Monday, August 25, 2008

Pretty acquisitions

First of all, let me welcome Terry to the readership circle. She is somewhere on a boat on the Pacific coast of Mexico. I've sat next to her at Camp for 2 years and missed her this year.

As promised, this is all eye candy. First, the yarn I won and am currently knitting. I don't normally knit yarn as soon as it is acquired. But I brought this along as a backup to the Wild Apple and I've had to put that aside for now due to some recalculation of numbers that is needed. I've started the sweater I have planned with this yarn twice and am thinking of re-starting it again. I have 1200 yds and I want to see if I can make the sweater I want in this yardage. It is a challenge. The yarn is mill-ends of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Motherlode. Secondly, Cheryl Oberle's hand-painted lace weight alpaca. It looks as luscious as it feels. The hand-painting/dyeing has caused some of the dye to split so there are shades of purple (for example) although the overall effect is that of the chartreuse that is the main color.
I also bought a random selection of brights in Jamieson and Smith jumperweight Shetland. This, combined with some Harrisville Shetland I got from Elann a while ago, is for my chu'llos and Latvian mittens.
I blame Colleen for this next lovely. She had one the last day of Camp and I fell in love. I paid for it and asked Michelle to pick one out and send it to me. Isn't it gorgeous? It is a nostepinne...
and it is a knitting stick. You can insert a needle into this hole and tuck the stick into your belt for fast and furious knitting. However, I don't have the long double points needed to use it. But I can use it as a nostepinne.
I went to Camp with the intention of buying the Knitting Workshop DVD. I did. But I also bought the new reprint of Mary Wright's guernsey book...
and the Faroese colorwork book...
(a peek at the contents)
and a lovely book in Latvian...
Don't ask me what it is all about but it is filled with fabulous photos of sweaters like this.
And last but not least, Liz Upitis's Latvian Mittens book. This is the mitten I am going to make first.
Whew! Isn't that quite a haul? Why do I succumb when I have way too much yarn, a great knitting library and everything else I need to knit?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Day in the Life of Retreat 2.75, Part IV

This is the last of the behind-the-scenes at Camp photo essays. Today we will look at the last morning. In past years, we had the contest and the raffle on Monday morning but this made for a very hectic, even frantic morning. We would be rushing around trying to say adieus, do the contest and raffle, check-out and leave. So Schoolhouse Press decided to move the contest and raffle to Sunday and leave Monday for a nice leisurely breakfast and farewells. I thought it worked very well.

Nancy commented that it was a good thing I was dragging this out. Thank you Nancy! I am enjoying reliving the very short weekend that is Camp. It is really a long weekend but it feels shorter than usual because there is so much happening. Monday is for farewells. There are lots of hugs and chats. Some of us get to the room early and finish packing up or just sit and knit. Others come just in time for breakfast which is in an adjacent room.
It is also the last opportunity to take photos of really amazing things. Marilyn Van Keppel is modeling her winning contest entry - the Heere Be Dragone shawl.
Linda Lutz and Cheryl Oberle were busy during Camp tying knots in knitted fabric to make lovely shibori-dyed scarves. Linda had done a mini-workshop on this technique, and it is fascinating. But their tied scarves had a weird sort of textural aspect to them that I tried to capture. We decided the tied sections looked like multi-colored intestinal villi. The finished scarves are quite spectacular and not at all like villi - real or imagined.We wait in line to hug and say 'see you again!' to Meg.
We take lots of pictures. They have to last a whole year at least. Not everyone will be at next year's Camp. Camp seats are given out by lottery and so there is no guarantee we'll be back. Then there is the personal element. There are other things in life that may interfere with people coming back.
Everyone tries to say 'see you next year' to everyone else. Sometimes you meet up with someone on the last day without having chatted with them over the weekend. I try to move around the room and chat with different groups of people over the course of the weekend but sometimes schedules don't always enable me to talk to everyone. When I'm in the room after or before class, they aren't. Or they are deep in conversation with someone else. I make sure I at least wish everyone a good year on Monday.
Lastly, there is the Schoolhouse Press group. Meg and Michelle are wonderful and patient. They are always smiling and make Camp such a warm experience.
Monday is also settling-up day. The Schoolhouse Press staff is set up in the lobby and we get to finally pay for our purchases. From left, Michelle, Tami, Amy, Joyce and Eleanor. This is the time when reality hits home - "Did I really buy all that?"

Next week I'll show you what I bought - some impulse and some planned.

Edited to replace all the 'goodbyes' with other words per Nancy's comment.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Day in the Life of Retreat 2.75, Part III

Today we will look at some special events that happen during Camp. The first is Market Day. On Saturday, one of the adjoining rooms is set up as a market. Vendors consist of both Camp attendees and non-attendees. I didn't take a photo of the market itself while it was happening as all you would see were bodies. This is the tail end of market.
There's fiber and yarn hung on racks.
Other goodies are spread out on tables. There is always a run on hand-painted yarn. This year, additionally, there was a crowd around a vendor selling hand-made wood objects and Jennie the potter, a Camp attendee. There are T-shirts, soap and spinning supplies.

