April 06, 2005


Since Anne is the fastest knitter I know, it was only natural that she would enter the Time Trials at the TKGA convention. The Time Trials are to determine who's the fastest knitter and crocheter. The rules for knitters are: Use size US 8 needles (your own, or you could choose to use the straight metal needles provided). Use the acrylic yarn provided by the company sponsoring the Time Trials. Cast on 60 stitches prior to the clock starting. You must knit in stockinette, for three minutes.

TKGAconvention 003.jpg
All 60 stitches cast on. Anne's ready to work up a sweat, knitting.

TKGAconvention 005.jpg
The Time Trials booth was staffed by volunteers. The woman "manning" the booth who's standing at the left, wearing a white shirt, is Cheryl Huffman, owner of Molehill Farm in Oregon, a shop where Anne teaches knitting and crochet classes. (We also saw one other woman from Oregon; the four of us were the ones who had traveled the farthest to attend the convention, as far as we know.)

TKGAconvention 008.jpg
The clock is running, and a young passer-by checks out those who are being timed. Notice the look of concentration on Anne's face. Her strategy was to make the first row a knit row, rather than a purl row, so as to work as many stitches as possible within the given time.

TKGAconvention 011.jpg
91 stitches later. Only one-and-a-half rows???

Anne's new strategy: Get some of that same brand of acrylic yarn, and practice.

I, too, was going to participate in the Time Trials. Not that I'm a fast knitter. But I thought it would be fun. But when the contestants in Anne's group were finished, those volunteers manning the booth went off shift. I swear. There never was another opportunity where I was available (not in a class) and the booth was manned. Gives me something to look forward to, at the next convention. Now, to find some acrylic yarn to practice with....

TKGAconvention 007.jpg
Becky, from Vermont, whom we enjoyed spending time with. It was Becky's first knitting convention/retreat/event "away," but I'm sure it won't be her last.

TKGAconvention 013.jpg
Lily Chin takes a moment out from bead knitting class to sign books.

Lily is a self-described "fashionista." To Thursday's class on Designing, she wore a beaded shell very similar to the one on the cover of her Knit and Crochet with Beads book, where the beads and the purl stitches on either side of them create a faux cable effect. The shell was in a pale grayish-lavender yarn, with lavender glass beads, and she wore with it a lavender suede pleated mini-skirt and some killer lavender suede shoes. (The actual shell from the cover of the book was on display in the TKGA convention market, as were many of the garments from the book.) She also wore this very fun ring that had a cluster of amethysts that together formed the petals of a rose, and a long, loopy swirl of metal below formed the stem. I admired the ring, and Lily promised to see if she could pick up another one to send to me. (She said, "I'm a shopper!") As you can see in the photo above, to Saturday's bead-knitting class she wore a crocheted top in turquoise and purple stripes; the top had beads on it that formed a pattern of diamonds. In the mood for beads, she even used them as eye shadow. A turquoise leather skirt, purple fishnet stockings, and turquoise high heeled boots completed her ensemble.

In bead-knitting class, Lily had us try every possible way of putting beads onto knitting. There are several projects in her book that I'd love to try, and after the class, I feel very confident that I can complete them -- even the beaded pocket that is solid bead knitting! At the end of the class period, those good students who had brought sample swatches got out their swatches and had the excitement of seeing Lily try this bead here or that bead there, to enhance the knitting. Again, I just loved seeing how she could improvise with what her students provided. Inspirational!

Sunday afternoon I took Melissa Leapman's class on Color Design in Fair Isle Knitting. Melissa's handknitting patterns aren't knit at the fine gauge that we usually think of for Fair Isle work -- her Fair Isle designs in A Close-Knit Family and in Hot Knits are at a much larger gauge. She had brought these sample garments, and we got to wear them. (The classroom was cold!) She'd also brought numerous hand- and machine-knitted swatches that were unsuccessful designs, and we had the fun of critiquing them, thinking about how they could be improved. After the intensity of three days of knitting classes, it was a pleasure to sit with colored pencils and graph paper and just doodle and color.

TKGAconvention 014.jpg
Here's Melissa, holding up the bag of Hershey's Kisses she shared with us, and hoping that I wouldn't include the squiggles on the board behind her. The green Fair Isle sweater is my all-time favorite sweater from Hot Knits -- you know that green is my favorite color! -- and I was tickled that she agreed to model it for me.

Something inspiring about Melissa Leapman: She has no formal art training, and claims she can't draw to save her life. She says, "If I can scratch out these simple geometrics [in her Fair Isle designs], you can, too."

And speaking of Fair Isle work, here's Sandness in its current state:


Posted by Karen at April 6, 2005 02:20 PM

Wow-- Sandness has really grown! Looking very pretty.

Posted by: Kit at April 8, 2005 06:58 AM

What fun to see the Sandness! It looks great. Hey, I swear that acrylic yarn glued itself to the needles, it just wouldn't move! LOL. No wonder I never knit with the stuff. Love the photos of Becky and Lily Chin. It was sure a fun weekend.

Posted by: Anne at April 8, 2005 07:51 AM