Friday, April 20, 2012

Seeing Any Trends?

Written from Stitches South, Atlanta GA ... This is the fourth year of Stitches South, the newest of the country-wide Stitches conventions. It is a gathering of knitters, crocheters, vendors, and teachers who are connected by one thing, yarn. In the warmth of the hotel corridors, fiber lovers are not daunted as they are easily spotted wearing shawls, sweaters, collars, wristbands or carrying felted/crocheted/knitted purses or totes. They are garbed in the medium and the medium seems to be in a shade of salmon this year. Yes, I'd say salmon or maybe it is now called coral, but it seems to be the new spring color among fiber lovers. But who am I to talk, as I sit in my icy hotel room draped in lace shawl of muted pinks and greens. Angel Lace is the yarn, by the way. It would not be fitting to attend such an event without an outrageously beautiful garment to toss over one's shoulders, right? Besides, it's cold in these lovely hermetically sealed hotel corridors! First impressions of what is for sale in the market is that colors are muted and in the earth-toned category. Not much of the in-your-face colorways that sort of always scream at me as I hurry past. Even noticed that one booth, usually known for knockout colors, has toned down their offerings. Of course I am checking out my customers' booths and just love to see Wool2Dye4 yarns all dyed up, twisted and tagged, and being fondled by strangers. A happy site to behold, it is. Next, I notice some of the commercial yarn manufacturers have added some sparkly fibers to a couple of yarns. Have to say that compared to our Sparkle line, the softness factor in W2D4 yarns wins out. Not too many, but enough to take note of are evident in the commercial yarn booths. Crochet is making a big splash here at Stitches south. It is everywhere: patterns, beautiful samples, books, classes. One booth has a major display of giant crochet hooks which slightly resemble a shovel, handles as big as a child's wrist. And, it was packed with happy, energized devotees. Another theme I notice is the use, or should I say 're-use,' of materials. Saris cut up into yarn and skeined up, one booth featuring darling little sewn project bags with zippers. All of the materials in this booth are felted from re-claimed sweaters, aka Goodwill style, and there is a book, too, to show the rest of us how to make use of old knitwear. Beading is prevalent both in knitted finished objects,and in vendors with some really wonderful varieties to show and sell. I bought an irredescent black, size 5 beads, for my sister who does jewelry. The Ernsts are here with their gorgeous glass knitting needles. Skacel has a new company with it's own booth around the corner from the big company booth. It's called Fiberhooking, and the designs, patterns, colorways are upbeat and really cute. ( Craftsy is here. They're really making a splash on the Internet, aren't they? And bags and totes and project carriers everywhere. One booth particularly caught my eye: Yarn-Pop with graphic cotton fabric project bags. They have large gromets in them where the yarn can be pulled through. Really upbeat and good-looking. I bought a lightly felted hat, in the style of the Italian men's line, Bandolino. It was on the top shelf at the display at Buffalo Wool Company. I spoke to the owners there and they confirmed that a renewed interest in natural colors and fibers seems to be working in their favor. They see this as an ongoing trend. My plan was to keep my little pennies in my purse, but that felted hat was calling my name. How will I ever get it home without crushing it, though, I wonder. Lovely setting, great hotel and conference center, fantastic lineup of classes all make me wonder why I waited four years to come back. Off again, to stroll the vendor's floor and then to a class on introducing shortrows into knitting (Myra Wood is the teacher). It is a great show.