Vogue Knitting Live SF Recap

26ACED29-4BB9-4899-A506-8E649C45E524

What a weekend, I barely know where to start.  There’s so much to tell you about…classes, shopping, fashion shows…and lots of yarn!  Let’s start with the fun stuff…here’s my shopping.

IMG_0008

I went over budget but I knew that was going to happen.  I say unrealistic things like ‘I’m not going to buy yarn.’  Obviously, no one believes that.  Not even me.  I did leave my credit card at home on days 2 & 3 though, that helped.  The vendors were quick to be helpful, telling me about apple pay and other banking apps they’re equipped to deal with.  Nice try, vendors.  Nice try.

My shopping started at Neighborhood Fiber Co.  They were the end of their row, a perfect crossroads to find friends.  Perhaps, for me, the best part of the event was it’s small, even intimate size.  It was so easy to run into fiber friends.  Having worked in local yarn shops, I know a lot of knitters.  There were lots of people to stop and chat with! So, I stood next to the Neighborhood Fiber Co booth, eyeing their display shawls and chatting it up.

I happened to say ‘if they had a kit for that shawl and it was in my hands, what are the chances I’d put it down?’  A helpful friend said ‘oh, you mean like this’ and the rest is history.  I’m not sure what exactly I’ll knit with the yarn.  It’s a kit for Joji’s Fading Point shawl and the display model is Joji’s Starting Point shawl.  I like triangles more than rectangles but also, how many triangles (asymmetric or otherwise!) does one person need?

With that in mind, my next purchases were for sweaters.  Franklin Habit’s class definitely gave me the finishing touches I was looking for.  A nice woolly cardigan with a zipper is now in the queue.  I picked up a 7 skeins of Swans Island sport weight from the ‘All American’ collection.  100% American grown, spun and dyed, NON-SUPERWASH Rambouillet…It’s perfect!  I’m going to pair it with the Mountain Meadow Cody, I got in Flagstaff.  It’s very similar in it’s 100% American grown, spun, dyed origins.  They should pair beautifully.

I’ve got a range of colors and no clue how they’ll become a sweater.  The next part of my process is making a pile.  When I’m asked ‘what are you going to do with that yarn?’, which is frequent at these events, my answer is ‘put it in a pile’.  It’s funny, in the moment, but it’s also the truth.  I buy single skeins in large quantities.  Figuring out how they all fit together, is the fun part.  First thing I did when I got home last night was put them in a pile.  (Also referred to as ‘playing Barbies’.)

3C1285A5-85D1-49D1-802A-35A76575FC33

Here’s a couple piles!  The best piles ever!  A gorgeous squishy real wool cardigan with a zipper…yes, please!!

And then, that green pile…oh yeah!  I’ve been collecting green fingering weight yarns all year.  This pile is just beginning.  There’s going to be lots of arranging and rearranging.  Whatever happens, it’s going to be good.  I might be saying the words ‘Westknits Marled Mania Cardigan’ but I don’t think I mean that just yet.  I’d consider the short version, in one color family…I’m waiting to see some real world examples pop up.  Given my current queue, I should have no problem filling that wait time up with other knits.

And cross stitches.  When the cash for big yarn projects was depleted I still had a few dollars left for beads!  The bead booth is so fun!  And beads are so tiny.  No space issues when you hoard beads.  Those three on the left came home with me.  They’ve got an interesting bias cut that could make for interesting leaf, scale or feather textures.  We’ll see what happens.

And then, there’s all the stuff I didn’t buy.  Sadly, I can’t cram everything from every yarn shop into my small apartment.  I didn’t buy most the stuff.  I showed restraint and only brought home pictures of all these beauties…

Overall, I was happy with the marketplace.  Anyone expecting Stitches West level of shopping was in for a disappointment.  There was one small ballroom full of vendors.  I’ve not been to VKL in New York but apparently, it’s four times larger than this was.  There were complaints.

The interesting thing for me was the dominance of our local shops.  Many local shops had booths and many (most?) attendees were local.  This did not feel like an event full of people who traveled great distances.  It felt like a local event with a few out of towners.  That’s not what I was expecting.  It also felt undersold.  It wasn’t crowded.  The economics of it all is certainly questionable.  I hope the vendors made a bit of money.  The tentative plans for 2020 include another VKL SF.  I think they need to change things up a bit, if it’s going to work.

More about the complaints tomorrow!  I got a lot out of my class but not everyone did.  Franklin is an excellent teacher.  He was so well organized and together.  My class was a well oiled machine.  Unfortunately, I heard more bad class stories than good.

I’ve got lot of pics from class to share but enough talking, it’s yarn:30 in the crafternoon.  I must knit!  There is a 3-color cashmere cowl calling my name!

