Friday, March 11, 2016

The Report From Stitches West

I bet you were wondering if I was ever going to tell you about this year's trip to Stitches West. I didn't forget you, and in fact, had great plans to write this blog post yesterday, until the wind started to blow and the power went out for nine hours. Things are back to normal today, so here I am to tell you all about it.

This year was a little different than previous Stitches West trips. Mr. D and I didn't combine it with a visit to our Santa Cruz family and a trip down the Central Coast. The Santa Cruz family is spending this year in Zurich, Switzerland, so Mr. D stayed home, and I flew down with my knitting friends, Sarah and Martha.

Day one got off to a VERY early start. I spent the night at Martha's house, and we had to get up at 3:00 a.m. in order to be at the airport for a 6:00 a.m. flight. Once we got going with the day, we were all okay, but by the end of the day we were really dragging.

Once we arrived in Santa Clara, the fun began. The three of us found a comfortable couch in the Hyatt lobby and waited for our rooms to be ready. While sitting there, we greeted friends as they arrived and had a very interesting conversation with a designer, Patty Nance, who happened to sit down next to us.

Within an hour or so, our rooms were ready, and then it was time for lunch. Every year we go to the Teachers a la Carte luncheon, and sit at a table with our friends Barb, Tracie, Pat and Mary. A number of the Stitches teachers rotate to each table for five minute segments, and they tell us about their classes and specialties. It's a great way to get ideas for what to take at Stitches West in future years.

After lunch, it was time for my first class, Stashology 201, with Chris Byslma. Barb was also in that class, and we had fun working our way through the various exercises that provided me with new ways to think about my stash and how to use those partial balls of yarn leftover from other projects. Here is a photo that I took of some of our class samples:

Then it was time for the market! Stitches attendees who register for classes or events get admission to the market preview on Thursday night. This is a huge advantage, because it is a lot less crowded than on Friday or Saturday. Sarah, Martha and I always do the passport game—you print out a passport before leaving home, then visit the booths on the passport and when done, turn it in for a prize drawing. None of us have ever won the prize, but it is a great way to scope out what vendors have to offer. At one of the last passport booths we visited, Dizzy Blonde Studios, we had our photo taken in the "transporter". It turns out that this is the only photo I got of the three of us during the whole three days. I bet you can tell that this was when we were really tired from our long day.

My time in the market over the three days kind of blurs together, so I'll just show you what I purchased:

A kit to make Knitted Knockers (more on this charity in an upcoming post)

A mini-skein set in the Bloody Mary colorway from Pigeonroof Studios

A sock blank from Western Sky Knits

Dragonfly Fibers Pixie in the Blue Velvet colorway 

I was pretty moderate this year, don't you think? Actually being in the Stitches market is more than just buying. While there, I turned in my recently completed Mother Bear, and returned the next day to find her on display in the Mother Bear Project booth.

We also spend a lot of time looking at the items displayed in various booths, and often take photos of them so we can remember just what that pretty shawl was called once we return home.

Sometimes we just marvel at all the gorgeous colors, like these, in the Neighborhood Fiber Company booth.

There were many more adventures at Stitches West: a great class on Mitered Squares from Marly Bird, the Friday night fashion show, pizza deliveries and Girl Scout cookies, not to mention the enjoyable podcaster get-together in the Hyatt bar on Saturday afternoon. As always, it was a whirlwind of fun, and over all too soon. Before we knew it, we were on another plane, watching the sun go down as we headed back home.