Editor's note: Every year, members of the National Needlework Association, a professional organization for those in the yarn industry gather in June for a major show. Yvonne and David attended representing Knitsburgh this year, and these are David's thoughts.
As I was driving to work this morning (my “thinking time”), I was summarizing the TNNA weekend in my mind and decided to share a few observations with you all. Spoiler Alert: I’m not giving away any surprises but please read on.
Yarns: Speckles continue but are becoming less abundant. Most of the speckled yarn that I saw was more refined and less “wild and uncontrolled” as it was when it started to become popular. The over abundance of gradient yarns has faded with only a few companies still featuring them and I think there is a return to self-striping yarns with long color runs. Bright neon color seems to have gone away for the most part and when the colors are used, they are being used in moderation as speckles. I saw a lot of yarns with my palette preference -- subdued and soft colors.
Related to yarn is the fiber content. Yak and yak blends, exotic fibers, and breed specific fibers proliferated the yarn offerings. For a show that is to feature Fall yarns, I saw a lot of blends that featured linen or flax, which I think of as summer fibers. However, when blended with wool and other animal fibers, linen and flax makes for a great season transition garment or accessory.
There was nothing in particular that stood out to me as the “next big thing”. Asymmetrical shawls continue to gain popularity but I also saw a trend back to large rectangular wraps. Garments? Not a whole lot… or I should clarify, nothing stood out to me and there was nothing that gave me a wow factor (well, except for a beautiful dress that was more artpiece than wearable garment). I think that most designers are working with wearable, but creative accessory designs.
I was fortunate to see and talk with many of my favorite designers (with whom I have previous connections) but I met two designers that have me totally geeked out: Barbara Benson and Yumiko Alexander. Barbara recently released a new pattern book, Mosaic & Lace Knits, which combines lace and mosaic separately and integrated in very unique and creative ways. Check out her website, especially her vlog posts on YouTube.
Before going to TNNA, I knew of Yumiko Alexander’s designers. OK, I admit, I took a passing glance at her designs when then they showed up in my ravelry pattern feed. However, when Yumiko walked past me wearing her River Ripples wrap, I knew I had to find her booth. Her designs reflect refined Japanese simplicity and the process knitter in me is very curious to knit up one of her accessories.
These are just a few impressions of this year’s TNNA that I wanted to share with you all. Watch the ravelry threads and shop newsletters for news of the exciting new yarns that will be appearing in Knitsburgh over the next several months. I am very sure there will be some very exciting “What’s in the Box” moments coming soon.