Archive for August 2008

Stitches Midwest 2008

August 30, 2008

The Trip:   Because I had a doctor’s appointment I did not want to reschedule, we didn’t make it onto I-35 until 5:00 on Wednesday.   We drove to Tulsa, stopped for coneys, jumped back onto I-44 and made it to Springfield around 10 PM.   After a good night’s sleep, we got up, had breakfast and were rolling out of town by 10 AM.   We had some really wet spots driving through Missouri.   There were times we had to slow down to 30 mph just to see the road.   One bright spot and this will give you a chuckle, were the hand-cleansing machines in McDonald’s in Cuba, Missouri.   They have two of these machines, one waist level and one lower.   It looks like a cave and the instructions tell you to place your hands in the very back first.   That’s where you get a squirt of soap.   Bring your hands to midsink range and the water comes on and then bring your hands to the front where the automatic dryer comes on.   We thought these sinks were so cool that we talked about them at Midwest.   On the trip back, I only remembered that the McDonald’s at Cuba was clean and a good bathroom stop.   It wasn’t until I walked in that I remembered the sinks!   Ok, I digress…where was I?   lol  After an unscheduled detour in St. Louis we sail past all the cornfields and soybean fields in Illinois.   Once we hit Joliet it was city all the way.   We stayed at a hotel in Schaumburg and it seems like we rolled into town about 6ish.   I’ll do a separate post on the food we had in Chicago at a later time.

Both Marjie and I thought Midwest Market opened at 9 am.   We fiddled around not wanting to be there until the usual crowd had made it thru the doors.   We got there at 9:30 only to find out Midwest doesn’t open until 10.  lol  Oh well…..since we purchased our tickets online we had a separate line which was much shorter than the other line.

These are a couple of shots of knitters waiting in line.

I have to compare.   Stitches East 2007 was the first Stitches event I’ve attended.   Stitches Midwest 2008 is my second event.   Hands down I prefer Midwest.   I avoid huge crowds.  It really bothers me to be in a close press of people.   I’ll seek the outside of a crowd every time.   East was a very large event.   The crowd would get so thick at times that you couldn’t get into some booths nor could you walk easily down an aisle.   At Midwest there was a crowd but it was spread out and I didn’t have any instances where I felt closed in.   Keep in mind we shopped both events on Friday not Saturday.   I hear on Saturday Market day busses come in with hundreds of people.   Ew.   I’ll keep shopping on Fridays!  lol

I also heard from several different knitters we spoke with that this new venue in Schaumburg was hands down better than the facility in Rosemont (where previous Midwest events had been held).  I can tell you the Schaumburg facility had adequate restrooms, two concession stands that had salads, wraps, sandwiches along with snacks and beverages available.  East had one concession that offered burgers and fries, snacks and beverages and the restrooms were not as numerous.

We were at Market day from 9:30 until 4pm.   I’ll do another post on the fantastic Earth tennies too.   Those shoes are FANTASTIC!!  Anyway, here are some of the goods I bought:

This is a kit Marjie and I both bought.   It’s by Strickwear (Candace Eisner Strick) and this is Love is a Many Mitered Thing.   It’s a shawl with graduated color changes in addition to the mitered sections.   The picture in the kit does not do justice to this shawl.   The model garment was in the Caribben Sunset colorway (which is what I bought).   The color graduation is much more dramatic than the blues shown in the picture.   The concept is this:  you wind your skeins into 3 balls of yarn.   You knit with 3 strands at one time.   At different points you drop one strand to start another strand of a different color.   I hope that makes sense.   lol   They have shawls, blankets, scarves and other items I can’t recall at the moment.   The yarn is specially dyed for Candace.  (Side note:   When I told Margaret about this item she jumped on it and will be carrying these kits at Gourmet Yarn.   Yay Margaret!!!!!!!!!!)

The next item is also a kit for Christmas Stockings.  I first saw these kits in a knitting magazine a few months ago.   I know I fell in love with them but never followed through to order.   When we saw these in a booth at Midwest, Marjie and I both jumped.   The vendor had a huge see-through bag packed full of these kits.   Marjie sat down while I bag-sit and started digging to find the various kits.   These are called Judy’s Colors and the kit includes the pattern and yarn.   Some kits are for more than one stocking.   The more intricate the design the higher the price is but wow are they worth it!!

Here is what I came home with:

It’s not in traditional Christmas colors and that is what appealed to me.   Again, Margaret jumped on this too and these yummy stocking kits are on the way to Gourmet Yarn.

These are the other yarn purchases I made.   The first skein is Andrea by Schaefer.   It’s 100% cultivated silk and a laceweight.   Many months ago I was in Loops in Tulsa and saw the Andrea Reversible Scarf model.   I fell in love immediately but they only had 3 skeins of the yarn and in colorways that didn’t speak to me.   I bought the pattern and then began my search for the Frida Kahlo colorway.   There was one vendor at Stitches from California.   They brag they carry the largest selection of Schaefer yarns in the country.  I believe them.   They had 3-4 booths and one long wall was nothing but Schaefer yarns.   The prices were a lot higher than we normally pay here but they do have a fantastic selection.

