Monday, November 10, 2008

Back from .....

Stitches East..... I am back from a successful trip to Maryland to Stitches East. It was quite a bit of fun to meet many readers of this blog although I am sure I missed many of you. I was booked to teach classes for the majority of the time I was there. I had a lovely group of students in each class and I hope they took something home from what I was jabbering on about.

The market was a buzz of excitement. I don't get off the farm much -- so to see what is out there for sale was quite interesting. I didn't have time to visit each booth so I just skimmed through the aisles. I did a couple of booksignings and then ran away to teach a class or two. I did get to go to the Fashion Show on Friday night as a guest of Westminster Fibers. The garments that go into the show are supplied by the vendors of the market. It gave me an overview of what these folks thought was hot and knittable. There were a lot of lovely things.

On the way home in the plane, I was thinking the whole trip over and I focused on the Fashion Show. I must say - I don't think there was one garment that was knit in my favorite Fair Isle (or stranded) knitting technique. What's up with that? Is everyone afraid of knitting two colors in one row. The other really evident trend - and perhaps it has been done to death by now - was the multi-color hand-dyed yarn trend. Booth after booth of hand-dyed yarn lined the aisles. Is that the only kind of yarn people knit with these days?

And socks - wow - is that the only thing anyone knits? There were gobs and gobs of different hand dyed sock yarns too. I may have been extra sensitive to this trend since I had to prepare an opening day speech on Thinking beyond the Sock. Five designers were asked to tell the crowd what else you can do with sock yarn. Maybe I will report on what I came up with one day here on my blog, once I find out what the Knitters' people are going to want from me for publication. I did see a lot of sock yarn knit into lacy shawls which were quite stunning.

Me? I don't have a lot of interest in knitting a bunch of multi-colored socks. I must be the only one though. But oh well - you gotta do what you wanna do. Let me stick to my multi-color knitting in a worsted weight yarn and I'll see what that kaleidoscope that swirls around in my head can dream up.

I did discover these lovely leather handles and purchased a few of them for upcoming projects. Lovely colors and styles and very nice quality leather. Check it out!

I must say, I was quite happy to get home to my little family. We took a lovely walk on Sunday up to the top of our world to look for the sheep who had escaped the electro-net fencing. There they were with their new buddy way up on the top of a hill. What a beautiful day it was.

And isn't Eeyore the funniest. Someone must have taken a lot of photos of him. Every time I point the lens towards him, he poses or acts silly. He's been paid for now -- so I guess he's staying.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely re socks. I don't get the mania either. I have recently re-entered the knitting world after a 20-year or so hiatus and couldn't be less interested in socks if I worked at it. You are not alone! I do love the yarn and am trying to work up the courage to do a lace shawl.
I enjoy your blog very much, especially your lovely pictures of kittens and cats.

Best wishes, Pam / Lompoc, CA

Pork with Bones said...

I had no interest in handknitting socks until I moved back to a warm climate. Now they're the handknit garment I can wear most often, through the course of a year.

Lately, I've been practicing my stranded colorwork in preparation for a class I'm teaching next week. I have more people signed up for than one than I have in months, so I'd say it's not a dead or unpopular subject, even if it didn't show up in the fashion show.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on socks. I knitted 4 pairs just to figure out if I could and decided that's enough. I did just finish a lovely shawl with a skein of sock yarn.

The hand dyed yarn is lovely to look at in the skein but I never know what to do with it. It rarely knits up as nice as it looks skeined because there's not much control of what color is where.


Aim said...

Loving Eeyore...:D

Pam said...

Didn't see you but would love to take a class from you...maybe in Hartford. I am waiting for the "hand-dyed almost to the exclusion of eveything else" trend to pass or wane a little. The knitting can be unpredictable unless there is a generous swatch for the colorway but I love stranded knitting and found a copy of Meg Swanson's "Sweaters from Camp" full of stranded garments. Just need the time to knit one since it is a little slow going. Isn't New England beautiful in the Fall. Pam from CT

Diane H K in Greenfield said...

I don't get the sock thing either. I'll knit baby booties at the drop of a hat, but socks just don't do it for me. Much happier doing a nice, complicated sweater!

I want to kiss Eeyore's nose, it looks so soft and squishy. I used to kiss my Morgan horse's nose all the time for the same reason.

It was VERY exciting to see you on local PBS this weekend (CPTV). At long last! Call me sometime after the photo shoot is finished. Let's do lunch downtown!!!

Deborah said...

You have the right word--trend. I like hand-painted yarn, but not for larger projects. I have a little cotton cardigan hibernating; I have to switch between two skeins because of the color pooling. Ugh!
I'm with you on stranded color work. It's not that difficult and fun to do. I like playing with colors and for me the work goes quickly. Each section of pattern and color is a little surprise!
Eeyore is a cutie-patootie!

