Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interweave Knitting Lab and visiting home

The Interweave Press Knitting Lab event took place last week in San Mateo, and I was glad to be sent as the representative from Stitch Heaven and The Art of Knitting. Unfortunately Barbara Walker was not able to attend and they apparently replaced her lecture with a panel of six people, one of whom was Meg Swanson.

It was a small show, but going by myself was still a challenge. Luckily my mom was able to come help out for two of the days, to keep me company and man the booth while I took breaks and made the rounds to talk to folks. The DVDs don't sell as well as we'd like them to, even though they are really great resources, they are not the most popular thing for knitting. Beginners are the ones who benefit the most, but they are not the ones to invest in resources like this. Something I have to work to change.

The Knitters Market that Interweave put together was probably the smallest market I have ever seen at a knitting show. I overheard a few vendors telling the gals in spiffy white lab coats that they thought it was a mistake for them to limit the space available. In contrast with an event like Stitches West, which takes place in the Santa Clara Convention Center in a room probably at least 10 times the size of this one, this market was unable to take as many vendors as possible. I knew there were only 36 booth spaces (even fewer vendors, as some of them had double booths) but I didn't know how that would affect the feeling the market had until I got there. The biggest problem with the room we were in was probably the electrical wiring boxes that people kept tripping over. Luckily only one woman actually fell (that I witnessed) but it was a big hazard. While XRX has been hosting Stitches events for years, this was the first Knitting Lab ever, so I'm sure Interweave will respond to feedback for next time.

It is harder to attend these events for work than I expected it to be; it really is work to be there for the entire time the market is open even though I love it. Vogue Live was easier, because it was in LA so my boss and predecessor were both in attendance. This one was all my responsibility, and I feel pretty good about how I did, but in the future I am definitely going to make sure to get tickets to some of the lectures. The keynote speaker was Alice Starmore and it feels like I missed out on an awesome experience!

Coming back to LA and back to work after this show is proving difficult. Finding the best way to market the DVDs for The Art of Knitting is a challenge. One I thought I was going to tackle without a hitch, but moving away from my friends and family is a much bigger challenge than I expected. I was really glad to get to visit my boyfriend and parents during this trip up to the bay, however spending time there makes it even harder to come back and accept that LA is home now. I can't really explain the source of my feelings of loneliness and uselessness, I just know I am more than a little overwhelmed. Some things are really helpful like knitting, spinning, coffee, reading books by Rachael Herron, but I have to be getting work done here, not just distracting myself. I have to be a marketing machine and deliver numbers in order to be fulfilling my job duties. Not only have I never worked full time before, I have never had to be so results oriented. I didn't realize when I took this job that it would be this difficult and that there would be some time and the need to prove myself as a PR professional before I was able to create content for the knitting industry. Needless to say I have never had a job like this before. Being a nanny has its difficulties, but I love kids and it's easy to just get through the day in that kind of job.

Now I need to learn to pour myself into this job 40+ hours a week. I have been a nanny or babysitter for way too long and I need to learn how to maintain my self worth outside of being there for others. I need to learn to be self driven and work hard regardless of who is paying attention and appreciating me. I need to learn to direct my feelings into the right place instead of complaining that the help and support that I do get isn't enough. I feel ridiculous being this candid about it in a blog, but I think it's the best way to deal with my feelings about having moved to LA. I have never been good at long distance relationships, or having several different friends I spend small amounts of time with. I may have been a little more co-dependent than I was willing to admit. I have also been lazy and unaccustomed to working hard at anything that isn't novel and therefore interesting. Being a college student was easy and probably fostered this short attention span, especially since I had new classes every three months.

I lived in Santa Cruz for a year after graduation and I was definitely spoiled. It's hard to tell, but that picture has hundreds of butterflies... one of my favorite things is the Monarch Butterfly habitat where you can see them clumped on the trees between October and February every year.

I had more than enough time to feel at home in Santa Cruz. I am trying to remember how I felt and how I dealt with getting accustomed to life in a new place when I first moved there. It was definitely easier because I lived in the campus bubble for the first two years. The comments I have gotten from nearly everyone I have talked to about moving to a new place have been only somewhat encouraging. The jist of most people's advice is positive, that it will get better and the way I feel is normal, but people who have described their experiences with similar challenges have said they felt lost or miserable for 6 months to a year before their new home began to feel like home and the homesickness went away.

In fact, my co-worker Danielle came over to ask how the show was as I was writing this. She moved here from New York, broke up with her boyfriend when she moved and has only been home once, which makes me think, "what the hell do I have to complain about?" She said the third month was the hardest for her but it's been 5 months now and she seems happy. I am slowly making friends here so I really should not be complaining but be working hard and being optimistic. Writing about it helps a lot.