The Number is Ten

It was Sunday night when I remembered.  That was my 11th night away from home, and I was sitting in a hotel room feeling unloved and lost for absolutely no good reason when it came over me in a wave.  The number is ten. That’s the number of days I can be away from home for work before it messes me up. Some switch inside me flips, and I start to be melancholic and dejected, and then I remember. Ten. After ten days I need my people, my home, my tea and my bathtub, and it doesn’t matter where I am, or what I’m doing, or what my reason for being there is.  It’s amazingly predictable, and still takes me by surprise every time.  This time, if it were possible to avoid the tenth day snap, I would have. As a matter of fact, I think how amazingly fantastic my previous days were are the only reason that it was the 11th night (and the night before I flew home, which was lucky and lovely) before I met the void of homesickness, because pets, that last trip was epic.

appetizer 2015-04-22

(That was the appetizer on our last night there. Big love to Splityarn and WEBS for the treats.)

We had a fabulous Strung Along retreat at Port Ludlow (and the next one is coming up fast– have I mentioned that we’re accepting registrations as of a few days ago?)  I keep thinking that these retreats can’t get any better, but this time Clara Parkes and Kate Atherley hit it out of the park, and the weather was fabulous, and the retreaters were the grooviest bunch yet – and I’m not just saying that to be nice. They were a remarkable group, right down to the one that made off with one of the yarnbombings, and promptly got it an instagram account.  We don’t know who it was, but Debbi and I can take some responsibility for the two sibling accounts that cropped up shortly thereafter.  It was a wonderful immersion in all things knitterly, and I can’t believe my luck, because my next gig was just as terrific.

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I  trucked out of Port Ludlow and headed for Vancouver, and from there to a retreat with Knit Social on Galiano Island.

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It was very different, and very wonderful, and delightful to tramp around the Island, enjoying beautiful views and great food, only stopping long enough to teach about knitting, talk about knitting, and when we weren’t in class, hang out with knitters and knit.


The retreat was small, and intimate, and Fiona and Amanda do a wonderful job of making it a perfect universe for a few days. I wish they were in charge of more. It was brilliant.

gknitters 2015-04-22

Now I’m home, if only for three days, before I head out to Yarnover, and FiberFest. (Yarnover and one of the FiberFest classes are all sold out, but there’s still room in my lecture style class on Colour Theory for Textile Artists. I love teaching this kind of class. Without putting too fine a point on it, knitters are artists, and I think we need the vocabulary and training that other artists get to be really good at it.)  Last night the kids all came home for dinner, and tonight we’re seeing friends, and tomorrow I’ll get a fix of Luis, and then it’s back on a plane.

colourclassbetter 2015-04-22

I’ve finished a shawl, a sweater, a pair of socks and made a good size dent in a few other things, but lets talk about that tomorrow, shall we?  I’ve got to wash my clothes and put them back in my suitcase, while reflecting that the ten day limit aside? This is pretty much the best job ever.

40 thoughts on “The Number is Ten

  1. Loved the colour theory class at Dallas! My fried and I learned so much! And it was hilarious! Definitely recommended!

  2. I can totally relate! Dog sitting for 18 days, in Boulder, CO. I live in a small town in Upstate NY (Charlton) at about 8 days I lost my shit. Got my period at about 6 days in. Friend was supposed to come visit & wreak havoc with me for several days & her flight got cancelled (with no rescheduling). In a new relationship, so missing the BF. (Even though he couldn’t wait even 12 hours for me to be gone before shaving his beard…completely off…not just the “trim” he said he was going to do. Miss my cats. Grateful I brought lots of yarn with me!

  3. I’d love to take some of your classes sometime! I live in Florida, so it’s a bit far, but someday.

    I really love the yarn color wheel. Perhaps I should arrange my yarn by color. It would totally screw with my current by-fiber setup, but it would look gorgeous.

    • maybe you can do both, color first and then sub by fiber. That’s my plans once I get a house with more than 900 sq feet and one bath

  4. Yes, I think you do probably have the best job ever (apart from all that time you spend in airports and in airplanes), but take credit where it’s due–most of us don’t have your intelligence, wit, and perseverance!

  5. “I wish they were in charge of more”. Love that line. Enjoy home while you’re here, even though it is hailing out there now, and flurries are in the forecast???!!

  6. Steph, I’m so, SO grateful you make your living by spreading the goodness and talent and humor that is YOU all over this wide world. It’s obvious to me that while you (and Kate and Clara) do exceptionally (envy-inducing) fun work, it’s also friggin’ HARD work. Port Ludlow was utterly stellar. So… thanks for your away days. Enjoy your tub and tea and togetherness.

  7. is there some kind of listing somewhere of all of the knitting retreats? I was sick when the Vogue knitting event was here in Los Angeles last weekend and I’d love to have something to go to that’s relatvely local….. Thanks!!!

