Sunday, February 17, 2008

One Year

NOTE: If anyone in the Twin Cities has the Star Tribune from MN for Sunday, can I get a copy? I heard I was in it, and looked in it at the newsstand but I didn't see me (so I didn't buy it...) but I guess I should have!

A year ago yesterday we MOVED here to St. Paul. What a year, huh? We are SO glad to be here - we love it, and feel loved and welcomed into the Twin Cities.

So here's a little knitting tip to thank St. Paul for having us - I hope you find it helpful! Unlimited tail - and they guys love it, too...

I want to write more about our year this week, but right now I need to report on the doings at the Mall of America.

Out Knit
The Great American Knit Out was this weekend here at the MOA - right in my own backyard in Bloomington, MN - and I am so tired my feet could fall off and I wouldn't even walk over to pick them up

(huh? I'm tired, I can't make a decent analogy to save my cat.) Harley Davidson boots & Patons needles, that's what I saw a LOT of this weekend!

Lots of folks came from in all over the place - they drove, flew, a few even swam up the Mississippi from Iowa (we're hardy stock here in the midwest) and the lines were absolutely amazing.

One woman in line, when asked what she was waiting for, answered, "I don't know - something free..."

I was asked to do a demo on Saturday - which was fun, but I think the organizers of the event (the CYCA) didn't figure on how many folks might want to hear me.

There was a table and 16 (sixteen) chairs set up for my combination knitting demo. Sixteen.

By 10:30 there were already over 40 folks waiting. So much for the 16 chairs.

I decided to start early, so I gave one demo at 10:30, then did another demo for at least 50 new folks at 11:00 (my assigned time.)

I know there were at least 100 folks because that's how many flip books I brought (and gave - personally - only to folks who STAYED for either demo...)

My voice was totally gone, though. I had to do a sort of throaty yell to be heard over the Mall crowds (and over the 4-sided video extravaganza that was going on behind me - sheesh!)

I had been under the impression that I'd be doing a demo on a raised platform, in front of folks with some kind of microphone - silly me...

It's a shame they didn't offer classes, I think they would have SOLD OUT!

Then there was an author's panel discussion (once again, it was SO hard to hear - that's one loud mall...) but essentially it was fun. After that the authors settled down and signed some books and talked to folks who'd come in from out of town.

It's always a delight to see friends in the yarn biz that I don't get to see on a regular basis - Kristen Nicholas, Edie Eckman, Vickie Howell, Nicky Epstein, Kim Werker, Karen Thalacker (my first time meeting her - she was lovely!)

The big event for me was later in the afternoon when they had the fastest knitter contest. I wasn't competing in the international competition - I'm not in that league - I was just doing the anyone-who-wants-to-compete amateur heat.

170 in 3 Minutes

I almost missed it! (I ran to the bathroom - more lines - and when I got back the amateur contestants were already on stage...) So I rushed up and took a seat on stage in the back.

They had everyone use the same yarn, and it was my first time with it, so I didn't do as well as I hoped. I did, however, knit a total of 170 sts in 3 minutes, which was the best among our little group (2nd and 3rd place were 125 and 105 - I think - I may be off with that...)

It's nowhere near the international speeds, but I was proud! I did so well, I'm certain, because of the Signature Needles I was using. They're amazing - absolutely stunning. I'm sort of a long, metal needle nut (I know they're not everyone's cup of tea) and the goal of knitting is NOT to knit fast.

But this is what I do for a living and I'm very much in love with my new metal needles. Mwa.

Then they had the REAL competition - and it's no secret I was cheering for Miriam Tegels. (I was cheering for everyone, but Miriam is a dear friend and I really wanted her to do her best!)

There were 3 heats, each contestant took their best time out of their 3 attempts, and each contestant got a bit better each time. Hazel Tindall (far right in photo) from the Shetland Isles won - she had 265 sts in 3 minutes and blew EVERYONE out of the water! Miriam (center) was next with 247 sts, and Wannietta (Wan-ee-ta) Prescod (left) came in third. And, get this, Hazel had her own specially made needles and Miriam and Wannietta both used Signature Needles. Coincidence? We think not.

It was SO much more exciting than it sounds - and folks were holding their breath. A fight almost broke out between rowdy fans of Hazel & Miriam. Not really... but I like to think so.

After the fastest crocheter contest (Lisa Gentry won that one - she must have been ONE tired woman with exhausted digits!) Miriam, her husband, Franz, Jennifer (Dominitrix) and Gerry and the kids and I all went out for a nice St. Paul dinner and I got to show off my new home town.

I returned briefly Sunday for lunch with Nicky and her great husband - she's such a doll - and got to visit a bit more with fiber friends. Now I'm home - so tired - and ready to knit.

O Project!
I'm starting on a colorwork using Vermont Organic Fibers OWool & Balance. I'm using both of them together in a tone-on-tone fair isle look, in bands of color.

I'm so excited - I was inspired by a button. Now let's see how fast I can knit this up...


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posted by Annie at


Blogger Pam said...

