I had a great time at Stitches West! I went with my mom on Thursday afternoon and we stayed on until Sunday afternoon, taking four classes in all and hitting the marketplace (and spending way too much $$) every single day. It was awesome!
The first day I had a great class with one of my sock design idols, Cookie A, who is just as wonderful in person as her designs are to knit. The class was about traveling stitches and I’m pretty sure that I now want to start my own sock design… let’s see if/when I accomplish this. Of course, I will keep you all posted if I do!
After the class, we headed over to the Student Market Day Preview and waited in a big line to get in!
I was all psyched to take pictures that day but I was told that there is no photography allowed??? What the hell? I was pretty pissed off, to tell the truth, but then I saw people taking pictures on Friday and decided to throw all caution to the wind and take pictures on Saturday and Sunday. Not sure if the no-pictures-allowed thing was only on Thursday for preview night, but if it’s for the whole time I think that’s pretty ridiculous, especially as there are no warnings or signs about this anywhere either at the show or online! But I digress, I was talking about preview night on Thursday! I actually headed straight for WEBS as I had heard a rumor that they’d have my newest love Madelinetosh Pashmina (rav link), but alas, the rumor was untrue and I was left with no yummy Pashmina to buy. Instead, I set my sights on some amazing Vintage in Moss as I had never tried the base before, and some gorgeous Lace in Turquoise, which is beautiful in person but I had never even paid attention to it when seeing it in pictures before!
Are those yummy or what? After that, I can’t believe that I actually showed some restraint, but I did, and I didn’t buy anything else! Instead, I just wandered around the marketplace with my mom taking in all the booths and doing the rounds. It was a nice day to get acquainted with the marketplace before it exploded into life the following day.
The marketplace had plenty of vendors to see and things to touch, but I must admit that after Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool this wasn’t nearly as impressive in terms of size and variety. However, that does not mean that it wasn’t awesome! It just seemed to me that Stitches is more concentrated on classes rather than the vendors whereas in Rhinebeck it was a bit of the opposite. And that’s not at all a bad thing, it’s just a different approach and I absolutely 100% enjoyed the classes and learning a bunch of new techniques, as well as going into the market for a bit of shopping, so I was very happy with my experience. If your main goal is shopping, though, I’d much more highly recommend Rhinebeck for completely and totally blowing a budget!
On Friday morning I had my second class, The Joy of Finishing with Christine Bylsma. I am a horrible seamer and couldn’t seam straight for the life of me, but after this class I am proud to say that I actually had an invisible seam to work with! Woohoo! Very happy with the class and the teacher, who was really great as well.
Afterward I did some more shopping and met up with some friends from Ravelry! Kristen from Knitting Kninja Designs and Sarah and Misha (limejuicy and MishaMonet on Rav) were so much fun to talk to and shop with! I had a great time meeting everyone and am so glad we took some time to do that. I don’t have any pictures of us meeting up as I still thought that no cameras were allowed. I’m a bit sad about that, but at least I got to meet all of them! While I was hanging out with Sarah and her friends (also on Rav!) and Kristen I heard my name being spoken over the announcements and if you can believe it, I actually won one of the door prizes! I couldn’t at all believe it, it was just incredible that I won anything at all with all the hundreds of people there! I got this Bump City Bag Kit:
I’m really not sure that I’ll make the pattern with this yarn and the yarn is for sure nothing I’d wear, so it will have to be made into a bag… I’m thinking definitely some sort of market bag. In either case, it will for certain be used, so yay for free yarn!
On Saturday my mom and I spent all day in class. It was also taught by Christine Bylsma from The Joy of Finishing and by the end of it we had the majority of a teddy bear vest done! It is an adorable vest but the class was very advanced, requiring a bunch of different skills. I learned a lot of new things like how to crochet a chain to look like knitting on top of your garment and, you might want to sit down for this, how to steek! That’s right, I actually got to cut through a knitted piece and I even survived to tell the tale! I only had my iPhone on me so no great pictures, but I couldn’t start cutting without documenting it for the blog, so here are the crappy pictures that I have of this incredible event!
Here is the tube that we will cut to make it into a vest:
And the steek that I am about to cut being pointed out. Notice that it has been reinforced at the edges by a crochet chain, so no need for a sewing machine – which is an important technique for me to learn as I don’t own a sewing machine!
Make sure you’re ready for the next picture, as it may make you a little woozy… the scissors are touching the yarn!
And the first snip! Ack!
Tada! All done! And nobody died, LOL!
I have to say that I totally enjoyed cutting through my knitting. I thought I would hate it, but I somehow found it so liberating!
The vest all cut up and ready for the finishing:
I didn’t finish it yet, but hope to have it done very soon! I will make sure to share with you all when it’s done as well as when I can actually buy a teddy bear to fit the vest. I think it will make for a very dapper teddy.
We didn’t get to the market until later that day but we spent some time at WEBS where I got some Rowan Soft Bamboo in a bag at a great discount (more than 60% off!) to make some summery tops for me. It is just beautiful shiny stuff, and I’m really glad that I was able to get some. My mom also was very generous and gave me these gorgeous stitch markers from Knitifacts as a gift! I think they look like Christmas ornaments, don’t you?
On Sunday we spent more time shopping and walking around before our last class for the convention. This is also the day I got the most pictures of the market (some of these were taken on Saturday afternoon):
I think these dolls are so cute!
This is the Becoming Art booth where I met Lisa, who is so sweet, and spent the longest time there on Friday debating on which yarns to buy!
I wound up taking home both a Twilight and a New Moon Light in the soft Cielo Fingering base:
My favorite booth to look at and touch (though I didn’t buy anything – very expensive!) was A Verb for Keeping Warm. Check out these gorgeous fiber trees:
The Leilani booth had baskets filled with yarns made of different fibers like banana (a very heavy fiber, btw)!
And the Slipped Stitch Studios booth where I spent a lot of my time.
From there I got a sweater-size project bag with a Day of the Dead theme:
Look, it has pockets inside!
And an adorable project bag with cute chickens and chicks:
Yes, that’s a chicken knitting a sock! I love it!
I also spent some time at Wabi Sabi Yarns meeting Lisa, who is just so nice and great to chat up with!
I got a skein of Bliss for a hat:
And one of Glow for a pair of socks:
And what could perhaps have been one of the best part of Stitches West? When Misha told me that there was indeed Madelinetosh Pashmina but it was at the Imagiknit booth instead! By the time I got there most of the colors were gone, but I still got some gorgeous colors! I’m thinking of putting two together for a two-color shawl:
The Imagiknit booth also had an amazing amount of Malabrigo… have you ever seen this much in person before?
The last class we took was on Estonian color work stitches, which was hard but taught me some amazing stitches as well – I can’t wait to incorporate them into some socks or gloves or hats! They are just beautiful stitches and totally worth the difficult time I had learning them! After that we were done (and I do mean done – mentally and physically) and headed back to my mom’s house. It was a wonderful weekend and although I increased my stash considerably, I showed great restraint compared to what I got at Rhinebeck before! But just look at all of the gorgeous that I get to knit with:
Some of the yarns in there that I didn’t mention above include Little Red Bicycle and Miss Babs, both very beautiful yarns and one in sweater quantities. I’m very excited to start on projects for all of these yarns! I’m not sure if I will be back to Stitches next year (or later this year in the East Coast), but if I do make it out to it, I know that a good time will be guaranteed.