Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ladies, start your engines! and other tales from Market.

Well, we didn't have a Code 4 this time, but our trip to TNNA Market in Columbus, Ohio, started with what I will forever call a Code 3.

"Little Gina" and I arrived at the Tulsa airport at 10:30am Friday, a conservative 2 hours before our initial flight to Chicago was to take off. Now ya'll know I'm a nervous flyer, plus I was feeling the pressure of what would no doubt be a whirlwind trip - fly to Chicago, one hour layover, fly to Columbus, do the entire TNNA Show (the biggest market of the year, by far) in just one day (normally takes 2-3), and get up before dawn to fly back first thing Sunday.

We sailed through security, even with our enormous supply of long, very sharp pointy objects. We got to the gate with oodles of time to spare. It looked to be a very crowded flight. Then, minutes before we were to board, they came over the PA system: "Ladies and gentlemen, this flight will be delayed. We have a little mechanical problem..." Okie dokie, I'm thinking. I can handle this. "...with the engine."

I know it's 10:30am, but is the bar open?

Gina and I both opted for a nice glass of wine (and let me tell you, we were not alone - the bar quickly became packed). They delayed our flight another 30 minutes...then another. A huge line began to form at our gate, as flyers began to realize they would no doubt miss their connecting flights. Brilliant Gina snuck over to another empty gate, where there was a worker, but no line. She quickly got us onto another connecting flight. Shelley, not so brilliantly, opted for glass of wine #2.

Engine problem? What engine problem?!

Finally, we boarded and took off. Somehow, I managed to work my way through a little lace Vickie Howell scarf while also working my way through little airplane glass of wine #3. That's where the Code 3 comes in. Because when we arrived in Chicago, since we had re-routed from an American flight to a United one, we had about 15 minutes to RUN at least 1.5 miles to another terminal at O'Hare. In my state, not the best idea. We barely, barely made it...and in that moment, I resolved to myself, engine problems or no, NO wine or alcohol of any kind on the returning flights to Tulsa!

And that was just the beginning of our Columbus marathon. We planned out our one day like military strategists, tactically identifying the booths we would visit (no way to visit them all in one day), and plotting our marching orders. We saw tons of sock, lace and alpaca yarn (even alpaca sock yarn!). There were plenty of the hot new colors for fall - inky, sea blues...bronzes and deep purples...and "no color" - greys, black and winter whites.

I especially loved the Offhand bags for fall - this new, cool shape is big but not unwieldy and has a big divider up the middle, making it the perfect purse/knitting bag:

We were excited that our friends at Alchemy are introducing new, lower-priced versions of some of their best luxury yarns (they're not hand-dyed but still gorgeous colors, and about half the price). Our friend Gina Wilde from Alchemy looked gorgeous as always - and her designs for fall were knockouts, too. Here she is in one of her designs from the current season.

We also saw our friend Helen Hammann, Nicky Epstein, Debbie Bliss and all the other fab designers. We found some really fabulous goodies for fall - you will not believe some of the great new things! - but no cameras were allowed on the show floor, so you'll just have to take our word for it. Afterwards, we dragged ourselved to the hotel next door and, posing as guests, asked the concierge for a restaurant recommendation. He sent us to an Italian place named Marcella's that, as it turns out, had just opened the week before.

They said it would be a 1 1/2 hour wait! But we turned on our Oklahoma charm and the hostess found us a table in less than half an hour. Maybe it was the marathon shopping, but Gina and I agreed it is the best meal we've each had in YEARS.

Then we walked out onto High Street and marveled at how crowded it was! Columbus has undertaken a five-year plan to revive their downtown, and boy has it worked. It was like Mardi Gras! Shops were still open even though it was past 9pm. People were everywhere.

We were feeling wowed by the cosmopolitan air of the city, and were planning to walk the 4 blocks to our hotel, when a vendor warned us about a recent rash of muggings...so we cabbed it back home and spread out our show tchotchkes - the little loot the vendors hand out for free:

The little sheep came from the last booth we visited - a gift from a new vendor - and on our way back to the hotel, people were literally accosting me, wanting to know where I got it. I'll never tell...until the new Hot Loops wall debuts this fall!

- Shelley
P.S. No Code 3's on the way home - just a lot of sober knitting! ;-)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't hardly wait to see what goodies we'll be receiving in the fall!!!

June 6, 2007 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Tempted Handpainted Yarns said...

Really looking forward to see what you get in! Now I know what you meant this morning, no wonder you where so busy. Sounds like a great time, was that the scarf you where wearing today....looks great!

June 6, 2007 at 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applaud you, Shelley! At your age, it would have been three martini's and the result would have been show? what show? AJ

June 7, 2007 at 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that green bag in the background of the ram photo!!

June 8, 2007 at 4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it was a blast at market. You will all love the "goodies" we found. Some from our favorite companies and some new "friends". As always I love the adventure! "Little Gina"

June 10, 2007 at 7:31 PM  
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