IMG_9952


 

Stash Enhancement

After a period of losing local yarn shops, San Francisco got a new shop over the long weekend!  Woo!  Firebird Yarns…right on Haight Street…a great location for tourists and locals, alike.   I can’t wait to see how things develop there.  I hope the shop continues to grow and sticks around for long time.

It hit a lot of current trends…indie dyers, gradient yarns, mini skeins, speckles galore!  All things I like.  The indie variety was impressive…Loft Twenty Two, Houndstooth Fiber Arts, Hula Hut Yarn, Mad Science Yarns (great color names here–tesla coil, genetically modified berries, perfect mad science names!).

And now, here’s my plea to those indie dyers…please, please, please expand your offerings beyond superwash.  There is a market for non-superwash yarns, especially considering how many of those superwash yarns are labeled ‘hand wash cold, lay flat to dry’.  That’s not how superwash works.

With that in mind, the shop did have one special yarn, non-superwash, sheep raised in Texas, milled out in the Sacramento Valley.  It’s a great color too, so I had to buy a skein.  It’s a bulky single ply with a bit of thick and thin happening.  No idea what I’ll do with it, but I’m sure it’ll be good!  It’s a nice soft yarn!

IMG_9504

Of course, I can’t resist a good speckle so I picked up a skein of Hula Hut Yarn too.

IMG_9506

I’ve got a good collection of green yarns now, this could be my next cast on!  Perhaps at the end of the week, after my job interview.  I’ve got 48 hours left to prepare…so it’s all work until then!  I’d say ‘wish me luck’ but this is definitely the type of situation where you make your own luck.  I’m feeling good about my presentation but I’ve still got lots of fine tuning to do.  What I really need is two days of distraction free focus.  (that might be where the luck comes in!)  I’ll keep you posted!  :)


 

Back in the SF groove

Took a few days but things are just about back to normal around here.  Re-entry is always harsh after vacation but it took me a few extra days.  It was really nice being in New Mexico where the population density is zero.  Coming back to the crowds of San Francisco has made me cranky.  It’s like I forgot how to suppress the urge to slap people while saying ‘get it together, idiot’.   So, it was a rough weekend but, I’ve got it under control now.  Getting back to the knitting routine was imperative!

I knit in public, on several buses and even managed a few FOs. The purple hat is just a basic beanie with a little garter ridge relief kind of design.  Something for the gift box because invariably when a random birthday arrives, everyone’s favorite color is purple, yes?

I put the sleeves on my nephew’s first sweater.  He’s due in July, so he doesn’t even need them.  They were really just a few rows of formality.  I washed it and got ready to block it.  Definitely didn’t need all the blocking mats for this wee sweater.  It’s so tiny!  They call this size 0-3 months.  If it fits him on day 1, I’ll be amazed!

My current WIP is the other dotted rays.   Of the two, this one is definitely my favorite.  I knew it wouldn’t languish, alone, in a corner, after vacation and it hasn’t.  It’s been growing at a rapid pace since I got back.

IMG_7875

 

So, with all that progress, it’s definitely time to cast on something new.  Here’s my pile of vacation yarn…

IMG_7873

The first thing I grabbed to wind was the Dream in Color.  I got Jilly & Smooshy both with Cashmere.  Obviously.  With Cashmere is always the answer.

IMG_7885

I wanted to cast on the Local Yarn Shawl from Local Yarn Store Day but I don’t think I’ve got the right colors.  At least not right here.  I’ve totally got the right colors somewhere…I just need to get the yarn out and spread it all around.  Any excuse, right?

Any excuse!!


 

About that Stash…

Sometime yesterday afternoon, I had a moment of panic.  I realized some of my new Stitches yarn was missing from this picture.

IMG_6294

PANIC!  What happened to it?  I hope I didn’t lose it at the hotel?  Could I recall seeing it at home?  Was it in any of the pictures I’d taken?  Did it fall out of the bag in the car?  OMG WHERE IS IT?

Thankfully my panic only lasted about 30 seconds.  One of the benefits of a tiny studio apartment…nothing is ever far away!  I found them exactly where I had left them…with all the other speckles.  D’oh!

It’s amazing how much emotion can be packed into such a short span.  These beauties will be central to my speckle fade cardigan plan.  The thought of losing them, while fleeting, was sad.  They’re just so gorgeous!!

IMG_6305

The two on the left are Savannah from Baah, a lovely soft MCN.  The one on the right is Tosh Merino Light in the Foliage colorway.

