Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Hats off to you for teaching such a challenging subject! Teaching is hard work - I did a domino vest demo for our knitting guild once, and it pretty well wore me out!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 PM  

Anj and I are both fairly early risers as well, so please feel no guilt.

And I wish I'd been able to spend a little more time with Vi as well - what I did spend was lovely.

You did a wonderful job, and everyone was raving about what a good, sweet, patient, understanding teacher you are... I, of course, already knew this about you...

By Blogger Amie, at 4:42 PM  

Amie and I were up. In fact we had slept later than normal b'c of my overtalking the nite before. So don't fret. We really loved waking up and seeing to happy souls talking on the porch. And the loud mouth thing? My problem too.

Your class went swimmingly. I think you just got us when we were in a comfort zone. Everyone knew the person beside them by that point and were willing to talk them through it. Knitdad and I were giving pointers to the people beside us and I loved learning what you taught. In fact I taught some of it to knitters this evening. Thanks also for the drop spindle class. I've been practicing a little each nite.

Talk soon!

By Blogger purlewe, at 10:02 PM  

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Sunday, November 14, 2004  

It’s been a week now since the last day of the KRRetreat dawned - let’s see if I remember how that day went.

I was up early. Well, not all that early, of course, but about 6 or so, after a night full of dreams. One particularly uncomfortable one included my librarian mentor, Peggy Rudd, State Librarian of Texas. She used to work in Richmond and in my dream she was coming out to my library to see how well things were going. She found the entire computer network down and the lights burnt out and when she sat down to talk about it with my assistant and me, all we would do was scramble around on the floor, grabbing up foil wrapped Halloween chocolates and stuffing them in our mouths.

No need to be a genius to interpret that dream - I was worried about doing a good job (in the class) while my body was trying to cope with the effects of extreme eating.

Might as well get up if you’re going to have dreams like that. I dressed quietly and slipped out of the room. My next door neighbor, V, was sitting on the porch with her journal. I’m sitting here a week later, trying to remember if we smiled first and then I got that shot of recognition, or if I knew the instant I saw her sitting there, that here was someone special. Special in her own space and special to me. Then came a flood of kindred spirit, prompted by the sight of her writing in her journal. That was a safe feeling. I was still anxious about my car, so anything that could offer soothing vibes was so welcome. What I know is that we smiled, and it was a real smile, where eyes touch. Then I went down to look at the car and see if it had done evil things in the night.

It had not, though the inside smelled awful. I rolled down the windows and took my materials out of the trunk, which was even stinkier. I peeked inside the lodge, where the yoga class was going on, but I wasn’t in the mood for yoga. I wanted coffee and my class swatches because I still had one seam to finish.

I took everything back to the motel. V was still writing, but seemed so comfortably welcoming I pulled a chair outside and joined her. We talked gently while I sewed on the bottom seam. I confessed my nervousness about the class. She poured out gentle reassurance. Alas, I have a very carrying voice. The unsympathetic would call it loud. And it’s true. I can call my guys home across a half mile of woods or water. I don’t try to be loud, but not only did my chatter bring out A and A, but KnitDad told me later, that he could hear me in his downstairs room, though he sweetly said he was glad, because otherwise he’d have overslept.

Well. There. We are what we are, right?

So, why was I nervous about teaching the zipper/seam class and why did I agree to do something that made me nervous? Well, I was nervous because I didn’t own the knowledge enough to feel it pour out of me, the way teaching spindle knowledge does. And I agreed to do the class because it really irked me that I was nervous about explaining something I really did know how to do. So - it was, in a way, a selfish indulgence on my part; an opportunity to gain skills as a teacher - perhaps at the expense of the students. In my defense I'll add that, though there were many people present who were far better at any of the seams than I, there were also those who really would benefit from the instruction.

My biggest mistake was in not making people move their seats. Folk sat around the room in a large oval, staying where they had already decided they were comfortable. This ment that some people wanting to learn were behind me, and lots of folk who were in front of me weren’t participating. God that is disconcerting! I kept having to twirl around to be sure those in the back were receiving my instructions, and of course, the non-participants in front of me were confusing. Trying to make eye-contact with someone who is not paying attention can really throw you off your stride. So - if I ever am in that situation again, I will have everyone who is going to participate in the class move to one corner and the rest of the folk can go wherever they please.

The combination of skill level and participation was such that there was a general hubbub (let me call it by its name: Pandemonium) of voices going on all the time. At strategic points folk would shush if I asked them to, but most of the time it was pretty noisy. So noisy that Clara asked me if I thought I ought to do something about it. Ha! That was when I actually noticed the noise, ‘cause truth is - I'm comfortable in chaos. Not 24/7 chaos, but spurts of it. I was born to watch over toddlers. But that doesn’t mean any hungry learners enjoyed it.

Two things kept me going doggedly to the end - or perhaps, three. First were my helper elves; Lissa, especially, because I’d already asked her to be my roving aide, and then the other skilled needlefolk in the room who quietly guided their neighbors through the intricacies of zippers, mattress stitch and 3 needle i-cord bindoff. Second was the fabulous anchoring of V’s eyes. I found myself returning to her eyes again and again when I began to waver. And she knew it. She would make that eye contact and her spirit would wash across the floor and say to me “go on, honey, you’re doing fine.” What a gift!

The third thing that made the class actually fun was that, in the end, people learned the seams - there were little zippered pouches all around the room. What a thrill! Even though I was clumsy at explaining, I still had something to offer and people were still able to make it out through my stumblings and the room's hubbub. Sometimes, life just turns out to be so sweet.

I was inordinately glad, though, to see my watch hands point to 12 just as the last person “got” that 3-needle i-cord bindoff. It’s a sweet little stitch and folk will have a useful reminder of how to do it now, as well as a place to put their little knitting accessories. We’d been at it since 9:30 and it wasn’t till I got home that I read in the schedule that the class was only supposed to last 2 hours. Ah well. Best laid plans.

There was a little time between the class and lunch; just enough to teach a few new spinners. How glad I was to show V how to do the Miss America wave. She had a very simple spindle, hand made, of weathered wood, but beautifully balanced. It’s a tool she’ll enjoy playing with and I was honored to be able to show her how to have fun with it.

Would you believe anybody would want lunch after such a weekend? Well, we all did. But by then folk were peeling off to catch planes and cover miles on the long journey home. Not everyone, but in 2’s and 3’s, they’d get up from the table, hug new found friends, cry out farewells and move off.

After lunch, those of us with the least distance to cover and the most time to spare, lingered; to buy more goodies from Jen, to make the day go slower, to hold on to the happy glow just a little bit longer. The afternoon shadows had begun to lengthen before the last of us reluctantly got in our cars and said good-bye to the KRRetreat. What fun. What challenges. What bliss. The let down hadn’t hit us yet, so we could carry the glow all the way home. And like Christmas or Birthdays, there is always next year to look forward to.

Thank you Clara.

posted by Bess | 8:13 AM