I just got back yesterday from the Monroe, Michigan Machine Knitting Seminar. I had a wonderful time and I really believe the attendees did, too.
My sweetie John and I arrived midday on Thursday and were treated to lunch by Cathy and Larry, our organizers (along with their friend Chris, who was busy working while they picked us up from the airport). We had a chance to set our classroom up the day before, always nice, and John and I had it put together in nothing flat. Such luxury! A college room with comfy student chairs and professional sound and video! We had brought one suitcase of clothing and personal items and three big suitcases with books, DVDs, and many, many samples.
We met Frank and Cathie Sanders, who were in the next classroom over and were setting up her things. They had driven to the seminar, and were setting up their classroom, which looked great with Cathie's gorgeous knits. In addition, Frank, who repairs machines, had set up shop and fixed quite a bit of equipment for folks who would otherwise have to ship their machines for repair.
At some point we got another ride from Chris to the Quality Inn, where we had a comfortable room. We'd already met some knitters who were there for the seminar, and six of us headed to Cracker Barrel for supper. When we got there, Frank and Cathie were already there, so we pulled some tables together, feasted and talked knitting.
When we got back to the hotel, another group of knitters had gathered in the lobby to socialize. We joined in the fun, and as tired as we were, I hated to leave. Knitters simply tend to click, to enjoy each other, but after gabbing and laughing we decided we better sleep.
The morning program began with a meeting in a big room with tables, announcements and the like, then we went to class, where I tried to get as much done as possible from the beginning of my handouts. We got the hang of the camera and lights, and by the end of the seminar, I firmly believe that the participants could see the knitting needles better than I could! I announced that I had my new book for sale, and John promptly sold all we had with us. We had to ship two more after we got back. It's a book of tips, and I'll do another post in a few days and offer it on the blog. It's kind of large and heavy to ship, weighing in at 109 pages, so we may charge more for shipping and cut you a deal if you don't mind "media mail" or order two items or more. But I digress...I am happy with the new book, but never am sure whether people actually want whatever new book I've produced.
We took morning break, with homemade cookies and beverages served. I was dieting, and Cathy and Larry went out of their way to accommodate me. In fact, I observed how hard they work to make the seminar a great experience for everyone, whether you need vegan food, or have allergies, or need to sit close, or want to be in the group with your buddies! We got back in the room and I promised to knit fast and talk faster, again doing as much as I could. I was rippin' through my best garter bar tricks, best cast-offs, the sew-as-you-go tam and lined slipper, and didn't get to Entrelac. The knitters were split into two groups, and in the afternoon, I taught the same things to the second group. This way, everyone gets to attend every topic.
We went to Cathy's mom's house for pizza and relaxation with Frank, Cathie, Cathy, Larry, and Chris, and they had a salad for me. I had such a good time getting to know everyone.
On day two, I attacked the standard gauge machine, talking and knitting quickly again, but we really couldn't get through all the curriculum. Cathie couldn't get through everything she handed out, either. Frank did a class on cleaning your Brother, and my John slipped out and attended that, bringing me back a copy of Frank's book on that subject.
You always try to put more in the handouts than you can do, and that happened this time. I believe knitters can generally follow my very detailed handouts. We also gave out my relatively new bonus disk with a lot of recent demos to all our customers. We met some amazing people, and we saw a number of familiar faces from previous seminars. We did quite an assortment of things, including the Entrelac I'd skipped. I knew I couldn't do it all, so I asked my class, and Entrelac prevailed.
Lunches during Monroe seminar were wonderful. Aside from the terrific chef, there was a cone of yarn for everyone - what a way to set the table! Then there were lots of door prizes, an amazing lunch, introductions and chatter. I loved some of the knits people were wearing. It was terribly hard for everyone to stop having so much fun and concentrate, but this group certainly does it, and we had a great second day.
Attendance was terrific. We had a whole contingent from Canada who had not attended before, and other knitters as well.
I had shared that John is using up all his vacation days, and Chris approached me to offer to help me in Ohio in September. Chris and Cathy are both coming, they'll help me so I can focus 100% on teaching and getting to know knitters, and we'll have a lot of fun. You see, they work so hard putting on this Monroe seminar that they don't get to attend any of the classes.
Are you attending seminars? You would be very happily surprised at the reasonable cost, the friendly and helpful seminar culture, the fun, and the volume of information you can pick up, not just by listening to teachers, but by visiting with the other knitters. I hope you'll consider attending the Ohio and North Carolina seminars I'm doing in September and October, and I hope you'll do some web searches and look into the other wonderful seminars happening around the country. I didn't realize how many great opportunities are around.
I didn't take pictures, but I already have a couple generously forwarded to me by attendees. Here's a picture of Barbara, myself, and Leola - they were among the Knitting Paradise Canadian contingent.
Next picture: Joan from Flint had already made a pair of the no-sew lined slippers by the time I got home from the airport. It's very exciting to see someone dive right in and make a project right after seminar.
Well, gotta run. I'm emailing a person I met at the seminar who has found a source for mylar for the Knit Leader. We've received new information from Richard Croucher (Anne's Richard in England) about the 970 CB backlight, and John's already done quite a bit of research and ordered a first sample replacement light panel so he can try a repair; I'm trying out some different sponge bars Tom Panciarello told me about, and will report; I found some other wonderful tools and will report. I'm obviously behind on my blogging, but will try and get busy.