The place to be this weekend for knitters and crocheters was the Knit-Out and Crochet 2009 event, put on by the wonderful folks of the Craft Yarn Council of America. I was lucky enough to be there, with thousands of my fellow stitchers, for two exciting days at the Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minnesota.
We ruled the Mall, my friends. Everywhere you went, there were groups of knitters and crocheters, hooks and needles in hand, talking about socks and afghan squares and, of course, yarn, yarn, and more yarn!
I didn't really know what to expect, since this was my first big Knit-Out. I have one word: Wowzer! There were demos on intarsia, joining crochet motifs, and demystifying cables (both knitted and crocheted!), amongst others. There were vendor booths, where you could see (and fondle...) the new yarns, and the new yarn colors, available from many of everyone's favorite yarn companies. There were fashion shows, where we got to see what's ahead from our beloved knitting and crochet magazines, as well as fascinating ways to use all the nifty new yarns we were seeing. And there were prizes, and freebies, and goodie bags galore! Everyone I talked to was thrilled about the free yarn, free patterns, and other surprises that awaited them at the vendor booths. (Thank you, vendors!)
Of course, there was also the chance to hang out with like-minded yarn loving souls everywhere you went.
I also loved hearing about the wonderful work done by Warm Up America, who had tables to collect donated afghan squares, with the best-selling author Debbie Macomber to tell us about her work with this important charity.
I've put together a photo gallery of what I saw there, and on Friday, I'll share some video I took--including interviews with Debbie Macomber and Interweave Crochet designer Edie Eckman--and more.
View the Knit-Out & Crochet 2009 photo gallery
If you crochet afghan squares for charity, or to warm your own loved ones, a great resource is Interweave's handy reference book 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton.
More than simply a stitch pattern book, 200 Crochet Blocks guides you through color choice, texture and pattern mix-and-match, with clear step-by-step instructions and full-color photos of each block.
I like this book because it starts with the much-beloved granny square and builds on it a bit at a time, giving me new ideas and new designs each time I sit down to crochet!
Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.
What's on Sandi's needles? I cannot tell a lie. There might be the sleeve of a Spring sweater from the new issue that just jumped onto my needles, when I wasn't looking. All I can say is, I read Vicki Square's article in the new Spring Knits called "Start as Many New Projects as You Can," and her last sentence inspired me: "Knit anything and everything you want--and enjoy the scenery!" So I am indulging my knitting habit, and not worrying about whatever the knitting police might have to say about it.