Sunday, July 11, 2010
The Yarn Diving Pool
Yesterday was the day for our local Knit & Crochet Guild show and I immersed myself completely and enthusiastically like diving into a cool lake in midsummer! As in past years, it was held in our biggest city, in the largest hotel in the state. Even with the crowds, I only saw two or three friends there - people came from all over!
One of the fun things about this event is that so many people actually wear their knit and crochet projects to show them off and display their technical skill and colour sense! The beautiful shawl in gradient blues in the top photo was one of my favorites. But there were many others, including a rainbow-coloured crocheted shawl (looked like Kauni yarn) that went almost to the exhibitor's knees and another vendor's, who was selling Maggi's Knits and wearing her dramatic black and white felted shawl.
As usual, there was a huge vendor room, and I have to say - sheepishly I admit - I was in full stash acquisition mode. Yarns (and related knitting and crochet tools and accessories) were overflowing all around. It was hard to have any restraint at all! The colours and textures reminded me of an enormous, somewhat untidy flower garden.
I was very focused though, at least at first, because I had a mission: To see the fabulous Miss Babs, who I had previously known only over the internet, to re-visit the Habu booth (they know me and I like to spend a lot of time there), and to get some gifts: Christmas presents for my friend Nad in Germany - unusual things she might not find over there (and I have to say, I'm pretty sure I succeeded!!)- and a nice gift for a wonderful lady who is untangling a skein of silk for me in Chicago.
I started and ended at Miss Babs's booth (she gave me permission to snap her photo for my blog). She is just as nice in person as she seems online and she had a wonderful, attentive assistant with her who gave us gorgeous samples and answered any questions quickly and accurately. And just look at the incredible colours in the yarns behind Miss Babs!
I think I spent an hour looking through all her colours. I found that some of the colours look very different in person than they do online. It's so hard for the internets to capture the depth and subtle colour changes of these beautifully dyed yarns! There were so many that I wanted to bring home with me, including A Day at the Balloon Race, and Spring Tulip, and Oyster, and Coventry, and Spring Lettuce, and Chocolate Roses and A Day at the Onyx Cave, and so many more. There was especially one that was Lichen-coloured and I wanted it so much! Unfortunately, it was only in a big lace-weight skein that was very expensive and I had to pass it up, but I regret it...and it's not on her website. I discovered that the skeins that were named "A Day at..." were unique runs that were only dyed once and wouldn't be done again. I fell hard for so many!
From back to front, these are the coveted "Frog Belly," which I plan to use for an Annis shawl, "A Day at the Windlass Shipwreck", "A Day at Muir Woods", a sample of "Green Peppercorn", a sample of "Blackbird", and a sample of "Mums". And on top of all this loveliness, Miss Babs slipped a purple and silver stitch-marker into my bag!
Not all vendors are so pleasant. There were many places where I stood for a long time with carefully chosen skeins in my hands, waiting to pay, while the shop-keeper chatted up other prospective customers who were 'just looking' or gossiped with her booth-mate. Many times, another customer would come up on the left or the right and vendor would turn and take her or his sale as though I was invisible. In all these cases, I put the yarn back and walked away without regret. A wait in line is to be expected. But, equally, I expect to be waited on when my turn comes up. I have a choice of where I shop - a LOT of choice, as it turns out - and no longer have the patience to be treated as though my custom is dispensable. I vote with my purse these days, and I feel better about myself and my choices.
My next stop was the Habu booth.
These mini visits to Habu are among my favorite experiences at this Show over the years. The Habu lady who comes each time is so nice, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful - an expert, both in textile arts and in people-skills. She remembers me and chats with me about what she's making and what I'm making. She has an artist's colour sense and can immediately see the possibilities in unusual colour combinations. When I was looking for a silk/stainless that would be right with the fine charcoal ribbon silk I was holding, she picked up a blue/black shade that wasn't just perfect - it brought the knit from a nice scarf made with elegant yarns to an artistic project. And that's Habu's foundation - art textiles. She embodies this ethic. Can you tell I just relate to the whole of Habu?
The little booth is so full of so may different fibers, yarns, textiles, and possibilities! There were also copies of the new book Ori Ami Knits available, and the stack went down very swiftly!!
As you can see from the knitted and crocheted samples on the wall, Habu is a master of the subtle neutral tones...
That oak-y, lichen-y yellow-green is one of my favorites this year (the same colour I fell in love with at Miss Babs's booth - the one that got away!), especially mixed with grey or black. I really fell for the neutral palette in the Habu booth, and ended up with shades of grey, white, black, and olive tones in my basket. There was one fiber that looked just like pussy-willows to me and someone at Habu had made it into a beautiful scarf by pairing it with a funny textured cotton. I'll be making two of these this winter with the free pattern that was slipped into my bag.
I wanted to start on them immediately when I got home, but have tasked myself with finishing things, so have to do just a few last rows on my April Showers scarf and then I'll dive into the cool clear pool of these new knits!