Saturday, February 25, 2006

Stiches (and Bitches) West 06

I heard of knitting trade shows before, but never attended one. (I've only been knitting for a year, and it's not like they're in my town every month...)

So when I heard that Stitches West 06 was going to be about an hour's drive from where I live, my friend Marissa and I planned to attend.


Attention Yarn Whores. Get in Here.

I imagined a convention center filled with vendors upon vendors selling yarns and yarn-like accessories of stuff I've never seen before. Shopping galore. Bags and bags of stuff wedged into my trunk for the drive home. And it was sort of like that, but also sort of not.

There were many "this is your grandmother's knitting" kind of vendors. (Nothing against the grannies, but they do give knitting an "old lady" reputation.) There were lots of rather unhip vendors selling a lot of boring, blah yarns. A few were there to sell bags of sale yarns that if you asked yourself the all-important shopper's question "would I buy this at full retail?" the answer would be a resounding "no!"

But there were certainly vendors that made the trip worthwhile. Many are small companies that you can't find in your local yarn stores. Some had beautiful yarns of interesting colors. One booth even gave us a brief introduction to spinning. It looked interesting, but thanks -- I'll just keep buying ABS yarn. (Already Been Spinned.) All that spinning would take time from my knitting!

WEBS' booth was jammed with both shoppers and a whole lot of yarn. Their stuff is quite nice and really affordable. Both Marissa and I bought more yarn for a kitty pi ($4.99 a skank, plus a discount, isn't bad for a cat bed. It's not a thick as Patons UpCountry -- but hey, it's not discontinued and my cats need another kitty pi.)

From WEBS I also bought some wonderful Malibrigo that was so soft I couldn't resist. Yeah, yeah, I broke my sort of rule that I won't buy yarn without knowing what I'm making with it, but this was too nice. And when I finish the 7 gazillion projects on my list, this will make a really nice sweater. Eventually.

The other booth that was really crowded was Tess' Designer Yarns. Marissa's dog is named Tess, so we laughed as we entered the booth as she asked: "What kind of yarn has Tess made for us and why isn't she sharing the profits with her momma?"

While I hate to say it (you'll see why later), they had nice yarns. But it wasn't cheap. And not that I went to Stitches West looking for bargains -- but Tess' Designer Yarns is expensive for what it is.

They had a very beautiful ribbon yarn with samples that showed how well it knits up. I was already imagining a scarf with an interesting pattern and had to have the emerald green at $25 skank. We wanted the deep red as well, but none were out on the tables. We asked one of the staff who suggested we speak to Melinda. Melinda almost bit our heads off when we asked for the red, so I just moved to the cashier to pay for the green. And here's what happened next:

Cashier: "Oh, we have a show special on that yarn and you can get two for $20 each."

Me: "Yes, I know. But the other color I want is not on the table."

Cashier: "We can get that for you, there are plenty of boxes underneath."

Me: "Yes, I know that, too. But when we asked that woman (pointing to Melinda) she was not the least bit interested in helping us."

Cashier: (befuddled) "But what do you mean?"

Me: "Well, quite frankly, she was rather rude and not interested, so let's just call it a day and I'll take only the green."

New Cashier Sitting Nearby: (with an attitude) "That woman you're taking about happens to be the owner."

Me: (never amazed how quickly my NY attitude kicks in) "Oh really? Well that's even more reason for her to treat her customers with respect."

At this point, I was so ready to throw the green yarn on the table (or, quite frankly, the floor, just to make a point) but I really wanted the damn yarn. Oh how the yarn ho is conflicted.

The original cashier was getting physically nervous so I poured on my faux-friendly Californian attitude.

Me: "You're the only one in this booth who's polite. Let's just complete this sale and I can move on."

And as we left the booth Marissa summed it up quite nicely: "My Tess is much nicer than those bitches."

After checking out their website, we discovered that Melinda is, in fact, the owner, and the obnoxious little cashier is her daughter. (And if you want to see some really lame prom & graduation pictures, it's worth a visit for a chuckle.) But don't buy anything. As I said, their yarns are nice, but not all that unique and too expensive for what you get. And who wants to support a company where the owner and daughter are two rude and nasty peas in a pod?

All in all it was an OK day. I bought some good stuff, found some good yarn sellers and enjoyed a good laugh at some of the awful clothing samples on display. Would I go again? Probably, because you never know what you might miss if you don't go. (Hello? Can you say problem shopper?)

But I would sign up for a knitting class as I've heard they're great, and I wouldn't buy from Tess' Designer Yarns.


Bitches or not, I picked up some good stash


7 comments:

rincaro said...

I wouldn't have bought the yarn. In fact I would have yelled. "If you can't even be nice for the five minutes it takes for me to pay you for this overpriced crap, I will take my money elsewhere."

Oh wait. The Corrina with balls would do that. And last time I checked I haven't grown a pair. I'm glad you had fun though!

Grenadine Girl said...

I would have thrown the yarn on the ground, but I'm sure your experience as described may be more painful for them in the long run...
anyhoo, love the blog

Grenadine Girl
Saw you at Marin Fiber Arts today, good luck with the short rows!

riseyp said...

LOL @ you, ya lil yarn ho!!

i'm jealous you went to stitches west... i wanted to go but had too much going on that weekend! :(

Inmate said...

Glad you went, sorry someone had to leave a bitter taste. Note to anyone that has this happen (and you will), slip into the Faye Dunaway mantra - "Do you know who I am? Do you know who I am?...) Because they don't. I see she's not coming up to Seattle for the Fiber Expo and it is smart of her. She would be laughed at by the other vendors and we love nothing more than a good excuse to have a protest. Knit good thoughts into the yarn and all will right itself. Peace.

Valerie said...

BITCHES! Let's go beat them up!! ;)

Marla 12 said...

My friend and I went to Stitches as well and I wanted a pattern that Tess had. Well the woman with the white skirt (Melinda?) in front of the files was trying to find it and couldn't. The files didn't have labels on them by the way, just seemed to be grouped by colors. At any rate, she didn't have the pattern, so she volunteered to make a copy, said it would be 5 minutes. 5 turns into 10, 10 turns into 15, 15 turns into 20, and she's no where around. I'm thinking the woman doesn't know how to operate a copier, so I say to one of the cashiers "Where did she go?" One points to the back, I decide it's time to take charge,I start walking to the back of the auditorium and here she comes, empty handed. I ask her for my copy, she says "I forgot the copy had two sides, I only made a single sided copy." I say "All right, can I go back and make the copies?" (What could she have possibly been doing back there???) "NO!" she says "only vendors are allowed" and she sits down and that's that! Well, I really considered getting my money back and leaving, particularly since I had two friends waiting for me who had to get back to the city. But I too like you wanted that damn pattern and I felt like she had a responsibility to follow through. I went out to the lobby to flag my friends and they were okay with waitng. I've waited for a good twenty minutes at this point! Gee,what's another 20??? I finally did get the pattern, but there was no apology or any kind of kind remark for taking so long to follow through on a simple request. I think she has some gorgeous yarn, pricey albeit, but would I buy online from her? I'm still searching, though she has a silvery light green that I've seen know where else (sigh.....).

jae said...

thanks for the update, Ive never been and really wanted to go this year. I HATE it when people are rude to their own customers. Why don't they get it??