On Friday I was signed up for no classes and drifted lazily about, stringless as Pinocchio, enjoying whatever and whoever was in the vicinity.
My few idle moments during last year's Stitches weren't what you would call social. I was terrified to open my mouth. I didn't know anybody, felt like I knew nothing; and this blog was barely six months old. When I wasn't with Jon, I mostly stood in corners and watched. This year, to my delighted surprise, people spoke to me. Lots of people. Nice nice people, most of whom I'd never met.
Indeed, even while we waited in line before the Market Preview on Thursday night, a darling woman thirty feet away waved to me and mouthed, "I love your blog." I just blushed and waved back. I never found you to say thanks in person, darling woman, so thanks.
Thanks to every single one of you. I am still glowing. Being spoken to without having to speak first was a shy person's delight. It took all the pressure off. I've never felt so at ease in a crowd in my life.*
Of course, one does make a few friends in the course of a year. Busy as the Market was, I still bumped into Meg and Jonathan, the Two Sock Knitters; and Chicago's own fab designer Bonne Marie Burns. While I was chatting with Marcy from Arcadia Knitting and her delightful pal Susan (from Colorado), Karen happened by and I got the three of them into a photograph.
I was pretty nervous about having my camera confiscated** by the Mondragoons, so here's my only other photo from that day, of Susan. I found Susan's knitting notebook captivating. She doesn't like white, so before she began using it she painted all the pages with watercolors. Her color charts and sketches are laid on top of them. The book itself is a work of art.
Still Not Buying Yarn
If you read my account of Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp, you know I succumbed to the siren song of Bavarian Twisted Stitch. At the Market, the good ol' Yarn Barn o' Kansas was selling all three volumes of Lisl Fanderl's Bäuerliches Stricken in one cosy set, and I decided it would be prudent to procure them at this time. Bäuerliches Stricken is German for "stitch patterns that will make you rip off your eyebrows in frustration and eat them."
So I'm something of a masochist. So what?
I also bought a little sock yarn. Buying sock yarn doesn't count as buying yarn. Everybody knows that. Stephanie said so in her book.
Friday was also the day we discovered that XRX had turned the men's bathroom in the classroom area into a second women's bathroom. No signs indicated where men ought to go, nor was the Stitches map in the registration materials any help.
Upon inquiry at the registration desk, we were directed to follow a complicated path to a remote men's room in another part of the building. It was, said the woman at registration, "right over there." And so it was, in much the same way that when you are standing in downtown Chicago, the west suburbs are "right over there."
I try like the dickens to keep my temper, I truly do, but this was unfair and I object. Apparently women complained last year of needing more restroom space, and so it was decided that the men must give up theirs, since there aren't so many of us.
I asked the women at the registration desk: would you mind if you arrived at a male-dominated event and found the women's room had been commandeered, with no convenient, alternative accommodations available? Would that not be considered sexist? They admitted I had a point, but they didn't do anything about it.
XRX already makes Stitches a needlessly gender-biased affair. The lone man who ever shows up in the promotional materials is Mondragon, and he only counts on a technicality. If he wishes to be the only rooster in his henhouse, that's his prerogative. I'll simply withhold my business in future. I paid full price for my admission, and I expect equal treatment.
Jon, the soul of generosity, provided the highlight of the evening's entertainment for us: a trip to Morton's Steak House. I've only been to Morton's once, for a birthday years ago with Mr. Ex. That visit paled in comparison.
I was so caught up in the gemütlichkeit I even had a drink. My first in more than a year. And I've toughened up. I downed the entire rum and pineapple juice over the course of three hours and didn't
- pass out cold,
- proposition the waiter,
- tell everybody at the table what they should do to be better people, or
- throw up.
Morton's is Chicago at its best. A handsome room, good service, excellent food. We three were in solid agreement about such vital matters as which side dishes to order. I consumed my own weight in creamed spinach while talking about knitting with two handsome men. I was happy. It don't take much.
*Except while talking to the lady who seemed truly, seriously suprised that Dolores was not walking around the Market with me. That was a little freaky. Honey, I'm so glad you like her, and I hate to spoil the illusion even for a moment, but have you ever noticed the dark black line around Dolores in all the pictures? That's India ink.
**Photography was tricky this year. After the Market Preview was over, a sign went up threatening anybody caught with a camera with explusion from the premises. Apparently in spite of the cost of attendance, XRX doesn't feel we're entitled to take snapshots.