Monday, November 1, 2010

Britches full of Stitches (Yes, this is a song title, I kid you not)

For those of you who have not been paying attention to my blathering on Facebook, this weekend was Stitches East in Hartford, CT.  Stitches is a huge knitting convention which they hold in different geographical areas each year.  I have been trying to get my rear end to one since roughly 1997.  But life has continued to interfere with my master plans, so this is the first year I was able to attend. 
Heather M. very kindly let myself and Robert L crash with her in the room she had reserved.  Heather plans ahead well. I had signed up for two classes, but they weren't until Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, but the Stitches Market place was open on Friday, so I headed down on Friday morning.  The market had 112 vendors.  Me, of course, being me, went through the list in advance, and noted 17 booths that I really wanted to make sure I saw.  I don't know who I was kidding, I went to every booth there at least once. After getting settled on Friday, I spent the remainder of the day at the market.  I was fairly good, in that there wasn't garbage bags of yarn, but the yarn I did buy was of high quality, which means beau coup bucks. But I only went over my budget by about $20 dollars, so again, that's pretty good for me. 

I don't really know how to convey how huge the market was.  I tried to take pictures to show it, but it just doesn't show it.  To see the complete album, here's a public link to my Facebook album. I did most of my spending on Friday. 
I bought Kauni in colorway EL  (see left).  Oh, and I wore my Ruth's Cardigan rainbow sweater (see right).  Which was hilarious because the sweater attracted so much attention.  You'd have thought I was a rock star or something!  I kept getting stopped and complimented on the sweater and asked about how I did it, what yarn it was, etc.  When I got to the Ruhama's Yarns booth, where they were selling Kauni, they said, "oh, it's you, we've been hearing someone was walking the floor with the sweater on, and we've sold the yarn for two because you're wearing it!  Can you stand here a while?"  I did, because they had some gorgeous stuff, and Roberta also bought a sweater kit there, which uses two colors of the Kauni.  I ended up buying the pattern too.

 At Miss Bab's booth, I bought some 3 ply Yummy sock yarn in Raven (left) and some 2 ply Yummy sock yarn in Iris (right).

I bought Yarn Place's Heaven at the Skaska Designs booth, which is tencel and merino and 125g and 3280 yards a skein.  It is quite possibly the very smallest yarn I have ever purchased. If you do the math it ends up being 11,902 yards per pound.  Just as a point of comparison, Cascade 220 is 1,005 yards per pound. It's very pretty though. 

Webs had a substantial Blue Moon Fiber Arts display, so I ended up with their Silk Thread II, in colorway Lenore.  It's another small yarn, the skein is 1,125 yards.  But it is so yummy.

At the Elegant Ewe, I ended up with some Manos Lace, which is alpaca, silk and cashmere.  You'll note it's not purple.  It is, however, not for me, so that works out okay.  I may risk some holiday knitting this year, but it will be very, very small holiday knitting.

Lastly for yarn, I got a large hank of hand dyed superwash merino in fingering weight from Creatively Dyed Yarn, called Waterfall in colorway Henry Branch.  It was about 1300 yards.  I liked it.

I bought a lovely dragon shawl pin from Creative Designs Unlimited--there was another one that I liked better but it was twice the price and I'm sorry, it was just going to go too deep in the yarn budget, so I got this one instead.  Which I still love, I just didn't love it as much as the really expensive one.
I also stopped by the Knit Princess' booth and said hi. She had emailed me on Ravelry about the Kauni sweater project (see? Kauni sweater is like using the force, I swear) before I knew who she was about a month or so ago, so I stopped by her booth and picked up her new collection and got it autographed. To elaborate on the Kauni theme, the inscription said "To Denise - Thank you so much for your Kauni help!  Allison Sarnoff  The Princess." I was bumming that her picture didn't turn out very well though, too blurry.  Damn digital photography!!

I did pick up a couple of patterns, the Oakland Shawl, the Bubbles Scarf using the double knitting technique I was taking a class for, the Beverly Cardigan, and a pattern for a shawl modified from a baby blanket.  I can't find a link so here's a really crappy picture of the pattern. (right). 