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me at the Knit Out. I hung in the back of one of your demos and met Gerry and Hannah, absolutely lovely family. I posted a pic of you and me (I'm sure you met 10,000 folks and will be in at least 9,000 blog posts!) I'm at

February 17, 2008 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Stella - Minneapolis said...

Sunday StarTribune Metro West: BIG picture of you with BIG needles doing demo, also mentions your speed win. Drop down the multimedia tab on Strib website, and there you are again, winning on video. Way fun.

February 17, 2008 10:08 PM  
OpenID kmkat said...

Congrats on winning the local speed knit -- you blew them out of the water, just like Hazel did in the Guinness meet. I have lots of pictures of that meet on my blog,

February 17, 2008 10:26 PM  
Blogger christina said...


I'm looking forward to see how your OWool project comes along. I've been pining over it at my LYS but have yet to find "the project" that calls me to use it.

February 17, 2008 10:49 PM  
Anonymous twinsetellen said...

I have a copy of the print version - nice photo! I'll pop it in the mail, but probably not until the weekend as work is rearing its ugly head for a particularly busy week.

February 17, 2008 11:19 PM  
Blogger Auntly H said...

I'll try to rescue the paper from our recycling bin, too. I didn't have a chance to read yesterday and I'm guessing DH missed the knitting.
we need to set up a knitting date soon...

February 18, 2008 5:24 AM  
Blogger Mrs. X said...

I so want to go to a Knit Out someday.

And as for your O Wool project. Long years of Hardanger Embroidery have made me a tone on tone fan. Can't wait to see this project!

February 18, 2008 12:10 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I enjoyed your demo and I love my new Flip Book. I actually didn't know what combination knitting was, and was very surprised that I was one. Funny what happens when you find your own way in the knitting world. Congrats on the speed knitting that is awesome!

February 18, 2008 1:01 PM  
Blogger Mary Kay said...

Wow Annie! You make that Mall look good! I wish I could have made it. Thanks for all you do. It makes the gray days brighter to read your posts. And the days have been gray for us all. Best of luck with the new service. Don't look back, as Marcy says, they ain't nothin'

February 18, 2008 3:58 PM  
Blogger Marti Knits in SF said...

I'm really hoping to make it to the big Knit Out at MOA next year. It sounds like so much from from you and the other blogs I've read of recent attendees. Way to go in the knitting contest. Sounds like a fun competition to bring to my local knitting group. I haven't tried Signature Needles yet but I am a metal needle fan so I'll have to start up a wish list and pass that on to the hubby to be. Thanks for the knitting tip!

February 18, 2008 4:52 PM  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

I was one of the fortunate few to get a chair for the second demo. You ROCK!!! I also discovered that I am a combo knitter - your demo clarified some things for me - like decreases. Still having a problem with YOs but I'll figure that out.

February 18, 2008 6:01 PM  
Blogger Wannietta said...

It was such a thrill to meet you in person and Knit Out with the other international champions. You are all such amazing ambassadors for your countries and knitting!!
Jodi and I were flipping over & through your flip books during take off - thanks again for them, they're an excellent how-to reference!

February 18, 2008 6:16 PM  
Blogger knittyauntie said...

You would think that to have the big name knitters/authors that they did,they would have put a bit more effort into making it a bit more accessible to teach,or even just talk.
I could kinda tell you were pretty fed up with the noise situation by the end of your demo.
It was really an honor to meet you, and watching you knit was amazing.You are SO fast!

February 19, 2008 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Congrats on the 1-year anniversary of your move! It is clear you enjoy your new location, and have fit into your community well, and been welcomed by it.

February 19, 2008 9:44 AM  
Blogger Knit-Knot said...

Congratulations on the speed knitting. I thought it was fascinating but I couldn't be there for that (silly non-knitting activity with husband interfered).

Do you know if the 'rules' are posted anywhere on line? Can you use any needles you like? Do you cast on before you start or is it part of the heat? The only thing I found was a UK site that gave the needle size and yarn weight information. I thought I'd get a timer and give it a try, for fun.

February 19, 2008 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

If you are still interested, I do have a copy of the article that appeared in SundayÕs Star Tribune. I was at the Kint-Out and saw you win, did not see your demonstration, though. I was with my daughter and when they announced your name she said, oh, sheÕs really famous. I had never heard of you É sorry. She said, ŌSheÕs the expert on combination knitting. ThatÕs the way you knit, Mom.Ķ ItÕs interesting, I learned to knit years ago but couldnÕt purl evenly to save my soul. I just let my knitting evolve, and apparently what I ended up with in doing so is combination knitting. I never knew there was a name for it, I only knew that the way I knit was a little different from the way others knit (and that now I purl like a superstar)! So youÕre my hero.

I understand youÕre new to Minnesota. IÕm in Minneapolis, my daughter is in St. Paul (way north in Shoreview). So, welcome to the area!

I tried e-mailing you but got a bounce-back so you'll need to contact me if you'd like my copy of the article.

February 20, 2008 10:48 AM  
Blogger Vickie Howell said...

Great seeing you too, Annie!

Hey, I put together a little video from the Knit Out together, and you're in it.

xoxo, Vic

February 20, 2008 2:24 PM  

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