Katherine the Great
I like to think of myself as a storyteller. Mostly I tell stories about knitting.

Four Score and Seven Years ago, The Husband and I were watching Wedding Daze starring Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher. During a scene featuring Isla in a cozy green seater, the man that rarely admires knitwear said, “That’s a nice sweater.” So, we rewound, I got a good look at it and said, “I could totally knit that. It’s a little plain so I’d want some cables or something.” a pause and I added with a smile, “You do realize the sweater will not turn me into Isla Fisher, yes?” He responded with a laughing, “Yes.”


I selected several less boring shawl neck sweater patterns and The Husband voted for his favorite. We had a winner, Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman. I immediately started yarn shopping and discovered Valley Yarns Northampton. I wasn’t sure which green I liked best, so The Husband picked Dark Green Heather. I wasn’t 100% sure of the shade; online it looked like it had a bit of an orange haze, but when it arrived in the mail, I dug it. The Husband’s most convincing argument was that he looks at me more frequently than I look at me, so he is a better judge of what color will look good on me. He wasn’t wrong.

I knit a gauge, washed it (It’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore.) and cast on. It was too tight. So, I cast on again, knit a few rows, and stopped. To give you an idea of my headspace, I was a little gun-shy. After knitting my Owls sweater and not loving the fit – the cast on edge is too tight and it’s just a little too form fitting for my liking. So, I sat on this barely started sweater for a year.

Finally, the Iknitarod gave me the motivation I needed. I resolved that the worst that could happen is I end up with 6 balls of yarn. Ok, the WORST thing that could happen is that I end up crying on a pile of sweater bits with scissors in hand, but that’s probably not how this will go down. probably.

The odds of me ending up with 6 balls of yarn increased when a week into the sweater, i read a comment on ravelry, “This is not a great pattern for your first cardigan.” Um….. I kept going. As long as I read the pattern and trusted Thea and the 1500+ knitters that have gone before me, things seemed to go according to plan.

I made mine a little roomier than designed because I was looking for a cozy house sweater. The only issue I had was one arm being slightly longer than the other prior to blocking. Analysis has revealed that switching from magic loop to DPN’s halfway down the first sleeve will lead to a change in gauge. This did, in fact, block right out.

Pattern: Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman (I will absolutely be knitting another Thea pattern.)
Needles: Addi Clicks – size US 7
Yarn: Valley Yarns Northampton
Colorway: Dark Green Heather
Size: 38
Yarn Used: 529g
Mods:
Cast on 6 for underarms (I’ve got biceps like a Viking shieldmaiden and don’t like tight sleeves.)
.
Picked up 8 to start sleeves to avoid holes.
Knit a round.
Decreased 2 stitches
Knit a round.
Decreased 2 stitches
then followed pattern.
My sleeves ended up just a tad long, and i like it.

I spent an entire Saturday night looking at buttons online and settled on these 1 inch beauties.

Overall: This was quite the enjoyable knit and I LOVE my sweater! Beautiful readers, I may be a sweater knitter after all.


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Summary: It was glorious!

The Rest of the Story:
Thursday evening, Lisa drove us to Dallas while I knit on my sweater sleeve.
We pulled up to the Irving Convention Center at 8:09pm as I said, “I’m going to try the door.” Thankfully, it was unlocked and I was able to register and pick up our lovely bags so we could avoid the Friday morning line. We checked into the hotel, started knitting our homework and strategized for the Fiber Fest Market.

Friday –
Lisa and I ate a healthy breakfast and hit the market (I’m pointing out the healthy breakfast because I didn’t make a ton of healthy choices over the weekend.). The Must Stash booth was first on our list and we scored some lovely yarn. While in line, we each fell in love with a project bag. I’m usually not big on pink, but the coffees and donuts stole my heart.

We continued through the market until Lisa was distracted by Harry Potter socks in the Brazen Stitchery booth. Some baby blue and gray self striping yarn caught my eye while she was paying. We resisted further temptation until we reached White Birch Fiber Arts. Her self striping yarns displayed on clear jars caught our attention and we each left with Tanya’s Rainbow, among other things. A mug that states, “Winter is Coming, Knit Faster” found its way into my bag and then a hank of dark speckles on jewel tones called my name in the Quixotic Fibers booth. It was variegated and they didn’t have a sample at that time, so I promised to try back later. I’m a little OCD about yarn pooling, and have to give myself at least a chance at sanity.

