It’s been a busy and exciting week or so. Of course, I can say that most weeks! I finally went to press with our newsletter (now posted to the website), which is a big relief! I had hoped to get it out much earlier, but it just didn’t happen.
Last week I went up north to East Jordan to be with my folks. My dad got a new knee — he’s now a card-carrying bionic! We spent a good share of surgery day at the hospital and a I got a little knitting done. The landscape above is the view from one of the waiting rooms at the Charlevoix Area Hospital – imagine having a room overlooking Lake Michigan, sure seems it would help with healing. Unfortunately, Dad’s room overlooked the loading dock, but he wasn’t much caring about the view. Right near the hospital are some really wonderful homes that we called caterpillar houses when we were kids and are more commonly called hobbit/fairy/mushroom houses by the rest of the world. Architecturally, they were made by a local man, Earl Young and are historical landmarks that are along the neighborhood next to the hospital. Very cool.
While at the hospital I carried my Fair Isle hat, but knit on a mindless felted bag. It’s going to look like a baseball when I’m done – a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law, the wife and mother of baseball coaches. The yarn I’m using is Pastaza, a llama and wool blend from Cascade. It’s so nice I hate to felt it. The yarn really bloomed in the knitting. Even Sharlene, who always rubs skeins against her face testing for softness, was amazed at how it knit up. I’ve seen it felted (thanks, Lisa!), and it is beautiful.
On Friday I had the pleasure of “doing lunch.” Gayle, a customer and friend asked Suzanne and I out to lunch. She chose the Royal Park in Rochester – what a delightful spot of refinement tucked into the edge of downtown Rochester. She brought us gifts (the holiday knitting bag pictured in the photo above was at our place setting when we got there) and treated us like royalty. I felt really special. It’s been so long since I have taken a two hour lunch that this was extra special.
As many of you know, I’ve been working on my Master Knitter certification through the TKGA for several years. Level I and Level II are under my belt, and I’ve been plugging away at Level III since last spring. I have many of the swatches done and most of the writing, but the sweater has been haunting me since I began the program. As part of the final level, you must design and knitAran and Fair Isle pieces, one a hat, the other a sweater. My sweater will be Fair Isle because I love color (and for me to get good tension on the trailing edge of my cables requires more attention than I can to invest for something that will be graded!). The sweater oddessy began when I walked into my office and saw a weaving draft on my computer screen and decided I had to KNIT it. So I printed it out and took it home and did just that. I loved it, but I only knit it in two colors (that’s what I saw on the screen!). Then I knit it into a hat that is now on display in the shop. I still loved it . . . BUT. I couldn’t imagine doing all that knitting in only two colors – boring! So, as part of the Focus on Fair Isle class we have running now, I started experimenting with adding color. I liked the next version, but I didn’t LOVE the next version. Too dark. So, I set it aside and finally had, as my friend Deb would say, an epiphany! A pastel rainbow. Now I had colors – 14 of them. I’ve been working on that version in a hat and am liking it immensely. It may end up being just a big swatch as I have been playing with colors as I go (can you see the difference in the dividing/accent row?) and I may need to make it bigger than a hat to get a feel for the sweater. Now I need to decide how large to make the sweater and then I should be able to begin knitting in January. A milestone. Makes finishing the rest of the program seem more do-able.
Yesterday I got news that I have been invited to lead a retreat class at SOAR (the Spin-Off Annual Retreat). I am thrilled. The class is called: Making Your Wheel Do the Work. I first went to SOAR in 2000 after learning to spin the previous year. It was my last outing before opening the store. I was hooked. I enjoyed the event and especially the Interweave folks who put it on. 2007 SOAR returns to Shanty Creek in Bellaire, Michigan. A beautiful setting on the top of a huge ski hill when the leaves will be at their peak of color – I pray for good weather so we can show Michigan at it’s finest to all the visitors.
Speaking of teaching classes, I’ve also been selected to teach at Michigan Fiber Fest for the third year running. All weaving classes this time around: Warping Refreshed (one day class), Planning a Weaving Project, Take it All Off (Finishing techniques) (both 1/2 day classes).
Planning for Knit Michigan is coming along. We’re already getting registrations in – do we have yours?