Writers and knitters have something in common: they are very generous in spirit.
When we lived in Athens, I was sort of a permanent member of a mystery-writing class. We lived there for six years and I attended every quarter. I loved it. One of the best things I learned was that experienced writers very much want newbies to succeed. One of the customs of the class was that each person could read his or her own work aloud in class and get critiques and suggestions from the other members. This terrified me at first and it took about four weeks to work up the nerve to read my stuff, but when I did everyone in class was very effusive with their positive comments. I was elated, and encouraged to read more often. Pretty soon it got to where you couldn't shut me up.
The Harriette Austin Writers Conference is held in Athens every year. Professional writers, agents, and editors come and meet and greet the attendees. Attendees have an opportunity to have a sample of their work read and evaluated by a professional, and quite a few conference-goers have now been published (I'm not among them, unless you count this blog; but that's another story altogether). The professionals are very generous with their time and listen with real interest to the wannabes.
Knitters are like that as well. This past Saturday I went to Cordele, GA, with my friend Theresa and two other women to a meeting of the Purlin' Peaches, a group organized on Ravelry. We met at a truck stop with an attached Arby's restaurant. We commandeered a couple of tables in Arby's and commenced to knitting. People stared at us, but we kept on knitting.
We had a show & tell. Nicole was there with her three-month-old son, Simon. What a cutie! She was making a pumpkin hat for Simon. Kathy was making a yoga wrap, one of the most sophisticated and feminine garments I've ever seen. It is off-white with a leaf border. Very pretty. Kathy brought along a baby blanket she'd made for Simon. Adanya, a very charming Mexican woman, was crocheting hats -- without a pattern. She just started in the middle and zipped right along. She showed us several she had made for her young daughter, and they were adorable. Theresa, bless her heart, usually spends most of the time talking, but she did show us some socks she'd made and a ball of hand-dyed wool which she gave to Nicole, as it was dyed in her school colors. Violet was working on a crocheted pink snake. It was for her daughter. She was crocheting it as a tube and stuffing it as she went along. Hazel, a prison nurse, was knitting away on the sleeves (two at a time) of a silky cotton sweater. Suzi showed off a beautiful green triangular scarf that had silver threads in it. Li didn't knit because she couldn't stay, but she was wearing a sweater vest that she had made. She's very slim and the vest looked great on her. I was knitting on a sock-yarn scarf. Nicole asked me what pattern I was using and I had to confess that I was making it up. I started out doing two by two ribbing; I did that for about an inch and then I switched to garter stitch. When I get to the end, I will put another inch of ribbing. (See picture below.)
I'm knitting on my Harmony laminated wood needles (from KnitPicks) in size 4. My wonderful husband bought me a whole set of the Harmony straight needles for Christmas last year. I may never knit with metal needles again. I got my sock yarn at Main Street Yarns and Fibers in Watkinsville, GA. Wonderful store.
The women of Purlin' Peaches treat me as if I am as accomplished at knitting as they are, which I am not. They are all that generous, and I'm sure if I have a question of any kind, they will be just as generous at helping me.
After knitting for a while and drinking a diet Coke, I needed to go to the restroom. So, I inconvenienced Hazel (our table was against one wall) to get out (she was very accomodating) and went looking for the facilities. When I got to the convenience-store side of the establishment, I saw a sign in the familiar blue & white so I went that way. I was led down a hallway with numerous doors, all numbered, all locked, and all with "vacant" signs beside the doors. I tried a few door handles to no avail. I was confused. Did I need to go ask the cashier for a key to go to the bathroom? That's not very convenient. I stepped outside the hallway to double-check the blue & white sign, and saw that it really said "showers!!" I was trying to get into the truckers' showers! I looked around and spotted the real restroom sign and finally accomplished what I'd set out to do. If I had been younger, I would have been mortified at my mistake, but at my age? Who cares? It was a good story when I got back to the table. Theresa said she was putting it on Facebook (but she didn't).