Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stitches West 2008

Ah, what to write about Stitches West? I got there around 10:30-ish? Maybe 11:00. It wasn't raining yet, though it started soon after I got into the building and poured for the rest of the day and long into the evening. I got good, easy parking in the parking lot across from the Convention Center. Which was good. I had forgotten my umbrella (or so I thought -- I found out after I returned home that it had rolled under the driver's seat. Grf,) which turned out to be a little wet for me later in the day.

I had a few folk who were going to call me to hook up in the Market, but only one of ended up doing so. Which was fine, I know how crazy the Market can be and how plans change and what-not. Alice, who was a friend of mine from my old Genetech days, called about an hour after I arrived and we hooked up.

By then, I had done almost all of my pocketbook's damage. You see, I fell deeply in love with a shawl from La Lana Wools of Taos. So new it's not even on their website yet. It hung on the back wall of their booth and I was drawn to it like a moth to flame. I grabbed the pattern and spoke at length to the designer. The pattern called for some "tail spun" Wensleydale to sew around the edges as a fringe. A wonderful, natural wool-dripping fringe that the Alaskan girl in me loved loved loved. They sold it by the ounce and cut the yardage you needed. So, I bought the shawl pattern and the Wensleydale tailspun to trim it. I also grabbed a 2nd shawl pattern from them. I did not ask the price.

It was my budget and a little bit more. OH yes. I still feel a little dizzied by it. But it was actually kind of freeing to be "done" so early and know that I would buy nothing more but the alphabet stitch markers I needed to work with the new Cat Bordhi sock book.

Alice got there and we yapped and I ran around getting my Ravelry Passport stamped all over the place. The Passport thing was a great idea! Ravelry printed up these fun passports with pages for vendors who had contacted them and donated prizes. You got a stamp for each booth that had a page in the passport and then turned your passport in to the Ravelry booth. They tore out the page with your name on it and gave you the passport to keep as a souvenir. I didn't win anything in the raffles, but had a great time getting all my stamps. It gave me an additional raison d'├ętre, since I had no more $$ to spend.

I fondled much yarn - it was nice to see the Raven colorways live and in person at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth. Got some ideas for when I next have money to burn. The WEBS booth tempted me, but the lines were outrageous. The woman who usually is there selling vintage pattern booklets wasn't there - I missed her.

After awhile, Alice and I got overwhelmed and exited the Market to take in some lunch at the restaurant. We went for the buffet since we were both starving. It was nice. Then we dove back into the market for awhile, until Alice was ready to head back home. I really enjoyed my time with her. We made a tentative date to get together again for dinner at her house sometime in the next month or so. I'll have to nag on her. She's one of those incredibly busy corporate-manager types.

After she left, I finished up my passport and turned it in. Shopped around a little more - snagged the stitch markers at the very last and then, exhausted, left to go check into my hotel across the way. Got rained on. By now it was 5:00PM.

I got into the hotel and the rain started REALLY coming down. I was tired and hungry and decided that I really wasn't up to trying to find the coffee shop and yarn store I had planned to go to. Not in the pouring rain - and I didn't know if there would be real food available anywhere. Coffee and a pastry was not what I needed at that time. So, I went ahead and changed into my jammies and called room service. They actually had a pretty inexpensive menu or I wouldn't have considered it. I really didn't want to go downstairs and sit in the restaurant. I wanted to order a movie on the boob tube, knit, and eat dinner on my bed while the rain drummed on my window. That is comforting for me. They had a portabello mushroom wrap sandwich with feta and olives that looked promising at $12. So, I did it. And the kitchen sent me up a plate full of french fries to go with it just because the sandwich looked "lonely" on the tray. Wasn't that sweet?

So, I ate and watched "Atonement" on TV. Which was entertaining, but not great. I knit some on my Lenore sock and ended up ripping it all back out.

The next day, Sunday, I considered... I had gotten a free Market pass but it was only good for one day. So I'd have to pay another $12 to go again on Sunday and I really had no budget left. So I could just go home. My husband was, after all, ill. But he urged me to take the day anyway - it was mine to play with, it was my annual weekend to Indulge Margo's Weird Pleasures.

So, I spent the whole day Sunday thrifting. And I was quite happy - I got a lovely knitting book and some cute clothes and dresses for Rosaline and myself. I got a set of Pyrex refrigerator dishes. And at one of the last places I went, they had cones of industrial threads and some yarns they were selling for 99 cents apiece. I got an enormous cone of a boucle laceweight in "blueberry" that I want to use to make a lace cardigan from. I got a cone of this lovely sparkling golden thread that will be fun to knit along with another yarn to jazz it up a bit - perhaps just in some sections. Huge cones - anyone want any I am happy to share. More than I'll ever use in my lifetime.

They also had what I've been coveting for ages. Anyone who recycles yarn will know what I mean here. You know that tiny thread of elastic that is cobwebby and light that industrially made sweaters have knitted into the ribbing of cuffs? You can't get it anywhere - it's only sold to industries. Well, they had cones of it. CONES OF IT. I bought 2 - one in white and one in brown - to use for cuffs that I don't want to stretch out and for the ribbing in my socks. I might even try putting some in my short row sock heels to see if that keeps them from getting too floppy by the end of the day. I have enough to last 6 lifetimes, I think. Maybe 7. Depending on the knitter.

