If you’re Rhinebeck-bound, we would love to see youΒ at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night–details here.

Dateline: Indianapolis

Dear Kay,
I don’t know about you, but I am still on the mend after that weekend in Indianapolis. I’m still wearing my name badge. I keep mistaking my stash for a yarn booth. I look my children square in the eye, shake their hands, and say, “Hi! I’m Ann Shayne and we just wrote a really AWESOME knitting book would you like to see it sure ya would here it is.”
The National Needlearts Association trade show is kind of overwhelming. Clara Parkes of Knitters Review fame does a heroic job of providing an overview here. She clearly had more coffee than I did, because to me, the whole thing was a blur of alpacahandspunwetfiberbatchdyedwoolcottonlinencamel yarn. Plus fifty lifetimes’ worth of counted cross stitch.
Portents and Omens
It all started auspiciously enough when we discovered an Indian wedding warming up in the lobby of the hotel. The groom rides up on a white horse in the valet parking lane, and his bride parades past the Starbucks counter with a golden vessel on her head. Much dancing and carrying on for this elegant group. They’re looking better at 9:30 in the morning than I did at my own wedding. I start the day by swearing I will work on my wardrobe.
We make it to the convention center, and we see a girl with an unusual hairdo. We walk a little further, and we see another one. Before long, we’re seeing batches of girls with piles of curls hooked onto their heads. See?
Holy hairdo, Batman, TNNA is taking place next door to an Irish step dancing competition. Who knew there was such a rigid hair requirement for this activity? There are hundreds of girls wandering around in sweatpants, pool flops (worn over their little black leather dancing shoes), and hair hair HAIR! (If you’re wanting to try out the look yourself–and I’m thinking it would work with a sari as well as a Celtic miniskirt, here’s how.)
Before we even get inside the exhibition hall, we run into beloved Meg of Yarn Expressions in Huntsville, Alabama. She has something to show us:
A Koigu log cabin blanket. With 21 shades of everybody’s favorite yarn. Can it get more delightful? Seems impossible, but . . .
We witnessed Amy Singer signing Big Girl Knits, with help provided by the publisher of Clarkson Potter, Lauren Shakely. (Ms. Shakely ought to consider running for president. She’d get that Iraq situation sorted out snipsnap in a week or two. A force of nature, she is.)
Massive Fun at Mass Ave. Knit Shop
We ducked out of the trade show for a little retail therapy at the Mass Ave. Knit Shop. This is a truly great place–one of the largest yarn shops I’ve ever seen, a real treasure-hunt kind of shop. Susan Brennan, the owner, has that boundless energy that is clearly infectious, because everybody at the shop was brimming over with the love of the handknit.
We were so busy visiting that we managed to take only a few photos–this is Brittany, a very cool knitter working on a log cabin blanket. She’s the niece of Cindra, who you may know from the MDK knitalong. (Cindra claims to check in on the knitalong more often than we do, but she is wrong because we check on the knitalong about twenty-levendy times a day. The knitalong? Amazing!)
Turn those crappy old T-shirts into giant balls of yarn! Make a party of it! See: a dozen rotary cutters simultaneously whacking up old clothes!
This is what happens when you start with the chopping up.
Sightings and Sandwiches
L: Amy Swenson, of Indigirl fame–blogging since 1996, people. Out in Calgary, she’s opened a retail shop, Make One Yarns, where she has a whole dyeing kitchen. Cement floors and all.
R: Stefanie Japel, yes, the Glampyre, she of the One Skein Wonder which Kay has made EIGHT times.
Now. Get this. You may recall that I have recently started making socks. Imagine, as a new sock knitter, what it might be like to find yourself sitting here:
L: Cat Bordhi, author of the book that you used to learn how to knit socks.
R: Lucy Neatby, author of the sock book you bought alongside the book above.
Middle: Doofus who is blissing out at the unlikely fact that she is sandwiched between a pair of sock goddesses.
Truly, it was like sitting between Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta. Only, in this case, Roosevelt whips out some circulars for a quick lesson in a cool toe-up cast-on:
Knitting ninety miles an hour, Cat talks about dolphins and hummingbirds and goat udders, and before I can even get a look at it, she’s got a toe going.
She doesn’t even look at what she’s doing. She’s a WITCH, I tell you!
(Thanks to the quick-shuttered Ellen of Needles & Pins for the rare photograph of Cat Bordhi knitting.)
AS IF that weren’t enough, as if I could STAND any more knitting luminaries . . . we find ourselves here:
A Tara/Teva Sandwich.
L: Tara Manning, author of Mindful Knitting and Compassionate Knitting and the forthcoming Nature Babies: Natural Knits and Organic Crafts for Moms, Babies, and a Better World. (How’s THAT for a title?)
R: Teva Durham, whose Loop-d-Loop like, totally, blew my mind.
Middle: Two tuckered-out goofballs.
There were so many other sightings of the knittin’ famous: Sally Melville, Annie Modesitt, Norah Gaughan, Vivian Hoxbro . . . I was so starstruck to see these brainiacs.
I know you’re packing up today. I hope your move goes well. Ha hahahahahahahaha! When does a move ever go well? I hope your move . . . goes.




