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Posts from the ‘trade show’ Category

The Latest from Florence

Norah just returned from the Pitti Filati show in Italy, on the hunt for new yarns for Berroco to sell. One of the biggest yarn and knitting trade shows, it’s open only to those within the industry. Read more

TNNA Recap

We recently returned from The National Needlearts Association’s summer trade show in Ohio, where shop owners got a chance to learn about our new products for fall. The trip to Columbus was a blur of enthusiastic people, excellent food, and exciting yarns,  Read more

Whirlwind June…

June has been exactly like a summer storm. A bit scary, very unpredictable, fast-moving, and at times refreshing and beautiful. It has been an exhausting but inspiring month…

Norah and I spent the first half of the month consumed by TNNA! If you weren’t following our updates on Twitter you can see a wonderful recap thanks to the Hello TNNA wonder team (aka Team Rav!). This was a really cool addition to the show, and an excellent way for knitters at home to get a sense of what will be hot in the upcoming year. This was definitely the most busy, exciting TNNA I’ve attended, and I think it is thanks to all the NEW! We were of course very happy to unveil our Fall/Winter 2010 collection but it was also really fun to participate in new programs like the TIPS [Trends, Ideas and Products] info sessions and to see some first time exhibitors, especially Ysolda who set up a booth that made it feel like you had fallen into her Flickr stream! So fun! Norah and I visited often (see if you can find us…).

The minute we got back we had a photo shoot to think about! It was pure madness for a couple of days there. Deliriously tired, we knit the last few items frantically. This is me, on “vacation” (NOTE SUN PRECAUTIONS! WEAR SPF, EVERYBODY!!):

Even after several crippling beach knitting marathons, I still didn’t manage to finish before the day of the shoot! You can read the whole story here, I participated in the 2 Week Sweater Challenge that Kate at Twist Collective, who was also on deadline, dreamt up. For all the crazy stress, we ending up having a fantastic and easy photo shoot at one of our favorite Providence boutiques, Heir Antiques, which shares a space with Calico. We simply love owner/curator/raconteur Tyler’s aesthetic and he couldn’t be sweeter, which helps to make it a fun day rather than a draining one. Here is a sneak peek at Aidez, the sweater that was nearly in peril!

Have you made it this far?! This long post should give you some sense of how insane this month has been, and if you’re still reading, it is probably safe to say you’re genuinely curious about the goings-on of a design team! If SO, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of Shannon Okey’s amazing new book The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design. It includes all the stuff I have learned along the way, a lot of new things I want to work on. Honestly, just reading it reminded me how very complex this (admittedly super fun) job can be! Inspiring in so many ways.

Okay! Over and out, see you in July!


Sock Summit INDEED.

“Just as the bird’s wing evolved to fly, the human hand evolved to manipulate. An idle hand is not a happy hand. We really need to use our hands; they’re not happy if they’re not doing something.” [Barbara G. Walker]


The quote above captures my impression of Sock Summit 2009 pretty accurately! I’m very familiar with trade shows like Stitches, NENA, TKGA, TNNA, etc. and I have been lucky enough to attend many of them in the past few years. This year marked the first Sock Summit, a sort of knitter’s retreat on steroids! It had a fantastic marketplace full of amazing artisans, an impressive array of super fun events (like breaking the Guiness World Record for most knitters knitting in one place) and a truly astounding roster of knitting luminaries.

Berroco was there displaying a range of our sock yarns: Berroco Sox, Berroco Sox Metallic, Comfort Sock and Ultra Alpaca Fine, as well as a few of our more popular sock yarn patterns (not socks, incidentally): Celestine and Celestine Crochet, Saige and Johnny Boy are some of my favorites. I was also encouraging people to enter our Sock Star competition. There are still more than 2 weeks left to whip something up, give it a go!

I’ve put together a video of some highlights here and some of my snapshots in a Flickr set–I apologize for their quality; I’m not the best photographer in the world, I’m afraid. To be honest, things happened so quickly that it was a challenge to even get the cameras out and on! I was Tweeting constantly though and you can catch up with those Tweets here.

One of the highlights of the show for me was meeting Meg Swansen (I’ll admit it–I was too nervous to say hello to Barbara Walker!). Meg is true knitting royalty and SO beautiful! She was hilarious and kind, to boot. Norah says we have the same eyes! As you can see, I could barely contain my joy at meeting such a legend:


One thing that came up during the luminary panel over and over was the value of her mother Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book the Knitter’s Almanac. When I worked on the retail side of things I would constantly tell people to skip two lattes and buy a copy of the Knitter’s Almanac instead. It is my desert island book, it contains so much more than knitting advice. It gives you a glimpse into Elizabeth’s life and her amazing curiosity, bravery and wit.

