Saturday, June 19, 2010

TNNA Columbus 2010

Last weekend I attended (for the first time) the summer TNNA Needle Arts Market in Columbus, Ohio. TNNA  exhibitors are mainly yarn industry folks, there to show their new lines and colors and take orders from retail (LYS) buyers. Publishers and designers exhibit as well, along with people who make needle arts tools and supplies, buttons, jewelry, and the like.

Unfortunately, photography is not allowed on the show floor, so this post will be short on pictures. And it’ll be long on text – but I’ll give you lots of links.

The Ravelry folks had special photo dispensation, and they acted as roving reporters, posting candid photos and video on the HelloTNNA website. I’ll show you my swag - it was sparse because whenever I entered a booth, I’d tell the exhibitor I wasn’t a retailer, so they shouldn’t waste it on me! I did come away with a few miniskeins of interesting yarns, but my real score was this, given to me by the generous folks at Blue Sky Alpacas:
Rosewood DPNs in their gorgeous trademark tin. They really know packaging.

Yarn orders get written up, but all sorts of other business and networking goes on too. I was there to see what’s new for fall – yarns, books, patterns – but mostly to meet people and make connections that will help me to grow Knitfinder. I got lots of practice introducing myself and Knitfinder in a few words.
The show floor opens on Saturday, so Friday was for pre-show presentations and fashion show. I saw Norah Gaughan & Cirilia Rose introduce the fall Berroco patterns and Trisha Malcolm of Vogue Knitting present fall fashion and color trends (yellow is the new green, you’ll be happy to know).
color-trendsFall color trends. Pantone numbers left to right: 13-0632; 15-1050; 16-1546; 19-1764; 18-3027; 19-1526 (wrong on image); 16-5418; 18-0538; 18-4105; 14-1508.
Full 62-page report is here (!)

Ysolda Teague presented the garments & patterns from her upcoming book, Little Red in the City. Here’s a peek at some of them. It’s a great collection, featuring large-sized versions of all the sweaters that have been meticulously redesigned, not just blindly upsized from the small ones. The printed book will include detailed information on customizing the designs for a perfect fit.

Friday evening was the fashion show – 99 items were in it. Many interesting, wearable designs you’d be happy to cast on for tomorrow; a few duds; and some wild high-fashion things that probably won’t be knitted or worn, but I was happy to see on the runway. Project Runway winner Irina Shabayeva’s Feather Coat (knitted by designer Josh Bennett; scroll down to fourth photo) was included and will be in the fall issue of Vogue Knitting. Full video of the show will be online in a couple of weeks. Edited to add: Videos are now available. Here's the opener; find all the segments here.

Spent all day Saturday & Sunday walking the show floor (with occasional jaunts across the street to the wonderful North Market for sustenance). Let’s see. I had a chance to tell some of my favorite designers how much I admire their work, including Ysolda Teague, Véronik Avery, Robin Melanson, Norah Gaughan, Tanis Gray, Bonne Marie Burns, Lucy Neatby, Nancy Marchant, Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Kristen Rengren, Stephen West, and Annie Modesitt. Missed meeting many other design luminaries – I just ran out of time!
image Inside Columbus’s North Market

New and new-to-me yarn standouts: Zealana Rimu and Kiwi (possum blends from New Zealand); Silkindian Duke Silk; Fyberspates Scrumptious DK; Madelinetosh yarns; St.-Denis Boreale and Nordique; and Classic Elite Magnolia (merino-silk) and Woodland (wool-nettle). There were new lace yarns from Manos del Uruguay (Manos Lace, alpaca-silk-cashmere) and Brown Sheep (Legacy Lace, wool-nylon). And of course I was irresistibly drawn to the luxury fibers from Buffalo Gold and Jacques Cartier – bison, guanaco, vicuña.

There was a lot of emphasis on sustainability and organics. More on that in another post one of these days, but yarns in the eco vein included Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia wool, Ecobutterfly Organics/Pakucho cotton, the Belle Organic DK and Aran from Rowan, and two nice yarns made from recycled fibers: Rowan Purelife Revive and Berroco Remix. Of course, some companies have been producing eco- and farmer-friendly yarns for years, like Mountain Meadow Wool and Green Mountain Spinnery.

