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What's new in various product categories; monthly update.

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CHA Show Trends & Products

So many products, so little time.

by Ellie Joos and Judy Westegaard (February 20, 2006)

Ellie's Comments

There were no new major trends that emerged, rather an evolution of those that have been important for the last few years and some new products to expand our horizons.

Knitting and Yarn Crafts.

In a very optimistic presentation, the Craft Yarn Council of America presented the results of their 2005 Tracking Study of Consumer Purchasing, Habits and Motivation. The conclusions are: Women who participate in knitting and crocheting are more active than ever before ... The number of projects made with yarn continues to increase, more money is being spent, and fashion yarns are more popular ... Small pattern books and magazines continue to be the main source for ideas for projects with internet usage growing ... 42% purchased fashion yarns in 2005, compared to 27% in 2004 ... Classes can provide a huge opportunity for all levels of knitters/crocheters, from those wanting the basics to those interested in learning more advanced techniques. (Source: Craft Yarn Council of America www.craftyarncouncil.com)

Here’s a sampling of some of the new items I spotted:

Potter Crafts, an imprint of Clarkson Potter, exhibited for the first time with a focus on their gorgeous knitting and yarn craft books including Sexy Little Knits and several done with Lion Brand Yarn that are just perfect for the fashion minded consumers looking for hot patterns for bags, shawls, and shrugs. Look for Just Bags and Just Wraps. Also quite nice is Vintage Styles for Today, which features great vintage fashions with a modern interpretation. In the Lion booth, visitors were invited to try their Speed Stix, size 50 needles! They also have Speed Hook for crocheters. www.LionBrand.com

Authentic Knitting Board, available in three sizes, creates a double-knit product. DVD’s and pattern books also available. www.knittingboard.com

The Sassy Skein is a first-time exhibitor selling adorable kits for children’s clothing in great packages. Yarns and patterns also available. www.sassyskein.com

In the Attic offered flexible round knitting looms in four sizes, plus pattern books. www.knittinglooms.com

Plaid/Bucilla introduced the "Knit Wit" tool for making square or round rosettes for a new look in knitting. Their display of garments made from this tool was spectacular. Also, the Doodle Loom for making pompons. www.plaidonline.com

Clover Needlecraft - because pom poms have become important decorative details for fashion apparel, its Pom Pom Maker with a built in protective shield is available in two sizes to make perfect pom poms. Clover also introduced its Felting Needle Tool and Felting Needle Mats. www.clover-usa.com

Offray introduced Ribbon Knitz, knitting ribbons and yarns in exclusive, patented packaging that will eliminate knotting and snarls. Available in twelve patterns for a total of 60 sku’s. 1-800-237-9425

Scrapbooking and Cardmaking

Just when you wonder what could possibly be new in scrapbooking products, new designs, motifs, tools, and gadgets appear to keep the creative juices flowing.

Pop-Eez cards and Tags allow consumers to make their your own pop-up cards with these products. www.pop-eez.com

EK Success and Martha Stewart – need I say more? Additionally, this leader in the industry introduced a number of other new products done with their exceptional style and creativity. www.eksuccess.com

Janome – stitching papercrafts is easily achieved with Janome’s new lightweight, half-size sewing machine. www.janome-america.com

GlueArts – this first time exhibitor with roots in industrial manufacturing introduced Crop & Glue, repositionable or permanent adhesives in several sizes and in reusable storage pouches. www.gluearts.com

Lasting Impressions – with more than 20 million digital cameras sold last year, digital scrapbooking was bound to happen. This company has expanded their line to include MemoryMixer, a software product that combines photos, video, and music into a multimedia experience. Files can then be saved on CD, DVD or printed onto paper for the addition of three dimension elements. www.memorymixer.com

Provenance LLC – this first time exhibitor introduced PaperSaver to neutralize the acid particles in paper and prevent further deterioration, available in aerosol cans now and in liquid form this spring. www.scrapbook-archivers.com

