Monday, February 15, 2010
Madrona 2010: The Fair Isle Day
I packed so many good times into last week that I have a feeling that I'm going to be paying for it all this week. First there were two Wilco shows (Portland on Tuesday and then Seattle on Wednesday), and then the Madrona Winter Retreat ran from Thursday - Sunday. My Madrona schedule was a little less jam-packed than last year, which was a good strategy given my sleep-deprived state. I skipped all of the evening events, but had full day classes on Thursday & Sunday and a half day class on Saturday afternoon. It was good to spread things out a little, I felt a lot less rushed / overwhelmed than I have felt in other years, and I had really good luck in my classes--didn't accidentally sit next to a whiner, or someone who through no fault of their own would irritate me. I had great food (& evidently better service than some people had) at Bite restaurant, an easy time getting in and out of Tacoma and parking, and did not overspend at the market. My single complaint for the weekend is that the classroom on Sunday was about 5 degrees warmer than is comfortable. That's it--a relatively minor problem, in the grand scheme of things. And that E___ couldn't make it out for Madrona, due to jury duty, but that's not directly related to Madrona itself. So about the classes . . .
Day 1: Fair Isle Yokes with Janine Bajus
I took a great 3 day class with Janine during the summer of 2008 (see related posts here if you scroll down to the bottom & read from there up), and I jumped at the chance to take another class with her. Especially one that narrows down the infinite possibilities of Fair Isle Knitting to a plain sweater with a patterned yoke. Looking back at photos from the original workshop, I still really like the direction I was headed color-wise, but the idea of planning a whole sweater is still overwhelming to me. I also realize that if I want to make a sweater that I will actually wear in normal, daily life (as opposed to wearing at knitting events), a plain colored body is probably a better idea than the giant motifs I originally swatched.
We spent much of the morning talking about how to build a sweater using the Elizabeth Zimmermann percentage system, before getting into the yarn. It seems pretty straightforward, although it was a little shocking to learn that I'll have to knit almost the whole sweater (body to sleeves + two sleeves) before getting to the colorwork! Shocking, but o.k.--I don't have to make any final color decisions other than the body color for a really long time, unless I want some color around the hem or the cuffs.
Now to the photos:
Top Left: My work area. Note that I worked quite a bit on the Carrieline in the morning, since it's my biggest non-Ravelympics project and this was before the opening ceremonies. I've finished about six inches from the hem. The green was a swatch that I ended up not using, but I used the same yarn in both other classes.
Top Right: My initial color selections lined up on the color wheel. The lighter blue (Spindrift 322, Lomond) will be the body color, and I picked some red oranges and yellow oranges in a split complementary color scheme. Note that when I was googling this to make sure I had that term right, I found the following quote: "The split-complimentary color scheme is often a good choice for beginners, because it is difficult to mess up." I'm not sure I like what that implies, but I can't really argue with my results, so maybe it's totally accurate.
Bottom Left: The swatch beginning. The pattern I'm working with is a combination of several traditional banded patterns. Janine designed three yokes for us to choose from, and this set of patterns really appealed to me--possibly because I think that this is the direction I should have gone with my first swatch. I think that the yellowy section photographs better than it reads in person, but I do like the colors together. I may swatch this again, flipping the yellows with the red-oranges. I started to get really excited with the next section, with blues and red-oranges, which shows the pattern more clearly.
Bottom Right: My swatch as of yesterday. I took a little detour in the blue and red-orange section (I'm still not sure how), so I reknit it per the pattern after getting home on Thursday evening. Since taking this photo, I've swatched a little more--I've almost gone through the extra yarn from class, but I still want to test some things out before knitting a bigger swatch with all of the yoke patterns.
Today, after calling all of the local places to see if they had enough of the body color for my sweater, and checking in with several online places, I ordered it online from Schoolhouse Press, along with the other colors I used. Fingers crossed that they've got plenty of 322 Lomond in a single dye lot, or can get it in relatively short order. I guess I shouldn't be totally surprised that only one of the colors (the darkest gold) overlaps with my 2008 swatch, but I wish that more did so I could keep swatching! I probably won't start the sweater body until after the Olympics (or at least until my main WIP is done), but I'm really anxious to have the yarn in hand. Before I lose my nerve, I suppose.
I'll try to fit the rest of my Madrona posts (and maybe a Ravelympics post) in later this week, but this is certainly the meatiest class I took, and the one I'm most excited about. There's just something awesome about seeing all of the Elemental Affects & Spindrift colors all together, and how different people combine them. A good number of the students had taken Janine's fair isle class before (there were at least four of us from my workshop), so I am definitely not the only person who feels this way.