This weekend I headed north to Baltimore with a friend to soak up a couple of days of everything knitting-related at Stitches East.
Well... this weekend? Not exactly. We actually fudged a little and played hooky from work so we could go on Thursday and Friday. This is something we've been looking forward to since the day last year when we dipped our toes in the Stitches Market and got an idea of just what we'd been missing.
We had mild weather that seemed more like September, but the trees are in full color, so we knew it wasn't so. Baltimore is a great setting for this show, but it seems this, the third year there in a row, will be the last for a while. The hugely capacious convention center is right downtown only about two blocks from the picturesque waterfront of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. There are lots of hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment to be had within a short walk. Not that one needs any other entertainment, mind you, when Stitches is underway.
I brought along my camera, but did I remember to take any pictures of the harbor with its ships and lights and beautiful vistas? Nope. Inside the event, I understand photo-taking is not allowed, and once finally outside again, we were foot-weary and thinking of nothing but where to get dinner. So I will have to be content with a picture of the convention center itself.
As we found last year, the Stitches Market alone is reason enough to go. Imagine the equivalent of 200 or more yarn shops all offering different wares and lined up cheek by jowl for your browsing and buying pleasure. It's thrilling and, honestly, overwhelming. Selection you couldn't even dream of in one place. The commercially produced and the hand-crafted. New products making their first appearance. Samples everywhere for inspiration. Creators of many of the designs and yarns on display, there on the spot to talk them over with you. Throngs of happy, excited knitters.
But what we didn't get in on last year is what was going on upstairs. Hundreds of classes given by top-notch teachers. In-depth instruction on many specialized topics, often by someone who has written a book on the subject. I don't even know exactly what a Danish Skå-trøjer is, but Beth Brown-Reinsel, an expert on traditional knitting, is giving a 12-hour class on it. I'd take them all if I could!
So, this time, we had decided to sign up for classes and stay overnight. As registered students, we were also eligible to go to the Stitches Market during the Thursday night preview session, before it opens to the public. I could have waited and gone up Friday. I could! Definitely. But for my friend, the thought of having first pick of all those yarns and pattern books and tools and bags and kits and jewelry and everything else was just too powerful a lure. So Thursday it had to be. I was just humoring her. It was really only because of her.
We equipped ourselves with wheelie carts. It was her doing. I was just going along with it. Definitely. And did we take much advantage of the preview session? I guess you could say so.
Time to sign off for now, but there's more to tell you about. Definitely.