I am in a haze of exhaustion as I slowly process this past weekend at TNNA. This one was different from the others, mostly because the impressions that are sticking with me aren’t so much of yarn and crochet (not because the yarn wasn’t outstanding, mind you; it was. And crochet was more visible than ever, which was very exciting), but of people.

Maybe it was the brutal, humid heat, or maybe it was just some mysterious vibe, but this weekend involved some of the most meaningful and moving interactions I’ve had in a very long time. It was a weekend spent learning about and experiencing colleagues and friends, old and new alike, in memorable and often touching ways. I had the privilege of being confided in and the pleasure of confiding. I hugged and was hugged. I looked out for and was looked out after.

The two TNNA shows each year provide six of the most productive days of my work life, and I did get an enormous amount of work done these last three days. The relationships I formed or deepened with colleagues will no doubt translate into good and exciting business down the line. But what’s lingering with me is more than that, still.

What’s lingering is a satisfaction deep in my gut because I work with some of the most fascinating, diverse, passionate, and caring people I’ve come across. People from far and wide, of all colours and backgrounds and ages, whose instant and magical friendship seems effortless and deep. It was a weekend during which I was reminded that when you leave yourself open to it, people will show you their soul.

Before I sum up with a more lighthearted linking lovefest so you can have an idea of who just a few of these amazing people are, I’ll stay serious for a bit longer, because I had a scary and thankfully not traumatic experience at the show and I have a bit of advice about it:

If, out of the blue, your intuition tingles or your gut starts hinting at you, listen to it. Don’t rationalize that you’re being paranoid or neurotic or overly imaginative. Because you might not have a friend nearby who feels that same tingling and will act on it. I suppose at the end of this weekend, one of the biggest gifts I’ve received is a reintroduction to my own intuition. I will not push it aside again. And I will be forever thankful to have been in good company who cared enough to act on his own gut feeling.

And now for some link love. I’ve never spent so much time putting in links, ever. There were lots of people. No doubt I forgot some, and for that I apologize. Where possible, I linked to blog posts about TNNA. Make a cup of coffee and get comfy, eh?

My plane arrived late on Friday (I ask, again, why a city famously called “WINDY” is home to a massive hub. Stupid, stupid airlines), and after a frantic face-washing-teeth-brushing-costume-change in my room, I made it to the fashion show only halfway through it. I don’t recall seeing too much crochet, but there were a lot of outstanding garments on display. Standing at the back of the room, I immediately ran into Marly and Jill, who were great fun to talk to. After the show (and hugging Vashti and others who are currently lost in my haze), I had a low-key dinner with Sandi, Eunny, and Lisa. We caught up on Interweave stuff and generally decompressed, for Saturday was to be a long day.

After chatting about the summer issue of Interweave Crochet at a breakfast first thing Saturday morning, I made sure my (lots and lots of) makeup was okay before heading to the show floor where, in addition to all the yarn to see and meetings to attend, we had an on-location set so we could do some taping for the second season of Knitting Daily TV (without the aid of a makeup artist; I think I managed to put on eye makeup correctly. I’m sure my mom will phone me when the show airs this fall or winter if I messed it up. Hi mom!).

I taped four segments, and they were so much fun. There was the amazing Doris Chan (after her segment the producer announced she’s ready to learn to crochet, since it’s totally clear to her now. Doris is a master). And Carol (co-author of Knit So Fine), who is such an astonishing riot I can’t even tell you. There was also Kristin Nicholas, whom I was delighted to meet for the first time (and hatch design plans with). And we wrapped the day with my segment with Cookie A. Yes, that Cookie A. With whom I got to chat and tape and who had the best blue hair ever. In several months, you, too, will have the opportunity to hear me say “enlarged Monkey” on television. (I was referring to her sock pattern. The producer didn’t seem to mind. I got to touch the original Monkey. It was awesome.) Between tapings and meetings, I also finally met Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (man, she’s funny) and also Franklin Habit (also funny and whose book is going to rock the yarn world).

At some point over the course of the weekend I also caught up with Robyn, Amy, Shannon, Kristi, Jillian, Annie, Drew, Kristin, Sheryl, Mary Beth, and Amy. And the highlight of highlights was a dinner with Matt and Rob from Threadbear Fiber Arts, my two new favourite people.

And if I didn’t start out this way, now I’m spent. Back to work, kids.

ETA: The man, ever so observant and also quick to watch my back, reminds me I also chatted, though too briefly, with Jess, Casey, and Mary-Heather. I’d be adrift without him.

ETA 2: Meg and Liz share a blog! I didn’t know. Thank goodness for trackbacks.That dinner with Matt and Rob was also with them, and it was a truly fabulous evening.