Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gibsons Festival Roundup, part 1

Once again, Piggy is late with a promised post. I'd ask you to forgive me, but really, if you've landed here at Flying Pig Knits randomly, you weren't expecting anything, and if you're a regular visitor, you know better than to expect me to meet a knitting-related deadline.

Anyhoo. I returned home yesterday from Gibsons. A few days later than planned, due to an unplanned -- and quite frankly unwanted -- bit of exploration into some of Gibsons' local services. Of the automotive towing and repair variety. More on that later.

First, the fun stuff. I visit Gibsons fairly regularly, as my mother lives there, but this particular visit was to take in the 10th annual Gibsons Landing Fibre Arts Festival.* The festival bills itself as "celebrating everything fibre", and they mean it: there were workshops in basketry, wood turning, quilting, sewing, rug hooking, weaving, dyeing, spinning, sewing, driftwood furniture making...and knitting.

I took two one-day workshops with Janet Armstrong: Free Form Knitting and Mitred Modules. Both were great fun, and I even managed to get a bit of knitting done by the end of each day:


That's the start of a mitred module sampler on the left, and my bit of free form knitting on the right.

Despite my rather meagre output (allow me to remind you that Piggy is a slow knitter, especially when surrounded by excellent company, as was the case at Gibsons, which attracts some lovely students -- and instructors -- from all over the place), I really enjoyed both workshops; particularly the free form knitting one, which, despite being all garter stitch, all the time, was rather challenging for Piggy.

I like to think of myself as a free thinker, but when it comes to knitting, Piggy is a slave to the pattern. Free form knitting -- start with a basic shape, then building onto it by picking up stitches, increases and decreases, short rows, etc., check out a piece of Janet's work here -- didn't really fit into my rigid ideas of what knitting is. Not that it's all loosey-goosey; as Janet explained, it's a good idea to start with some sort of plan when you want to come up with something more than a test swatch.

The other challenge: knitting with yellow yarn. I don't really do that, except for the odd bit of knitting for yet-to-be-born babies of unknown sex. It's not that I hate yellow; I think many yellows -- although not, perhaps, that shade in my swatch above that might be charitably labelled mustard, or more accurately, baby poo -- are beautiful. But even the pretty ones make Piggy look like death warmed over.

At the beginning of class I rather rashly announced my goal to challenge myself by knitting with colours I normally avoided, namely yellow. So there was no way to get around selecting several shades of yellow from among the dozens of tiny balls of yarn the class arranged into a colour wheel. My distress was mitigated somewhat by my decision to go with purple -- yellow's complement -- rather than the oranges that would make an analagous palette.

My resulting swatch is nothing spectacular -- and I've decided not to build upon it further -- but I do plan to try some more free form knitting in future.

I also have some ideas for incorporating the mitred modules (nothing as spectacular as this piece of knitting from Janet)...but you know me: don't expect anything soon!

Next post: Piggy's haul from the festival's Merchant Mall!

* Full disclosure: my mother is chair of the festival.

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