Some of the best information shared at the show was shared by panels on the 5th and 6th floor. Here is where you could interact with your favorite designers, yarn companies and publishers. One of my favorite panels included the panel lead by the hysterically funny Debbie Stoller, author of the Stitch and Bitch Book Series. She facilitated a conversation on the culture of knitting/stitching and where it is going next. Other members of the panel included Nora Gaughan from Berroco Yarns (http://www.berroco.com/), Iris Schrier (http://www.artyarns.com/) from Art Yarns and Laura Zander from Go Stitch Red and Jimmy Beans Wool (http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/).
Here are their thoughts on where the industry is going:
1) Crochet is Hot!
Yup you heard it! Crochet is hotter than ever. It’s portability, influx of new talent and accessibility to gorgeous yarn has revolutionized crochet. Crochet has moved out of the ‘70’s and into the 21st century. Crochet is not only easy to do, it is highly portable, fashionable and has drape as well. Companies of all of sizes are recognizing the demand from a new generation of crocheters!
As I have been to many industry shows in the recent months, I always sport one of my designs whether it be knit or crochet. This show I obviously sported more crochet as that is what I have been designing and the response was overwhelming. People literally stopped me in my tracks to ask me what design and who designed the garments. I proudly said mine and told them to check out my ravelry shop as the week progressed to find the designs.
One of those designs is my Garden City Vest:
This great design uses a bulky weight single yarn that shows off the beautiful crocheted cables. It works up super-fast and the a-line silhouette looks great on all figures. I listed this pattern yesterday and it is already in the top 20 line up on the Hot Right Now Page on Ravelry.
2) Younger Stitchers every where!
That is right! There is no greater way to show the growth and strength of an industry than the fact that it is flooded with young talent. People as young as 11 are not only knitting but designing. Have you seen that amazing mitten pattern in the Fall issue of Vogue by a child in France.
One of my favorite memories of this weekend was hanging out on the Today Show plaza with @GoStitchRed , @JimmyBeansWool, @ hookedforlife, @Jacquline _Sava from Soak wash and @Koigu. Koigu’s founder and her daughter Kiersti came to show to support for the great cause Stitch Red (making women and others aware of the dangers of heart disease!). Kiersti had great enthusiasm and poise. She willingly sported a hat that she had knit herself as well as helped her mother knit with extreme knitting needles. She also is a model for Koigu and has graced the cover of their magazine numerous times.
3) Stitching in Public
Trademarked in my mind by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, knitting and crocheting is en Vogue. People love their stitching so much they do not want to be separated. Accessories are now available by Yarn Pop (http://yarnpop.com/) and Namaste to make your stitching extra portable. Laura Zander of Jimmy Beans Wool, commented that she brings her stitching everywhere because she loves to keep busy. She recalled after being reintroduced to knitting by a coworker bringing it on long car trips to ski weekends. She also shared that she sees many people involved in this phenomenon. One of her greatest joys is watching the men’s snowboarding and ski team sitting on the sidelines of a competition with yarn and hook in hand. Seize the moment and start stitching. For more information check out Stitch Mountain. (http://jimmybeanswool.com/details/stitchMountain/default.asp)
Many people have often stopped me while stitching in public. I have stitched everywhere from book stores to the gym to my church and even have been known to on occasions stitch during parties. When you are inspired it is hard to put down your projects. A panelist from Ireland was flabbergasted when she came to America from Ireland for the first time to share her knitting talents with us that we were so enamored by our craft. Go forth and tell all about stitching!
Lastly a call to work together was a great theme to hear. In an ever changing industry due to social media and availability of information, it is time to work together. From professional publishers, to full time industry designers, to indie dyers, local yarn shops, internet retailers, hobbyists and enthusiastic freelance designers. We can all get along and work to further our common passion. With the advent of Ravelry, Pattern Fish and Craftsy the ability to collaborate has grown to epic proportions. So lets get together at our local guild, in forums, on Facebook, twitter, pinterest and Kollabra! Laura stated that 1 in 4 American Women knit. If we could make that 2 out of 4 or even 4 out of 4 what would that do for our industry? There is a place for all. All are welcome…. Come one come all I can’t wait to meet you!