Daybreak, icebreaker

Is it a tree trunk or a fairy table?
 I have a tale to tell. First I will give the version for my non-knitting family and friends....

The Art Fair at opening time.
On Saturday, we went to New Hampshire, specifically, Squam Lake, in Holderness. We brought  sunscreen, bug spray, and the beach chairs.  We were driving north to attend a party at an old camp facility where there was music, beer and plenty of people. We met new friends and found old acquaintances. There were bags of swag (aka gifts), raffles, contests, and general merriment. The day was overcast but not cold. The gathering took place at an old but graceful camp.  After raffles were drawn and awarded, we moved to Nirvana, the cabin of one of the campers. We sat there quietly soaking up nature and the creative vibe. We hung out, shopped, met more people, had delicious food and headed south again around 10:30 PM. I had the most fun I have had in a long time.

Pompom flowers.
Angry Bird on the tennis court fence.
 Streamers of paint color cards hung from tree branches.
Now the knitter's version.

Destination: Ravelry Revelry. Squam Lake, Holderness NH
Objective: Absorb some of the creative and blissful energy emanating from every single person I met, get out of the city and breathe clean air, enjoy nature.
Dream: To meet, speak to, or at the very least, be within arm's reach of the Knitterati, and other Ravelry members. 
Mission: Accomplished

Tall pines sway and whisper, moss coats tree stumps, patches of lichen hug boulders, paths wend their way through the woods, connecting cabins and gathering places. Birds call, loons croon and the waves of the lake lap the shore.

We were at the Squam Lake Art Retreat, not the amazing classes, but at the Ravelry Revelry. We were in the company of a general gathering of knitterati and fans of channeling creative juices and applying said energies to various forms of artwork.

It was our first foray into this annual retreat and party which is hosted by Jess and Casey Forbes, creators of Ravelry, the knitter's (vastly better) version of Facebook. Each year they organize an artistic retreat, replete with classes, breakout sessions of knitting, good food, amazing vistas and general merriment. It looks to me to be four days of bliss and artistic revival. (I wanna go! Maybe next year?)

The Playhouse stage during raffle drawings.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, of the Yarn Harlot books and blog, was there. Stephanie is an amazing woman who knits, writes, and networks regularly with the world of knitters, spinners and fiber aficionados. Also there was Franklin Habit, Stephen West, Gudrun Johnston, Ysolda Teague, Melissa Jean and Anne Hanson. I have more I'd like to tell you about these folks, but for now I am trying, very hard, to stick with the main idea......Squam Lake Art Camp and Fair.

The Great Room in the Squam Playhouse.
 In the main room of the playhouse we were surrounded by knitters, spinners, crocheters, and other folks who swoon over cashmere. There was fiber, spindles, a multitude of handmade items and creativity abounding. The energy was palpable and there were smiles in every corner. I even ran into a friend from my Friday Night Knit Group at Stitch House, hi Diane! Thanks for hanging with us at the fair.

Yarnbombed canoe

In various locales of the woods, we discovered gentle yarn bombing, trees wrapped in a sweater sleeve, a canoe warmly ensconced in a patchwork of knitwear, flowers and pompoms in accord with the architecture and nature. The edge of the lake was a spot of quiet lapping waves, broken by the screams of those immersing themselves for their annual Squam dunking. The cabin we visited sat silently anchoring us in this place of summer memories and nostalgia.

Yarnbombing the Adirondacks

We three knitters; that's me, Lauren, and Sarah on the shore of Squam Lake.
We three knitters from Charlestown were swept into the fold gladly. The day was so full of little events that made us squee with bliss and excitement. Sarah, Lauren and I met through our Charlestown Knitters group, and it seems we have no problem finding these cool events to go to where we gape at the beautiful yarns, fiber, and general creative wares sold by independent vendors.
Together, we have attended NH Sheep and Wool, Amy Herzog's book launch, the opening of the Saco River Dyehouse and Yarn Shop, and other local happenings. Each time we find ourselves repeating... "This is great! This is sooo great!" We smile as our history together is woven more tightly. We are knitters and we are happy to have access to such amazing events. And today was no different...

A corner of Stephen West's booth.
Now for both sets of you reading... how do I explain the feeling I have when I get to shake the hands of someone I follow on Ravelry and Twitter and Facebook? How can I convey the awe and gratitude that I feel in having a conversation with these famous and talented people? I hope I don't come off as the groupie gawker who goes speechless when meeting a person I admire. And how can I describe the feeling when one of these knitterati remembers me or 19vesperstreet, my Ravelry name?

