Stitches Recap Day 1

I’m feeling snarly this morning.  I am definitely a night person.  I love staying up late, knitting, reading or watching tv.  I just love the house when it is dark and quiet and I know everyone in tucked inside where they should be.  However, I’ve been working really hard to get up at an insanely early hour early to work out several times a week.  I’ve been attending a class, but when I can’t make it to the class I try to run at the YMCA instead.  This morning a got up, and since it was an off day for the class, I planned to hit the elliptical machine.  People had the gall to be at my YMCA taking up all the elliptical machines.  Even the one that I don’t like that has the handles that move back and forth as you run.  I didn’t want to bike and the one treadmill that was open just looked sketchy.  So I decided to do the Nautilus machines instead.  Humph.  I just don’t feel like I got that cathartic, lung searing workout that I wanted.

I’ll get over it.  Let’s talk about something more fun.  Like Stitches.  Like my Bohus Stickning Class at Stitches.  By the way, I learned how to say Bohus.  It’s Boo-hoose and it’s a county in Sweden.  (I’m assuming that if my notes are incorrect, someone will nicely correct me on all this.)  The very condensed version of how Bohus started was that in the 30’s in Sweden they were in the midst of a Depression just like we were.  Most of the men of that county were workers in the quarries. Since quarry production was down due to the invention of asphalt, families were desperately poor and didn’t know where to turn to.  Several women got together and went to the governor’s wife, Emma, for help.

Emma, brilliant woman that she was, came up with the idea of knitting haute couture sweater for fashionable European women.  Each knitter earned 1/3 of the purchase price of the sweater.  The sweaters were distributed all over Europe and the United States for over 30 years.  Now, imagine being a woman in the 1930’s, whose husband perhaps isn’t real crazy with the idea of you earning money.  You’ve already put in a full day; cooking for your family, washing the clothes by hand, milking and perhaps making butter.  Now you have to knit a sweater with laceweight yarn on size 00 needles in poor lighting.  And if you don’t finish this sweater in 3 months, it will be the last Bohus sweater you make.  That’s not a threat, it’s just that Emma figured that if you can’t finish a sweater in 3 months, you don’t really need the money.

Suzanna Hansson was an amazing teacher.  She definitely has a passion for the subject and was able to convey that passion to us.  I loved that we started out the class knitting a sampler.  We each got enough yarn to knit wristers.  I’m hoping to make mine into mittens eventually.  Although I did rediscover that I need reading glasses for fine work like this.  I ended up borrowing a pair from the very nice knitter I sat with because my eyes were killing me.  Now all I need is to discover the money tree in the back yard so that I can buy a kit directly from Sweden.

Sorry for the orientation on this one.  I’m rushing off to get to work.  🙂

Stitches Recap – Part One

I have a stack of packages waiting to get mailed out today.  It’s the prizes from my Finish-a-Long Contest.  The third and final winner, Heidi from Duluth, won a skein of Misti Alpaca DK donated by Barb at Fabric Works.  I really love Misti Alpaca.  I’ve made several hats out of it and just finished a pair of mittens.  I’m always amazed by the yardage that comes out of one of those skeins.  For some reason it seems to be the skein that never ends.  You knit and you knit and you knit, but the ball never seems to get any smaller.  For instance, I finished the mittens and still have a good portion of the ball left.  Definitely enough to do an ear-warmer or maybe even a hat.  It’s not that I don’t have a pretty good grasp on the math; there’s 208 yds in the skein and I probably used about 100 on my mittens.  It’s just that it feels like so much!  If I needed to, I could weigh the skein to double check just how much I have, and double check the weight against how much I’d need for a simple hat pattern.  But really, where’s the adventure in that?

To get back on track, Congratulations to Heidi, Diane and Lisa for winning prizes.  Congratulations to everyone who took part, we all won by freeing up some brain power that those UFO’s (unfinished objects) were hanging onto.

I’m going to do a recap of Stitches Midwest, bit by bit.  Let me just say that every knitter needs to go to something like this at least once.  The camaraderie of knitters is wonderful.  The classes are amazing.  And it’s just plain fun to talk yarn all day (not to mention shop for it all day!).  I took 2 classes while I was there, Bohus Stickning and Stashology 201.  Both were fantastic classes taught by wonderful instructors.

I searched the market long and hard for the skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Sock to finish up my husband’s socks.  I wasn’t able to find the colorway Olivia, but I did find a contrasting color to use.  I also found Lily Chin walking through the conference center.  I didn’t realize who she was, but admired the wonderful dress she was wearing.

A little while later I saw her signing books at one of the booths.  I ended up buying the book and complimenting her on her dress.  She offered to pose for a picture with me and with the scarves she had knitted for the book.  She also pointed out that I really needed to feel the darker of the two scarves, because it was cashmere.  I feel a little star struck over the whole thing!  Lily Chin is definitely a Knitting Rock Star.