Report from the 2006 National NeedleArts Association Summer Trade Show
Twice a year, people who work in the needlearts industry gather to network and do business at the National NeedleArts Association show, or TNNA. It's a tightly controlled event—you need several credentials to qualify for attendance.
Here's a high-level overview of what happened at the show. In the coming weeks I'll give you more in-depth reviews (with lots of pictures!) of the best items from the show so you'll be fully prepared when they show up in your LYS.
A Fan Affair
There was Teva Durham (Loop-D-Loop), Norah Gaughan (Knitting Nature), Leigh Radford (One Skein and Alterknits), Suzan Mischer (Greetings from Knit Café), Kristin Nicholas (Colorful Stitchery), Tara Jon Manning (the felted angel in the photo at the top of this page was in honor of her upcoming book Nature Babies), Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner (Mason-Dixon Knitting), Amy Singer (Big Girl Knits), Joelle Hoverson (Last-Minute Knitted Gifts), Cat Bordhi (Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles and the two Magical Knitting treasuries), Nicky Epstein (most recently Nicky Epstein's Knitted Flowers)...I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Magazine editors were equally in attendance. Everyone from Rick Mondragon (Knitter's) and Pam Allen (Interweave Knits) to Trisha Malcolm (Vogue Knitting), Adina Klein (knit.1), Karin Strom (Yarn Market News), and Amy Singer (Knitty) was there. All the publishers were equally in attendance—even Melanie Falick and her Stewart, Tabori & Chang imprint made their first TNNA appearance. On Sunday, we gathered for cupcakes in the Interweave booth to celebrate the launch of the second issue of Knitscene (they gave away festive felted flowers, seen in the picture at the top of this page).
Why does this matter? First, because it shows a renewed industry interest in more than just yarn—which is good. And second, these designers and editors ultimately shape what we knit, and yarn store owners are the often-overlooked conduit. This was their chance to have a little fun for themselves, meeting these people and in many cases getting free signed copies of their books.
The Yarn Scene
The yarns themselves seemed to follow a path established in previous shows. I was hard pressed to come up with any truly unusual innovators, which is fine. We don't need each show to knock the socks off our feet.
Fibers seemed to be the name of the game this time around. More yarn manufacturers are starting to experiment with linen, hemp, Tencel, soy, and other such materials, often putting them in unexpected blends with angora, wool, and silk. You'll have fun playing with them when they reach your LYS.
Cornucopia of Colors
Longtime "color explosionist" Great Adirondack Yarn Co. made its TNNA debut at this show with booth walls so packed with color I got butterflies just looking at them. I was also happy to see newcomers Farmhouse Yarns (which includes the Hopyard Spinnery line) and Honey Pot Yarns.
Gadgets and Stuff
In terms of accessories, the story centered on stitch markers. Goose Pond made their debut at this TNNA with simple beaded sterling stitch markers, a sheep-shaped needle and stitch gauge, and handcrafted wooden store display furniture.
Also making a TNNA debut was Debra Richlin, whose Debra's Garden stitch markers come in seemingly endless variations of decorative beads, cultured pearls, Czech polished crystals, faceted amethysts, you name it. They're a little bit pricey ($29.99 for a set of five) but beautiful.
I was surprised at how many new vendors were selling girly-styled T-shirts with knitterly sayings in cute fonts with sequins, glitter, and other adornments. A few had low-end bags (also sporting sayings), but nothing really grabbed me.
Ultimately the good news is that you'll have no shortage of stuff for your fluff this winter!
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