Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Here it is!

The post you've been waiting for all summer! Yes, I'm back. For awhile I wasn't posting because I didn't feel like I had anything interesting to say. Then the tables turned, and I started getting intimidated by how MUCH I had to say. I figured that the situation isn't getting any better, so I may as well suck it up and just post.

Is anyone still reading this? Mom? I'm still alive, really!

So much has happened since last we visited. I launched a little pattern club, which now has over 200 members. (I know, I can hardly comprehend it myself!) I've just sent the September pattern off to the test knitters. The August pattern, Tulip Socks, is being knitted up by many happy CSK members and I'm loving seeing all the different results. Here's my original version:

I'm finding the CSK to be highly motivational - I've even got a non-CSK book sock on the needles, something that desperately needed to happen if I have any chance of finishing the book on schedule!

I also spent a fabulous week (well, 5 jet-lagged days) in London, teaching at the inaugural Knit Nation conference alongside such knitting powerhouses as Clara Parkes, Cookie A, Judith Mackenzie McCuin and Nancy Bush (among others). I managed to teach a number of folks from the far side of the pond (including several expats and one intrepid French student who spoke very little English) despite my extreme fatigue.

Knit Nation was held at Imperial College, which is in the heart of London, right next door to the Victoria & Albert museum. I didn't get a chance to visit the museum, but I walked by it daily and was particularly fascinated by this engraving:

The extent of the damage to the walls is quite incredible.

We got to stay in the dorms, which brought back some memories (except these were swanky dorms compared to the ones I lived in - all the rooms were singles, and they had their own bathrooms!). I taught my classes in the Physics building, which was a nondescript 70s building but almost directly across the street from this:

This being the famous Royal Albert Concert Hall. Pretty, isn't it? I also learned that "fanny" is a dirty word in Britain, and when I visited Buckingham Palace, the guards were NOT wearing their fancy red uniforms (how disappointing).

You can see one of the guards in a dark-colored police-looking uniform, standing near his little hut. It was a long walk, so I only had my iPhone with me and not my regular camera - apologies for the poor photo quality!

My classroom building was also next door to the Royal Academy of Music, and while exploring one of the little side streets, I found this building. Mom, this one's for you!

(Mom's an organist, in case anyone is wondering why this would get her all excited...)

For those of you who are into unicorns, I spotted this on the gates in front of Buckingham Palace:

For those of you who only care about yarn, I spotted these in the Marketplace, and they immediately demanded to come home with me. I'm seriously regretting not letting them bring a few more friends with them...

Yes, folks, that's the elusive Wollmeise (my always hilarious friend and colleague Janel Laidman, who was also in London, compares a Wollmeise sighting with spotting a unicorn - I just couldn't resist bringing a few skeins home, even though I have no idea when, if ever, I'll knit with it!). Claudia, the dyer, had the most amazing booth set up, with many samples of the yarn knit up, little birdhouses and almost every Wollmeise colorway under the rainbow. I didn't get a photo of the booth because it was a little scary in there (I didn't want to interfere with any shoppers, because oh, my goodness, Wollmeise is Serious Business). My cruddy photo doesn't begin to due the skeins I have in my hot little hands justice.

The green is going to go as a raffle prize to my lucky CSK members. The orange and purple are MINE!!!

My favorite memory of my London experience, besides hanging out with my fab students, of course, is of the morning I ran into Nancy Bush, Marjan Hammink and Judith Mackenzie McCuin on the street on my way to Starbucks and instead joined them for breakfast at the most lovely little French cafe. I had an almond croissant and a giant mocha served in a porcelain bowl while basking in the presence of these amazing women. Seriously, how lucky am I? How I managed to swing that one, I'll never know, but I will always count my blessings that I was invited to teach at the first Knit Nation (because I know there will be more, if Alice and Cookie haven't died of latent exhaustion).

In other news, summer is passing ridiculously quickly. I'm spending lots of time shuffling the kids to and from camps and lessons (they've both jumped a level in swimming lessons after FINALLY getting over their fear of putting their faces in the water), and also walking a lot. In fact, I'm walking so much that I decided to do something crazy and signed up to walk the Portland Marathon on 10/10.

Yes, folks, you heard it here. Because I don't have enough to do with running a pattern club, a wholesale pattern business and writing a book (along with trying to raise two reasonably well-behaved small people), I've decided to also train for a marathon. I'm going to be pushing it with a fairly compressed training schedule, but at least with walking I won't have to fight my horrible shin splints, which are the reason I've never successfully trained to *run* a marathon.

Wish me luck! I'm gonna need it!


Blogger greetingarts said...

I'm glad you're still blogging! Was wondering where you'd gotten off to, London is a pretty darn good place to have been. I'm not going to ask how you found out "fanny" is a dirty word... I feel like there's a story there, though...

Did you get my last message about the sock I was testing? I forgot what I wrote, it was for one of the sock groups though. I got stuck on something and set it aside, but if you ever come across that email again, let me know the answer? Thanks.

10:10 PM  
Blogger pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

Welcome back, to home and to the blog! Sounds like you had a fabulous time; London is such a fun place to visit. London + knitting = even more fun! Thanks for sharing your pictures. It's like taking a mini-vacation from here!

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck! If it were me I'd use some wollmeise as a reward for the marathon!

7:53 AM  
Blogger Lorajean Kelley said...

I totally love the green, I hope I'm the winner! I'm a little jealous about the marathon thing. I would love to do the walking thing. I should look into this for next time

7:04 PM  
Anonymous janel laidman said...

ah, I miss that french cafe... it was so good. I went there every day after you introduced me to it.

My goodness, how long does it take to walk a marathon? You go girl! That's a big goal. I'm just working on walking every day.

Love the socks!

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

I think you have a LOT to say, and I always enjoy reading what you write! Hope you won't give up on the blog. When I read about your travels, your designs, and even your kids, it's a thrill!

5:40 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Great photographs of your visit while in London.
I think your description of the unicorn/yarn sighting experience is really cool. Good luck with your marathon.

5:24 AM  

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