Tomorrow morning, I’m leaving for my one mommy’s-weekend-off that is sacrosanct*: the Knitter’s Review Retreat. So Thankful Thursday is as good a time as any to tell you why I babble write about it so much.
Preamble: Once upon a time, after several years of reading Knitter’s Review, Owl saw that the arrangements for KRR had changed: instead of being held in Virginia, it was moving to New England – just an easy drive away. Everything I read about the event suggested it was something special, but previously inaccessible. So intrepid Karen agreed to go with me to spend 3 days with a group of strangers with whom we shared one thing in common. That “thing” gave me a really special bond with those I met.
I am thankful for …
… Clara Parkes. If you have never met Clara, you have missed the opportunity to meet a wickedly clever, intrinsically kind person who is a treasure trove of knowledge wrapped up with an unerring sense of “what’s coming next” tied with a delicious ribbon of humor. She may be Knitting Royalty, but she’s also someone you just want to be around. And she’s been able to bring together a hundred knitters in person who have otherwise only labored in far-flung places, and turn them into a community. No, I do not have a crush on her. I’m proud – and grateful – to call her my friend, though.
… my KRR peeps. Without the Retreat, I would never have been able to have friendships with the people who try to keep me sane. Nanci, SandyT, Luann, RosiR, Marfa and more – you know who you are. Without their friendship, the past difficult year would have been much harder. They buoy me when I need it, check in when I’m too quiet, and share so much wisdom and humor about life beyond the needles.
… fabulous classes. When I was a new knitter, I took a variety of classes. Not so much, now that I am the one doing the teaching. But KRR brings the best teachers in the business – the people who have helped me get to the next level, like Melissa Morgan-Oakes. This year, I’ll be taking a sweater design class with Anne Hanson of Knitspot, and hopefully interacting with Melanie Falick and Ann Budd. (At this rate, my knitting-book collection will contain nothing but signed editions.) These are people who don’t talk, they teach. And I am the better knitter for it.
… guilt-free destashing. The Stash Lounge is somewhat legendary, and for good reason. You may find cashmere lace or machine-washable baby yarn. You bring whatever is weighing you down – an old UFO, yarn that was a product of your one-time taste, yarn you know you’ll just never knit. And you give it away. Bring something, take something if you want, and acquire some freedom from stuff.
… show and tell. On Friday night, all 100 of us will introduce ourselves with a project that says something about us. I can’t begin to relate the inspiration that wells up. Every piece has a story, from Nanci’s now-felted throw to a knitted wedding dress to a pair of socks. Thinking about it is what led me to knit Elm Row using gorgeous Sundara Silk Lace, knowing Anne would be there to see it. I needed to prove to myself what I am still capable of. (Pix and story of now-FO coming after I get home.)
… two nights of unbroken sleep. The guard will be down, and Owl will not have one ear open listening for Darling Bebe’s cries. Owl will sleep as late as she wants (i.e., past 7 perhaps) with KnittingKittens as the human alarm clock.
… KnittingKittens. While on the subject, the best roomie ev-ah. What better than someone who doesn’t hear snoring, gets up before you and thus, finishes with ablutions before you even wake up, brings coffee to the room for you – and is your best pal?
More next week. In the meantime, you know where to find me!