Leaving Arkansas

Buffalo Wool Hat & Namaste Bag Await Take Off

Well, all I can say is that if you’re stuck in an airport, Little Rock is the one you want!  Good lighting, comfy seats AND free wifi.  Very civilized!

My entire weekend was just great!  The hotel (Embassy Suites) was so comfortable, so luxurious (although my room was NOTHING compared to the Fiber Fest Founder Suite they reserve for women who head up local fiber extravaganzas…) and I took full advantage of the fitness room and the exercise bike.

I HAD to with all the bacon I ate.  Bacon, bacon, bacon.  Man, those most have been SOME happy pigs, because they tasted amazing.

Oatmeal & Bacon, Breakfast of Champions

[Disclaimer: Annie Modesitt would like to apologize to any reader offended by her jocular & salacious tone when discussing pork products.]

The event was incredibly well organized – Heather did a magnificent job stepping in when Anne found herself a bit overwhelmed with colliding commitments – it was a sensational event!

A Blurry Sarah & Carson

The folks were so friendly, warm, funny, eager and engaging, and it was delightful to get to spend a bit of time with Sarah from Ravelry and her beautiful new son, Carson!

My students worked as hard (or harder) than any I’ve had, and my keynote speech (which walked on the edge of maybe a teensy too liberal) was so warmly received that I felt like Dale Carnegie.  Maybe it was the very stylish fedora I was wearing that lulled the audience?

Sassafras Creations Earrings

I have to confess to a very prideful moment when I leapt onto the stage to participate in the speed knitting competition.  It may have been unseemly, but dang it I REALLY wanted a pair of Sassafras Creation earrings that were one of the prizes, and I was going to knit my fingers off to get them!

The contest was to begin with a cast on, and I think I kind of shot ahead at that point because I have a really fast cast on.  I’m grateful to the other participants for being such good sports to allow me to win.

By the way, folks in Arkansas are VERY honest.  I left my $40 Size 8 Signature Needles on stage (I set them down during the competition because I was using size 7s) and they were returned to me by the end of the day. 

But we all know that knitters are pretty honest folks, though!

Unexpected Art in Hot Springs

Now I sit at the airport.  I volunteered to be bumped from my flight (because of bad weather they have to take on extra fuel, in case they need to circle Memphis) so I was officially bumped due to weight restrictions.  All that bacon now catches up with me.

I’ll be arriving later than expected, but I get a voucher to cover my flight to San Jose in the Spring for Stitches, so all is well!

And I got some drink vouchers for the plane.  The Hot Springs Arkansas Fiber Extravaganza PARTY train is NOT ending yet!

I wonder if they’ll have bacon…

Modeknit Minnesota Lakeside Retreat, Day 1

Dinner at Crazy Bee

Kathleen and I arrived on Friday afternoon and began preparing the two cabins (Crazy Bee & Drone) for the guests.

One by one they arrived, with London bringing up the rear with extra items from my house that I forgot to pack.  Thank you, London!

Kathleen has been outdoing herself with these amazing meals she’s fixing!

Last night a dinner of grilled sandwiches, then a lovely cold breakfast of bagels, cheeses, smoked salmon, yogurt, cereal and fruit.

Quiet Knitting in the Afternoon Sun

The colorwork class this morning was great – the class was hard working, engaged and asked very good questions.

We had a door-prize drawing for some of the many wonderful books London and I have received for review (I tend to get duplicates of some books) and we all are having such a wonderful time!

We broke for lunch, all of us marveling at the BEAUTIFUL weather that we’ve been graced with!  We are SO lucky – it’s absolutely amazing here!

A filling and delicious lunch of pulled pork, salad, fried apples, cole slaw and bagels / rolls was beautifully served by London and Heather, who have both been SO helpful in getting everyone settled and happy in their rooms.

I have great friends, I’m so lucky!

Lake Koronis at Sunrise

I couldn’t have put together a nicer group if I’d been able to hand pick folks!

This is a great group – I can’t wait for our afternoon class of Charted Entelac which is set to begin in – oh my – 9 minutes!  Better run!

 

End of Summer, Teaching Season Opens (& Stitches?!)

