The positively, absolutely true story of vending in Seattle.

When I packed all my yarn up, ready to leave for Seattle, it looked like this:

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(That doesn’t include the three gigantic boxes I had already shipped out….)

My booth partner Brooke and I had spent a lot of time planning, talking to folks in the industry, calculating a break-even point, and figuring out what our booth would look like, but we both were keenly aware that we’d never vended at a big show before. After I was on the plane, thinking about the enormity of the job ahead, I had a crisis of confidence. What on earth were we doing?
 

What if no one bought my yarn? What if our booth looked like crap? What if people took one look at my stuff, and were all:

Despite my initial attack of nerves, things went exceedingly smoothly on my trip out. The plane was half-empty, so I had the luxury of stretching out a little. I arrived a little early and met up with Brooke.

The wonderful Chuck of Skacel offered to give us a ride home from the airport — what a kind and generous thing to do! I am not as young as I used to be, so the prospect of door-to-door service left me all

The next day, Brooke and I were up bright and early to get our rental car. We filled ‘er up with lots of stuff from Ikea and then headed out to my friend Carla’s, to pick up our yarn.

Carla is amazing — she let us ship box after box of stuff to her and never said a peep. As we were putting the last boxes in the car, though, I suddenly realized that two of my boxes full of BBF yarn were missing.

I checked my shipping information, only to discover something tragic. Seattle has quadrants, kind of like Washington, D.C. — so addresses contain designations like “N.E.” and “N.W.” and “S.E.” and “S.W.” Somewhere along the line, when shipping labels were being printed, “N.E.” got turned into “N.W.”

And autocorrect changed the zip code to the zip code FOR THE OTHER QUADRANT.

It just so happened that there was a house with the exact same number and street name in “N.W.” and my boxes were delivered there.

We decided to go to the other address in the hope that maybe the residents kept the boxes, figuring someone would come by for them. When we arrived, it just so happened that the house was empty, with a big realtor’s sign on the front lawn.

When we got closer, we saw that one of the boxes was sitting on the front porch.

I practically jumped out of the car to drag that box into the car. But that still left one box missing in action…

We looked in the windows — nothing. We circled the house to see if it was on the back porch — nothing. We called the broker who was selling the house — nothing. My box was gone.

All I could imagine was someone stealing the box, thinking it was a teevee or computer, and finding yarn, and not realizing the magnitude of their find, throwing it all in the nearest dumpster.

We headed back to the Convention Center (I’ll admit that I did cry a little in the car).

We had so much to do that I didn’t have time to dwell on this grievous loss. (Much.) We assembled fixtures, we arranged tablecloths, we pinned up samples, we artfully displayed yarn, and by the time the marketplace opened Friday evening, we had managed to create a charming booth:

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A huge thank-you to friends like Patty, who helped us put things together, and Lorilee, who lent us chairs, and Barb and Caroline and Ron and Linda who sent us additional stuff to sell:

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The first half-hour or so was excruciating. We were hoping for some customers, but it took a while for people to work their way toward the part of the center where our booth was located.

And then finally, we had customers!

Once we started to get in the groove, we had a great time meeting up with former students, blog-readers, customers of my website, and Ravelry friends, not to mention meeting some fabulous new customers.

Then the unbelievable happened.

On Saturday morning, just before lunch, my cell phone rang. IT WAS THE REAL ESTATE BROKERS AND THEY HAD MY BOX OF YARN!

One of the brokers had put it inside the house, thinking it belonged to the new owners, and they finally figured it out. Lovely, lovely Carla picked the box up and brought it in for us, so we had even more freshly-dyed yarn and roving to sell. (In fact, I had dyed so much yarn, that I brought a bunch of it home. Use the code “happybirthday” for free shipping and check out the lovely sock and lace weight yarns waiting for you.)

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We had an absolutely wonderful time vending in Seattle and people could not have been nicer — the show attendees, the VK staff, and our fellow designers and teachers, who were incredibly supportive. Thank you all so much!


2 Thoughts

  1. Kristi says:

    It goes without saying, but you are so incredibly talented. And funny. And smart. And you smell good too.

  2. Susan Cochran says:

    Oh goodness . . . you are so funny and talented! How do you do all that? My friends Debbi Stone, Susan Dulis Rinne and Leianne Stinton came by the booth to see, meet you and Brooke! Wish I could have been there! Sounds like it was a great time. Glad you recovered your yarn. The booth looks beautiful!

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