Knitting Delight

Last weekend I spent all of Saturday and 3 hours on Sunday in knitting workshops. Saturday it was at an event called Yarnover, held in Minnesota and sponsored by the Minnesota Knitter’s Guild. I hadn’t been for a few years so it was a real treat to attend. In addition to workshops, there is always a market to fondle, I mean touch, er, buy yarny goodness, it’s also an opportunity to check out interesting new fibers and browse patterns.

One of my workshops on Saturday was with a women named Julie Weisenberger who taught us  European Finishing Tips & Techniques. I’ve always hated the finishing part of knitting – seams SCARE me. Seriously, they do! But Julie offered some wonderful ideas for making it less stressful next time I need to do any seaming. It was completely and totally worth the three hours with her, not to mention a lot of fun. \

I had a second workshop that same day but with Melissa Leapman called Celtic Cables. I was sure I’d taken it before but she changes things up now and again, and the fact she’s become a friend and that I love how she has her classes constructed, I signed up for it anyway. Plus, she lives in New York so it’s a rare chance to catch up, live and in person.

A little progress from the workshop:

photo 5

I love Melissa’s method of teaching. You’re assigned a lot of homework (many swatches!!) so that in class we can cover a lot of stitches and techniques without having to wait for everyone to get to the proper starting point. More importantly, there are NO dumb questions in her class. And feel free to say what you like, it always makes for lively conversation. Like calling the effect  cables have in a knitted garment ‘suckage’. Yes, you had to be there. But trust me, it was quite funny.

The two of us at Yarnover:

photo 4

I wound up purchasing enough yarn and patterns for four projects (note I said yarn AND patterns, because I made a pact with myself that I couldn’t buy yarn without it having a specific project already assigned to it). A baby sweater for a co-worker, a scarf made out of suri alpaca (from Little Gidding Farm – you must check them out!!), a kerchief made from silk and alpaca, and a top made from cotton gima.

Then on Sunday I took another workshop with Melissa at a local yarn store called StevenBe.  As with her Saturday workshop, it was a lively three hours, set in a whimsically designed store, and Melissa and I had a few more minutes to catch up before she had to head back to New York.

That workshop was about knitting the items that will flatter your particular shape. Because as she pointed out, just because you can knit it – doesn’t mean you should wear it. So much of it was logical and yet some things were counter-intuitive. So it was a very informative and worthwhile workshop.

While at StevenBe’s I purchased two skeins of yarn from Handmaiden (and a pattern!) to make a triangle shawl. One skein was mohair and one was silk (called Rumple), they were both intended to be used within the shawl, but on their own not combined. Well, I attempted to make the shawl as written and it’s quite possible that I simply misinterpreted things but I got frustrated and frogged what I’d done and decided to find something else to knit. So out to Ravelry (my user name is knitgirl63, feel free to friend me – fellow knitters) I went. I found one pattern that I thought was a total hit to knit with this particular silk yarn (I decided to  not use the mohair for the shawl at all, I’m just sticking with the silk, I’ll combine the mohair with something else down the road).

Here is a photo of the silk yarn (it’s much brighter than it actually is, the colors are actually more muted. But I had to have some fun with a photo app today!):

photo 2

I knit up about 5 inches of it and you know what? I didn’t like how it looked and I figured out why. The yarn is not smooth, it’s almost like a tiny boucle yarn. I nearly always knit with wool or wool blends. This is slippery and so I thought I’ll just buy a different knitting needle that will help with ‘drag’. Nope, that still didn’t help me. It was not coming out the way I wanted it to. I will keep this pattern in my queue in Ravelry because I’d love to knit it up in a pretty wool but not with this silk. So I frogged it and decided to check out the patterns at Knitty dot com.

I found a shawl there called Bob and Weave. I don’t plan to use the ribbon, I don’t plan to make it as large, and I’m only making one rectangle. I just loved the stitch!! It’s going to provide an airy feel to the shawl and it’s moving along so nicely. I’ve got almost 8″ knit in about 1/3 the time I’d gotten 5″ knit with the triangle shawl.

Before I continue, here is a shot of the two shawls, each partially knit up. The top one was the triangle, about 8 to 9 hours worth of knitting and  at its deepest point it was about 5″. The bottom photo is the silk, about 2″ knit up in the stitch from the Bob and Weave pattern.

photo 3

The most important thing about this? Seriously? I’m enjoying the process and the journey. If my knitting doesn’t make me happy then I have to stop and figure out something else. Otherwise, why bother making something that requires so much time and effort only to not like it in the end?

And here is the actual progress as of this evening, it’s almost 8″ deep and probably close to 20″ wide.

photo 1

Ah yes, yarny delight, indeed!

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