Posted in Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, fiber festivals, knitting, Ravelry, Rhinebeck, Rose City Yarn Crawl

Fiber Festivals as Travel Destinations

In 2010, I went through a difficult time personally.  It was suggested to me that I plan something to look forward to as a way to get through and beyond what I was going through.

Even though I began knitting a few years before, in 2009 my knitting really took off and I also discovered the amazing fiber arts resource and website, Ravelry.

The following year, one of my new Ravelry friends filmed a video as she and a friend drove to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, affectionately referred to as Rhinebeck.   Her video showed the beautiful landscape of Upstate New York in all its fall glory, but more than that, her excitement for Rhinebeck was contagious.  I was hooked!  I wanted to go to Rhinebeck!   Rhinebeck would be my something to look forward to.

The planning started.  I purchased airline tickets.  I found my roommate (the friend above).  Someone (not me) found a great place to stay in the Catskills.  I made my Rhinebeck sweater.

I signed up for classes; if I were going to spend the money to fly across the country, it should be not only a social and shopping time, but also a time to increase my skills. I took a class on sweater design and one on Tvåändsstickning (!)-  a Swedish knitting technique in which two strands of yarn, usually of the same color, are twined together.  The classes were terrific!

Rhinebeck highlights:

My Rhinebeck Sweater
Carol, Nicole, Suzanne
Fall Color at Rhinebeck
Yarn from Rhinebeck, most from family-owned farms such as Weston Hill Farm

Best of all was the realization that a meaningful trip could be built around fiber activities. Thus began the quest for yarn festivals, retreats, yarn crawls, and any other event that could be classified as fiber-related.

Since then I have attended the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival , the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Barn Sale, the Rose City Yarn Crawl, and Vogue Knitting Live Seattle 2014, and my sisters and I toured Ranch of the Oaks during our 2014 Sisters’ Weekend.  Each is worthy of its own blog post, but…well, my hope is to write up reviews after I attend events in the future.

This fun video introduces the next fiber event I’ll be attending:

I wholeheartedly recommend fiber events as the kernel for travel planning.  They provide terrific opportunities to meet wonderful people, to become more educated in the craft, to have something exciting to look forward to and to plan for, and, of course, to increase the stash!

Meet-up for bagels before the 2015 Blue Moon Fiber Arts Barn Sale:

Left to Right: Carol, Melissa, Debby, Richelle. Photo, Melissa Keating, used by permission.
Posted in art, colorwork, craft, design, knitting, The Creative Process, The Design Process, yarn

What I Learned from the Swatch

A Design Idea and the Right Yarn

I’ve been dreaming of designing a top-down colorwork short-sleeved sweater, filling my Pinterest boards with images and colors that inspire me.  In the spring, I found all the colors I was looking for in a certain yarn line, only to discover that the yarn was spun too tightly for colorwork and that I didn’t like how it looked or felt for this design.

Finally I was introduced to the perfect yarn, Sunday Knits yarn by Carol Sunday.   I’m using her 3-ply yarn, with colors from three different fiber blends, Eden (100% Merino), Angelic (75% Merino, 25% Angora) and Nirvana (92% Merino, 8% Cashmere).  The yarn has a lovely hand, is available in over 60 colors, and is reasonably priced.  All of the fiber blends work well together.

Sand, Espresso, Pickle, Black, Lagoon, Melon, Earth, Carrot, Moss, Bronze, Rose, Mist
Sand, Espresso, Pickle, Black, Lagoon, Melon, Earth, Carrot, Moss, Bronze, Rose, Mist

A Swatch and What it Taught Me

I wanted to work a swatch to find out how the yarn behaves and to see how the colors would look together.

The first thing that I learned is that Sunday Knits yarn is my new favorite for colorwork!  Look how nicely the fabric lies, even before the fabric was soaked and blocked.

swatchie

Next I learned that if I initially don’t like a color, such as the Rose colorway in the swatch above, knitting lots of it will never make me miraculously like it.  Why did I think that knitting more of that pale pinky-red would make me like it more?  (Just to clarify, there’s nothing wrong with the color, I just wasn’t happy with the way it looked with the other colors.)

Conversely, if I do like a color, such as Bronze, which is the cast-on and is immediately below the blue in the swatch above, even in little bits it makes me happy!

I also was reminded that I really don’t like white in a piece like this with lots of different colors – the contrast is too jarring.  I will be using Sand as the light background color in this pattern.

And finally, basic algebra is still useful!

algebra

I can’t wait to work more on this sweater!  I will keep you posted!

Two Special Surprises This Week

My friend Meg sent me custom-made knit equals joy ribbon.  How special was that?!?  I have some fantastic friends!

knit=joy

A friend at work had two extra yarn bowls (!) and she gave one to me!  It’s so pretty!

yarn bowl

I’m so thankful for the kindness of others!  I wish you all a wonderful week, and may you find or share those special moments of kindness!