We had a great time at the Knitting Lab! Thursday all day I sat and learned from Anna Dalvi how she designs shawls with a concept in mind that spins out in a lovely shawl design. She broke the class into small groups and we worked on designing a shawl, but it didn’t go together very well in such a short time. Fascinating concept, however, and one I’ll return to when I have time.
Friday I knitted three tiny socks with unique heels and toes, Lithuanian style, under Donna Druchunas’ watchful eye. Donna ’s sock techniques are helpful, since I always have socks sitting in the car on the needles for when I have to wait somewhere for something, and I do get bored with the same old heels. Saturday I learned gansey techniques of Beth Brown-Reinsel’s. The main puzzle for me was how to put the shoulder band in–I’d just ignored that part, and made my ganseys with a “normal” shoulder–but now I can use the proper technique.
Saturday evening was a lovely dinner, followed by the Keynote presentation by Barbara Walker. She had two book signings earlier in the day, and I brought my much-used Vol. 2 of her knitting patterns, from NC to NH, for her to sign. When she saw the post-it notes sticking out from every angle, and papers falling out of it… she laughed, and signed it for me. She had designed Tarot cards, and I bought a set for my daughter, who can read them, and her book of afghan squares for my daughter, a less challenging book for her to begin to explore new patterns. I was impressed with Barbara’s talk, which was brief, and then her hour of question and answers, which was delightful. She described her learning to knit from a Bernat “how to knit” book when her children were small, and accumulating patterns over time (that was familiar) as well as yarn, since she had knitted sample sweaters for various yarn companies, about 18 hours a day! She was curious about old patterns so went to the Library of Congress (“don’t go there–it’s dusty!”) and copied old patterns by hand, one by one, and later knitted the patterns, and typed them to be sent off to be published. I had not known that after the knitting books she researched and published an extensive book on womens’ studies. She joked about her “obsessions,” and that her husband knew better than to stand in her way. She wore a sweater she’d knitted in many unique and colorful mosaic patterns to one of the meals, and also to her talk. She had also published a book of those patterns, for those of you who might want a new challenge.
Sunday morning I was back in Donna’s classroom, this time to knit Lithuanian beaded wrist warmers, or “pulse warmers,” in Lithuanian. I’ll include a picture of the beaded wrist warmers–a technique I’d never tried before. As a child growing up in CT I wish we’d known such a piece of clothing existed–just what is needed between mittens that are a bit too short, and a coat that isn’t long enough to reach them.
My daughter had a great time, especially in the market, as did I! I found I needed more knitting needles than I had brought, and the yarn… what beautiful blends and colors were there. I bought another shawl pattern, which I really hadn’t intended to do, and bought some yarn to make one of the patterns I have at home, again, with colors that shade from one to the next the entire length of the shawl. Soon I’ll begin something new.