Lobsters dancing on the docks*, knitters and spinners clogging the Doubletree Hotel...
I made it up to Spa for one day, Saturday, and it was heavenly. Next year I'll stay. Claudia was supposed to come with me, but she ditched me for "relatives visiting from Sweden." That's okay, I'm not bitter or anything. Notice she didn't mention anything about visiting relatives in her blog? Just sayin'... ;)
At lunch with Sharon, Carole, Chris and Cate, we were discussing why all knitters and spinners seem to get along fairly effortlessly. Other crafting groups (quilters were mentioned) apparently do not have this ease of friendship. And on my solitary 2 hour drive home late Saturday night, jamming in the dark to the best folk/techno/punk mix CD Claudia's never, ever going to hear, I had plenty of time to mull over what I'd learned about my fellow knitters to try to answer that question.
1) We like our food. I realized I couldn't remember the last time I'd eaten a meal in a restaurant with a woman who drank a pint of beer, cleaned her plate, then ordered dessert. I eat like a starving wolverine and usually feel like a freak when I dine out with my friends, so this was extremely refreshing. I still ate the fastest, but at least I wasn't alone in cleaning my plate.
2) We like our booze. Mostly in moderation, of course.
3) We are sharers. We love our hobbies so much that we want to share them with anyone interested. Here, have some wool, try my wheel. Even those with brand-new wheels let others spin on them. (Caution: this rule has not been tested with food. Proceed carefully. Do not get your fingers too close to my plate.)
4) We like expensive, beautiful things. In the car back to the hotel after lunch, someone mentioned orchids and it turned out several of us in the car kept them. I would not be surprised if there were several serious handbag/shoe collectors or perfume junkies in our midst.
5) We are collectors, be it socks, spinning wheels, sock yarn, whatever. Some of us might be hoarders, too, but that's just collecting as an extreme sport.
6) We like other women. You know how some women don't like other women? They don't have any female friends and only hang out with guys? We're not like that. We love to hang with our girlfriends.
7) Our respect for creativity makes us, for the most part, accepting of other people's differences. You have red, green and orange plaid hair? Awesome, how'd you do that? (granted, I could just think this because I live in a blue state).
Many of these items point to our involvement with our senses: the tactile appeal of fiber, the flavors of food and wine, the visual stimulation of flowers and color. Some also point to our nuturing instincts. But why don't quilters share these characteristics?
Here's my theory: quilting is more geometric and has more rigid confines than knitting, so perhaps it appeals to a more engineering-oriented, analytical type.
I think those who are attracted to hobbies with a tactile element tend to bond more quickly, too, because we're always touching each other's stuff. Sweaters, wool, yarn, shawls: our first instinct is to touch. (Some smell, next, but I'm not sure that's a universal.) I went to a woodworking demonstration recently and I noticed a similar accepting friendliness in the woodworking community, and of course woodworking is largely tactile and they touch each other's stuff all the time, too. You know, in the manliest possible way.
So that, in a nutshell, is what I learned in my day at Spa. Well, plus I tried out about six different wheels, learned about vendors I'd never heard of, met new friends, saw old friends, pawed through fiber, learned a little about antique wheels, finally got to hear Stephanie talk, witnessed the birth of a new spinner, got about four new knitting ideas, petted a newborn baby bunny... it just goes on and on, all in one day! Action-packed and then some. There was so much that I'm sure I'm forgetting things.
I highly recommend it. Unless you don't like to be touched, 'cause I'm telling you, even the most ordinary hand-knit sweater will get petted at Spa.
*obscure Carly Simon lyric, not an actual news flash.
P. S. just kidding, Claudia! Although I am sorry you couldn't be there and hope the Swedish relatives were almost as fun.