Lost and found at Stitches West

Lost and found at Stitches West

My whirlwind trip to Stitches West was a punch in the gut and a slap on the back. Flying into Oakland — looking out the airplane window across the whole of the bay — was more emotional than I expected. And then it was like Old Home Week being back in that convention hall, at the first knitting convention I ever attended as a knitter, the first I ever sold at as a vendor. It was a joy to see so many of my industry friends, longtime customers, new faces, IG acquaintances, former students, well-loved totes and Field Bags, and so on and so on. I can’t say thank-you enough to everyone who stopped to say hello to me. It can be a weirdly isolating thing, writing a blog and/or running an online business, and to have people with actual faces take the time to stop and tell me what they like about what I’m doing is the just the sort of encouragement a girl needs sometimes, you know? So thank you from the bottom of my heart — and of course thanks also to everyone who bought off the Fringe shelf in Verb’s beautiful booth. And to the Verb crew for making me feel like part of the family,

This might come as a two-part surprise to you, but A) I knitted some log cabin mitts and B) I bought some yarn. The California Rambouillet, Range, that Verb has used for their pretty Log Cabin Mitts kits, which is what I was knitting in the booth, was such a beautiful and surprising yarn that I had to have a few little skeins. And sitting next to the indigo-marl Pioneer of theirs that I’ve been coveting from afar left me incapable of leaving without any. I couldn’t decide what I might want to make of it, garment-wise, so I was a good girl and bought a single skein. For now. From my dear friend Brooke of Sincere Sheep, I bought naturally dyed US Cormo, special stuff, for my niece’s hat. And I also couldn’t resist buying a skein of Plucky Knitter’s new Yakpaka. (If Susan Anderson hadn’t been cleaned out of the worsted weight of her Wisconsin Woolen Spun by the time I got there, some of that would likely have followed me home as well.)

On Preview Night, in YOTH’s booth, I went straight to the display of Veronika’s project for the #fringeandfriendslogalong (FO post coming soon) and the yarn she’d used for it. Dubbed “Neighbor,” it’s a collaboration between YOTH and Abundant Earth Fiber mill in Washington state. I have a couple of skeins of Abundant Earth yarns in my stash — one I purchased at Tolt long ago, and one I kept from that time I sold a tiny batch of Wensleydale she’d milled. In this case, YOTH had dyed the wool and Abundant Lydia had milled it, and it was completely irresistible to me, in a slubby, true faded-denim blue. So I bought a SQ (I know!) plus one skein of the marl. And on the way out of the hall after the show that night, along with so many other vendors, learned of the terrible news about Abundant’s booth. On their drive down for the show, their entire trailer had been stolen off the back of their truck, with all of their yarn inside. It was so heartbreaking to read the sign posted in their otherwise empty booth explaining the situation. But it ended with “we’ll be back tomorrow” and I’m so impressed with how they handled it. Rather than letting the booth sit empty and licking their wounds, they filled the display panels with photos and text, spent the time telling people about what they do (from the mill to their new Wool Tinctures) and taking online orders. Such a brilliant show of resilience — my hat’s off to them.

It’s never possible to sum up a thing like a weekend among knitters (and there’s never enough time to see everyone!), but suffice to say I’m grateful for the experience. I only wish I had taken more photos!

p.s. If you’re the lovely woman who embroidered the Woollelujah! tote pictured above, please raise your hand — I didn’t catch your name!

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PREVIOUSLY in Craftlands: Scene at bought at Rhinebeck

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21 thoughts on “Lost and found at Stitches West

  1. I’m so happy you had such a great weekend. I feel sucker punched for Abundant but truly hope that if something like that ever happened to me, I would have a modicum of the grace they did to press on.

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    • It was so heartbreaking. Green Mountain’s yarn got stuck on a train so they didn’t have all the inventory they meant to have there, which was terrible enough — but at least it wasn’t stolen!

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  2. Glad the trip was a success – meeting new and old friends, yarn shopping. Wool Tinctures, how cool! I’ve always wanted to try dying and this sounds like a great way to dip my toe in.

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  3. quite a lovely sit n visit with you at stitches while you knit away on your mitts. thank you for letting me take a tiny break and thank you for coming back the bay.

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  4. You finally get to try some of Lani Estill’s lovely rambouillet yarn from the far north of California. It is really beautiful and soft.

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  5. Laughing with irony because I saw you at Stitches and started to say hello, but figured you probably get tired of complete strangers interrupting you to say how much they love your blog. Clearly I’m wrong so, “Hi, nice to meet you, I love your blog.”

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  6. it was cool to meet you at stitches!!! I had grand ideas of asking you about your ~outfits~ and yarn that you’re looking forward to but I think all I got out was “wow you’re a rockstar” and “oh my god, we’re knitting log cabin mitts in the ~same color~” thank you for visiting!! and thank you for the yarn recs, I picked up a few skeins of sincere sheep too!

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  7. Your aesthetic is one I wish I had, so I truly enjoy admiring it on your blog! (and my field bag… any my Lykke needles). Could you tell me what the pattern is for rust colored shawl (on the left) in the photo on the top of this post? Also, ever thought of coming to Interweave’s Yarn Fest in Colorado… asking completely selfishly.

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  9. It was a pleasure to get to meet you and tell you how much I enjoy your bags. I’m the embroiderer of the Woolleluja bag above, Jacque Shipwright. It’s fun to see it pictured here, thank you :)

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    • Oh, thank you so much for identifying yourself! I felt terrible after you’d walked away that I’d been so wowed by your work, I didn’t even get your name! It was lovely to meet you, and thank you so much for showing me your bag.

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