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Posts Tagged ‘stitches west’

I was sad to wake up on Sunday morning knowing that this afternoon I had to leave Stitches and all my new friends to return to normal life. I was anxious to hit the market floor one last time and got impatient waiting for my husband, so I went to the market a few minutes ahead of him. I wandered the aisles and picked up a few little things for some friends. I can’t show you what they are, but if you want to check out Debra’s Garden and Gita Maria, you’ll have an idea of what I bought.

My husband met up with me before my purchase at Debra’s Garden, and gave me yet another knitting bag. He knows I have a love for bags, and I had commented earlier in the week that it would be wonderful to have a bag like that one to take to my knit nights so that my bag stayed upright. Obviously he was paying attention.

Bag Smith Knitting Bag

And if that weren’t enough (and it was) as I wandered with him by several beloved vendors such as Blue Moon Fiber Arts and Brooks Farm Yarn, I noticed the Carolina Homespun booth and their spinning wheels that had been taunting me all weekend.

Several of my blogging friends are spinners (you know who you are) and since they flash their beautiful handspun on their blogs, it had me fantasizing about spinning my own yarn also. On Friday afternoon after milling around the spinning wheels for awhile, I was asked if I had any questions. I let them know I was just looking and that I was going to save my money this year to purchase a wheel. I inquired about the best wheel for a beginner, and after 30 minutes or so, I decided that the wheel that would probably work best for me is the folding Lendrum Double Treadle wheel.

As hubby and I passed their booth Saturday morning, I’d realized that I didn’t remember the name of the wheel, nor had I written it down. I showed Morgaine the spinning wheel with the forgotten name, and she said that one is the folding Lendrum Double Treadle wheel and its a wonderful. I inquired about her shipping policy and she quickly let me know that she could either ship this wheel to me, or I could take it with me today. I laughed and explained that I was still saving my money and that I wouldn’t be purchasing until much later this year (if not next). My husband interrupted and said “no, we’ll be buying the wheel today and we’d like to take it home with us today.”

Lendrum DT wheel

I held onto his arm to steady myself and said “No, I will wait until my birthday or Christmas because I’m going to save my own money to buy it”. He gave me his “don’t argue with me” look so I stopped talking.

Then there was the option of taking just the wheel, or purchasing the complete kit. Hmm… guess which option we chose?

Lendrum accessories

Margaine then asked if I wanted a bag to put the wheel in. I politely declined and my husband said in his gently stern voice “pick one”. I told him again it wasn’t necessary and I could look online for bags when we got home and then he interrupted me. “You need your wheel to be protected. We’re not leaving here until you pick one.” Sir, yes sir.

Lendrum portable wheel bag

Margaine left the booth to get my wheel and bag from her trailer and I stood there in complete shock. I’ve never sat at a wheel and I’ve never attempted spinning, not even with a drop spindle. I told hubby to pinch me because I still must be in our hotel room asleep and dreaming. Then it hit me and I asked my husband “when did you know you were going to buy this for me?” “Thursday night” he replied. “Then why did you let me buy all that yarn when I should have been purchasing fiber for the wheel?” He didn’t hesitate for a moment and told me “You’ll need yarn to knit while you’re learning to spin, won’t you?” He was correct. Besides, if he thinks I’m going to stop buying yarn just because I’m going to spin now, he’s crazy.

One last thing about my wonderful husband. A night or so ago when he came home from work I told him I wanted to show him what I’d received in the mail. He sat down on the sofa next to me and I handed him a skein of fingering weight sock yarn. He looked at it for a moment and then just as I looked away I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he was sniffing the yarn. My head spun around to catch him in the act, and he gave me that “oh damn she caught me” look. I giggled and he smiled. I guess spending a few days at Stitches West truly rubbed off on him. In a good way though.

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Luckily on Saturday morning I woke feeling fairly good. I can only attribute it to the 2 doses of Flexeril and the Melatonin combination. Hubby decided that shopping in the market didn’t sound so bad, so he joined me on our walk to the market floor. I have no idea how to express to you in words the amount of people already in the market. I knew it was going to be busy, but I suppose I’m never quite prepared for large crowds.

