Monday, October 22, 2012

Seminar in Dallas

I just did something very luxurious - I went to a knitting seminar in Dallas with four friends from Knit Natters.  I'm hoping to describe what it's like to go enjoy a seminar with knitters.  Maybe I can get some of y'all to try it!

I took a half day of vacation Friday so I could get on the road, and Barbara and I drove to the countryside near Burnet so we could meet up with Norma and Mary and ride with Mary.  Mary had her comfortable Suburban detailed and off we went into the countryside on a perfect autumn day (warm, sunny, blue skied Texas perfection).  Mary drive the scenic route along 281 through hilly country dusted with yellow wildflowers under live oaks.  We spotted horses, donkeys, buffalo, goats, and sheep.  We chatted, we laughed, my friend Barbara who is recovering from back surgery got to doze a little, and we had a rest stop at a fascinating gift shop/cafe/candy store about halfway there.

We stayed in a hotel right next to seminar (which the last few years, has been held at Stacy's Furniture in Grapevine), where we had a room that easily held four of us, and went for a nice dinner, also walking distance, at Olive Garden.  Next, we watched Blue Bloods (a little dose of Tom Selleck is always good) and I went down for the count while the others watched the news shows.  I'd had a hard week - not so much because of work, but peppered with evening events and medical checkup stuff), and I was thrilled to get away from it all.

Saturday morning, we breakfasted in the hotel, and here came our instructor for the weekend, Marcia Hauser.  If you haven't gone to one of Marcia's classes, well, you're missing out.  An inventive, out-of-the-box, artistic thinker, Marcia creates high-impact looks with elegantly simple techniques.  Marcia says we've all let machine knitting get too complicated, and then she does one cool thing after another we've never tried before.

The general format of the day is like this:  munch out on yummy potlucked breakfast (yes, I know we just ate at the hotel, but we didn't let that stop us).  Browse the  many free, giveaway magazines and snatch some favorites, then browse the many, many door prizes while sipping strong coffee and watching Marcia set up her many, many displays and sample garments and jewelry.  Catch up with nice friends whom we haven't seen since the seminar last year.  Drool over Marcia's great displays and then settle in for her high-speed, high-content demos. 

I scribbled notes until I realized that I was missing content trying to write everything down.  I often take notes as a way to stay focused and not get too bored, but Marcia isn't capable of boring me.  She does one thing after another, working so quickly that you really don't want to look away.  I knew right away what I wanted to buy - her three big basic technique books and her two jewelry books. 

We broke for lunch at some point and had another excellent potluck meal, visiting at round tables and continuing the catching-up and meeting-new-people pleasures. 

In the afternoon session, almost everyone ended up clustered around Marcia.  I got a great vantage point over to one side and soaked up the remarkable way she approaches knitting problems. 

I meant to take a bunch of pictures, but the seminar was too content-rich, and I didn't like to take my attention away from the material.

Marcia is a hard-blocker.  She blocks her garments smooth with pressure and steam, so you get that elegant high-end drape; obviously, it's no surprise that she likes dress yarns.  Marcia has a great capacity for designing timeless yet creative, eye-catching garments that look great on real people. 

Saturday evening we hit El Fenix and gobbled up as much Mexican food as we could handle, then returned to the hotel for more nattering and watching telly. 

Sunday morning is check-out time.  We downed coffee, got our stuff out of the room and to the car, settled up with the desk clerk, and had more coffee and breakfast.  I got into the warm cinnamon rolls I had managed to resist on day one.  We were excited because Sunday was jewelry day, and we wanted to see how to knit with wire.  First, we reveled in the knit weaving - a technique I really ought to do more often.  Then Marcia showed us "rag knitting," in which she applied all sorts of separate trims and pieces to the work as she knitted.  The jewelry was exciting enough that I purchased three colors of wire (and when I got back to Austin, I hit Hobby Lobby for a little hammer, some pliers and more beads.).   

On of the things I find very difficult to describe is how enjoyable the crowd is when you get a big roomful of knitters together!  It's great fun to see what other people have been working on or making.

We hit the road about 2:30 in the afternoon.  I don't know when seminar ended, but we had a long drive home. 

I pulled into my own driveway about 9-ish.  I had brought home yarn, books, jewelry supplies, free magazines (old but very good), someone else's yarn (oops!  gotta return that), and a suitcase full of dirty clothes.  Ah, Austin.

1 comment:

  1. My dream would be to be able to participate in a seminar your
    thanks for everything Vanda