The Market. Living in a city where the LYS count is dwindling, there are lots of yarns and tools that I've seen on blogs that I can't get here. Wouldn't a lot of other shoppers be in the same situtation? I harbored imaginings of women shoving other women, spindles brandished, needles waved dangerously near eyes, all in pursuit of the perfect ball of Quiviut. Would it really be that bad? Well, just in case it really was madness, I developed a method.
The project cards really helped. Not only did I not have to struggle to remember the yardage necessary for different shawls, but making them before the trip forced me to prioritize what I really wanted to make next. Color-coding the map of the market was probably a little silly, but gave me something to do while waiting. The pink ones were the stores I wanted to go to first, the green ones booths I didn't want to miss. Like that would happen. I spent hours in the market. Some booths I visited several times.
Most Desired Yarn
Ever since I first heard of it on Yarn Harlot, I've wanted to see what Sea Silk is all about. Yarn with seaweed? Both of these pictures are of the same two skeins. I thought I'd make a shawl, but I'm picky about variagated yarns making bigger stripes at the pointy end, so I shy away from them. And at $35/400m, it's a little expensive for me for a wrap. But I had to have it! This was the first of the pink squares on the map, I was the first in the Yarns By Design booth, and darnit I was going home with seaweed yarn! (I did find an interesting pattern for it - check out the new "In the Queue" album.) It is lovely, lovely, lovely stuff, and really does smell like the sea. Well, I think it does, anyway.
Project cards in hand, I also picked up some creamy Blackberry Ridge Silky Merino for the Snowdrop Shawl. Blackberry Ridge is one of those names that I know I've seen somewhere but can't get locally. It's worth the trip to Chicago alone. If it hadn't been my first booth, I'd have bought a lot more.
Most Anticipated Booth
Even my LYS owner said, "You have to go to Brooks Farm." I've been reading about their yarns a lot, and couldn't wait to see their mohair creations in person. They did not disappoint. Still sticking to the project cards, I knew this skein would be beautiful for Midwest Moonlight. There were so many colorways that I could have stashed, but since this was my second booth, I restrained myself. And this wasn't what I'd call cheap either, but since it was so beautiful I think it was worth it.
Most Surprisingly Affordable
I would have thought that a company that makes yarn from paper and stainless steel and is located in NYC would be really expensive, but it wasn't! (Next year they're getting a pink square!) I bought these over several trips to their booth. I just kept going back! Drawn by the siren's song of their bamboo yarn, which is softer than the quiviut stuff they were hawking down the aisle. But I didn't buy that - I can get it online when I know what I'll do with it. I was doing pretty good with the "only if you know what you'll use it for" thing, but on my 3rd or 4th visit, something that I'd been looking at was gone. And I was a little broken-hearted. It was a very fine bamboo yarn wrapped in copper, which makes the yarn pink. Turns out they'd only moved it to another table, but I figured from my reaction to its disappearance I had better get some. That's the four pink cones. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, or even if it will stay pink forever or get greenish like copper does, but I don't care. I love it and it's mine! The red is a ramie (that's cotton, right?) that I'm going to try the Print O' The Wave Stole with, and the green and gold are merino and will be used for a shawl in the Victorian Lace Today book, that we got some preview patterns from. All of the cones are very fine gauge, so I'm going to double them, but at less than $6 a cone, it's still really affordable. The skein of bamboo at the bottom if for a very small scarf. I am so crazy about the natural, subtle, classy colors of Habu. I think it's because they're Japanese. I see the same colors on women in movies and magazines from Japan, and if I thought I'd ever get my behind into their clothes I'd fly to Tokyo to do all my shopping. I think it was the colors, and not just the prices, that kept me going back to Habu. I'm really going to pay attention next time someone explains what those numbers mean (like 2/24) in a yarn description too, so I can order lots more from them online - and know what I'm getting.
Oh, yeah, I DO have a spindle
Grafton Fibers had some lovely rovings. This is a corriedale in a dark grey, black, plum mix. I picked the dark colors on purpose - hoping that the uneveness in my spinning may be somewhat less visible. Since I haven't touched my spindle since last fall when Margaret gave me a lesson, I'm going to save this for a bit. I saw lots of gorgeous spindles at a few booths, but I'm not going to get another one until I know I'll use it.
I picked up just a few patterns. The first was for the Lily of the Valley Shawl, by Fiddlesticks, from the Yarns by Design booth again. (By the way, Barb gets my award for Favorite Vendor. She was just so nice and helpful and patient and enthusiastic - everything you'd want in your LYS. Unfortunately, her store in in Wisconsin.) I've been coveting this pattern on line for a while, so I picked it up when I had an opportunity to not pay shipping. I've had the color in mind for a while too - the pale blueish purple color of early pansies. I thought it would be a life-long search for the right yarn in the right weight in the right color. And then, hiding amongst some other Zephyr cones, there it was. I could have cried. And the wonderful people at Susan's Fiber Shop even made me a deal and wound off just the 4 oz that I need. (And it takes a while to wind off 4 oz of laceweight!)
The sweater was modeled during the Fashion Show and I really liked it. I think it will translate well from Ping size to my size. The sample was made from Quiviut too, which felt much softer than the stuff in the balls did, or maybe it was just a better musk ox. I think I'll try this in Knitpicks Elegance before I splurge on the good stuff. (And lose a lot of pounds to save on materials cost!)
The shawl pattern was from Jojoland, and the designer herself was working the booth. I really like the shawl on display, but think I'll make it bigger for me. Hopefully I'll have enough of a handle on the pattern to do that. The pattern calls for the cashmere they were selling in the booth, but I ended up with a big cone from WEBS. The only decent picture of it is in the "In the Queue" photo album. It's a light silvery grey with just a hint of green.
For the last week since I've been home I thought I'd lost this skein of alpaca laceweight from Yarn Barn. I'd done a show-and-tell for my parents when they brought me home from the train station, and this wasn't in the bag. For a week I've been sad. Then I pulled everything out of the bag to take pictures for the blog, and there it was. And the makeup bag I thought I'd left in the hotel room was there too. I think the yarn goddess was very, very kind to me. Anyway, this is over 2000 yards of alpace laceweight (for the bargain price of $22!) that I'm saving for the shawl of my choice when I find the right pattern for it. (Who else thinks it will be the sampler shawl or the alpine lace shawl from Jane's book?)
I'm A Winner!
I won a market doorprize! Coasters! Stop snickering. Yes, these coasters are probably what I could have used the least out of everything in the market, but it was a prize and I won it so stop it. They also came with a GC so I got a sz 1 40" addi turbo for future sock looping. That was well worth it.
Everyone who attends the Student Banquet gets something, and I got a prize from Skacel: two balls of Trevari Print and a set of 10.75 needles. I'm going to try a cross-over drop-stitch pattern that I saw, fittingly, in the Summer issue of Knitters magazine as a scarf with this. It's sooooo soft.
November saw my expression when I picked up this bag of tassa silk sliver, and offered to get it as an early birthday present. And a bonus sheep too! I'd seen these little knitted sheep in the gift shop at the Art Institute, but didn't want to spend the money on them before the Stitches shopping had even begun. And it's a black one! Thanks, November!
What I Thought I Wanted But Didn't
Socks that Rock. Koigu. Cherry Tree Hill. After Habu, I just wasn't in the mood for garish colors. Black Sheep Lantern Moon measuring tape. They aren't that rare after all.
What I Would Have Bought If I Hadn't Run Out of Money
Overall, the Market was better than I thought it would be, I stuck with my budget and project cards (mostly) and no one poked me in the eye with a knitting needle. I'd say it was a success!