Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Packing for Iceland!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

I’m leaving for Iceland in a few hours, and I’m VERY VERY EXCITED. Here are some shots I took of my packing yesterday. I spread everything out on my bed, so I could get a good sense of what was missing, what I still needed, and holy moly I think I’m overpacking! (I have since decided my fleece and snow pants were overkill and opened up half a suitcase.) The stuff on the left is boring stuff like pants and shirts and LOTS of wool tights. I spared you photos of my underwear.

This is the more exciting stuff. Knits! On the top row there are patterned socks that I use as samples for my class. On the bottom row are boring stockinette socks that I’m going to wear to keep warm. And there’s a hat that Anne knit me. And mittens that Kristi knit me that I wore on my last trip to Iceland.

Let’s take a closer look at those sock samples. We have, from left to right: Marilinda, BFF, Clandestine, Monkey size L, Lindsay, Rambutan, Gothic Spire, Monkey size S, Devon, Makoto, and Daphne. Which one is your favorite?

Of course, I wasn’t going to just throw all those precious handknits into my suitcase. They are lovingly placed in these Cookie A Sock Club bags which are perfect for travel.

I managed to whittle down my knitting to only 3 project bags. I almost added another but decided that I’m pretty sure I’m going to pick up some yarn in Iceland. I think they have a lot of it there. What’s inside each bag? I can’t tell you!

And… what else is exciting? I packed my swim suit because we will definitely go into some geothermal pools. I must try knitting in one! And, I may not have shaved my legs (sorry if that was TMI), but I did manage to get a pedicure so I can show off my feet when I’m not wearing socks.


Knit to the music… in Iceland!

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be returning to Iceland in 2012 for a tour operated by Knitting Iceland! The itinerary is amazing and includes a lot of the sites I wanted to see on my first trip to Iceland, but missed due to weather or timing, such as Þingvellir, Geysir (the original geyser that gives name to all the rest),  Þingborg wool collective (!!!), the West Fjords, and enough lopi yarn for a sweater. For more information, check out the Knitting Iceland Knit to the Music 2012 webpage. I’d love to see you in Iceland! I was about to make a bad pun about how cool it will be, but I will refrain. Harharhar.

I’ve also fallen quite behind on updates and will be posting about Sock Club sign-ups for 2012 and other news soon.

Sock Summit Game Plan

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

It’s the middle of summer, and my knitting adventures are really taking off! I got home on Sunday night, got to spend a full day at home on Monday, and then I flew out to Portland for Sock Summit yesterday to be re-united with Anne. I’ve decided to try to be a little more organized this time around. At the last Sock Summit, I was so overwhelmed, I’m not sure I knew where I was at any given moment, and I only made it into a few booths. This year I’ve compiled a list of booths I simply must stop by, and I’ll be meeting up with Sock Club members between classes on Friday.

Here’s my market place game plan:

A Verb for Keeping Warm – I know AVFKW is local to me, but Kristine always makes such great booth displays that I really must check it out. Her naturally dyed yarns are unique and made with great care. There won’t be anything else like it at the show. Also, if I’m in need of a pick me up, I know I can count on hugs here.

Anzula – I first learned about Anzula through Janel Laidman who is a sock addict of the highest caliber. She waxed poetically about a cashmere blend sock yarn she’d scored and then brought me to the Anzula booth at a TNNA show. She was right. Anzula has a large variety of yarn bases, dyed in beautiful semi-solid colors.

Dublin Bay – The local Portland yarn shop will be setting up booth in the market place and Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns will be there with her gorgeous yarns while not in class.

Hazel Knits – Tight twist merino / nylon blend sock yarn that is a sock knitter’s dream come true. Plush to knit but definitely durable, I love everything about the Artisan sock yarn. Wendee’s colors are spot on, and the yardage is great.

Indigo Moon – Another natural dyer, I find Trish’s colorways rich and vibrant. The last time I saw Trish was at her studio on Gabriola Island as a complete chance encounter during a visit to my mother-in-law.

