Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Knitting Camp 2008

It has been a week since I returned to "real life" after knitting camp. Have I finished any of my camp projects? No, but for me it wasn't about finishing. It was about learning how to do things I didn't know how to do or was afraid of. I learned about trapping for Armenian knitting and colorwork, I learned that Brioche in the round can kick my butt multiple times, I learned that unspun icelandic is really, really wooly and fun to work with, I learned about i-cord of all types, I learned about uploading EZ Knitting Glossary to my i-pod (still a work in progress). I am asked by those who are interested, what is knitting camp like? Well, first of all you have to pick someone who's work you really, really admire, someone who in your wildest fantasies could be your mentor, and then imagine sitting at their feet for 4 days.
Meg Swanson, Amy Dietjen and Joyce Williams are rockstars of the knitting world. Quietly knitting away in their central WI homes, writing, publishing, editing books that are important books to be written researching and documenting old techniques and figuring out how to recreate techniques who's usage and history is fading. Really important books that may never be on the top ten list because they might not be "trendy", yet books that need to be written. Elizabeth Zimmermann before them and now they spread the word about circular sweater constructions, Elizabeth's EPS system, garter stitch garments. Perhaps not the trendiest items/garments, yet, interesting to knit, wearable, practical garments with ingenious construction techniques. Their colorwork is traditional, yet absolutely breathtaking. Pictures can't capture the true beauty of the colorwork documents. To touch them in real life and in fact to wear them (as I wore the Aran Cardigan-even in grey, I loved it) is an honor. I hope that some of the genius rubbed off on me, time will tell. Meg, Amy and Joyce as I said before are truly rockstars, yet, a more unpretentious, down to earth, helpful, friendly 3 ladies, I have never met. Truly an honor to be in their company. In the morning, Meg would teach, demonstrating techniques, illustrating by knitting on camera projected to 4 tv's placed throughout the room, if you have a question, you simply ask it and it is answered. If you need help with something, simply pop to the back of the room and Joyce and Amy will be more than helpful. After lunch, show and tell occurred, where campers showed what they had made either in an EZ sytle or otherwise. Camp 2 was one talented group of knitters. At 3pm, class ended and we knit in the classroom and then dinner at a local WI establishment. WI is really a neat place. Kind of organic, healthy, interesting place.

Projects, I started a Brioche hat, an Armenian hat and a Bavarian Twisted hat. The Brioche has almost defeated me on several occassions, but i am still at it. I will conquer it! The Bavarian Twisted is fun, I will finish that and the Armenian, I scrapped, I want to make a hat with a skull on it and I didn't have a chart at camp, so I used the sample to learn how Joyce traps. I also bought enough unspun icelandic in brick red and chocolate brown for a bog sweater (I think) and I also bought enough Quebequoise for an aran cardigan, again in red. I am again having a red fetish. I didn't even knit on my little Russian Prime sweater, oh well, next year.....

I made some (actually a lot)new friends, Ellen and Thi from St. Louis, Kim from ....I don't remember, Shelli from Seattle, Kathy, Robin and Leanne from Denver, Sandy from IA, Eileen from Madison, Sara and re-acquainted with my Camp 1 roomie, Jen, Karen and Toni from CA, Devittles from New York city. Wow, that is a lot of new friends! Good times! I spent a long time talking to Michelle Swansen, she was a treasure, and we have kids the same age, so the talking was easy. Re-entry was hard, but I did survive. I can't wait until next year. Keeping my fingers crossed that I get in.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Latest Obsession

I am not a computer expert, I don't play one on TV. It is all K2Karen's fault. At knitting camp, she told about how she uploaded her copy of Knitting Glossary onto her I-pod so she always had EZ & Meg at her fingertips. She put some instructions in her blog (July entry) and I HAD to do it too. Go to www.handbrake.com, download the free software, select the appropriate pre-set (mine is Low-Rez Ipod) Hit the Browse button in the "Source Box" and choose the Video-TS, hit the drop-down box for Title and you should notice 4 selections (my Glossary seems to have 4 different parts) Select Box 1 and then Start at Chapter 1, end at Chapter 2 (they are introduction)Browse the destination file to save the Chapters of the DVD where you want them. I didn't change anything else. Once you get each Chapter set up, you can select "Add to Queue". At first I uploaded the files one at a time and then I got braver and put 4 into the Queue. Sometimes the uploads went quickly, some took more than an hour. At this writing, Chapters 77 and 78 didn't upload, but I'll try them again. The chapters are then saved as chapters.(chapters 1) I had to open each one individually (they will automatically open into Itunes) and get the titles for each chapter. Then you have to delete the item from itunes (steady, you'll get it back there), go back to the source, right click on the title of the chapter and re-name it (I-cord Cast-on) and double click on it which will pull it back into i-tunes. I will list the chapters here when I am done in case anyone wants to do the same with their own PERSONAL copy of Knitting Glossary. This project is taking longer than I expected. Some of the upper chapters (90's) are taking 1+ hours per to upload. I know it will be worth it, but it is tedious

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Oh Goodness!

I can't believe it has been 2 months since I posted last. Spring kept me busy in my gardens. I planted the front triangle with roses, hydrangeas, coral bells, hosta's and some really neat ground hugging evergreen plant. I am watering, watering, watering. The hydrangea's keep wilting on me. I don't think it has rained since I put the bed in. Oh, well, it will be beautiful next year or the next. I also planted what I call my "Fairy Garden" in the back under the remaining apple tree. DS#1 repainted the flamingo and I dug an ice cream chair from the barn, I also put a bird feeder on an old porch post over there for a platform bird feeder. I planted some creeping thyme and some other low growing "carpet" type perennial over there. I put in a russian sage, spirea, hydrangea (it must be the year of hydrangea's). it will look good when it fills in as well. I have also planted the "divorce garden" with herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and annuals, it really looks lush and I also bought some patio furniture to put out there and some unfortunate umbrella's, as my friend Sandy says, "Umbrella's just don't work in the country" and she is right. Even closed, they fall over, I've used my old friend duct tape already and I haven't had them more than a week, oh, well, it's only money, right?

What am I knitting? Well, I am working on an EZ Pie are Square shawl in my 50% Merino, 50% Angora Fairy Hare. I am into the last ball. I want to get it to the edging part so that I can get help with it at knitting camp. I completed a Mobeius with help from Beth Rosene at Quilters Garden and need to start another one before I forget how to do the cast-on, perhaps tonight. I'd like to make a baby bog so that I can learn to graft garter and put in an afterthought pocket while at camp, but I don't know if I have time. I am also getting around to making a massage appointment in Marshfield, during camp so that I can get a good massage, but I can't decide what day/time to get it. Actually, Saturday night might be good, I don't want to miss Friday night Wisconsin fish fry! Back to knitting, I'd also like to whip up a pair of EZ magic mittens, I could learn to graft garter on those, too.

Tomorrow I am off to a B&B in Algonquin with my friend Lynn and her son, Antonio. The kids are taking a "manners class" on Wednesday and we are taking a restful night in the B&B for some R&R. I've never stayed in a B&B, mostly 'cause I kind of live IN one, but this will be a new experience for MG and I and we'll get to have some "Mommy-time". Pictures later