Sunday, February 24, 2008

Final Stitches Post

So I wasn't actually done with Stitches on Friday. My daughter wanted to go, so we hit the market for an hour this morning, before I had to go work at Yarndogs again. I took a picture of our lovely booth:


That's John, my daughter, and Kristine posing. Then we walked around and I got a another photo of me with my hero, Jennifer Hansen, the Stitch Diva:


We look fabulous, if I do say so myself.

An hour isn't that long, but it was long enough for us. I got to show off my daughter to my knitting friends.

And then another busy day at Yarndogs, where almost every customer had already been to Stitches, and was coming to the store to buy more yarn!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The camera does not lie!

Working at Stitches for a day is exhilarating. Mind you, setting up a booth, working at Stitches for four days, and then tearing down a booth would be a nightmare, but I'm very fortunate that I have the opportunity of doing only the best part.

First thing, Deborah discovered some way cute handpainted shoes in the booth catty-corner to us, so we went over one at a time and bought some:


I was wearing my Diagonal Striped Kimono (the pattern is available for download off to the right!) and I got many compliments on it, many more than last year. Of course, it stretched as the day wore on, often flapping past the ends of my tiny, Tyrannosaurus arms, so sometimes the compliments were, "Oh, I love your .... shawl?" But I took them in the generous spirit in which they were intended. (I've since washed the kimono, which actually belongs to my mom now, and I'll send it back in mint condition.) I sold a (hard) copy of the pattern, and pointed another person to this site, before I realized that we had it at the booth to sell. I described myself as a baby designer all day, so these were more of my baby steps.

I did actually go back and buy the Camel Spin. It was a close thing; if it weren't for the camel component, I probably could have let it lie. It's very nice, though. I love that silk smell:


Most of the day I spent stamping ravelry passports. I don't know how much extra business the passports generated for Yarndogs (often I felt as though I was handing out Hershey bars to trick-or-treaters) but I'm sure the event was a success for Jess and Casey. The passports are beautifully done, and thoughtfully designed so that you get to keep the booklet and just turn in your contact information when it's done. Casey said they spent a fortune on them, and I believe it.


We had Kristine from Curious Creek and Linda from Zukii Designs in our booth, and it makes such a difference to have the person behind the product there to talk to customers. We also had all of the Mission Falls 1824 Wool and Cotton, and two yarns from SWTC. The booth looks great, although you'll have to take my word for it, or go to Stitches and see it, because I didn't bring my camera.

I saw lots of friends and people I admire. I told Jennifer Hansen that she's my hero, and got a silly photo of my being amazed at the wonderfulness of her booth:

I talked about ravelry to Ann Rubin. I briefly saw my own sister-in-law.

And then, after standing for eight hours, I went to the fashion show to see Quietude make its appearance. It was very nice to be able to sit down. Kristine was sitting next to me, and we agreed that it was exciting, butterfly-inducing, to wait to see the product of our hard work come out on stage. Like at Cirque du Soleil, flash photography is forbidden at the Stitches West fashion show, due to the danger it poses to the models up on the high wire, so here's my blurry iPhone photo of Queitude, known here at the Baby Doll Top:


Not quite as bad as a UFO photo; you can even see that the top is orange. Anyway, it was well-received. Rick Mondragon said "Isn't that nice?" At least it wasn't put on upside down, like Corsica was at first.

And then a surprisingly good hotel banquet meal, and off to bed!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Digital cameras can take more than one photo

Stitches West 2008 has started. I worked at the yarn store for a while, then hot-footed it over to Santa Clara to get to the ravelry meetup. It was great. I know I'm the nth person to say this, but Jess and Casey are so, so sweet. I told them how much ravelry means to me, and my hopes that it would be a cool, disruptive force in the knitting world. And I took this incredibly unflattering photo of the two of them:


And only the one. Everyone in the world wanted to talk to them, so I didn't keep bugging them.

