Monday, April 10, 2006

Gosh, a Year Already?

Word came from Jon last week that the class schedule for Stitches Midwest 2006 had gone up. Seems like only yesterday that I encountered the letters X-R-X for the first time.

Stitches events, in case you're not a knitter, are weekend knitting festivals put on by the company that produces Knitters magazine. The quality of the magazine is much maligned. The head of the firm is, to paraphrase a favorite childhood novel*, "much like marzipan, in that you've soon had enough of it." I went to my first Stitches last year, and loved the classes, the marketplace, and meeting other knitters. The rest of it, I could have skipped. And this year, will.

I was hoping ever so much that Nancy Bush would present her full-day Estonian lace shawl class, but no. She's offering a repeat of last year's half-day workshop (which I enjoyed immensely) and a class in socks, and something else that escapes me at present. All the classes I took last year are being offered and I highly recommend them: Estonian lace (Nancy Bush), Orenberg lace (Galina Khmeleva), and intarsia (Edie Eckman).

This year, the plum pudding of my Stitches feast will be a full-day gansey class with Beth Brown-Reinsel. I bought Beth's book, Knitting Ganseys, at Halcyon Yarns back in December and found it to be both boffo and socko–so much so that I want the benefit of her in-person instruction.

I also signed up for a half-day "Spinning for Knitting" class with Merike Saarniit. I am not acquainted with the dear lady, but is that a perfect name for a spinner, or what? I don't fancy schlepping my wheel to Rosemont on the subway, so I'm hoping they'll have a fleet of them there or something.

(Query: What does one call a group of spinning wheels? I can find no record of an accepted term, in the manner of "murder of crows" or "flock of sheep." Anybody got a suggestion?)

The online interface for XRX is pristine, state-of-the-art 1987 Web technology, so you get no immediate confirmation that your registration has gone through. I'm half expecting that after my comments last year about Her Serene Highness my registration might "accidentally" be "lost," so I'll be following up with a phone call.

The Sheep Pen

This here blog, and the shop it spawned, took off at rather a faster rate than I anticipated,** which threw my already precarious household organization into total disarray.

This weekend, I established a new workflow to keep track of things. And I managed to get five long-overdue items off the drawing board. There are still about a dozen more, but progress is progress and I am hopeful. (Thank goodness knitters are, in general, a patient clan.)

One of the drawings, which I have given the very unoriginal title "Knit Two Together," was purest pleasure. It's a design for the shop (currently on a mug) which, because it was inspired by the kindness of a reader in England, is dedicated to her. I'm also sending her the original sketch as a heartfelt thank-you.

Judith, this one's for you. Watch for the postman.

Tea Cartoon

*The Doll's House, by Rumer Godden
** Anticipated rate: zero

34 comments:

Jackie in the NW 'burbs of Chicago said...

Thanks for the head's up on the Stitches registration being open. I got a confirmation as I registered, so yeah, you probably want to follow up with a phone call. I'm free that Saturday morning if you need someone to keep an eye on Dolores. I'm assuming she's coming with you. I'm hoping she's coming with you.

manic knitter said...

A whirl of spinners, sitting next to a twirl of spindlers, being watched closely by a whack of knitters (the whack having previously been used by the Yarn Harlot to describe a gathered gang of knitters).
Then again, there may a nice descriptive term already out there.

Ragnar said...

Ooo ooo, I love collective nouns!

How about a Draft of Spinners?

Colleen said...

Ooo - I am so jealous! Beth Brown-Reinsel is coming to my local shop to teach three classes and I. CAN'T. GO.

I wish you would reconsider going to the general Stitches Midwest and take a picture of some of the knitting horrors that lurk out there for our collective sniggering pleasure.

LornaJay said...

No idea for spinning wheels (a whirr, perhaps?) but for a collection of collective nouns, try:

http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/collnoun.htm

Jon said...

I didn't get an emailed confirmation either. I don't know that I'll follow up with a call until about a week after they charge my card. Then I may get antsy.

