Sunday, June 04, 2006

Granite State Knit-In XV weekend

It's hard to believe there have been 15 Granite State Knit-Ins already, but it must be, because it says so on the cake (and the bags, which I didn't take a picture of yet)!

I usually tell my story in order that the pictures are taken, but I'm going to depart from that this time. Shown on the right are the organizing committee in a photo taken at the end of the event, after they've been at this for 9 hours plus just that day, let alone all the work that goes into it since January. From left to right are: Charlotte, Joan, Donna, Barb and Dana. I'm amazed these incredible women can stand up and look at a camera at that point, let alone smile. Well done, ladies!

(sorely) Missing from this photo, and the event itself, is Anne, who for as long as I can remember has been a, if not the, driving force behind the Granite State Knit-In. Anne has been battling illness lately which left her unable to attend this year's event. You Were Missed, Anne!

Back to Friday. Normally on the weekend with the first Saturday in June, Himself and I travel up to Lincoln (Loon Mountain) on the Friday, stay at his friends’ condo, I enjoy the Knit-In, Himself goes for a hike, we stay Saturday night and then find a route to meander our way back home from the White Mountains on Sunday. This year, since he missed his trip to Canada in May, Himself decided he could drop me at the Downeaster in Portland to make my way home and continue on by himself. On the left you see the car packed with all the vital components for our respective itineraries. I’ve been angsting all week about needing to carry everything I brought the last ¼ mile home from the subway, but it worked out. It really made me think about not bringing things that “might be handy”, but focus on what was really useful. It also meant that I mistakenly brought clothes better for weather about 10 degrees warmer, but hey, when else are you going to get the most use out of your best shawl?

Friday night we went to dinner at the Common Man restaurant, directly across the 2-lane highway from the condo and then went for a walk up the bike path that connects all these developments to the Loon Mountain facility. In the next development up the road, we saw a sign that told us we were not in Cambridge anymore.

My photos of the Knit-In are kind of spotty, just because when I’m teaching, I’m fully engaged in trying to make sure everyone’s getting it and it doesn’t seem fair to make them wait while I take pictures. I had six students each for two classes of entrelac (6 being the most I can give individual attention to in the space of an hour session), and 4 for I-cord. The classes seemed to go well. One person didn’t realize until we were into it that she didn’t have the skills specified in the class description and another told me she had used the homework for my class in her last class (I’m not figuring THAT out), and had to start over from scratch while everyone else was on to step two and beyond, poor thing.

Because of the luggage issue, I deliberately avoided the vendors more than a cursory visit this time. Sorry, guys. However, I will show you what Grafton Fibers brought as a work in progress. They did a class on needle felting that one of the committee members said has already had requests for a repeat next year from those who didn’t get in this year. The figure is about as tall or slightly larger than me, and I’m 5’ 1.5”.

There are several regular features of the Knit-In. The raffle is always a big hit and it’s a winner on both ends. Wonderful things are donated for the raffle and at 3 tickets for $1, it’s cheap to take your chance on winning something you would like. Shown here in two pictures are the tables worth of goods offered for raffle this year. With one person getting the next prize and putting its tickets in the bucket, one announcer to pick from the bucket and call the numbers, and several runners to take the prizes to the winners in the audience, it takes about 45 minutes to get through them all. Hint – if you buy a lot of tickets, it makes it a lot easier if you put your mark on the back. Committee members long ago purchased a rubber stamp kit that gives them each a unique symbol. I just put my initials on the back.

With all these tickets (okay, it’s my teaching payment plus a donation turned into tickets), this year I only won one thing this year – a Frog Tree Alpaca scarf kit in a green my mother should like. Haven’t taken a picture of it yet, though. Other years I've been alot luckier, but then again, see prior discussion of needing to limit the luggage. Given its size, getting the talking sheep toy home would have been work. Maybe next year......

And in case you wonder how many tickets they sell all told, here's a picture of Charlotte with the bag of "unwinning" tickets, from which they do one last draw for a surprise prize. It's a lot of tickets, folks. That's a big bag.

Another regular feature is the Precious Pals collection for the local State Police troop. I’m lacking a bit of terminology here, so bear with me. The head state trooper for that area is the son of Vivian at Grand View Country Store and his name is John (never caught his last name). Every year as we’re having lunch, he gets paged over the radio to the effect of “your mother says to come to Loon Mountain.” This first photo is John, Vivian (in green) and Elaine Eskesen, our speaker, standing, with Dana and Barb sitting in the chairs. He comes and thanks us for the donations (120 plus this year -- 2 cubby cases full). Each of the troopers (and they share with other agencies, too) have bears in the patrol cars so that if they’re called to a scene with children, they can have comfort on hand to give the kids, whether it’s a car accident or domestic violence. John used to tell us particular instances (keeping identifiables out of it) of how the bears were deployed in the past year, but that made everyone in the room cry, so he’s stopped being that specific. He did let us know this year that 3 of the bears will be going to the 3 young children of a police chief of an area town. The Chief is an Army Reservist who suffered a head injury in Iraq a few months back when his Humvee was attacked and is still recovering.

Our speaker this year was Elaine Eskesen, author of Dyeing to Knit and owner of Pine Tree Yarns in Damariscotta, Maine. She was interesting to listen to talking about her love of color, how she came to have a book contract, what it meant to actually write a book and how she discovered her store can run for a day or so on the honor system if she needs to be somewhere else. I was busy listening and looking at the swatches, so I didn't get to take pictures.

So, the day wound up. We don't have to go back to the Mountain Club restaurant at Loon again because we've been once and we don't have to repeat anything we don't want to. Let me just say, has anyone else ever had garlic mashed potatoes with nutmeg? It was new to us.

Sunday we drove down to Portland and had a couple hours to wander and have lunch before the Downeaster took me south and Himself took off north for his trip. Portland was having a street fair today, and I found a bookstore that was still advertising Friday's appearence of Wren Ross and her co-author promoting their book, Changing Patterns (about creativity). Lousy photo, but I tried. They're featured in a story the current issue of Body and Soul.

Portland was threateningly damp and very breezy today so we headed off to the train station a tad earlier than we might have.
We took my suitcase, box of teaching, and purse out of the car and I was able to carry them all myself.

And the bear is happy to get out of that back window and ride in the front for awhile. Have a fun trip, boys!

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