Stitches Midwest 2010

How do you describe a convention center full of enthusiastic “fiber-fiends” strolling aisle after aisle of patterns, yarns, books, needles, notions, bags, kits, etcetra?

Answer:  You DON’T describe it, you CANNOT describe it…you must EXPERIENCE it!

Stitches Midwest 2010 took place this past weekend in Schaumburg, IL and the Knitistas were THERE!!

The Knitistas

This is US!  From left to right beginning with the back row:  Jonna, Amy, Laura and Maureen.  From the left to right in the front row:  Autumn, Missy, Renee, Angi and Layla.  We had this picture taken at the close of our adventure.  Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory was a welcome celebration of Jonna’s birthday and Amy’s upcoming birthday…pictures of a few cheesecakes will follow later, I promise.  By the way, this is the first official photograph of all NINE of us together…another reason for celebration.

Here’s a little of what we saw (and because cameras were not allowed inside we did the best we could in photos afterward).

Only at Stitches!

This picture gives credence to my above comment…there are no words to describe some of what we saw beginning in the parking lot!  The Flying Fingers van stuck out like a sore thumb with 3 balls of yarn and 2 needles piled on top.  I wanted so bad to find the owner of this van and ask, “how did you do it?”  I can only imagine the looks it drew as they drove from NY to IL for this extravaganza…I know I’d do a double take!

A "cake"

This is a “cake.”  Really, it’s a “cake.”  This is Maureen’s “cake” and if you know the size of a time notice there are TWO dimes next to this “cake.”  It’s a big honkin’ hunk of yarn!  And Maureen plans to make the “Two Movie” shawl (also known as the “One Kevin Costner Movie” shawl)…take your pick.  I’d much prefer one “Dances with Wolves” over one “Waterworld,” or my personal choice the “Colin Firth Pride & Prejudice” shawl…now THAT I’d go for.  :)

I’m sure once she lives through the movie(s), Mo will be happy to model her new shawl for the blog and then the rest of the world will know what a “cake” makes!  Stay tuned…

Laura's Bags

When we all returned to the Fox Valley, we made a short stop at Angi’s to dump our purchases and frolic in our fibers for a few minutes like a child coming home from a super successful night of trick-or-treating.  Laura needed more than one bag for her purchases and insisted her husband said she could!  :D  It must be noted that Laura was probably the most organized Knitista because she prepared a binder of patterns needing yarn!  We all made the decision to be better prepared for next year for a lot of reasons…most importantly planning to spend the night!

The really cool thing Laura bought were her clear clogs.  Only a knitter of socks would understand the importance of clear clogs.  It’s probably safe to say Laura will have all the Knitista’s finally knitting sock when she shows off her skills in those shoes!

The Cutest Stash

If an award were to be presented to a person with the cutest purchases of the day, that award would have to go to Layla.  Without a doubt, she is the little apple that didn’t fall far from the tree…her mom has got an eye for cute, fun things and so does Layla.  The little Tooth Fairy is so adorable and I’m sick I missed it!

Here’s a little more of Layla’s Stash…the yellow and blue yarn was so luscious and the patterns she chose were precious…the girl’s got taste!

Missy's Purchases

This was Missy’s first Stitches and she was Pro up and down the aisles!  Check out the cute bags in the back (another missed item on my mission)!  She’s got a cute shawl pin on the far right, new needles and The Kit.  The Kit is important because we ALL got The Kit…in different colors of course.  The Kit makes a Scarf in a Scarf and ohhhhhhhh what you can do with that scarf!  We were all oohing and aahhing and sqealing in this poor man’s booth when we found The Kit.

Check out some of the colors we bought:

The Kits of Many Colors

These are going to be so cute…all of them!

Okay, that’s it for this particular post.  There is more from our Stitches Midwest 2010 adventure and more photos too.  But this blogger only has so many hours in a day.  Until next time…Happy Knitting!

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Remembering Ashley

It is stunning to look back over the course of a year and realize how quickly time passes.  This past week the Knitistas took a little time out to remember the lovely young lady who gave our group its name…Ashley.

Flowers for Ashley

Ashley lost her fight against cancer last year on August 13.  This year to remember Ashley, friends and family gathered to say prayers and release orange/purple balloons.  It was a hot, humid evening with an impending storm that could have disrupted this event, but it didn’t.  Instead it brought a quick rain with some gusty wind and left us with a quick glimpse of a rainbow…the universal sign from God of hope…a word Ashley knew all too well.

