My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Madrona = Husband of the Year

Wow - what a great long weekend! I have to dedicate this post to my fantabulous hubby. In case I hadn't mentioned it earlier, (yeah, right), I spent the last 5 (yes, 5) days down in Tacoma, WA. My fab-friend, Winston's Mom & I headed south to visit Sandy & attend the Madrona Winter Retreat. This wouldn't have been possible if DH hadn't been so cooperative & understanding about my desire to spend a long weekend & Valentine's Day away from home & knitting. Now, he's pretty darned cool about these things (considering I've been to Europe twice for 3 weeks each while he stayed home w/the boys), but this weekend he truly went above and beyond. You see, President's Day weekend is the final weekend he and his Robotics Team have to finish their F.I.R.S.T. robot. They spend hours (and I do mean hours - I dub myself the "Robot Widow" during this time) putting on the finishing touches to their robot. So, to have me go & leave him to single parent-hood for 5 days speaks volumes about what an incredible husband he is. Please remember not only was he busy w/robots, but he also had to get the boys up & ready for school, make sure they were fed, and get them to their various activities (Jr. Nordic, Youth Soccer, & a birthday party). Wow...

On to Madrona. One Word - WOW! My head is full. It was incredible - to be among such creative and talented people! I'm constantly amazed at how someone can come up with some of the most incredible and creative ideas. Here's the run down:

Thursday, Feb. 14th, 2008

• Took an all day class entitled "Art Socks" with Sue Ewens. Fantastic. Essentially I learned how to do Intarsia for a sock. Pretty darned cool. Sue was an incredible teacher with tons of energy and enthusiasm. I was most impressed when asked about her favorite sock/knitting books she replied she really didn't have one since relying on a book might stifle her creative side. Me - I totally need the books & patterns. One day I'd love to learn how to design, but I don't think I'm quite there, yet. I understand the construction of a sock, but haven't felt the need to dabble in designing my own sock. However, after this class I have a better idea about how to use all my extra sock yarn! Here's a photo of my day's efforts:

Can you say, "end management"? Holy Schnikey - them's a lot of ends to weave in.... Sue didn't want us to weave as we went since we were just learning a new technique. However, in the future - in order to maintain my sanity (????) I think weaving as I go is the safest choice.

After dinner at the bar at Sea Grill (we kinda forgot it was Valentine's Day & that getting in for dinner might be a tad bit difficult), we returned to the hotel for a presentation about knitting & charity. Stephanie spoke about Doctors Without Borders / Medicines Sans Frontiers, Ruth Sorenson spoke about how the internet links knitters together, Melinda and friends (sorry, forgot their names) discussed a project to save a culture knitting on the Shetland Islands, and another woman discussed her efforts to use fiber arts in raising awareness over the war in Iraq, specifically about the number of women (over 2,000) killed while serving our country. Pretty intense. We were asked to give to any of the charities - knitters tend to be generous folks.

Ruth is also the designer of "Ruth's Cardigan" which uses Kauni yarn and was an internet hit after Stephanie and Melinda posted about this fabulous sweater on there blogs. So, as expected , several knitters showed up wearing 'the sweater.'

Back Row (L to R): Unknown knitter, Ruth, Naomi, Melinda.
Front Row (L to R): Unknown knitter, Stephanie, Unknown knitter.

Friday, Feb. 15, 2008

No Classes for Me today. The registration for Madrona was such a technological cluster, that I wasn't able to enroll in a class I wanted for this day. So, while Margaret & Sandy were busy with their morning classes, I took the time to stroll down to the local Starbucks for coffee, and then spent time knitting and shopping at the Yarn Market. OMG - man, I was like a kid in a candy store. I went into shock after I arrived home & realized how much $$ I actually spent. But, I kept in mind that what I purchased isn't readily available here in Anchorage (internet not withstanding. Check out the loot:

The infamous Kauni Yarn in colorways EF & EZ.

This is a close-up of the innards of EF. I'll need to rewind it before I knit it. As someone in my Sunday afternoon class said, the way it's wound now, you'd need a Speculum in order to see the colors. Needless to say, a class full of women thought that was pretty darned funny. For you male readers (okay - male reader - Hi, Ron!), I've provided a link to Wikipedia in case you aren't familar with this object.

This isn't some sort of towel - this is sock yarn!!! It's the "NEW concept in sock knitting" created by Conjoined Creations, llc. Essentially - the yarn has been machine knit and then hand dyed. All I need to do is remove the waste yarn, CO and knit a sock. When I get to the middle, I remove the other waste yarn (shown behind tag) and knit sock #2. No need to wind a ball of yarn. No tangles! See what I mean? Clever knitters!

Blue Moon was present, so of course I couldn't leave without a few more skeins of STR. Star Saphire in the middle, Bleeding Hearts on the right. The colorway on the far left is:

As a science teacher, I just couldn't pass it up! :0)

Margaret & I spent the afternoon going to see Juno. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. So funny!!! I think I need to go & see it again. We also stumbled into "Hello Cupcake" this very cute shop that sells only yummy cupcakes.

