I haven’t updated my progress since week 29, back in July! Since we’re coming to the end of the year, it’s time to review my goals and start thinking about goals for next year. Anything that’s crossed through in the list is something I did not get to at all. If I did any work on a goal, even if it isn’t finished, I kept it on the list and made notes about its status. In early January, I will publish a slide show with pictures of every project I finished this year and a list of goals for next year. While I didn’t finish everything I hoped to finish this year, I am happy with what I accomplished. I learned a great deal, especially about crochet, and I’m looking forward to learning more in 2016!
Review of 2015 Goals
Knit myself a sweater Moved to 2016. In July, my friend Stacy got engaged and I’ve been working on projects for her wedding instead of knitting a sweater!
Swatches 1-12 knit on size 7 needles, finished by July 19, 2015
I did actually finish the swatches by the dates listed here. I went to Masters’ Day at the TKGA Conference and learned that I had guttering issues I need to work out before finishing my swatches. I haven’t gotten back to my swatches yet.
I went to TKGA primarily for education, but I signed up for every event I possibly could. Since I was traveling all the way across the country to attend this Conference, I might as well do All The Things! These extra events were the Market Preview, The Breakfast of Brilliance, and The Yarn Tasting. I realize that the title of this blog sounds like it is the last post in this series on TKGA. It is not. These extra events took place on Thursday and Friday. I’m publishing this post today since I’m writing in roughly chronological order. I did attend two classes on Saturday and I will post about them tomorrow.
But before I get to those events, I have to share this license plate, which Heather and I spotted in the hotel parking lot when we were on our way back from lunch on Thursday:
I particularly love how the setting sun looks like a ball of yarn!
The Market Preview
The market did not open to the public until Friday, but anyone attending the conference got to go into the market from 7 to 9 pm on Thursday. When we arrived 20 minutes before the doors opened, the line reached all the way across the lobby!
The line grew quickly, snaking around the lobby. By the time the doors opened, the back of the line was nearly to the market doors.
I headed straight to RedFish Dyeworks. I had not heard of these local dyers before, but during the Finishing Course on Thursday, Arenda showed us several Fair Isle sweaters she’d knit with their yarn and raved about their color sense. I bought a package of twelve 50g / 450 yard skeins of 20/2 silk for weaving:
I also bought 4 ounces of 50% silk / 50% baby camel roving. The roving is incredibly soft thanks to the baby camel fiber and has the sheen of silk. I can’t wait to spin it!
They sell weaving yarns at excellent prices. I looked through the booth, but didn’t buy anything. Most of their yarns were cotton or tencel and I already have many cones of those fibers for weaving.
The Yarnover Truck was in the house. Like literally in the house, on the market floor.
Four Purls, a LYS in Lakeland, FL, has a yarn truck, which I’ve seen at various events (e.g. Orlando Distaff Day 2015), but it’s always parked outside. I love the name “Yarnover Truck.” I want to call them and ask them bring that yarn over. Too bad I live on the opposite side of the country. The inside of the truck is lovely, with built-in cubbies full of yarn:
I didn’t buy anything from them during the market preview, but I came back later to pick up some yarn for a baby blanket that I’m making for a friend.
Another booth carried Jelly Yarn.
Remember those jelly shoes every little girl had back in the late 70s and early 80s? This yarn feels just like those shoes. And some of the colors glow in the dark:
I resisted the temptation to buy some during the market preview because what would I actually do with it? While it’s tempting to think that I might knit myself jelly shoes (or slippers, perhaps) I’m certain they’d be too fragile to wear outside during a Florida summer. I was unable to resist its siren call for the entire Conference however. Three skeins came home with me (in Ravenclaw colors, of course).
Unique Market Features
The TKGA / CGOA Market had two unique features: The Brilliance Bar and a Yarn Winding Station.
