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Posts Tagged ‘Brooks Farm’

There are quite a few things in process right now, and all are so close to being complete, that there “should” be a lot of FO’s to share with you over the next 2 weeks. Notice how I said “should”. I quite frequently “should” all over myself, so one never knows. First up ……

Look at what has finally been given a bath. It’s actually already blocked, and dried and waiting for buttons.

Tangled Yoke Cardi bath

You don’t recognize the black blob in the sink? Well, neither would I. It’s the Tangled Yoke Cardigan that I completed in November. Since this is my first sweater, I think I’ve been afraid to block it for fear that it wouldn’t turn out. Either too big, or too long, or whatever. I decided that there was no need to worry about it until the blocking was complete, and I tried it on.

Flower Faire

Next up is another test-knit for my girlfriend Laura of Fiber Dreams. The pattern is named Flower Faire and is written with 3 design options. You can either make the stole size, or a scarf in fingering-weight yarn or laceweight yarn (as I’m doing). Obviously it’s just a blob now, and I’m only halfway, but I suspect much gorgeousness when it’s complete and blocked. Does the color look familiar? It’s the leftover yarn from the Garden Party shawl I posted about last time. By the way, Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits is currently knitting up that pattern as well and I can’t wait to see what hers looks like when it’s complete.

Fiber Trends Felted Clogs (drying)

Thanks to Lynda and her blog post showing off her wonderful felted clogs, I felt inspired to finally felt mine. It also helped that Lynda was kind enough to send me an email explaining the best way to felt them. Since one of my slippers was bigger than the other, it had to felt longer and I did think it was tricky getting them both the same size, but I think I was successful. I’ll have a FO post about these as soon as they are dry.

Clapotis Acero

Then we’ve got the Clapotis. When I saw that Jillian had knit one in a solid black, I just knew I wanted one in a solid colorway as well. I dug through my stash and found 2 skeins of Brooks Farm Acero sitting in my stash. I’m in the decrease section so I hope to be casting-off and blocking by the weekend so I can take it with me next week to Stitches West.

Other than that, there’s a completed pair of socks which will get it’s photo shoot tomorrow, and then they’re off in the mail to mom.

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In great anticipation of the three-hour class I signed up for, I arrived at the convention center thirty minutes early and started to search for the classroom. I must say that Stitches really has done a beautiful job at setting up information displays to help get you where you want to go. I entered my classroom, met a few classmates, pulled out my materials and anxiously waited. It was another one of those minutes feeling like hours moment, but then the instructor, Gwen Bortner, began to speak. The class was called Pattern Customization & the description basically stated that you would learn how to recalculate a pattern you love, to work with the yarn you love, just by utilizing a gauge swatch & a bit of math. Of course nobody ever wants to knit a gauge swatch or do math, especially me, but that must also be why the sweater I knit DH did not fit very well. After this class I now understand why making a gauge swatch is critical to success. This class well exceeded my expectations and not only did I learn a great deal of usable information, but it was presented in a straight-forward and organized manner with unexpected humor. Gwen was entertaining, informative and engaging. I hope to take another class from her in the future.

DH met me for lunch after my class and we purchased a ticket for him, so that he could experience “knitters shopping heaven” firsthand. Our first stop was the XRX/Knitters booth were they were promoting their latest book release: Victorian Lace Today. As I started thumbing through this exquisite book, I not only appreciated the beautiful photography & stunning shawl patterns, but also realized that there are 40 patterns and the book was priced at only $29.95. I was quite shocked! I don’t even knit lace and I thought it would be a perfect addition to my knitters library. In addition to this beautiful book though, most (if not all) the lace shawls from the book were displayed throughout the booth. Each shawl was a beautiful work of art and even though all the exquisite detail of each one made me feel a bit intimidated, I did notice that a few of the scarves in the book said “beginner”.