I always thought "murder" was an adjective and not a noun. Perhaps it is a noun in an archaic form?

pacalaga said...

That i one adorable sketch. I wonder if you could just set up a tab for me in you shop?
I doubt they'll "lose" your reservation. It sounds like that person is one for whom any publicity, even bad publicity, is all good. Yikes.
Maybe this year you could go and make it a drinking game or something - each time something heinous wanders down the runway, you take a shot. Two shots if the something heinous is The Dragon himself.

Holly @Home said...

Oh that lucky woman..treasure it Judith .I loved Rumer Godden as a child..every year at Christmas Mum tried to read "Holly and Ivy" but got a lunp in her throat half way and sort of blubbed the rest betwwen tissues.I love "Great-Granfather's House" .If I'd ever got an original Rosemary Wells I'd be in Heaven .You really should do a children's book one day they are so important to children..Paddington was a friend ...and it would be easy for us to buy . I have a huge collection of illustrated books that I treasure above most other things.

threadingwater said...

Good choice on Beth Brown-Reinsel's class. I haven't taken the gansey class, but have taken two other classes with her at past Stitches events. Both were life-changing. Seriously. I had 'technique orgasms.'

Holly @Home said...

Sorry it's me again but I just linked Mum to your article on "Stitches" and a certain man who she looked up last week after reading comments about his ego..after he seemed to suggest Kaffe's patterns were improved by him she had to take pain-killers and lay down .I must show Tony our gay friend because he "can't stand over camp old Queens".I know he'd snort all over his keyboard as his laugh is only matched by Mum's filthy one. Hols.

Helen said...

I am envious... you will soon experience a wonderful thing that I can never do for the first time again. Beth's Gansey class is WONDERFUL!!! (insert string of superlative explatives here).
Each year I try to find a way to take one of her classes, but nothing is quite as marvelous as the very first one.
Now I must choose... Stitches Midwest? or Camp Stitches (in CA) for my birthday in October?? why can't I afford both! (pout)

Lise said...

I've taken a class with Merike Saarniit, on hand-dyeing as it happens. She's has an unusually pleasant manner without seeming saccharin at all. We had no end of a good time with the hands-on work; I imagine you will too.

Lisa said...

I love the cartoon, would love to join in the fun at Stitches but sadly it's not in the cards. If you have a minute, though, I have a technical question for you. Please have a minute.

Lucia said...

I love venereal terms too! That's what they're called, really. Venery as in hunting, not that other thing. You already have some good ones, but I instantly thought of a skein of spinners, if the flying geese (who are already called a skein) wouldn't mind.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am almost speechless. Thank you so much Franklin. It is wonderful and Makes Me Laugh a Lot. What an amazing likeness! Many, many thanks. Love Judith.

Rana said...

A dervish of spinners?

Other than that, I like manic knitter's idea of a whirl and a twirl of wheel and spindle spinners.

Joanne said...

I took Beth Brown-Reinsel's class on designing arans. She's an excellent, patient and thorough teacher. You're in for a treat, I'm sure.

MaryF said...

Well, if you want to you can sit by my friend Caroline and me. She is in her mid-50s English lady living in Sedona AZ and I am in my mid-30s living in East TN (the job pays well). We are taking the Gansey class. Actually my friend is an excellent knitter. We are still determining how many bottles of wine to bring with us. So we can at least give you refreshment for the ride home if you want. I enjoy reading your blog and adore your cartoons. I gave your Kama Sutura design to another friend named Kama whose parents are innocent as lambs.

Elizabeth said...

Manic knitter beat me to it! I immediately thought, " A whirl of wheels" but I guess it's either a sign that great minds think alike, or I'm not as original as I thought. Alas alack.

Deborah C. said...

Hmmm ... a whorl of spinning wheels? My mom has a book "An Exaltation of Larks" which is a collection of these collective words, maybe there is one in there, I'll have to ask her. What will Dolores do during Stitches? I'd love to sit next to her during the fashion show to hear her snarky comments!

Allison said...