We were able to get away for a 2-day escape up to Voyageur National Park over my birthday.  And, may I just say, I was OVERWHELMED with the lovely birthday wishes on my facebook page.  Thank you, everyone!

We took advantage of one of those Groupons earlier this year, and thus we had a pretty amazing mini-vacation for a bargain.

We stayed at the Northern Lights Resort, which was lovely.  My only complaint is that they begin mowing, clipping and blowing at SEVEN A.M. on Saturday with a vengeance, so don’t expect to sleep in or anything…

Below is a gallery of some of the highlights of our few days away, plus rubber ducks at the MN State fair and a brief outdoor shot of our indoor cat (he escaped, then sat on the fence and posed for a few minutes before capture…)

For me the absolute BEST part of the adventure were the ‘hydro-bikes’ (made in Minneapolis!) that were available at the resort!  I was able to get my bike ride in AND get out on the lake (although it took a lot more pedaling to go 10 feet than it takes to go 100 yds on a street bike)  It was a BLAST and it made me so happy!

We took one family water trip with Atticus in the canoe.  He jumped out.  He’s a swimming doggie, but Hannah was fearless in how quickly she jumped in and directed him over to my hydrobike where he rested until we got back to the dock.

We all switched places, we realized that what Atticus wanted was to be with me, so I rode in the canoe and paddled while Hannah took over the bike and we were all fine on the trip over to a mini-island for some fishing, and the trip back.

Fish – we caught none.  I’m sad about it, but not bereft.  I really wanted to get a walleye, or at least a bass, but no such luck.

Fall Work Start

I’m immersed in some designing, and I’m writing my first grant proposal.  More on that if / when I hear anything, but it’s certainly an experience to try to put my thoughts into “grant speak”  (B.S.-ing 101 was a class I’m afraid I did miserably in during grad school…)

I have some submission deadlines coming up quickly and a full slate of teaching engagements over the next few weeks

I have all of these dates up at my “upcoming engagements” page,  but perhaps the most unexpected news is that I’ve agreed to teach at Stitches West in February.

I’ve never taught at Stitches – the timing never worked out, and when I did apply I didn’t get accepted.  Once I read the rules involved in teaching at one of these events I got a little skittish and didn’t apply again.

But I’ve been asked by so many folks, “When will you teach at Stitches?” so when I was approached by Benjamin Levisay from XRX (I love making Facebook friends & meeting them in real life!) I realized that it would be unfair to judge without participating from a teaching point of view.

So for those of you Stitches attendees who’ve wanted to take a class with me, I’ll be teaching 3 in Santa Clara in late February!

Yay for warm weather teaching in the midst of MN Winter!

Iceland Class, History & Home!

Flourless Cake = Squee

Note: This was written before I left Iceland, but exhaustion & laziness kept me from publishing it until today – enjoy!

Finally on Sunday I did what I came here to do – taught 6 hours of classes!

Strolling Reyjavik

But not before a little cake on Saturday at the same cafe where I’d had breakfast the day before (I’m one day away from becoming the Mayor – I’m going to OWN this town!)

Metal Multi Colored Houses

…a stroll around Reyjavik (the architecture is such a mish-mash, but charming and very compact.)  I feel like I’m walking around in a lego village.

A well loved child

…and cute baby pic – the father kindly allowed me to snap a shot of this gorgeous child in a wonderful Icelandic lopi sweater.  Everyone seems to have them on here!

Class

The studio space for Knitting Iceland is shared with several other creative types, the room is light and large with a great cross breeze from the huge windows which overlook the street below and a glimpse of the bay on the other side.

Lovely Knotted Pillow by Umemi

One of Ragga’s studio mates makes these lovely knotted pillows by stuffing tubes of knitted fabric with fiber.  Another studio mate is pretty much a dead ringer for Tin Tin.

The class was WONDERFUL!  The students – as I’d hoped and expected – not only spoke beautiful English but where exceptional knitters.

It was a bonus for me that although their skills were top notch, there were certain tricks that folks in the US may have become a bit used to which were new to them, so I seemed much more stellar than I really deserved to be!

