Sighted at Stitches West February 22, 2015 14:17 1 Comment

One of the best parts of the yarn and fiber world is sharing our passion with other people who understand what we do. This weekend I visited Stitches West in Santa Clara, California and mingled with thousands of yarnies, breathing in the fiber fumes while taking a look at what’s out there for those of us who love some good yarn.

For the uninitiated, Stitches West is a fiber festival. That term covers a lot of territory, but in this case it means four days of classes, seminars and dinners, as well as a marketplace full of yarn and yarn-associated stuff. Anyone can go, so it’s always a good place for me to see what people are actually buying, and what’s going to be newly popular this year.

I hung out for a day in the marketplace to see what fiber fanatics are searching for right now, and saw some definite trends. I know we all want to be individuals, but really, we all like to be a bit trendy sometimes, right? Here are the top hot items I saw:

Color Gradations – We saw this begin a year or so back, and it’s growing. Lots of new lines with long, slow color changes, and lots of patterns to support them. If you like our Frolicking Feet Transitions, you’re on the leading edge of the trend.

SofJulie Asselin Colorster Colors – For the past few years we’ve seen a movement toward jewel tones and intense colors. That seems to be swinging in the other direction now, with colors that are not quite pastels, but definitely softer and less intense. Just this morning I saw a fashion column referring to colors from nature, and I think that’s an apt description. Our examples here are Julie Asselin’s yarns in Anemone, Shiitake, Tidal, and Labyrinthe.

Wool – Okay, wool is nothing new, but we’ve seen a lot more blends and exotics (yak, qiviut, possum) for several seasons. Merino seems to have climbed back up to the top of the heap. Pure merino was getting snapped up everywhere, followed by the merino/cashmere/nylon blends. Cashmere was also up there this time around, with a lot of affordable options.

Spinning – Lots, lots, lots of spinning fiber in amazing colors, and lots, lots, lots of spindles being sold. I chatted with a number of folks making their first spinning purchases and learned the affordability of a spindle was pretty attractive. It gives the opportunity to try out spinning without a big financial commitment. Unlike yarn, mixed spinning fibers were the favorites – especially colorful batts with several different wools, silk and even bamboo.

One of the great perks of a fiber festival is meeting authors, designers and yarny icons. As soon as I got inside I made a beeline for the StephenBe booth to meet Steven West. It was truly a swoon-worthy moment. He’s one of my favorite designers, and puts out great modern patterns. He’s gracious, funny and much, much taller than I ever imagined. Steven just wrapped up the Mix Tape Tour with Stephen Berg of StephenBe Designs, and together they present some of the best new designs in knitting. They also have Kickstarter campaign running to get a knitting reality show off the ground. Take a look and watch the pilot, it’s a kick. Says Stephen Berg, “We’re going to knock those Kardashian b(*&$es right off TV!”

So that’s a wrap (and maybe a turn) from Stitches West 2015.