Two entirely unrelated comments:

1) Until reading about your positive experiences at Stitches, it would never have occurred to me to participate in anything other that a perusal of the Market. Thanks for providing a different perspective.

2) Given your taste for cowboys, I offer you this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAjtW2DqwSI

Sherry W said...

A group of big wheels can only be a convoy.

FiberQat said...

I like a fleet of spinning wheels. Goes with the Addi Turbos.

All we need now are Orange County Choppers or Chip Foose to make studly wheels. I can see it now....chrome and steel or pearled paint...pinstriping....a stick shift for changing the ratio topped with a ram's head....a mini Hemi or 325.....vrooooom!!

Sally said...

The tea drinking sheep have such lovely faces. Great job!

Ahrisha said...

I read your Blog often and enjoy it very much. Love your take ( or should I say give) on life. What a giving soul. The expressions on your last 2 sheep made me smile. They are Very Good Friends! I really don't like the phrase "Best Friends". When used in a group it always makes the others seem like they might be. . .well, not good enough. I will be giving a mug of your Very Good Friends to my Very Good Friend. I'll be on the look out for it in the shop.

Sean said...

I'm trying to schedule a trip to Stitches Mid-West...but it may conflict with some work stuff...but I'd REALLY like to go.

Sarah R said...

I've been reading your blog for a while, though I don't think I've commented before. But mention of The Doll's House has dragged me out of lurking. What a wonderful book. And the part that amazed me as a kid was the chapter that is only a sentence long. A whole chapter! One sentence! How daring.

And my friend, neighbor and co-knitter is definitely getting one of those mugs for Christmas.

mimi said...

that sketch is precious! my knitting friend's birthday is in a month, and now i know exactly what to get her. thanks franklin!

Debbi said...

I've not had the pleasure of taking any of Beth's classes, but her book is the one I would take to a desert island. Such a wealth of information!

Nancy said...

I've taken classes from both Beth Brown-Reinsel and Merike Saarniit, and can recommend both quite highly.

Merike, btw, was the lady who started Carolina Homespun.

Legalfrugalbabe said...

There is no such thing as too much marzipan. It goes down wonderfully with boiling hot and thoroughly steeped English Breakfast tea, no sugar of course. That being said, it's rare that you can take people with boiling hot tea right then and there, but that's a different issue.

Abigale said...

I vote for Fleet of Spinning wheels as well. Though I'd really usually just do as you did and call them what they are a group.

I have Beth Brown-Reisels gansey book which I used to design a gansey to invoke the boyfriend curse (it worked Yay!) The directions in the book were awesome, I really learned a lot of new shaping techniques and was amazed at how clever a lot of the little details were. When I got the sweater back from the ex a little while ago, I seriously contemplated ripping it to make something else out of my handspun - but the diamond shaped arm gussets, the sideways neck gusset. The fake knit/purl seams... I just couldn't do it, and have actually taken to wearing the sweater on a very regular basis! (After I washed the patchouli smell out of it of course).

I'm glad you've got people offering to keep an eye on Dolores for you. I was worried about her there for a minute.

Abigale said...

I vote for Fleet of Spinning wheels as well. Though I'd really usually just do as you did and call them what they are a group.

I have Beth Brown-Reisels gansey book which I used to design a gansey to invoke the boyfriend curse (it worked Yay!) The directions in the book were awesome, I really learned a lot of new shaping techniques and was amazed at how clever a lot of the little details were. When I got the sweater back from the ex a little while ago, I seriously contemplated ripping it to make something else out of my handspun - but the diamond shaped arm gussets, the sideways neck gusset. The fake knit/purl seams... I just couldn't do it, and have actually taken to wearing the sweater on a very regular basis! (After I washed the patchouli smell out of it of course).

I'm glad you've got people offering to keep an eye on Dolores for you. I was worried about her there for a minute.

Christine said...

Oooooooh... I had an all day class with Beth Brown-Reinsel earlier this year. She is *SO* wonderful! Simply fabulous! You will learn so much from her, she is just amazing!