I knew that my Ravelry passport had very few stamps/stickers in it, so today I planned on collecting them all, as well as making sure I picked up some yarn from WEBS for a sweater or two. Since I’d walked around all the booths the day before to see my options for purchases, I took my market floor booth layout sheet, and circled all the booths I needed to stop at and for what item. Some were just for the Passport, some were to enter drawings, and others were for purchases. This definitely helped keep me on track and I will do it every year that I attend Stitches.

Market Floor

The current sweater I’m knitting, the Radiance Cabled Jacket, has a hook and eye closure instead of buttons. On Friday I’d noticed some beautiful Norwegian pewter hook & eye clasps at AffectionKnit, so I stopped at their booth first. I surveyed all their pewter clasps, and all the sets of 3 were $14, but I got this one for $9, so I felt like I’d found a bargain. The booth was already extremely crowded, and several rude women pushed their way ahead of me in line so I ended up standing there for 15 minutes waiting to make my cash purchase. In fact, I think these women must have been around me all day because the level of rude people at Stitches was at an all-time high this year.

Norwegian Pewter frogs (clasps)

I didn’t make another purchase for quite awhile since I was gathering Passport stickers/stamps and entering my name into daily drawings for this and that, but when I stopped at the Fibersphere booth to get my Passport stamped, I noticed some bags (of course), As I was looking over the sock size bag, the vendor shared with me the story behind the bag. Since I’m a sucker anyway for any type of bag, when I found out that women in Cambodia were making them and were being paid three times as much as they’d normally make so they could support their families, I just had to support the cause. I’m not sure what the material is on the outside of the bag (bamboo?) but the inside of the bag is fabric lined with two open pockets, one zippered pocket, and the strap is adjustable.

Cambodia Bag

We walked around for awhile, collecting stamps, and entering drawings, but when we ran into Cindi, Barbara and Rhonda at lunch time, we decided to pass on the $10 hotel sandwich and drove to Baja Fresh for a quick and inexpensive lunch. Of course we weren’t there long since there were schedules to be kept by the others in our group, so I returned to the market to continue filling up my Passport.

The next Ravelry passport stop was Article Pract. As I walked in to get my stamp, I noticed the Malabrigo worsted with a sign saying $10/skein. Then I noticed the Julie Weisenberger patterns. Next thing I know, I’m walking out of their booth just having purchased the Katarina pattern, the Malabrigo Loafers pattern, as well as 3 skeins of Malabrigo worsted in Forest and Azul Profundo.

Coco Knits and Yarn

I had meandered around the WEBS booth on Friday looking at the huge assortment of yarns and trying to decide what I wanted for which project. I was so overwhelmed though, and so tired from that day I opted to wait and purchase on Saturday. Well here it was Saturday and as I started to wander a bit, a lovely young woman named Cirilia asked if she could help me. Realizing that I got nowhere Friday trying to help myself, I said yes. Boy am I glad I did. I showed her my printed Ravelry queue page and asked her for recommendations for the projects I wanted to knit. She was so nice, quick, and knowledgeable, that before I knew it, I had 3 sweaters worth of yarn in my husbands hands. I had intended on only buying one or two sweaters worth of yarn, but since I chose Valley Yarns for 2 of the sweaters, I was able to afford the 100% Alpaca yarn.

WEBS

The blue yarn is Valley Yarns Longmeadow and I’m intending on using it for Drops Design 100-34, although I could use it for a few of the projects in my queue. The red yarn is Valley Yarns Williamstown and it’s intended for Katarina by Julie Weisenberger. The olive green yarn Blue Sky Alpacas 100% Alpaca and is intended for Henley Perfected. I can’t wait to start on these projects.

At this point I could tell that my husband was at his shopping limit and so we decided to head back to the room to rest for awhile before dinner. That plan didn’t last long though. The market floor called to me from inside my room, so I left hubby to watch a movie while I wandered the booths for awhile. I wasn’t planning on purchasing anything, but when I saw this little book, I couldn’t resist.

Knitspiration

This softbound book is called Knitspiration by Fiona Ellis which is a knitting journal. I have long been in search of a small notebook that had both lined and graph pages in it so I could play around with some ideas that float around in my head occasionally. This knitting journal has everything I’d ever want in a journal, with inspiring words and Fiona Ellis even signed it.

