Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yarn-a-holics Unite!

Accesories at the Stitches West Market Place
If you haven't been to a knitting/crochet convention, find one and register now! I just returned from Stitches West in Santa Clara, CA. It was wonderful. I learned something in each of the classes I attended. I have been knitting and crocheting for over 40 years...I thought I knew it all, BUT NOOOOOOOOO. If you come to a WeHo SnB, ask me to show you a few of the tips and tricks that I learned.
I drove up to Santa Clara on Wednesday, February 15th. It was an easy drive...lots of farm country and cows. I arrived in SC at 3pm and checked into the Hyatt Regency on the Great American Parkway. The hotel was in a business park...lots of office buildings, no visible restaurants, markets or shops. Luckily, one of my office mates is from Santa Clara and she gave me some directions to hidden shopping centers within 5 minutes of the hotel. After checking in, I cruised over to the supermarket to stock up on breakfast food for my hotel fridge...yogurt, cereal, juice, etc. I had to plan ahead. A few of my classes were called for 8am...I needed to have breakfast in my room.
Wednesday night I completed my class HOMEWORK. Yes, at Stitches West you have homework before each class, consisting of knitting various swatches.
Thursday was opening day of the event. Sally Melville, author of many clever knitting instructional books spoke about our Creative Existence and Unleashing our Talent! Her lecture was very inspirational....she spoke about how everyday things influence her knitted designs. One of her examples of finding design ideas: She showed us a slide of an abstract painting by a friend. She loved the painting, so she designed a sweater similar to the painting! Faboo! We had a lovely luncheon afterwards where we could all meet each other. There were about 1,500 registered students.
At 1:30 Thursday afternoon, I attended "The Art of Aran Crochet" with instructor, Bev Cooper. Bev is from Australia and is a clever designer. We learned a crocheted moss stitch, crocheted cables, front posts and back posts, boxes, bobbles, etc. I really knew many of these stitches, but I learned a few new tips along the way. Crocheting cables is really fun.
Just hanging out in the lobby of the Hyatt was a feast for the eyes. Of course, all of the stitchers were wearing their knitted and crocheted garments. It was a constant fashion show all weekend. That night, there was a Market Preview for students and teachers only. The MarketPlace was in this huge convention hall, filled with vendors of every type of yarn and garments imaginable. It was yarn-gasm at its best.
Friday, my scheduled class was "Build a Better Bag" with Gwen Bortner of Knitability. This was a class on how to structure a purse without felting it to make it sturdy. The methods we used were a series of slip-stitch patterns. We made this tiny sample bag. We learned about different types of closures for the bag and also about handles.
Friday night there was a banquet and fashion show by many of the teachers, designers and yarn companies. Again, very inspirational! I met so many nice people from all over the country. Many of the yarn celebrities were there. In addition to Sally Melville, Lily Chin was there, along with Nicky Epstein, Debbie New AND MORE!
Designers Lily Chin, Nicky Epstein and Debbie New
Saturday morning was my class with designer Melissa Leapman. Melissa has been one of my favorite pattern writers for many years. I've made quite a few of her crochet designs. Her patterns are logical and easy to understand. This was a class on how to shape a garment with style and finesse, using all sorts of tricks for a better fit. We had tons of homework for this class, it was difficult, but I really picked up some interesting techniques.
Saturday afternoon, I needed a break from the yarn-frenzy, so I drove to downtown San Jose and visited the Quilt and Textiles Museum. It's a small and colorful place with an excellent gift shop. I was yearning for some decent tacos too, so I sought out an authentic Mexican restaurant. I came upon Charro's and had a cheese-laden, yummy lunch!
Upon my return to the Hyatt Saturday afternoon, I roamed thru the MarketPlace again and came upon Sara, working at the Stitch Diva booth. I saw many L.A. people....Tricia from Knitter's Edge was there, along with lots of familiar faces from Stitches From The Heart and various L.A. chapters of SnB throughout the MarketPlace. Actually, you could sit down anywhere with anyone and have a meaningful conversation about yarn and such. I was home with my people.
Saturday night was the Student Banquet and Fashion Show. This was a chance for everyone to show off their own creative designs. Of course, after dinner, I changed into my Red Heart Queen of Crochet outfit that I'd made for last year's Halloween party at the WeHo SnB. I gave everyone a laugh.
Sunday, I had an early class (8 am!) with L.A.'s own Joyce Wyatt, called Dimensional Knitting. Joyce showed us how to add bows, bobbles, butterflies and all sorts of texture to our knitted pieces. She's a great teacher and has some very ingenious ideas.
By noon on Sunday, it was time for me to get on the road for the long drive home. I got home just in time for a lovely homemade dinner by Mr. Larry. He missed me. I missed him. Yarn is not a substitute for a husband (most of the time)!
My favorite creative sweater by a Colorado Knitter



At 12:43 PM PST, Blogger ~drew emborsky~ said...

Wow, how much fun does THAT look!!!

I'm taking two classes (all day long) with Debbie New this Saturday. I'm so excited! Woo hoo!

At 12:55 PM PST, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Oh Drew! You are soooo lucky! Debbie New is one of the MOST creative people on this earth. Have a marvelous time, take notes and photos and let us know what you learned!

At 3:45 PM PST, Blogger Allison said...

What a great recap - thanks for the lovely photos and all the details!

At 4:13 PM PST, Blogger DarcyArtsy said...

It all looks like candy. Mmmm What a great convention and I will be picking your brain again soon, I mean you really should start charging me!

At 9:01 AM PST, Blogger carlita dee said...

OMG! This post is wonderful. I want these tips and tricks of yours, but unfortunately I won't be at WEHO tonight 'cause I'm getting ready to meet Bubba in Vegas tomorrow.

I'll be back next week and ready to see you working on something fab-o-lous!


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