Sunday, February 19, 2012

Madrona Fiber Arts Festival Wrap-Up

Yep, that's me & Jared Flood at this weekend's Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in Tacoma, WA.  I got lucky enough to run into him at the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas booth & he was very gracious about letting me get a photo with him.  He takes the beautiful photographs that grace Churchmouse's in-house pattern collection & will be appearing at their shop on Bainbridge Island this coming Tuesday 2/21 from 5-7pm.  That will also be one of the last opportunities to see his Brooklyn Tweed trunk show before it gets shipped down to Portland.  Sadly I can't make it there but if anyone reading this can, I want all the details.

Madrona was full of awesome stuff this year.  Having been to Rhinebeck just a few months ago, it's hard not to compare, but I'm going to do my best.

I went down on Saturday with some friends & fellow knitters & almost immediately stumbled upon Sandra McIver & the Knit, Swirl trunk show!  She gave us a detailed description of the construction of each style of her beautiful knitted jackets then let us try them on!  I have to admit I was skeptical that there was such a thing as a pattern that would flatter every body type but after seeing the same jacket on a couple different women, I'm convinced.  Unfortunately I didn't manage to get photos of that comparison but I did get the three different jacket styles below on my friends Bea & Cass & each one looked terrific on them.


I also got to check out some examples of Jazzknitting, which I'd heard of but had absolutely no idea what it was.  For whatever reason I'd come to associate it with fun fur, but I am happy to report that the two have nothing to do with one another.  
This interview with Jazzknitting creator Ilisha Helfman explains the technique & shows some examples.  The video doesn't do justice to the knitted pieces but there are some nice photos on the website.  I saw the ginkgo leaves Ilisha is wearing in the video in person & they were really beautiful.

This morning I took a mini-class with Margaret Radcliffe called Get the Best from your Variegated Yarn: Patterns & "Un-Patterns".  I was excited about what I might learn in this class but when she started out by saying that she usually teaches this class in 3 hours rather than the 1.5 hours we had today, I had a feeling it would be more of an overview.  And indeed our hour & a half passed in a blur of knitting, listening, scribbling notes & trying to match the samples she passed around with the stitches she discussed until they all started to blur together.  I did learn one really cool technique called Knitting Into the Stitch Below or, as she called it, Rose Fabric.  This technique breaks up the typical patterning of a short-color-repeat variegated yarn & creates more of a blended look, while giving the fabric some texture.  The process of knitting into the stitch below the next stitch on your needle creates an inverted V-shapes when the next stitch drops off the needle, unravels & hangs from the stitch below it.  With such a whirlwind class, I didn't get much time to practice but she left us with handouts describing this technique & others so I'll post a photo of my swatch once I've had a chance to experiment some more.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Formula for Joy

It is a sad fact that as the amount of work I have increases, the amount of time I have for knitting, & the blogging that documents it, decreases proportionally.  In fact, I'm writing this while waiting for my computer to export the latest changes to the video I'm currently editing.  

I have however, managed to sneak a little knitting in here & there.  I've finished the hood on my Central Park Hoodie & am now knitting the first button band.  I'm really looking forward to choosing some buttons for this sweater!  In fact, I should add them to my list of things to look for at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival next weekend!

I hope to spend both Saturday & Sunday at the festival.  On Saturday, I'm going to check out the marketplace with some friends & members of my knitting group.  And on Sunday, I've signed up for a class entitled Get the Best From Your Variegated Yarn: Patterns & "Un-Patterns".  Everyone in the class is required to bring one skein of worsted or bulky weight yarn where the color sections are between 1" & 6" long.  So after realizing I didn't have anything quite like that in my stash, I went to Weaving Works & picked up a skein of Crystal Palace Cotton Twirl in Berry Compote. It was unseasonably warm in Seattle that day & I think I was inspired by the bright floral colors.  I can't wait to see what it becomes! 

For now though, it's back to work.  Because you know what they say.  All play & no work makes V! a broke girl!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mysteries Revealed

This photo was taken with an iPhone.  Seriously.

At this point, we might as well call this a Valentine's Day present.  This is the Peekaboo scarf by Kim Hamlin & I had all intentions of giving it to my friend Goldie for Xmas.  It's got a knitted framework with ribbon yarn woven through the ladders in the pattern.  It was a very fast & simple knit, so simple in fact that it was a little mind-numbing at times.  I brought it with me on my annual holiday trip to NY & it made great plane knitting, even if it is rather long (around 100"-120").  I actually flew through the knitting portion then, for reasons unbeknownst to me, got extremely lazy about blocking it.  So it languished in my knitting bag for weeks, until Goldie gave me my Xmas present & I started feeling guilty about not finishing hers.  So into the sink it went, after which it proceeded to take up every single one of my blocking mats for 2 days.

I knitted it in Manos del Uruguay Clasica, in no small part because the artisan who spun it is named Vanesa.  Her name is spelled differently than mine (Vanessa) but it still felt meant to be when I opened the ball band.  In reality, I was already leaning towards this yarn over a different yarn & colorway so seeing that just sealed the deal.  I have a soft spot for single-ply thick-&-thin yarns, to me they look the way I think yarn should look.  Not overly processed or perfectly even or made up of a million teeny threads, just spun, soaked & twisted into a skein, still full of its original wooly glory. 

Also taken with an iPhone.
The Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon yarn complements the Manos beautifully.  The purple in the Sari yarn is a perfect match for the Manos purple & the blue & gold accents really pop.  Plus the colors look awesome on Goldie.

This is the third pattern I've knitted from the Fall 2006 issue of Interweave Knits Knitscene, making it the most useful pattern collection in my library.  For whatever reason, I'm terrible at knitting the patterns I have.  Instead, I keep seeking out a pattern for a specific type of project I want to make or a pattern to match a yarn in my stash.  A few years ago I subscribed to Interweave Knits but finally ended my subscription under the premise that I was not allowed to re-subscribe to any knitting magazine until I'd knitted one project from my year's worth of issues.  Last year, I finally knit my first project from Interweave Knits (the Ogee Lace Skirt) & promptly asked for a subscription to a knitting magazine this past Xmas!  I subscribe to the Knitting Daily newslettter from Interweave & have been doing my best to avoid any mention of the just-released Spring 2012 Knitscene (the first issue in my subscription) as I'm anxiously awaiting for it to arrive in my mailbox!