Part of my real job as a pastor is putting names with faces. Before I even showed up at my current appointment, I memorized the directory so that I would be able to call people by name when they asked for prayers or spoke to me outside of worship. It was a surprising first Sunday for the congregation. But at TNNA, I had the difficult task of putting people I “know” on Ravelry together with their faces and their real names.
On Ravelry, people use ravatars as their personal images. I might “know” someone on Ravelry by the face of their cat rather than their own face. Its a nice piece of anonymity, but it makes it hard to recognize people you “know” online when you meet them in person. I use my own face for my ravatar, so I’m a little more recognizable. So are Jess and Casey, the couple who started Ravelry. I saw them walk by and muttered, “There goes the Code Monkey,” which made no sense to Alex. On their second pass, I introduced myself and thanked them for building the online community that connects knitters and crocheters from around the world. They took a tour of our booth, touched the yarns, and introduced me to the much-loved Ravelry babe in her (of course) handknit sweater.
I also got to meet LisaWriter who was at the show launching her new book, Knit with Love. Lisa Bogart and I have spoken on the phone about knitting, faith, and writing, but we got to meet and hug and giggle over yarn in person. I met StitchStud (real name: Charles) whose Ravelry posts I have read often in the Designer group. I also met designer Woolcrafter (Jill Wright) who has three fabulous patterns in the four knit and crochet magazines I have with me. I was also able to reconnect with Leebah (who I knew in person from a previous TNNA show). Lindsey (Leebah) ended up winning our Designer giveaway and had a blast picking out her free yarn. She won 20 balls of Spring/Summer yarn and 20 balls of Fall/Winter yarn along with a bag and a notebook. It was a blast meeting these and other designers whose work I’ve seen on Ravelry.
The best name-face moment, though, was when Lorna Miser introduced herself with “My name’s Lorna. I’m a designer.” Here I am chatting on about how we use my mom’s experimental dyeing with native plants to come up with colors for our lines, when I realize… Lorna… like Lorna’s laces? Like all the articles I’ve ever read on hand dyed and variegated yarns Lorna? Yeah, that Lorna. I’ve been proud of myself for not giggling too loudly when Doris Chan or Eunny Jang or one of the other knitterati walked by at the TNNA shows, but I could not hold it in when I met Lorna Miser. I loved being able to say, “Oh my goodness, do you want some yarn?!?” to Ms Miser and to Sheryl Thies, author of Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet (a favorite in my library).
The best thing about getting to go to TNNA? Meeting all the designers… love it. Love them. Love their work.