Thursday, June 13, 2013

Post Card from Squam: Day 4

Saturday, June 8

Hello! How are you? This was an exciting day. The weather cleared up and warmed up. They're saying it will get back up to about 70 today. That will be a welcome change.

After waking up early each morning, this morning was a lot harder. It was cold enough both my roommate and I didn't sleep very well. The blankets were put on the bed for short people and we both found ourselves burrowing deeper and lower into the bed! Tonight I'll have to untuck the bottom so I can pull things up higher. I did manage to have a shower in the morning since most in the cabin are evening shower-ers, so that helped improve my disposition. The shower room is on the backside of the fireplace chimney so it is warm--very clever design.

After breakfast and some tea, I went off again to the weaving class. I know I didn't walk the most direct route, but I found my way there. We started by practising more letters (I started working on the digits of pi), but then John told us about a different way of working with the same set up and we worked on some geometric shapes:
This involved paying attention to the twist you put into the yarn and using it to your advantage. Like in the piece above, the weaving lines angle with the diamond shape so you get nice smooth edges instead of blocky or jagged ones. You may also notice that the background weaving looks a little different too. I just got those two shapes done and then John started talking about finishing the pieces. You block them (sort of like knitting) and hit them with some tension and an iron while wet.

And apparently the stuff doesn't ravel. I can't get my head around it. (I mean I believe John, so I know he's right, but my gut says "That's just crazy pants.") I must have asked him three different ways in class the same basic question, but he assured me there is nothing special you need to do to the ends. He brought out a sample of something that was pretty much worn to death, but it wasn't raveling. And he mentioned he has a pair of shoe laces that have outlived two pair of shoes but are barely 1/8th inch more raveled than when they were first made. Like I said, Crazy Pants. They used to use things woven like this for horse reins and cinches, and it's why they find very old samples of it--it just lasts forever.

Then it was time for lunch and then a little time to kill before the Ravelry Revelry (a party, in case that's not clear). This year they were offering something called "A Taste of Squam" so we were expecting a lot more people for the afternoon and evening. I got dressed for the party by adding my lace coat to my morning outfit:
More people had been asking me about it at lunch so I knew they were looking out for it!

The Ravelry Revelry was your basic party with beer (served by Casey, my weaving buddy), people, goodie bags, and games. We were given another tote filled with goodies from sponsors.
Goodies like a pre-release copy of The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes, discount coupons from stores, and I got my first Ravelry name button. I had seen them online and think they are very clever. It's your standard, "Hello, my name is..." but you write in your Ravelry name instead of your given name because that's the name people know you by. I think it's very clever and useful. You can buy them from their online store, but they give them out at all their events too.

We signed up for the race to knit a square for Warm Up America and then waited around for our heat to start while talking to people and enjoying the sunshine that had come out again. I was fielding a lot of compliments for my coat and it was fun. What a great way to get to talk to a lot of people (who themselves were usually wearing great knitted things)! It was interesting to hear whether they themselves had seen the coat on Ravelry and were expecting it, whether friends or cabin mates had told them to watch for it, or if it was just something they saw unexpectedly at the party.

While we were waiting, we caught the final round of the knitting "relay," the 25-yd dash. (It was originally billed as the 100-yd dash but I am assuming they found out that took too long.) The goal? To knit 25 yards of yarn quicker than anyone else. My car mate (below right) won her first heat and made it to the finals. (We saw her first heat and commented that she was talking away to the people beside her and that it didn't seem like a smart idea. But we quickly saw that she had no trouble knitting and talking, but whenever someone responded to her, they stopped knitting--very tricky!!)

We came in in time to catch the final minutes of the final round, and I caught the finish in a sort of stop-time movie... (watch the two women who are circled):
Things are getting tense.
Ooooo...it's really exciting!
A winner...knitter on the right can't believe it!
"Oh, I've been beat!"
Crushing disappointment.
(Or that's what it looks like. She was a good sport, of course.)
The winner won a shawl. A real, ready-to-wear shawl--not a kit she had to knit! Then it was time to report for our own knitted race, only to find out that they had run out of yarn to use! I couldn't resist asking what the fastest time was so far, and she told me that no one had finished yet! Since the heats were running every hour, that means it was taking them more than an hour. I think I'm glad we didn't get involved with that one. (I mean knitting's all good, but I wasn't in the mood to invest that much party time to it. :) ) The important thing is that we did get the raffle tickets we were going to earn by knitting a square. (The one lady wasn't going to give them to us, but the other lady offered and we did not say no!)

And wouldn't you know it, when it came time for the raffle, my roommate won one of the major prizes:
She looks pretty stoked, doesn't she! Two totes, lots of yarn and patterns, and a complete set of interchangeable cable needles. Nice!! That about wrapped up the party so we headed back to the cabin and  dropped off her loot before heading for dinner. Then a little more down time in the cabin and we headed to the evening art fair. Lots more loot to be had (only now you had to pay for it).

