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As usual, Stitches West this year was great fun. I always enjoy the excitement of the show, the camaraderie of knitters, my wonderful students and friends. And I really have to say that the XRX/ Stitches staff does an excellent job putting together a show of such mass proportions! I taught 3 classes: Kitchener Like A Pro (grafting in pattern off the needles), The Right Fit (your body shape and finding/adapting knitting patterns appropriate for it) and DIY (Design it Yourself): Shawls and Stoles (tons of shawl shapes and how to achieve it). Kitchener Like a Pro and DIY Shawls & Stoles were sold out very early on in registration and I had only 3-4 spots left in The Right Fit, but by the time all the classes started, all my classes were sold out (I capped all classes at 25 students). THANK YOU STUDENTS!

"Kitchener like a pro" class at Stitches West

Students from my “Kitchener Like A Pro” class working hard and showing off their successfully grafted ribbing and cable swatches in pattern.

Mera, Revisited

Cal was in my “The Right Fit” class. She is showing off the “Mera, Revisited” pattern she made after taking a class on that pattern the year before at Stitches.

Stitches West 2013; Flame pattern

“Flame” is a crescent-shaped shawlette worked in a really cool reversible edging pattern and it was on display at the Windy Valley Muskox booth, where they sold out of about 50 patterns of Flame within the 1st hour of the 2nd market day!

Stitches West 2013

Anzula had “Fantome Hat” and “Fantome Cowl” both on display and selling as a kit with their Sebastian (merino/seacell) yarn. They also sold some soft launch test products of my gift tags.

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And my friends at Bijou Basin Ranch, had the “Mera Shrug” on display in their booth. That was one of my favorite projects because the yarn was Bijou Bliss, a yak/cormo blend.

Some of the other fun things from Stitches included running into Christina and Debbie from Alamitos Bay Yarn Co. on my flight, meeting 3 generations of knitters during the Student Banquet, petting all the pretty yarns, button-shopping, hanging out with my friends, old and new, and just being able to be part of it all. Oh and let’s not forget my first encounter with an Inu-knit (aka Lily Chin in costume)!

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A note regarding my website

Folks, I also want to let you know that my website is going through a major facelift and some construction woes. You can still navigate and purchase from it, but I cannot list new stuff on it. So, for the time being, you will see a new tab at the top of this blog, “~~PATTERN & PRODUCT INFORMATION~~” That’s where I’m putting and listing all my new stuff. Thanks!!

**For up to the minute updates and news, follow me @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter and CraftyDiversions on Instagram or “Like” my Crafty Diversions page on Facebook!**

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Some of my friends at the Stitches Pajama Party. From L to R: Cindi, Denise, Holly, Barbara (front), Kristie, Rhonda, Elisabeth and me

One of the really fun things about Stitches is getting to meet new people and celebrating that and our mutual obsessions. One of the events to which I was looking forward was the Pajama Party hosted by Kimberly Reynolds, aka somebunnyslove. When she did her first PJ party at Stitches South last year, I participated by donating coupons for patterns in her gift bags. This year, Kimberly was giving away door prizes and I was more than happy to participate in both providing donations and also attending the party.

Crafty Diversion PJs!

Were you wondering what was on my pajama tops? I decided to "brand" myself with a herd of Crafty Diversions sheep! They were a pain to put on and make, but fun to wear and show off.

From the beginning, I had planned on giving away a limited edition printed copy of Liberation and some yarns from my stash: 2 skeins of Canopy Fingering from The Fibre Company (distributed by my friends at Kelbourne Woolens who also just wrote the fabulous book Vintage Modern Knitting) and a skein of some yummy 60% merino/ 40% cashmere yarn that I hand-painted in rich earthy shades of orange (one of my favorite colors).  Then I thought, since I was collaborating with and working at the Anzula and Unwind booths, it’d nice if we all collectively donated a prize.  Of course, I was so busy with my deadlines before Stitches, that I didn’t have a lot of time to organize better until nearly the very end. Thankfully, Sabrina of Anzula and Stephanie of Unwind were great working with me and my last minute deadlines!  Once I had their commitment, I then thought that maybe we needed a bag to put all that stuff in and should just make it all an all California donation contingency, so I asked Laura of Slipped Stitch Studios if she wanted to participate. 🙂 (I met Laura a while back when I went to teach her knitting group how to dye and paint yarn.) What did we all donate? A prize that totaled $350 in value!!!!

