Sunday, March 16, 2008

"It was the Best of Days...."

I. Have. Met. FRANKLIN! OK, that's the gist of it, here's the story. We got up early (6:00 am) so that we could be out of here by 7:00 am; it's a three-hour drive to Eau Claire. NOTE: may I here acknowledge Mr Dearling, who drives for three hours each way for such an experience for me - he did it before, too, when we went to hear the Yarn Harlot in the same place. Throughout all of it he's delightful and merry, and he hardly even reaps the benefits from my knitting - he has toques (of COURSE) and likes our knitted dishcloths. He's not a muffler sort o' guy, doesn't wear shawls, and is married to someone too askeered to try a sweater. I am standing up and applauding Mr Dearling (who is, however, in the other room listening to his MP3, but I'll make sure he knows).

Having said that - it took us just about exactly three hours, and we found a good parking place pretty much in front of the Yellow Dog Knitting (have I mentioned my almost fail-proof Parking Karma?) Because we were early for my scheduled time (10:48) I was especially pleased because I'd have a chance to peek around and lay my very own natural eyeball stalks on one of my favorite blogwriters of all time himself. On account of, on-line pictures are nice, but you know, it's like movies made from books: the original is always better and more fun.

Also, I would have time to shop for some yarn. Red yarn (it's called "rouge" in French) for -- altogether now, another toque ! (Ignore that slight sniffle, I'm really not weeping. Really. Just sniffing.) I know it looks like I have it in a death grip, or that my eyes are closed because I'm wishing evil on it. Actually, it's only one toque, and I feel perfectly clear about knitting it in between other projects so no worries. For example -- I'm knitting dishcloths with the Ribbon pattern in them for a fundraiser arranged by Ryan of Mossy Cottage Knits .

It's an easy enough pattern - easy to follow and easy enough for even me to manage. They really are kind of neat: they can be any color (seems research for each cancer has its own color) and they'll be paired with ribbon-shaped soaps. PERFECT "I'm-riding-three-hours-for-a-ten-minute-photo-shoot" project, might I add. NOTE: I used Sugar'n'Cream and size 7 needles; I'm making another with Lion Brand cotton. Is it just me, or are all those "dishrag cottons" pretty much the same? They do make good dishrags, though - we use nothing else to home.


When we got into the shop I was handed the Standard Release form to sign; their back room had a chair with a sheet draped behind it and one of those big silvery things on one side. There was a table with chairs so we could fill out the forms - with bowls of M&Ms with little bunny faces, so cute! Someone said Franklin had recognized my name on the list!! And when I went in to fill out my form, well Ladies and Gentlemen - THERE HE WAS!! The really-truly Panopticon knitting, cartooning, blogging brilliant friendly funny lovely guy who has even been befriended by Dolores (no mean feat, I'm sure!). He's EXACTLY as I expected, handsome and friendly and nothing for it, we HUGGED!! And get this, because it's a BIG THING to me: he is not so much taller than I am. Do you know how cool that is? Some of us live (delightedly, might I add) surrounded by sort of giant-shaped people, and it's fine, but is it ever NEAT to find like-minded, like-sized folks. I could happily have just stuffed him in my tote bag....oh oh, I'm digressing again. Nevermind.

I filled out my form - I really did read every single word, and it was pretty much standard fare, I didn't agree to nude shots in the future or accepting calls from the Playboy Mansion. As I recall. Nevermind.

Mr Dearling asked Franklin if he minded HIS taking some pictures, and he said not at all! While I waited for my turn, I went back to the shop and found exactly what I needed, two skeins of Cascade 220 in a suitable red for (ok, say it with me now) the next toque ...and before I knew it? It was my turn!

I sat down and picked up The Scarf (dig this: ALL of the knitters are doing a few stitches on it! Franklin said we could do whatever we wanted - it is SO deliciously wonky...I do hope it becomes part of the exhibit, just draped around or something!) Now, I had big plans about doing something interesting with my stint on the scarf. What I wound up doing was quick counting the stitches (I think there were 25) so I knitted two together and did the single-row pattern of Yarn Harlot's.

All the while, Franklin was just snappin' away, and we were chatting...I only managed the one row, but that was OK! And then we were done! Which called for another hug. Now - I'm going to put some of the pictures Mr Dearling took and hope that they're not all wonkily-positioned because I'm still not very good at that.

