Thorny Knits

I've got a husband, twin toddlers, a cat who I probably forgot to feed this morning, and never, ever enough time to knit.


Rhinebeck Recap and Rumination


Okay. So let's make this clear from the outset. If you're hanging out with me and we happen to see someone famous, or moderately famous, or infamous, or just well-known within a certain subset of people, like say knit-geeks? You do the talking. I don't care who you are, YOU do the talking. I promise you, you cannot do any worse than I will do.

Case in point: Saturday, Meg and I are wandering around one of the squizzillion many buildings full of vendors at Rhinebeck. And she'd been telling me a little before how, in preparation of Rhinebeck, she'd sent an email off to Cate saying, "Hi, I'm bringing Thorny to Rhinebeck and I know she'd like to meet you, and I'm really honestly not some weirdo stalking you. Honest."

We kind of get separated and I see a familiar-looking brunette woman and I give her that look of, "Hey, I think I know you!" and she gives me a look that I interpret as, "Hmm, you seem familiar too," (though in retrospect I think it was more of, "Why are you staring at me like that?!"). But I am assailed by shyness and so I don't say anything. A few minutes later, Meg and I have found each other again and are admiring some yarn in a booth when Meg nudges me and points to the same woman I'd seen before.

I give Meg the "What?" look and she responds with the, "You should say 'Hi', you know who that is," look.

So I take a deep breath and give this familiar-looking woman a smile and say, "Hi, are you Cate?" And she says, "Nope!" and continues on (probably thrilled to be away from the crazy staring woman).

I look at Meg questioningly and Meg stares at me. "That was Amy Singer! You know, the editor of Knitty?! How would I know what Cate looks like? I've never seen her!"

I still think the time I told a woman on a local moms mailing list to consider going on a "news diet" to help her cut down on stress during the first year of her baby's life, only to realize several months later that she's a local news anchor, tops my ill-fated encounter with Amy Singer, but I'd really prefer not to have any further contenders for my most embarassing moment with people of high esteem.

Honestly, it makes my ridiculously clumsy introduction to Stephanie (including a vague hand-waving in the air while I mumble, "...from the ah, the Internet....") seem positively suave in comparison.


The big thing I brought back from Rhinebeck is my very first drop spindle. I got just a cheap one, that can be used as either a top or bottom whorl, while I kinda figure out what I'm doing and if I really like it. Though, to be fair? The idea of being able to buy lots of blobs of really pretty fluff is about all the incentive I need, here. I think roving is much prettier than most yarns, to be honest.

So after we left the festival Saturday evening, and before going out to dinner, Jonathan taught me a few basics in how to spin yarn. Thankfully, he was kind enough to teach me the whole park-and-draft method, which I described to Caz as "spinning with training wheels," so I've actually got some interesting singles to show for all my cussing.

Which, as per usual for me, didn't begin until I went home and tried to spin on my own. Sitting in a guest house room with an experienced spinner within chatting distance? No problems whatsoever, though that yarn is chunky as all get out. Once I got home Sunday night, though... ooh, the swearing began in earnest.

I did try it again tonight, though, with much less swearing and more success. And also singles that are about in the sport to fingering weight range, which hopefully when plied will net me a nice light worsted-y weight. Assuming, of course, that I can actually make that whole plying business work. (Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Oh, I kill me sometimes.)

Not that I'm letting that deter me whatsoever, nor did I while at Rhinebeck. I came home with a single skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in a lovely flamey orange-yellow colorway, and two bags of fiber that were quickly supplemented by Jonathan upon our return to Chicago, and before I began my drive home.

I promise I will put up pictures soon - the fibers are luscious and I've got some lovely pictures of New England scenery, for all that I never did think to take pictures while actually at Rhinebeck. I'm S-M-R-T that way. grin.

Identity... or Mama Incognito

I think I may have alluded, but did not state outright - Rhinebeck was significant for me for several reasons. Of course there was the fact that my best friend decided to spring a fabulous trip like that on me, out of the blue, and even had the kindness to not joke, "Well, you know, I figured paying your airfare was worth not hearing you whine about not getting to go to Rhinebeck if I went without you, and I really wanted to go."

But the other point of significance was that this was the first time I'd been away from the kids for a weekend. In fact, it was the first time I'd been away from the kids for more than, say, eight hours at a time.

