21 February 2017

Big Event

As some of you know, I am one of those people who says, "Why not?"

Back in the summer, my gaming friend Paul asked if I had seen a documentary called Yarn. Why, no! I decided I wanted to see it. But it wasn't playing anywhere in the southeast, not even some place I could drive to in three or four hours.

I put together a proposal for Atlanta Knitting Guild. The proposal was something along the lines of, "Here's this neat movie. I want to see it. I'll bet other people would like to see it. Can we bring it here?" There were multiple possible ways to do this, including simply screening the film at a guild meeting or going big, renting a theater, and selling tickets. In the end, guild president Susan Duralde put a lot of enthusiasm behind the idea of going big. The AKG board got behind it as well. And now, Atlanta Knitting Guild will be screening Yarn this week on the morning of Saturday 25 February at Lefont Theater in Sandy Springs.

As you can see, we have lots of wonderful sponsors. There will be goody bags, including patterns, coupons, and yarn samples. And there are lots and lots of door prizes. For example, Center for Knit and Crochet has donated this:


Yes, that's a limited edition gradient yarn kit from Wonderland Yarns, a CKC bag, and a one-year membership.

Atlanta Knitting Guild is also having a raffle. The pile of high-end yarn is worth over $700.


There is Noro, Madeline Tosh, Mrs. Crosby, Mountain Colors, Opal Harry Potter, even some gradient sets. Raffle tickets are $10 each.

I'm contributing a special printing of a recent pattern. The pattern is a reversible lace scarf and hat set. On Ravelry, the pattern will include both items. For the goodie bags, I have printed a version that has the directions for the scarf but not the hat. This will give you a taste of the technique. For the door prize, I've contributed a skein of emerald green sock yarn from Fiber Charmer and a pattern for reversible lace tube socks in a leaf pattern.

As of this posting, we are close to 200 tickets sold for a theater that seats 240. So we should have a nice full house!

Edited to add:
Here’s the plan for Saturday:
Doors open at 9:15 AM.
Please arrive no later than 9:45 AM.

9:15-9:45
Check-in and then check-out our Gold sponsor tables.
You may also buy your popcorn, additional raffle tickets, seats in Charles Gandy classes, AKG Membership. The concession stand will have cookies for $1.50 and coffee for $2.50.
To speed the process, please bring check or cash for additional purchases. We will have a limited number of Squares to process card payments.

9:45-10
Take your seats.

10-10:30
Opening remarks.
Prize giveaway: Door Prize (~65 items) and Raffle Prize (1 big prize) give-aways.
You must be present to win.

10:30-12
YARN screening.

12-12:10
Brief closing remarks.

When you arrive, you will check in at the desk. You will receive your goodie bag as well as an envelope with your door prize ticket, your raffle ticket(s) (if you purchased any), and a printed version of your online receipt. You should then put you door prize ticket and your raffle ticket(s) (if any) in the appropriate receptacles near the center of the room.

14 February 2017

Off Topic — Too Mild a Winter?

In spite of my love of knitting, I am not a cool-weather person. I know some people who adore that first hit of cool autumn air. I prefer the first hit of warm spring air. Some people say alpaca is too warm. I'm thinking of making alpaca pajamas. But even I, lover of sunshine and warmth, must object to this:



Yes, the St. Valentine's Day azaleas. Go back to sleep! It is only February, not April.

Last winter was a mild winter. I don't have the data, but this one might be milder. Yes, we started off the year with an ice storm. And then we moved into weeks of 50 to 70 degree weather. Cherry trees are blooming right now. Our local news reported on March-like pollen counts. We are not merely a week or two early. Some trees are 4 weeks early. My azaleas are 8 weeks ahead of schedule.

I'm not sure of the full implications. For example, in the spring the azaleas are usually covered with happy pollinators. I don't see a lot a bees, yet. This makes me wonder if there are plants blooming now who won't get pollinated? And I wonder in general about how plants and animals match themselves up with the seasons. Those who do it by the sun should be okay, I think. Hours of sunlight are not affected by climate change. (Amount of sunlight might be affected if cloud cover changes drastically, but the hours the sun is above the horizon are set by stable planetary motion.) But the living things who rely on warmth and coolness to match themselves to the seasons will be confused.

