I’ll admit it. I’m an acrylic girl. Joann and Michael’s are my go-to yarn stores, and for the most part they carry acrylic yarns (and a small bit of cotton and wool). I know there are better yarns out there- I’ve been getting recycled silk from Darn Good Yarn in the mail, my husband bought me local handspun alpaca, and I’ve been to a few LYSs (local yarn stores) while traveling. Overall, though, I’m a fiber newbie.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to attend the first Stunning Stitch Up- an event for crocheters and knitters to explore the yarns of Stunning String Studio and to learn a new hat and cowl pattern directly from famous designers. I had not yet heard of Stunning String Studio, but I was excited to get to check out this new LYS that was less than an hour’s drive from my in-laws. How convenient! And while I also did not yet know Michele of 144 Stitches and the blog Stitch and Hustle, Tamara of Moogly blog is one of my original crochet idols! I had to go. I just had to!
Saturday morning we arrived and I was quickly ushered to the food- very important for these kinds of events, I’m sure! I got to meet both Michele and Tamara right away, which was super exciting for me. I was too shy to ask for selfies, but here they are in the fancy designer seats!
The theme of the event was dueling diamonds. The idea was exploring patterns that can be made in both knit and crochet, and comparing and contrasting the two crafts. Our patterns were a knit hat and cowl designed by Michele and a crochet hat and cowl that was designed by Tamara. Both sets were nearly identical in design- a simple hat with a contrasting band of diamonds with a matching cowl full of the diamond motif. The crochet set was more textured and used more yarn, whereas the knit set was softer with a lovely drape. We sat in a lovely sitting area with plush chairs and pillows, and could chat as we worked on our projects.
As the theme was diamonds, all of the décor, right down to the napkins, was diamond themed. We got lots of goodies from both Stunning String Studio as well as Stitch and Hustle. I am holding a Jimmy Beans SmartStix Crochet hook provided by the event as well as a beautiful custom stitch marker. The SmartStix is labeled with inches, making it a simple ruler/hook combo! Perfect for measuring gauge! My favorite item has to be the Nameste Oh Snap mesh project bags! They are shimmery and gorgeous, and wonderfully protect my yarn as I am crocheting.
I also received a surprise skein of yarn from Stunning String Studio- Serenity, which is made with 80% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk, in the colorway capri- a soft blue. What a lucky girl am I! I have no idea what to make with it so give me suggestions if you have any!
Next up after working on our dueling diamonds hats we got a tour of the dyeing studio. Stunning String Studio is owned and operated by Cindy, the designer, and Tom, the yarn dyer. They are so friendly and clearly love what they do. I do not want to accidentally divulge any trade secrets, so I will not give any details about the set up, but let me just say that I have a huge new respect for hand-dyed yarns, and fibers other than acrylic. It truly is an art and a science to combine fiber and pigment and create yarn. We got a sneak peek and sample of an upcoming bulky yarn, and we also got samples of bison down, which is used to create Stunning Bison yarn. You just have to feel it to believe it, but it is amazingly soft.
After a lovely catered lunch, we got to experience our yarn tasting. This is where the magic really happened for me. Little samples of 16 different Stunning Strings Studio yarns were passed around for us to feel not only with our fingers but to also swatch with hook and needle. We sampled a rainbow of yarns, and as we did Tom and Cindy explained the personalities of the yarn such as how they took up the dye and how they work up as various projects. I got to play with wools from different kinds of sheep; I got to play with blends of silk and cashmere. It was simply amazing. I kept all of my samples and rolled them into balls. I plan on making a project with them because I do not want these gorgeous yarns going to waste. Stay tuned for that.
The afternoon session consisted of going over the matching cowl patterns. I was still terribly behind on my hat so I kept working on it. I was distracted listening to everyone’s stories- I was probably not crocheting very much compared to my peers who seemed much better at multitasking! I think every other crocheter got to the diamonds motif but I did not. I do wish I had more time to get instructions on the diamond stitch directly from Tamara but at least I did get to learn her foundation single crochet technique in person.
The event wrapped up with desserts, a product showcase from Namaste bags and containers, and a grand prize giveaway. The winning lady took home several hundred dollars worth of sponsored goodies and yarn! Then we had the group photo, which proves I got to meet Michele and Tamara in person!
My takeaway from this event is that I will be buying more hand-dyed yarn, both Stunning String yarns and others as well. Stunning String Studio has a mystery club that I am joining as they are opening it up to crocheters! Yay for crochet! Acrylic yarn has purposes for sure, but for special gifts, small batch specialty wool is the way to go. I cannot wait to come up with my own designs using Stunning String yarn! It makes me feel good to know that my small business can support other small businesses. I also want to attend more of these type of events where you get to crochet and knit with people and meet designers. I highly recommend Stitch Up Events, for sure! Thank you so much to Michele and Tamara as well as Cindy and Tom for an amazing Saturday at the Stunning Stitch Up!