Blog Week Day 5: Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop*

(*with apologies to Landon Pigg)

Like most knitters I know, my knitting goes with me everywhere. Long waits in doctor’s offices or traffic jams (I’m not the driver!) are never a problem for me. I knit in the cafeteria at work, in my den in front of the TV, at PTA meetings, family gatherings, you name it. But I do have a favorite place. Except there’s precious little evidence that I’m ever there, because I’m always the one with the camera.

My favorite place? My local bookstore coffee shop. Twice a month, I get together with my knit-buds, and we laugh, have coffee and dessert, and knit. Well, some of get some knitting done. Others…well, did I mention the laughing? It’s easy to not knit at knit group, too. But whether you’re a knitter, or a not-knitter, it’s always fun!

(Click to embiggen.)

There is another knit group that meets there, on Wednesday nights, in this very spot. But I can’t make it to that group. With school-age kids I am the homework cop and the shower supervisor and the don’t-forget-to-brush-your-teeth drone. Wednesday nights are a no-go for me. So, I thought, why not make a knit group that I can attend. And so I posted on Ravelry, and people came! It worked! At first, it was just once a month. Recently we expanded to twice a month. For two years now, we’ve been getting together. We have knitters of all skill levels, from beginner to–WOW. And it doesn’t matter how new you are or how long you’ve been knitting, everyone is welcome. We’ve even had people cross our path in the coffee shop, run across the road to buy needles and yarn, and come back and sit down and knit, on the spot.

The best part is that many lasting friendships have been formed. I love the knitters in our little group. The smell of the coffee, especially on a snowy knitting afternoon, is a really nice touch, but it’s the friendships and the mutual love of our craft, that makes me so happy to be there.

Knitting might be a fairly solitary activity, but knitting among friends… that’s the best.

A Day of Friends and Knitting

Today was a fabulous day. Spring is definitely in the air and I am counting the minutes until I can ditch the heavy coat for good this season, but today was not one of the days in which the cumbersome garment was required. For this, I am most thankful.

My kids are with The Nonni this weekend, another thing for which I am grateful. They’ve been sort of at each other the last week or so, and I think the change of scenery is probably doing all of us some good. But with the kids away, I got to do something really special this morning.

I belong to this wonderful e-mail listserver called “Knit Talk,” Which was started by Margo Lynn about 5 years ago, as a knee jerk reaction to some unpleasantness that had been taking place on another, much larger, knitting community. I had been experiencing some of that same unhappiness with that group, so as soon as I found out about Knit Talk, I volunteered to help. It’s a wonderful group, definitely about knitting, crochet, and a general love of all things yarn, but it also incorporates life into craft, the way some other, much larger, groups do not.

Not that Knit Talk is small; it isn’t. As of the moment of this writing there are more than 1,600 members. But it feels smaller, and cozier, and lots friendlier, too.

Anyway, so Margo Lynn contacted me about a week or so ago and said she’d be flying into town for the day–yikes! And she wanted to know if I could do breakfast, or dinner, on one end or the other of her trip. She has asked this before and I have declined–sometimes it’s just hard to get away when the kids are around and they’ve got to go here, or there, or whatever. But with them being away this weekend, the opportunity seemed perfect! And it was. We met up with Margo Lynn at the airport this morning and went off to breakfast at a local hotel. I think only in Maryland can you get a gorgeous breakfast plate with miniature blue crab cakes atop your eggs, but man, they were delicious! The liquid centers of the over-easy eggs blended so perfectly with the sweet crab meats and I felt like I was eating something really luxurious.

But the conversation was wonderful, too! Time passed so quickly this morning. Margo Lynn graciously gave me a skein of lovely yarn with yummy blues in it… and I’m already planning the scarf it will be incorporated into. We snapped a quick photo together before we left for the subway station, where Margo Lynn could get into DC and continue on with her day.

Margo Lynn and Trish finally meet

Margo Lynn and Trish finally meet

I wish I had gotten a good photo of Margo Lynn in that sweater; it’s made with Noro Silk Garden and it is just stunning!

By now Margo Lynn should be home and maybe even in her own bed after a long day and a long journey for some sightseeing! But I am so glad that she included me her plans and that we were finally able to meet.

I then came home, cat-napped for about an hour, shoved down a quick sandwich, and headed out for knit group today. Here’s a gallery of our photos. As always, click on the thumbnails to make with the biggie photos.

We had several new people today, including Julie (see, I remembered!) and Kerry. Welcome to you both! Poor Kerry… the sun was so bright coming in the window that every time I snapped her photo, her eyes were shut. I’ll try to do better next time.

Dina had a new hairdo and lots of progress on her Lady Eleanor stole to show off. Several folks were making socks or other things out of sock yarn, and Yvonne was making a stunning shawl out of interlocking circles with her Jojoland yarn. She was also working on a complex design with double knitting, and it was stunning! I wish I had gotten a photo but she put it away before I could.

Rhoda’s sugar cane scarf, which she cast on at group two weeks ago, was nearly complete, and it is gorgeous! And Tammy had a nearly completed sweater with bobbles and cables that was a real knockout. But then, everything Tammy knits is gorgeous.

As for me, I got less than one half of one row of my February Lady Sweater done today. I lost my place somehow on a lace pattern row (it’s an easy pattern to “read” and remember, so not sure how that happened), and when I tried to un-knit back to the place before I messed up, I started dropping stitches all over the place. At one point this afternoon I honestly thought I was going to cry. But then, I realized it was a beautiful afternoon and I was among friends, so I took a few deep breaths and eventually got it fixed. Phew.

