there really is a waterloo for each of us and this one, despite being quite wet and rainy this weekend, is especially nice (it really is very wet; i almost called this post “watery-loo”, but then realized that name came with its own unique baggage . . .).
anyway, i just love university towns—so full of variety and good coffee.
i arrived in canada very early on friday morning without a hitch; no airline difficulties for now and everyone in customs was friendly, but smilingly disinterested in my knitting adventure here.
i was met by the lovely janelle, who quickly got us back to waterloo so i could drop my bags before we headed to lunch at a yummy vegetarian cafe close by. we did a few turns around town so i could see where things were and then off we went to shall we knit? in new hamburg
friday evening is for knit and chat there. karen has the most eclectic and wonderful knit shop—if you live anywhere nearby, you should make it a destination sometime soon (or at least get on the mailing list).
zena will make sure your visit is completely worthwhile.
and if she’s not taking visitors, the wall of koigu will be sure to captivate you (the staff makes regular visits to the koigu studios to stock up on all sorts of goodies . . .)
right now they’ve got briar rose in the house, too (probably not for long, from what i saw going out the door)
spinning and knitting supplies are lying virtually everywhere among the charming displays
along with a few non-knitting essentials, such as these beautiful maruca bags.
i brought along my little golden shawlette to knit, having gotten quite far along with it on the plane trip in. during the evening’s conversation, i managed to get it finished, which meant we could block it the next day in class.
saturday morning, we all met for a blocking class in a dining room at the beautiful victorian puddicombe house B&B.
my shawlette went into a cool, soapy bath while we talked a bit about washing, blocking, and caring for woolens. the nice thing about this class was that everyone got to take part and they also got to knit a lot while we talked about blocking—a great mix for a saturday morning (especially with the yummy coffee and muffins provided)
after a bit, we rinsed it and began threading it on blocking wires.
everyone took turns to learn how it’s done and once all the sides were threaded, we stretched and pinned it out.
we put a wire through one long hem edge and used pins on the other to demonstrate that you can do it either way
and then i put a few fussy finishing touches on the whole thing
and voilá—it was time to watch it dry.
just kidding . . . karen made the day a lot of fun by pulling names for door prizes every so often and even had a gift for me (totally unnecessarily, since they were treating me so special already).
inside was a cute project bag, with some stitch markers (the kind i’ve been wanting, yay), a foldable pen, and some soft, soft, shelridge farms lace yarn in the SWK house colorway. nice.
we actually went on to block a few other items that participants brought along. josephine had a silk and wool scarf that she’d already blocked, but was unhappy with.
she found she was able to get a much better result with more stretching; here she used the wires, but could have used a thread through the edges as well, to get them nice and straight.
by the end of the session, we’d also revitalized a pair of cloverleaf mitts and steam-blocked a finished sweater to observe the amazing effects of applying steam to rumpled knitted fabric (sorry, no photos of that one).
after lunch, i opened my suitcase and unpacked the trunk show to get ready for the afternoon session. we displayed all the things i brought along—about thirty pieces total, i think—and i gave a talk about how i work and how my designs evolve.
this is one of the shawl samples karolyn sent me a couple of weeks ago—a brand new irfa’a in blue moon fiber arts laci, coloway, valkyrie. karolyn, i wish you could have been in the room to hear the oohs and ahhhs over it . . . i’ll show more of this piece when i return home.
they brought me a beautiful gift of posh yarn in the “fudge” colorway, along with some delish chocolate bars. and in the bottom of the bag, what did i see, but an even more delish lipstick—i know that’s a prezzie hand-picked by lorraine; she’s a bit fixated on my lipstick (in a good way!), but i love that about her. and she picked a good one; i know i’ll use it a lot.
speaking of irtfa’a, today we met again at shall we knit? for an all-day shawl project class, focusing on the irtfa’a faroese shawl (well at least most of us did; someone whose initials are SUE had to knit something different. but i have to say, she was so happy with her choice, we couldn’t help but enjoy it with her).
of course, i shouldn’t talk—i didn’t start a new irtfa’a either. i worked on my little lace scarf in enchanted knoll merino/silk lace. i love the way it’s coming along . . .
i got a fair bit done, too, as today’s class was a lot more about knitting than talking. this was a wonderful chance for the participants to take six hours off from their lives to get started a lace project that requires some focused attention in the beginning stages.
we reviewed the construction and architecture of the piece while everyone knit their neck edging. then we moved on to getting the shoulder area of the shawl started. once everyone understood the shaping and sequence of the parts, we practiced a few skills to better understand how to execute the hem edging. it was a full day of thinking exercise, but everyone went home with a new shawl on the needles and they will continue to meet for KAL sessions over the summer. very productive.
oh, and i almost forgot—this morning when i got to the shop, the shawlette was dry and unpinned from its blocking board. just look at that shine—dani’s sunsilk yarn is absolutely glowing.
my only regret is that i had so much yarn left over—i was too cautious about running out and could have probably made it another repeat wider at the hems. it’s still a nice scarf size though—about 42 inches across the top edge and around 15 inches down the center back. perfect scarf proportions, i think.
when i knit my next one, it’ll be a little bigger . . . and i’ll try to get some more pictures when it’s not so rainy. next i need to get the pattern written up properly and off to ronni for proofing.
tomorrow it’s on to adjudicate the guild knitting show and get ready for the fashion show and talk on tuesday night; wish me luck.