Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Madrona 2011 - Part 1

We got back from Madrona on Sunday evening and suddenly it was back to life as usual: a school day yesterday, and a day of homework and housework today. I had a great time at Madrona, though. When we arrived on Saturday we went right to the Marketplace, which was fantastic. It's like being in a dozen yarn shops all at once, most of which are carrying yarn you'll never see anywhere else! We did some good shopping, the results of which I will display in a later post. I didn't end up taking any pictures - it just didn't seem to be the thing to do during the either the keynote or the class I was in, and in between there wasn't really much to photograph. I didn't think it would be okay to take pictures at the Marketplace.

Franklin Habit was the keynote speaker at the banquet that night. He gave a talk on the history of printed knitting patterns. It was entitled B is for Purl, which actually made sense when he explained that the first woman to use abbreviations in knitting patterns used P for knit (plain) and B for purl (back)! He is a very good public speaker, in addition to being funny and very well informed on his subject matter. Nancy Bush was sitting at the next table to us, knitting away on dpn's on a complex-looking cabled sock!

On Sunday morning I took a class with Jared Flood called Introduction to Shetland Color Techniques. To be honest, I would have registered for any class that he was doing that morning, since it was the only time I was able to take a class, but it turned out to be interesting and I learned quite a bit. Jared is absolutely charming, and I couldn't get over how young he looks to be so admired in the knitting world. He had a class-full of women. One of them had been to every one of his classes since the Thursday morning! At the beginning of the class he came around with the handout and shook each participant's hand while introducing himself. As I said, charming! I wore the Cobblestone Sweater that Dave (ravelry link) knit me and Jared admired it. At the end of class when I went up to thank Jared, Nancy Bush had come in with some samples of Estonian knitting to show him, and I got to admire them too.

We learned how to knit speed swatches, which is a bit of a misnomer when you're first learning because the beginning of every row is incredibly slow at first. The idea is to be able to swatch knitting in the round without having to have enough stitches to truly knit in the round.

Here is my swatch right after it was bound off.

All the yarn at the top of the picture is from where you carry the yarns across the back of the work on each row in order to start again at the right - kind of like a very large and messy i-cord.

Here it is showing a bit more of the front.

Once you've finished, though, you tidy up the edges by pulling all the strands of yarn snugly, and then you trim the ends so that you end up with a bit of a fringed bookmark, as one of the participants suggested.

You end up with this. I decided I might as well block it a bit. If you're going to spend three hours with Jared Flood and only have this little swatch to show for it, it might as well be tidy!

It's not finished yet, though. Jared demonstrated how to cut the steek along the parallel lines up the centre after reinforcing with crochet, and so I'll be doing that next (pictures to follow). The slightly messy checkerboard stitches at either end are not actually part of the pattern, but are only there to anchor the yarns at the beginnings and ends of the rows.

I didn't get a chance to cast on a new sock before we left on Thursday, so I finished the first sock of the pair for me before starting the new one for Rob that I was planning. As it turned out, I now have a sock whose toe was knit while listening to Franklin's talk, so I think that's pretty special. Here it is by the crocuses I discovered beside our patio in this afternoon's sunshine.


  1. Green with envy. Nice swatch though. Somewhere I was reading about Jared and I though he was quite young - 30ish maybe? Or does he look younger than that?

  2. I think 30ish is about right, but that seems very young given that he's been on the public knitting scene for close to six years.
    I just looked back to his earliest posts and found this:
    I got to hold and examine these very mittens on Sunday. Coincidentally, the post before this one is the first one of his I ever read.