Handmade: Day 2

This morning I had choir as usual at St Mary's, but with a couple of incidents that weren't entirely usual. During Mass, Olivia and I sang the Monteverdi duet we'd been working on (a 'Salve Regina' setting), and it went really well. We'd had a good run-through before Mass, which helped our confidence a lot. I'm even getting more used to leading now. But alas, Olivia is departing to Berlin to pursue her art career. The choir had a farewell lunch (bring-a-plate style), and it was all a bit sad. But she has promised to return after a year or so, and keep us up-to-date with her adventures via email.

Afterwards, I headed over to Te Papa for more crafting at the knit lounge. I hadn't signed up for any classes for today, so I just hung out and did some spinning and knitting and chatting. A couple of people had brought their spinning wheels, which was cool to watch. I started spinning some rainbow merino on my wee turkish spindle (both recently acquired).

When I got sick of spinning, I switched to working on the little knitted bag that I started at yesterday's two-handed knitting class. Happily, I still remembered how to do it! Still awkward, but I shall keep practising. Eventually I started making mistakes and dropping needles, so I took a hint and called it a day. Time to curl up with a pot of tea and my kindle... :)

Handmade: Day 1

First up, Willie accompanied me to a lecture about the history of knitting: "Proud Knitters: A History of Communities of Strangers". It was really fascinating! I didn't know people used to write in to magazines and answer each other's crafting questions, much like we now do online. Or that paper shortages during the war affected how detailed patterns in magazines instructions could be - that explains the extreme brevity of many older patterns, which are so hard for us to figure out today. We're used to being given much more detail!

After the lecture, Willie headed out to a family lunch and I went to the 'knit lounge' to hang out before my afternoon class. I tried out some GIANT knitting needles, which were rather hard on one's arms (bloody cool though)...

I had brought a knitting project to work on, but I noticed no-one was spinning, so I decided to get out my spindle and represent. ;) I got a few curious folks watching and asking questions, and one little boy tested my fibre for softness by rubbing it on his nose (eww). The Holland Road Yarn Co folks had lots of yarn and fibre and needles and things for sale, and I fell in love with this merino spinning fibre:

I'm a sucker for pretty colours.

My afternoon class was over in the town hall, so some of us trooped over there together. I'm glad I booked early for "Two-Handed Stranded Knitting", because it sold out. It was definitely worth seeing the technique in person rather that from a book, because it was a bit tricky to get my head around. We started making our little bags by knitting 'normally', and then learned to knit with our other hand. In my case this meant holding the yarn in my left hand and scooping it off my left index finger to make each stitch.

Once we'd mostly got the hang of that, the teacher (Morag of Vintage Purls) showed us how to alternate stitches with the two strands of yarn held in one-in-each-hand. It actually wasn't too awkward after the practice I'd had knitting with my left hand, although I was knitting tighter than usual. After the alternating stripes, we started on a charted picture of two birds, learning how to secure the long floats at the back as we went. I didn't get very far on the birds, but it'll be good to keep practising so I don't forget what I've learned.

I'm going to Handmade 2012!

I missed out last year due to being inconveniently out of town, and was Not Pleased when I found out I'd booked my trip right on top of it.

Handmade is a weekend of craft workshops, classes, and lectures held at the national museum, Te Papa over Queen's Birthday weekend (2-3 June). Last year the entrance to Te Papa was yarn-bombed for the occasion:

Here's the list of yarn-related classes: Yarn - Handmade 2012. There's quite a range! I've signed up for "Twice the Fun - Two Handed Stranded Knitting", which should be really useful to me - better, faster stranded colourwork? Yes please! It's a technique I don't think I could get the hang of on my own, so I really want to take this class. The "Basics to Improve your Photography" lecture might be helpful too. There's a spinning class, but it looks like it's for complete beginners, which I'm not anymore (just a relative beginner).

There will also be things to buy (could be dangerous if there's yarn and fibre), and a Knit Lounge which I'm looking forward to. I think I'll bring my Chickadee cardie and make some progress. It'll be neat to meet other craft-obsessed folks! I don't get to knit with others very often, with the exception of my mum (hi Mum!). :p