Monday, November 12, 2007

Well that was interesting!

I'm back, and unfortunately plowing thru a pile of ironing, a combination of my fiber snobbery (cellulose fabrics feel so good to wear but they crease), and Bear and Grand-dad spending the weekend hedge cutting - not keeping up with the domestic chores. Still, I'm not complaining. Today I've got a workshop report (made me think), a shopping report (inevitable), and a new project starts and finishes. I have made some minor progress on the Andean hat, but it is a photo rich post, so more about that next time, and nothing to report on my Bro Amos socks. Plus a great bit thank you to all of you who said nice things about Fannigan, I'm 'chuffed' (is that a unique NZ word, do you all understand it?) that you took time to stop and admire and let me know. Now - what can I do with those lighter clasps that are now spare?

So - workshop, Knit to fit with Barbara Paley (scroll down). Two other knitters and I headed of late Friday, to a weekend of knitterly girly things, we had a historic beautiful cottage booked in Clyde, and the weather could not have been better. I do recommend this workshop if you ever get the chance. The workshop was held at Touch Yarns, a wondrous place. Since discovering EZ and the magic of EPS, I have knit the round and seamless shaped sweaters but Barbara took us thru the basics of recognizing what a straight arm scye and fitted shoulder line could do for a less than ideal body and suggested that there were some significant fitting benefits of knitting a sweater in sections. Now I teach pattern-making and we use standard measurement charts, the very ones that result in all those poorly fitted garments you all buy, but Barbara pointed out for many people a custom fitted sweater can provide a much better look than standard measurements. Barbara, was lovely, and managed to communicate clearly the intricacies of drawing sweater sections, then making patterns to fit ourselves, including sleeves to a group of 'novice' pattern makers very well. Here you can see some of my workings, complete with sleeve diagram.

So - can I give up knitting sweaters in the round? I'm not sure, Barbara felt the resistance at 'our end of the table', Lorna, Pam and I want to knit in the round, and on day two Barbara had us practice seaming, short rowing and decorative deceasing. I think she thought we knit in the round to avoid seams, but hey - we like the concept of shaping all in one. Here you can see my mattress stitch sampler - sewn in red yarn, but apart from the seam 'bump' really truly invisible on the right side (also shown). I've mattress stitched before - but it was nice to practice under an experts eye. And a matching 'top of shoulder' seam sample as well. Can you spot my little mistake, I'm so used to slipping the first stitch to make a neat chain edge I found it really hard to knit the first and last stitch - so some times I got a little confused about that. To answer my own question - will I knit in the round, yes probably, but will work set in sleeves or strap shoulders rather than raglans perhaps?

I did have one other problem, I knit my gauge and seam swatches for the workshop in my Alpaca, Eki Riva and it spirals, I'm not sure if you can spot it in my samples - but there is some definite left leaning going on there. Bother, I have a sweater lot of this stuff, and it was not cheap. According to a very good source - the spirality means I have to knit in a texture with equally balanced knits and purls, to correct for it. Double bother, I had been planning a little cardigan with a lace leaf lower boarder, and stst all over. Well that was before Barbaras workshop and now I realise that those kind of details need to be up around my face, not around my wider bits. Any way - you can see the lean much clearer here. I've clearly got some thinking to do on this one, before i cast on.

Now with the workshop being held at Touch yarns, the temptation was to much, two 9am-4pm day classes surrounded by soft beautifully naturally and hand dyed coloured yarns. I gave in, quite simply and straight forwardly, there was no reason or point in fighting any more. If I drove home - well I knew I'd be back within weeks to buy anyway. So what did I buy? Well, since you asked, from left to right:
  • 3 skeins of worsted weight Possum merino, super soft - enough for a little cardigan for me, or more probably a little sweater for Toby. That boy has a real soft spot for super soft things, and why not indulge him?
  • 800g of super fine pale green merino, for moi, sport weight
  • 100g of sock weight super fine (21 micron!)merino, for socks, for moi, or poppy, who really knows with stash.

I confess my stash enhancement started even earlier, on the way to Clyde, on Friday, we passed thru Lawrence, where a weaver known to my travel buddies, has a shop studio. We stopped and talked, and in her oddments basket I found 2 balls of Patons Super Chenille, for a rock bottom price. I've been looking for some since seeing Chenille wash cloths in Tara Jon Mannings Mindful Knitting. One of which is already a wash cloth, garter stitch, 4mm needles, 40 sts, cast off earlier today, it was a good car knitting project. I'm still to knit up the green. This was to be a baby gift, a super soft chenille wash cloth amongst some luxury baby and mom items, but Poppy discovered how soft it was, and it has gone to bed with her as a snuggly! Toby will want the other one when it is knit.

And spinning, well - great news, I've organised a beginner spinner workshop for 5 friends and I in Feb 2008. The workshop is to be taught by Betty Kelly, and you can see the caliber of her work here by being included in an Interweave Press Project. Betty is held in high esteem throughout Otago and further afield, and is charging only a nominal fee. I almost can't wait.

And the visiting knitter, Emily was great, very easy to be with, we had two nights of knitting, I let her play on my new wheel (see I am a nice person!) and I took her to knit night to meet the others, but she has gone now to greater NZ. Good luck with the travels Em, safe trip home!


KathyR said...

Sounds like you had an excellent weekend! Is Barbara Paley a NZ instructor, or from overseas? I'm in the process of searching out possible lecturers/demonstrators for the 2009 Creative Fibre Festival and we are always on the lookout for worthwhile tutors.

KathyR said...

Thanks for the info. I'll try and keep you up-to-date as we progress towards the Festival. It is quite a slog as we are not all that sure what we are doing, but I'm sure that it will come together in the end.

Knitting Linguist said...

Ooh! I love those yarns -- especially the green one you got for you. The color is yummy, and it looks SO soft. It sounds like you had a great weekend, and learned lots of things to apply to knitting, which is exactly the point, right? Maybe it's time for me to think about doing something like that... :)