Dinner was a driving mis-adventure (no thanks to OnStar) to B.J.’s Brewery to meet-up with Lain, her husband and her son. Lain and I originally connected because of knitting, and although she knits beautifully, she is actually a scrapbooking designer, instructor, and podcaster. For what the Yarn Harlot is to the knitting world, Lain (ScrapHappy) is to the scrapbooking world. Someday I’ll say “I knew her when”.

After dinner I met up with the group from the previous evening for more knitting until 1am, although hubby did not join us this night. When I booked our hotel room, I’d debated on whether to stay Saturday night and at that moment I was so glad I booked us through Sunday morning. Spending time knitting with others that enjoy the same things as I was a priceless moment. I knew that although the classes, and shopping were great, spending time with current friends, meeting new ones, and spending time with those who share the same passion, was the true gift of Stitches.

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Friday was an amazing day at Stitches, especially since I attended an all-day class taught by Cat Bordhi on the Foxglove Sock Architecture as explained in her latest book. It was amazing just being in Cat’s presence, but watching and listening to her information about sock construction was very enlightening. Her visual aids and her method of explaining techniques were so great, that I really feel like I have reached a whole new level of understanding regarding sock design and sock architecture. She was extremely patient, and was available to anyone at anytime for one-on-one attention if they needed it. It’s really hard to put into words just how amazing this class was.

My baby sock design

When class finished in the afternoon she asked to see the baby sock I designed and I was shocked when she said it was one of the better designs she’d seen. Since I didn’t plan the design and it was just created as I knit, I realized that sometimes I over-think things and that just going with the flow sometimes produces the best results. By the way, I hate this photo of me, but since this is the only photo I have or will probably ever have with Cat, I will treasure it. And yes, that is the Tangled Yoke Cardigan.

Me & Cat Bordhi

When class ended that afternoon I met my wonderful husband in the market for more shopping. I only picked up a few items, and although it’s barely worth mentioning the stitch markers I purchased at Ellen’s Half Pint Farm, it is most definitely worth mentioning the Full Thread Ahead booth. Normally I prefer to not shop at these types of vendors since they are a LYS from the local area. I personally would rather give my money to my LYS, but Full Thread Ahead had two items my LYS doesn’t. An over the ear light for knitting in low-light conditions and the new Cookie A sock patterns. I ended up only purchasing the Trystero pattern, but I’m sure the others will be added to my sock patterns fairly soon.

Stitches West

The Ravelry booth had a few fun things to purchase, but I decided on the Raverly pin and the Bob pin. I really wanted the Ravelry canvas bag, but honestly I have too many bags as it is, although on Saturday I forgot this fact. Other than meeting Jess & Casey, the Passport was the best thing at the Ravelry booth. Several exhibitors had their logo imprinted on a page that looked exactly like pages in a passport, and the idea was to go around to each of those exhibitors and get a stamp or sticker from them for your page. When you filled your passport, you then returned it to Ravelry for inspection and you were then entered into a drawing of prizes donated by the participating exhibitors. This Passport got me into lots of “trouble” on Saturday, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see why.

Ravelry

The marketplace closed at 6pm, so hubby and I went to dinner with Laura, Barbara, Cindi, and Rhonda. Since both Laura and I had a vehicle, we got to leave the horribly overpriced food at the hotel, and went to Red Robin since it was affordable for everyone in the group. The food, drinks, and service were wonderful although little did I know that later I was going to later regret eating the Bonzai Burger, fries, and large beer.

Back at the hotel, nobody wanted to “call it an evening” so we sat in the hotel lobby to knit and got lucky enough to have both Michelle and Rebecca join us as well. Hubby sat with us for 2 rounds of drinks. He ordered us Bailey’s Coffee and that was another item I regretted later on. He left us to our own devices around 10pm and went to the room to watch a movie. We all stayed up until 1am and then decided nobody was going to be useful the next day unless we turned in for the evening.

