I’ve been on yet another of our combined business/ friend visiting trips this week. We have one more trip to San Francisco coming up, then we have a break until September when my sister-in-law is expecting to have her (currently unborn) baby’s christening. After that, there are no plans, but I know something will come up. For example, I came to understand that my Aunt Lydia and Uncle Greg are in their last year living in Italy, so I may leave the continent for the first time in my life. Anne-Catherine, if you’re reading this, we plan to come see you, too!
I had a few very odd feelings before this trip. A day or two before, I got the feeling like a big life change was coming. I spoke to my husband about it, but he couldn’t really think of anything momentous that should be coming up. Regardless, I knew. I’ve always had such strong pattern recognition skills combined with a high passive perception score (sorry, I’ve been playing too much Dungeons and Dragons of late!) that I have dreams of events before they transpire. I’ve been informed more than once that I seem to always know how something is going to play out, but not a lot of people believe me until after the fact (Cassandra syndrome). The feelings I had about this upcoming event were so strong that I felt compelled to share them on Facebook, particularly when I was at the airport (we all know by now how I feel about that place) and there were tornado warnings blasting over the intercom. I just felt like everything was as it was meant to be.
Also in the week prior to the trip, I learned of a cruel coincidence. The National Needle Arts Association (TNNA) was going to have their trade show in the hotel right across the street from the hotel we were in for the Ohio portion of Michael’s business presentations. Why might this be cruel, you ask? Well, I am not a member of TNNA, and you have to be in order to get in. I would have to own a business with a business ID number, or since I teach, I’d need a long list of requirements that I simply could not gather in time for the show.
When we got to the hotel, it was very late. The tornadoes delayed our trip by about an hour an a half, so we had to get in and get to sleep right away so Michael could get up in the morning. If I was going to do anything about even trying to get into the trade show, I also needed to be up early. Before we attempted sleep, I looked out the window. My view
I found myself simply unable to sleep after about 7:20am. All the better since, if I wanted to see the pretty yarn, I had to get it all in before noon when we were scheduled to drive to Michigan. I went to the restaurant attached to the hotel for my breakfast. Almost immediately after I sat down, the waiter asked if I was one of the knitters. Cool – I wasn’t even knitting or wearing a knitted item! A critical (natural 20) on the stealth (or perhaps the disguise or streetwise) check. I informed him that no, I wished to attend the trade show, but I could not. However, at this point I knew that I could blend in if I wanted to attempt to gain access to the show. I belonged there!
On my way out of the restaurant, I noticed a woman with a Eucalan bag. Knowing that she had to be involved with the show, I stepped out of character and started up a conversation with her (I don’t usually talk to strangers unless the approach me first, but I’ve made a concerted effort to be less shy lately). I told her about my situation and asked if she knew of any way to get an “ordinary knitter” into the show. The very kind lady informed me that no, I could not get into the show since they were checking badges at the doors, but if I happened to have the requirements together I could sign up to be a TNNA member on the spot. I told her I didn’t know about the show early enough before my trip to gather the letters and such that I would need, so I was out of luck. “Well, there is a display right before the gates,” the lady informed me. “You could look and touch the yarns, maybe pick up a few samples.” Perfect. I went straight to the convention center.
The walk to the part of the convention center with the trade show was very, very long. I had to climb flights of stairs and walk nearly to the other side of the surprisingly large building. All at once I saw the knitters – and the yarn. Oh, the pretty yarn. I helped myself to one of the books listing the names of some of the vendors and what they had on the sample display. I noticed other knitters taking samples of yarn from beneath the displays and taping them into the books, so after gazing at and fondling some of the samples, I did the same. I noticed another knitter taking pictures, and since no one yelled at him, I did so, too. Here’s what I have:
These two were my favorite displays. The one on the left is Pear Tree Fibres, 100% pure Australian wool. The yarn was so soft that I just couldn’t stop touching it. In fact, they call the yarn “Supersoft.” The one on the right is Knitcellaneous. I particularly liked the “Scrumptious,” a blend of merino wool and silk.
