mosaic from weekend

 

A knitting adventure?  Is that an oxymoron?  I can assure you, it’s not.  (Contrary to the border guard who giggled on my explanation of the trips purpose.)  I know- because this weekend I had one. An international adventure of epic proportions. I went to Toronto for the More Big Girls Knit Book Launch at Lettuce Knit! Which just so happened to coincide with the DKC Knitters Frolic. (Yes- the border guard also thought that explanation equally, HILARIOUS.) 

I know, I know- I went to the first launch and wrote about it already.  What can I say?  It was such an amazing experience, I wanted more. That’s exactly what I got. MORE.  More of the same- and yet, something even better.

What really struck me this time, was the people and the knitting community that is Toronto.  Planning a trip to Lettuce Knit- was a thrill. I’m a long time reader (ok ,stalker) of YarnHarlot, Amy, Jillian,(- a fellow Michigander- but in her heart, she’s Torontonian) Jen, now also- Indigodragonfly and a number of other Torontonian knit blogs…all of whom are Lettuce Knit regulars, and share their incredible experiences there with readers.  Ocassional skeptic that I am, I had wondered if it was all hype.  I wondered “Could it really be that great?” I also wondered how the regulars would respond to a loud, foreign invader.

Actually- I was a little (ok, a lot) nervous. I mean- these people actually know each other!  They have a history together. I didn’t want to feel like a third wheel- or a party crasher.  Worse yet, I didn’t want to feel like a knit-reject. Clicks (or should I say cliques?) are an international phenomenon… one I’ve experienced before, and don’t like.  But not this weekend.  Not with these knitters and not at this shop.  By the end of the evening- I felt like one of the girls. ( except I talk funny, apparently…)

I should back up a bit.  The day had started much earlier, however, at the Frolic.  I met Danielle and Indigodragonfly and we were quick to hit it off. Danielle and I could just about keep pace with each other in the verbal arena. (I think we near wore out Indigodragonfly!)  And at one of the first booths we visited together, Indigodragonfly and I discovered we’re fibre (that spelling is for my new Canadian friends) twins!  (Which could have led to fibre fights, but didn’t, as we’re both, quite sweet.)  We quickly developed a rather symbiotic relationship- helping each other choose and buy, yarn.

Between the Frolic and the launch party- we hung out for a bit and talked – then I was invited to dinner at “The Big Fat Burrito”.  The infamous haunt of Lettuce Knitters!  I had the most incredible steak burrito- which I shared with a homeless guy.  (politics aside- we have to find an answer (answers) to homelessness…just sayin’ ) Then, we walked to the shop for the launch. 

Lettuce Knit is located in Kensington Market.  Which- is just that- an amazing “find everything and then some ” kind of neighborhood/market. The doors are open- goods of all sorts are displayed on racks and stands on the street. There are luscious fruit stands are on every corner.  (At one stand the mangos were so irresistible- that a little guy, probably 4 or so, kept swiping one off the table, to try for a taste.  his mom kept putting them back and telling him “no”.  However, the tiny brilliant and innovative comedian, kept reaching for another.  FInally, in a Mom’s desperate move of distraction- she held his arms over his head, laughing. The brilliant creativity of Kensington must have rubbed off on him- as he immediately leaned forward, mouth open, and bit a mango “”bobbing for apples” style!  (I immediately fell in love with him, and would have tucked him into my bag had it not already contained a lifetimes worth of yarn!)

Kensington Market was a sensory overload of the very best kind,  no sense was left un-touched.  My nose was treated to a caucophony of aromas. (A pretty good trick, as I lost much of that sense, to a nose job years ago)   Scents shifted from delightful to obnoxious within just a few feet. The scent of fresh (well, mostly fresh )  fish, bread, fruit, meat and humanity all created a perfume that will be forever etched in my mind and entitled “Kensington Market #5.”  (Maybe not marketable, but definitely un-forgettable.)

In addition to sights, textures and scents- there was music both lyrical and lingual, everywhere!  It poured from the doorways, sound systems and from street performers.  Voices added to the music with a bass beat of barter and chatter. It was amazing.  It was life, concentrated.  I think it was there, that I fell in love with Toronto. (I was also glad to have someone leading me around, or I’d have wandered aimlessly -albeit contentedly- for weeks!)

Still nervous- (I was, anyways) we made our way through people and sights.  I thought maybe it was the burrito when my stomach flip-flopped as we came up to the street that houses Lettuce Knit.  It wasn’t the burrito- it was nerves. Then, I saw it. There were knitters everywhere, on every step of the porch and on chairs, in both the front and backyard!  knitters were smiling, chatting (and knitting- of course) and helping with projects and color choices.  There were kids eating cupcakes, giggling and performing. (kids love an audience, and in these knitters they sure had one!) There was much passing of babies, and I could just about hear ovaries bursting with ripened eggs at the sight of them.  (They were truly, that cute)

The atmosphere was great,  energetic and fun.  It was like Sesame Street came to life. (If Sesame Street suddenly became a bit PG 13.)  I started shopping as soon as I got in the door, ok maybe a second or two before actually getting IN the door.  The shop is tiny- but LOADED with the very best of knitterly goods. 