So that's the market report.  Next, the classes. I was pretty late in signing up, and I wasn't sure about when I could attend and get time off, so I ended signing up for only two classes and those were on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.  The first was called Double Dare with  Candace Eisner Strick, which was described as
follows: "You'll do a double take when you see what you can do with double knitting, double colors and double hands!  Learn how to create a 2-sided fabric with 2 colors using both hands.  After you master stockinette stitch, you will learn several different pattern stitches."  Despite the lame description, I was interested in the technique and it was something I had not done before, so I took it.  I liked Candace a lot, but I did think there were too many students, and that the numbers promoted some people not listening, particularly those who seemed to be incapable of reading the handout that said exactly what the teacher just said word for word.  But I digress. I learned to double knit, I learned to use two colors, and I learned how to use two hands.  Whether I think it's worth the bother to use two hands is another story.  I did however, fail to succeed at counting that day, so my pattern resembled a blob instead of the intended diamond.  I'm blaming the market and sensory overload.

The second class I took was Morphing Cables with Fiona Ellis, which was described as follows: "Learn the basic principles of designing your own cables.  Even if you are not an advanced cable knitter, give it a try.  Simple patterns can morph and create unique new ideas.  If you love cables and want to heighten the challenge, this workshop is a must!"  I took this class because it was offered Sunday morning and there wasn't much available Sunday morning, and because I admit it, I'm a knit geek, and Fiona Ellis has written books and is therefore a "famous teacher" in the knitting world.  Now, I will fully admit that I have designed my own cables before, and I know perfectly well what I need to do to design a cable on Stitch & Motif Maker software or on graph paper.  So I didn't really expect to learn much, but I thought it would be fun anyway.  However, Fiona approached the design part from a different approach than I had ever tried.  Normally, if I'm designing a cable, I have a pretty good idea what I want to do, and what I want it to do and look like.  Fiona had us cast on 39 stitches and do a couple rows in P4, K3 rib, and then said, okay, just make it up, and do some cables and traveling stitches and see what you get.  It was really interesting to experiment with actual yarn rather than planning it out ahead.  I got something I really liked, without writing anything down or drawing it out first, but I am well aware that this was beginner's luck and it will never happen again.  But it was interesting to think of designing a cable first and then thinking what to do with it after. 

On Friday night after the market we were pretty exhausted so we went to the bar at the hotel called Crush and ordered food there.  The shiraz was okay, and my food was okay, besides being hideously expensive, but Roberta L's was awful and she sent it back.  And they appeared to be playing some horrible Italian speghetti western horror flick, which did not enhance the culinary experience.  The bar was decorated for Halloween and was bathed in red light, with fake leaves on the bar, and Halloween confetti things. All I could think of afterwards was that I could have spent my dinner money on yarn.
On Saturday night, we decided to venture out of the hotel and go to Feng Asian Bisto.  It was lovely.  We sat at the sushi bar because we didn't have reservations so we got to see these wonderful artistic sushi presentations.  Unfortunately, I only had my blackberry with me and the camera in it sucks, so these photos are very blurry.  The dark think sticking up straight is some sort of huge clam shell, which they used to load with sushi and sashimi.  I had the special of the day which was red snapper broiled on top of udon noodles in a green curry lime sauce.  It was awesome.

That concludes my Stitches report.  I am planning to attend again next year with Heather and hopefully Roberta. We all had a great time.

Now for our regularly scheduled broadcast.  I've been writing. I have reached 54,793 words of my novel.  I have not written my writing exercise yet.  I plan to work on it tomorrow night.

I've been knitting as well.  Shocker.  I made it past the armholes on the Tramline Cable Pullover. I still have several inches to go before I call the back good, but I'm making progress.  

Also, I have received pictures of Edgar and Garrett in their respective blankets, as you can see. Garrett also made his first appearance at the Concord Knitting Meetup last week. He made a big hit.

I'm heading next weekend to the Manchvegas Knitting Retreat in Portland, Maine.  I'm looking forward to it, but I'll be glad not to be traveling the followign weekend.

So that's all that's fit to print, until the next regularly scheduled installment.

No comments:

Post a Comment