Passing Sweater on a Bike

The lace class was good, it’s my 3rd time teaching this “Charting Your Own Lace” class so I’m still feeling my way at points, but I think it was very well received.  The colorwork class in the afternoon was a HUGE hit, and I’m currently working on TWO Lopi sweaters for Istex using some of the techniques which I’ve been perfecting.  I’m VERY excited (and I have my airplane knitting all set for this evening!)

Dinner

After the classes a small group of us went to Icelandic Fish & Chips, where they use spelt flour for the batter so I gave it a try and – so far – no awful gluten side effects!  The fish was SO amazing I really wouldn’t have cared if I were curled up in a ball for a week after eating it!

St. Olaf (for the folks at home)
The Full Table, Good Friends!

History

Monday was culture day, and after dropping Sue off at the bus for the airport, Ragga and I visited the Icelandic Heritage Museum where I purchased a wickedly expensive book and snapped MANY photographs.  What a lovely place to spend some time, and the exhibits were easy to understand, well laid out and very compelling.

My expensive & indulgent purchases!

I left feeling I understood SO much more about Icelandic history and culture than I expected!  I won’t embarrass myself by trying to give any highlights of Icelandic history, but it’s a fascinating nation with a very interesting (and well documented) history.

Like the US, it’s essentially a nation of immigrants (albeit from 930 ACE).  There has always been a great deal of travel between the different areas of Iceland, which seems to have prevented ‘local dialects’ from cropping up, and (I believe) adds to the open-ness and friendliness of the general population.

Water, Water, Everywhere!

Bathing – swimming – is a way of life in Iceland.  Every community has a public pool with hot soaking areas.  Ragga mentioned that folks wonder why anyone would live in the odd community that doesn’t have a pool!

The water is heated by the geothermal power that rages under Iceland, and the protocol is for folks to shower naked, THEN don their swimsuits, then hit the pool.  Eminently sensible, if you ask me!

There’s much less body-conscious self-loathing here, or at least I didn’t notice the same amount of, “I hate my body!” invading the changing areas.  Also very sensible.  I’ve always felt that, ironically, our own American bizarre body image mania is at the root of our national obesity issues. 

It’s almost as if we say, en masse,
“If I can’t be perfect, I’ll just eat myself into oblivion…”
In countries where the sense of beauty is not tied into being a size 0, I think it’s easier to be health and fit at any size. 

Okay, I’m off my Icelandic soapbox…

Blue Lagoon

Post Lagoon Glow

On the way to the airport Ragga took a side trip so we (together with Jess, a fiber-loving American in Iceland on a Watson Fellowship) could visit The Blue Lagoon.  We had an AMAZING and absolutely indulgent time!  According to Wikipedia:

Blue Lagoon, Sans Brook

The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulphur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis.[1] The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). The Blue Lagoon also operates a Research and Development facility to help find cures for other skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.

Lava & Moss

The lagoon is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and is renewed every 2 days. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal hot water heating system. Then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal users to bathe in.

We swam, we covered ourselves in silica, we drank at the bar, we shopped (we didn’t buy anything) and then we walked around the lava hills for a bit.  A sudden and unusual heavy rain sent us running for the car where I changed my clothes as we drove to the airport.

Icelandic Reflections

Icelandic Photo Booth Images

I loved being in Iceland.  The people are wonderful – so much like folks in Minnesota it’s not even funny.

Icelanders are sensible, caring, confident and very kind.  Being able to stay with a private family, experiencing a small slice of Icelandic life, was a tremendous gift and I’m grateful to Ragga for welcoming me into her home.

In a nation this small (300,000 folks) it seems that EVERYONE is related to someone else, has gone to school with someone or is best friends with Björk (we drove past her home).

“Want to spend your life with a partner?”

Ragga has quite a following both in her knitting/fiber life, AND as an iconic Sex educator. I was so excited to see her featured on an ad for safe sex (her little condom wrapper has a picture of a sheep on it!)  This was hanging in an ice cream shop, but I saw the same poster all over the place!

Flight

YUM!

