My weekend with Lizzie, Joycie & Lily
What a weekend. I'm still on overload and still absorbing it all!
Kate & Al agreed to be dragged to Neenah on Friday night so I could pick up my registration folder; they were going to wait in the car, but I told them to come on in and smell the wool! Along with my class information, I received a sample of Meadows Wool Wash, and Knitters I Know, a Blue Sky Alpacas pattern book. Samples of the teachers' work was displayed throughout the store along with an array of their books on a table inside the door. Lizbeth Upitis' book was positioned atop a breathtaking, fanned display of in-the-wool Latvian Mittens.
On Saturday morning, I had my first of three classes with "Lizzie" and "Joycie": Practical Tips for Efficient Color Knitting. It was in this class that I had my first face-to-face meeting with a fellow knitblogger -- Amy Lu (who may or may not continue blogging -- I hope she does even on a limited basis)! Just by chance, we chose seats with only one person between us -- also an Amy -- who was in three of the same classes as Amy Lu and I, and we three stuck together both days for lunch and shopping.
On Saturday afternoon, I had my second class with Lizzie and Joycie: Practical Tips for Flat Knitting. I learned different things in these Saturday classes, but they're closely related. I have never taken a knitting class in my life, and have never knitted with anyone except my sisters or kids, so you might understand that I was a little overwhelmed. There was knitting being done everywhere and knitted garments of one kind or another adorned just about every person in the room. Lizbeth and Joyce both wore sweaters that made you faint just to look at them, but then they described how they were made. Honestly, Amy Lu asked Lizbeth, "...and at what point did they insert a feeding tube?" She was describing having knit in this direction and then in that direction and there were steeks here and steeks there, maybe a miter or two (I'm don't even remember what she said about the hand-dyed colors) and I think I understood that it was a rolled up, knitted together, twirly mass on circular needles that was clearly a sweater in her mind, but would only reveal itself as such to mere mortals after the steeks were cut. And Joyce! Oh, she was wearing a coat -- I don't even know what the pattern is called -- one of the big patterns in her beautiful book, Latvian Dreams (which I now own, thank you), that turns a lacy-looking corner.
What I do remember learning is knitting on two circular needles, for one thing! I didn't expect to learn that, though it was hinted at in the description. That's a pretty slick trick, folks! Really, really cool. Where I think it would be especially handy (and Joyce confirmed this) is when you're knitting a very small number of stitches in the round -- glove fingers, for example. I also learned to knit with two colors in my left hand, kind of picking them; and knitting from my right needle (a.k.a., knitting backwards) to my left in two colors over my left hand. All I can say is, Practice, Practice, Practice.
On Saturday evening, there was a buffet dinner, followed by Show & Tell and door prizes. I participated (showed St. Brigid) and I won a door prize! There was some great stuff -- Aison from Madison showed some really cute bags she made from recycled sweaters; there was a felted, Vivian Hoxbro-designed, domino-knitted bag; some Philosopher's Wool sweaters. A lot of cool projects and garments. Among the door prizes was the single copy of At Knit's End that Yarns By Design had in the store; she said she was giving it away as a door prize so there would be no fights over it!
I had my last class with Lizbeth Upitis and Joyce Williams on Sunday Morning: Practical Color Theory. There was some dyeing with marigolds -- so pretty! And some hands-on Kool-Aid dyeing. I'll be doing more of that. One of the patterns I purchased over the weekends was Minnowknits Tangerina and I can definitely see that made with Kool-Aid dyed yarn.
My last class was Lily Chin's Tips, Tricks, and Hints. Boy, did she have 'em! She is very professional, organized, efficient -- and fast-paced! There was barely a minute that we didn't have knitting in our hands. Already last night, redoing the stupid sleeves of that stupid Goldie sweater for the *^5#6(7?%^ time, I was using some of the techniques (cast off and decrease) she taught.
At lunch on Sunday, I rubbed elbows with none other than Lorna Miser, who also taught classes (as did Sharon Costello and Debbie New). We talked about knitting and yarn -- and kids! It was a lot of fun and she is (they ALL were) very nice people.
Elizabeth Zimmerman was mentioned in more than one class -- they were knitting classes, and we are in Wisconsin! If Lambeau Field is the Football Mecca, then I'll hazard a guess that Pittsville is darn near Knitting Mecca -- and Lizzie and Joycie were going to drive over to see Meg last night.
While it was nice to be quite close to home, on the one hand (especially since it was Ai's 18th birthday on Saturday!), it would have been really great to have been forced to stay overnight (or had a good enough reason, as Amy Lu did). I missed Lily's fastest crocheter in the world demonstration, and Amy Lu sat and knitting with Lorna 'til midnight on Saturday. Next time, I'm goin' on a road trip! I recommend that all of you do the same if and when you have an opportunity.
What a weekend! Glad you had such a good time. I've taken a few classes, and they can be very overwhelming. I think I've learned by osmosis mainly. Later on, when I need a new skill, I learn it again - but with the previous knowledge already in my head. Makes it much easier.
Posted by: Cara | 18 April 2005 at 01:51 PM
Yes, but what did you WIN? :)
It sounds heavenly. A knitter's dream really!
Posted by: sandy | 18 April 2005 at 02:16 PM
when I went to stitches east a few years ago, it was so overwhelming (the market & the classes) that I got downright cranky!
Posted by: ann | 18 April 2005 at 02:41 PM
Wow, wow, wow!!! What a fantastic weekend you had indeed!!!
Posted by: Kim | 18 April 2005 at 02:56 PM
I was in the store (Yarns by Design) on Saturday afternoon and learned, WAY too late, about all the great goings on. Glad to hear it was such a good time. Maybe I'll make it to the Fall event.
btw...loved the prom pictures! :-)
Posted by: Holly | 18 April 2005 at 04:15 PM
Sounds wonderful. What a great experience. Thanks for sharing. What did you win??
Posted by: Kathleen | 18 April 2005 at 08:39 PM
What a great time you had. I did Stitches MW last summer, and I'm eager to be immersed in an "all knitting, all the time" environment again.
Posted by: Sharon | 18 April 2005 at 09:09 PM
Sounds like a great weekend, Vicki. If anyone deserves it, you do! And happy belated birthday to Ali. 18 is what it's all about!
Posted by: Celia | 18 April 2005 at 10:34 PM
Sounds like Heaven and so full of useful information. I'm extremely jealous!
Posted by: Tracy | 19 April 2005 at 03:33 AM
Wow, what a great weekend, I have never taken classes either, can I come with you next time??
Happy Birthday Ali.
Posted by: yvette | 19 April 2005 at 07:46 AM
I'm out of breath just reading about it! Sounds like fun and very rejuvenating!
Posted by: Mary Beth | 19 April 2005 at 08:01 AM
What a great time! Thanks for letting me live vicariously. Makes me think about new skills I want to learn...
Posted by: Anmiryam | 19 April 2005 at 09:08 AM
So glad you had such a wonderful time!!! The classes sound amazing...I don't know if I could keep track of my work on two circular needles at once...
Hope you'll be able to post some pictures!
Happy Birthday to Ali!!!
My 18-year-old tells me she's an adult now...
Posted by: Mary in Boston | 19 April 2005 at 09:34 AM