It has just been a big, yarn-y blur around here. Last weekend was Stitches, and I did a semi-immersion, taking just two classes (though one was all-day), and shopping a bit here and there. No fashion show, no student fashion show.
I cannot say enough positive things about the new location in Schaumburg. (Take note as I am about to rave about a suburb.) The new convention center/hotel is lovely. While I didn't stay at the hotel (I cheaped out and Hotwired for the two non-consecutive nights I was going to be there and ended up with great deals at two decent places), I heard that the rooms were gorgeous, and the public spaces were fab. The decor was modern and beautiful. You could have picked that hotel up from the giant parking lot in which it is situated, plopped it down in any big city, and it would look like the chic, upscale property it is. (I even suggested that--gasp--the husband and I go out there some night for a little getaway, it's that nice.) I had dinner and drinks one evening in Gather, the bar upstairs. It is open, light, friendly, had fantastic food, and was so much more delicious and less expensive than any meal I have ever had in a hotel bar/restaurant. I was shocked. Now, I'd like to try their steakhouse, which, I believe, is called Sam & Harry's.
The convention center itself was fine. (It's a big, huge room with cement floors and fluorescent lights, a typical scenario.) The food was less expensive and better than is common in these places (I had a grilled veggie wrap w/ boursin cheese that wasn't bad as compared to the dried-out pizza featured in Rosemont.) Also, there were tons of restrooms, so there was never any line. (Some things are disproportionately important to me.)
My classes were spindle spinning with Mereike Saarnit and an all-day sockitecture class with Cat Bordhi. I've heard some grumbling about the spinning class over on Ravelry, but it met my expectations. Cat's class was, as all of her classes are, inspirational. It was similar to the one I had with her at Sock Camp, but it got to go a bit father since we had 6 hours. And she just keeps finding new ways to do things that make our knitting so much better. This time it was a new way to make our decreases look neater. She is so generous with her knowledge. I find her to be remarkable.
What's also remarkable is that I am going to be spending five days with her in October! My husband had secretly been emailing with her about her knitting retreat in Friday Harbor (on her home island), and I am going! My friend, Liz, and I had spent one day at Friday Harbor on our way to Sock Camp, and it is a gorgeous place. We went to Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, shopped in the stores downtown, had drinks and dinner at the waterfront, had breakfast at a charming local hang-out, etc. Now I get to go for five days to see the things I missed, which hopefully will include some aquatic wildlife, the lavender farm, more alpacas, the camel that I have heard lives on the island, etc. Plus, five days of learning from Cat. Do I not have the nicest husband ever?!
(An alpaca, not a picture of my husband, btw.)
Getting there is going to be fun. I was already flying home to Chicago from Alabama (I'll be there for the Kentuck Festival) on the 20th. Thank goodness for Southwest, and I was able to change my flight (and keep the full value of the ticket) so that I will be flying from Birmingham to Nashville where I change planes for one bound to Seattle, and my bags will be checked through. I'll pick up a car there and stay in the city (at a cool hotel in the U district called the Hotel Deca), and I will drive to Anacortes to the ferry the next morning. I bought a separate, one-way ticket home. It worked out great. Then, when I get back home the 26th, I will have a few days to rest up before I ship out to Iowa to help the Obama campaign Nov. 1-4. (I have volunteered but have yet to get an assignment, so that is still a bit up in the air, but I'll be damned if I will sit idly by without doing all I can--besides writing checks--to see the election conclude the way I hope it will.)