Sunday, March 01, 2009

Stitches West Wrap Up

I just got back today from a whirlwind trip to Santa Clara, CA for Stitches West 2009. I haven't been to the convention in a couple of years, so it was really good to be back. For those who aren't familiar, Santa Clara is roughly 45 minutes south of San Francisco. So, in addition to having a major yarn orgy, I also took a day trip to The City for the day. The whole trip was great.

I arrived at the hotel at about 5 p.m. on Thursday just as the Market Preview was starting. Stitches is both a series of classes, many of which are taught by well known book authors such as Melissa Leapman and Nicky Epstein, and the west coast's best yarn market, hands down. On Thursday night, they do a 3 hour market preview for class participants. Its crowded, but a lot less crowded than when the market is opened to the general public. The market is massive and completely overwhelming. That being said, it seemed a little smaller this year. Even given that, the amount of yarn was truly staggering, and the amount of handpainted yarns was impressive indeed. I did a fair bit of damage up there, even though I didn't veer from my budget too terribly much. I had shopping list and I fulfilled that in additon to a few other impulse buys.

One of my goals was to return to the Brooks Farm booth to buy a sweater quantity of their worsted wool yarn.


This is their superwash merino wool. I got the last 3 skeins of this color during the preview.

While there, I may have picked up this Duet yarn (wool/mohair blend) that I hadn't planned on buying:


But isn't it pretty?

I also wanted to look at Dream in Color Classy, which I haven't seen much of. Once I saw it, I couldn't control myself and bought a sweater's quanitity in one colorway:


and an awkward amount of 500 yards in another:


I also snagged copies of Kim Hargreaves' Heartfelt and Thrown Together books. Pretty much as soon as the market opened, these babies went. I counted myself very fortunate to have grabbed these.

The next day, I awoke earlier and took a day trip to San Francsico. I have a close college friend that lives in the Bay Area, so I visit the city frequently. Its a little bit of a challenge to find things I haven't done, so I frequently revisit favorite haunts. But this year, I started out with something different: the Golden Gate Bridge. I've been over it tons of times, but I've never walked on it.


This was my view from the parking area. W.o.w. Then, once I got on the bridge itself, I got good views of the city, the bay. the Bay Bridge.



On my way back into the city, I drove through the Presidio and stopped at this lookout point to get a fabulous view of redwood trees and Alcatraz:


Next, I went here for a proper English tea (fabulous) and then I walked around the trendy neighborhood of Noe Valley, home to Noe Knits and Imagiknit, the oft mentioned yarn store on Stash and Burn. Imagiknit was such an amazing shop. They had tons of unique and beautiful yarns and a vast array of patterns as well. They had all of the yarns organized by weight, which I really like. I didn't find too much that had to come home with me, but I bought this Shibui sock yarn:


Sorry for the bad photo. Sensing a color trend?

On my way to Imagiknit, I took the Muni train, and I hopped off early to snap a photo of this breathtaking view from a neighborhood park.



I snapped this quickie of local architecture while I walked:


After I left Imagiknit, I went here to look at fabric. Meow. It is 4 floors of sheer textile heaven in the heart of Union Square. They had very expensive and amazing fabric. I couldn't even afford most of their remnants, but they were all beautiful.

I walked on to the Ferry Building which houses an impressive collection of high end natural food vendors, including a chocolate place, a bakery, a cheese shop, a butcher, a gelato place, a mushroom shop, and an olive oil store, among others. My feet were hurting and blistery at this point, so I stopped and sat outside looking at the harbor where I was fortunate enough to gaze upon this:


and after a few minutes, this:


After I rested, I picked up a few tasty-looking groceries and made my way to Dosa, the most happening restaurant in the city, apparently. We went to the location on Fillmore, which is in Japantown, and the wait was an hour at 6 p.m! It is southern Indian food, which is completely different from what I've had before. It had a very LA vibe, and I definitely felt like I'd stumbled into the "it" place. But the food was really exotic and different and delicious.

That rounds out my trip pretty much. Today was a Stitches class and my flight home. I know this post is long and photo heavy, but I hope you enjoy looking at my pictures.