Last week I was visited by several birthday faeries who treated me to some lovely gifts. Not only that, Stitches West, the largest knitting convention of them all, was held this past weekend, and so I was able to use some birthday cash to acquire some fun things.
My husband took the hint and went to Biordi Art Imports in North Beach. And look what he found! I was so impressed that he picked out the perfect olive oil cruet for me, along with a dipping dish. These are handpainted and imported from Italy. I love the colors, and the top of the cruet has an ingenious spout. It is a cork with a hole through the middle. The steel spout is centered through the cork. This way, I can remove the cork to fill it, and use the spout for pouring a fine stream. Very nice!
Some Italian food smells must have been wafting through the air when my friend Marjory thought to give me another piece of Italian art pottery. This cup and saucer are from the same region as the olive oil cruet and dish. I'm a lucky gal! Marjory owns the Tranquilitea Tea Room in Pacifica.
In the cup and next to it are two skeins of delicious 10/2 hand-dyed tencel that I found at Stitches West.
The tencel is from Just Our Yarn, an effort of two women who have built a reputation for the most glorious hand-dyed yarns. Even though the camel and wool and yak and other fibers tempted me, I couldn't put down this silky tencel. It's similar to the white tencel I purchased from Halcyon Yarn, but with fantastic subtly blended colors. I think these two colorways are similar enough to be part of the same garment. I haven't decided what to make of them yet, but don't you think they'll make a lovely lacy something?
Stitches West is held annually at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. My pal Tina of KnitWhits had a booth this year, and I worked all day on Friday. What a wild time!
The Stitches crowds were relentless, partly due to a convention gimmick that brought tons of people into the booth. Attendees had Ravelry "passports" -- little booklets that looked like passports. We were one of the booths that offered passport stamps, so not only were we selling hat, purse, scarf, sock, and Easter Egg kits like crazy, but we were also stamping passports.
Speaking of yak, I bought this terrific yak pin from Gita Maria at her booth. She designs "eclectic and whimsical" jewelry and charms. This one she said she brought to a cattle or yak (?) convention, and all of the cowboys wanted one, but in a smaller size to wear on their hats! I was pleased to have the full-sized version to wear on this lovely alpaca scarf, given to me by my friend Suzy.
Last year, Suzy visited Winters Gone Farm, an alpaca farm in Wiscasset, Maine, and thought this alpaca scarf was perfect for me. I love it! It wraps around and has a few buttons to snuggle it up and keep me warm.
In addition to the yarn and yak pin, I picked up a few more things at Stitches West, including this small African basket and a bunch of really cute glass beads. I may ask my sister to make me some new stitch markers with these.
I also picked up the Hydrangea Scarf pattern, the newest lace pattern from Eugen Buegler. He was there, sitting at the Lacy Knitters booth, with his pal Lew and several others. I asked him if he would honor me by signing his latest work, and he couldn't have been more delightful.