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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Home from Madison

I am home from Madison, WI, after spending a glorious week there with my dear friend Connie Burmeister, teaching at the Sow's Ear in Verona, speaking at the Madison Knitter's Guild meeting, and teaching at the Madison Guild's Knit-In. So where to begin? Connie.

The last time I was invited to speak at the Madison Guild a few years I met Connie Burmeister, as she graciously allowed me to stay at her house, and took care of my every whim. We never stopped talking for a single minute, and stayed in touch via email after I left. She and her husband Wayne came to visit us in CT a few years ago, and we all had a great time together. This last trip she also let me stay at her house, which is immaculately clean, decorated just lovely, and in every respect was just a joy to be in. She is a master cross-stitcher, as well as a master knitter. The first thing you see when you enter the house is a 6' long cross-stitch rendition of the harbor in Copenhagen. Connie is Danish, so this is fitting. It is a masterpiece, and both times I have visited I have spent a long time admiring this piece.

Besides the lovely cross-stitch, there is a usual line of bags of knitting works in progress. We spent many happy hours sitting in her sun porch knitting, talking, and looking at knitting books and magazines.

I gave a presentation at the Guild meeting about my new sock construction that is the basis of my book, Strick-ly Socks. It was well received, and people were quite interested in learning about it, and doing it.

The next 2 days I taught classes at the Sow's Ear in Verona. Heather Black, one of the owners, was a delight to meet and be with. Now let me explain this very unique and beautiful store. The front part is a coffee cafe, with all kinds of delicious drinks and backed goods, as well as light meals of delicious food. Behind the cafe is the yarn shop, filled with all the yarn anyone could want, well displayed, well lighted, spacious and all around WONDERFUL! You can order a coffee, sit in the cafe and knit and sip, then go back into the shop and do your shopping. The classroom at the back was filled with windows and natural light, and we all had coffee and nosh while learning and knitting. It was 2 of the most pleasant days I have every spent. Looking through the shop for 2 days also got me some great yarn that I couldn't leave Wisconsin without!!
You can visit Heather's website at www.knitandsip.com. If you are ever anywhere near her shop, you owe it to yourself to spend a few hours there. It is indeed a rare treat, not to be missed.

In one of my classes at the Sow's Ear I met the editor and creator of KnitCircus, an online magazine. Jaala Spiro is, in every respect, lovely, funny, and delightful to be with. She has published one pair of my socks in the magazine, and will be publishing another in the next issue. I also will be doing a series of technical articles, the first being how to cable without a cable needle. You can go to her website, www.knitcircus.com , to see for yourself the amazing work she does on the magazine

The Madison Guild puts on a one day event called Knit-In every year. This is one of those days that knitters wait all year for...interesting classes, lunch with your friends, and the market. While I told myself I didn't have room in my suitcase for more yarn (it weighed 49.5 lbs coming), I succumbed to some Kimmet Croft Softie, which is 20% angora/80% wool, (the next time I see Kimmet Croft I am going to buy the yarn for the Bohus Wild Apple sweater...this is a solemn promise!) buttons from Blackwater Abbey yarn, and some stretchy sock yarn in bright lime green. Jennie the Potter (www.jenniethepotter.com) had everything a knitter could want, but I knew I couldn't get it into my luggage. As soon as I got home, I emailed her!! She makes lovely pottery with knitting-related designs. Perfect for morning coffee or afternoon tea and knitting.
Always knitting. Knitting goes with EVERYTHING!

For all you Celiacs (people who cannot eat gluten) out there, don't miss the Silly Yak, a bakery that offers gluten-free baked goods. I was able to enjoy a cinnamon roll with icing, and a pumpkin cupcake with vanilla icing. It has been years since I ate anything like that, and believe me, it was heaven.

So...now that I am home, I am back to work on a shawl for Vogue knitting, preparing classes for Stitches South, working on a new skirt, finishing up a sweater using my own Merging Colors yarn (but not merging; 2 strands of the same color....bright purple), and generally getting side-tracked with spinning and quilting.

It has started to snow now, and "they" are saying 3-9". I think I am done with winter, but it is apparent that winter is not done with me. At least I do not have a flight to catch in the next few days.

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