A few weeks ago we (Antonio and I) went to Handarbeit, a trade show in Cologne, Germany, similar to the TNNA trade shows in the US.
The first thing we encountered when we got in was a knitted car cover!
Not really pretty but funny!
The booths were big (some were huge by TNNA standards) and most of them displayed the yarn mainly (and some only) with garments. They really showed that Handarbeit was more a fashion show than a trade show.
This is Coats, one of Europe’s main yarn distributor, a huge booth,
This is another view of the same booth and one of the show’s several rest area, very fashionable!
The part to the left of the booth is a huge “private room” were they received customers and took orders.
Many booths had refreshment bars, were they served food and beverages. Some had fashion shows and a stage inside the booths. The main fashion show had 9 models on stage that performed an act for each company. This show was repeated each 2 hours.
A Fashion show inside a booth
The main fashion show on stage.
There were several performances like this, each for a different company displaying the company yarns.
This is the Lana Grossa act:
For what we saw at the show, handpainted yarns are not very popular in Europe right now, it is very difficult for a small company to enter the market, because most if the distribution is handled by big companies. So many of the small companies yarn sold in the US and Canada are very hard to find in Europe.
We also went to visit two yarn shops in the city, Maschenkunst and one right beside the opera house.
Maschenkunst (owned by Daniela Johannsenova) carries Malabrigo and it was the only store similar to the North American yarn shops we saw in our European trip. They sit there and knit and talk (in German so we did not understand a thing!) but we felt like home the moment we went in.
She told us there was another shop close to the Cathedral so there we went and it was our first experience with a truly European shop. They had no place to sit, most things were over the counter, and the yarns they had were mainly European or distributed by big companies. The woman was very friendly but she did not speak English, (nor French nor Spanish by the way) so we visited the store and off we went.
We were told that most European stores (at least the continental ones) are like this, and for our experience in Paris it seems that it’s true.