lampshade swiftOnce in a while, you just gotta play hookie from routine. That’s what my family is doing for the next couple of days!  We’re off an a little international adventure.  As any good adventurer I’ve already had a test of my resourcefulness- see the pic to the right.  Yes.  That is yarn on a hotel lampshade.  I didn’t wind the next ball for my current project- and had to wind it once we arrived.  No one volunteered to hold the yarn hank for me- so I had to improvise;) Creative and resourceful- yep- that’s me;)

My husband travels (alot) for work- and we decided to join him for a few days.  Then- we’re extending the “work trip” and making it fun.  Toronto will be our “fun” destination.  This past month has been pretty stressful.  Between Hubby’s travel- our schedule and a speaking engagement I had this week-(I spoke on grief to a MOPS Group that had very recently- lost one of it’s Moms to breast cancer- if you’re the praying type- I appreciate your prayers for the ladies and family involved;) ) I’m  pooped.  I needed a rest and some fun- and so does my family.  So- we’re playing hookie from Real Life.

Why Toronto?  Well. Ummm. Quite possibly because I am crazy. Toronto is holding it’s annual “Knitter’s Frolic”  this weekend, and it happens to coincide with the More Big Girls Knits Ca Launch at Lettuce Knit.  There will be cupcakes, and knitters and yarn and and wonderful, creative, fun- people. After my first MBGK experience– How could I not go?  Being around people like that- refreshes and energizes me.

I won’t be dragging my poor  non-knitting family to the event- they will be off on their own adventure for the day;) However- I won’t be wandering the streets alone. Ravelry has provided me with a pretty incredible opportunity  to meet, IRL people I’ve met online. Truth be told- that breaks many of my personal internet usage-rules. I have teenagers and a young one- you know…IRL meetings of internet peoples…are generally discouraged;)

But this is different- these are knitters!  Knitters are a rather interesting bunch.  While there is diversity abound- there is a commonality and connection, that I find both intriguing and addictive. Internet “meetings” blog stalkings (hi Amy! Hi jillian!  etc…) are fine…. but somewhat flat.  there is a spark and energy that you just can’t get “online”.  Knitting events, groups and other events groups-like MOPS convention etc. give women a rare opportunity to connect over a common interest/ passion.

Of course- most believe that meeting people from the internets can be dangerous… and it’s often, true.  But so can going to the grocery store and meeting people IRL. (which I also do. ) Once in a while- you find yourself in a situation where the risk is outweighed by the potential.  This is one of those times.  (Now- this could all blow up in my face and I could end up meeting some serial knitter killer- but I doubt it I’ve done my homework in advance;)

In general- I’ve found- that people are worth the risk of getting to know. 

So look forward to a report on the adventures- complete with pics and commentary;) And- really- I encourage you to give people especially knitters)  a chance- you just might like them if you get to know them!

a blur of a dayEdited to add- I told yuou we were playing hookie- hookie involves- jumping on the bed, A Candy party and (for mom) a trip to the yarn shop;)

We bought a ridiculous amount of candy (which is now gone) including white chocolate with ANTS in it.  The older boys dared me to eat one.  So I did. (gotta score points where I can) I’ll just say this- it didn’t taste like chicken;)  

Later this evening after Dh finished work- we went to the mall for dinner- and Noah visited Build a Bear Workshop. He is now the proud “bearent” of a Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey playing Penguin.

PS- please don’t tell my mom we were jumping on the bed- I may end up grounded…..;)

MBGKAs discussed prior- clothes shopping can be pure torture.  There are few things that make me feel more lumpy, bumpy and ugly than trying on clothes that I love, only to have them NOT FIT.  It drives me straight to the shoe racks, I’m telling you.   Worse than the shoe rack- it’s driven me to want to be invisible.  At least in print.  I don’t let my picture be taken unless I’m making an obnoxious face- or hiding behind whatever creative cover I can find. Preferably- I hide behind the camera lens.  I take pictures-(partly)  so I don’t have to be in them.

Today- that was my plan, as per the norm.  Jillian had asked me to “model” for a few pics for Ravelry— I offered to bring my camera and TAKE pictures.  (ummm yeah I was chickening out;) However- something amazing happened when I walked into Threadbear. (well- something else amazing- after the scent of cup cakes and yumtastic yarn released me from their grip.) First- Amy and Jillian- the rockstars themselves- not only immediately made me feel welcome- but happily expected.  (HELLO? They are rockstars! That totally made my day they are both gracious, warm and fun- the trifecta of awesomeness!) cuppy cakes

The best part? I watched them do the same, for every knitter they met. 

