Another time, at sock camp….

The rest of sock camp was pretty much wake up, call Sooze & Joan, head over to breakfast then down back to Discovery House.
My room was suitably country resort-esque
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With a beautiful view from the balcony (Discovery House just down the hill to the right, and the manor house the white building beyond the pine trees)

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Every morning I had apple porridge. It was delicious.

Then the camp tuck shop would open. It was filled up with lots of gorgeous yarnie yumminess (was being the operative word).

There was a lot of yarn petting and admiring, and most importantly, acquiring!

Cat Bordhi petting some silkie
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And giving it the requisite squeeze!
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A hundred of us descended like magpies eyeing a lot of shiny things
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But the elbows-out attitude in such a rush was decidedly missing. While people did do a lot of running around and loading up (myself included) there was alot of ‘please can you pass me the X coloured skein to your left’ from the back of the crowds in front, and X skein was always duly passed back. Very camper-spirited I am proud to say! So alot of jostling but always friendly and always ready to reach out (literally) and help someone get that yarn apple of their eye.

Happy shoppers lining up to pay
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Sooze maybe thinking she should get some more of that Rooster Rock…
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Happy Sooze with more Rooster Rock and some Twisted…
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By Wednesday the shop was seriously depleted, and by Thursday – empty. Next to nothing left! Where did it all go? Into camper’s loving arms of course!

There was alot of BMFA fibre love.

Chappy very pleased with her Eggplanted LSS (or is it Wooboo?)
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We decided to literally dive into our stashes and bury ourselves in them.

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Joan the yarn baby!
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Classes were awesome – I loved JC Briar’s class. The cast-on’s just blew my mind.

Stephanie and Tina demonstrating the lightning bold effect of variagated yarn on the top of the ankle. See that sideways V? It is on ALL variagated socks that have a heel flap. Newton’s law. Tina Newton, that is. But seriously, not Tina’s fault, it simply is the way that the heel flap affects the colour spirals.

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We made sock puppets – meet Lola (she’s a showgirl).
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We also made sock monkeys – from left to right Kackalackalacka, Carole’s monkey, and Hooli, sneaking a spliff.
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Hooli hanging with the piano man.
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Hooli, feeling pensive:
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There were a whole lotta monkeys there. You can see more on Sam’s blog and the other camper blogs listed on her blog too.
This is Stephen, who came to what Cookie describes as our “afterparty after afterparty”…. the reality is much less glam! Sooze Joan & I would hang out and chat and drink, and Stephen would come and ask why he was the only one there! I think in our fibre induced haze we completely forgot to actually invite other people, or we would invite people but forget to tell them our room number! We’ll be sure to be a little more organised next year. Maybe best if we just wrote our room number on our name tag! Still, we did have a rollicking good time. Stephen seems to be having a fab time with the monkeys and hootie (the owl puppet).
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Hotflash & Cockeyed, two of the awesome sockateers, with Leslie and Cookie A. This was our last night buffet dinner.
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And here with my peeps! Carole, Me, Sooze & Joan
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Oh yeah, almost forgot to include Big Daddy. He was our cab driver -the only cab driver on the island. A really lovely guy. A little light on the pedal though. Next year we’re gonna go visit him and his girlfriend at the local cafe where, he says, she makes the best clam chowder on the island.
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Post Camp Blues

I’m having a cuppa with a biccie thinking of my new BFF Susan hoping she’s enjoying a cuppa with some biccies too. Am feeling a bit glum, I guess it’s just post camp blues.

I’ve had a good week to digest it all, and the conclusion is: Extraordinary. The Yarn Harlot’s Inexplicable Knitter Behaviour? In spades. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. No quicker than that. Now what? Sigh. Wait until next year!

So where was I? Ah yes – the ferry:
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It took us through some beautiful scenery.
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Then we arrived to Orcas Island.
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Alice drove our hardcore yarn crawlers to Rosario Resort, where we lined up to check in, then went upstairs to register with EttaMae & Tammy. Warm ladies, duly sorting us campers into our various ‘tribes’. There were about 100 of us campers, and we were split into 4 tribes: Trickster, Rooks, Valkyrie & Corbies. Having just spent three days with a group of lovely ladies, we had been chatting about where we would be sorted and whether we’d be together. I got sorted into the same tribe as Susan (my kindred spirit!). I LOVE that I was a Valkyrie. You know, that weird Scandinavian thing I have. So I was totally thrilled to be in a tribe from to Norse mythology. Valkyries are female deities – “Choosers of the Slain” – who served Odin. The valkyries’ purpose was to choose the most heroic of those who had died in battle and to carry them off to Valhalla where they became einherjar who would fight with Odin at Ragnarök, the preordained battle at the end of the world. In Valhalla the valkyries also “serve drink and look after the tableware and drinking vessels”. hmm. we definitely looked after the drinking vessels, but did the drinking rather than the serving. hopefully Odin understands about knitting camp and didn’t mind too much.