ElvaUndine said...

While I do fawn just a bit over the multicolored sock yarn, I am almost always disappointed when I see the results. It's difficult to have, say, a lace or cable sock pattern done well in a multicolored yarn. I prefer one color for socks.

That said, while I'm happy to have socks as part of my repertoire, I will not have a pair going at all times.

May I borrow Eeyore so he can shove his nose inside my window each night for a petting? I can hardly stand your farm pictures, they make me wish I had married a farmer.

Tana said...

I love socks...with solid colored yarn. That handpainted yarn looks beautiful in the skein, but knit it up and it's always a disappointment. Every now and then I fall for it, only to have my heart broken once more.


Emily said...

Ditto on the sock trend and handpainted yarn trend! I don't like either, but maybe it's because I like to work with color myself, rather than having someone else's surprise on my needles? Hmm. Happy to buy hand knit sox, but I don't like knitting them for some reason! I love Eeyore's wonderful eyebrows. He looks like such fun!

betty in nc said...

I love Eeyore!!! He's just darling! I'm so glad he's staying so we will continue to get regular updates!
oh...but the knitting...I admit that I love my socks...but I love knitting in the worsted weight socks from your book! Super fun and fast!
I'm working up my courage for a lace shawl. After all the Christmas presents have been finished and I can do something just for me.

~drew emborsky~ said...

Eeyore is so sweet!

Michele in Maine said...

Well, with 30 pairs in my drawers and nearly 100 skeins in my stash I guess I have to say I'm committed to sock knitting! (and not tired of it yet). I have forayed into lace shawls this fall, and am using sock yarn for some of them.

For a busy lifestyle socks are self-contained, portable and make great gifts!

kate G. said...

I think the sock trend is peaking and judging from reader comments here and elsewhere the hand-painted yarns trend will be tapering off soon. (Thanks heavens)

Stay tuned, Kirstin, because I think the swing will be to stranded along with kettle dyed yarns that give some variation in the work up. You can be sure that the bright colors you like will play a role.

CSweetBrown said...

Having taught myself how to knit over 30 years ago have have never knitted a sock before. I have attempted one this past summer did the rib and the heel on 2 seperate socks, have'nt completed one yet. But the slip rib stitch for the heel is a very useful pattern. I have made a camera case and a ear warmer out of it. Needless to say socks are not for me, I much prefer my worsted weight yarn and size 10 and above needles.

Bonnie said...

Eeyore make Emma ( 11) and myself Laugh!
OUT loud from our bellies!
What a character. GREAT face and look.


Charlotte said...

I don't knit socks or stranded knitting although I've tried both. One reason I don't do the stranded projects is that they usually work up in stripes and as a "fluffy knitter" I don't need to wear horizontal stripes! I have used the sock yarn which knits up to look sort of like Fair Aisle knitting for the fronts of baby sweaters. Combined with a nice solid color for the rest of the sweater, they turn out cute.

I too love Eeyore.

brsmaryland said...

Looks like I'm in the minority but I do enjoy knitting socks. I usually have two pairs on the needles...a 'thinking' pair with a pattern I need to pay attention to and a 'social' pair, plain stockinette I can knit while talking. I love the way they feel on my feet, they are portable and for about $20, you have a complete project.
There's something for everyone with knitting!

Nicki Inch said...

Kristin, I completely agree with you in regards to socks and the painted yarn craze. I don't get the love! I do love simple straight forward, well fitting garments, colourful yes, Fair Isle yes, useful yes, even whimsical does it for me.

Sheryl said...


I enjoy reading your blog and think your work is inspiring.

I haven't gone to Stitches in the last few years since it moved from the Philadelphia area so I didn't see the sock phenomenon that you refer to. I have knit a few pairs in my time and was very proud of my first pair as a great knitting accomplishment.

Whenever I speak with a beginning knitter I suggest making a pair of socks. It is such a great quick project to learn many techniques by: knitting in the round, short-rows, decreasing and kitchner stitch.

In regard to multi-colored, hand-dyed yarn, considering that the knitting craze has enjoyed quite a few years, I would just be happy that people are still knitting and supporting the industry. Also there are so many beginners, I guess these yarns are an easy way to have multiple colors in one project. Look at it as a stepping stone into stripes, fairisle, and embroidery. I have succumbed to the purchase of many of those skeins because of their gorgeous colorways, only to find out that I cannot make them work in a project. They really improve the beauty of my stash. ;-)Sheryl

ponyknit said...

Aww Eeeeeeyore!