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Stitches West 2011

February 25, 2011

Saturday morning, 5:00 am a firm knock sounded on my front door.  I opened to door to darkness and a chill wind then in stepped my partner in yarn crime, Anna Lena. “Ready?” she inquired.  Ready?  Ready to go to Stitches West 2011?  You bet your circulars I was ready!

Off we drove, making the usually long drive in a record-breaking amount of time.  Once inside the Hyatt, I set off for my two classes taught by Gayle Roehm, Fitting Japanese Designs, and Challenging Japanese Stitches, while Anna Lena settled down with some design work before the Market opened at 10:00.  Gayle Roehm was an excellent teacher, prepared, organized, and informative.  My favorite class was the Challenging Japanese Stitches where I learned how to translate symbols that closely resembled a plate of spaghetti or two fishes into actual stitches. My goal was to gain the confidence to attempt a pattern from one of my two Let’s Knit! Japanese books (a deceptively simple sounding title).

However, my favorite part of Stitches this year was meeting the many indie dyers and designers that swarmed everywhere, in what is supposedly the largest yarn and fiber convention in the Western hemisphere.

I was thrilled to finally chat with Gryphon, from the Sanguine Gryphon, whose blog I have been following since she first emerged as a tentative newcomer in the hand dyed yarn market.  Judging from the crowd around her creatively designed medieval tent, I would have to say she and her truly unique and beautiful designs are very, very successful. In person she is just as energetic, fun and witty as she is in her blog, despite recovering from a concussion obtained by a falling shelf during set-up.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Alana the designer from the Never Not Knitting blog and podcast.  She is  just as sweet and friendly as she sounds in her podcasts, and tiny to boot!  I’m only 5’4, and towered above her, as you can see from the photo.  Additionally, she is as beautiful in person as she is in her design photos!

Alana was sharing a booth with Lisa from Becoming Art, an indie dyer that I had heard about from the Never Not Knitting podcast, but not seen in person.  Oh, my, but her yarns and the colors are divine!  My only unplanned purchase, I could not resist the two plump skeins Lisa plopped in my hands, perfect for the Cedar Shawlette that Alana designed.  Just as promised, Alana had her surprise design in the booth, which also came home with me.  Alana’s designed patterns are little works of art.  They look like beautiful, illustrated books. Her newest design is for a child/toddler/baby headband, two designs in one pattern booklet, which is filled with fun games for a little one to play.  How creative, and perfect for mothers wanting to entertain the little one as they knit up a quick project!

Other people whom I met and enjoyed chatting with  were Rosemary, from Romi Designs, Adriana from A Verb For Keeping Warm, the Knitmore Girls, Miss Babs, and all my local pals from our knitting group.  Of course Anna Lena, wearing her newest design featured in the Spring issue of Interweave Knits garnered a lot of attention as well.

As well as a modest amount of yarn, I picked up two books, Misty by Kim Hargreaves, and Toe-Up Socks for Every Body by Wendy D. Johnson.  You will be certain to see project knit from those two inspirational books posted in the future!

Some tasty yarn I scooped up at Stitches…

A neat find that I was introduced to in Gayle’s class is Highlighter Tape.  Far, far better than sticky notes, because it stays sticky longer, won’t peel off when you stick it in your project bag, and its see-thru, so you can refer to rows you have previously knit.  If you knit lace or color work, I don’t need to explain why this is a crucial benefit!

In my last post I mentioned that I had begun Paper Dolls for my daughter.  It’s now completed, and although it came out beautifully, it’s huge!  More a size 8 than a size 5. I suppose she will have to wait until next winter to wear it.

Another completed knit is the Ingenue, from the Custom Knits book, and I have to say, this project has become one of my all time favorites!

Well, I must go lie down and recover from all of the yarn fumes I inhaled at Stitches West.  ‘Til next time, happy crafting!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2011 7:41 pm

    IT was such a pleasure meeting you at Stitches! Thanks for stopping by our booth! 🙂

  2. March 4, 2011 5:49 pm

    Your post is making me look forward to Stitches South even more! The Paper dolls sweater is adorable – the colors are perfect on your daughter, and I bet she can’t wait till next winter to wear it!

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