Rosario Resort – Manor House in the background, white building to the left. Where we held classes and camp activities in the Discovery House to the foreground – brown flat roof is all that is clearly visible.
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With Susan crossing paths seemed to be a theme. I have the feeling I was supposed to meet her. Not only were we on the same yarn crawl (out of 12 people total attending) then same “continued crawl” (out of 8 total), then same tribe (of 4 total between 100 peeps), AND next door neighbours! If we somehow missed each other at camp we were also booked on the same flight back to Seattle (which was cancelled so we both had Sam to thank for getting us across on the ferry and back to the city)! So many coincidences. And the last little sort-of coincidence – I supposed to go to a wool fair in germany last October but at last minute did not. Susan went to this same wool fair at the suggestion of (and met with) Claudia of Wollmeise – same Claudia who told me in the first place I ought to go to this fair. If i had there was probably a good chance i would have met Susan even earlier! Go figure!

We hopped in the van afterwards to drop our stuff at our rooms – on the way we met KT who had just been driving in. Our rooms were in the 1600 block- Susan, Joan & I in the same block. Of course, once we were settled we headed over to the lounge for more cocktails and then at the appointed time to Discovery House for our welcome drinks (more cocktails still) and some cookies and nibbles.
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I kinneared JC (a bit too shy to ask directly for a photo)

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Kinneared Stephanie & Cat (far back table on the left, the two ladies in grey tshirts with yellow bandanas around their necks)

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Cookie A

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As well as Tina Newton (genius and heart behind BMFA, also with yellow bandana).

At first being in the presence of so many knitting greats was very intimidating. I only had the guts to kinnear Cookie Tina & Stephanie Cat and JC. But that was silly – these ladies are lovely friendly and warm. And have a healthy does of the sillies which I admire greatly.

I did better at the end of camp:

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Stephanie with (from left) Diane’s Express Lane Socks, Emma’s Neighbourhood Tunnels & Jane’s Karenina’s (both these last for the Sock(topus)Club 2007).

I got to celebrate my fellow yellowness with Cookie which rocked. As I got less shy I was able to go from kinnearing the back of Cookie’s head to actually photographing her face…
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To getting a photo of her in an alpaca shawl ambush.
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That first night at camp I slept hard – tired and excited (I wanted to knit more), but tiredness won out. The silence of the place at night was gorgeous.

There was shopping too… but for that I will wait till the next post! 🙂

Wonderful Wonderwool Wonderwales

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This last weekend I met up with Justine, Sally, Diane & her DH, Ali & her DH, Chantelle, Rhiannon & her DB and Woolly & Jen at Wonderwool in Wales. Also there were Gabrielle, her man, & Gabrielle’s mum at her first stall Artisan Yarns! Her mum was a sweetie and her stand a lovely melee of gorgeous yarns and lovely bags. I think I must have been still a little off with the fairies (much too early morning) and completely neglected to take any decent photos (by this I mean photos of people yarn and stalls, not photos of Anthony Worrall Thompson:
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I’m sure he’s lovely.

And sheep:
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I’m sure they are lovely too.

And these:
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I’m not at all sure about these. I am baffled. But I’ve noticed there are also many people who have no clue that calling Chinese restaurants chinkies just might be offensive, so I often chalk these types of things up as a Prince Phillip.)

Diane & her DH and I stayed at a lovely ex Hunting Lodge from the mid 1800s.
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Deuce made a couple new friends, Bella (below) and Cassie, though there was no doubt who was boss – Ms Bella.
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On the first night, these came for me:
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DH sent them as apology for a little mix up with Deuce and for missing the weekend – poor guy’s been stuck at work all week. Straight 36 hours Monday/Tuesday, and again from Wednesday he’s been at the office pretty much 20 hours a day. Hopefully it will all be done by tomorrow and I’ll actually get to spend some time with him!

Today we went to Hay-on-Wye, which is a gorgeous little town filled to the brim with:
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and more
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Every year this little town has a huge book festival, and whilst it does indeed have a lot of books, it also has other things to keep one amused:
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And in keeping with the yarnie goodness theme – here is a little baby alpaca and his mama.
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There’s’ no place like home…

It's been great, but it's time to head home. I'm missing DH and the monkey. And I've also managed to pick up a cold- nothing a few nights R'n'R won't sort out.

We went to visit the De Young museum on our first day here- they had a Gilbert & Gilbert (? Somehow that doesn't seem right but I can't remember the name) exhibition. We also went up the new tower for a bird's eye view of SFO. We also went to the Japanese garden at Golden Gate Park for some tea and biscuits- a bit of sustenance!!

