Sunday, September 14, 2008
Back to Portland
Dateline: Portland, OR, 9/14/08
After many years without visiting Portland, I am here for the second time this year. This time I'm attending the Knit and Crochet Show, an event held jointly by the national knitting and crochet guilds. I flew this time, not being up for another 1500-mile round-trip drive. The weather is a lot better than when I was here in March. No snow this time; in fact, it's warmer here than it is at home.
I'm practicing traveling light for my trip to Italy next month, when I'll be taking several train trips. I did pretty well on clothing, but of course I brought more yarn and more projects than I could possibly work on in 4 days. Still, I had no problem taking the light rail from the airport to a stop just a half block from the hotel. I continue to be impressed with Portland's public transportation.
Knit and Crochet is a much smaller conference than Stitches. This has good and bad points. The market is a lot less crowded, but there are a lot fewer vendors. There are fewer classes to choose from, but still a good variety, and a lot more crochet classes than at Stitches. This time I took exclusively crochet classes. I don't crochet as much as I knit, but I really enjoy crochet, and I'd like to learn more about it. (The market included a booth for the Crochet Liberation Front, a group that defends crochet against the too-common bias against it among knitters.)
Both of my Friday classes were with Darla Fanton. I've taken classes with Darla before; she's an excellent teacher, and she teaches unusual techniques like Tunisian crochet. These two classes were in bead crochet. I had a really hard time with the first class, which was crocheting a bracelet with very fine thread and a tiny hook. After several bad starts, I gave up and decided I should try it with heavier thread first. I did a lot better in the afternoon class, where we crocheted a necklace with wire (pictured at the top).
Yesterday I took a shawl crochet class with Melissa Leapman, a New Yorker who is the author of several knit and crochet books. We made 3 miniature shawls in class, and I really enjoyed the two triangular samples. The one on top has a picot edge and the other a ruffled edge. Since most of my crochet work so far has been limited to scarves, I was happy to learn how to do increases.
This morning's class was in broomstick lace with Jennifer Hansen, the owner of Stitch Diva Studios, who also specializes in unusual techniques. I couldn't imagine what kind of technique would use a huge knitting needle (size US 19) along with a small crochet hook, but I soon found out. You make big loops and put them on the knitting needle, then crochet into groupings of the loops. The class project, which I haven't yet finished, was a small Victorian drawstring pouch. Jennifer managed to include all sorts of techniques in the project: increases, decreases, short rows, and working in the round. I think this technique would make a beautiful scarf.
Of course I was tired for my Sunday afternoon class, but I still enjoyed Going Around in Circles with Marty Miller. We crocheted several sample circles, learning how to increase (if starting from the inside) or decrease (from the outside), add a ruffle, etc. The sample at the upper left is the beginning of a short row circle.
I was pretty restrained at the market, buying only a little bit of yarn, a book and a few patterns. I think I've finally caught on to the fact that I have an excessive stash, and spending a lot of time beading has decreased my desire to buy yarn. I'm also saving up some yarn buying "credits" for next week's Peninsula LYS Shop Hop.
I didn't have much time to be a tourist in Portland, but I did go to the Saturday Market yesterday. This Portland institution goes back almost 35 years. My first trip here was in 1975, when Jim and I came here to visit his brother Tom and sister-in-law Suzy, who lived here then. On Saturday morning they chopped a bunch of ingredients and came to the Saturday Market, where they operated a taco stand. (This was in addition to their day jobs.) Now the food stands seem a lot more commercialized, and the market is a lot bigger than I remembered.