Then I sat at a table and crocheted, and Amy, aka Sputnik, came up to chat. She was wearing a beautiful Alice Starmore sweater that got many compliments as the evening wore on. The ravelry meetup morphed seamlessly into the Stitches West intro do, and Amy and I went up to show off our sweaters. I was wearing my Optic, which I finished four days ago and have barely taken off since. I really should block the side cables, since they pull up to give a real Persian flare to the silhouette, but how can I block it if I'm always wearing it?


The Stitches teachers all filed in to be introduced, and I clapped wildly and yelled when my SIL's name was announced, earning me some weird looks. And after the do, Rick Mondragon led the whole room of us into the Market by a side door.

Amy and I saw maybe half of the floor in 2 hours. I didn't buy any yarn, and it was actually pretty easy not to, although I may end up going back for some Fleece Artist CamelSpin. But I may not. How much hand-dyed yarn does a person need? You gotta love the name CamelSpin, though.

But trim, that's another story. There's a new vendor at Stitches with the most amazing display of trim and buttons, Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods. Beautiful stuff. And I got my ravelry passport stamped everywhere except Blue Moon, who were swamped. This is the biggest Stitches ever, anywhere, and the market really is overwhelming.

So I'm headed back there is a few minutes, to work the booth for 8 hours, then to see Quietude in the fashion show!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


At our staff meeting at Yarndogs on Sunday, Deborah asked me to knit up a shop sample in a new cashmere yarn we are carrying, Artyarns Cashmere 5. It's not a cheap yarn, so she wanted a one-skein pattern, but more of a wrap than a scarf. I found a super-easy lace pattern and the result is available for free download in the exciting new sidebar to the right.

I'm not a big fan of blocking, but, boy, last night I blocked that piece to within an inch of its life.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fig 1

This is the back of Optic, the crochet square that I started with:

And here is the front, where I've used short rows to bring the front edges down to match the downward point of the back square:

And, while I'm at it, here is the half of the Tunisian square:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hip to be Square

The real reason I don't post as often as I have something to share is that I don't take photos as often as I should, Despite my constant exhortations to others to post photos.

Since February began yesterday, and no one else in the Tunisian Crochet group on ravelry posted a new afghan square pattern, I decided to do it myself. I did post a plea for more contributions, so we'll see what happens as March approaches, but I didn't want this project to die after one month. And it's not as though I ever have any trouble coming up with ideas.

So I decided I wanted to make a motif with mixed Tunisian knit and purl stitches. First I charted a simple, nine-stitch wide heart (for Valentine's Day) and put six of them across a square. It looked very plain, so I switched to knit on purl stitches for the second set. And then I decided it looked naff. So I got out Alice Starmore's Charts for Colour Knitting and chose a motif that was slightly smaller than my square size. And I switched to a reverse stitch instead of Tunisian purl, for more contrast.

It was very difficult to work. My big downfall with Tunisian crochet is missing stitches, and that happened to me over and over. Then I ran out of yarn halfway through the square. (Have I mentioned lately that I'm not buying any yarn?) And then I decided that the contrast between the knit and reverse stitches just isn't strong enough to make the pattern pop out, mostly because the lines are too narrow.

So then I got out graph paper, I tried making Excel cells stitch-shaped, and I noodled around with the Knitter's symbol font in TextEdit, and a couple hours later, had a motif charted out. It's nothing like the half-finished square, and I haven't even started my own yet. But it's a pattern in ravelry, and, as soon as the free PDF uploading functions again, it will be available.

But I have another project, patiently waiting for me. I'm down to the skirt section (for want of a better word) for my oddball coat, which I think I'll call Optic. I'll have to rework the collar; the last row is too tight, so it doesn't lie down properly. But I do like the way the different height crochet stitches produce the short row effect for a shawl collar. It's got some chunky cables going on, too, and short rows everywhere, so there are knitting stitches pointing every which way. And I really love the Rio de la Plata yarn that's the plain knit body of the coat. Very cushy.

I know these observations would make more sense with photos, and tomorrow morning, I'll try to get some.