During posted Office Hours, at least two Master Hand Knitter Committee Members manned the Brilliance Bar. Attendees could make an appointment to ask knitting-related questions. Whether you wanted a little info on the Master Hand Knitter program or you needed help trouble-shooting a current project, this was the place to go! I didn’t personally make an appointment — almost every class I took was taught by a Committee Member, so I had many opportunities to ask questions during the Conference. I’d love to hear comments from people who did visit the Brilliance Bar or people who worked it. What kind of help did you get? What was the craziest problem anyone brought to the Bar?
OMG. Every fiber event should have one of these. I realize it might not be practical for a large event like Maryland Sheep and Wool, but why haven’t I seen this at the smaller events I’ve attended? I could knit my new yarns NOW. I don’t have to wait to get home to my swift and ball winder!
CGOA Member Design Competition
Each year, CGOA (Crochet Guild of America) runs a Member Design Competition. Entrants must submit their work by July 1. Pieces are on display at the Conference Market and prizes are announced at the Saturday night banquet. “Entries must be original designs that have not been previously entered in this competition, previously published in any print or electronic media, or otherwise publicly available before the date of competition (our judges need to have never seen this work before). Entries do not have to be new or recently crocheted, as long as they are your own designs.” (from the Eligibility Guidelines, available on the members-only section of CGOA’s website). This year, crocheters could enter pieces in 7 categories: Fashion, Accessories, Home Decor and Afghans, Thread Crochet, Young Designer (25 years old or younger), and First-Time Entrant / Non-Professional (no designs previously published in any form). CGOA judges awarded prizes in each category. Anyone attending the Market could vote for one piece for the Attendee Favorite. Here’s a few of my favorites:
My favorite pieces were all by the same person: fiber artist Kayt Ross. Her website (www.vivaciousart.com) is down, but she does have a Facebook page.
This crocheted cat suit probably looks unwearable:
But someone has actually worn it and looked amazing in it. I found this picture on Pinterest; it was pinned from the artist’s website.
Ross’s entry in the Afghan category was only partially visible under the other afghans. I love the color combination and the freeform shape.
Her piece Danikil Depression won Third Place in the Artistic Expression category. This one was so huge that it was difficult to get good pictures. Here’s a couple of angles.
Her piece Cobblestones won Second Place in the Artistic Expression category.
Finally, the piece that I considered the showstopper: “Emily Rose”. I voted for this one for People’s Choice. I don’t know if it won in that category or not, but it did win First Place in the First Time Entrant category and the overall Grand Prize. Yes, this really is crochet. I leaned in as close as I could get to the piece without touching it and even that close it was difficult to see the stitches. It’s beautiful work.
The list of all the winners, except People’s Choice, is on MarlyBird’s website. She was at the show and did book signings. I believe she was also one of the Design Competition Judges.
The Breakfast of Brilliance
The Breakfast of Brilliance started at 7:30 am Friday.
At this event, anyone who finished Master Knitter Level 3 (the final level) since the last Knit & Crochet Show received a pin from current Committee Chair Suzanne Bryan. A total of 13 people finished level 3 in the last year, but only 7 were able to come to San Diego. I asked Arenda if this was the most people to finish level 3 in one year. She didn’t know off the top of her head, but there’s no doubt that Master Knitters are an elite group. (While working on this blog post I ran across a page on TKGA’s website with pictures of each pinning ceremony since 2007. In 2007, 24 people received pins. In 2008 and 2010, 17 graduates received them.) In the 30 years of TKGA’s existence, only 300 people have completed Level 3. TKGA has the complete list of graduates on their website. Congratulations to all the new graduates!
Level 3 requires knitters to design two projects: a hat and a sweater. One must be Aran (that’s one color, with lots of cables, bobbles, and texture) and the other must be Fair Isle (that’s color work). The knitter can decide if he or she wants to make an Aran hat and Fair Isle sweater or vice versa. During breakfast, we had a fashion show of the new graduates’ final pieces. Some graduates modeled their own pieces. Master Hand Knitter Committee members modeled the rest. Each piece was beautiful! I didn’t get everyone’s names to match with the pieces and I didn’t get good pictures of all the pieces. These are the best pictures and information that I got during the event!