It's been a lovely visit- unhurried time with my mom which is a luxury. Uncle Ping and Aunt Amy were stellar- beef noodle soup, ramen, bubble tea, xiaolongbao. Mmmm. Heaven.

Today we visited somewhere near Mountain View (hi Cookie!) and had some yummy ramen, and a bubble tea at a place called Verde. Can u tell all we do is eat?

Now home to start training for the windsor half marathon (running it early october). After all the food (and cocktails) some structured training is needed!!

London here I come!

Pre-Yarn Crawl

Last day in Palo Alto – spent the day with my uncle and aunt at their golf club. Last time I played was also with my uncle and aunt, and David, at their golf club, a few years ago. David & I were so bad, I think we only played 4 out of 9 holes because it took us sooooo long. My uncle joked that our swings were more like chopping wood, straight down, missing the ball and gutting chunks of grass from the fairway. David & I took some lessons when we went home, not for very long, but I really felt proud of myself for remembering some of what we were taught. We played 7 of 9 holes, so almost twice what we did last time! Still crappy, but less so. And I hit more than I missed, which is also an improvement. Maybe next time I play again in a couple years, we’ll actually finish the full 9 holes! I’ve been spoiled here, hanging with my mom and eating fabulous food. Xiaolongbao, taiwanese beef noodle soup. Mmmmmm. Gotta get my fill as I won’t be eating this again for a while now. 😦

Now for another installation of the sock camp trip:

I flew to Seattle on friday over these massive volcanic mountains standing alone amongst lakes and hills. It was warm, the sun setting on Seattle. I was to share a room with another Alice from the sock club- she wasn’t at the hotel when I arrived but she appeared shortly after I got to the room. I was, as usual, a space cadet with my travel arrangements. I did know the city and my hotel name (I’ve been known to show up at the airport knowing neither) and had the confirmation number (thank god!) but forgot to ask for and bring alice’s last name and contact details.

I blurted out to front desk that I didn’t know my roommate’s last name, and when they suggested I look for her, I said I’d never met her so didn’t know what she looked like. I refrained however from saying I met her on the internet (wanted to avoid them thinking “internet friends” a la Old School).

Thankfully Alice was a little more clued up and called Chappy who knew my last name. We met up with Cathy and Joan when we went down to the hotel restaurant for dinner- two ladies looking a little lost standing by front desk. Alice was wearing the Rockin Sock Club badges on her cap, and we were soon introducing ourselves and pulling out our knitting pouches! We ate and chatted, all of us totally excited for the next day’s yarn crawl and of course, for camp. I bailed early, as was totally knackered from no sleep on the plane and needed some shut eye.

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The Notorious Sock Knitters congregate at breakfast.

The next morning, more campers joined us at the hotel- Carole, Susan, and Sam. Alice goes through logistics (having taken the time and effort to go through the whole route the day before, even going all the way to Churchmouse!!).
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We headed off to the airport to pick up Chappy, Maya, and Susan, and meet up with Ariel and MJ and the Knotorious Knitters Express- MJ’s custom painted shorty bus. It was and still is awesome.

MJ & Stariel with the custom bus passes made by MJ’s hubby.
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What knitters do when they meet – take photos of each other taking photos. From left to right, Mya, Sam (just her blond head and white shirt), Carole & Susan.
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Left to right, ALice, Chappy, Joan (behind in the green) and Mya, talking shop and waiting for the bus.
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And there it was:
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Awesome, or what? Check out MJ’s blog where she, her hubby & Stariel paint the bus just for the crawl!
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We tattooed ourselves (care of Cathy) and hopped in the KK Express for our pre-camp yarn crawl. The Dalai Lama was in town, and we met with some of the resulting traffic, but MJ had provided us with a cooler full of bevvies and Sam made the most amazingly morish peanut butter cookies. I could have scoffed them all, but not knowing my fellow knitters that well, I didn’t think gobbling up all the cookies would go down that well. Boo.

Our first stop- Weaving Works.
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I was tempted by the yak roving but left with some starmore books and two skeins of Pagewood Farms, a local indie dyer. All my fellow KKs left with a skein or two of something.
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Next stop was lovely Acorn Street Yarns.DSC_0905

I managed to escape without a single purchase, though it was pretty hard. I’m pretty sure my fellow KKs nobly picked up the slack.
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We zoomed our way over to the ferry to catch the ferry over to the last stop- Churchmouse on Bainbridge Island.
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It did not dissapoint.
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We were welcomed with a glass of sherry and some shortbread (how cool is that?). Then we descended on the yarn. I was restrained and only two skeins of STR fell into my basket, though another copy of Montse Stanley’s Knitting Handbook also fell into it. This is my third or fourth copy of this book- i consider it the best reference
for knitting – I keep lending it or losing it and buying it again. Totally worth it.

