(If you're on the glb-knit list, you've probably already seen this.)
I drove down to Santa Clara on Sunday afternoon, after the usual too-long preparations for a 40-minute trip. We got there about 2:30 and I presented my $2 off coupon for entry. The man at the desk kindly pointed out that entry would be free in half an hour. I thought for a moment and then decided that it was well worth $6 to me to get in an extra half hour's worth of shopping.
I went through the doors, and WOW! was immediately overwhelmed. Racks and racks and booths and booths of fiber of every kind and condition. (Lots more roving than I had expected, for one!) All thoughts of "yarn for XX project" went right out of my head and I spent 90% of my time feeling up yarn, as is my wont. Lots of alpaca, but not a lot of baby alpaca, of which I'm completely enamored, after having received two balls of it from Little Knits and its softness is breathtaking.
(I got Misti Alpaca lace in a gorgeous blue--if this link doesn't work, got to http://www.littleknits.com/ and click on Baby Alpaca Lace under "Misti Baby Alpaca" on the left-hand side, then scroll down just a bit to "Beautiful Deep Blue." The color is spot on, at least on my work and home monitors.)
Sticking firmly to my new ideal of not buying yarn that doesn't make my heart go pit-a-pat, I gazed at and rejected many sock yarns, fingering, and unbelievable lace yarns. Finally, at Fiber Elements, I found some red variegated yarn I just couldn't put away. The colorway is simply called Reds and it varies from a soft tomato red to a gentle grey and is soft and lovely. At $20/skein, I only felt I could buy 2 skeins, but that could make a nice sweater for my son or a shawl for me (we'll see).
(Their website is http://FiberElements.com/ but it isn't easy to get a link to show you the colorway... for the stouthearted, select Art, then Yarn, then select Sport Weight, then scroll down alphabetically to "Color: Reds." The photo looks more pink than tomato.)
I also picked up a pattern for the Brambleberry Lace Stole that is on the main page of their website. She had made it up in a fuzzy and a high-definition yarn and they were different but both lovely.
We went on, stopping to get a hot dog with ketchup for the kid (safely esconced in the stroller and parked out of reaching distance from the yarn each time). One shop had 10 skeins of various Debbie Blisses for $60 and I nearly bought a set of blue Cashmerino Aran yarn... but it didn't make my heart go pit-a-pat.
Finally, found a fascinating booth: a woman is knitting swaths of dyable yarn on her knitting machine, doing striping dying, and then selling the swaths to knitters to re-knit into socks... OR knit with another skein (either of self-striping/variegated or solid) for a gorgeous two-color hat. The effect is stunning. She had two sample knitters seated at the aisle, knitting from the swath into a sock (very effective). She also included, with any purchase, a long length of tubing she called "trying-on tubing." The tubing is forced onto the end of your needles and you slip the knitted object onto the tube to have lots of flexibility for trying on the object. Neat! Then she sealed the deal by pointing out that if you buy an extra skein of the 2nd color, you can actually get 2 hats out of the wool. Sold.
Perused a few more booths, but the Market closed at 4PM (I was expecting 6PM, which was the closing time for Thurs/Fri/Sat, my bad), which was a big help for my budget. Cadged a "Yarn Lady" bag from their booth (http://www.yarnlady.com/) because everyone carrying them cracked me up, then went by the "Knitter's" booth at the front and asked if one had to subscribe to get the magazine that was out. The woman shoved one quickly into my hands. Good thing it was free... I don't think I've found one thing in it that I want to knit (other than some of the things in the ads).
As we were leaving, I spotted some round tables w/chairs that knitters were just sitting at and knitting and chatting. I considered inviting myself into one lively group but changed my mind and just sat near them. That was probably good, because as I knit more rows of my River Rapids socks for the Olympics, I realized I heard the word "Satan" from the woman behind me. Yep, I heard it again. She went on to talk about the Lord God and I was glad I hadn't joined them. I'm a Christian but not a fire and brimstone one! Oy.
So now, 5 more skeins of yarn for my stash. I really should have joined that Buy More Yarn -along. :)
I'm hoping for a report from those who went to Stitches West and did more than just shop for yarn (and seemingly abandon their kid, but that's another post entirely)...