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Stitches West and a Gentle Return to Knitting

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A weekend ago or so was Stitches West, the giant yarn, fiber and notions conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center. For quite a few years I have been attending with E___, my friend and knitting mentor (and also my fellow baseball buddy), and lately with my artist and crochet sisterfriend L____ and A____ have been joining us for shopping and ramen afterwards.

This was my first real weekend post flu and post ankle surgery where I felt almost like a normal person. Walking and standing is still cranky but we scheduled lots of tea breaks and the gals brought lots of snacks to keep our energy from flagging.
20130302-080226.jpg(tiny chocolate mushroom cookies!)

This year the convention center seemed rather quiet, we went on a Sunday, which is the last day of the conference and perhaps people were done for it but the crowd was thin and the shopping was even thinner. It might be a sign of the tightened economy, or perhaps because it was nice weather out but there wasn’t much going on that day. We all were on tight budgets and that never helps with shopping, but we enjoyed being able to visit every booth and have time for breaks.

E____ and I both found some great sock yarn for the San Francisco Giants games, a cutely dyed sock yarn from Miss Babs in a colorway called Pumpkin Apocalypse. E___ might be making a shawlette but I am going to make socks.

There was a very pretty pattern for a Cedar Leaf Shawlette in a green silk and wool blend but sadly there was no yarn anywhere within the convention center that was right weight with a little silk in it and in the right verdant green. I will need about two to three skeins to make the shawl and will save this pattern for when the budget allows more yarn shopping.

We spotted a simple sweater by Olga Jazzy, the Sakasama Jacket. I would like to try this pattern since I have boatloads of kid mohair but the booth was out of the pattern. I can get it online however.
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At another stall was selling mink yarn in jewel-toned colors at mink-like prices, but ooh, so very soft and lovely. All animal fiber yarn is from animals where they are either shorn or combed for their hair/fur, how does one shear a squirmy mink? It doesn’t bear thinking about overmuch.

This stall also had a sample scarf by Alchemy using their paper yarn which is surprisingly soft after washing. The scarf is combined with Alchemy kid mohair yarn that I’m obsessed about but the scarf is felted or washed vigorously after knitting to shrink the mohair part. I’ve seen it before at the Interweave Knitlab marketplace. I am still tempted to try this someday. The coir palate is pretty on me and they have a longish bolero which would be very nice to wear over all my inevitable black wardrobe pieces.
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(the ubiquitous Feather and Fan pattern again!)

It was always great fun to see Tina Whitmore of KnitWhits and I snatched up a ball of her Freia ombré yarn that changes from a deep grey-black to an Aegean teal. Tina explained it was a new color direction for her ombré yarns. She had only made a little for the New York show she attended and they were snapped up, I wish I could have seen all the colors she had made! Hopefully, in future, she will make more. The winking green-blue eye for this yarn really called to me and I couldn’t wait to make something with it.

20130301-203106.jpg(the hue of the grey truly is much darker than captured here)

We putzed around for a little while longer and then went out for dinner at Ramen Club. This is the second best ramen I’ve found in the Bay Area.
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It was a lovely, full day!

The moment I got home I pulled out my two purchases plus the pretty pattern and I did not resist the incredible urge to start knitting.

Happily a quick search on Ravelry led me to the adorable Elk Tooth pattern by Caitlin ffrench. The talented knittingnurse on Ravelry had made up this pattern in Freia yarn in the same weight and a slight modification to use up one ball of yarn. I am about halfway done now and simply love the look and feel of this yarn. I can’t wait to wear this scarf.

Finished Objects – Heavenly Spiral

I was on a roll over Thanksgiving and finished the beautiful Spiral Lace scarf using KnitWhits Freia lace yarn in Purpleheart.   Two finished objects in one weekend, can you believe it!

In truth I completed quite a lot of this scarf while on the train up to the country, and during lunch breaks during the work week, knitting frantically outside in the chill at a coffee shop.
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I am so pleased how well it came out!

Overall one skein of yarn in this pattern and size 6 needles produced a 14′ scarf, which I have been wearing with absolutely everything.  All twirled up into a flat disk, you can really admire the effect of the color transitions.

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The shading of the colors is so very subtle, from rose to grey then cream then steely blue and mauve and the faintest of a purple at the end.   I tried it on by tripling the length for a standard fill for a blazer opening around the neck, or quadrupled and tucked around my collar like an Elizabethan frill.  Against my bright red winter coat the Heavenly Spiral is particularly fetching.

 

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This shows the scarf doubled and hanging over the closet knob with my sis’s cat inspecting it. He approved.  He was quite excited about yarn in general and tried to “help” me quite a lot with this project.    Such a giver, hah.

 

I have been enjoying this scarf so much that I cannot bear to put it away, so it has been lounging along the back of my antique rocking chair, relaxed into lacey swirls twining against itself.

 

This yarn was fun to use and I still have another full skein left to play with.  Any suggestions?

 

Heavenly Spiral

This weekend I started the entrancing Spiral Scarf using the Purpleheart Freia Flux lace yarn.

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(do you see its purple heart?)

I can’t stop working on this scarf!  The yarn has a pleasant scrunchy texture, springy and yet holds the stitch definition well.

One of the yarn’s features is the subtle and graceful way it transitions colors. So far I have knitted three feet (!) of the scarf and the colors have shifted from a rich cocoa brown to a soft rose to a pale mauve and now to a dove grey.

I cannot wait to see how the yarn colors will change next.

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The short row pattern is soothingly repetitive, perfect for my somewhat jangled nerves. For once I have a portable project, as long as I can complete the 16 row pattern repeat without interruption. Happily each row is only 12 stitches so a repeat just flies by.

More pictures soon!

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