Another important event is the contest on Sunday. Each year the campers suggest and vote on a theme for the following year. The theme this year was Mythical Beasts. Entry is completely voluntary and not everyone enters every year. Each contestant gets up and describes their entry, which is assigned a number. Once all the entries have been described or demonstrated (some are performance art), they are put on a row of chairs in the center of the room along with their numbers. Campers walk around and vote on their top 2 entries.
That is one side of the row of chairs with an entry on each one.Here you can see campers milling around the center examining the entries. It feels like musical chairs without the music as everyone shuffles around the chairs making up their minds on their top 2 entries.This is the other side of the row of chairs. You can see 'Mythical Beets' (a play on the theme) and a unicorn shadow knitted into a vest.

Another special event on Sunday is the raffle. There is a scholarship fund in Elizabeth's name to help deserving campers attend Camp without having to pay. I think there was enough money collected last year to have a scholarship winner at each session this year. Retreat 2.75 campers have a raffle to raise money for the scholarship fund. Many campers bring donations for the prizes. I need to remember to do this next year.

Amy does a fantastic job describing the prizes in glowing words. We decide on the value of a ticket and then buy as many as we want. The items are put in the center of the room (no chairs this time) and bins are put next to each one. We drop as many tickets into each bin as we want, with zero and 100% being acceptable numbers.Here you see one of the most valuable prizes in the foreground. The daughters of one of the campers embroiders a set of dish towels every year. Everyone wants to win them.Campers walk around and inspect the items and decide how to spend their raffle tickets above.While the raffle is going on, Christie counts the votes for the contest. Some of us spend a lot of time deciding what to vote on or what to compete for in the raffle and others decide rather quickly. The quick decision makers hang around in the back chatting.

There will be two more parts to this series. Yes, I am dragging it out because I am enjoying reliving Retreat 2.75 as I write this little diary. Also, there are so many photos that it is better spaced out a bit.

I want to welcome Terry and Dot Com Mom as readers. Thank you for your comments.

Nancy, I will be letting you in on the color scheme I'm currently considering for the mittens. I think I need more colors for the chu'llo but we'll see. Colleen, cool hats are always welcome, even if Waltham is not the frozen tundra. I see people wearing hats in the summer! And last but not least, Laura, I enjoy posting about Camp as much as you seem to be enjoying reading about it. And yes, everyone has a gorgeous lace shawl or an even more gorgeous fair-isle that they are modeling. It is a good thing the room is usually cold!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Day in the Life will be right back after...

a short break for some knitting news.

I have been knitting quite regularly, maybe inspired by all the lovelies at Camp. First of all, I finished the socks I started back in February at Madrona. I've named these Boysenberry Waffles. You've seen them before. Here's the pair:
A close up of the broken rib pattern.
A closer look at the heel. You can see the little gussets I make so that I can work eye-of-partridge st on the heel and make it deeper. I purled the gussets so I didn't have to keep track of them. You just increase till you have the correct number of purled sts and decrease till all of them are gone.
I also made a beaded beret in Rowan Wool/silk in the Bramble colorway. I thought I would knit this at Camp and I swatched for it there but I didn't have enough beads. This is for a class where I'll be teaching two different beading techniques. My usual beading class involves about 10 different techniques but that involves just a sampler. Students wanted a real project so I came up with this. The brim has the beads threaded on and that was why I couldn't start without all the beads on the yarn. I use a Big Eye needle to thread beads as some of you may have seen when I was making my necklace. One can also use a floss threader but I find it too floppy to pick up the beads. This is a close-up of the finished brim with the shadowed diamonds pattern that I designed. The blue diamonds have a green shadow.
On the top, I put the beads on the st via a crochet hook. The crochet hook that fit the hole in the bead was too small to grab the yarn without splitting it. So I struggled with fixing the splits. I remembered that vanessa had mentioned that Oral-B Superfloss could be used for the same purpose. So I went out and bought some and voila! it worked beautifully. The Superfloss is not as fast as the crochet hook when it works well , but much faster than fixing a split st when it doesn't work as well. Yes, the photo is out of focus. But you can see the result. I'll take a better picture next time I pull out the camera.

I'm working on the Wild Apple. It has been slow going because I am increasing after the yoke. That means the rounds are getting longer and longer. I am up to over 500 sts between the front, back and two sleeves. But I am almost done. Once I divide for the underarms, the body is one long mindless knit. I knit really fast when I'm just doing mindless stockinette so it doesn't take as long as it might for others.

I don't win things. Or so I said till I went to Camp last year. I won two raffle items last year, a lot of vintage Rowan yarns and the Natural Knitter by Barbara Albright. This year I won some lovely skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport Mill-ends in Motherlode. Frequently, folks bring items they've knit with winnings and prizes for show-and-tell. The vintage Rowan is very precious and I want to do something really beautiful and unique with it. However, I have a plan for the Lorna's Laces.

I am debating whether the Lorna's Laces project or a pair of mittens from Latvian Mittens or a ch'ullo inspired by Andean Folk Knitting by Cynthia LeCount is going to be my next project. I am failing miserably at coming up with a color scheme for the chu'llo (more in a future post) but I think I have a good one for a pair of mittens. So one of the first two will be next.

Now we return you to your regularly scheduled programming...