Friday, October 31, 2008

Hip to be Square

While I was visiting Serenity Knits after the Brandon Mably workshop, I picked up a couple of small items. One of them is a luscious skein of Hand Maiden Casbah in the Midnight colour way. It’s 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. A 115 gram ball has 325 metres on it and would typically knit up at about 26 stitches = 4 inches on 3 mm needles. My gauge is always on the tighter side and is different because of the pattern I’m doing. I thought it would make a great dressy scarf for my hubby. He has a warm winter scarf but it’s kind of ratty because he really only uses it for shovelling and snow blowing. I thought he could use a nicer scarf for dressier occasions. The softness of the merino and cashmere against the skin is heavenly.

I thought the colour way was appropriately masculine and sophisticated. The pattern I’m using is of my own design. I wanted it to look like dimensional blocks. The picture gives you a better idea (that's just a gauge swatch - his scarf will be bigger). It’s all stocking alternating with reverse stocking in an attempt to get the scarf to lie as flat as possible. I could have used garter in places to make it lie flat but garter stitch has a very different gauge and uses more yarn than stocking stitch. That’s me, always thinking practically and frugally.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Divine Twist of Fate – I met Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably!

Boy, where to begin with this one and not sound like I’m babbling incoherently. Okay; here goes.

Main St. Yarns in Milton was hosting a colour work shop conducted Brandon Mably with Kaffe Fassett doing a book signing afterward in Fergus on Monday, October 13; a.k.a. Canadian Thanksgiving. Needless to say, with these two names on the venue, I ended up being third on the waiting list since it filled up in no time. Then my husband got roped into working on Thanksgiving Monday and I thought, “Oh well, I couldn’t have gone anyways”.

On Monday, October 6, my husband and I arranged to take Friday, October 10 off so my hubby could have some semblance of a long week-end after working 4 week-ends straight.

On Tuesday, October 7, Carolyn from Main St. Yarns was a sweetheart and phoned me to let me know that a store in Newmarket, Serenity Knits, was hosting the same Brandon Mably workshop on the Friday I had just arranged to take off and they still had spaces available. They’ve only been in two years and hence I had never heard of them. Great store! Lovely people! Kaffe was doing a presentation Thursday night but there was no way I could make that one without a teleporter. My immediate reaction was, “AAAAAAHHHHH!!!” I made it in! It’s an hour from my home, but then again, so is Fergus.

The next day, my husband finds out our client has cancelled their week-end work so we have a beautiful four day long week-end which gives us enough time to do a trip to Quebec to see my mother-in-law right after Newmarket. Frantic packing on Thursday night because I don’t have a list prepared, my husband takes the kids to the Ontario Science Centre (which is not too far from Newmarket and one of the children’s most favourite places on the planet) for the day to keep them occupied while I knit for 7 hours (heaven), then he picks me up, we go to the book signing at the shop, then the almost 8 hour drive to Quebec (because of rush hour combined with a long week-end).

The workshop was so much fun and it was great to meet and get insight from a great designer like Brandon. He has a great sense of humour and is very down to earth. He tried to get us to think outside our “colour box”, experiment, not be afraid to make mistakes, and combine colours fearlessly. It was really fascinating to see all the colour combinations from the different minds in the group. Mine is second from the right and second from the top. I bought Brandon's book, Knitting Color: Design Inspiration from Around the World, and he signed it for me, too. They were a great group to be with; I have been so fortunate.

My dear husband realizes how important an event like this is in my life that he didn’t want me to miss it even to have extra time with his mother (whom I happen to get along with very well, by the way). So it was a hellishly long driving day for my poor hubby, but hey, how many times in your life do you get to meet Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett and have them both sign your books and you get your picture taken with them and I won one of the door prizes! Kaffe’s latest book, Kaffe Knits Again, with yarn to make the Caterpillar Sweater in it!!!!! AAAAAAAAHHH!!!! Was the long driving day worth it? What drive? I was floating on a cloud, babbling to my husband for hours about what Brandon said. I think I owe him a big one. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Catching My Breath and Getting Organized

My husband finally had a week-end off and we got to go out with the kids, shop, relax, and enjoy life once again.

IKEA is a dangerous place. You always end up walking out with more stuff than you intended, but at least they’re practical goods. We only went there to get my son a desk for his room so he could have a quiet place to do his homework. We ended up getting him a nice book case to go with that desk and a few other handy knick-knacks for the kitchen as well.

The best part for me was getting some lovely yarn storage units! The stacked cardboard boxes, an example of which you see at the base of the closet, really didn’t cut it (so much for my attempt to be frugal). I was considering giving the hanging storage unit on the side, which used to house the yarn, to the kids but then I thought, “I can use that to store the quilting fabric!”

The hanging storage unit and 6 drawer unit are mirrored in the other half of the closet, except that the other hanging unit has art supplies and a little quilt fabric in it. I even got a couple of magazine storage boxes to handle my book shelf overflow. I will eventually get around to putting those away. It’s so nice to be able to see the floor of my hobby room again.

I will also get to listing more sites I visit on my blog and populating my projects section of Ravelry. If only I didn’t have to sleep, I could get things done in a timely manner.