March 2004

Trends, a report from TNNA by Darla Fanton

Spring was in the air on January 30 as members of the The National NeedleArts Association came together at the Long Beach, CA Convention Center to preview the fashion trends and yarns for Spring/Summer 2004. TNNA, is a national trade organization comprised of professional designers, manufacturers, publishers, and retailers. It produces four shows a year. These shows are not open to public and are for members only. Our faculty member, Darla Fanton, attended the show and has filed the following report.

As is customary, the Trade Show kicked off Friday evening with a Fashion Show. This fast paced show featured designs that ranged from boldly striped tops and scarves, to "fur" trimmed ponchos; from a sexy tank dress to a Chanel-inspired jacket in boucle; from gorgeous shawls to Eastern inspired Kimono jackets; from classic cardigans to a sleeveless top with "suede" fringe trimming the yoke. There truly was something for every taste. Ten garments celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Crochet Guild of America stole the show, with the free-form crochet garments eliciting gasps of admiration from the audience.

Texture abounds in the yarns for Spring: eyelash yarns (both long and short), railroad track ribbon, touches of metallic threads, mohair, and furry yarns are just some of the textures that are still with us. A new texture is suede. A yarn by the same name from Berroco looks and feels just like narrow strips of suede.

When it comes to color, trends in the textured yarns are toward the bright side and range from blues and purples to citrus colors. Traditional yarns are more conservative in color with warm neutrals and soft muted shades. And last but certainly not least are the beautiful hand-painted yarns that blend gorgeous colors for true one-of-a-kind garments. There are so many gorgeous yarns available today, that I for one can't wait to get started on my next project!

How to choose fiber
Part III - Cotton

As promised, each month we talk about one type of fiber. This month we are going to talk about Cotton.
Cotton, a wonderful natural fiber derived from a plant, is a comfortable and soft fiber that breathes very well. It keeps the skin cool, so it is perfect for hot summer days. It can retain 25-27 times its weight in water and it is stronger wet than dry. As a result, it absorbs perspiration and creates the breathing effect. Because of its absorbency properties, cotton takes color very well. It is the most used fiber in garment industry.

The earliest evidence of cotton fabric is from 3000 B.C. India. Cultivating cotton then spread to China, South Pacific and Egypt. Although excavations prove the ancient use of cotton fabric in South America, planting cotton in North America started only in the 16th century by the immigrants in the southern areas. Today, cotton is cultivated in 80 countries around the world.

Cotton wrinkles and shrinks when washed. Because it can take high heat without yellowing, ironing can take care of wrinkles. To improve its properties, in recent years polyester has been added to it. While the resulting fabric is more washable, to some degree, polyester has taken away the cooling property of cotton. Now a days permanent finishes has improved cotton's wash and wear property. Another technique applied to cotton is mercerization. Through this chemical procedure, cotton gains a permanent lustrous appearance and becomes stronger. Many crochet threads and hand knitting yarns are processed this way. A close comparison will show the difference in luster and strength.

Coming up next month, we will talk about other natural fibers such as linen, hemp and ramie.

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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