I arrived home to bring dinner to my hungry husband and daughter who had done really well together and were basking in the hot tub.

And I had an e-mail from Cookie A! I am going to be knitting a sample pair of socks for her upcoming book!! So you may not hear from me much come April. I will be using every spare second to knit - I'm a slow knitter and I will be working under a deadline. Eeek!!!

Hope everyone who went to Stitches had a great time!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Stuck Knitter & Socks!

Elizabeth I and me.

I am still stuck -- unwilling to pick up another project, even a small one, for fear that Elizabeth I will become a UFO. But not terribly motivated, it's been hard to pick up the needles and work on her.

But, I have been picking it up and am now 2 rows away from being finished with Chart C. (I have to do Chart C 4 times, I believe?) It will go faster from this point as I've begun the armhole shaping -- it's a raglan style so there will be fewer and fewer stitches per row as I go along.

I am working on the final piece - the front - the back piece is done and the sleeves are each done up to the raglan shaping. It should be be quick to finish those off. Then I need to sew the pieces together and do the neckline. It's really not that far from completion... it's just hard because my motivation is in the toilet, so to speak.

But I WILL NOT let her become an UFO. Even if I end up finishing her, and shoving her in the back of the closet forever.

***

In the meantime, I am getting excited because -- Stitches West is coming! I've got my hotel booked for the overnight (I used Priceline and got my offered price, which was $40 less than anything I could find on the web,) and am ready to go! I'm not taking any classes this time. I'm just going to hang out and knit and chat and fondle yarn and spend my $100 Christmas gift from Daddy.

***

I'm also getting jazzed about sock knitting again. Which is a good thing because I've got lots of yarn stashed and was a little worried that my sock mojo was gone. But, I managed to score Cat Bordhi's new book for under $10 at Beverly's in my town (using a 40% off coupon and the fact that they'd scanned the book in their computer for $14 instead of $28. I suppose I should have corrected them but I genuinely didn't notice until hours after I'd left and I'm not that golden of a human. If it'd been an LYS, I would have gone back and had them correct it, but for Beverly's... I'm afraid I'm selectively immoral.)

The book is fantastic - really well laid out for both dpn users, magic loopies and 2 circ fans. The formulas look wonderful and I am totally going to dive in and knit a bunch of baby socks in all the "pathways." I can hardly wait for books 2 & 3!!

***


The most exciting thing that's happened to me, knitwise, in the time since my last post is that I may be test/sample knitting for Cookie A! I've long been a devotee of her sock designs. Last year she had a booth at Stitches West (not this year, sadly,) and I beelined it down there the moment they opened the doors and bought a packet of all the patterns she had for sale. I got a skein of her hand dyed sock yarn (which is gorgeous,) and knit it up into her "Monkey" sock pattern from Knitty.com. I love how her mind works and the beauty of her designs... I am absolutely gobsmacked at the thought of test/sample knitting for her upcoming book and/or new patterns.

***

See? Not much knitting to speak of -- but I must go now because I have to make travel arrangements and such for myself. My niece is getting married in a few weeks and I'm flying up to Alaska for the wedding. My first niece/nephew to the altar! Unbelievable!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Catch-up

I've not posted because there hasn't been terribly much knitting going on for me. I am struggling along with my Elizabeth I -- I've finished the back half and it is turning out, as I feared, too long. I seem to be in a state of fierce denial. I do NOT want to frog it because I don't know how I'd fix it really. I geuss I'd have to rip it all the way out and change the placement of all the waist shaping and begin the center panel sooner and re-calculate all the raglan shaping. Not sure I am interested in doing all of that, frankly. I'm going to finish the back half (really, I' just need to do the left shoulder part which will take me 10 minutes if I sit down and do it,) and then pin it out on my body and see what it's actually going to do. I'll let you know if it's hopeless. I'll throw a whinge party.

Had to share a photo of my favorite Christmas gift this year -- given by my clever SiL who managed to find the perfect ornament gift for every member of the family. Here was mine -- isn't it adorable? Yes, it has not been put away with the rest of the decorations, but is smiling at me from the top of my computer screen as I type. She's even more perfect for me if you know that one of the things I gave my SiL was some homemade pumpkin spice marshmallows!

I have swatched for Rosaline's birthday cardigan -- 2 months late already. Oops. Hard to feel too rushed when she still fits into last years' just fine. It's a lovely swatch though - made with the gorgeous hand-dyed rainbow superwash worsted I bought from The Painted Tiger. Really lovely stuff - it feels divine and the color is even prettier in person.



Meanwhile, of course, people all over in my circle of people are having babies or turning up pregnant. Let's see... Tabitha, Mya, Marissa, Michelle... I need to jump in on the baby knitting.

But I'm so afraid that if I put Elizabeth I down, that will be the end of her. I'll never pick her up again. Here she is -- I'm actually 2 more repeats in the front further along than this. I've separated for the neck and just need to do, as I said, the left shoulder.



I've a tepid goal of wearing it to Stitches West come the end of the month.

Nonsequiter: Any other Ravelry users finding that they spend more time Ravelry-surfing than knitting? It's become quite the enabler, procrastination-wise, for me. Ouch.