Thursdays Vacations are for What the Hell is This?
Since I will be out of the country and away from all computers for the next ten days I thought I'd leave with you an early Thursday post. This one has been sent to me several times in the last few days.
It's the love-child of the Topless Knitting Club and Big Ass Knits. For when you want to look naked but with added bulk.
I am gripped with panic. I keep running through everything over and over in my mind. Passports? Yes. Tickets? Yes. Toothbrush? Yes. Knitting? Yes. I have decided on Coraline and already started the body. I keep thinking, "Should I bring another project, just in case?" I know I'm forgetting something. I guess I'll find out what it is once I'm in Tokyo.
1. Shabby, dirty, and vulgar; tawdry: "sleazy storefronts with torn industrial carpeting and dirt on the walls" (Seattle Weekly). 2. Dishonest or corrupt; disreputable: Some sleazy characters hang around casinos. 2. Made of low-quality materials; cheap or shoddy. 3. Thin and loosely woven; flimsy: The coat has a sleazy lining.
I leave for Japan on Sunday. Part of my prep is figuring out what knitting to bring. I began swatching some Knitpicks Shadow I got as a door prize at the Knitters Guild in December for the Featherweight Cardigan.
I get that this is supposed to be open and drapey but there is no way I'm knitting myself a sweater with this yarn at this gauge. There's open and then there's open. So once again I'm at a loss. Should I start a new sweater to bring with me? Maybe Coraline? I tried on Ysolda's version at TNNA. While it was far too small for me I could see that it would be a good sweater for me (in my own size). But lugging a whole sweater's worth of yarn to Japan? Is that a good plan? I also considered just taking a big bag of oddballs and making hats for charity. No patterns to follow, just knit. But again, that's a lot of yarn to lug around. A decision needs to be made. And soon.
Thursday: I flew to Columbus on Thursday. I left very early in the morning after too little sleep and didn't arrive at my hotel until nearly 8. I was starving. I looked around the convention center hotel lobby for some familiar faces and saw none so I headed to Marcella's by myself. I thought I'd waltz in for dinner or get a seat at the bar. There was a 30 minute wait for a table and no free seats near the bar. I hovered feeling exhausted and so hungry. The general manager passed me several times and finally stopped and asked if she could get me anything.
"I'm just looking for a seat." "Can I bring you a chair?" "Yes!" I was so grateful. "Can I bring you something to drink?" "Yes," I replied, nearly tearing up, I was so exhausted and hungry and grateful. When my table was ready and the hostess showed me to my seat I felt a tug on my leg. I looked down and saw the yarn for Georgie trailing through the entire restaurant and back to the bar. I followed it back, rewinding it until I got to an amused though confused young woman standing in the bar holding the remainder of the skein in her hand. "Bet that's the first time that ever happened here," she said. "There's a yarn convention in town. It's going to happen a lot."
Friday: I had an all-day class with Cat Bordhi on writing patterns. It was about formatting and editing not the creation of a design. I got some very good information from it. Then there was Sample It. This is an event where vendors, if they choose, can offer one item at wholesale prices--sometimes slightly below wholesale--to buyers. This, in theory, allows buyers to try out a product before committing to a whole order. But really people just use it to buy themselves a bunch of stuff. It's always super-hot and jam-packed. I got some items for my shop--not for me!--and then fled to the much cooler, calmer lobby. There was a teacher's gallery where experts who offer classes can connect with shop-owners. Mary Beth Temple was there. She is a crochet designer and teacher. Her brand is called Hooked for Life. There was a slight typo in her signage.
Next was the fashion show which was much, much better than the January show. It went more smoothly and faster and the designs were better on the whole.
Then it was off to the Tip Top for a much needed late dinner. I ordered a Diet Coke and was handed a vat of soda. Seriously, look at it compared to my cell phone.
Saturday the market opened. I shopped and walked and shopped and walked and shopped. I'd say I'm most excited about Spud & Chloe. Blue Sky Alpacas are a class act and they do a beautiful job on the yarn, the patterns, the whole packaging. Plus they always have the cutest, most inviting booth at the show.
