Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Knit Circus Spring Retreat 2012 - Day Three

Sorry for the delay.  I wrote several posts & set them to publish on a schedule.  Didn't happen.  Probably operator error.  Happens a lot around here.  


Today was my do anything, relaxing drive home day.  HA!  Never tempt the powers that be with a statement like that.

First up I visited Brennan's Market across the street from my hotel.  I wanted to pick up some lovely cheese & produce to take home with me.  Amy  (at least I think it was Amy) recommended their cheese that has grill marks on it?  Have to tell you....that one is delicious! After you warm it in the microwave for a few sort of tastes just like the baked, gooey cheese on top of my homemade lasagna.  I picked up several goodies, including possibly the best oranges I have ever had & moved on to the next stop

....The Wisconsin Craft Market.  Oh my goodness....What a store!!  I do believe they have every color of Cascade there is.  I was quite overwhelmed.  It is worth the visit just for this, let alone all the other yarns, tools and supplies.

With an eye to the sky, I decided to start for home.  There were numerous reports of strong storms heading my way.  I hit the interstate heading south.  The radar looked ominous so I just kept driving.  I quickly learned not to watch the rear view mirror too closely.  Lightening & wickedness were right behind me.  I began to feel a sense of relief as I thought I was out running the storms.  I thought a quick visit to Sam's Club in Champaign would be fine.  I ran in got a couple things, came out and the world was green.  That eerie, creepy, calm green like some major bad mojo was about to descend on us.  Once again I was on the road and once again I was lucky enough to stay ahead of the storms.  

I cruised into the garage and made it to the house just as the rains began.  I think that was a first for me.  I outran the storm from Madison Wisconsin all the way to central Illiana, 315 miles!  Crazy luck huh.....hmm, I probably should have bought a lottery ticket.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

KnitCircus Spring Retreat 2012 - Day TWO

KnitCircus Spring Retreat 2012 - Day TWO

Class time.  I was up & ready without out needing any alarms.  Isn't that always the way it works?

Upon registration we each received a scrumptious swag bag filled with goodies including yarn.  Woohoo! Who doesn't love free yarn?

Stephannie, Amy & Jaala

First up was the Knitting an Entrelac Tam Class with Amy Detjen.  I have to say Amy is such fun.  If you ever get the chance to take a class or even just visit with her,  I highly recommend you jump at the chance.  She is so personable.  It is like jumping right into a discussion with an old friend you haven't seen in ages.  There is no awkward, getting acquainted stage. We share a love of purple, a whatever gets the job done attitude, and evidently a penchant for singing loudly in the car. The class was great,  everyone was excited to learn that elusive backwards knitting technique.  Here is a picture of my still unfinished tam

Autographed in PURPLE, of course!

I am also now the proud owner of Amy's new book - "Knitting With Two Colors by Meg Swansen & Amy Detjen". This is not a pattern book but a technique book.  Review to follow someday soon.

We broke for lunch & shopping.  There was a delightful little lunch served by the hotel.  Sandwiches, salads, some lovely local kettle chips, and an excellent chocolate dessert.  Not a one of those thing should I be eating was a special weekend.  Sun Valley Fibers had a small booth set up.  We sort of overwhelmed her I do believe.  I scored a few skeins of her luscious yarn in beautiful colors.  One I have already given away but the other two I have projects in mind for.  I also bought one of her Yarn Buddies.  I have often wanted to try one & this seemed like a good chance.  I bought the single in a lovely darker wood.  Alas I have no clue what type of wood or color you would call it but here is a picture of it for those interested.
 I knit a lot of lace & so far this is working out fantastic for keeping lace weight yarn nice & neat. I love that.  I am also thinking about getting the double to use for warping the smaller looms, and doing colorwork knitting.

My afternoon class was with Stephannie Tallent on Knitting Beaded Motifs.  What a delightful person!

