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All the blogs are talking about it: Vogue Knitting LIVE ! I think Kristin Nicholas and Clara Parkes put it best, but I will put in my two cents. It has taken me until today to rest up from that amazing event in the heart of New York City. Last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 3000 knitters took part in classes taught by the top knitting instructors in the US (and some from abroad)! Yes, 3000 students! I don't know how many more came to the market. It was a wonderful, well put-together show considering it was the first time. Lots of knitters volunteered to help. The Vogue staff was so easy to work with and helpful. (Thanks so much you all!) To begin with, I took the train down from Vermont on Thursday. My friend Josie met me at Penn Station since I don't know the city and she made sure I got into my room at the hotel. We went to dinner at a Latin place downtown. (YUM!) OH, the food in that city! SO diverse. I roomed with my good friend Gail who owns Cornwall Yarn Shop in Cornwall, NY and had a blast as always. I enjoyed meeting my son, Jorn, for an early dinner on Friday. I never see enough of him, but I had to get back in time for the cocktail party that night. It was fun to rub shoulders with all those knitters, but I never saw half the teachers there, which was a shame. Just so many people and not enough time to circulate. Saturday, I taught two classes. The hotel had emptied out a floor of hotel rooms and put tables in for small classrooms. It was a tight fit but we had a great time! On Saturday night there was a banquet. The food was good and we were privileged to see the finalists of the mohair competition. Just gorgeous garments! Sunday I taught again. My students were wonderful. I enjoyed them all so much! It was a great experience and I hope to return to NYC next year! As my class came to a close, my friend Ann Denton came by to whisk me off to her loft apartment downtown. After a lovely meal and pleasant evening, I hit the hay and slept so soundly. I was so tired from the weekend and I had a big day ahead of me... The next morning, Ann took me to FIT... Here is one of many displays of the students' work... My friend Ann, who is a professor at FIT, gave me a tour of some of the labs... In the photo above, we were looking down into the video studio where the students learn about making video presentations and more. And then, Ann took me to THE KNITTING LAB! Be still my heart! She showed me flat bed knitting machines and tubular knitting machines that make T-Shirt fabric! Then I saw the crowning glory of the knitting lab: The Stoll machines! These are enormous knitting machines that are programmed by computer. There were three of them, capable of knitting 7, 10, and 12 -cut. If I remember correctly, these numbers refer to the number of spaces between one inch of needles (essentially the gauge). Here is one of them: What an incredible experience it was to see the industry side of knitting at FIT. It is so totally different from handknitting in process, but with many of the same results. I am so grateful to Ann for sharing her day and her work with me. I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did!
While on my cruise this past summer in August, the ship docked in Invergorden in Scotland. This is a little town about a half-hour from Inverness. I was so tired that I decided not to travel far. I walked off the ship and immediately saw a sign for a craft show. Never one to pass up a chance to see crafts, I walked in. I was so surprised to see several racks of ganseys hanging about as well as a stack of my book Knitting Ganseys on a table. There were loads of beautiful swatches as well! I met Kathryn Logan, the director of the Moray Firth Gansey Project. She took this photo of me... From Wikipedia: Firth is the word in the Lowland Scots language used to denote various coastal waters in Scotland. In mainland Scotland it is used to describe a large sea bay, or even a strait. In the Northern Isles it more usually refers to a smaller inlet. It is linguistically cognate to fjord. Well that explains that! The Moray Firth is a large bay in Scotland that feeds into Loch Ness where fishing, and knitting ganseys, has occurred for many a year. The three-year project was formed to try to preserve any garments still in existence, and to foster renewed interest in the motifs, the ganseys, and the heritage of this community. So, the other day, I received a press release. The Project has finalized its plans for an international gansey competition! I am so honored to have been asked to serve as one of the judges for the upcoming competition. Here is the scoop–please consider entering! Dear Friends of the Moray Firth Gansey Project, Here's what you've all been waiting for - the launch of our exciting international competition to design a new gansey pattern for the Moray Firth. Whether you are a master knitter, a complete beginner, a budding designer or simply fascinated with the Moray Firth area, this could be the competition for you. Many traditional fishermen's ganseys are considered works of art because of their decorative yet simple patterns. These patterns represented familiar everyday objects, such as ropes, nets, flags, stars, and waves. What our judges are looking for is an original design that reflects aspects of maritime or fishing life around this beautiful and productive Scottish coastline in the 21st Century. The competition is split into two sections: [a] Design a gansey patterned bag (More suitable for inexperienced knitters) [b] Design a new adult gansey pattern For full details of this exciting competition plus photographs and traditional patterns take a look at the Project website: www.gansey-mf.co.uk. The closing date is 4 April 2011 and please pass details of the competition to anyone else that may be interested. For further information, contact: Kathryn Logan, Moray Firth Gansey Project, The Moray Firth Partnership, Great Glen House, Leachkin Road, Inverness, Scotland, UK 1V3 8NW; e-mail: email@example.com; Tel: (0044) (0)1463 725027 or if outwith office hours Tel: (0044) (0)1463 793948. Go to the website. There you will find all the information needed to enter the competition. This is a DESIGN competition, meaning that it is not expected that anyone would knit a gansey by the April deadline. Swatches, charts, and descriptions are required for either a gansey or a gansey-themed bag. Non-knitters are welcome as well to join in! Stay tuned as I learn more about the event surrounding the competition that will be held this fall called (I just love this): EXTRAVAGANSEY!
