Report from the TNNA 2016 Winter Trade Show

Photo of show schedule

In January I attended the TNNA 2016 Winter Trade Show in San Diego. TNNA stands for The National Needlearts Association, which is a trade group that encompasses all of the fiber-related businesses. Membership is open to professionals only. I had joined a few weeks earlier, so this was my first time attending the show. It was a busy and exciting three days.

On Friday I drove down from L.A. in time to help Jill Wolcott of Jill Wolcott Knits check in the garments for that evening’s fashion show. I had never met her before, but a few days before the show she had put out a call asking for help. She was delightful, and we had fun while we received and organized the garments. It was great to get a sneak peek and see them up close, although it got very busy, so I didn’t have time to stand there and admire them. The items were new designs, often in new yarns, that the yarn companies wanted to spotlight. After the show, they were usually featured prominently in each company’s booth on the show floor, so there was an opportunity to see them later.

In the afternoon there was a new member meeting, where we got some nifty swag and a lovely welcome, immediately followed by Sample IT!, which was a small pre-show in a very crowded room, where we had the chance to buy sample kits and products in small quantities at special show prices. I showed enormous restraint and only picked up 3 skeins of Baah Manhattan in Burmese Ruby and 1 skein of Ancient Arts Reinvent in Kismet. I have some special plans for all of this, but won’t say anything more about it just yet.

Photo of San Diego Convention Center
The San Diego Convention Center, where the TNNA 2016 Winter Show was held.

At this point I met up with Arenda Holladay, Executive Director of TKGA and Celia Cahill, a fellow TKGA Master Hand Knitting Committee member. We went on to the fashion show, and then to dinner, where we were joined by Committee member Christina Hanger. I had met them last July at the TKGA convention, and it was fun catching up with everyone.

The show floor opened on Saturday morning, and our little TKGA group fanned out and looked through the booths for new items to be featured in a video that we shot for Cast On magazine in the afternoon. In the past, these items were highlighted in the magazine, but due to the publication schedule, they didn’t appear until the Fall issue, by which time of course, they were no longer new! Arenda, Celia and Christina did a wonderful job interviewing the vendors about their new products. The video isn’t up yet, but will be soon.

Photo of entrance to the TNNA show floor
We entered the show floor through these doors.
Photo of large display of the design process.
This was a large display showing the design process from call for designs through publication.
Photo of yarn display
This display shows the colors of the year and the yarns that use them.

That evening there was a meeting for members of the Business & Creative Services Group. These are all of the people like me, who provide services to the industry, but who are not retailers or wholesalers. I have come into this organization in a time when there has been a changing of the guard on many levels of TNNA, so many things are changing. The leaders of this group laid out the plans for the next year or so along with their hopes for the future to build the community of artists and create opportunities for interaction and education. I’m looking forward to seeing how things grow.

On Sunday I spent the day talking with vendors and participating in a scavenger hunt put on by the Yarn Group. This was great fun. The idea was to visit all of the booths on the list and get them to initial their spot on the form. They often had a prize for participating, which ranged from something as small as a packet of stitch markers all the way up to a full skein of yarn. It was a wonderful icebreaker because it gave me an excuse to approach each vendor and have a little conversation about the hunt. At the end of the day there was a Yarn Group meeting, in which we learned about new ideas for the Yarn Group.

In all, it was a very worthwhile event. I met a lot of interesting people and returned home with several skeins of lovely yarn that will become future designs. I’ve already worked a couple of them up. But I can’t show them to you yet. Sorry for the dim, after-hours photos. I was so busy during the days that I forgot to take more interesting shots!