Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Scenes from Yarn Con

In Full Swing

Truly, I have no idea where that nasty old stereotype of knitters as meek and helpless came from. The longer I mix with this bunch, the more convinced I am that there's not another community on the planet so eminently capable of getting things (with the possible exception of second socks) done.

Lovely HostessesFor example, here we have Natalia and Sarah. They were talking about how great it would be if there were a knit-centric event akin to Chicago's DIY Trunk Show. Then they stopped talking and went ahead and built one: Yarn Con.

It was a bang-up job. Under the soaring vault of the Pulaski Park Field House auditorium, about two dozen independent purveyors of yarns, knitted goods, and knitting impedimenta set up shop for the day. Knitters came in their numbers to browse, fondle, and (abetted by the portable ATM parked just outside) buy. And buy and buy and buy.

The stage was given over to well-attended workshops, including several taught by Sharon Kelly of Arcadia Knitting.

Entrelac Time

I wish I had thought to get a shot of Sharon's afghan-sized entrelac swatch. It looked like she was knitting a Lady Eleanor Scarf for Paul Bunyan.

The 1,000 Knitters Project made splendid progress, even though I was placed between the hot chicks from Loopy Yarns and the booth occupied by Shannon Okey and Nikol Lohr, which was sort of like being a crossing guard at the intersection of Fellini and Ed Wood.

Three More

About forty hugely entertaining people sat in the chair and worked on the scarf, raising the current count to 198.* Thank you all!

I was so busy shooting I didn't have much time to shop, although I did go home with an autographed copy of that nice Susan Strawn's Knitting America. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look. Mine won't make it to the shelf for a while, because I keep toting it from bedside to table to sofa so I can gawk at the pictures. Happily, the coated stock offers some protection from drool and Cheerios.

For me, the crowning touch of the day was being asked, for the first time, to hand the needles to a very young man whose mother hopes he'll take up the craft. I felt honored to be chosen. Honestly, I got more than a little choked up. Le bowl of mush, c'est moi.

Future KnitterJudging by his firm grip (which the ever-helpful Tom recorded for posterity), I think Doug's mom stands a fair chance to spend her old age wrapped in handmade shawls and sweaters.

Slipping a copy of Knitting Without Tears under the kid's crib might help to clinch it. Or is that just an old knitter's tale?

*Reader Janet asked in the comments whether there will be a special "celebrity" section when the final piece is assembled. I can promise there won't be. I'm delighted (and surprised) at how many notable knitters have taken part, but in this piece no knitter is more important than any other. We are all important. Remove one person's row, and the fabric would be wrecked. That's sort of how I feel about people in general, come to think of it.

52 comments:

FiberQat said...

The other young man (0173) looks so excited to be part of the project he makes me just want to go grab my knitting. Great picture.

Between Fellini and Ed Wood. Hmm. Pink angora anyone?

Cherice said...

I think that 0173 is just too cute, that picture does make me want to go grab my knitting (instead of finishing the mango salsa I'm making to go with dinner).

Lovely post and lovely pictures.

KellyD said...

Franklin,
The "*" comment at te end makes me love you even more.

Lisa said...

You are far humble sometimes but your last comment was superb and straight to the point.

MonicaPDX said...

Fellini and Ed wood - major snerking! Seriously, sounds like a great spot to catch knitters, and you certainly did! Congrats on your first handing of the needles.

And your footnote? I love you, Franklin.

Donna Lee said...

You should include the baby boy's hands in the photo book as well. Perhaps as the endpapers?

Anonymous said...

Every time you post pictures of your project I think "How very beautiful". I hope everyone who poses realizes just how lovely they are

tb said...

Are there two different scarves that the knitters are working on in the photos? In some shots the yarn is light colored and in others it's dark....just wondered?

Barbara-Kay said...

I applaud your policy on no celebrity
section. However, I really would like to have a thumbnail ID of each pic...such fascinating variety.

farm-witch said...

