14 April 2014

STITCHES South 2014

This was a somewhat different STITCHES South for me, and not just because of the new venue. I taught two classes this time, one on Thursday and one on Saturday. There were some knitting classes that intrigued me, but they were opposite when I was teaching. So I ended up taking only one class -- Tailspinning with Esther Rodgers.

For that class, I wore the scribble lace I made last summer using the corespun yarn I made last year in Esther's corespinning class. I was surprised by how much people seemed to like that shawl. It isn't complicated knitting. It is an important reminder to me that sometimes simple really is better, especially if the materials are of high quality.

This year, I learned three different ways to tailspin yarn. I'm thinking about making another swirl jacket, but this time with my own handspun from my stash. I may acquire some locks from Jazzturtle so I can have some crazy fringe fun around the edge. As always, if you have the opportunity to take spinning classes from Esther, do. Her enthusiasm for fiber is infectious, and her pacing is perfect. Even if you feel you are an all-thumbs spinner, Esther can help you make beautiful yarn that honors the fiber.
Left to right: Wensleydale wool, Mohair goat, Teeswater wool, Suri alpaca
As far as I can tell, my teaching mostly went well. I used a projector and camera set up for the first time, and that seemed good. However, that set-up was borrowed, so now I need to think about what equipment I ought to acquire. Time to invest in myself. One student did rightly realize I should have stressed that the shawl class was about triangular shaped shawls. I am truly sorry I missed emphasizing that in the description; and I must not have had the photograph of three triangles linked properly. When I think of a shawl, I immediately think of a triangle. It just didn't occur to me that others think of rectangles or circles, and that's my own blind spot. Mea culpa.

I did do a little bit of damage in the market. One nice thing about the Georgia International Convention Center is the parking is quite close to the market. It was easy to make some purchases, go stash them in the car, and then come in and make more. I generally try to hunt rather than gather, but it isn't always easy. Yarn Barn of Kansas has to show up with the books, including more Japanese patterns and stitch dictionaries I can't get from anyone here in town. Carolina Homespun came this year, bearing spinning and weaving supplies. She had three of the first four issues of Ply magazine. And thank you to my friend Marilyn who spotted the Lunatic Fringe weaving kits in the booth.
As you can see, these are twelve bright colors that I like to think will be fabulous no matter how they are woven. I have quite a bit of teaching coming up during the next three weeks, but I am thinking that about mid-May it will be time to get out the 8-shaft loom and play!

The rest of the stash enhancement consists of a skein of sock yarn from Knitting Notions so I can finally do the Carolyn Jacket I bought in the North Georgia Knitting Guild auction in 2009. I also gained a skein of lovely Cascade Yarns Forest Hills lace in a brilliant turquoise. It is a silk-wool blend, already wound in a ball and ready to go, with 785 yards on the put-up. Unless I'm working something too dense like garter, this should be a one-ball shawl.

There were some new vendors in the market, in addition to old favorites. I did not buy any dichroic glass buttons, only because I don't currently have a sweater waiting for buttons. But I hope Mitchell Larsen Studio will come back next year, because I now want to knit a cardigan just so I have an excuse for glass buttons!

I did purchase a lovely wooden lucet from cabinetmaker Stephen Willette. He and his wife were all the way here from New Hampshire, partly for the show and partly to drop their son off to hike the Appalachian Trail. I don't know if they will come again. The wood tool is truly a thing of beauty. A lucet is used to make a braid with a square cross section. The braids can be delicate cords, but they can also be large and curled into a spiral to make a rug! I am thinking the very large white alpaca fleece that is probably too coarse for clothing could become a thing of beauty and usefulness with this little tool. Plus, there is a sort of magic about this ancient trick on two prongs.

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