  1. I was getting worried about yas…You look right at home with all the celebs!

  2. Yes! You got a shot of the Irish dancers!!!

  3. I feel like I was there! So glad ya’ll had a good time. We’re still counting the minutes til your visit to the west coast

  4. Oh my god. I smooch! You drew hearts around my head! No one’s ever done that before!
    Agreed on Lauren Shakely. That woman is just as you said — amazing. Get her on the ballot and she’d get my vote, without question.

  5. I wonder how many requests for info you’re going to get on Cat Bordhi’s marvellous scarf. Here’s the first!

  6. I used to compete in Irish Dancing. What finally stopped me? Hair fatigue.

  7. Woah. That was one heck of a post. I hope you are on the mend after such a fun trip!

  8. That’s a lot of knitting power in one place. Should we let that happen? You know, companies don’t let all the execs show up at the same place at the same time… do we need to do similar protective acts?
    And I didn’t know they were wigs! I just thought the Irish had a really, really close relationship with curling tongs.

  9. It’s like the Oscars of the knitting world. Whew! I’m exhausted just going through the post and the links.
    BTW-Your not doofuses. You’re regular people and we likes you like that.

  10. Cat Bordhi?! Having gotten that book after snapping several dpn’s in half (frustration or needle murder? you decide) – and just finishing my very first SOCK 2 days ago – I agree she is awesome – and – holey moley – her scarf is beyond eyecatching!

  11. Oh sure, now you’ve done it. The log cabin squares weren’t enough? Now I have to knit a one-skein wonder!! One look at the photo and I’m obsessed. What..have..you..done!!

  12. Whatta post! Whatta country- little curly head Irish step dancers, Indian weddings and knitters all cheek by jowl. Whatta trip!
    (Is Lucy Neatby’shair really fuschia?)

  13. I am typing this while bubble-wrapping a Hamtaro Play Set with my feet.
    Please. Help. Me.
    And may the God Of Small Things forgive me for all the Small Things I have put into giant black trash bags this morning. The girl keeps EVERYTHING. Every shrinky-dink, including the ones that didn’t quite make it. Every little thought she ever scribbled on every little bit of paper. xoxox Kay

  14. I second the Cat Bordhi scarf question. What the heck is that??
    And poor Kay… darn those kids that keep things!

  15. Do you know you ARE a celebrity? Oh, and Lucy (or is it Cat?) has some Rawkin’ multi-coloured hair.

  16. You’ve got to do the Moebius Cast On now that you’ve met the luminary, Ann.
    Just as long as you don’t start ripping and knitting up the bubble wrap, we’ll know you’re okay, Kay.

  17. I can’t tell you how much fun and inspiration I am getting from your book and your blog! So witty, so productive, so crazy/normal, I love it! Thank you so much for what you are sharing! The show sounds like it was wonderful! I have experience with kids in weird “dos” or clothes as I have children in show choir and drama. What a wonderful thing to witness the wedding garbs. Such experiences. Can you hear me sighing?

  18. I’m totally jealous. I used to go to Indy on business quite a bit, would have loved to have the excuse to go to this fine event.

  19. A quick pointer on that scarf – it looks like “The Emperor’s New Scarf” by Lucy Neatby.

  20. Oh. My. God. How much do I LOVE Lucy Neatby’s hair? It is the exact same colors as a sock I just knit. Gorgeous.

  21. what a fun romp! am jealous over here about doing nothin’ but mason-dixon knursing, still. the dishcloth? it is my salvation. knitting it satisfies my creative energy, and then… you use it to wipe the baby york offa your shoulder! wish the peaches ‘n creme stood up better to the yorking and the washing.

  22. That was better than the red carpet at the Oscars. Really.

  23. I must be the most frequent visitor to the knitalong. It’s my new obsession. I love that darn place. I love that everybody’s doin’ it, doin’ it, doin’ it, as the song says. I’m about to start my second baby kimono, have a log cabin in the works, and have a couple dishclothes done. Just arranged with a friend to cut up our husbands’ tee shirts for bath mats (we haven’t mentioned this to our husbands for fear they might get possessive). See what you have spawned. Thank you. Thank you. And Kay, moving is hell and you have to go through it twice? If you come through this with a brain cell left, I’ll be in awe! Good luck!!

  24. It was great having you both here in *the heartland* last weekend!
    Your trade show rundown is priceless. My hands-down favorite is the tnnacatlucysandwich photo.

  25. I laughed again (I should just assume this will happen every day because I laugh every time I read your blog) when you described the Irish Dance contestants…I took (non-competition) Irish Step Dance lessons for a year, and was so obsessed that I spent a lot of hours researching the shoes, etc….imagine my horror (and delight, in a sick kind of way) when I discovered that those cute Irish girls with the ringlets were wearing WIGS! What a let-down!
    Maybe you could come up with a pattern for The Irish Dancer’s Wig–perfect for your next book, I’m sure.

