Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To Stitches Midwest & Back

This past Friday and Saturday I took a mini vacation and road trip to Schaumburg, Illinois with three friends (Ann, Dana and Stacy) from the shop. Each of us had signed up for an all-day class for Saturday. The class I took was called How Do Your Socks Get Striped. Elise Duvekot, author of the book Knit One Below was the teacher. I'm so glad I took the class, because when reading her instructions in the book the technique had seemed kind of confusing. After taking the class, my friend Ann who took the same class, and I talked about class potential for what we had learned! Maybe in the near future we will have a class at the shop to teach the technique.

Dana and Stacy took a class in a Swedish color knitting technique. They really loved all of the history that their teacher gave them which included lots of slides for them to see.

Our other goal was to visit the Stitches Market! For me the market exposed me to some really fun yarns that were new to me. (Some have potential to be new yarns for the shop.) If you've ever gone to Stitches, you can surely relate to the frenzy that all knitters get when confronted with an entire show floor with different booths filled with gorgeous yarns they can purchase!

On Saturday after our classes, we packed the car and started back after a quick dinner. On the way back Dana and I laughed about feeling like we'd been in the car for days. Well, technically we had ... we drove over on Friday morning and drove home on Saturday night, so more than 10 hours was spent in the car! We were all thankful for Ann's expert driving skills, since there have been so many accidents on I-80 lately. I arrived home at midnight and was glad to sleep in my own bed!

I missed the Wrap Group while I was gone, but hopefully this Friday they will enjoy listening to my Stitches class and shopping stories.

Keep on knitting!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Wrap Group -- July/Aug #5

It's been a little while since I blogged. This is mainly due to being super busy unpacking and shelving lots of lovely new yarns! I'm sure you can forgive me for that one good reason.

It's looking like fall in the shop, but still feeling a whole lot like summer. We've had record heat and record rains that have caused flooding in Iowa. My heart goes out to all the poor people in Ames, Colfax, and other parts of Iowa that have lost so many things in their really soggy homes. I keep hoping that the rain is over, but it sounds like there's more coming today and tonight and that it could affect the Des Moines River and in the long run affect the people here in my hometown.

As for the Simple Yet Effective Shawl, we are close to winding down. I wanted to talk about the blocking process for this triangle shaped shawl. If your shawl made from a wool or a wool blend yarn, you can totally wet the shawl; then you need to roll it in towels and gently squeeze out most of the water before shaping it. You don't want to stretch it as that can cause it to be misshapen. Lay out the shawl on several large towels and gently spread it out making sure that there aren't any lumps and bumps in the shawl. Check the edges to make sure that they are smooth and straight. You can use T-pins to hold the final shape of the shawl in place, but make sure that the pins don't pull bumps out along the edge. Since this shawl is a combination of stockinette stitch and garter stitch you need to push the garter edges in and gently pull the stockinette edges out so they are all even. Allow the shawl to dry completely before you remove the pins. Depending on the yarn, you can sometimes merely steam the shawl, shape it, and allow it to dry on a towel. The Rowan Colourscape Chunky yarn that I used is perfect for the steaming method. That yarn shapes easily with steaming. Other yarns may require a total dunk in water or else you'll still have curling of the edges.

If you're in our neighborhood, be sure to stop in and check out the new yarns. We still have lots to come, but for now I know you'll love what you see.

Keep on knitting!