It's been almost a full week since Stitches took place and I've had some time to sit back and reflect on things.
So, let's talk about all the things (in order because order is important)!
Stitches West officially started on Thursday, February 23, 2017 but for me, Stitches West started on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 because I had a friend flying in from Australia (by way of New York). Up until this trip, I had only ever known her online through Ravelry (specifically the monthly threads on LSG) but she was coming in for Stitches West in the flesh! She went to New York first because her brother and sister-in-law live there (with their new baby) and then came here. She landed Wednesday afternoon and I was supposed to pick her up at the airport but with us being down to one vehicle, it didn't happen that way. She took a cab here and then we hung about for a bit before getting dinner, going to Costco, and going to CVS (yes, these are important to note and we didn't do them in that order). Costco is a new thing in Australia but it's still Australian. There are things you just can't get in Australia. Aleve, for example....NyQuil, also. Guess what she stocked up on (her brother told her what she needed to take home)? After all our excitement, I drove her down to the hotel in Santa Clara (she stayed on-site, which just made things easier for her). Also, random side-note....while we were out eating, we were less than 20' away from Neil Young. And this wasn't some fancy-schmancy restaurant. It was just a local place and he lives in the area. Anyway, moving on....
She was able to go to all the festivities on Thursday including the opening speeches and Bingo and all that. I didn't because, you know, other things that needed to be done.
And then on Thursday night, Husband started getting sick...coughing, snot, sore throat. OH HELL NO!
He sucked it up for Friday and I was able to get to Santa Clara. I had one class on Friday morning and then spent the afternoon in the marketplace. Friday morning's class was on dyeing your own yarn with Jennifer Vancalcar of Holiday Yarns, which wasn't a dyer I was familiar with but that didn't bother me because hello, dye your own yarn!
We talked about a specific type of dyeing process (not the dye itself but how you splatter it onto the yarn - we also did talk about dye brands and a few things with respect to the process). In this case, it was to create pooling in short spurts, which is perfect for something like Strandwanderer. However, we were allowed to experiment with things. And, because I'm stupid excited about stuff like this, I volunteered to go first. This is my masterpiece.
I had an idea in my head with colors but I stood in front of the blank skein for probably 2-3 minutes while I decided what to do......and then I just went ahead and did it. I started with the black and just kind of striped it across in whatever fashion I felt like, pressed it in (which is important because you want it to go through the skein), and then I did the blue & pink in about every other split section and did the blue & yellow in the other ones, again pressing things in as I went along. I did leave some white, as well. After that, the yarn was flipped over so I could fill in anything that may not have soaked completely through or fix anything or add more....
After this, we watched everyone else do their creations (about 2-3 at a time) and the first batched was steamed to set the dye. We could pick them up in her booth later if they weren't finished by the time we left class. Mine was finished so I had it before I ever hit the marketplace.
After I got home, I hung it up in Little Man's bathroom to finish drying.
That is my beautiful skein (and it's gorgeous, don't you dare say otherwise...I will jump through this laptop and find you!).
And this is how it looks wound into a skein. I'm not sure what it wants to be when it grows up but it's a 75/25 Merino & Nylon blend, fingering weight, with about 400 yds. Right now, it just looks pretty. The black wound up being more of a shadow/tonal effect than an actual color, which isn't necessarily what I was going for but I'm not displeased with the results.
With my bag of pretty in my hands, I headed to the marketplace to meet my friend. I did a significant amount of damage on Friday. I suspected I'd have Stormageddon and possibly Little Man on Saturday so I thought I had better get it in on Friday.
So, the things that aren't yarn that I picked up on Friday in the marketplace:
1. Buttons (and the business card where they came from)
2. Needles (2 US #0 - 32", US #10.5 - 16", and 2 US #2 - 32"):
3. Sock Blockers
4. Wool Wash
5. Fun pin:
6. Mug from Pawley Studios (by way of StevenBe - both were there but I bought the mug at StevenBe)
7. Game (bought at Slipped Stitch Studios)
8. Project Bags:
The Sheeple bags are from ErinLane Bags. The one with the Sheeple and the bird were a collaboration bag between Lindsay of ErinLane and Marly Bird. The Princess Leia bag was from Slipped Stitch Studios. Miss Babs is obviously from Miss Babs. I know one of the people that works for Babs at Stitches events so I visited with her quickly while we were perusing. She told me I wasn't buying nearly enough. She wasn't wrong. The little Harry Potter one at the bottom is from Chicken Boots. You'll also notice that there's a little box on top. We'll talk about that in a minute.
