Friday, February 11, 2005

Coming to Stitches? Wear comfortable shoes.

The excitement started yesterday when I met Jeni for lunch about 4 blocks from the convention center. We dined at Amarin Thai (closest Thai food to my office and damned good, in my humble.) I think the colorful nature of Thai food was a good intro to the sensory overload we were about to experience. We talked about our knittng bags, shopping plans, classes. Then, all tasted up for the conference, we trotted down to the convention center and plunged in .

I started with Sally Melville's "First Choices" class. Sally is a genius. We covered two basic topics: what looks good on you? Colors, of course, but matte or shiny? Stiff construction or drapey? Small patterns or big? Densely packed or scattered? And what about shapes? V-neck? Boat neck? What looks good with different body types?

In the second half of class, we drafted a pattern for a drop shoulder crew neck sweater starting from gauge, a desired circumference and a desired length. We did a bunch of simple math to come up with a stitch count to accommodate a pattern repeat and place the neck correctly. We learned to design simple sleeves (whre do the increases go, how to accommodate the pattern and match it at the shoulders). We then planned out modifications if this were a V-neck sweater, a modified drop shoulder, or even *gasp* set in sleeves. I took notes throughout the class as if my hand was on fire. Sally just tosses out useful knowledge with every sentence. It's very obvious she has planned her class out so she covers everything in a logical way with enough humor and student partipation to keep us alert through the math bits.

What can I say? Take her classes. She's an inspiration, both in her work and in her personal sense of style. She was wearing a linen blend sweater knit from a pattern in A Gathering of Lace, which of course fit her perfectly and showed off everything she was teaching: she looks good in matte, drapey fabrics, in a V neck, with a fairly short length. The cute black leather not-so-mini skirt and matching tiny heeled boots don't hurt either. Add in her Noro Kureyon leggings (see the Knit Stitch) and and the huge piece of tulle she uses as a scarf for a totally individual look that suits her exactly perfectly. Maybe we should convince her to teach "how to know when you look good" classes?

Jeni and & I reconevened for dinner and then on to the marketplace. This is where my advice comes in. If you are coming to shop at Stitches, wear comfortable shoes. 200 vendor/information booths! The distance you have to travel to look at even 30% is amazing.

I estimate I saw about 1/3 of the vendors last night, including Webs, Imagiknit, WEBS, Yarn Barn, Afghans for Afghans, Philosopher's Wool, and Foxy Fibers, source of nothing but Koigu! The local Lace Knitters group have a both in the way back (turn right as you enter the door & keep walking til you hit the last aisle, they are on the right, across from Webs) I dropped about $270 on books and koigu (almost all books. I am a librarian, after all!) and I have plans to purchase a *gasp* $125 t-shirt kit in hand-dyed rayon from Interlacements as well as A Gathering of Lace, if I can find it, as well as yarn for my classes on Sunday.

The intensity of the colors is a little emotionally affecting, as Jeni notes in her blog. I really find that color can sometimes access emotional energy you were ignoring (man is that a northern california thing to say... just go with it for a sec). There must be 15 or more booths just bursting with their own hand-dyed yarns in amazing profusion. The color I noticed overwhelming last night was red - on Jeni and her fabulous Klaralund, of course, but so many other knitters were wearing red and so many booths led with red. RED! GET IT! Another popular color is cool sky blues. I thinks somehow the two of them together, representing such different spectra, such different ideas associated with them, set up a giant moire pattern that just opens up the heart.

So come to the show.. stay a long time. See the fabulous vendor booths and information spaces. Be prepared for very tired legs and feet by the end of the day, and if you react to color anything like I do.. be prepared for a strangely emotional response. When I came home, I felt creatively inviggorated, emotionally lifted and somehow calmer than normal.

Can't wait to see you there!

5 Comments:

Blogger Bogie said...

I'm ready!

February 11, 2005 1:27 PM  
Blogger Ilona said...

Me too! I could really use a kick in the creative pants. My monotonous baby blankie pictures and stalled alpaca sweater are killin' me.

February 11, 2005 2:59 PM  
Blogger Abigail said...

I hope I'm going to have enough time for the marketplace! Maybe I'll try to get my husband to watch Niels tonight so I can go tonight instead of trying to add more time tomorrow or going between classes on Sunday. Do you think 11:30 to 1:30 is enough time to shop the marketplace AND have lunch?

February 11, 2005 3:42 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

I will be there tomorrow! Dragging my boyfriend around. I'm so excited, but I'm going to take my credit cards out of my wallet and only bring $100 so I know I can't spend more than that, because, well, I know I can't spend more thant that...

well that's my plan... :)

February 11, 2005 5:22 PM  
Blogger KackieC said...

Hey! In one of those role reversal moments we all have from time to time, I am sooo completely jealous that you took Sally's class at Stitches. I'll tell you what I learned in Knitting Disasters if you tell me what you learned in your class! I'm hoping to get to the meetup this week so maybe we can swap some tips then...

And just to sweeten the pot I'm tagging you with the music meme going around. The questions are on my site: hereknittyknitty.com.

February 13, 2005 10:28 AM  

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