Hope and Faith

Following the Friday night memorial, the Knitistas gathered as they always have on Saturday to knit and laugh and talk and enjoy.  We missed Mo and Laura who could not make it, but we did discuss the upcoming Stitches Midwest and the giddy anticipation we were all feeling about a day filled with yarn, yarn, yarn!

We also had a little show and tell time with our recently finished and newly begun projects…

Renee’s Lucy Bag

Renee brought her recently felted Lucy Bag.  She made the larger of the two sizes and used Cascade 220 with a little Noro in the center for the beautiful color change.  Take a look at how great the bottom turned out…

The bottom of the Lucy Bag

Love the way that swirls!

Amy continues her love of all things beaded and sparkly with her latest project…

Sparkly Beads – Pretty Needles

I just love how she makes these…they are so girly and look complicated, but she puts them together with ease!!  Soooooo cool!

Angi has started a special lap throw for a special young man…

State of Texas

How clever is that block?  The state of Texas is created with specially placed purls.  Dallie is the special young man, a friend and KA fraternity brother of Angi’s son Niko.  Dallie was recently injured in a serious accident on his way to work.  We’re keeping him in our prayers and Angi’s doing what Angi does best…making something for someone in a thoughtful way!

In the KA colors

This is going to be such a sweet, special gift.

Well…failure on my part to take pictures of Jonna and Renee’s latest projects…mine too!  Maybe after our big weekend at stitches we’ll have more pictures to share of so much it will take up blog space for at least a month!

We also need to start thinking about another trip to Mo’s cabin in the woods.  With this recent small shift in temps…I’m ready!

To end the way this post began…remembering Ashley…this is the cd we all received last year and after listening to it again on Saturday, let me just say “thanks for taking the time to do this Ashley.”

Ashley’s CD

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The Wisconsin Projects

Renee's "Watermelon" Project

This post is beginning with a picture instead of words.  A nice little change of pace for anyone who follows “The Knitistas.”  What you are looking at in the picture above is a wrap/shawl Renee finished while we were “retreating” in the Wisconsin Woods recently.

I am hoping by posting the pictures of the projects we were working on that the Knitistas themselves will comment and explain the project they were knitting, the yarn they were using and maybe even who they were making their respective projects for…HINT, HINT!

Jonna’s Clapotis

Okay…shoot me!   I gave this one away.  It’s a Clapotis started by Jonna.  But I will not tell you the yarn she is using or for whom she is knitting it.  Mystery is a good thing!  Isn’t it lovely?  And I can tell you she has done this before.  The pattern can be found here:  Clapotis Pattern

Amy’s Sparkly Table Runner

Moving around the couch (it was quite a large couch) we have Amy holding her table runner with beads on the end giving it a bit of “sparkle.”  Now you have to know Amy…she’s all about sparkles!  Oh…and beads!  She has quite a knack for the little “buggers.”  I call them “buggers” because I’m always spilling or otherwise accidentally shooting them across the room.  Amy’s got the the bead thing down to a science!  Fill us in on the yarn and pattern Amy!!!

The Orange Vest

This is Maureen’s project (at least one of them).  Maureen is notorious for making top down sweaters, vests, shrugs, etc.   She’s fast and she’s good.  She’s also petite like a Barbie Doll, so everything she makes fits AND looks good on her.  Go figure.  By the way, she’s also the one who’s sleeping sitting up in the previous post (yea, go back and enjoy that picture)!  I can jab at her like that because she can take it…seriously!  And I only jab her because I love her (just to make that clear).

Laura’s Hot Little Number

Laura, as I’ve said before, is our newest Knitista.  She’s also quite the knitter.  This Hot Little Number (as I’ve named it) was just too scrumptious to describe.  To see it in person is AWE!  Not a single detail will be given away on this little project until Laura, herself, chimes in with comments.  Besides, it’s just impossible to remember all the beauty that was being knitted that weekend.  I’m just ONE woman!

Angi’s Shrug

This nice little ditty is just ONE of Angi’s projects.  She’s our expert Knitter/Crocheter extraordinaire and the “go-to” girl for a lot of issues.  What you see in the picture is truly gorgeous sweater and she worked on this as well as…

Angi’s New Project

This is the start of a new project of Angi’s after we visited The Troll’s Cove! She was on a roll and with all the movies we watch, a lot of knitting was accomplished.  Hopefully follow up pictures will be in our future

Layla’s Choice

Layla is our youngest Knitista!  The spitting image of her mother (Angi), Layla loves animals.  She has 3 adorable little dogs and she’s been knitting them little blankets and gifts.  The dogs are pampered and for good reason…they ROCK!  Layla must be given credit for joining the other Knitistas for our Wisconsin Weekend because as a teen (with a boyfriend) it was a long, hard weekend without the significant other.  I remember those days…they were tough!

