TNNA Blog

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#MakerSpotlight: Dockside Knits   By: TNNA Editor New year, new #MakerSpotlight! Maker Karen Bourquin is a boater that loves all things water. According to her website, “Dockside landings are always at the beginning and conclusion of our wandering adventures.” Read on to learn more about our January maker. Tell us what makes your business unique. I love to design things that I would love to wear, using yarns from ethical and sustainable sources, that provide adventurous details to enable the knitter to achieve a successful and wearable knitted garment or accessory. Share a “fun fact” about you or your products. I am so lucky to live on Vancouver ...
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Making the Most of Your Advertising Budget By: Laura Cameron for Stitchcraft Marketing Editors' Note: A version of this post was originally published to Stitchcraft Marketing's website on January 19, 2016. They've updated it to make it more relevant to TNNA readers and your businesses in 2020 and beyond! Successful advertising is crucial to growing your customer base and, in turn, your craft business. With scarce resources and a plethora of advertising opportunities, knowing how to spend your advertising budget to get the best possible return on investment (ROI) is key. Here are our top tips to help you decide where to place ads, how to determine ...
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How to Get the Most Out of Your Time at Creativation By: Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender Creativation is almost here! The question is: Are you ready to go? Each year we ask successful retailers to share what they do to make each trade show trip profitable. Here are some of their top secrets of success and things to think about before you leave for Phoenix: 1. Pre-Plan Your Time The goal here is to get more out of the show, but before you leave home, you need to do some pre-show homework. Take a close look at your product sales histories. Which merchandise is selling, and which product is just lying around gathering dust? Make a list ...
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LYS and Local Gardens Collaborate on an Art Project That’s Literally ‘Da Bomb’ By: TNNA Editor Looking for a cool new way to promote your local yarn store, or LYS, and highlight a community space plus local artists? Yarn bombing might be your next great idea! We sat down with Penny Franz, of Ewe Count in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to learn more about the LYS’s recent collaboration with the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. TNNA: According to local news coverage , the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens approached you and your store about using yarn art as a way to highlight its expansive grounds. The report also details that the process began in January and completed ...
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Fashion Report: Winter 2019 NeedleArts Trends 'Extravagance' is the Word By Heather Zoppetti It’s cold. Although winter hasn’t officially started quite yet, we are in full "winter mode" here in the Mid-Atlantic region. We’ve had our first snow and the holiday season is upon us. Our sweaters are out, our mittens are on and our hot chocolate is steamy. Bring on the holiday knitting! The 2020 Pantone Color of the Year has been announced: Classic Blue. This calming color is sure to bring peace of mind and a relaxing feel to any wardrobe or home. You’ll see it in everything from fashion to furnishings to yarn. It’s reminiscent of classic blue jeans, ...
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Don Lynch on Needlepoint and Not Taking His Business 'Too Seriously' By: TNNA Editor Are you curious to learn more about your elected leaders from TNNA? So were we! As we close this year and look to begin a new one, we're kicking off a series that dives into the careers and experiences of your TNNA Board of Directors. First up: Immediate Past President Don Lynch of Associated Talents, Inc. Read on to learn more about Don's needlearts journey. TNNA: Share a bit about your business and how you got started. Don Lynch (DL): I own Associated Talents, Inc. and Two Sisters Needlepoint . Both are wholesale, hand-painted needlepoint companies. ...
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#NeedleStoresoftheWorld: Serial Knitters Yarn Shop By: TNNA Editor 'Tis the season of shopping ... and we hope you're shopping locally! If you'll be in the state of Washington this month, check out our December #NeedleStoresoftheWorld feature: Serial Knitters Yarn Shop in Kirkland. Describe what Serial Knitters Yarn Shop does best. Serial Knitters Yarn Shop is a community-based yarn shop that specializes in local and popular hand-dyed yarn, including its very own DyeHouse Yarns . The store also carries a fabulous selection of name-brand yarn, needles, hooks, patterns, books, needlefelting, weaving, spinning supplies, bags, notions and accessories. ...
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Giving Back: Crafting for Charity By: Stitchcraft Marketing As the holidays approach, we spend time thinking about how grateful we are for the blessings in our lives. Our attention also turns to those less fortunate than us. As crafters, it’s natural to want to give back via something warm and cozy that we’ve created. Today, we’ve rounded up some wonderful causes accepting handcrafted donations if you’re so inclined! Warm Up America Warm Up America was founded in 1992 as a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to motivate, train and coordinate volunteers to knit and crochet afghans and clothing for those in need. Warm Up America serves as a collection point ...
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#MakerSpotlight: The Chilly Dog   By: TNNA Editor This December brings the gift of a new #MakerSpotlight! Today, we’re highlighting The Chilly Dog.  According to her website, Ellen Thomas is an independent pattern designer with a background in engineering and nearly three decades of knitting experience! Read more on Ellen and her mission to provide knit-worthy patterns, instructional resources and creative inspirations. Tell us what makes your business unique. I am a knit designer that also loves to teach. It was logical for me to combine those two skills because I'm deeply disheartened when I hear a knitter say they really like a particular pattern ...
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'Swatched': A Knit and Crochet Docu-series By: Hillary Nussbaum, Co-founder of Cereal Made Meghan Jones, the knit designer behind Little NutMeg Productions , had always wondered why a makers series focused on knit and crochet designers did not exist. As she describes it, “the process of knit and crochet design is a complex mix of artistry and technicality — the designers who make patterns have to be versatile and find the perfect mix of a beautiful knitted item with an excellently workable pattern.” Every designer has different influences and inspirations, a different process for bringing their ideas to life. To Meghan, documentaries that offer ...
