Every time I do a show, I get nervous as the day approaches. A million thoughts go through my head… Have I dyed enough yarn? Is the colour balance right? Do I have everything we need? Will the weather hold? Will the booth fall down? Will I end up in hospital?
**sound of a record scratching**
Will the booth what?!? Will I what?!?
Ok, those last two questions are not usually on my mind …but they should have been for the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival. It many ways, it was a weekend of near disasters — but I think every one had a silver lining. I think.
First, let me tell you how fabulous the festival was — because it was! There was everything that makes a yarn show wonderful: colour, yarn fumes, that amazing feeling of collective fiber frenzy when you know everyone around you feels exactly the same way you do. But there was something more than that…
There was the first big snowfall of the year. And while that was a bit of a disaster for a lot of people who weren’t able to get to the show, the upside was that the quieter crowds meant that we had the chance to really take the time to talk to everyone who came in the booth. It was so wonderful to meet you guys! I loved being able to chat about projects and yarn choices, to show off all the great things that can be made with Mini-Skeins, and just being able to make that connection with our customers. The snow made the whole show that much more personal.
We also got to host the Ravelry Meet-Up on Friday night and, again, it could have gone so wrong. At the last minute, we found out that there were no goody bags — we had the goodies, but the bags had never arrived! There we were with yarn samples, coupons, and all sorts of fun stuff from the vendors and… nothing to put them in! The silver lining? I found out how much great friends are really worth. With only 45 minutes to go, and while I manned the booth, my sister and my friends Natalie, Christine, and Amy kicked into action. Christine actually went out in all that snow, driving around in a part of town she didn’t know at all, until she found the gift bags we needed. And when she got back — with only minutes to go until the Meet-Up was due to start — the four of them hit right into stuffing those bags as fast as humanly possible. And they saved the day — the Meet-Up was a huge success! When I finally closed the booth, I walked back into the room to find party in full swing, people introducing themselves, and getting to meet other Ravelers they’ve known for months (or years!) only online. There were great prizes from the vendors. And there were goody bags — thanks to some exceptional teamwork from people who really stepped up when it was needed.
And then there was the booth… That really was a near disaster. We built new booth furniture but just didn’t have time test it properly… Do you remember this?
Well… when we walked in on Friday morning, it didn’t look like that. It was… well, it was leaning. But the upside to it was the teamwork thing again — we got the whole booth reworked and swapped out in about 30 minutes. Who’da thought we could do that?!? And, once we did, I remembered an important life lesson: there’s nothing so bad that you can’t find the funny side of it — even a booth that’s leaning. Well, y’know, once it’s been fixed.
(Still, I’m now in the market for a good local carpenter. Anyone got one they can recommend?)
And then the last near disaster really was a near disaster. Do you remember that, on set-up day, I woke up feeling decidedly under the weather? Well, I kept expecting it to get better (I really did!), but it really didn’t. On Saturday, I was ok-ish, but by Sunday it was bad. Baaaaad. So bad, in fact, that the asthma which I was diagnosed with last year and apparently have had all my life (who knew? I always thought I was just really unathletic!)… that asthma decided to kick in hard and, being new to it, I didn’t really know what to do. In the end, my breathing was so constricted that I actually had to leave the booth with Natalie and my sister and get myself to the ER. They got me breathing again but that illness that started it off… it is one mean beast. It’s turned into bronchitis and, twelve days later, I am still sick enough that I am stuck in bed all day. Twelve days!!! Honestly, it’s driving me mad.
(My mother has been round every day, with chicken soup and taking care of my family and all the stuff I can’t get to so that I can stay in bed. The woman deserves a medal — seriously. I can’t thank her enough.)
So, I can honestly tell you that the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival was one of the strangest yarn shows I’ve done so far. Nothing went as I expect it to! And yet, while it definitely had some hair-raising moments, I think it had far more upsides than down. I got the chance to sit down and really get to know our customers in a way I’ve never been able to at any show before. That was wonderful! I found out what a good team I’ve got. And friends who really come through when I need them. And, after it’s the show’s over and it’s all done, I’ve got a great mum who takes great care of me. Upsides indeed.
And now, I need to go make another cup of tea. …TWELVE DAYS, PEOPLE!!!