 She had everyone feeling right at home & knitting our little beaded cuffs in no time.  Beads were flying across the tables & onto the floor but everyone had such fun.  She shared lots of designing tips.  We talked about her process for creating beaded works, writing, different needles and notions. She made sure each student got individual attention & no one left unsure of the techniques needed to add lovely beaded accents to your work using fair-isle motifs.
Small beaded cuff from class

No one seemed quite ready to call it a day so after a bit of chit chatting in the lobby. A few people made their way over to R.P. Adler's for dinner.  Everyone insisted I could not be in Wisconsin without trying the fried cheese curds & Spotted Cow beer.  Now I am not a beer drinker but I have to say, that was perhaps the BEST beer I have ever had.

  It was great to unwind from such a fun-filled day.  I made many new friends and everyone was encouraging and friendly in the way of knitters around the world.

The KnitCircus Retreat is certainly a great event.  If you ever find yourself able to work it into your busy schedule.  You should.  It is well worth the time & money.

PS.  I hear that Franklin is teaching at the Fall Retreat.  Keep an eye out for that.

Tune in tomorrow for my adventures in storm racing ( the opposite of storm chasing)

Peaceful Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

KnitCircus Spring Retreat 2012 - Day ONE

A couple of weeks ago (that's how far behind I am on blogging)  I attended my very first KnitCircus Spring Madison Wisconsin.

I love listening to the KnitCircus Podcast with Jaala & Amy.  Since Madison is a fairly short drive from here in Central Illiana....I thought the time was right to check it out.


To start with, I attended by myself.  No friends, cohorts, knitting buddies, etc.  I can't believe how much I enjoyed the alone time.  I think I needed that.  I had a leisurely six hour drive up.  I stopped whenever I wanted, listened to my favorite guilty pleasure music, sang loudly & mostly off key all the way.  That by itself was quite fun.

Picture from
I checked in to the hotel, freshened up & headed to The Sow's Ear to meet up with Jaala & her Retreat guest, Stephannie Tallent.  Stephannie shared her new book, California Revival Knits in its pdf form. (more on that later).  I met several of the local knitters, had a bit of dinner there.  I love the idea of a combo tea/sandwich shop and a yarn store.

While chatting with Stephannie I realized I missed an email about the class.  I had HOMEWORK!  This naturally meant I should purchase new yarn & needles for this.  Who cares that I travel with an entire arsenal of needles, notions, etc.  Doesn't everyone travel with a yarn swift & ball winder in the trunk of their car?

I purchased a set of ChiaGoo Circulars & some Alicia Goes Around Bison in a lovely shade of purple. Which I will tell you all about as soon as I find the ball band.  I seem to be cursed with ball band issues.  I have every band from every yarn I have ever used....however, I can never find it when I need it.  I hear there  is something called "organization" that helps with this problem.  I should give it a try sometime.
 ( I ended up not using this yarn for the cuff. It deserves it's own project.)

Then I headed back to the hotel with only a minor detour.  I really am not a fan of "round-abouts".  I felt like Chevy Chase in European Vacation.  I only went around a couple of times while trying to remember the name of the road I needed to get off on.  I guessed wrong and had to try it again.

Picture from CAltran

Back at the hotel I started the cuff for the class.  I will admit that the steel cable on the ChiaGoo Circs are not to my taste.  I am sure they have lots of fans (or they wouldn't still be making them) but I like a bit more flexibility in a cable.  Just my preference, not meant to be a criticism.  So I switched back to my KnitPicks dpns, whipped out a cuff, made an error somewhere along the way,  ribbing was off,  turns out I can't count, ripped that out & re-knit it.  All done .........oh, wait I forgot I hadn't finished the homework for the other class & it was first.  Better get that done before I sleep,  might not get up early enough to take care of that.

I set the alarm on my phone, turned in for the night.  Hmm, what if it didn't go off.  I should set the hotel alarm clock too.  Ok, done.  Go to sleep!  No wait, I have never used this alarm before, what if it doesn't even work.  Better get a wake up call just to be safe.  Ok, now I can rest....not actuallly sleep because the couple in the next room is having quite a loud disagreement.  It seems they have been married nearly 60 years, you would think after that long they would have run out of things to fight about?

That covers Day One.  Tune in tomorrow when I finally talk about the actual "Retreat"!  

See you then