Monday, January 22, 2007

Countdown to Madrona

I am lucky enough to get to go indulge myself for four days at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, starting this Thursday. I can't believe I get to go. It was sort of a wrangle and a trade-off moment with the DH and kids, but I managed to make it work. I've signed up for the following classes:

  • First Choices with Sally Melville
  • Morphing Cables with Fiona Ellis
  • Intro to Fair Isle Design and Colorwork with Janine Bajus
  • Using Your Stash with Ginger Luters

  • So I am pulling together what I need for each class and getting ready to be dazzled by everyone else's projects. It's funny how I've knit nearly all my life, but I've always been sort of a knit and purl sort of gal, not really stretching myself beyond basic knitting. Up until a few years ago, I'd never knit in the round or made socks. Colorwork? Forget about it. But as knitting has slowly edged out my other hobbies, I've had this burning desire to grow beyond the basic skills I learned from my grandmothers. So off to Madrona I go. If anyone else is going--please post a comment so we can meet!

    In the meantime, I've been putting the finishing touches on the auction purses, which are nearly ready for felting. Those are my daylight projects, the ones I grab when I take a break from writing or have a chance to watch All My Children (another habit that dates back to my childhood). In the evening, when I have an hour or two to devote to something, I work on my bigger projects.

    As I've waited for my replacement needles to arrive for my CPH (which they did last Friday--big shout out to Annette at Lantern Moon), I've cast on this Top Down Raglan Cardi from Cosmicpluto Knits! I've become completely addicted to knitting it, since there will be no seaming of any sort.

    Oh, yeah, I knew I'd get your attention with that notion.

    The yarn is a lot from Bamboo Needle Girl, an eBay seller. I'd been eyeing this 100% Australian wool for a while, watching the lots come and go. When this color combination came up, I couldn't resist--besides, the price--100 grams for $18.95--made it less risky. I'd try it and if I didn't like it, I'd felt it.

    Then when it arrived, I got a little nervous. The label read, 100% wool, Made in China. Chinese yarn? Okay. I didn't know the Chinese were big knitters, but I'm game. And it didn't seem very tightly spun. Another strike. I was starting to kiss my $20 bucks goodbye, but the swatch I knit turned really soft when I blocked it, and lo and behold the yarn is easy to knit with. It does have a bit of fuzzy haze to it, so I have some concerns about piling, but again, I love the colors.

    I'm using a Seed Stitch for the ribbing, and am only about 14 rows from putting it on waste yarn and trying it on to see if I can divide off the sleeves and join the body. This pattern is well written and easy to use or adapt from. The only change I've made is in making the buttonholes. The pattern says to: Knit to last 3 stitches, ssk, yo, k1. I hated the way it looked and ended up frogging back about an inch or so of knitting, and made a new buttonhole, with yo, k2tog, k1. I must give Tiennie credit for this change of course, because before I probably would have lived with the problem, but after reading her Huntington Pullover post, who was I to kvetch about a little reverse knitting. The only other trick has been making sure that when one skein ends or I come to a knot (which there has only been one so far) is to find a corresponding spot in the color sequence in another skein.

    I have become so enamoured with the way the sweater is turning out, I have to 'fess. I bought two more lots in this red/grey/black sequence to do another top down sweater. Maybe the pattern should be called Top Down Addiction.


    tiennie said...

    Oh no - I've brought you over to the dark side! Your yarn & knitting are beatiful! Have fun at Madrona - I didn't even know about this - I'm so jealous!

    Ronikins said...

    I have been eyeing that seller too! Hmmmm, do I even dare myself to go browse on Ebay. It's a dangerous thing. Your sweater is looking fantastic!

    Elizabeth said...

    Oh, good, I'm not the only one lurking around eBay. I just like the way the colors work and they are really rich. The yarn isn't something I'd run over my grandmother to get my hands on, but it is perfect for a kick around sweater.

    And Tiennie, get Madrona on the calender for next year!