The Vogue Scarf

This is my work.  Initially I brought a crochet project…the Babette Blanket I am making for my mother.  I had been working on it for a while, but like anything monotonous I needed a break.  While visiting The Troll’s Cove, I found some cotton yarn on sale and not being able to pass up a good sale…I bought it and started the Vogue Pattern.  So far, so good and hopefully a completed picture will appear here before the summer ends!

ATTENTION KNITISTAS: Fill in the gaps with your project details…share with the “blog-world” all things fiber from our weekend in the Wisconsin woods.  Until next time…xoxoxoxoxoxo, Autumn

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Food and Funnies!

The Wisconsin Getaway was jammed packed with knitting.   You already know that.

You probably also know that it was jammed packed with movies (see previous post, if you’re clueless).

And it is probably a given that you know the weekend was jammed packed with FOOD!

When 8 ladies converge for a weekend of female bonding there is going to be food…lots of good food!  In hindsight, I wish I had the forethought to take pictures of the various edible creations we brought and shared…but I failed!  So sorry.

However, in order to redeem my “epic failure” I will share with anyone who so boldly reads this blog…a recipe.  Not just any recipe, but a stupid recipe.  I call it a stupid recipe because it’s so simple, it’s stupid…which reminds me of one of the movies we watched:

Steel Magnolias

The ladies are sharing recipes while getting their hair done in Truvy’s shop.  She (Truvy: Dolly Parton’s character) rattles off  “a cup of flour, a cup of sugar and a cup of fruit cocktail with the juices.  Bake at 350• until golden bubbly.”  Now I have never tried that recipe (although I’m tempted).  She claims it is “rich”…and it sounds so…maybe someday when I’m feeling adventuresome or just missing my southern roots…

Steel Magnolias

Anyway, the Knitistas enjoyed my silly recipe called Firecrackers.  It’s just a snack, but I will be very honest…I cannot keep enough in my pantry because my children eat it like it’s some sort of candy!

Firecrackers! YUM!!!

Firecrackers:  The Recipe

1/2 cup of canola oil

1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix

2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper

1 box of Cheez-Its

1 pkg of oyster crackers

Mix the first 3 ingredients together with a whisk.  Pour mixture over all crackers in a sealable container and shake until tossed thoroughly.  (You can bake them for 10 minutes at 325•, but I don’t and they do not get soggy).

Now this is just one of the options we had to choose from for snacking on our knitting retreat.  We also had homemade salsa and guacamole (Jonna), pesto chicken (Amy), phenomenal pasta and sauce (Angi), chocolate peanut butter treats (Jonna, I think), Italian beefs (Laura who learned how to massage the beef…don’t ask), raspberry-almond sugar cookies (Laura), and much more.  We had tons of food…so much that we could not begin to eat it all.  I’m hoping the Knitistas will respond to this post and share their recipes too!!!  (hint-hint)

Until they put out the recipe information, I’m going to share a few funny moments from the weekend.

First, Maureen sleeping while sitting upright…

Mo...asleep during "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"

She gave up the fight and I’m not sure how long she was gone before we realized it.  Cute sleeper, isn’t she?

Amy and the Sunglasses

Amy is wearing her sunglasses inside a building.  Yes, it’s true.  Why, you ask?  Because I took like 5 or 6 pictures of her sitting at this table inside A Troll’s Cove and EVERY single picture showed her with her eyes CLOSED!  Finally, I asked her to put on her sunglasses (which she cheerfully obliged) so regardless of the position of her eyelids, I could get a picture of her.

Laura...our newest Knitista

This is Laura.  She is our newest Knitista and by all accounts she’s a “shoe-in.”  Not only does she knit beautifully, she’s got a great sense of humor as you can see in the photo above.  This picture was taken Friday night upon our arrival…she’s comfortable enough to act as silly as we do!  Go Laura!

Until tomorrow Knitista Fans…

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Movies – Movies – Movies (and knitting)

Our time in the Wisconsin woods was dominated by fiber and friendship, but always in the background (and many times in the foreground) we had a movie running.

Curled up on the comfy couches we managed to focus on what our hands were doing and what our eyes were watching – multitasking moms – as always!

Upon our arrival we unloaded the cars in a ridiculous downpour!  The first thing we unpacked…FOOD/DRINK!

Amy and Jonna and the margharita!

The second thing we unpacked…KNITTING!

Maureen claimed her spot on the couch.

It is imperative to point out the blankets that will be showcased in these pictures, quilts made by Maureen…LOTS of them!

Renee and Jonna found their spots.

