I'm sitting here with my half-packed suitcase nearby. I can't quite believe it's time to travel with 1,000 Knitters again. The more the series grows, the more surreal the experience feels.
I know photographers with more training, more experience, more talent, and more money than I. And yet so many of them have projects that have been stalled or stunted for months or years. So why is this one flying along at such a startling clip?
The difference, of course, is all of you. It's your interest and support that power the dynamo. Without you, I'd have a ball of yarn and an empty frame.
With all that's happening I never got around to properly thanking Lauren (aka Knitter 0176) and the Windy City Knitting Guild for a splendid Chicago shoot, during which we added more than fifty sitters to the line-up.
We also achieved a milestone, though due to a miscalculation I was wrong about when exactly it happened. Ladies and gents, I give you Diane, Knitter 0500, who brought us to the halfway mark.
Lauren, who has the patience of three or four especially put-upon saints, managed to get me to a Guild meeting after only nine months of planning. It was wicked cool. I want to go back again as a private citizen so I can just hang out and knit.
And then, of course, there was a shoot during the Yarn Market News conference. I owe that opportunity to the magazine's intrepid editor (and conference planner), Karin Strom. Talking to so many folks who who keep us in yarn and needles and roving and wool wash and notions and cute bags and other necessities of life was a treat and an education.
(The only bummer was missing Cheryl Krementz, who couldn't come along with the team from New York. Cheryl's a smart and prolific writer–not only for YMN but other publications including Knitty.com; and she always gives me juicy illustration assignments for the magazine. One of these days, Cheryl.)
And that brings me to this past weekend, and what I was doing while Dolores was inflicting deep mental scars on those poor 4-H kids.
The folks from The Yarnery, who apparently don't require sleep like the rest of us, decided it would be nifty to schedule a visit from yours truly the day after a night of testifying and song with the Yarn Harlot. (Seriously, dudes. They sang to her. It's on You Tube.)
After such a night they would have been fully justified in being cranky and overtired, but no. Tim and I dropped by the shop to say hello and chat with the Yarnery's vigorous men's group, and I got a royal welcome. They had cookies!
These three guys from the group (Eric, Scott, and Sean) came the next day to have their portraits made.
Scott's the one who made the cookies. From scratch. Exceptional chocolate chip cookies. And he showed up for his sitting with more cookies. I like Scott. I wish I lived closer to Scott's oven.
The shoot was at Yarnover, a long-running annual day of fiber-related indulgences put on by the Minnesota Knitters' Guild. This is a seriously impressive event, folks. The vendor market was large and varied, although I totally didn't buy anything. Except some yarn.
And the classes–oh, the classes. What a list of instructors. I actually got to meet the Rainey Sisters, Joan Schrouder and Lucy Neatby; and I heard Chris Bylsma, Sally Melville and Melissa Leapman were in the house. And those are just the names I know about.
All told, 73 absolutely gorgeous knitters for the day. Here's a tiny smattering.
There in the center of row three is Lucy Neatby, who announced, "I'm going to put a hole in your scarf," and then did. You can see it clearly in the center of the bottom row, in the portrait of my buddy Robert. Robert was one of the first guy knitters I ever met, back at my first Stitches Midwest.
The final knitter of the day was Gerrie (0622).
Gerrie was scheduled in the last spot, but her goodie bag–crammed with toothsome fresh-baked treats from the Franklin Street Bakery in Minneapolis–was waiting for me at the shoot first thing in the morning. When I'm walking around Provincetown in a caftan this summer, Gerrie, I'll think of you.
I owe special thanks to everybody at The Yarnery, especially Maura (who deftly handled all my arrangements) and Mary Lou, Knitter 0620,
who served as my assistant during the shoot. She went above and beyond by running to Home Depot to replace a lightbulb that the airline managed to smash through a cardboard box, a metal protector and five inches of bubble wrap. Mary Lou, you were the perfect companion, especially when Lucy invited us to rummage through her case of samples and we discouraged each other from "accidentally" walking away with certain pieces.
I can't wait, my dears, to come back again if you'll have me. Even if you don't sing to me because nothing rhymes with 'Franklin'. (And nothing family-friendly rhymes with 'Dolores.')