Indigodragonfly – A generous sock clubber gifted me a skein from indigodragonfly, and let me tell you, it is gorgeous. I want to see more!

Miss Babs – Whatever color you want, Miss Babs has it in spades. Her booth is always arranged in a beautiful spectrum of color. I just love walking amongst the color choices.

Sanguine Gryphon – Bugga! Bugga bugga bugga! ’nuff said.

The Plucky Knitter – I was lucky to get a skein of some Plucky Knitter yarn when I was in NY, and of course I immediately checked out the Etsy shop because the yarn is so wonderfully soft and plush and wonderful. Unfortunately, the shop was sold out! But yay, I can take a look at Sock Summit. I’m so excited!

So the above list is yarns I’ve worked with but want to see more of, and here’s a list of dyers I’m curious about based on their pretty ads on Ravelry: Ms. Gusset, Stricken Smitten, and Three Fates Yarns.

I’m pretty sure I’ve missed some folks from my list. What are your must see yarns at Sock Summit? And even more importantly, what will you wear?!

The after party party

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

After Knit Nation ended, Anne and I headed over to Alice’s, and I collapsed on the couch. We stayed in London for a couple days to catch up on sleep, say farewell to the other teachers and to attend the Hussein Chalayan talk at the V&A. It was great to listen to him speak about his experience as a fairly independent fashion designer. Of course “independent” in the fashion world is quite a bit different than in the hand-knitting community.

I’d seen a stunning exhibit of his work a couple years ago at the Design Museum in London and didn’t pick up the show catalog because it was heavy, and I figured I could order it when I got home. Big mistake! By the time I’d looked it up, the book had gone out of print and was selling for over $300. This time I jumped at the chance to buy the book and have it signed by the designer himself. I had a slight fan girl moment.

The next morning, we picked up Carole and hopped on the train for a short ride over to Brussels, home of fabulous beer and chocolate. Mmm! Our hotel was situated next to the Botanical Garden which housed stunning flora and fauna.

Botanical Garden in Brussels

Botanical Garden, Brussels

Botanical Garden in Brussels

We made it to the Grand Place, the main historic square in town where all the guild houses were located.

Anne takes photos

Grand Place

There was chocolate buying and tasting.

Alex & Alex

Lots of beer and coffee drinking. I love the Belgian ales and would light up every time I drank one.

Chimay at Wittamer

We even managed to hit a cookie shop. I thought it would be good research for my sock and cookie club, but I ate through those cookies like nobody’s business. They weren’t even around long enough for a proper photograph.

Cookie shop in Brussels

On our walks, I spied a Brunello Cucinelli boutique across the street and just had to head over. They are a high end fashion house that specializes in cashmere. Unfortunately they were closed, but I really want to know where they got the candles for their shop display.

Knit Candles at Brunello Cucinelli

After a couple days of exploring Brussels, we headed to Antwerp to meet up with Dominique and see the Knitwear in Fashion exhibit at the Fashion Museum. This was the highlight of the trip for me. We were able to see so many iconic knitwear pieces up close. I wish I hadn’t left my camera at home because the dim lighting (to help preserve the pieces) wasn’t so great with my phone camera.

I knew as soon as we entered that there was a lot of fun in store for us here.

MoMu entry

I gasped out loud when I saw that Vivienne Westwood’s socks were included in the exhibit. I love the transition between the leaf pattern and the frost flowers pattern. I’d first seen these socks in Sandy Black’s Knitwear in Fashion book, which I don’t think is related to the exhibit.

Vivienne Westwood socks

There were TONS of knitted socks. The foot construction on these was interesting.

Interesting foot construction

And beyond knitted socks, this Maison Martin Margiela sweater is constructed from socks. You can see how the heel shaping is used for the elbows, shoulders, and bust shaping. I wish this sweater had been included at the Maison Martin Margiela exhibit at Somerset House last year. That exhibit left me… disappointed and less interested in Margiela’s work. Luckily, this piece and the accompanying write-up in the Unravel catalog has renewed my interest. I think it’s cool that MMM published directions for how to make your own sock sweater in A magazine (see page 93).

