or
Vogue doesn’t ‘do’ swag

Writing the promotional content for these seminar/conferences is a delicate balance of what the organizers think will be of interest and who they can get (presenter/instructor-wise) to commit to the event. What Vogue wrote last summer for course titles had different titles when I got there, and different content as well. Then again, things I was interested in last summer changed by the time of the conference, so I guess that’s a fairish exchange.

I was wildly psyched about two classes. Two color brioche knitting led by the mistress of all that is brioche, Nancy Marchant, and knitting with mawata (silk cocoons/handkerchiefs) led by the knitteratti genius of The Yarn Harlot. I had a migraine during the former but did learn enough to carry on. The latter was much better situated room-accommodations-wise, and I seriously scored terrific mawata for future playtime. (If I didn’t purchase it, she would have to cart the 30 grams back across the border. I am nothing if not helpful. Okay, I wasn’t the only one being ‘helpful’ —but I did my share!)

As I mentioned above, classroom accommodations were not always ideal. Many classes were held in regular hotel rooms into which a large table was crammed with seating for 16. Lighting was abysmal for knitting. Squeezing behind seats to show samples was uncomfortable for all. The only place to store samples was in the bathroom!

On to the Market Place

When you have a premium product such as ‘luxury’ yarns, apparently you do not need to have swag to offer the masses that descend on your conference exhibit location like locusts (or lemmings?). Fiber artists will pay through the nose for the good stuff! Example: Yak is expensive to collect and process for use. They charged a whole lot for little bits of it. Cashmere is a highly desirable fiber, too. In this case, ‘inexpensive’ is a relative term.

One place gave out fingernail files but did not have their logo on them, so I can’t say who was so generous. They were very fine grain, which does help keep your nails from snagging on the yarns. Lion Brand Yarn gave out large paper/fiber totes but as they were not selling any of their yarn at the conference, there was nothing to actually put in them (from Lion Brand, at least).

Two yarn companies had decent conference sales (BOGO and 50% off selected 10-pack bags of Noro, Debbie Bliss, cashmere, silk, etc) Those two places were MOBBED from Thursday evening when the market opened until midday on Sunday, just before closing. Even then, there was a solid line around the bins. I dithered, pondered, and had skeins lifted out of my hands (may I?) by other, presumably more organized shoppers. Reminding myself of the six bins of string already in my possession at home, I reluctantly took my self (and my slim wallet) to other booths. It must be my disappointment clouding my memory as to which companies were offering the deals.

Most of the companies did not offer any conference ‘deal’ (printer conferences, educational supplier conferences, and consumer electronics conferences give serious swag) other than not charging tax and rounding the retail price down to the nearest whole dollar. (I was greedy spoiled by the fore-mentioned conferences.) This no-tax-rounded-down was the big offer at the booksellers who mostly had books by presenters who signed them for you.

But not the book *I* wanted (Knitting Brioche: The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch by Nancy Marchant). I put it on my Amazon wish list. I’m just sayin’….

I do not wish to imply that the participants were anywhere near as frugal with their time and their efforts as the merchants were. This large bin was empty Thursday evening.

I took the picture Sunday at noon. Quick knitting no matter how you look at it!

Classic gorgeous shared spaces with weird off-the-wall impractical designs. People who attended the conference sported their best work in color, cables, entelac and fine fibers. I saw lots of heathered colorations in sweaters, jumpers, vests, scarves, felted hats, and yes, socks. (Franklin Habit was gifted with bobble socks by an admirer. I saw them. I touched them, even! Gorgeous!)

Some companies have almost religiously devoted followers. Blue Moon has built their reputation on fair prices for gorgeous, quality product. It was also mobbed the entire time the Market Place was open.

People passed one another, pausing to admire handiwork worn (which was why you wore it there, of course!). I was surrounded by eye candy in all shapes and forms. Exhibits showed many examples of what could be done with the yarns on display. The mochi mochi exhibit was a delightful play town, fully landscaped and inhabited with droll animals and adorable houses:

But wait! There’s more! Not today, though.

Advertisements