I guess I am so stoked to meet these people that I view as movers and shakers in the knitting world because I can ask them a few questions and have a teensy peek into what lies ahead. Some of them share tidbits about books that are being written, patterns that are being proofed, Craftsy classes that are happening or soon to be released, the promise of yarns that are being developed. It is so exciting to, for a few seconds, put my finger tips to the pulse of this "hobby" that we all cherish and need to partake of, and get a sliver of a preview.

So, jump off here if you have heard enough of my excitement. If you stay on, get ready for a rundown of the events of the day.

So maybe you noted the title of this post. Wait! Don't scroll back... it was Daybreak, Icebreaker.
You know what? A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Here is a great and succinct capture of the blissful and exciting day. 

Stephen West, amazing designer and knitter. And me in my Daybreak
Ok, swear to God, pinky swear.... I chose to wear the Daybreak because A. you always try to wear something knitted to a gathering like this, and B. I just finished it as an entry in Amy Beth's Gratitude KAL. Ok, I didn't finish in time to enter the KAL drawing but it is finished. I knew Stephen was one of the teachers at Squam but I never expected the following to unfold.

We arrive at the Playhouse, ascend the porch stairs, and there! perched comfortably on the porch railing, chatting away, was the man himself. We all elbowed each other but managed to suppress squeals or giggling, like schoolgirls, we were in awe. So we enter the great room, get our bag of swag, enter the drawings, and head back out to the beverage station.

As we stood clustered, he strides up, smiles an infectious smile and says "I saw it the minute you walked by, nice work". Ub bah, uh, bah, ummm. Wow! Praise from the designer himself..... I was speechless, but somehow managed to regain my composure and we chatted with him for about ten minutes. He was gracious, friendly, happy and welcoming, and so real. I am still thinking of the encounter as one pinnacle in my knitting career that may never be bested. Thank you Stephen West!

Franklin Habit, of the blog Panopticon.
Another person I was looking forward to mustering the courage to greet and chat with was Franklin Habit. I had heard him speak at the Common Cod a few years back. I loved his humor and his ability to bring the history of 19th century patterns to life. I follow his blog and his FB feed, so I have that social network "friend" sense, but meeting him and talking with him, I felt it was genuine and natural. I hope that Guido, president of the guild, will be able to add him to the list of Common Cod events scheduled for 2013-2014.

Melissa Jean of the Melissa Jean hand made buttons and a friend of Mel of SinglehandedKnits.
Another person I was anxious to meet was Melissa Jean who designs unique ceramic buttons. I knew of her through Mel, of the podcast Single Handed Knits. I had looked at buttons and patterns on her webpage but could never decide what to select. Now I was able to check out her wares in person. Her booth was well stocked and beautiful to look at. I told her about the connection through Mel and she smiled and said, "Now I have to give you a hug". I got a few buttons but will definitely be shopping there again in the future.

Buttons by Melissa Jean Designs
Swag bag, (you'll notice I have no pictures but this one shot early in the event).

A tease chapter or two of the book which will be released in September.
The swag bag. Yes, I got a canvas bag printed with the Ravelry logo and it was filled with patterns, coupons, an adorable pompom keychain, and this book. I was so jazzed and anxious to read the excerpt in anticipation of the September release. But, like a kid at camp, it got left somewhere in the camp, like a bathing cap and goggles. I don't know where I set it down, but it is gone. My knitter friends have promised to let me borrow their copy, so when I get to reading, I will be sure to give you a review. (Sad face. Forlorn. Too much excitement to hold on to everything)!

Will you accept my apology for gushing on for so long? Will you forgive me being so self-centered in my thinking you want to hear of my amazing trip? Please, I share this with you in the hopes that my bliss, glee, and gratitude can be conveyed and understood.

I have some additional photos from friends that I want to share, but I don't have them yet. One is of the view from Heather's cottage that she so generously shared with us. Another, the door of camp Nirvana and other photos of the fair. I will add another post and it will be majorly (wait, I know that's not a word, right?) shorter. I want to show you a few of my purchases too, but the big share was the saga of my Squam experience,the awe and the gratitude. Thanks for indulging me if you are still plugging away and reading this.

My other thanks is more narrowed.... thank you to Sarah and Lauren, who convinced me it would be good to go. Imagine I almost stayed home to knit? Wow...


Carol said…
Wonderful! Thanks for the great report and lots of pictures; it looks like you had a great time!

Lisa said…
Wow! An inspiring post to be sure!!! Another one of those events to put on my list of "Things to go to if I ever hire someone to help at the store". Beautiful pictures and you looked "mahvelous"!
Cleo said…
Wow! It looks like you had an amazing time!
Jenn C. / Siercia said…
Glad you liked the yarnbombing, and super glad you came up to get a taste of the magic that happens up at Squam!
elns said…
That was a great post! I could feel your great excitement and that energy you describe. You were livin' the dream! It makes me happy to know that your experience with the darlings of the knitting and knit design world was so positive.

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