Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stitches!!!

I don’t think it takes a mind reader to know how excited I was about Stitches this year. Last year was my first time attending and I had an amazing time, so when the opportunity to attend again this year rolled around, I jumped on it! My friend, Lara, and I decided to go and within a few minutes of making that decision, we also determined that an invitation needed to be extended to our friend, Anna. We know Anna via our blogs and our only relationship with her so far has been via the internet and somewhat over the phone for her and Lara. It was interesting, though, that there was no hesitation for either of us about inviting her. She’s just one of those people that her natural warmth comes through and we knew we would have a great time with her. I thought it was pretty great that as quickly as we decided to invite her, she only took about half that amount of time to accept the invitation!

So, after waiting what seemed like an eternity, we finally went to Stitches last weekend. I actually left home on Wednesday to bring the Bean over to Florida to stay with my Mom and Dad. My mom’s birthday was Friday, so I joked that Bean was her birthday present. I knew they would have a great time, though.

Thursday morning I got on a plane to head up to Atlanta and met up with Lara at the airport. It was so wonderful seeing her again and after picking up our rental car we headed out to the hotel and conference center. Our first class was that afternoon, Cut & Paste with Sarah Peasley and it was brilliant! We took one of her classes last year and knew she was an amazing teacher, but this class took it to another level. For the most part, it was about the Kitchener Stitch, which is a wonderful grafting technique that I use all the time to finish the toes of socks or finish the underarms of certain sweaters. It creates a row of knitting as opposed to a seam. Sarah took it a few steps further and showed us how to graft live stitches to a side seam, how to graft in pattern (including in ribbing) and even cooler, how to pick up stitches and then cut off an area of knitting that we might not like, without having to rip out an entire item. Say after you’ve knit a sweater, you decide that you don’t care for the ribbing at the bottom. Well, using this technique, you can just cut off that portion. Or, if you decide that you don’t like a section in the middle, pick up stitches above and below that section, cut it out, re-knit and then graft it all back together!

Me & Sarah Peasley!

After our class was over, Lara and I headed back up to our room to meet up with Anna. We liked her immediately and there was never an awkward moment or lull in our conversation or laughter. Amazingly, we never made it to the Market that evening or to the Ravelry meet-up. We were just having too much fun on our own. That night we hit Sotto Sotto for dinner, which was my favorite restaurant from last year’s adventure. They have a seafood risotto that I dream about! Their Caesar salad is also really yummy and I topped it all off with a wonderful ricotta cheesecake with fresh berries. I was SOOOO full when we left!

The next morning I was up around 6:30, as per my usual. I never can manage to sleep in anymore, darn that adorable little girl of mine! I puttered around the room, took my shower and killed time while waiting for the others to wake up, but finally just had to leave the room. I headed down to the Market and hung out with some lovely ladies while we waited for the doors to open. My first stop was, of course, the Knit Witch’s booth, where I picked up a couple of beautiful skeins of sock yarn and got to visit with the wonderful Brittany and Wayne. They are such a delightful couple and I loved getting to see them. Brittany has done a lot of custom dye work for me through the year and is always so great to deal with. After my stop at their booth, I headed down to check out the wares at Dragonfly Fibers. Kate does beautiful work as well and I selected a fabulous hank of laceweight yarn. It’s a huge skein and has 2,500 yards of yarn!

Finally around 11:00, the other girls were up and ready to head out to get some “breakfast”. I sort of envy the ability of those without kids to sleep in, but I think with that much yarn in the building, I would have had a hard time sleeping in any way! Anyhow, I met up with the ladies and we headed off to introduce Anna to one of the staples of southern food (as far as I’m concerned at least), the Waffle House! Unfortunately, I don’t think Anna was as enamored by it as we are, but I do think she enjoyed it.

After breakfast, we headed back to the MARKET!!! Lara and I hit every row, but Anna was much more efficient than we were. She picked out a project and headed off to enjoy the beautiful sunshine. I ended up with four bags of Noro, two of Yuzen and two of Silk Garden. Then we hit the Unwind booth. The ladies working that booth were a lot of fun and they had some great yarn. I picked up two skeins of Unison yarn in some really great autumnal colors to make a baby sweater, hat and some booties. The ladies there were also super kind and offered to babysit my VERY large tote bag (see last post) so I could shop more freely in the rest of the market. I didn’t add a huge amount after that point, but did pick up a couple more skeins from Kate at Dragonfly.

That night we hit South City Kitchen for dinner and once again, it was delicious! I got she-crab soup for my appetizer, shrimp and scallops with grits for my entrée, and banana pudding for dessert. Divine southern fare! I was in a great mood when we headed back to the hotel and that continued when we joined in the pajama party in the lobby. I did win a prize, not for my fun pj’s that I made, but for having my wee one with me, albeit not visible! It’s a scarf kit and I think I’m going to enjoy making it. Probably not something I would have picked out on my own, but the colors are nice and heck, if I don’t like it, I’m sure I can find someone who will!