There are social events and lots of food in the various booths. Interweave hosted a Twitter meet-up (tweet up) called Let Them Tweet Cake. They served massive cupcakes and coffee. So that was lunch (nutrition and sleep both suffer terribly at TNNA).
More shopping and walking and shopping. Then out to dinner with several designers from Stitch Co-op plus several other crochet designers. We met up with...well, everyone in the universe...back at the Hyatt lobby. There is a huge circle of chairs, and couches. We rearrange all the furniture. We sit and knit or spin. You just grab a free chair and when you see a free seat next to someone you want to talk to you just go over and plunk yourself down. That is how I met Melissa La Barre and Cecily Glowik MacDonald. These two extremely talented ladies, who are also a hell of a lot of fun, are collaborating on a book from Interweave. I am really looking forward to seeing it.
Sunday was more market. At this point I was operating on almost no sleep. More shopping and walking but also more staring off into space. So tired. A huge group of us had converged on the Stitch Coop booth where Cat Bordhi and Ysolda Teague were on the floor playing with a trash can full of water and dry ice. It was in part a recreation of last year's dry ice session. I'm sure the internet will soon be flooded with photos of it. After trying for a while to find a restaurant that could accommodate 20+ people with no notice, we gave up and split into small groups. I had a really great dinner with Laura, Ysolda, Miriam Felton and Mandy Moore. We then made the required trip to Jeni's for awesome ice cream. Everyone wanted t-shirts but they were pretty much sold out. The guy behind the counter was apologetic.
"Yeah," he explained. "There's this knitting conference in town and they just went nuts."
Back at the hotel, during all the hanging out, knitting and laughing, Cirilia Rose and Ysolda began to act out all the cliches of knitwear photo shoots. It looked something like this.
Had 4.5 hours of sleep then did a crochet class with Lily Chin at 8 am (5 am my time). Worked and socialized all day and night. It's 2:15 am and I'm getting on an 8 am shuttle out of here. Still need to pack. If I'm crying uncontrollably the next time you see me it's probably due to fatigue.
I'm in Columbus. TNNA is good so far. I took a class on pattern writing from Cat Bordhi yesterday that had some good info. I went to the Sample It event (I'll have to explain it later) but it was so crowded I just got one thing for the shop. Then there was the fashion show. Definitely some Thursday fodder in there but I liked a lot more than I thought I would. Then there was a reception for the Internation Year of Fiber where everyone was weighted down with drink tickets and trying to give them to everyone else. There was a chocolate fountain which I had never witnessed before. Would you drink from a recirculating water fountain? No. Then why would you eat from a recirculating chocolate fountain?
I reconnected with many lovely people I haven't seen since the January show or last year. I met Laura (Cosmicpluto) and Ysolda Teague. Got to hang out with them and the Ravelry/Berocco group. Had lots of fun. Now I have to put myself together--to the extent that I ever do--and go to the show!
I'm trying to get all packed for my trip to Columbus for TNNA. I leave very early on Thursday. I think I'm all ready to go but somehow it seemed too simple. I'm sure I must be forgetting something really important. I'm sure I'll remember when I'm half-way to Denver. I packed an extra empty suitcase because you end up with so much swag and books and whatnot that it's a real struggle to get it all home.
I'm getting back on Monday. Then on Sunday I leave for a ten day trip to Japan! I have never been and am extremely excited. I'm also totally unprepared. I'm going with a group and a lot of my time has been mapped out for me already. I'll be in Tokyo for nearly the whole time with just a few day trips. My biggest problem is what knitting do I bring? I don't want to lug around a big, heavy sweater or anything with charts. Socks seems obvious but I haven't been feeling the sock love lately. My top contender is the Featheweight Cardigan. I have some lace-weight something I won as a door prize at the Knitter's Guild in a great raspberry color that I hope will work well. Then I'll need a back-up project too. Hmmm...
Here is proof that knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting on size 3 needles eventually yields something. This is the back of Georgie and the beginning of her two fronts. This is a very slow-going project. Not Auburn Camp Shirt slow but you know what I mean.
