So here I am in New Jersey. I tried to find some textile things of interest, so I looked up a local group, the Big Apple Knitting Guild. They had a meeting Saturday and I could get there on the subway. The meeting is a typical guild type of meeting, some business, a charity auction for hurricane relief, a speaker and socializing.

The program for the day was Lily Chin (a guild member) introducing her new line of yarns. For anyone living under an even larger rock than I do, she’s a big knit and crochet designer and is constantly on the road doing yarn shows, tv appearances and so on. She creates patterns, writes books and is a good teacher. Some people like her, some people hate her. Mostly I only have issue with the whole poncho thing. And I hadn’t even seen the Martha Dog Poncho because I don’t watch television. To her credit, she’s also over ponchos but somehow the market wants them I guess. Mostly what I saw was a woman trying to make a living by knowing her customers and trying to give them what they want without either pandering or being stuffy. People say she’s got a big ego, but mostly it seemed no different than any other business owner’s self-promotion. So there was a lot of handing around of sample garments and fondling of yarn and generally a good time was had by all. As for her new yarn collection, it is well thought out. I expect it will be even better next season when she gets the custom spun yarns, to pull it off on time she had to go with existing yarns from Europe but she is working with a mill in Canada. The patterns are simple but some of the garments are interesting and they all are reasonable for an average non-expert knitter. Each yarn has a crochet pattern too.

Enough about knitting, then. Also at this meeting I found out there was a huge yarn festival the next day. Knit-out New York was in Union Square Park and there was going to be giveaways and booths and all sorts of things. I even got my sister, who is finally getting around to finishing her first garter stitch scarf, to go. We get there and I start looking around, I get about three booths down and I find … spinners! A guild from upstate had a booth and was demonstrating spinning. I quietly had a look around while one of the demonstrators showed how to use a drop spindle and asked if anyone wanted to give it a go. I waited. Nobody was volunteering. Ok, I said, I’ll do it. I gave it a minute before I pointed out that I was, well, “somewhat experienced” at this. I put down my bag and almost immediately started teaching.

I did want to see the rest of the show, so I had to get up for a while. But I came back and spent the next two hours carding and spinning and talking to people. It was a little weird because although it looked like I was with the guild and might know local shops and teachers, I didn’t. I would say “I’m not from New York” and hear back “That’s ok, I’m from New Jersey.” “No, really.” I taught a spinner who wanted to learn how to card, several novices who were confused about some of the basics and spun for a teacher with a video camera. An experienced spinner showed me her new copy of Pluckyfluff’s art yarn book, which I had heard about but not seen. Because I could move around and had this funny looking spinny thing in my hand, I got a lot of attention. It was a bit weird. I hadn’t set out to take over somebody’s guild booth but it’s funny how things worked out. The folks from the guild seemed happy to have another demonstrator and I had a good time and managed to stay out of the sun in the process.

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