June 11, 2010

Knitting Memories of Alaska

Haines, AK
Originally uploaded by miminh3
Our trip to Alaska went by too fast, as all great vacations do! Here are some knitting-related highlights from our trip -- Boy and I spent five days on our own to visit the Denali National Park and the Kenai Fjords National Park and then hopped on a seven-day cruise from Seward to Vancouver.

- In Anchorage, I stopped by the Oomingmak co-op and bought a beautiful Herder's cap from their Tundra and Snow collection. I talked to one of the knitters there and observed the meticulous and lightning-fast blocking of items. Tip: they use a cardboard sewing cutting board for blocking, it has everything you need to measure your finished item and the cardboard is fine for lace items.

- In Palmer, we visited the Musk Ox Farm which supplies the Oomingmak with its qiviut. It was great to see these imposing animals in beautiful scenery: some calves were born just a few days before our visit so there was some chasing to give one of them a shot, it was just like a rodeo.

- During the cruise days where we were at sea, I took five knitting classes, three with Lucy Neatby and two with Donna Druchunas.
*I had many epiphanies during Lucy's classes regarding the modified conventional bind-off, the garter stitch short-row heel, the toe chimney,... and the list goes on and on.
*Donna's classes on Japanese Knitting and Lace design opened up a whole new world of possibilities. I look forward to navigating japanese knitting charts and maybe even use some of those stitches in my own designs. Should I join 'Je tricote en japonais'?

- I had the opportunity to enhance my stash with some local finds
* sock yarn handdyed by Fireweed Dyeworks in the colorways "Alaskan Wildflower" and "Lupine"
* local qiviut purchased at the Far North Yarn Co. I was thrilled to see a knitted sample hat that only required a half ounce of qiviut, the Wavy Feathers Qiviut Hat, and a knitted cowl that required one ounce. Not only was it the only yarn store I visited that sold qiviut by the half-ounce, it was also the most affordable one ($38 per half ounce). I was slightly overwhelmed by their awesome yarn selection but regained enough consciousness to also purchase Donna's new book, Successful Lace Knitting.
* silk hankies to spin by Raven Frog Fibers
* SweetGeorgia yarns purchased at Three Bags Full: I know that I have plenty of Felicia's yarn already and that I belong to her monthly fiber club but one can never have too much of her vibrant colors
* yarn by Indigo Moon and Gourmet Crafter purchased at Urban Yarns

I might not get around to knitting or spinning these for a while but when I do, the memories of this trip will bring me comfort.

Oh, and have I mentioned that I have a new weapon in my stash-busting arsenal? At last week's Maine Fiber Frolic, Boy bought me a Cricket loom as a birthday present.

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