For the second time I had the MOST amazing meal at an airport!  First was a three course meal at Heathrow last year at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, Plane Food.

This time it was a lovely salmon/shrimp/salad plate (enough for two, really) with wine and GF bread at Nord Restaurant at the airport.  I couldn’t finish it, so I wrapped the rest up and ate it on the plane. Delicious!

I experienced further proof of the thoughtfulness of Icelanders as I boarded the plane.

The steward looked me up and down and took in the fact that I am not just tall, but have VERY long legs.  He motioned me to step to the back of the plane for a bit, then told me just before the flight took off that there was an open seat in an exit row so I could stretch my legs.

This hasn’t happened to me before, although I’ve known other folks to be lucky in this way.  It made ALL the difference in my flight, and in my pain levels when I got off the plane, and I’m VERY grateful to the kind, kind flight attendant!

Amazing Day Around Iceland!

Sue's Sock & My Latte

On Friday our group of 5 (Ragga, Sue, Larry & Heidi & myself) took off for a jam-packed trip around the area.

Our first stop was for breakfast at the Kaffismidja in Reykjavik where I had some delicious oatmeal and a latte.  Sue’s been working on her clog-sock and it’s coming along beautifully!

Miles of Uniform Colored Wool

Then we headed out of town to the Istex plant where most of the wool from Iceland is processed – the Lopi Works!

Unfortunately, it seems that the wool is processed quite a bit to create a uniformity which may not be as appealing as a more lightly processed wool would be.

The factory strips the lanolin from the wool and overdyes the natural sheep’s colors, turning a national treasure into a mass-produced commodity.

"Stitch Pattern" Railings at IsTex/Lopi

It’s a shame, especially as it’s just about the only game in town as far as the wool producers are concerned.

However, some naturally processed and lightly treated fibers are emerging in the market.

Most serious fiber folk here I spoke with hope that this is the harbinger of a new type of wool production which doesn’t sacrifice inherent quality in the name of a uniform product.

The Botanical Dyer & Cow Urine

One of the most inspirational folks we met on our tour was Guðrún Bjarnadóttir who dyes yarn under the name Hespa.

Guðrún‘s passion for the native plants of Iceland and their use in creating incandescent colors of yarn was infectious, and she has just about the best dog I’ve ever met (aside from Atticus the wonder Poodle).

AMAZINGLY Beautiful Yarn!

I could have stayed and learned about the colors she derives from lichens, mosses, birch, lupine and rhubarb – and the chemical reactions that catalysts like Cow Urine create –  all day long!

My only regret on this trip thus far is that I didn’t purchase MORE of her yarn – I left the most beautiful red color behind because I was convinced I couldn’t afford it.  Silly me.  Okay, my only OTHER regret is that I forgot my camera battery charger so I have to rely on my less-than-stellar iphone camera for posterity.

A quick stop at the Agricultural College in Hvanneyri to check out some beautiful

Small Church by the Sea in Hvanneyri

sweaters with gorgeous colorways, stroll the grounds of the Farmer Museum and visit a small church, then back in the car for an outdoor seaside lunch at the Puppet Museum. 

I couldn’t find anything gluten free on the menu, so I had ice cream for lunch – which was just dandy with me!

Then on to visit a lovely couple who create beautiful items of horn and antler

Sue Got Her Goat, Ragga Looks On

(I had to wistfully pass on some beautiful horn darning needles!) and off to the highlight of the day for me – the Háafelli goat farm!

I love goats.  My family laughs at me, but I want to own goats some day.  This was such a lovely time for me, so much fun, almost like a dream!

The 3 month old kids were sweet and gentle, and the rose garden by the owner’s house was absolutely spectacular!

My Goat Got Me!

Here’s a lovely piece on the native goats of Iceland which explains a great deal about what Johanna Thorvaldsdottir & Thorbjörn Oddsson have been doing to preserve the species.

We had coffee and Icelandic pancakes in the garden – and I should not have, but I did eat one.  I suffered later for it, but it was worth it (almost!)

Grasses

As the day wore on, our group became closer and friendlier, everyone easing into a wonderful sense of contentment.  This is due in no small part to Ragga’s excellent work preparing such wonderful stops for our tour, and her ability to assemble folks in breathtaking locations for a singular experience!