9. Other bits and bobs:
Everyone needs more tape measures, right? And the little box....it's Washi Tape with knitted fabric printed on it. No, I'm not joking. It comes in 3 widths and you can order it on the Chicken Boots website (it's currently listed in the "Limited Edition" section).
Now, remember, the stuff above and the yarn that is coming is just what I acquired on FRIDAY. Just Friday.
1. Holiday Yarns (linked above somewhere)
Remember when I said I was like a kid in a candy store about dyeing yarn? I scooted on over to Jennifer's booth and picked up the Strandwanderer pattern & dyeing kit. So, it has four basic dye colors (yellow, red, blue, and black), instructions how to work with the dye and what you need to do there, two skeins of yarn to dye, and the Strandwanderer pattern. And, of course, I couldn't just buy that so I came home with a skein of FlockSock in the Captain Jack colorway (the same yarn base as what's in the dyeing kit).
2. Zombie Yarns (Lorna Dyes Again)
Lorna is lovely and her yarns are lovely (they have been ever since she was the person behind Lorna's Laces - which she sold several years ago now, so she could take a break from dyeing...and maybe not dye again. However, once a dyer, always a dyer...and she's back at it.). This is the Monster base, which is a 100% Merino DK weight yarn, obviously in two colors.
3. Canon Hand Dyes
This skein of Charles Sock awakens my Hufflepuff nature. It's an 80/20 Merino Nylon blend, about 390 yds, in the Hufflepuff colorway (of course). It sounds like the black is going to be more of a pinstripe than a full black stripe, which is perfectly fine with me.
Both these skeins are the Pebble Sock base, a 100% superwash Merino, about 380 yds. The top is in the Primrose colorway and the bottom is Floo Powder. My geekery is showing, obviously (and not just for the Floo Powder...for I also have a love of the Hunger Games and Prim....well, yeah).
Lisa is fabulous. I have a couple skeins from her that I bought.....honestly, I don't remember. I have a receipt. It will tell me. Those skeins are the Rainbow Ash colorway and the Hope colorway. But we're not talking about those. We're talking about this one, which is one of her self-stripe 80/20 Merino & Nylon sock yarns in the Resist Voldemort colorway.
This one, on the other hand, was mislabeled as a laceweight but it's the worsted weight version, 100% superwash Merino, about 218 yds, in the Make Your Own Sandwich colorway.
I get the feeling that Lisa is very liberal (which suits me just fine, by the way). We all know what she's talking about around these liberal parts.
As I was standing in line at the Webs booth to purchase my two bottles of Eucalan wool wash, this skein of Madelinetosh Vintage caught my eye. It's hard to tell but it's got dark purple, light purple, green, and grey in the skein and the colorway is called Night Hawk. It's 210 yds of superwash Merino, which works out to a worsted weight.
So, when I first walked into the main doors of the marketplace, I saw a large white booth (white desk, white shelving units, white signs, etc.) with all this brightly colored yarn. I resisted at first. I went through the first couple rows on the left but then I had come back around to this booth. The yarns called to me. Since I discovered that I rather like knitting socks two-at-a-time (on two different sets of needles), these little 50g skeins are perfect. The base is called Smashing Sock, which is a 75/25 Merino & Nylon blend. The big 100g skeins are 460 yds, but because these are the 50 g skeins, they have about 230 yds each. The blue is the Deep Water colorway. The pink is the Flirty Bikini colorway. The black is the Little Black Dress colorway. The idea in my head is that I'll use the black for contrasting colors (cuff, heel, toe) for both the blue and the pink but we'll see how things go. I might need another skein of the black...