Margiela sock sweater

We were able to see some Elsa Schiaperelli pieces which I tried very very hard to photograph the best I could. Kristi and I went to Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp a while back and met Joyce Williams, author of Armenian Knitting. I remember learning there that Elsa Schiaperelli’s trompe l’oeil sweaters were handknitted by Armenian knitters and were therefore stranded in the traditional Armenian way and not intarsia as you might expect. It was great to be able to view this up close and see the stranded work.

Elsa Schiaperelli

I was also really really excited to see some of Sandra Backlund’s work. She’s a contemporary knitwear designer whose work I admire.

Sandra Backlund @ MoMu

Sandra Backlund @ MoMu

Of course, that’s only a small sampling of what we saw. I could not capture the black TO DIE FOR Alexander McQueen crazy cabled dress at all. Or the Missoni patchwork sweaters.

After a lovely time at MoMu, we headed off to lunch where I tried the eel. Eel “in green” is a traditional Belgian dish. Mine was eel “three ways”, so I think only one of those ways was traditional. The fried eel was my favorite.

Eel three ways

Dominique, our gracious host, showed off the socks she designed during my class at the Socktopus retreat earlier this year.

Dominique's socks

She also told us about the special type of bowl-shaped glasses they use for beer in Antwerp and ordered some for us. I asked why there was a hand on the glass and Dominique explained that legend has it that there was a giant who lived by the river who collected toll. If someone didn’t pay the giant, he would cut off their hand and throw it into the river. The name Antwerp means “to throw hands.” And that’s why you see hands all over the place in Antwerp.

Dominique & beer

Thanks Dominique, for a fantastic time in Antwerp!

Knitters take Antwerp!

Sadly we had to leave, but at least the train station was glorious, both inside and out.

Antwerp train station - outside

I am in love with the inside of this train station.

Antwerp train station - inside

Knit Nation, part 2

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Knit Nation was so jam packed with fun and goodies that I couldn’t fit it all into the last post. Heather-Joy had taken my sock design class last year and came back wearing the tabi socks she’d designed! I love seeing the completion of a student’s sock design even more than completing one of my own. I love the attention to detail with the mirrored left and right sides and the way the pattern is divided for the tabi toe with the eyelet column centered on the big toe.

Heather-Joy's sock design

Heather-Joy's tabi socks

My oddball stitches class worked some fantastically odd stitchery magic including bobbles within bobbles. Here’s a line-up of all their swatches. Pretty impressive for a 3 hour class.

Oddball Stitches

There was the most delightful group of knitters who came from Portugal. They made the teachers goody bags, including coveted felt pins that you can see on some of them in the photo.

Portuegese knitters

Unfortunately, Ysolda came down with a bug that’d been going around and had a rough time speaking. But lucky for me, I FINALLY snagged a copy of her book and had it signed.

Ysolda is sick - sadness

I can’t believe I missed the opportunity to try on her sweaters and take pictures in her photo booth, but I made do by borrowing one for the night and taking a picture in my bathroom.

Trying on Ysolda's sweater

I also fell in love with this yellow number from Susan Crawford.

Susan Crawford

And one of my personal highlights was meeting up with some sock club members during lunch on Saturday. Here is Ryn showing off a pair of Boysenberry Yo socks (perhaps more marmalade-colored).

Ryn's Boysenberry Yo

We piled up all the club socks brought by club members and took photos. I wish I hadn’t been so tired, but we did have a lovely time and it was so nice to put some faces to the names I’ve become familiar with.

Sock Clubber Socks!

I also gave them a sneak peek at the August shipment, including cookies from the recent test bake. They are sworn to secrecy.

August club sneak peek

And THEN there was all the damage I did in the market place. I was sent on a mission to get some of the coveted Wollmeise yarn for my friend Teenuh, and I stealthily went to the Loop stand before opening time. By the time I found the colors she wanted, the clock struck opening time and the incoming mob drew nearer until I knew I had to GET OUT as soon as I could before the precious yarn was crushed with me on top.

