If you're a knitter headed to Stitches West in Santa Clara this weekend you're in for a sea of temptations. Between the many new vendors, new products and free classes on hand you'll find it hard to keep your wallet in your bag. For those who are new to knitting, Stitches West is the annual knitting convention sponsored by Knitters Magazine. It always happens in late February and is your opportunity to take knitting classes from well-known knitting professionals. Registration usually fills up in October, but there's still lots of fun to be had at the marketplace, which has hundreds of vendors with all kinds of knitting gear for you to find.
The best part of the marketplace is encountering vendors and products that you haven't seen anywhere else. This year's highlights include a new tweed yarn, getting to meet the representatives from online craft class purveyor Craftsy, discovering a brand new knitting bag handmade in the US, checking out the new bags from Jordana Paige (have you seen the Cezanne? Drool, drool, drool), and meeting Heidi from Pepperberry Knits who spins her own... wait for it... CASHMERE -affordable cashmere!!!!!
My favorite booths to visit at the Stitches West Marketplace for 2013
Do you want to meet THE nicest person at Stitches? You'll meet her at the Pepperberry Knits booth. Her name is Heidi. She handspins and sells CASHMERE for a prices that you can't resist. Check out the laceweight cashmere which goes for $16/skein or grab one of their nifty hat kits at $45. Even if you're not in the market for cashmere (what kind of knitter are you anyway?) you MUST see their booth. It's easily the cutest at the whole show.
2) The Knitting Ranch Bags
Are you in the market for a new knitting bag? Do you appreciate not just good quality, but fine-handmade-in-the-USA quality? Then get over to The Knitting Ranch and meet Suzi, the woman behind these bags that are totally swoon-worthy. Suzi not just puts the bag together, she actualy makes the leather handles herself. The insides of the bags are just as beautiful as the outside. If you like to pamper your knitting with a handmade luxury knitting bag, you gotta at least see the The Knitting Ranch bags in person.
Jordana Paige always has mad exquisite bags for knitters, but her most recent addition has been the Cezanne Bag, which I have been coveting for such a long time. Really. I haven't been able to hint strongly enough to my husband that I really really really want this knitting bag. It comes in beautiful shades gray, orange, burgundy and blue that will accent whatever you're wearing. It's rare that I find a bag that I like so much that I want it in every color, but the Cezanne Bag is so well made and easy to wear that I'm sorely tempted.
You've seen Craftsy everywhere and it's a burgeoning business. If you've been thinking about taking a craftsy class you should definitely check out their Stitches Booth. They have staff and teachers on hand for your to meet in person and you might just find a surprise if you visit their booth. Super nice people making a useful product for knitters. Stay tuned for more from me on Craftsy. I had the opportunity to corner the people behind craftsy to learn some cool things they have coming up soon. I think we're going to be seeing a lot from them in the coming years, making knitting instructors available on your computer anytime.
5) Leilani Arts Donegal Tweed Yarn
I love tweed yarn. It's my favorite. I stash and hoard it. If there's a tweed sale, I'm all over it. Me and tweed? We're likethis.
So you can imagine how I felt when I strolled past Leilani's booth and and saw baskets of Studio Donegal Tweed. Leilani Yarns takes fiber from Donegal and mixes it with super soft Australian merino and you get some of the softest tweed you've ever felt, in colors that would wow the Victorians. Must. Have. This. Yarn.
What did you think of Stitches West this year? Did you take classes? Did you find treasures?