Sunday, October 31, 2010

STITCHES East, part two

While writing the blog post yesterday I was joined multiple times at my table by ladies I had met earlier, because I was sitting alone at the only table with available chairs in the crowded cafe area. Then I was joined by someone I didn't know, Vivian Hoxbro and her companion (husband? partner?). I introduced myself and mentioned I'd seen her books; rather than say I haven't gotten around to trying out her techniques yet, I lied and said I was intimidated. She pointed to my sweater and said if I could knit that, I could follow her patterns. (And that's true, too. I'm not intimidated by any knitting technique. Not even steeks, really. But on the other hand, I am intimidated by famous people, in any interpretation of the word - and Vivian Hoxbro is famous, at least in the knitting world.) And then, Nancy Bush came up and spoke to Vivian, and glanced at me, but didn't say hello. Now, if there's anybody famous in the knitting world, Nancy Bush is that person. She was going to get in the line for the cafe, and implied she was going to come back after that. And I got flustered and sort of shut down. I picked up my trash and said I was just going and now there was room for Vivian's friend, and hustled away down the escalator. And as I went I felt horrid. Here were two people I would have loved to meet and talk with, but because of my stupid intimidation by / infatuation with / resentment of famous people, I had to run away. As I went down the escalator all I could think about was how I would have loved to stay and charm Nancy Bush and Vivian Hoxbro and then tell Nancy Bush about my book idea, and then she would say what a good idea it was and she was going to make it happen. Instead I scurried away into the crowd like a small rat.

It reminded me of the time Melissa told me about having written a song for Emmy Lou Harris when she (Melissa) was still a bartender at Lucky Strike, and then ELH herself came into the bar a few days later, but instead of telling her about the song, Melissa balked and just kept it to herself. Those lost opportunities burn like hot brands in the creative soul. I still feel regret for Melissa when I think about that story. As Mr Rochester would say, Remorse is the poison of life.

Anyway, I tried to put it out of my mind. I was in a huge bazaar of fibery delights. I continued on where I had left off in the aisles and came up to another lady wearing the lovely skirt outfit I am trying to sell Mom on (not really trying to sell her on, but I know she wants to knit a skirt and I think she would like this one). I asked her if I could take a picture, and trying to be considerate I took the picture from the neck down.

As you can see, though, the lady's name is Claudia - as in Claudia Hand Painted Yarns! Which I figured out after taking the picture, and then I delightedly said how much of a fan of her yarns I am, how I've made several pairs of "lucky" socks for my husband out of her sock yarns, and how thrilled I was to finally meet the lady behind the yarn. I also was able to tell her how wonderful her colorways are, how I was a painter in college and now I'm starting to dye fiber myself and how hard I am discovering it is! She was very approachable, and receptive, and gracious. So that went part way toward making up for the Vivian H/Nancy B fiasco.

Then I continued on and finally found the booth for The Sanguine Gryphon, which I knew was there and only found on the last aisle. I met Gryphon, who took one look at my name tag and said, to my surprise, "Oh, Barclay, how nice to meet you in person!" I've written her a few emails about this or that, and I've bought several skeins of her yarn, which are also beautifully dyed. I talked with her for a few minutes, and I bought a pattern, and she also let me take a picture of one of her other designs that I found hard to visualize from the photos on their site.

And then I did something I rarely do, and I asked the person in back of me in line to take my picture with Gryphon:

She has a weird expression here, but I promise you she seemed quite flattered to have a fan ask to take her picture, and she has her arm around me even, though you can't tell. I swear! And yes, apparently she does wear those anachronistic garments all the time, and sews many of them herself, although this very luxe silver one was not one she had made.

After this picture she told me she had heard my name announced as a winner of something, and my next class was coming up shortly, so I raced away to collect my prize (a skein of Miss Babs sock yarn - something I actually wanted!) and get to my class.

I didn't take any pictures of the spinning class, but it was a really REALLY helpful class. I learned to spin on a spindle, but more importantly, I learned a lot more about twist, how to tell if you are overplying, and how to draft. I will need to practice a lot more (of course) but I feel like I am well on my way to having much more control over the yarn that I spin.

All in all, it was a great conference and I had a good time!

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