Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Recovering - Part 2

When last we met, I had gotten pretty much to the end of Friday. Okay, I didn't talk about riding the MAX train home or any of that stuff, but you get the idea.

Saturday I really would have loved to be in more classes at the show, but I worked from 10 to 5 at the shop, then drove from Tigard to NW Portland to deal blackjack from 6:30 to 10:30 for a fundraiser held by the Portland Pigs rugby team. It was a nice venue (the Scottish Rite Temple) and a friendly crowd and the time went rather quickly. By the time I got home it was after 11:00. This kind of thing will be typical for my Saturdays very soon as we're coming into the fall fundraiser season, followed by holiday parties, which means I'll be working two jobs on most Saturdays very soon. At least they're both my fun jobs!

Sunday morning, I needed to be at the Convention Center by 9:00 for a class with Joan Schrouder on Faroese shawls. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn my alarm clock on (the perils of being out of the habit since I mostly work from home now) and when I woke up it was 7:05. After momentary panic, I jumped in the shower, grabbed my stuff, and headed for the MAX station where the train was supposed to come at 8:00. It didn't show up until about 8:05, though. Thank goodness I had my knitting with me because the darned train not only was late, but it kept stopping in between stations for some reason and took almost an hour to make it across town.

By the time I got to the Convention Center, I was about 10 minutes late for my class. I being late! Joan didn't skip a beat, though, and I'm pretty sure all I missed was the introduction. Fortunately, the organizers had our morning selves in mind and there was a free coffee station outside the classrooms, so at least I got some coffee. After not having dinner the night before and then running late so there was no time for breakfast, I needed that coffee! I got a treat at Starbucks during the morning break to hold me over until lunch. :)

Anyway, the class was great. By the end of the morning session, we had learned how to start a Faroese shawl, do one method of shoulder shaping, and manage the charts. I have to say here, that Joan is awesome. There was quite a range of skill levels represented in the class and she was being bounced around with questions quite a bit. She managed to keep her cool, though, and I think by the end of the day everyone had learned what they needed to learn. If they didn't, it sure wasn't from lack of trying to teach them! :)

It seemed like the morning passed in a flash and then we had a two-hour break for lunch. Judy and I headed to the show floor for another pass. I wasn't planning to do it, but I did end up spending a little bit more money.

Wool blend from TKGA 1500 yardsYarn Place had a booth and there were bags of yarn on one table. My eye landed on one and wouldn't stop focusing there. It's a lovely turquoise with a lavender wrap and I want to make a practical Faroese shawl from it. Looking at their Web site, I can now see that this is a 70/30 wool/acrylic mix. The labels are entirely in Chinese, so it was hard to tell, although it was clearly a blend (interesting, the label has 70%, 30% and 6% listed -- strange math). The whole bag, which she said contains 1,500 yards, was just $20 at the show. Yeah, it had to come home with me.

I was tempted by some of her other, laceweight yarns, but remembered that I have a skein of Graceful in my stash already, so restrained myself. The Graceful yarns have very long color changes and lovely, deep colors. One of these days, I want to knit that up!

Judy and I had kosher hot dogs for lunch and chatted with other knitters, then it was back to class for the afternoon. We learned how to do a garter stitch edge around the bottom of the shawl so as to avoid having to bind off a whole bunch of stitches. My newly acquired skill at knitting backwards came in handy for that as it was a five-stitch border. We also learned a cool way to join the five stitches at the end with a crochet hook instead of kitchener stitch.

faroese sample1faroese sample2
Here's my first sample shawl, being modeled by the lovely, though basically shoulderless, Issy bear. You can see how the construction of the shawl wraps around the body and sort of see the shoulder shaping. The other nice feature of this kind of shawl construction is that the back is rounded rather than pointed, which is a bit more flattering on some of us. :) The garter stitch border looks different in different sections because we tried several different methods of attaching it and each gives a unique look. Oh, if you're wondering, that's Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran left over from a pair of Fetching fingerless mitts.

Duffy took a bunch of pictures during class, especially comparing the same shawl construction using different yarns. Like me, she's probably still recovering from the show, but I'm sure she'll post some soon.

We did a second sample with different shoulder shaping. By the afternoon break, I was in need of coffee again, but, sadly Starbucks was closed. I persevered for a while longer, but I was getting really tired. So when I finished the shoulder shaping on the second mini-shawl, I packed up and headed for the train.

If you live in the Portland Metro area, you've read about TriMet raising fares again and probably heard some of the controversy about how half the time the ticket kiosks for MAX don't work properly, which leads to lots of folks taking free rides. Well, I ran headlong into that situation. There are four ticket kiosks at the Convention Center MAX station and all of them were out of service. A friendly TriMet customer service guy came by and I asked him about it. He said you have two choices: Ride to another station, get off and buy a ticket, then get back on. Or, take your chances and if a ticket agent stops you, plead your case telling them what time and where you were so they can verify that the kiosks were indeed out of order.

Geez. I had the money for the ticket in my pocket (I don't like digging out my wallet at the stations) and I wanted to buy a ticket! But if you get off the train at another station, you don't have time to buy a ticket and get back on. The train will pull out and then you have to wait for another one. On a Sunday afternoon, there just aren't that many trains heading to Hillsboro. You could end up waiting for 20 minutes or more for one to come. Not fun.

So I rode for free. No ticket agent came on board and I didn't have to plead my case. But geez, why would all four kiosks be out of service at once? Aren't these things computerized? And why was there a TriMet customer service guy wandering around handing out brochures but unaware and unable to do anything about the darned kiosks? It just doesn't make much sense to me.

And thus ended a wonderful weekend. By the time I got home Sunday evening, I was pretty much exhausted, the cat needed attention, and my feet were killing me. But I was smiling, so it's all good.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blogging! And if you're in Oregon, or planning to come to Oregon, or want to come to Oregon, don't forget the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival coming up on the 27th and 28th!

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