Saturday, February 18, 2006

Stitches West

Stitches West was a big party. I saw dozens of friends from the past twenty years, resumed conversations where they had left off, laughed, hugged, and wished we could bend time. I met ethereal friends in their tangible form and liked them even more than I'd hoped. And, while standing by Morgaine's chatting, my completely unexpected aunt bumped into me and we spent the day together. Serendipity.

I bought everything on my shopping list, plus a totally irresistible tanned sheepskin from Janet Heppler of Nebo-Rock Textiles (nebo-rock at saber dot net -- no website) in Covelo, CA, who raises exquisite colored fine wool. This fellow was a merino ram with serious horns so he was dispatched. This fleece is beyond soft, beautiful crimp, and the color -- wow. I've been buying fleece from Janet for many years and have been delighted with the staple length and strength, crimp, quality, and oh-the-colors! Last June at the Black Sheep Gathering, DD bought quite a lot of dyed tussah and angora from Janet for spindling on her Bosworths. Beautiful fibers and great depth of shade. After I bought my cousin Merino, Janet pulled out another in a deeper shade of moorit. She has quite a stash of these (white, too) and they are all splendid. The color is more true in the top photo, but the detail to the left shows the amazing crimp.

Auntie swooned over an Orenburg shawl, so we both bought Merino laceweight at Skaska Designs. They had skeins of Sally Fox's new laceweight cotton. Gorgeous! Aunt has a thing for alpaca and also got quite a lot of excellent sock yarn from Ellen. Aunt also kept gravitating to Darlene's booth, Hand Jive, so I know what to get her for Christmas...

Some of my friends from Jeanie Townsend's group and I tried to meet at Blue Moon Fiber Arts. We were sort of successful, but it was crowded! It turns out we all met and didn't realize it at the time. I bought some medium-weight and some heavyweight STR, plus got a mini skein of lightweight. What I really wanted was a bunch of the Hot Flash hot pink glitzy yarn, but I have no idea for whom I'd knit that color. It sure was bright and fun, though!

I went up against a few other women for three bags of deep olive green Jo Sharp DK at Webs. The competition was fierce, but I held tight and distracted them with three bags of forest green and got out of there fast! Aunt kept me company in the line. I was especially pleased that Aunt found fifteen skeins of just the shade of green Cascade 220 I wanted at Karen's Rug & Yarn Hut (Campbell, CA). Yes, fifteen skeins. It's for my FLAK, which I've swatched in an array of yarns and I really wanted the option of making a long tunic. Most stores carry maybe 10 balls, and I knew I needed at least 12. Karen had 15 and gave me a great discount so I went for it. Maybe I'll have enough left for a hat and mittens? Either way, I will enjoy knitting the FLAK much more because I know I won't run out of yarn. Peace of mind and all that, though we'll see how I feel about this shade of green when I'm done! [It's a perfect match for my eyes so I'm hoping I'm immune to overload.] I found two skeins of an oatmeal Trekking for socks for Alfred, who wears a 13EEE+, and at Rumpelstiltskin (Sacramento, CA) I found the ball of blue (for DD if she's still fond of that color when I get around to knitting the socks).

I was so very happy to see Nathania. When Leslie and I stopped by Commuknitty, Leslie found a lone skein of yarn that was just what I wanted for a lighter weight version of the fingerless mitt pattern. This is a Claudia handpaint and I can't wait to knit it (but I will since I have to focus on my Olympic knitting, right?). Luckily, I was able to con Leslie into letting me buy the skein.

DD's portion of my list was for more silk, so I got her some hankies from Nancy at her Chasing Rainbows booth. While I was there two different women came up with two hanks of dyed boucle mohair and asked if Nancy had more, and in both cases Nancy said she'd dye a new lot for them. Nancy is a gem. I'm hoping she starts teaching more classes in our area so DD can play junior chemist with a bit more skill. Crown Mountain wasn't at the show, but Morgaine is now carrying Nancy's dyed fibers at Carolina Homespun so I bought three colors of bombyx from her.

I enjoyed seeing all the kits knit up at the Yarn Barn. They had ten booths' space so there was room to move and accessible displays. I have trouble seeing where I am in relation to the people around me and Aunt helped me negotiate the crowds, but I simply couldn't go into some of the more crowded booths. Yarn Barn was perfect and I even felt comfortable browsing the piles of books. The rack of Hoxbro and Falkenberg sweaters was an eye opener for me. I've lusted after their designs for years, but I didn't like them up close. The colors of yarn were lovely, but they were scratchy. Is that typical of their kits? Many years ago, Lois of TechKnit sent me a birthday gift of a set of German ebony glove needles (2.5 mm) from the Yarn Barn. I checked and they carry Susan's circulars now but didn't have any of the glove size. They did have the 60" Addi I needed for the Oly shawl, and I grabbed 3600 yards of laceweight for a Kinzel. It isn't the most even white, so I might dye it a pale shade of blue after knitting. Since I take my knitting everywhere, the white yarn will probably *need* dyeing when I'm done.

Here's the hemp bark I picked up at Habu for Steph. She mentioned teaching at SOAR. I will see if I can wheedle more details from her. DD and I are heading up to the gold country for a few days of R&R at Casa Amos, so I'll be afk. We're planning to visit with some Thrillers, hit the guild meeting, and try on everything at Empress. And, if I can resist Alden's wheels, I'll finish my Olympic knitting.