TNNA - Recovering & Recap
It’s been a little over 2 weeks since I returned from TNNA. If you don’t know what TNNA is, this is *the*event where the folks in the fiber industry meet up once a year for a huge trade show in Columbus, Ohio - basically equal parts of awesome & exhaustion.
TNNA’s 2012 Summer Trade Show was a ton of fun. I’ve posted on the Firefly Fibers blog, but I wanted to share some highlights of the event and trip from my own perspective:
- Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloe: We met ‘Cousin’ Katie and she is nothing short of amazing! Here is a photo of their booth from Katie’s blog post on TNNA. I’ve been a fan of Blue Sky Alpacas since before Firefly Fibers and they have a very special place in my heart. They are a small company with very passionate employees that believe in their amazing yarn and their enthusiasm is contagious! You can expect more Blue Sky and Spud loveliness at Firefly Fibers and on my needles in the near future!
- Unicorn Books: Unicorn is one of our vendors and I was so happy to meet our accounts payable guy, Kirk, whom I’ve only corresponded with via email. He was quite the ‘bouncer’ in his black shirt collecting tickets for the book signings - those authors were totally safe with him on the job! We also met Josh, who works in the warehouse and he was busy applying Unicorn temporary tattoos any and all willing parties. They are a great group!
- New awesomeness at Firefly Fibers: I can’t divulge details, but we have some brand new yarns coming and they are fabulous! The waiting is driving me crazy so, rest assured, I’ll share as soon as the orders start to show up. Keep an eye on the Facebook page. Really, it will be well worth the wait!
- The vendors: This event is a lot of fun, but it is serious work for everyone attending and especially exhibiting. With independent designers on the rise, many of the vendors are small companies with just a couple or maybe a handful of bodies to work their booths. I appreciate the time the vendors put into their beautiful booths - I know this was exhausting for them, as well.
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: I resisted this with all my might, yet the peer pressure of regular tweeting about Jeni’s finally made us give in. I thought, “really, people, it’s just ice cream”, I was wrong. I’m not a big on ice cream or sweets in general, but seriously, this stuff is amazing! We went twice and ordered Jeni’s Ice Cream cookbook from Unicorn.
- North Market: This place ROCKS! Sarah and I decided to venture over for some ice cream and pleasantly found a delicious lunch, as well. It was nice to pick up a few things and take them back to our room so we had some fresh food in our fridge.
- Mike, my wonderful husband: My hubby has a job, one that he works very hard at, yet he always graciously helps out when he’s needed at the store. During TNNA, he took vacation time so Firefly Fibers would be open while I was gone. Thank you for all you do, my dear, you are my hero!
- Knitting Sarah: Last but definitely not least… Sarah… Yes, Sarah gets her own, and well-deserved, bullet point. Thankfully, I was not flying solo this year and without her company, I surely would have collapsed on the show floor at more than one point. I told you, this event is equal parts awesome & exhaustion and I was awed to the point of exhaustion at least once a day. Not only was she very helpful, she was very entertaining and kept me going. It was priceless to see her look of awe when we first arrived on the show floor and I can only imagine I had the same look the first time I stepped foot in the market. You can read her take on the trip here. A million thanks, Sarah!
It was a wonderful time, the company couldn’t be beat and I can’t wait to do it again. Thankfully, it’s only once a year. :)
Hello, my pretty… What would you like to be?
The Yarn Whisperer: Clara Parkes
I had the pleasure of attending the February Madison Knitter’s Guild meeting where Clara Parkes was the guest speaker. You may be familiar with Clara’s blog Knitter’s Review or one of her fabulous books in The Knitter’s Book of… series (we carry all 3 books here at Firefly Fibers). Her most recent book is The Knitter’s Book of Socks in which she thoroughly covers the fundamentals of creating the perfect pair of socks – elasticity, strength, and moisture management. Knitter’s Review and her books are essentials for the curious fiber enthusiast, regardless of skill level.
