I made a quick trip to Stitches West today. Stitches West is the biggest knitting convention in the U.S., or so I’m told – it is certainly overwhelmingly huge! There are hundreds and hundreds of vendors, selling all sorts of yarn, books, and fiber arts tools. It fills the entire Santa Clara Convention Center!
Fortunately for my wallet, I am largely oblivious to knitting stuff, since I don’t knit. So what was I doing there? I was on a mission to find John Marshall, who had said he would bring some white tram silk, since I had asked about it. (Tram silk, for the unfamiliar, is a reeled silk that is verrrrry loosely twisted – barely enough to hold the yarn together – unbelievably lustrous and beautiful. It is also a horrific pain in the butt to work with because it is so delicate, especially in the frog-hair sizes it typically comes in.) I had bought a kilo from him at CNCH, and wanted some more since it’s typically so hard to find. John normally does katazome (Japanese paste-resist dyeing), but he also buys up materials from Japanese textile companies that are going out of business, and as a result frequently has beautiful fine silk yarns.
Now, this was a quick trip, so I zipped straight through to John’s booth, barely glancing at the other vendors. (I’m planning to do a more thorough reconnaissance run on Sunday.) Sure enough, the tram silk was there, along with many spools of an incredibly thin yarn, 210/2 or finer – about the thickness of a human hair. (This is not an exaggeration; I compared it to one of my hairs, and it’s about the same size!)
Anyway, I was looking at the spools, and sorely tempted to buy some, since it can be hard to find such fine yarn, when John unexpectedly said, “You know what? No one else is ever going to buy this yarn. So, just so I don’t have to keep schlepping it around, I’ll give it to you for $5/spool if you take it all.”
“Done!” I said. We counted spools and there were fourteen in all, each about 6″ long by 4″ wide. Along with the 1.3 kg of tram silk that I’d intended to buy, I had an enormous pile of fine yarns. John was kind enough to loan me a cotton sack in which to haul off my loot, and my weaving buddy Gudrun was nice enough to take a photo of me with my spoils:
And here’s a photo of the yarn:
I tried photographing the yarn, but with little success, due to its fineness – will try again tomorrow.
Anyway, I’m pleased with the results of my lightning raid, though I do now have more superfine silk than I’ll ever use in my lifetime! I’ll probably give some of it away, so I don’t have to store that much indefinitely.
Saturday I’ll be going to a photography workshop, and Sunday I’ll go back to Stitches West to take in the sights. I probably won’t buy anything, since I’ve already blown my yarn budget (and more!) on those fabulous silks, but it’s always fun to walk through the vendor hall and see what people are selling. Plus, I know a lot of the vendors, so it’s fun to chat during the lulls.