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Archive for June 12th, 2006

TNNA Needlearts Show! (Waaay Long…)

Monday, June 12th, 2006

I went to Indianapolis for the TNNA show. I was in that city for 23.5 hours total, including sleep. Talk about a whirlwind! (I love Indy, have I said that? I love cities and this one is doing fine right now. I saw a skyline… that feeds my inner self for a good long while each time it happens… I just love a skyline!)

I never did connect with Mary Moran of KnittingZone.com, which bums me out, but she was leaving just as I was getting there and many folks’ cell phones were not doing well in the big convention center. I also heard that my friend Jillian Moreno was there but I never ran into her.

However, I saw people both expected and unexpected. First Rae met me so she could help me navigate around the space. Then on our way in, the first folks I saw were Rob and Matt of Threadbear Fiberarts Yarn Shop! So there we stood, four Lansingites in Indy. Too funny!

We then proceeded to meet Rae’s mom and aunt (both of whom work in the shop nights/weekends). And basically had a one-day girls’ day/night out. Sort of a pajama party for grownups who knit.

They, of course, were there to do business. They ordered some very fun patterns (I remember Lucy Neatby and Chris Bylsma among others) and some great yarns. But between orders we had some fun social experiences.

This was the fourth time I have met Lucy Neatby. What a class act she is. She’s incredibly intelligent and wildly creative but she’s grounded. I aspire to her groundedness though I think I’d know by now if I could actually achieve that!

Indianapolis Baseball DiamondLucy just released two DVDs so that you can actually see her move through her teaching. You can even play it over and over if need be, unlike in a classroom. She talks about “Happy and Contented Stitches” and shows you how to achieve many things keeping the stitches happy. There is a bit about repairing runs in your fabric, a sock chimney (brilliant) and lists of other great techniques. Of all the teachers I’ve studied with, I have sat in three full days with Lucy and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. She just plain hits it the way I need things explained… always calm, always focused and with good spirit.

The two videos are called “A Knitter’s Companion, Knitting Essentials series” and “A Knitter’s Companion, Sock Knitting Techniques.” I’ve taken two full days of socknitting techniques with Lucy. She’s incredible… for any of you out there who are socknitters, do check out this sock DVD. It is sure to please. No, I have no affiliation, make not a cent for this endorsement. I just know good training when I see it. And a workshop with Lucy costs more than a DVD… you get to meet her in class and ask questions, but with a DVD you can play it over and over if you wish. It’s a great deal at $29 Canadian dollars. (Shop owners…. upnorthfiberartsupply.com is where you can go to order in the US for your shop. For individuals, we still buy through local shops or Lucy online.)

I’d really recommend that anyone interested in video-type learning, to consider Lucy’s DVD’s. Assuming you are a knitter, that is. Do be sure your computer or other device can play DVDs, not all machines can, and some others require installing this or that software program.


I also saw Annie Modesitt who I’d not seen in a few years, it was good to see her. I saw Gina of Notions Marketing… we used to ride the same bus to High School if I remember right, I’ve known her just about forever and it was great to see her again. I ran into Shiela of One World Buttons, I met her years ago on a self-employed email list but had never met her in person. Turns out she lives in Manhattan’s East Village not far from the theater where we sing for NY Ukefest… we’ll go see her next April when we play there again!

I met Chris Bylsma who was on a knitting designer email list I am on but don’t read nearly enough. I tried to meet Jennifer of Stitch Diva but she was busy taking orders and I did not want to interrupt. Her crochet patterns are some of the most funky and wearable out there in my opinion, and she has some very fine knits as well.

I showed off my Gedifra legwarmers at their booth. I touched TONS of yarn. Yum. Saw beautiful colors. Yum. Tried to tell Rae what colors of Malabrigo hand-dyed merino to order… there’s a deep turquoise/teal I like a lot. It’s really soft. I have two hot pink skeins of this yarn I got at a sale at Threadbear last year, destined for legwarmers. Now I’ll have to make up a 2nd project for this ultra-soft single-ply yarn. That will be fun! (Late correction… my pink is Rio de la Plata, another single-ply handpaint. I am pretty sure the Malabrigo is even softer than the Rio.)

We waited in line to get books signed many times. I got a Happy Hooker crochet book from Debbie Stoller, Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer, Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan, and Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick. All autographed.