At the end of the Breakfast, we had a drawing for door prizes. Emma won a bag full of yarn. It was like Mary Poppins magical bag but full of yarn instead of mirrors or hat stands.
The Yarn Tasting
The most important thing I have to say about the Yarn Tasting is THANK YOU to Arenda Holladay, Suzanne Bryan, Binka Schwan, and Charles Gandy. One hundred tickets were available for the Yarn Tasting and the event sold out. Each attendee left the event with 40 mini center pull balls of yarn. Arenda, Suzanne, Binka, and Charles hand wound those mini balls. That’s 4,000 mini balls. Arenda makes it sound easy; she’s even got a video on YouTube demonstrating how to wind them. I don’t care how easy they are to wind; it’s got to take a long time to wind 4,000 mini balls. Thank you all!
The Yarn Tasting was spectacular. There’s just no other word for it. I’ve never been to an event like this one and had only the vaguest idea what it would be like. We got to the ballroom 15 minutes before the doors opened, so of course there was a line.
When the doors opened, we all filed into the room. Committee members handed each attendee a goodie bag:
We used the goodie bags to collect our mini yarn balls during the event. When we got the bag, it only had 8 yarn balls in it.
The bag itself is part of our gift — it is moth-proof 4 mil plastic! In addition to the 8 yarn balls, each bag held coupons from several sponsors, a 16″ bamboo Chiao Goo needle in either US size 2 or US size 2.5, and 3 magazines.
As you may have guessed from the “Fiber Fiesta” on the event sign, the Yarn Tasting had a Mexican theme, which was carried throughout the night. Seven or eight varieties of yarn were scattered around the table. There was one mini ball / person of each variety.
The placemats listed every yarn we got to sample. Each person got one mini ball of each variety of yarn listed here!
We got 8 mini balls in our bag and 7 or 8 on the table. The remaining samples were set up as a buffet.
We walked through the buffet, collecting one of each variety displayed.
The buffet sections were labeled by courses, just like they would be if we were getting food. A swatch of each yarn in that category decorated the tables. I believe Arenda knit all the swatches.
After we got our yarn from the buffet, Charles Gandy MCed a fashion show, featuring objects knit from sponsor yarns.
I did not get pattern names, model names, or knitter names for any of these projects — I was lucky just to get pictures! I only have pictures of a small fraction of the beautiful knitwear in this fashion show.
I submitted two items for the fashion show, but failed to take pictures of the models! The first was the Sand Tracks Scarf, knit with Swans Island yarn. The second was a Quinn Cabled Bag. In 2013 I knit 9 of these bags, each in a different color of Peace Fleece. I finished 8 of them and gave them as Christmas gifts. The 9th was mine. The knitting has been finished for more than 18 months, but it’s been sitting in my UFO pile, waiting for me to sew in the lining. Since I said I would submit it for the fashion show, I had to get that lining sewn in. I finally finished it during lunch on the day of the Fashion Show!
After the Fashion Show, anyone who submitted objects went to the ballroom next door to pick up their knitting. Everything looked beautiful, folded up in a row on tables!
As if everything we’d gotten already wasn’t enough, we each got a bag with 5 or 6 skeins of yarn as we left the Yarn Tasting, all donated by sponsors. Each person’s bag was a little different. Arenda suggested we head out to the lobby for a “Halloween candy swap” if we wanted to find enough skeins for large projects!
Like I said — a spectacular event!
Bonus: A Visit to Green Mountain Spinnery
Back in May, I went to Burlington, Vermont to attend my cousin’s college graduation. I drove from Burlington down to Northampton, MA to go to WEBS and meet up with some Ravelry friends, then on to Hartford, Connecticut to spend a couple of days visiting my sister. During my trip, I visited a total of 12 yarn shops! I keep threatening to write blog posts about the trip, but haven’t done it yet. One of the places I visited was Green Mountain Spinnery. Since they were one of the Yarn Tasting Sponsors, I thought I’d slip that visit into this post.
