Sunday, September 30, 2007

TKGA Knit and Crochet Show

On Saturday, September 29, I went to The Knitting Guild Association's (TKGA) Knit and Crochet Show in Oakland, CA. I met Jeannette, Marty, Tara and Matthew (aka DoilyDude) of IBKC Yahoo group at Daly City BART, and we happily knitted on the way over. The 12th Street BART station is right across the street from the Oakland Marriott.

The attendee line was fairly long at 10am, but I scooted up to the exhibitor desk which had no line and got my badge. My friend Tina of Knitwhits had asked me to work in her booth, so I spent the majority of the day there amongst the adorable hat, scarf, sock, purse, and other Knitwhits kits. The scarf above is one of her lovely crochet patterns called Ella. Some of the most popular items were the Flore (the petal hat at right) and Ripley hat kits that come in a variety of color combos. Purse kits were also flying out the door, like Lexi the houndstooth bag suitable for work or play. What a busy day! I didn't think that TKGA would be as busy as Stitches, but for the first few hours I was having flashbacks. The shoppers were out in force, credit cards in hand, and they were definitely buying.

When I had time for a break, I walked around and visited the
usual suspects, plus some others that were new to me. The Y2Knit booth was right across from ours. Jill Wolcott is one of two sisters who own the business. The designs were lovely, inventive, and many of the sweaters were sized from small to 3x or 4x. Jill lives in San Francisco and her sister has a shop in Maryland. Jill was wearing this short Latice Lace Wrap, which was simply charming. The lacy insert has a twisted open stitch that looks much like broomstick lace.

Another exciting booth was
Gita Maria, whose wares include enameled shawl pins and shawl kits in beautiful packaging. The shawl designs are wild, open and lacy and the shawl pins are gorgeous like this autumn inspired pumpkin pin.

I also enjoyed revisiting Geddes Studio, where I had bought gorgeous handmade glass buttons at Stitches West. Nancy Geddes' shift from engineer to artist is fascinating and compelling. She had discovered the beauty of dichroic glass while working as an aerospace engineer, and extrapolated her nascent art project into an idea for a growing family business. Her buttons, as she mentioned to me, end up on coffee tables as conversation pieces as often as they become attached to finished garments. I must admit, my favorite Geddes button is waiting patiently to be affixed to some future sweater. I fondle it from time to time and bring it out to watch my visitors ooh and ahh. The photo is an example of Nancy's artwork.

Due to my recent yarn spending spree, I decided to forego any new yarn purchases, but I did pick up a pattern for the Spring Blossoms shawl, by Eugen Beugler, from Terilyn Needleart. Lynn Curry, the proprietor from Redwood City, offers a lovely selection of her own lace shawl patterns, plus Fiber Trends and others. At present, the business is Internet only, but she does attend shows like TKGA. Lynn is a member of The Lacy Knitters Guild in Mountain View and the editor of their newsletter. What stopped me in my tracks was her display of the lace doilies knitted by Marguerite Shimmons. The Shimmons doilies are legendary and a number of them have been donated to the Lacis Museum for posterity.

I also ran into a few friends from the knitting world, like Ann of
afghans for Afghans. (The first "a" of "afghans for Afghans" is intentionally lowercase to differentiate between the blankies and the people.) I don't know how she finds the time to do all that she does, but there she was, shopping in the market after attending a class. Ann is coordinating a big shipment of handknitted items to be sent overseas to Afghanistan in October to help clothe the Afghan orphans during their very cold winter. The deadline for contributions is October 12. They can always use extra hands for packing, so if you have a free afternoon, drop her an line. She graciously invited me to join her and some other knitters at a pub after the show, but I was too pooped to party.

On the BART train, a few knitters and I sat together discussing the show, and of course, the knitterly camaraderie made us instant pals.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I may be dating myself here, as I compare my latest project to an episode of Star Trek. In the episode entitled "The Trouble with Tribbles," an enterprising trader sells a few harmless looking pets to members of the Starship Enterprise's crew. First, Lieutenant Uhura becomes enamored with the round, fuzzy, earmuff-shaped creatures. The Tribbles emit a soothing purr which the crew finds particularly charming.

