Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So I tried not to geek out over the Victorian Patterns...and failed.

Yesterday there was driving. Driving and driving for three hours from one Columbus to another. We arrived in Columbus, OH after three hours of sitting and knitting while reading Genesis. I found out that it is possible to knit and read the Bible at the same time, though it doesn't go very quickly. Also, someone's son was named Nimrod. Great name.

Returning to the subject at hand!

Today was the first day of Knitters Connection. I've been once before, two years ago, with my mom. This year we dragged Hannah along (and when I say dragged, I mean that she dragged us). Knitters from all over gather at the Columbus convention center to sit, knit, talk, and generally have way too much fun. I didn't have any classes today, and Hannah didn't have any this morning, so we sat outside the classrooms with a bunch of other non-class-taking-people and generally had a good time.

We met Erin, who is a fellow spinner and is lusting after a Kromski wheel:

Erin spins lovely yarn on her drop spindle, much more even than I was able to achieve. Also, hers is a lot thicker. She's planning on keeping it as a one-ply, and I can't wait to see what she knits with it!

The evening was when the real fun happened. Hannah and Mom got out of their Traditions class and we ran back to the hotel (just across the street!) to drop our things off, then we ran back to wait with the other knitters.

Waiting and waiting...

Hannah and Mom are excited...but for what?


Okay, forgive me: I was so excited at all the yummy fiber goodness that I forgot to take my camera out to get a picture of it. Booths full of wonderfully colorful yarn, stacks of books, racks of hooks, stitchmarkers, needles, and other useful tools. People, people, everywhere!

The first year I went, it was a lot larger, but quantity does not necessarily mean quality. This year nearly every booth has impressive quality. I don't know if I saw any acrylic. And the most exciting thing - there was roving! Lots of it, too. I was very excited to find bison and silk, which I will be purchasing at some point. There was quite a lot of Blue-Faced Leicester, which I like, but a disappointing amount of superwash. I know I've only spun one skein of superwash, but I just wasn't happy with it. Too processed.

We decided that, though market was fun, dinner was a little necessary. Also, it gave us the chance to show off our purchases...

The Opal is Mom's. She's a little obsessed. First day, and she already bought five balls. Silly Mom. What are you going to do with all of it? It's not like you knit socks or anything.

(This is a joke. My mother owns almost solely handknit socks. They like to take over the laundry room. It's a little frightening.)

Mom also got the beautiful maroon yarn, which is Araucania Nature's Wool, $6/skein. She's making a sweater, which will of course be beautiful. Hannah got a small amount today, but I'm sure she'll be buying more later. The grey and brown Noro is for her roommate. She claims no love for it.

After looking over all of the booths offering roving, I finally decided that my first roving purchase of Knitters Connection 2010 would be Wensleydale. I've never spun Wensleydale before, but who wouldn't want to spin yarn from a sheep with a name like that? Say it with me. Wiiin-sleee-daaaale. Wensleydale! Fun. I also purchased Silk Noils to play with while carding, and a bag of buttons. I joined two other ladies around a tub of buttons to pick out a small bag of buttons for $1. May possibly return tomorrow.

You would think that after all this excitement, there could not possibly be any more. But no. It continues. Franklin Habit, a fabulous knitting guy who writes a column for and writes a blog called The Panopticon, gave a talk on the history of knitting and turning the Victorian patterns into normal people patterns. He is also wonderfully gay and has made stocking caps for himself and his partner to wear in their Chicago apartment, which is just glorious.

Cue major geekout for me. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I adore the Victorians. Give me a TARDIS and I will go straight there in my jacket and hoop skirt. I'll even wear their corsets and risk many health problems just to sit in the 1880s for a day. Love love love.

And when you combine FIBER ARTS and the Victorians? I nearly squeed. Actually, I think I may have several times. The talk focused on the transformation of knitting from knitting-for-survival to knitting-for-pleasure. Franklin's theory was that this transformation happened as a counter-reaction to the modernization that was occurring, which fits in with what was happening with the literature and art of the time (hello, pre-Raphaelites!). He brought up the Gothic novel and Gothic architecture...and Northanger Abbey. Which is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels (it and Sense and Sensibility are constantly struggling for first). Apparently when he said "Jane Austen" and "Northanger Abbey" I sat up and looked excited. Apparently he noticed. Apparently so did the entire audience.

Needless to say, I think he'll remember me when I take his photographing fiber class on Friday. It probably won't be helped by the fact that, following the talk, I went up to him and said "HI IlovetheVictoriansandfiber. YouareawesomebecauseyoutalkedaboutJaneAustenandNorthangerAbbey. OMGLOVEYOUKTNXBAI."

Or something like that.

One useful thing he did talk about was various patterns he has painstakingly attempted to translate into modern knitting pattern language. In the 19th century, there was literally no consistency between patterns, needles, gauge...anything. Many of the patterns he showed us were along the lines of "Put 25 stitches on the needle. Make common stitch for 5 inches." And on and on except much worse. So he translated a few of these patterns and put them on Knitty. One of which is a lace sampler that looks pretty much like a scarf. I've been wanting to attempt lace, and knitting AUTHENTIC VICTORIAN LACE would just be so much better. And so this is what I will be doing tomorrow.

Because really. Who would not want to knit that beautiful "scarf."

Phew! Sorry for such a long post! I just sort of love the Victorians just a little. I'll try to keep the geek-outs to a minimum.

Tomorrow: Why it is funny to watch Hannah and my mom when Cookie A walks into by. Or is standing in the hallway outside our room.

Also: Spinning Class! In which we see just how terrible I actually am at spinning.

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