This was so evident when she drove us to a beautiful outdoor public pool in Borgarnes where our entire group soaked any aches away in one of the geothermal heated pools and bonded over family stories.

The drive back to Reykjavik was lit with a brilliant pink sunset, stunning, and perfectly matching some yarn that one person in our group at bought from Guðrún.

Beautiful Bark

Our final stop was an Indian restaurant downtown (Ghandi) where the others ordered and ate while I went for a short walk.

I knew it would be hard to find gluten free food on the menu, and I had been suffering from spicy food earlier in the trip.  So I walked a bit and had a yogurt and returned in time to sit with the group and eat some plain rice.  It was delicious, and exactly what my stomach needed after such an intense and tiring day.

It was a day I wouldn’t exchange for anything, though!

Reykjavik Photos

Too tired to post much, but here are some pix I took!

Iceland in August

Lovely Clouds

I love it here!

The flight wasn’t terrible – definitely not for being shoved in a metal tube for 6 hours – it felt much more manageable than flights all the way across the Atlantic!

Ragga

I was met at the airport by Ragga (Ragnheidur Eiriksdottir) of Knitting Iceland who started my day right with a coffee and a lovely Skyr yogurt, then back to her home where I unpacked and napped until the afternoon.

The Thermal Pool at Laugardal

We went with Ragga’s young daughter to a public pool in Laugardal, which was JUST want the doctor ordered!  It was warm, soothing, and the whole ritual of washing, then soaking, then washing again is exactly the perfect remedy for a long flight!

View from the balcony

After some shopping shopping we returned “home” for a lively and boisterous dinner with Ragga & her extended family, I felt so welcomed!

I skyped Gerry & Hannah, it was SO good to see them (Max was out with friends) I love chatting with them on the computer!

Skyr, Berries & Signature Needles

At 10:00 its still light, it would be dark in MN, but here it feels like 9pm or so, and I’ve just finished off another bowl of Skyr with some lovely berries.

And now to bed, where I’m hoping to get myself re-adjusted to Icelandic time (GMT) so I’m not turned around tomorrow!

Hair & Makeup

At the request of a friend, I wanted to show some of the out take stills from my recent video shooting session.

The Winner!

It seems to take an awful lot of work for some relatively mediocre results, but all I have to do is look at the previous attempts at a decent head shot for my Zealana Videos and the one above is golden.  Amen!

Who knew what a little makup, a decent hair combing and the right light would do?  It’s official, from now on I’ll be taping ALL of my videos in my bedroom…

 

 


Above images, left to right,
“The drunken floozy”, “The fearful”, “The mug shot” and “The DAR Mom”

Are you HOT? How about some ICE?

Well, we are ALL hot, and it stinks.

And you might, too (well, it is very hot…)

Heat affects me SO strongly, it always has (even in my ‘thin years’) and just makes me want to roll up into a heated ball and roll into the shade.

Forget knitting.  The thought of any yarn running through my sweaty hands makes me shudder (but not in any helpful way that could cool me off…)

But I have a solution for those of you who are able to get away for a short break in August – a trip to ICELAND for some fine, fine knitting and sight seeing!

It’s been medically proven* that after making reservations for a cool vacation the average body temperature will lower 2-7 degrees.  Seriously!**

So while most of the US waits for the heat to pass (except for those lucky soles going to Sock Summit – you know who you are!) and the rest of us are left to stew in our own juices, this just may be the perfect time to sign up for my Iceland Adventure so you can take full advantage of the medical benefits of booking a trip to a cool destination!***

* It hasn’t been medically proven.
** No, not seriously.
*** There are no medical benefits, not that I know of.

Last Days on the Road Trip

The Hampton Hotel

Here is the room I shared with Knitgrrl at TNNA in Columbus, the restful,  cool and comfortable room immediately across from the pool and whirlpool (AMEN!)

I love having Shannon as a roommate, we have similar thermostats.

