Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Saturday at Stitches Midwest 2012

Saturday was a hard day. I simply didn't sleep well and my brain was mush. We also had two classes.

Our first class was Fixing Lace Mistakes with Brooke Nico. She was a fairly new teacher and for this reason I was excited to find out more about her. The fact that they had decided to start classes at 8:00 AM did not thrill me and it made getting breakfast before class pretty tough.  Since I am a fairly advanced lace knitter I wondered whether I would get much out of this class. But, because I was so tired I didn't do too well at our tasks. I think this class was useful to me, but for those who have done lots of lace projects, it might not be the ideal class. I do however think the practice was priceless. Ms Nico is kind and well organized and as my sister noted, she (my sister) feels very comfortable in a class where the teacher is willing to kick off her shoes.

 Ms. Nico taught the class barefoot. (She had by the way, some great shoes withher. I had been wondering who the woman in the silver cowboy boots was as I watched her walk down the hall on Friday.)

We had three basic tasks in the class (which was well organized and clearly thought out.) Our first  task was to learn to look at our knitting and keep our pattern in mind as we worked. I liked the idea of figuring out an anchor point in advance so that you could keep track of whether you were doing your stitches in the right place. I also learned you can put mohair in the freezer to make it easier to rip out. Our first swatch (done at home) was used for working on this section of the class.

Task two involved knitting a second swatch but then exchanging our knitting with a partner who would then make a mistake for us. We had to correct the error.

This worked fine for me. I think it took me much longer than it should have, but since I was so tired I was happy to have success. I found and corrected the error and I don't think you can tell at all that there was ever a mistake.

This is not the case with task 3 (well, um actually it is the case with task 3 now because I ripped the whole thing out in frustration - so there is no evidence of my poor reconstruction.) I think this is where total brain fatigue  started to set in. We had to unravel 12 stitches for 7 rows. My sister really felt uncomfortable with this and I probably should have felt more uncomfortable than I did. It seemed like I didn't have much trouble with the reconstruction except this one little area, but I kept fussing with it and ended up ripping out several times. At the end of class I thought I had it. (But then I looked at it again later and that is when I tried once again to correct it and finally decided to rip out the whole thing. I think perhaps I will try this exercise again. I ended up with stitches that looked overly large and loose, so I want to see what I can do about doing a better job - and of course I have a huge mistake in my current lace project just waiting for me to have the patience and sufficient sleep to try and deal with it.) So... no example for this part of the blog, sorry.

For lunch we had leftovers and were able to go upstairs and have a more relaxed dining experience. I believe we also took another trip to the market as my sister was always deciding to buy one more piece of equipment for the up-coming class, because she had not brought x or y with her on the plane. At lunch we also gave Paola (the desk clerk who had helped us so much the first day) some flowers. (If you ever need anything at that hotel - she is SO, SO kind and helpful. She is definitely the one to ask for!)

Since we spent much of our in-between time walking through different parts of the hotel, I thought I'd add a few pictures here of some of the  decor and places we saw. This is the lobby atrium. It is quite large and has many, many seating areas. In the back you can see some of the gauzy ceiling hangings over other sitting areas. The  round shape on the left is the chimney for a fireplace. This was the general area where the pajama party was held on Friday night. (I was just too tired to participate, but went up to take a peek.)

On the first floor there are also  many sitting areas with bold colors and cool design traits.

As you can see there are rhythmic elements that pull the design together (upright vases abd the repeated use of primary colors) while the difference in furnishings also allows each area to have a cohesiveness to itself.

I already showed the hallway with the wooden pieces all over the walls. Here is a close up of what they look like.

We saw the elevators (of course) every single day multiple times, it was a pleasant area and I had not taken a picture of them. The area was bright and cheerful (an attribute in general of the hotel).

Unfortunately it was not as bright inside the conference and hotel rooms, but the public areas of the hotel are really full of light and very appealing.

After lunch we had our second class. This was Elise Duvekot's  Mitred Squares with Knit-One-Below . We had already taken other classes with Ms. Duvekot.

 I had done Knit-One -Below and Columns of Color. My sister had also had at least one of these classes. Ms. Duvekot is extremely kind and gentle and it was like coming home to be in a class with her again. We were shown samples of what we could do with the Knit-One-Below Stitch and Ms. Duvekot explained how it was different from Brioche stitch.

We were reminded that it produces a very wide fabric relative to regular knitting, that it is elastic and that it doesn't curl. (Best of all it is a great way to prevent color pooling in variegated yarns. (Example above of stockinette versus Knit-One Below. with the same yarn).

We were also reminded that our own gauge can vary greatly from that of others. We were shown two socks knitted in the same yarn by two different knitters:

We started out with a simple 15 stitch (per side) square. That worked pretty well after we reminded ourselves how to do the stitch.

 If we had time (and I didn't really) we could try a larger square with a cable. (An example of what the cable looks like can be seen in the socks below). Tehse were brought in by one of our class mates.

I cast on for the larger square and then decided to only do half a cable , so that I could play with the effects of the wavy lines.) (I'm inspired to play with this and do a larger project with lots of wavy lines.)

I had just bought a bunch of brown sheep yarn for half price and now I know what I am going to do with it! (BIG SMILE!!)

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