Reports on shows, trends, and more
Trends at the TNNA Winter Market
So many positive signs.
by Janet Perry, Napa Needlepoint (January 21,
(Note: Janet Perry is a needlepoint author, designer, and
consultant. She specializes in writing stitch guides and providing
consulting services to needlework shops and websites. Her most
recent book is Needlepoint Trade Secrets.)
The biggest trend I see in needlepoint these days is that it is
experiencing a resurgence in interest, fueled by younger shopowners.
As a result, the designs are getting more interesting, and I'm
seeing lots of designers with their own individual style.
There is very little needlepoint out there which is staid and
uninteresting. This trend has been developing for awhile, but it has
really come to the fore in this market. Almost every booth I visited
had exciting new pieces and interesting ways to use needlepoint.
While I saw several great new threads, and additional colors were
added to many lines, the explosion in threads seems to be over.
Today there is a great variety of threads which will allow a
stitcher, to create great new effects. Thread manufacturers are
showing wonderful new ways to use their threads. Rainbow Gallery had
a great new thread, Silk Lame, which is a combination of silk
and metallics in 17 colors. The company has also introduced seven
variegated shades of Mandarin Floss. Conjoined Creations has
its lovely, grayed Shades & Tone Collection, which will
be great for softer-looking pieces. Kreinik has responded to the
increased interest in 13-mesh canvas with more colors in Canvas
(#24) braid. TreadworX, a maker of over-dyed floss pearl and
specialty threads, debuted at this show.
Another trend from many companies is the movement in needlepoint
for smaller designers which are fast and easy to stitch. AMH Designs
expanded its notebook line with notebooks with small, perforated
paper areas built into the cover. One had a small area just perfect
for an initial. The covers around the needlework have such pretty
patterns on them that I had to look closely to see what was stitched
and what was printed. At The Point of It All, I saw two fantastic
series I could hardly resist. One was a set of small houses done on
ecru canvas. A second was a group of little words and small
ornaments. The Halloween ones were on a black tree and so cute.
Unique NZ Designs also has a real winner in their series of six
brooches. This tiny canvases are on 18 mesh, painted, and wouldn't
take long to stitch, You return them to your shop for finishing with
the included setting.
There is also a growing interest in bargello. Not only does June
McKnight have a great new book out about Bargello, Rainbow Gallery's
series of free designs for 2008 is all bargello.
A trend from knitting and quilting I'm happy to see adopted to
stitchery is cause-related stitching. Funk & Weber Designs has
its "Stitch for Literacy" project which makes bookmarks
for literacy programs at libraries. Ruth Schmuff has two adorable
breast cancer awareness canvases: Purr for the Cure (with a
cat) and Sit. Stay, Heal (with a dog). I'm hoping this method
of support is something we'll see more at future shows.
More and more designers are now licensing art to adapt to
needlepoint. I'm guessing about a third to a half of all the
designers at the show have licensed art for some part of their line.
While some designers, such as Maggie Co, have done this for a long
time, for most this is a fairly new venture. For the needlepointer,
this means some of their favorite designs from other media might now
be available as needlepoint. For the needlepoint shopowner, this
means that through the licensed designs you can appeal to newer
stitchers. For shopowners in other areas, these licensed designs can
be an easy extension to add needlepoint to your product line.
The transition to a new generation of wholesalers is a trend in
needlepoint which is accelerating. As the "first
generation" of painted canvas designers dies or retires, their
lines are being picked up by new owners.
These new owners mostly fall into two camps – needlepoint
shopowners who expand into wholesale by buying lines which would
otherwise disappear. Many of these companies have done a great job
of of expanding their lines by adding new designers and designing
their own canvases. The second camp is wholesale canvas companies
who have become distributors (or new owners) for long-established
companies in the field. Julia's Needleworks, which already has an
extensive line, has purchased JB Designs, which was floundering; the
company is also distributing Decorations, which has been absent from
this market for a couple of years. All About Stitching now
distributes dede Ogden's lovely work, along with its own designs. In
fact, dede premiered several new designs through Stitching at the
show. Dream House Ventures took over several lines which had been
distributed by LC Kramer and has added licensing or distribution of
several others including Mindy, Bongo, and Cross-eyed Cricket.
I think this is tremendous news for the needlepoint industry.
First it shows that the market is healthy. Companies have enough
sales currently to support expansion of their businesses. While the
established markets for the older designers mean there will be sales
to support the purchase, the new owner must have enough capital and
existing sales to buy.
Second, it brings new viewpoints and ideas into needlepoint. If
needlepoint is going to succeed in becoming more popular, it will
need to appeal to a younger audience. A new company can use the
"bully pulpit" of a newly purchased but established
designer to support the development of their own designs.
(Note: Janet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her website is www.napaneedlepoint.com
and her blog is www.nuts-about-needlepoint.com.)