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Madrona, yes I know it’s a month late!

So finally I am getting to post about Madrona.  It was absolutely lovely.  I was lucky to stay in Hotel Murano and look here is my key card, very pretty.
Hotel key card for Hotel MuranoFaye and I took the train to Tacoma and back.  Going there was a bit of an adventure since we got stuck in Everett for over 1 1/2 hours due to a possible mudslide then were loaded on buses for the rest of the trip.  Their plan was in Seattle travellers going to Portland were going to be bused, but all other passengers were going to continue on the train till Oregon where the slide was.  Sadly, it wasn’t the case.  I got a lot of knitting time in, but on the bus I ended up frogging all that I had knit!  The way home was uneventful and relaxing though.  I did end up at the train station way too early!  Oops next time I should double-check what time my train leaves because the Tacoma station is in the middle of nowhere.  I did end up working on my Tea Leaves Cardi and finished to the edging from an inch or so from the armholes.  Yay.  I haven’t worked on it since then though, boo.

It was such a wonderful sight to see knitters, weavers, spinners and crocheters everywhere.  Oh all the beautiful FO’s that were seen all over the hotel and surrounding area.  It was a fibre crafters wet dream!

Even if you don’t get any classes if you live in the area the marketplace and just crafting around the hotel common areas meeting new people is worth the trip.  The marketplace.  Well it was fantastic and overwhelming.  It is not everyday you turn around to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee fondling yarn in the Habu booth, there was much more knitterati and spinnerati to be seen, but alas my eyes suck.  I only noticed Stephanie because she was fondling stuff in my favourite booth!  Jasmine over at the Abstract Fibers booth has these great origami flat bags that I resisted buying then smacked myself for not grabbing the bag that had labs all over it.  I did end up buying one or two off their website and I will take pictures when they come.  I got fibre because I am planning to learn how to spin on my Bosworth spindle, I bought the lovely so I should really learn how to play with it!  I tried not to fall to hard at the BMFA booth and the one that had all the beautiful tencel yarn (sorry can’t recall the name!)  Here is a picture of my Madrona stash enhancement pile.  I didn’t fall down too hard and my credit card and His Tallest thanks me.

My classes were fun, educational and at times overwhelming frustrating.  The fine finishing class I took was in the Bite restaurant gallery and the lighting was horrible for me.  I have purchased myself a knit lite and will be prepared next year!  Jean Wong was delightful and very patient as well as her assistant (I’m sorry I am so bad with names).  Even with one assistant missing I learned quite a lot.  Like I need a lot of good lighting to do an invisible cast off.  I can do Japanese short rows in my sleep and in crappy light.  I was starting to feel really incompetent due to the light and slowness of my invisible cast offs till the short rows swatch took me only a minute or so.  My only complaint was the lighting, but I will come prepared next year!

My class with Franklin on photographing your fibre was an eye-opener.  It helped me not to be afraid of my new camera.  I went from a easy point and shot Canon to a Canon MegaZoom, so all my photos were on automatic.  Now I am playing with the aperture and ISO on manual and it’s so much fun.  He also taught us that a good photographer can take great pictures even with a cell phone camera.  I plan on playing with my camera a heck of a lot more now because practice will help me become more comfortable with my new camera.  I did startle him when I came into the room with my sunglasses and Faye, a blind girl in a photography class — oh boy what did he get himself into.  Thankfully, I noticed the confused look on his face and sat down and started playing on my iPad and knitting.  I could feel the relief emanate from where he was standing.  Yep you can teach a legally blind girl with a small window of functional vision how to get true colour in your photos!  Faye had a interesting time in this class too.  I introduced her to some of my classmates and Franklin and we got our picture taken.  I managed to keep my squeeing fangirl internalized when Franklin Habit asked me if he could blog about his reaction to Faye and I in his class and take our picture.  It was hard!  See here we are.  Also his talk at the banquet was hilarious and educational.  Thanks for being so awesome Franklin!

