Monday, February 25, 2008

Stitches Overload

I love Stitches. Been totally addicted since I first went five (six?) years ago. It is huge fun for me and I always learn soooo much.

Recently I started knitting socks and finally "got" why everyone is so crazed about Blue Moon Socks That Rock. I was determined to
buy STR. Really determined.

How do you think I did?

Now, admittedly, it isn't all for me. Nancy S. didn't want to go to Stitches this year, so she gave me a wish list of colors to look for. Unfortunately I saw only one of them and it was in the wrong weight. I decided to just grab whatever I liked and let her choose from them. It was a total feeding frenzy at the Blue Moon booth with rabid sock knitters packed in so tightly that often I was locked in place, unable to move. The checkout line was ridiculously long, and I heard "you dropped a skein" dozens of times. Torture, but fun torture. WonderGirl Rachel has already picked out two skeins for herself, and there are three that I'll most likely keep, but really I'm happy with all the colors.

But my best and most favorite score was this:

Yep. Malabrigo Sock. For freakin free! The color in the picture isn't true – this is a beautiful near solid deep lavender color. Gorgeous. I'm going to hold onto it and cast on something for Malabrigo March as part of the Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry.

I had no idea this was at Stitches. I stopped at the Malabrigo booth just to grope the yarn peek at what was there (they weren't selling, just showing their yarns) and chatted briefly with Tobias, the owner. I mentioned that I'd been following the discussion about the sock yarn and asked when it'd be available. Tobias put his finger to his lips and said "shhhhhhh….", then dove under a under the covered table for a box. Out came the yarn, with the explanation that this was a special thing for the Malabrigo Junkies members. I about fainted. Then I hugged him and asked him to marry me. He just laughed and said his wife would probably object – and I told him my husband probably wouldn't be too happy either!

As soon as I got around the corner from the booth I called everyone else I had numbers for that were fellow 'junkies' and told them about the sample skeins. Terry and Carrie both scored beautiful skeins of variegated colors that I covet quite badly, but I think that the semi-solid will be really nice for a lacey sock. Maybe Cookie A's Monkey socks.

Other odds and ends:

That is "Graceful Lace" yarn from The Yarn Place (1800 yards!) that I think is destined to become a Print O' The Wave Stole.

I wanted one of these as soon as I'd read about it:

An Ear Light from Full Thread Ahead. On road trips my husband almost always does the bulk of the driving and I knit, but I hate to have to turn on a dome light to knit when it gets dark. I've tried a couple of different book lights, but none worked well. I hope that this little gadget is the answer!

And Ravelry swag:

A bag (as if I really need another bag!) and two pins – a Bob head and the little Ravelry yarn ball logo.

I took classes too – Fiendishly Difficult Stitches by Merike Saarnit. No, I still cannot pronounce her name, and yes, the stitches were challenging.

This is a sample of "Alsacian Scallop Border" below, and then "Estonian Embrace Cable" on the top. Yikes. Merike is delightful and I hope to take Estonian Patent Stitches from her next year.

I also took a twelve hour(!) Fair Isle class from Beth Brown-Reinsel. Honestly, twelve hours barely covered it. We made cute little teddy sweaters.

Or some of us did. Mine is more of a vest – you can see it on the bottom right, in tan/white/green. I tried, really I did, but Rachel played in a Chamber Music concert on Friday evening and not all of it was chamber music. It is impossible to follow a fair isle chart while a kid is playing Brahm's Hungarian Dance No. 5 on the xylophone. And totally impossible when another is playing two very long pieces on the bagpipes (a little bagpipe goes a long, long, long way). Don't get me wrong, they were both very good – that bagpiper is a nationally ranked player – but still. Fair Isle done by a rank beginner should never be attempted under these circumstances. Ever.

By Saturday afternoon I was still way behind much of the class, so much so that when it was time to actually cut the steek I just wacked away at it because I wanted so badly to catch up. Only afterwards did I have that "oh my god, I just sliced up my knitting" moments. The guy that sat next to me in class had to have Beth stand next to him and admitted to having very sweaty hands when his steeking moment arrived. That first time is pretty freaky. The picture is missing a lot of the little sweaters – some classmates were done and took off before the photo – and you can see the amazing variety of colors. Sharp eyes will also see that the sweater shoulders aren't symmetrical either; the pattern worked two different styles of sleeves, one shaped and the other with a gusset, so the shaped side is much narrower at the shoulder. I have to practice (lots) because my tension is pretty wonky. Knitting my oddball style of continental didn't help either and I found my tension got a lot better when I switched to standard continental. I want to work some sample swatches and try it again two-handed instead of both strands on my left. It may take forever to lay out colors though – it is way harder than it seems on the surface.


smariek said...

You totally rock with fair isle, look at that, you're juggling 4 colors!!! That's very impressive. Good thing you mentioned the different sleeves, I didn't catch that. It looks like you had way too much fun there. And you showed so much restraint with all that yummy sock yarn.

The Ear Light looks neato mosquito, you'll have to tell me whether it works well. I have the same problem in the car. I looked at the website and couldn't find the Ear Light. Looked under Gadgets, Notions, and even Ready-To-Wear (lol), couldn't find it.

Mary Mary said...

I love your banner.
Lucky duck with Malabrigo sock yarn!