Wollmeise for Teenuh

I went by Old Maiden Aunt and fell in love with two yarns that I simply couldn’t decide between. Both had a copper feel with green and slight rust undertones. Then I realized they were the same colorway (Kelpie) over different yarn bases. No wonder I loved them both. I started in on the alpaca / silk blend asap.

Old Maiden Aunt yarn

Who can resist a lovely high-twist 3-ply merino sock yarn? The Sokkusu O (O is for original base) has a fantastic sheen that I just couldn’t resist. And the one-off colorways… These two are for Kerrie who won the blog contest, but I’ve also saved myself a skein of the Henri.

Sokkusu-O yarn

And the yarn that kept calling my name over and over was from Well Manor Farm. I couldn’t decide between the Gotland Aran and the Shetland 2-ply. While I was considering all the yarns in the booth, a lovely young girl came up and told me about how all the sheep were on their farm and that so-and-so (standing 2 paces from us) sheared them and then they have the yarn spun. If I hadn’t already known I NEEDED some of that yarn, she would have totally sold me.

Well Manor Farm yarn

And then all of a sudden, it was over and I was ready to collapse on Alice’s couch. Alice will be sending me a box of commemorative Knit Nation mugs, and I can’t wait to get them. I will sip tea and fondly remember the great times that were had.

Knit Nation

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

So after arriving in London and having a blast prepping with Alice, Knit Nation finally came together. The teachers began arriving early on Wednesday morning. Here is Clara Parkes of Knitter’s Review looking fairly jolly not too long after having gotten off the plane.


On Thursday, we went on a little tour of the Victoria & Albert Museum led by the illustrious Judith MacKenzie who I could listen to all day long. (Apologies for the bad photos, but I forgot my camera, so they are all taken with my phone.)


One of the highlights was this knitted christening gown from the World’s Fair. I admit I don’t quite remember why the gown was connected to the World’s Fair, but it was stunning.


After a short break, we headed to an afternoon champagne tea where I was too busy chowing down to take many photos. (Julie Weisenberger AKA CocoKnits in the background there.)

Champagne at tea

On Friday, classes began and the vendors began setting up their booths in the marketplace. I used my connections to sneak in and take some photos.

Takako from Habu sorted through all her little piles of yarn.



Tilly Flop Designs had some lovely knit themed cards.


Juno Fibre Arts had some gorgeous yarns out.

Juno Fibre Arts

Atomic Knitting had ADORABLE tape measures.

Atomic Knitting

GMC were pre-selling Alice’s upcoming book. I’ve pre-ordered mine through Amazon and can’t wait! I got to leaf through Alice’s proofs at her flat, and it’s beautiful.

Socktopus book

And while set-up was happening in the market place, the teachers were teaching. Susanna Hansson and Lene Alve were always so cheerful. Someday I’ll have the time at an event to take one of their classes.

Susanna and Lene

I taught Knitting off the Grid and somehow convinced my students to pose with socks on their hands. Heehee.

Knitting off the Grid

Over the weekend, more knitting happened. I spotted these clever London-themed project bags at The Bothered Owl.

The Bothered Owl

Renaissance Dyeing who hailed from France had an amazing display to show off their wide array of naturally dyed yarns.

Renaissance Dyeing

I was really excited to see Twisted Angle because I’d heard of the magazine but wasn’t sure what the content was like. I got a chance to pick up some back issues and leaf through them. The magazine is fashion-forward and showcases what’s new in knitwear from the runway. I’ll have to do a more in depth write-up about it after all this crazy traveling ends.

Twisted Angle

Oh dear, this post is getting ridiculously long, and I have to pack for my flight tomorrow. There is much more to come, but for now I want to thank our sponsors Ysolda and Knitting Magazine for making Knit Nation possible. And, very sadly, I don’t have photos from the charity bingo on Saturday night (was too busy having fun!), but I definitely want to thank the sponsors who helped us raise money for Refuge: The Knitter Magazine, Knitspot, The Little Knitting Company, Old Maiden Aunt, Signature Needle Arts, and Collins & Brown. We really couldn’t have done it without help.

