Report from the 2008 National NeedleArts Association Winter Trade Show
Long Beach, CA
January 11-13, 2008
We all hope the worst of the market correction is behind us, but the needlearts industry is definitely not yet singing "Happy days are here again." Supply continues to outpace demand, and the weakening U.S. dollar is wreaking havoc with international trade—causing costs to go up all the way along the production chain. But, as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And in this case, we went to the winter National NeedleArts Association trade show.
TNNA is the event for the knitting and needlearts industry, taking place twice a year in January and June. The event is strictly for the trade only, and photography on the marketplace floor is strictly forbidden. All the photographs you see here were either taken outside the show floor or by the booth owner.
The One-Paragraph Wrap-Up
The heightened competition in our market has clearly fueled greater introspection and innovation among vendors. For the most part, companies are making smarter tactical decisions about their products. While I saw no real earth-shattering innovations at the show, I did see much smarter, more prudent business overall.
This weekend she pushed her pattern support one step further with the release of a new Alchemy Yarns book, Destination Alchemy. It contains 20 original designs for Alchemy's signature silk and mohair yarns. Not only are the designs gorgeous, but the book itself is a splendid testament to the power of self-publishing. Alchemy also released a new multi-stranded merino that I'll be reviewing in the near future.
Gardiner Yarn Works. We've seen her individual designs in major magazines, but now she's building a cohesive body of patterns for stores.
Dream in Color (Tulip Cardigan anyone?). What a treat to see a whole wall of their distinctly semisolid yarns on display—including their newest addition, a plump laceweight merino called Baby. Bijou Basin Ranch, a small yak ranch based in Colorado. They offered a pure yak yarn (shown at left) plus two undyed wool blends I'll talk about more in future issues.
Old Faces, New Innovations
Lorna's Laces and Mountain Colors did with new kits that use complementary yarns from each company. It's especially useful for knitters whose LYS carries only one of the two brands because you get to try both styles of hand-dyed yarn in one project. The custom designs are lovely and well-suited to the yarn pairings, too.
Eucalan unveiled its streamlined packaging and other fragrances—dare I confess I'll miss the old white and pink bottles?
Denise Interchangeable Needles who presented a much softer, more flexible and portable fabric carrying case for their needle sets as well as more flexible purchasing options. reviewed the white yarn back in August. The fine sparkling strands of silver were particularly striking in the black yarn. Brown Sheep finally stepped away from the solids and introduced some lovely "monochromatic variegated" colors (their words, not mine) with a distinctly kettle-dyed Malabrigo look to them.
TNNA has a strange way of starting slowly and then finishing abruptly before you have time to see and experience everything you'd come to see and experience. Before I knew it, Sunday afternoon arrived and a voice over the PA system announced that the show was closed.