Tuesday, October 1, 2019

FUN at DFW Machine Knitting Seminar

Six of us carpooled to Dallas last weekend to attend the DFW Machine Knitters Guild's annual October seminar.  Linda Jensen (My Blue Heaven Knits) demonstrated this year.

We had about 30 in attendance.  It was wonderful!

I know for a fact that there are lots of knitters within driving distance who did not come.  They probably don't go to the club meetings, either.  Did they know about the seminar?  I don't know.

This morning I was thinking about reasons not to attend a seminar.

Gee, I don't know anyone.  I won't be comfortable not knowing anyone.

Shoot that one right down.  These are KNITTERS.  Knitters are an incredibly enjoyable social group.  Nice, nice, nice, plus extremely excited to have new people in attendance.  Knitters take the beginners and give them the best seats in the room.  Demonstrators let them stand right behind the machine to see everything.  From time to time, they let the beginners sit at the machine and try it themselves.  They let them (and non-beginners) take home swatches from the demos.

Knitters are so kind and social that I'm dazzled by them every time.  They joke, they laugh, they look after each other.  They have so many odd behaviors in common.  For instance, we collect yarn, we collect machines, and we collect patterns.  We let each other examine the seams and hems on our clothing.

Here's another possible reason:  I'll be bored.

Well, you might get bored.  I didn't see it at Linda's class, but you could.  You could have spent the prior evening eating and drinking and talking, then stayed up half the night in the sleepover atmosphere created by sharing hotel rooms with other knitters.  You might have just come back from eating a great plate of pub food and get a little after-lunch slump going.  But it didn't happen to me!  I've been knitting so many years that I don't like to admit it because it's like announcing my age, and I don't get bored.  I sit there thinking, oh, that's different than the way I do it.  Why does she like to do it that way?  She's making WHAT?  That's something I've never tried to make.

I don't know about you, but I've noticed that getting away from home has very salutary effects of my psyche.  I'm just having fun, and I'm not looking at all the stuff I ought to be cleaning up, or finishing, or otherwise doing.

How about this one?  It's expensive.

Well, if you go to seminar you might spend some money.  First of all, there's the hotel and all those meals and drinks.  But I'll speak for my little group.  The seminar fee was surprisingly small - really ridiculous for two full days of teaching.  That works because we're all chipping in on flying in and paying a teacher. Also, we shared hotel rooms, two to a room, and we carpooled to and from.  Of course the local people didn't need the hotel rooms.  Our group brought snacks, got free breakfast at the hotels, and some of us skipped the drinking or just had a drink and an appetizer.  At seminar, we learn about good places to purchase supplies, or talked to people who are willing to swap equipment, or learned how to fix something that would have cost a lot to ship somewhere for repairs. I've been to seminars where knitters scored great free equipment from someone who just wanted to find a good home for it.

Some seminars have bulletin boards where people sell and trade things.  I have gotten some of the most amazing deals because it's what I need but you have two and just want it gone.  Some seminars have vendors who bring knitting supplies and you can get what you need and not pay shipping.  Not having to pay shipping is especially nice when you need sponge bars!  Sometimes there's a repair guy there and you can get your machine serviced or repaired and not have to ship it.  Shipping a machine is both expensive and risky.  Seminars also have fellow knitters who can answer your questions about equipment you might buy, it's strengths and pitfalls and what good prices are in the area.

My husband was at DFW repairing items.  He was in a separate room, but it was a little distracting.  I'm sorry for that distraction, Linda!  The distraction was we were all holding our breath as to whether he could fix a Brother 260 that would not pattern.  It is a beautiful machine and Lyn just acquired it, but it wouldn't select any pattern needles.  John did manage to fix it, finally.  This is not one of John's typical repair jobs, and he had told her he'd try, and if he couldn't fix it with what he brought along, he wouldn't charge.  If the knitter had to mail that to a repair place, the freight would have been about triple the cost of the repair, since that is one hefty machine and the problem was in the bed.  John also repaired several CB-1s and E6000s and those knitters didn't have to mail them anywhere.

The DFW folks had a table of door prizes.  There were a lot of knitting magazines and books there, and some yarn, as well.  Everyone wins, eventually.  I was eyeballing a book I wanted, and even though my name wasn't called early I got that book!  At the end of the seminar, they want the items GONE and you can take a few more home.  I love back issues of knitting magazines.  There are all kinds of cool ideas and techniques in them.

Speaking of seminars, Cindy Schmatz has one this month (Oct 11-12), in Princeton Minnesota, and I'm teaching there.  Cindy still has some spaces.  Click here for more information!

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