Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Recovering - Part 1

Wow! That was one heck of a weekend! So much going on that I hardly had time to take a deep breath. No, that's not entirely true. When I was knitting in classes, that was when I had time to relax. :)

Let's see. It started for me on Friday morning. I caught the MAX train and headed to the Convention Center for the TKGA/CGOA Knit & Crochet Show. My class wasn't until 2:00, so I decided to go over in the morning and visit the show floor. I arrived around 11:00, got my goody bag and badge holder and dove in.

Since I've never been to a show like this (OFFF is decidely different), I didn't have a lot of expectations. The exhibit hall is pretty big and there were quite a few vendors, but the overall impression was that it was small because there was so much open space. Open space is good for crowds, but on Friday there wasn't much of a crowd. The good thing was that it was very easy to go around to the vendors and see what was there. It was also very easy to spot people I know and hadn't seen for a while.

I was a bad blogger and didn't really take pictures. ACK!

I did fairly well on my goal of not spending a lot of money, but I did spend some. There was a vendor selling hand-tooled knitting needles and crochet hooks and I bought a lovely size F hook to add to my set of other hand-tooled beauties. I love those hooks. Once you've used them, it's really hard to go back to the metal kind.

Teresa Ruch Tencel 5-2I bought a skein of tencel 5/2 from Teresa Ruch Designs that's so saturated with color, the picture doesn't begin to do it justice. There's about 525 yards of loveliness there, enough to make a lovely lace shawl or scarf or something. All Teresa's colors are super-saturated, just how I like them, and she sells bamboo and a bamboo/tencel blend as well. It's mostly geared towards weavers, but this tencel has a nice, tight twist that's perfectly suited for knitting.

Crown Mountain Farms merino-bamboo-nylonCrown Mountain Farms was there with a huge booth that virtually overflowed with temptation. I resisted the handspun camel blend in a gorgeous caramel/cream mix, but it was hard to do. I fell, though, once I saw this sock yarn, a merino/bamboo/nylon mix wound in two hanks just begging to be knit toe-up so as to use every last scrumptions yard. Besides at $16 for 400 yards, I took the name on the label to heart and said, "I feel free to buy this!" Klaus will be at OFFF with more temptations and I'm pretty sure I'll be visiting him again.

I resisted the beautiful choices at most of the other booths, but I did buy patterns from White Lies Designs (wonderful, feminine designs with shaping and sizes up to 58" bust) and from Stitch Diva Studios (great knit/crochet designs, but lousy booth design -- you couldn't get into it because of a large center display that blocked everything).

I watched the fashion show and tried to take pictures, but they didn't come out very good. Drew, the Crochet Dude did the announcing, and models included Doris Chan who is a natural on the runway. :)

After the fashion show, I started to go to my class when I heard someone saying, "Wait! Wait!" and turned to see Doris Chan herself hailing me! I was wearing the Cat's Cradle Topper I made from her pattern last year and of course she recognized it and stopped me to admire it. I was pretty star struck -- I think of Doris as something of a crochet Goddess -- but tried my darndest to chat like a normal person instead of a stalker. I didn't even bring out my camera -- darn it! -- but I did give her one of my blog cards and then I smiled for the rest of the day. :)

That afternoon, I learned how to knit backwards -- or as teacher Candace Eisner Strick calls it "smoothing and bumping back." I know, I know, you want to know why on earth that would be something I'd want to learn. Well, I'll tell you. If you're attaching an edging to a lace shawl or scarf, it's usually a small number of stitches. Knitting "normally," you'd be turning the entire piece of fabric over again and again, getting all tangled up and generally wearing your patience thin. But, if you know how to knit backwards, you just knit across, moving stitches from left needle to right as usual, then without turning go back the other way, moving stitches from right needle to left. Viola! Once you get the hang of it, it's really simple to do.

Another great use for this skill is entrelac. In this form of knitting, you work small squares individually across the row, turning back and forth over a small number of stitches. Again, if you knit backwards, you don't have to do all that turning and the process is a little less fiddly.

Finally, I discovered in making the initial swatch, that once I got used to doing it, the tension of my stitches was even across both the forward and backwards knitted rows. Like many knitters, my tension when purling usually isn't as even as when knitting. Stitches look okay and are fine when blocked, but they're not perfect -- not that I worry about it, but when I knit backwards, suddenly the tension looked the same across both rows. Magic! And yes, basically I learned to knit left-handed. :)

Okay, this has gotten REALLY long and I'm still on Friday! I'll tell you more soon. Don't want you falling asleep over your keyboard on account of my long-winded posts!

Or maybe it's too late to worry about that. Stop snoring! :)

1 comment:

pdxknitterati said...

More, more, more! Thanks for the report; I'm looking forward to more. I was out of town and missed it. But I'll be at OFFF on Saturday.

I really love knitting back backwards for entrelac. It's a sanity saver. And I'm always on the right side of the work!