One of my favorite things to do is to knit in groups. I am a fan of the stitch and bitch, the spin in, the knitting in public. There's a kind of magic in filling a space with people engaging in the act of creation, and even if you've never met before there's a sense of community that settles over the crowd. You talk with each other, learn from each other, ogle their toys and grope their yarn. Sometimes there's even beer and prizes. (The former more often than the latter, although I'll touch on that momentarily.) I got hooked on this whole spinning thing at a stitch and bitch. A friend of mine pulled out a drop spindle and I was entranced. She let me try it and about a yard of decimated wool later, I was addicted.
(I am now doing my damnedest to enable her into a wheel.)
This past Sunday was the 4th annual knit-in held by the tech valley yarn shops in Troy, New York. This is only the second I've been to, but it was distinctly bigger than last year's. The main room was jammed with over 70 knitters at one point,and it was really kind of amazing. There were definitely more familiar faces this time around for me than last year, and it was nice to see some folks that I'd kind of lost touch with after the Wednesday night (not the Monday or Tuesday night) Troy group disintegrated.
(Troy is kinda lousy with stitch and bitches.)
New in the side room this year were demos of various fiber arts and processes. Someone was doing a demo on how to paint yarn, someone else had some lovely crewel work displayed. I saw a bunch of little kids felting things, and someone was pulling fiber with pitch combs. The dyeing thing definitely caught my interest, but the best part for me were the wheels. My local dealer brought a Matchless, and oh, I am in LOVE. A Matchless is the next wheel up for a Ladybug with solid maple construction and (as I discovered) whisper quiet and smooth treadling. I'm thinking that I may put it on the short list of big purchases for next year. I've been in a swoon for the last 48 hours, it was that good.
The other thing I love about this event are the raffles. They are often and awesome. Last year I won some lovely Ella Rae booklets. It seemed like the entire corner I was in won something. And this year it happened again! Behold:
I won a ten skein bag of Araucania Nature Wool Multy! I have no idea what I'm going to make with it yet, but I think I can safely say that the $5 I spent on tickets was some of the best I've ever spent. I think I'm a little weirded out by how well it matches some sock yarn I bought a few weeks ago, though:
At the end of the day, my partners in crime and I wandered out of there with our newly won prizes, some awesome project ideas, and a plan to reboot our late lamented Wednesday S&B. It was fantastic. I can't wait for next year. (Note to Lisa: Next year will be your year! I just know it!)