As I was carefully examining each shawl, I realized that it was 1 pm and we had scheduled to meet up with Lain. I have been corresponding with Lain via our blogs for almost a year and she was actually the person who left the very first comment on my blog last year in April. Even though she has an amazing personality which shows through on her blog, she’s even better in person. We had a wonderful time looking through the vendor booths flipping through books, fondling yarn, and chit-chatting about this and that, but the time passed by too quickly & she was off to a game for one of her beautiful children. She has the cutest post about us all meeting which is funny & definitely worth reading! I know if Lain & I lived closer to each other, I’d have her knitting more & she’d have me scrapbooking!

I’ve debated off and on for quite some time about knitting the Clapotis. It seems like everyone has been there, knit that, but it’s a pattern I come back to time and time again. I never had the right yarn for the project though, and so it remained on the back burner. At the Brooks Farm booth however, they had TWO Clapotis on display each knit in a different yarn type. I showed it to DH & he immediately said he liked the one knit in their Four Play yarn, a 50/50 wool and silk blend, and then proceeded to choose a colorway for me. The colors are definitely not in my typical wine palette, but I really do like them and I’m glad he talked me into purchasing it.

One of the best items of advice from my class this morning was to purchase a skein of yarn you think you love, knit a swatch with it and if you still love it, go buy the yardage you need for your project. Since I wasn’t in love with the yarn I used on DH’s last sweater, I asked him to choose a skein/ball of yarn at the WEBS booth and I’ll knit it into a swatch at home for him to see. I told him if he still likes it, I’ll order enough yarn to make him the sweater of his choice. He chose this skein of Valley Yarns Colrain, a 50/50 blend of merino and tencel in a colorway named Majestic Blue. It’s soft, has a beautiful sheen & is hopefully a dream to knit with.

As I wandered around looking at all the vendor booths, the Victorian Lace Today book kept sticking in my head and I decided that since it had left such an impression on me, that the best thing to do was just purchase it. As I started walking towards the XRX booth, I remembered seeing something about book signings. I wondered if this author was also signing so I checked my schedule and sure enough, she had signings scheduled most of that day. I located her last signing at 4:30 pm and figured we had a few minutes to get to that booth.

We arrived promptly at 4:30 at the YarnDogs booth and there was only one woman ahead of me in line. I don’t know what I was expecting, if anything, but this beautiful mature woman with a slim build was sitting before me and spoke in a soft English accent. I told her I’d never knit with lace weight yarn and that in fact I’d never knit any lace items, but that her book just captivated me and I was so surprised that such a beautiful book had been written with so many patterns for such a low price, that I knew I should own it. As she opened her book, she proceeded to tell me that her publishers didn’t think the book would sell for a higher amount and she also implied to me that she wasn’t happy with her publishers for underestimating the value of her work. She then started delicately flipping through the pages and shared with me the patterns that would be perfect for my first project. She took off one of her shawls and told me where she had found the original pattern for that particular lace edging and how it was only a partial pattern, and the history, and so forth. She mentioned that on one of the scarf photos it shows an edging that does not match the pattern in the book but that most of the edgings can be changed anyway.

At some point I realized that quite some time had elapsed and I looked behind me to find nobody waiting. ??? She kept speaking to me like I was the only person in the room. I basked in these moments with the author until we discovered that someone else was waiting for their book to be signed. I guess I couldn’t complain though, since I had just spent about ten minutes talking to her and it is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things you never forget. I will treasure the moment and this book for my entire life.

After the book signing I was floating on cloud 9 and believed it couldn’t get any better, but of course while I was looking through my bag of yarn when we arrived back at the hotel, I found a small blue box. I opened it and found an absolutely beautiful pearl & sterling silver bracelet from Harlan Beads. I have no idea when or how DH managed to sneak away from me to purchase this, but him doing things like this for me are one of the millions of reasons why I love him! We finished off my perfect day with a lemon drop cocktail at the hotel bar followed by sushi for dinner. Unforgettable!

