Stitches West

Days, weeks, even months I had been looking forward to Stitches West. A huge yarn extravaganza in Santa Clara with about 350 vendors, classes, people, parties, joy, happiness, and what have you. And did I say YARN?

Stitches West can be many things, depending on the experience you seek. Will it be a wild party? A shopping trip? A learning experience? Meeting up with old friends? Making new friends?

To be honest, I did not feel too well during the weeks prior, but I thought being there would take care of all that and put me in a good mood. After all, it’s YARN! What’s not to like about it, and how could it not put me into a good mood?

Once there, I fell into the category of efficient consumer. In and out!

Entering, the ticket lines were really short, the line for getting into the most hallowed of halls a bit long but moving at good speed. As soon as I crossed the threshold, I was overcome by the immensity and the crowds, feeling like I could actually pass out.


Nice people, not the crazy Black Friday crowd where one has to fear for one’s life as seen on TV. All very polite, just a lot of them.

With a handy map and Stephen’s helpful legend personalized for me the night before, I ignored my surroundings. Goal-oriented, I headed to the first booth, then the next, and the next, and the next. But what was going on, no one was where we had marked them to be? Had I entered the Twilight Zone? I started feeling woozy and disoriented, and overcome with it all.

I had to get my bearings if I was to make it through and actually buy some yarn. From last year I remembered Dragonfly Fibers and headed in that general direction. Eureka! I left their booths with the first two gorgeous skeins.

Big Apple AKA My Bloody Valentine, Dragon Sock
Big Apple AKA My Bloody Valentine, Dragon Sock
Damsel, color Riptide, a sport weight
Damsel, color Riptide, a sport weight

There was a problem that kept on repeating. Many of the various colorways of the indie dyers were already in my stash at home. My taste had not changed all that much from last year, so I kept on picking up the same color and putting it back because I knew exactly where on the shelf I would find it at home.

I tried the map again. And this time I figured it out. When I’d googled the Stitches West map I made unfortunate assumptions. So what I was holding in my hands was a map from 2013.

After a trip to the information booth and a new, updated booklet with map and all, I was on my way again. In no time I found The Verdant Gryphon and, with my next purchase complete, headed to Western Sky Knits and then on to Miss Babs, as usual the most crowded booth at the whole affair.

From The Verdant Gryphon Booth


Western Sky Knits, Aspen Sock, color: wyldstyle
Western Sky Knits, Aspen Sock, color: wyldstyle
Magnolia Sock yarn: merino, cashmere, nylon
Magnolia Sock yarn: merino, cashmere, nylon

The above yarn is more squeezable than charmin toilet paper. And below see another sock yarn, it was a red kind of day.

Western Sky Knits Aspen Sock Yarn
Western Sky Knits Aspen Sock Yarn

After that, I took it easy. Went to the beginning and headed up and down the aisles just like I do at the grocery store. Then ate a snack I’d brought along and tried another up and down aisles. I felt like a personal shopper because I had promised a friend I’d look for a good black and purple, heavier than fingering yarn, with a tight twist.

Armed only with reading glasses for close-up yarn inspection, the world was a blur around me.

My Miss Babs loot: very, very modest.

Miss Babs Yowza, colorway: next to godliness
Miss Babs Yowza, colorway: next to godliness

And continuing with the red theme:

I fell for the yarn name: scarlet letter
I fell for the yarn name: scarlet letter

Without being facetious, it was basically the same shit as last year. No new yarn discoveries. I learned that indie dyers have a hard time getting a true black or a lovely purple.

My favorite yarn purchase is a color called Big Apple that I am renaming Bloody Valentine. These will make socks for me.

Big Apple AKA My Bloody Valentine

There are not enough ways to look at these colors, but I try.


OK, so this is not an apple tree but an apricot tree. Good enough?



Am I Back?

This has been the toughest New Year yet. On day three I started what I thought was a cold, but who really knows, and it is still haunting me. Now my bet is on allergies. After the big rain we’ve had here it should get better, right?

There was nothing to do for me as I was sniffling through the day, but knit and listen to Serial the podcast and stream Netflix. If you’re one of the 5 people who have not listened to the podcast, well, do as you like, I’m not going to recommend it, though I’m glad to be in the know.

Netflix just streamed by or through me or past me, I remember nothing. Probably a good thing.

I am obsessed with Asaf Avidan. Sure to get tired of him pretty soon as his songs all seem to derive from the same place, I still recommend a listen. Don’t be frightened by his voice, it can grow on you and he sure knows how to use it. And here it is, I have a weakness for male high voices, and he plays on that. A youtube where you can see and listen to him, a click away.

And if you want more of him, check out the NPR tiny desk concert. If you really want to indulge, do so here.

The knitting has not brought much joy. No excitement, but comfort. A few hats, fingerless mittens, socks, and finishing started projects.


A photo from a niece in Germany inspired this little cowl. I bet it also could be used by a dog instead of a bandana that some people think makes their dog look super-cool. The pattern called Scallo-Pie is free and from one of my favorite designers: Martina Behm.


The photos below finally show the finished products. Took me long enough to finish. Some projects have that effect on me. And after a certain amount of time working on such items it should be enough and it should finish itself. Somehow I get no special pleasure or gratification in completion. That gets me into trouble around the house. Every room has a project started and not finished. Don’t ask why but around 10 years ago I thought I could put in my own floors and did. But did I finish the baseboard or the last few boards? Noooooooooo. Yes, there are excuses. I had no saw to cut the boards to size. Now that I do, I’m used to the look and doubt I could master this finishing anyway.

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