Sunday evening. The evening of a perfect August Sunday. This morning, at 830am, as I was scurrying my way to Yoga (late), I couldn't help but notice how the air had cooled considerably. It was so wonderful, easy to breathe, and just the best morning (made me wish I'd left earlier for Yoga and could have walked more slowly, enjoyed the air, and not been trying to ignore the tight feeling in my calves as I slammed them on the concrete!). A perfect morning gave way to a wonderful afternoon, a perfect cool breeze, and some good friends not often seen, at a Penn Quarter patio. Now, at nearing 9pm, the air has the same cooling feeling - it's clean and wonderful, and with windows fully open, I find myself sighing, "August, I love you." [Interestingly, I did have a friend in college named August, and I did think he was cute, but I'll save that one for the autobiography].
It has been a wonderful few weeks. I'm coming into 30 beautifully. I imagine this is what it's like to live in a a space much larger than one room, sort of. All you who are lucky enough to describe your living quarters as spacious, you must come home and say, "Wow, this is pretty roomy - I'm blessed." And that's how I often feel, like a lot of the tightness and anxiety that I experienced in my 20s has fallen away into the corners of a more spacious living experience, and in some moments, I find myself seeing the reality I perceive peel-back to reveal something much more special. Or, maybe I'm just writing all this while the sweet August perfum-ed air is coming in. But, needless to say, it's been a long time since I've felt so relaxed. Then again (again), I'm recently done with a contract that always gives me a lot of stress (but which I love to work on dearly).
Since our last encounter, there has been some travel - I had a wonderful spinning workshop with Jacey Boggs in Baltimore, where I learned my fair share about spinning some artyarns (which was a jolly good time), and moreso, I've been to Central Wisconsin (and returned without issue) to attend Knitting Camp. And I took pictures (wonders of wonders).
Now, before I go on, I'd like to say, I seriously toyed with the idea of writing a post to slam the experience - say I'd never be back - with the hidden agenda of waylaying all of you potential campers and thus making entry easier next year. In fact, I'm still very tempted to do this - but a) I know Schoolhouse Press friends read this blog, and moreso b) I'm heartened that rising gas prices will make it so impossible for anyone to travel to Central Wisconsin next year, that I'm going to just go ahead and give you the full monty (as much as a girl can, without keeping some special secrets for herself), so that I can emulate Samantha Brown and give you special view into the greatness of the weekend. Onwards.
I arrived Thursday afternoon - slightly later than last year. I remember being a little disoriented, being in Wisconsin at 2pm, thinking it was 3pm, and feeling like last year, I arrived at 1pm (Central). But, after a fun little trip in the van from CWA to the Holiday Inn (where the driver, who was great fun to talk to, didn't actually make the connection that I was flying in for knitting camp - you know, somehow, it didn't connect that I was one of the 50+ knitters taking over the hotel - until we were more than halfway there, and then came the barage of "men knitting" questions, but I digress), I headed up the street to 'The Daily Grind' to get a latte and samich for lunch (yes, Ranch dressing was early in my stay).
I spent a few hours in the park outside the hotel, working on knit-work, and then headed inside for preparation for our evening supper. I was admittedly somewhat stressing - here I am, and certainly, I know a few folks who're there but largely, I pictured the group of attendees as folks who'd known each other since 2 steps from the womb, and here I was, myself, just now 30 steps from the womb, and would we do ok? Well, certainly, everything went fine throughout the weekend - I had nothing to worry about. I ate dinner with Emily Ocker - yes that Emily Ocker (Emily Freakin' Ocker!) and her family - 3 generations of knitters there in the Ocker clan (with different last names, through marriage of course), and a few other knitterly types from Chicago and the midwest.
Shortly following dinner, there was a mad dash for seats around the table, where I happened to score a seat only a few down from the fabulous Franklin Habit - which was very cool, and nice, after many years of emailing and reading, to finally have a face to match to a, uh, face - you know what I mean.
There he is, doing something other than knitting - though I saw him do a lot of knitting over the weekend, so don't you go getting any ideas.
This being Oft-Timers, the workshops were a lot less structured - and a lot more of Meg answering questions than anything - which was fine by me. In fact, I appreciated the free-form nature of the weekend - lots of time spent just chatting, telling stories, answering specific questions (mostly from me), and a review of techniques that folks requested.
I had actually brought a project with. As you can imagine, I tend to keep pretty busy with writing and tech editing (and that's ok by me), but it means I have less time than I'd like to make my way through the pattern library of Meg Swansen and Elizabeth Zimmermann. I had already decided to bring the balance of unsigned Meg Swansen publications for her to sign - and had intended to start on a "Round the Bend" jacket, but upon receiving the handouts, decided instead I would spend the time actually trying to learn something - which I did. I spent a few long hours practicing Bavarian Twisted Stitch, which I was mightily thankful to learn (Lots of potential there!) and a few precious hours learning Armenian Knitting (which admittedly, I "get" but needed some time to practice catching those floats - this was a good thing, cause I also've finally figured out how Meg holds the yarns in Fair Isle, which is great and very useful). So, throughout the weekend, I managed to finish a little Bavarian Twist Cap, and start on a second cap in Armenian knitting - and also start on a jacket from 'Meg Swansen's Knitting' (long out of print, sorry kids - it's a classic, hunt one down), to satisfy my desires to work another piece in the Unspun Icelandic, doubled - which I loved while working on the Rams Horn. Which brings me to...
No, you're not seeing double - that's my Ram's Horn (me in mine) and Meg wearing hers. It was kind of a really wonderful moment to grab the photo - and it's definitely a special moment for me - I was so enamoured withe the design last year and wore it throughout camp. I feel pretty good about the finished piece - other than the fact that it requires a bit deeper collar, which I'll work on as time permits.
I managed to grab a couple of other famous knitter photos - another one this year with Joyce - and Cookie A!
And, I managed to grab a photo of this awesome girl from Boulder - Kristi - she rocked pretty hardcore - here she is with a masked man (woman?)
Actually, that's Cookie A - those masks freaked us all out (despite their masterful technique) and I made them put them on! If you look off to the left, you'll see Diane Zangl - a great designer/tech editor I connected with, which was really a highlight - and behind her, in the blue, the back of Emily Ocker's head! Wow!
Oft-Timers was perfect for me, really. It was a nice mix of lots of chat and relaxing - no pressure really to do anything, and a lot of opportunity to hear a lot of great background for and from everyone about the field, where we've been, what early camp was like, and more. I spent many hours knitting late into the night, hours in the Jacuzzi and on the water slide, out in the park, and really, almost, having a vacation. Can't have asked for a better time - hope I'll still be coming in 35 years - it's very meaningful to me to be a part of this, so I can't wait.
Onwards, I have a few weeks off from Tech Editing (other than a small contract coming up) to make a sweater due in 3 weeks, and an article due in early September. Been thinking hard about what my next book will be - and I think I've gotten a really good idea for a collection - so I'll be busy back on that again. Will keep you posted, as it comes together.
Meanwhile, hope you're all well - enjoy yourself a little piece of August!