Photo Evidence

A very happy weekend to all of you! As promised, a few photos from my previous happy weekend at Stitches West. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy sharing them!

 

A view of the huge, vast event!

A view of the huge, vast event!

Dragon Scarf by Mary Scott Huff

Dragons by Mary Scott Huff at the Abstract Fiber booth

Yes, I saved the best for last. Steven and Stephen.

Yes, I saved the best for last. Steven Be and Stephen West, both of whom are incredibly fun and gracious.

 


My Stitches West 2015 Highlights

As mentioned previously, I went to Stitches West this past weekend. All weekend long, my friends and I were commenting how fun and relaxing it is to spend time with “our people”, and that is the best description I can think of for how much fun I had over the weekend. It is the first time I’ve ever had the chance to attend a Stitches event, and I thought I’d share my highlights from it, in case any of you wonder whether or not it’s worth the money.

  • First, yes, it’s worth the money because it only costs $2o (or less, if you find a coupon) to get into the marketplace for the whole weekend! There are lots of familiar yarn companies, but also lots of indie people to explore. I’ve heard complaints that there are too many big names, but my thought on that is that if you have a particular company you really love, it’s a treat to be able to explore their full line of yarns and colors. Typically, yarn stores pick and choose which bases of yarn to carry, and then colors from within those. If you really want to see the full range, this is the place to do it!
  • Yoth (Yarn On the House) seemed to be the most popular booth in the entire place. Every time we passed by, they were selling out entire shelves of yarn, and the next morning, a new stock magically appeared. I had not heard of this company prior to the weekend, so it was a great discovery!
  • Being the color fanatic that I am, I was thrilled to see lots of gradient kits on sale in various booths. I don’t know if this is necessarily a trend, but I’m glad to see they’re still popular. Playing around with mixtures of colors is half the fun for me, and to walk past booths with lots of color-coordinated kits hanging on a wall is a visual rush. Neighborhood Fiber Company and Abstract Fiber were my favorite stops for these kits because of their extra-rich, saturated colors.
  • As far as designers go, is there any better a pair than Steven Be and Stephen West? “Dynamic Duo” is such a well-suited title for them. In a future post, I will share the photo I took with them, but suffice it to say, they make an entrance and there’s no mistaken identities with them! However, aside from their inclination to dress to be noticed, they have equally fun personalities and are the most pleasant people I’ve ever had the pleasure of asking for autographs. I was very honored they complimented one of my designs, and I will keep the photo forever.
  • Apple Tree Knits wins my award for prettiest yarn cakes. I had to revisit their booth a number of times before I could pick which cake of yarn I wanted because the truth is, I wanted them all! It’s on my list to learn how to dye and wind yarn into a cake to look like these!

My BooCat

Boo

I knit this little mouse from a Spud and Chloe book a few years ago for my daughter. However, you can see who gets the most playtime with it. I will fill you all in about my fun at Stitches West this past weekend, but thought I would offer up a little Monday levity until I’ve had a chance to collect myself from all the yarny fun.

And if you ever find a week-old kitten abandoned under a tree, take it home, bottle feed it and take care of it, you will have yourself the most fun, affectionate little pet you could ever imagine! My little BooCat, as I affectionately call her, gives me something to smile about every day.


32 Awesome Ideas

The most comprehensive list I’ve ever seen of what to do with leftover yarn. If you’re in organizational mode, maybe this will help you clean out your yarn closet. If not, have fun browsing!

 


My Valentine’s Go-To Gift

KnittingDishcloth
One of my Spanish-speaking friends calls Valentine’s Day “El Dia de Amor y Amistad” (The Day of Love and Friendship). I’m not sure if this term is used widely or only in her country, but it describes how I feel about this holiday. Lots of people don’t like Valentine’s Day because it is a painful reminder of heartbreaks, the fact that they’re single, etc., and I don’t blame them for that. But I can’t think of any reason why it has to be only about romantic love. Of course I like to celebrate it with my husband, but I also love to celebrate it with my kids, and I think it’s a great day to celebrate friendships too.

I have a new friendship in my life at the moment, but since it is new, it is also in that stage where overdoing a gift could make things extremely awkward. As you all know, I am a fan of making dishcloths, and I decided this holiday offers me the perfect chance to do something nice for her without making her feel uncomfortable. Because Valentine’s Day is a minor holiday, it is a great time to do something nice for someone in an understated way. Dishcloths are useful, and since I made them, they have that homemade touch, but they’re not sentimental. The perfect gift to say I care about my friend. The bonus for these is they’re easy to whip up in a day.

I use a very basic checkerboard pattern, but it makes the perfect-textured cloth. I hope you all enjoy!

Dishcloths
Knit and Purl Dish/Wash Cloth Pattern

Finished Measurements: Approx. 10.75 x 10.75 inches
Materials Needed: 95 yds worsted weight cotton yarn
US Size 7 needles
Darning needle (to weave in ends)

CO 42 sts.

Knit 8 rows (4 garter ridges).

Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: *k6, p6*, end k6.

Repeat these two rows 3 more times.

Row 9: Knit.
Row 10: *p6, k6*, end p6.

Repeat these two rows 3 more times.

After rows 9 – 16 are complete, switch back to Rows 1 and 2 for 8 rows. Continue alternating pattern every 8 rows until cloth is approximately 1″ shorter than desired.

Finish with 8 rows of knitting (4 garter ridges). BO and weave in ends.


Helpful Organizations

As a designer, I’m very interested in being involved in the fiber industry beyond just a fun social stitching group. Plus, I’m one of those perfectionist sorts who likes to make sure I’m doing things “right”. Knitting and crocheting don’t really have “rights” or “wrongs” as long as you’re happy with the end result. However, if you need some reassurance now and then or if you’re looking for sizing information or want to take your crafting to the next level, it does help to have some sort of standard to compare yourself to. I’ve been compiling a list of organizations that I refer to, and wanted share, in case anyone else would find it helpful.

  1. Craft Yarn Council – let’s just call them a one-stop shop for pretty much anything!
  2. The Knitting and Crochet Guilds of America – check them out if you’re looking to start a group or for masters programs.
  3. Ravelry – if I need to explain why you should be on Ravelry, then you’re in trouble! :)
  4. National Association of Independent Artists – for those of you interested in joining the craft show circuit and turning your craft into an art form.
  5. And for all my generous, big-hearted charity crafters – you already had a blog post all to yourselves. :)

If anyone knows of other organizations that you think should be on this list, please don’t be shy about sharing! We crafters are a good bunch – I’m very happy, proud, and fulfilled to be part of the community. Happy Friday to all of you!


Fun Studio Updates

I occasionally get in moods where I want to switch up my studio. The truth is, I’m not an overly organized person, and when I’m working, I’m very messy. I have books and yarn and supplies out everywhere, not to mention notebooks and sketchbooks because I take extensive notes about everything I do when I’m writing patterns. It doesn’t bother me when I’m working, but when I stop and look around me, I get the urge to reorganize and clear the decks. I love those magazine photos of artists’ studios in which there are pretty displays of markers and pencils, stacks of neatly folded and color-coordinated fabrics, and shelves of yarn that look as beautiful as a yarn store. A girl can dream, yes?

My problem, which is a problem for many others too, is that I don’t have dedicated studio space. I work in my living room, which must be shared with the whole family. So when I buy things for my “studio”, I have to be mindful that they are fun for me, but still suitable for a living room. If you are looking for some fun little updates, check out this site and do a search for one or all of these terms: yarn, crochet, knitting and have fun choosing. You can thank me later. :)


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