Dolores made it back to room at about 7 a.m. on Friday, just as I was brushing my teeth. She was wearing an oil-stained work short which indicated that her name was Willard and that she was employed by Greater Marshfield Auto Body and Car Salvage.
"Did we have fun?" I asked.
"We made the natives restless," she giggled.
"Do you not think Willard might miss his shirt?"
"I had to take it," she said. "He wouldn't give me back my muumuu."
Somebody Pinch Me
Allow me to offer a quick sketch of Knitting Camp.
We spend most of the day in the classroom. The classroom is a large, well-lit space with the teaching desk up at the front and a horshoe of student work tables facing it.
As you come into the room, along the right wall are hundreds of finished objects - sweaters, hats, mittens, you name it - knitted by the Schoolhouse Press gang, including Elizabeth and Meg. The original rib warmer is there (I took a picture for you, Jean). So is the aspen sweater, and Lloie's own Baby Surprise Jacket. It's quite moving to pick up something you've seen Elizabeth hold in a video and realize every stitch in it came from her needles.
There are also yarns for sale: Shetland, Icelandic, real Gansey from England, alpaca. And notions. And needles. And books! Sample copies of every book Schoolhouse Press sells. And their line of knitting videos. And $10 bags of mixed whatnot from Meg's stash. (She's downsizing. At least for the moment.) When you want something, you just take it, and record your purchase on your personal sheet in the "brown book" at the back of the room. At the end of camp, you settle your bill.
So you have yarn, you have needles, you have knitting books, and you have samples pieces to fondle and turn inside out. It's basically a yarn store of superior quality.
And you get to live in it for four days. With Meg Swansen.
That's what camp is like.
If you ask me, Disney World pales in comparison.
Anybody who imagines us sitting in straight-backed chairs quietly counting "knit one, purl two" has never seen a group of knitters on the loose before. You're thinking Carmelite convent. You should be thinking of the backstage scenes from Showgirls.
The format is quite freewheeling. In the mornings, we go over specific techniques (I'm having a love affair with Bavarian twisted stitch), and Meg answers questions that have been placed in a basket on her desk. Often, getting to the answer is half the fun.
For example, this morning somebody wrote: "Please demonstrate your method of two-color knitting."
And Meg did demonstrate her method. So did our other excellent teachers, Joyce and Amy. Before we got to that point, however, we meandered through invisible cast on, circular brioche, the origin of "faggot stitch," intarsia in the round, yarn thimbles, spit splicing, forthcoming knitting books, "rules" in knitting, and the paramount importance of defending independent thought in today's world.
And I seem to remember somebody telling a slightly off-color joke involving Kitchener stitch and the farmer's daughter.
This is not a church social, kids.
We were knitting away last night after dinner and somebody asked Dolores if the long, tubular piece of cabled knitting she'd created was a Aran willy warmer.
"I am a willy warmer," said Dolores.
My face hurts from laughing, which is a nice change from the pain that comes from banging it repeatedly against the wall of my office.
It's gonna be hard to go home.