To market to market

My uncle used to say something about a dog at a flea circus when things got hectic…well I must have had a kennel of dogs at a flea circus convention. I think I have been running (and haven’t lost a pound) since Aug 1. I have done 2 sets of teaching/designer instructions, stitched (isn’t this a given) and worked diligently on the color notebooks (more about this later) and even attended my first TNNA show this last week-end.
I decided to attend a TNNA ( show but didn’t 13-08-27 TNNAwant to be overwhelmed by the size so I chose to go to the Cash & Carry market in St Charles, Missouri. I’m glad I did too. It is a small market I was told by some of the participants but it was big enough for me, I still missed a couple things I had made a note to see. But I thought it was a very friendly market and I did not meet a person who was not willing to answer my questions or direct me to someone who could answer my question. The canvases and threads, the canvases and threads, oh my…I felt like a kid in a candy store and really had to contain myself or I would have bought everything in sight…Oh please let me win a lottery so I can go to market…I did contain myself, so my checkbook and DH weren’t screaming at me.
Friday evening I just walked around each floor (there were four floors of companies represented) and briefly looked in the different areas but I made notes where the threads were (and canvases I wanted to see) so Saturday I could hit the floors running. I stuck my head in a couple places and introduced myself as I have made online, and phone connections with some of the vendors already and a face with a voice is always nice. Friday night (really all week-end) was busy so I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. After all, I am new to this and I was not a retailer trying to do business. But I had some extra time so I stopped by a couple places and indulged myself…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy DH had seen one of Raymond Crawford’s ( canvas at a shop (yes, I drag him into shops…don’t you), so I thought I’d just pop in and see if it was there…and there it was, just waiting for me to take it home. A justified purchase, it doesn’t get better than this…and DH had already said I needed this canvas…life is good…BUT the best part about my visit was Raymond Crawford himself. He not only has incredible designs he is a wonderful man; so talented and he doesn’t stitch. He was an art teacher, merchandise displayer for some well-known retail stores, and finally came to needlepoint…how lucky are we he decided to paint needlepoint canvases and he doesn’t stitch! I introduced myself and we talked for a long time, I thought he was fascinating…and he doesn’t stitch.
My next stop was just to say these are beautiful and I wish I knew more about this technique…Donna Olson, Satin Stitches has beautiful hardanger pieces. I explained to her I was looking strictly as a computer technician. Come to find out she uses the same program I do so we discussed the ends and outs of charting…and she even gave me a few hints about stitching and charting if I ever attempt this technique.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI stopped by Zecca ( I love her buttons and stitching accessories…I have a laying tool and needle case and scissor fob she made (opps I was going to refer you to a previous blog but I never posted them once they came…so here are my OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAstitching tools) . But as I walked in OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAon the wall was a Thistle (I am Scottish…so thistles speak to me) and a stitch guide too. BUT right next to that was a red tulip…my husband’s last name means “tulip” in Dutch so I am drawn to these too.
And that was the end of day one and I had a plan for day two. But then I woke up at 3 AM thinking about computer stuff and could not get back to sleep…I just hate it when that happens. But at home I just get up and putz around the house. But I tried to go back to sleep for an hour and when that didn’t work I just got up and stitched.
Saturday started out with a complimentary breakfast and it was delicious. There was also an open meeting of the Counted Thread & Embroidery Group meeting, I decided to go. I thought the outgoing chair, Debby Rowley, DeeBee Designs, had some insightful thoughts about designers I had not thought about before. Designing is pretty much a solitary occupation; unless you are large enough to have a staff, it is pretty much a one man show. The ideas are from the designer, she takes them from a mere thought to either stitches on her chosen ground or computer generated to finished instructions ready for our enjoyment. Sure she may visit her local shop and she may attend guild meetings but the bottom line is: the design is hers; she will change it because she wants to change it not because it was offered to a group to decide. Her point was she likes to meet the people who buy her designs, she likes to tell why she conceived the design, she likes the personal contact with people and she likes the idea of trade shows as opposed to only online web shops.
I listen and found myself thinking about this all day; since I am new to a trade show market I can see both sides of this. As the day wore on I realized without the trade shows you would not be able to see, feel touch, and talk to the representative about her threads, lamps, eyeglasses, ground fabric etc. Trade shows are a way to make contact, to keep in touch with the shop owners and what their customers are telling them they would like to see. Computer technology is nice and it has its place but it will never replace the human contact…without the human contact we might as well all be robots.