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#NeedleStoresoftheWorld: Mosaic Yarn Studio By: TNNA Editor This month we're thankful for ... local stores! On top of excitement for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we are excited to bring you the November #NeedleStoresoftheWorld highlight. From TNNA's HQ state, meet  Mosaic Yarn Studio in Mount Prospect, Illinois. Describe what Mosaic Yarn Studio does best. With a focus on instruction, the studio's goal is to become a celebrated, fiber arts design school. The Mosaic Yarn Studio team knows that excelling at customer service and instruction is the key. What makes Mosaic Yarn Studio unique? Mosaic Yarn Studio specializes in instruction in ...
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Think Big, Shop Small By: TNNA Editor Saturday, November 30 marks the 10th Annual Small Business Saturday  event from American Express ® . If you’ve never participated, now’s the time! Save the date and celebrate the small businesses in your area ... or make sure your business welcomes new and old customers in a unique way. Shop Small ® is designed to help local retailers flourish amid the major deals from large chains. Every time a customer makes the decision to purchase from a local store, including local yarn stores (LYS), they make the choice to be part of making a big impact for small businesses everywhere. According to American Express, “For ...
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Your 10 Penny Challenge – The Power of Positive Feedback By: Claudia St. John, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, President Affinity HR Group A couple of months ago, I got a call from a client who was clearly frustrated. Over the previous year, he had restructured his customer service team, put in place a new reporting structure, rolled out a new set of performance goals and implemented a new financial incentive plan. He also gave each customer service representative (CSR) an additional dollar per hour to incent the behaviors and outcomes he was hoping his new structure would achieve. Nine months into the new plan, his team was not achieving their performance goals, ...
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Remember the Distaff

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Remember the Distaff By: Robin Goatey New for 2020, my festival class “Remember the Distaff” will focus on the ancient distaff tool, which has been used in spinning in its myriad forms. The class will be offered at most Midwestern fiber festivals. As a fiber tool maker, research is always underway in various publications for unusual or forgotten “fiber tools” that have been used in spinning and weaving. Sources include anthropology journals, archaeology publications, Smithsonian ethnographic reports from the 1800s and online resources through the British Museum. Among the interesting fiber tool forms that have been forgotten is the distaff. If ...
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Exclusive Excerpt: 'The Knit Vibe' by Vickie Howell By: TNNA Editor Dubbed "A Knitter’s Guide to Creativity, Community, and Well-being for the Mind, Body & Soul," this new book from member Vickie Howell poses the question: What if we look at our lives through the lens of the conduit that streams our creativity? We are thrilled to offer an excerpt from The Knit Vibe  below. Plus, continue reading for a special TNNA members-only giveaway! Excerpt: GO-TO CHUNKY COWL MATERIALS 1 hank Malabrigo Rasta (100% hand-dyed merino wool; 90 yd/150 g): Frank Ochre Size U.S. 13/9 mm, 24" circular needle Stitch marker SIZE:  One Size FINISHED MEASUREMENTS: ...
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  How Voice Search is Impacting Creative Businesses By: Stitchcraft Marketing Voice search has been around for more than a decade, ever since Google launched it as a feature of its search engine in 2002. Since then, it has quickly become a hot trend in marketing. Simple, informational queries can transform into commercial opportunities if your business has adapted itself to this new promotional field. What Is Voice Search? Voice search is using your voice and words to request assistance from a digital virtual assistant. Voice search had its humble beginnings in assistive technologies like speech-to-text, which was primarily used to help differently ...
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#MakerSpotlight: Stolen Stitches By: TNNA Editor This month we’re heading to Cork, Ireland to highlight Stolen Stitches ! Maker Carol Feller is a structural engineer… turned knitwear designer and teacher. (Wow!) While she spent her adolescent years knitting in primary school, her family also has a strong history of crafting. Her mother sewed many of her clothes, her grandmother was an expert knitter and her aunt ran a knitting shop in Dublin. Carol has been widely published in books and magazines, and travels the world teaching in yarn stores and at fiber festivals. She does it all! Read to learn more about Carol and her craft. Tell us what makes ...
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Becoming the Ultimate Creative Industries Event By: TNNA Editor Creative industries, no matter what subset, have always thrived on inspiration from within the industry and the goal to achieve something beyond the norm – more sustainable, richer color, distinctive designs, etc. This winter, TNNA has the unique opportunity to expand our reach beyond what we know, and focus on what we could discover. TNNA is partnering with The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) as part the ultimate creative industries event in Phoenix this January: Creativation 2020 . What can you expect at Creativation 2020? To avoid sensory overload, let’s start with ...
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Meet the 2020 Local Yarn Store Day Contest Judges By TNNA Editor Our judges are hard at work determining the first-ever Local Yarn Store Day Design Contest winner! In the meantime, we thought it’d be fun to share a bit about each of this year’s judges with you. Charlene Anderson with The Anderson Group, LLC Charlene grew up in Hemet, California, on a Thoroughbred horse ranch. She then lived in Hawaii (at sea level) for 20 years before moving to Jackson Hole, Wyoming (6,237 feet above sea level, oxygen tank optional), where she currently lives and works. In addition to running her own e-commerce business, Charlene is an accomplished jewelry and ...
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  Navigating the Changing Landscape of Influencer Marketing By Leanne Pressley If your business is active on Instagram ( click here for information on how to best utilize Instagram for business), then it is likely you have witnessed the rise of “the influencer” in recent years. These popular users have flooded social media feeds, especially Instagram. As an example, the most recognizable influencers are any one of the Kardashian family members. Influencers have become a robust marketing tool for small and large businesses, providing an “authentic” voice that can speak directly to a product’s key demographic. An influencer’s strength resides ...
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