Then- I came face to face with “The Rack”.  The rack contained most of the samples from the book.  It was like an electro-magnet. I couldn’t help myself- In the middle of the shop- I stripped off my “protective” layer Zebra print sweater (no worries I was decent in a cami underneath) and proceeded to try on EVERYTHING they brought.  Yes- even things I thought I didn’t like. Yes- even things that aren’t “technically” designed for my particular “b” set. ( I’m a b ** bs and b **ty kind of girl;)

For the first time in my life- people were looking at me- and gasping.  (No lie- they did) Because so many things just plain looked amazing.  (Just a note- that is not a sentence I ever imagined writing;) I was thrilled- instead of trying on garment after garment and feeling worse and worse— everything did something to make me feel pretty.  WOW.  The rockstars- and their designs- made me feel like a rockstar!  Instead of hiding behind the camera- I let people take pic’s.  Instead of hiding in a change room so no one could see if something flopped and made me look awful no one could see… I felt like prancing around the room to show off my curves- in each design.  (OK- so maybe I didn’t just feel like prancing- I’m pretty sure I did;)

I walked into Threadbear feeling like a lumpy-fat (somewhat hairy-as I didn’t need to shave mah legs – no skirts in this book;)   albeit acceptably cute, caterpillar- but I left feeling like a butterfly.  I was not alone.  Over and over- I watched faces light up- as woman after woman felt her body skimmed to perfection.  Butterflies (and hot lookin “B’s”) were popping out all over.  Women used to being invisible, felt beautiful.  They showed their “stuff”… A few tears of thanks were shed.  It was fabulous.

It didn’t take long for the butterflies to become a community. (do butterflies do that? I think they do- these ones sure did!)  Knitters volunteered as personal shoppers- offering suggestions for what to knit first and what yarn to use and what was on sale;)   Colors were voted on-(and down.)  Compliments were everywhere. (Jillian likes mah butt. Thnx Jillian:) Suggestions for design changes were made.  The place was alive with creativity and laughter.  It was contagious, something I don’t mind catching – even at the tail end of flu season;)   Ravelry acted like a virtual switchboard.  Knitters made connections instantly, because so many had already “met” online.  “Hey!  you’re ________ on Ravelry! I know you!  Was heard all afternoon- most often followed with a hug and knitterly touching of the handknits. (Hey Kat– love you girl)

the girls

There was knitting, laughter, beauty, friends, rockstars who aren’t jerks….could a girl ask for more? No- but she got it anyways— there were cupcakes ‘n cake ‘n a SALE.  Whew… I’m verclempt.  

THANKS,  Threadbear– you rocked our socks off;)

Enough of the mush- here’s the Pattern review:

Susie Hoodie- Was everything I hoped it would be.  I will make this sweater.  It does things for a girls butt that just has to be seen to be believed. (Dreaming of making this in Dream in Color Classy- In vino Veritas)

Boo, Too- Totally something I thought I’d hate.  Looked sooo cute– (yes- even on me;)

Slipstream- Yep wonderful.

Mirage- we decided collectively this is a magic sweater- looked great on EVERY single peson who tried it.

Modular Spiral- It was voted as the sweater I must start today;) See pic. Ignore the “Belly” label on this one. It was b ** btastic!  (Amy and Jillian Made me swatch. Yes- I’m swatching- I love it that much) ALSO- someone must totally make this- with little skulls instead of the swirls)

swatchin it

Hot Cocoa- another- one that looked fab on everyone who tried it.  It just FEELS good on- and looks great. (double bonus in my book)

PeaPod Aran- Not for me.  However- It was spectacular on Kat- and most everyone who tried it.  There is something about the back that is just perfect….

Cable Love- Aptly named- and again a sweater that worked for everyone who tried it- regardless of their particular “b’s”

Folly II- Just plain cute.  Loads of ideas were tossed around to make it work for everyone who wants to knit it. 

Twisted-  It’s spectacular- I’m going to make it with a deeper V.  Definitely worth the cover- it’t gorgeous.

No-gap Wrap-  Perfect.  Watch the Ravelry projects- these are going to be popping up all over. Looked great on everyone who tried it.

Pastille- Wow.  The princess lines really rocked the “b’s.” I will be making one in higher contrast jewel tones (can’t wear pastels- and don’t like them) – and want to create a sweetheart neckline in place of the square one…. personalized for mah “b’s”;).

Guatemalan- This one did not look good on me.  (Which is fine cause it’s not mah style anyways;)

Summer Chevron- This one I thought I’d love- but didn’t so much.  Cute- but compared to some of the others- it was pushed lower in my “must make” list.