I was there to concentrate on the threads I knew little or nothing about and there are many of them. I came to see threads and threads I did see. I stopped by Rainbow Gallery to meet Sally and touch base with her and picked up a couple thread color cards but decided to come home and check my Rainbow color cards before ordering more. I stopped by Weeks too just to check in. Some of the threads I picked up that I have never played with are: Presencia Finca, floss and #3 and #5 perles; Dinky Dyes new silk & wool; Hyla’s Hurley’s High Cotton Egyptian floss; Dream House Venture’s assortment of silk and soy threads; Gloriana threads, an assortment of silks and wools; Treenway silks an assortment of silk threads and ribbons; Threadnuts, an assortment of Painters threads; and Sulky, a 12wt cotton Petites Threads.
I have just gotten my desk cleared off and am writing this first blog before I start playing with these threads I’m sure there will be more blogs to come on threads. One of the subjects that I heard over and over was how many threads can a retail store carry and which ones do you carry? I’m not sure about this either…and then there is the substitution in charts problem. If a designer has used thread A and you don’t carry thread A but you do carry Thread B and it is almost the same (in weight and color) is it okay to substitute to the customer without asking first? Another lady asked me which threads I thought were the same and I can’t answer that from a professional point of view…I am not sure.
After visiting all the thread reps, I also peaked inside the canvas designers rooms, but I knew if I let myself I could really damage the checkbook and so I refrained. Lucky for my checkbook all were busy with shop owners. And I knew I was done for the day and headed back to the comfort of my room and the DH who was patiently waiting for a late lunch with me. I stayed in the room Saturday evening and looked at the threads and information I had gathered up but truthfully my brain was fried from my 3AM wakeup call and so bed called before 9PM.
Sunday brought another day, another good breakfast and one more look. I decided to make a couple more stops to ask a question or two, drop by and thank all the reps that were so helpful and then it was time to head home. Since I do computer graphics I tried not to step on toes and spend time in those companies that do the similar type of designs that I produce whether for me or other designer/teachers. This said I was making my last pass at the companies and saying thanks for the info when at Kurdy Biggs ( room I saw this finished bag with her Pangea design on it. It was to die for, I had to see more. The bag was absolutely drop dead beautiful and after thanking her for allowing me to look at it I turned around and there was this lovely stitching book. Oh I do hope she post pictures on her website.
Then I also felt compelled to stop by and tell Debbie Rowley of DeeBee’s Designs ( how much I had enjoyed her thoughts at the meeting the day before. I think it is important to let people know that they have made a positive impression by what they say and do.
And then I made one last stop at Raymond Crawford’s room, I wanted him to know how much I enjoyed getting to know him, that he had made a big impression on me and I was completely blown away that he did not stitch. And of course I found another canvas I cannot live without well maybe two but I left the Rooster but he is still talking to me. Raymond Crawford was so friendly and kind, and as I as leaving like the true gentleman he is he said, “Let me know if I can help you anymore, I will be glad to do it.” And he doesn’t even stitch.
My first experience at a trade show was a positive one and I’m glad I did a small one. I think a large show would have overwhelmed me and sent my brain into overload. I am sorry there were vendors I missed seeing and meeting but maybe next time. I tried to be a responsible associate member; if a rep was busy I came back. I knew I was not going to be buying lot of canvas and threads and so I tried to be respectful of the retail shop owners and their time. I saw people I have met at national stitch seminars, shopped in their shops, or have done graphic work for them. It was nice to see old friends and meet new ones; it is always nice to put a face with the name and a voice I may have had contact with at one time just by phone.
And just as I was getting on the elevator to find the DH and tell him we could head home…there was Amy Bunger ( and Jill! What a treat to see Amy! She and I go back years and I haven’t seen her in several years and she was just as warm and charming as ever. I had never met Jill but have read lots about her in Amy’s newsletters and online, so it was a pleasure to meet her too. I would love to have gone for coffee but Amy was just starting her last day and I was finishing mine…maybe next time our ships will port with more time to catch up. But I had promised my DH we would be on the road before noon and it was time to go. Sweet man that he is, he drove both ways so I guessed it stitch!
Now that is what I have been up to doing…I’m going to write about the color notebook next because I have really been working on them. But for now I am going to stitch.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!

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3 thoughts on “To market to market

    • Thank you, they are really lovely. I have a couple projects on my desk that I would like to adapt to the book format. But now I can go drool daily 😉 Thanks again…sue

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