I also took Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Knitting with Mawata class.  I thought being a non-animal fibre knitter who mostly knits with silk that I had silk and its properties all sorted out.  I was so wrong.  Knitting with Mawata is so much different then spun silk and so much fun.  You have to be careful that you don’t get paper cuts from the silk, seriously strong stuff!  She had her Sock Summit BFF, the depraved dyer herself Tina Newton to help her out.  We learned how silk hankies are made and got to open a cocoon (thank the passenger the silk worm while taking him/her out) then spread the cocoon onto a canvas with nails on it, which is one layer of a hanky.  I also got to try on this mitten. Stephanie did not let them out of her sight nor let the two mittens meet unless they were in her hands.  Good thing I would have stolen them, they were the perfect fit for my small hands!  I have ordered from mawata from a few stores on etsy and plan to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves.  I do need sharper needles though.  I thought my Knitpicks Harmony needles would be sharp enough, but they were not.  I think next I’ll give my Addi Lace clicks a try.

Also there is this awesome deli across from the convention centre.  It is divine and has the best raspberry lemonade (with real raspberries) ever!  I plan on going there everyday during Madrona next year except Sunday, because sadly they are closed on Sundays.  They get super busy and crowded, but it is so worth the wait.  Lauren and I found this lovely restaurant called Indochine and the food as well as drinks where lovely.  Faye was very happy to have a little den between our chairs to curl up on my jacket.  I also tried Two Kois Japanese Restaurant and it was okay.  It’s not their fault I live in Vancouver, the home of awesome and cheap sushi.  I was taken back by the lack of diversity on the menu, but then again I am from Vancouver lol.  It was good and I will go back, the bento box was huge.  Next time I will make sure to only get a few rolls.  Here is the last of my food adventures at Madrona that I wanted to share with you, my experiences at Bite (Hotel Murano’s restaurant).  The servers were wonderful at checking food for me to help me avoid my allergies and my epi-pen.  I had a delicious lunch there on Sunday and breakfast on Monday.  Here’s a picture of my tasty breakfast on Monday.
Tofu scramble @ Bite

I wish I took more pictures, but I was too busy soaking up everything.  This was my first time at Madrona and I am definitely going back next year!

Recovering from a yarn attack!

I can’t believe it, but I’m  almost knitting monogamously on a project!  I say almost because I occasionally have picked up and done a few rounds on a pair of socks that I’m knitting for mini-me.  I’ve been working on this lovely cowl pattern Norway (The first pattern of International Year of the Scarf by designer Ilga Lega) It’s more like a fake Möbius infinity scarf that’s all really popular at the moment.  I’m using Rowan Calmer in Onyx as the main colour and Sweet Georgia Silk Taffy in Midnight Show for the CC.  I am in love!  I named my Norway, Norwegian Goth(rav project page link).  I was finished yesterday….really I was.  That was until I looked at the pattern properly!  I had written the pattern into a notebook since I am out of printer paper.  Some how I had missed the stripes between the dash and dot fair isle sections!  See here, notice something?

If you guessed no stripe section between the fair isle patterns, you are correct (here have a cookie)!  Here I thought I was ready to graft the two ends together after a week of lovely no-stress knitting.  *sigh* I thought about just leaving it as is and call it an added design feature, but after looking at it for a minute or two I decided I had to rip it back to the error and fix it.  Yes, I’m not kidding you I ripped back black yarn and picked up all the stitches without really any problems!  The knitting gods were with me despite the fact that I was sick with a bad sinus cold.  Oh did I mention I had a sinus headache from hell yesterday?  I can’t believe I pulled it off.  Here are pictures of my Norwegian Goth when I pulled out the needles, then after I had picked up all the stitches.

BEFORE

AFTER

See that little ball of silk that was all that I lost when I had to cut into the CC stripe since I had weaved in the end really well!  Not to bad, it could have been worse.  There was one small hiccup after picking up all the stitches somehow I had completely forgotten to make sure that I was at the beginning of the round before I started knitting away on the stripes.  Oops!  I managed to fool myself till I had finished all the stripe repeats and was about to start the fair isle pattern again.  I really looked at it and realized my mistake.  So last night I spend some more time tinking back to the beginning of the stripe pattern again.  After all that I was not going to take my chances ripping back again, I know when to play it safe!  Honestly while do so I really wasn’t that upset or angry at my knitting.  I was thinking how much I’ve enjoyed this project and that I get to spend some more time knitting on it.  I guess that’s what really soft Rowan Calmer and single ply silk will do to your head! Bonus is my fair isle technique has gotten better, if you look carefully you can actually tell the dashes are a bit bumpy, but the dots look lovely.

