I hope it will make yours. 4 minutes.
Want more? Here's the website.
Still catching my breath after the fair . . .
The best thing about having knit pals who write books is that every once in a while you can catch them at their signings, like I did during Amy and Jillian's moment of rest at the Carolina Homespun booth.
If ever you doubt that Knitty Amy is not a bundle of fun . . .
Or that she and Jillian don't have a blast hanging out together . . .
Doesn't this just make you want to jump in their luggage?
Scout was there too, but I didn't get a picture. Nor did I photograph Franklin or Sean or Stephen (who swagged me)or Kay and Ann, or Margene or really any one else I saw all too briefly but who you already know was there, and if you are reading this you very well may be one of them. I have few photos to prove I spoke to many people, but such is the whirlwind of Rhinebeck.
I did buy one thing. One. Astonishing I know, but it's true. 2600 yards of this colour of Briar Rose Legend. What it will be? no idea, but it will occupy a prize position in the stash until that is revealed.
Hard on the heels of SOAR, I threw sweaters and boots and knitting back into the trusty hockey duffel and drove west again, this time to Rhinebeck. The drive was the first time in a week I had a chance to gather my thoughts, and I realized somewhere around Danbury CT that I had neglected to pack things like underwear and toothpaste. Lucky for me Target is handy to Highway 84 right about there.
I missed last year's festival, so I was anxious to connect, if only to say hi, to familiar faces, and hug friends. It amuses me greatly that I sometimes have to drive to New York to see the Boston Girls.
Helen had unblocked but still lovely lace with her.
And Sherry, the NETA Roving Reporter, had on a Kauni creation of her own design.
Obligatory Sheep Shot
Obligatory Yarn Porn (at Hope Spinnery)
It's a happy day. In this moment of cultural turmoil, it's nice to see everyone with such enormous smiles. I didn't see a glum face all day, except maybe on a long-suffering toddler or two.
That's what the FUN SLIDE is for though, eh?
And you know that prevailing notion about how people resemble their dogs?
I survived Soar, again. Try as hard as they might, they cannot kill me.
My Dungeons and Dragons buddies in college used to say that anything that doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Now, I am not so sure. I feel anything but strong at the moment.
Last year at SOAR, I felt like I had been given the keys to the kingdom. The gates opened and the choir sang and Judith Mackenzie McCuin smiled upon me and it was good. I was a spinner and there was a mysticism available to me that I had only ever suspected but now knew was true. I had not yet earned it myself, but I knew it was there.
This year at SOAR, I came with high expectations that my forward movement in the craft would be similar and I was excited for the moment when all (or some) would be revealed. And there was a number of other things going on involving time away from family and deadlines and all this "Me" time that I really felt I had no right to be taking, but that's really another post. So let's just say that the pressure was on, and I had better get something out of this, fer pete's sake. Estonian Lace knitting? check. Gotta take a class with Nancy Bush if you have the chance to take a class with Nancy Bush. Cashmere with Robin Russo? Absolutely, especially since I have one of her husband's wheels, and even though Robin lives here in New England, I've never wrangled a class with her in spite of her stellar reputation as a teacher. Here was my chance. And I signed up for Big and Lofty yarns and Spindle Productivity. These were skills I already had, but hoped to polish. Sadly, my own problems got in the way.
Now on any given day, I make a reasonable yarn. I don't like it very much, and how often I actually knit with it should give you an idea of my opinion of it. Trouble is, I compare it to other people's yarns. I look around at the thin and consistent singles on my neighbor's bobbins, and then look at my own. My heart invariably sinks. And at SOAR, this was especially acute. Not only was my usual dissatisfaction piqued by all of the fab spinning going on around me, but I fell down a lot this year. I couldn't spin to save my life. I reallized many of my fundamental assumptions about how to even hold the fiber were leading me astray and it's no WONDER I don't like my spinning. I spent a lot of time on the verge of tears, if you can imagine anyone taking all of this so seriously.
I'm going to get a lot of reassuring comments about how nice my spinning is or some other well meaning consolation and I appreciate your impulse to put your virtual arm around my shoulders. I know this will not help because there were a number of people at SOAR who lovingly fell all over themselves to look at me sympathetically and try to make it better, and I am embarrassed that they had to waste any of their own fab time at SOAR on my crap.
Here's the thing. I realized something that for me, is pretty big: I need to separate my spinning -- and my knitting for that matter -- from my self- esteem. At the heart of my heart, I believe that knitting and spinning makes me a good person, and good knitting and spinning makes me even better. So when my results are less than decent, I feel like crap about myself. How's that, Mr Freud? Obvious and enlightened as dirt, perhaps, but true in the difficult kind of way that has taken me this long to figure out. I long ago lost touch with the enjoyment and the experimental nature of it all. I'm not even sure that I ever did it merely for fun.
So the answer to the question everyone was asking at breakfast on Sunday, "what was the best thing I learned at SOAR?" turns out to have been more personal than I could have imagined. I wasn't really ready with the answer then, and I'm not really finished with it now, but I think I have some work to do.
Taking PS 136 from finished knitting to finished object has so far been a painstaking process.
I picked up the usual ratio of 2 stitches for every 3 rows up along the steeked cardigan edges, but came up with 112 stitches, far short of Solveig Hisdal's recommended 144 for the button bands. I counted the rows (166) and compared my finished pattern repeats with the one in the book, and wondered how she had managed to get 144 stitches crammed into 166 rows. I knit a few rows of the button bands, and thought maybe I could use a slightly larger stitch count given the slight pull in I was getting, but certainly not 32 additional stitches.
Since the only real reason to follow her recommendation was so that I could use her calculations for placing the button holes, I decided to do my own math. I ripped, and picked up 3 stitches for every 4 rows, landing me at 125 stitches. What ensued was a furious volley of numbers, calculations, and dumb luck guesses that won me 7 evenly spaced button holes, with the first one centered in the miter between the button and neck bands, and the last hole 7 stitches up from the bottom edge. For me, math muddle that be my brain, it was a spectacular achievement.
By the way, here are the buttons I'm thinking about. Not the daisies though. The petals, as it turns out, make a nice serrated edge. Pretty but deadly.
I may have promised that I would call when I was going to cut my knitting, both for the moral support of having your company (if only over the phone) and so you could actually hear the slice of the yarn, or decide at that moment if it would be worth the schlep to come over and watch. You must have a secret stash of snuff films I know, because why else would you be interested in the look of terror on my face at such a moment.
But I'm over it.
I have had a few vicarious experiences in the meantime, and last week, I steeked for the Twist Blog with a yarn not normally thought of as the cutting type: Classic Elite Fresco -- my new favorite sport weight. And all of this has been fine.
I was therefore, able to face down the steek on PS 136 all on my own, and the reason I didn't call was because I figured you were over it too. But I'll recap, in case you remain interested.
I put the sweater over the mannequin, primarily to check if the sleeves are going to be long enough (still an anxiety of mine). I'd already divided for the front and back, basted with contrast yarn to mark the cuts up the front and at the two sleeves. I let it sit like that for awhile while I thought about my next step.
I made a test run on a scrap of fabric to make sure my machine stitches were about the same size and width as my knit stitches. Then I sewed down both sides of the contrast yarn.