Saturday morning came and we had our second class, Basic Pattern Drafting with Melissa Leapman. I have a knitter’s crush on Melissa and she is a wonderful teacher. We took her intro to cabling class last year and loved it. This class didn’t involve any knitting, but I learned a lot and even got to use algebra. I know that might not sound like a whole hell of a lot of fun to some folks, but I kinda love math and was thrilled when the lightbulb clicked and I figured out the formula to solve the problem before Melissa even got to that part! Yes, I am truly a geek, but I finally have learned to wear it proudly! This was supposed to be our last class, but I opted to add Melissa’s afternoon class since I had enjoyed the first one so much. The second class was Celtic Cables and was incredible! I’m really tempted to take the elements that I learned in both classes and try and design my own sweater. Then again, maybe I’ll just work one of Melissa’s patterns first….


Me & Melissa Leapman (who totally thinks I'm her stalker, I'm not, I just get easily excited when around knitting genius)

I did hit the Market again after my second class. What can I say, I have issues! I went back by the Unwind booth and am so glad that I did. I picked up eight skeins of MadelineTosh yarn, buy one get one free! It may be the yarn that I use in my first designing effort.

Saturday night, our little threesome broke up so Lara could go to see some of her Atlanta buddies. Anna opted for some quiet time at the hotel and I headed out to join 150 of my closest new friends to a dinner hosted by Brittany (Knit Witch) at her dad’s restaurant, Scalini’s. I will be honest, I was expecting more of the company than I was the food, but I was pleasantly surprised on the food front. The meal began with a family-style salad and the best garlic rolls I have ever had in my life! Fresh baked light rolls literally soaking in butter with minced garlic on them. I think I smelled like garlic for days after! For my entrée I got the meat lasagna, which was huge and I thought there was no chance of finishing all of it. But it was so incredible that I didn’t leave a single bit behind. Dessert followed with a big tray of desserts served family style again. The food was excellent and the company was even better! I sat in the back of the room with the funniest group of women I have ever been around. We didn’t have a full table, but I think we may have had the biggest laughs! I am so glad I decided to go to the dinner, even without my roommates. If you are ever in the Atlanta area, I think Scalini’s should be a must visit. Plus, Brittany’s dad is just adorable and charming!


My tablemate, Dawn, who was a riot! In the background is Miss Babs, another incredible lady!

Brittany's super-cute dad, John!

Sunday was the wrap up for the event and Lara and I decided to hit the Market one last time. I hit Knit Witch one more time and got five skeins of DK weight yarn and a couple more skeins of fingering weight yarn. I must’ve really liked her Pisces colorway, because I picked up another skein of it! Not that I mind, just that much more to love. We also went to visit Miss Babs, one of my dinner companions from the night before, so I could get some of her Yowza yarn to make an outfit for my upcoming addition. If it’s a boy, I will make a sweater and pants with it. A girl? A cute little dress. I also got some oyster laceweight, which I think will become Jen’s wedding shawl. Just for good measure, some of Babs’ Yummy sock yarn found its way into my bag! Two final stops: one more trip to Unwind, mostly to say goodbye, but they lured me with buy one get one deals on Koigu! Ten skeins later and two more Unison to boot, we finally said our adieus and headed over to the stage for the grand prize drawing. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, but the ladies who did were so cute, I don’t really mind losing to them. Well, not so much, anyway!

After the drawing we were going to head out, but the Webs booth drew us in. I picked up three Zaerballs and some other sock yarn, Jawoll Magic. I know I went really overboard on my yarn purchases, but I got some really beautiful stuff.

Stitches was a wonderful experience yet again. I just loved being around so many like-minded people. By the end, I felt like I had learned so much and made so many wonderful new friends. Thanks to Ravelry, I will be able to easily keep in touch with them! On Sunday, when it was time to leave, I had the same feeling that I used to get on the last day of camp and now that I’m home, I’m trying my hardest not to completely bore my family to tears by forcing them to hear every last detail of what happened. Hubby has been great, though, and seems to really enjoy hearing about how much fun I had. The man who even a year ago would have ribbed me about it, now seems genuinely excited that I have developed this sense of community and take such joy in my knitting. I knew picking him was a great idea. Of course, he hasn’t seen all the yarn that came home with me…..

Here are some photos of some of the people who made my weekend so wonderful! Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of Anna, but I kept forgetting about my camera and she does tend to be a little camera shy!

Jennifer & Miss Babs

Brittany & Wayne


Me & Molly


Jessica, Me & Lauren

Lara & Me!


The Stash!!!!

4 comments:

Jane said...

Wow, I'm jealous! How fun to meet up with friends and share with so many knitters all those wonderful experiences. Your classes sound great! I could use that Kitchener class. And your stash? Yes, you need KA! Your knitted items in the photos look smashing! I can't wait to see all the things they become.

moevans said...

Wow! I made it to the blog! I had such a great time finally meeting you, my fellow Tulane Alum! I look forward to seeing you again -- before Stitches -- as you pass through here or I go there.

Monkey said...

thanks for the shout out! You are such a lover-dover! I cannot wait until our paths cross again, sweet girl.

PS- I heart grits!

Jessica said...

You're too sweet! So glad to've met you. Did you ever get a picture of Yarn Peak - I mean, the stash chair? ;)