And last, but certainly not least, the crew was FANTASTIC. I will snag a photo from Alice of the awesome crew for the next post.

Who in the world is Mr. A?

Monday, July 11th, 2011

If we’re basing this on votes, 64% of you seem to choose based on hair compatibility and likeness to anime. Well, you guys are right. Here’s a more anime-esque photo from our trip to Iceland in 2009.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

It might be February, but no it was not that cold in Iceland. He’s overdressed. And in case you were wondering what  sort of product he uses to get his hair to stand up like that, there is no product. It just does that.

So the winner of the contest is Kerrie! She wins two skeins of Socktopus Sokkusu yarn which is currently only available at The Loopy Ewe in the US, L’OisiveThé in Paris, and at the Knit Nation marketplace in London this weekend. I snagged three skeins when I visited the Socktopus studio yesterday: two for our lucky winner and one for myself. I was too distracted in the studio to take photos of the prize yarn, but I will do so tomorrow. Here’s what I was looking at:

Not only was I surrounded by pretty yarns everywhere, but the view was of a lovely canal. And what was going by?

Let’s take a closer look…

That’s right, it says “Pirate Viscount” and “Pirate Club” on that boat. Does that make it a genuine pirate ship? That is pretty cool.

After a day of inhaling yarn fumes, we headed out to the V&A for a bit of culture.

Unfortunately photos were not allowed, but the clothing certainly did not disappoint.

At Alice’s

Friday, July 8th, 2011

I landed at Heathrow airport early this morning, and Alice and I have been running non-stop in preparation for this year’s Knit Nation event at Imperial College in London. I am so excited about the teaching line-up and market place and Knit Tea salon and charity Bingo and and and the list goes on! The schedule is jam packed with fun.

First things first. Dydy won the contest by guessing exactly right with 540 skeins! She wins a signed copy of Knit. Sock. Love. Congratulations, Dydy!

Next up, I wanted to see the swag. I’d seen prototype photos of the mugs, and they are just as fantastic in person. Alice tells me they are made of bone china. How English! I definitely want a set of at least four.

We’ve also got project bags similar to last year’s coveted Ravelry party bags.

And of course there has been knitting! Alice has been working on the beautiful Green Apple Bohus sweater kit she ordered from Susanna Hansson, but she’s doing some modifications to make it into a steeked cardigan. We are both THRILLED that Susanna will be teaching this year, and I can’t believe that there are still a couple class spots left in her Sunday Bohus class. Sign up while you still can.

There are still some other class spots available, so if you’re in the area do come by and join us for a knitterly filled weekend. Mugs and bags are available for pre-order through the Knit Nation site, but you’ll have to register to add them to your cart. Alice is working on a way for folks who are not attending to order swag, and we’ll let you know how as soon as that’s up.

And here I leave you with a photo of Alice’s lovely strawberries:

Sign-ups open for Oakland classes

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Details are now finalized for workshops I’ll be teaching later this year at A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, California! There will be an opening event with a design talk on Friday night, August 5, and then classes run through the weekend on August 6 and 7. I’m so happy to be doing this with Anne Hanson.We travel to the same places so often, and she is always such a riot to hang out with. We could (and do) stay up all night talking about anything and everything.

A Verb For Keeping Warm

And, the icing on the cake is that we’ll be at A Verb For Keeping Warm which is on my home turf. The above photo was taken with my phone camera which doesn’t really show how expansive and beautiful the space is, but it really is. Last time I was there, I scored some wonderful Habu yarns.

Oh right, visit the AVFKW website for event details, or for information on other events check the Event page. Yay, I’m excited!

Heading to London soon

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

I’m gearing up to take a hop across the pond for Knit Nation in London. It’s going to be a fabulous event with a great line up of teachers and vendors. I’m so excited to be doing it again! Last year was a blast! And look, this year fantastic mugs are available for pre-order at the Knit Nation site (you have to register).

Knit Nation 2011 mug

For more information on my teaching schedule, check out the updated Event schedule.