Monday, March 28, 2016

Silicon Valley Comic Con Report

Last weekend, my Viking and I attended the first Silicon Valley ComicCon that was presented by Steve Wozniak and Stan Lee. Sufficed to say, we were extremely excited to go.

Overall, we had a lot of fun. There was some good stuff AND bad stuff. Most of the bad stuff primarily had to do with issues that you could say was due to it being a first-time con. Issues such as:

  • Crowd management --- the lines for a lot of things such as getting tickets and badges (for both the paying and pre-registered crowd) were insanely long.
  • Lack of signage directing people to the correct areas. And some  volunteers often didn't know what was happening.
  • Inefficient methods of dealing with badges --- We had to stand in line to get our pre-registered badges, which then arrived IN THE MAIL on SATURDAY EVENING. Also, as an attendee, you had to "badge" in and out of the actual ComicCon area. This made for some confused attendees and bad crowd management trying to get in and out of the specific ComicCon area.
  • Lack of food options in the convention hall -- There were only 2-3 food vendors for the insane Saturday crowds, which resulted in 20-60 minute waits for food. However, on Sunday, they learned their lessons and opened the concession stands inside the center.
  • Insufficient number of panels to attend -- For the sheer number of people that attended, there weren't enough panels. And of the panels that did exist, the lines to get into them were long or confusing -- as lines for tickets and some of the panels were in the same area. However, the panels were quite interesting and they tried to meld technology and comic books with some success.
Part of this can be attributed to it being a first time convention and some can be attributed to merely poor planning on their part. But, I'm willing to cut them slack and to see how they address issues for next year.

On the flip side, we had a lot of fun. They had various groups from the 501st legion, Rebel Legion, a Star Wars memorabilia museum, and Madame Toussads wax museum! A few technology companies, such as Occulus and other VR firms were there. And the line to see them was long.

However, by Sunday afternoon, we'd pretty much seen everything we wanted to see...twice over. So, we hoofed it home to relax for the rest of the afternoon. Given all the number of limited available panels, etc., it probably worth it for most people to only come one day. For a budget conscious comic book fan, one day would have been more than enough.

Here's a few photos of the things we did see:

We popped into a few of the panels, which included Steve Wozniak and Stan Lee. These were hilariously fun. Unfortunately, we missed a few other panels due to the aforementioned long lines. However, just like San Diego Comic Con, they had big screens for the one large room so you could see what was going on stage.

There was some large movie poster/props that were on display in several areas. (This bird is bigger than me, and its wingspan is at least 6 feet long)

More than a few prop groups were there. Some were for show, and some for sale. The Star Wars museum had an interesting collection of memorabilia.

Insofar as cosplayers, there were a LOT of costumes from a variety of science fiction and fantasy genres. It was a lot of fun to see many of them.

Surprisingly (or not), there was a lots and lots of Star Wars costuming, especially with members of the local 501st garrison there.

Of course yours truly was also in my Star Wars costume. I ran into a lot of femme Han Solos over the course of Saturday, but alas, only one male Slave Leia and only one Wookie, not counting Peter Mayhew, who was one of the guests of the convention (and one that I had wanted to meet!)

It just wasn't the adults. We saw a lot of kids as well. And they were adorable.

There was also a costume contest consisting of 100+ cosplayers (which was a bit much). Some of the costumes were good, some were okay, but everyone had fun.

Sufficed to say, we enjoyed ourselves, despite the issues that occurred. Next year, we'll be a bit more prepared to deal with the crowds, lack of available food issues, and whatnought. I really hope they solve this year's problems and really up their game for next year.

Because, it would be awesome to have an annual comicbook convention in Silicon Valley again!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Designing My Own Cowl

After Stitches West, I got a hankering to knit myself up a cowl with the scrumptious cashmere/silk that I picked up from the Miss Babs booth -- Sojourn -- 65% cashmere / 35% silk. The colorways are "Pretty Wreckless" and "Bare". While "Pretty Wreckless" is definitely in my color palette, Bare is not. I had originally wanted to get a charcoal grey to mute the colors of "Pretty Wreckless", but they had sold out. :-(

The "Bare" natural color was a second choice, but it really makes the vibrancy of the colors pop!

Scrumptious yarn!

I knew that wanted something with a bit of colorwork and lace. I looked on Ravelry I wasn't 100% happy with many of the existing patterns, especially given my yardage. So I decided to design my own.

I went through a few of my stitch dictionaries and found some very simple lace patterning that didn't require too much mental effort to memorize.  I started off with a bit of lace, then moved on to some minimal strand work and stripes.

It started well enough, but then I would become unhappy with a section and have to frog.

And re-knit a section again. I couldn't make up my mind whether I wanted asymmetrical patterning or something that was relatively balanced

I ended up frogging quite a number of times. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Miss Babs Sojourn held up to lot of frogging. A small halo developed, but it's cashmere, so I wasn't too surprised.

I read on Ravelry that many people had issues using Sojourn on metal needles, but since I use wood needles, I didn't have any issue.

I lost count of how many times I had to frog and re-knit sections. It took nearly two weeks to finish the knitting!

I haven't quite blocked it yet either, as it has been cold, so I've been wearing it instead.  Can I just say how SOFT and lovely this yarn is? I'm in love, and I have two more skeins of different colorways to use.

I have the pattern written down, which I need to complete and get it ready to put on Ravelry.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Stitches West 2016 Wrap-Up

In February, Sandy & I headed off to Stitches West in Santa Clara. We saw a LOT of fiber arts from knitting, to crochet, to felting. As always, there were a lot of very nerdy & geek themes abounding, like this felted R2D2 and Toothless dragon

And dinosaurs.

And Star Trek transporters.

I wore my 3-in-1 sweater from Atelier Alfa, which got a lot of compliments and knitters stopping me to ask WHAT sweater I was wearing.

During Stitches, I ran into Jasmin & Gigi from the Knitmore Girls podcast, who told me about the Podcast host meetup in the hotel bar. So, I went. And the bar was FULL of knitters, which was all kinds of awesome.

I met BostonJen from Down Cellar Studios, Twinset Jan from the Twinset podcast,  Jen from the Knitting Butterflies, Laura from the Knotty Girls Podcast,...and a whole slew of others.

In Stitches, they had an awesome design challenge for Knitted Knockers, an organization that knits breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast (from their website).
A bunch of designers, such as Nicky Epstein, Lily Chin, all created knitted knockers. Some where true to life (kinda sorta)

While others were more ornately decorated.
It's a worthy cause, so please check out the link above!

Of course, Stitches is about the classes (which I didn't take) and the SHOPPING (which I DID do!) Because I had recently organized my Stash, I didn't feel like I needed much, but I did come away with some goodies.

I love hand-thrown mugs, especially one that has something to do with cats and yarn. (Plus it can hold about 12 oz of liquid).

I hit Miss Babs for some Yowza yarn (enough for a sweater) and discovered Sojourn -- a 65% cashmere & 35% silk blend, which I absolutely LOVE (more on that later....)

There might have been some self-striping yarn as well.

In addition, I picked up this special knitter edition pack, Knitters Against Swatches,  for the card game, Cards Against Humanity (CAH) from Slipped Stitch Studios. If you have played CAH, you should give it a try. The game is FOR adults, HAS R-rated language, can be quite "DIRTY", but is a helluva lot of FUN to play with the right people -- as their website says, "It's a card game for horrible people."

I can't wait to add this pack into the game and play with some fiber artists!

All-in-all, it was a most excellent time, and much shopping was had. I loved meeting all the new people and can't wait until next year.