Cottage Mills – keep your favorite photo nearby with PixPen, to display a small photo in the clear barrel. www.cottagemills.com

Far and Away introduced a gorgeous line of Asian inspired printed papers with coordinating ribbons and charms. www.farandawayscrapbooks.com

Junkitz introduced new beautiful papers, including the trendy, colorful Pop Rock Rhythmz Paperz www.junkitz.com

Crossed Paths offered a lovely line of spirituality-related line of papers and accessories. www.crossedpaths.net

Crate Paper – for papers with a vintage feeling including "aged corners and lines" but very modern and unique in great colors and patterns. www.craftpaper.com

Other unique, new craft products: Pocket Personality, changes the look of your jeans with these clip on pocket embellishments from June Tailor ... Soy Silk Fusion Kits from Conjoined Creations, includes soy silk and other products to make a textile/paper product for multiple uses ... Custom wood appliqués from StenSource ... Lures by Design allows consumers to create their own fishing lures from the Inventions Lady ... Felt Christmas and other seasonal stickers and totes from CPE ... An elegant Russian Journey treasure box from Dove of the East ... Organic certified hemp twine and beading kits from Ecolution ... Kits of coordinating papers for decoupage, producing a painted effect that can be applied to any surfaces from Decopatch.

Now to find the time to try some of these creative, fun, fascinating new products!

(Note: Ellie is president of Ellie Joos & Associates, a marketing, pr, and product development firm. To read Ellie's reports on other industry-related shows, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To contact Ellie call 908-459-9269 or email eleapple@hotmail.com.)

Judy's Comments

(Note: Judy is an accomplished painter and serves on the board of the Society of Decorative Painters, in addition to her work for BoD & Painted Planet Licensing Group.)

I’m really bothered by what I didn’t see at CHA – the decorative painting category was hard to find. I had to search for painted samples and paint at many of the tried-and-true paint vendors’ booths. They’re all diversifying into other categories.

We all have a lot of work to do to get the consumer interested in painting again. It doesn’t matter how we get consumers to paint, we just need to get them interested in applying paint to any surface in any manner. (Ok, I’ll get off my soap box…) There are lots of new paints and products to try in the art materials field, so let’s get innovative with them.

Retro and scrapbooking are everywhere. I’ve been told that scrapbooking is not quite as hot as previously, but hey, you could have fooled me. Paper, paper, paper and more paper is everywhere. Paper is the new canvas. Soft pastels with cocoa brown or black seemed to be prevalent and there are more retro designs than any person ever needs to see.

The designs on paper and executed with paper are overwhelming. I’ve seen a quantum leap in the diversity of design and the innovative compositions scrapbook companies are creating. Scrapbookers are beginning to use paint, but it’s not just your mother’s bottled acrylics. I saw lots of fun little water-based paint pots that were being used on wood and on paper for scrapbooking; they reminded me of make-up. What better way can you appeal to a tweener, 20-, or 30-something female with a product that looks like cosmetics?

Yarn has got everyone tied up in knots, including Plaid. I admire the work of the yarn designers. They are bringing a cutting edge to their craft. Knitters teaching their craft to each other one-to

-one has done marvelous things for the knitting industry. Painters need to commit to "one on one’s" to involve and embrace new painters. We’re also going to need to embrace ALL methods and styles of painting to interest the younger generation. (Didn’t I just say I’d put my soap box away….)

Scrapbooking was in a separate show hall than general crafts. Walking into the scrapbooking hall was like inhaling a cup of strong espresso. What a jolt to the senses! The excitement was palpable. Folks stood in long lines to try new products (just like we painters USED to do). The General Craft hall was busy for the first two days of the show but not very exciting. The most excited participant I saw was a gray pigeon that flew from booth to booth and strolled down the aisles. He was highly entertaining but I knew it was time to go home when he joined me for lunch at the hot dog stand.

(Note: Judy is an accomplished painter, a member of the board of the Society of Decorative Painters, and works for a company which licenses artists' work. She can be reached at 605-371-4262 and jkwestegaard@aol.com.)



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