What a weekend Kim and I had!
We have been so excited about attending our first TNNA. It was SO worth it.
The drive down was pretty uneventful except for a bit of construction and some rush hour traffic. Oh, and a few giggling fits to break things up a bit. The scenery can be a bit....um....shall we say....boring? in Ohio. We had to do something to keep ourselves awake. Even if it was to pretend I wanted some CEE-ment statuary on the way home from the place along the freeway. LOL....(Ok, so you had to be there.....)
We got to the hotel and got checked in. The hotel was really great. We stayed at The Columbus . The hotel had recently had a $15 million renovation, so everything was fresh and new. The beds were the best. We called them our "cloud" beds. They were cushy pillowtop beds, with down comforters and lots of down pillows. Our room overlooked the pool that was on the roof of the 4th floor. We were on the 11th floor. Here's a picture of our cool bathroom
And here's a picture of our cloud beds. Kim didn't want to be in this picture and I told her I wouldn't post it so I spray-painted her out (she was knitting on her bed...I don't know why I couldn't show that!)
So after checking in, we ventured out into downtown Columbus to look for somewhere to eat. My knee was bothering me, unfortunately, so we couldn't walk far (or very fast either). There was not much to choose from close to the hotel, but we did come across a place that looked like an old bar...the outside was really cool looking (WHY did I not have my camera with me?)but I wasn't sure I wanted "bar food". We decided to venture in and look at the menu, and decided to stay and eat. I'm so glad we did. It turned out to be an incredible meal, and the atmosphere was just great. Lots of dark old carved wood, stained glass, mosaic floors, etc. in this historic building. Unfortunately the photos on their website don't do it justice.
Kim and I both had this for dinner:
Almond Crusted Chicken Salad
Boneless breast of chicken rolled in almonds & Japanese breadcrumbs, lightly fried, served with mesclun salad, topped with apples, white cheddar, smoked bacon and drizzled with honey mustard vinaigrette.
The chicken was what was drizzled with the honey mustard vinaigrette, and the greens/cheese/bacon were drizzled with a maple shallot vinaigrette. The blend of the flavors was superb. I went searching for a maple shallot vinaigrette recipe last night and found this one. I will be trying it soon. YUM
We were expecting a salad with some pieces of chicken mixed in but really it was a bed of greens (with cheese and bacon) with a HUGE chicken breast on top in big slices. The apple slices were arranged off to the side. It was quite filling.
We walked back to the hotel to settle in for the evening since we had to be up pretty early Saturday morning, and neither one of us is really a morning person.
We got up just after 6am on Saturday morning, and got ready to go over to the Convention Center for TNNA! We picked up our credentials, booklets, and looked at the Great Wall Of Yarn for a while, picking up some yarn samples and taping them into our books.
We found the room where they were having the Designer/Teaching meeting at 8am. I'm glad we went to that. There was lots of talk about promoting ourselves in the industry, and I was especially interested in the talk of the more experienced members mentoring the newbies. Gwen from Knitability headed up the meeting and it was nice to be in the presence of other designers who I've only known from some of the yahoo lists. After the meeting we were both getting pretty hungry so we grabbed a bagel/cream cheese and then checked out the "new product" display out in the hallway before heading into the HUGE showroom.
The first place we headed was to the back corner were the South West Trading Company booth was. I was anxious to meet Jonelle and thank her personally for the exposure she has given my B4 Bag pattern. We had a nice chat, and took some pictures. She wanted a photo of me standing in front of the banner. I guess she is going to do a "designer showcase" of some sort. Here's a shot me standing by the banner. My bag is basically hanging over my head on the grids with some other samples that were knit up.
After hanging out there for a bit, we hit the floor. We walked and walked and walked. We made sure to make it to the booths that were giving out freebies. We got some yarn from Briggs & Little, some Clover Takumi (which means "professional" in Japanese, we were told) needles that are new to the market, and a few other little things. We enjoyed talking to the all of the people in the booths. It was informative, exciting and a bit overwhelming. Kim was focused on talking to yarn companies about possibly designing for them, while I was focused on finding new or unique items for the new yarn shop coming to Romeo this summer.
Which reminds me that I haven't written about that yet! I don't know how I didn't get around to making that huge announcement yet. On August 1st, there will be a new yarn shop, right around the corner from the one I used to work/teach at. Tina, the owner, is an incredible woman and has such a great vision for this shop. She is highly motivated and I feel this is going to be a wonderful place for us to gather and enjoy our passion for fiber. YEAH! It will be called Labor Of Love Yarn and Fiber Arts. Please visit if you live close enough or are coming through the area!
