Monday, October 26, 2009

The Yarnarian Has More Vacation Tidbits.

Ah, Stitches East! What can I tell you? For the first time in many, many years, I took classes, all with Merike Saarniit, the most wonderful expert on Estonian stitches going. I learned fiendishly difficult stitches (yup, they were), elongated stitches, and nupps and bobbles and such. I need to do a sampler again, not the one in class, but one in a quiet time and place where I can concentrate on the methods. Some of these are the most convoluted stitches going. I felt like a pretzel turned inside out with my knitting on my feet and my hands waving in the air and totally confused. BUT, I'm not confused any more. Some of these stitches are mind-bending; you have to put away what you know and let the good stuff in. Great for keeping the brain alive.

When I finished the 2 classes I took on Friday, I told the Hubbo: "Leave me alone. Don't talk to me. Don't ask me questions. Don't expect me to make decisions." Did he listen? Nope. The poor guy was on his own in the wilds of Hartford and vicinity and just wanted to chat, and I kept glaring at him. That's how tired my little brain was.

Merike Saarniit is wonderful! What a teacher! What a woman! And she's kind and patient. If you ever have a chance to take a class with her, go and do it.

So, purchases at SE: a skein of sock yarn (stop laughing) from my friend, Dianne, of Creatively Dyed. She with the 16 different versions of green in one skein. I didn't buy that one, but something equally as pretty. Dianne does evil things with yarn; I swear she has wicked ideas when she gets those dyepots heated up.

Then a bit of odd and end yarn called me. Nothing special, just pretty commercially dyed yarn. For what? Who knows, but I liked it so I bought it. And that was that. No books, no tools, no anything else.

My take on both Rhinebeck and Stitches East: This are just my personal feelings here, so feel free to disagree, which you are going to do anyhow. I think that there were less vendors at each event. Now it could be that venues had the vendors spread out differently; I don't know. But I did have the feeling that there were fewer at each show.

I find that Stitches has tons and tons of beautiful commercially-dyed yarn as well as a nice amount of indie dyed yarn; I thought that Rhinebeck is the place to go for many more indie dyers. If I had to choose only one venue to attend, I would pick Rhinebeck, just for the variety of yarns available. There were some folks who were represented in both places, Dianne for one, Skaska and a few others also. Webs and The Fold each had lots of STR yarn.

Stitches is physically far more comfortable than Rhinebeck: well it's all indoors, so you don't worry about the annual freeze-off at Rhinebeck. Rhinebeck has animals, lots of the critters, each one looking cuter and/or sillier than the next. And for the carnivores, Rhinebeck has lamb burgers, stew, and any form of lambie-pie it can sell. Food at Stitches was typical convention fare: boring, forgettable, and that's that. Rhinebeck is a foodie experience. OK, not gourmet, but there are lots of choices. Rhinebeck is family-friendly. Yes, you have to pay for them to enter the fairgrounds, but there are lots of kid acivities, the guys manage to survive all that pretty yarny stuff (well mine did). Stitches is a convention.

Classes? I've never taken any at Rhinebeck and don't plan to. This is a shop/lamb food event for us. Stitches had some nifty classes, and you know that I was in Estonian heaven here.

Cost? It all depends on whether you stay over or commute.

My final take: I can do Stitches every couple of years, unless there is a class that calls to me. Rhinebeck is an every year event for me. I just like the ambiance, and the crazy knitters all bundled up and carrying bags and bags of yarn, and the woolly sheep and goats and llamas and alpacas, and the food. So what was wrong with Rhinebeck this year? Someone is now running events on a professional basis at the show, and the famous bathroom lady was not there. That's it. Everything else was quite Rhinebeck-ish.

I'm sooooo yarned out! OK, at least for the next week or two.

Knitting News: Look what actually might get finished! Yep, the gansey I started last December. It's taken me long enough.

Dyeing News: You remember this pic from yesterday?

Everybody and his/her uncle and aunt are knitting these little triangles and I've been bitten by the bug too. I've done a couple of these and in so doing, realized that either they should be worked in almost solids, or if worked in garter stitch, the color repeats should be small and kind of mush into each other.

I did a lot of yarn peeping on vacation and figured out that people are truly into darker colors of yarn. It's killing the Pastel Queen here, but even I want more autumanal and wintery colors. So with that in mind, plus this desire to make many more of these adorable little triangular shawls, I dyed up yarn with just those deep shades and short color repeats just now. The yarn is cooling off and waiting for me to rinse, etc., so no pics, but tomorrow all will be revealed. Well, I did do 2 pastels and one orangy thing because I couldn't help it, but the rest are these deep jewel shades underdyed, overdyed, and everything else in between. Took me forever to dye them too. Not quick jobs, not with this particular method. I like the way they look, and I think they will knit up beautifully.

Oh, and did I mention that the yarn is my new Merino/Cashmere/Nylon sock yarn? The one that feels so soft and lovely? The good news is that it is lovely; the bad news is that it costs me more than the other sock yarns. So, it'll sell for $25/skein, which is still affordable. Name of the new yarn? Karen (one more family female to go, and then we move onto middle names)

Karen Yarn: 80/10/10 SW merino/cashmere/nylon. approx 430 yards. Price: $25.

Picture at the top of the blog? Our fake fire in our actual fireplace. It was chilly and the odd fake fire looked so nice.

Ria - I'm with you here. Rhinebeck of course, SE occasionally. Of course tell me that next year and I'll have to go to both. I'm weak. My secret: I would love to vend at Rhinebeck. Not big enough, don't know the powers-that-be, and do I want to do that kind of prep at this stage of the game. But still, wouldn't it be neat?

1 comment:

Ria said...

This was both my first Rhinebeck and my first Stitches. I have to agree with you, Stitches was more lys's with booths and commercial booths a few indies hidden away. Rhinebeck definitely has more indie spinners/dyers and much much more fun food ( would you believe it's the first time I have ever had lamb ?) and is definitely going to be a yearly destination for me. I didn't take a class at either place, but as it took me 2 days to see everything at Rhinebeck, I think if I am going to take a class it would be at Stitches, and I don't think I would go to that every year anyway.


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