Aside from the internet fiasco at the start of our visit, and the fact that the hotel management cut the lock off my bike when it was legally parked in front of their hotel, the rest of our visit was lovely.  Now we just have to straighten out the bill (apparently they double billed me and tripled billed Shannon…  Oy.)

Here’s an image of my bike with the cut lock cable.  Damn.

TNNA STRAGEDY

TNNA was pretty wonderful this year.  The thing that made it different for me this year was I actually made APPOINTMENTS to meet with folks (editors, yarn company owners, movers and shakers) and thus found myself having fewer conversations, but better and DEEPER ones.

I wasn’t the social butterfly I’ve been in the past – in fact, I spent more time napping at this TNNA than ever before (damn you, fibromyalgia!)  but I DID spend a good amount of quality time making connections and touching base with folks I NEEDED to speak with (in lieu of walking the aisles and just picking up folks.)

Not that picking up folks isn’t fabulous, but my energy was limited so I tried to be intelligent about expending it cavalierly.

Discovering that Marcella‘s had a gluten free menu meant that I ate almost ALL my dinners there, and the night I didn’t eat out I got take-out gluten free pizza from the delicious Marcellas.

In short, I tried to take care of MYSELF this time because I knew that TNNA was coming at the start of a teaching and traveling marathon.

My Dinners With _____

A wonderful dinner with Shannon, Linda from Wildfibers Magazine and Raga from Knitting Iceland (among a few others who I taunted mercilessly, sorry dear ladies!  I loved you, but my memory is full of gf beer and I cannot recall your names…) was full of great conversation and lots of fun.  What a delicious evening! 

As with most of my Marcella’s dinners, this one ended with me riding off for a few miles to get my joints and limbs working in sync, then home to soak and to sleep.

Breakfast with Mr. Levisay & Molly from XRX was pure delight.  It was wonderful to meet them in person, and very nice to hear about the different options that are opening up with XRX (allowing me to rethink my position on the Stitches conferences, stay tuned…)

Rethinking is never a bad thing!

One of the more delightful meetings was a great chat and drink with Eunny from Interweave.  Eunny is one of my favorite folks in the fiber world, having a chance to chat with her is a delight and a dream, and was one of my most favorite moments of TNNA this year.  Thanks, doll!

POST TNNA TEACHING

I left Columbus Monday to drive to Canton for an afternoon class and an evening lecture.  Both were lovely, although the daytime class was better attended than the evening lecture (which really surprised me!)  But both were memorable and wonderful!

Then I headed off to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for a class at Sara Jane’s Yarn Shoppe (this is a WONDERFUL shop, folks!  Run – don’t walk – to this place!) and another class at the Fort Wayne Knitting Guild (I ran them through their paces in colorwork and met some lovely folks in the bargain!  Excellent work, Emma!!)

One of the nicest part of my stay was meeting, staying with and getting to know Lara Neel from the Math4Knitters podcast and her spouse.  What a lovely couple, what kind folks and what an AMAZING 1920’s home they have!

I may have just been lucky in my riding choices, but biking around Ft. Wayne was one of the highlights of my biking during this trip!

CHICAGO

Yesterday I taught at Loopy Yarns in Chicago after a quick visit the afternoon before with Beth at Lorna’s Laces.

I’m honored and fortunate to be staying with the lovely Amanda and her wonderful new husband, Derek, while in Chicago.  It’s Puerto Rican Pride weekend here in Chicago, so it’s been a lively and exciting visit!  I love hearing folks so happy!  This morning as I was repacking my car I had NPR up at full blast, and it occurred to me it was a bit of reversal of all the motorcycle gunning and horn honking I’d heard all night!

Loopy is everything I’d heard, and MORE!  Vicki was pure delight, and her students were among the best I’ve taught EVER in my knitting teaching experience.  My double knitting class was a real highlight for me, SO enjoyable with such engaged and excited students!

This shop has a wonderful collection of yarns – even better it has one of the nicest vibes I’ve felt in a big-city yarn shop!  And it’s mere blocks from a Caribou Coffee (a tiny bit of Minnesota for my sore heart – yay!) so I was able to relax beautifully after my classes.

This morning I went for a long bike ride around Humboldt park.  I’m trying to get my 6-7 miles in every day and it IS making a difference in my mobility!

