OK. Technical difficulties have been overcome, and at last I can sing our aria about last Saturday’s events at Finely a Knitting Party, a lovely shop in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
First, a confession. We used to be confused by the name of this shop, Finely a Knitting Party. What’s up with that, we wondered. Since our booksigning, we are no longer confused about the “Finely” bit (the owners are Cathy and Ed FINLEY), and we are crystal clear about the “KNITTING PARTY” part. Swarthmore knows how to knit-party, people. This town has a frenzy for down-home, back-to-basics, grass-roots knitting that cannot be described. It can only be experienced. So go there, and experience it. Cathy is waiting to teach you, and Cathy’s students are waiting to welcome another member of the “Cathy Taught Me to Knit and Now I’m Crazy About Knitting” Club.
It Takes a Village
Our hostesses, Cathy (Ed was in the back yard, under an umbrella, tending to the HOT DOG STAND. No kidding! A hot dog stand in the rain!) and her college roommate Gusty. (Short for Augusta Jr. Yes, there is an Augusta Sr., and she’s a knitter too!)
Allow me to digress a moment, to discuss Gusty’s scarf. It is in one of the classic Kaffe Fassett motifs, Persian Poppies. (The Kay, she adores the Persian Poppies–super-fantastic!) Gusty told me she made this scarf at a workshop with BRANDON MABLY. (“Get OUT!” I screamed.) She explained how she had made two balls of yarn by tying together lengths of different colors and fibers, and then used one for the background and one for the poppies, creating SIMULTANEOUS STRIPING of both the poppies and the background. (“Get OUT!” I screamed again.) Brandon taught a method to carry along the yarn-not-in-use so that there are no nasty cut ends to weave in. (“Get OUT!” #3, but who’s counting. What a cool technique!)
The table was set with Cheetos, flowers and handknits.
There were corsages for Sheriff Ann and Sheriff Kay. At the sight of which we plotzed. (I didn’t take mine off until I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts on the way home and they said, “What will Sheriff Kay be having?”)
There is nothing I love better than an Appropriate Floral Tribute. This one is from the florist down the block (who attended the party OF COURSE). Check out the yarn-ball ‘flowers’. Plotz-o-rama! But wait–we weren’t done plotzing yet:
Cheeto Earrings. Really now. What can I say, other than CHEETO EARRINGS?
Cathy’s sweetie of a mom and her cousin. Oh, it was a family affair, all right.
Not sure if these two wild wimmin are friends, family, or friendsn’family.
Emmie shows off her knitting journal, which includes a feature we call ‘dangling swatches’.
One of the many wonderful Kid Knitters of Swarthmore. I think her name is Megan? (I hope I got it right!) With her proud gran–aw!
Another Kid Knitter of Swarthmore, Lizzy, who is wearing a gorgeous Manos-y sweater she made herself. Lizzy knitted the orange and blue Swatch Feature that was so essential to the Floral Tribute. Lizzy’s bag sports a button that says ‘Overactive Knitter’. Needless to say, we have high hopes for the Youth of America after meeting Megan and Lizzy.
Suddenly and without warning, the sea of knitters parted and a hush fell upon the room. The cause of this instant awe? The entrance of Twins In Handknits, who overcame their temporary shyness when a baby-wrangler held out a bowl of Cheetos.
What a sight: two gorgeous babies in magical aran hoodies and matching green beanies. Handknit by their mother. Sighs and swoons all round.
We would be remiss if we did not mention all the cool samples of stuff from the book. Can you believe they made the potholder loop rug? Isn’t that just AWESOME? There were also dishrags and a whole family of felted boxes. Not to mention a BUBBLY CURTAIN on the door of the shop! It was like falling into a rabbit hole of handknit love.
And moon pies. They had MOON PIES. The Official Weird Southern Snack of Mason-Dixon Knitting. In all 3 of the official Moon Pie flavors (chocolate, vanilla and banana).
The phrase ‘happy campers’ comes to mind.
Thank you to everyone at Finely. You blew our minds with your creative genius. And the fact that you are totally, infectiously, incurably insane.