See for yourself!

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The loot all laid out on the table before we packaged them up. Impressive, eh?

The flyer that explains and details all the items.

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Sabrina of Anzula and I got there early to set up the prizes. Can you see us drooling? We kind of wished we could win our prize package!

Aside from all the lovely prizes (in addition to ours), there were lots of cute PJs and slippers. One of the funniest PJs was worn by Benjamin Levisay, CEO and head honcho of XRX/ Stitches.  There were also some really fun slippers.

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He has X-ray vision! ::gasp::

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Left: Sheep slippers my friend Elisabeth made to match her sheep PJs; Right: Monster slippers by the winner of our $350 door prize.

 

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She's a WINNER!

Above: Here’s Lisa Haas (lisaha on Ravelry), the very lucky winner of the great $350 bag of yarns, patterns and accessories from meAnzulaUnwind and Slipped Stitch Studios. Below are additional photos of the Pajama Party at Stitches West:

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It’s not like I haven’t been to Stitches and am not new to the long line before the market door open, but I am always a bit taken aback by it. On Saturday morning, I took these photos as I was coming down an escalator. TONS of people! If you’ve never been the beginning of the line wraps around and starts to the far left of the escalator. Right photo below shows me walking about 20 feet past the escalator. The end of the line goes all the way into the back hallway, almost to where the convention center connects with the Hyatt Regency.

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The market on Sunday is always the slowest, but look at all these people waiting to see if they won a prize. It’s simply incredible:

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Then it was time to go home…I had planned to leave at around noon, but since I was so busy the other days, I spent extra time talking to and checking out vendors that I didn’t get a chance to see. We ended up leaving about 2.5 later than I originally planned. I took a different route home (went up on 101 from LA, took the 5 on the way home) and though all that dairy farm cow manure smell was intoxicating (to say the least!!! I almost barfed in the car!), the drive was mostly gorgeous.

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Stitches West 2011 posts:

1. The Road to Stitches

2. Yarnaholics Everywhere at Stitches West

3. Stitches West PJ Party – The End

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The rest of my time spent at Stitches West was rather intoxicating. I really can’t think of a better word for it at this time. The amount of wonderful yarns and other products is just overwhelming, and the hordes of people and all the people I meet there just make the experience one-of-a-kind. Everyday, I hopped around between 3 different booths doing cross-promotions, helping my friends out and meeting lots of people and friends.

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This lovely lady, Sonia aka Peaceful Knitter, was the first one to buy a Liberation kit featuring my patterns and Anzula yarn. Sabrina (the incredible woman behind Anzula) and I put out the kit on Friday morning. By the end of the day, we only had a handful left and we sold out of all the Alice Paul patterns.

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I was quite happy with the way that my patterns and the samples were displayed and presented at the Anzula and Unwind booths. They seemed to be a hit and I was constantly stopped whenever I was walking the floor by folks asking about the patterns.

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This very cute woman tried out the Elizabeth Zimmermann cloche at the Unwind booth. We styled it by tuning up and pinning the wide brim.

I also spotted Issara in the wild. Okay, technically I know the woman who made it, but it was the first time that I saw her finished coat! Unfortunately, I never got a photo of her wearing it. Boo!

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One of the Stitches events I also got involved in was hosting a yarn tasting with some of the most luxurious yarns you’ll find! I was my friends at Bijou Basin Ranch who was partnering with Windy Valley Musk Ox to do a yarn tasting. We played with various blends of yak yarn from Bijou Basin Ranc and qiviut yarn from Windy Valley Musk Ox. I cannot tell you how fun it was to meet tons of new people, play with some of my favorite yarns and sitting on those comfy couches!

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I also spotted some of the things I designed for Bijou Basin Ranch at both booths.

