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Sunday, December 17, 2006

What Have I Been Doing???

I just looked at the date of the previous post and am shocked that it has been two weeks since the last time I made an entry. In a nutshell, I...

...have completed multiple small FOs. I made a pair of Fetching gloves as a gift for my cousin and made two Stirling Cloche hats. I have also cast on and frogged a sock using Black Bunny Fibers "Elf" colorway (I got caught up in the holiday spirit), and have twice knit and frogged the same section of the same sock I have been working on forever!!!

...made another of my now-common less-than-24-hour-trips to PA. My friend's husband threw a surprise 40th birthday party for her and I decided to go. It was a lot of travel for such a short visit, but I'm glad I went. I fit in a stop at Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philly where I met Carol of Black Bunny Fibers. When Carol found out I was visiting from Chicago, her next question was. "Do you know Franklin?" Why, yes. Yes, I do!

...have been knitting at the MCA's Stitch n Bitch (hurrah, it's back for the season!), went to Bonne Marie's trunk show at Arcadia, met up with the Thursday night knitting crowd at Alliance Bakery, stopped by Corinne's booth at the AMAZING One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart, and popped in to Nina a few times.

...purchased one of these. I've been thinking about a wheel, and I am quite taken with the Ashford Joy for its elegance. But, while surfing on ebay, this one called to me. All told, the total price was less than half of purchasing a new one (including the skein winder), and I figured that if I don't like it, I can recover a good portion of the cost by reselling it. I can't wait until it gets here from the Netherlands. I will need to take a class, or at least read a lot about spinning, in the meantime. I think I'll take Spin to Knit with me to read over the holidays.

In a week we leave for PA to celebrate Christmas with my family. It's always a hectic time, running from place to place to see everyone. (And everyone is about an hour away from everyone else, so that makes it especially tough.) I'm really looking forward to the food! We'll be back here in time to have five days off before having to return to work, so I'll be able to decompress a bit.

S.A. is coming up for a visit just after the new year. We're going to expand her knitting horizons when I teach her to knit in the round using dpns. There are Fetching gloves in her future! And a week after she heads home to AL, I'm flying down to to see my company perform in Birmingham. There is a visit to the Highlands Bar and Grill in my future! YUM!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Lessons Learned

Well, the "events" contest did not turn out as planned. Perhaps tales of events gone bad are just too painful to share. No matter. I am sending ikkinlala some lovely sock yarn from the Etsy-derived stash for her comment. Perhaps the next contest (whenever that may be) will be more general.

Not too long ago, my work partner forwarded me an email from a colleague. She had lost her father in the past year and she had found comfort in knitting. Around the time her father died, she learned of my voracious appetite for knitting and would often call me for suggestions and advice. We took a few knitting field trips together including going to the MCA's Stitch and Bitch and visiting a yarn shop when we were at a conference in Little Rock. The email she sent to my co-worker told him of how I had been serving as her knitting mentor during the past year and that she was grateful because "sometimes the universe sends you the teachers that you need." What she meant by this is that she always had me to call or email when she wanted to talk yarn and since knitting was the way she was handling her loss, I was serving as her enabler (in a good way!) to help her feel better. I know that email wasn't really meant for my eyes--she sent it to him, not me--but it was nice to know that I had helped her through the difficulty.

My company just premiered a large piece that we had been working on for months. In fact , it is our largest undertaking to date, with collaborations with other artists and organizations, and other complex elements. The piece came about because a composer approached us about a funding opportunity. The grant required a well-rounded concept and the organizational capacity to meet the objectives of the program. And we had two weeks to pull it together to get the grant proposal in. After 10 days of nearly daily conference calls, we landed on our concept and I wrote the grant. Fast forward...our project was one of just nine selected nationally to receive the funding. This summer, the program coordinator for the lead funder came to our studios for a site visit. We had met briefly once before, but on this visit we truly hit it off. I happened to mention that I use knitting to unwind from the stress of my job. It turns out that she does as well. Since that visit, we have been exchanging gifts of yarn, pattern suggestions, knitting tips, etc. While it still would have been an excellent business relationship, because of knitting we have developed a true friendship, one that I'm positive will endure.

On a professional level, this work project was challenging but incredibly rewarding: the piece itself has proven to be a really wonderful piece of art, the collaborators have all been spectacular at what they do and marvelous to deal with, and the funders have been generous and nurturing. (It's almost frightening that it has gone so well.) Those points alone would have made this particular project meaningful to me. But to have also found a new colleague and friend who shares many of my professional interests as well as knitting has been the icing on the cake.