June 17, 2008

That is how it's done

I have virtually no words (and almost no pictures) for how tremendously well the whole birthday/1000 Knitters/ WWKIP day thing went. Knitters came, knitters knit, knitters had their pictures taken, we drew for prizes (from my stash and Franklin's) every hour on the hour...there were cupcakes, there was cake, there were burritos, there was DRY ICE smuggled across the border by Americans with a seriously good plan, (I swear, Cat Bordhi may have created a monster) there were surprises that were truly wonderful (like our lady Rams of the comments turning up - that was exceptional) there were more cupcakes and the whole thing came off without a hitch. (Mostly. At one point Rachel H and I took the advice of many a knitter or two and tried to relax a little, and learned in a heartbeat that the only thing keeping an event with that many knitters all over the place from coming off the rails was totally the fact that we were micromanaging it. Once again, both of our vaguely obsessive personalities paid off.) While I suffered a case of mild camnesia, other knitters did a grand job.

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(That's Megan, gracious owner of Lettuce Knit with the best carrot cake I've ever eaten. I can't believe all she did to make the day great, and how lovely she is about me taking over her shop every time I get an idea.)

Juno has some pictures I hope she'll send to me, Glenna has some great pictures (and makes a mean cupcake). Dr. Steph did a great job of being prize mistress and taking pictures, Kim backed her up nicely (Thanks Kim!) Sarah got a ton of beautiful shots, and the fab Patrick did a hell of a job (practically a photojournalist) of getting almost all the weirdness captured. After all our weather fears, the day was brilliantly sunny and beautiful - and was only made more fantastic by the fact that it poured epic rain all night on Friday (Rachel and I were nauseous) and has continued to pour virtually every moment since.

Ken played host to Franklin (though he said he's a very easy guest to have) and chauffeured him here and there.

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Rachel, more competent and clever than ever (and that's saying something) managed front of house, checking people in, getting the waivers signed, sending people back to Franklin, and I managed back of house...moving people along and back to Franklin, making sure that he had everything he needed, grabbing the reflector when the wind went after it...although I've got to tell you, the man is pretty low maintenance. Easy going, funny, amiable and hard working beyond all expectations.

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(The inestimable Denny. Immortalized as I've always thought she should be.)

The day was a ton of work, especially for Franklin, and he was a trouper. There were many moments I wouldn't trade for anything,

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(My daughter Sam)

many things that resonated for me in an unexpected way.

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(My daughter Meg)

This is more than just 1000 portraits of knitters that Franklin's making. It's a way of expressing outwardly the significance of how it feels. There is something that knitters feel on the inside of them when they are making something....something more than just wool and needles, something more than the joy of creation. Those of us who knit passionately, those of us who call ourselves Knitters as part of our identities feel that there is more going on here than just making a hat, or socks or a sweater, and we live in a culture that can't seem to respect that the way it does other creative or artistic endeavours without trying to make it cute, or ironically feminine, or a sweet little way we've found to occupy our idle hours, and I don't know why. I had a great talk with Franklin, Rachel, Denny and Juno about it. This day was a celebration of all we feel on the inside, and showing that on the outside. It was a way of validating what this whole thing means to us, of saying "this is important in our lives no matter what the rest of the world thinks" and it was magic. Huge magic. The magic was so big, so significant to me, that when the time came to have my picture taken, I balked. Not because I don't like myself in pictures, not because I'm shy (although both of those things are true) but because it felt like enough to have had the opportunity to see this in my community. I owe Franklin a huge debt of thanks... and one to Rach and Juno, who convinced me that I should sit down for my turn. I'm glad I did.

The night wound up with a fantastic party rigged by my fabulously generous sister Erin, to celebrate all the McPhee birthdays (My mum, who turned 65, my brother, who turned 37 and me...ringing in at 40.) It was family, and friends from near and far, and a grand way to thank a few of the knitters who helped make it such a day, and proving that they fit right in without a hitch, I looked up mid evening to find Rachel H and Franklin cutting a rug with the best of them.

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We are, after all, a dancing family. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't change a thing.

(PS. So many people were so generous that I feel I should mention the icing on the cake. Not only were Rachel and I able to cover Franklin's plane ticket, but we were able to send him home with the balance of the donations gathered that day. It wasn't much money, but it was another small validation of what the day meant to people. We are very grateful. Thanks to everyone who made that possible.)

Posted by Stephanie at June 17, 2008 5:04 PM