My daughter and I just returned from a trip to San Francisco. We chose the location so we could attend Stitches West, but we also spent time being tourists. We had wonderful weather and enjoyed ever minute of the trip.
Vogue Knitting Live or Stitches?
For the past several years, some of my daughters and I have been able to attend Vogue Knitting Live (VKL) in New York City. VKL has several events each year, but the largest, by far, is held in New York in January.
This year, only one daughter was able to join me. I suggested we pass on VKL and attend Stitches West instead. Like Vogue, Stitches holds several events throughout the year in different areas of the country. Stitches West is known to be the largest. My daughter and I have both been to Stitches Midwest several times and are familiar with the format. We decided to go for it.
I attended VKL in San Francisco in September of 2018, and had explored the city some at that time. My daughter’s only time in the city was a few years ago when she landed at the airport on her way to the Napa/Sonoma area for a charity half marathon run. She didn’t spend any time in San Francisco itself. We planned to spend part of our weekend in the city.
We flew in on Wednesday evening and caught a shuttle to our hotel near the airport. On Thursday, we went north to the city and visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). The museum was free on Thursday the week of our visit which worked great with our schedule. (The free day was in conjunction with “Culture for Community,” an initiative that also involves other local venues. It seems this was the first event of this type, but another is scheduled for March).
After visiting SFMOMA, we took a cable car ride to Ghirardelli Square and the Fisherman’s Wharf area. We walked to Lombard Street and then on to meet my nephew for dinner.
We stayed in the same airport hotel that evening, in part because it was about half way between San Francisco and Santa Clara, where the convention center that hosted Stitches is located.
On Friday, we used a ride-share to get to our hotel across from the convention center. We dropped off our bags and quickly made our way across the street. We had about ten minutes to spare before our 9 am classes started. We stayed at Stitches until Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday afternoon, we changed hotels again. We moved to Union Square. From there we were able to take a bus to see the Painted Ladies. We walked through China town in the evening and enjoyed a delicious Chinese meal for dinner.
On Sunday, we visited Alcatraz (more on that in a future post), and then spent more time at Fisherman’s Wharf. Later, we picked up our bags from the hotel, took the BART to the airport, and waited for our red-eye flight home. We landed at 5:20 am Monday morning.
Stitches starts with classes on Thursday morning and continues with two sessions per day through Sunday. There is a market preview on Thursday evening. The Marketplace is then open from 10-6 on Friday and Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday.
My daughter and I arrived at Stitches on Friday morning. We each took a morning class. I took “Cabling without a Cable Needle” with Lorilee Beltman. The class was great! Lorilee is a knowledgeable and confident teacher with a solid concern for her students. I look forward to taking another class with her in the future.
We spent part of the afternoon in the Marketplace, visiting our favorite vendors first, and then doing a walk-through of the entire market – 175 vendors! We left the market a little early so we could freshen up before the evening’s activities.
My daughter and I had signed up for the Fashion Show and Banquet – a first for us at a Stitches event. The fashion show started at 6:30 pm and was held in the convention center’s theater. Vendors presented 74 items that showed off their yarn, products, or design skills. I circled nearly half of them on my program as ones that I especially liked.
After the fashion show, we followed the crowd to a banquet hall. We ate a delicious dinner – salad, main course, and desert. Throughout the fashion show and at the end of the dinner, names of participants were drawn for door prizes. My daughter and I each won a prize valued around $30 (some prizes were worth much more).
There was a short break between dinner and the pajama party. My daughter and I had packed our pajamas in our bags because we knew we wouldn’t have time to go back to the hotel to change. By the time we changed, a line was starting to form at the door to where the party was to be held.
We’ve attended the pajama party at Stitches Midwest, so we knew what to expect. This one did not disappoint. Lots of music, fun, and prizes! I can’t say more, because the #1 rule is, “What happens at the pajama party, stays at the pajama party.” No photos, videos, or social media posts are allowed.
We were disappointed to hear that the originator of the party, Marly Bird, will be stepping down. Lindsey Martin, from Erin.Lane Bags will continue to host, though, so the party will not end.
My daughter and I visited the marketplace again on Saturday morning, finalizing our purchases. We grabbed lunch from the food vendor before leaving for downtown San Francisco.
We had a great time at Stitches and in San Francisco, but I felt that we short-changed the Stitches part. Next time, I’d like to take an additional class or two and go to the Student Fashion Show that is held on Saturday evening. We haven’t signed up for either fashion show or dinner at Stitches Midwest in the past, so we didn’t realize what we would be missing. Maybe next time…
Change of Venue
Speaking of next time – in 2022, Stitches West will be relocating to Sacramento. There has been discussion on Ravelry as to whether this will be a positive change or not. I’ve never been to Sacramento, so I can’t say, but maybe I’ll plan a trip there in the future.
Have you been to Stitches West? Have you been to Sacramento? Leave your comments below.