Good times with friends and yarn
I went to Stitches East last week and it was great! First, it meant that I got to hang out with my friend, Pam. I don't think I realized just how much I missed having a knitting buddy. Of course, hanging out with Pam (and her hubby) is fun no matter what. I also met Roxy and AliceC from the Knitty boards. They were very cool (no big surprise there). It was so energizing to be surrounded by so many knitters and see people's creations. Despite being quite tired from the whole trip, I came home with lots of ideas and more drive to finish what I've got so far so I can hurry up and get to my new projects.
I had a class with Judy Pascale, "Measure, Modify, and Knit." She also threw in some finishing techniques at the end which were new to me. Let's just say that I am seriously thinking about ripping out the Leo sweater and redoing the armhole shaping. The armhole finishing she showed us looked so good that I think it is going to be worth the additional effort.
Pam and I also took the "Dive into Design" with Fiona Ellis. She was funny, personable and you can tell that she enjoyed being there with us. True to the title of the class, she just had us jump right in without talking very much about techniques or guidelines. Although afterwards I realized I probably could have used a cable stitch dictionary, it was freeing not to think about what is "right" or most pleasing. Those 3 hours just flew by. (After the class was over, I ran to the market area to buy her book so she could autograph it. It was so cool to stand around chatting with her while she signed it.)
If you can ever go to one of the Stitches events or take a class with either of these fabulous knitters, do it!
The other Stitches events I attended were also wonderful. I even felt I got something out of Kaffe Fassett's talk about color. Now, I have never done intarsia and have little experience with Fair Isle so most of my color work is really based on using variegated and/or hand-dyed yarns. However, it was his sense of humor and some explanations of his thought processes when he looks at the world that struck a cord. I'm still not running out to do any intarsia but it does make me think about the possibilities.
In the last year, I have discovered that I have a real weakness for lace. So, of course, we went to the Victorian Lace Style Show. The scarves, shawls, and stoles were all so lovely. Jane Sowerby, the author, was also down-to-earth and witty. Afterwards, I had to buy her book and get it autographed. She was just as cool when we met her as she seemed on the stage. There are pictures in the latest IK and on the web of these wispy creations and all I can say is that they are more lovely in person. If you have any interest in lace, definitely pick this book up. She even has a (short) section in the back on how to create your own lace designs and how to personalize the patterns she presents by using different borders.
The market at Stitches was also remarkable in and of itself. I managed to keep my spending (just barely) under the maximum I had set for myself. I have also told myself that I can't buy more at next year's event unless I have used at least half of what I bought this year. Considering how luscious those purchases were, that shouldn't be a problem. Since it is rainy outside I will wait to take pictures of my loot but, trust me, it will be worth it.
As an added benefit to hanging out with Pam, I knit my first socks! OK, they are Fuzzy Feet so there are big needles and medium weight yarn involved but Pam assures me that it counts. It was also cool to have an almost finished project in one weekend.
Here's the finished, pre-felting picture:
The Fuzzy Feet in the wild (don't those colors look scrumptious?):
The yarn is Paton's SWS in Natural Earth. I could not believe how soft this yarn was. It is a single-ply, softly spun. The color changes are gradual, just how I like them. Pam was saying that this yarn would probably be good for the pattern Lizard Ridges, perhaps another project to add to the list.
There will be some felting tonight and hopefully it will clear up so I can take some decent pictures of the yarn I bought. Happy knitting indeed. :-)