Green Mountain Spinnery is a co-op. Most of the people who work there are part owners of the company, and it is run on democratic principles. When I planned to visit the shop, I didn’t realize that it was a tiny retail space in the mill! As soon as I parked, I knew this wasn’t an ordinary yarn shop. This sorting table is right beside the parking area. Yes, that’s a pile of discarded wool, full of tags or debris.
There’s another big pile of discarded wool out back.
The entrance to the retail space:
Inside the retail space:
It was late in the day when I got there, and the mill was not operating. I did get a quick peek inside.
For the past week, I’ve been crafting like it’s my job. I also had an unusually high number of fun activities. I had lunch in Diagon Alley with Ravelry friends who were in Orlando on vacation from Massachusetts.
I went to my first ever professional soccer game. It was my cousin’s wife’s birthday and that’s what she wanted to do.
My husband and I bought tickets to view last Sunday’s SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from the NASA causeway. We didn’t want to get up at the crack of dawn and drive over, so we drove over Saturday night and stayed in a hotel.
Here’s the video I took of the launch. The vehicle failed 139 seconds after launch. I stopped recording two seconds before that because I was using my phone to record video and could barely see anything at that point. It looked like a beautiful, perfect launch with nothing more to see. And then the Liquid Oxygen tank exploded.
I still managed to get quite a bit of crafting done! Let’s review the ridiculously ambitious list of goals I wrote:
Goals for June 21 to 30, 2015
Finish Raindrops on Roses Shawl (Headmistress Challenge)
Finish Grisou Scarf (homework, but which class?)
Finish Solid / 1×1 Scarf (OWL)
Three more color and weave scarves to meet OWL 50% (highly unlikely to finish)
Finish current Heart Illusion Dishcloth, plus 4 more (COMC?)
Tier Scarf (Charms or Potions)
Crochet Dishcloths (Transfiguration)
MHK1 swatches (Divination and / or Charms)
Small stuffed bird (DADA)
Cast on Sweet Summer Shawl (Quidditch Round 3; due July 8)
Liquid Silver Swatch (OOTP; due July 19)
Cast on Begonia Swirl Shawl (Headmistress Challenge; due July 28)
Fully Accomplished Goals
I finished the Raindrops on Roses Shawl. I absolutely love it. I test knit this for Assorted Musings (Ravelry, blog); the pattern will be released on July 15. I plan to publish a detailed blog post for FO Friday on July 3.
I finished the Grisou Scarf. I test knit this for Sasoolero (Ravelry, blog) and I’m not sure when she plans to release the pattern. I will publish a blog post on this project for FO Friday on July 3.
Partially Accomplished Goals
I started the Solid / 1×1 Scarf. I’ve woven somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of it. I have the hardest time taking pictures of weaving in progress. Since the finished work gets wound onto the cloth beam, it’s difficult to see progress!
I finished the Heart Illusion Dishcloth that I had in progress, plus two more.
I started the tier scarf and knit about 1/3 of it.
I crocheted one dishcloth. In my goal, I didn’t say how many I wanted to knit. I need 18 for the Dishcloth Advent Calendar, but didn’t expect to get them all done this month. I was hoping for 9. I learned how to single crochet increase, single crochet decrease, and crochet through the back loop.
I knit the first 3 swatches for MHK1. I still need to weave in the ends and block them. I also wrote answers to several more questions.
As expected, I did not weave the 3 additional scarves for my OWL. I did not make the stuffed bird. I decided to submit the Grisou scarf for DADA instead, and didn’t need the bird for anything else. I have not cast on the Sweet Summer Shawl. I will be doing that today. I have not swatched for Liquid Silver. I will be doing that today. I have not cast on Begonia Swirl Shawl. I think I’m going to wait a couple of weeks and cast on before I go to TKGA in San Diego. It will make excellent travel knitting.
I made a felted cat bed for Tiger. I managed to knit 1,047 yards worth of garter stitch in less than 3 days, felt it, and stitch it together! It wasn’t on my goal list because I hadn’t decided to do it until after I wrote that list. Tiger’s been sleeping on an alpaca blanket my father bought me when he was in Peru and I didn’t want it ruined. I needed a quick replacement.
