Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stitches Midwest - report from the trenches!

I made it out to Schaumburg for Stitches this weekend with my buddies Lauren and Sam and my new friend Kim.  None of us could say we were in need of more yarn, but that's never stopped us before!  I was also excited to meet some of my clients in person for the first time.  I'm not sure if I mentioned this before (I try not to blog too much about work as a general rule), but I've been working with The Wool Wide Web as a yarn- & fiber-specific marketing consultant.  Obviously, being the crazy yarn lady that I am, there will be a little overlap here and there, but my plan is still to write about the things I like because I like them while I'm 'off the clock' and leave the blogging for dollars for another time/place/blogger.

Around this time last year, I was still working as an LMT in a local salon/spa, and therefore didn't have much flexibility when it came to attending weekend events - hence, I didn't get to go to Stitches last fall.  I'm not typically into crowds, but going to Stitches is fun in that overwhelming-dose-of-fiber-sort-of-way.  It might have been my imagination, but it did seem a little smaller this year - however, there was a really good collection of vendors at the Market.  Quality over quantity is always better in my book.

Charlemont in Dusk
Our first stop was the Webs booth, since we'd heard that they were discounting yarn even more so that they wouldn't have to deal with shipping boxes back East in the wake of Irene.  I picked up some pretty grey kettle-dyed sock yarn (Charlemont) -  not that I have time to use it any time soon, but I'm pretty excited to give this superwash merino/mulberry silk/polyamide yarn a whirl.  I also grabbed a new catalog to thumb through!

Bijou Basin Ranch
We wandered around aimlessly for a while.  I spent a lot of time ogling some Blue Moon Socks that Rock in The Fold's booth - the one pair of socks I've made with this yarn have really stood the test of time, so one day I'd like to pick up a few more skeins (however, that was not this day).  I spent some time chatting with the nice folks at the Bijou Basin Ranch booth (full disclosure: I work with them) and knitted with some cloud-like quiviut yarn at the yarn tasting table (also got to meet Marley Bird and Kristin Omdahl - super nice ladies!).  I squished way more yak yarn than anyone should be allowed to squish, too - will definitely make it a goal to invest in some of that  in the near future!  I had to take a photo of Kate Oates' adorable Diplodocus Sweater.  Is it wrong to want to make an adult version for myself?

Celtic sock in Bamboo (top)
and Aquarius (bottom)
I also talked shop with Liz from MacKintosh Yarns and ended up bringing home some lovely skeins of Celtic Sock - I'm not sure what they want to be quite yet, but you can probably expect some new sock patterns to start popping up as soon as I get my holiday gift knitting under control.  The fluorescent green skein is sitting on my kitchen table, beckoning me to give in to my startitis...I must remain strong in my resolve.

We also scored some free sock yarn from the Skacel booth just for signing up for their E-Newsletter.  As someone who likes to enter contests and get free stuff, that was right up my alley.  I've heard about the sock yarn with aloe and jojoba in it (Austermann Step) and had always been curious to give it a try, so that was too perfect an opportunity to pass up! 

Austermann Step
After collecting way more yarn that I was intending to add to my stash, I decided it was in my best interest to spend my remaining cash on a project bag.  A lot of mine are looking quite sad - the Pretty Cheep ones are barely surviving me and starting to look a bit like swiss cheese from needles poking through, for example!  There were lots of cool ones to choose from, and I ended up going back to the Erin Lane booth to get a large green and blue project bag.  Apparently these bags stay shut really well and are heavily lined so needles don't poke through - we'll see if it can endure my worst!  It does look like it's really well-made, and it's in my favorite colors, so I'm sure it'll be one of my favorite project bags (second only to my Pirate Monkey bag from Slipped Stitch Studios, most likely!)

Invincible Project Bag?
I wish  I had been able to take more photos at the show - unfortunately, I was quite discombobulated on Sunday morning due to an unfortunate tea incident (I spilled a cup of black tea all over my comic book collection - chaos ensued shortly thereafter) and I left my cell phone plugged into the charger - ah yes, that old trick!  Of course I remembered as soon as we got on the highway. Of course.  My cell phone is also my camera, so I ended up using a friend's iPhone for a little bit, mainly to take a few shots of the Bijou Basin Ranch booth (I wish I'd taken more - it looked fantastic!).  We did get a chance to pose with this crazy yarnmobile - apparently it was made by the same people who did the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile - so said the folks in the Flying Fingers booth!  I can only imagine what a sight it would be to see on the must get really terrible gas mileage, though (these are the things my brain comes up with, when left to its own devices).

All in all, it was a fun show to kick off the fall crafting season - I'm looking forward to Renegade Craft Fair in a few weeks and Yarn Con near the end of September!  I also just found out I get to join some friends tomorrow to head up to a county fair in Wisconsin!  Believe it or not, I've lived in Chicago for six years  now and I've never visited Wisconsin (only drove through it once, which I don't count).  I've also lived in the midwest for most of my life (excepting the 3 years we spend in Portland, OR) and never been to a state or county fair.  Needless to say, I'm pretty excited for tomorrow!

You can bet I'll remember my camera this time.  


  1. I missed Stitches (for my BFF's wedding shower!), so it is especially nice to see your haul! Between now and YarnCon I am hoping to go to Simply Socks in Fort Wayne, so I should get my fix. Not that I need more yarn...


  2. I'd love to hear about the new Simply Socks store! I am dying to go - perhaps after all the craziness of September dies down!