Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Baltimore market, 2012

The National Needlearts Association (TNNA) is a professional organization comprised of members in the needlepoint, knitting and cross-stitch industries, both retail and wholesale.  It sponsors two major shows each year, one in January/February and the other in June.  Years ago both were held in New York City.  As labor costs rose there (and since many of the retailers are women from smaller towns, fear about the city), the industry decided to hold its markets elsewhere in the country.  California was a relatively inexpensive and non-threatening venue for the winter west-coast market.  To accommodate East Coasters, and perhaps because the managing company was in Columbus, a summer market was developed in the mid-west (It used to be in Chicago).  A primarily cross-stitch cash-and-carry market developed in March in Nashville.  Several side cash-and-carry needlepoint markets developed, among them a market in March/April in Dallas; a market in May in  Sturebridge Village, MA; and a market in the Northwest in the spring.  A more universal cash-and-carry market was developed in Phoenix.  The TNNA took this over in approximately 2008.  They moved it to St Charles, MO in 2009 and held it there for another year and then moved it to Linthicum, MD next-door to the BWI airport where it was held for 2011 and 2012 and perhaps 2013, location to be named later. 

Please understand that the two major markets are where new designs are premiered.  They are where the designers aim their primary emphasis.  The other markets are all secondary and the fall cash-and-carry is known as the market where the designers bring their overstocks or mispaintings to sell at reduced prices.  They also have regularly priced merchandise, but the main object is lowering inventory before the end of the tax year since there are no more markets. Quite sensible business practice.   But that is also why there has been relatively little on blogs about canvases at the market. 
As I was exiting the luggage claim area of BWI, I passed this mural (this is only a part of it):
 I'd love to know more about it because it appears to be Oriental in derivation.  I don't know why it's in Baltimore, but it is quite attractive and appealing.
When I go to cash-and-carry markets, I pack in my suitcase a broken-down  cardboard box.  I've been doing this for years before the airlines started charging for checking suitcases.  I usually ship my box of price lists and some canvases home.   I can only imagine what the TSA people think when they see this cardboard box taped (so the flaps don't take up too much space) in my suitcase on the way to a market.  I also pack a roll of package tape.  This time I used the package tape to secure the rolls of larger canvases that I packed in plastic in my suitcase which I checked.  I used the box for price lists and the smaller canvases and other items I had purchased (I'll photograph them next week after they arrive). 

Here are some of the canvases I purchased in Baltimore.  The first few are from Melissa Shirley.


This is a wonderful jar with peach motif on 18 mesh.

This is a conch shell canvas that is larger than usual--approximately 16x16.  It will really make a statement as a large pillow on a couch.  I also purchased a companion shell the same size.

This pillow is an Elizabeth Turner design.  It's a nice blend of floral with contemporary.

Another Elizabeth Turner design is this flip-flop design on 10mesh canvas:

And, finally, a stocking design from Strictly Christmas.

I also picked up some more of Associated Talents' spiders.  I wrapped my night shirt around them so the legs wouldn't get bent and packed them in my suitcase.  The pumpkin face is what I stitched while I watched Serena win the US Open on Sunday  and while I waited at the airport Monday a.m. 
I'll have to show my stitched version on Saturday.  Seems when I was editing my photographs I went brain dead and deleted the photos of the stitched pumpkin.  Duh!  I guess all jack 'o lanterns look alike to me.
I've been studying the AT stitched model to see how to put this together.  I'll try to have mine done for a photograph on Saturday.  Here are the other canvases available.  The skulls seem to add a macabre touch.

Getting back to the market--there were more vendors than at last year's show, but slightly fewer buyers (shops).  However, everyone seemed pleased with their purchases or sales.  No announcement was made about where next year's show would be, but the general feeling was that it would be in the same location. The hotel restaurant did a great job with their crab dishes (crab and macaroni and cheese and a baseball sized crab cake with NO filler).  I had both twice.  My only regret is that I didn't seek out a crab feast where you crack open the crabs--I'm originally from Maryland and that's my favorite way to eat crabs. Yum!  Maybe I'll do that next year.  

Of course, my trip home was an adventure.  The auxiliary power on the plane was on the blink so it wouldn't start the engines.  The plane was too large for the small ("they" said) generators to start the engines, so we had to wait for a larger generator to arrive from United Airlines  before we could take off one hour late.  Delta had re-written my ticket after I booked it whereby I only had 55 minutes in Atlanta.  Silly!  So naturally my plane home had taken off as I was landing.  Philosophically, I went to the gate for the next flight to Melbourne and the kindly man put me in first class.  I later discovered that the flight was full, so I was especially lucky.  I used the 4 hours waiting to start stitching on my next canvas which I'll show you next week.


  1. Welcome home, Mary Agnes--thanks for the overview! Didn't know designers actually sold mispainted canvases at a discount. I trash mine.

  2. Anne, some mispaints are subtle while others are screamingly obvious. Also, you do your own painting, unlike many who utilize offshore painters so there is more opportunity for a color change, etc. Also, I neglected to mention that some sale canvases are merely shopworn from being in multiple trunk shows. Mary Agnes