Goals for July 1 to 5, 2015
Knit at least 1/2 of the Sweet Summer Shawl
Cast on Miranda Shawl
Swatch and Cast on Bubbles Baby Blanket
Swatch and Cast on Liquid Silver Shawl
Finish spinning and plying the Cormo I’ve been working on since February
Start spinning the 3 Feet of Sheep (8 ounces BFL) on July 4 for Tour de Fleece
I’m tempted to write more, but I think this is more than enough. My husband is off on Friday and Monday for the July 4 holiday. I will have less crafting time than usual because I’ll be hanging out with him, and we’re going to the beach for at least one day!
I just stumbled across the Year of Projects group on Ravelry. This is a blog-along group. Participants make a list of crafting goals for the year and post weekly updates on their progress. The Year of Projects runs from July 1 through June 30, so we are almost at the end of the year. Some participants run on an annual schedule, however. I decided that I will participate on an annual schedule. I already made a list for 2015, but I haven’t been reviewing it or updating it. Now you’ll get an update post every Sunday. Since I already post a WIP Wednesday post, I think the Sunday post will probably just be a list with completed items crossed off, but that may change!
Since it’s been awhile since I’ve written about my goals — and I haven’t really reviewed them myself since I wrote them — I thought I’d link to the posts I wrote back in January.
Apparently, I never wrote a post about my Stashdown plans. I thought I had!
I set the goal of knitting from stash. I would not buy new yarn, except for weaving yarn. Uh, yeah. turns pink That hasn’t happened. There’s been much acquisition of stash, and not all of it is for weaving.
Here’s the list again. If I’ve finished or frogged the project, it’s linked to the relevant blog post. If it’s not linked, I haven’t finished it.
After I made this list, I found another project. I need to stuff and assemble a Baby Blue Monster.
2015 Goals and Plans
Knit myself a sweater
Improve my finishing techniques
I haven’t done a sweater yet, but I never intended to make one until the fall, so that’s okay. In July, I’m attending The Knitting Guild Association meeting in San Diego, and I’m taking a two-day Finishing class with Arenda Holladay!
Learn to read crochet patterns
Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
Make at least one non-granny square crochet project
The Cotton Candy Corriedale was a breed-specific fiber, but I haven’t been thinking of it as part of that project and I did not write a separate blog post about it. The Cormo that I’m currently spinning is the first fiber that I’m counting as part of the breed specific spinning project. The updated Breed Specific Inventory is no longer correct. I never received the fiber from Little Barn. I ended up filing a complaint with PayPal to get my money back. I’ve also bought some fiber from other sources since. I’m no longer sure that I want to process the Mystery Fleece. I’ve brought it to demos and it’s nice to have an unprocessed fleece for that purpose.
Continue playing with color and weave drafts
Learn pick up stick drafts
I finished the Ravenclaw and Slytherin Houndstooth Scarves this year, which goes to the color and weave goal. My OWL proposal for the current term of HPKCHC was to weave 8 scarves using 8 different color and weave patterns. I haven’t started that yet, but plan to start this week. If I complete the 8 scarves, that will pretty much fulfill the color and weave goal. I have not started on pick up stick drafts.
Finish dyeing the MAPLE LEAF Shawls
pH / water source experiment
None of this has happened.
I only had a few project goals for this year.
Dishcloth Advent Calendars
I need to complete 18 copies of 25 different patterns.
I started another pair on the trip to India, but haven’t worked on them since I got back.
I haven’t done anything with this project.
Other Finished Projects
This is a list of all the projects I’ve finished so far this year. I’m omitting anything already listed above. These projects don’t necessarily fit into any of the goals I wrote in January. I was surprised that there’s so few! I guess I’ve been more on target than I realized 🙂
I’m collating the above list into one so that I can more easily post on Sundays. I’m also adding some goals. I’ve taken on additional projects and I’ve acquired a floor loom! I’m not including a stash-related goal. I don’t plan to acquire more yarn this year, but who do I think I’m kidding?
