Saturday, May 14, 2011


In mid-April, I went to STITCHES South in Atlanta, accompanied by my friend Laura. I'd been wanting to go to a STITCHES event for years, and now that I've gone, I have no idea why I'd waited this long! For the non-knitters reading my blog, STITCHES events are held several times each year, in various U.S. cities, and each is a multi-day convention devoted entirely to knitting. There is a full range of knitting classes from beginner to advanced levels, a huge marketplace and fashion shows.

These were the classes I took:
  • "Fully Fashioned and Fabulous" taught by Melissa Leapman. Melissa is an excellent teacher, and in this class, she covered ways in which to use fully-fashioned increases and decreases to shape garments. The best part of this class was having a conversation with Melissa afterward and getting tips on how to do a set-in-sleeve with a steeked, knit-in-the-round fair-isle sweater. More details in a future blog post, I promise.
  • "Reversible Cables" taught by Lily Chin. It's worthwhile to take a class from Lily Chin just to say that one has done so. Apart from being a big knitting celebrity, she also has a one-of-a-kind personality. This class was all about designing cabled fabrics that looked as good on the front as on the back, though both might feature completely different cable patterns. It's easy enough to follow Lily's patterns, but designing one's own (which Lily encouraged) was a challenging, albeit fun, mental exercise.
  • "Stitch Strategies for Hand-Dyed Yarns" taught by Laura Bryant. This class was about how to avoid undesirable pooling of colours when using hand-dyed yarns and how to highlight and stretch the use of expensive high-end hand-dyed yarns by combining with solids. This class truly made me look at my stash in a different light. I now have ideas for all those partial skeins of hand-dyed yarns that I'd thought would never be used.
Now onto the stash ...
  • I bought 5 skeins of Cascade 220 in bright colours, plus books by Melissa Leapman and Lily Chin, all pictured above. I also picked up a kids' sewing book for Kate.
  • The two skeins of brown and tan HiKoo yarn in the photo were part of the gifts we received at the Student Banquet. I also got an Addi Turbo circular, which I gave to Laura, as I already own a full set of Addis, and a Skacel lunchbag to hold everything.
  • At the Student Banquet, I also won a door prize, a gorgeous huge skein of purple Skaska cashmere/silk lace-weight yarn, which I gave to Laura. What prompted this unexpected show of generosity? (Normally, I'd never voluntarily give this kind of prize up, not even to a very good friend who's crazy about purple yarn.) Read on ....
As if the classes, shopping and door prizes weren't enough, I was the lucky winner of the grand prize at the Student Banquet -- a full registration (4 days of classes and admission to all events) at a future STITCHES event (any within the next two years)!! I offered the purple yarn to Laura in the hope that she'll go to the next event with me, but I don't think I'll have to work too hard to persuade her. I'm hoping some of my other knitting friends will join us next time!

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