The second picture in aqua and lime is from our beloved Brooks Farms in Lancaster, Texas.   Karen, Marjie and I have a deep affinity for Brooks Farms fiber.   Anytime we go where Brooks Farms is attending, we buy.   Karen had asked us to find her something at Midwest.   I am not exaggerating when I say this.   Marjie and I walked up to their booth and this colorway was right in front of us.   I touched it, grabbed my cell to call Karen.  I said I’m looking at the most beautiful aqua and lime colorway at Brooks Farms.   Karen asked how much yardage and price.  I told her and she said get 3.   lol  I had no doubts she’d love it.   She and I are most often attracted to the same colors.   I bought 2 skeins.  It’s silk and wool.

The third picture is of some 100% silk I picked up at The Yarn Barn booth.   It was a good buy.  It will become some throw or wrap.

The last picture is of some sock yarn I bought.   This isn’t labeled and I can’t recall the vendor’s name right now.   But this is the softest tweed yarn I’ve ever touched!   They had some gorgeous colorways in their booth.   Since coming home I’ve read many comments on Ravelry about this booth and the consensus is everyone loved it.

One word to the wise, when you attend an event like this, a small case on wheels is the only way to go!

Ok, that’s it for the purchase side of the trip.   I’ll do posts later on the food.  I’ll do the commercial post on the Earth tennies too.   Bye for now!!

Lexi says:  I’m so glad my mama’s home that I am staying by her side every minute she is home.   I even let her sleep with my paws under her shoulder.

There is NO Place Like Home

August 27, 2008

Before I download pictures, before I brag about my finds at Stitches Midwest 2008, before I tell MY Marjie stories, let me tell you this.   There is no place like home.   Taking a road trip is always an adventure.   I love seeing new places, new scenery, seeing how other parts of our country look.   I love people watching too.   But as most of you know, we love going to yarn shops.   A few years ago, Rebecca told me as I was drooling and plotting my visit to San Francisco yarn shops, that those shops were tiny because of the cost of real estate.   She went on to tell me that none of them would have what our yarn shops here had.   I heard her but knew they still had to be gold mines.   I only made it to one but she was right.   It was tiny and had poor lighting and didn’t have much selection.   Fast forward to Chicago.   Marjie and I managed to make it to three yarn shops.   All three were cute shops.   The first had plenty of space but the selection was disappointing.   The second was closed because of Stitches Midwest!!!   Grrrrrrrrrr  and the third was very disappointing in selection.   The ladies at both of the shops were so nice and helpful.   But when compared to our Gourmet Yarn and L & B, their selections were dismal at best.   So sad.   We stopped by a shop in Springfield on the way home.   Again the ladies were very nice and fun to visit with.   The shop held some good brands but only small bits of those.   Again, when compared to our shops, we have the best.

Short post.   I just woke up a bit ago and am still tired.   I’ll post more later but I had to say we have the best right here in our own back yard.   (As if you didn’t already know that!  lol)

Pet Peeves and Stitches Midwest

August 10, 2008

I was talking to Leslie last week and for some reason the topic became those little annoyances that drive us all crazy or in other words pet peeves.  We were discussing habits/household type messiness.   And while I am not the world’s best housekeeper by ANY imagination this is my list of household pet peeves:

1.  Wet towels or washcloths anywhere except the towel rack.

2.  Open cabinet doors.  (It only took a couple of headknocks to come up with that one.)

3.  Lids off anything such as toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo….you get the picture.

4.  Milk cannot be left out for any reason.   Pour what you need, put it back in the fridge.  I can’t stand blinky milk!  lol

Those are just a few I can think of……what are some of your household pet peeves?

On the knitting front:   I’m still plugging along on the Siren Shawl.   I’ve also turned the heel on my Slippery Sock and am working on the gusset now.   For some reason the Andrea Reversible Lace Scarf which has been hibernating for many months, is calling to me.   I may have to pick it back up again and knock some dust off of it.   🙂

Marjie and I are making our lists getting ready for Stitches Midwest!!   Oh I may not have told most of you that we are going.   It is a complete and tee-total fluke.   Believe me, going to some major overcrowded city in the heat of summer is not at the top of my priority list but here is how it came to be.   I work for a law firm and my sole job is to work this one federal program.   I opened an email about a month ago that mentioned an upcoming conference in Chicago.   It also said something about major changes to the program I manage.   WHAT??????????  I have not heard a peep about any changes so imagine my surprise.   As I looked up the date on the calendar thinking if ever there was a conference I needed to attend, this is it.  Then I recall that Stitches Midwest is also in Chicago area and somewhere around the same time frame.   I looked it up and guess what?   It is the Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday before the conference!   Yay!   Then I asked Marjie if it worked out, would she want to go.   Duh.    Next thought, how to get there.  As of now, I do not ever want to fly again.   The trip back from Baltimore last October did me in as far as crowded planes, sitting in airports, waiting in lines and I’ve made a vow not to fly again for a very long while if ever.   So my brain starts working wondering if the firm would rent a car to drive.   To shorten the story, I asked and they said yes.   I’ve made all the hotel reservations and I’m registered at the conference.  All that is left is picking up the rental car and hitting the road.   I’ve teased Marjie plenty about the size of car/trunk and what we will take.   I’ve pondered aloud if it will hold 2 adult women and 25 suitcases, my two plus Marjie’s 23.  🙂   She really doesn’t take that many bags but she is a girl who packs to travel.   lol   Anyway, that’s how it came to be and I’m getting excited.   A road trip where transportation is paid by my employer and 3 days per diem, what more could I ask for???   Yay!!!!!!!!!!!