Sorry to keep you all hanging on so long without reporting about my trip to TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association) Market in Columbus, Ohio - been busy working on getting No. 46 together and we’re just about there!
Other than the travelling part - nightmares on NWA (that’s another story) - it was great! This was my first time attending - it’s basically a hand knitting and needlecraft - beads, buttons, crochet, cross stitch, needlepoint, and accessories for all, etc, etc... - show for retailers. The exhibits - over 500 vendors - were so extensive, in a day and a half at the convention hall, I only walked about half of it. My friends - all big-time hand knitters as well as machine knitters - Sonia from FL and Jodi and Ingrid from SC, tried to make sure I saw the most important yarn companies.
My plan was to wear something that would blow away the conception that machine knitting was cheating, cheap, cheesy.... I wore ‘Baton Rouge’ from No 41. First of all, because it’s made from a gorgeous alpaca hand knitting yarn. Second, it looks like a hand knit, but is knit on the LK150, the basic hobby machine that is very affordable and easy to use. Third, the finished sweater is a lovely arrangement of cables, tuck ribs - hand knitters think that’s an unusual use of garter stitch - faggoted lace that adds airy-ness to an otherwise warm fabric, and a great edging they really couldn’t figure out. Fourth, it fits me nicely and suited the occasion. I don’t think I have ever been so closely inspected, but when I told people that I’d made the sweater, blah, blah, blah, the overall response was, like, wow, I had no idea things like that could be done on a knitting machine. They even turned me around to look at the back - I wasn’t sure whether they were checking to see if it was a ‘coffin sweater’ or not.
It was also really great that Silver Reed knitting machines were in attendance at the show for the first time in quite a few years. Knitcraft, Inc, the US importer, had a booth, with the mid gauge machines and they reported a very favourable reception in the hand knitting world as well.
On the yarn front, the luxury yarns were incredible. Alpaca, silk, wool, mohair, linen, cotton, more alpaca!!! The frou-frou scarf crap was not evident, garments were lovely, wearable, beautiful - lots of structured cardigans, set-in sleeves - mixing simplicity with more complicated design details. Still a fair amount of variegated and hand painted yarns but I saw more of a return to beautiful use of quality, natural fibres. Also the button displays blew me away, I wanted them all!! Tons of very large buttons, but, it was only a look-at show, no buying and taking home.
It was fun to meet some of the hand knitting celebs - if I may name-drop a bit here - Lily Chin promised to think about letting us have a stab at her upside-down cardigan; I got to tease Nicky Epstein for stealing my title ‘Knitting on the EDGE’; and I shared a cute, Canadian moment with Lucy Neatby and Véronik Avery. And of course, spending time with my friend Jodi Snyder, who’s hand knit designs have been in ‘Knit ’n Style’ and other hand knit magazines. You go, girl! Who, when she saw my ‘knots of work’, said, ‘why didn’t I think of that?’
Now, I can’t wait for my new Namaste bag to arrive (see www.namasteneedles.com). We all ordered ‘laguna’ in several colours!! Then I can pretend to be a hand knitter - I’m actually going to use it as a ‘carry-on’ bag for travelling, but look for one if you get the chance - they are REALLY nice!