05 October 2013

What I Learned at TKGA, Day 4

I left Saturday morning unscheduled for sleeping and catching-up. While I like taking classes, I’ve been learning it is helpful to have at least a little rest built into your show schedule. I did hang out for awhile in the knit and crochet lounge. There was a crocheter working on finishing a cookie afghan! This was a motif afghan in which the round motifs were identifiable representations of different types of cookies. It was adorable, although I think it could be dangerous to have such an afghan in the house, unless you are very good at not purchasing sweets.
Contents page from Stories in Stitches No. 1.
Because of my connection to the Center for Knit and Crochet, at lunchtime Jan introduced me to Ava Coleman. Ava and her business partner Donna Druchunas have started a venture called Stories in Stitches. This is a wonderful journal that tells the stories behind the knitting. Some of the stories are anecdotes, but some are scholarly research about the role knitting has played. The first issue features counterpanes. The second issue looks to feature some pioneer lace. Ava very kindly gifted me a print version of the first issue. You can be sure I intend to keep acquiring issues as they appear, although I will need to decide if I want electronic copies, paper copies, or both.
Celtic Cables swatches
The final class I took was on Saturday afternoon. I chose Melissa Leapman's class on Celtic cables. Again, I already have her books and have even done a few closed-loop cables. But I know cables are required on Level 2 of Master Knitter. I had never taken a cable class, and I figure Melissa wrote the book! She had us knit two swatches in class and a third swatch for practice afterwards. One of the things I really enjoyed about the class was her discussion about how to design closed-loop cables of your own. Melissa does live in New York and has some of that air about her, as well as boundless creative energy. There's almost an electric zap as she discusses design. She also showed us an advance copy of her upcoming book The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook.  She has come up with several fabulous stitch patterns, including a butterfly that sits in high relief off the fabric and an all-over texture pattern of grapes and vines. Even with all the stitch dictionaries I already have, I think this one may need to find its way on to my bookshelf.

Saturday night was the TKGA Banquet and Fashion Show. I put my Valentine Gansey in the fashion show, as well as my recent scribble lace shawl. I also volunteered to model, if needed. In the end I got to wear Lily Chin's "Chevron Stripes" from the cover of Knitter's Magazine, issue 110. I also modeled a 100-year-old antique traditional Swedish jacket with twined knit sleeves that belongs to Beth Brown-Reinsel. Awesome! The TKGA Fashion Show overall was definitely a parade of extremely-skilled knitting. I may live in Atlanta, but Arenda Holladay's work makes me want to knit a Fair Isle sweater, even if I can use it only two months of the year.
Jan Stephens receives lifetime membership from Penny Sitler
The best parts of the evening were the awards. Several people who had completed Level 3 of Master Knitter were pinned. And Jan Stephens was made a lifetime member of TKGA in recognition of the work she has done to promote knitting. I was a little way back from the stage and didn't get great pictures, but I think you can tell from the photograph that Penny Sitler, TKGA Executive Director, was getting just a touch teary-eyed.
Everyone at the banquet also received two skeins of Cascade Fixation sock yarn and a sleep shirt from Annie's as favors. I don't necessarily agree with the consumerist sentiment, but I know lots of knitters who do. There were also many door prizes over the weekend, although I didn't win any.  Considering the size of the my stash relative to the size of my house, that's just as well. Thank you to all the kind sponsors who donated to the party!

On Saturday, Jan and I drove home. I’m so glad she encouraged me to attend the conference. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend; and I came home re-inspired to put some focus back on Master Knitter.

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