Back in the room, hubby was in bed soundly sleeping (so cute) and as I leaned over the weird sink to wash my face, I felt a rumbly in my tumbly and it wasn’t good. But that’s not the worst of it. While the rumbly continued in my tumbly, and the horrible feeling of “worshipping the porcelain god” was going on, I had an intense fibromyalgia flare. It was so painful, that even wearing my jammies hurt like hell. It went on for hours until I took a second dose of Flexeril and finally fell asleep. What a day!

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There’s so much to share with you regarding Stitches West, but I’m going to break it up into several posts so I don’t overload your systems with photos.

We left the house Thursday morning and drove from Southern California to Northern California. We were lucky enough to be staying at the Santa Clara Hyatt Regency hotel which is attached to the Santa Clara Convention Center where the Stitches classes and shopping are. The hotel is very nice as are the rooms, but it seems like they tried to make everything a little bit contemporary which made for poor room functionality.

Hyatt Hotel Room

The bathroom had a wonderful shower curtain rod that bowed out so that you felt like you had more space in the shower, but the sink in the bathroom had the faucet mounted to the left of the sink which turned out to be very awkward to use.

Hyatt Regency bathroom

After getting settled into our room, I went to the hotel lobby to meet up with a Laura and a few friends from the Anaheim Hills Knit Night on Mondays, so that we could attend the Ravelry meet-up together. Actually if it weren’t for Ravelry, there would not be a Monday knit night with these incredible women. It was interesting to see so many Ravelry users in one room, and I loved finally seeing Jess and Casey in person (from obviously a distance).

Jess & Casey

The only downside to the event was the cash bar. Obviously nobody told catering that knitters do indeed drink, and so there was only one small bar with one bartender. There was a continuous line for that bar for at least an hour. I felt so sorry for the bartender. After the Ravelry meet-up I met my husband at the hotel sushi bar for a bite to eat to fortify myself for the 3 hour shopping spree I was about to participate in. The area was crowded, understaffed, and slow as mud, but luckily the sushi was quite good. We finished dinner just in time to race to the market area to meet up with friends.

Most everyone was stopping at the Raverly booth first to pick up their Passports (more detail on that in a future post), but hubby went there for me as I raced to the Blue Moon fiber Arts booth. I grabbed a lot of skeins of lightweight sock yarn as I made my way through the mass of knitters in the booth. Since the purchase line was really long hubby waited in line for me while I figured out what I wanted. I think there were 7 skeins of yarn in my hands when I met up with him, but when I saw there will Mill Ends for about $7 less a skein than the regular skeins, I dumped most of the yarn I had and grabbed 3 skeins of it. I handed hubby enough money to make the purchase for me, and then told him I’d meet him at the next booth. Do I have the perfect husband or what?

Socks That Rock (Stitches West)

I ended up with 3 skeins of Socks That Rock Mill Ends (1 skein of lightweight and 2 skeins of mediumweight), and 1 skein of Socks That Rock Silkie in Valkyrie. I just noticed yesterday that the Blue Moon logo is backwards on the labels and there are no colorways written on them so who knows what they are. I guess I’ll just call them gorgeous!

Next, I was off to Purlescence Yarns to purchase the Tulip Baby Cardigan kit. It was a bit more money than I’d normally spend on a baby cardigan, but I believe I’ll be using the pattern over and over again since there never seems to be a shortage of women having babies.

Tulip Baby Cardigan Kit

My final purchase for the evening was at Chameleon Colorworks for a skein of her beautiful Bambino yarn. I first saw her hand-dyed yarn at TNNA and instantly fell in love with the Twinkle Toes, Bambino and Evolution yarns. The Loopy Ewe just added the Bambino and Evolution yarns to her store today, so I suggest you get over there and pick some up. Believe me, you won’t regret it.

Bambino (Briar Rose)

The market was open for 3 hours, but frankly after only getting 3 1/2 hours of sleep the night before, I was too exhausted to continue on and wanted to rest up for my class with Cat Bordhi. I think I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.

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Are you getting tired yet of Stitches West recaps? Well this is the very last post about it (at least for THIS year).

Saturday morning I woke with excitement, but I was also a bit sad since I knew this was my last day at Stitches. When we arrived at the convention center, we soon discovered that there was some type of dance competition going in the ballroom which was the floor above the vendor booth area. I sat DH in a comfy chair next to an end table in a quiet corner (too bad there’s no photo of it) and he set up the laptop with a movie and his headphones. I knew he’d be entertained for quite a few hours since he was watching Pirates of the Caribbean (for the millionth time).

