Thursday, October 25, 2007

Heigh Ho the Dairy-O

A-Festivaling We Will Go!

I'm really looking forward this weekend to going to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. Hard to say why, since my stash is distressingly well stocked. Worsteds? bulkies? DKs? travel yarn? laceweight? sock yarn? check, check, check, and many more checks. Rovings and fleece? check. Needles? Books? (groan) really way more than I have any excuse for; check. So there's really not much I can come up with that I "need" to shop for. All I can say is that a fiber festival feeds the soul. Maybe it's the chance to ogle so many beautiful raw materials and inspiring examples, in the company of a lot of festival-goers who appreciate them and see their potential. And the thought of being outside in the crisp autumn weather, with the leaves beginning to show their gorgeous colors. Throw in a few sheep and border collies, and I'm just completely sunk.

This one looks like a small and cozy festival, enjoyable and no doubt much less overwhelming than the mighty New York State Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck that so many bloggers have been reporting back from this week, happy and exhausted. And how can you not love a festival that offers a peddler's corner where you can bring individual items to put up for sale for a small fee? Now that's downright neighborly. Not that I'm prepared to part with my precious finished objects, other than as gifts to people I care about. But it's nice having the option!

I'm not sure I'll get that golden autumn sunshine I'm picturing, since our region is finally getting some desperately needed rain, after a long and very serious drought. But if the vendors are there, I'm grabbing a rainhat and going. I won't melt!

Today, as if I needed it, I had fresh evidence of how knitting creates human connections. I had to spend some nerve-wracking time in a waiting room. I always stock up with reading and needlework for those situations. I had with me a couple of books and my current charity knitting project. At first, I didn't break out the actual knitting, but appeased the knitting urge by reading a knitting-related book I picked up last night, The Secret Language of Knitters, by Mary Beth Temple . It's a fun little book; some explanation of jargon, some comical recounting of things we'd all recognize ruefully and shake our heads over. It was amusing enough to keep me occupied, and I kept thinking I wouldn't be waiting long enough to warrant pulling out the knitting project.

But on the far side of the room, I spied two ladies sitting side by side knitting away in good-humored companionship. That, finally, was too much for me. I pulled my project out of the bag and set to work, with perhaps a little sigh of satisfaction.

I hadn't been at it for more than ten minutes before one of those same ladies was standing next to me, curious about what I was doing. I'm a Continental-style knitter, and she said they'd been trying to figure out whether I was knitting or crocheting, because they could see I was pulling stitches through without throwing the yarn. "And on those tiny little needles!" -- size 9s, I think, actually. I showed her how Continental knitting works, how you are actually creating the stitch the same way though you carry the yarn in the other hand. She was so intrigued that she drew me over to the other side of the room to introduce me to the other lady, who turned out to be her mom. They showed me their projects, simple but colorful and pretty scarves on big needles, and I showed them both the basic idea of picking stitches. Mom enthusiastically had a go herself, awkward though it is when you first try, and after much how-about-that-ing on their parts, and encouraging well-wishing on mine, I returned to my own seat.

When my sojourn there was finally over, and I headed toward the door, the daughter flagged me down for a moment to tell me that they were now both practicing with the Continental method. They were tickled with their new skill, and I was pleased that something nice had come out of such a time. I think we all parted just a bit happier. Knitting is like that, isn't it?


Knittin' Diva said...

Hello Cathy, and welcome to the world of blogging ;-) Our husbands work for the same company, and have shared stories, apparently, about our fiber addictions. I too, am planning to attend the Shenandoah Fiber Festival (it's nearly across the street). Maybe we'll bump into one another. You can check out my blog at

Anonymous said...

Hi, I work for Part of my job is to search blogs to find the latest books and shops throughout the U.S.

On we are going to add patterns and other knitting related books and would like reviews about them. I saw your blog and would like to ask permission to feature the following quote on our site.

"It's a fun little book; some explanation of jargon, some comical recounting of things we'd all recognize ruefully and shake our heads over."

Thank You,