Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day 23: Choosing Yarn for Afghans

Plymouth Encore for
Jen and Ivo's Wedding Quilt
In January 2013, I suddenly had to source yarn for TEN afghans before I could even start working on samples for the book. I quickly made plans to attend my first TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) Trade Show. The show just happened to be in Long Beach that year, near where I used to live so I could stay with friends.

That first trade show was just a little overwhelming, meeting designers, podcasters, and editors I had been following online since I started designing. Some I'd even emailed with, but never met in person. Not to mention so many different yarns I seldom knew where to focus my eyes.

Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece
for A World Too Wide
One of the podcasters I got to meet that weekend was the awesome Mary Beth Temple. Although she was no longer recording her Getting Loopy podcast, I had listened and re-listened to every archived episode, which are still available on Blog Talk Radio. In her podcasts she often spoke about the projects she was working on. When she was writing her book DIY Design It Yourself Afghans, she talked about balancing projects that use higher end yarns found in LYSs with the less expensive yarns found in the 'big box stores'.

A crocheter may pass on a project that uses a yarn they cannot find or simply cannot afford. When it comes to large projects like afghans, you are going to need a LOT of yarn, so cost will certainly be a factor. So I was keeping this in mind as I perused the many MANY booths of yarn on the show floor at TNNA.

On the final night of TNNA, I ended up joining Mary Beth and her friends for dinner. It was so fun getting to hang out with all of these experienced designers and learning more about the business and life of a designer. At the end of the evening, Mary Beth offered to help me figure out which other yarn companies I should talk to who carried reasonably priced, washable yarns that would work for my book.

With her suggestions, I was able to make a strategic plan for the last day of the show and made contact with numerous yarn companies who I might not otherwise have approached. After I got home, I had to request lots of yarn sample cards. I also visited my local big box stores snapping pictures of yarns I wanted to try to balance out the ones I found at TNNA.

Lion Brand Baby's First for Shines So Bright


  1. I'm sure it was wonderful to meet Mary Beth Temple! So inspiring.

  2. Awwwww thanks for the shout out! See you in New Hampshire?

    1. Yep. Choosing yarn for a whole book was a daunting task, made much easier with your help. Looking forward to your Independent Pattern Publishing class at the Knit and Crochet Show. :)