Such a profound shot, such a wee hand....I need a tissue.

Elizabeth said...

My worlds have collided (or perhaps, merged) now. Nikol has been my homegirl for since that was a cool thing to say. I know exactly what you mean by "Fellini". One of these years I will have time to come to one of your photoshoots-Wisconsin is not far, really.

Misstea said...

Franklin,

During some spare moments today, I surfed some of your archives (your first visit to Stiches, in particular). My, how you've grown! I'm so glad that you are sharing your knitting, among other things, with us.

Becky in Iowa :O) said...

I do hope you include the picture of lil Doug's hand. I swear just looking at that picture made me tear up. hehe Too precious.

Jen said...

I am a knitter, but I still manage to have a knitting stereotype in my head. I think your last three pictures finally managed to break it. Keep up the good work. It's a frequent reminder of who knitters are, even for knitters.

dale-harriet said...

You're another who makes me proud to be able to say "I'm a knitter", thereby including myself in a community with the likes of YOU. That last bit? It should be carved in stone and put somewhere highly visible (If I do it in calligraphy, may I send it to Dubya?) And Elizabeth is right, Wisconsin's NOT so far from you.....got any Cheesehead portraits yet?

Anonymous said...

I love you, Franklin.

dragon knitter said...

i have to say #0173 is PERFECT for zany captions, lol!

Windsornot said...

"...no knitter is more important than any other. We are all important. Remove one person's row, and the fabric would be wrecked. That's sort of how I feel about people in general, come to think of it."

That's just an outright beautiful thought. I wish the rest of the world thought the same way about each other, not just fellow knitters.

Laura S. said...

That portable ATM killed my usually firm self-control. Susan Strawn was a major reason for my trek out to YarnCon - I have been counting down the days until that book came out - talk about a beautiful history teacher/knitter's dream! Putting Loopy right behind her booth also didn't help the self-control. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Sarahfish said...

Franklin, you are a wonderful person and I think we are all lucky to be able to know you, at least in some small way, through your blog. Would that more people, especially those in positions of "power" will read your last comment!

The 1,000 knitters project looks to be coming along so well. I wish I had thought of that!! :)

katerina said...

Awww! you're * comment turned me into "Le bowl of mush". You always seem to have the perfect ending to a great day!

Mary said...

Franklin, I love your 1,000 knitters project. Love it. Thank you. This is such a stellar gift to the community. It is so wonderful to watch unfold. It seriously rivals the other extraordinary gift you've gifted us all with... namely the Dolores. Okay, maybe I shouldn't say that too loud, but seriously Franklin, that's two great things you've contributed to the world of knitters. May your hands always feel the blessings of the knitting muse.

Marty52 said...

You ARE a wonder.

April said...

"Ever helpful Tom"

Isn't that a name we've heard recently? Perhaps in reference to corn fields and aviation?

Is there something going on that we SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?!?

Carson said...

I love your cinematic analogy vis a vis your booth position, and your democratic attitude towards your 1000 knitters shots.

knititch said...

you must be having so much fun with this project. it must really be a lovely challenge and something to cheer up. i absolutely adore the pictures of all the different models. it takes all kinds to create a world (of knitters). and as for the old tales about knitters being old grandmothers with no sense at all must be put aside. who even has that kind of granny's any more. when you are my age (46) it would even be natural to be one even though you feel full of teen spirit.

Carol said...

Such a lovely photo of the wee hands and needles. Yea to Tom for a great photo. And hurrah to you for such a lovely sentiment.

Moorecat said...

Today's reading is from Folk Shawls, by Cheryl Oberle:

"According to Irish folklore, if a master knitter places knitting needles in a newborn baby's hands, the child will acquire a talent for knitting. Female babies were often given knitting needles so that they would have skills with which to help support themselves and their families.

In the late nineteenth century, a conscientious mother discovered that the local master knitter was reluctant to pass on her talents. To convince her, the mother plied the elderly knitter with a home-brewed liquor called poteen. By the time the old woman had consented, she was so tipsy that she put the knitting needles in the baby's left hand. Although right-handed in everything else, the baby grew into a left-handed knitter."