Yesterday I proposed a year-long project to Norah involving the Almanac and Ultra Alpaca. So many of the projects seem well-suited to the Ultra Alpaca family and we know that the folks at Schoolhouse Press are fans. In fact, Cully Swansen, the handsome model/son/grandson in many of the Schoolhouse Press publications, has a hat pattern in the most recent Wool Gathering that calls for Ultra Alpaca! We’re still batting around ideas, but we’ll keep you posted.

I’m still catching up on my rest but I will say that my imagination has been running on overdrive thanks to the Summit. I’m sure you’ll feel it’s effects in the months to come😉



TNNA Columbus Videos + More

What can I say that hasn’t already been said all over the Interweb? I was Tweeting our trip, you can catch up at our Twitter page. It was a whirlwind! It was my second time attending the The National Needle Arts trade show and I felt a lot more comfortable with my new perch. The new collection was really well-received and I was thrilled to see my first design sent down a runway (Locus from the Booklet #289 Lustra). With all the excitement surrounding supersoft Blackstone Tweed™ and the mega-affordable Vintage™, I feel like Lustra™ is getting lost in the shuffle! I’m designing with it now and it’s gorgeous–so shiny and the colors are soOoooOoo pretty. It’s hard to pick a favorite!! That said, I’m knitting with the deep violet blue Provence =)

It is always inspiring to be around so many knitting greats, but the highlight of this show for me was catching up with the younger ‘new guard’ knitters, too many to list here but you know who they are! It’s staggering to look around and see all the bloggers I’ve read for years working for yarn companies, publishing books, going on book tours, building websites and generally kicking butt in the yarn world. And oh yes, having a mess of fun while doing it…Casey from Ravelry suggested that Ysolda and I have a knitwear model walk-off, a la Zoolander (I can only find this Lego version on YouTube)…madness ensued in the lobby of our hotel, with an audience of knitting stars that quickly became our paparazzi.

Watch the Great Model-Off of 2009, graciously shot and compiled by the lovely Laura Chau.


Ysolda and I did our best to recreate all of the most notorious cliches of the knitting fashion world, including one of our favorite tricks, putting on a sweater upside down (a la Violette-de-Luc and Linear)! This usually happens by accident when a stylist misunderstands a garment but with Norah Gaughan sweaters it is often pretty uncanny, they look amazing and completely new! In the videos below you’ll get to see Potter from Norah Gaughan vol. 5 upside down and it looks fantastic. I’ll admit, I was pretty neutral about this sweater before, mostly because it wasn’t very Norah-y. After wearing it all night and noticing the details (perfect collar, cool sleeves, ability to look good when worn “incorrectly…”) I’m sold! And you have to love Mimosa, an energetic new shade of Pure Merino.

Mary-Heather from Ravelry captured Norah jumping to my aid and Jessica from Seattle’s Fiber Gallery captured the SCREAMS of laughter. I’ve uploaded a gallery on Flickr with some iPhone snapshots…not great quality, but hopefully they’ll make one thing clear: Berroco <3s Columbus!


Berroco Design Team at Large, part deux

Norah, Warren and I headed West to attend The National Needlearts Association trade show in San Diego, CA. I’m used to trade shows being in sort of isolated areas but the location here was fabulous. It was breezy and sunny the whole time we were there and we enjoyed some distinctly California moments. Here are some highlights: 

It was so much fun to catch up with everyone, especially our fellow East Coasters (Mary-Heather is an honorary East Coast girl) the Ravelry gang! Casey was a little shaky as he took this picture and when Jess banned him from any more coffee I just about lost it. Speaking of caffeine, how cool is this new mug?! The whole design team is coffee powered so we just love this mug. 

Speaking of design, I have to get to work…on Fall 2009!! Can you believe??



UPDATE: Just noticed a free pattern for Green Squirrelgorgeous cabled hat (Ravelry link) designed by Katy Wight, a Western Massachusetts based designer who loves Ultra Alpaca. Looks like an excellent man hat, and it only takes one skein of Ultra Alpaca!

and…..oh, oh, oh

How could I not mention this FIRST?!!!!! I am honored to be seen knitting on the Yarn Harlot’s sock.:)


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