[Note: something weird is going on with the spacing. Weebly is acting strange today; I tried to fix, but can't. Apologies!] I wonder if I could pull off a dress like this? Perhaps once the last few pounds of dreaded baby weight are gone! Seriously, Iwas so in love with all of the button displays at this year’s CHA. This one isfrom Jesse James Beads. JHB had some lovely displays, too, including their new line of Vintage Chic and stacked buttons. Oh, I also got to meet Suede, of Project Runway fame. He was hanging out at the Simplicity booth,talking about his new line of “Suede says” patterns he’s doing for them. Igrabbed one of the cute skirt patterns in the collection. Each pattern hasoptions for making the piece “flirty,” “edgy,” or “classic.” Suede said thathe’d be happy to do a Q&A with me, so look for that in the coming months!In the meantime, I’m going to try to figure out which description fits me. Ithink Suede needs a 4th category: “postpartum.”
When I came back from lunch on Saturday, I enteredthrough the door right next to the Kunin Group’s booth. I was immediately drawnto the amazing felt creations, like the pillows above. What was this stuff, I wondered? Must be wool felt, I thought.
Wool felt? Think again. It's your oldest friend, polyester, but it's never looked better!
It turns out, all of these lovely lovelies were madewith that basic craft felt that you find in Jo-Ann’s! I don’t know about you,but I’ve always sort of looked down on craft felt as cheap and polyester andsuitable mostly for kids’ art projects. But their display is definitely makingme take a second look. Plus, their Eco-Fi felt is nowmade from recycled plastic bottles. Yes, it’s still polyester, but they tookthe trouble to get UL certification, meaning that their products contain aminimum of 95 percent post-consumer recycled content. As George Stellmach, thenational sales and marketing manager told me, the bottles are just going to gointo a landfill—why not use them. Good point.
Wool felt is lovely—no one can deny that. And all thebetter if you are felting it yourself, using old wool sweaters. But thepolyester felt is a pretty good alternative, especially if you’re on a budget.
I think that about wraps up my CHA coverage. I'm still working on my post about why I've decided technology is a good thing, and I need to quit being such a scaredy-pants about it.
I’m still sifting through my notes and pictures, but I do have a few observations from the CHA show (which actually is still going on; I believe today is the last day).
So first, it dawned on me that crafting is a honkin’ big industry. I’ve reported on the industry, but haven’t really had the chance to witness the industry at work. I know it’s been hard hit (CHA veterans told me this year still looked small than years past, but better than last year). I’m so happy that people want to make things and want to spend tons of money doing it. Yes, it creates waste. Yes, it’s another form of consumerism. But nonetheless, I love to see that drive to create in action.
Secondly—and this is what I’m most excited about—retro is huge. HUGE. I’d like to think that I invented this trend. It’s my blog, so I can say that I did. But regardless of who got the ball rolling, it is rolling and rolling fast! I saw countless retro-themed booths, from yarn to scrapbooking. My absolute favorite display was this Melissa Frances booth.
I want this pink stove for my house! And the apron too!
another Melissa Frances display
I also liked the retro goods at October Afternoon (somehow I forgot to take a picture, but luckily, they’ve got images on their blog, here). A sales rep told me they were in the process of doing fabric, so that’s something to keep an eye on!
There were great booths from yarn manufacturers too. Red Heart Yarns was celebrating its 75th anniversary, and had a lovely birthday tent, complete with great retro ephemera, and a dress made from a retro pattern. Their knitted cakes were luscious, too.
Inside the Red Heart birthday tent. I vaguely recall my sister having a look like this circa 1979. Love it!
seriously, can I eat this?
Lion Brand Yarn had an amazing display too, with beautiful graphic shapes wrapped in yarn, along with colorful furniture. I got the chance to talk to their creative director, and she talked about the new trend of yarn wrapping—using yarn as an art form. I’m pretty intrigued by this, even though I’m not much a knitter (though I did have a chance to brush up on my knitting skills, thanks to fellow Craftside author Elanor Lynn, who contributed to Modern Knits, Vintage Style, and was doing demos in the Craftside booth).The Caron booth provided some lovely fashionable eye candy as well. Ooh, and I loved the DMC sweet shop display! From fabric to yarn to felt to floss, companies have finally realized the awesome marketing potential of linking their product with something sweet. Even if we can’t actually eat the product, the visual is so strong that it draws us in. Pretty genius actually.
That’s all for now. I still want to write about my new-found love for cheap craft felt (yes, really) and my crush on keynote speaker Nick Bilton, and the many lightbulbs that went off in my head as he was speaking.