LAST CLASSES

As I near the end of my marathon trip, with two more teaching stops to make, I’m trying to save up my energy for the final sprint to the finish!

I’m holing up in a hotel for the next 2 days, something I usually don’t do (I’m a one-night woman for most of my trips) I’ll use the luxury of staying in one place for more than one night to try to attempt some progress on my current project (due next week – help!)

Tomorrow I teach for the West Suburban Knitters Guild outside of Chicago.  My lecture will be at 6:30 at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and I’m SO looking forward to it!

Then on Wednesday I teach in Iowa at Blue Heron Knittery in Decorah, Iowa.

I’m so nutty-crazy to be home that after class is over I’ll drive the 2-2/1 hours to get back to St. Paul if I’m feeling good.  If not, it will be a friendly Motel-6 for me!

TNNA SWAG

I made it a rule to only grab yarns/swag from TNNA this time that I KNOW I will be able to use in the next year or blog about.  Here’s a short list of items that were included in the magnificent gift bag Marley (Bijou Basin Ranch & Yarn Thing) put together for the designer’s dinner and other memorable things I picked up while at TNNA.

Addi Interchangeables

Pico-Accuardi Yarns

Malabrigo Primavera

Hand Maiden Bliss

Knit Outta The Box

Bijou Basin Blues

Alisha Goes Around

Lornas Laces Soulmate

My new Namaste Bag

My new Namaste wallet!

I live for ‘scopes like this…

Canton, Ohio BLEW ME AWAY!

The class I taught at the Sippo Lake Branch of the Stark County Library was amazing!  First of all, the park building is wonderful.  My only regret is not taking photos of the scale model of the Erie Canal to send to Norah Gaughn (she knows what I mean…)

My afternoon class was jam packed and full of eager, wonderful students who were engaged and ready to learn.  No teacher could ever ask for more, thank you folks (and THANK YOU to Melissa for setting this up, you are wonderful!)

My lecture was not a large group, which was odd considering how big the earlier class was (I figured a free evening lecture would bring folks out of the woodwork – oh, well!)  The lovely thing was a smaller audience lent a nice feeling of intimacy, and we all wandered downstairs so I could sign some books.  Yay!

Fort Wayne has been absolutely lovely!  I’d only passed through before, although I did live in Auburn back in 1967 (where I attended Auburn Elementary for first grade)

I taught in two venues here, Sarah Janes Yarn Shoppe (wonderful, wonderful selection and FABulous women who work there, one tight and one loose…) where the class was warm (for me) but wonderful.

Last night I taught for the Ft. Wayne guild where the level of expertise was quite high – I may have been a bit of a yawn for a few of the more accomplished knitters – but it seemed that most everyone had a lovely time and learned some new tricks!

Bike-wise, I think I’ve investigated EVERY bike path that’s around, I’ve ridden through parks, along busy streets and even on a few sidewalks (where there was NO other option) and I have the feeling that Fort Wayne is on the cusp of transitioning into a remarkable biking city.  The busses have bike racks, that’s one of the first major steps!

I’ve been staying with Lara Neel, the voice behind Math 4 Knitters, and she’s just a wonderful person!  If you haven’t listened to her podcast, it’s terrific and WELL worth the download and listen.  I keep it on my i-pod queue for when I’m out knitting in a public place but want to feel connected to a wider community.

Friday, June 17, 2011 By Rick Levine


Virgo
(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

You may be able to get away with a bit of sloppy thinking or even a bit of trickery today as long as you don’t take things too far.

Your key planet Mercury is receiving positive vibrations from Jupiter and Neptune, enabling you to turn on the charm and maybe even bring out the sales[wo]man in you.

Thankfully, others will probably cut you some slack if you make a social blunder. Take advantage of this cosmic assistance while it lasts.

For someone like me, this horoscope is my GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card!  And as I enter the third week of my three-week teaching trip I’ll take all the Chance cards I can get!

And now I’m off for yet another day of driving where I will see and hug many friends at the end of the road!  Loopy Yarns in Chicago, WATCH OUT!