I have MORE to write about on Stitches, including the really fun Pajama Party and the gorgeous drive home.  Unfortunately, y’all will have to wait until I have more time to catch up and do the final Stitches West post.

Stitches West 2011 posts:

1. The Road to Stitches

2. Yarnaholics Everywhere at Stitches West

3. Stitches West PJ Party – The End

 

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This morning, I picked up my friend Holly and we drove from our homes in North Orange County, California to Santa Clara for Stitches West. We made really good time and the weather seemed to cooperate with us until we were about 2 hours away from our destination, when a few rainstorms slowed us down. However, all and all, the drive was beautiful and we saw 2 rainbows, which I managed to capture while I drove.  Our total drive time was about 6 hours.

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We went straight to the convention center for the preview market, only open to registered students. During the preview market, I was a guest at the Unwind booth (#1245), where they carry and showcase my patterns, including the full line of patterns from the Liberation collection. Unwind had all the samples worked up in Sweet Georgia yarn. I will do another guest appearance at the Unwind booth on Saturday from 10-12.

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L to R: Laura (wearing Amelia Earhart), Stephanie (wearing Elizabeth Zimmermann) and Suzanne (wearing Barbara G. Walker) of Unwind (booth 1245 at stitches), a wonderful LYS in Burbank

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My hat patterns worked up in Sweet Georgia yarn on display at the Unwind Yarn booth at Stitches West 2011. Left: Elizabeth Zimmermann cloche, Right: Alice Paul

In preparation for Stitches, I printed and sleeved several patterns for Unwind and Anzula (booth #840). Anzula is also selling several patterns from Liberation, but they are also selling kits of the hats. I’ll be a guest at Anzula’s booth tomorrow from 10-12, Saturday from 4-6 and Sunday from 10-11. I also made promo things, including these buttons:

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I brought over 100 buttons, but I am quickly running out, especially "posse" with the black sheep. I didn't expect them to be so popular! The posse buttons were inspired by a joke with my friends that then somehow made it to some fun bantering with Benjamin of XRX on Twitter. Benjamin is now officially part of my posse and I have several witnesses to his induction! 😉 So, if you are at Stitches and want to be part of my posse, come find me to get a button before I totally run out!

Tomorrow promises to be even more stimulating and exciting. One of the events that I’m really looking forward to attending and participating in is the Pajama Party. There will be awesome door prizes! I had already planned to donate a special limited edition printing of the Liberation ebook and enough yarns for 2 hats, but then the gears in my head started turning and I thought how wonderful it would be if my friends at Unwind and Anzula joined me and we collectively contribute to make a even bigger prize. Also donating is another California based artist, Slipped Stitch Studios. (Anzula is based in Fresno, while Unwind, Slipped Stitch Studios and I are all based in Southern California.) This fabulous door prize is a great example of what you can accomplish when you and your friends put your heads together:

SW2011 pj party-AKL

 

Stitches West 2011 posts:

1. The Road to Stitches

2. Yarnaholics Everywhere at Stitches West

3. Stitches West PJ Party – The End

 

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Lately, I’ve been pretty busy with several secret projects, among a few other things. I have two huge secret projects that I can’t really talk about yet, so I’ll just tell you about the three secret projects I’ve been working on for a couple of magazines.
I’ve already completed photoshoots for 2 of the 3 magazine secret projects and have mailed them off to the editors. Call me a tease – here’s the most I can show you of those projects:

The 3rd magazine secret project is still on my needles and is due on Valentine’s day. I’ve had a few setbacks with this last project. One was a knitter error – I forgot to do a couple of increases and decided to rip out instead of fudging them. I ended up ripping out 18 rows, which I calculated was 3136 sts. Sniff sniff. The other setback was when I decided to redo part of the collar because I wanted it to have a little bit more width in the neck.

During all the secret project knitting, I’ve also been planning my Stitches West activities and things like getting things sent to the printer, pattern stapling/ stuffing and planning/organizing a door prize for the Pajama Party hosted by Kimberly (aka Somebunnyslove) Stitches West is next week and happening really fast!! I will be at the Unwind Yarn, Anzula and Bijou Basin Ranch booths a various times throughout the event. I’ll be posting updates of my schedule in the Events/Promo section of my Facebook fan page (I know I need to add one of those pages on my website as well, but until I have time to do that, Facebook will have to suffice in the time being).