I frequently tell people to stop buying Tosh.  There are so many other great yarns to try, no need for pigeon holing.   That color though!!  I could not resist.  I saw it from a distance and once I had it in my hand, there was no putting it down.  I love the bright fun speckles but the dark green is what sold it!  It’s a completely grounded and wearable color but it also satisfies my need for rainbow clown barf.  It is my absolute definition of irresistible.   I would have been very sad to lose it.   And so, this is why Tosh remains a favorite.  Maybe one day I’ll learn, resistance is futile.

Similarly, in the maybe-one-day-I’ll-learn category…

IMG_6309

I started a new project yesterday.  The more I say I’m not going to do something…the more likely I am to do it.  (see:  buy yarn as another example.)  I definitely thought I was good on WIPs when I left you yesterday.  I didn’t expect this to happen either!  I’m pleading the Crochet Loophole on this one.  It’s totally reasonable to allow myself one little crochet project, along with all the knit WIPs.

IMG_6296

And by little, I mean 3200 yards of KnitPicks fingering weight Chroma!  Wooo!

A very generous knitter asked me at Stitches, do you like Chroma?  Why, yes.  Yes, I do.  She said she was destashing and she’ll bring it for me.  Well, Monday knit night rolled around and she was serious about this destash.  So, here I am with a giant bag of unexpected yarn!  It’s amazing!  And Rainbow!  And Stripey!

Just about 11 pm last night, my resolve broke and here I am with my newest WIP…a crochet blanket, log cabin style!  I’m going with a big hook and a loose stitch in the hopes that this will be a big, squishy rainbow hug!  It’s gonna be so good!


 

2018 Stash Flash

It’s that time of year again.

January.

Time for selfish knitting, setting goals and looking ahead.  Looking, in particular, at Stitches West.  I’ve been going to Stitches since before it needed ‘West’, since the days it was held in Oakland.  You know all those ‘most wonderful time of year’ sentiments people attach to Christmas?  That’s only because they haven’t been to Stitches.

There are many time honored Stitches traditions.  The first is denying I’m even going to go.  I got over that pretty quick.  The next is casting on a new sweater, for the express purpose of debuting it at Stitches.  Yup, Check that off the list!  I think it’s gonna be a good one this year too!

And, perhaps, the most important tradition of all…Flashing the Stash.  I know what yarn I have but seeing all, together, in one place really helps drive home the mantra:  I’m not buying yarn this year.  I’m not buying yarn this year.  I’m not buying yarn this year.  I’m REALLY not buying yarn this year!

I’m really not buying yarn this year??

Yes.  and here’s why:

redacted stash

This is the stash, in January 2016.  I skipped the 2017 Stash Flash.  So we’ve gotta go back two years.  As a reference, I put my blocking boards down.  It’s a good size reference, this is 18 square feet of yarn.   Everything blacked out is gone.   That leaves a lot.  And, it goes without saying that the Stash grew in both 2016 and 2017.

Here’s what the stash looked like yesterday:

2018-01-15_08-38-40_780

Unsorted, just in a pile.  There’s a 12″ ruler planted in the middle as reference.  It’s nearly buried.  The yellow bag in the back, that’s my Lopi.  This year’s Stash Flash officially needed a phase 2.

After sorting, it looked like this:

2018-01-15_09-44-29_073

It broke free from it’s 18 sq ft boundary and it’s still about 8 inches deep throughout.  I took my job as a yarn collector pretty serious the past two years.

Phase 2, the Lopi phase:

2018-01-15_13-57-00_660

The Lopi behaved well.  I spread it single layer so I’ve got an exact accounting of it.  With yoke sweaters being so on-trend in 2018 I think my next sweater may be a lopi-peacock-fade sort of thing.

2018-01-15_13-55-16_100

Yes?  Yes!  That sounds awesome and clearly, requires no new yarn!

The rest of that giant pile holds even more awesomeness.

2018-01-15_13-34-06_424

My YOTH.  Those beautiful greens are destined for a shawl…one day.

2018-01-15_13-36-59_100

My Quince.  Clearly, I went through a teal phase.  I really need to get these guys on the needles.

2018-01-15_13-39-41_387

A stash of Road to China Light, the teal phase was still going strong.  This yarn is a phenomenal blend of alpaca, silk, camel and cashmere.  One day, I’m really going to love wearing it.  Hopefully that’s soon.

2018-01-15_13-24-20_809

I’ve got at least a sweaters quantity of Zooey from Juniper Moon Farms, acquired when cotton seemed like a good idea.

2018-01-15_12-40-00_301

The section of yarns dyed by my Mom.   Definitely getting some of these on the needles in short order.

2018-01-15_12-39-23_012

An assortment of speckles and other fingering weight hand dyed yarns.  So many happy hours of knitting in this shot!

