TNNA needle goodness, with a side of Mary Kay

A note from Lish: Meet Christina Loff, on loan to us Mitten folks from the great state of California. One heckuva crafty gal, Christina recently attended the Needle Arts Association trade show in San Diego. So sit back, relax, and read about what went on out west. Thanks, Christina!

By Christina Loff
Borrowed, Bought, Stolen.

What do giant knitting needles, cold weather, and Mary Kay all have in common? They were all represented in some form at this winter’s National Needle Arts Association trade show in San Diego.

To be fair, the only thing Mary Kay had to do with TNNA was that a convention for their sales reps was being held in the same building. And in all honesty, even though it was cold for San Diego, dipping into the 40s some nights, the weather was still pretty nice. But giant knitting needles, those really were on the tradeshow floor.

Here’s a rundown of some of what stood out to us at this years show.
Natalie Zee of Craft has written up a TNNA recap where you can read about the extreme knitting demonstration that was held. Extreme knitting involves giant needles, and many skeins of yarn all pulled at the same time to create one thick multi-colored strand. The great thing about this art is that you can quickly knit comforters, rugs and throws. Check out Natalie’s post for pictures and more details. And let us know if you figure out where to buy those huge needles.

There were many publishers at TNNA, presenting their new crafty titles for spring and fall ’07. Some titles that stood out to us were, Interweave’s No Sheep for You, which besides having a clever name, teaches techniques and tricks for knitting with non-wool yarn. Chronicle Books’ Pretty in Punk, is one of several punk knitting books on the market, and even though we are affiliated with the publisher, we swear we aren’t being biased when we say that we think Pretty in Punk is one of the better punk knitting books of its kind coming out this season. Other contenders in the category are Stewart, Tabori & Chang’s Punk Knits, and Storey’s Domiknitrix. Although we haven’t had a chance to really take a good look at Domiknitrix’s book, we loved the black vinyl package and were charmed by the author, Jennifer Stafford, who we spent some time with our first day at TNNA. She told us that despite its name, her book is really about becoming a more disciplined knitter. After seeing all of the well-crafted sweaters, skirts, and other garments at TNNA, we think we’re ready to whip our knitting skills into shape.

Some other standouts were Pick Up Sticks!, based in Oakland California. Pick Up Sticks! is all about felting and has a new book out with Storey Publishing. We love the fresh designs of Pick Up Sticks! and were especially drawn to their cute sushi wallet kits that provide all the yarn and patterns you need to whip up your own.

There was also some unique takes on needlepoint at this years show, including some needlepoint jewelry kits by FAS-stitch, an adorable husband and wife team, who have created everything you need to needlepoint pendants and earrings. You buy the kit, do the needlepoint and then mail your piece back to them and they set it for you in silver or gold.

We were also drawn to the needlepoint journals and kits from AMH Design. Their lovely journals have been all over magazines as they’re both beautiful and easy to make. We were most taken with their new ipod nano case, in pinks, and greens. Combining the soft look of needlepoint with technology always gets us excited!

We could go on, and tell you about how someone we met at the show was actually lucky enough to get a Mary Kay makeover in the bathroom, but we’ll save that one for another time. Go have fun with your needles.