Now, Franklin, take a closer look at young Doug's photo. Will he grow up to knit continental? Only time will tell...

Theresa said...

Lovely, lovely comment at the end.

Jenni P McD said...

There's something about 0173 that I just adore. That precocious joy and excitement of children. It's the way many adult knitters feel, at least on the inside. I can't wait to see this in it's complete form.

As for your footnote, even in the short time I have known you, I would expect no less. You have that wholeness of spirit that would demand no less.

Jenni P McD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You rock.
I had to finally come clean and admit to my husband that I have a wicked crush on you. "Yes, honey, he's gay and he lives in Chicago (we're in eastern PA) but oh how he knits and writes and he reads The New Yorker and did I tell you he draws cartoons too?"
Luckily my husband understands me all too well and encourages my obsession. Viva le Franklin!

Michelle (Knitter #166) said...

It was a pleasure to take part in your project at Yarn Con. Thank you for making me feel at ease during the process. Best wishes as you continue toward 1000!

Angie said...

The baby part made me cry. I am glad to hear that there will be no celebrity section and agree with your thoughts on us all being equal. I can't wait to sit for your project.

Miss T said...

Beautiful thought about the importance of all people. Thanks.

Ryan said...

Pllllleeeeeeze, she says with a loud and annoying nasal whine, no celebrity section in the photos! The black and white is working as a wonderful equalizer, and having a "special group" would just work against the overall feel of the work.

Oh, wait, you didn't really ask me, did you? Sorry.

Dr. Steph said...

I love picture 173. My son has been asking to learn to knit and since he can now tie his shoes, it's time to get out some yarn and needles. He has a thing for Alice Starmore cables so I think it's in his genes.

AliP said...

My older son is 10 and I recently taught him the knit stitch. He was really into it for a week or so but has since lost enthusiasm though he has a standing date with me to a local LYS knit night if he keeps it up. I am not above bribery an coersion(sp?).
By the by, #189 is delicious to look upon. Thanks for the knitterly eye candy..hee hee.

Kristen said...

Oh that child is too much! I'm not very user-friendly when it comes to children, but I want to pat him on the head and give him a cookie! I'm so glad your project is taking shape and that you are remaining true to yourself in the process.

Kirstin said...

So, are we Fellini or Ed Wood? We really enjoyed having you near our booth (which contained no cardboard flying saucers or circus folk).

BustersDad said...

Hmmm. . . I'm with April! I am glad that "ever helpful Tom" was in the neighborhood to capture that lovely photograph. Is he capturing anything else? Are there photos???

Anonymous said...

re *: Awwww, you old softy, you :)

Judy G. said...

Rats! I was in Chicago too early for this! You were off on vacation when I was there, and I have no return trip planned. You are getting such a wonderful cross-section of knitters; I can't wait for the book to come out. Will Dolores be sitting for a portrait?

Linda said...

I feel quite tearful at the thought that no knitter is worth than any other, as I'm sure the lovely celebratory knitters would, also.

Trope said...

In response to moorecat's comment: Franklin actually gravitated to Dougbug's left hand with no prompting (and no poteen!), which I thought showed some amazing insight on his part. The Bug has been mostly left-handed so far in his thumb-sucking and ribbon grabbing pursuits. Trust the master knitter to figure that out! However, I may have to present him later to a proper knitting instructor for the finer points of stitch-picking, as I haven't the foggiest idea how to knit continental.

(PS to Franklin: You've presented me with a great reason to go out and buy Knitting Without Tears, as I'm quite sure that Knitter's Workshop just would not do. That is, if we can ever get him out of our bed and into his crib...)

Rooie said...

It's all been said before, but Franklin, you are a wonder. Love the photos, particularly 173. Love the picture of the baby hand with needles. Love your writing.

Thank you for all the pleasure you've given me.

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