  26. Wow! Looks like you had quite the trip! I probably would have snuck next door and watched the dancers. (would have knit at the same time of course)

  27. And Ann, I hope you learned your lesson this time: ‘Your crown should fit neatly in front of your wig.’
    Enough with the sloppy crown!
    xoxo Kay

  28. Ann! You look positively giddy in those pictures. Something’s wrong with the sock godesses caption: you = Ann knit socks. Not Kay. No much coffee after all?

  29. I didn’t know about the wigs either – at that age my hair would naturally look like that if I washed it and let it air dry.
    I have been reading the KAL site along with yours but my knitting along has been waylaid by my sock classes. Someday I will be able to work on more than one project at a time ….. πŸ˜€

  30. Ann, I haven’t had a chance to read the entire article… been traveling, but you sure did bring a big, big smile to Brittany! She is sure she is famous now! It was such an inspiration to her to meet you and Kay and you were both so wonderful with her. She truly felt both a part of the whole gathering and very important. You two are angels!

  31. Wow, all the way around. The wedding, Irish dancers and Authors, knitting Authors! Thank you for the pictures. Since I’m in Huntsville AL, I’ll have to stop in to visit Meg more often now that she’s a star. πŸ˜‰

  32. Wow Ann, sounds amazing is all I can say. Are you still doig the KIP at the main branch of the NPL? I’ve actually made it to the Thur.SnB at Threaded Bliss the last 2 weeks. Yay me!

  33. Fabuloso! I hope Kay survives….

  34. Love love love the Mass. Ave Knit Shop. I’ve only been there once, but it really stands out as possibly the best yarn store I’ve ever been to. And that’s saying a lot.

  35. So glad you posted the wig instructions. After seeing them in Indy this weekend, I went out and bought myself one of those cute wigs, but couldn’t figure out how to make it stay on. Um,Yes. I’m kidding. But the curls were sure BOUNCY, weren’t they? Maybe your next book could showcase a pattern for knitted ringlet curls. Seems to be a big market for those things…

  36. I couldn’t get over all that curly hair either- it really freaked me out until I figured out what was going on! (In the hotel I was trapped in the elevator with 6 of them- not good before my first cup of coffee! It was very nice meeting you at your book signing (and I still can’t believe you recognized my name). I love that everyone’s posts about TNNA are all about the knitting stars- mine is too- it was so overwhelmingly cool to see all those people at once.

  37. Actually Lucy and I were thrilled to get to sit with Ann and Kay! We had a fabulous time laughing and talking and knitting . . . and eating wonderful sushi – this was all happening at Potter Crafts’ great party one evening.
    To shed some light on the scarves I am wearing: The green one with the wonderful design at the ends is indeed Lucy Neatby’s Emperor’s New Scarf (go to http://www.tradewindknits.com) which is an extraordinary design. She has a vest version as well. Mine was hand-dyed and knit for me by my dear friend, the gifted knit designer Sivia Harding of Vancouver, British Columbia (www.siviaharding.com). Sivia added glimmering beads in the little windows so they glow like real windows on a winter night. Beneath this scarf I am wearing a second one, this one Sivia’s own design, her Diamond Fantasy Scarf, which she also very kindly knit for me (see her web site again, and if you want a kit with pattern and yarn, try http://www.colorsongyarn.com), and I literally never leave home to teach without these two scarves. I love them, and they look great together, and it’s my way of “traveling with a friend.”
    Aren’t Kay and Ann wonderful? I’ve spent many happy hours blissfully log cabin knitting, thanks to these two ladies who feel like old friends the moment you meet them.

  38. rho, sadly, if i had longer hair, it would still look like that if i washed it and let it air dry–yikes.

  39. Oh, Ann! Fabulous post! MAKS is my LYS:) Looked for all of you…only managed to find one group of knitters and an even larger group of Irish dancers from Wisconsin:)

  40. Holy shniekees! What a trip this must be!
    Congratulations on your well-deserved notoriety, as well as the luminary hob-nobbing. You’re down-to-earth and you fit right in.

  41. So with all the celebrities in one place, will i be seeing you on People magazine πŸ˜‰
    lord, i hope not! this is a much better crowd, with more wit, and productive talent! thanks for the TNNA show.

  42. Wonderful post! You look radiant, not doofusy. And thanks to Cat for clearing up the mystery scarves!!! So much beauty in one place–both people, outfits and textiles!

  43. What an incredible trip!

  44. Thank you so much for the laugh out loud your first paragraph produced from our house. You guys are so funny, thank you.

  45. Kay
    Mumblety years ago (my daughter was 8 – she now has three children) we moved house twice in the space of two months. I feel for you. Chin up.

  46. I talked to my LYS Maven yesterday… She said it was SO excited to see all the “big name” knitters… AND that she was proud that lots of people knew about her shop, The Woolie Ewe. I hope the Indian Wedding and Step Dancers didn’t have a battle of the bands.

  47. After reading the questions about Cat’s scarf, I was going to post answers since she was wearing it (and I drooled all over it) at her April Fool’s workshop , which I joyfully attended. But I see she clocked in with explanations before I got to it. I found and bought the pattern the minute I got home. BTW, Cat was knitting away on log cabins while we were there, raving about the MD book, and it was thanks to her that I immediately bought it.


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