August 4, 2006

Ann Arbour, Aurora, Angst And Apparently, Alliteration

Man-o-man, are the last couple of days kicking my arse. I'm absolutely fine, but writing to a deadline and hitting re-entry off the tour at the same time has just knocked me off my game and left me feeling strange. It's like all of the exhaustion that you can't cop to on the tour because if you do you'll miss a plane or screw up an event or be late for knitters just all lands on you when you stop moving. I keep sitting down to write the blog or the book and finding myself just staring straight ahead. This creates anxiety and angst about staring instead of working which apparently only reinforces the tendency to stare off into the ether. Knitting is slow too...I keep finding myself so tired that I just "hold" my knitting. I think I'm knitting, but my hands aren't moving. I've managed only a few rows on Icarus since I got home, but at least I'm onto the lace part at the bottom edge.

(The yarn is Alchemy Haiku. Colourway - Chickasaw Ground)

I finished some socks too....


I actually finished them before I left, but the ends weren't woven in so it didn't count. These are plain vanilla socks knit using my basic recipe out of the hand-painted merino/tencel from Mind's Eye Yarns. The colourway was a one-off accident I happened to snag.


This pair has joined the others in the Long Range Planning Department Box, a small concession to trying to make Christmas less crazy this year. (It is an homage to either hope or stupidity that this year I think it will work.)

Ann Arbor

This is how much waiting you do to get to Ann Arbor from Texas...


And this is how long the flight is.


(Flights, actually, since to get to Ann Arbor from Texas I had to go to Chigaco first.)

I arrived in Ann Arbor in the wee hours of the morning, and didn't see a thing. I looked, but it was dark. The next morning I ordered a full pot of coffee to my room and spent a delicious couple of hours just, well. Breathing. (I also watched something on TV about a Brady wedding that was very disheartening if you try to believe in the basic intelligence and sensitivity of humanity...but I digress.) Noonish, the lovely librarian responsible for pulling this shin-dig together fetched me up from the hotel and we went on a hunt. Lucky for me Jackie reads the blog and understands that a sock has needs, and lucky for the sock, she understood that the competition for cool things to show the sock is quite stiff.

Ann Arbor is a quirky, charming place, with loveliness and interest and students up it's ying-yang. The place is littered with young people doing interesting things and artists and music and no end of interest. Despite being really close to Canada, Michigan in general is a mystery to me, having only been (briefly) in Detroit (where we went to a liquor store where you are separated from the shopkeeper by a large brick and acrylic wall, in which is mounted a drawer that slides from his side to yours. You put your money in, slide the drawer over to him, and he puts the liquor and your change in the drawer and pushes it back. It was like buying wine from Hannibal Lecter in The Silence Of The Lambs or something. I know it's not an accurate picture of Detroit or Michigan, but other than my brief visit to Kalamazoo last year, it was all I had to go on.) I have a better idea now.

The sock saw the Historic Michigan Theatre


(I had to walk pretty far back from it to get it to say more than MICHI")

Nickels Arcade


The oldest Arcade in America (I think. So I was told. I didn't look it up to confirm.) Pretty neat, especially since I really thought that an arcade had to do with video games, which, it turns out, is not right at all. (Took me a long time to make the works "Historic" and "Arcade" go together in my head though.)

The best thing?


Fairy doors. Seriously. See the sock in the picture above, hanging out on the sidewalk? Look closer...


I love this. I just love it. Something about it appeals to the perennial nine year old girl inside me and (even though I made my Barbie wear pants and go on UN missions) I feel....I dunno. Girlie.

Here's another, this time inside a dress shop.


Here's one more, where the "closed" shade.....


Matches that of the door of the shop it's on.


Little children leave sparkles and pennies and goldfish crackers and crayons and drawings and notes to the fairies at these doors, and there are more...all over Ann Arbor, even in elementary schools. It's a gripping urban magic, the work of one artist and I love the idea that much of Ann Arbor is marching about their day doing very important grown up things and doesn't see them at all...while children look for fairies.



From the Fairy doors to the Ann Arbor Library, where I saw a completely reasonable number of knitters sitting in an Auditorium. I'm used to this number of knitters. I felt ok with it. (As long as we accept the new sort of ok, where standing up in front of any number of knitters is ok, which, despite the cramps I get every single time, it would appear is ok.) I took a deep breath and found out that this camera....


Was beaming my talk to 200 more knitters...upstairs in the "overflow room" watching me on cctv. (The overflow room? The overflow room? There's an overflow of knitters?) The cramp was bad. Really bad. How do you talk to people you can't see? This isn't just knitters. This is tv knitters. I didn't like this at all. I was glad to know that the library had figured out a way to avoid turning people away, but to say that I was totally tripped out would be an understatement. A serious one. Despite microphone troubles (we will discuss my angst with microphones another day) I got through. It's hard sometimes, to do whatever it is that I do at these things with that voice in the back of my head screaming "HOW IS THIS MY LIFE" all the time. I have no idea how we got to the point of an overflow room, but it points to the knitterly plan to take over the world enjoying some success.

Here's Jillian!


Jillian's one half of the genius behind Big Girl Knits
and the editor of KnittySpin, plus she's really fun.

Here's Kim


showing off her little daughter and her sweater

Shelly and Kathy are knitting Dulcimer players...


and Drew and Larry came to get a book signed for their knitter who was writing the IBCLC exam.


(My heart goes out to her. The test is long.)
Then there was Theresa, and Laureth, and Rhonda and here's Dana and her daughter.


She is holding the petition for her mate that we all signed. He is knit-blog resistant, and feels that Dana doesn't need custody of their digital camera because all she does is take pictures of her knitting with it. The petition states that the undersigned demand the immediate return of the camera so that Dana may further persue the noble art of Knitblogging. She tells the story here. 350 knitters set him straight.

Elizabeth (16 years old) brought her snowdrop shawl knit from my pattern over there in the sidebar...


She was 15 when she knit it. She's got me outclassed.

Then there was Elli (who has a great picture of my terrifying face on the overflow room screen), Melissa, Amby, Trish (who I said yesterday was in Texas but wasn't. Trish is raising money to fight breast cancer. She wants a dollar from you. I know you can do better than that. ) Tracey, and a whole knitting family,


Linda, Kate and Molly. (Are you beginning to be a little stunned by the diversity of knitters yet?) then Kendra and Amanda and Mouse.


They knit snowdrop shawls (quickly) when they heard I was coming. Ladies, I'm honoured to know you.

Then came Rae (she makes a wicked knitting messenger bag) and Sandy and Riin (you should see the wee spinning wheel she brought me. It's beautiful. Her roving is nothing to sneeze at either.)


Lynn! (who wrote about the afternoon quite eloquently here)


Be still my beating heart, it's Sarah Peasley, Hand knitter.

She had Pat in tow and man, it was nice to meet them.

There was also Teyla, Meg and Kat, Janette, Rachael, Amy, Kelly, Terri, and Vicki and I don't know who else, (if I missed you, speak up!) except one.

I had the honour my lovelies, of being attended the entire time by Our Lady Rams Of The Comments,


Seen mugging here with a large frog. (I can't quite explain that, so I shan't.) I adore Rams, and it's one of the cruelties of the internet that it lets you make friends that you don't see much. A day with Rams is a treat.

Aurora... I'm too tired. Aurora tomorrow, even though it's Saturday.
Somebody get me a coffee, will ya?

Posted by Stephanie at August 4, 2006 5:01 PM