Silver Threads

a knitting blog with occasional side trips

Yarnover 2011

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I went to Yarnover 2011 today and had a good time. Okay, that’s a bit brief for a blog post. Here’s a bit more detail:

The weather was wretched for much of the day: cold rain, nonstop. In other words, perfect weather for staying inside and knitting. We got there pretty early (Yarnover starts at 7:45 AM, and we were ahead of schedule). No bags as giveaway prizes this year, for a change, but I’m now the happy owner of a sterling silver needle sizer necklace. I’m likely to actually wear this; I wonder if any knitters will recognize it or if any nonknitters will ask about it.

Yarnover 2011 started off with a brief history of the event from Peg Torgerson, who got the whole thing going 25 years ago. Next, Merike Saarniit gave the keynote address. Kudos to anyone who manages a speech when recovering from laryngitis, and Saarniit’s talk about Estonian knitting traditions and the emphasis on invention and originality was interesting, although it may have been cut short to preserve her voice for the classes she was due to teach.

Off to the classes. I was able to get into my first-choice classes this year, “Knit to Flatter and Fit” with Sally Melville and “Reversible Twined Knit Scarf” with Laura Farson. I’m happy when I can find some half-day classes to attend. I’ve really enjoyed the all-day classes I’ve attended in the past, and I’ve learned some majorly important things from them, but they need stamina, and I can’t always come up with enough for them. My attention span is better suited to half-day classes.

Sally Melville’s fit class takes a small act of courage to participate in. There’s no knitting homework for this class, but you have to come up with a silhouette of your body to study. (Many thanks to Suncat, who kindly did my entire silhouette for me and had the necessary experience to do it right the first time.) It’s going to take me a while to digest everything I learned in this class. I’d done some reading on fitting clothing prior to this class, but unlike what I’d read, Sally emphasized clothing length (where do your sweaters end on your body?) and width (what sweater shapes set off straight pants vs. an A-line skirt?). I’m not going to rework any of my current sweaters in progress, but I’ll be putting plenty of thought into the next sweater I start.

Okay, the auditorium this morning had been crowded, but I really got a feel for the large attendance at lunch. While we’re in no danger of outgrowing Hopkins High School anytime soon, we did overrun the cafeteria. The line to pick up boxed lunches stretched out the door and well back into the vendors’ area, and Suncat and I were lucky to find anywhere to sit. Of course, sitting with perfect strangers is a great way to hear other people’s takes on Yarnover and learn about classes you didn’t take.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in Laura Farson’s class. I’d gotten so worked up about getting that silhouette made that this class sort of slipped to the back of my mind. So I’m pleased to report that I now know what twined knitting is and can produce very simple forms of it. I’m sure it’s warm, but I think the way the yarn wraps around itself as you knit it might drive me crazy if I were trying any project larger than a short scarf. Well, we’ll see what I think of the technique by the end of the scarf. The scarf itself is only about 4 inches long right now, but it’s turning out prettier than I expected and is nicely soft. It’s always a good sign when you want to finish the sample project you start in a class. (Photos to follow when I finish it.)

Perhaps you’ve noticed I’ve barely mentioned the vendors. They were there and they were plentiful. Beautiful yarns of all sorts of fibers abounded. One vendor even brought along an angora rabbit which was adorable, although I was worried that I would stress it out if I petted it (I settled for petting the angora yarn near its basket). I managed to get away from the vendors unscathed, however. I wasn’t actively looking for yarn for a project, and on top of that, as Suncat has pointed out, vendors at shows tend to bring lots of different kinds of yarn, but not much of any one yarn or color. I like to knit larger projects, like sweaters or afghans, so there’s often just not enough yarn available for the things I’d want to make. But if you’re a sock or shawl knitter, you’d probably have to save room in your car for all the yarn you could haul home.

And that was that for this year. But with Sally Melville at the Minnesota Knitters Guild meeting next week and Shepherds’ Harvest/Llama Magic next weekend, might I be in danger of overdosing on knitting goodness?


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