There were other very nice displays that I liked, but the ones above were my favorites. Here’s just a sample of what they had:
I plan to show my samples to some of my local yarn shop owners and ask that they carry them. Heck, I’ll probably take them to San Francisco and ask my favorite shops out there to carry them as well. I figure the TNNA folks can’t get too mad that I kind of snuck in if I bring the vendors some business. I should also note that I would not be foolish enough to blog about it if I actually did sneak in to the trade show because a) I might like to be a member one day and having a written confession in a public forum would not help my chances and b) had I managed to do it, giving away my secrets would make it impossible to do so again.
That said, I realized something after I left the trade show. I wanted in badly. I wanted in so badly that I contemplated trying to con my way in, maybe trying to sweet talk someone at the front desk into taking pity on me because fate wanted me to be here. I also realized that I’ve been trying to figure out what career path I want to pursue now that I’m feeling better. The last time I had to have blood drawn, I had a moment that I truly believe was predestined. I forgot the paperwork but I didn’t realize it until I had driven all the way to the testing facility. I had to drive all the way home, and I was starving because I was fasting. It made me bitter because when I came back, the waiting room was much fuller and I’d have to wait even longer to get through it. I sat down and took out my knitting. A few moments later, a little girl arrived with her mother. “Oh, look!” she cried, “Mommy, she’s knitting!” The little girl asked her mother to teach her, and the mother was kind of trying to dissuade the little girl, so I wasn’t sure if I should offer my services (in retrospect, I could have slipped the mother a card and let her decide for herself). I wondered then if it was a sign. I think, my friends, that my questions have answered themselves. I have officially decided to pursue an honest-to-goodness career in the needle arts.
I most certainly thought about a career in other fields. I mean, this blog is “Knittin’ and Kittens” – I couldn’t pick just one subject. I seriously contemplated finishing what I started in college, ending up as a veterinarian. I still desperately want the title of “Doctor,” and I want to be just as important as the teachers always told me I’d be when they realized I was a lot smarter than most of the other kids when I was going to school. Alas, life has not led me there. Now that Michael and I travel so much, going to school and having a practice of my own would be impractical. Additionally, I began to realize that I hate it when people come to me for advice about animals, then ignore it in favor of what their friends and family think. As a vet, I’d have to deal with people not giving the meds I prescibe and then wondering why their pet isn’t getting better. I’d have to kill animals that I believe I could save, just because the owner doesn’t want to pay the bill and won’t surrender the animal. I have to bite my tongue to keep from ripping the back yard breeders a new one for their contribution to the killing of perfectly wonderful shelter animals. I’d fail as a vet because I care too much about the animals themselves – it would be better if I just liked the field of medicine. My contribution to the animal welfare field is best kept to exactly what I am doing right now – fostering. This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t also go to school for the vet tech license I was contemplating. Getting the education would give me a better understanding of how to help my kittens, and give me a way to earn extra cash if I want to. I am writing all this here because I had to admit it to myself first, and that was a hard step to take.
I’m not saying that the yarn-craft career is a second choice option, either. When I really think about it, it’s what I should have been looking into all along. I started to work with yarn when I learned to read, and that was well before I started to attend school. I love yarn. I want to be involved in every aspect of yarn, from making it to dying it to making it into projects. I am good at and enjoy doing the math to make my projects look and fit the way I want them to. I’ve written technical manuals, which aren’t that different from writing a pattern book when you get to the essence of it. As a bonus, a career in yarn craft would absolutely suit the lifestyle I have now. I can knit and design projects when we are traveling (so long as the government doesn’t keep punishing knitters for the acts of terrorists… grr… as if we had something to do with it), and if someone doesn’t like my knitting advice, I am not at all offended because no lives are at stake (and it’s art – there are no hard and fast rules in art). The best part is that I enjoy the work so much that I do it for fun – imagine if I could draw a regular pay check from it!
So the events leading up to and including the trip I am on now have shown me what I should have known all along. I am not a knitter – I’m a Knitter.