Here they are!
I managed to get the toe decreases done yesterday at my class and then grafted the toes last night. They are so comfy and fit really well. The colors are totally insane, but I like insane socks, so it works out just fine. The yarn is Knit Picks Sock Garden in Hydrangea. I would definitely use this pattern and yarn again. I really like the way it has the light and dark stripes on alternating rows. Very cool.
Now, I want, no NEED, to gush about that class I took yesterday. It was just incredible. Joan Schrouder is truly a knitting goddess and it was so much fun to take a class with someone who has such a goldmine of knitting knowledge and at the same time is a very skilled teacher. She struck just the perfect balance between teaching the entire class and giving individual attention. And she paced it so that the faster folks didn't get bored and the slower folks didn't get too lost. It was truly a spectacle to behold.
It turns out that the schedule was changed, so I didn't end up going to the Ethnic Stitch Patterns class (that will be next month). It was the Pacific NW Indian Sweater class. We ended up making a little tiny sample sweater:
Yes, it still needs sleeves, but I still think it's pretty amazing that the entire class got this far knitting from 11 am to 5:30 pm with an hour break for lunch. Speaking of lunch, I happened to be sitting in the front (yes, I am a geek, and proud of it), and ended up eating at a little table with Joan! It was great to just sit and chat with her. We talked about designing and colorwork and the Black Sheep Festival (which is down in Eugene, where she lives, in the summer and is the largest fiber fest on the west coast).
The first thing that we worked on in the morning was colorwork and how to work with one color in each hand. That, of course, meant that I had to learn how to pick. And I did! It wasn't even that bad, although I'm not going to switch because I've got my throwing fine-tuned into an art form. We did a couple rows stranded at the bottom to get the hang of picking on a knit row and a purl row. Then we started weaving in every other stitch. Here's what it looks like:
The weaving ended up being quite slick. She had a little handout with diagrams of how to weave by just flicking the carried color up or down around the working color. I still need quite a bit of work to even out my tension so the stitches will be to my liking, but I'm not terrified of two-handed colorwork anymore.
The other really cool technique that we learned was a nifty three-needle bind-off for shoulder seams. It's not the normal three-needle bind-off but it's almost like an i-cord and leaves a nice little decorative ridge running up the seam:
We also did short row shaping for the shoulders in order to prepare for the three-needle bind-off, which I knew how to do already but was able to fine-tune (especially the knitting/purling of the wrapped stitch).
Joan lives in Eugene, which is why we're lucky enough to have her teaching these three classes here. Ethnic Stitch Patterns will be in March, and then Ethnic Color Patterns will be in April. I can't wait for the next two!
The other thing that was pretty interesting was realizing how much my knitting has improved in the six months since I really got back into it. Blogging has been a huge part of that! It's such a great way to learn about new techniques, yarns, books, patterns, etc. etc. etc. And it's so inspirational to see what everyone is doing. I was able to really use yesterday to perfect and fine-tune since I'd done almost everything (or something similar) before. I didn't have to struggle with learning something radical and new (apart from the picking, which I think I picked up more easily because I'm also a crocheter and work the yarn with my left hand when I do that).
I also got word yesterday that the rejected Knitty pattern was accepted for the March issue of Spun! So you guys will get it soon as a free pattern, just not from my site directly. I think it's pretty cool, so stay tuned.
I will leave you with a picture of some hard-won Olympic Shrug progress. This was done while watching Canadian Jennifer Heil kick butt at the Ladies' Freestyle Moguls competition.
It's not going as quickly as I'd like, but then the past two days have been spent mainly knitting on things that are not it. We'll see how it goes when I put some serious time into it!
Happy knitting, y'all!