My recent photo shoot also included taking photos of the Weekend Shawl (pattern release Feb. 21, 2011) in the fingering weight version. I will also be offering the pattern in a lace weight version, which my sample knitter just finished tonight.

Weekend Shawl (pattern release Feb. 21, 2011). Shown in Fingering Weight version using Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Fingering in color Sundogs.

 

One of other things I’ve been working on is brainstorming a design for a Fan Appreciation Knitalong. I posted a poll in my Ravelry group and the resulting vote is that folks want to have a non-mystery KAL with a shawl pattern.  The timing of it couldn’t be more perfect, as I will be able to get extra inspiration upon seeing all the lovely things and yarns at Stitches next week.  If you are interested in joining the KAL, just join my group!  The KAL will be FREE. After the KAL is over though, I think I will be putting up the pattern for sale for everyone else. As part of the KAL, I will be posting about and documenting everything, from my design process to the final project.  I’ve never done something like this before and am really looking forward to it.

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Above photos from Stitches West 2010 – My friend Cindi has had a big yarngasm; Some friends sharing drinks at the Hyatt lounge.

Speaking of KALs, there are some folks who are planning to start another KAL on Ravelry for Pfeiffer Falls. They are planning to start on Feb. 21. So, if you are on the the people who still have it in your queue, this is a great time to cast on! I’ll be checking in on the group to see everyone’s progress and offer help & encouragement where I can.

 

photo © Interweave Knits 2008

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Eyepatches & Eye Surgery

As if my sister didn’t have enough to worry about between her in an intense nurse-practioner program at Yale and her bf’s recent brain aneurysm and craniotomy, she recently had to be hospitalized for sudden and unusual vision loss in one of eyes. After a visit to the school’s acute care center, the ER, 2 nights at the hospital, an MRI, several tests and countless exams from doctors, optometrist, opthalamologists, neuro-opthalamologist and other specialists, she finally got a diagnosis of central serous chorioreinopathy (CSCR).

The good news is that she was able to get a diagnosis and it didn’t drag out for a long time. Further good news is that she doesn’t have multiple sclerosis, other neurological pathology or an autoimmune disorder. The bad news is that while her condition can be treatable, it may not always respond to treatment, and either way, her vision will never be the same again.

Until her eye improves to a point where her brain does not have too much trouble reconciling the disparity in images, she will have to wear an eyepatch whenever she reads or studies. Otherwise, she will suffer intense headaches and migraines. She had one so bad at the hospital that they had to administer her IV pain medication.

My sister is an artist by trade – a medical illustrator to be exact. She loves things like skulls, bones, anatomical things and other things that people might consider macabre. So, since she’ll have to wear an eyepatch, there’s no rule that it has to be boring black, right? Plus, I’m a knitting designer so I designed and knitted her some fun eyepatches: Skull-patch and Eye-patch (<– Ravelry project page links)

"Skull-patch" - this one is reversible, side 1.

"Skull-patch" - this one is reversible, side 1.

"Eye-patch" - I got carried away and made this one too big.

 

I got carried away with Eye-patch and made it waaaay too big. Thus, I had to perform “eye surgery” before I sent it off to my sister.  I didn’t get a chance to do a photo shoot of Eye-patch post-surgery, so I just did a self-portrait and the photos aren’t as nice. My sister is really excited about the patches. 🙂

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sis wearing her patches with her skeleton, Virgil, in the background

Stitches

Stitches West is Feb. 17-21, 2001 in Santa Clara, CA. I will be attending again this year, only I imagine it will be even more fun than last year’s. Not only will several of my friends from my knit group be there, I have made lots of new friends on Ravelry and Twitter since last year and am looking to meet them. Also, I will be spending some time at a couple of really wonderful booths: Anzula (#840) and Unwind Yarn (#1245).  Both booths will be carrying some of my patterns, particularly the ones from the Liberation collection. There will be samples at the booths for you to see in person. So, please stop by! I’d love to meet all of you and also I will try to give you and tips/help if you need.