"Yeah, I know - I'm actually making another toque!"

"Where are my glasses....oh, around my neck..."

Master Photographer!

Mr Dearling's impression.

Final notes and oddments: I was going to take off my apron, but the consensus was that I ought not, being as it IS "me"; I wear one almost all the time. I also did not remove my capaign buttons, and Franklin confirmed that Dolores was with him, but was out carousing with Harry and her ball band members at a local microbrewery.

I hate to admit that I don't remember the Proprietors' names (Cindi is one, I'm so embarrassed, although my kids have t-shirts with their names, I'm dreadful) but they were both efficient, kind, delightful - and DID have the very yarn I needed!

There was an extra fabulous treat! When we were done, we did run into Kathy, she of kmkat and her kneedles! We'd e-mailed and knew our times were close, but weren't sure we'd be able to connect. WE DID! And better yet, we waited a few minutes for her shoot and then had lunch together at a nice place across the street before she had to shoot back to work and we had to head home! (I'm forever in her debt: she got to B&N in Minneapolis early enough when Crazy Aunt Purl was there to save front-row seats for myself and the Lovely Daughter, and tbat was SO fabulous! Absolutely fabulous to see her (HI KATHY!!).

In closing - I had assured my fellow Hog-and-Bloggers I would greet Franklin for them. (Hard to see, but I DID have my Sow's Ear button on my apron...I gave it to Kathy after lunch, though.) So I mentioned the Sow's Ear to Franklin, and he indicated that some time he would certainly consider visiting Madison (said he has a family connection here, in fact); I mean to mention it from time to time! But being the Jewish Mother that I am, I had provided some tiny trinkets typical of Madison and Wisconsin, and I put them in a Hog-and-Blog bag with the names of us on it - here's what it looked like:

I won't say what was in it, in case he hasn't opened it yet and peeks in here (dare I flatter myself?) I'm chuckling. He did say he was looking forward to investigating it - and suffice it to say, one item included was a tube of that ever-popular excellent superb never-be-without-it-if-you're-a-Wisconsinite...UDDER BALM.

All in all, truly "The Best of Days"!


kmkat said...

Hee hee -- I'm sure Franklin will be delighted with your gifts! It was delightful to see you again and to meet Mr. Dearling. You know, I don't think I even caught his real name. That's okay, to me he will always be Mr.- Dearling-Wh0-Belongs-To-Dale-Harriet-and-Reminds-Me-Of-Jeff.

CathyCate said...

UDDER BALM -- How perfect!

Hee hee!

What a wonderful day, truly, and the sun should have shone on you some of the way; or if not, it wouldn't have mattered, would it? Thanks for sharing, and those are great pictures that Mr. Dearling took, I can't wait to see Franklin's!

CathyCate said...

And it's hilarious that Kathy and I (Cathy-with-a-C in real life) were Hee-heeing simultaneously. Great minds and all that.

Jane said...

Wow, what a fun time you had! I'm plotting to get Franklin down this way. You Yankees can't keep having all the fun!

knotmuchofaknitter said...

What a riot - but the stuff I'm familiar with, which sat on the shelf at my local pharmacy along with the Preparation H and Alka Seltzer, was "Bag Balm." It came in a tin. And then there was Cornhusker's lotion... Sounds like you had a great day!! - Nora

MollyBeees said...

I'm so jealous! What a wonderful day you had. We have GOT to get him to the Ear!

Deb said...

And to think - I knew you when!!!

Iron Needles said...

What an excellent experience for you to have! I am so happy for you.

Thanks for your comment on my latest projects. I am almost recovered!

Alwen said...

Isn't he fun!

Nice to see you in front of the camera instead of behind it. (That's where I usually am, myself.)

Julie said...

I'm so glad I was able to participate vicariously!! We still need to actually MEET! *grin*

janna said...

I'm so jealous -- I'm hoping to be able to get to one of the photo shoots in Chicago. If I still lived in Texas, I could run up to Austin for the one there....

When did you say (*did* you say?) you'll be in Fairfield?

Kitty Mommy said...

Squeee, yet again! I saw your picture on The Panopticon!!! Sounds like it was a blast.