This years Stitches experience for me was very different from previous years. It's my 15th convention. The first one I attended I had been knitting all of 3 months. I haven't missed one since and I've taken classes every year. I try to review the classes before registration opens and usually signup the first day. This year I missed the first day of registration which meant alot of the "good" classes were filled. Knitting and Stitches have been gaining popularity over the years so you snooze, you lose. There were still too many choices and with 14 Stitches under my belt not much that interested me. All my favorite teachers were booked or not coming (Madrona, another knitting convention was being held the same weekend up in Seattle), and most classes covered things I'd already done. Frustrated I gave up. About a month before I checked to see if there were any classes still open and found there were, plus they added some. So, reluctantly I signed up.
I really wasn't expecting that much. My first class "Morphing Cables" was taught by Fiona Ellis -- love her stuff, have both her books. I came in sat down, got all my things out, knit the 4x3 purl/knit rib and waited. She talked about cables crossing and cables travelling then she said, "using the 4 right and left crossing/travelling stitches knit something from your swatch". I froze. I was utterly paralyzed. Um, where's the chart? She kept talking, "think about where your paths are and where you want them to go". She also put a graph up depicting the angle of acceleration of travelling/crossing stitches. I'm not good at this -- I can follow directions, charts, I know how to fix a missed crossed cable. But I couldn't just go. I wasn't the only one. Lots of us were just plain stuck. So she gave us permission to screw around, just play, see what happens and well, it was slow at first, but this is what happened:
Cable swatch with Sweethearts basket.
Not bad, eh? I first went in, then out with a few twists here and there and something emerged! Not perfect, but it made me think. So many possibilities. I was inspired, hey, I was getting excited.
The last couple years I was busy with conventions, Stitches 2010 and CNCH 2010 were back to back and I managed booths at both of them, plus a spinning contest. For Stitches I coordinate the "Learn to Spin" booth where we teach spinning on drop spindles made with repurposed CD's, a grommet and a wooden dowl. Have I taught you to spin? Add to that coordinating the "Spinning Wheel Corral" at CNCH and their "Return to Sender" spinning contest. Plus my first year at pattern writing (with deadlines!) Well, let's just say I didn't knit much. So by the time Stitches came round again, I was altogether unenthused.
My second class was with Myra Wood, "More Creative Lace Knitting". I'd never heard of her, didn't know about her book and how it sold out w/in 4 months of it's first printing and was now
Lace swatch with mini rose basket.
I know, boring. Then she brought out her samples. Wow. And I'm not talking intricate gossamer lace wow. Or complicated lace doilies turned shawl size wow. All of her stuff was knitted in simple lace patterns but in variegated yarn. It was beautifully unexpected. One of the pieces was Citron (from Knitty) where she filled the stockinette with random lace patterns she got from a chart generator. Unbelievable. I left the class thinking, 1) I gotta get that book and 2) I have to knit citron in rainbow.
Check it out, I found the book at Newtons and look at what was already in my stash? Serendipity. I'll have to tell you the story of how I found that book and my last class in my next post.