The Night After the First Day

February 16, 2012

Wow! What a day. Really. It made me realise how much I know about knitting, and how much I don't know about knitting. Session 1: Circular Knitting 5 Ways, with Margaret Radcliffe. You may recognise the name; she is the author of "The Knitting Answer Book" and a soon to be released book on circular knitting. I feel quite comfortable in my circular knitting skills and I am developing a workshop to teach at the store. I took the class because I wanted to see how someone else teaches the skills. Margaret is a wonderful, patient teacher. We started off doing a swatch on one circular needle, then two circular needles, then the magic loop, then finished up with dp's. I leared some interesting construction techniques; for example, cable or long tail casts on are better than most for knitting with circular needles as there is enough construction in the cast on stitch to withstand going over the "bump" from the cable to the needle. I also learned two distinct ways of avoiding the "step" in the beginning of circular knitting; one, to cast on an extra stitch and then k2tog and the other is to cross over the first cast on and the last. I'll show you when I get back. I'd never knit with two short circular needles and it is quite easy, I do believe I'll try that on a pair of socks. I mooched around the marketplace until the line for lunch shortened, then grabbed a sandwich and sat and did my homework on my new needles (I brought the wrong size with me!) for the Elizabeth Zimmerman percentage system of making a sweater  started. This was quite a large class and was taught by Amy Detjen, who worked with Meg Swansen for 17 years. What a wonderful woman! I can so see her at Fibre Fridays with us. A very knowledgeable and practical knitter that would discuss with precision how to evenly space decreases on a sweater yoke and then say "but whatever way you do it is right". She made the most novice knitter feel confident and competent. I have a great handout from this class that I will share and I think that doing a KAL of an EPS sweater is a great idea for us to try. The notes show both set in sleeves, which involves steeking, and a yoke sweater, which does not. Either way, the math needed to create the percentages is simple and even I can do it (well, with the help of the calculator on my iphone!) She also taught some great ways of doing increases! You know how when you do increases you've always got a bit of a hole because you're making something out of nothing? She showed three ways of increasing that all but alleviates that problem. I will practice each of them every day until I get back so I can show you. I wrote notes as  she was teaching but notes are never as good as hands on... I'm pretty sure there are a few Canadians here but the only one I saw that I know was Sivia Harding, the lace knitter from Vancouver. Well she now lives in Portland but I first got to know her from one of her online KAL from several years ago, when she lived in Van. The Marketplace: Oh. My. Gosh. so fun. I'm glad I have limited American cash. I will leave all of it at the marketplace. Today I restrained myself and only bought two skeins of "Loft", a new yarn from Jared Flood, and a pattern to make a simple lace scarf called Farthing. I chose the colours "postcard" and "plume", an oatmeal kind of colour and a deep purply fleck. The scarf is worked in two colours. This yarn is big in the states; it is spun in New Hampshire from wool from American Targhee-Columbia sheep. It's hard to find a mass produced yarn that is manufactured in North America, and that, I suspect is its biggest draw. However, it is a lovely yarn, and knits up to a soft but sturdy fabric with great stitch definition despite the tweedlike qualities. 50g 275y for $14.50. If you want some, let me know colour and how much and I'll bring it home for you. I'm not sure I'll carry it in the store; I'll need to knit up mine to see what I think. I do like the patterns tho and I'll be picking up a couple more leaflets in addition to his book for the store. Most of the yarns here are locally spun and/or dyed.  Click on this link  to see who is at the marketplace. So much fleece! both dyed and raw ready to spin. And so many silk handkerchiefs, which are apparently meant to be spun not blown in to. (Just kidding! I know not to blow my nose in one of those....) I see something for one  customer or another at every turn; beautiful drop spindles, looms from small to large, spinning wheels of all kinds, carders, bobbins, and a bunch of other things that I have no idea of but I know they are precious by the way people handle them. I did buy Betsy Hershberg's new book "Betsy Beads" and some kits to make up some of her designs. So beautiful! These are beads created by knitting with beads and oh my but they are lovely. She is here at the festival and my Sunday morning class is with her and I didn't even realise it! So exciting. We're doing Sculptural Knitting. After class I went to a different pub, this one also with a St.Patrick's Day countdown clock, and then to see the movie "The Woman In Black". I hardly saw any of it, I had my face covered for most of the show. I kept saying to John "this is so stressful" and would have gone to spend time in the bathroom but he wouldn't walk me over to it. The movie theatre had really big electric reclining chairs, all you had to do was push a button and I played with that until the usher threatened to kick me out. But by then the movie was almost over. I found a Safeway and got some cheese and apples and trail mix for the next few days so I'm good to go. I'm really enjoying this trip; learning a lot, thinking a lot about the store and what we do and how and why, and generally missing seeing everyone all the while loving being away. Plus I feel kind of cosmopolitan because everyone says I have an accent! I don't have a class tomorrow morning so I'll try to get to all the LYS's before my afternoon class, which is Mitred Knitting. More tomorrow.....

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