Sunday, March 01, 2009

Stitches West 2009

I continue my tradition of taking one three-hour class so I can get into the market preview for students on Thursday night, and then proceed to spend an entire day shopping on Saturday. In the past I have taken classes from Lily Chin and Debbie New because I wanted to see them in person. Debbie New is an extraordinary designer, thinker, and less importantly, a knitter.

This year I took Challenging Stitches from Japanese Designs, taught by ex-US-expat-in-Japan Gayle Roehm. It's the first time this class is held at Stitches, and Gayle's first time to teach the class, so there was quite a bit of "let's see if this works". The class was great, and I would recommend anyone into texture knitting to take it.

Market was more about bargain shopping this year. Newton’s Yarn Country used to be the only booth that only sells discount yarns. There were the big playpens that sold 50% off yarn packs, but they sold regular price yarn too. This time there were multiple booths/vendors screaming out "only $8 per skein" or "50% off". My guess is the yarn market overall is getting a bit saturated, and vendors are betting on the poor economy driving consumers to seek low price items. Good time for bargain shoppers.

I’ve also noticed quite a few small vendors in shared booths. One of them was obviously there because of success on Ravelry. Her designs were hanging in the booth with stats of Ravelry Favs, projects and queues.

I wore my Chinese Red Vest on Thursday night, and brought the Irish Diamond Shawl, to show Cheryl Oberle. On Saturday I wore the Bust Enhancer, aka Heather, to show Joan McGowan-Michael. Both designers loved seeing their work implemented. One of the most fun thing about the market is seeing the garments on the attendees. I'm sure the woman walking around in a stunning Kauni sweater on Saturday inspired a few Kauni fans.

There were a few not so pleasant moments too. I was scolded for asking the same question twice about price on a skein of cashmere. I was scolded for not reading the fine print and mistook a "$5 donation required" raffle as a free raffle -- granted, the man presented me the ticket conveniently forgot to mention the donation. I'd purchased from both vendors, but I must be either extremely annoying or utterly forgettable, or both.

XRX was loud and clear this year about banning all photographing and video recording in the market, while a dozen or so "press" teams, presumably hired by XRX, wondered around the market interviewing twenty-something sweet faced young knitters, which were rarity mind you. It was not a big surprise when I was not allowed to take a picture of a sample sweater. I use my pictures as notes so I can add the pattern to my Ravelry fav or queue. Their loss.

The loot:

Shelridge Farm Cropped Aran Sweater kit in mulberry color. The kit comes with enough yarn for me to make a regular length sweater in a smaller size. This is my third kit from Shelridge, because I love their yarn and samples so much. Next year I better have something to show for.

Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm Falkland Wool in Teal Blue. Another sweater for me. Can't say enough good things about her yarn. I hoard them.

Brilliantly handdyed silks from RedFish, a small silk dyer in California. Huge color range and every color is to die for.


Sonya said...

The yarn is gorgeous. Too bad some felt the need to scold you. Why would they scold a potential customer???? Stupidity.

Lynn said...

Great stashing!!! And what a great idea to wear the designer's finished product! What a thrill for them. However scolding a potential customer?? Hmmmm, wonder what was up with them.

Laura said...

I admired that Aran sweater at Shelridge Farm too. Love their wool. I am finishing a cabled jacket in the worsted weight, and this time I bought enough of the dk wool in a gorgeous eggplant to make myself another sweater.

The no-camera rule is silly. It doesn't apply to classes by the way.

knittinwolf said...

I can't believe they'd scold you! Lovely the Redfish, soooo pretty and I bet its sooo soft! I'll have to check them out!

Karin said...

Nice loot!!
I am so sorry you got scolded. That's not right.