We went to Cafe Nola afterwards for dinner – and when we were shown to our table, we found that every place setting had a little goodie bag from Churchmouse. One of the KK’s said “I feel like a rock star!” and another promptly corrected her “No, like a Sock Star!”. Yes, Churchmouse was lovely. We definitely felt like Sock Stars.
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(From left clockwise, MJ, Carole, Sam, Cathycate, Mya, Susan (misknits) & Susan (unraveledgal).

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Eating yarn spaghetti.

We finished up with some gorgeous homemade icecream
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From left: Susan, Mya, Sam, Joan, Alice, CathyCate & Carole.

MJ dropped us all back at our hotel and turned on the jazzy blue lights for the express. Rockin!
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And we fell into bed and konked right out. I slept like a rock.

The next morning, Alice picked up a rental van (which we stuffed full with our suitcases):
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and we went back to the airport and picked up Snoutma (another Cathy) and after a little research, decided to visit Hilltop East. We were lucky to find a pho place just opposite which was delicious (so lucky, as i LOVE pho).
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After a little discussion, we discovered Acorn was open on Sunday and with a whole lotta enthusiasm, we went back.

Hello again!
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It’s a lovely little shop with very friendly staff. A lot of Kauni disappeared into baskets.
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All in all a very successful visit.

Back in the van Alice had rented that morning and up to Anacortes to catch the ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
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On the ferry, there was serious knitting, and giggling knitting:
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And something funny knitting:
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A beautiful island, and when we reached Roche Harbor resort it was picture perfect.
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A marina, with a local grocery shop.
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We had rooms in the historic De Haro hotel,
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but to be honest, when I was shown my room I got the heeby jeebies… it reminded me of the haunted old homes in Heritage Park…. I asked to change rooms to the new building, with fireplace and flat screen tvs! I admit I was a bit of a baby, but better to be a baby during daylight hours than be freaking out and knocking on a fellow KKs door in the middle of the night screaming about ghosties under my bed!

The next morning we went to Krystal Acres, a local alpaca farm.
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We met some sweet alpacas – they were just charming.
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We stopped at a lighthouse
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For some posing:
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and knitting:
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We then headed back to the harbour as it was nearly time to go to camp. Mya & I stopped in a cafe and ordered some lunch, thinking we were a little yarned out (gasp, horror! I know I know, not something to admit out loud…) but then Susan dropped in with a bag of goodies from the LYS. We duly inspected her purchases. I looked at My
a, Mya looked at me, and the two of us left Susan at the booth with our orders and legged it to the LYS a few doors down. I left with three skeins of beautiful worsted alpaca (it is destined for an Orcas Island scarf). Yarned out my foot! What blasphemy.

Then on the ferry for the next stop: CAMP CROW’S FEET!!

Sunny Palo Alto

Arrived in California to sunny skies and warmth (despite a brisk pacific breeze). Hanging out with Uncle Ping and Aunt Amy now and checking out the local yarn shops. A quick trip to Target too- I left London with a carry on roller and a tote bag, but my luggage has somehow multiplied and I now have three full tote bags plus the suitcase- for a large duffel bag and some space saver bags (the kind that you can squeeze the air out).

Last week I was at Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Sock camp- Camp Crows Feet. Yes, the very same as the one attended by the Yarn Harlot. You know my whole thing about affirming all the good things in life daily? It was almost ridiculous how incredibly lucky and blessed I felt every day.

We had class with Cookie A, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Tina Newton and JC. So much knitterly genius and brain power. Overwhelming, awesome and amazing.

The setting was incredibly beautiful. The whole feeling of the place and our camp was like the resort in Dirty Dancing – the main building, the walks at night and the early morning mist. I kept expecting Johnny to come strolling by. It was sunny, it was rainy and it snowed. Beauty and all the seasons in a week- how lucky were we to be able to experience all that?

Being part of the camp felt like such a privilege – only 100 campers out of 2200 sock club members- so another reason to feel lucky. Every day was filled with fun and laughter and the incredible good humour (despite actually having to work and the very long and full days) of Tina, the counsellours and the Sockateers.

And of course, the campers. I met so many wonderful and talented people. I met people I know in my heart of hearts will be lifelong friends. People like that are rare gems and though parting was sad, just thinking of these gems brings a smile to my face. Their friendship adds a sparkle to my life I can only celebrate. Lucky? Damn straight!

And finally- knitting in general. I am so lucky to have picked up a habit which, despite being a serious handicap to my finances, has given me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and have the kind of fun and (hysterical) giggles I had when I was a kid. So knitters -thanks for being so darned awesome.
More to come on Camp Crows Feet.