I’m on vacation from my day job this week, which means I have PLENTY of time to get ready for Stitches West. In past years, the month or so prior to Stitches West has always been full swing Stitches prep. Something about working at a LYS that always maintained a large presence at this show, meant that the ramp up to it was always stressful in one way or another. However, that is very much not the case this year. I’ll be working throughout the weekend assisting my good friend Ken from Homestead Hobbyist in his booth. So the only thing I need to worry/stress about in preparation for Stitches West is me, myself, and I.
The wonderful thing about not stressing about Stitches West during this week off, is I can get stuff done to get ready while enjoying myself doing other things. Friday started off with seeing a production of Ragtime (one of my all time favorite musicals) with my best friend and his fiancé. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ragtime, it is a musical with book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen Flaherty. Based on the 1975 novel of the same name, written by E.L. Doctorow, the show tells the story of three groups in the United States during the early 20th century: African Americans, upper-class suburbanites, and Eastern European immigrants. The musical tackles the themes of social justice, race, gender, immigration and social class. These are themes that are not at all relevant with themes in our own world right now, right? It’s a powerful musical with an amazing score. I encourage you to seek out the original cast recording, or even better, see a live production of it whenever your local theatre company produces it!
Saturday, we headed up to Guerneville, CA (a lovely town in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County) with some additional friends for a weekend getaway. Last year when we did this same trip, I was stressing about getting my newest pattern written up, proofed, photographed, and published in time for Stitches West. So very glad that this isn’t the case this year.
After a lovely weekend away, I returned home on Monday to start the final preparations for my weekend of fiber fun. This meant laundry, shopping for necessities to get me through the weekend, and plotting out what to wear and what woolens to wear with each outfit. This year, I’m planning on at some point wearing my Drumlin Cardigan, my Lord Ellesmere Stole, the Katie Dragon Cowl, my Sidewinder Slouch, my Shockwave, and probably the prototype of my latest shawl design.
This year marks my 6th year attending Stitches West, and my 5th year working the convention. At this point, Stitches is more about the opportunity to spend time with the folks that I only get to see once a year. Sure, the fiber stuff is exciting, but after five years of working the market floor, Stitches becomes a bit of a family reunion. That being said, are a couple of items that are consistently on my shopping list each year. Stitches West wouldn’t be complete without a new Erin Lane Bag or a lotion bar or two (sometimes eight) from The Bar Maids. Aside from that, I generally like to plan my purchases in advance, so I can budget accordingly. Now, this doesn’t always work because I sometimes (okay, almost always) suffer from a case of “oooh shiny!” at this show. I’m looking at purchasing a sweater’s worth of yarn from Neighborhood Fiber Co, some spinning fiber and a bit of yarn from the Homestead Hobbyist (maybe a sweaters worth??), a lace knitting mug from Charan over at Creative With Clay, and I’ll be on the hunt for the perfect yarn to knit Durrow by Lucy Hague. Other than that, it is anyone’s guess what I’ll walk away from Stitches with this year. I’ll be spending a majority of my time at Stitches working in the Homestead Hobbyist booth, so be sure to stop by booth #748 and say hello if you’ll be attending Stitches West!