Sunday, February 25, 2007


My sentiments exactly

Sign is on the side of a building in Berkeley...where else?!

Whew! Sorry for the long absence. I've been out of town since Wednesday, attending Stitches West in San Jose-Santa Clara. I actually was there for the market preview on Thursday night (a madhouse) and an Orenburg lace workshop with Galina Khmeleva of Skaska Designs. Then my sweetie, having combined my knitting holiday with a business trip, took me around the East Bay, and all over San Francisco. So grab yourself a cup of tea--or pour a glass of wine, whatever works for ya--and get comfy, because I've got stories and pics!

First off, here is my first, pathetic attempt at ethereal Orenburg lace (unblocked, of course):

This pitiful swatch took about 5 hours of painstaking, row-by-row (even though every other row is knit) on size 2 dpns, with bobbins of Galina's laceweight. A brilliant designer and fabulous knitter, she is. Knits like a flash, and so fluid there's scarcely any discernible movement in her hands. Along with instruction and inspiration, she brought to the class a wealth of cultural information about her native Russia. Her heavily Russian-accented English was a source of some comedy for me, with me being the butt of the joke of course. As you can see in the bottom of the swatch, I never learned to do a proper yarn-over. Apparently I've been knitting "blind" yarnovers all my knitting career without knowing it. When I showed my halting progress to Galina, she said, "I don't like this so much...it looks like mooshie."

I struggled to conceal my dismay. "Moose shit?" I stammered.

"Mooshie! Like scrambled eggs! See, these are blind yarnovers, good for making sweater, but in lace, no one will ever see, yes? So make hole, like this." She promptly showed all of us the proper way to yarnover--so much simpler, yes, than my clumsy method.

Enlightened, I went forth never to sin again. There are 5 attempts at basic elements of Orenburg patterns in the swatch: small strawberry, large strawberry (in pink, where I dropped a stitch,) cat's paw and diamonds, heart chain, and honeycomb--which is where I hit the wall and bound off. Another highlight of the class was my discovery of a mistake in the pattern, which of course was intentional, and having been the first student to discover it, Galina awarded me a prize:

Of course, I had to have something to make it out of, so at the lunch break I dashed down to the market and picked up a color gradient kit of gorgeous laceweight. Here is the haul from the Market, and also a fabulous shop in San Jose called Commuknitty (hi, Ivy!), in all its glorious yarny obscenity:

The gradient kit is on the far right. The pale pink stuff in front is from Southwest Trading Co., it's a sockweight called "Tofu-tsies" because it's a soyfiber blend, and get this--it's also got chitin, a shellfish protein touted as being "natually antibacterial." I couldn't pass it up. There's also enough cotton DK to make a summer tank, a couple hanks of Euroflax linen, and a couple hanks of Claudia Handpaint. For some reason, my furshlugginer camera turns all hues of purple and plum to blue. Maybe I could afford a better one if I wasn't blowing the rent money on yarn.
I've got lots more, but I'm being bumped off the computer by a spousal unit eager to print his boarding pass for a trip to Kansas City tomorrow (sniff--I really must put in an appearance at work,) so I'll stop for now. Had very limited Internet access on my trip, so I look forward to visiting my buddies' blogs. That is, of course, as soon as I get the computer back.

I think my ovaries just burst with yarn envy...holy crap.

Missed you! Glad you're back
OW! burst ovary, now that would sting. :P
Looks like you also took a great class at Stitches. Makes me wonder if I'm doing my YO's incorrect though. I wonder how I find out?

NICE stash enhancement too!
Here is a link to a page with stitch illustrations. Scroll down for the correct way to yarnover:


Not sure what I've been doing all these years, but it wasn't that. How embarrassing!
hi, i'm just about to start the same triangular shawl, only from the 2002 piecework magazine. could you please tell me what the pattern says for needle size?
the mag says set of 5 dpns size 2 or 2 1/2.
The pattern gives a range of needle sizes, from 0 to 2.5. We used dpns for the swatches in class, but Galina recommends single points for shawl making. I don't see why you couldn't use circs though.

Good luck on your shawl! thanks for stopping by.
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