Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stitches Midwest

This week, which is incredibly busy for me, there is more to blog about than there has been in a long long time.

First, before I get into Stitches, a peek at what I've started already:
My first Christmas gift knitting. Before I left for Illinois I scored one of the Selbuvotter books
that Interweave put on sale at their 40% off sale. Yesterday I cast on, after spending a couple of days in a class knitting Danish color stranded knitting, and deciding I could do it.
The yarns are Jo Sharps Silk Georgette and some Knitpicks cashmere that were in my stash. I feel fairly safe posting them here, as I don't think the recipient ever looks at my blog.

Last week I travelled to a community north of Chicago to see my son. Spent a couple of days with him, then went down to Rosemont IL, a suburb outside of Chicago, to attend Stitches Midwest. You may recall that last year I went and met up with Jae and Kim...and it was a frenzied weekend full of classes, shopping, dinners, and fun. But it was overwhelming. So we vowed to make it more relaxed this year - take fewer classes, attend only one of the sponsored dinners, and have more time to sit and knit and chat and more relaxed market time - as opposed to running to market only on lunch breaks from class. This we accomplished.

This year, Kim wasn't able to make it, (but I did hear from her and she did make it to Meg Swanson's Camp this summer).

Jae and I roomed together again, and this year we had the priviledge of meeting and spending some time with Lorraine and Jewel. Just as nice as you'd expect knitters to be, and I really enjoyed meeting them.
We talked knitting, kids, jobs, life and Weight Watchers Points ;)
I had the privilege of seeing the Peacock shawl that Jae designed, and got to see her model it at the student fashion show/dinner Saturday night. Although I had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with its inception or design, I felt proud just being with Jae as she showed it off. The collective gasp from the audience was audible when she walked on stage.

Lorraine has a pic on her blog of all 4 of us in a booth at the market...only later did we realize that Oops, pictures weren't allowed. Oh well, we weren't taking pictures of the product - AND...the only booth I really dropped any $ in ended up being Habu. I scarfed the pic from Lorraine's site, since my camera seemed to be conspicuously absent when we were taking pics.

Me, Jae (see the Pretty as a Peacock shawl?), Jewel, Lorraine

Wanna see? The purchases:
space dyed lace weight and boucle yarns from Prism in the antique colorway - ivory and camel. A large skein of lace weight bamboo from Habu, and two skeins of Rayon sizing from Habu. It is a really stiffly sized narrow rayon tape that has a white line running down the center. However, they had a sample knit up, and as the sizing breaks down, it develops the nicest hand, and knits up a bit like linen. I just had to have some of it. Also, I picked up some really cute sheep stitch markers from Blackwater Abbey Yarns. That's all I bought folks, really!

This year though, I really made out in the freebie dept
Freebies:gifty pkg from Skacel

From Skacel, the doorprize package given away at the table: This is incredible. There is another needle that didn't make it into the pic, and there were a couple of patterns, including a gorgeous lace shawl, that Jae went home with. She's more likely to use the pattern, I'm more likely to just let it adorn my shelving unit.

and from my teacher Beth Brown Reinsel, who divided her teacher gift package among the students on Sunday, I brought home this yarn which is destined to make it into a baby blanket and some future unspecified date. I used cotton like this for Sophies blanket, and it worked out wonderfully.
freebie goodies
Speaking of class
I took a class from Beth, who is absolutely fabulous, so much so that the only class I decided to take this trip was hers. In Danish stranded knitting. I've got to get a lot better at it, but I really love the results. Along with technique Beth is so good about filling her students in on the history, the traditions, the why's and what she's learned about the garments, and then shares knowledge on how to design your own. This sweater is a one-off that she discovered in a museum during her research. It's unusual in that it isn't associated with a village or family.
It's also unusual in that it is knit with two different weight yarns, on very small needles. The black in my sample is worsted weight wool, the white a fingering weight. I've got a picture of the sweater that Beth knit from the original, but I won't post it here unless I get permission from Beth. If you look at her cabinet though, on her website Knitting Traditions it's the bottom sweater on the left on the top shelf.
sample skra-trojer from class You'll notice the error on my first two rows of "checks" - it isn't supposed to be a solid L.... and I obviously have some finishing to do.
ok, now I'm off to finish up a going away dress for dsd#2 whom we are taking to University of South Carolina tomorrow. When I return, we will be
Empty Nesters


Marina said...

Are you OK? You had more time to shop and yet, you bought less?! Hmm, were they impulse buys last year?

Let me guess ... those lovely Habu laceweight yarns are for weaving?!

Congrats on all the freebies!

Donyale said...

Waaahhhh - you in your lovely dress, Jae in her shawl, Martinis, fabulous Classes and FREEBIES? I am certifiably ENVIOUS/JEALOUS.

beth said...

What a fun-filled, action-packed post!

You're off to a great start on the mittens.

I think I've caught the envious/jealous bug from the other commenter...

Romi said...

It looks like a totally amazing time! How cool. :)

Summerset said...

What fun - sounds like you had a fabulous time!

Lorraine said...

Marji- Can't wait to see how your Habu works out- you always sniff out the most interesting stuff.
I really enjoyed meeting you and Jae, we could have discussed knitting forever.
BTW- you look far too young to be an empty nester.

Carrie K said...

Another phase of life, eh? Sounds like you all had fun! I'm glad you heard from Kim.

I love those mittens and that sweater - swatch, right?

Lee Ann said...

I'd love to know what you think of the Selbuvotter mittens--I am thinking about making a pair of gloves out of that book for my nephew for Christmas to replace a pair he destroyed a while back.

Brigitte said...

Oh, you all had such a wonderful time, I'm so jealous! But, there will be other opportunities.

Door prizes! Oooo...*swoon*... It's like the "gift with purchase" at the cosmetics counter!