Yesterday I allowed myself to be side-tracked by my younger son. He asked me to make him the devil from Creepy Cute Crochet. I sighed and said I could make it but I'd have to find the yarn. His eyes lit up and he marched into my office and proudly pointed directly at a skein of red Lamb's Pride Worsted and said, "Tah dahhhh." Crocheting those little things is really fast.
I wonder how long it will be before I sew it all together.
This weekend is scheduled practically down to the minute.
Friday night was spinning at the shop. I finished spinning singles from the "Batt of Beast" I've been working on on and off (mostly off) for nearly a year and a half. I think that's some sort of record for 2 oz. of fiber! I still need to ply.
Saturday we hosted a party at a local park. Older son is graduating from elementary school. He wanted to have one last hurrah with his gang of friends before the summer. A few friends won't be going to the same middle school so it's a bit of a goodbye too. He invited all his friends to come to the park for games and a potluck lunch. Ten 11 year old boys eat SO MUCH FOOD. There was a pizza, two plates of pot stickers, veggie wraps, crackers, cheese, meats, quesadillas, brownies, cupcakes, strawberries, grapes, watermelon. And there was not much left when it was all done. Older son wanted to bring something special so we made the Fruit Pizza from Clare Crespo's Secret Life of Food. It's the same book that the sushi cupcakes came from. I only have Wes's cameraphone picture of it. It's just a big shortbread cookie with a sweetened cream cheese mixture on top with strawberry jam around the edges, then sprinkled with fruit. It's really tasty, a bit like cheesecake but with a crisp, cookie crust.
After the party ended we hurried home to get ready for a friend's wedding. It was at the Olympic Sculpture Park. It's the perfect venue for a wedding. The space is gorgeous with a fantastic view, the catering was very good and the staff was very nice.
Now today we have Older son's cello lesson, then a simultaneous birthday party (Older son's classmate) and baby shower (knitting friend of mine) and then we all head to the Seattle Storm game with a group from Wes's work! I think I'm going to have a very hard time getting out of bed tomorrow.
I did finish the back of Georgie on Friday. I cast on for the fronts but have only gotten in a few rows of rib so far.
I recently watched the Nigella Lawson Express series of cooking shows. I had never really seen any of her shows and I appreciated her passion for food even though I found the series a little over-scripted. It did get me feeling pretty badly about how little Wes and I cook, despite the fact that we both love to cook. But we also adore eating out and it is definitely something we do--too often--to treat ourselves. Any small hiccup in evening plans usually gets turned into an excuse to go out to dinner. But after Nigella I was fired up. We headed to Uwajimaya two weeks ago and loaded up on lots of pantry items. Younger son is an exceptionally picky eater. The kid won't even eat noodles. Except for Japanese noodles. He loves ramen. So he asked us to pick some up. We got fresh noodles and some miso. Last night in about 10 minutes I was able to cook some noodles while making broth with the miso, a shot of soy and a drop of sesame oil. Then we tossed in some strips of cooked chicken to warm while the noodles cooked. It got a thumbs up from younger son. It's a small victory but we take them where we can.
I've also been reading Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook. It is utterly charming. Each recipe is accompanied by a bit of history or family lore. It's very funny and really just delightful to read. The recipes, while appealing to my deep, deep love of Southern food, are not something I'll be delving into any time soon. The first one I read when I opened the book was for BBQ shrimp. The recipe, which serves four, begins with two sticks of butter and half a cup of olive oil! For four people!
Tonight is the local farmer's market. Hopefully I can go over and get inspired for dinner. Although high temperatures (it's supposed to be near 90° today which qualifies for a "severe weather alert" in Seattle) are one of our favorite excuses not to cook. Maybe if I can find that article by Mark Bittman of 100 meals you can make without turning on the stove...
We took the kids to see Jim Henson's Fantastic World yesterday. The exhibit is small but filled with wonderful artifacts from Henson's whole body of work, from his early commercials and variety show spots to his later work on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock and his films, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. There are video installations, loads of sketches and storyboards and, best of all, Muppets. Rowlf is there along with Ernie and Bert and several others. The kids didn't have the patience to look at everything so I will definitely go back on my own and do the complete audio tour.
One of the great videos was a reel of early commercial work, including the hilarious La Choy dragon.