A Good Yarn

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Yesterday the Minnesota Knitters Guild held our annual Yarnover - a sort of mini-Stitches conference. It's a one day event with a keynote speaker, classes, a lunch and a yarn market. Guild members have first shot at registering for the classes, which is the main reason I belong to the MKG.

When we arrived, we received this lovely bag, obviously donated by Amazing Threads.

They were available in green, bright pink, dark blue and brown. I am not a morning person, so by the time I arrived all that was left was brown. At lunch, I bemoaned the fact that I hated brown, so a very, very nice woman offered to trade me her green one. I think we all know how much I like green! This is one of those jelly bags that is so popular right now, which is perfect for when I spill coffee on my bag. It also has a nice little zippered pouch which snaps inside. There's also a little compartment inside, I'm not sure what it's designed for. It does sort of smell very strongly of plastic, which is why the very, very nice woman was willing to trade me - she said she probably won't use it because she'll get ill from the smell. I'm hoping that it'll air out over time.

Inside of the bag were lots of little fliers and a collection of different patterns:

I had been thinking about buying that little book, "Knitters I know", so I'm very pleased to have gotten that. I'm thinking about knitting a couple of those Classic Elite cardigans. I didn't see anything I liked in the "Knit N Style", so if anyone wants it, let me know and I'll ship it off to you. Make sure you leave an email address if you leave a comment because Blogger's comment program does not allow you to email back.

We also had a scarf kit from Pine Tree Yarns, which was donated by Needlework Unlimited:

These also came in a number of different colorways and they had a little table set up with extra kits so you could exchange for a different colorway if you wanted to. My original kit was a nice dark blue and gray colorway, but I thought this pink and green one would be more fun. Pine Tree Yarns is going to be a Maryland Sheep & Wool, so I'll have to check out their other yarns.

At the end of the day, if you turn in your event evaluation form, you get a little prize. For years, it was a mug with the Yarnover logo and the year printed on it. Every year the mug was a different color, so it was pretty fun to have a little collection of these mugs, but last year they decided to try something different and gave out a really cute pen. Loved it. This year Shelley and the gang outdid themselves, though, and we got a beaded bracelet kit:

Shelley was wearing hers and it was very, very cute! I can't wait to knit this thing up. I didn't even choose this colorway - it just happens to be the one I was given.

The class I took was an all day class - Knitting 2 socks on 2 circular needles from the top down. I like the technique a lot and I'll definitely use it again. We were supposed to bring sport weight yarn and two circular needles 1 or 2 sizes smaller than called for. I brought some Rowan and sport is usually knit on a size 3 or 4, so I brought size 2 needles. Well, they knit a very firm gauge with this fabric. Which is pretty good for socks, but it really hurt my hands to knit pretty much all day on such a tight gauge. We were knitting toddler socks and I'm afraid they're too narrow for any kid's foot. On such a small gauge, it took me the whole day just to get up to the gussets, too, so the actual instruction time in class was only about 1 hour, which is kind of disappointing. But, that's the nature of something like this. Luckily I've knit socks before, so I was able to figure out how to turn the heels and did that last night when I got home. After the heels, I switched to size 3 needles, which feels much better. Hopefully the leg part will be big enough for some kid with really narrow feet. I'll post a picture of them when I finish them up.

They keynote speaker was Lucy Neatby. She has a delightful Welsh accent and wry sense of humor. Not to mention bright blue and purple hair, multi-colored knitwear and two shoes that don't match. She spoke about rescuing your knitting - you don't always have to finish everything. Don't immediately rip things out - start over with new yarn and you may find you liked the first way better. You can use mistakes for something else - create a pillow or bag, sew and cut into something else, etc. I thought I'd looked at this book before, but my sock teacher had a bunch of sock books in the classroom and I fell in love with Lucy's book, so I bought a copy and she autographed:

A bunch of us AK met up in the cafeteria over lunch and for some shopping. I thought I was relatively restrained, but some of my classmates thought I'd bought a lot.

First, I bought some Chinese cashmere. One of my AK friends knows these folks, Silk Road North Woods, and told me that they adopted a Chinese baby. When she got a little older, they took her back to China to see her homeland and made connections with a yarn manufacturer. They import cashmere, silk and Chinese bactrian camel wool to Minnesota and then hand paint them into beautiful color combos and sell them. I'm thinking this cashmere will become an incredibly soft scarf:

Next I bought some sport weight microfiber:

I was thinking maybe socks, but I'm not sure how well they'll wear. I did a search and found someone blogged that they worked well for socks she knit, so maybe I'll still knit socks. I had never seen this yarn before, which is why I bought it. In my goggling I found out it's on elann, so I could have gotten it much cheaper there. Oh well, at least I supported a yarn store from my home state of SD.

I also bought some Peace Fleece from South Dakota Natural Colored Wool Studio:

Love, love, love the Peace Fleece concept and I've never bought any, so I couldn't resist these bright colors. I was originally thinking a buttonhole type of bag, but now I think I'm going to make one of Susan's felted baskets. I keep all of my receipts in a basket before I go through them and enter the in for taxes (I know, it's appalling) and I noticed on Friday that the bottom of the basket is really coming apart, so a nice knitted basket might make doing taxes more cozy.

From Playing with Yarn, I bought another beaded bracelet kit, since I enjoy bead knitting so much:

I also got a dichroic glass button there, but I forgot to take a picture of it. It's lime green, blue, silver and black. I was thinking I'd use it on a felted bag, but I may use it for a bracelet instead.

Finally, I don't consider this a yarn purchase, but more a home furnishings/artwork purchase (in fact, it's not going into the yarn stash inventory).

I bought that from Clickety-Sticks. I never go to that store because it's not really near the places I frequent. However, I really like Tamara and try to buy stuff from her when I see her at stuff like Yarnover. When I first started knitting, I used to go to Three Kittens and Tamara was always really nice and helpful to me as a new knitter. One of my first sweaters was an Alice Starmore design. I didn't want to do it in wool because I didn't wear much wool in those days (I know, what was wrong with me?). Despite the fact that a stranded pattern really works better in wool, after making sure I really didn't want to use wool, she helped me pick out a good Classic Elite yarn that was a cotton/silk blend. She also convinced me to use circular needles, which I now use exclusively (except DPNs, which I still like just fine). So, in appreciation for nurturing a future knitting addict, I want to support her.

So, overall, not a bad haul. I supported yarn stores I don't frequent all the time around here. I got some really good stuff, but in a reasonable amount instead of that huge amount of Blue Sky Alpaca that I got last year for a cabled sweater for me (No, I haven't knitted it up yet) or the expensive cashmere I bought for a scarf and gloves for me a couple of years ago. I did notice a orange trend to my purchases. I'm not sure what that's about. I used to hate orange, but it's really growing on me ever since I made that orange and green bead jewelry for Alissa....