The highlight of Stitches West was definitely the Stitch n' Ride train. Apparently, last year's trip did not involve a separate, chartered train to Santa Clara, and was packed to the point of discomfort. I went solo, but was soon adopted by a group of hilarious older women who all belong to the same knitting group. The one who invited me to sit with them raises alpacas, so I couldn't believe my good fortune. In addition, a friend of mine from school happened to be in the same car, so I was able to hang out with her and her mom during the convention.
The yarn market itself was a dizzying array of hand-dyed yarns, knit knick-knacks, tools and patterns. So much so that it was very difficult to take it all in. There were a few gems that stood out, though.
First, the beautiful hand-dyed yarn from Lisa Souza's Knitwear and Dyeworks. As always, the incomparable Stitch Diva Studios, whose collection gets better with each addition. There was a beautiful, $660 cabled sweater knit from the yarn from Windy Valley Musk Ox. This yarn, in fingering rate, will set you back about $70 for a 200-yard skein. So naturally, they've blended it with other fibers to make it slightly more accessible. I also loved a red/pink/cream worsted colorway I found at the Brooks Farm booth, but I never made my way back over there to get it. Rumpelstiltskin had a booth, which was quite picked over by the time I happened upon it, so I figure I'll just hit the store next weekend. The La Lana booth had a copy of the IK shrug I made last year, in the original yarn it was designed in. I still like my version, but theirs is more wearable in Sacramento, no doubt. I somehow managed to completely miss the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth. It's probably just as well.
Ravelry was there. I used to read Jess's blog before Ravelry was developed, and it was fun to see her and Casey and Maya in person, but also sort of weird! I also caught a glimpse or two of Vickie Howell. Fun times.
I had a hard time finding yarn to buy, which I actually had given myself permission to do. I think that because I tend to buy yarn in big batches for sweaters, rather than small quantities for socks and scarves, which are the amounts, aside from a few places like WEBS, that vendors bring to shows. This highlights for me what is so great about the relationship between local yarn stores and knitters; it's the LYS's job to scout out new fun stuff for you, which you can then indulge in seeing more of at a show, or order directly through the shop. Now if only my Stitch DC stash club January and February selections would get here.