Notice the knitting projects are in hand, blankets surrounding us and ample light (after an energetic search for light bulbs) for the weekend.  At this point we had chosen our first movie: “13 Going on 30″ with Jennifer Garner and we began to settle in…

Amy chose not to knit right away.

…as Amy demonstrates her relaxation method which did not involve needles and fiber.  Rest assured “chickens,” she did join the knitting circle eventually.  A Knitista can only last so long and she must engage her inner yarn-diva!

Layla begins her "Choice."

Next to Amy on the couch is Layla…and credit must be given to a 16 year-old who separates herself from her beloved to spend the weekend with the girls.  Much progress was made on the “choice throw” she started that weekend…Yay, Layla!

Angi and Laura settled in on the leather couch.

On the other couch is Angi and Laura.  Let me be clear…the couches were so comfortable I cannot even tell you.  The couches made us happy, the yarn made us happy and the movies made us happy!

Returning to the movies we watched, here is the list:

  1. 13 Going on 30
  2. Sense and Sensibility
  3. Grey Gardens
  4. Dan in Real Life
  5. Steel Magnolias
  6. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  7. Chocolat
  8. Men of Honor

That’s pretty much the order in which we watched them too!  “Dan in Real Life” left us with the line: “Plan to be Surprised.”  We liked that.

“Steel Magnolias” struck a personal chord with our group that will remain privately ours.

“Chocolat” was a movie that delighted the part of ourselves that embraces the differences in others.  It was entertaining, beautiful (several of us liked looking at Johnny Depp) and thought-provoking in a human nature sort of way.

“Grey Gardens” was new to several of us and we were intrigued by the lives of the Beales and how they descended from the heights of society to the depths of poverty.  We are curious to learn more since it was a true story.

So that wraps up the theatrical entertainment we managed to squeeze in between the stitches, sleep and food.  For the record we did leave the cabin for several hours on Saturday…we weren’t total recluses!  :)

Cooking corn next to the bed is not a way of life for Knititstas!  Just sayin’!

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Wisconsin or Bust!

It was quite the weekend.  Some of us needed it more than others and the excitement was incredible.  Two nights away from our families in a quiet log cabin somewhere in the woods of Wisconsin.  You wouldn’t understand unless you were addicted to fiber like we are…knitting, movies, knitting, food, knitting, laughing, knitting, sleeping…repeat.

Here’s how it all started:

The “mommy mobile” packed with the belongings of 6 knitters.

Eight women actually packed for the weekend and we had to take two vehicles for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was SPACE.  Lots and lots of bags…women love bags!

The view from our cabin was “spectacular!”

We used the adjective “spectacular” several times throughout the weekend to describe many things…this view fit the bill.  :)

A Troll’s Cove!

A few of the gals knew of this little hidden treasure and after a brief 20 minute car ride, we were there!  Spent a little $$$ and we were all happy campers!

A little fiber is good for the soul!

Here is some of the yarn we discovered at A Troll’s Cove…we’ve seen it before in other places, but sometimes it’s good to see it in new places too!  Noro, a definite favorite and Plymouth Llama Cotton Grande was luscious.  :)

Troll’s Cove owner…Sandy!

Sandy was an exceptional hostess as the 8 of us invaded her store.  She had many beautiful samples, discontinued yarns on sale, needles that were priced just right and suggestions for each of us.  We will all return to visit her again the next time we are in the area.

This caught our eyes and we felt worthy.

After our field trip to A Troll’s Cove, we returned to the cabin to justify the damage we had done and start every new project we could.  It was a blissful weekend, indeed.

More pictures to follow in the coming days.  After taking 165 pictures, I couldn’t post them all at once…stay tuned!

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Our First Little Video

I’ve been dabbling with pictures, iMovie and YouTube lately.  Primarily it has been associated with a part time job I started in January with a local real estate firm.  An agent gets a new listing and I get to take the interior and exterior pictures for the Internet sites on which we post.  It has been more than fun and more than a huge learning experience for me.

That being said, I decided it was time for the Knitistas to have their first little video put together.  Every Saturday the Knitistas meet at a local coffee shop to spend a couple of hours together sharing the bits and pieces of our lives and working on our latest fiber projects.  In the past, I have brought along my camera to document the fun and this past Saturday I did just that.

Now I am not a professional photographer (not by a longshot), but I do try.  As with everything I take on, I learn as I go and the camera is no exception.  Someday I am certain I will look back on these photos and think, “what the heck was I doing?!”

Regardless, today I am proud to share with you “Springtime Knitting.”

Springtime Knitting:  Yummy Colors

I hope you enjoy a snippet of our afternoon!  :)

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