The convention center was PACKED with people & the line to get tickets for admission to the Stitches Market was LONG! As I walked in, I noticed the crowds today were about 3 or 4 times that of the first night. WOW! Good thing I got most of my shopping and browsing completed on Thursday and Friday. I stopped back at the YarnDogs booth where I’d spied the sock blocker keychain the day before & purchased it as well as some KnitKlips. I then went to the Stitch Diva booth for help on my felted clogs. Sitting in the middle of the convention floor walkway was the Curiously Clever Clogs pattern designer, Jennifer, crocheting an afghan with the largest crochet hook I’ve ever seen. I stepped into their booth and told one of the workers of my dilemma with the pattern and she stated I’d have to speak with Jennifer since she’d never knitted them. Of course there was a smallish crowd around her, and since I had class, I decided to stop back later.

Since teaching my little sister to knit via the internet and telephone, and then attempting to teach my left-handed aunt to knit, and then being asked by my step-daughter for knitting lessons, I decided I should probably take a “how to teach knitting” class. Since I’d never formally taken any knitting lessons I wasn’t sure how to approach teaching another person without frustrating them and me (as in the case with my aunt), so I decided to learn from a professional. The class was a one-hour market session named Teaching Learn-To-Knit by Beth Whiteside. Overall the class was great, but there was one student who slowed us all down a bit and it seemed like Beth had to rush through some of the things she was trying to convey. It wasn’t the students fault though since she was hard of hearing, and although she sat in the front row, the noise level was horrible. Unfortunately the market session classes were in the vendor area of the convention center in screened off rooms, and not only did you have the noise from that, but then there was the noise from all the announcements on the PA system. Although I enjoyed the class immensely and learned a GREAT DEAL of useful information, I probably won’t take another market session class again unless they move it out of the vendor area and into regular classrooms.

After class, I figured DH was still entertaining himself with his movie & that I may have a moment or two to do some last-minute shopping. I ended up at the perfect booth for some lace-weight yarn to start a project from Victorian Lace Today. The first skein I purchased is 903 yards of Graceful, a 100% fine lace wool, and the second skein is 3100 yards of Heaven, a tencel and merino wool blend. Unfortunately the photo doesn’t show you the stunning sheen on the skein of Heaven, but if it knits up as beautifully as I hope, I will buy a skein of this in every color!

Unfortunately I got so side-tracked by all the beautiful lace-weight yarn, I completely forget to go back to the Stitch Diva booth for help on the clog pattern. DUH! I’d carried the darn half-knitted clog and pattern instructions around with me for two days, and completely forgot! I’m blaming it on all the yarn tempting my eyes & screwing with my brain.

That’s it for my adventures at Stitches. I can’t WAIT for next year! By the way, I think tomorrow I’ll have a FO Friday!

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In great anticipation of the three-hour class I signed up for, I arrived at the convention center thirty minutes early and started to search for the classroom. I must say that Stitches really has done a beautiful job at setting up information displays to help get you where you want to go. I entered my classroom, met a few classmates, pulled out my materials and anxiously waited. It was another one of those minutes feeling like hours moment, but then the instructor, Gwen Bortner, began to speak. The class was called Pattern Customization & the description basically stated that you would learn how to recalculate a pattern you love, to work with the yarn you love, just by utilizing a gauge swatch & a bit of math. Of course nobody ever wants to knit a gauge swatch or do math, especially me, but that must also be why the sweater I knit DH did not fit very well. After this class I now understand why making a gauge swatch is critical to success. This class well exceeded my expectations and not only did I learn a great deal of usable information, but it was presented in a straight-forward and organized manner with unexpected humor. Gwen was entertaining, informative and engaging. I hope to take another class from her in the future.