The Trouble with Tribbles is that, as Dr. McCoy states, "they are born pregnant," and the growing population soon threatens to consume all of the starship's supplies and patience. To add misery to their mischief, they physically enter the ship's systems and basically wreak havoc, while poor engineer Scotty mutters Scottish Gaelic curses.

To spare you all the pseudo-scientific details,
let's just skip to the end of the story. Scotty finds a way to beam all of the Tribbles onto a Klingon ship, where, as he quips, "they'll be no tribble at all." Actually, Klingons hate Tribbles, and vice versa. In fact, Tribbles emit high-pitched shrieks when coming into contact with Klingons (a nice finishing touch to the story).

Now we come to my own Tribbles, i.e., Boho Blocks. It started out innocently enough. I had acquired some lovely 3-ply hand-dyed silk from
Interlacements. It was a "Dyer's Choice" blue/violet/dark grey batch that was never replicated. But I saw it and fell in love. The amazing thing about it was that each of the three plies was itself a lovely 2-ply silk thread, heavy enough to be considered fingering or light DK weight.

Thus began my troubles. I began by UNPLYING, the considerable yardage. I figured that with the yarn unplied, I might have enough to do the main body of the Boho Blocks Cardigan from Interweave Crochet, Fall 2006. I calculated how many yards of a single ply would be required to make one square. Then I hung the whole skein around my swift, unwound the required length, enough for three squares, cut it, unplied it, and rewound it into three little skeins. I felt so smug having figured out how to increase the yield of my lovely Interlacements silk.

Yet, my troubles were not over. The pattern requires 144 squares, but I only had enough yarn to make around 100 or so. No problem. I promptly ordered a few mini-cones of
2/12 Gemstone Silk from Halcyon Yarn in Maine. I loved the way the woman answered the phone, "Halcyon YAHN," in her comforting I've-heard-it-all manner. The colors I ordered were blue, violet and magenta, plus a big hank of black to sew everything together. I checked the site today, and it seems not all of my colors are still available. A lesson here: always buy more than enough to finish your project!

I thought I had saved enough of my main color (the Interlacements silk) to crochet around all of the final squares. Nope. Ten of them needed a little finagling. I scrounged scraps of silk from the bottom of my knitting bag and cut off long ends from the early squares where I had left generously long unused ends. And still, to make ends meet (pardon the pun), I dared to border a few of the last squares with a little of the blue Cascade silk I had remaining from the Myrtle Leaf Shawl.

Never you mind! It will all be okay, I promise. Photos of the finished cardigan are forthcoming. Sewing has commenced. And I love each and every little square, no matter how troublesome. Replication has ceased. End transmission.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A little bit more

The Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, 100% washable, fingering weight, merino yarn arrived. I ordered it during the Handpaint Heaven Labor Day Sale at quite a discount, so it was especially satisfying to see this luscious yarn in my hot little hands. The color is "Old Rose" -- and the photos of the dye sample on the HH website do not depict the color acurately.

It is ... absolutely ... gorgeous. With two skeins, 420 yards per skein, this is going to make something lovely.

Okay, enough with the new yarn already! Somebody stop me!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I see yarn ... all the time ...

You have to understand my consternation. That gorgeous Alchemy Alpaca Pure yarn at the Greenwich Yarn Sale on Sunday was not my first bit of conspicuous consumption in recent weeks. Nope.

On Saturday, I received this wonderful 100% merino laceweight from Margaret at Inspirations Yarn. The colors are violets and plums, beautifully blended. Margaret dyes the yarn herself in small batches, so every skein is unique and lovely. This one is her Espresso weight, that comes 1,760 yards to the skein! That's enough for a nice big 100% merino shawl.