2018-01-15_12-39-47_585

Sparkly yarn, self striping yarn, barber pole hand spun yarn.  At this point, it’s all good stuff.  Nothing big box or acrylic about it.

I’ve got tweed, I’ve got solids, I’ve got blends, I’ve got chainette, I’ve even got one skein of chartreuse mohair.  What more could I possibly even need??

As much as I love new yarn, I really love my old yarn.  This collection has been carefully curated.  The junk is gone.  The colors are perfect.

AND, I’ve got a whole month to make a dent before Stitches.   Ready, Set, GO!


 

Weekend Stash Enhancement

2017-11-11_15-31-08_300

I visited another new bay area yarn shop this weekend, The Black Squirrel in Berkeley.  It’s a nice, bright, open space with an amazing yarn wall.  They have a small, trendy selection of yarn.

2017-11-11_15-41-20_777

It’s kind of amazing that I only came home with three skeins.  I don’t usually do trends but speckle yarn is one trend I am on board with!

There were maybe 3 or 4 different indie dyers represented on the wall.  I went with Spun Right Round, a dyer from Rochester, NY.  This is the sock base, an 80/20 superwash wool/nylon blend.  In colors Caterpillar and Idle Gossip.

2017-11-12_11-26-42_705

For a quick minute, I thought, I should do one of those faded sweaters.  I think I’ve come to my senses since then.  I’ve got too many WIPs for that but just in case I decide to do a fade of some kind, my third color is the perfect neutral for a fade, Newsprint.

53214477599__95C14E9B-27F0-4351-8455-425CDF5436AD

White with black speckles…an instant classic!

I’m not casting the yarn on yet but I did have time for another little project I picked up.

2017-11-12_13-45-30_701

A christmas ornament cross-stitch kit.

They worked up quick and turned out super cute.

 

Pre-Thanksgiving isn’t too early for a Christmas tree, is it?

2017-11-12_16-03-06_297

And, I managed to make progress, this weekend, on the Bill Murray Sweater too.  Good progress I think.  I’ll share some details and photos for WIP Wednesday!   Hopefully it’ll look like something by then!


 

WIP Wednesday Photo Dump

As usual, it’s Wednesday and I have more works in progress than hands to work on them.   My cat sweater is still a WIP but it’s approaching FO status rapidly.

2017-11-01_07-12-55_342

The first time around, I forgot a bit of sleeve shaping.  Happy to say, this time I remembered to shape the appropriate places and the face is far less wonky now.  Just a couple rows more and a bit of neck shaping before I can begin seaming!  The weather is perfect for the sweater right now so I’m hoping to stay focused!

It’s tough with this box of beauties though…

2017-10-21_14-26-03_912

Mom dyed me some yarn for my birthday!  It’s all amazing!  The two little balls are a merino/silk/yak blend.  Soon to be a hat I think.

The barber pole yarn is super fun too…it’s a 4 ply wool, 3 regular plies and one superwash ply.  Turns out the superwashing process effects the way wool takes dye so you get this cool marled effect with one color of dye.   The electric blue is so striking!  I can’t wait to use it!

The piece de resistance, though, is this great big hank of alpaca…

2017-10-21_14-13-19_603

2017-10-21_14-11-28_517

I love everything about it…the colors, the speckling, the softness.  Mom tried something new with this one — Ice Dying.   You put your yarn underneath a large mass of ice, sprinkle the dye on top of the ice and as the ice melts, the dye drips down randomly.   I don’t know if I actually have the patience to dye that way but I’m really glad Mom did.  At the bare minimum, I’ve gotta swatch with this yarn soon.  It’s definitely going to become something special.

Of course, the real reason I’m trying to avoid the siren song of new yarn, I need to get moving on the Bill Murray Sweater.

You see, Bill Murray is currently touring with a band.  I have this big portrait of Bill that I knit a few years back.  I also have tickets to the Bill Murray tour.   It’s time to put my money where my mouth is.

2017-10-29_18-56-53_648

I’ve pulled a selection of yarns from the stash and I’ve decided on a plan.  I just need to put the plan into action.  I’ve got five weeks.  It’s time to stop procrastinating.

Really, that means step away from the cross stitching.  I finished this little hoop, an ode to Warren Zevon and the werewolves of London.

2017-10-27_21-32-51_972

It was an irresistible idea.  I got it out of my system.  I’ve cleared the path for the Bill Murray sweater.  It’s time.  I’ve got laser focus.  I’m making it happen.

Just as soon as I finish the Cat Sweater.   (you had to know that was coming.  lol.  fingers crossed they’ll both be finished soon because in reality, it’s November.  It’s time for the Christmas knitting freakout. Ugh!)