As the daughter of a knitter and a yarn shop owner, I find myself joining my mother on yarn crawls, workshops, and trade shows. This year on the first weekend in February, I found myself flying to Long Beach for the The National Needleworks Trade Show. My mom was super excited to buy some products to try at Sample It night, for the fashion show, and of course for the exhibits. I, on the other hand, was a little weary. Having attended smaller shows of this nature, I knew that after the first day things could really slow down, so being signed up to attend this show for 4 days made me a bit skeptical. But hey, at least I was in Long Beach and could find a sunny bench to sun bathe and knit if things really got boring.
We got to the Renaissance Hotel quite early, but they had a room ready and we were able to check in upon arrival (like at 10:00 AM), which was great. As soon as we dropped our bags off, we headed to the trade show to get our welcome packets. My mom then headed off to a networking lunch and I was put in charge of the “Great Wall of Yarn”. I grabbed a packet that was sitting on the table and followed the lead of a few other that were taking on this task, as well. I started at one end and pulled a piece of sample yarn, taping it to the booklet. In a way, I was creating a color-card-like book, but with yarns from different companies and of many different weights and fibers. It was fun to feel each skein and see different yarns that my mom doesn’t typically carry in her shop. After this, I still had about 2 hours before my mom would be done, so I went to explore. While exploring, I found a $1 Book store that I knew I could spend hours in, I decided this could be my plan B if I found myself feeling knit-phobia.
|New products to try from Sample It|
That evening we got in line for Sample It. I had no idea what I was really walking into. My mom had told me that it was a cash and carry event and that each shop could purchase one item from each vendor who was there. As the line started moving I started feeling my excitement build. My mom and I are notorious for being 4 AM Black Friday shoppers and there was something about this event that brought on a similar feeling. As we entered the doors we made a mad dash for the looms. My mom was really excited about this purchase. We then dashed around to several more vendors, buying samples of yarn, notions and needles. It certainly sparked our excitement to get into the show the following day to visit the vendors.
|Ashford SampleIt Loom|
After Sample It we headed into another ballroom for the fashion show. Now keep in mind, this was a fashion show of knitted items. I had conjured up an image in my head of women dressed head to toe in knitted garments. I was wondering how they were going to pull this off. Doreen Connors, of Vogue Knitting Magazine, and Fontelle Jones from Great Yarns, WA were the announcers. Doreen was funny and quick witted. The first model out was a male (Josh Bennett) to my surprise, and he looked like he could have been picked up and put in a Portland coffee shop. He was young with black rimmed glasses, green pants rolled at the ankles, a knitted sweater (Vidal Pullover designed by Josh Bennett) and a white collared shirt underneath. He pulled the sweater off great and I turned to my mom and said, “I like that”. She nodded and kept watching. Every model from there after was a woman dressed in all black with the exception of the knitted item they were wearing. They looked great. But at that point I had decided that of course they looked great, Vogue was involved in this fashion show, there was no way it was going to be less than classy. It was inspiring. In fact when we got back to the hotel that evening I told my mom that I was only going to own black clothing and accessorize with knitted garments, she just laughed.
|Mom and Bonne Marie Burns|
The next morning was Saturday, the day the exhibits opened. They had a ribbon cutting ceremony and I was expecting a huge mob and mad rush of people trying to get in. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of people there, but we got into the exhibit hall very timely and without waiting in a line. Once we got inside, we gained our bearings and decided on our course of action. Our first stop was to Madeline Tosh. Their booth was adorable and rustic with cow hide on the floor and antlers covered in yarn on the table. Their samples were adorable and their color selection was enormous. We then moved along to Chic Knits. We met Bonne Marie Burns and got to see some of her new patterns knitted up into samples. So wearable and classy. Bonne was funny and welcoming. I know my mom is excited to get some new patterns ordered from her.
Sunday is known as the getting down to business day. Most people attending the event place orders and engage in more serious conversations with vendors to determine if they should bring their yarn or product into their shop. My mom had early access into the show with one of her Yarn Reps and I originally wasn’t planning to tag along. I mean who wants to sit around while the owner of the shop is placing an order and networking. But after my mom looked at me with sad puppy dog eyes and said, “Who’s going to help me pick colors?” I decided to join her. We visited a few vendor booths and had some questions answered. We also got an order placed with Knit One, Crochet Too and are pretty excited about the Spring/Summer yarns and patterns that will be coming into the shop. The day pretty much consisted of visiting some vendors who were on our list to re-visit and getting books at the Unicorn booth. To my surprise I wasn’t bored, I wasn’t tired, aside from my feet being blistered and exhausted and my shoulder aching from carrying around bags and bags of stuff, I was still having fun.
Be watching for arrivals in the shop of Fibre Company Terra, Ashford SampleIt looms, tabletop swifts, new Tosh colors and more!
|Mom and Sandra McIver|
In the afternoon, while visiting the Unicorn booth, we met with Sandra McIver who wrote Knit Swirl. My mom got to try on several of the samples Sandra had knitted up which was great to see how each one was designed a little differently and fit a little differently. Sandra was just lovely.
|Alana Dakos and Ava|
While at Unicorn we also caught a glimpse of Erika Knight, and got a photo of Alana Dakos (Never Not Knitting patterns) and her little daughter, Ava, as they were signing their book new book, Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf. They are both adorable.
As we settled into the hotel restaurant for a drink and a bit on Sunday evening I shared with my mom how much fun and inspiration I found while joining her on this event. She agreed and shared that, although tired, she was really glad to have made the trip and believes that this is event is well worth considering attending in the future, as well.
|Mom & Erika Knight|
On the last day of the TNNA Trade Show, we visited with Zen yarns. We were lucky enough to speak directly with Neville, the dyer of Zen. He was lovely to speak with and learn from. We placed an order and are thrilled to be getting several skeins of yarn dyed uniquely for Tangled Purls. We can hardly stand the anticipation to see how they will turn out. It will be a few weeks before we get our shipment but we are happy to share that we now will be selling Zen yarns in our shop. Stay tuned, we will let you know when our order arrives! We also had the chance to chat with Erika Knight, who graciously signed and embellished her book, Natural Nursery Knits, for us. We also scored a copy of Alana Dakos’ Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf, signed by Alana and her little daughter, Ava!
I end this reflection with a picture of knitting creativity. As we settled in on the plane for the flight home, I pulled out my almost finished Riff Hat. To my dismay, I did not have a third needle in my bag for the 3-needle bind off. After checking with my mom and one of my mom’s yarn reps, Nancy, in front of me, I was about to give up my hopes of finishing my project. But then, my mom produced her writing pen and I was able to complete my project!