Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Two Great Times with Some Great Knitters 

On Saturday, I headed over to the Capitol Hill location of Stitch DC for a Design Your Own Shrug Workshop with Teva Durham (I arrived exactly on time!). Upon wallking into the teaching area, Teva immediately introduced herself to me and I was instantly struck by her laid-back, friendly nature. There were only eight of us there for the class, including the lovely Sarah, so we knew we were in for a very personalized learning experience.

The workshop was basically broken up into two sections. First, Teva introduced us to some basic shrug shapes and constructions, then gave us some examples of the various styles and forms this type of garment can take. She then provided us with some creative inspiration by showing us some photos of different shrug styles that she'd found on the interweb and displays of her own designs, including two prototypes that she had created recently. After seeing all of these ideas, inspiration was supposed to strike us like a bolt of lightning! Well, we were supposed to at least pick out our basic shape and design elements.

The next portion was taking the steps to execute our design. For those, like me, who didn't bring any yarn for making our design, we got to browse around the shop and find a good candidate; I eventually chose Karabella Aurora 8 in a leafy green color. I was anxious to try out this yarn since I'd heard such wonderful reviews of it, and I was completely satisfied with it's springiness, softness and stitch definition. After choosing yarns, we all got to work on our swatches.

Items from Teva Durham Workshop

On the left are my sketches for my design, on the right are some of Teva's ideas that she handed out to us, and above is my swatch.

After we figured out our gauge, Teva came around to give us some our magic knitting math. This was certainly the most impressive part, because when she came to me she looked at what I had drawn and just started writing down the instructions for it off the top of her head! Well, for the back. Then we got to my fronts and I realized I basically designed the most difficult sweater EVER. She couldn't figure it out offhand and told me to work on it with my swatch, and if she kept playing around with it, I'm sure she could figure out how to combine a leace design with decreases. Me, not so much, so I'm going back to the drawing board.

The interesting thing that I noticed about Teva is that it was really obvious that she has a very particular aesthetic that she likes in garments. This is fairly obvious from her innovative designs, but it really shown through as she was showing us the pictures of different shrug styles and straight called some out as ill-fitting or unattractive. As we all started working on our designs, of course the conversation turned to various subjects as it tends to when knitters convene. Teva did not hesistate to jump in on these conversations and told us that she doesn't particularly like variegated yarns, that she prefers to knit to NPR and books on tape, and that she can't stay up all night to finish designs anymore with her small daughter. She really had no pretention at all and, as kntting tends to do, it allowed us to sit together and learn a bit about each other - once again, it creates instant community!

As for my actual design, I don't have enough yarn to make it in full right now, so I may hold off on finishing up the design until the fall.

As if this wasn't enough excitement for the week, Cobra and I also got to hang out with the lovely Lauren and her hubby Kris on Monday night! Kris showed off his amazing cooking skills by grilling delicious veggies for us that were seasoned with fresh herbs from their garden. I also got to drool a bit over Lauren's amazing stash. Sweetheart that she is, she sent me home with a ball of Rowan Calmer. Plus, she makes great brownies!

Lauren with Dishes

Lauren is a happy homemaker.

Male Bonding

Male bonding took place, despite Cobra's attempt to hide behind the bamboo.

Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of our DDR Tournament (or as we called it, DUI DDR), but just know that it was INTENSE. I did, however, get some shots of their lovely animal friends.

Bella Pups

Bella Puppy really liked to stare at me straight on. I must have been magnetic to this sweet girl.

Rusty Cat

Rusty Cat is very, erm, quirky. He rested his head on the edge of this bowl for, like, 15 minutes. It looked like he was going to dunk his head in at an second. Who knows, maybe it's just really, really comfortable.

Lauren and Kris, thank you so much for the yarn, the dinner and the great company! I can't wait to do it again!