Thursday, November 13, 2008

this weekend !!

Where to start?? This weekend was just so full of awesome it's hard to figure out what to write about first. You gotta love that kind of weekend.

There were two major things that brought the awesome. First, knitting weekend at the Slater Mill! I gushed talked about this before; this was the weekend where Norah Gaughan and Annie Modesitt were coming to teach some classes at the new Community Guild Studios in the mill. Second, J and I took a belated anniversary trip to lovely and historic Salem. This used to be an annual event, but it's hard to leave very small kids, so this was the first year we'd gotten away since Baby Sister came along. Cue the choir of heavenly angels!

So, the whole thing started with Friday night, the "wine and cheese reception" at Slater Mill. That title makes it sound so much more formal than it really was; it was just a gathering of knitters in the beautifully remodeled space on the second floor of the mill. There was wine, and cheese (the scoop on the Ravelry board is that the cheese ball was particularly good, but I'll have to take everyone's word for it), and a great Q&A session with Annie and Norah. Warren Wheelock, who runs Berroco yarns, was there, which made for some very funny show-and-tell knitting moments. Annie kept holding up things she had made and saying,"This would have been really nice in a Berroco yarn . . ." She was, actually, unexpectedly hilarious. Unexpected to me, I mean, because I wasn't really all that familiar with her work and her books. It was a really fun night, eating and knitting and chatting.

Saturday morning I went back to Slater Mill for the class on geometric knitting with Norah Gaughan. I had never taken a knitting class before, so starting out with an honest-to-goodness knitting rockstar was pretty sweet. She started by giving us a little history on how she started with the pentagons, hexagons, and other shapes she uses, and showing us some of the garments she's designed for her book and for Berroco. Dude, I got to touch some of the sweaters from Knitting Nature and it may have been the coolest thing ever. The technique itself was something I had already done, with the yet-to-be-finished Bubble Pullover, but it was so fun to play with it some more. Looky what I made!

An eye pillow? A bikini for Baby Sister? I don't know. Probably just a little piece of inspiration to hang on the bulletin board I keep meaning to make. I'll show it to people all the time, saying, "Norah Gaughan said this was pretty. Norah Gaughan. Come back - why are you backing away?"

Anyway. When I got home from the class I kissed the children and hustled them off to my sister-in-law, yelling, "See you later, suckers! I'm not done having fun yet!" Or maybe it didn't happen quite like that, but we did head off on our trip pretty quickly. It seems most of the historical-type attractions that we geeks like close fairly early, you see. It turned out that we needn't have worried. We went to the Salem Witch Museum first:

Oooh, Gothic and creepy looking. The museum was not quite what we expected, though it was a good time in a delightfully campy sort of way. You go in and you wait in the lobby area until the next showing of their presentation. When it's time, you are shown into a large darkened room with benches all around. There are these scenes all around the walls, essentially very large dioramas, and they are lit up one at a time to correspond with the soundtrack. Again, very campy, complete with the devil and his glowing red eyes, screaming girls, and Giles Corey's piteous groans as he is being pressed to death. After the presentation, the tour guide leads you to a room with an exhibit on how witches have been portrayed through history. At least, I think that's what it was about. Our tour guide went through his spiel so fast it was like being guided by the Micro Machines guy. As soon as that's over you're ushered into the gift shop and left to stand there, blinking and asking, "What just happened?" We mocked it thoroughly over the rest of the weekend. But it was fun, honest - tell your friends!

The town of Salem itself proved to be a great place for walking around. There's a little area, just a couple of streets, that are cut off to traffic, with shops and stuff - lots of costume shops, and yes, a yarn shop. There are lots of great restaurants, too.

We didn't eat at The Old Spot, although the sustenance and libations were quite tempting. I also stayed out of this bookstore in spite of temptation:

Stacked up to the windows! I may never have gotten out of there.
And lastly - holy crap this is a long post - on Sunday we visited the Peabody Essex museum. This was just what I expected it to be: full of beautiful and fascinating things. I didn't get all that many pictures; they didn't allow photography in any of their special exhibits. Which was too bad, because they were really wonderful. J especially liked Yin Yu Tang, which was an old house from a rural Chinese village that had been taken apart brick by brick, shipped here, and reassembled. Amazing. My favorites were the collection of paintings of Arctic landscapes, and the photographs of Maori moko tattooing.
And this. :)

Whew! Is it any wonder it took me until Thursday to write about it all?