Stitches West 2007: Part Two (Friday)
In great anticipation of the three-hour class I signed up for, I arrived at the convention center thirty minutes early and started to search for the classroom. I must say that Stitches really has done a beautiful job at setting up information displays to help get you where you want to go. I entered my classroom, met a few classmates, pulled out my materials and anxiously waited. It was another one of those minutes feeling like hours moment, but then the instructor, Gwen Bortner, began to speak. The class was called Pattern Customization & the description basically stated that you would learn how to recalculate a pattern you love, to work with the yarn you love, just by utilizing a gauge swatch & a bit of math. Of course nobody ever wants to knit a gauge swatch or do math, especially me, but that must also be why the sweater I knit DH did not fit very well. After this class I now understand why making a gauge swatch is critical to success. This class well exceeded my expectations and not only did I learn a great deal of usable information, but it was presented in a straight-forward and organized manner with unexpected humor. Gwen was entertaining, informative and engaging. I hope to take another class from her in the future.
DH met me for lunch after my class and we purchased a ticket for him, so that he could experience "knitters shopping heaven" firsthand. Our first stop was the XRX/Knitters booth were they were promoting their latest book release: Victorian Lace Today. As I started thumbing through this exquisite book, I not only appreciated the beautiful photography & stunning shawl patterns, but also realized that there are 40 patterns and the book was priced at only $29.95. I was quite shocked! I don't even knit lace and I thought it would be a perfect addition to my knitters library. In addition to this beautiful book though, most (if not all) the lace shawls from the book were displayed throughout the booth. Each shawl was a beautiful work of art and even though all the exquisite detail of each one made me feel a bit intimidated, I did notice that a few of the scarves in the book said "beginner".
As I was carefully examining each shawl, I realized that it was 1 pm and we had scheduled to meet up with Lain. I have been corresponding with Lain via our blogs for almost a year and she was actually the person who left the very first comment on my blog last year in April. Even though she has an amazing personality which shows through on her blog, she's even better in person. We had a wonderful time looking through the vendor booths flipping through books, fondling yarn, and chit-chatting about this and that, but the time passed by too quickly & she was off to a game for one of her beautiful children. She has the cutest post about us all meeting which is funny & definitely worth reading! I know if Lain & I lived closer to each other, I'd have her knitting more & she'd have me scrapbooking!
I've debated off and on for quite some time about knitting the Clapotis. It seems like everyone has been there, knit that, but it's a pattern I come back to time and time again. I never had the right yarn for the project though, and so it remained on the back burner. At the Brooks Farm booth however, they had TWO Clapotis on display each knit in a different yarn type. I showed it to DH & he immediately said he liked the one knit in their Four Play yarn, a 50/50 wool and silk blend, and then proceeded to choose a colorway for me. The colors are definitely not in my typical wine palette, but I really do like them and I'm glad he talked me into purchasing it.
One of the best items of advice from my class this morning was to purchase a skein of yarn you think you love, knit a swatch with it and if you still love it, go buy the yardage you need for your project. Since I wasn't in love with the yarn I used on DH's last sweater, I asked him to choose a skein/ball of yarn at the WEBS booth and I'll knit it into a swatch at home for him to see. I told him if he still likes it, I'll order enough yarn to make him the sweater of his choice. He chose this skein of Valley Yarns Colrain, a 50/50 blend of merino and tencel in a colorway named Majestic Blue. It's soft, has a beautiful sheen & is hopefully a dream to knit with.
As I wandered around looking at all the vendor booths, the Victorian Lace Today book kept sticking in my head and I decided that since it had left such an impression on me, that the best thing to do was just purchase it. As I started walking towards the XRX booth, I remembered seeing something about book signings. I wondered if this author was also signing so I checked my schedule and sure enough, she had signings scheduled most of that day. I located her last signing at 4:30 pm and figured we had a few minutes to get to that booth.
We arrived promptly at 4:30 at the YarnDogs booth and there was only one woman ahead of me in line. I don't know what I was expecting, if anything, but this beautiful mature woman with a slim build was sitting before me and spoke in a soft English accent. I told her I'd never knit with lace weight yarn and that in fact I'd never knit any lace items, but that her book just captivated me and I was so surprised that such a beautiful book had been written with so many patterns for such a low price, that I knew I should own it. As she opened her book, she proceeded to tell me that her publishers didn't think the book would sell for a higher amount and she also implied to me that she wasn't happy with her publishers for underestimating the value of her work. She then started delicately flipping through the pages and shared with me the patterns that would be perfect for my first project. She took off one of her shawls and told me where she had found the original pattern for that particular lace edging and how it was only a partial pattern, and the history, and so forth. She mentioned that on one of the scarf photos it shows an edging that does not match the pattern in the book but that most of the edgings can be changed anyway.
At some point I realized that quite some time had elapsed and I looked behind me to find nobody waiting. ??? She kept speaking to me like I was the only person in the room. I basked in these moments with the author until we discovered that someone else was waiting for their book to be signed. I guess I couldn't complain though, since I had just spent about ten minutes talking to her and it is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things you never forget. I will treasure the moment and this book for my entire life.
After the book signing I was floating on cloud 9 and believed it couldn't get any better, but of course while I was looking through my bag of yarn when we arrived back at the hotel, I found a small blue box. I opened it and found an absolutely beautiful pearl & sterling silver bracelet from Harlan Beads. I have no idea when or how DH managed to sneak away from me to purchase this, but him doing things like this for me are one of the millions of reasons why I love him! We finished off my perfect day with a lemon drop cocktail at the hotel bar followed by sushi for dinner. Unforgettable!