Stitches West 2014: Day 4

Last day! I’m sitting in the San Jose airport now, waiting to board.

Didn’t do much today. I lounged, packed, then hit the market. Only got a couple of things. I guess nothing really grabbed me this year!

No good pics today, so here’s my lunch:

Good Stitches this year, it was great to see all my knitting friends!

Stitches West 2014: Day 3

Oh, Saturday. Beautiful Saturday.

Just one class today: Tops, Locks, & Handspun with Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton. It was an interesting class about applying bits of wool and yarn to your knitting for striking effects.

We just experimented with different material and techniques. Here’s my end swatch. Colorful, no?

After that I went to the market, but again didn’t have time to get through it all. Last chance is tomorrow!

Stitches West 2014: Day 2

Ok! Day 2!

I had an all-day nuno felting class, taught by the irrepressible Judy Pascale.

We made scarves, laying wool roving on hand-dyed silk, then wetting and massaging and fiddling until it felted. Here’s mine, before and after:

I’m not super happy with how it turned out (I think it looks like leeches, and it shrank too much!) but it’s all a learning experience, right?

After class, my friend Erin and I went to the fashion show and dinner. There were some really stunning handknits on display, but you wouldn’t know it from this pic (I could see fine, it’s just the pic that makes it look small!)

I didn’t even get to the market today. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow!

Stitches West 2014: Day 1

Hey! I’m doing pretty good on this posting thing! Two in a row!

So today was opening day of Stitches West 2014. I, having stayed up much too late last night, completely missed the Opening Day Spotlight, but was able to make the luncheon afterwards. Because, you know, food.

I didn’t have any classes today, so I took it easy, knitted some, and then went to the market preview. This is when they open the doors to students only for a few hours (no public, that starts tomorrow). Here’s what that small crowd looks like:

And a quick glimpse of the market going in right after the doors opened:

After the market I met up with my budz and we went to dinner, and came back and had margaritas. Ole’.

Tomorrow I have an all-day felting class. Wish me luck!

Stitches West 2014: Prologue

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Hee hee hee.

Ho ho ho.

Ahhhhh….

Yeah, it’s been a whole year since I posted last. Know how I know? My last post was about Stitches West 2013, and… guess where I am. Go on, I’ll wait. C’mon.

Ok, ok. You win. I’m at Stitches West 2014. I know, right?

So, per my ritual, I flew in the day before it opens so I can have a leisurely morning tomorrow before things get going. Today I’ve been quietly hanging out in my room, browsing teh interwebs and thinking I should probably actually post something to my blog. So here we are.

And… my hotel room has groovy chair.

 

Stitches West 2013

Oops.

For the last 4 years, I’ve been going to the giant Stitches West knitting expo in Santa Clara. And for the first three years, I’d posted a fair amount of detail about my time there. Not this year.

This year I still went, took classes, met friends, shopped, had fun, and slept very little, but I have no proof. No pictures, no daily posts. I haven’t decided if I was too busy or too lazy. Maybe both. So you’ll have to take my word for it. A good time was had, but I can’t be arsed to write it all out right now. Maybe later.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a nap. Zzzzzzzzz…

And now a word from our sponsor.

Not really; I have no sponsors. I am going to pimp some products right now, though.

Last year at Stitches West 2011, there was one item that everyone flocked to in the marketplace: the Stitch Light by Buffy Ann Designs. I bought one, of course, and made a friend in the process, owner Liz Schaeffer. Saw her again at Sock Summit last year, and just last week at Stitches West 2012. She’s so nice that I decided to write something about her stuff.

Yarn Cozy & Stitch Light
Yarn Cozy & Stitch Light

First off we have the Stitch Light, a nifty little gadget that hangs around your neck and focuses light from an LED light on your knitting or whatever you’re doing with your hands. It’s a nice little design, stays put on your chest and has a cute little pouch for storing stitch markers and the like. I got the purple one last year (matched my hair), but this year I got a new improved teal pouch for it (to match my hair!).

Stitch Light
So handy!

New this year (I think!) is the Yarn Cozy. It’s a little sock for your yarn, to keep your ball or cake or skein from coming apart while you’re working with it. I think they look like little yarn panties, myself. They come 3 to a pack. And they do hold yarn together nicely; maybe I can quit using plastic baggies now.

Yarn Cozy
Everyone loves cozy balls!

So, that’s it. Two little things that’ll make your fibery life just a little easier.

Note: In the interst of full disclosure, while I bought my Stitch Light last year, Liz did give me a package of Yarn Cozies and a new pouch and strap for my light at this year’s Stitches. See? I told you she’s nice!

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!

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 2012: Prologue

I’m in Santa Clara for another Stitches West! It doesn’t start till tomorrow; I like to get here the day before so I’m not rushing around on the first day.

Last year, I posted some complaints about my trip down. In a surprising reversal, everything went smoothly this year. I am amazingly unannoyed. Here’s why:

  • I was not subjected to a full-body scan by airport security.
  • I heard all of the boarding announcements and boarded in a timely manner.
  • The one-year-old baby next to me on the plane was well-behaved and slept most of the way.
  • The TSA did not search my bag.

There’s really only one annoyance that continues from last year:

  • The sinks at the hotel are still stupid.

But that’s ok. Also, this is my view:

View from the hotel

It’s 75 degrees right now. Oh my.