Thursday, November 03, 2011

Interweave Knitting Lab: Review - Part 1

When you feel that anticipation, the kind old timers may remember from the Heinz Ketchup commercials, you know that something good is coming.  Something delicious and wonderful.  With Day 1 of Interweave Knitting Lab behind me, I haven't been disappointed.

I should qualify that.  I was disapointed a couple of days ago, when I found out that Barbara Walker would not be attending.  Meeting her was one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Interweave's premiere event at the San Mateo Marriott, on November 3-6, 2011.  Barbara wrote the Treasuries of Knitting, Mosaic Knitting, Knitting from the Top, and many other knitting resources.  She's at the pinnacle of the knitting authority pyramid.  We still haven't heard the reason behind her absence, except that it was an emergency.  Everyone hopes that she's okay.

Nevertheless, I took two days off from work to attend this knitting extravaganza. Why all the fuss?  Well, a few reasons, including: the small classes; the brilliance of the teaching staff; and ... it's in my backyard!  Well, I only had to drive a few miles from where I live.

San Mateo Marriott is in a weird spot, alongside Highway 101 on the west side.  It definitely caters to Silicon Valley conventioneers, with meeting rooms named Connect, Inspire, Synergy, etc.

I met in Connect 5 today with Galina Khmeleva, who gave a lecture class on Broken Borders: Lace Restoration Therapy.  I've been a fan of Galina's for several years, and had already picked up a copy of her Gossamer Webs book of patterns.  I had heard rumors that she was an opinionated teacher, who didn't take any guff.  And for goodness sake, don't be late to class!  I suppose I was a bit apprehensive, wondering if the class would feel like Catholic grammar school, when we sat with hands folded, back straight, not speaking with our neighbors.  On the contrary, the class was small, only about ten students, and Galina made us feel at home.  She made eye contact with each of us, smiling and telling stories about how she learned and perfected her lace restoration techniques.

Galina is the foremost expert on Orenburg lace.  She can tell you stories that would curl the mohair of the most jaded lace knitter.  I was flabbergasted to learn that my methods of storing my lace shawls were all wrong, that moth eggs can survive and actually hatch for up to three years, and that cedar can leave yellow spots on your fabrics.

Oh ... my ... gosh ... I was writing notes as fast as I could. I didn't want to miss anything important.  But then Galina would smile and tell us a funny story, and more than once she exclaimed, "Piece of cake!"

Whew.  I felt better.  If Galina says it's a piece of cake, then by golly, it's a piece of cake.  There's no doubt about it.  That's how she makes you feel.

In order for me to get a good night's sleep tonight in preparation for my Sock Innovation class with Cookie A tomorrow, I'm going to speed through my notebook and give you the highlights from Galina's many nuggets of wisdom.  Really good stuff.


When finding moth holes, the most important thing is to kill the eggs and larvae or whatever remains in the fabric.  Those little eggs stick.  They do not shake out or even wash out.  To kill the buggers, she zips up the lace in a Ziplock bag and freezes it on the highest setting in her freezer for two weeks.  Then she takes it out to air, rearranges it, and zips it up again and repeats this procedure three or four times.  The temperature changes are important.  They make the eggs think it's time to hatch, or something like that.

More moth facts:
- Moth larvae develop at 65% humidity and 64 degrees F -- this is the sweet spot for moths.
- Larvae develop in 12 days.
- Moths can lay 200 eggs in a lifetime.
- Only 2% may survive.
- Eggs that survive are viable for up to three years.
- Eggs can hatch inside a Ziplock or plastic bin, and the larvae have nowhere to go, so they eat your wool.

Other pests who might eat your wool:

- Silverfish
- Crickets
- Carpet beetles
- Japanese ladybugs (the kind gardeners use)
- Some ants (some in CO, AZ, NM)


Keep all fabrics clean.  Don't put anything away soiled.  This includes:
- After you've worn it (bugs love perfume, food spatter, proteins, etc.)
- After you've finished making it (wash and block before you store)

Use acid free tissue or unbleached muslin to separate sweaters.

Store them in a plain cardboard box.  Shoeboxes or shirt boxes are okay.

Don't store any boxes on the floor.

Don't store sweaters/shawls in Ziplocks or plastic. (I've got some reorganizing to do.)

Try Moth Guard - an odorless powder that can be diluted with water and sprayed on.  It's used in the carpet industry.  Galina didn't know the composition, but I looked online and it's a fluoride base.  I'm always worried about anything chemical, so I'd like to learn more about this before trying it.

Scents moths don't like:
- lavender
- eucalyptus
- citrus (Galina uses dried orange peels)
- dry tobacco leaves
- jasmine teabags
- cedar (this does leave yellow spots on fabric, so be careful how you use it)

Cedar chests dry out!  You may think you're protected, but you're not.


Orenburg shawls have these common attributes:
- two-ply, silk and cashmere
- garter stitch (no stockinette)
- scalloped border

Historically, in a Russian cottage industry of 12,500 knitters, Broken Borders were fixed by the most experienced, respected women.  The most common place for a shawl to break was at the corners, during blocking.


Use a tapestry needle and a nylon cord from the hardware store.  Sew through the points with an overhand stitch, not a running stitch, always coming up through the fabric from the back.  If you use a running stitch, some of the tips may twist into "goat's tits" (thank you for the image, Galina!).

After threading the points, then wash in 98 degree F water.  The nylon cord will allow the points to slide. Pin out the four corners.  Arrange the points.  Wrap another separate piece of cord around the four corner pins.  Without pinning through the shawl, T-pin the threaded cord in between the points.


Camel, cashmere, bison, and yak do not like to felt. Rabbit and merino do like to felt (with temperature change and agitation).


"I hate bunnies; I just eat them."

In the concentration camps, production of soldier's gloves and helmet liners during wartime was enormous.  Also, Galina is allergic to bunnies.


Outline the repair area with a red silk thread.  Use a styrofoam board, muslin, and dark fabric under the work.  I wish I could show you how she fixed a hole before our very eyes, using a duplicate stitch. The expertise was quite amazing.  She is also teaching classes at The Lace Museum in Sunnyvale in February.

.... That's all for tonight, folks. Time to sleep and dream of socks and lace and twisted stitches and Japanese charts.  Oh, I'd better just sleep.

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