So when I say it was a little strange, to be out and about in the world and have no one be able to tell at a glance that I'm a mom... I'm really understating that. I felt like a secret agent or something for a lot of the weekend. And for the other part, I felt this weird urge to just announce to people, "I have kids! Twins, in fact! I do! I'm a mom!"

When the pilot was bidding us a good evening as we got off the plane back in Chicago, he called me "Miss", which may actually be the first time I've been "miss"'d since 2003. I shit you not.

So it was kind of a weird experience, being out in the world and not having the kids with me.

I felt very shy pretty much the whole time. Often I'm shy during initial meetings with new people, but this weekend I felt a lot more shy than I've felt in a long time. And it was only tonight that I figured out why.

I felt, for some weird reason, like I didn't really belong. I don't work for pay, so I couldn't share job woes with anyone. I'd forgotten to have "mother" tattooed on my forehead before leaving, and there were few opportunities to drop the k-bomb (kinda like the f-bomb, but not forbidden by the FCC) into conversation, so I couldn't talk mama-shop. And I'm a squirrelly sporadic, not-enough-knitting content kinda blogger, so I didn't feel quite like I could call myself a "knit blogger" either.

So I spent a lot of the weekend feeling a little out of touch with myself. Like I couldn't figure out who I was supposed to be. Who is this Thorny person anyway, and what does she have to offer anyone? It's been a very, very long time since I sat with a bunch of adults and didn't have to get up every few minutes to prevent one child from stuffing a priceless artifact up his nose while making sure the other doesn't dial up Bangalore on someone's cell phone.

The thing I realized tonight, though, was that I was just being silly. I already had all the identity I needed to "deserve" to be at Rhinebeck. I'm a knitter. I wore my own hand-knit socks all weekend long. I wore my blue Wavy scarf all weekend. And during the Knit-In at the hotel everyone was staying at, I worked on a sweater for one of my kids. Just because I'm still working on wrapping my brain around how to put short rows into a cabled sweater (if anyone has any tips, please do share!) doesn't make me less of a knitter.

I did belong at Rhinebeck. I was just a little too slow on the uptake to realize it. (Which just goes to show - I've got to go back! grin.)

And we're back to "Value" again...

So, I was on the phone with my dad tonight, hoping that the calming influence of another adult voice would help prevent me from calling the Gypsy Dingo Circus to come pick up my little ragamuffins. They're really embracing their Inner Two-Year-Olds lately. Argh.

Anyway, was telling Dad about my big weekend away, and how I'd gotten some yarn, and also picked up a drop spindle so I could learn how to spin my own yarn. And he, being a wisenheimer, starts telling me about how he's been in these stores where they sell yarn. And not just a little yarn, like stores that sell nothing but yarn. Floor to ceiling, front to back, nothing but yarn. The implication, of course, being "Why make your own yarn when you can buy it?"

And I said to him, "Well, sure Dad, but by that rationale, I could just buy sweaters, too. I mean, why knit at all, then?"

And he allowed as to how I might have a point there.


Dudes. I'm up waaaaayyyy too late for no summatin'. Besides, being all tidy and organized like that? That's just not how I roll.


  • At Thu Oct 26, 11:42:00 AM CDT, Anonymous mamacate said…

    Well, what can I say? I kept reading your post going "but!" "and!" but by the time I got to the next paragraph you'd figured it out already. You did belong there. You, in your mama-ness were right in with about half the people there and the other half (many of whom are doctors and lawyers and college professors and candlestick makers) almost never talk about their work at a fiber festival. Stephanie is an IBCLC and a doula and stayed home when her kids are young...I could just go on (Julia, Teresa, Cassie...), but I know. Even as a WOHM, I know...those first few forays into *selfhood* after twins are kind of mindblowing.

    Life is small sometimes, still, but it's growing. And there's room. Plenty of room.

    But dude, you made ma laugh out loud about asking Amy Singer if she was me. Now that's some funny.

    I'm so glad I stayed up late with you. :)

  • At Thu Oct 26, 03:22:00 PM CDT, Anonymous melanie said…

    Feeling like a gigantic idiot here, but YOU WERE AT RHINEBECK? Moreover, YOU WERE AT THE COURTYARD? and I MISSED YOU???

    That's just not cool dude. Next year I want and email warning too.



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