So, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I headed off to Chicago last week for Stitches Midwest. It was more a chance to get reacquainted with old friends as it was to learn something new about my craft. The unexpected part was how many knitting celebrities would be there, and how accessible they would be.
Knitting is an interesting world that way. The U.S. has millions of knitters, some of which practice their craft quietly and singly, but others like myself who turn out in coffee shops, restaurants and even pubs to socialize, knit, and sometimes rip out what they’ve done the next morning. For me, it’s the social aspect of knitting that draws me in, gives me inspiration, and keeps me growing as a knitter.
Social media has had an impact on this too. With tools like Ravelry, blogs, websites and Facebook, it’s very easy to see what’s going on in the knitting lives of my friends, but also in the knitting lives of the more well-known public knitters such as designers, teachers, authors, etc.
For example, I’ve been reading Franklin Habit’s blog for going on two years now. I also follow him on Facebook and comment on his statuses regularly. I find his sense of humor charming and am amazed at the beautiful work he creates. At Stitches, I got to meet Franklin for the first time, and found him just as charming in person as he is online. In a culture that worships celebrity, it’s delightful to me to see these knitters-extraordinaire who are real people, and by real I mean grounded and kind.
I’m one of those people who ignores the Hollywood types and probably couldn’t tell a Hollywood Kardashian from a Star Trek one if I met them on the street. But send me to a knitting conference, and I virtually swoon as the celebrities walk by. I think this is for a couple of reasons, first because I respect them for their dedication to the craft, and second because so many of them are just normal people with a realistic opinion of themselves and without the attitude that they are somehow better than others because they’ve written a book, are teaching classes (and in my mind are fabulous).
It’s been a celebrity-filled world for me this past few weeks. I started by taking a class from Ann Budd, who not only taught me a lot about sweater design, but was gracious and kind while we all wanted our pictures taken with her and asked her to sign copies of her books. Then, I got to meet Franklin at Stitches, where I also took a class from Drew Emborski, The Crochet Dude.
Walking the hallways of stitches, we had casual conversations with Sivia Harding, Nicky Epstein, Marly Bird, Kristen Omdahl and others.
Now, to be fair, I did stop myself from being too obnoxious and as a result, I did not force all these famous people to have their pictures taken with me. However, if you do want to see some of the photos from the event, Knitting Universe (the sponsor of Stitches) has a bunch on their Facebook page here:
I also have the Taos Wool Market to look forward to, where I’ll be taking a class from Abby Franquemont, who is one of the foremost spindle spinning teachers in the U.S. I’m very excited about that. For now, I’ve got some great memories of Stitches, and the people, famous and not, that enrich my knitting life.
Still to Come this Week: The Knitter’s Version of S.E.X, knitting and spinning in public, and possibly a finished sweater if I get my act together.