Thing-a-Week #49

This week’s Thing is actually three things, the products of the classes I took at Stitches West.

Thing a Week #49: Stitches West classes

At bottom right are the samples from the Embroider Your Knitting class on Friday. Up top is the bag from the Color and Weave Mini Tote Bag class, and all that fiber and the little tiny ball of yarn is from Spinning for Knitting.

My favorite, and the most proper completed Thing, is the tote bag. I haven’t been doing much with color patterns (or much besides scarves!), so it was nice to do something different.

Color & Weave Bag

This class used a basic 2×2 alternating color warp with three different weft patterns. The top of the bag is one pattern (2×2), the middle is another (4×4) and the bottom is yet another (1×1). It’s pretty neat to see the different effects you get by just varying the weft.

Color & Weave Bag

Overall, the classes were great and I learned a lot. Looking foward to next year!

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Stitches West 2012

I had the best of intentions. Honest. I was going to post daily accounts of my time at Stitches West, like I did last year, but the days were so packed that I didn’t have the time. So, here’s a recap!

Stitches West began on Thursday. I went to the opening session by Betsy Hershberg, author of Betsy Beads. XRX, who runs the show, is promoting the book. I’d gone in not really interested in it, and by the end of the speech, I wanted to purchase the book (and did!). Funny how that works. Nice job, XRX.

Opening session

After the session was lunch, where the teachers came around to our tables at five-minute intervals. It was a great chance to see what was being offered at Stitches. While there were classes Thursday afternoon, I didn’t sign up for any, choosing instead to hang out and wait for the market preview to open.

Marketplace entrance

I did take three classes at Stitches.

My first was a three-hour class on Friday: Embroider Your Knitting with Anna Zilboorg. Amazing lady, beautiful work. I sincerely hope she comes out with a book on the techniques in the class.

Embroidering class

My second class ran all of Saturday: Color and Weave Mini Tote Bag with Deborah Zarchow. I’d taken her introductory class last year, which led to all of those scarves I wove since then. I wanted to try something different, hence the bag. (I’ll show that off with my thing-a-week, next.)

Weaving class

Finally, I had a class on Sunday morning: Spinning for Knitting with Merikke Saarnit. I already spin, but this class was worthwhile to gain a better understanding of different fibers and techniques.

Spinning class

I purposely didn’t fill my schedule with classes. I’m fortunate to have fallen in with a group of great folk from Northern California and enjoyed spending time hanging out and knitting with them. I also met with relatives for dinner on Saturday and spent an afternoon with a high-school friend on Sunday before my flight home. Oh, and my roomie Sherry bestowed upon me a beautiful skein of yarn that she spun and a knit cowl. What great friends I have!

Prezzies

The rest of my time was spent at the marketplace, which was pretty awesome, as usual. Nearly 200 vendors, thousands and thousands of yarns and books and other goodies. It’s a wonderland. I didn’t get that much, considering how much there was to buy.

Market haul

That’s pretty much it. It’s all a blur, and I didn’t get much sleep, but it was great. Definitely want to go again next year!

Stitches West 2011: Epilogue

Well, I’m home. The flight home was totally uneventful. No annoyances whatsoever.

Today, I took a better picture of my market haul:

haul
(The Bugga is the gray one in the middle, and the Codex is the magenta one below it.)

And some nice ones of that weaving project I’m so enamored with.

weaving project

weaving project

I haven’t washed it yet, so I expect it’ll still smooth out a little bit.

That’s it! I’m feeling a little less tired now, too. I guess I’m recuperating!

Stitches West 2011: Day 4

Well, that’s it. It’s over. It was a jam-packed, exhausting time.

This morning I had a Farmyard Friends: Needle Felted Animals class with Sharon Costello. I made a sheep. Well, most of a sheep, since we ran out of time to finish.

Class

Aren’t the samples cute?

Samples

After class, it was back to the market for last minute stuff and the grand prize drawing. Nothing really grabbed me except a couple of dizzes and buttons, and I didn’t win anything. What a drag.

Sherry was kind enough to drop me at the airport for my flight home, so here I sit, waiting for my flight.

I’m completely worn out, but I had a wonderful time. Thanks to all my great Northern California friends, you made me feel a part of the family. See you next year!

Stitches West 2011: Day 3

O noes! Stitches is almost over!

Today was the last full day at the conference. Much fun has been had. Much learning has been learnt. I had a full-day weaving class. Yes, weaving. And surprise, surprise, I think I like it. My decent into madness began with knitting, crept into crochet, sojourned in spinning, flirted with felting, fled to fiber prep, and now is wending its way into weaving. Save yourselves! I’m done for!

