Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Plans for the New Shawl

I've made a design for my new shawl, but now I'm looking for a background to lay the design on. Here are some stitches that I have been playing with as possibilities. The first set is the back side (But I'm thinking of a purl ground to be sure that the pattern stands out.)

I ran out of orange yarn so had to continue with purple.

Here's the front of the first swatch. I can't quite decide which to use.

Sunday afternoon Stitches Midwest 2011

My last class was on Celtic cables with Melissa Leapman. It was a frustrating class, because there were a couple of people in there who had never done cables before and it meant the whole class was slowed down so they could learn how to do cables.

Basically while these people had private lessons, the rest of us followed the patterns given to us with minimal help. Ms. Leapman had a good sense of humor, but she was tired and we were all pretty tired I guess. Luckily my friend Trudianne was in the class, so at least there was good company.

Doesn't she have a beautiful smile?!

Here are two of the three swatches for class:

Monday, 26 September 2011

Terry Eagleton

I had the opportunity to hear Terry Eagleton talk about Jesus and Tragedy. He said so many clever and fascinating things. He discussed theological writings and the idea that God did not need to create the Universe he just did it because. Creation, evil and art have no purpose according to Eagleton, they just are.

Some of the things he said were so witty and pithy - he spoke of the Holocaust as a dream of purity and said to watch out for purity, because "evil can't accept the messiness of everyday existence. He also spoke of fundamentalism as a fetish that hides the gap.

Eagleton is not a man of technology. "I don't even use e-mail," he said, "I intend to get to the end of my life without ever having used it."

He describes himself as "an ecriveur (someone who just writes) and not an ecrivain.... That I write is less important than what I write," he says.

In talking about gaps, he noted "being self-estranged, that we are not identical with ourselves allows us to be creative."

He gave us much to think about.

Little Bitty Kitty One

No comment really - just cute pictures.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Stitches Midwest 2011 Sunday

So our last day had arrived. My sister had one class in the morning and then she had to fly home. I had an afternoon class and then in the late afternoon I would be driving back to Minnesota. It would be a long day, but a good one.

Our morning class was about Fascinating Fibonacci sequences with Laura Bryant. I had taken her class on Color in hand-dyed yarns and very much enjoyed it. I have to admit I was a bit mystified about what we could learn here. I remembered fibonacci series from math class and knew that if you join prior two numbers together you get the series. If you start with 1 and add it to itself you get 2. Then you add one to two to get three and 2 to 3 to get 5 etc. Laura made it sound quite mystical - a natural sequence that seems to inevitably be pleasing to the eye based on combinations found naturally in the real world in beings like the chambered nautilus (seen at this website):

or even in plants (from this one) ...

Laura walked us through a variety of patterns and color combinations:

And showed us some magnificent garments that she had made.

She doesn't seem to like to smile when she is demo-ing unfortunately and I do want to show this sample, so I can't cut her face off - just pretend she is smiling beautifully, because she has a lovely smile.

Here you can see two Fibonacci garments at once.

We had two assignments in class, working with multiple colors in a fibonacci sequence as below:

We were told that the variegated yarn would still be pleasing even though it disrupts the understanding of the stripes. It should still read as a 5. I don't know if the striping is naturally pleasing or not. (I do like the colors which combine some of her Prizm yarns and some left-over stuff that I brought along.)

Our second assignment was a diminishing fibonacci series that blended two series into each other. Below you can see the white blending into the red. The yarn is indulgence and it is truly decadent - a silk/wool/mohair with a gorgeous shine to it and a very soft hand. It was a joy to work with.

I can't claim much accuracy in my series, but I did continue to play with it since ihad not finished the sample in class and came up with an interesting stripe pattern. (I had accidentally skipped the section that was supposed to be two rows (and skipped from 1 to 3) but We were told we really only needed to have relationships of the numbers (and not have them necessarily in order). I think it worked out okay.(Click on the image to see a larger, sharper version)

After the class was over I had to say Goodbye to my sister. It was SO painful. We had had a wonderful time together and after she got in her car and headed off to the airport, I cried. Here is my last picture of her before she left!She thinks I go overboard on the picture taking!

