Friday, May 23, 2008
WisCon, Day the First (in Three Parts)
1. In Which We Do Excellent Shopping
When I woke up this morning, I had a power-bar-and-dried apricot breakfast and then went swimming. The hotel pool is lovely, and there was no one in it early in the morning. It felt good to stretch out after my time on the plane yesterday!
Then I hit State Street to shop. Since it's Memorial Day Weekend, there are always good sales. Sure enough, at WinterSilks I got a silk bathrobe lined with terrycloth for $20! It's very comfy: I'm wearing it now.
In the "slightly more of a splurge but still very reasonable" category, I got this completely cool bag, which is ideal for knitting and in fact holds just about everything else, too (and folds up to a small, neat packet). It's great for lugging stuff around at conventions; it holds far more than my backpack, although I do have to be careful about weight.
I also got a gorgeous two-CD set of Buddhist chants, which I'm listening to now, and a very small bottle of lavender lotion (since the hotel lotion refuses to come out of its stiff plastic bottles).
At the convention itself, I paid $2 for this totally cool Space Babe t-shirt from a long-ago WisCon. I also got a pretty, inexpensive pair of earrings which match the unusual celtic cross I bought here last year: they'll be ideal to wear to the hospital.
And for free at the clothing swap, which is really more of a clothing giveaway, I got this pretty, shimmery, faux-velvet shirt. I'm going to wear it to the dessert salon.
This all makes me sound like a horrible consumer, doesn't it? (And, of course, I am: mea culpa! What was that I was saying a few posts back about people who fritter away resources while others are starving?) But hey, I'm also a producer!
2. In Which Needlework Defeats the Second Law of Thermodynamics
Here was the set-up for the Fiber Guild at The Gathering. We had a big circle punctuated by small tables decorated with yarn, needles, and balloons (I did none of this, by the way; it was set up when I got there, although the other host, Joanna Lowenstein, might have planned it). This is what it looked like before the doors were opened.
If you're interested in the other activities at the Gathering, here's the list. Everyone got a "passport" which they could get stamped at each station; people with a certain number of stamps won prizes.
Here's the circle a few hours in, with the rest of The Gathering visible behind the crafters. We probably had twenty or thirty people show up to do needlework during the three-hour event; I took photos of everyone and their projects, but not all of them came out (plus, if I posted all of them, my photo allotment on Blogger would be gone!). It was great fun talking to folks about their projects, though. All of us were creating order from entropy, a worthy goal!
As you can see, we had knitters of all ages! There were women there -- everyone who stopped by with a project was female -- who'd learned to knit in kindergarten, and others who've only been knitting for a few weeks. And there was a huge range of projects: shawls, scarves, socks, sweaters, hats, and "I just need to do something to keep from biting my nails" freeform play.
Not everyone was a knitter. My friend Ann Smith stopped by with a lace runner she's crocheting with a very fine metal hook.
Here's someone with a needlepoint project. I'd expected more non-knitters, especially in terms of embroidery and cross-stitch, but this is the only needlepoint person I remember.
By far the most impressive and admired project was a wall-hanging of a river, created with knitting, crochet and embroidery, decorated with knit stuffed "rocks" and mother-of-pearl buttons. I think this piece humbled most of us! (And everyone loved the beanie-baby turtle!)
But the most important thing was that, whatever each woman was making, everyone was happy and had a good time. Check out these expressions of joy!
3. In Which I Achieve Cronehood
One of the great pleasures of this convention has been spending time with my dear friend and former student Inez, who's now a professor herself, and who brought one of her own students, Nita, to the convention. Suzy McKee Charnas took this photo of the three of us, and I love it even though it's a bit blurry. We'd been joking about representing three generations of writers, and Inez said, "Hey, Susan, that makes you the crone!" As soon as she'd said it, she immediately started apologizing, afraid she'd offended me (although she ought to know me better, after all these years!).
I said, "No, I'm happy! I want to be a crone! I taught myself to knit because I thought it would help me be a graceful crone."
So here we are: Maiden Nita, Mother Inez, and Crone Susan. The three of us had dinner together, and there was a lot of joking about Mom and Grandma. (I paid for dinner, but said, "You two had better send me Mother's Day cards!") When I dropped my chopsticks, Inez sighed and said, "There goes Grandma being clumsy again." It was all great fun.
Over dinner, I critiqued a very promising story Nita had sent me (I don't usually critique the work of anyone but current students, but I made an exception because Inez asked). To thank me, Inez -- who's also a knitter -- gave me four skeins of gorgeous Noro Silk Garden yarn. I can't wait to work with it.
There were only two downsides to today: first, I'm fighting off a cold and have had a sore throat all day, and secondly, poor Gary wound up getting stranded in Denver last night and only got home to Reno a little while ago. But he's home and safe, and I've been pushing liquids, so all should be well.
Tomorrow, I hope to have lunch with Alexis, whom I met for the first time at last year's WisCon.
And so to bed!