Stitches West (by Light Rail)

It’s been three years since I went to Stitches West; the last time was in 2015. In that adventure, I took 2 classes, had lunch with friends, and still did major financial investing in my fiber future. Wow!

This year, after a 2-year hiatus living in Fresno, I had the opportunity to do Stitches West as a true local – I got there by the VTA Light Rail this time. I literally live about 3 blocks from a station on the right line, and the VTA drops you off across the street from the main entrance to the convention center. It took about 45 minutes, but that’s time spent gazing in the distance and strategizing for the marketplace.

Yes, this year I didn’t take any classes, partly because lot’s of thing had been filled, but also because I feel like I want to live out trying some of the techniques I’ve learned in the past. Even though I arrived an hour after the marketplace had opened, there was still a hefty line to get the 1/2 price tickets with coupons, but it moved quickly and it was fun to chat with those next to me. One woman was attending her first Stitches ever, so I tried to give her first-timer advice.

It reminded me that my first Stitches was over 20 years ago while I was in seminary, and the event was at the Oakland Convention Center. Since then, I’ve attended a number of them, in the past decade it’s been like every 2-4 years, mostly because there are now other yarn events that I’ve gotten to attend, like Vogue Knitting Live and the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck).

Just before entering, I spied members of my old knitting group – they had already gone through the marketplace and were heading to lunch already. They looked great!

Having taken a couple of years off, it’s always interesting to note the changes in the marketplace. Yarn Barn from Kansas is now MIA, the WEBS booth is a fraction of its former size, and Knit Picks had a booth with their higher-end yarns. But there were some new to me vendors, and a lot of familiar faces.

One essential stop was at Miss Babs, where I got some Yummy 2-ply – a full skein in a charcoal color, and some mini-skeins:

And I found some organic cotton in a gender-neutral color way for a future baby sweater:

My good spindle dealer vendor Ken at KCL Woods had a new set of spindles could not be ignored:

and my purchases were complete with some odds and ends – a couple of shawl pins that I wear with my open cardigans, a small travel LoLo bar in lavender, some stitch markers for a friend who couldn’t come, and a deal on highlighter tape.

A final humorous note about my return trip on VTA. I sprang out of my seat at my stop, went just onto the platform when I realized I forgot the bag holding my purchases. Fortunately there was time to rush back to my seat and get them out before the doors closed!

Coming soon: What did I do (or not) with those 2015 Stitches purchases. I’ll review the photo, talk about the projects finished and frogged, and about repurposing.


Baby Baby

It’s an exciting time at Casa del Revknits – there’s a baby on the way! Obviously, as a knitter this is an exciting time.

I got to the stage of “I must favorite all the cute baby patterns on Ravelry” fairly quickly, and then realized, this new member of the family will be around for hopefully a very long time. So, pacing the knitting is in order.

One thing that is quite helpful to new parents are baby blankets – because you need multiples. You need one at home, another for the car, etc.  I looked in Ravelry at a few patterns: this, this, and this. Aren’t they all cute? The one that captured my attention, and would end up being the one knitted is this: Op Art Baby Blanket.

A lot of knitters have made this, and they are wonderful, check them out here. I did get inspired by the rainbow-colored ones with black contrast, because I don’t know the baby’s gender, but I do know that inclusive thinking is high with this couple. I did a test swatch and sent the photo to the mom-to-be to make sure she was ok with all this color:

It was also appropriately kitty inspected as it was knit:

I’m really happy with the result:

This is somewhere between the small and large size – but it is pretty big! You can check out the colors and amounts that I used here on my Ravelry project page.

Once the blanket was finished, I wanted to knit all the baby things, but remember, it’s about the pacing. So I decided to go the opposite of the very big knit and make very small things: a newborn hat and booties set:

The hat is a free one, pom-pom added! It’s out of two colors of Koigu PKKK, labels lost to history, alternating every two rows. It’s a clever design, because with the large brim folded as in the photo, it’s perfect for a newborn, but you can unfold it over time and it will stretch up to 16 inches, the size of a toddler’s head!

The booties are the Churchmouse Yarns and Teas Stay-on Baby Booties – I really like this pattern because you can make them out of different weights of yarn.

I’ve made others  before:

and they always look cute!

So, these were delivered yesterday at the baby shower, and they were appreciated by the couple. Now to hold off until the baby needs more things…or not.