Soon- a fabulous Irish band arrived, and started playing the most beautiful music!  Within minutes of arriving women were again transformed by the designers magic.  There were cupcakes.  There were sweaters. (Yes- the Bountiful Bohus will also eventually be mine)  There were door prizes!  (I won the most incredible Jordana Paige Knit bag!-see pics) There were knitters everywhere. It was fabulous.

Beyond the shopping potential and pure eye-candy of the place, there was a pervasive feeling of home.  My nerves over how these knitters would receive an outsider, were totally unfounded.  It was an amazing group.  Everyone I met, had a story,  design sense, a sense of humor and or creativity that was remarkable, and they were quick to share them.   A hotbed of design and designers surrounded me.  I had a few questions about patterns (as every yarn I saw was begging to be immediately knit-up) when I threw them out to the group- each was met with, “Well, ask____ she’s over there, she designed it!”  I was amazed, and a little (ok, a lot) awe-struck.

After my visit, I think I have a better understanding of knit-community and what it can be.   I can see how this atmosphere of synergy, encouragement and creativity have birthed so many designers and artists of color, texture and word. I was sad to leave Lettuce Knit– the Knitty crew and MBGK Team .  I will miss them and the Toronto they daily enjoy.  But, they’ve inspired me to get involved in my local knit community and see what it can become. I mean- if Canadians can tolerate me… maybe a few Americans can as well!)

More after I catch up on laundry– (is that even possible? Probably only if my family spends a few days in a nudist camp- which ain’t happening…) 

PS- HAPPY BIRTHDAY DENNY!

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…..;)

Cover shotShould I prolong the excitement?  Should I tantalize you with statistics?  (over 220 entries;) Should I dazzle you with pics?   what happens when I try to print out the entries--- someone swipes the oreo guts...

Or should I just announce the winner?

Drumroll please…..

 

oreo covered drawing judge....Congrats to Chezclutter!

                                                                           This is what happens while I                                                        do something… like print out 200+ entries…

 

Thanks to everyone for playing along and stopping by- I like to do a great giveaway about once a month-;) Check back and watch on Ravelry!

And- really- either buy the book/s or check them out at the library- (IF we want more books with patterns to fit- we better buy them up- let your dollars talk to the designers and publishers;) They are more than worth the investment- You will save money and time by knitting what works and FITS;) 

Don’t forget the Toronto Launch at Lettuce Knits- I’ll be there! Better yet- there will be cupcakes and THE SWEATERS for YOU to try on!!!!!

Details are at the Lettuce Knit site and on the knitty blog.  From the Knitty blog you can also click through to see the flickr stream of many of the sweaters on Knitters! Check it out- buy the book- cast on!  You’ll be glad you did!

What the heck- while you’re here… take a peek around;)

 

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…..in purple maybe???? YUM

“Dear Clothing Designers, please get a clue”  Had nothing to do with the release of “More Big Girl Knits” .  But, it could have.  I now have copies of both BGK and MBGK.  The books are worth the price just for the shaping and pattern choice info alone! MBGK cover

Amy and Jillian offer candid information on how to make the most of your “B’s” (Belly, B ** Bs and B ** t) The designs are varied and flattering.  The sizing is good, and information on “doing the math” for an even better fit are easy to understand.  (Even for a math flunkee- such as me;) Many of the issues I complained about in the prior post- are specifically answered in the combination “library” of both books. 

There are hoodies that flatter without making you look like a football player.  Tanks that skim without showing every lump n bump (lovely lady or otherwise;) There are accessories that are proportional and stylish.  All in all- a great new book as well as a terrific set when you have both. 

I am in the “Netherworld” between plus sizes and misses… this book will help me fit my body but not look like a hag.  SCORE.  One of the biggest pluses to knitting- is the ability to produce truly custom fit designs. Custom fit clothes would otherwise be outside my budget;)

Now- If I could only knit faster….. And decide what to make first!

This weekend is busy, busy- I am helping host the MOPS International Leadership Summit for our area- so lots of little talks to finish up details to attend to and such.  Looking forward to a great and challenging day… I hope you attend if there is a Summit in your area- walk-up registrations are welcome! Yes- a Satellite Summit for Mothers.  AWESOME;)

Sunday- I’m planning on attending the More Big Girl Knits Book Launch at Threadbear in Lansing.  Jillian and Amy will be there- complete with cupcakes and the samples from the book;)  Can’t wait to try on and see what will work best for me! 

CONTEST: 

 In honor of the new book release- I’ll be giving away a copy here on the blog!  In order to enter- you’ll just need to either leave a comment on the blog or PM me on Ravelry (TraceyinMichigan) !  Good luck- contest will be open until April 17th at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time:)