Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Bee Drowning in Honey

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.

The Campers

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.


Anonymous said...

Have you had breakfast at LLoie's Kitchen Table yet? The local people are so nice and friendly. The food is all homemade and tre excellent! Take home some bread crusts if they have any left and buy some servings of Crunchy Granola for breakfasts back at home. HMMM. That's all for now. 'Glad you're having so much fun. Nothing like it!

Kristi said...

>And you get to live in it for four
>days. With Meg Swansen.

That's my idea of bliss. Thanks for the report, it all sounds perfect.

Anonymous said...

See? I told you.

I second Sara's comment: I hope you're eating B-fast at Lloie's.

And if you hunt around in the pile of garments, you can see the blue Faroe-style shawl I knitted for Meg. (Unless she's hoarding it at home.) There might also be a catnip mouse smelling vaguely of lavender.

Anonymous said...

Oh yea...give Amy, Joyce and Meg hugs for me.

Anonymous said...

Glad your having a great time Franklin!

You're going to have a lot of fun on Vendor Day, when Meg brings in a large group of local vendors.

Hint - if the llama breeder is there, she has LOVELY fiber for sale, at a steal of a price.

Nutz Deep is a fun place - specially for 'looking' at the locals. Just be descrete and you won't be thrown out. Or ask Delores for pointers!

Keep having fun, try to get some sleep, and Joyce may be quiete in class, but oh my! afterwards!

Sherry W said...


Anonymous said...

If you want really good fish and German potato salad, and German berry beer (mmmmm) - go to Sceeter and Otis in Hewitt, just outside Marshfield. The name just cracked me up, but the food was good and the service extra-friendly. I second the comments on The Kitchen Table.(ah...eating and knitting...)

Nancy said...

Oh I am SO jealous! I just wish Wisconsin wasn't quite so far from San Francisco. :(

Anonymous said...

i just wish we LOOKED like show girls!!

dpaste said...

Just catching up on a week's worth of your posts. I'm exhausted.

Anonymous said...

An Invitation:

Franklin - you (and Delores) are both invited to Loopy Yarns on Friday, August 11th from 5:30 to 9:00pm for a Knittyhead Party.

Anyone else that is in Chicago for Stitches is welcome also!

Anonymous said...

i've read your blog quietly for 6 months without posting but couldn't resist. delores is delightful and if you get this before leaving camp, please say hello to Sally, my adoptive mother, who's at camp with you this week. she's a dear friend. sounds like camp is a blast!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Franklin,

I so enjoyed meeting you and Dolores at camp. Your fan base is growing as we all compare notes about what you and D'lor have been up to.

Ted, your hugs were well dispersed, but we'd really like to have them from you next time. Come back to us!

We have only one more week left, then no camp for 48 weeks.... I'm so lucky to be able to be at all 4 every summer, I just have to pinch myself (or have Joyce pinch me).

Knit on,

Amy Detjen

Brewgal said...

*sigh* Knitting with Meg! I'm so jealous. Enjoy your conference.

doulicia said...

Wow! I'm so envious. I hope you'll post photos?

Angela said...

It sounds most fabulous. I need to quit my job in order to get to all the knitting-related events I'd like to attend.

Anonymous said...

Gee Franklin, I am so glad you wrote this post. I've always wanted to go, but frankly, although I knew it wouldn't have been the straight-backed chair crowd, I didn't think it would be that much fun!

I am sooo there next year. I tend to have to teach myself techniques, as there is a dearth of specialized instruction here. And to be taught by St. Elizabeth's daughter no less.

I'ma get up from my desk now, and go into the bathroom to weep.