After knit group I took the opportunity to try a new Mexican place in town with my husband. We love Mexican, and used to go to this hole in the wall place in town that has been long closed. There’s not much good Mexican around here that isn’t some chain restaurant serving something they’re trying to pass as Mexican. So we were excited to try this place. It wasn’t crowded, and wasn’t cozy, but the food was quite good and we’ll definitely go back. Not our same old place that we really miss, but not bad, either.

It was a good day.

A Big Surprise at Knit Group Today!

It was really cold today. So cold, in fact, that I actually considered for a moment staying home and napping instead of going to knit group today. (Please don’t tell my family that I am so easily swayed… they’ll order cold weather every time.) Everyone was slow getting out the door, me included, but out we did go, into the wind. The cold wind. (Can you tell I hate cold?)

Boy I am glad I decided to go! By the time I got there, there was a long row of tables already set up, and it was already mostly full. I couldn’t believe it! Was I that late?

I sat down next to two newbies, Cathy and Susan? It was their first time joining us, and they were trying their hand at the Knit Picks tote bag kit. I own this kit myself but have not started it yet. And then I looked over and who should I see?

JENNIFER!!

Trish with Jennifer

Trish with Jennifer

Jennifer is someone I met through Ravelry, I think the first time was in a thread on the boards about blindness and accessibility of websites. Yes, we talk about just about everything on Ravelry. (She’s jinniver, a prolific Raveler whose post count would take me another 10 years to match). I’m lucky to have her as a regular reader of this blog, and she frequently comments when I post, which truly is the juice that keeps me going. (To think that for years this blog was actually a static website, and I never did receive the added energy from getting comments. Nowadays, I could not imagine that!)

Jen and her husband recently moved to Virginia from Texas and so of course I said to her once that since she was in the area, she’d have to come check out our group sometime. Now, she’s about an hour away, and I never really thought she’d actually ever come. In fact, she came today without telling me, so that I’d be surprised. (To further the surprise, she threw me off by commenting on my blog at nearly midnight last night and didn’t mention that she’d be coming…) Wow! What a treat for me! And I immediately discovered that Jennifer is not shy and she just jumped right into our group as if she’d been coming all along. How cool is that?

But of course, Jennifer wasn’t the only person at group today. In fact, we were rather crowded for such a cold, blustery day. Here’s a gallery of photos from today’s Knit Group. As usual, click to embiggen:

I wish I could say I got a photo of everyone, or that I even remembered everyone’s name today. Sadly, I am remiss on both. But the photos above give the flavor of the many activities of the group and show, I think, how our group just “clicks” and people help each other. A lot. It’s one of the coolest things about our group. Today there were people paired off winding yarn, helping with knit fixes, teaching new techniques, and mulling over patterns yet to be cast on. It’s the kind of thing I was hoping for when starting a knit group. People coming together over yarn and coffee, and getting energy and inspiration from each other. It’s great!

Time to leave came too soon for me, as usual. But, I’m glad that starting in 2010, we are now having regular meetings twice a month instead of only once. I know I won’t be able to make every meeting, but knowing that they’ll be there again in two weeks? Awesome. I already can’t wait.

Falling Behind Again

Hi again! Did you miss me? Tell you what… don’t answer that and I won’t hold it against you for what you’re thinking. I think it’s official now that I am becoming a blog slacker.

The reality is that this is a knitting blog, and there just hasn’t been a lot of the knitting going on around here. I’ve had a couple of really big projects at work and between the stress of it and trying to get it done I’ve often been working very late and only getting about three hours of sleep at night. So, in the evenings during what would be prime knitting time and blogging time, I’ve been sitting like a zombie in front of the computer and playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. Then when I get up my second wind I work for a bit until I can see no longer out of my bleary eyes and then it’s off to bed. 5:45 a.m. comes awfully early under those conditions. Just to give you an idea of how late I’ve been awake lately, do you know what comes on TV after the show that comes on after Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? Let me tell you. Jennifer Tilly‘s playing poker these days. It ain’t pretty.

So, my whole life seems a sorry tale of ridiculous insomnia, but that isn’t the case. There’s at least a little bit of knitting going on. Last Saturday we had our monthly knit group meeting, where we said a fond farewell to Jennifer:

Our knit group held a farewell celebration for Jennifer

Our knit group held a farewell celebration for Jennifer

Jennifer’s husband is in the military, and his current assignment is in South America. So she’s moving down there with him, at least for the next six months or so. We sure will miss her in our group, and wish her well. Yvonne brought a yellow cake with coconut from the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmer’s Market (Yum!), and Marie bought a card for all of us to sign. It was a lovely afternoon.

This week I took the plunge and bought a netbook computer. If you’re interested I bought the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-PU1X-BU, which I chose in part because of the reported long battery life. Also it seemed like a pretty hot seller on Amazon and I figured all those people can’t be wrong!

Now I have a little computer when someone else is playing or doing homework on mine, and can write or blog or surf from just about anywhere. Of course, today I had kids playing on both of my computers, and I found myself without one anyway. I did spend quite a bit of time trying to get my photo editing software to install, and then resorted to contacting support. The first guy I chatted with wasn’t helpful at all, but the second guy said, “which netbook do you have?” and knew right away what was causing the problem. He had me up and running in no time after spending a lot of time struggling with it last night. So, I was able to edit my photos, upload, and blog from this new little computer tonight. I think this little machine and I are going to get along great.

The main reason I got the thing though was that there is a lot I want to write lately, and some of my best ideas come to me when there’s not a computer in site to jot them down. I’m no good holding a pen for more than about 30 seconds so this is a good solution. Not much bigger than a day planner, yet, the keyboard is comfortable.

Anyway, it’s late again so I’m going to sign off and go to bed. It’s a three-day weekend so I’m hoping to get caught up on some of that missing sleep. Wish me luck!