The yarn arrived in the mail while I was out at the third meeting of the Lacis Lace Knitters group in Berkeley. I can't be blamed for additional fiber purchases if I didn't know I had a yarn package waiting for me at home! Lacis has a wonderful selection of threads for the lace knitter. I picked up some threads for future doily knitting, including some Flora thread from Germany. The rose color might make a pretty center for a floral doily and the green may make some interesting leaves. I'm going to look through my doily patterns to see which one might be appropriate.

In addition I purchased some navy blue thread. I've never made a doily in a dark color before, so I thought it would be an interesting experiment. White or light colored doilies and tablecloths are the most common, mainly because that was the prevailing color of thread available in years past, and also because the light color is enhanced by the dark wood of a table underneath.

Besides the threads, I picked up a couple of fun things: an embroidered velvet eyeglass case on a cord. It's made in Guatemala, evidenced by the bright colors of the embroidery (and the tag inside). It can hang from your shoulder or neck, and it has a zipper compartment that can hold other items, too.

And finally, I couldn't resist the little fuzzy wool sheep I found sitting on a shelf all by his lonesome, near the Zephyr yarn display at Lacis. He now has a home on my fireplace mantel.

As long as I'm confessing, I'll let you know that I'm expecting additional packages to arrive for me sometime in the next few days. One is the Cherry Tree Hill yarn I purchased at the Handpaint Heaven Labor Day sale. Another is yarn I earned for test knitting a sample. And I'm sure I'll pick up something at the TKGA Knit and Crochet Show in Oakland when I go there on September 30.

Woe is me. Or should I say, WHOA is me?

Five Stages of Yarnaholism (or how I couldn't resist Alchemy at 25% off)


Suggest problem has corrected itself and it will soon be over
“I need this new yarn to make the shawl I saw in that book, that’s all. I will certainly not buy any more yarn, after today.”

Exhibit apathy and numbness
“No problem. I have the cash. It’s no big deal. So what if it doesn’t fit in my yarn closet or in the basket in the living room or in the Rubbermaid storage bin in the garage.”

“I’ll make it fit. Heck, I deserve this. It’s only yarn.”


Sabotage the change effort
“If I go to the yarn sale, I might buy yarn. But if I don’t go I’ll miss seeing my knitting pals and having a good time. I’ll go to the sale.”

Play "shoot the messenger"
“Damn that salesperson. If she hadn’t told me the Alchemy was on sale, I never would have bought it. Well, I might have. I would have. Damn her.”

Withdraw from society
“Okay, fine. So, you want to make something out of it? Get outta my way; I’m going shopping.”


Cut a deal to spare others harm
“Honey, I know I said I wouldn’t buy any more yarn. But see, this yarn I’ve looked at so many times is on sale. And I’ll never-ever-ever find it on sale again at this price. And, you know, they discontinue yarns all the time. So, if I buy this yarn, uhm, you can buy that baseball card you’ve been wanting. And we’ll both be on purchase restriction after that.”

Suggest other concerns to redirect problem solving
“Well, I’m just glad I paid that insurance bill. Don’t have to think about that any more. Isn’t that great? Oh, and I have to remember to pick up the dry cleaning. Did I water the tomato plants today?”


Express a loss of control
“I admit it’s getting a little out of hand. The yarn in little pyramid piles on the floor was cute for a while. I just don’t see it as a design element anymore. I’m never going to be able to knit all this yarn.”

Withdraw from society.
“I’ve now officially got SABLE (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy). I’m just going to have to forego any more yarn sales. If I go, I’ll buy. I’ll just become a hermit. That’s all there is to it.”


Express ownership for solutions
“I do not need any more yarn. I must take a stand.”

Focus on achieving benefits
“When I finish using at least … 30% of my stash, then I can buy more yarn. But not until then! Okay, 20%.”


Greenwich Yarn End of Summer Sale is from September 7 - 23. Topnotch yarns from 25%-70% off, including Alchemy, Debbie Bliss, Noro, and many, many more. I'm not kidding -- it's an extraordinary sale. If you're in the Bay Area, it's worth a trip.

Greenwich Yarn
2073 Greenwich
San Francisco, CA 94123