Been and gone

I’d intended to blog from the conference, but after the first day, I came home with a caffeine headache the likes of which I have not seen in a month of Sundays, and spent the first couple of hours on my hotel bed, wishing for death. A wise person might conclude that this would be a sign to cut back on caffeine, but I am not wise. Once it passed off, I just went to bed early and resolved to get enough in the morning and not pass on anything caffeinated during the coffee break. It didn’t help that lunch was late both days, owing to every speaker running over his or her allotted time, but at the time, I didn’t really mind that the speakers went long. They were excellent. Really, the whole event was terrific and I was sorry I don’t get to attend this sort of thing more often. There were lectures on several aspects of historic embroidery (garments, Berlin woolwork, the making of gold wire used in heritage craft, the technical aspects of the Plimoth jacket and how the project is contributing to materials science research on other embroidered objects), and I took a special needlework tour of the museum and a breakout session on embroidered caskets (which, for the non-embroiderers, are not caskets in the funeral/burial sense, but embroidery-covered boxes that used to be the pinnacle of a girl’s embroidery education in the 17th century). I’ve been in love with those roughly since the first minute I saw one, some fifteen years ago, and am super-excited about the upcoming Thistle Threads class. I do enjoy these moments of delirious optimism about how much free time I’m liable to have in the next couple of decades.

At any rate, I got to knit for hours every day, in spite of its being an embroidery conference. It was too dark in the lecture hall to do needlework, so knitting was the right port for that storm. I wasn’t the only one, either. On Friday, a woman crocheted something black, God love her, in the row ahead of me, and I met another, wiser, woman casting on something white during the coffee hour before the event. I’d brought something pale gray that must remain nameless for the sake of Christmas, and once I finished that, I had some small socks left over from my early days with my thesis. The socks were a little tiny and dark to be worked in a dark room in my lap, but I still managed to finish the one and start another. When I got home, I realized the folly of going on with socks abandoned six months ago: the infant socks are too small for my small boy. Figures. So either I put those away for the not-terribly-likely event of more small boys, or I give them to someone who is more apt to need them. We shall see. If my big boy outgrows his socks before they’re done, I’ll save them for the small boy and knit gargantuan ones for the big boy as a hedge against his outgrowing them in half a year. Really, it’s what we should all do with our kids. Just make everything in an adult small, and it’ll fit eventually, for a week.

It’s finally turned really cold, froze last night, and my thoughts turn to knitting great roomy afghans so we can keep the heat turned down and sleep under wool at night. I’ve promised far too many Christmas and baby gifts for that to be a practical project until January, though. I’ve put aside my Lia sweater at about 60% done until I have the Christmas gifts well in hand, and couldn’t resist the temptation to start something that will be a gift for someone close to me, who may soon have a happy event to celebrate. With that:

This combination of stitch, needle, and yarn is such a pain that the gift will be a true labor of love.