My absolute favorite part of Madrona is visiting with friends from both near and far that I don’t get to see nearly often enough.
Beyond that it’s hard to pick favorites at Madrona because the event itself is just wonderful from start to finish and the classes, in my experience, are always excellent. The only bad part of Madrona is waiting a whole year for the next one!
That being said, if I had to pick one class from the entire weekend as my favorite then Susanna Hansson’s Lapland Hand Garments: The mittens from Rovaniemi would be that class.
When the Madrona class listing first came out I had googled ‘rovaniemi mittens’ and found Lene’s lovely mittens . I was quite intrigued to learn this interesting intarsia in the round technique though the reference in the class description of using “11 small balls of yarn” sounded a bit daunting. I was thrilled when Vanessa and I both managed to get in to the class before it filled up.
Day One – The Mittens of Rovaniemi
After some interesting historical and geographical background we were able to admire, fondle and even try on the sample mittens. I read Lene Alve’s blog regularly and so I have admired her knitting online many times, but it doesn’t compare to seeing her absolutely perfect and beautiful knitting in person. Lene is an artist and an absolutely inspiring knitter.
The technique was a bit more challenging in the finer gauge and smaller needles (I believe I overheard Stephanie tell Susanna that the larger gauge sample made one a little over-confident and the finer gauge knitting was a more humbling experience)
Of course, Vanessa, being the lightning fast knitter that she is, was miles ahead of me towards the end of class. Here she is knitting away:
(note the difference in magnet placement on our charts!)
The mitten round-up at the end of class. My mitten is the blue and green one on the left.
Usually by the end of class I’m ready for a bit of a break before continuing on with my sample (for example, the break for my Estonian lace sample has been going on for over a year now…), but I think this technique is quite addictive. After class Vanessa and I went straight to our hotel room and kept knitting, only stopping because we had to leave for dinner with friends.
Susanna Hansson is simply an excellent teacher and an absolutely lovely person to spend the day with. I’m anxious to take another class from her and am looking forward to attending the the Nordic Knitting Conference in October if I can.
My morning class on Friday was the Morphing Cables class with Fiona Ellis. I enjoyed listening to Fiona talk about her inspiration for cables and techniques to use in order to achieve different cable forms. I think I would have done better with a slightly more structured class on this particular day. I was starting to feel decidedly unwell at this point and not overly creative. The unstructured approach left me a bit at loose ends (no pun intended) until the Sudafed finally kicked in close to the end of class. I enjoyed chatting with my neighbors though and seeing their lovely cable creations, Lara’s was particularly lovely. My own was quite hideous and there will be no photographic evidence presented here.
My afternoon class was a mentoring session with Stephanie. Holly and I had signed up just to hang out and listen to Stephanie. Class introductions revealed that the majority of attendees had been of the same mind (I was relieved not to have to be the first one to admit it during the ‘around the table’ introductions). Among other things, Stephanie shared a lot of good information about decreasing for set in sleeves and planning decrease ratios based on body frame (complete with drawn flip chart diagrams!). As usual, Stephanie was highly entertaining and educational at the same time.
For some strange reason, I decided to bring my Rovaniemi sampler to work on during the class. In retrospect, I have no idea what I was thinking other than I really wanted to finish it up. I already knew that I didn’t feel well, that the process takes a lot of concentration and there was limited table space all of which made this knitting a horrible candidate for the afternoon’s work.
Saturday’s class was an introduction to Fair Isle design with Janine Bajus. Another excellent class! As a regular reader of Janine’s blog, it was quite exciting to see her lovely designs in person and hear about her approach to designing Fair Isle projects.
This was a 3-day workshop crammed into a single day. Lots of color theory and hands-on color exercises, including interpreting an inspiration photo in yarn. Janine gave instruction on two-color knitting for attendees not familiar with the technique while more advanced members worked on selecting yarn to make their sample cap. The class included two hat patterns and two ounces of yarn from Janine’s really amazing stash of Shetland yarn.
I would love to take the 3-day version of this workshop!
I did not take as many photos as I should have during this class because by Saturday I was feeling decidedly lousy. I wish I’d gotten a photo of Janine’s huge bag of Shetland bobbins. She has a sample of every single Jamieson’s and Jamieson and Smith yarn available. Invaluable if you are planning to design your own Fair Isle garments according to Janine.
I was really quite restrained at the Madrona marketplace, especially if we decide to completely ignore the fact that my actual goal was to buy nothing…
My sole marketplace acquisitions:
Mulberry Silk-Superfine Merino roving in “Farmhouse” by Blue Moon Fiber Arts
The Blue Moon Fiber Arts roving is just because I couldn’t resist (I tried, really, but resistance is futile). That’s a dangerous booth to be in!
I also bought some felted flowers from Una at Wooly Walkers (these are gifts for some friends at work).
I have to admit that the lack of purchases probably had more to do with me feeling sick most of the weekend and not from any real self-control on my part.
One of these times I’ll remember to take more photos of the evening get-togethers. The trouble is I’m so busy having a good time that I forget to snap photos. Here are a few that I did remember to take:
clockwise from front left
Angela! (looking much better in my hat than I do)
clockwise from bottom front
I can’t wait for next year!