27 March 2011

Fibres West, part 1: the yarn

While I did manage to go to Fibres West last weekend, for some reason it took me a while to get around to writing about it. This will be a two-part post, because I haven't taken pictures of the fiber yet.

What I typically do at events like this is walk around for a bit--make the rounds, get an idea of what's out there. Then I start buying things. I had brought a bag, a limited amount of cash, and a list. While I did stick to the list (sort of), I did buy a few unplanned things. For example, it was mostly fiber on my list, not yarn. I think the only yarn-thing on there was the vague "solid-coloured sock yarn." Then I went to Fun Knits, which had everything on sale, and saw this:

It was so pretty. I knit a shawl with Kauni last summer, using the colourway that goes from red to darker red. It's good shawl yarn, and the skeins are fairly generous in size. So I bought a skein of Kauni, unplanned. I don't know what shawl it's going to be yet. I have a few things in my queue on Ravelry. It'd be awesome for the "Heere Be Dragones" shawl, but I don't think it's enough yarn, and I think I want that one to be a single colour. It might end up as another Estonian lace shawl. We'll see.

Fun Knits also had sock yarn. I like to try new brands of sock yarn, so I bought this. It's solid in colour, and it's a nice shade of teal. It's actually a little greener in hue than the picture makes it out to be.

Later, on another walk-through with some friends who had just gotten there, I noticed something that I had missed my first time through the Fun Knits booth. I wound it up in balls at the Guild's table, so you can't see how it looked in a hank (but it was pretty). This is Hacho, by Mirasol yarns. It's wool, it's DK-ish weight, and I loved the colours, even though I'm not usually a fan of variegated.

It being so pretty and all, I just couldn't resist casting on, so it became this:

That's right. I knit a Multnomah in about a week. It's good bus knitting. Because of the yarn weight, I did fewer repeats than the pattern specified, which is good, because I nearly ran out of yarn while casting off and had to take out my bind-off and do one that used less yarn.

Other cool things about Fibres West: I got to watch someone making bobbin lace. Gorgeous. Amazing. Apparently there are two basic movements in bobbin lace, not unlike knitting. She said the pattern she was working on was easy, but then I asked her how long she'd been doing this. "Fifteen years," she said. It's something I'd love to learn but I don't have time for now.

I drooled over a spinning wheel with a lace attachment--it was cheaper than you'd expect, but still out of my price range. Then I drooled over a Knitter's Loom. Still out of my price range. I looked at some hand-carved Turkish spindles, the small, light-weight kind. More than I wanted to spend for a single spindle that day. I love my Turkish spindle, but it is heavier than I'd prefer sometimes.

Then I drifted over to Knitopia to look at their spindles. And with that, I'll stop until I have more pictures.

15 March 2011

I had a presentation in a class today. We're asked to get up and do 10-15 minutes on our paper topics for the semester. This actually isn't too hard, as I've done this a number of times in other classes since starting this program. It's not as scary as it used to be. But my professor asked me, as he was walking into the classroom today, if I'd go first. "Sure," I said, thinking it would be like the other days have been--he lectures for a while and then the presenters talk. Nope. First meant beginning of class first. This was actually a good thing. No time to get nervous. I just got up there and talked about meaning and metaphor. Tomorrow I have to get up in a different class and talk about focus. I still have to finish working on that.

Time was, I used to get so nervous I would shake like a leaf. When I took a speech class in high school, the first time I got up to talk, I burst into tears (and at 16, that's pretty embarrassing). I'll never forget the way the teacher handled it. I sat down, humiliated, and my teacher gets up and says, "Anna's got what about 70% of us also have: a fear of public speaking. This is normal. It's okay." He didn't make me feel worse--instead he talked about how this happens to a lot of people, and it would be all right in the end. And it was. I was confident enough by the end of that year that I could get up and wing it--just talk about a subject without having much prepared at all. It was great.

Of course, practice helps, I've learned. First time I taught an ESL class, my hands were trembling when I started talking. The more times I have to speak in front of other people, the better I get (I know this is sort of a duh thing, but it's helpful for me to remember it).

These days I save my fear of other people for large social occasions. Those seem more terrifying than giving a speech. (Oh, look Fibres West this weekend...but social occasions with knitty people are usually easier).

01 March 2011

So we are back from our trip to Portland (as of a few days ago, but I just keep forgetting that I have a blog where I can write about things so that total strangers may or may not read what I have written). I don't have pictures of the yarny stuff I bought yet because I haven't gotten around to it, but I did buy some things.

I went to Twisted, which was amazing. I found them because I'd been looking up yarn stores in Portland, and they had a great website. They actually had the tiny needles I'd been wanting. And they sell tea! Knitting and tea--two of my biggest vices under one roof. How could I resist? My mom and I met one of her friends there and after I'd wandered around for a while, touching everything, we had tea. I had a kind called "Captain Hammer's Corporate Tool Tea." Flavoured with apples and caramel. It was delicious (and I'm not much of one for flavoured teas most of the time). Sadly, the people who sell it seem to be in Illinois, so if I want more, I'll have to buy it online (and send it to my friend in Washington because their shipping rates to Canada are pretty impressively steep). The shop itself is very roomy, there are lots of places to sit, and, what I especially liked, there were loads of samples. I even got to see the Swirl Shawl in person (I may need to knit that someday). The people were really friendly, too. Anyway, after I wandered around the shop, I managed to pick up a few things.

I now own a set of steel Hiya Hiya DPNs. They are 6 inches long and 1.5 mm in diameter. Once I finish some of the stuff I'm working on right now, I will try them out on a sock project. They look tiny, and they weren't even the smallest ones there.

Also on my list was spinning silk. I've been wanting to branch out from wool and silk is pretty. I got 4 ounces of silk roving in a shade of crimson labelled "True Blood." It's Bombyx roving from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I'm a little nervous about working with it, because it's so pretty already, and I know I want a fairly fine yarn. I'm debating between my Turkish spindle and my top whorl at the moment for spinning it up. Katelyn the spinning wheel is lovely but she's a double-drive, and since I'm just learning to handle a different fibre, I don't think the take-up speed will be a good thing (normally I love it).

I picked up a couple balls of Panda Cotton for making socks for my grandmother. She has very small feet, so I know I can get 2 pairs out of 100 grams. I'm on sock number 2 at the moment.

Lastly, I found some Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn on sale. The only shade they had left was apricot, so that's what I got. It's not usually my favourite colour, but it's growing on me. They had a lot of Louet Gems fingering but I didn't really feel like buying a skein, since I already have one that I haven't knit up yet (so I don't know if I like it or not).

We also dropped by Make One, which is in my hometown, just by the library where I used to be a volunteer. It's newish. I wandered around and found that they carry some Knitpicks products, so I ended up getting my chart holder after all (yay!).

J. and I went to Powell's and found some books, too (they actually had something by Peirce!). Mostly we hung out with my family, which was fun and relaxing. One morning my parents and J. and I walked over to Bob's Red Mill to get muffins for breakfast. Another day Mom and I walked over to my grandparents' house. It snowed a bit while we were there, just like it did up here.

Despite how good it was to see my family, it's really nice to be back home. Home is where you can leave your socks on the floor and not feel bad about it (unless company's coming over or if you are more into things being really tidy, which I am not).

For some reason, my body has decided that bedtime is now somewhere around 9 pm. I'm getting sleepy already, so I'm going to think about drifting off towards bed. Good night!