Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Camp STITCHES 2015 with Franklin Habit

 


I knew I was taking a class from Franklin Habit. That's about all I needed to know. The rest of the class, on color theory yadda yadda, I was a little concerned about. I'd never done color work before. Like, Ever. We learned SO much in the three days we were there, I didn't think it was possible. Franklin has magic powers, that must be it. By the time the weekend was up I wanted to put Franklin in a box, wrap it with a red bow and bring him home to live with us. He is a genius and a fabulous teacher. I PRAY this is the first time of many classes we get to take from him. Each element he taught this weekend was done so with patience, ease and humor. Much humor. I found myself excited about techniques that I was previously afraid of trying as they were out of my comfort zone. I have mainly been a shawl designer thus far. I can see me branching out and using some of the techniques we learned this weekend in future designs that aren't shawls. See?! Way out of my comfort zone and loving it. Franklin, if you're reading this, I cannot thank you enough. At all. You gave an indie designer more tools for my tool bag AND lessons on how to use them. I don't know how to thank you for that. 

Mom and I headed out on Thursday afternoon early. We wanted to have plenty of time to relax and catch our breath before the meet and greet...

 
Last year Camp STITCHES 2014 was later in the month of November. By the time it was over and agreed we would be coming back to the Tamaya Resort, we also agreed it might be better if it were a couple weeks ahead of where we were last year. So, it ended up being the first weekend of the month. I was thrilled that the weather held out and it was nice and sunny for everyone. Of course we took pics from our room again, it was too beautiful not to...

 
The changing colors of the cottonwoods are so beautiful this time of year. It's time for Mom and I to get down to the bosque to take some pictures before its too late, but I digress. 

The meet and greet blew me away (we learned early from last year that its best to get to this event early too!). By the time everyone was seated....there were 79 of us. Seventy-nine students this year. This was up from twenty something last year. We could hardly believe it. At the meet and greet you get a cute little bag that says 'Camp STITCHES' on it with some kind of yarn in it. This is where coming early helps. You pretty much have your choice if you arrive early. Mom and I and our friend Ahza Moore all sat together and got the same yarn. It set the tone for the rest of the weekend. We don't get to see Ahza enough at all so getting a chance to spend all this time with her was really great. We all got a wonderful and beautiful skein of sock yarn this year....

 
We used to get to see Ahza every Tuesday while knitting at Village Wools but then...well....they closed. Ahza has her groups that she knits with that are just different from ours. We are thinking about maybe joining one of hers every now and again so we can see Ahza. We miss her. She is an amazing person who has traveled the world and knows so much about so many things. Including knitting. She is a fabulous knitter. She co-authored a book with Marion Edmonds and you can find it here on Amazon. It looks like this.... 


Its a fantastic book that should be in every knitters repertoire. I even have a signed copy, wink wink. Well, Ahza was also taking Franklin's class so I knew we would get a chance to spend a lot of time together! 

I am not a morning person. At all. Like, AT ALL. This weekends schedule went like this. Up at 7, breakfast at 8, classes begin at 9 and go to noon. Noon we had lunch. Classes resume at 1:00 and were over at 4. This was the same from Friday and Sunday. On Saturday from lunch on, we had the afternoon off. This gave a chance for all of the out of towners to explore Albuquerque or Santa Fe a little bit. At the start of our first class we talked about color. We focused on the color wheel, understanding and finding color harmonies; complementary colors, analogous colors, triads and split complementary colors...

 
 We learned about temperature, value, dominance, and rules of thumb....always include a color you hate (your 'poison' color) and when in doubt, use red. This would be SO easy for me because its one of my favorite colors! Then we started swatching. We swatched complementary colors and used a poison color (the poison color does NOT have to be a color you hate). We swatched stripes! Here is my first swatch...


...and when finished...


The next exercise is the one that scared me the most and ended up being the one I loved the most and had me wanting to come home and cast on immediately. Stranded knitting. I have always been afraid of stranded knitting because of that business of holding yarn in your non dominant hand...then knitting with it. Rather than casting on a million stitched in the round and learning that way, Franklin taught up how to do a stranded swatch. It looks really funny and has these super long floats along the back but it achieves what you need it to. And it makes sense. Here's are the picture's of my stranded knitting...


 ...and when finished...


I am positively in love with stranded knitting now! Franklin said he didn't mind at all if we took pictures during class, so I did. Here's Franklin in action....


...and an after class selfie of Mom and I...


Mom, Ahza and I went to dinner that night at the Cafe in the hotel, we were all pretty tired. I think we watched the news and then went to bed we were so tired. After all, it was up and at 'em early in the morning. 

The next morning in class we learned how to do intarsia! It was cool just how we got to learn from Franklin. He had a little camera set up against a black background that allowed him to knit and for us to really see what his hands were doing. It was a fantastic was to learn. With my Moms upcoming designs (yes, Moms designing now too!!) she uses bits of intarsia to achieve the designs within her work. Here is my intarsia swatch...


