Friday, June 25, 2010

Stuff That Fell Out of My Suitcase

I envy bloggers who manage to post reports of their travels while their return flight is still on the tarmac. What's more, their trips invariably flow in a neat channel from Point A to Point B. They may meander now and then, but never is the Grand Narrative lost.

My trips are not like that. I, too, begin at Point A; but the route to Point B skitters around like a jitterbug afflicted with St. Vitus's Dance. Back home, exhausted, I try to cajole the ducks into a single file conga line. But I get frustrated or fall asleep, the ducks scatter, and when I wake up I decide to forget it and go back to my knitting.

No more.

You want Grand Narrative? You won't find it here. You okay with random tidbits and souvenirs that tumble out of my bag along with torn boarding passes, Clif Bar crumbs and odd stitch markers? Read on. (If you start to feel dizzy, pop a Dramamine.)

Columbus: Knitters' Connection

Knitters' Connection is the brainchild of the lady who runs this place. She's a smart cookie. Every summer The National NeedleArts Association hosts one of its two annual conventions right there in her backyard. And while the convention attracts August Knitting Authorities like clover attracts honeybees, there's a catch: their classes aren't open to the general public.

So Jan (the smart cookie) decided to see if any of the August Knitting Authorities would like to stick around afterwards and teach the general public. It turns out they would, and the result (for the past four years) has been Knitters' Connection. This year, they let me join the can-can.

It was my first chance to offer almost every class in my repertoire, bangbangbang, for three days running. Some people signed up for the whole megillah. I wish I'd had little medals to pin on them at the end.


The second day was entirely occupied by a Tomten Jacket Bootcamp, at the end of which the students (a hearty bunch, not a bleeder among them) had produced a nubbly hillock of Tomtens-in-progress.

Heap o' Tomtens

One of the students asked at the end of class whether I'd like to see an Elizabeth Zimmermann relic, and drew from her knitting bag an original copy of the newsletter in which Elizabeth first published the Baby Surprise Jacket.

The Original BSJ Newsletter

Reports that I squealed like Smurfette when I touched the signature are slightly exaggerated.


But only slightly.

The Quotable Candace Eisner Strick

At the student reception/book signing: "I'm sorry, but I only wipe my lips on qiviut."

"Improve Your Knitting" Panel Discussion Agenda

Topics covered by the panel (ably moderated by the redoubtable Amy Detjen) included:
  • blocking techniques
  • the relative sizes of knitting needles and crochet hooks
  • finishing
  • wet felting
  • thong underwear
Jeni's Ice Cream

I had eleven scoops in four days and I don't care who knows it. Jeni's makes all other ice creams taste like library paste.

Cute, or Disturbing?

At the Knitters' Connection market, I had the opportunity to talk at length with the owners of Fiber Optic Yarn. One of them mentioned that her daughter (aged four) had adopted a pet sheep, and that the daughter had named the sheep Dolores after hearing numerous (expurgated) tales from this blog as bedtime stories.

I am not sure whether I ought to be flattered, or call Child Welfare.

(More on Fiber Optic in an upcoming post, by the way.)

Back to Texas

I left Columbus on Friday evening because I was scheduled to teach on Saturday morning at The Knitting Nest in Austin, Texas. This was my third gig at the Nest, because when they ask me to visit my only question is "When?"

They've just moved into a splendid new space at 8708 South Congress, but I knew I was in the right place when I saw the display of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in "Longhorn."


Austin Fun Fact

Austinites are constantly shouting "Hook 'em!" which leads one to assume that they are all simply mad for crochet.

Wall Flower

When the Nesters moved, they had to leave behind the enormous drawing of Dolores on the wall of the old shop. I would have considered this a great relief, but Stacy said she'd like a new one.

Stacy's got an entire photo sequence of me in action (shut up) here, here, here, and here.

Now she can try to work while Dolores sits nearby, burping and smoking.

She's On the Wall

Welcome to my world, Stacy darling.


JelliDonut said...

The quickest route from point A to point B might be a straight line, but it's a boring one. I'll take randomness and Clif Bar crumbs any time!

Kristen said...

Jeni's Ice Cream... I've driven out of my way to stop by Columbus on several travels. Totally worth it!

Jeremy said...

You really are a zillion different kinds of awesome, you know that? And I look forward to hangin' with you again. :)

LindaWD said...

Love Dolores!! (what has she been up to lately?) What does it say in brackets - my very close personal friend...? My eyes are too old to read that tiny in the picture! Glad to see you're safe and sound.

PICAdrienne said...

No one else has Dolores crash their adventures, just glad to see you back.

So, how did the discussion of wet felting thongs go? I can recall going to software development meetings where the intelligence of brown trout was discussed, or the end theme for Lamb Chops play along was sung, but never wet felting.

AR said...

I'll collect the crumbs, stitch markers....whatever.

Always delighted to catch up on your missives regardless of length.

Welcome back. :-)

dclulu said...

Great Dolores pic and crumbs of the trip.

But my brain is hurting from one part of this post. Rumor has it that you spent years in Boston, which boasts that it's the gourmet ice cream capital of the the U.S. Is Jeni's really better than Toscanini's, Christina's, etc? I clearly gotta get on a plane to Columbus...

