Thursday, March 26, 2009

Knitter's Journey to Savannah

I picked up my needles and flew South last week to the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia. I went with my husband, as usual, but unusual for us, we travelled with friends to enjoy a group vacation experience. Savannah is a lovely historic town, and the Spring weather and flowers make it the perfect place to visit at this time of year. There is much to see and do. My favorite part of the trip was simply the beauty of the flowers and historic homes.

I loved going for long walks to explore each day. We took a stroll through an enchanting colonial cemetery and went on a night-time enchanted ghost tour.

We went on a dolphin tour and were not disappointed. A small pod of dolphins played a game to race along with our pontoon boat for part of the tour.

I was surprised to find out how much I like southern cooking. We ate local regional cuisine most of the time. It was delicious, but not so good for the supposed diet . . . burp!

Of course, I had to seek out yarn. I found it at a small shop in Savannah called Wild Fibre that was close to where we stayed, and at a fantastic shop in nearby (well, okay, a 110 mile drive, but worth it) Charleston, SC. Knit was filled to the brim with fiber of all kinds and colors. I was surprised to find so much wool south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Our visit coincided with the Savannah Music Festival, and we got to enjoy all sorts of quality entertainment, including Blues, Jazz, Zydeco, and World music.

We even had a chance to be part of the entertainment by participating in a Shape Note Singing Songfest (above). On Thursday, our first full day, we enjoyed "The Blues was Born Here" with Phil Wiggins and Corey Harris, followed by a blues band that was put together by the Music Makers Relief Foundation and included Beverly Watkins. Please check out the Music Maker's Relief site, they are a wonderful organization that tries to help older musicians record and perform to earn a little income in their later years. On Friday, we heard the mellow jazz of Dianne Reaves, and on Saturday we enjoyed a Zydeco dance party and the music of local jazz singer Kim Pelote and her trio. My favorite music was that of Marshall and Anger with Vasen. This unlikely combo of a bluegrass duo with a Swedish folk trio created some incredibly jazzy, upbeat, footstomping, contemporary world music.

It was a fantastic week. If you hurry, you can enjoy it too. The festival lasts through the second week of April.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Report from Madison

Well I didn't get to meet the Harlot, but I did sell a lot of jewelry kits. It was a hectic weekend, and I must say I out-did my self in my ability to get stressed out and panicked over nothing, a skill that I excel at if I do say so myself. This post is simply a detailed saga of my self-induced hysteria.

Thursday: The stage is set for anxiety overkill. Instead of packing for the show on Thursday night, I work on my taxes until 11 p.m., trying to get things in order so the DH could take them to the accountant on Friday. Unable to balance the books, I go to bed without having taxes done or suitcase packed.

Friday: Already in a franctic mode, I am up at 4 a.m. on Friday morning, trying to pack my suitcase and organize the inventory for the Knit In before heading off to work. Fortunately, I am able to sneak out of work 1/2 hour early (hope the boss doesn't read this)and have time to almost finish packing just before Sis arrives. As we pack her car, Sis cuts her finger and bleeds all over the house. Unable to find a bandage, we make an unscheduled stop at the local pharmacy before heading out. We arrive at our niece's house in Madison at least 1/2 hour later than planned (having also taken a wrong turn and driving 10 miles out of the way). Darling niece and her husband and baby treat us to a pizza dinner and give us a gift certificate to stay at the local Holiday Inn Express. (The plan had originally been to crash at their house, but when I hold her we had to get up at 5:00 a.m., she remembered how she had this gift certificate for a local hotel, and wouldn't we like to use it?) I was getting very sleepy by 9 p.m., so we excuse ourselves to make our way to the hotel. We arrive, only to find that there is no electricity in the hotel, nor in the entire city of Verona.
Sis, "Let's go to another hotel."
Me, "Uhm, this is free. NO."
We check-in in the dark, not exactly having a sisterly bonding good-time. Fortunately, the lights come on after about 20 minutes and I am able to sleep while Sis reads.
Saturday: We are up at 4:45 a.m., shower, dress, eat breakfast, and leave the hotel shortly after 6 a.m. without asking the front desk for directions to the conference center where the Knit In will be held. After all, I have Mapquest instructions in my purse (from my house and not from the hotel, duh!). I think I know where the conference center is, and who needs the advice of a human anyway? We promptly get lost and do not arrive at the conference center until 7:10 a.m. I have, in the mean time, started to go into panic attack-bitch mode. Knowing I have just 45 minutes to set up my booth, I freeze like a deer in the headlights when I see my booth space and seem incapable of figuring out how to set it up for 20 minutes. I am nowhere near ready to sell when the first shoppers arrive at 7:45. I'm finally minimally set up and make my first sale around 8:30 a.m., at which time all the customers disappear to attend classes and listen to the Yarn Harlot. I do not have another sale until 11:00 a.m. Customers trickle in until noon, when all hell breaks loose as classes dismiss and 400 crazy knitters all try to spend their money before 1:30 p.m. when they are back in class. It is calm between 1:30 and 3 when business picks up again as the afternoon classes let out, but it is not as busy as I expected because an announcement was made to shoppers that the last shuttle bus to the park and ride departs at 3:30. The market closes at 4 p.m. and Sis and I pack up the car and are on the road back to Milwaukee by 4:45. We make the mistake of discussing politics on the way home. Somehow, through it all, I realize that I have made money and should be happy, and that my sister still loves me.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Can't Wait

Well, Sheep in the City was way too much fun. Spiderlady,(aka Jan from Just 4 Ewe) did an incredible job for a first time event. There was a yarn cake walk, a fashion show and a very silly, very fun Sheep to Shawl challenge of the Madison vs. Oak Creek guilds. I was there by myself as a vendor,and I had a bit of a rough time Friday because I was running behind on getting set up, and then had to teach a class. Jan had someone cover my booth, but I don't think I'll sign up again to teach without having someone to work the booth for me--just too hectic. Anyway, I worked hard, but had fun and even made some money while doing it. My Monday night knitting friends stopped in on Saturday and kept me company for a good part of the day.

I'm sooooooo excited to go to the Madison guild's Knit In this next weekend. I hope I get to meet the Yarn Harlot. I'm afraid I won't be able to sit in on her lecture because I'll be stuck behind my booth, but maybe, just maybe she'll stop by and buy a kit. Wouldn't that be a dream come true? My sister is coming with me. She will help me set up and cover me for lunch, but she will be enjoying the classes. It should be so much fun to have a sisters day together. We are staying overnight at our niece's, so that should be double the fun.Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait.