I peered down the long empty hall. My face flushed, I stepped out into the corridor. Briskly moving past the closed hotel room doors, desperately hoping to get to the elevator without being noticed, I heard the sickening sound of the elevator opening. I would be seen, in my nightgown, OUT IN PUBLIC AAAAARRGGH! The gaggle coming towards me were, thankfully, knitters. They called out to me “Wear those jammies with pride!” Thus emboldened, I moved to the elevator where I realized that I had no control over who would greet me when the doors opened.
Thankfully it was empty and I could complete my perilous journey to the ballroom lobby where, yes, I was joining the Stitches PJ party in progress. Ladies in brightly colored muumuu’s, younger women in sheep printed flannel, Benjamin Levisay in a smoking jacket and even someone dressed in a sock monkey costume made me feel absolutely normal.
I really like going to fiber festivals. That’s no surprise of course. Each one has its traditions and culture, and along with thousands of other people, I soak it all in. Stitches isn’t exactly a festival, but it feels like it and calling it an “Expo” doesn’t do it justice. One doesn’t typically think of “Expo” and “Pajama Party” in the same sentence right?
Though the Marketplace is an important part of Stitches, the classes are of high priority. In my experience, they have been well worth it. This year I put together what I thought would be a clever packet based on skills I wanted to develop. I took a class on steeks with Chris Bylsma and one on stranded knitting with Anna Zilborg. There is some fine colorwork in my future!
Both classes were not only rich in content, but they were just plain fun. By the end of the three hours, my eyes were crossing and my brain was gloriously tired. Of particular interest to me was the contrast in approach to steeks by each of the teachers. Though the colorwork class was not specifically about steeking, steeks were covered as they are an important part of that technique.
Initially I found it frustrating that the approaches were contradictory. However, I came to understand the technique more deeply because they were so different. In the end, I can choose. We are the bosses of our own knitting!
The marketplace is a must-do. There were regulars and new faces alike. I availed myself of glass and antique buttons and buckles, which will hopefully adorn some future fulled hats. Heartbreakingly, there was very little spinning fiber. I know that the crowd at Stitches is not as spinning oriented as at the wool festivals, but I have a funny feeling that in the future we will see more, as Stitches vendors will start to see the growing art of hand spinning- at least I hope they will!
Of particular note from Namaste is an item which is currently only available through special order, and not yet on their website. In their signature fabric and great colors is a folio which, inside, has three sturdy rings. The customer picks what kind of insert pages to include: for holding DPN’s, needle tips, cables and tools. As always, it looks beautiful and sturdy. There will be some happy people when these pieces begin arriving in the mail.
Even though I came to Stitches by myself, the social piece was awesome! At the marketplace I ran into people from my local yarn store In the Loop, including the owner! Also there were people from the annual pilgrimage to Freeport Maine for Spa Knit and Spin. Wonderfully, though strangely, there was a classmate at Stitches who was in a class with me at MDSW as well as both my classes this year at Rhinebeck! Isn’t that awesome?!
The Friday night fashion show and gala dinner were fun, professionally executed and filled with great door prizes. It was after these events that we made our way to our rooms to “dress” for the aforementioned pajama party!
After enjoying the fashion show on Friday night, and then a Knitter’s walk through by Rick Mondragon the next day, I realized that it had been too long since I had picked up Knitter’s Magazine. It was definitely time to pick up this magazine again. There are several items in the Winter issue that will likely find their way to my needles.
Back at home, I feel the way I always do after a festival, happy and motivated to knit more, spin more, and read more about it. Before I got all the way home, I even stopped off to see a friend who was having a knitting emergency and we sat and knitted, drank tea, and chatted. It was the whole package! Take every chance you can to go to a festival or Stitches. Plan on a class. Most importantly, sit with a friend and knit.