Stitches West & Beyond

February has been a total whirlwind!  I knew going back to work would happen quickly, when it did happen.  I knew my creative time would take a hit but man, I forgot what a disaster everything else becomes too!

I used to laugh at the parade through my building on Saturday mornings.  First thing…take out the garbage.  Without fail, every Saturday morning, half the building takes out it’s trash.  Then they all parade through the laundry room.  Then it’s the parade to the grocery store.  As you can imagine, it is with great reluctance that I re-join this parade.  It’s all coming back to me though.  I’ve usually gotta work a trip to the post office in there, too.

I’ve been forcing myself to knit at least a few stitches in the evenings.  Slowly, I’m getting back into the swing of maximizing my time.  I’ve finished a bunch of small instant gratification projects recently, hats and toys.  I’ve got a new Dotted Rays shawl on the needles, too…but I’ve had no movement on my steeked sweater.  It is still zipper-less.

 

And then Stitches happened!  Phew!  I’m nearly recovered.  It was a good time and, I’m happy to report my ‘Carrying Coal to Newcastle’ approach worked.

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I filled my bag with stash yarn from home, just as little reminder that I have plenty of great yarn and there’s no need to buy anymore.   It totally worked!  I did not buy yarn at Stitches!  I did buy a couple trinkets…a Willie cool patch and a cute tin with a few little stitch markers.  The flying alpaca-corn became the perfect zipper pull for my notions bag!

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Check out this slideshow to see all my Stitches pictures.  Without serious yarn shopping to do, I took a lot of pictures and looked at lots of samples.  I doubt I even saw half the market floor though.

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And so, another Stitches is in the books.  I’m looking forward to next year when, hopefully, I’ve lifted my self imposed ban on stash acquisitions.  I’m super inspired and motivated to do lots of knitting in March!

Ready…Set…GO!

Stitches West 2018

Before I get into Stitches, I’ve got one last Olympic photo left on my desktop.

Behold…the Clipboard of Power!

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I laughed so hard when I saw that.  Also, I want one!  Clipboards definitely give you super powers.  This one must be very special.  I bet they needed specific training before being allowed to handle it.  Yup, I definitely want one.

List #1 for the Clipboard of Power…all the yarns I want to buy next year.

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Neighborhood Fiber Co for starters.  I was drawn back to their booth so many times.  Surprisingly, I bought nothing there??

Hedgehog Fibers…nope, didn’t bring any home?!  A Verb for Keeping Warm…it was gorgeous, didn’t buy any though.  I passed up the Shibui booth entirely.  I never visited the Yarn Over Truck.  YOTH…not this year.  Sincere Sheep, such a shame to miss.

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Frankly, once I gave myself permission to buy whatever I wanted, it’s amazing that this is all I came home with:

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So where DID I shop?

First stop:  Miss Babs

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That’s five skeins of Yowza caked up at the top of the photo.  It’s the yarn that set my color palette for the weekend and for year one of nephew knitting.  I hit the teal-purple-grey with a pop of chartreuse color scheme pretty hard this year.  If I’m going to do all this baby knitting, I may as well like it.

Those five skeins are going to become the ultimate Rebecca Danger layette set — a monster blanket and a monster sweater, both with pockets for monster friends.  There will be a whole gaggle of monster friends and whatever else I can squeeze out of those 2800 yards.  That’s 1.6 miles of yarn.  It sounds like a lot.  I’m not convinced though.  Good thing I kept shopping…

Next, KnitPicks.  I’ve long had a love-hate relationship with them.  Love the product, hate the shipping issues.  Being able to buy their yarns in person, even if it’s only at special events, is awesome!

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I got a couple hanks of the new worsted weight yarn, Provincial Tweed.  It’s got baby sweater potential.  I love tweed for it’s ability to hide pills.  I’m guessing it will hide spit up pretty well too?!

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And of course, fan favorite, self-striping sock yarn, Felici.  I don’t even knit socks but show special $3.50/ball…how do you resist that?  Blaming this one on the impending baby as well…thinking a Baby Vertebrae and a set of little baby leg warmers.  Chubby baby legs wrapped in yarn are pretty adorable.  Once the idea was planted, there was no ignoring it.

Still, though, I wasn’t done.  Zombie Yarns was definitely calling my name.  I can’t wait to knit this.  I got the ‘Playful Monster’ yarn pack to make the ‘Playful Monster Hoodie’.  I’m not sure it’s monster enough though.  I may have to put some monster ears on it to jazz it up a little more.  (and also knit it in my size!)

 

Never fear though, I did by some yarn for myself.  I know you were probably concerned about that.  I think I’ve finally collected enough speckles for a speckle fade cardi!!

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A couple finds from the Western Sky Knits sale bin (the two on the left)!  $15 speckles! Yes Please!  In the middle, a gorgeous purple speckle from Hooker’s Corner called Wisterious.  Love it!  On the right, another purple speckle, this one from Arucania.

I think getting out the rest of the collection for a full fade inspection will really be the motivation I need to cast on a fingering weight sweater.

And finally, there’s the first yarn to make it onto needles.  It’s Valley Yarns, Goshen – a cotton/tencel/silk blend.  A July baby needs a cotton blanket!

