Monday, March 9, 2009

Stitches West 2009

I had a blast at Stitches West! I was traveling with my friend Wendy and it was an awesome time. Our flights both ways went off without a hitch, our hotel room was lovely, and I had a martini that matched my sweater everyday!

The one on the left is the first day, and the one on the right was the last day. I think you can see there was a lack of sleep. The first night we went across the hall to Itshe and Cupcake's room and there was an impromptu pajama party with wine, snacks, knitting and whole bunch of laughing. We met so many new people and had so much fun talking to everyone that it just seemed like a waste of time to sleep.

Like the lady below (pictured with Wendy on the left), Deborah Doyle from Asciano FiberArts. Wendy and I were sitting in the lobby/bar lounge enjoying our FooFoo martini's, and a gentleman named Wes (an extremely talented lace knitter) sat down next to us. That was one of my favorite parts about Stitches, you could sit anywhere, strike up a conversation about knitting and feel like you were in your element. Try to do that anywhere else, and you get funny looks. So there we were, talking to Wes, and Deborah comes over and sits down. We are all having fun exchanging ideas, talking about our projects, drinking and eating.

That's when we find out that she is the woman behind the gorgeous redwood knitting needles we had seen in the marketplace. She told us how they are handmade, sanded and finished. She also asked us why we pick the needles we do because she likes to stay educated on what knitters like. I bought the size 19 needles, because they were the only ones lacking from my set and I REALLY wanted a pair of rosewood needles. The joins are so smooth and the cable are very flexible. I'm looking around at my bulky stuff to see what I can try them out on.

The Marketplace...

Wow. It was a lot to take in! Fortunately I had plenty of time to meander around and check out everything slowly and meticulously. I feel like I didn't miss a thing. The first night was the market preview, which was only open to students.

Cupcake had made us these market bags, and her and ItShe had gotten the first place in line for when the market opened. We all but ran to the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth to score the mill ends that we knew would be gone by the next day. I had to restrain myself to only purchase two skeins. I wanted five.

I don't feel like I bought very many things, but I feel like I got a few really nice things.

A Lace Shawl kit from Just Our Yarn. This shawl is a top down pattern and incorporates 1700, size 6/0 glass beads. Wendy was the one that put the thought in my head that a lace shawl would be a good idea for our next project, and I have to say, that was a totally good call.

I started it a few days after I got home. I'm going to try and have it finished by my sister's wedding in August. My matron-of-honor dress is a halter-top style, long black dress. Her accent color is red, so we will all have red roses. I thought this might be a nice touch to my dress. I've read about it taking a year or longer for people to finish a lace shawl, and I'm hoping I can get my first one done in six months. Ambitious, but if I keep it as my main project, I might be able to pull it off.

A Swirl Shawl Kit from JoJoland using Melody Superwash.

The Swirl Shawl was a good find by my friend Edina who joined me at the marketplace on Friday. We had a lot of fun checking everything out and picking out our special projects.

I didn't travel to Santa Clara without bringing some projects with me, even though I was going to a convention center full of yarn. This is what I worked on whilst sitting among my people.

I had brought this kit with a skein of Tilli Tomas and a drawstring purse liner to work on because I thought it would be an easy project around a chaos of people. I was right! It was fun to work on, kept my hands busy, and didn't interrupt my socializing. I also worked on my Queen of Beads sock from the first Rockin' Sock Club shipment. I didn't mess it up once, even though I was filled to the brim with Bacardi.

Almost the end...
So, I didn't win the Think Outside the Sox contest. I had entered in two categories. This was the To Dye For Category.
I dyed the yarn and figured out how to make it swirl one way, then the other to create zebra stripes. It was kind of ironic that the winner of the category had also chosen animal print, her's was a leopard print. This was one of those times where I didn't really mind the defeat. At least the winner was no chump. She was creative, clever, and on top of that, when I met her, she was really nice.
This was a sock I designed for the Mountain colors category. I called them my Shimmy socks and they have a lace mesh panel that runs up the instep and leg, and are bound off with coins. I've met the ladies from Mountain Colors a couple of times now, and both times they have been very enthusiastic and fun to talk to.

Lucky for me, I was smart enough to travel with somebody who did win. Wendy was awarded the prize for the most masculine socks from Universal Yarns.

This is her with her good friend "Check". It was fun traveling with Check on the way home, he gets a lot of attention from people. Everyone wants to know where he came from and what his future plans are. There were a lot of perks for being a Think Outside the Sox winner...

Here she is getting interviewed by Michael from the YKnit podcast. If you haven't heard them, you're missing out. It's a good pick me up when I feel like I need a laugh. She's also expecting more yarn to be sent to her house, and she'll be published in the book of the winner's socks.

One thing I can say about the sock contest is, I was overwhelmed with the amount of cool socks entered. They were all displayed on a wall when you entered the marketplace. The only thing was, you couldn't tell which category they were in. The socks were just numbered and it would have been nice if you could see which category each sock had been entered in, and how many were entered in each category. I had heard a rumor that the judges and officiators of the contest were disappointed in the entries, so I stalked the marketplace until I found Lucy Neatby. I asked her about it and she said that they weren't disappointed in the entries themselves, just the amount of entries. They were hoping to see around 1,000 socks, but the total came in at just under 300. A pretty low representation of the sock knitters, but it was a lot of work to design a pair of socks (at least for me) and I could see why there weren't more entries.

That's all I've got, Good Times!

No comments: