Writers and knitters have something else in common: Sometimes they're the same people!
Harriette, my writing teacher in Athens, just turned 90 (!) and her students threw her a birthday party. Richard and I went to the party this past weekend. Harriette's wish was for a party along the lines of the class party that is held at the end of each quarter, i.e. a potluck. Since Richard and I couldn't think of anything we could keep well on a 200-mile trip, we stopped at a Publix in Athens and bought cheese, crackers, bagel chips, and hummus. Our class parties were always true potlucks, no organizing involved. Harriette said even if everybody brought dessert, that was all right. Harriette is a vegetarian and there were a number of meatless dishes at the party, including one very tasty lasagna.
We all filled our plates and found places to sit. Richard and I sat in a couple of very comfortable chairs near the fireplace and our friend Diane (who was on Jeopardy! twice) sat with us. I had seen on her Facebook page that one of Diane's interests is knitting. She directed the Harriette Austin Writers Conference several years ago and it was so stressful (but she did a wonderful job) she decided she needed something relaxing to do, so she took up knitting. She brought her current project with her, a pair of worsted-weight socks which she was knitting on the tiniest circular needle I have ever seen. It was a 9-inch circular. She got the needles from Hiya Hiya. Diane let me knit a little on her sock and it was a little awkward at first but I could get the hang of it.
On the way into Athens, we stopped at Main Street Yarns and Fibers in Watkinsville, where I dropped $54+ on five hanks of wool. Three of the hanks are 100% merino and the other two are wool and silk. The nice people at Main Street Yarns also wind your hanks into balls for you. (Richard was very accomodating, but he had an ulterior motive: he wanted to go to a beer store he had discovered in Five Points in Athens. So he wandered around the yarn store and fondled yarn, and then at the beer store I wandered around and looked for Kahlua and Plymouth gin and Laphroaig scotch. I found some Kahlua Mocha. Yum.)
At the party I discovered that Judy also knits. Judy and her husband Takis are published authors, their latest is Bitter Tide, writen under the joint pseudonym of Ann Stamos. You can find them on Amazon. While we were eating and Diane and I were talking knitting, Dana joined the conversation and darned if she isn't a knitter as well. Priscilla was sitting next to Dana, wearing a very pretty sweater, and I asked if she had knitted it. She said no, that she didn't know how to knit, so I told her about Main Street Yarns and how she could probably find someone to teach her through them. I may have convinced another writer to join the knitting community.
Harriette found herself a comfy chair and sat for the whole party (hey, she's 90!). Everybody wanted to talk to her, especially her current students. I finally got my opportunity to sit down with her and chat. We were talking about Diane's knitting and I found out that Harriette knits! She told me about making a pair of socks for her boyfriend in college. He was very specific about what he wanted in socks, so she made them the way he wanted. Afterwards she had occasion to look in his closet for something and she saw her hard work wadded up and tossed onto the floor. She never knit him another pair of socks (although she did marry him).
It was delightful finding out that so many of my fellow Harriette students are also knitters. That just gives us even more to talk about on those rare occasions when we get together.
My sock yarn scarf is growing steadily. When I finish and block it, it will be very nice.