I've used plenty of 3IG yarns over the last year or two, mostly the Springvale Worsted. But this is a skein of the Adorn Luxe sock yarn, which is a 85/15 Merino & Nylon blend, about 430 yds, in the Purple Rain colorway. Yes, it's a Prince tribute yarn. Yes, I love Prince. No, I have no shame. The interesting thing about this yarn is that it takes all the other Prince tribute colorways and puts them on one skein. So, I know the light pink is from the Raspberry Beret colorway, the grey with black speckles is from the When Doves Cry colorway, the dark purple is from the I Wanna Be Your Lover colorway, and the splash of blue might be from the Prince: Sexy MF colorway. I'm not positive about the last one since I did not get to see that one in the flesh (but it's listed on the Website and it does have that splash of blue, which is why I suspect that).
I also fell into the Anzula booth. The top skein (the blue) is the Croquet base in Storm. Croquet is a 50/50 Tussah & Merino blend, DK weight, about 230 yds. I've not had this one before so I'm not sure how it's going to work but all the other Anzula yarns I've used are lovely so I'm sure this one will be, also. The middle skein and the bottom skein are actually the same colorway, Dark Matter, on different bases. The middle one is Ava, a sport weight 80/10/10 Merino, Nylon, & Cashmere blend, about 330 yds. The bottom is It Could Be Worsted, a worsted weight 50/50 Silk & Merino blend, about 190 yds. Something else to note about the two skeins in Dark Matter: even the same colorway on the same base could look vastly different. The Ava is more or a pinky peach while the It Could Be Worsted is more of the dark browns and greens but there were skeins of Ava that had more of the browns and greens or another mix completely. The same can be said for the It Could Be Worsted. There are no dyelots on this particular colorway, also. And I got a tote bag along with these yarns for buying three skeins.
Now remember, that was all from FRIDAY.
Friday night, I put the boys to bed and managed to get back to Santa Clara for the Pajama Party, hosted by Lindsey of ErinLane Bags and Mary Bird. The first rule about the Pajama Party is that what happens at the Pajama Party stays at the Pajama Party. With that said, this photo was taken before the Pajama Party.
This is me and my lovely Australian friend. Yes, she is in her pajamas. No, I am not. I still had to drive back home after the party.
I will also say that I came home with two skeins of yarn from the Pajama Party. No, I cannot tell you how I acquired them. But, I came home with them.
This skein is from Shaky K Fibers, which I have purchased from before (that yarn is currently hanging in my destash but I think I'm going to pull it back out and keep it). This is their Shaky Worsted base, which is an 85/15 Wool & Mohair blend, single spun. I can't quite read the colorway name on the ball band and while I know the yarn is worsted, I don't know the weight of the skein (though I assume it to be 3.53 oz or 100 g - or thereabouts).
This skein is from Twisted Owl Fiber Studio on their 2-Ply Sparkle Gold base, a 75/20/5 Merino, Nylon, & Stelina blend, 438 yds of fingering weight in the Let's Dance colorway.
I also came home with the official pattern for Knitted Knockers.
As I expected, I had to bring a child with me on Saturday. In this case, it was Stormageddon. Little Man is fairly self-sufficient so if Husband is feeling like crap, he'll just play video games with him or hang out and watch movies. Stormageddon requires a bit more attention and action. So, he came with me on Saturday. I didn't have any classes scheduled so I was only planning on going to the marketplace and the tables to sit and knit. My friend from across the Bay met me there and we perused the marketplace.
Remember how I said I did most of my shopping on Friday? Yeah? I lied.
1. Slipped Stitch Studios (linked above somewhere)
The Princess Leia bag came from Slipped Stitch Studios. I hemmed and hawed about the bag on Friday and wound up buying it on Saturday.
Friday Edit: Apparently I liked this Princess Leia bag so much that I posted it twice. I did, in fact, buy it on Saturday, not Friday.
2. A Hundred Ravens
The Legend of Zelda bag came from A Hundred Ravens. They also had an excellent Dalek bag of the same size. I went back and forth between the two and in the end, the Zelda bag came home because I didn't have a Zelda bag, whereas I have several Doctor Who bags.
