Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Squam 2014 Recap

Two and a half weeks is enough time to be in denial about having come back from Squam, so it's back to reality. I've been spending a lot of time dyeing yarn, knitting, drawing, and painting, but I've also been admittedly a bit asocial. So I am renewing my blogging efforts and putting down these Squam memories on "paper."

As I looked through my pictures from this Squam Art Workshops retreat, I realized I only took a small fraction of what I had taken at previous retreats. I had found myself very preoccupied with documenting, remembering, cataloging. This time I allowed myself to be present, have fun, and not worry about keeping a record.


Every experience I've had at Squam has been fantastic, but this one so far was my favorite. The location was beautiful as always, the food was great, the classes were fantastic, but the women I met were the best part. I was in a cabin of 12, which made my introverted heart skip a beat at first, but I loved it. I roomed with Kelley who I had met at the Spring 2013 retreat, two lovely ladies from Florida, and a group of women who have been meeting at Squam and staying together for the last 5 years. We stayed up late every night, shared ridiculous (and sometimes inappropriate) stories, sat on the dock, and had a blast. This was also my first time jumping into the lake (it was really cold). It is truly amazing to me how much I have come to value and care for these women in such a short amount of time.

But enough with the mushy stuff! I did also take two fantastic classes. My first class was Estonian Cuffs, taught by the amazing Nancy Bush. I had come across her books before, but meeting her was a whole other experience. She is incredibly sweet, knowledgeable, and passionate. Nancy has truly invested her life in studying Estonian culture and knitting, and has been a formidable force in helping Estonia value their own craft with the opening of a new cultural center.


Nancy's class was fantastic. She gave us folders full of information, taught us new (and sometimes mind-boggling) cast ons, and some traditional Estonian stitches. If you ever have a chance to take one of her classes, please do so! Nancy is a bit camera-shy, but was sweet enough to let me take some pictures of her and her work.


My second class was Striped Surprise with Franklin Habit. He focused on two techniques which are based on two rows of striping: Mosaic Knitting and Shadow Knitting. I admit I didn't know what to expect and signed up because I wanted to meet Franklin. I was pleasantly surprised!


I learned some great concepts behind designing using both mosaic and shadow techniques, and Franklin got me to appreciate these techniques in a way that I really didn't beforehand. He is very knowledgeable, super sweet, and a great teacher. He will be in Boston through the Common Cod Fiber Guild in July, go see him!


Nancy and Franklin, it was such a privilege to meet both of you and I hope I am lucky enough to cross paths with you again!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Under the Boardwalk

I have been back from Squam Art Workshops for a week and a half now, and I'm still dragging my feet on blogging about it - because then that means it's really over already. I promised myself to make peace with this soon and have a post up by the end of the week, but until then, I can tell you about what I've been knitting


Before leaving for Squam, I frantically finished both garments I had on my needles and found myself without a (non-work related) knitting project. I couldn't possibly go to the retreat without some knitting to do by the fire, so I rummaged through my stash and unearthed two skeins of Malabrigo Sock from mismatched dye lots. I quickly cast on for a Boardwalk vest and stuffed it in my luggage.


Two weeks later, it is finished. Well, I still need to weave in the ends and block it, but I am still counting it as done. I got almost half of it done at Squam, so it holds lots of wonderful memories. And since I'm not quite ready to let go of Squam just yet, my next project is a Freesia Shawl. One of our cabin-mates was wearing one and several of us decided to make our own.

Photo by Annie Baker

The original pattern calls for DK, but I am using 2 skeins of sock weight instead. I went with Toil & Trouble Single Sock in Wine Harvest. Want to make one too? Come join us on Ravelry!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finished Spring Tee

Hello dear friends! It's been quiet around here because I was off the grid at Squam Art Workshops last week (which you may have gathered from Instagram). I had planned on a blog update before going. Instead I was elbow deep in dye pots until the wee hours of the night getting ready for the Squam Art Fair for several days before leaving.

I did manage to finish both my Spring Garden Tee and Dark and Stormy Cardigan to take with me. I only had time for one quick photo of the tee before rushing off, so here it is.


The pattern is very cute, but I had to do some heavy modification for fit. I was exactly between two sizes and wanted slightly smaller armholes that the pictures showed. I re-did the stitch counts to create my size, and used the smaller shoulder/armhole shaping for more fitted sleeves.

After wearing it at Squam, I can say I am happy with the feel of the cotton and the fit above the waist, but the garter stitch hem has stretched and warped a bit. I may decide to rip back and do some decreasing at the hem to counter this - we'll see if I manage to muster up the motivation.

Squam was fantastic and I am completely worn out, but photos and stories coming soon! Dark and Stormy photos in the near future too, I promise.

Until then, I am casting on two new projects and hoping some folks will join me for a Knit-Along! Next week I am casting on the Freesia shawl in fingering weight, and the Whispers Top will be my July project. Care to join in? More details on Ravelry.