Of course there was only one solution to the sadness of parting! The market, so off I went to spend time until my next class.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Saturday at Stitches Midwest 2011

Saturday was the day we had decided to take it easy. We had signed up for one class and one only on this day, so that we could have some market time in the afternoon. I was pretty tired. I just hadn't been able to sleep the night before, which made me sad, because this was the course I was really, really looking forward to, Merike Saarnit's Elongated Stitches class.

It meant I made a lot of mistakes and did not get things done well and even though we weren't supposed to rip. I did, because I was too tired to do things correctly. Even my sister got creative. I absolutely adore this mistake that increased the number of stitches drastically and produced this eyelet encrusted fan.

Despite the mistakes I made, I learned so much. Here is my sampler from the class!

Even better, we got to see some absolutely gorgeous things, including a sweater that a student had made using things she had learned in Merike's classes.

This was in the student fashion show later that night, but the fineness of the design and complexity of the work were lost on the runway with its glare and lack of definition.

Since it was an original design with amazing stitch work, it really should have won one of the prizes!

Merike showed us some of the Estonian stitches in her work, like this lovely vest using some of the Patent stitches.

Here is amore subtle use of the same type of stitches in a single color.

She brought examples of all manner of things.

Here are caps, socks, mittens, you name it!

During the afternoon we shopped (yet again.) Neither my sister or I need any more yarn, but on that day we really needed yarn (and a whole bunch of other stuff too. Here is some of what I got! Now I didn't buy all of it. I won the little green and yellow skeins in Gwen's class on entrelac as a kind of door prize:
And that gorgeous pink and purple stuff next to it was a gift from my sister. But I have to confess that the rest is all my responsibility.

And hen there was this too!

And oh yeah there was jewelry!

But wait!! I won the buttons (well, half of them - I won a gift certificate for 20$, but all the buttons I liked cost a little bit more!! Of course!!)

Then there was the student banquet and fashion show. The food was decent and the company was fantastic.

We dined with Elise Duvekot (with whom we had taken classes in Knit One Below last year.)

Lily Chin showed up in her one of a kind costume - this time representing the home-run top hat for the Mets.

Poor thing she had this huge collar on that made it extremely hard to eat (let alone sit in a chair and hold a civil conversation. She was as always absolutely charming, but I would have rather eaten dinner naked than have to hold up that collar all evening.

But when it came time to honor our teachers, there she was on stage in the front row, smiling and gracious as always.

Myra Wood wore her new Duplet inspired jacket. It was just fabulous, but I did not get a really good shot of it. If you are on ravelry you can see it there in all its glory. Here she is looking stately behind the knitter's podium.

Then of course it wsa time for the Student fashion show. There were some lovely things. I did not take pictures of everything, but we started off with this blue lace shawl.

One of the nicest pieces was this Evenstar shawl (also lace) knitted by a young man who looked like he might still be in high school. It was done in Buffalo (1 and 1/2 cones on size one needles! Wow!!)

This lace piece must have taken a lot of work!

Andthis woman had as much personality as her fluffy sweater! It had beautiful cable-work on it and she bounced down that run-way with verve and unforgettable spirit.

Of course I entered MMario's Vampire W(h)ine, but to no avail. Prizes did not go to intricate lace shawls on this particular night. (Although a brightly colored green shawl with lace stitches (of which I alas have no picture) did win a prize.

Next time I think I'll hire a shawl wrangler!

This may have been my favorite piece in the show. It was quite stunning with its central floral motive and it's mesh outer ring.

Here is a slightly better shot of the center.

This was an impressive piece too. Look at all that color work at the hem!

This quilt was a cheerful bit of knitting!

I'll close with images of two of the winners. Mary (who won a few years ago) produced a fantastic jacket in multiple colors!

It had lovely swing to it too.

Roberta also won a prize for one of her fabulous long coats. She does them without patterns and they are always absolutely breath-taking.

Of course after the banquet we were exhausted, so it was back to the hotel, packing and preparation for our last day. The time had gone SO fast!!