are (see the comments on this post). We've all heard the stories of yarn being taken out of a crocheter's hand at an LYS by a shop owner who snidely informs that “you can't crochet with that,” where “that” is cashmere, alpaca, silk, or any other luscious yarn you'd think the owner would be thrilled to sell. You'd think the owner would want to sell as much yarn as possible, considering the climate of constant fear of the market slowing down. You'd think. I hear tell of improvements, but I am still left slack-jawed by this phenomenon.
  2. On the same topic of alienating an enormous potential consumer base, why, I wondered aloud (this might be when I pounded the table), do book publishers package books that contain 50% crochet and 50% knitting under a title that only includes the word KNITS? Seriously. It could be that publishers think the dirty word “crochet” will make knitters not want to buy the book (as if said knitters wouldn't notice all the crochet when they flip through the pages). I really can't say. What I most certainly can say is that a book that's half crocheting but only highlights the knitting turns me off (it's possible that when caught up in the moment I spoke for all crocheters; please forgive me).
  3. And along the same lines (imagine the vein in my neck pulsating), if you're a publisher and you have a terrific knitting book to package but you want to maybe make it appeal to a larger audience so you think it would be a good idea to toss in a couple of crochet projects and then call the book something like Title: Great Stuff to Knit and Crochet, don't think we crocheters won't notice there isn't much in the book for us.

Suss Cousins, looking a little stunned, asked why crocheters have so much rage. Oh, dear. I did have enough presence of mind to infer that her naivete on the subject might mean that crocheters are warmly welcomed in her stores. As I had the pleasure of experiencing later in the week, they very much are.

Get Hooked book signingSo. That was the Friday night of the trade show. On Saturday morning I did my first-ever book signing, and I was giddy. Dancing around in my ribbony dress giddy. I love the book, and I love seeing the smiling faces of people when they look through it. The rest of the weekend is a blur of walking the show floor, meeting amazing people (like our editor for TYV Crocheting), and starting what would turn out to be five straight days of incredible brainstorming. Yes, the summer issue is about to come out, but already there are some fantabulous things on tap for fall.

Part II: The Midwest

Best Chili Dog Ever - Every Friday(Allow me to dispense a word of caution: If you live in a coastal town and are accustomed to eating much seafood, take pause before ordering shrimp in the midwest. Not that all midwestern seafood should cause trouble. Just take pause. Think of me.) So. Last Monday, Shannon, Cecily, and I embarked upon a road trip to New York. With me in the back seat, pumped full of Pepto-Bismol and still baffled by the bizarre rash I'd developed on my neck the night before. Needless to say, I've had more fun on the road. But the company was good, the back seat comfortable, and it wasn't till we'd been on the road for eleven hours that I suggested we just find a motel off the highway so we could get a good night's sleep before our meeting in New Jersey the next day. Hazleton, PA, here we come! Suffice it to say I slept like a baby, and the only glitch was the cockroach the size of my dog that scared the bejeezus out of me in the shower the next morning. I can still see its antennae moving menacingly behind my closed eyes. *Shudder.* Fortunately, the only casualty of the incident was the pile of toiletries I left in the shower after fleeing. Big thanks to Cecily for sharing after that.

Part III: New York

Cherry Tree Hill socksWe spent last Tuesday doing a photo shoot for a crochet book Shannon's editing. Wicked fun, that. And I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Beth and of uniting our Cherry Tree Hill Old Rose socks. Weird how hers are so much greener than mine, eh?

We spent Wednesday last with the fab women at Soho Publishing, where we got a sneak peak at some of the new Crochet Today mag that's launching in August, and otherwise chatted about all sorts of good stuff, including our book tour (and all the cool schwag we'll have to give away; nice).

That night I had dinner with my cousin in the East Village, one of my favourite parts of the city (if you're in the area, don't miss eating at the Itzocan Cafe). Not thinking it would lead to my first encounter with the NYPD, we walked over to a cafe I've been to several times over the years. While enjoying our tea and brownie, deep in conversation, a man I assumed worked there took a painting off the wall. Yeah. Only in New York. The owner was heartbroken that one of his prized paintings was stolen during peak hour by some dude who just walked in and took off with it. I didn't see the guy's face, but I stuck around to give a statement to the police. (I was ready for the Law & Order music to play when I was asked, “Mam, would you be able to identify him for certain in a court of law?”) My heart bleeds for the owner, man. I wish I could have helped more. No, I would not be able to identify him in a court of law, or anywhere else. Sigh.

Get Hooked, on a poster!Ok. Even I'm getting tired by how long this post is. Thursday was spent at Watson-Guptill's offices (publisher of Get Hooked). Check out the poster! So cool. So much fun planning the book tour. I can't wait till October! W00t. And to top it all off, I was organized enough to arrange to arrive at JFK airport exactly two hours before my flight was scheduled to leave. I felt like such a New Yorker. I miss New York. And then I got back in touch with my newfound Canadian identity when it became apparent that my flight was scheduled to depart from La Guardia. Wide-eyed and innocent I became, as I ran to the taxi stand, cash in hand, and climbed in breathless, announcing, “To La Guardia, as fast as you can!” The driver drove like the wind, I tell you, as much as you can drive like the wind through the streets of Queens during rush hour. I did arrive with time to spare, and in time to get bored by my flight's hourlong delay. An hourlong delay that led me to miss my connecting flight in Toronto, prolonging my trip by a night spent in an airport hotel. Gah!

And that, dear readers who must be drooling at this point, is (thankfully) all she wrote.

Technorati Tags: bloggers, books, crochet, get hooked, magazines, new york, soho publishing, TNNA

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