Posted in Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, design, knitting

Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival 2015

The 2015 Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival was wonderful!  Amazing, inspiring, fun, local(ish), lovely – a great success!!!  Held November 6-8th at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center, this was truly a first-class event.Beautiful venue

I traveled up with my good friend and fellow designer, M.E. Greene, Olive Knits.  We had so much fun on our road trip, seeing the beautiful Oregon countryside on the way up and back, and waxing rhapsodic about the entire experience on the way home.

I was fortunate to be able to take three classes.  On Friday afternoon, I took Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s class, Knit Smart.  Stephanie is a kick in the pants.  If you have read any of her books, you might imagine that she could be a stand-up comedian.  She’s the same in person…she has that comic timing thing down pat.  At any rate, the class was an overview of knitting principles: basic concepts that we may or may not have picked up in today’s less formalized approach to knitting education.  Most interesting to me were learning about the components of knitted fabric: courses and wales.  I was also interested in causes of consistently loose or tight knitting.

…OK, well.  My pictures of that class are completely blurry and useless.  So instead, I’ll send you to Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s website.  Her take on her visit to Oregon is hilarious and spot-on at the same time!

The Saturday classes I took were near and dear to my heart.  Marie and I took two classes from a favorite sweater designer of both of ours, Norah Gaughan.  Her designs are amazing.  I particularly enjoyed slide shows in which she shared the inspiration for many of her designs.  The classes were Creative Geometric Design and Knitting Polygons.  So much fun!  Norah was a sweetie and her classes were such fun, too.

DSCN8370 (2)
Norah demonstrating using a geometric shape in design, and Marie modeling.

Next, we got to work with the fleece we brought to come up with our own creative design based on geometric shapes.  We learned that fleece is great for this because it drapes in much the same way as knit fabric and so is great to use for templates. Here I am – this one is going to have a square neckline.

IMG_20151107_105857

In the afternoon class, we worked with fun shapes such as pentagons and hexagons. You can see them in the edging of the sweater I’m modeling below.  It’s one of Norah’s, which I borrowed just for this picture.  I wanted to take it home with me!  It fit like a dream.  Marie and I were total fangirls!

Marie, Norah Gaughan and Me
Left to right: Me, Norah Gaughan, Marie. Marie and Norah wearing sweaters of their own design.

The other two things I love about Fiber Festivals as Travel Destinations are the people – both new and old friends – and the fiber.

This festival was no exception!  Saturday night there was a  banquet, with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee as the keynote speaker.  I got to hang out with Marie and these two friends, Leanne and Martha.  The four of us met for breakfast Sunday, as well, and had such a lovely time!  DSCN8393

Stephanie’s keynote speech was very inspiring, and funny, of course.  She began by mentioning the propensity of some to aver that many of us are “addicted” to knitting, yarn, and the fiber arts.  As you can imagine, there are many appropro comparisons. But in reality, we knit because we know it’s good for us. It makes us better. We are happy when we have faced and overcome something that is a challenge to us.  That’s what’s great about knitting, there’s always something new to learn and to try.  It’s also why I love designing!

Finally, here’s my stash enhancement:

yarn haul

I just can’t wait to get my hands into this beautiful yarn!!!  Can’t wait to see what it will become!

The trip home was filled with chatter, with exclamations about the inspiration we had garnered from the instructors and speakers. The landscapes on the drive home seemed especially beautiful – sunlight through rain creating such depth of color.  So blessed to live where there is such beauty.

DSCN8458

trees

cascade locks5

And finally, the whole festival was done so well.  Everything was top quality, from the venue to the marketplace to the slate of instructors and the banquet. I’m already thinking about the CGFF 2016!

Posted in Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, knitting, Oregon

Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival – Day One

It has been a great first day of the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival!  This morning I picked up my good friend, fellow designer M.E. Greene, Olive Knits, and we road tripped it to The Dalles, Oregon.  This is just a quick post to let you in on the fun, and then I’ll post a full report sometime later.  I hope you’ll enjoy this peek at this wonderful event!

Here is the beautiful venue as we arrived:

Beautiful venue

And inside:

upstairs

Right away we found a place to knit.  This is Marie working on her newest design:

Marie knitting

And look at the view!

venue view2

The fabulous Marketplace, which I can’t wait to explore more tomorrow:

Marketplace

Marketplace 2

Lovely grounds:

venue

And finally, a Burgerville for dinner.  I was thrilled when we drove into town and saw this. Burgerville, a Northwest classic!

Burgerville

Sweet potato fries

Sweet potato fries.  Perfection!

Tomorrow, two classes with Norah Gaughan, shopping in the Marketplace, a banquet featuring Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and time to visit with new and old friends!

 

 

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.