At Anzula’s booth, you will see lots of fantastic yarns by owner/dyer Sabrina. She really has a create eye for color and has some really fantastic yarns.  At her booth will be samples of Barbara G. Walker and Alice Paul worked in Squishy (merino/cashmere/nylon). I’ll be at the booth on Friday 10-12, Saturday 2-4 and Sunday 10-11.

At Unwind Yarn’s booth, you will see samples of all the hats in the Liberation collection as well as Pacifica. Stephanie (owner) had all the samples worked up in another one of my favorite yarnie’s yarn: Sweet Georgia.  Felicia (owner/dyer) is truly an artist and has some of the richest hand-dyed colors around. She provided yarn support for my sample of Elizabeth Zimmermann. I will be at the Unwind booth on Saturday from 12-2. Traffic permitting, I will also attempt to be at the booth Thursday night at the student preview market opening.

If there’s any updates or changes to where I’ll be at Stitches, I’ll post them on Twitter (you can read the feeds on the sidebar of this blog) and on my Facebook page.

Liberation FB ad

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I am so glad that I made a last-minute decision to go to Stitches West. Seriously, how can you complain about hanging out with some wonderful friends, meeting new ones and fondling yarn?  There’s also the interesting entertainment value of seeing some people’s “special” garments that could likely be in the Hall of Fame a la Regretsy or the abandoned What Not to Knit or You Knit What? blogs.

Road Trip

I hitched a ride with my friends Kristie and Denise. We had a professional police escort and driver too! Kristie’s very sweet and patient husband Sheriff Bob drove us and braved all the crazy knitters at Stitches. The drive itself was not bad at all, especially since I was just able to enjoy it as a passenger. Along Interstate 5, we passed by many spectacular groves of blooming almond trees. I managed to snap a decent photo of it while we traveled at more than 70mph.

On the way back, we stopped and lunched at the Apricot Tree restaurant, where I snapped several photos of the gorgeous blooms of the apricot tree in front of the diner. While the tree outside was gorgeous, I cannot say I was impressed by what I found inside. See the sleeping kitty in the photo below? Well it’s fake and the size of a real kitty. I don’t know if it’s a stuffed real cat or something made out of some other animal’s fur. It just looked wrong. I couldn’t bring myself to touch it.

Suffocation by Yarn

I couldn’t take any photos inside the exhibit halls, but take my word for it if you’ve never been to such an event that there were TONS of stuff from yarns, books, roving, fiber, needles, buttons and of course crazy fiber addicts. In the evenings, after the market, my friends and I hung out in the Regency Club at the Hyatt where we unwinded, relaxed and met new friends.

I didn’t really shop much. I only bought 2 bags off yarn: 1 bag of a marled aran yarn by Crystal Palace in a yummy orange at $22 for the bag. Seriously, how can you pass up a deal like that!?  I also got a bag of Marisol Tupa (silk/wool), which I will probably dye. While walking around and visiting with Michael del Vecchio over at the Universal Yarns booth, I met and chatted with Erica of Kollage Yarns. She gave me a big head by complimenting me on the hats from Liberation, which my friends and I were wearing (best way to advertise!), and my design work in general. She gave me several skeins of lovely yarns from Kollage to play with too. I can’t wait to try them out.

Though I didn’t shop much (c’mon, I have my own yarn shop at my disposal!), my friends Denise, Kristie, Cindi and Barbara sure stimulated the economy.

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Photos: 1. Barbara, Edda, me and Cindi at the Hyatt Regency Club Lounge; 2. Bob the Sheriff and Kristie both looking so sweet. Bob gave us those really cool yello “Sheriff’s Line Do Not Cross” key fobs to wear. :); 3. The total of my Stitches purchases; 4. Denise, Bob, Kristie and Lisa at the lounge; 5. Cindi getting buried and suffocated by the collective purchases of hers, Barbara, Denise and Kristie; 6. Cindi is exhausted from her Yarngasm and boy, was it goooood.

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