I just got back from a very long day at Knit Nation in London with a bag full of yarn and a new skill. I took the very cool Lene Alve's class, Mittens of Rovaniemi, a class that I'd wanted to take ever since I read the Yarn Harlot's post (linked to at "of").
We started off by knitting a wristlet in four colours, one main colour, and three contrast colours.
From the front it looks like regular stranded knitting (although no sane knitter would attempt to carry four colours in one round).
Turn it inside out however and where are the strands?
The answer is there aren't any, the yarn is carried up the work, rather than around - it's pure genius. For each area of contrast colour you have a separate mini-skein of yarn which are skewered on a straight knitting needle in order to keep them in order. This may seem like overkill when dealing with just five mini skeins but it's just enough kill (as Spike once said) when you have eleven mini-skeins as we did when we switched to knitting proper mittens after lunch.
It's a yarn kebab.
It may look like chaos but it's controlled chaos. I didn't get a great way into my mittens - knitting with 2mm needles at tight gauge is a very slow business when you're not used to it - but I got far enough to know that I will be doing more of this (possibly at a slightly looser gauge until my fingers toughen up).
Lene kept circling the class to give us pointers and amaze us with a bevy of samples of astonishing Finnish knitting and crochet techniques. Did you know that you could do colourwork in crochet? And that you can do it without leaving any floats or ends showing (apparently they are hidden away inside the stitches).
Now that's another class I can't wait to take.
Meanwhile during lunch I ran into a few friends.
Jenny, Amy, and Ruth were there to take Franklin Habit's class on lace edgings.
Judith and Jaq were both on duty as part of the Socktopus team and as soon as I walked into the Knit Tea Salon I saw Mel (or rather she saw me). It was lovely to sit an have a chat with Mel over lunch before hitting the marketplace.
I was also very happy to see the lovely folks from Blacker Yarns as I had a voucher from last summer to spend with them. After a bit of dithering I picked eight balls of light grey Shetland DK to knit a Deco and then after another circuit of the marketplace came back to get four balls of Shetland, Corriedale, and Hebridean in different colours for my Rovaniemi mittens.