Katie K said...

From one artist to another-- you're really great! The line quality, composition and calligraphy free-handed like that. Very impressive!

Spiminarian said...

Had a blast in your photography class and geeking out over Victorian things!! Still working on the lace might be a while before it's done.

Kelli Simone said...

I am allergic (not intolerant) to dairy and this talk of Jeni's is going to make me risk it. I have a good friend in Columbus too...

The Delores mural is fab very impressive. ~ksp

twinsetellen said...

But what brand is Dolores drinking?

Jenn said...

Thank you for the lovely post.

Laurie said...

Glad you enjoyed your time in Columbus!

Jenny said...

Love love love Dolores! And stories of your adventures, of course.

Miss Knotty said...

Love it! Hook 'em, horns!!

Also, was Delores drinking Lone Star beer? Did I see that right?

Diane said...

I'm another armchair traveler chiming in to say that the mural is just fabulous! Seems to me that you need to be extra talented to "go big" like that.

Kelly B. said...

Thanks for making it down to Austin! I had a great time learning about lace from you. I can wait to see you latest master piece at the Knitting Nest. I'll be going by there today to check it out.

YogaNan knits, too... said...

Franklin, I'm still in mourning for the Hands On cancellation and the missed time to be with you there, and I can't do your class @ Midwest Fiber Fest, either. But how about another Delores adventure? And don't you love Ms Amy Detjen, and Fiber Optics! Pet some Sun Valley Fibers yarn when you can (if you haven't already), and you'll be in love/lust.

Emma said...

oh NOES! Is that....ghasp....Harry being nommed by a dog? Say it ain't so!

yarn chef said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Knitter's Connection and I really hope you plan to stick around for it again next year. I was signed up to take your Friday morning photograph class, but alas I was sick and couldn't come. Which was probably for the best as I would have sounded like an idiot since I have a fairly fancy camera and no idea how to use it.

Nonna Sue said...

I'm happy to have whatever falls out of your suitcase, and these were some entertaining gems. Thanks for continuing to share, whenever!

anne marie in philly said...


yes, I have missed dolores and harry, why do you ask...

laura gayle said...

bravo on the mural! It's wonderful!

Benita said...

And you do murals, too. What can't you do?

As far as I'm concerned, we'll take whatever news you have to tell us. We've been missing you!

Rach said...

Pretty effing funny!

Debi3735 said...

I was so glad today when I looked up your blog and no more HAIR!!

Lily said...

'wet felting' and 'thong underwear' - they've got to be connected!

Linda said...

I loved the photos of Harry and Dolores appearing on the wall. Long suffering Harry is my favourite but don't tell the old bag!

Laia said...

Damn it, I was IN AUSTIN that day, but it was 2 days before my brother's wedding and I was busy scoring $1/ball cashmerino, 1824 wool, and Reynolds chunky alpaca in the north part of town.

Jill said...

Normally I drool over your knitting. Today? I drool over the mere mention of Jeni's . . . it's so hard not to taste all the flavors even though I know damn well I'll get Thai Peanut Chili and Salty Caramel.

Seanna Lea said...

I really want to try this ice cream! Of course, if you come back up to Boston, I will make you any flavor of ice cream you want (heck, I'm making bacon ice cream for my husband even though I'm a vegetarian).

Lisa said...

Yes, Stacy has an awesome place! And thank you for gracing the new establishment with an original!

As for your version of a travel account, I'll take it anytime over a sedate A to B an back again version!

Pamela said...

Glad to hear you had a great time at Knitter's Connection. Several friends were there and said they saw you. They didn't want to embarass themselves by squealing like teeny boppers seeing Justin Beiber.

I would have squealed, but didn't get to go :-(

Anonymous said...

I'm still laughing, so thank you Franklin for the update and for easing my Monday. And, my dear, do tell exactly where you put those 11 scoops?


Yvonne said...

Only 11? Wow.

(They have Jeni's at our local whole foods. so this would be another reason you could come to Pittsburgh again -- I'd buy you a pint! Two, even!!)

Gail (nosenabook) said...

The Knitting Nest now has another mural I deeply envy.
Okay, in it, I see Dolores and Harry. I saw the two dogs early in the photo stream. The knitting bird in the nest puzzled me until I remembered the name of the shop. (Duh.) But the bat eludes me. Where did the bat come from?

Shay said...

Dolores, darling, when did you start modelling for jewelry?

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Tasha said...

She's so cute! I can't wait to get down to Austin to visit her. I love it.

And to answer Gail about the bat - Austin has the largest urban bat colony in N. America - about 1.5 million. You can see it here:


Anonymous said...

Come back to Austin anytime!! Hook 'em Horns!!!

Knits4Bears said...

Did you make it out to Hippie Hollow with Dolores? Lots of fun summer memories were made there!
As sure footed as Dolores is I'm sure she had no problem scaling the rocky shores.

Dez Crawford said...

I still cherish all the old EZ newsletters I have, but above al I cherish an actual letter I received from her in response to a knitting question when I was 15, about the same time "Knitting Without Tears" came out. I really should get it framed, shouldn't I?

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