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I’ve been to a lot of knitting conventions and Stitches West by far takes the cake to be the best one I have been to so far. It’s at the Santa Clara Convention Center (Hyatt) from Feb 16-19 so try and make it this weekend if you can. (Free parking too!) There were tons of knitters everywhere — around the booths, taking classes, or chilling in a corner knitting. Here’s some photos of the highlights and some cool things I saw. Thanks to the booth owners for giving me permission to take photos!

Stitches West

February 16-19, 2006

Santa Clara Convention Center & Hyatt Hotel

Exhibits only ticket is only $8 for the day. Get the coupon here to get $2 off.

More photos are here.

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Garment Designer Software ($165 for Mac and Win)

from Cochenille Design Studio – www.cochenille.com

The best software I have seen for creating sewing AND knitting patterns. It is the most Illustrator like tool around. Look for a full review of the product from me soon.

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Denise Interchangable Knitting Needles

Rumpelstiltskin – www.yarnyarnyarn.com

I like that this is a tool kit for knitters with customizable sizes to make your own circular or straight needles. I got a great demo in the booth how it worked and I was sold with the thought that I’d never have to buy knitting needles again. I like the lightweight feel to them too. (Perfect for traveling). It was a lot cheaper at the show (I think $40 something) than it is out there in the retail world.

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“Handspun yarn from your Very Important Pet!”

VIP Fibers – www.vipfibers.com

You can make yarn out of of Fluffy’s or Spike’s fur! Yes that’s right, just brush off to collect fiber to be spun for your project. Send it on over to VIP Fibers, and voila! You’ll get skeins of yarn to your project needs.

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Needle felting is very cool and I got a demo from Karen at the Royal Hare (www.royalhare.com). All you do is poke this special needle through the special feltable yarn and it locks in the fibers. Karen used cookie cutters to easily make quick shapes. It’s great technique for small embellishments. I was forewarned that this is a very bad craft for those with repetitive stress injuries and wrist problems.

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Sweater Wizard 3.0 ($89.95 Win only)

www.software4knitting.com

Here’s another software but only for knitting sweaters. The interface is really easy to use. The Mac version will come out soon they said. They also make a bunch of other titles such as “Sock Wizard”, “Knitting Math Wizard”, “Stitch & Motif Maker”, and”Print-A-Grid”. Personally, I think the “Knitting Math Wizard” is a good choice helping you customize and read existing patterns (also only $24.95).

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Hannah from my favorite yarn store, Imagiknit works the busy booth and shows us something cool…

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A knitted piece her Imagiknit colleague Maria designed which Hanna sewed and incorporated into her beautiful velvet blazer.

More photos are here.