...from the TNNA Trade Show! This was the ultimate knitting nirvana, possibly even more intense than Stitches if only because so many manufacturers had samples of yarns that are not even available yet. There were over 600 knitting-related booths, plus another 200 or so needlework booths. I went with a list of booths I specifically wanted to visit - marked off on the exhibit map kindly provided by TNNA - and accompanied by my sainted husband, I started with the "100" aisle.
I took copious notes and collected two large shopping bags full of literature (mostly price sheets and catalogs). I got a few samples and several calories as lots of booths had baited themselves with chocolate, like bits of cheese in a very large mousetrap. Bob thinks that if putting out a salt block to lure deer is illegal, it may also be illegal to put out chocolate for knitters. We are not bothering to have legal counsel look into it.
I went with a budget, and didn't get too far off the mark. But I did order quite a bit of stuff I had not had on my original list, and when it gets to the shop you will see why. Feza Yarns (I had never heard of them) are a luxurious but very affordable collection of yarns, some of which are self-striping in different colors, and some of which are self-striping in completely different yarns. You can check them out at www.fezayarns.com, but about half the yarn I ordered is so new it is not yet listed on their site. Of the yarns that are listed on their site I ordered Alp Light and Fanatic, both bulky yarns and both to-die-for gorgeous.
I have a long list of other yarns that are must-haves, including a Knit Collage yarn that is a super bulky handspun, with a slight metallic touch added. The colors are delightful, especially the winter white with metallic - it looks like fresh snow in the sunshine, the kind you couldn't wait to go out in when you were a kid. At 47 yards per skein, one skein makes a great hat, two skeins make an unforgettable scarf. The yarn I am ordering is not yet on-line for viewing.
Ozark Handspun is another yarn that will find its way to the shop for knitters needing immediate gratification / last minute gifts. You can see some of it at www.purlsoho.com. It is outrageous and will make perfect collars, cuffs, scarves, and other neat things for the "visually adventurous" knitter.
Fiber Sphere is a tool for the management of slippery yarn. It is a clear plastic sphere, available in 5" or 7" diameters, that you place a ball of slippery yarn in and feed it out through a hole in the top. This will be especially useful for the Bonsai and Seduce yarns. Check it out at www.thefibersphere.com.
Lavishea is a solid hand lotion bar that comes in a tin slightly larger than a shoe polish tin. You just rub it on your hands and in a few seconds it is absorbed and your hands feel wonderful. It won't transfer to your yarn and you can even turn a doorknob. The fragrances are delicious - I especially liked the citrus-basil and coconut-lime scents, but it also comes in a "man scent" and unscented. The really nice thing about the scent is it fades quickly enough that you can pop a handful of M&Ms a half hour later without smelling the Lavishea.
There are some other things I will be getting in soon that I want to be surprises, but let's just say I think my customers will be pleased.
I spent several minutes at the Prism booth talking with Laura Bryant. I was wearing a Cool Stuff sweater in Patina colorway, and that naturally started up the conversation. Laura showed me some of the new Prism yarns for fall, and I assure you that at least some of them will make it to The Yarn Gourmet. She is a really neat lady, so creative.
Nancy's Knit Knacks has the ultimate knitters aid - a wallet-sized card that tells you how much tail you need for long-tail cast on to obtain the number of stitches you want. She also has great drop spindles and "learn to use a drop spindle" kits with a DVD. Nancy sat down with me first thing Sunday morning, and in about 20 minutes had me spinning yarn on a drop spindle. This woman is an AMAZING teacher. I had tried drop spindle spinning before, but let us simply say it was not a success, and no one was seriously injured by my over-exuberant attempt at starting the spindle spinning. Nancy gives the information a new spinner needs to handle the roving, and then moves on to spinning the spindle. I'm hooked.
Mountain Colors - I have been telling you I would get Mountain Colors this summer, and I went with the plan of seeing the colors in person so I could choose which ones I really, really want in the shop - there are just too many to carry them all. Fortuitously enough, I chose 18 colors, and there are 18 different yarns made by MC. So in a few weeks I will have one skein of each Mountain Colors yarn, each skein a different color. This way you can choose your yarn, choose your color from real yarn instead of a photo that may not be a good reproduction, and Mountain Colors will drop ship the yarn to your house - you don't even have to wait for a convenient time to come back to the shop to pick it up.
Knit One, Crochet Too has a new yarn called Wrapunzel that is hard to describe, but delicious to the eyes. I am getting all seven currently available colors, should be in before the end of June. Wrapunzel is not even on the K1C2 website yet.
By the time we left the exhibit hall Saturday (3 minutes before it closed at 6) we had been to all but two of the booths on my list, plus at least three dozen others. Bob nearly froze to death, as he had worn a very light short-sleeved shirt and I forgot to warn him about the cryogenic temperatures of the average convention center. We had taken a hotel shuttle to the show but decided to walk back to the hotel; during the walk Bob thawed out, then began to actually melt. Being out of the AC and into the humidity, my sore feet promptly swelled to a semblance of Fred Flintstone's feet. Sunday we got there at about 9:30, looked at the "What's New" table some more while we waited for the exhibit hall to open at 10, then finished up and left by 1:30.
There is so much more I saw and petted and stroked, I cannot even begin to write it all here. It was worth every minute of sore, tired feet. Next year I will know exactly what to expect, and will still feel like a kid in a candy store. I will let you know as soon as the loot starts to arrive - till then, knit happy!