Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stitch Markers--Just What I Needed

Yesterday my knitting guild, Liberty Bell, to which I returned last Monday after many months absence, just in time to sign up, held a beaded stitch marker workshop and luncheon at the Riverton Country Club in NJ. Aching face and newly painful foot did not keep me away. Neither did the torrential rains.

Our little group had a room to ourselves with two round tables set for lunch and a long table down the middle of the room with chairs on each side to accommodate us and containing a smorgasbord of beads in separate packs and on paper plates. There were place settings with packets of tools and supplies for each of us.

We began by claiming a packet of tools and supplies and perusing the bead smorgasbord to select four larger beads and eight smaller ones to compose our first four stitch markers. There were so many to chose from it was a hard decision which got changed many times as the morning progressed.

We learned to twist the wire, add beads and finish off. That is the short version. It was a little more involved, especially the first one. By the third one I was off and running. There were very few mistakes that could not be turned into design features. We stopped for a lovely lunch of chicken Caesar salad topped of with apple pie a la mode. Mmmmm, yummy! Then back to the beading.

Delphia was an excellent teacher. This is the first workshop or class of any kind that I have taken and been pleased with the take home results. I usually learn the process, hate what I've done in class, then go home and construct masterpieces. This time I have very nice stitch markers, one of which I'm using to mark the beginning of the row as I knit like crazy on my lacy skirt. Where's the lace? It's coming. What you see at the bottom is the casing for the elastic and closer to the needles the first purl row where stitched will be picked up for the first row of lace.

I didn't have my camera at the workshop and the pictures I took with my PDA of the guild members refuse to transfer over to Blogger. However, here are some pictures of the stitch markers I made in class. I am trying very hard not to become addicted to making stitch markers.

A bona fide beader? I don't think so!

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, October 15, 2007

Back from Stitches East

I am coming down from a knitting high and a buying frenzy. Stitches East in Baltimore was a blast in more ways than one: *classes, shopping, dining, pain. Repeat from * three times, ending at shopping on the last day.

I arrived in Baltimore disorganized (left my blouse, hand knit sweater, camera and Stitches name card holder at home) and unprepared (didn't have all my homework swatches finished). Luckily things went uphill from there. I didn't need another white blouse or a heavy sweater (although I wanted to wear something I'd knitted for once). The weather was wonderful, warm and sunny each day. As for the name card holder, I used the el cheapo they give you and was only a little inconvenienced by not having a place for pen, bank card and hotel keycard. About the camera, there were a few times I wished I had one, but the one picture I saw of myself made me hope that I don't appear in any others. Which brings me to the pain. I was having some kind of sinus/neuralgia/who-knows-what episodes each night. It started Wednesday night at home, excruciating pain on the right side of my face. It returned every night I was in Baltimore making for sleepless nights and swollen eyes and face days. What a sight. You can see for yourself. The cute one is my knitting guru, the one who declared me a bona fide knitter, Kathryn.

I found Stitches East to be smaller, less well attended and a little subdued this year. Some old favorites were among the missing, but some newly acquired favorites more than made up for it. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy it just as much, maybe even more, without the throngs of people. On Thursday evening at the Market Preview, after the Kaffe Fassett slide show, I was able to walk right up to him for the book signing. It did help that I already had the book and didn't have to wait in line to acquire it. The book is lovely, colorful eye candy. If you wanted to make the Foolish Virgins sweater years ago and were intimidated by the magnitude of it, there is a scarf--Foolish Virgins at half the angst.

Most of the Market Preview I was on a mission to buy a Vivian Hoxbro sweater kit. I saw it first at the Mannings' booth, but they didn't have the colorway I wanted with them.

I found it at The Needle Lady. Love it! A touch of purple, worn closed or with lapels, no buttons, lots of knit stitch, my kind of project.

Both vendors were very generous in allowing me to try on the samples. However I am still not sure what size I should make. Both booths said their samples were S/M but the one at The Needle Lady was larger and fit me better. Hmmmm, do I make the S/M (anything with "small" as part of the size makes me nervous) or do I go with the L/XL? Suppose I'm really a M/L. Anyway, another booth had something that caught my eye that will delay the start of the Vivian Hoxbro Rainbow Jacket.

Fine Points from Cleveland, Ohio, was the booth that kept drawing me back and had me pulling out my bank card again and again. I even resorted to cash a couple of times! I bought the pattern and yarn for this skirt. I bought a T shirt on which I based my color selection for the skirt, earrings to match and another day, hand painted shoes!!! They will not be worn with the skirt ensemble however.

Here is a picture of the sample skirt: (Fine Points' picture used with permission)

My colors are these:

And here are my over-the-top shoes:

I've been writing this blog entry for a week (Don't ask!) and Stitches East is becoming just a pleasant memory. Quickly, before it fades away entirely, here is a fast forward recap: Took classes and bought books for reinforcement on finishing techniques, Intarsia and needle felting. Met and talked to old friends and new. Bought everything from sock yarn to a sweater kit. Had wonderful seafood dinners at a restaurant whose name already has escaped me and a couple of pleasant room service meals. Spent more money than ever before--I even bought an iron for goodness sake! But back to the meals: we enjoyed one dinner all the more because of the company. Eugene and Ann Bourgeois of Philosopher's Wool fame were seated beside us and we became a foursome. They are an informed and interesting pair. Dinner became a delight. In addition to being entertaining, The Philosopher, very cunning and quick on the draw, picked up our check and insisted on paying. Ann, whose free online video clip of her two handed Fair Isle technique is worth her weight in gold (or my weight since she doesn't weigh very much), was in total agreement. Ya gotta love 'em!

The painful part of my Stitches East experience was, and still is, excruciating facial pain I am experiencing each night and now sometimes during the day. Yes, I have been to the doctor, but no, not the dentist. X-rays yesterday. Diagnosis soon. In the meantime I am knitting away on the underskirt of my "flirty skirt." Nothing has enthused and sustained me as much as this skirt since the Noro Kureyon I purchased at last year's Stitches East that had me knitting like a madwoman until I finished my first sweater which, by the way, was the one I forgot and left at home this year.

Let my momentum continue!

Bona Fide Knitter