Blogfest 2012 was outstanding. Honestly it was.
For me, what made it great, was the people I met and chats I had between break-out sessions or over a coffee/Innocent smoothie/champagne – not so much the Keynote panels or break-out sessions themselves.
It happened about four times throughout the day that the Universe would make bloggers collide with such happy coincidence, I just knew I was at the right place at the right place.
It all kicked off after registration, getting the first coffee & pastries of the day. A lady came up to me and asked if I had made the Dusky crochet top I was wearing. I couldn’t believe that anyone would pay much attention to what I was wearing, let alone notice it was crocheted! I answered yes and we started chatting. Standing behind her was someone else sort of listening in on what I was saying (me, hands waving, eyebrows raised, passionately babbling on about my obsession) but not taking part in the conversation. I saw Lady In The Background* a couple of times again but we never spoke.
Coffee, handbag and programme in hand I went to find a place to sit. Seating was in high demand throughout the day so it wasn’t long before someone took up a seat next to me. We started chatting and she introduced herself as Lynda of Kids in the Garden. Whilst chatting I contacted Helen of www.loveknitting.com. We had spoken on email earlier in the month so I knew she and her friend Lucy would be at Blogfest and we had arranged to meet over coffee & pastries. In walks Helen and Lucy and we are introduced for the first time. Hugs were appropriate.
Whilst Helen and Lucy did their registration-coffee-cloakroom thing, I told Lynda how Helen and I had met: Helen saw the squares yarn bomb at the station, she Googled it and found my blog. The rest is history. Lynda then, ever so casually, commented that a friend had tweeted her a picture of a park bench yarn bomb. “I did a bench as well”. “Where is your bench?” “Thames Ditton.” “That’s where my friend saw the bench!” I was blown away. Honestly. Out of all the people at Blogfest (I’d say about 300) I met Lynda, who by the way lives only about 4 miles from me, and she had seen my yarn bomb! How amazing is that?
Some time during the How to get published break-out panel and morning break (this time Innocent smoothie and mini cupcake in hand) Lynda mentioned to me that she would like to know how to go about self publishing. I recalled having read on Stitch This that she had self published a book. She was at Blogfest and she’s a friend of Dilly (who I had also by now met in person and in fact was seated in front of Lynda, Lucy, Helen and I at the Keynote Panel).
The most serendipitous thing happened after the Blog Beautiful break-out session. I was standing in a corner chatting to another blogger whom I had met during the lunch buffet.
Whilst talking to her, I noticed that Lady In The Background from this morning was pointing, literally pointing, me out to someone in a bright orange coat. Orange Coat Lady walked over to us and Lady In The Background disappeared from view. Turns out, Orange Coat Lady is a freelance journalist for Prima magazine doing a piece on craft bloggers and Lady In The Background had told her about my crochet blog! As the journalist was talking to me, all I could think was “OMG, Prima magazine. I have to find Lady In The Background to thank her”. It actually took me a while to work out that I had never spoken to Lady In The Background. Only on the train home last night did I remember that she just overheard my conversation. My mind boggles. Honestly it does.
During the champagne & cheese board reception at the end of the event, Dilly and Sophie (of Stitch This) came over to chat with me. This was the first time I had seen Sophie. We hit it off immediately and when Lynda joined us later, I asked Sophie to show us the book. This was such a helpful encouter for Lynda and I – in fact more helpful than the whole How to Get published session. Sophie explained she had used Blurp for her book and that’s it. As easy as that!
In my mind Blogfest was a success solely due to the lovely people there. The bloggers. The venue, the food, the organisors, the goody bag, the experts were obviously great as well, but I’m talking on a personal level. We seem to be such a lovely bunch of people. Everyone was nervous beforehand but that’s what made it work because we all felt the same. I tried to be friendly to a stranger because that’s what I would like a stranger to do for me and look how it worked out for me! With a smile, a “no, the seat isn’t taken” or “what lovely cupcakes!” we all connected.
*I looked around for her all day but didn’t see her again. She was wearing a bohemian, arty, flowing outfit and had blonde / light brown short curly hair. She also asked a question at the Photography for bloggers session. If you know who she is, please let me know as I would love to thank her.