Throughout most of the year, especially when my teaching schedule is hectic beyond control, a mountain of yarns, papers, bills, color cards, magazines, and other detritus appears on my desk that proceeds to spill onto the floor and crawl out to the living room, onto the sofa, chairs, and coffee table. The psychic toll this takes on my creativity and organization is immense, yet it becomes so huge that it seems impossible to tackle in a day or two. So it grows. My goal this year is to be able to see the surface of my office floor, desk and coffee table throughout the year. I am done with resolutions. They fade quickly. A goal is something to strive for. I might meet it, I might not, but any amount of striving will be good. To kick off the new year, I dedicated more than two days to organizing, throwing stuff out and filing. I even printed file folder labels on my new label printer just to impress myself with a sense of organization and clarity, since my penmanship has degenerated to that of a seasoned physician. The state of the room had to get worse before it got better in the process of sorting things out. Now, I didn't take a before picture, and somehow the photo of the middle of the process (the worst) is now no longer to be found. Just as well. I would have been so embarrassed. So here (deep sigh of relief) is the result of my toil.
I feel energized by this spaciousness. Now to keep it that way! I am busy planning my year of teaching, which will start soon. But I am distracted by iMovie. I have had a lot of fun playing with that on my new computer and making up tutorials that I will put up on my website soon (I hope). I have four movies on YouTube now with two more to process before I need to resume filming. I am open to hearing any suggestions you might have for tutorials. I have a list a mile long but may not think of something you would deem pertinent. Let me know! Thanks to all of you who have subscribed to both my YouTube movies and to this blog! If you are interested, you also can subscribe to my newsletter. Cheers!
I just put up a tutorial on You Tube on the Invisible Provisional Cast-on and it occurred to me that I could show the perfect application of this on my blog. Too bad I had already sent the hat off to the publisher or I could have incorporated it into the video. The purpose of a provisional cast-on is to knit in one direction on a piece, and then knit in the other direction. Making a lined brim of a hat is the perfect example. I made this lining to increase the warmth around the ears and to hide the long floats on the brim. (I chose to avoid weaving when I knit this hat but that issue is for another day...) I also made linings like these for the mitten cuffs in the set...see prior blog entry. There are many types of provisional cast-ons. I happen to like this one although at the cast-on edge, every other stitch is twisted and you have to re-orient them all to sit on the needle in the same way, so you don't get twisted stitches. In my case, that means I want the right side of the stitch to be in front of the needle. In the case of my Sunnhordaland Hat, I cast-on in yellow and red, being the waste yarn, and knitted for a few inches, made a picot edge to turn the fabric, and joined colors to knit the patterning. Once the patterning of the brim was done, I was ready to join the yellow facing to the brim. (One could also sew the live stitches of the hem to the live stitches of the brim, but knitting them together is way cooler and more knitterly.)
Very satisfying. I have seen this method worked in designs in different books, but one thing never seems to be taken into account. That is, the lining will get bunchy inside if it has the same number of stitches as the brim The two fabrics won't lay together nicely. The lining should have a smaller circumference than the outside brim. So I cast on 10% fewer stitches for my linings than I will need for the outside fabric, increasing that 10% later on. That means that when knitting the two fabrics together, every so many stitches (around every 10th stitch), an outside stitch will be worked without an accompanying lining stitch. Here's a short clip of the Invisible Cast-On from my tutorial: [wpvideo vpeIEGEa]
I finally got the go-ahead to show my hat and mittens I knitted for Voyageur Press. The title of this design anthology hasn't been decided upon yet, but I can say my design will be "published in a book by Voyageur Press in Fall 2012". Despite the deadlines imposed on designers and knitters (I had to have it done by 12/1/2010), things seem to move at a glacial rate in the publishing industry. I know that's because there is so much behind-the-scenes work I am totally unaware of. Anyway, here it is, my obsessive project at 54 stitches/ 4 inches (13.5 sts per inch). The inspiration of these is a sweater I saw in Suzanne Pagoldh's book Nordic Knitting. (Going for $90, but on that link I saw some used ones for $21!) The sweater that used these motifs (on page 45) was knitted in red, black, white, and green. The photo shows a garment that is kinda pink, because the red dye ran. It is still a breathless garment, I think. If I ever get to Bergen, I will look this sweater up! In my version, both the hat brim and the mitten cuffs are lined with solid yellow knitting for warmth, stability, and to hide the floats. I did not weave once in all the knitting, because I knew it would show and create distortion. Each time I tried the mittens on, there was no problem with snagging. The wool component of the yarn had already created cohesion. I used a lace-weight yarn from Redfish Dyeworks that is 50% silk, 50% merino in four colors on #000 dpns and a #000 HiyaHiya circular needle from Lacis. There were a few rounds in the cuff where there are four colors in a round, and sometimes in the main pattern, there are three colors in the round. I sure wish my photos could better capture the pieces. I think the hat and mittens look much more dynamic in real life. My poor lighting flattens them out, but you get the idea... I knitted two mittens before I got it right. The whole process of designing and knitting spanned from August to December 8 when I packed it all off in the mail. I listened to more than four books on tape just to knit the hat alone. It was truly a marathon. I am glad the race is done. And I won't see them again until Fall 2012. Sigh.