Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stitches West 2014 Review

Previous reviews: 2007200820092010201120122013, Market Preview

Another year, another Stitches. To start off, I can't tell you how fortunate I feel having the event practically in my back yard for the past decade. The Santa Clara Convention Center is 12 miles from my house, a perfect commute distance, so I can easily pop in for couple of hours or an afternoon. I don't have to "do it all" in one long day, like I did when it was in Oakland, more than 50 miles from home. As I read the discussions on Ravelry, see how far others have to travel here, I feel very very lucky to be here.

The Stitches events are much more than the Market, but after knitting intensely for over 15 years and working in yarn shops on and off, I'm not terribly interested in classes. I've never attended the opening day events, fashion show, or student fashion show, so I'm happy just skip them every year; and the Market becomes my playground.

This year I almost exclusively hang out in smaller, newer, more indie booths. I had an armful of cashmerino at Newton's Yarn Country and I put them all back. I didn't spend much time in the big booths like Webs or Yarn Barn. I was still on a mission to find the good non-superwash wool yarn between fingering and DK weight, for knitting sweaters and shawls. When I say "good" I mean smooth, soft, reasonably priced 100% wool in a nice color range. As with everything in life, sometimes the simplest is the hardest to do well.

Now a few more pictures from the market.

Spotted this poster in couple of booths, sounds like my kind of diet.
StevenBe. This guy has so much character, you have to check him out.
Norah Gaughan's Lempster in Webs booth, it looks so much better in real life
Dye materials at the Alpenglow booth
All the markers I got from the swap. Must do it again next year!

The loot,:
1. Top row from left, 3 skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair in Raspberry
2. Terilyn Needleart Heather in teal
3. Ellen's Half Pint Farm 100% Merino Sock in teal
4. 4 skeins Western Sky Knits BFL DK in deep blue
5. Bottom row from left, 2 skeins Abstract Fiber Rothko in red
6. Lisa Souza Polworth/Silk in marionberry (purple)
7. 5 skeins Alpenglow Yarn Lofty Corrie DK in strawberry fizz (red)
8  Next to the WSK blue yarn is a mini skein from Alpenglow for her part of the stitch marker swap
9. Stitch markers from the swap are on a bracelet on top of the red yarn
10. On the far left are some samplers from Miss Babs
11. On the very bottom are what's left of my own stitch markers for the swap

I'm proud to say that except for Ellen's sock yarn, everything I bought was non-superwash, almost all are hand dyed, some natural dyed. As for Ellen's yarn, I wore my Nightsongs to show her, and just had to walk away with something!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blog, and leave me a comment!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Stitches West 2014 Market Preview

Previous reviews: 200720082009201020112012, 2013

This year I volunteered to help a vendor set up her booth on Wednesday so I will have vendor access to the market for the rest of the weekend. I really enjoy watching the market come together.

The half off playpen gets filled up
Someone setting up a magic castle behind the curtain

Thursday night the market opens for vendors, teachers and class participants. It's a much smaller crowd than the next three days when the door opens to the general public and the muggles flood the floor. Even so there are lines at some booths and it was hard to move around the clusters of people.

A few random pictures from the market:

I'm sure I've taken pictures of these wheels before, love seeing them again.

the Gryphon herself
fingering non-superwash BFL
Twirl yarns at the Knitterly booth
Audry Nicklin's Southern Sky on the back of a bearded man
Every year I spend a few days in the market, and every day I try to wear something I finished in the previous year to show off. Every year there'd be someone asking me "What are you wearing?" and often times I'm too busy or tired to give the right answer. This year I decided to print out a "name card" for my knitwear, with a QR code that points to my Ravelry project page. This was the one I wore Thursday night, two more are prepared for the next visits.

I learned to make stitch markers on our knitting retreat last month, so I joined the stitch marker swappers and these will be my contributions (I don't have nearly enough). I have already swapped with a few vendors last night, but more serious swapping is going to be this evening when more people show up and the official event happens.

Off to make more markers and get ready for some serious shopping!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blog, and leave me a comment!