Anyway, the class was Learn Rigid Heddle Weaving and Use Up Your Stash with Deborah Jarchow. Everyone in the class had a rigid heddle loom to work with: some had Ashfords and some had Glimakras. I had a Glimakra. Unfortunately I was so into it that I forgot to take a picture while the class was in session. You’ll just have to imagine these looms out of their boxes with beautiful weavings of all different colors and textures coming off them.

After class

We made scarves. Well, we tried to. I didn’t have enough time to finish the whole thing, so I ended up with some sort of short table runner.

Weaving

The warp (lengthwise) yarns came mostly from my stash, including some handspun I wasn’t going to use for anything. For the weft (crosswise yarn), I ended up going to the market and picking up some Cascade 220 sport in rich chocolate brown. I really wish I could’ve finished the scarf!

After class, I went to the market for a short while, then went to dinner at Pedro’s with friends. It was delicious. The tamale had the best masa.

Dinner

Back at the hotel, my roomie and I chilled a little bit and took pictures of our marketplace haul. (I didn’t get good pics of the Bugga, so I’ll just have to get proper pictures when I get home!)

New stash

After that, we headed down for yet another PJ party. We showed off our market purchases and I showed off my scarf. I’m so proud.

Nite Owls

We all pretty much crashed after that. I didn’t even post this till the next day.

Stitches West 2011: Day 2

Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…

…and then I went to class. Only one class today, Creative Knitting: Crazy Quilt Style with Myra Wood. It was very interesting, about how to plan and knit crazy quilt knitted pieces. Myra’s a great teacher, and the class materials, especially the handout showing how many increases is needed for any given angle, were very helpful.

Class

After class, I hit the market. Didn’t buy much, just some Bugga and Codex at Sanguine Gryphon. It was super crowded. The rain didn’t deter the crowds at all.

Stitches Market

Stitches Market

Now, I did run across this little gem of an item at one of the booths. It’s called a Stitch Light, an LED pendant light that hangs on your neck and lights up your knitting. Very cool. I decided to get one, but am waiting on someone to get back about whether they want one or not. Ahem.

Stitch Light

Shortly after that, my friend Erin was gracious enough to drive my butt (and the rest of me) over to the Bobbin’s Nest in Santa Clara, where one of my favorite dyers, Three Irish Girls, had a trunk show. As if the marketplace didn’t have enough yarn.

3IG at Bobbins Nest

The rest of the afternoon consisted of food, more marketplace, and some wonderful knitting time with the Nite Owls. Then came the Stitches Pajama Party!

Stitches PJ Party

I do have one thing to say about this PJ party. The coordinator of tonight’s event explained how the party started at Stitches, and she seems to have bent the facts to make it sound like it was her idea. Not a chance. For the record, the Nite Owls had a PJ party on the hotel mezzanine at Stitches West 2010, before this woman was even representing XRX. The party was organized by my friend Cole, but the Stitches staff thought it was a great idea and made it an official party. After this coordinator/community person came on board, she started making it sound like it was all her doing, presumably starting with Stitches South 2010. Shame on you, girl. Maybe you should read up a little on the history of the event, as documented on your own blog:

I can’t say I was actually invited, but I did get to witness the first ever STITCHES pajama party, dubbed Night Owl Knitting by Cole (or coleyknits on Ravelry, the one with the sock monkey), the parent of this brain child. Tipped off that these knitters in their comfort zone would be visited by sponsors bearing gifts, I showed up, camera in hand.

Susan (cocohugs), crashed the party from her nearby Hilton home, showed me her first-time Magic Loop socks-in-progress, and explained that almost everyone came from 2 (exceptionally devoted, if I might add) knitting groups: Llama Llama Knit in Novato, CA and Yarn Cottage, which is sadly no larger in business, but the knitting group party’s on!

Pack your pajamas and let’s make it a regular thing: STITCHES, Friday night, Night Owl Knitting Pajama Party, following the Fashion Show Dinner, location TBA! See you at South!

The list of gifts was long and generous. There were representatives from Cascade Yarns, Malabrigo, and Knitter’s Magazine present.

[Posted by Natalie, Feb 27, 2010]

Anyway, about tonight’s festivities: there were indeed prizes. There were questions like who came from farthest away, who’s been knitting longest, that sort of thing. They also had contests, like crazy PJs.

Stitches PJ Party

The Carmen Miranda look-alike won, of course. Though the coordinator and both judges had no clue and just called her “the fruit lady.” Kids today, I tell ya.

Stitches PJ Party

And I won a prize, too! The prize I won was for closest anniversary. Ours was on Feb 5th. When I told my husband that I won, he was pleased to have had a part in it. Until I told him what it was for: a $15 gift certificate to the Fine Needle and a neck-down sweater DVD. He suddenly lost all interest.

PJ Party prize

(Yes, I brought my charted chicken to Stitches West.)

So that’s it for today! Tommorow, I weave (as in make fabric. I’m not going anywhere!).