Plenty of inspiring books and patterns. Shannon Okey’s new Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design looks like a must for any wannabe (or working) knit designer. New/upcoming books from designers that look great: Miriam Felton’s Twist & Knit, Donna Druchunas’s Successful Lace Knitting, Kristina McGowan’s Modern Top-Down Knitting, Ysolda Teague’s Little Red in the City, and New England Knits, from Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre. I loved the fall patterns from both Classic Elite and Berroco. And (whispering) watch for Crochet So Fine, from Kristin Omdahl. I don’t crochet, but there are wonderful designs in this book.
Most beautiful booths? Hana Silk Ribbon (not sure what they were doing in the middle of the yarn section, but their wares are sure beautiful!), Chic Knits (an oasis of calm neutrals against the barrage of color elsewhere), and Mountain Colors. The Midwest Modern Knits booth was not too shabby either, and Amy Butler herself was in attendance. Most fun, comfy and whimsical booths: Ysolda Teague (shared with Gudrun Johnston and Laura Chau), Be Sweet, and Pick Up Sticks.

Shared meals and conversation with roommate Jessica, Julia Grunau of Patternfish, and Bonne Marie Burns of Chic Knits, among others. Finally met Casey of Ravelry and chatted about search design – and other things - for a few minutes. What a nice guy. At the Ravelry ice cream social on Friday night, I talked with Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, which are all they’re cracked up to be (goat cheese and roasted cherry -mmmm). In another life, I was in the ice cream business myself at Downtown Bakery & Creamery, so we had plenty to talk about.

Last but not least, two of my favorite print magazines had booths. Neither is strictly knitting, but both are beautiful and interesting and should be in every LYS. Wild Fibers covers fiber production around the world, with an emphasis on small producers and environmental and cultural sustainability. The current issue’s cover article is on the living Inca textile tradition.
image image
Selvedge magazine, based in the UK, covers textiles wherever it finds them – in knitting, fashion, interiors, art, industry, and around the world. Every themed issue is a feast for the eyes, but there’s great writing too. The good news is the magazine will now be printed in the US as well as in the UK, so North American subscription rates have gone down. Go explore the excellent website – you can also subscribe to a digital edition (but that seems like a shame).

And there you have it – just the tip of the iceberg, believe it or not. Wish I’d had a buyer’s budget like JessicaI would have ordered stuff right and left.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tips for knitting from PDF patterns

I started a new project a few days ago – Stephen West’s Daybreak shawl. As usual, I made an electronic copy of my PDF pattern and added some notes to it. This is very handy, especially if you have a tendency to work on lots of patterns at the same time and/or stop working on something and go back to it later when you don’t remember the details. I thought I’d share how I do this.

daybreak-wipDaybreak in progress
Most people, including me,  have Adobe Reader on their computers for opening and reading PDF files. But I’ve got another free PDF viewer as well, because it has some nifty tools for adding notes and comments to PDFs: Foxit Reader (click on the link to go get the download). Unfortunately, there’s no Mac version.

When you open a PDF document in Foxit Reader, you’ll see a bunch of icons across the top of your window under the drop-down menu categories. We’re interested in the last few icons – a pencil, a T highlighted yellow, and a balloon with text in it. These tools allow you to add a text note, highlight text, or add a hidden popup note or comment. Just click on the tool icon you want to use, then click in the PDF at the point where you want to insert your note, or click and drag to select text for highlighting.

Here’s my routine. First, I open the pattern PDF and save the file with a new name – otherwise you can’t save the changes you make to it. I made a copy of my Daybreak pattern and named the file “Daybreak-notes.pdf.” This way, you always have a pristine original copy of the pattern, plus a marked-up working copy.

I clicked the highlight tool, then highlighted the size I’m making and the needle size specified. Next, I clicked the pencil icon for the comment tool, then clicked in the pattern and added the two blue comments you see, a note about the yarns I’m using and confirmation that I’m using the recommended needle size:

 On the next pattern page, I’ve highlighted the stitch counts for the size I’m making, added notes about which color is which and how I’m changing colors, and also added a hidden popup note (the yellow thing next to the word “Stripes”):

 When I click on the sticky note icon, I get a popup window that shows me the whole note, which looks like this:

 These popups have a scroll bar, so the notes can be as long as you want – handy when you don’t have room to enter all the text right on the pattern as a comment. I haven’t been able to figure out how to make them print, though.

Other free PDF viewers may have similar comment features – experiment with yours. The next one I’m going to try is PDF-XChange Viewer. I believe Adobe Reader’s sticky note feature has some restrictions that make it difficult to use, but if you use it I’d be curious to know how it works for you.

I’m heading off to the TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association) summer trade show in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday. It’s my first time – looking forward to meeting lots of yarn & knitting industry folks and seeing what’s new for fall. I won’t have time to blog, but I will post updates on the Facebook page and Twitter. There are still a couple of Cool Yarns for Hot Days posts coming as well, but they may take awhile.