The National Needlearts Association (TNNA) summer trade show happens each June. It is where shop owners go to buy their fall yarn. In 95 degree heat. Yowser. Hard to think wool when you feel like you have to have swim to your car! Thankfully, inside was fairly cool (well, some of the time) and it really wasn’t so bad. The photo above is of the tables that show new things from many of the vendors.
Impressions: more shawls and lace, thankfully no ponchos, younger buyers, some really creative solutions for knitters problems, excitement about Knitting Daily TV, several new yarn lines from designers.
Thursday I took a class about knitting with variegated yarn from Margaret Radcliffe (author of The Knitting Answer Book). It was fun to sit and experiment with color. I know, I know. I’m weird. I actually enjoy swatching, which is essentially what we did for three hours! Give me a ball of yarn and a set or two of double point needles and I’m happy. Maggi had some great suggestions for getting the most from your hand painted yarn by choosing stitch patterns wisely, manipulating your knitting or even cutting out part of the yarn to make it stripe better (for yarns like Noro Kureyon).
Friday I taught two sessions of spindle spinning and we now have 18 new spinners. I enjoy these classes because I think it is so important for shop owners to really understand yarn construction. Learning how to make yarn helps achieve that goal. Friday was also the retailer luncheon where we had *surprise* a chicken salad. Oh yes, and were entertained by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (for your own entertainment, check out her blog post for TNNA at www.yarnharlot.com). What a hoot! She had us in stitches.
Saturday the market opened and we made a beeline for the Opal/Isager booth so Christa could meet Marianne Isager, her double knitting inspiration. Marianne wrote the book Knitting Out of Africa where Christa saw double knitting that really (I mean REALLY) got her thinking and knitting. Here’s a photo of Christa with Marianne modeling Christa’s double knit swing coat.
Part of the fun of attending the show is seeing fiber friends from across the country and around the world. Sometimes you meet people who it seems as if you’ve known them your whole life. Gaylene from Wagtail Yarns is one of those. Their business ethics and dedication to what they do is so evident in their yarns and passion. They have a herd of 1500 goats that produce the best mohair I’ve ever seen. From raising the goats to dyeing the wool and putting labels on the skeins, everything is done on their farm. Their new product this year is a laceweight yarn that is incredible to work with. I couldn’t resist. I ordered both the fingering weight yarn we’ve had for the past year and the lace weight in a bunch of colors, all on cones so that your project doesn’t have to have knots in it and you don’t have to make balls of this slippery stuff!
One of the new products that impressed me was The Fibersphere. It is a container for your yarn that, unlike most products, allows you to remove the ball when you want to. The spheres come in two sizes: 5 and 7″ in diameter. What is really cool is that two of the containers can snap together for managing your yarns when working with two balls. Really cool concept (this from someone who is currently juggling four balls on two sleeves! I sometimes think I spend more time untangling the balls). Better yet, the balls are affordably priced and come in a milky color (as shown at right) and a light pink. 5% of the wholesale price from the pink Fiberspheres is donated to breast cancer research. We shared a few tears with the inventor as she told us about her mom and her battle with breast cancer. So, it’s a product that can help you while it helps others – I think that’s perfect for knitters.
Over the course of the four days in Columbus (OH), we saw a LOT. I placed enough orders that we’ll have new stuff arriving in the shop from now until October! Here’s one last photo: the walls of yarn. This is where you go to get samples of each of the skeins. TNNA provides a book with the names of the yarns, tape and scissors so you can make a scrap book of all the newest stuff (if you are so inclined – no, I didn’t do it this year).