I love you Annie Modesitt!!
Oh what a week! What a weekend! I developed this raging headcold on Wednesday (which I have to say totally pissed me off - Ed and Nick have been sick over the winter and I never got a thing - two days before my knitting workshops..boom..mucous clogging brain freeze complete with the nose plug, hoarse voice and no hearing). Did it make a difference to my going to see Annie - NO FREAKIN' WAY!! (I must apologize to those who had to sit near my infectedness - I generally tend to be one of those people who respects the rules of the diseased and does not wish to pass along colds to anyone else but knitting has this effect on me....). So Friday night was Four Ways of Changing Colour at Lettuce Knits. As always Megan was delightful. Meeting Annie was an experience I doubt I will ever forget. The class was fabulous! Annie is hilarious: she is witty, quirky and probably knows the facts and tunes to every TV show ever on the air; she is unpretentious, gifted, intelligent and believes in the strengths of being an intuitive knitter. This bodes well for any student in her class. She also has this thing for her Scunci Steam Blocker. I didn't take a photo of it but she may be working as a undercover salesperson for the steamer - she can give an entire demo of the many benefits of the steam blocker (including cleaning the oven, windows and giving yourself a facial) in less than 5 minutes but I have to say I was totally impressed at the way it blocked out the yarn swatches in about 3 seconds! Amazing. The class was great and we learned so much. We worked on Stranded Knitting and floats, both untwisted and twisted. We worked on intarsia. We did some plaid work. Annie has a lot of very useful tips and tricks to making aspects of colour joins tighter, less stressful and more enjoyable. Her method of describing work (we had a little time at the end and she demonstrated cables without a cable needle and picking up stitches) colourful to say the least (picking up stitches had something to do with the cossacks going straight through the crotch of grandma...you had to be there but it was so hilarious! Did I mention that prior to the workshop when my good buddy Carole and I were walking over to Big Fat Burrito (amazing place) I slipped on the curb and did the total flat out face plant on the sidewalk? Couldn't believe it - managed to save my face (the physical one that is; my othere face felt totally humiliated) but I am feeling the effects today - sore joints, a couple of scrapes on my knee and some swelling; don't fall when you have Fibromyalgia. On Saturday it was off to see Annie for two classes at Village Yarns. Village has really changed the look of the store and it was rockin'! To the left we have Margaret and Patrick. Margaret is an institution at Village. She is an amazing person (and has helped me finish many a project mostly because she can't bear to see me struggle...LOL). I have been so guilty of milking Margaret's willingness to help out because I hate finishing so much! Not that this is a well kept secret or anything! Patrick was instrumental in stylizing the look of the workshop and of our lunch. Nice going Patrick. Patrick is quite the joker although I have to say that Annie threw a few zingers his way throughout the day. I failed to mention when I Flashed my Stash way back on April 1st, that I should give Village Yarns credit for helping me to build at least 70% of that stash - thanks guys! Carole and I were taking the Cocoon Twisted Float Shrug (yes the one on the cover of Vogue Knitting Fall 2005) in the morning and the Regal Silk Ribbed Corset in the afternoon. The Cocoon Twisted Float Shrug turned out to be such a surprise for me - I love it! The sample Annie had for the class was made with Artyarns which I have to say I liked so much more than the one in the magazine. It may have been the colours or even the cuffs or perhaps even just seeing it up close and personal. The best thing about this shrug - it is worked in one piece so there is no sewing! We made two swatches. The first swatch was to work the twisted float (the colour workings on both sides make it a reversible shrug/jacket). You can see on the piece below that the reverse side of the piece ends up looking somewhat like a herringbone pattern which is the outside of the shrug. We also worked what would be the sleeve pick up using an interesting method of creating the opening for the sleeve and then taking up the stitches to knit. Our second swatch was to mirror the start of the shrug, put it into the round while working both the increases and the twisted floats to give us an idea of what we would be doing and achieving. The possibilities of colourways and yarn weights are endless; Annie spoke of her love of designing so that the knitting is intuitive and this pattern can be easily (EASILY) adapted to any size of body or any kind of yarn. Could anything be better than that? We had a fantastic lunch courtesy of Village. Fresh, healthy, delicious and with some decadent delights for dessert. Excellent job Village people (I mean Karen, Patrick and Julia)! The afternoon class was also a surprise. I love you Annie; you design for all knitters. The Corset was beautiful (also in Artyarns) and again incredibly designed to be knit in one piece starting with the top and working your way up to the bottom! The swatch we worked involved making the ruffled lace edge which doesn't curl because it is a garter stitch. I loved the pattern which involves a VDD (read Vertical Double Decrease although VVD sounds more like some Venereal Disease to be honest); it ends up creating the scalloped edge in this simple and beautiful way. We worked a bit of the body ribbing, practiced the sleeve cast off and then ended up some crochet (mine only looks so fantastic and decorative because Annie worked on it). Annie is this amazingly fast combination knitter and a wicked crocheter. I have to say I always love taking classes when you watch the teacher whipping through a technique with the greatest of ease, making it look so easy and of course often when you try these things later in the safety of your own home (away from the blush and confidence of the classroom experience) it just doesn't seem to go quite as well. I plan to make both the Corset and the Shrug. I feel as though I can't help myself. I want to start on the Shrug NOW! (I have a kit in Fleece Artist Kid Silk for the Shrug) I must admit that I am hating Stornoway right now. I really want to make some things right now that knit up quickly and with some lovely warm wools that comfort you while you are knitting; all the things that Stornoway is not doing for me. I am trying to be more disciplined about finishing what I have started but I fear I am about to fall off that cart - and hard!! I was so happy to get home last night. Dorothy was right - there is no place like home! Warming Grace Update We have 75 confirmed knitters and growing! I am absolutely thrilled with the response. If I am sewing together 10 blankets I don't care! There are lots of other little girls at the hospital Gracie goes to who are also dealing with cancer so they will go to a good cause. Knitters rock! You are all truly amazing and thank you is so absolutely inadequate.