To Columbus and Back…

Last week, as many of you know, I had the pleasure of road-tripping with Alisa The Yarnista to TNNA – a giant convention for retailers, teachers, and designers in the needle arts. It was my first time and therefore I spent a lot of time overwhelmed. Correction, I spent most of the time overwhelmed. Really you can’t not be, there’s a ton of incredible stuff and amazing people there. Team that with spending almost all my time with a cohort equally addicted to knitting & fiber and it makes for a very, very full trip.

While I can’t really disclose my favorite things or many of the highlights because a lot of these tidbits will translate to future classes & goodies that will debut at Firefly Fibers in the coming months, I can tell you some general things I learned while at my first TNNA.

1) There are a lot of incredible options out there to choose from. If your local yarn shop stocks a selection you love, understand that it’s because the proprietor is making really tough decisions to bring these particular items into your hands. It is no small feat to carve out a specific vision for a shop & stick to it.

2) Think of every single yarn you can think of. Then think of all the needles. All the notions. All the patterns. Triple that & display it beautifully all under one roof. Now you have an idea of what TNNA is like.

3) I think I got a cavity from the folks at Blue Sky Alpacas/Spud & Chloe. They are just that sweet.

4) I am really, truly lucky to have the working relationship I do with Alisa at Firefly Fibers. In every aspect of our dealings she is kind, fair & honest. We discuss opinions on any topic openly & candidly. Our strengths are very different, but we use this as a tool to help each other. For all these things, I am very grateful.

5) Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is as good as everyone says it is.

6) I did not come back with a carload of swag, but I don’t really care about that. What I saw & learned far surpasses any amount of random stuff I could have filled my suitcase with. The swag I did score, though, I assure you is 100% awesome.

7) Over the next few months, I may require emergency trips to Firefly Fibers for new product box openings. This means I will drop whatever I am doing, whenever I am doing it to be present for the unveiling. The stuff coming is just that good.

8) I need to start saving money for said incoming boxes of pure awesomeness.

9) Alisa & I can indeed discuss knitting & fiber for nearly 5 days straight and still not be bored of it. We were pretty sure this would be true, now we know it is a fact.

10) Even if you really love something, never settle for using only one brand of anything in this industry. It’s not that you can’t go back to your favorites again and again, it’s just that the more you sample, the richer your experience & the deeper your understanding will be of the craft & the materials. There are just way too many beautiful yarns & great notions available to use the same every time. If you don’t know where to start, ask your local yarn shop for ideas of new yarns or needles to experiment with — you won’t be sorry!

Many thanks to Firefly Fibers for letting me tag along to TNNA this year — I can’t wait to do it all again!