I'm sure there will be more posted later about STITCHES South. For this post, I just need to say a huge THANK YOU both to XRX and to AKG.
To XRX and especially Benjamin Levisay:
Thank you for coming to Atlanta. Thank you to Benjamin for being willing to take the risk on us, the risk in coming south where there "aren't any knitters," and the risk in having a new show in this tepid economy. Thank you to all his staff -- I would name names here as I know a good many of them now, but I know I'd leave out somebody by mistake. This was my first STITCHES, and the first STITCHES for many people here. And it was amazing. And when I asked if they are all like this, other people said, "Oh, yes. It is always this fabulous and amazing." That means that four times a year, you folks come out of South Dakota and go make a perfect, magical, fantastic weekend for several thousand people. I am in awe that you can do that even once. I am flabbergasted that you can do it repeatedly. Thank you so much for being willing to do that here, and for being willing to come back again next year. Know that all of you are loved here. You are family now.
To all the Atlanta Knitting Guild members:
Thank you for being the most friendly, warm, hospitable people on the planet. All weekend long, people came up to Whit and Diana and I and said how warmly welcomed they felt. I almost couldn't shop the market because so many people came up to me to pass on their compliments. Late in the day on Sunday as I was heading out, Susanna Hansson bumped into me. She said it felt as if the weekend was co-hosted by both XRX and AKG. For that, again I must thank XRX, who let us participate at such an active level. There are other companies who, I am sure, would have seen us an interlopers. Instead, we were two teams, the home and the visitors, and we played as one for the weekend.
A special big thank you and kudos for those of you who worked on the flowers. People were talking about them all weekend. When attendees entered the banquet hall on Friday, there was a bit of a traffic jam at the door because people were stopping and staring and forgetting that they needed to walk into the room. Many, many pictures were taken. Many. People were talking about which flowers they liked, and how clever this or that one was, and how this was on the same level as the big show in Italy. Benjamin very kindly arranged for the flowers to be on display in the market on Sunday, so that more attendees could see them. And XRX is now taking the flowers on the road to STITCHES Midwest and probably STITCHES East as well. There will be more information in an upcoming Knitter's magazine and on KnitTalk and elsewhere. We started this weekend with half our industry thinking that there are no knitters in the South. We will be ending the year with our industry knowing that Atlanta and the South is full of talented, creative knitting artists. You AKG members made that happen. If you are reading this, stand up and take a bow. You deserve it.
Edit: If you are on Ravelry, go take a look at the STITCHES South boards. It will warm your heart.