I’m sitting at Gate B31, the farthest possible gate from the front door of Heathrow Terminal 2, waiting for my flight back to Nashville. I feel like I’ve already walked about halfway home. Son David is somewhere over in Concourse A, waiting for his flight to Boston via Reykjavik, and he’s crossing fingers that the snowstorm on the East Coast will wipe out his flight midway and he’ll be stranded in Reykjavik.
I totally get this.
I wouldn’t mind being stranded myself. After this trip—to Chicago, Edinburgh, Cambridge, and London—I have so much in my head now, so many new friends and sights and ideas and things to ponder.
Travel is the great equalizer, the experience that takes us out of the ordinary and makes us stupid and vulnerable and open to kindnesses by people we don’t know. I never get the hang of coin-based currencies: I hold out my palmful of coins, and the clerk politely picks out the right ones. I get lost, constantly. I Look Left when I should Look Right.
The intense joy of seeing a familiar face amid a crowd of strangers is such a gift.
This trip in particular has left me in a new place, as I think about all the knitters and designers and yarnmakers I had the chance to meet face to face for the first time at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago and the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. Nobody is quite who they seem to be online; there’s so much under the tip of that iceberg, even when the conversation is quick.
We are living in an age where we knitters can meet each other at any time of day or night, anywhere in the world, a miracle of contact and friendships that transcends any specific place. It means that when we have the chance to travel to a gathering of like-minded knitterfolk, the whole thing is more a reunion than a place of discovery.
I have so many photos, yet they are such a partial chronicle.
I keep thinking about all the mothers with babies at EYF, who found the time to chase a skein of yarn while simultaneously toting a very living, wiggly human. Epic feats!
I think of the yarnmakers from remote islands who came from Uist and Iona and Lewis and Shetland. I’ll get there! I know I will!
Extraordinary handknits were everywhere at VKL and EYF. Huge highlight: meeting designers whose patterns are in the MDK March Mayhem bracket—I used that bracket as my universe of patterns when I was shopping for yarns. Yes, I bought 64 projects worth.
If you haven’t had the chance to travel with a group of knitters, get on it. It was such a RELIEF to travel with companions who really, truly understand the concept of Daily Knitting. It was fine to knit in the morning, afternoon, dinner, whatever. Up top is a photo of our group, in front of Edinburgh Castle—love these knitters: Megan, Sarabel, Jenn, Deenie, Jackie, Carolee, Janet, and our fearless leader, Cindy Fitzpatrick, proprietor of Conversational Threads yarn shop in Emmaus, PA.
Our host was Louise Martin, who organizes knitting retreats via her enterprise Woolfish. Louise’s knowledge of knitting and the cool things to see is extraordinary. And her porridge is killer.
So: new friends, old friends, new yarns, old yarns. Unfamiliar places, buckets of cream. It was the best of times.
PS I posted photos as I went, over on Instagram @annshayne. Talk about tip of the iceberg. Once I get home I’ll post more here.