Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Day in the Life of Retreat 2.75, Part 2

Today we will focus on one of the best aspects of Camp outside the actual session - socializing! I find this the most stimulating part except for the learning. We wander around looking at each other's projects.
People socialize a lot with those who sit near them. Seats are first-come-first-served. Right after the buffet on Thurs, the classroom opens and there is a rush to find seats. Typically room-mates and friends sit together but your neighbors across the table and next to you might be people you haven't met or sat near before. It is a good way to make new friends.
Then there is the petting and sharing of new acquisitions.
One can also work on one's knitting without paying attention to the hubbub around.
There are always piles of yarn lying around to stimulate one's imagination.
People move around and catch up with friends from years past.
Long-time friends and roomies spend quality time together.
One can admire the knitting of masters in a genre.And one can fondle yarn in all its glory. I love looking at people's projects and chatting with them, catching up on their year. But I never get to everyone every year.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Day in the Life of Retreat 2.75, Part 1

Before I start, I want to acknowledge comments on previous posts:
  • Maria: the sourdough wheat bread is so tasty that I find other breads quite flat-tasting now. However, I put a tad too much pepper in my last potato rosemary sourdough bread and it was not a pleasant after-taste. Yuck! I am still learning how the taste of sourdough changes over time. It seems to get better after a few days and the pepper didn't blend with as much as it did on the first day.
  • Diane: Thank you! I am a relatively recent convert to blocking. I knitted for decades before discovering it about 10 or so years ago. Now I can't imagine wearing a knit without blocking first. I am quite puzzled as to why that certain catalog company thinks they can get away with it.
  • Colleen: welcome! I am quite impressed that a search on Bohus and Jaya turns up my blog. I didn't think it would rank high enough to even show up on a search! It was very nice seeing you at Camp and converting you to the religion of KidSilk Haze. I can't wait to see your Earth Stripe Wrap.
I am going to avoid the trap of showing you the photos of the gorgeous knitted items people bring to Camp. I want to allow you to live the experience and therefore, I am going to take you on a brief tour of a day at Retreat 2.75. The difference between a Retreat and a Camp is that Meg Swansen teaches less at Retreats: instead, she answers questions we submit; participates in dialog with attendees; and attendees volunteer to teach mini-workshops on many topics. It is focused more on learning from each other (and Meg), and less on learning just from Meg. That is good and bad. We all love to hear Meg teach and to learn from her. However, I also love the diversity of opinions and the different ideas that come forth when we teach each other.

These photos are not really taken on the same day, but I am going to use them to give you an idea of what we do in the course of a day. The only part that is missing is the actual session with the teaching and show and tell. I didn't want to interrupt my own thoughts with picture taking. You'll see photos of the show and tell on other Campers' blogs.

We start with breakfast from 8-9. Most of us arrive before then and mingle and sit and chat and knit. We also have a break at around 10:30 which looks a lot like breakfast. Breakfast is yogurt, muffins or bagels, fruit and coffee. Some of us get breakfast elsewhere - in our rooms, at the Kitchen Table which is owned by Meg's sister Lloie, or in other places.
This is the breakfast table with the coffee in the background.
Meg and Amy Detjen usually arrive before 9 and sit and chat with us. Amy is around all the time, even at 11 pm at night. Joyce Williams is also around all the time but she was working on a book so was not available as much as she usually is. It is wonderful to be able to learn from them in the evenings - one on one instruction from masters.
Campers eating, drinking and socializing.
We call this area the living room. It has comfy chairs and is nice for a cozy chat, especially late at night. We also have our Sunday night pizza party in this area.
Lucy, Camper in the middle, is the Koigu queen. She knits amazing things with Koigu but is not completely faithful to it. Sometimes she plays around with other yarns, with excellent results. Here are some Campers chatting and working on their projects. Mornings are always filled with anticipation and excitement. The mood is different than it is in the afternoons and evenings.More chatting and listening and looking at others' projects. I find it inspirational to see what others are working on.