Everyone in the cabin walked as a group and took a shortcut through the woods. It was on the map but no one had been able to find it. One cabin mate found a way through the day before and we just followed her. The first part really wasn't a path, but once we crossed the stream the path was more well-trod. I might have said that I would hold her responsible for anything that happened to my lace coat, but fortunately we made it through just fine. (Of course.)

When we got to the building where they were holding the fair, the doors weren't open yet and the line up was long. Hearing rumours of beer and cake in another nearby cabin, we slipped up there to let the line proceed without us. That's also where the main sponsors happened to be so we still got to peruse knitted sundries. And I got to meet Jess (Casey's other half), a genius for coming up with the idea of Ravelry. (She also liked my coat!) But soon it was time to make our own way along the lantern-lit path to the fair.
Candles in blocks of lake ice light the way.
There were many pretty things, but it was hot and crowded and then even more crowded! I have never been so happy to have a cold beer (and I am not a beer drinker). I did manage to worm my way to one table that I was determined to visit: AWC Designs. I had seen the company on the website and I was pretty determined to get me a leather belt with one of her lovely buckles.
Ok, so I may have gotten a leather belt and two lovely buckles. But hey! I can weave now and will be cranking out my own belts, I'm sure. I will need buckles for them!! And they're so pretty.

Once that purchase was accomplished, it was time to take a break outside, finish my beer, and catch up with friends who were doing their own "one necessary purchase" before getting outside.
From the space and comfort of outside, it actually
looks cosy inside. But I needed a few more minutes
before I could go back in!
But I soon felt the need to dive back into the building even though the crowds hadn't thinned much. I made my way to John's table because I knew I wanted to pick up some weaving supplies.
I bought a couple extra packs of cards (which double as his business card--clever Trevor that he is); an extra shuttle in case I work on multiple projects or ever want to do a button hole in a band (yes I can do that!); and a pattern book. It contains patterns for the other style of tablet weaving (from the first class I didn't take), but I think I can figure it out. Or learn it online. It was the last copy of the book and if I had put it on the table for a second, there was someone ready to buy it! John also sold out of the wooden tensioners, but I am happy I didn't have to fly it home. I'll either order one or work something out with Troy. :)

When I went to pay, however, I realized I left my main cash stash at the cabin and couldn't pay for it!! John agreed to hold the stuff while I went and got it and not to sell the book to the other buyer who was still hoping! I made my way to the cabin the long way (no shortcut through the woods), picked up my money and then headed back. By then it was feeling late and apparently I was feeling adventurous, so I took the shortcut through the woods, all by myself with no leader. I know I didn't follow whatever path there was for the first half, but when I hit the water, I knew to take a left and follow it to where I could cross the stream, and then I was home free. I just draped the skirt of my lace coat over my arm and made sure I didn't fall! Fortunately the woods were kept very "clean" and there was no underbrush to speak of.

By the time I got back, the building was practically empty--or that's what it felt like in comparison. After I paid for my weaving purchases, I found a table of vintage, used, and surplus items. Right up my alley! I fell in love with this piece of fabric:
It's 60" wide and about 2 yards. The seller bought it at some point for something, but hasn't used it and just wants to get rid of it. $5. I love $5! It's definitely not hand knit and I've never seen fabric like this available on a bolt. (I've later learned it's called "sweater knits," as opposed to jersey knits, or other types.) With a 12" border of something, it will make a nice summer blanket. It certainly is cheery. I think it's acrylic (horror!) but it feels really nice, so I went with it.

At the same table I found these adorable sheep Christmas cards:
$2. I love a bargain!

And then I was done purchasing. I did look through all of the dresses at Folk Couture (or Flickr account here for more pictures of outfits). I didn't find anything I had to have, but it was so much fun to look at her crazy inventive pairings of previously loved shirts and skirts into dresses. They also looked like such easy dresses to wear. Great for summer. I see on her website that she also does Recycle Your Closet Workshop Parties. Wouldn't that be a fun night? Taking clothes you love and can't get rid of and reinventing them. Or trading pieces with friends as you all make a crazy new dress. Sounds great to me...let me know if you're up for it!

A little glance at many more vendors with beautiful wares and I was done for the night. I walked back to the cabin alone (the long way as it was truly dark by then) and met up with my friends at the cabin. We talked and laughed as we packed up to leave tomorrow. :(

It was a jammed-packed couple of days, but never rushed or harried. Filled with doing things that you wanted to do for the sake of doing them. (The freedom from cooking didn't hurt either!) I met some great people and hope to keep up with them.

Tomorrow it's home, where I hope to carve out a little Squam time on my own. Create because you are enjoying what you're doing. No fear, no judgment, no self-doubt. Try it!

Here's one last look at Squam Lake I got before getting into the car and travelling to the airport at 6:00 am Sunday morning...

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