Orange Smoothie- Fabulous. Am thinking about adapting it into a dress (no worries I’ll wear it over a slip dress;) Looked great on everyone.

Goddess Shawl.  WOW.  alpaca/silk..beads.  Yep- LOVE it.  Made everyone hold their head up like royalty.  That’s gotta be a good thing.

Perfection- Everyone needs one. ’nuff said.

Big Clutch- just cute.  I’d stick a coordinating vintage pin or flower on it— but then I’m an over the top kind a girl.

Amy- Jilllian- Boys at Threadbear and every knitter who was there— thnx– you made a grown girl cry.  (The good one- no worries;) You brought me out from behind the lens, and into the pics.  (so post em already- cause I don’t have any!) You made me feel like a butterfly- instead of a roly poly bug.

*****Don’t forget to enter the contest.  (Leave a comment or PM me on Ravelry- TraceyinMichigan) The prize?  Yep- the best knitting book evah- More Big Girl Knits.

PPS- Crap.  I Have NO pics of Amy and Jillian, AND I forgot to have them sign my book…. What a dork. Sheesh.  Double crap- I forgot to pick up Curvy Knits— The cover sweater MUST be mine… purple maybe???? YUM

giveawayJoann’s Etc..  You just never know what you’ll find.  This weekend I found a couple of copies of Paton’s Street Smart Booklet– which has been made both famous- and hard to find due to certain bloggers making the sweaters just so irresistible!  It contains the secrets of both the Urban Aran and Must Have Cardigan….. If you’re a knitter… you WANT this booklet. 

As a little thank you to all the knit bloggers/ravelry members that stop by- I’ll be giving away one copy!  All you need to do to enter, is leave a comment anywhere on my blog… Also— if you’re a Ravelry member— and can’t- don’t, won’t set up a wordpress account to comment— go ahead- PM me a comment about something on my blog…and I’ll enter you;) 

I am TraceyinMichigan on Ravelry;)

While my family is still sick– (poor hubby was down all weekend… ) I had a rather nice knitting content weekend.  (Not much else to do) Yesterday- I went to the Ann Arbor Library- to see— the Knitty Queen! Amy Singer.    Amy gave a terrific presentation on fiber alternatives to wool- based on her book- “No Sheep For You”

The presentation was both educational and delightful. Amy brought the swatches from the book- as well as a number of FO’s.   Yummy to touch;) Pretty to see. While I was there- I picked up a copy of the book co-written by the wonderful- Jillian Moreno“Big Girl Knits.”  I know- I know WAY late to this party— but I finally got it;) I read nearly the entire thing last night!  The patterns are brilliant- the writing was enjoyable AND informative.   This book will make it possible for me to knit things to fit, and flatter! ;) (There’s a thought;) Black Sheep Guild and Amy

“More Big Girl Knits” will be out in April— and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. 

Here’s a pic of a delightful group- The Black Sheep Knitting Guild  .  They let me tag along for much of the day;) A great group- which I’m hoping to join….;)

While I was at the Library- there was much oooing and ahhing over my WIP- the Autumn Cardigan by Ruth Sorenson.  

Kauni Cardi progress shot

Here’s a close up shot of the corrugated ribbing… It’s rainbow- colors are amazing! I ordered the yarn online- at “Little Knits” .

I finished up the afternoon- at “The Blue Nile” in Ann Arbor- with “AsKatKnits”  and a friend of hers… crap— I can’t remember…her name…will link or fix- when someone reminds me.  Anyway- food was great (My first Ethiopian feast :) I had a lame moment where I nearly spit iced tea across the table… Tasted super strong…. Dad’s a recovering addict– so ummm I don’t temp fate by drinking alcohol  — I nearly spit.  (The gene pool in that area has a current I don’t want to try to swim against;) But—it wasn’t boozy after all… it was GINGER.  I win the dork crown;)  

You know- I would KILL my kids if they asked to go to some event they heard about online… with people they met online…. and then to dinner with people they met ONLINE…. but Knitters?  They’re a great bunch;) If there’s a knitting event near you— I’m telling you– GO.. Meet people….. Touch their knitting…. Talk…. Life is meant to be shared.  DO it. 

Here- YarnHarlots new book is coming out and she’ll be on tour— start with a Harlot Event- there’s bound to be someone you can connect with!   Ps– I think Harlot needs to start selling tour t-shirts…. with yarn and shop logos all over it— could be a fund raiser for Knitters Without Borders;) Just sayin’.

So- leave a comment- send a Ravelry PM….enter the contest…. you know you want to. 

one more pic;) Couldn't resist