Armed with my messenger bag and a WIP, we entered the marketplace with a strategy: begin in the far back corner and visit aisle by aisle until we reach the front. Of course, too many shiny things mean we get distracted, but eventually this strategy yielded a result of our viewing every booth.
What did I buy at Stitches (besides a $6.50 slice of pizza)? Here's a summary:
Now I have the perfect tool to wind my handspun, and a cute carrying case that will keep it for me for years to come!
These are amazing and hold up incredibly. It's the kind of thing I can have a dozen of and be quite happy. Truth be told, hand knit socks only get washed in bulk in my house - so the more blockers I have, the more socks that can be cycled back into use. Hooray for Stitches 2013; this purchase means one more pair can be cleaned when it's time to tackle that chore! (Gosh; I should have picked up more wool wash!)
This lazy kate, made by local woodworker Willard C Taylor (Will) was the perfect find (thanks to Morgaine of Caroline Homespun). Crafted of black walnut, this kate will allow me to make up to a 3-ply yarn, and doesn't need to be tensioned if the spinner plies keeping one hand steady and using the other hand to move back and forth between it and the orifice. When being used, it's placed on the floor about 4-6 feet behind, and the brass rods are pointed away from the spinner. When not in use, the rods are removed and store cleverly in a cute little storage compartment!
I walked by this booth once, then the second time around spent a few minutes admiring the craftsmanship. Tim was VERY nice and really pleasant to talk with. He showed his work with such pride. After talking for a while, I realized that he had driven all these pieces from Tennessee (he lives in Nashville!) - and his passion for the craft is what made me decide to purchase during my third visit to his booth.
I realized that I loved these boxes, and appreciated the craftsmanship and history. Out came the wallet and I now have this wonderful box for craft storage. Tim offered to do other pieces if I like, and also expressed an interest in custom making pieces. While it wasn't an expected purchase, I reminded myself I'm on "vacation" and justified supporting this artist and his work.
So, I came home with 2 skeins of yarn. O.K. and a cone of black sparkly fingering weight yarn... but no roving, no spinning wheels, no looms, no quilting frames... all-in-all, I feel like I did pretty well.
Of course, during the frenzy of stitches we see lots of friends. That's the real reason I like to go. I even met up with one of my students from last year (I taught her intro to knitting) and today she's working at a yarn shop! It was great to see her and hear how she has stuck with knitting and, most of all, how it has changed her life.
I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to see, or do all the things I wanted to do. Lucky for me, there's always next year. Until then, I'll be treasuring the purchases I made at this year's event, and each time I look at them I'll remember the fun day we had in Santa Clara.