I spend all of today knitting on my Norwegian Goth while waiting in doctor’s offices since Mini-me has three appts. in a row!  Good thing that two of them were in the same office and I had brought my knitting.  I had a chat with another person about knitting, but this is a long post today.  I’ll save it for another day.  Here’s a picture of my progress so far, I just have some more repeats of the fair isle pattern, some stripes then the grafting together of the two ends to do.  I can’t wait to wear this infinity scarf, since we’ve been through a lot together and we both need some snuggle time!

Lace knitting tortoise disaster

*sigh* I finally finished clue #1 of the Secret of the Stole ii and decided to block it then take pictures before going onto the next clue. I know I’m part of the tortoise team, I believe clue #4 or 5 when out on Friday! So I was excited on finally finishing clue #1, with hope that I’ll have the other clues done soon then I’ll finally have caught up. Sadly this did not happen… you know why? Continue reading

Putting the new in new year

Yeah I couldn’t think of a better fitting title, sorry about the cheese. I decided after finished the last eye cord strap for an everlasting bagstopper that I’d try something new. Now I have been thinking of trying entrelac for a while now because I have been drooling over the Entrelac socks that Eunny Jang designed a few issues back in Interweave Knits (spring 2007). I recalled that Julia (bloggless but she is on Ravelry Juliabca ) was knitting an entrelac garter stitch washcloth at a meetup for a holiday gift. It that looked great and she said it was easy to do. So using my google-fu because I forgot that it’s easy to just use Ravelry I found Jimmy Crickets’ Garterlac Dishcloth. So I casted on with the remainder of my Butterfly 10 in Midnight from the bagstopper and yes Julia you are right it’s easy 😀

Head over heels in love

I finally decided to skip the class sock and head straight into sock knitting and I’m in love. I have finally mastered those evil dpns. All it took was learning in my sleep. Yep, I learned how to use dpns in my sleep. I was dreaming that I was knitting socks in my dream, enough to be able to visualize how to do it in my mind when I wasn’t dreaming. So I put those thoughts into action and feel head of heels in love with sock knitting! I have to thank Connie the owner at Pickup Sticks and her Sock Club because the Pony Pearls that she sends with your first month of the sock club are magic!

I just ordered sock blockers from Pickup Sticks and some more sock yarn. I love Zen Garden’s cotton/lycra — pretty colours and I’m not allergic to it! Oh also have more of those magic dpns coming to me. Yay!! Connie was also awesome enough to send me over to The Loopy Ewe because they have Crystal Place’s Panda Cotton and see it knit up as a sock on Sheri’s blog. It is said to be soft and yummy, so I ordered a few (ok enough for 4 or 5 pairs) skeins. I can’t wait till they get here as well. I’m sure every knitter’s mailman must think that we are doing something illegal with the amount of packages we get in the mail! I’m on a secret yarn stash diet — opps I’m outed it’s not secret anymore, but sock yarn doesn’t count as stash! Mr. Pixel looks at me very strangely when I say this like I’m some crazed addict or something that needs help, *rolls eyes muggles* you knitters out there can back me it I’m not crazy sock yarn doesn’t count.

Books!! I just got a swack load of new knitting books . I’ve decided that I am not going to outgrow this knitting lifestyle (yes it is no longer a hobby, it’s a lifestyle), so like the good bibliophile I am starting my knitting book collection and it has expanded to over 20 books so far. Here’s the list. I still want to get some Elizabeth Zimmerman books as well as some of Nancy Bush’s books and add about 50 or so more but those are the ones I really think are a staples and those come first. Can anyone of you out there in blogland add some more books that you think are staples in a knitter’s library? Feel free to add them in a comment I’d love to compile a list of books I will be on the look out for.