Purposeful Purchases–or not!

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to Stitches West I go!

I was on the fence about it, but I decided I needed to spend some time with my fellow stitchery folks at Stitches West. Not to mention I am way overdue for some time off from work.

Last year felt a bit solitary, but this year I managed to stay at the conference hotel and run into lots of singles—not unmarried folks—but knitters there on their own. So each night I had dinner with a different crafter from a different part of the country. It was MARVELOUS fun.

Zauberbal Sock Yarn in Harvest, Stonewash and Heilix Bleche

This year I had plans in place to avoid the purchasing frenzy that happened last year (mostly project bags). So while I waited for the Marketplace to open on Thursday night, a couple of other “singles” and I swapped strategies (over Chardonnay) for keeping ourselves in check. Mine was, don’t buy anything you don’t a project in mind for and no more bags, which for me meant I could buy a few sock yarns—which I did.

A half hour after the market opened we moseyed over and subsequently threw all those strategies to the wind, dashing from aisle to aisle, burdened by purchases. Perhaps abstaining from alcohol before visiting the Marketplace should be next years’ strategy.

The Stitches organizers were far from sympathetic self-proclaiming to be “devils” and querying what was in our bags as we left the market floor. But as we all know those are really in the details of what to knit next!

I have excuses for each purchase. Miss Babs was because of a scarf my neighbor made out of it in my Ridge Heddle Weaving class. The Malabrigio is screaming to be made into a Spiral Staircase Scarf for resale at the resort next door (no restrictions!). Though I have to call “uncle” on the Louisa Harding. That was simply a fabulous price and fills a hole in my stash for light fingering projects.

Next week I’m back to work, but for now I’m hanging out at home dreaming of what to make and filling up my queue on Ravelry!

Happy knitting!



A Mixed Bag

Earlier this week when I woke up back in my own bed, a bit worn out, I was overcome with a touch of sadness: Stitches West was over. I don’t think, until that moment, I realized just how much fun I had there. Despite taking too many classes and being on the tail end of the flu, it was a complete blast!

Unlike many folks I went by myself—not with friends (who mainly opted out for Madrona Winter Retreat the weekend before). Still, I was never really alone. I wandered the Market with classmates or instructors, like Margaret Fisher, who commented she’d never seen so many non-yarn booths making the shopping experience so much more exciting. If I sat down to eat, I joined a table (usually the last seat) and before I knew it in a few minutes we were chatting like old friends. Knitters are like that.

Bags and Bowls Purchased at Stitches West
Bags and Bowls Purchased at Stitches West

This year I didn’t buy yarn. In keeping with my New Year’s resolution of making or bartering for all my clothes this year, I had to stay within my PayPal account for purchases. So, in theory, I could have purchased yarn, but I was on a strict budget. So I decided what I needed more than yarn (see earlier blog to “So much Yarn”) were bags, organizers, and more bags. The phone wire bowl from the Zulus in South Africa? Well that baby unexpectedly pulled me out of the aisle. Once I picked it up, I simply could not put it down. That’s the feeling you get when you know you’ve found something you will treasure.

So what to do about the malaise of coming back to work and reality? What I did was block my calendar for next year. I heard that it was going to be February 18th and I’m already planning to go!

I haven’t figured it out yet…

I haven’t figured it out yet.” Such a hopeful phrase! It suggests two very important things:

  1. That there is more to learn
  2. That I will learn it 🙂

I’m still here in Santa Clara at Stitches West and I’ve come to another realization. I signed up for too many classes—the same mistake I made my first time as Stitches West 14 years ago when it was in Oakland.

In my defense, it’s been 10 years since I was here. That said, I’ve loved every class and will likely love the two (!) more I have tomorrow. The issue is making sure I really learn what I’ve learned.

So far I’ve picked up many new ways of closing garments and making the chains, buttons, etc., in a class with Margaret Fisher. She even taught me how to sew in a zipper! I also learned two stranded color knitting with a designer from my neck of the woods, Lorilee Beltman. I can’t wait to try out her designs! Today was continental knitting with the fabulous Leslye Solomon, who I remember from her classes when I was first going to Stitches West all those years ago. This is when my brain started to fry a bit.Created with Nokia Smart Cam

When a neighbor would get stuck in class and lean in to ask me how to do something—because I tend to plow on even if I don’t know what I’m doing—I would answer, “I haven’t figured it out yet, but here is what I’m trying.” I didn’t feel bad about that, I felt energized!!

After class, this being my only half day of classes, walking around the market I felt a bit dizzy. Yes, that is a sensory overload place too, but it was more than that—I WAS TIRED. So I hoofed it back to the hotel to rest. ZZZZzzzz.

After my nap I picked up right where I left off from class while I was waiting for dinner and there it was. No, it wasn’t smooth (not yet!) and no it wasn’t pretty (not yet!), but this will come. I know it!

And now I must gird my loins for the two classes I have tomorrow—before I get on a plane and fly home.

Travel and Knitting–the best of both worlds

I love knitting. I love travel. Put the two things together and you have a recipe for a great time.

After arriving at the San Jose airport I hopped in my rental and beat feet up the road to get to my first class. With no trouble I checked in, hustled to the venue, grabbed my registration and made my way to the first class with Margaret Fisher on Closures. She even debunked crochet for me!

People massing 25 minutes before the doors to the expo opened. You should have seen in right before they did!
People massing 25 minutes before the expo. You should have seen it right before they opened!

As I headed back to my own hotel I saw people massing at the door of the market, someone commented, students get to go in today. Wow! A chance to do the circuit and see everything once, before settling in to do the real shopping. And that’s just what I did—though I’d forgotten my booth listing back at the room.

That’s okay! There will be time for more wandering about in the days ahead.

In brief, SO GLAD TO BE BACK after 10 years away.

Today I’ve got a full day of two stranded knitting. I’ve practiced the continental style I learned on YouTube, since a friend of mine told me it helps with this sort of thing. It makes me feel like I’m knitting with mittens on. That’s why we take classes to learn and that’s my favorite thing to do!!