A few weekends ago, I attended the industry trade show TNNA, which stands for The National Needlearts Association. The summer show is scheduled before the big push for fall hits local yarn shops, and is a chance for shopowners to see the newest products from yarn companies, publishers, distributors of books and notions, and so on.
Believe it or not, it was my tenth TNNA*, and it has been fascinating to watch our industry change in response to all that’s happened in business and the crafting world in the past decade. There’s a lot of talk about whether TNNA’s live shows are really necessary given the amount of business that can be transacted online. Many retailers, especially larger ones, have already gotten visits with representatives of their suppliers and may have even placed their fall orders before the TNNA show. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’m a staunch believer in the need for industry folks to actually get together in the same space, even if it’s just for a weekend. Why?
We need to connect in person. There is nothing like the chance to meet new people, be inspired by others’ work, and bounce ideas off each other. I have learned so much from having conversations with various folks in the industry and hearing their experiences. Our industry is very much dependent on human relationships and shows like TNNA are an excellent place to build them. Given the importance of color and feel when it comes to selecting yarn, TNNA gives us a chance to really see and appreciate the goods before purchasing them. I’ve also found myself intrigued by displays that showcase what a yarn can do, whereas seeing color cards and just a skein or two might not give the entire sense of that.
This year, the show was held in Washington, D.C., instead of Columbus, and although the weather was muggy and hot, it was fun to have the show hosted by a different city. Look at this majestic sight as I exited the train station:
The Washington Convention center was new and quite lovely. I think mixing up the host city is a great idea for the show. It adds energy and it varies the pool of attendees: for example, an East Coast city like Washington makes it possible for an entirely different group of shopowners to attend by allowing them to drive or take a train instead of fly. I also liked that there were many more hotel and restaurant options near the Convention Center, allowing for real price competition and variety.
I hadn’t made the TNNA Fashion Show for a couple of years, so I enjoyed catching a glimpse of some beautiful garments. That Amy Gunderson is just too much–she had several absolutely stunning pieces in the show, and of course my pal Brooke’s design, Paris Nights, designed in lovely Ancient Arts Fibre yarn, was my personal favorite.
One highlight for me was seeing my next book, called Self-Striping Yarn Studio, in finished form:
My friends at R & M West Coast Enterprises (who are the loveliest folks, and wholesale all kinds of great craft books) had a few copies and so I was able to hold the book in my hot little hand!
And then when I came home….
You’ve literally watched him grow up on my blog, and now my firstborn is an official high school graduate. He’ll be attending Amherst College in the fall, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
And after that, this happened….
The twins celebrated their transition from middle school to high school — shockingly, they will be high school freshmen in the fall — with a lovely recognition ceremony. I couldn’t be prouder of them, either.
And there’s still a lot of exciting things going on here. I selected the lucky winner of Brooke Nico’s wonderful book, More Lovely Knitted Lace, and I’m hoping that Yvonne, a.k.a. KnitWitch39, will get in touch with me (Yvonne, I sent you a Rav message) so I can mail it out.
I’m dyeing up tons of yarn, and there’s a batch of freshly listed skeins in my ArtFire shop:
We are getting ready for our first ever retreat, which will be held in St. Louis the weekend of July 15-17
Find full details and sign-up links here (and there’s still some spots available!). This is going to be so much fun, plus you’ll get the chance to take four classes from four teachers (Melissa Leapman, Patty Lyons, Brooke Nico and me) for around $200!!!
I’ve got lots of new books to review, and some other fun stuff in the offing, so keep an eye on this space. Thanks for all of your support and caring–it means so much.
*Which also means it’s the tenth anniversary of meeting my love Veronik Avery….(don’t worry, we had a joyous reunion and a fabulous lunch at a noodle place.