DH met me for lunch after my class and we purchased a ticket for him, so that he could experience “knitters shopping heaven” firsthand. Our first stop was the XRX/Knitters booth were they were promoting their latest book release: Victorian Lace Today. As I started thumbing through this exquisite book, I not only appreciated the beautiful photography & stunning shawl patterns, but also realized that there are 40 patterns and the book was priced at only $29.95. I was quite shocked! I don’t even knit lace and I thought it would be a perfect addition to my knitters library. In addition to this beautiful book though, most (if not all) the lace shawls from the book were displayed throughout the booth. Each shawl was a beautiful work of art and even though all the exquisite detail of each one made me feel a bit intimidated, I did notice that a few of the scarves in the book said “beginner”.

As I was carefully examining each shawl, I realized that it was 1 pm and we had scheduled to meet up with Lain. I have been corresponding with Lain via our blogs for almost a year and she was actually the person who left the very first comment on my blog last year in April. Even though she has an amazing personality which shows through on her blog, she’s even better in person. We had a wonderful time looking through the vendor booths flipping through books, fondling yarn, and chit-chatting about this and that, but the time passed by too quickly & she was off to a game for one of her beautiful children. She has the cutest post about us all meeting which is funny & definitely worth reading! I know if Lain & I lived closer to each other, I’d have her knitting more & she’d have me scrapbooking!

I’ve debated off and on for quite some time about knitting the Clapotis. It seems like everyone has been there, knit that, but it’s a pattern I come back to time and time again. I never had the right yarn for the project though, and so it remained on the back burner. At the Brooks Farm booth however, they had TWO Clapotis on display each knit in a different yarn type. I showed it to DH & he immediately said he liked the one knit in their Four Play yarn, a 50/50 wool and silk blend, and then proceeded to choose a colorway for me. The colors are definitely not in my typical wine palette, but I really do like them and I’m glad he talked me into purchasing it.

One of the best items of advice from my class this morning was to purchase a skein of yarn you think you love, knit a swatch with it and if you still love it, go buy the yardage you need for your project. Since I wasn’t in love with the yarn I used on DH’s last sweater, I asked him to choose a skein/ball of yarn at the WEBS booth and I’ll knit it into a swatch at home for him to see. I told him if he still likes it, I’ll order enough yarn to make him the sweater of his choice. He chose this skein of Valley Yarns Colrain, a 50/50 blend of merino and tencel in a colorway named Majestic Blue. It’s soft, has a beautiful sheen & is hopefully a dream to knit with.

As I wandered around looking at all the vendor booths, the Victorian Lace Today book kept sticking in my head and I decided that since it had left such an impression on me, that the best thing to do was just purchase it. As I started walking towards the XRX booth, I remembered seeing something about book signings. I wondered if this author was also signing so I checked my schedule and sure enough, she had signings scheduled most of that day. I located her last signing at 4:30 pm and figured we had a few minutes to get to that booth.

We arrived promptly at 4:30 at the YarnDogs booth and there was only one woman ahead of me in line. I don’t know what I was expecting, if anything, but this beautiful mature woman with a slim build was sitting before me and spoke in a soft English accent. I told her I’d never knit with lace weight yarn and that in fact I’d never knit any lace items, but that her book just captivated me and I was so surprised that such a beautiful book had been written with so many patterns for such a low price, that I knew I should own it. As she opened her book, she proceeded to tell me that her publishers didn’t think the book would sell for a higher amount and she also implied to me that she wasn’t happy with her publishers for underestimating the value of her work. She then started delicately flipping through the pages and shared with me the patterns that would be perfect for my first project. She took off one of her shawls and told me where she had found the original pattern for that particular lace edging and how it was only a partial pattern, and the history, and so forth. She mentioned that on one of the scarf photos it shows an edging that does not match the pattern in the book but that most of the edgings can be changed anyway.

At some point I realized that quite some time had elapsed and I looked behind me to find nobody waiting. ??? She kept speaking to me like I was the only person in the room. I basked in these moments with the author until we discovered that someone else was waiting for their book to be signed. I guess I couldn’t complain though, since I had just spent about ten minutes talking to her and it is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things you never forget. I will treasure the moment and this book for my entire life.

