Jessica May & I got permission from our understanding bosses to miss a Friday of work to indulge our fiber fanaticism at Stitches West and began the trek down to the South Bay on a very rainy day. Personally, I love the rain. I think of it as the Universe telling me to stay inside and knit. So it only seemed appropriate that we would be spending this rainy day with yarn. For those that haven’t been before, the Stitches market floor is packed full of something like 200 vendors selling everything fiber from yarn to books to swifts to spinning wheels to olive oil(?). I like that I get to see products from all sorts of vendors all under one roof, yarns that I would otherwise only see online. For bargain hunters, there are also deals to be found in bags of yarn.
I should explain my yarn buying philosophy; I try to only buy yarn for which I already have a project in mind. This was a lesson I learned in grade school. I still have a collection of pretty beads that cost all my young allowance, so I am fairly good at keeping to this plan. Walking into Stitches I didn’t have major project planned, but Cookie A’s new sock knitting book was at home, waiting to be put to use and there would be socks to make with the One Sock a Month Knitting Group. I have also been dreaming of knitting up some deep red socks. That meant that if I was going to buy anything, it would be sock yarn.
Before any purchase could be made, we needed to do a complete walk through of the floor. I had my highlighted floor map to make sure we checked out specific booths of people that I had heard about on the Stash & Burn Podcast or in my knitting circles like Lisa Souza, The Sanguine Gryphon, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Carolina Homespun, and Tactile. Plus I knew I wanted to stop by Miss Babs where I had gotten wonderful yarn last year for my Saroyan scarf and the geek in me needed to show some love to the two knitting comics. Some highlights (that were not actually purchased) included Lisa Souza’s “Wild Things” colorway (based on the Where the Wild Things Are book), the Bugga sock yarn at the Sanguine Gryphon (a little expensive, but I would love to try it someday), and the pretty designs at CoCo knits. It seemed a little silly to spend too much time at the local vendors but both Tactile and A Verb For Keeping Warm both had tempting offerings. After checking out every booth, I made a beeline back to Miss Babs to spend my money on a skein of their “Yummy” sock yarn. I was torn between Nell and Lake Michigan, but finally decided on the light blue & brown variegated Nell because it would match the yet-to-be-knit light blue & brown variegated yarn (hand spun by Jessica) that I picked up at the Stash Exchange. I also splurged on the Knit Princess Collection: Book 2. It is a book full of comics about knitting AND knitting patterns, it is perfect for me. Plus I have read every comic online and I like to support artists I love. (If you haven’t been reading this comic, you really should!)
Jessica May was really taken with a rich black yarn at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth, but it was a little too expensive for the sweater she had in mind. Instead she found her way back to the Anzula booth where they had the most stunning Daybreak Shawl. (Daybreak was the “in” pattern this year.) She found fabulous “squishy” yarns, one in pink and one in gray, so she can make a Daybreak of her own.
In our travels, we met up with fellow Purl Jammers, Janice and Jessica. We had lunch with Janice in between sessions of her class on a Swedish twined-knitting technique. We met up with Jessica late in the day after we had done our shopping and after she was able to free herself from work. It was great to hear about what caught the attention of our friends. Janice was on the lookout for “tools’ like a book about Scandinavian techniques & sock blockers from Purrfectly Catchy Designs. Jessica was just excited to browse as she was going to do her real shopping on Sunday. Plus, we witnessed Jessica’s amazing luck as her name was called out as a winner of one of the Stitches West door prizes.
The other thing that happened when we met up with Jessica was that I was tempted to break the rule I set for myself of one skein of yarn (+ a book). We stopped back by the Blue Moon Fibers booth and I found a knit sample in the perfect red colorway. I had missed it the first time around, but there it was, the yarn I had been day dreaming about turning into socks, Socks That Rock in “True Blood” Red. I held strong and left Stitches without buying any. The drive home with Friday traffic and rain ended up taking over twice as long as it did to get down there, so I had a lot of time to ruminate on the crimson yarn. I made myself sleep on it, but by Saturday I had to ask Jessica to pick me up a skein when she was back at Stitches on Sunday. All ended well because I am now the happy owner of a skein of “True Blood” Red Socks That Rock and I think I might just use it to knit up one of the patterns in my Knit Princess book, King Charles Lacy Socks.
I think I can safely say that all the Purl Jammers enjoyed Stitches, whether we were just there to browse the vendors or actually taking a class. Being immersed in all the gorgeous yarn and fiber, I was inspired to “get my knit on.”
– Reported by Elizabeth, who didn’t play by the rules after all.