Tuesday, June 02, 2015

TNNA

Last night I drove home from Ohio through the hills and valleys of the Allegheny range of the Appalachians.  I kind of love exploring with the WAZE app, and it navigated me home from Columbus a different way than I originally went and it was perfect. The distance wasn't any longer, the time was shorter, and there were long stretches with almost no other cars on the road but me. As I got closer to home I slowed down for some giant storms and watched dramatic lightning race across the entire sky. By 9:45, when I drove up to my little house with the red door, the rain had passed by, my family was waiting for me, and all seemed well.

Sideling Hill on Rt. 68 in Western MD.
Disclaimer: I have my phone in a holder on
the dash and a little remote in my hand. I
took this without taking my eyes off the road,
and with both hands on the wheel, cross my heart. 

Yesterday morning, I got up and had the opportunity to set up my cameras for a video interview Gwen conducted with a woman named Amy Singer. If you're not a knitter, you've probably not heard of her, but in my world, she's not just a celebrity, she's a game-changer. Something like 12 or 13 years ago, she launched a free, online knitting magazine called Knitty and I believe it was the catalyst for many of the things that have happened in the knitting world since. Knitters had begun connecting online before that, but Knitty gave that interaction a shape and a direction. Readership grew quickly, so it was an honor to get published by Amy, whether it be an article or a pattern. It's still on my bucket list, to get a design picked. Anyway, we interviewed Amy for an upcoming topic on Eduknit, and even though she is utterly charming, down to earth and delightful, I was a little bit starstruck. After that, we went to our booth and schmoozed and tried to get people to sign up for Eduknit. Then came the drive home.

On Sunday, I got up early and taught a hands-on photography class for needle artists. It was about composition and lighting basics. It went really well and was a follow on to another class. After that I went around the show and took photos for the organizers for them to use on social media, press releases and all that jazz. It was a great way to meet people. I'm much more prone to introduce myself if I have to take a photo, because my camera helps to explain me. I really liked having the work. I do wish, every Sunday that I work, that I could figure out how to get to church, but that's another story. After the market floor closed, there were some awesome meetings and a good dinner with friends.
One of the photos taken by a member of the class. Outside the
convention center where I taught, there's an
awesome statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a pose. They were
supposed to use the environment and this gal did a great job. 
Saturday morning, I got up early and taught a class about all the different ways to knit. Did you know there are many different ways to knit? See--that's why my job matters. It was meant to help shop owners feel more conversant in different knitting styles so they can better help their customers and students. It seemed very well-received. I loved the participants a lot because at the beginning, the lights were out in our classroom, so I asked them to grab a chair and we met in the hallway. It worked just fine and I appreciated their can-do attitude. That day was the busiest day for photos because there was the official opening to the market, lots of little promotional events during the show, awards and a birthday party for the actual organization at the close of market, and meetings in the evening. Whew. I was tired at the end of the day, but kept going till the end because I was making so many great connections and learning more about this big business of professional knitting.  I also wore my cowboy boots on Saturday and met up with other cowboy-boot-wearing knitting teachers and designers.

Friday morning, I got up almost as early as the other days and listened to Gwen give a keynote address to kick off the Building a Better Business day, then, as part of the technology track for BBB, I taught the lecture class about photography. It was in preparation for the lab I just wrote about. I showed slides and gave examples and answered questions. I had 19 people in the class and I loved the interaction. People said they learned things and that always makes me happy to hear. The rest of that day, I scurried around, getting the lay of the land and beginning in earnest my quest to document this very large event. It was a big responsibility, being an "official" photographer, but I just reminded myself that I've done event photography lots of times, plus I like looking for details and little interactions. I had photos to take all day long and into the night as Friday was the fashion show and
other fun.
My view of a class. 
Now we come to the beginning. On Thursday morning last, after a very busy and very wonderful wedding week filled with visiting family, big events, a full and cluttered house, and more paper plates than I care to count, I got my handouts formatted and printed, packed a few things in a suitcase, made sure I got all my camera gear, and got in my car to drive to Columbus, Ohio. A very large trade show for The National Needlework Association was happening. If you haven't figured it out by now, TNNA is a non-profit group that gives professionals in many different needlework disciplines a place to gather, learn, buy, sell, connect and be guided. It's managed by full-time employees, but run by a volunteer president and board of directors. It has committees and groups for the various areas of focus, each offering a forum to discuss things that matter to related artists and business owners. It is a useful and needed thing. They have two trade shows per year, and this is the biggest. Wholesalers come and set up booths of wonderful yarn, needles, needlepoint canvases, counted thread designs, threads, beads, bags, jewelry, and just about anything else you can think of in the market. Retailers come to see what's new and order their stock for the year. Designers and teachers come to connect, find clients, and follow trends. The energy is amazing, and it really is the place to meet the people you need to meet if you want to work in the world of string and pointy things.

The drive was a little grueling because I'd woken up at 4:30 am that morning with my head already buzzing. Even with the extra time, after getting all the things done, I still left later than I planned, so if I'd gotten up at 6, I would have been in a world of hurt and missed the first event. I was hired on at the last minute to photograph the whole show, and the first thing started at 6:30 on Thursday night. I got on the highway around 11:45 and got to the hotel right at 6:30. I literally threw my stuff into the room, grabbed the camera and ran to the convention center. Pant, pant, pant.


Some of my knitting tribe. 
All these days later, I'm still panting a little bit. It was a fantastic weekend, as was the wedding weekend before that, but I am a little tired. Okay, a lot tired.  I have a full day of work to do today, but I am going to try really hard to do it slowly and deliberately, keeping my mind, Yoda-like, on where I am and what I am doing. It really does help when I do that.

What are you up to?

3 comments:

  1. You never cease to amaze me Kellie! I am and always have been in awe of you!!!!

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  2. I love that I am just a regular part of your life. No additional explanation necessary!

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  3. this is fun reading these posts and getting the back story (#laterblogreader?) to the facebook feed glimpses I've seen. :)

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Thank you for sharing your insights!