Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lily Knits!

So, Lily Chin came to the Atlanta Knitting Guild this week, and what a whirlwind of energy she is! I've always heard that but, except for seeing her from a distance at a Stitches dinner long ago, haven't experienced it in person. What a dynamo--and clever and talented and a great teacher.

In the photo above, she's giving a combination slide talk/knitting demonstration at the Thursday night meeting. She wore a killer Feather and Fan knitted dress and mentioned that it combined latest fashion (empire waist detail) with technique (the feather and fan part).

On Friday and Saturday, she taught a total of four classes. I could only get to two, Borderline Personalities on Friday and Short Rows on Saturday. I have taken several short row classes and eventually one of them is going to click with me. This week was no different--I understand them intellectually but putting them into action is going to take a blinding flash of understanding some time in the future. The borders class, however, really resonated with me! Now I know how I'm going to get that border onto whichever Victorian Lace Today stole I end up making. (That's been one of the sticking points with starting one--I just couldn't make sense in my mind of how that border got attached.) Thanks, Lily. Now I can start one more lace project--that's sarcasm for those who don't recognize it!

I was lucky enough to have dinner with Lily and Claudia on Friday night (who could have predicted that Lily would be a Red Lobster aficionado and Claudia would be a Red Lobster virgin? She's now totally hooked on the whole cheese biscuit thing and has promised not to get snarky about chain seafood restaurants again.) And the weekend concluded with a lovely potluck at Whit's house, looking out over the lake and knitting with friends. What in the world could be better?

Now, for an update. You've probably concluded that I've not been knitting at all, what with all my world travels (if Asheville can be considered "the world") and my celebrity knitting experiences. Not true!

I finally finished Birch, just before I went to SAFF, and, frankly, I was a little disappointed.

Yup, it's beautiful, and yup, that Malabrigo lace yarn is probably the softest, most wonderful yarn I've ever knit with. But, despite the photo above, Birch (on me) is a really lovely little shoulder scarf. Now, a true cynic could argue that the problem is with the wearer--that if I would just lose a little avoirdupois, it might actually be a shawl. But, be that as it may, it's cute, it's petite, it feels good, and it's not a shawl on me! I'll figure out some way to use it, but a shawl it ain't. A babushka, maybe. Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I could have predicted this outcome.

Let me begin by saying that you start Birch by casting on an ungodly number of stitches, using the knitted cast-on, I think, which is not my favorite, and then you knit to the point, steadily decreasing. This is wonderful if you want to have an actual end in sight. And, furthermore, before I began Birch, I used the wonders of Ravelry and searched for other people who had made the pattern to read their comments. One of those knitters commented that she wished she had cast on an additional 100 stitches (for a total of 399 instead of the 299 called for) which would have made it larger. Did I heed those words? Nah, I was so bummed out by having to cast on those 299 stitches using a cast-on method I hate that I wandered into a field of denial and stuck with the 299.

Promise to Self: I will make another Birch. I love the pattern, I loved that yarn. But I will suck it up and add on at least another 100 stitches, if not more, at the get-go.

So I did not wear Birch at SAFF, though I took it with me. (Well, I didn't wear anything knitted there--I was, as usual, hot all the time there, even wandering around in the biting wind, and by "hot" I'm definitely not referring to my comely appearance. I was freakin' sweatin' HOT. See note above about excess avoirdupois--coincidence? I think not!)

But I had two problems: (1) I needed another lace project to dive into immediately that would negate the bummed-out-ness of Birch and (2) I needed a project to work on at SAFF that my very small, menopause-addled brain could handle. Enter Kiri, a sort of upside-down Birch:

Loving Kiri! And the beauty part is: since you start at the point, you can just knit until the darned thing wraps around your rather bountiful shoulders. (NOTE TO SELF: How about making Birch out of sport weight or even worsted weight yarn? Maybe worsted weight Malabrigo? That would solve the whole 299 stitch problem! Of course, for me, it would be suitable only in a meat locker or on the ski slopes, but it's really about the process, not the product, isn't it?)

Anyway, I'm making Kiri out of Jaggerspun Zephyr which is again sort of wonderful and sort of a disappointment. Love the yarn, love the color, love the crisp texture. Hate the SEVERAL broken places where I've had to graft. Oh, well. Let's just leave it with, Love Kiri!

And I'm continuing to plod along on the Diamond Vest with the fabulous Tess yarn. For a couple of insane moments I even thought I might get this done for SAFF. What in the world was I thinking? I hate deadline knitting and this one was never going to be done by then. I'm about halfway around the lower part, then there's the upper part to pick up and knit. But I love, love, love the Tess worsted yarn and the pattern is fun (so much fun that it's got me thinking about other modular pieces, and inspired me to buy the beautiful Brooks Farm Acero at SAFF that I haven't even gotten around to showing yet).

Finally, some knitting jewelry. Who knew knitting had jewelry? Amazing!

The bracelet is amazing, from AKG member Nancy, who markets her creations at her etsy site (www.sassafrascreations at* and (ahem!) to her guild friends. It's made out of those old aluminum straights we all got rid of when we got hooked on circulars and wood needles. She has lots of other styles, too. (We even gave one of these bracelets to Lily this week after she admired it--hint: if you want to be wearing the same jewelry as Lily, you know what to do!)

The gorgeous sheep pin is ceramic and I bought it at SAFF from Cindy Hart. She and her husband make beautiful pottery and I bought some fabulous buttons too. In case its beauty isn't enough for you, I can also attest to its durability--somehow it ended up NOT coming off something I washed and it survived the washing machine beautifully, though I'm not recommending the practice.

Finally, the earrings. I made them a couple of weeks ago at a guild class conducted by Jean E. They're beaded, and now I'm very worried that I might get hooked on beads. The class I took at SAFF by Judy Pascale on beaded bags didn't help--I WILL NOT START BUYING ANOTHER FIBER-RELATED STASH, I WILL NOT, oh, heck, knowing me, maybe I will.

*I apologize--I've tried and tried to link to this site but either etsy or Blogger isn't cooperating. Try it this way.

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