I also think it important to give credit to the folks behind the scenes. So here are a few Schoolhouse Press employees. More to come later.This is Christie, Camp Director Extraordinaire. Without her none of this would be possible.If you call Schoolhouse Press, it is very likely that you will talk to Eleanor (on the left). She knows everything about everything they stock.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bohus a-round, anyone?

No, I haven't forgotten that I was going to talk to you about Knitting Camp. But I thought I'd do a quick post on a topic that I've been meaning to do for a while. It is related to Camp in that Elizabeth Zimmerman and Meg Swansen were/are major proponents of circular knitting and this is a flat to circular knitting conversion.

Many people are puzzled by the idea of doing a Bohus pattern in the round. The patterns in the kits from Solveig Gustafsson are written for knitting back and forth after the yoke is completed. I have corresponded with many people who are stymied by the concept of the short rows that are used to raise the back neck and create a better fit. I thought a couple of visuals would remove this confusion once and for all.

Here is a diagram of the way the short rows are described in the pattern. You can see that they are only on the front. This is because the partial rows are only in the front. The short rows gradually increase with each pair to go from the front armhole to just short of the center front. This raises the back neck and provides a gradual slope to the front neck so it fits better. There are no short rows on the back or sleeves because there are no partial rows there. They are all full rows across the entire width.Now here is the same set of short rows when the garment is done in the round. Essentially, one knits to just past the front armhole (or past the previous turning point), turns and purls back around to the corresponding point on the other side. This is repeated till all the short rows are completed. The turning points are exactly the same for the back-and-forth version and the in-the-round version.Note: my diagrams are not to scale.

More later when I have a bit more time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Le Sideways Cardigan est fini

I am writing this ahead of schedule because I will be away at Meg Swansen's Retreat 2.75 this weekend. My computer will be lying neglected at home so I am posting before I leave. Besides, I have news to report! After all my whining about the Sideways Cardigan and my lack of motivation to knit it, I found the motivation to finish it in record time. You can see it blocking below. The motivation came from wanting to show it off at the Retreat. Also, I want to move on. I want to start working on the next project and also to finish up my Wild Apple. So I knit on, late at night on Sunday and Monday night, finishing it. I dislike knitting things flat, especially cotton. The Purelife is a lovely soft yarn but it is cotton. Spit splicing is not possible and ends can pop out. I ended most balls at the side edges but there were a couple of places in the yoke where I ran out of yarn mid-row and didn't want to tink back. Besides, by then I realized that the edges are not all that useful in this piece because there is minimal finishing at the edges.

I did a round of single crochet around all the edges and I've pinned them down so they dry flat. I lengthened the cardigan by one repeat of the wavy pattern so it comes to my waist. My midriff does not need to be showcased. I also reduced the ease to 3-4" rather than the 6-7" in the pattern.

I have to find buttons but in the meantime I will use a shawl pin to keep the top closed.

My next few posts will be all about the Retreat. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Why do some projects strike our fancy?

I made some progress on the VK Sideways Cardigan while I was traveling. However, I didn't do much during the week. My camera is back so I have some pictures to share, though.That is the back. All done. It is pretty after it is completed.Here's the front, partially done. I have to start the neck decreases. It should go fast but I have to sit down and concentrate to deal with the chart and the pattern. Then I have to do the yoke on the other front and sew it all together. I am going to do a round of single crochet around all the edges to make them neater.

I didn't post last weekend as I got back late on Friday, had a lot of catch-up to do around the house on Sat and went to visit family on Sunday. It has been hectic.

For some reason, I am having a lot of trouble motivating myself to work on this sweater. Why is that? Isn't knitting, knitting? Yet, there are some projects I love working on - Bohus sweater for example - even in the boring parts. Here is a project that isn't all that boring. It is very quick but for some reason it hasn't caught my fancy and I don't want to work on it. I'm sure I'll love it when it is done. I like the way it looks and feels. But I don't like knitting on it. Why is that?This weed is what I am going to be pulling out of my garden today. It has taken over the north side bed of my yard and I need to eradicate it. Shallow roots, spreads by runners. Sort of pretty but very invasive.

I have a podcast recommendation, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. Very funny and informative.