In addition to the project bag....
This is one of the gradient sets on the Iachos base, a superwash Merino blend, with about 400 yds/100 yds. Each mini-skein is between 50-60 yds and there are seven total skeins. So, in this set, there are three purple gradients, three green gradients, and a variegated purple and green. The colorway set is called Bearded Iris.
Stormageddon was being......well, he was being a little puke while we were in the Hundred Ravens booth so the lovely lady gave him his own skein of yarn to play with.
I suspect it's also on the Iachos base and is between 50-60 yds. He tried to unravel it a few times but I kept reskeining it.
But wait, that's not all!
This, too, is the Iachos base. This is the 'Round Midnight colorway and it's a semi-solid black. I was thinking of using it as a base for the gradient set above.
I've got some yarn from Sincere Sheep in my stash already but this one was sitting all lonely in the "sale" bin and I picked it up for half price. It's actually a discontinued base, which is why there's only one of them. It's a 100% Rambouillet worsted weight on their Equity Worsted and runs about 250 yds. It just called to me. Yarn does that a lot, actually.
4. Miss Babs (linked above somewhere)
I had seen these little Wee Weaver looms on Friday and looked and thought about it and wound up getting one on Saturday. Veronica said I didn't buy nearly enough. She was right. It's hard to tell but this one is for 10 ends/inch. I figure I have a lot of bits and bobs and coasters are a thing. Soooo, new hobby? Because, you know, knitting, spinning, and dyeing aren't enough. We'll see how this goes.
I also picked up this skein of Kunlun, a 70/15/15 Merino, Cashmere, & Silk blend, in Zing. It's a DK weight, about 280 yds.
I've been hearing about Abstract Fiber for over a year, ever since I started listening to the Knitmore Girls podcast. I almost didn't swing into this booth but I'm glad I did. I found this skein of Super Sock+ in the Pulse colorway. It's an 80/20 Merino & Nylon blend, about 434 yds of sock yarn.
Okay, a little bit about this before we get too far ahead...
That's Stef and I. Stef writes over at Wooly Cakes and Wooden Spoons. When I ran into her on Friday (yes, this photo is from Friday and it's out of order but, nevermind that right now), she was lamenting that she could not find sock blanks of any kind.
I say she didn't look hard enough.
Yuuuuuup. TWO sock blanks, same colorway (Early Harvest), done in opposite directions. So, one skein starts at green, changes to a yellow, orange, then dark purple. The other starts with the dark purple, changes to an orange, then yellow, and ends with the green.
7. A little thing for Stormageddon
There is a woman that goes around Stitches West and hands out these teeny finger puppets to the children that are there. We have seen her every year we have gone. So, in our house, we have a hummingbird, a monkey, this little owl, a panda, and I feel like there's at least one more that is escaping me right now. I also bought him a needle felted R2D2 necklace, which he lost somewhere between the 100-300 aisles (it was turned in and we picked it up - I just haven't photographed it).
Thankfully, while we were going along and doing our thing, Stormageddon fell asleep in his stroller. It meant we could shop and not have to fight him and pull him back from things and it just worked out well. Sadly, he refused to eat properly (he didn't even want chocolate cupcakes!) so we wound up leaving a little after lunch.
And then everything went to hell.
Sunday morning, I was supposed to have two classes: a morning class on Bavarian Twisted Stitches with Franklin Habit and an afternoon class on Hobby to Profession with Marly Bird. Buuuuuut, Saturday night, Husband started throwing up. All he had was a cold but with his tonsils being so pissy, a cold means swollen tonsils, coughing fits, snot, mucus, general ick....and puking, apparently.
While I was out buying some Sprite, I called to leave a message regarding canceling my classes on Sunday, had a good cry, put on my big girl panties, and went home. When I got home, I sent a message to Marly on Facebook (yes, we're Facebook friends) telling her I probably wouldn't be in class because Husband was sick. And I accepted the fact that I was going to miss Sunday at Stitches.