Today’s prompt is to write about my crafting time and space. I realized that every time I attend a special fiber-related event, I write an entire post on this blog. Sometimes I mention going to my regular spinning or knitting group, but I’ve never written posts about the various groups I attend or my day-to-day crafting experience!
Crafting at Home
When I craft at home, it is almost always in my living room, while watching tv. If I’m knitting or crocheting, I sit on the couch, and there’s almost always a cat in my lap.
If I am spinning or weaving, I can’t sit on the couch because it is too low and I can’t sit all the way back. Instead, I grab a “kitchen” chair and sit in that while I spin or weave. “Kitchen” is in quotes because these chairs are part of a table & chairs set that I bought for maybe $60 many years ago (at least 20), but they are no longer used in the kitchen. The table is an extension of my desk and the chairs are totally beat up because of the cats. The chairs float around the house, pressed into service as cat beds, cat stair steps (so poor arthritic Pepper can get to her favorite sleep spots), step stools for me, etc.
Since I’ve traveled so much the last few years, travel knitting is a regular part of my crafting time. If I’m on a plane, I am almost always knitting. If I’m a passenger in a car, and we are traveling a distance, I’m knitting.
I regularly attend 3 groups that meet monthly as well as one weekly group. I’m thinking of adding a fourth monthly group; they used to meet on Wednesdays, conflicting with my regular weekly group, but they moved their meetings to the second Saturday of the month. I haven’t been home on the second Saturday since they changed the meeting. I’m planning to attend that group in June and see if I can make it a regular part of my schedule.
Wednesday Knit Nights
The weekly group meets from whenever people arrive until 8 pm at my local yarn store (LYS), Knit!, located 3 miles from my house. I’ve lived close to Knit! for 12 years, and ever since I picked up my knitting in 2006 after a hiatus of several years, it’s been my LYS. Marney’s had knitting nights before, usually during the fall and winter, but I’ve never attended because of my schedule. Last fall, she started up knit nights again and I plan to go every week, though of course I don’t always make it. Most Wednesdays, there’s at least 6 or 8 people there. On busy evenings, there’s been as many as 20 and no room to walk in the shop. On the occasional slow night, there’s 3 people there. I am excited that Marney decided to continue the knit nights through the summer this year!
Drunken Monkey Spinners
Drunken Monkey is a coffee shop in Orlando. The spinning group meets on the first Saturday of the month from 8 am to 11ish am. Most months, we have at least 8 people in attendance. The most we’ve had is about 12, counting the 5-year old son of the group’s finder and the non-fiber-crafting husband of one member. I joined this group in June last year, a few weeks after I got my spinning wheel. I always bring my wheel because I can’t spindle spin! Other members bring wheels or spindles or knitting or crocheting and we spend a lovely morning chatting over fiber. Other coffee-house guests often stop and ask what we are doing, and we explain to them a little about how spinning works. If you are ever in Orlando on the first Saturday of the month, you are welcome to join us!
Weavers of Orlando
The Weavers of Orlando guild meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month in Winter Park, Florida from 10 am until noonish. Sometimes there’s also presentations in the early afternoon. The Weavers of Orlando has about 100 members and most meetings have 40 to 50 people in attendance. Visitors are always welcome at these meetings, if you find yourself in the Orlando area on the 3rd Saturday of the month.
The area I live in is called Wekiva, after the nearby river. One of the librarians at the local branch organizes Wekiva Knitters; the group meets at that branch on the 3rd Saturday of the month, 1 pm to 3 pm. Since the library is a polling station, including for early voting, during elections the group is cancelled or rescheduled. The attendance varies dramatically from one month to the next. Sometimes there’s only one or two people there. The largest group I’ve ever personally seen is about 10. My own attendance at this group is erratic. I first went in August of 2012, then didn’t make it there again until June 2013 due to travel and other obligations. I really enjoy this group, though, and try to get there as often as I can. It’s only a mile from my house (shorter, as the crow flies), so if I’m home there’s no excuse for missing it!