Thursday, February 23, 2006

Too much knitting, too little sleep

That could describe my life the last 2 weeks. It's been swamped with fun stuff, but I'm discovering first-hand what sleep deprivation can do, with people visiting and too much Olympic knitting.

Thursday night last week (OMG this was a week ago! Time flies!) I went to the Market Preview at Stitches, knowing it was my only chance to shop. I sprinted for the back of the market, headed straight for Blue Moon Fiber Arts, home of the fabulous Socks that Rock. I ran into Jeni, Janice, and Mary from the San Jose SNB (I haven't been there in a looong time) and Nathania, manager of Commuknity. (I started reading her blog when I applied to work there last summer and they didn't have any more openings. I don't think she knows who I am, but I looked on the Olympics Frappr map and discovered that we live a couple short blocks away.) I snatched one of the few remaining skeins of lightweight in Lover's Leap and 3 skeins of medium weight in Lapis, Romancing the Stone, and Pop Rocks. They just announced a Sock that Rock sock club! I'm already planning to make the Spring Twists socks from the Townsend Socks Knitalong Yahoo Group out of the Pop Rocks (image is on the home page).

My next stop was Tess' Designer Yarns, a vendor I drooled over last year and have been planning to visit ever since I signed up for the Stitches classes. I was looking specifically for their Seabreeze colorway, and there was very little out. I decided on the 50% Cultivated Silk/50% Wool for my wedding something, and grabbed lots of sock yarn in the same colorway. Since it's 450 yards per skein, I figured 2 skeins per bridesmaid, plus one for good measure, plus one for me for socks. That's 10. eek. I also snagged a pretty skein of Florida Keys sock yarn, and the only skein of merino in the Seabreeze colorway. I couldn't leave an orphan behind! In chatting with the vendor when checking out, I found out there was so little of that colorway because they weren't all set up yet (so it wouldn't have been an orphan, oh well, it'll be a lovely one-skein wonder or something), and that she dyes fabric to match her colorways if I want some for the wedding.

I then wandered around and drooled some more. I found a beautiful vintage button for my Sitcom Chic, and found myself in the White Lies Designs booth where I binged on a sweater kit for Melinda in the same colorway as shown on the website. They weren't set up to take payments yet, so it'll be sent to me at work - free shipping!

Doesn't this button look great?

I thought I was done so I stopped by Full Thread Ahead to visit Hollis and meet her mom and dad. Little did I know that Brooks Farm Yarn across the aisle had a siren call that would drag me over to purchase some Duet in Purple Haze - kid mohair and fine wool. 2 skeins at 500 yards each is plenty enough for a sweater - or a clapotis maybe? I ran into Emy who was fondling the purple yarns.

(Top left: STR Lover's Leap, Pop Rocks, Lapis, and Romancing the Stone. Top Right - Tess merino wool and cultivated silk/wool. Bottom Left: Brooks Farm Duet. Bottom Right: Tess sock yarn in Florida Keys and Seabreeze)

Friday night I picked Mom up at the airport for our whirlwind weekend of fiber and dresses and dragged out my haul for her to drool over. We decided that the Tess silk/wool wanted to be Knitty's I Do. I can't wait to cast on, it's such a gorgeous yarn to look at and fondle...

Saturday was my "Left Can Be Right For You" class with Kellie Nuss at dark 8 o'clock in the morning. We talked about how stitches are mounted on the needle "like a horse is mounted on a rider"... glad I wasn't the only one half-asleep! Rather than "right" and "wrong" we used the terms "Eastern" (left leg in front) and "Western" (right leg in front). Knitting continental (carrying the yarn in your left hand) is not that hard, once you get the right yarn tension, but purling is more complicated.

First we learned "Western" continental purl, but you have to wrap the yarn all funky to keep the stitches mounted Western-style and it's awkward. However, the Peruvians wrap the yarn around their necks and use their thumb as a shuttle and can purl wicked fast using bicycle spokes or something. I tried it - it's not for me.

Eastern continental purl is much easier since you wrap the yarn the other way, but you end up with Eastern mounted stitches. This becomes what's called "combined" knitting since you knit the Eastern-mounted stitches through the back (right) loop to get them Western-mounted, and then purl the Western-mounted stitches through the front loop by wrapping the yarn the opposite way, which makes them Eastern-mounted.

The best part of the class was the Norwegian Purl, which looks really strange when you do it but you magically get a purl stitch without bringing the yarn in front. WONDERFUL for ribbing or seed stitch, but really funky to do. I definitely need more practice, but my tension was already improving by the end of class.

Mom and I did a little more Market shopping on Saturday, where she picked up a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Tensel in "Prove it All Night" (love that name!) and a baby sweater pattern from Tess'. She also helped me find the perfect buttons for Lu's Baby Sweater and Hat (pics coming soon!).

The rest of Saturday was all about dress shopping. You can read about it on my other blog.

Sunday Mom and I went to the 8 am "Crocheting for Knitters" class. We were both dragging ass to get there, but it was totally worth it. Bev Cooper, from Australia, has the best teaching manner and cheered us on every step of the way. She also gave everyone a steel hook and some Australian yarn to practice with - no materials fee! I wanted to take this class because I wanted to crochet lefty and none of the books covered it. I quickly discovered that my right-hand throw method of knitting was extremely beneficial as a lefty crocheter, as I have mastered the tension problem right off the bat and just needed to learn the hooking part.

We covered single crochet, double crochet, shells, and "Around the Post" which makes an interesting ribbed look. Bev showed us this gorgeous Aran Crochet sampler - I had no idea you could do Aran crochet! She's going to teach a class next year so I'll be on the lookout.

Sunday afternoon was lots of Olympics on TiVo and lots of knitting. I got a lot done on my Olympic project, so now I think I can probably finish in time. I even started a spreadsheet to keep track of how far I've come, and as of last night I'm officially more than 2/3 done. I can finish the rest by Sunday night, suuuuure! I'm 8 of 20 inches into the 2nd sleeve, then I can start the raglan shaping. I'll try to finish up the sleeve tonight and take another pic.

Tuesday was a sad night - Shannon's last knit night at Peninsula Knitters! (Oh, and if you've wondered where the Yahoo group went, it got deleted in the whole S0 Fast So Easy controversy, so we have a new Yahoo group - just click on the link and join. In protest, Shannon brought us some fabulous buttons the other night!) She's off to St. Louis with her hubby, but she'll be a virtual Peninsula Knitter on the Y! group and the blogs. Bye Shannon!

1 Comments:

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Elspeth said...

If I had only gotten your STR (the Lover's Leap) rather than the Kool Ade dyed stuff I got (Ruby Slippers) I might not hate them so much! Oh well. Your haul was great and the different purling methods sounded so interesting, thanks for the info!

 

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