I had the great fortune to attend TNNA Indianapolis this year after the DKC Frolic in Toronto. While I wasn't a vendor myself, I did help out at a booth of a friend.
Since it was my first time at TNNA, I honestly had no idea what to expect. The moment we walked into the convention hall on set-up day, I was completely overwhelmed. I couldn't fathom how this massive convention room would be filled with fibre vendors.
The reality of being an indie dyer is that I spend a lot of time working alone, which leads me to feel as though I'm the only weirdo who spends my time dyeing yarn. The only human contact I have during the work day is with the other dog owners at park where Pammy the Labrador meets her friends for lunch. I regularly confuse people with my choice of career. "You do what for a living?" or "That's a strange career. How did you get into that?" or every knitter's favourite "Oh, my grandma loves to knit!"
Logically, I know that there are many of us - designers, dyers, spinners - who work in this field. Yet it's easy to feel completely isolated from the real world. I'm grateful for social media, which keeps me connected to other fibre folks around the world, but it's no substitute for face-to-face interaction.
So to participate in a show where so many knitting people were gathered in one space (!) was magic. Like I do when I attend one or two-day shows, I felt connected to the people around me who also make a living through fibre. Only this time on a much larger scale and with some knitting celebrities thrown in.
I got to meet so many great fibre people in person including Miriam Felton, designer extraordinaire and dino-lover. You might remember the Chromaticity Cowl Yarn Kit we made with her design at the beginning of the year.
I also met some fantastic designers who also turned out to be super photogenic to boot. From left to right, these ladies are Teresa of Canary Knits, Jean of Candy and Bagel, me, Emma of Emma Welford Designs and Claire of Claire Sandow Designs . Photo via my Instagram hence the cool filter. If you're looking for fresh, young talent , be sure to check out their designs.
And, for those who may not know, these are Emma's feet. Such great tattoos.
Here's a photo of my now-husband, then-boyfriend Edd modelling his sweater. He also has a sweet beard now.
Aside from some sweet swag I scored at Sample It!, I left TNNA with a feeling of connection. Remembering how I'm not alone in this will tide me over when I'm in a dank basement dyeing yarn and sweating it out this summer....