I was sidetracked by the new kitty, but here is a belated report for Stitches West:
Allison and I figured we'd avoid some of the crowds and went over to Santa Clara on Wednesday and returned Saturday. The drive over took about 6 and 1/2 hours instead of the usual 4 due to the storm in the Sierras. I've never driven through quite that level of snowstorm, but the brand new tires on the truck did their job and we had no problems. Spring has already sprung in the central valley of California and everything was intense green, with bright yellow wild mustard and pink flowering trees. Silicon Valley looks pretty much like any downtown area and is the land of tiny parking spots. Apparently not many of its denizens drive double-cab-long-bed pickups. Except for Wednesday afternoon, it rained every day, pretty much all day.
I took 2 workshops: Free-form Knitting and The Knitted Rug. Free-Form Knitting was taught by Myra Wood. Here are a couple of pieces she showed us. The technique is pretty easy, but it takes practice to get a nice balanced result. My own sample (no - no picture) kept the person next to me in giggles. Particularly when I suggested adding a tassel to the bit that she said protruded in a less-than-family-friendly way.
The knitted rug workshop was taught by Rose Ann Hunter. She was amazing! She talked about and exhibited a wide variety of folk rugs, and we got to try our hands at creating samples of several. I particularly took to the washboard rugs and have started knitting strips for a small rug to go in Zach's favorite basket.
The Market at Stitches filled up the entire humongous convention hall with more color and fiber and chaos than can be described. And it was totally packed with noisy milling knitters. Total sensory overload. I didn't expect to buy much (since I am still offloading something every day) until I saw in the program that KCL Woods was there. And Ken is now making yarn bowls. And gorgeous spindles with exchangeable shafts. The bowl I purchased is made of mesquite "from 90-year-old Earl's woodpile" in Tucson (my home town) - how could I resist? The only fiber I purchased was a small amount of banana fiber, just because it is kinda cool.
The full collection of trip pictures can be seen here.