Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stitches Midwest

I am wondering how many of you have had the chance to visit a Stitches show? This past weekend was Stitches Midwest, so I had to attend.

Your Local Yarn Store, in Battle Creek, MI, sponsors the best bus trip in the world! When we boarded the bus, they provided us with tote bags full of coupons, goodies and raffle tickets. Snacks were plentiful and they raffled off many great knitting prizes (no, I didn't win anything!). Kelly J had the microphone, so she kept us laughing as we traveled the 3 hours to Stitches Midwest in Chicago. Lots of time to knit, chat with friends and think about what projects we might need yarn for.

We arrived shortly after the show opened, and had the entire day to explore the rows and rows of vendors. I have been going to Stitches for several years, and it is interesting to see how the show changes. This year it seemed like more Indie Dyers were there, vs the earlier shows that seemed to have yarn retail shops setting up booths, and major yarn companies selling their yarns in partnership with a yarn store.

Shawls were everywhere, so I found myself jotting down the names of new shawl projects to consider. I have seen some of them on Ravelry, but there is nothing better than seeing them in person.

I raved about Miss Babs at FiberFest, and she was at Stitches too. She had two items on display that I have considered, but seeing them in person has put them on my project list.

Vermont shawl is a lovely semi circle that seems good sized. It was pretty in Miss Babs and I want to make one.

I picked up some fingering weight from an Indie Dyer that is new to me - Mocha's Fiber, Jewel (65% merino, 35%bamboo), 1100 yards! Her color combinations were lovely, a little different and on the softer side. I bought Velveteen Rabbit and can't wait to wind it up. Should I use it for Vermont? Still debating how to use this fabulous skein of yarn.

I saw two models of the Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. Miss Babs had it done in Yet, and I also saw it in Isager 1. Both were adorable. The pattern had me concerned because it isn't meant to close in the front, and the edges looks strange in the photo. Seeing it in person, you could see how it is meant to roll back on itself. When I got home, I read the projects listed on Rav and found quite a few comments and variations. I think this will be a perfect Florida sweater - and might look classier than my usual sweatshirt hoodie??

From Miss Babs I bought Yet, to knit the pattern Cia. But now I am considering using it for Festherweight Cardigan.

I probably should have quit then. But no, not me. My dear friend Dawn owns a wonderful yarn store in Milwaukee, called Ruhamas. She is also the US distributor for Crystal Seyfarth kits. I got the Massai shawl kit from Dawn. There are some new kits now available, so I decided to buy another kit. This is a huge knitting commitment, but very fun to knit. I need to spread out when I work on it and I think it will be a great project for Florida. So take a look at Beach Rose.

Dawn also has some yarns in sports team colors, so I had to buy some Green Bay Packer yarn. Oldest son is a fanatic and I'm thinking He will need a packer hat this winter and maybe some team socks for Sunday's game days.

It was a long day, especially since I had just finished a three day trip in northern MI with friends, and an overnight trip to Chicago. Of course, lots of time on the road means more knitting time, so that worked for me.

The bus brought me back to Kalamazoo, and I still needed to drive another 45 min back to South Haven. It was around 11 pm as I neared town, and saw some very pretty red, white and blue lights behind me. The police stopped me to see if I had been drinking - luckily drunk on fiber goodness doesn't count. As I sat there while he ran my drivers license, I noticed my glow stick necklace, a goodie handed out on the bus. Hmmm, mental note to self, remove the party necklace before driving home next time!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Michigan Fiber Fest

One of the events I look forward to each summer is the Michigan Fiber Fest, held at the Allegan Fair grounds. I met my friends at the big chicken (seriously, there is a giant chicken statue by the entrance gates), and we headed through the building, full of vendors selling all things fiber related.

There are a lot of vendors who return each year, but this year was bigger than ever, with quite a few new kids at the show. I got a little hung up at the booth selling Sock's That Rock - I love that yarn, but still have several skeins in my stash from the year I did the STR club. I forced myself to resist the urge to buy there.

About 6 years ago, I bought at spinning wheel at the show. I took lessons and enjoyed the process of spinning. For the next several years, I acquired roving at the show - but the spinning slowed down to nothing, and the stash of fiber remains. So this year I avoided roving completely - and felt a little guilty about letting my wheel sit idle.

That left yarn, yarn and more yarn.

We stopped at Jill Junes's booth, to check out the hand dyed yarn by Studio June. Studio June dyed the Christmas yarn I used in the KalamazooKnits Deck The Balls ornament kits several years ago, and I have enjoyed a great relationship with Jill. Her business has grown, and her booth at the show was packed (with yarn, many knitted shawls featuring her yarn, and best of all - packed with shoppers).

I liked this view of her booth- can you guess why?

I bought a skein of Silky Meri in a sea foam green, to pair with a turquoise skein in the stash, with plans to knit Cladonia. Aren't you impressed, a purchase made with a specific project in mind?? (it goes down hill from here).

Next purchase was from another show favorite, Briar Rose. I love her Sea Pearl yarn, but sometimes Chris only has it in smaller 400 yd skeins. This time it was 800 yds skeins, so I couldn't resist a blue/purple/green. No project in mind, but I'm guessing a shawl, since that is my current obsession.

The biggest surprise was seeing Miss Babs at the show. I have bought her yarn at Stitches before, so I was excited to see her at our show in Allegan.
I went a little crazy, and bought four skeins of her Yummy sock yarn, in three coordinating colors. Again, I broke the rule of only buying with a project in mind, but what can I say?

We got separated as a group, but met up towards the end to compare purchases. The dark clouds were threatening a storm, so I decided to leave, rather than go back and look a second time at some items.

This Friday is Your Local Yarn Store's bus trip to Stitches Midwest - another annual event that I look forward to. More on that to follow.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Yes, that is what has happened to me. I got derailed from my usual course of action.

I'm sorry for being gone so long - my dear mother-in-law passed away in Florida, so I've been distracted by that. She died with her husband and six children with her, so I know she was at peace to have them all there. She will be missed by many.

In addition, a nasty virus attacked me and I was out of commission for a week. And by that, I mean i was so sick that I cancelled a facial apt, a day of work in the pharmacy and most serious of all, I did very little knitting (gasp!). But now I am back and ready to blather on about life.

Today is another perfect summer day. I will be headed to the beach shortly - am waiting to take some blueberry bread from the oven. These are the little loaves that I plan to give away and to freeze. Two full sized loaves are in the oven - both kids will be here this weekend, so I think they will be eaten up quickly.

I got my Bistro Lace Shawl completed. I love it and am thinking that I might wear it to the funeral service for my mother-in-law. She loved to see my knitting, so I think it is appropriate to wear a hand knit shawl.

We have been having a lot of fun on the beach, here is my grandson playing with a toy that makes volcanoes in the sand.

And here is TanMan doing what he loves most.

And one last finished project.  This project has been done for months, but I finally got it blocked.  I think this might be my favorite knititng project ever.  It took a long time to knit, but it is such a work of art.  Maybe I should get another kit at Stitches next week??

The Massai Shawl  is a Crystel Seyfarth kit - I can't wait to wear it!!

Thanks for waiting for me to come back.