Friday, 7 October 2011


Friday afternoon, Skip and I arrived at the Fairmont Algonquin (chi chi poo poo) Hotel in St. Andrews for KnitEast - an Atlantic Fibre Fest.

I had a chance to check out the Marketplace as soon as we got settled in our room. There was a nice variety of vendors - many from the Atlantic provinces.

On Saturday, I spent the day with Cat Bordhi in her Personal Footprints class where I learned to custom fit a toe-up sock. Cat uses a very easy, unique cast-on for her 'pizza toe'. It even uses the tail of the yarn to add extra stitches. We then increased regularly alternating with knit rounds until reaching the width of the foot by literally stretching the sock until it reached the widest part of the foot. From there, we just knit straight for a few inches until the increases needed to start for the instep.

At this point, we made our personal footprint on the cardboard sheet we had brought. This template is then used to try on the sock along the way.
You write right on the cardboard the number of stitches for the foot, and mark on there where the increases are occurring.

Cat likes to do her increases (marked by arrows) on the sole of the foot so they don't interfere with the pattern on the top and instep of the sock. She doesn't fuss with m1 stitches but simply uses kfb (knit into the front and back of a stitch to increase).

We spent the rest of the day knitting the foot of our sock and trying it on for fit as we went. Once we reached the 'hinge' of the foot, we inserted a lifeline for the leg of the sock, knit one round plain and knit a second round inserting a second lifeline. Then we knit the rest of the foot, decreasing for the heel by using her formula from the book and leaving the heel open for adjustments as required later.

Then we picked up the stitches held by the lifelines except for the last two on each side (so as to avoid a hole) and proceeded to start knitting the leg of the sock. Elizabeth Zimmermann might have called it an 'afterthought leg' of the sock.

Here, Cat is showing one third of the class how to cast on for the toe.
Cat shared a couple of other knitting tips. She explained a technique for strengthening the stitches in the heel and toe of a sock without having to use reinforcing yarn. First, determine in what direction your yarn is twisting. Then twist alternating stitches in that direction. Make sure you're twisting the correct way because if you're twisting the wrong way, you're weakening the yarn and your sock will wear out twice as fast. Twist every other stitch and stagger them in the next row. For example in round 1, twist stitches 1, 3, 5 and 7 and in round 2, twist stitches 2, 4, 6 and 8 - like a checkerboard.

Cat also referred to kidsilk as 'nature's nylon'. It can be used as reinforcing yarn for the heel or toe. One can knit it into the sole as well but if not required across the instep, simply strand the yarn across and snip it later. The ends don't need to be woven it as they'll all felt in themselves. One could also knit the entire sock holding the kidsilk with the sock yarn but would probably need to go up a couple of needle sizes to accommodate both yarns. This is also a good way to make your yarn go farther if say, you're knitting socks for someone with 14EEE feet. One cautionary note, however, socks knit with the kidsilk must only be hand-washed. Machine washing will felt them like crazy so beware.

That evening, was a fashion show and the YarnHarlot's keynote address but I chose, instead, to spend the evening with Skip in our lovely room. At some point during the evening, Marion showed up with a bag from Briggs and Little containing 4 skeins of their new SoftSpun yarn that I had won for being the first person to register for KnitEast.

St. Andrews has a plethora of good eating places. We found the food prices at the Algonquin to be more than we liked to pay so we ate breakfast at a nice diner downtown and for lunches and dinners we tried out various eateries' versions of chower (lobster, clam and seafood - yum!).

The next day was my class with Lucy Neatby on the Sea Lettuce Scarf, double knitting with Mirror, Mirror and her Falling Leaves pattern.
Lucy is an excellent teacher and explains concepts very clearly for any type of learner. She uses her videos in combination with actual demonstrations. Her patterns are very detailed with lots of explanations and diagrams and URLs for videos outlining the concept that can be watched on one's computer. As I've knit several Sea Lettuce scarves, I was able to whip through my swatch covering the beginning semi-circular section.

Lucy then got me started on the set-up for double knitting. I found double knitting to be very interesting and challenging and was left really wanting to do more.

mirror images?

The last pattern we worked on was her Falling Leaves pattern - knit here with Kauni yarn.
Lucy had many of her creations there for us to examine.
Kasbah Vest

Fiesta Vest

Andean Vest (note the bicycles!)
Venus Rising Sweater
Dontcha just love the shell and starfish pattern in the carpeting (above)?
Kitty Cat Kit

In between sessions, I would run over to the Marketplace and see what yarns or patterns I needed to have. I managed to keep my purchases down to what would fit in one bag.

It wasn't too hard to tell which car was Lucy's in the parking lot.

I scanned for interesting license plates. This one obviously belonged to the proprietor of Karma Yarn.

And I'd love to find one of these bumper stickers for myself.

The people at Cricket Cove who organized KnitEast did a fantastic job. I hope they make it an annual or semi-annual event.

On the way to Janet's in Fredericton, we drove Briggs and Little in Harvey, NB.

Unfortunately, being Sunday, it was closed but I was happy to get a shot of it all the same. Next time I'm in the Fredericton area, I'll definitely stop by.

However, all good things much come to an end. Skip and I spent our last hour in the Moncton airport before boarding our flight back to the Toronto Island Airport by checking our messages in the  free wifi zone now found in all Canadian airports. I was already checking Ravelry for some double knitting patterns I might try once I got home.

1 comment:

  1. Another great trip Geri! I hope they repeat this event - it sounds like they got it right! Thanks for the report.