Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Guest Blogger: Mrs. Twisted's Review of Stitches West

What a trip! After a 6 or so hour drive, we finally got

to Stitches West on Saturday in Santa Clara. It’s a little hard to comprehend all the fiber goodness in that convention hall; but it’s always fun to try! There were so many beautiful yarns! I so wanted some Bamboo from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, but the color selection was really limited by Saturday at 3 p.m. and even more so on Sunday. (I was hoping for a restock during the night!) I will definitely track down some online though – it knits up like a dream! And their patterns? Lovely.

Another booth with some really beautiful yarn was Tess Designer Yarns. I fell in love with the lilac/gray cultivated silk and wool, but found it was actually more beautiful on the skein than knit up. I mean, it was still pretty, but not as much. This happens with me a lot and so its nice to see a knitted swatch. This booth did have a number of items knitted up so you could touch and ooh and ah. And the colors were just gorgeous. Their monochromatic colored yarn kits were simply beautiful and I did end up purchasing one, albeit from another booth as they were out of the colorway I wanted – oceany blues. (not the real colorway, but its what it reminds me of) So pretty! The finished caplet may end up being a tad too small for me, in which case I will either a) block it into submission or b) gift it to somebody extremely deserving.

Mr.. Twisted and I both found the new sock book “25 Favorite Socks”.

OH, OH, OH! SO many patterns that I just LOVE! I think there are maybe only 2 patterns that I did not immediately start running our sock yarn stash through my mind in order to knit! I think this book may just be my second favorite purchase. Mr.. Twisted’s purchase, not mine, as when I found it, I got so excited that I had to call him (he was busy shopping elsewhere) to tell him I found it and was going to buy it. He called me back right away and said “don’t buy it – I already did!” Great minds truly DO think alike.

I was becoming overwhelmed with the yarn – I mean, it was just EVERWHERE and in so many colors it was almost dizzying. And I really wanted something new and different and enough to make something fabulous. Well, the only yarn that fit that description was the Qiviut from Windy Valley Farms.

If you have not touched this yarn, you need to. It is the softest yarn I think I’ve ever touched. Made from Musk-ox on a farm in Alaska and we met the beautiful, sweet and talented lady who owned and worked the farm! She totally did not look like a farmer and her yarns are absolutely wonderful. And she had sample items made up in each of the yarns – from Merino to Qiviut to cotton! We got one little ball of plum-colored heaven and a free pattern which is coming in the mail (she was out of stock of the one we wanted). One tiny ball makes a scarf or other smallish item. Seriously. I don’t know the words to describe just how luxuriously soft and beautiful this yarn is. Thank you Mr.. Twisted for purchasing this little treasure. This is my absolute favorite thing we got at the show!

The rest of my purchases weren’t even yarn! I picked up a wonderful hand made braided leather strap for a purse idea I’ve had rolling around in my head for awhile. I had found a pattern on the Berocco site that I really like. I think I’ll make mine just slightly edgier – hmm, maybe some metal stud accents?

I also purchased (with a nudge from the Great Enabler) a gorgeous silk fabric project bag. I was just saying last week how I needed a larger project bag and voila! Its hand made in the prettiest iridescent swirly patterned tie silk with an equally lovely soft gray lining and is sure to elevate any project it will ever hold!

My other non-yarn purchase was something I have wanted for awhile. I usually hem and haw and think about things and then when I’ve finally made up my mind, I can never find the thing I wanted to begin with! But not this time. A really nice gentleman crafter and his wife had some especially pretty shawl pins. He also had some jewelry (including the funkiest tri-color ring for an awesome price, but I digress); but it was the shawl pins I was eyeing. Which to choose? Oh the abalone was lovely, but I worried it wouldn’t go with certain colors. I was also drawn to the pink and the white mother-of-pearl but the pink would be limiting as well and the white was just so stark looking (I was imagining against the deeper colors) I compromised and got the grey-ish mother of pearl round one. The back side is darker, almost black and has beautiful patterning on it. Each shawl pin comes with an ebony stick and Mr.. Twisted help me pick the “best” one. I’m so excited! Now we need to knit a bunch of shawls to show it off!

I’m realizing as I write this that my purchases were mostly luxury items. Hmmm….I do love beautiful things. And I would rather have just a few really nice things than a whole room full of just ok things. (this is said by a woman with a wall of yarn in her home!) I don’t think I am a yarn snob. If it feels nice and the color is pretty and I can make something with it, I’m there be it $5.00 or $50.00 – well, maybe not so much of the $50.00, but you know what I mean. I truly enjoy the art of knitting and if I can have pretty tools and little bit of luxe, I’m going to go for it when and if I can.

Overall, the show was a lot of fun and exhausting and I’ll have visions of all the yarny goodness for weeks to come. Last year, Manos del Uruguay was everywhere. Mr. Twisted and I have dubbed this year’s show “The Malabrigo show” as it seemed to be the yarn of the year. Deservedly so for its supreme softness and colors. Maybe it’s because we already have quite a bit of Malabrigo, though, but I was looking for something different. Newer, fresher – the next big thing! Hey, maybe next year will be the year of the Qiviut!


  1. Anonymous2:10 AM

    Hi Mrs. Twisted,
    The way you wrote about Stitches made me feel like I was tagging along. I like the choices you made while shopping. The shawl pin is gorgeous. You got Qiviut! And that sock book is one I have my eye on. It sounds like you had fun. Did you take classes? By the way, is malabrigo softer than manos?
    It is nice to hear from you.
    Punkin at Needle to Needle

  2. I think Quiviut is the perfect purchase for Stitches West!! I have in mind a shawl to make from some :)

    Love the shawl you got - it's in beautiful colors. Your purchases were divine and I am glad you are both home safely.

  3. Punkin,
    The Malabrigo is soooooo soft. Not the scratchy wooling feel at all. It's 100% merino wool and it feels soft to the skin and tends to have more vibrant colors than the Manos. Also you get 216 yards vs 176 yards for less money.

  4. Mrs. Twisted11:10 AM

    Oh Punkin and Inky - it was wonderful! I wished we could have stayed a week just going from booth to booth touching yarns! Yes, the malabrigo is WAY softer than the manos. And its priced well too! I must admit I have yet to finish anything made of it; but I do have a UFO hanging around that should be finished before summer.

    Inky, I think you can make a shawl with just two balls of the Qiviut! I'm sure I will make one some day because this yarn is my new obsession...:)

    We didn't take any classes but we hopefully will next year!

  5. Eek! We just had an earthquake right as I clicked on "comment" :/

    Anyway, onto what I was originally going to say...
    yay for a guest poster! Thank you so much for picking me up and letting me sleep on your couch! I am soooo going again next year. I think Randy is too :)


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