And some living things need that cool period of rest. This recent article from our local National Public Radio station WABE warns this year's peach crop may be less because peach trees are not getting the chill hours they need. As someone who loves peaches with vanilla ice cream in the summer, this is a worrisome development.

06 February 2017

Teaching and Learning

I started off this year with two weekend events — one new to me and the other an old favorite.

In January I taught at the Kanuga Knitting and Quilting Retreat. This retreat has been happening for more than a decade. It is scheduled for the weekend of Dr. King's holiday. The location is tranquil — an Episcopalian retreat and campground in the North Carolina mountains. Varian Brandon is the organizer. I know Varian from Georgia FiberFest. In fact, I'm sometimes sorry I teach at that show, and I would dearly love to take Varian's steeking class. She has an incredible eye for color and design.

Kanuga is setup as a retreat. This means the classes are part of the package price. Students come and go. The weekend involved about 9 hours of instruction. I was asked to teach modular knitting. The nice thing about the long format is we had plenty of time to swatch and play. Modular knitting lends itself to play, both color and shape.

Another great thing about the retreat format is that you eat meals with the group. This means that over the course of a weekend you make new friends. This isn't like a fiber show where you are in class with someone for three hours and then don't see them again. A significant fraction of the retreat participants return year after year. There's plenty of crafting during the day, but also community around the fireplace at night.

And because this is an Episcopal retreat, there is morning communion and evening prayers. Reverend Jennifer Deaton from St. Andrew's Cathedral in Jackson, Missippippi, arranged the prayers around the five senses. How could you miss one prayer session? What was she going to say about taste or smell? The church building At Kanuga is made from local pine. The entire interior is knotty pine, unfinished, emitting a warm glow of old wood. Outdoors, Kanuga has a labyrinth to walk for those who like that spiritual practice. You might find sitting and watching the lake, the woods, and the natural creatures also nourishes the soul.

Since this is a knitting and quilting retreat, there was a room full of quilters. I watched a demonstration; and now I better understand the boom in quilting. About 30 years ago I cut out a quilt — sat on the floor, used scissors, and cut out lots of little squares by hand. Today quilters have these marvelous clear acrylic templates/tools! They have rotary cutters and mats. They have sewing machines that look like the love children of iMac and Singer. It was amazing how quickly and precisely the quilters could work their craft. And I haven't even mentioned the beautiful fabrics!

Kanuga was the shiny new thing in January.

Kanuga Knitting & Quilting Retreat 2017. I'm partly hidden in the back row, to the right of tall Bonnie.



In February I attended South Carolina Knit Inn.

I've written previously about was a delightful gathering it is. This was an opportunity for me to teach more people about reversible lace. I'm still looking for a critical mass. In addition to teaching, I also took a couple classes.

I took a class on needle felting from Cheryl McLane of Purdy Thangz. I've done some needle felting previously; and I've read a little bit about felting. I just thought a class would be fun. And it was! Cheryl showed us how to use a template. And she showed us how to felt around wires in order to give a piece some structure. I got the black rose kit, but I brought some of my own fiber and tools with me. This rose has a base of black with scarlet red overlaid — very vampire! After the weekend, I went home, dyed more fiber, and finished my rose. The red and black is for the Falcons, who had better rise up and knock it out of the park on Super Bowl LII, don't ya know!? Or maybe they will be the first team to win it all in their home stadium in 2019 for Super Bowl LIII?



I also took a class on Tunisian knitting from Helen Cogbill. I had heard of Tunisian crochet, but not Tunisian knitting. Both involve a set-up row, but then action on the return row. It takes two passes up and down the needle to create one row of stitches. It requires thought to convince your hands to manipulate yarn and slip stitches without working any stitches on the set-up row. After the weekend, I made three sizeable swatches to put in my class notebook.

Traditional Single Tunisian Knitting (also called Oblique Tunisian)


Tunisian Rib Stitch


Double Tunisian Knit Stitch (also called Horizontal Tunisian)

As Helen pointed out, this is probably not a fabric to use for a whole garment. But, it could make for nice trim. I think a few rows of Double Tunisian would be a clean, modern border. And while I don't have a picture, I did try working in two colors. Tunisian would work as a way to introduce a horizontal line of complementary color, almost like a supplementary weft in weaving. I also worked the Tunisian rib as a Tunisian seed stitch. Possibilities!