I was particularly pleased to get the Melanie Falick book so that I could talk to her in person. I told her how much my CityKidz love her Kids Knitting book. They particularly love the backpack and the tassel hat, and I have one girl (2nd grader) really excited to make the striped hat in the round as her next project, which will be very soon. It will be her first project on Double-Pointed-Needles. She knows that after she makes the hat, I’ll allow her to start a pair of socks. That’s a very big deal for a 2nd grader. It’s a pretty big deal even for an adult, you know?

Melanie told me she also has a weaving book for kids and a crocheting book for kids. I’m particularly excited to see the crocheting book. Rae said she’ll order me a copy and I can buy it from her (Rae crochets a lot, in fact she got a signed crocheted lace book at the show this weekend which looks great). The crochet book must be very new, as the sample book at the show was a dummy with blank pages and just a cover. (I can’t find it on Amazon.com yet, either.)

I am not great at crochet but sometimes the CityKidz ask me about it and the more I can learn the better, so I can help them. I think a rug would be a great crochet project, or a backpack or bag. Anyway I’m looking forward to seeing that book. I had a great talk with the person minding Melanie’s booth while she was signing books.

TNNA Wall of Yarn and ThreadThere was a lot of walking and standing in line. I only got there about noon and my feet were thankful the show did not go till all hours of the evening. We got invited to a party by a book wholesaler but decided we were too tired to go looking for the party location and then stand on our feet even longer.

We walked the few blocks back to the hotel, and the others ordered pizza while I ate great food I’d brought along from New Aladdin’s restaurant. (The coat check person at the show gave them advice about what pizza to order, and that was really appreciated.)

For a while they ate pizza and watched TV, and I went down to the lobby trying to sew together the pieces of my Sally Melville Funnel Neck top. I finished knitting it around Thanksgiving. I just am having some trouble getting my proportions/ratios right, somehow not easing it in enough or something. I was trying to graft the seam from body to sleeve but it’s not working well. I’m ready to bind off the top of the sleeve and then sew in with a backstitch. That will give me more chance to ease it in gracefully. I’m very good with handsewing so that’s the next thing I’ll try. No wonder I enjoy knitting in the round so much! No seams. Not that I mind sewing but it doesn’t fit right after two tries. That is just tiring.

I went back up to the room… Rae and I sat in the bathroom with the lights on, talking and knitting while the other two slept in the darkness and quiet. Just like a slumber party! I finished another of my new purses, this one of pink/purple vat-dyed Naturewool. And felted it there right in the sink, by hand. It’s beautiful. Now I need to make a handle and button for it.

Rae finished an incredible lace shawl, alpaca on size 0 needles, fully 4 feet across I swear. It’s from Gathering of Lace, the one with unicorns. Incredible. And speedy given how many stitches that is, and stitches that take some thinking. She loves lace and it’s apparent with the level of challenge in this piece. She wore it Monday, slightly damp.

Monday morning I took a class from Cat Bordhi about knitting with kids. She booked the class as promoting your yarn shop but it was totally about teaching kids, which can indeed promote your yarn shop if you have one. I was so happy to be in a room with people who like the idea or practice of knitting with children.

Cat had this great idea for a small felting project I can do with my kidz (no washing machine involved), maybe this summer in our smaller group. I’m excited to try it. I’ll report back when I have experience with this project.

The class included 6 male students, too, and we had some talk about how nice it would be to make that not be an issue. Surely the kids knitting programs I’ve taught have had some very enthusiastic boys over several years. Enough to start turning things around, one person/family at a time. I tell you, my brother Eric is the best embroiderer and excellent technical sewer I know (he made a pair of jeans that looked storebought, including double-felled seams).

Anyway I had to hop out and back to Lansing right after the class with Cat. It was delightful to go, to meet folks from online, see new things, meet authors, talk to old friends. It was a great time. I talked too much, I always do. But Brian reminds me that’s a byproduct of my enthusiasm, and he’s right. And what a life I lead! It’s a great thing to have a life I can be this enthusiastic about.

Photos: 1) The baseball field which was across the street as I walked to the hotel from the convention center Monday. It was a glorious sunny day, the flowers were at peak. Indy sure makes sure visitors see some nice gardens! Even the parking lot had an incredible mix of flowers as we walked around the corner. Very nice. 2) The Great Wall of Yarn. This is outside the exhibit hall, and was where I met Rae on the way in. You see less than half of it in this photo. It can be overwhelming, really, the variety and color there. My favorite was a single ply wool/alpaca worsted weight in turquoise/fuschia/yellow. No surprise, really!