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A bit of a swatch and off I went…

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I’m just happy it’s not a hat!  :)  I’m making good progress.  Fingers crossed I can resist the urge to cast on more new yarn.  It’s time to finish my current sweater WIP.  A little focus goes a long way!


 

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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

The rest of that giant pile holds even more awesomeness.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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!


 

Stitches West 2017

Yay for Stitches!  After missing it last year, I returned this year on a mission!  It was a challenge but I waited until the very last day to attend.  It was perfect for avoiding the crowd!  Sunday means no problems parking, no waiting in line to get in, no waiting in line with the vendors.  Yes, it was perfect.

In three short hours, I managed to shop for this year and make up for last year’s lack of a shopping spree!

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Clearly, I had a color theme.  And I even bought pink???  It seems protest season is upon us and I really need a pussyhat.  There’s Hedgehog Fibers, White Birch, Magpie, Primrose and Western Sky Knits in that pile.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but it’s going to be awesome, whatever it is.

I did go for one neutral…

…and I got two slub skeins of bare yarn.  Only $20 from Anzula…it’s an amazing MCN.  I’m gonna send it to my mom so she can dye it!  I’m sure she can cover those little slubs and it will be a truly amazing MCN!!

I found a few cute accessories too!  I spotted these from across the aisle and knew they were mine!

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And this…

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Now for the hard part…waiting to cast something on.  It’s still Finish it February for two more days.  I finished my sweater!!!  I even wore it to Stitches…more details on that later this week!

And so, for two more days, I can stay true to no extraneous cast ons.

I need time to wind and plan anyhow!  Just winding those pretties is going to be fun!

So, yes, Stitches West 2017 was a success!  I’m plotting for next year already!  :)

 

Rainbow Monday!

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tl;dr:  Find the pattern recipe here!

Another Stitches West has come and gone!  As always, this one was a big success!  The stash was enhanced, inspiration abounded and I got the Seal of Approval for my newly finished rainbow welted skirt from Mr. Welt himself!

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WestKnits selfie!  Dude has long arms!  It’s always a pleasure to chat with Stephen, especially when he’s admiring my work!  I was pretty excited!

Actually, everyone admired my work…that was even more exciting!  I go all fangirl over Stephen West, in every situation, that was a given.  The compliments from the Market Place masses are more encouraging though!  I love talking to knitters!  I emptied my wallet of cards, I was so excited about the skirt itself, I didn’t actually occur to me to bring more!  So, welcome to the Knitters of Stitches! I’m glad you’ve found your way here!

As promised there will be a pattern recipe in just a moment!  First some details!

marketfloor IMG_2051 I’m completely in love with this skirt!  The lopi provides a firm fabric to begin with, add in the welts and it’s got great structure, quite like a hoop skirt!  It just begs to be twirled and wiggled and shaken.  It’s just so fun!  And it’s hit the Goldilocks sweet spot, not too hot or too cold!  It’s just right!  and it’s hasn’t been too itchy.  It’s one thing to say you’re okay with rustic wool, but I’ve really put it to the test this time, so far, it’s all good!

The best of everything though…I made my own clothes!  That is pretty cool!  I love to make hats, but at the end of the day, hats are trivial in comparison!  I love my skirt and can’t wait to make more, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment!  (plus I really hate shopping!)

Details:

My Ravelry Page

The Yarn:  Lett Lopi, ~650 yds Main Color, ~50 yds each Contrast Color

Pattern Outline, plug in your own measurements and I walk you through the calculations you have to make to customize your own skirt fully!  I would love to see pictures if you give it a try!  Eventually I’ll get this fully formatted and onto Ravelry.  In the meantime, enjoy it here!

As always, I have no problem generating knitting content…I’ve got lots planned for this week!  Stitches Stash Enhancement and a full Stash Flash, a Planned Pooling WIP, a 24 hour Cast-On-Palooza and another FO already!  Assuming of course, I don’t get lost in the stash pile!

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WIP Wednesday – On the Welt Again

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Yesterday, I was hoping to make it through the yellow welt, fingers crossed!  A healthy dose of late night knitting brought me all the way through the green stipe and it is being welted as we speak!  This is exciting!

This weekend is Stitches West. If you don’t know about Stitches West, you’re probably not a knitter!  It’s a  Bacchanalian festival for knitters!  It’s all the best parts of fiber addiction for days and days on end!  And, it’s conveniently located 7 weeks after the start of Selfish Knitting Month (aka January!)  It’s become an annual tradition with the ladies of Sip & Stitch to celebrate the end of holiday knitting and the start of the new year with a selfish sweater project!  The timing of Stitches makes it the perfect end point.  It’s enough time to get a sweater done without going crazy!  Rather than feeling rushed to meet a deadline, it’s a feeling of accomplishment and celebration when a new sweater is successfully debuted at Stitches.  (Plus, the east coast shouldn’t get all the fun with their ‘Rhinebeck Sweaters’…)

This year my goal was a Stitches Skirt and I think it’s actually going to happen! My Stitches attendance has been uncertain until now but I think this could all work out, as if I’d planned it!  Twenty-two rows and a 3 needle bind off are the only things standing between me and my skirt strutting the fashion show that is the Stitches Marketplace on Sunday.

Really, this is Exciting!! <- with a capital E!