I was a bit nervous about acting as Véronik's handler for the weekend, but suffice it to say that we got along like a house on fire. (She brought me a bag full of Canadian chocolate bars unavailable in the U.S.! How considerate is that?!) If you think I had a total crush on her before, well, you ain't seen nothin' yet. [And after hearing about her fabulous actor husband all weekend (he looks a little like Liam Neeson, only younger and way hotter), I think I have a crush on him, too.] Apparently the rest of the world shares my affection for Véronik. After the first few people recognized her and gushed, I began the official Véronik Gush-o-Meter:
Every time someone complimented her on her designs, I Kacha-kacha'd.
Charcoal -- who had never met a Canadian before -- was on his best behavior. He apologized for the fact that our president is an evil moron; he refrained from making any disparaging remarks about hockey; he did not hold Véronik personally responsible for Céline Dion simply by virtue of her nationality; and he showered Véronik with bunny kisses (which he's never done to anyone outside the family before). A superlative rabbit, indeed.
My overall impression of Stitches East -- and I've been attending pretty steadily for the past ten years -- is that this year there were fewer vendors and fewer attendees. Not that the X-Men give a rat's ass what I think, but they really need to consider moving the location again. I enjoyed Baltimore but from what I heard people talking about, the traffic (there always seems to be a Ravens game the day Stitches lets out) and the lack of parking (would it kill them to put up some more signs?) have deterred some folks from coming. I also noticed that a lot of vendors north of Baltimore didn't have booths. Even Philadelphia, which is a mere 2 hrs or so away, only sent one yarn shop, and places from New York City and further north weren't well-represented. I'm biased, of course, but I'd love to see the show return to Philadelphia, at the Center City Convention Center. Downtown Philadelphia has changed a lot and there is more than there ever was in the way of hotel space, restaurants, and a clean, revitalized downtown. It has much better access via train, too, and it is very easy to come from New York, D.C. or Baltimore to Philly for the day by train and return the same day.
My shopping was, on the whole, rather restrained. My big splurge was some garment design software that I was overdue to have invested in. I got some Socks That Rock yarn, and I scored a bag of Jaeger Extra-Fine Merino in a raspberry pink that would be perfect for G. for $35, which felt almost like stealing. (Bless you, Webs.) I met lots of nice folks and saw a bunch of people that I'd met at yarn conventions before, too, so that was really fun. I especially enjoyed seeing my pals at Westminster Fibers, and bought about twelve of the Nashua pattern leaflets that I had somehow missed. (Note to L.P.: did you steal this one from a Viagra ad?)
when the time is right, will you be ready....
(to cast on?)
(to cast on?)
And when I got home, there was a new station wagon in the driveway. I kid you not. While I was at Stitches East, my husband got a new car.* Um, I have to go now: there's a knitting machine I suddenly feel no guilt about purchasing.
*Okay, the lease was up so we had no choice, but work with me, people.