Can you believe it's that time again? Well, actually it isn't. Stitches East isn't until October 11 - 14, 2007 in Baltimore, MD. Why do I want to write about it now, you ask. Because I have a major complaint. I received my brochure today, Thursday, May 17, two and a half days after the registration opened! Now, that might not seem like a big deal to most of you, but if you are a bona fide knitter and Stitches attendee who signs up for classes, you know how quick on the trigger you need to be to get your first choices. Some are already sold out!!!
The current techniques and trends--anything that's hot-- any short rows class, Lily Chin, Sally Melville and other 'name' teachers' classes sell out in the first minutes of the opening of registration. I say minutes, but it probably takes hours before the first deluge of registrations are processed by the the staff and the red SOLD OUT flags start to appear. You need to have the brochure with the class listing at least a week BEFORE registration opens so that you can agonize over the schedule, find your note you made last year of what you wanted to sign up for this year, and fill out the registration form.
If you're signing up by snail mail, you need to time it's delivery to reach Sioux Falls, South Dakota on the first day. You can FAX or sign up on line at the stroke of 9 a.m. CST (or should that have been CDT?). If you are not computer literate you are going to catch a bad break.
I am lucky enough to be online, a member of Knit U and have the time to check my mail daily, sometimes multiple times a day. It was more luck that I read an email giving a link to a PDF version of the soon-to-be-mailed Stitches East brochure. I was able to give a heads up to my Stitches roomie who was in travel status for work and might not have read her Knit U email. So we had a couple of days to decide on our classes and extra curricular activities before registration day.
On the appointed day at the appointed time the class schedule still hadn't appeared on the Knitting Universe website. Thank God for that PDF file. My friend printed the whole thing out, leaving the hotel's printer inkless. I read online. Not ideal because of all the clicking back and forth from class offerings to scheduling to class descriptions. Flipping through a hard copy is easier and less time consuming.
And then the sign up! Snail mailing the filled out form to arrive on d-day is easiest, but will your form get there and get processed before your most desired class is sold out? Forget calling. The odds for getting in are too great, worse than first hour of voting for American Idol. Busy, busy, busy! Forget FAXing! I programmed my FAX feature to send my form at the stroke of the hour. Busy, busy, busy signal for automated try after try. Back to the website for the sign up. Not there yet. FAX--busy, website--not there. Did the site crash under the pressure? FAX, website, FAX, website and then, wonder of wonders, the blank page sprang to life and there was the class schedule, shopping cart and checkout page. Whew!!!
By then an hour had passed and I was in a frenzy. I had to stop the FAX from its automatic re-dial and sign up manually. I entered my choices--First, Second and Third--and checked each twice. No mistakes. Cart filled. Automatic checkout done. Oh no! Was the card information from last year still current? NO! The Kaffe Fassett event had to be signed up for even though it's open to all registrants? YES! Back to the cart to sign up for Kaffe. Call the card company to make sure that although they issued a spiffy new card with same account number, the old card not due to expire for another year is still valid . . . "Ummm, maybe." Of course I can't get through on the phone to the Stitches registrar. Too much!
After all that, none of my classes have sold out yet. (But one of my friend's has. I hope she got in in time. She's still in travel status.) I probably should call today to make sure my card was okay. I wonder if can I get through . . .
In case my complaint got lost in the telling, bottom line to the powers that be is, NEVER EVER AGAIN MAIL THE BROCHURE TO ARRIVE AFTER THE REGISTRATION OPENING DAY!!!
Bona Fide Knitter