The dust has finally settled, and I’m back to work after a whirlwind Stitches West weekend. In past years, re-entry post Stitches has been pretty rough. Thankfully, this year that is not the case though I’m not entirely certain why. The weekend was mostly a blur of fiber, friends, and fun. Which means I didn’t take the opportunity to take many photos, other than a daily selfie I managed to snap in the Homestead Hobbyist booth.
We managed to setup the booth in a matter of hours on Wednesday, and it went pretty smoothly. Far different than past years when the Purlescence booth would take a full two days to setup because of equipment and size. It was during setup that we began to hear how rocky this show was already turning out for some vendors. Apparently, a train that contained inventory for several vendors for Stitches West was stuck in Chicago, and wouldn’t arrive until late in the weekend.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, we soon heard the heartbreaking news about Abundant Earth. They had been driving down to Santa Clara after vending at Madrona, when the trailer containing their entire inventory had been stolen from the hotel parking lot about 2 hours from the convention center. Having just met Lydia, Alan and the rest of the Abundant crew in the wake of this tragedy I can only applaud and be in awe of their resolve. They were down, but definitely not out. They filled the booth with photos of the people and places that Lydia has come to know as a mill owner. The only thing more amazing and inspiring than the resolve of this group, was the outpouring of love and support from the community surrounding them. Our booth was next door to theirs, and the number of folks who stopped by to have conversations, express outrage, and offer support was astounding. This, this is why I love my crazy fiber arts community. Time and time again I’ve been witness to the care and compassion that is shown consistently, and yet it still amazes and astonishes me. The outside world might be crazy and scary, but the fiber arts community is rallying, supporting, and fighting to make things better one skein at a time.
The remainder of my weekend was spent with Jasmin and Gigi from the Knitmore Girls Podcast (as well as their fabulous entourage), meeting Bethany from the Backstage Knitting Podcast, Dr. Gemma from the cogKNITive Podcast, as well as catching up with Lindsey, Brittani, Jen, Holly and the rest of the Erin Lane Bags crew. I always love the connections and reconnections that get made at events like Stitches West, especially when you’ve been working it for several years.
Sunday, I was fortunate enough to take a class at Stitches West for the first time in several years. “Stitch and Click: Photographing Fiber Arts” with Shannon and Jason Mullett-Bowlsby was exactly the class I needed it to be. As a knitwear designer trying to find his footing in the fiber arts industry, a class on how to best photograph your swatches, skeins, and finished objects is an invaluable resource.
As for my Stitches West haul, this year I mostly stayed within my shopping list. I managed to snag a lace mug from Creative With Clay, a few fabulous new bags from Erin Lane, lotion bars and salt scrub from the Bar-Maids (thanks for enabling me Tammy!), and yarn from Neighborhood Fiber Co for a new sweater. I totally forgot to shop for the yarn for my Durrow Shawl, but I might have a few leads on where to find the perfect yarn for it. I managed to pick up this beautiful show exclusive yarn from Destination Yarn. The colors for this show exclusive were inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge, so it was a must have. Not only was it a must have, but I had to have two because one skein is never enough unless I’m actually knitting socks. From the Homestead Hobbyist, I picked up a couple of skeins of Crimescene Fingering in Chalk Outline and Tire Tracks, 8oz of Black Shetland/Black Baby Alpaca/Mulberry Silk in Malachite, another 8oz of the same blend in Hematite, two skeins of Datura DK, and a fabulous silk scarf. Most surprisingly, I came home with Red Heart’s newest yarn, Chic Sheep by Marly Bird. I know, I know… Red Heart, WHY!? Their newest yarn is actually quite nice! It is a machine washable, 100% Merino wool, with a wide range of colors to choose from. Marly really outdid herself in selecting this yarn, and I’m so happy to be supporting such a wonderful person.
There was some time for crafting over the weekend, but not much. I managed to spin a bit of the Black Shetland/Black Baby Alpaca/Mulberry Silk in Amethyst that I’m working on for Ken at Homestead Hobbyist. I also got a few rows done on my Dragonfly’s Path by Jennifer Weissman in Louet Gems Fingering, colorway “Pewter”.
Every year at Stitches, I walk away with a full brain and a full heart. This year filled me even more than usual with the compassion and care I witnessed, as well as the wealth of opportunities that lay before me. I’m excited to be able to share the process and the journey of going from here to there with you.