Manos Yarns On the Road
Last weekend, I had the good fortune to be the "Mystery Guest" at the annual Pajama Party given by Hunt Country Yarns. This is a wonderful retreat where a group of delightfully upbeat, independent knitters spend a weekend in West Virginia. There's yarn, there's knitting, there's lots of chocolate, and there's one teacher/designer/dyer. The trick is that the participants don't know in advance who's teaching: they sign up, bring all their basic supplies, and trust Bob Kelly (owner of Hunt Country) to deliver someone who has something interesting to say or show. Well, I hope I didn't disappoint them. I brought dozens of sample garments (we had an impromptu fashion show on Saturday afternoon), plenty of yarn, slides from my trip to Uruguay, and a project: the Silk Blend Fair Isle Tam from our website. (Free download here; Rav link here.) There were some mighty experienced knitters in attendance, but everyone found something to learn: a new kind of provisional cast-on, some ideas about the interaction of color and fiber, or maybe just how luscious Manos Silk Blend is to work with. (The consensus was that Silk Blend is a pretty luscious yarn. That's not news to me, but there are some things that each knitter has to learn for herself.) Forgive the quality of the pictures that follow; there was so much going on that I couldn't even grab my camera and just clicked wildly with my phone whenever I could. And for those of you who were there, please forgive me if I attribute the wrong knitting to the wrong knitter! I learned some names but made no notes. Everyone was so well organized: there were Ott lights, there were row-marking Post-It flags: There were water bottles; there were colors that began to glow alarmingly: There were frequent pauses to admire and consider: (by Linda, for instance, above; and by Lynn, below) There were people, like Casey, who worked the entire top of the hat, having never done any stranded knitting before: And there were people, like Carol, who knit through meals to get their hats finished: (O.k., in all fairness, Carol may have been the only person who knit through meals. And she did finish the hat. But the pictures I took of her wearing it were even more out-of-focus than these.) It was a wonderful weekend. People seemed genuinely moved to hear about the history of Manos del Uruguay and the coop's role in the lives of its members. I love showing photos of the artisans at work; there's an amazing feeling of connection to these women who live so far away, in such a different society. I love to be able to say, "That's Adriana; she winds the yarn from the spinning bobbins into skeins. That's Sofia; she dyes the skeins -- including the one I'm holding right now." So thanks to Bob and Val of Hunt Country, for the invitation; and thanks to all you PJ Party participants. Don't forget to send me photos of your finished hats!