Nothing, nothing, nothing can replace the face-to-face interactions you get at a show—no amount of Tweeting gets you even close to the relationships you form when you are in the right forum for the task at hand.
The National NeedleArts Association trade show is a very necessary part of your weaving life, whether you are aware of it or not. This is where folks who run needlearts-related businesses go to do business. They see what’s new in the market place, order product, take business classes, and network with other business owners.
For over a decade I’ve been going to this show, either on behalf of my employer, the Spinning and Weaving Group (SWG), to teach, or to look for yarns for various publishing projects. Fresh in my mind during this trip is the Year of the Handwoven Home. I have no trouble finding lovely wools, but finding quality cotton, hemp, and linen can sometimes be tricky. Louet’s organic cotton, linens, and linen/cotton blends are a mainstay of my weaving life, and I can always turn to my friend Irene at Cotton Clouds who has built her business on making the best cottons and related yarns available to weavers.
Because of teaching and booth obligations I knew my time to cruise the show floor would be limited. We were slammed in the SWG booth answering retailer’s questions about introducing spinning and weaving to their line-up and taking their photos in the Spinzilla photo booth. You can see a slideshow from the booth on the SWG’s Facebook page.
This is what I love about “market”. You meet the people behind the yarn. That gives you extra pleasure when you work with it or recommend it to others. I placed an order for a half dozen yarns for sampling and bolted back to the booth.