Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Reveal

I went to Stitches West last month and had a great time. This was my sixth year in a row and it gets better every year. I went with my mom, my MIL, Grace, and her friend Shirley. It was a fiber filled girls weekend!

I didn't take many pictures. Unfortunately, I was distracted. My mom came down with the flu the day after we arrived. It was bad. Poor mom. She didn't leave our room for the entire weekend! She missed out on everything. I felt so bad for her. There's nothing worse than being sick away from home. So I made sure she had medicine and food when she felt like she could keep it down. I checked on her often. When it was apparent that she wasn't going to feel well enough to go to the market before the weekend was over, she handed me money and asked, "Will you buy me some yarn?" (Mwaa-haa-haa-haa-haa)

Now some of you might remember that my mom missed Stitches last year because she was sick. Next year, she's getting a flu shot! I have to say that the Stitches staff were great about this situation. They gave her credit for her classes and events that she had paid for at the last minute, no problem. Great customer service!

I took two classes this year. Fair Isle Knitting with Fiona Ellis and the Joy of Steeks with Maureen Mason-Jamieson. I took the class with Fiona because I enjoyed the class I took last year with her. She has a great energy about her. I didn't learn anything new in this class though. I had taken a fair isle class last year. I thought this would reinforce what I had learned. The problem was that Fiona knits english style and holds both yarns in her right hand. I knit continental and learned to hold one color in each hand. So I practiced what I had learned last year. Practice is always a good thing. The steeks class was fun and I learned a lot. It was actually fun cutting my knitting...on a swatch, that is. I'm not so sure about a project I had spent a few months of my life knitting and then taking scissors to it. Maureen was a great teacher and very inspiring.

Here's a picture of the Bellman with 4 womens luggage and stuff the day we left.

Now onto the loot!

Koigu, anyone? I've been charmed by the Babette Blanket deisgned by Kathy Merrick. So I decided to start collecting Koigu for the project. Foxy Knits always has a great selection of Koigu solids at Stitches West, so that was on the top of my list. I'm making a girlie blanket for my future little girl (someday). I bought several shades of pink and pastels. I'm going to add two different shades of red (trust me on this), a neutral such as taupe and possibly a shade of purple. Here are some of my favorites from Ravelry: Baizou's Babette, Angie's Babette, Chatoune's Babette... There's more to look at. Twenty pages in fact. So if you have the time, it's fun to look at the different color combinations. Do you want to see a Koigu closeup?!

I thought so. :)

I also bought some alpaca from Honey Lane Farms.

The colorway is called Jelly. I resisted buying this last year, but couldn't resist two years in a row. I'm thinking about making a cardigan with a shawl collar.

Also on my list of things to buy was this design software program.

Cochenille's Garment Designer and Stitch Painter. This has been on my list for the past couple of years and I finally took the plunge. I didn't buy this because I want to start designing. I don't. But sometimes I'll have a specific idea of what I want to make with something in my stash and can't find a pattern that matches my idea. And this will be ideal for very simple sweaters. You just plug in your gauge, pick your silhouette along with details for the neck and sleeves and it gives you a pattern. It will be fun to play with.

Last, but not least, are my impulse buys.

Lace yarn! I'm lured by the lace ever since seeing the garments in person last year from Victorian Lace Today. They are stunning! All of these yarns are from the Yarn Place booth. From left to right we have Gentle in Dark Ruby. This yarn is 5% cashmere and 95% Australian Merino. Next is Heaven, which is 45% Tencel/55% Merino Wool. It's a very bright chartreuse like color. And it's cobweb laceweight! I don't know why, but I was drawn to it the whole weekend, so I bought it on the last day. And last is Touch which is 5% cashmere/10% tencel/85% merino wool. The color is called Wedgewood Blue. Someday, this will be a shawl for Grace. I let her pick out the color and told her the surprise will be when she gets it. Could be this year or next, for a birthday, mother's day or Christmas. All of these yarns are super soft! Maybe I'll focus on knitting lace this summer.

Stitches West did not disappoint this year and my mom has fully recovered. That's all for now. Next time I'll share some WIPs with you.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Oh Noro, how I love thee....

Just a quick post to prove that I'm still here. I cast on Shrugs & Kisses a couple of weeks ago. The yarn is Noro Kureyon color 185. This was a birthday gift from my MIL bought at Stitches West last year. I thought I should at least cast on before leaving for Stitches this year. I love the colors and how they gradually change from one to another. If it weren't for that, I'd be bored to tears of stockinette. I'm eager to finish the body of it so I can move onto the crocheted collar and bottom border. This is what it will look like (I hope):

It's going to have some competition for my attention soon. My knitting group is knitting the Lenore sock pattern and I have yet to cast on. I think I'm the last to cast on actually, so that will be happening very soon. And a dear friend of mine is having a baby in May. I just got notice that there will be a shower in April. I have a month to knit up a gift. Good thing I bought all of those kits for the Dream in Color Tulip sweater!