Beth and I recently journeyed to Columbus, Ohio on a business trip for River Knits. This was my inaugural Needle Arts Market put on by The National NeedleArts Association. This is THE place to see the newest yarns, gadgets, books,and supplies for the industry. First of all, I am Beth's husband, and any trip with her is fun. Second of all, I'm the "behind the scenes" guy at River Knits...recycling the large boxes that the new yarns are shipped in to the shop, taking out the trash, putting up shelves, designing and managing the oft neglected River Knits Website. I actually can knit a bit. I've done several pairs of socks, a few fingerless mitts, part of a sockcap, and a water bottle cooler. With River Knits nearing six years in business, and my job at Purdue on the ropes, I thought it might just be a really good time to better understand the knitting business, and help Beth out however I can.
After a quick drive over to Columbus, Ohio...a city almost the same size as Indianapolis, we entered the show just in time for the retailers luncheon. The keynote speaker, Jim Dion, was actually quite good and talked about how to thrive in the current economic times. They did door prize drawings and to our surprise we both won...then they chose my ticket again (some people were looking at me suspicously)! After this, we each attended a class. Mine was all about Web stuff that I won't go into here. Following the two hour class we walked to the vendor floor. I was simply not prepared for the army of yarn and needle arts companies displaying their wares. The vast sea of yarns stretched further than my eye could see...those of every color and fiber called out to be seen and touched and talked about. My role was to help Beth in thinking about the selections of winter yarns for the coming season. We did a quick run through to prepare for the Saturday onslaught, then sauntered over to the North Market where yummy cuisine and local foods and products could be tasted.
After an early morning Saturday class, we hit the vendor floor with map and strategy in hand to see the best of the best. Saturday evening we invited Nancy, the owner of Knit On! near Bellevue, KY to come to dinner with us at Schmidt Haus in the German Village. Because we had such a long wait, we walked five blocks to a unique bookstore known as The Book Loft. It has 32 rooms of books. Pretty cool place. Back at Schmidt's, the food was excellent, the beer even better, and the company was superb.
Sunday was D-day, and we headed back to the convention center for another class on marketing, and to the floor to select new yarns to bring to River Knits. Below are just two selections:
AslanTrends Hand-dyed and a sample project out of Jared's new book "Made in Brooklyn". There will be some very cool, and warm, fun yarns and surprises coming to the shop later this summer! Stay tuned for updates on the new arrivals.