Margaret with the goods. Turns out we were so busy, that we didn't get a chance to eat all of the cupcakes before we came home.

Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008

• This morning was spend with Margaret Radcliff, of Maggie's Rags learning about variegated yarns & how to make the most of them. I learned so much & came away with ideas on how to avoid pooling & wierd stripes. Remember the "Funky Monkey's" from September? Yeah - this class would have been a great help. Here is what I have to show for 3 hours of work:

A little play with slipped stitches, alternating purl stitches, mixing it up w/two colors of yarn alternating between rows, knitting two yarns at once, etc. Pretty cool. Margaret was inspired by her swatch & purchased yarn to begin a sweater. I think I'll use my creation as a bookmark. Right now it's hanging in my classroom. My students just got a kick out the fact I went away for a long weekend to knit. Kids...

After lunch, I spent more time knitting & then perusing the Yarn Market. While visiting the Knit/Purl (lovely store w/lovely people!) booth, I met Sarah of Blue Garter. I recognized her by the "Blue Thistle"jacket. I just love that sweater & would love to make something similar. I was such a dork. Sarah was very sweet & kindly overlooked my dorkiness as I gushed about her sweater & meeting her in person. Geez...

The evening was spent dining at the banquet. We had Salmon - the non-vegetarian option. It was good, but of course, not like we make here at home. The vegetarian option looked very yummy & in hindsight, I wish I had made that choice. (Didn't know it was going to be salmon until we arrived). During the evening, we spotted a Kaffe Fawcett "Foolish Virgins" sweater in person! Holy Intarsia, batman! The woman (sorry, we were so intranced with the sweater, I forgot to ask) said it took her only a month to finish. Take a look:


Ummm.. Wow...

After the banquet I finished these:

Pattern: Dublin Bay Socks
Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight - Lagoon
Needles: Addi Turbo Size 1
Modfications: Tons - reduced the number of stitches from 72 to 64 & knit a short row heel.

Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008

This is the post that will never end... After a free morning to drink coffee & enjoy ice-less streets & warm sunshine in February, I had the pleasure of taking a class from Ruth Sorenson. The class was about making hats using the Kauni yarn. The skill of making the hat was nothing new, but learning how the yarn works was fantastic. Learning how to match the colors, or stagger the color repeats was very interesting.

This is the cuff of the hat. The hat is knit very similar to those I knit from "Hat's On" (see Dec/Jan posts)

So far, so good. Ruth was an incredible teacher. She is so nice & down to earth. If you happen to be in the Portland area, she's teaching this class at Knit/Purl this coming weekend. Give them a call - you'll love learning how to use the yarn.

Wow - it's getting late & I have to head back into the blustery weather (it's 40°F and blowing like crazy). Our program is having our open house this evening.

If you've read all the way through - well done! Needless to say anymore, the long weekend was glorious. So much to knit, so little time! You can see why my husband deserves Husband of the Year! I know I've left something out. I'll have to fill in the holes later.



Diana said...

Sounds like you had a great weekend. Looks like you took some real interesting classes. I need to learn intarsia. I especially like your idea to use your extra sock yarn. Wondering, besides traveling out of state to buy yarn, do you have an online/local source for the Socks That Rocks yarns. They are so cool! I must get some.

Lisa W. said...

wow! you got to go to madrona...something i've been drooling over for the past 5 years! awesome kudos to the DH! Looks like you had a blast and learned lots of new things. you made me order Kauni ;0

Sarah said...

You're so nice, Heather! There was no dorkiness to overlook, I promise! (You should have seen me biting my tongue so as not to gush to the Yarn Harlot that I'd happily go stand in the coffee line for her...)

I loved your Madrona recap, since I didn't get to come for the whole time and didn't stay for the banquets and talks. Your Kauni hat is going to be beautiful.

Holly Jo said...

Do you feel me changing to a shade of green? Sounds like you guys had a wonderful time and learned lots! Hooray for you! The Kauni is beautiful - anxious to see how it finishes up.

Cupcake place. We had cupcakes from there once. My husband said it was the best thing he had ever eaten. :) He likes cupcakes.

Courtney said...

Sounds like you had fun... :-) Your Hubby gets lots of kudos... Thats a good husband :-)

Anonymous said...

Get out the speculum! What a great comment. That sounds like a wonderful weekend.

Your package will be on the way soon, but it's traveling quite a ways! Hope you like everything!

Scavenger Hunt Swapper

tiennie said...

Glad you had a great time!

AfternoonMoon said...

Madrona was AMAZING, and I wasnt even enrolled! Being new knitter, I haven't even heard of Madrona, but found out about it when I was down in Seattle, so I grabbed some friends and headed down to Tacoma, yes the Kauni Cardigans were the talk of the day, and Hello Cupcake was SOLD OUT for hours and they were working like mad for days! I am posting my "loot" today, glad you got some!

Mags said...

It was a great time! Thanks for going down there with me, it wouldn't have been the same without you! ;0)

I'll get my post updated soon!

Naomi said...

Wow you have some great posts about Madrona! It was so nice to meet you in person! I am so glad you had a nice time...cheers for your wonderful hubby! Will he be up for this again next year? I hope so!