Sunday, October 14, 2007
Charm City Credit Card Meltdown, or Knitting is the new D and D...
I was only in attendance at Stitches East from Thursday evening to Friday afternoon. But this period of less than 24 hours still permitted me to hear Kaffe Fassett talk about his newest book, take a very challenging 'Argyle Socks in the Round class', and do some major damage in the Marketplace area. But first, an observation: it strikes me that these knitting events are really no different from gaming conventions when it comes down to it. Instead of playing D and D or World of Warcraft, we are knitters, and this gives us instant rapport with one another. So when sitting down next to a stranger, instead of asking "Which wizard of the Netherworld kingdom are you?" we ask , "Oh wow is that the Swallowtail?" and then a meaningful, shorthand conversation ensues, one which would be virtually unintelligible to someone on the outside because of the specificity of our jargon. It was kind of fascinating to be present at an event where everyone was so focused on the one single purpose that happens to be my own own single purpose. It was exciting, but there was also a touch of bad teenager alienation as well, as while I love yarn with every fiber of my being (hehe), I am not prepared to be seen wheeling around a suitcase on wheels for it, nor will I ever wear any buttons in public, ever.
Kaffe Fassett, rhymes with 'safe asset':
First of all, what a huge relief that he doesn't have a fake British accent, even though he's been living in England a lot longer than Madonna. He talked about how seeing something like a stack of oil barrels in Portugal motivated him to do a painting, which became a gigantic tapestry, and then a series of smaller needlepoint canvasses. A small motif from the canvasses then showed up in a Rowan sweater, which then mutated and became something else. At one point someone from the audience asked if he steeked his work, and replied that he had never heard this word before and had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. This really made me realize that more than being a hardcore knitter, he is a practitioner of color. He told the audience that when knitting "...I really need to see a motif appear before lunch, that's just how I see the world" and that sock knitting was the most tedious thing he could think of. He also recounted a hilarious anecdote about being on a British radio show. He brought the hostess a tea cozy with a rooster motif on it, which caused her to exclaim "I am sitting here next to Kaffe Fassett and his glorious cock!". Yeah, I love this guy.
Argyle Socks in the Round:
Dipshit over here never knew that argyle always had to be done flat and that doing it in the round was thought to be unthinkable at one point. Our teacher, Suzann Thompson, was truly patient and nice and did an admirable job of helping all of us with her technique, which was somewhat difficult. Despite her expert help, my sock basically looks like our cat threw up some Cascade 220. I can't say that I rushed home to complete my sock as it was frustrating and did push me to my limits (which is what a class should do), but I will pick it up again at some point. She is an excellent teacher and I recommend taking a class with her if you can.
Marketplace Damage Report:
First off, I was glad to see certain yarns in person so as to diminish their hype factor and thus prevent buying them sight unseen. Lisa Souza and Interlacements were pretty enough, but I was not overly enthralled by them and most likely won't be jumping on their bandwagons. No matter that I have many, many skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock residing untouched in my stash, the inexorable pull of their booth took over, yarn gluttony kicked in, and I bought some more (pictured above). I also came home with more than a few skeins of Tess Super Socks and Baby yarn (first pictured below), which after the STR prices felt like a screaming deal at $15/skein. I was perhaps most excited about the Shelridge Farm booth--their yarn is unbelievably soft and the colors were stunning (last two pictures below). Also, they're Canadians which makes them just plain nicer than everyone else.
All told, Baltimore really was the Charm City for me, and I recommend attending this event to anyone who has the inclination, cash and time. I ended my visit at the location pictured below, which was the perfect, sweet ending to my jaunt: