Fiber and Frolic in October

October was a packed month and the proof is that I am running about a week behind processing events. First there was Ellie’s and my 3-Day Walk, a huge event for us and deeply satisfying. The next big event was my Friends of the Smith College Librairies Board Meeting. This is a favorite activity as I get to go visit Northampton and see Smith and the other board members are a tremendously intelligent and congenial group of women. The third weekend in every October is the New York Sheep and Wool Festival and I have already blogged about fiber and sheep ecstacy. Last up for big events in October was another annual ritual—Stitches East.

Ah, the joys of a knitting convention. Hotels and convention centers overrun with (mostly) women in amazing knit garb clutching sticks and string and perching in every possible spot to get in a little chatting and a little knitting. I always muse that it must seem to hotel and convention workers like an alien flock has descended upon them. But they mustn’t really mind because it is an extremely happy and friendly group.

To give some historical context, attending Stitches with a guilt-free conscience is a part of the birth of Potter Craft. Initiating an imprint devoted to craft transformed by somewhat harmless dalliance into a busman’s holiday. Those of us traveling to Stitches would mine for new authors, check out the competition’s books, study trends in color and fiber and come up with new ideas to publish. It was actually an extremely effective weekend. It was also now unassailable by any questioning spouse. (To be fair, my spouse is completely supportive and tolerant and the pressure was internal). Of course, having launched the Potter Craft imprint, we did feel a bit unwanted by the Stitches management. Somehow they seemed less tolerant of our self-directed research in the forum they had kindly provided. I’ll never forget one lunch when Lauren plopped us down at the Stitches head table incognito. Only Lauren would have the chutzpah to sit and kibbutz with our competition like a couple of housewives from metro New York.

Last year Lauren, Tina and I attended Stitches. It was much more of a girls’ weekend than reconnaissance. The economy was so soft, there wasn’t that much happening. We had a great time. After class and walking the show which was quite quiet and small, we headed up to CT, shopped for dinner and had a lovely evening cooking, drinking wine, chatting and knitting. It was highly memorable.

This year I headed to Stitches solo. This was just fine, too. I had two classes, The Joy of Steeks and Two Socks at a Time Toe Up. I planned a lunch with my former author and buddy, Fiona Ellis, and stayed over Friday night. Lunch with Fiona was great. She is a fun companion and we caught up on each other’s years and plans. My steeks class was good and afterwards I hit the market. The good news is the market was bustling again. Note to Ben Bernanke: the knitters feel the economy is in an upturn. Staying over night gave me plenty of time to peruse the aisles, have a quiet dinner and spend some quality knitting time in my hotel room. It was a pleasant getaway with lots of fiber happiness. Saturday I had the all day Two Socks at a Time Toe Up class, which was good, but not quite what I had expected, and I headed home in the afternoon.

Even as I pointed my car homewards, I sighed with wistfulness that the major October events were now at conclusion. It was time to dig in and get to work. November would be a serious and hopefully fruitful month building new contacts and laying the ground work for my professional future. But knitting sure is fun…

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