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First, I want to say how sorry I am that I haven’t responded to all of you regarding the fabulous comments on my scarf. I do sincerely appreciate it when comments are left for me, especially when you tell me how good my knitting is. Thank you!

Next (and what you’re here for anyway), I’m going to give you my impressions of Stitches. Most of Thursday was spent driving from southern California (Orange County) to northern California (Santa Clara). It used to be that I hated to sit in a car, but all that changed when I was able to knit while DH drove. Now, I seem to be able to sit for almost any length of time with my iPod podcasts in my ear & my needles in my hands. The weather was horrible about 50% of the 400 mile drive and DH shared some “choice” words occasionally out of frustration, but by the time we got to the San Luis Reservoir all that ended due to the absolutely beautiful countryside that continued through arriving in Santa Clara.

My itinerary for Stitches West was to attend the Market preview on Thursday night, which is where over 250 booths of knitting-related vendors set up their wares to be purchased. Although I didn’t know it when I decided to take a class, but only students who registered for a class were allowed into the Market (vendor area) Thursday evening from 7pm-9pm. This is definitely a HUGE advantage, especially if you want to purchase or even see most of the inventory available from vendors such as Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Also, the Yarn Lady had quite a large bin about 20’ long and 2’ wide absolutely jam packed with bags of yarn at 75% off.

I arrived with much anticipation and the 30 minutes I spent in line at the door waiting to get in seemed more like an hour or two. I was armed with my map of the vendor area & had a general game plan in place of what booths I was going to try & get to that evening in such a short span of time.

My first stop was Blue Moon Fiber Arts so that I could finally personally see this fabulous yarn with all the different choices of colors up close & personal. I was definitely not disappointed but it was tricky seeing everything since we were stacked 3 people deep all trying to do the same thing … get to the yarn! As I started grabbing armfuls of sock yarn, I then remembered that I was on a budget and if I blew all my money at this booth, the adventure would end. So I carefully chose two of my favorite yarns and proceeded to the cashier. The one on the left is Obsidian & the colorway on the right is Garnet. When I got back to the hotel room, DH decided that Obsidian should be used for a pair of socks for him. Even a guy can’t resist the power of Socks That Rock!

The rest of the night is a wonderful blur of yarns. I do remember specifically going to the Brooks Farm booth to look at their FourPlay in hopes of purchasing some for a Clapotis (since I may be one of the very few that have never knit one), but decided instead to purchase two skeins of their Acero yarn. The yarn is a fingering weight blend of washable wool, silk and viscose that has a somewhat heathered look and I just couldn’t put it down! I’d seen their website many times and liked the yarn, but in person, this yarn is absolutely stunning!

The Yarn Lady is a local yarn store about 30 miles from my house, and although I’ve never been there in person, I stopped at her booth because I knew she was carrying the new Addi Turbo Lace circular needles. After the frustration I’ve had with the KnitPicks recently, I think it just may be worth the extra $10 a needle to purchase the new Addi needles. I picked up two packets of the 24” cable size 1 US, since that’s what I seem to use most frequently when knitting socks. I was most impressed that the cables have the needle size inscribed on them and this is very much appreciated!

I’d only intended on purchasing needles here, but of course after looking around, I saw the Koigu KPPPM that I’d only viewed online. Since I’d noticed my color palette that evening seemed to be mainly in the burgundy colorways, I branched out and chose blue. After all, it’s Project Spectrum colors currently.

The only other purchase I made that evening was at CommuKnity where they had quite a large inventory of Claudia Handpaint yarn. I had a horrible time choosing which of the fabulous colorways to purchase, but I ended up choosing their most popular, Chocolate Cherry.

Of course I stopped at other vendors that evening for a quick sneek peek, but I was amazed that in 2 hours I probably only saw ¼ of what was there. I couldn’t wait for Friday!

Stay tuned for part two which includes a class, meeting an online blogger friend, a book author & why I love my husband!

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