Lisa and I hopped in the car and headed for Sulphur Springs. After a hot mess on I-30 where we ended up having to pull a u-turn in the middle of the main lanes (directed by police), we were on our way again. We swung into Fuzzy’s Tacos for lunch (YUM!) and then Collins Street Bakery (who KNEW fruit cake could be so good?!?). The down side (if it can be called that) is that eating a sample felt like I was mainlining sugar. I bought a couple of brownies and several cookies including the cherry ones (far far better than expected). We continued onto Sulphur Springs where we used the facilities in the square behind one way glass. If you’ve never tried this, I recommend it. Quite the novel experience. We moved on to admire the courthouse and snap a few (hundred) pictures. We encountered a man exiting the courthouse. He indicated that he used to work there and asked if we were from around there. We said no and Lisa volunteered the name of the East Texas town where she grew up. He crossed himself and offered to pray for her. We laughed and he continued on his way.

There are some cute shops in the area that we’d have enjoyed exploring if we’d had the time. Perhaps we’ll be back. We detoured to The Original Fried Pie shop to purchase several for tasting. I found myself slightly disappointed as I grew up eating Hutch’s fried pies. Research has since indicated that the people at Hutch’s know their business and we added a trip to Hutch’s to our bucket list.

We joined some knitting friends for dinner at Underground Indian Cuisine. I will sum up that experience by saying you do not need to add this establishment to your to-eat list.

Clara Park’s talk was informative. If by informative, you understand me to mean I may be trying The Brown Sheep Company yarn for my next sweater. She’s inspiring as always.

Saturday –
I swung by Quixotic and they said the sample was still out of pocket and I committed to swing back by.


As Lisa and I found our Two-faced Knitting Class, a ravelry friend and I happened upon each other and she generously gifted me some of her gorgeous celtic knot stitch markers. Thank you, Sarah!

After settling into our spots, Lisa and I began 3 hours of concentrated learning with Melissa Leapman. We’ve taken classes from her before, but years have passed and we forgot how she likes to stay on track and push her students. I am a fairly experienced knitter. It’s been a long time since my hands have sweated because I’m doing something uncomfortable. During that portion of the class, Melissa said, “This is not easy knitting.” and I wrote that down. Because I expect as I’m knitting a reversible scarf in the future, I’ll need reminding that someone as talented and skilled as Melissa is willing to admit that this is not easy. In addition to being a skilled knitting instructor, Melissa is really nice and was game for a sock in progress photo. I look forward to my next class with her.

Saturday afternoon, I did some shopping consulting with Tasha while knitting on my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sock (walking and knitting turned out not to be my smartest move, but I have no regrets). I also helped Jeanette find cashmere for her tulip shawl. (I’m calling it her tulip shawl because it’s pink, cream and green.) It’s going to be lovely. I tried out the 2.00mm Signature Needle Arts DPN’s. I liked them. They’re smooth but a little too pricey for me as I usually knit socks on 2.25mm DPN’s ($75 for 4 – this is a limited run, so if you want a set, now is the time).

I glanced into the Quixotic booth and they appeared to be sold out of the siren song yarn so I made peace with the fact that it wasn’t meant to be.

Lisa finished her class and we headed back to the hotel to charge our phones, knit on our pretty green/rainbow socks and relax a little bit before dinner. We met a group of vastly entertaining knitters at The Ranch in Las Calinas and proceeded to eat more than was sane. It was a spectacular evening.

Back at the hotel, while chatting and knitting, I was thrilled to be chilly so I could show off my (unblocked) sweater. We stayed up far too late considering my age (somewhere between 1 and 2am).

Sunday –
After a healthy breakfast, Lisa and I were departing for home. I glanced longingly towards Quixotic one last time and spied the bright speckled yarn!…and they had a sock knit up in similar yarn! The pooling was only bad around the heel, so I pulled out my piggy bank and a hammer to take their last hank home with me. As I chatted with the shopkeepers, it turns out they’d just put the last hank out after saving it for me because I’d visited it so many times. This was terribly sweet of them and I appreciate it GREATLY! So, if you’re near Whitesboro, swing into Quixotic, say hi, and please tell them the crazy girl that visited the Guatemalan yarn 5 times before buying it sent you.

My favorite things:
Must Stash Yarn – Perfect Sock – Eeyore’s Rainbow colorway (the hard part is going to be selecting a contrast heel/toe color! Suggestions welcome.)
Brazen Stitchery – Paparazzi Sock – Cyber Baby colorway
Pawley Studios – Gray “Winter is Coming, knit faster” mug
Diana Couture – Tardis Stitch Hoodie
Suburban Stitcher – coffee and donuts bag
White Birch Fiber Arts – Tanya’s Rainbow colorway
Quixotic Fibers – Yarn Rehab – Rockshelter Sock – Guatemalan colorway

On the way home, we stopped in West to get kolaches for lunch and then Lisa knit on her rainbow sock as I drove us through the wildflowers back to Austin.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who made DFW Fiber Fest possible! and Thanks my partner in crime, Lisa, for joining me!


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