Knitting Events

Stitches West Afterglow

I spent two nights and two days at Stitches this year.  It was a very good year!

My classes, as always, were quite good — I took one from Melissa Leapman, who I love as an instructor.  The class was Fully Fashioned and Fabulous, and focused on using fully-fashioned details in designing.  Great stuff.  On Saturday, I took a six-hour class with Lucy Neatby with a couple of friends.  It was good, not great (is that heresy to say about someone as fabulous as Lucy?).  I loved the techniques that she showed, that one can use on socks as well as other garments.  But I found the constant use of her DVDs in class meant that we were one level removed in the teaching, even though it makes it easy to see.  Part of the fun of taking a class is the interaction with the instructor.  I did learn some cool stuff though.

Hotel:  Hotel Sierra is a bit removed from the Convention Center, but it was lovely and quiet.  So nice to get a suite too, and be able to bring food to have at the center.  Great breakfast, and a heated pool and spa in winter.  On Friday evening, I was so exhausted that I went back to the hotel, skipping dinner with friends, and chilled out.  It was lovely.  My roommate came in and showed me her lovelies (including sock yarn from Miss Babs in totally my colorways, I’m surprised that she let me touch it).

The Market:  I’ve made a couple of decent purchases over the years.  A lovely kit from Cabin Fever for a baby sweater that has become my go-to pattern.  Ok, maybe only one great purchase.  I’ve had a lot of duds — yarn that I either used for cat blankies or is still in the stash.  But this year, I studied ahead, and attuned myself with what was in my stash.  I considered the many LYS in the Bay Area and what they carry, so that I don’t have to buy things at Stitches that are carried in them.

I started with Shawl yarn.  On Wednesday evening, the night before Stitches, I found out that a friend, Sandy, has been diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer, so buying yarn for a prayer shawl went straight to the top of the list.  Luckily, I had planned to attend the Market Preview and found this almost right away:

Primero Yarn

That’s Brooks Farm Primero, a 100 percent mohair that is shiny, hairy, light as air, in Sandy’s favorite colors.

But I also wanted to take a risk – and wandered into the Habu booth. I have some of their wool/steel thread, so I got these to play with — a cheap way to have some fiber fun:

Isn’t that a gorgeous blue? And silk too!

I’d realized that I needed a swift, and found one at Oregon Woodworker. Since I didn’t pay shipping, it’s like it is on sale, right?
Wooden Swift

And my last purchase on the last day was a shawl pin, since I have shawls and a cardigan that doesn’t have buttons:

Shawl Pin

I love the finial thingy on the end — it reminds me of celtic design.

There were so many things I was tempted to get and didn’t. But I spent more at the market, and more overall at Stitches than I ever have, so I feel I did my part to help stimulate the economy.

Knitting Events

Countdown for Stitches


  • registration forms in case they can’t find me in the computer – check
  • reservation at hotel with free wifi and breakfast – check
  • yarn and needles needed for classes (two skeins of Cascade 220, and a third pair of No 5 dpns) – check
  • Erinn’s lovely map printed out – check
  • Budget for Markletplace – check
  • inspired by Brenda’s Cast-on episode to take some risks in purchases this year- check
  • Kiri Shawl ready to wear and show to the amazing Alison Hyde

To be completed:

  • Homework for the Melissa Leapman class (partway through)
  • buying snacks and meal stuff for the weekend
  • creating map from Convention Ctr to hotel
  • writing down where folks will be at specific times
  • package of FO’s for Afghans for Afghans to turn into Black Mountain Abbey Philosopher’s Wool booth (I think that’s where they go) I think I can do one more pair of socks before Thursday.

I’m getting excited!

Knitting Events Knitting for Good

A little help with friends

Yesterday, we had a small kick-off for the Sausalito Squares project in making Afghans for Afghans for Afghans.  It was amusing to my knitterly ego to find two crocheters there waiting at 4 pm when  I got there.  Fortunately, one of them is very fine crocheter indeed, and figured out some great stuff with Sophie, and I helped the other one, James, rediscover his inner crocheter (he’d learned when he was in college and wanted a throw, but nobody would make him one, but somebody taught him how to crochet).

And then squares starting to appear.  Here we are already:

Bluebird a4a kickoff

Suzanne and Marty are amazing at the way these go together.

Another gal, LaDonna, came by with some mitered squares from a dying project a while back:

mitered squares

and absolutely adorable baby hats from a pattern that’s in Knitting for Peace.

baby hats

The hat pattern is Swirled Ski Cap by Caps for Kids — so cute!

And today, I finished the shawl and Izzie is making sure that nobody steals it.
Kiri 1c

I love to see how beautiful lace becomes in the blocking!

Kiri 1e

I’m so glad that I have it to wear at Stitches this coming week!

Knitting Events Projects

A Simple(?) Plan

Ah, yes, my brain has fizzled in its desire to finish the Kiri shawl, shown here:

Kiri 1a

in the lovely Pansy Golightly colorway of Dream in Color Baby.  I’m on the last repeat of the main lace pattern before the edging.  It is sitting at the moment, and I’ve turned to a Sock for Soldier’s sock as my mindless knitting. Why is my monogamous brain so diverted?  Stitches West is less than 10 days away, that’s why!

Last year, I didn’t take any classes because I felt as though I was  needing to apply things I had learned from previous classes, and I was only working very part-time, so cash was less available than now (I know, this is not what is happening to most people).  So I went for Saturday only, and even that venture was less than successful.  While I bought my awesome buttons for my cardigan,

in terms of lovely yarn acquisition, I did less than wonderful — two skeins of merino-tencel yarn from WEBS.  No hand-painted yarn or other lovelies that I would enjoy during the year.  When I gathered with other knitters, and they showed what they got, I wondered what on earth I had been doing in the Market. It was all a fog, I’ve concluded.

This year, there’s a plan.  First, I’ve printed out the Market Map (Rav link) that Erinn has put together (with a coupon from Llama Llama Knit – what a bargain!).  Second, I’ve been keeping track in the Ravelry Stitches West Forum about vendors to check out.  Third, I’m using the Stickies software on my Mac to keep a list of things I want to get (need a swift), books to look at, and the like.  Fourth, I listened to Episode 38 of the Knitmore Girls Podcast about their own strategies for Stitches, which are quite sound and assure that your LYS will still get your business throughout the year and your credit cards will not max out. Sidenote: The gals will be at Purlescence Yarns booth on Saturday, February 28th from 2 – 4 pm.

Fifth, I’m biting the bullet and staying in a hotel nearby this year with a friend.  I think it will be a good thing, I will not be sleeping on a blow-up mattress on the floor at a friend’s house (two years ago), or driving in the rain there and back on the same day (last year).  Breakfast will be made for me, and included in the roomrate.  Restaurants will be nearby. I think I will greatly enjoy this and find more inspiration, and can congratulate myself that I am stimulating the economy.

How will the plan go?  It remains to be seen.  But I hope that I have a great time this year, with purchases that I do not regret, and yarnplay of the most delightful sort.