 Since it was Saturday, we had half that day off. It was also game day so I came prepared with my Buckeye sweatshirt to wear. Anne Podlesak of Wooly Wonka Fiber was having a book signing and trunk show at Yarn Store at Nob Hill. Regardless of my feelings about the store, we really really wanted to go and support Anne as she has always been so supportive of me and now Mom. Well, going to the store was An.Experience. First of all, I knew almost everyone in the store (not a total mishap since the other store no longer exists). But one person in particular nearly knocked me down where I stood. Dr. Lovie Bey was there. Lovie used to be my oncologist yrs ago when I was misdiagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Every time Mom and I would come in with our knitting she would always tell us that she always wanted to learn how to do it but where on earth would she find the time!? in her schedule. Noted. Well, earlier this year I was at Village Wools and guess who walked through the doors? Lovie Bey. I was so excited I nearly cried. She has started knitting and was having more fun with it that ever. When I saw her Saturday she was making a STRANDED KNITTED freakin hat. Something I just literally learned how to do. It was beyond awesome. Here she is with her hat....


She's such a beautiful person inside and out, and SO photogenic. I am beyond proud of her. Like I said, it nearly knocked me to the ground when I saw this. I also saw Celeste who is the stranded knitter of our group and she was thrilled to bits when I told her I just learned how to do it. Finally made my way back to Anne and handed her our copy of her new book, Free Spirit Knits. It is an absolutely gorgeous book in every possible way. If you haven't seen her book you can here on Amazon. Its absolutely lovely. Every single pattern in the book is gorgeous. It looks like this....


I always get a selfie when I'm with Anne. And my head always looks like its the size of Jupiter compared to hers.....


And of course I bought some yarn. This gorgeous light green color called Winterfell...

 
Isn't it gorgeous!?!? My God her yarns are amazing. We left soon thereafter and were on our way back to Tamaya...


 Kickoff was at 6. I stopped in the bar and asked the bartender if at 6 they would put the game on for us, he said of course! We headed to the bar about 5:45 and Ahza said she wanted to join us. The cute part is that Ahza knows nothing about football. Listening to my Mom tell her how the game was played just made my heart smile...

 
We watched only the first half of the game in the lounge. Once we had eaten we went back to our rooms where we could hear commentary.

The last day of classes had us doing mosaic and shadow knitting....lots of fun!

 
I tried the mosaic knitting, and I understand it, but I unfortunately didn't produce a swatch. At first I had it all wrong, I was trying to do a hybrid method. That did not go so well. And by the time I started over for another try at it we were all onto shadow knitting. Which I did get a sample swatch of! 


It doesn't look all that attractive from this point of view, but when you turn it on its side.....


What you see if half of the motif everyone else completed. Franklin called mine a broken heart.

Sunday evening is when all the groups gather to share what we learned and give our teachers mad props. Rather than having us all stand up individually and share our swatches, Franklin strung them all up for us to hold and display while we talked about everything we learned and how much we all loved Franklin. 


We all had an unbelievable weekend! I learned so much and am so thankful I had a chance to learn from THE Franklin Habit. He was funny, insightful, full of stories about anything and everything. Like I said in the beginning, I would love to have wrapped him up in a box with a red bow and brought him home to stay with us forever, but alas, it just wasn't possible. He must be shared with the rest of the knitting world!!


Thank you Franklin, Thank you XRX, Inc and see you at Camp STITCHES 2016!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

For Baby Simmons

You all know I'm a junkie for baby stuff. I think I made 5 baby sweaters last year alone. Then there were the matchy matchy sweaters I did for Savannah and Alia, my Fairy Goddaughter. This post just shows the first one done, the next post shows them on the girls the day I gave them to them. Over their Packers Jerseys. I really thought I might see them in them for Christmas or something but alas, I did not. The only pic I have of this girls in them is in this post here. But I digress. I love knitting for babies. You all may remember by dear dear friend Rae Rae that passed away last summer, you can read about her here if you missed that one. At any rate, Rae's niece Vanessa is pregnant with her first baby. I know, without any doubt or question in my mind, that if Rae Rae were alive today she would've asked me to do something really special for this baby. Rae Rae loved Vanessa something fierce. So, I felt very compelled to do some baby knitting for someone I don't really know.

I went with my standard sweater I've been doing for all babies which is the Carina Spencer Small Things Sweater. Its just perfect. Since Vanessa is due, like, next week, I made the 0-3 month size so they can get some immediate wear out of it. Its already starting to get cold here. So, in a slide show, here's the progression of the sweater. Oh, and let me preface this with the fact that they are waiting to find out the sex of the baby. I was told they had some grey in the nursery so I went with a grey yarn and silver buttons. A sort of "Platinum Baby" look, if you will. 


Along with the sweater, this baby had to have a hat too! I went with the 'Stripey Baby Beret' on Ravelry.


 And of course he/she must have socks...


and there you go! This is all wrapped up nicely in pink and blue tissue paper and I'm off to meet them in just 45 minutes. If there are new pictures to add to this post, I'll add them when I get home!

Well, I am home now and I can post this. There aren't any new pics to add but only that they were all so wonderfully touched to receive my gifts. I told them the only request I had was to have a few pictures of the baby in it once Baby Simmons arrives. They all easily agreed.

So tomorrow we are off to Camp STITCHES! I will write about it when the retreat is over. Until the next time....Knit On!