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The Inside Story

When you think of Nashville, Tenn., the first thing you might think of is country music or the Grand Ole Opry. Not so if you're in the cross-stitch business. To people in the needlework industry Nashville means one thing: the spring Nashville Needlework Market.

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The spring Nashville Needlwork Market was held March 3-5, 2017, at the Embassy Suites in Franklin, Tenn., just outside of Nashville. In the floors above the lobby, vendors presented new products to owners of needlework stores from across the U.S. and Canada.

The trade magazine Needlework Retailer hosts this wholesale trade show each year. More than 130 needlework-related companies exhibit products and showcase new items during the first weekend of March.

The show is not open to consumers, so I was psyched to be able to attend along with retail store owners and operators.

The market is held at a hotel, but not in a banquet hall as you might expect. Each exhibitor shows products in the "living room" area of his or her suite.

Some vendors seemed to re-create their stores with products arranged just-so. Others were more casual; it was like going to a friend's house who happened to have some cool stuff lying around to show you.

Four of the nine floors of the Embassy Suites hotel in the Nashville suburb of Franklin, Tenn., were dedicated to needlework-related vendors. At all hours, shop owners were getting on and off elevators hauling samples in bags, boxes and buggies.

It was impossible to visit every room during the three-day event, but I gave it my best effort. I have a year's worth of product information that I plan to share with readers of this update and of Just CrossStitch magazine.

Since I can't tell you about everything at once, I'll start with one of those items that made me wonder, "Who woulda thought?" After all these years, there's a new way to handle your floss.

The product is Sticktwist Madeira embroidery floss from & More. The cool thing about this 100 percent cotton floss is the "delivery system."

The floss isn't in a skein or a spool; it is in a plastic packet that you clip ever so slightly at the bottom. After you snip the plastic in the center, you can gently pull the thread out to the length you want.

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The unique packaging of Madeira Sticktwist floss allows the thread to pass through a small incision at the bottom, keeping it neat and ready to stitch.

This is six-strand floss, and when you separate it, you'll be surprised at the texture, which is more like silk than cotton.

I like the packaging because the unused floss remains in the packet; you pull out just enough floss for your immediate needs. This has three advantages that I see (let me know if you find more to like!):

  1. The floss doesn't get tangled as floss tends to do when you pull it from a skein.
  2. There's no need to wind the floss around a bobbin, which I have learned to hate because the floss can get creased when it stays on a bobbin for a long time. (Don't you hate getting bumps in your stitches from floss that's been bent over a bobbin card? I have learned to iron my floss if it's been stored on a card.)
  3. You don't have to label the floss because it stays in its package with the color and dye lot number on the front.

This is just one of the new items from & More that I will tell you about in subsequent updates. And this is just one vendor that I visited!

If you think that there's nothing new in cross stitch, I challenge you to visit your local needlework store and ask about new products. Even if your shop owner didn't attend the Nashville show, he or she will have access to wholesalers who might not advertise directly to consumers.

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