But, just in case, I set my alarm early, got up early, showered, and was ready to go in case he suddenly felt better.
And lo, he decided he could handle the four or so hours with the boys so I could go to my first class with Franklin Habit!
Franklin Habit is absolutely delightful. The man could teach underwater basketweaving and I'd still take it even though I (1) don't swim and (2) don't weave. I learned quite a bit in the class, I have a couple of books I want to get my hands on, and I learned how to do a speed swatch. I've seen them but I had never done one. You can't see the backside of this but it's just a bunch of loops. It's similar to working an i-cord but you leave a smile of yarn around the back so it's not pulled too tightly.
So, the big thing with Bavarian Twisted Stitches, if you can't tell from the title, is that all the stitches are twisted....meaning all the knit stitches are done through the back loop. It's also easiest to do this technique in the round (he said something along the lines of, "lord have mercy on your poor soul if you have to work this flat."). We got a couple stitch patterns and the basics for how charting works (because it doesn't look like normal charts), looked at some photographs of how these were used (the ones for the men's socks are amazing - calf shaping is worked into the stitch pattern).
I loved this class.
After class, I texted Husband to check on him and the boys. He said the boys were fine, he was doing work things, and he could probably handle them until about 5pm.....meaning I could go to my afternoon class with Marly!
Of course, in the meantime, there was lunch with my friend, the grand prize drawing(s), and more shopping.....we'll get to the shopping in a minute.
My afternoon class with Marly Bird, which I also took last year, was Hobby to Profession. There are no handouts for this class and it's kind of tailored to what we want to know as designers. What it really is though, for many, is a reality check. There are very few people that can make it in the fiber industry by doing just one thing or having just one source of income. I mean, even Stephen West has his fingers in multiple areas, though he's known mostly for his design work. He also teaches, he has social media accounts, and he collaborates with others (StevenBe being a favorite). But honestly, it's a reality check for a lot of people. So many people think you can just make up the design, write up the proposal, knit the item, and you magically have money...and it doesn't always work that way, especially if you want it to be sustainable. I mean, if it's a hobby to make a little bit here and there, so be it. But if you want to make this your source of income, you're going to have to treat it like a job, do the work, multiple avenues for monetary sources, the whole thing.
I took more notes than I took last year. I don't know what that says about me, though.
Up front, I'm going to apologize for my shirt. It has a naughty word on it but Stitches West was the perfect opportunity to wear it.
Like I said, I've taken this class twice now. I'll probably take it again next year, if it's offered.
But, back to shopping (because more shopping happened on Sunday between classes)...I met my friend for lunch and we hit the marketplace.
As a general rule, I do not to go to the booths for shops that are local...but Pleasanton is way over in the East Bay and I've never been over there....plus, they had Gleeners. And I wanted a damn Gleener! And my Gleener came with a project bag and a tape measure (you can never have too many). I got the travel Gleener, which is the same thing, but without the large handle.
Remember those sock blanks that Stef said she couldn't find? I found more.
This is the Star Dust blank. It is a 75/20/5 Merino, Nylon, & Stelina blend, approximately 438 yds. The nice thing about this sock blank is that it's knitted into a blank with two strands held together and then dyed so when you unravel the blank to knit it, you actually have both strands matching perfectly. It's for those people that are anal-retentive about having matching socks. I'm not one of those people but I'm not opposed to it, either. This is the Arcade colorway, which is basically a rainbow.
This is the Simply Sock blank, which is not listed in Ravelry, but it's a 75/25 Merino & Nylon blend, about 463 yds, in the Twilight colorway. Again, this is knitted into the blank with two strands held together and then dyed.
Between the Huckleberry Knits blanks and these ones, I don't know which ones I'm going to prefer, honestly. Part of me may just make the other two into a shawl or I might have to learn to knit socks toe-up to get the most out of the yarn.
And lastly, my lovely friend gave me a parting gift:
This is a kit from Halos of Hope to make either a knit or crochet Shark Hat (the kit includes both patterns). I can't find the pattern in Ravelry but it's available through their website for $10.
Soooooooooooo. Yeah. Another Stitches event done and in the books.