Sunday, February 22, 2009

Madrona report and knitting

I'm sorry I didn't post last week. To make up for it, I am posting a very, very long update this week.

First of all, we went to the glass museum in Tacoma. To access it from the hotel where the fiber arts retreat is held, you walk across a bridge of glass. One side of the bridge is lined with a gallery of Chihuly glass objects called the Venetian Wall . Here are some of the items showing how they are arranged. The light coming through the back is daylight. This section is open to the air though the objects are inside cases.

These photos are taken with my cell phone camera so they aren't the best. I forgot to take my real camera to Madrona.

Another section of the gallery.
A third section. The objects are amazing.
These glass block towers are at the end of the bridge, showing a promise of things to come. Another section of the bridge is covered. The ceiling is filled with Chihuly glasswork that makes it look like a coral reef.
More ceiling.

We spent 3 hours at the museum in the Hot Shop watching Lino Tagliapietra making gorgeous glass objects. His specialty is balloon like glass objects with lots of color and long trailing ends. You can see a bad photo of two objects on the table below. Again, I blame my cell phone camera. You can see better photos at the link above and here. At Madrona, I took a stash busting scarf weaving class. The yarn I brought with me was too fragile for the warp so I borrowed yarn from the teacher, Syne Mitchell. Syne is the author of the Weavecast and is an amazing teacher. We used a rigid heddle loom and completed this scarf in a day. I am very pleased with mine. It looks very Indian to me. I braided the fringe.I bought these persimmon dyed skeins. Chris Conrad uses a Japanese method called Kakishibui to dye these. The lavendar grey comes from iron and the golden color is the natural color from the dye. These are skeins of tencel. They will become a shawl but I don't know what kind yet.
I also took a class from Janine aka Feralknitter. As I was knitting the swatches in class, I realized that I had almost no yellow in my small collection of Shetland at home. So I invested in 5 skeins of yellow Shetland.
I also used a coupon to get a discount on these skeins of Mini-Mochi sock yarn. I love the colors.

Lastly, I finally finished the Lorna's Laces sweater after much ripping. I had to re-do the hem twice. The first time I went down a needle size without thinking and the resulting hem was too small to go over my head. A few minutes of thought made me realize that for a lace pattern that stretches, with a garter hem, I needed to go UP a needle size, not down. Since my size 8 KP Harmony needles had the same problem as my size 7 ones, I decided to use the size 9 and make a split hem. So 2 bodies and 3 hems later, it is done.
Here is a close-up of the body pattern. I used the coin lace pattern without any bordering twisted stitches for the body. You drop the stitch in between the coin lace to create the lacy effect. I get the vertical lines I wanted and the color of the garment below breaks up the striping.

I also pulled out my copy of Spinning the Old Way and started reading it. I am determined to practice my spinning. I thought I would do it every Thursday but last week I had to go grocery shopping and was too tired to spin after. But my resolution is to spin at least once a week.
That is all for now. I am starting a modular sweater for a knit-along but I'll save that for later.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Madrona, here we come!

I'm sorry! I made a mistake and took the completed socks to the yarn store without taking their portraits. So while I finished the socks, I have nothing to show you. I promise I will photograph them and post the photo the next time I go the yarn store. They are for a sock knit-along so I wanted to get them there as a sample.

In the meantime, I've been getting ready for the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. It starts this Thursday and runs through Sunday in Tacoma. Last year was my first year and I had such a good time that I decided to go back.

First, I had to find a way to transport my spindle because I am hoping to practice my spindling when I am there. There are lots of superb spinners there and I need help desperately. After much searching, I found this tin at the local wine store. It is cute.
It makes a good spindle transporter because there is room to package the spindle in bubble wrap and it is rigid.
This is my spindle with the pathetic amount of yarn I have spun on it over a couple of years. It is a lovely Bosworth spindle that feels gorgeous so I want to spin some more on those days when I am brain dead and can't knit.

I am taking a weaving class and this is the yarn I've put together for the class. They are all laceweight singles from Morehouse Merino. I have to finish winding the remaining skeins tonight before I pack.

The other class I'm taking is from Feral Knitter who is an amazing fair-isle designer. She is going to teach us how to pick colors for fair-isle. One of her designs is in Sweaters From Camp and I've seen her lovely designs at Knitting Camp each summer.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Raindrop Lace socks

This is my new project which is going gangbusters. It is enjoyable knitting. It requires some thought and attention but not much.

Here's the pattern. It is an Evelyn Clark design by Fiber Trends.

Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern. It is a very simple 4 row variation on Feather and Fan. I love Feather and Fan variations. The needles are my very favorite Rhodo-Cristal Nacre needles. I bought them at Patternworks when I first started knitting socks and I love the slickness of them and the pointy ends. Pony Pearls are just not as slick or pointy for me. The yarn is Claudia's Hand-painted Yarn in Country Kitchen. It is very soft and I'm not sure how well these socks will last given the looser gauge (7 spi vs my usual 9 spi) and the merino. But it is a pleasure to knit with and the socks will be lovely to wear. I just have to be gentle with them.
I am past the heel gusset on the first sock. I should finish it in a day or so. The leg looks a bit long and skinny but it is extremely elastic and as it becomes wider, it shortens. It should be fine once worn.
Here's a view of the stitch pattern once it is stretched out. Isn't it pretty? I love the way the handpaint looks in this pattern.
More knitting fun next week!