Face-to-Face Never to Be Replaced

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.

My one must-do yarn stop was at Universal Yarns booth to check out the new colors of their Good Earth yarn, a cotton/linen blend of medium grist that I thought might be good for pillows or doubleweave placemats.  Good Earth Adorn was exactly what I was looking for—a semi-solid cotton/linen blend that has lots of character.  It is also available in solid, variegated, and 2-tone color ways.  I also liked their spray-dyed Cotton Supreme. Not a lot of colors, but a nice color effect.

Universal Yarns has a direct relationship to the mills in Turkey that supply their yarns.  The owners— who have a background in fashion merchandising and the textile trade—grew up in Turkey.  You can liken their hometown to some of the areas of North Carolina that are renowned for their excellently-milled yarns. They offer quality yarns at very reasonable prices.

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.

And, that’s it.  That was the only yarn task I crossed off my list.  There were lot of other things that happened—a fabulous book signing and kick-off celebration for the new edition of Weaving Made Easy in the Interweave booth, engaged students, dinner with various yarn suppliers and friends, good stand-up meetings in the isles—but for me, not a lot of shopping. There is always the next show!