One of the best parts about TNNA is getting to put faces to the people you’ve been communicating with (sometimes for years) only through email. This time, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Chrissy Gardiner in person. She’s a member of the Visionary Authors group and was at the booth to show off her brand new book, Indie Socks. And when I say brand new, I mean it. She had just gotten the box of author advance copies days before the show.
Chrissy was kind enough to offer me a copy of the book. This was absolutely delightful, but you see I have rules. One of the rules I have is ‘don’t read other people’s patterns.’ Now I’m not quite restrained enough to not look at other people’s patterns. That would be too much to ask. But I try very hard to limit it to looking at the pretty pictures, and not actually reading the patterns themselves. I think it helps keep other people’s ideas from accidentally sneaking in and taking up residence in the back of my brain. So I asked Chrissy if I could take the book and give it to one of you guys. She was gracious enough to agree.
So one of you guys is in for a treat! The book offers 24 beautiful sock patterns, each made with a yarn from an independent dyer. Along with the patterns are helpful tips and strategies for dealing with the challenges that sometimes come along with the more exuberant yarns. That makes this a marvelous tool to help you actually use some of those yarns you bought, but can’t quite figure out what to do with. Something in here is bound to work on even the most recalcitrant of yarns! It will also help you make more informed buying decisions when you’re dazzled by a wall full of beautiful hand-dyed yarn.
Some of my particular favorites are Calpurnia, Orange Blossom, and Pachinko.
So, what do you think, do you maybe have a skein or two of hand-dyed yarn in your stash? Would you maybe like a little help finding the right pattern for it? I think I (or, rather, Chrissy) can help! Just go over to the book’s ravelry page and and pick your favorite pattern. Then come back here and leave a comment on this post saying which one you like best. I’ll leave the comments open through the end of the day (eastern time) on Tuesday. Then next week, I’ll pick a winner and get in touch to arrange to mail you your prize (that means you must use a working email address, or I won’t be able to find you when you win).
So, as promised, a recap of TNNA. It will, alas, have to be a bit brief. I seem to have managed to pick up some sort of cold bug while there and am trying to take it easy today in the hopes of fending it off quickly.
So, first, what the heck is TNNA? It stands for The National Needlearts Association. They hold several tradeshows every year. The summer one happens in Columbus, Ohio, and it focuses on yarn and knitting. It’s not a fiber festival like Rheinbeck or Maryland Sheep and Wool. It’s only open to folks in the industry. If you sell yarn, or knitting needles, or (just for example) books, you go to TNNA and set up a booth. Then store owners from around the world come and look and see what you have to offer and place orders. If you want more details, the lovely Jaala at knitcircus has provided lots of info in this week’s issue.
Next up, what the heck was I doing there? This part’s longer. Do you remember back in March of last year when I mentioned I’d gone off on a trip to work on future books? I realize now that I didn’t go into a lot of details. I was there as part of Cat Bordhi’s Visionary Authors group. Cat has spent the last eight years encouraging people to self publish books they’re passionate about. The results have been sort of spectacular (the books on that page are just some of the titles that have come about because of this project). I’m still sort of wondering just how I managed to convince her to let me come play.
Now bear with me for just a bit longer, I promise I’m getting to the point. One of the tricky parts about self publishing is letting stores know about your project, and then getting it to them. If you don’t want the books filling up your garage till the end of time, and you don’t want to get to know your local post office very very well, you need a distributor. A distributor stores your books, sells them to stores, ships them out, and then sends you checks. It’s an excellent arrangement. The Visionary Authors generally use Unicorn Books as our distributor. Unicorn, being the biggest seller of knitting books in the industry, has a huge booth at TNNA. This year, because they like the Visionary Authors (and because they sell a lot of our books), they got us two booths across from their giant island of books.
That’s what I was there for. We spent Friday setting it up. We had books and samples from lots of our projects. There were old favorites (like Cat’s books, and Sandra McIver’s Knit, Swirl, and JC Briar’s Charts Made Simple) and brand new projects (like Charles Gandy’s The Embellished Sock, and Chrissy Gardiner’s Indie Socks, and um, mine). I completely neglected to take photos of the booth until we were just about to start tearing it down (they don’t really allow photos on the show floor), so you’ll have to forgive things looking a bit scattered, but this should give you an idea of what the booth looked like.
So that’s where I hung out this weekend, except that during the show, it was filled with people. Lots and lots of people. Yarn store owner type people looking for books to carry in their shops. Which was sort of the point, and was of course marvelous (though perhaps the one person who brought the cold germ with him or her might possibly have just lingered in the aisle instead of shaking hands…that would have been ok, but everybody else was spectacular).
And do you know what I heard, over and over? I heard yarn store owners say that someone had brought The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet to knit night, and that people loved it, so they were here to order it. So to all of you who were brave enough to preorder it (and trust met to get it to you) and excited enough by it to take it to your local yarn stores and show it off, thank you. You guys rock.
It seems to have been more or less the most effective marketing ever. You know how I know? Because Unicorn posts a list of the bestsellers for the show. Now this will totally sound immodest. But you know what, at this point, I don’t care. The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet made the top ten. Out of the thousands of books that Unicorn carries, mine was number 6. The things I said when I found out were not modest, nor were they decorous or seemly or even terribly ladylike. They were, however, extremely heartfelt. There may have been a tiny Snoopy dance of glee.
And with that, I think I need to end for today. Brevity is apparently not my strong suit, and I really do need a restorative cup of tea and possibly a nap. And with any luck, I’ll be all caught up and back up to speed by tomorrow.
- June 26, 2012
I’m home. At least I think I’m home (if not, I’m so tired that I’m hallucinating, in which case someone please come find me and tuck me up in bed). TNNA was marvelous, but quite possibly the most tiring thing I’ve ever done. I’ll report back with details soon…hopefully tomorrow, though it will depend on if I actually wake up tomorrow or just sleep the whole way through.
So I’m off at TNNA. I’m writing this ahead of time, but with any luck at all by the time you’re reading this, the booth set up is done, it went smoothly, and I’m relaxing in a comfy chair and consuming some sort of refreshing beverage right now. Now the reality likely has more swearing, an emergency trip to target or home depot, and at least one broken nail. I’ll report back later and let you know.
One of the things I’m looking forward to doing while I’m here is meeting people I’ve only worked with online. One of these people is the amazing Laura Nelkin. I’ve known her for a while now, but we’ve never actually met face to face. I have a feeling we’ll get along fine though! To help keep me in blog posts while I’m away (I’ll try folks, but no guarantees), Laura has graciously put up a little review and give away of The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet over on her site.
And just in case anyone was wondering where to start, I’m getting a knit along up and running over on ravelry. We’re starting with the Crocus vernus patterns (socks or mitts). All the details are on the kal thread, but if you’d like to participate, I’d love to have you!
After careful consideration, it has been decided that your proposed trip will not be allowed. In your application, you failed to note how this trip would result in increased kitten happiness. You also failed to provide a detailed list of the steps you planned to take to ensure we continued to receive our daily allotment of chin scratches, belly rubs, and ear kisses. You didn’t even outline the bribes you would procure to garner our favor upon your return.
This inattention to detail is disappointing, and no future travel plans will be approved if you do not take greater care in preparing your application materials. We will, however, allow you to leave this suitcase here, as it makes for an excellent napping pod.
The Nefarious Kitten Overlords