Tina was not able to attend TNNA so she sent me on a mission to be her eyes and ears while I was there. I brought back many ideas and information to share with her this week. I can't wait!
We ran into people we knew (Rob & Matt from Threadbear, LynnH, Joan from Heritage),met a few people such as Nicky Epstein when she signed our tote bags (that was cool! and I can't wait to get her new "Knitting Never Felt Better" book) and Chris de Longpre of Knitting At KNoon (another Michigan designer). We saw Lucy Neatby too. I touched base with the ladies at the Brown Sheep booth...one of which I had met during my trip to their factory in February. She remembered the blizzard and was amazed that we had really driven all the way back to Vermillion in that weather.
After hours and hours of walking, we decided at about 4 pm that we had had enough. We were so exhausted, and decided another little rest in our cloud beds would be nice before we found somewhere for dinner. So we had a nap, and then headed out. We went to Cap City Diner for dinner. Kim said it was one of her favorite places to go when she used to live in Columbus. It was a great choice. There were so many things that sounded good on the menu, but the desserts really sounded good too. So I chose the Vegetable Plate which was:
Roasted Corn Risotto
Grilled Roma Tomatoes, Asparagus and Zucchini
Portabello Spring Roll
Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts and Basil Pesto.
OMG! Was it ever good. I did get a photo of this delightful dinner
And here's a photo of my dessert. It was upside-down banana cream pie. It didn't have a crust, but instead was on a layer of chopped honey roasted peanuts. Yum. Neither one of us could finish our dessert. BURP!
Our original plan was to pick up some wine coolers on the way back to the hotel and to go back and watch the Pistons game. We were, however, SURPRISINGLY, too full to even think about drinking any alcohol, so we nixed that idea.
We could have used the alcohol to drown our sorrows when the Pistons ended up being eliminated from the playoffs. Phooey.
So we drifted off to la-la land in our comfy-cozy beds again, and slept in on Sunday morning. Check-out wasn't until noon, so we took advantage of that. We (reluctantly) left the hotel around 11:30. Kim dropped me off at the convention center again while she went to knit by the river for a while. I wanted to go in and thank Jonelle again before leaving for home. I was told there had been a lot of interest in my bag, and that quite a few LYS owners had taken my order forms, so I am hoping to get some new accounts from this.
I also picked up some more info for Tina from booths that I had somehow missed the day before.
I called Kim to come get me, and we headed out to Bob Evans for some chow. Then we went to the Knitter's Mercantile yarn shop. What a great place! The staff was friendly, helpful and humorous. There was a great group of ladies knitting at a table in the back. They all got excited about my B4 Bag, and threatened several times to steal it if I set it down or left it unattended. I passed out business cards and several of them have purchased the pattern online today. I got really nice notes from each of them today too. I REALLY wish I lived closer to "The Merc" as they call it. Everyone was so cheerful, and each person that came in while we were there was greeted by name and you could tell it was a wonderful place to be. If any of you are reading this, thank you for a fun time!
Kim bought lots of yarns that were new to her so she could do some swatching. I just grabbed a ball of sock yarn. I tend to buy sock yarn as souvenirs of places I want to remember, and then I also tend to knit a pair of socks to commemorate a trip or occasion. So I started a pair of socks this trip (yarn I got from the Brown Sheep factory in February)
I'll post some pix tomorrow of some of the goodies I collected over the weekend. This will have to be enough for now. I'm still quite tuckered out. I had a little snooze this afternoon, trying to catch up a bit. I think I need one more really good sleep and I'll be good to go!
I just have to say that I fell in love with the city of Columbus. The downtown area was awesome. Lots of interesting old architecture, as well as lots of new and exciting additions to the city, especially in the Arena District. I don't know why but I was especially fascinated with the old YMCA that was just a few blocks from the hotel. I wish I had gotten a photo of that building too. I need to become more diligent about carrying my camera, and USING it. I don't know how many times I have smacked myself in the head after leaving somewhere, thinking I should have gotten a photo or 2. Like at "The Merc". I should have a photo of the outside of the building, as well as the fun ladies sitting at the back knitting, Gerald who was behind the counter when we came in and quite friendly during our entire visit, etc. So many things I wish I had gotten pictures of this weekend. I hope I've learned my lesson.....