Clara launched Knitter’s Review in 2000 as a source for honest reviews on yarns, tools, books and more. This was before Ravelry - can you even remember a time before Ravelry?!
With over a decade of reviews, there’s a very good chance you’ll find one on what you’re looking for. I did some digging in the archives and found a review of our beloved Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight here from 2003. I was smiling and nodding in agreement while reading Clara’s step-by-step analysis of this yarn. Blue Sky Alpacas has grown quite a bit since then and the yarn is now presented in a hank rather than the pesky center-pull skein she speaks of - other than these minor details, this review is just as relevant in 2012 as it was all those years ago.
“We are witnessing the end of a revolution…”
Clara shared how the internet has recreated the fiber landscape - the days of print magazines and books as the main source of showcasing designers has come to an end. In the light of the digital age we are seeing changes in how people connect with each other and how we share and receive our information. Through Ravelry, Etsy, the blogosphere and other social medias, the internet has given way to a multitude of venues for yarn and pattern designers to showcase their work. It’s rather exciting!
“We each have equal responsibility for what succeeds…”
Each of us has a vote and we cast this vote when we purchase patterns by independent designers on Ravelry or at our LYS. Clara spoke of the good professional patterns that are available to us and how the independent designers that provide quality can rise to the top via the democracy of Ravelry. Through Ravelry and the self-publishing of patterns, these designers can be fairly compensated for their hard work and it’s wonderful to see them make a living while following their dream.
Clara was gracious enough to sign my books and have a photo snapped with me before the meeting started. Thank you Clara!
Madison Knitter’s Guild is one of the largest knitting guilds in the country with over 550 members varying in skill levels from beginner to expert. MKG currently meets September through May with a nationally recognized designers, authors, and teachers speaking at the meetings about, what else, knitting!
Yes, check your gauge! :)
This is just a friendly reminder for those beginning Susan B. Anderson’s Polly Pullover/Cardigan Knitalong today to please, please, please make a gauge swatch before you begin. This is going to be a seriously fabulous sweater, so let’s make sure it will fit!
2 Classes. 2 Skill Levels. Tons of Fun!
I can’t say it any better myself so I’m re-posting Sarah’s post about our upcoming Learn to Knit and Stranding classes. Thanks Sarah!
Knitting is in the air, so treat yourself to a class at Firefly Fibers! We have a couple classes coming up next week that still have a seat or two left in them — it’s not too late to sign up, so let me tempt you with their awesomeness & let’s get you knitting!
Learn to Knit
There isn’t much more fun than being able to give handmade gifts at the holidays. Now is your chance to learn knitting, just in time to make a few beautiful gifts for your loved ones … or yourself! There are still a couple seats available in my Learn to Knit class at Firefly Fibers starting Tuesday, September 20th from 6pm - 8pm. We’ll meet 2 consecutive Tuesdays & cover the basics of knitting you need to get rolling on lots of fun projects. No experience is necessary, but do come ready to have fun & learn a lot!
If you know how to knit & are looking for a new challenge, try stranding! Stranding is the method of multi-color knitting commonly used to make those beautiful traditional Nordic sweaters, mittens, hats, socks, etc, among other things, of course. It means holding working yarn in both hands — at the same time! It may sound a little crazy, but the most common comment I get from students regarding this technique is that it is much easier than they expected! Have you only ever used one hand to hold your yarn? No problem! Stranding is a really fun way to add Continental or English style to your repertoire. Class will be Saturday, September 24th, from 10:30am - 1:30pm. Check out the website here for prerequisites.
If you are interested, check out the website for more information (and the other current class offerings, too!) or contact Alisa at the shop. If you have friends who knit or would like to learn, please let them know about these great opportunities!
If you can’t make it to one of the classes, still do stop in & check out the selection of beautiful yarns. The shelves are full & ready to supply all your projects. The moment you walk in the door, you’ll see why I think Firefly Fibers is the premier local yarn shop in South Central Wisconsin!
Beaver Dam, WI