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

3 Comments:

Sounds lovely, and I can't wait to visit that yarn shop sometime!

By Blogger Mary, at 12:26 PM  

Dearest Bess,
You all have been in my tho'ts & as I catch up on blog reading this AM, I wanted you to know that I have been thinking about you all & am sending lots of love & light.
Re your convention/meeting news & the yarn shop "review" - am glad you have had these fun opportunities w/the light & diversion they brought.
XOXO

By Blogger Martha, at 7:38 AM  

Hello, my new-found librarian/knitter/spinner friend!

Your description of our meet-up is just right. What a great time!

I'm laughing at your joy in knitting lace because I'm "this close" to finishing a HUGE shawl with gossamer-weight yarn...I don't think it's so poetic right now, but I'm soooo excited for the magic that is blocking lace. Soon...

By Blogger Nerdy Knitter, at 6:42 PM  

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Saturday, April 21, 2007  

Thank you all for your kind words and warm prayers. I’m much better now. Time has helped, and getting together with the library directors these past 2 days helped as well. There was rather a lot of Hokie support at Graves Mt. Lodge, where we gather every spring, but there was no news. No Internet. No television. No media at all - not even a newspaper. It was an enormous relief. All the focus was on other things, with a softer literary bent than in any other year I can remember. It had been planned that way - but I think it’s also interestingly coincidental, since we usually spend a lot of time talking politics, as applied to libraries. This year, half the programs were about literature. Imagine that! Librarians talking about literature.

I think it’s time a write about the wonderful weekend I spent in Staunton, VA. This was my first real visit to the lovely mountain town west of Charlottesville, west of Waynesboro, one of half a dozen rocky beads strung along old Rt. 11 and the bigger, faster I81. It’s still old enough to qualify for a colonial town but it was settled about 2 generations after Tappahannock and it was named after Governor Gooch’s wife, who was born a Staunton. All Very Virginia, my dears.

I went to teach my all time favorite class, the EPS circular sweater, at On The Lamb, a darling new yarn shop on Augusta Street, owned by Joe Zachery. I believe I’ve now found my all time favorite yarn shop.



I’ve been in lots of wonderful shops, mind you, and I know a good number of really great shop owners. In addition to a really fun shop owner, what makes this place special is the space it has, and the charming location. The rooms are full of light and there are so many places to just be - to sit. Joe has a fine selection of yarns I hadn’t seen before.



He carries an Australian fine kid mohair yarn called

But I think the friendliest thing about this shop - the thing that made it feel like visiting your best friend and playing with her toys - was that he had no counter. The cash register is in a corner, unobtrusive and quiet and almost un-noticeable. I’d never thought about how much distance a counter puts between me and a store owner. We accept that there will be a counter and it’s an off-limits place. I understand why shops have them. I have one at the library. It puts the Person With Authority And Knowledge in a set place where anybody can find her. It allows PWA&Ks to keep their little memos and papers and bits that help them do their job at hand, but out of sight. But a counter automatically separates ThePublic from TheBoss. That’s not necessarily unfriendly, but it can be, and sometimes it is. I realize now that I’m always walking out from behind the counter, removing that barrier, becoming part of the person’s solution. And Joe’s shop has that same feel to me - as if it’s a sharing between friends. It’s just another thing that makes a visit to On The Lamb unique and special.

Of course, the wonderful students who were eager and smart and had clever fingers, made the day at the shop a Perfect Day. I got there early, about 11 or 11:30, because it was raining so hard there was very little sight seeing I could do - and I stayed late - when I got in the car it was after 6!! In the middle of that cozy day I helped some wonderful knitters learn how to make the EPS sweater.



These are the ones that didn’t get away before I could take a photo.

Of course, the fun wasn’t over then. In fact, the fun had started on Friday, with BD driving me through the green and blue Virginia countryside. Then there was the checking in to The Old Staunton Inn. Here’s our 3rd floor room.




So many hills and so many steps. This flatlander’s thighs and shins were burning all weekend.

The following day I had a storytelling gig at the Staunton Public Library. Those who know me know I simply can’t stop talking and I’m always making a story about whatever has been happening in my world. When my stories are used up I can go on to tell Other Stories; fairy tales, fables, fiber stories. When they’re all used up I can make up new ones. I really am a nice girl - if only I’d stop talking. Irritating sometimes, but not when children have gathered to learn about the world through the magic of stories.

But first, I got to have brunch with 3 other knitting librarians at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center. Very white tablecloths and gleaming cutlery with the feel of the 1920’s about it.


I bet nobody would have thought that chattery bunch of women were really shushing librarians. R is the director - and old friend, veteran of many library gatherings. B is the children’s librarian, a new friend and story telling compatriot. J is an e-mail buddy with whom I finally got to have a face to face meeting. We could have chatted and visited all afternoon.


The library is in an old school building - as so many downtown city libraries are. It’s one of my favorite old school building transformations, probably because I loved going to school and still feel both excited with the possibilities and comforted by the familiarity of those brick monuments to knowing. I could never feel that way about the flat sleek dullness of post 1950 school architecture, but the schools built before WWII still make me feel like I could really learn stuff inside.

So - I don’t like to sound braggy about my storytelling skills. I’ll just say I had a super time sharing my tales and introducing children to spinning and the spinning wheel. I could tell by their bright eyes that they had fun and I think even the adults in the audience had a good time. I still get a tremendous rush from telling these stories, but I’m also busy adding new story programs to my repertoire. Eventually I want to have a solid list of story telling programs on a number of topics, either germane to school curriculums or seasonal, that I can take out on the road. No doubt about it - I can get addicted to the rush of being on stage, but there’s a deeper motivation driving me on. The tales, especially the old ones, but all of our stories and tales and books and novels are how we pass on the important lessons children need to learn. I know I took the lessons I learned through the stories much more to heart than the ones I learned as rules.

One of these days I am going to retire from the library - but I don’t ever intend to retire from sharing stories. In fact, I hope this will become my retirement job - traveling bard - storyteller - that nice lady who never stops talking.

So. That was my wonderful weekend in Staunton. It rained the whole time. It rained all the way home. It got really windy before we actually got home. It was a perfectly heavenly weekend and even the blight of Monday didn’t diminish the fun I had. Just put it in the background for a little while. I just can’t wait to go back.

posted by Bess | 7:07 AM
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