Knitting in the North

A discussion of knitting, family, home and other stuff.

Smooth Sailing

I know what you've all been waiting for, and I'm finally getting there. Make 1 held the drop spindle spinning class on Saturday morning, and I was there bright and early. I am going to gush, so be prepared. I LOVED this place! The three ladies are so friendly, so helpful, so knowledgeable, so fun, so informed, so good at explaining and teaching, I could go on and on even more. Sadly, I have no photos, as Stuart took the camera with him and the kiddies, but I was so pleased to be left on my own there for a few hours, I didn't complain a bit. The class was excellent. I felt all thumbs, and I'm quite certain that my yarn was the least professional of the bunch, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself, anyway. I was so happy to be there, and surrounded by yarn and people who love yarn, that I just couldn't stop talking (my tendency to be long-winded follows me everywhere - don't ever ask me about my day unless you really want to hear). Even with all my chatter, I still managed to spin my yarn. We started with dyed silk. They call them handkerchiefs, and it was amazing how it felt to separate out a thin layer, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h it out, and start spinning! It came out very, very fine, and so pretty. There is a spinning/weaving place here that sells a bit of yarn, and I'm planning to go down there this week and see if she sells anything like this. Too much fun. After we spun our silk, we did some merino roving. This was trickier, but still fun. My yarn turned out very thick and thin, but I think with patience and experience I could achieve some consistency. At the end Suzen taught us to ply the two yarns together, and it came out so pretty. The wool was dyed in a purpley colourway, and the silk was pinks and yellows, so together it looked just like a sunset. The whole process was extremely satisfying and peaceful. Very therapeutic, and I can easily see slipping into the zone while spinning. Definitely something I am going to try to keep at. Once class was over, I was set free in the store. I had asked Stuart to come late, and give me some time, because I had so much I wanted to see and feel. I got my hands on all sorts of wonderful yarns I had heard of but never seen before, like Malabrigo, Lorna's Laces, Blue Sky, KidSilk Haze, and ArtYarns. The women there were so very patient with me; Sandra gave me a yarn tour, letting me touch, squeeze, and fondle to my heart's content. I didn't actually purchase that much - I bought some Noro to make myself a Booga Bag this winter. I'm looking forward to trying felting. I bought one incredibly soft skein of baby alpaca in a lovely aqua/turquoise, that I was planning on making into Knit and Tonic's Dream Swatch, but now that I have cut off all my hair, I may have to rethink it. We'll see. Lastly, Suzen and Amy helped me find a yarn for the Pirate Sweater, by Zoe Mellor, that I'm making for Brian for Christmas. We went with GGH Goa, which is a machine washable cotton/acrylic blend. The pattern calls for navy blue for the body, with a white intarsia skull and cross-bones (but it's smiling, so not so scary), and red and white striped sleeves. I wasn't terribly thrilled about the colours, and Suzen helped me choose a lighter blue for the body, with a bone colour for the skull, and chocolate brown for the stripes. I've stalled on Sizzle (tell you all about it later), so cast on for this last night, and it's knitting up really nicely. The whole experience was amazing, and if you are ever anywhere near Calgary, or can get there for any reason, do not miss this place. It's wonderful, and I can't speak highly enough of the store, the staff and the product. Also, if you can't get there, they offer free shipping for purchases over $30, and have a stock list available on their website. Do check them out! That night, my dad & step-mom, my uncle and aunt, and my own crew took me out for a birthday dinner, complete with one of those embarrassing moments where the whole staff sings to you, and someone is screaming your name at the top of his lungs. That's the downer with the short hair - everyone could see my brick red ears. Good food, though. Next day, we braved the Calgary Zoo. The temperatures, like so many other places, were extreme, so we went first thing in the morning when they opened. It was already 25 degrees C at 9:30 in the morning, and when we left a few hours later, it was 36. Yikes. We spent that afternoon shopping, more for the air conditioning than anything else. I was met with the happy surprise, when trying on clothes, that the Hapkido has helped me drop one clothing size. Very exciting for me - it's taken a long time to get here. Monday, we went to the Calgary Science Centre. For some reason, most people we spoke to were pretty unenthusiastic about it, but we totally loved it. They had a great area called WOWTown, dedicated to preschoolers, with a small area for toddlers. The main area was dedicated to the older kids, and this summers' exhibit was all about bikes. Everything was interactive, and we loved that aspect of it. There was nothing the kids couldn't touch, try, examine, play with. Last year, when we went to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, we were disappointed with how many things were off limits. All in all, we had a completely lovely time in Calgary. We had a nice time visiting family, and really enjoyed the city. I don't think I would like to live in such a large city, but there was an amazing feeling of youth and growth and prosperity about the place that was appealing.