Sunday, February 25, 2007

Stitches West 2007, Waited All Year (Part 2)

I have to admit that I went to stitches to buy specific things. Everything was wonderful to look at but much as I admire good eye-candy, I had goals in mind. I was out for laceweight yarn and not just any laceweight yarn. I wanted primarily to get to Skaska Designs. You really can't buy on the net from them. You have go to a show where they are at. You have to touch, see, smell and appreciate the beautiful and unique yarn. I got to the booth and went hog-wild. I bought enough to make me happy and that is saying something. Still, their yarn was not the only thing I bought. The red/orange cashmere is by Just our Yarn (500 yards 2/26, colorway Myne). Beautiful Merino/Silk fiber 50%/50% from Blue Moon Fiber Arts (see side-bar for link), Four skeins of cream colored 65% wool 35% silk (50 g/1,300 yds/skein) from Skaska Designs (see side-bar for link)Lavender/green hand-dyed merino from Skaska Designs (100% merino, 100 gms. 1,375 yds 25/2) Gray silk/yak (55/45)also from Skaska Designs (100 grams, 1,675 yds/skein 32/2). I picked up some dye in pinks/violets, point protectors and my sister bought me a yarn counter so I can figure out how many yards of yarn I spun. The lone white skein of yarn is tencel and merino wool called HEAVEN by Yarn Place (4.2 ounces 3,100 yds)Beautiful Baby Alpaca Lace from Lisa Souza (colorway Sun bleached Mahogany, 6 ounces/1,500 yds 100% baby alpaca). Last, but not least, glass circular needles from Sheila & Michael Ernst. They put on cables so I could have 40 inch circulars in US 3-4. They are so beautiful I can't do them justice in these photographs. They are light, slick and wonderful to work with. This should hold me for awhile:-)
For those who wonder, yes I wore Mountain Pines to Stitches. I don't look great in a shawl but it was all about showing off the work. I did get stopped several times. The questions were about the same. What pattern was it. Where could they get it. What yarn did I use. How long did it take. You could tell the new knitters from the old-timers. When I told the new knitters that I spun the yarn for it they all were shocked. Old-timers took it in stride but usually said I did a good job on the spinning. What can I say? It was Stitches for goodness sake. Ya gotta show-off. I don't have pictures from Stitches. They don't allow photographs. I also don't have pictures of the stuff Mo, Millie or Marlene bought but they did a lot of damage to their pocketbooks, believe me.
Now to actually do these beautiful products justice!
Life is GOOD!

Stitches West 2007 Feed the Muse (Part 1)

They gathered together at the crack of dawn (OK, so more like 8:30 AM). A hardened band of knitting fanatics each with their own secret agenda but with one motto tattooed on their souls. "Swatches? We don't need no stinkin' swatches!" They were the Magnificent Five (Hey. That's what would fit in the SUV).
Mo, the instigator, the one with the plan. She could multi-task a precision strike into the heart of Stitches West without batting an eye. She didn't call herself the boss but everyone took her orders and liked it. She didn't have to force her sisters into a life of knitting. The more they watched her knit, the more inevitable the outcome was. They fell like domino's and knitting became a family affair, a little like the Mafia.
Marlene, one of Mo's sisters and the newest to the group. Always saying she didn't really knit that much, had little experience but with a number of scarves and sweaters notched on her needles. She looked shy and retiring but you'd be a fool to take her at face value. She scored the luxury yarns for the lowest prices with that sweet smile still on her face.
Millie, another sister. Always friendly and pleasant but with that competitive edge. If you could do it, she could do it too but faster and eventually better than you could. You only had to show her a thing once and it was over. She liked the expensive stuff and always made sure she had the best tools.
Jane, the obsessive-compulsive one with the loud squeeing, darting from booth to booth, hands trembling over laceweight yarns like the fiber junkie she was. The embarrassment of the group. They might have gone without her but she was good with lace. Yeah, real good. Besides, she had the shawl, so they had to bring her.
May, better known to some as the "Knitting Wizard" or "Knitting 911". The calls came in at all hours of the day and night pleading, demanding, screaming for answers, "What the Hell does this instruction mean?" With a mind filled with knitting knowledge but the attention span of a monkey with ADD, her answers could be clear, they could be cryptic or they could spell the death knell for your knitting project with the words "To knit is to rip. If you cannot rip, you cannot knit!" She had infected more people with the knitting virus than Typhoid Mary. Even her own sister, Jane.
They all descended onto the Santa Clara Convention Center on Saturday to feed their creative hunger, to feed the Muse.

What can I say? We had a Blast!

When you look at these pictures, the first ones you'll see are things my sister, May purchased. She's been knitting a long time and her shopping at Stitches is much more specific than the new knitters. She updated her Elizabeth Zimmerman library purchasing DVD's so she can give away our VHS versions to our friend, Louise. She bought only good sock yarn. She got some Blue Moon yarn and some of the beautiful Lisa Souza. A few pretty patterns for some shrugs and new yarn swift (Now we have three of them). There is always something else, something special that we have in our heart-of-hearts that we really want to get when we are at Stitches. For May, that was to satisfy her lust for the beautiful glassware of Sheila & Michael Ernst. We have bought their glass pens, their glass orifice hooks for spinning, and now my sister is the ecstatic owner of beautiful double point needles. See them and weep. I know I did! I think that the pretty pastel double points are the "Lime and Violet" needles.

You will have to wait for my second post for a look at my loot!