After the book signing I was floating on cloud 9 and believed it couldn’t get any better, but of course while I was looking through my bag of yarn when we arrived back at the hotel, I found a small blue box. I opened it and found an absolutely beautiful pearl & sterling silver bracelet from Harlan Beads. I have no idea when or how DH managed to sneak away from me to purchase this, but him doing things like this for me are one of the millions of reasons why I love him! We finished off my perfect day with a lemon drop cocktail at the hotel bar followed by sushi for dinner. Unforgettable!

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First, I want to say how sorry I am that I haven’t responded to all of you regarding the fabulous comments on my scarf. I do sincerely appreciate it when comments are left for me, especially when you tell me how good my knitting is. Thank you!

Next (and what you’re here for anyway), I’m going to give you my impressions of Stitches. Most of Thursday was spent driving from southern California (Orange County) to northern California (Santa Clara). It used to be that I hated to sit in a car, but all that changed when I was able to knit while DH drove. Now, I seem to be able to sit for almost any length of time with my iPod podcasts in my ear & my needles in my hands. The weather was horrible about 50% of the 400 mile drive and DH shared some “choice” words occasionally out of frustration, but by the time we got to the San Luis Reservoir all that ended due to the absolutely beautiful countryside that continued through arriving in Santa Clara.

My itinerary for Stitches West was to attend the Market preview on Thursday night, which is where over 250 booths of knitting-related vendors set up their wares to be purchased. Although I didn’t know it when I decided to take a class, but only students who registered for a class were allowed into the Market (vendor area) Thursday evening from 7pm-9pm. This is definitely a HUGE advantage, especially if you want to purchase or even see most of the inventory available from vendors such as Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Also, the Yarn Lady had quite a large bin about 20’ long and 2’ wide absolutely jam packed with bags of yarn at 75% off.

I arrived with much anticipation and the 30 minutes I spent in line at the door waiting to get in seemed more like an hour or two. I was armed with my map of the vendor area & had a general game plan in place of what booths I was going to try & get to that evening in such a short span of time.

My first stop was Blue Moon Fiber Arts so that I could finally personally see this fabulous yarn with all the different choices of colors up close & personal. I was definitely not disappointed but it was tricky seeing everything since we were stacked 3 people deep all trying to do the same thing … get to the yarn! As I started grabbing armfuls of sock yarn, I then remembered that I was on a budget and if I blew all my money at this booth, the adventure would end. So I carefully chose two of my favorite yarns and proceeded to the cashier. The one on the left is Obsidian & the colorway on the right is Garnet. When I got back to the hotel room, DH decided that Obsidian should be used for a pair of socks for him. Even a guy can’t resist the power of Socks That Rock!

The rest of the night is a wonderful blur of yarns. I do remember specifically going to the Brooks Farm booth to look at their FourPlay in hopes of purchasing some for a Clapotis (since I may be one of the very few that have never knit one), but decided instead to purchase two skeins of their Acero yarn. The yarn is a fingering weight blend of washable wool, silk and viscose that has a somewhat heathered look and I just couldn’t put it down! I’d seen their website many times and liked the yarn, but in person, this yarn is absolutely stunning!

The Yarn Lady is a local yarn store about 30 miles from my house, and although I’ve never been there in person, I stopped at her booth because I knew she was carrying the new Addi Turbo Lace circular needles. After the frustration I’ve had with the KnitPicks recently, I think it just may be worth the extra $10 a needle to purchase the new Addi needles. I picked up two packets of the 24” cable size 1 US, since that’s what I seem to use most frequently when knitting socks. I was most impressed that the cables have the needle size inscribed on them and this is very much appreciated!

I’d only intended on purchasing needles here, but of course after looking around, I saw the Koigu KPPPM that I’d only viewed online. Since I’d noticed my color palette that evening seemed to be mainly in the burgundy colorways, I branched out and chose blue. After all, it’s Project Spectrum colors currently.

The only other purchase I made that evening was at CommuKnity where they had quite a large inventory of Claudia Handpaint yarn. I had a horrible time choosing which of the fabulous colorways to purchase, but I ended up choosing their most popular, Chocolate Cherry.

Of course I stopped at other vendors that evening for a quick sneek peek, but I was amazed that in 2 hours I probably only saw ¼ of what was there. I couldn’t wait for Friday!

Stay tuned for part two which includes a class, meeting an online blogger friend, a book author & why I love my husband!

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