(Say that five times fast!)
Little pre-planned outings are special events that become mileposts for me as I seek balance in my full-time-working-mommy life. The events matter much less than the company. Any fiber-related event or destination will do, something to look forward to while I seem to endlessly paddle against the tide trying to catch up with everything.
Such is the case with Stitches East, which moved to my backyard for a three-year cycle. I attended it nine years ago, when I was a new knitter. Then, I took some (very large) classes, which were a disappointment, as the organizers had not yet put skill levels on each class, leading to finishing classes where everyone was held back at the mercy of those who did not know how to cast on. That has changed over the years, but I have, too. Simply put: I’m in a different place now. I’m not the knitter for whom the event is held. Knitter’s Magazine isn’t written for me. ‘Nuff said.
Back to the company. Knitter’s Review Retreat pal NanciKnits drove up for a much-anticipated overnight visit. We lunched leisurely with my SnB gal pals, then visited the marketplace en masse, collectively lowering the average age of participants by a decade. About 30% of the vendors were LYS, and there was plenty of volume to be had. Tucked into various unique places were some special finds for the more discriminating knitter. (As of this writing, only one of the following was yet listed in the ravelry yarn database. I guess they really were finds!) Thanks to the proliferation of one-skein projects out there, there’s plenty one can do with a one-skein “yarn-tasting.”
Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Aran, found at Great Adirondack Yarns booth: Squooshy deluxe. FA offers BFL in a number of weights. The semi-solid deep green is as saturated as any I’ve seen, without having that “color-not-found-in-nature” look that sometimes results from hand-dyeing.
DyeDreams Bunny Sox: I first encountered DyeDreams at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool festival. This is a brand-new line, featuring 25% angora. I am a sucker for angora. This has a lovely halo even before meeting up with water. The Grape colorway is a subtle semi-solid without any jarring notes.
Still River Mill Stampede: Still River Mill is a working mill here in Connecticut that custom-spins just about anything. They have a terrific reputation, and spin for many of the small local farms. I would pose that their own yarns are just special. Stampede is a fingering-weight that is 40% bison down, 45% cashmere and 15% quiviut. It is like touching a cloud. I think this may become Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Pretty Thing.
Still River Mill Harmony: This yarn says “fluid” like nothing else I’ve touched in a long time. 30% cashmere, 30% silk, 40% 150S merino. Put together, this yarn has both loft and silkiness in the skein. I strongly suspect incredible drape when knitted up.
That’s all for yarn, but I was thrilled when my pals spotted these:
glass Nutmeg owls for NutmegOwl! Undoubtedly, I will impose on the talents of BFF KnittingKittens to turn some into stitch markers, and perhaps a little charm to hang around my neck. If you spot it out and about in the fiber world, you will have spotted me.
As interesting as the marketplace was, the real highlight of the day was DISH-ing with Clara Parkes, NanciKnits, KnittingKittens and Melissa Morgan-Oakes at dinner in Hartford. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, even though it makes Melissa blush: taking a 2-at-a-time class with her at least year’s KR Retreat gave me new skills that have changed my knitting, and my students’ knitting. We were out to celebrate the release of Clara’s Knitter’s Book of Wool as a warm-up for our reunion next month at the 2009 KRR. (The book sold out before Clara’s book signing was even half-over!) Digression, but important: This book is a love letter to wool. If you recognize wool as the foundation fiber of what you do, this is a must-own. And that’s before you look at some of the patterns written by designer royalty.
Judging from the smiles, you can see we had a wonderful time. It was exactly what we all needed to tide us over until next month.
Tags: BFL, bison, bunnysox, cashmere, claraparkes, Dyedreams, Fleeceartist, harmony, KBOW, knittersbookofwool, knittingkittens, KRR, Melissamorganoakes, quiviut, stampede, stillrivermill, Stitcheseast