    • Now I’m wondering if the gansey moved a long time ago from the WIPs to the “buried in the backyard” group. I know that some of my WIPs might as well be buried since I have no real plans to resurrect them……

    • OMIGAWD – is this the same frickin’ gansey that I’ve been reading about in the 2004-2005 archives???
      Give It Up, Girl!! This is obviously the most severe case of Boyfriend Sweater Syndrome Fear ever recorded. This garment is Not Meant To Be. If you did finish it, the shock might kill Joe, thereby fulfilling the curse.

      Joe seems an eminently sensible and undemanding guy. I’m sure he’d be perfectly happy with a nice vest.

      If this is, in fact, not the gansey you began spinning the yarn for in 2004, my apologies. As I said, I’ve got about 10 years of archives to catch up on. And I’m feeling so much better about my own DH’s cardigan, which took a bit over 3 years to make. I plan for the 2nd one to go much faster; but I’m still swatching…

  8. I understand exactly what you mean. When I have to travel for work I can only be away for so many days without feeling it. I miss my people.
    That being said your recent travel sounds awesome!

  9. YES! Knitters are artists, and we need to acknowledge it, loud and proud! If I say I’m a knitters I get the usual comments, but if I say I’m a textile artist it’s instant respect! It’s just so bizarre that we almost deny ourselves that place in the artists colony.

  10. As an incurable homebug, I could feel your homesickness through this post. And then you fly to so many other events! It sounds wonderful to meet other crafters, teach and learn. But I do hope you get enough home time after that!

  11. Good to hear that the trip was all good even if a bit long (no credit card stories in this one ??).

    I too have ‘Return Switch’. I noticed when we would travel for pleasure that around 1 week (7 days) .. the urge to pack-up and head home was almost irresistable. Not even a choice on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. The homing instinct is hard to battle.

    Looking forward to the knitting pictures! ( where is the last picture of The Gansey?)

  12. How awesome that you love your job so much! And I love reading about your job. Glad you are getting some quality family time to recharge before the next leg.

  13. If you have time, head on over to Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub for some fantastic beer! They have one of the best Wild Rice burgers I have ever had!
    Safe travels!

  14. And I know that it is absolutely true that knitters are 100%, straight-on artists!

    Even if a knitter is a slave to patterns, the person still has to choose a color for each project when purchasing yarn. And choosing red will give your project a totally different vibe than choosing grey, even if the grey is uniquely beautiful. So artistry is present even from the beginning before cast-on!

  15. I know that you’ll be at Asilomar in about 10 days for yet another retreat. I’m there now (for an experimental NMR conference, not knitting, sadly) and it’s cold and foggy. Bring sweaters, it’s not sunny and hot, but it is wild and wonderful. I’m home to snowy Guelph in a couple of days.

  16. Your sidebar says no appearances scheduled and someone up there says Asilomar? As in Pacific Grove? I would drive the hour and forty and back just to come give you a hug and wish the homesickness away for just a moment. Glad you got some respite time at home between these trips, meantime.

  17. OK, on day nine you need to set up a very special treat for day 10 – yummy yarn, a special meal, a long phone call home, whatever will remind you that you are special and loved even when you can’t feel that in person. Remember we, your readers, love you whether you are home or away.

  18. I agree, the number is 10. I went to Ireland last summer (family trip). It was 10 days in Ireland, requiring one day each on either side for the flights to and fro, and a good six-hour drive from my house to my family’s and back. The total was 13 days.

    Thus, as much as I love my family and loved Ireland, the overwhelmingly urgent NEEEEEED to get back home was so powerful that despite being terribly ill with some virulent bronchial thing I’d developed during our last day in Dublin, and having just flown across the ocean in said state, within two hours of landing, going through customs and having some food, I was on the road driving as fast as I legally could to get home, even though it was 11:00 PM before I arrived and I’d been awake for 24 hours.

    Because I was already three days over the limit, and I simply could not bear one more minute away from the familiar and all my cats, and I promptly collapsed on the couch and they collapsed all over me in a purring heap and I was HOME.

    So, yes. I get it. 🙂

  19. Homesickness bites. Thank you also for traveling so far and so long for us. I hope you know we love what you do; I hope you’re home again before you know it, and have some time with your people and your places.
    Your color class sounds interesting; I’ll keep an eye out for an offering closer to my neck of the woods. Re: the text introducing the class on StephenBe’s site:
    I so value your insistence that knitters are artists. Personally, I find it difficult to characterize myself as an artist, but I have had some experiences and taken some steps lately that do make me feel more of one. One of those experiences was Madrona, where I had several very strong classes, and also heard your take on knitters as artists for the first time. It so sunk in, made me think, gave me a new perspective on the word “artist”, and even though I shouldn’t need it, gave me permission to begin to think of myself as one. Since then, I’ve been producing some really miraculously beautiful textiles. I am inching closer to identifying as an artist. It feels really good, and I thank you.

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