The Magic in Those Woods

Yesterday we got around to taking Moose to his annual check-up. For the Moose fans out there, you’ll be happy to hear that all 84lbs of our big brown dog are healthy. He lowered his ears and put on serious puss-in-boots eyes when the vet said he wasn’t a puppy anymore, but other than that Mr Knitting Sarah said he bestowed the normal charms and kisses saved for his yearly visit. The vet said he could probably stand to lose about 4lbs, but after they discussed that he carries the extra weight mostly in his giant neck roll (I refer to it as his shawl collar) it was deemed acceptable.

The big boy is definitely exhausted from all the excitement though and is currently catching up on his lost napping time today.

In addition to Moose’s good health, the equally exciting part of the vet visit was that Mr Knitting Sarah volunteered to take Moose for me. Usually this is a duty I handle, but since the appointment wound up being on his day off and because his manly size makes it far easier for him to handle a highly excited Moose, I stayed home while Mr KS went.

This gave me just enough time to finish Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World by Clara Parkes.

The publication date says February of last year, so I’d probably been reading this book for a solid year. The truth is that I don’t get a ton of time for personal reading these days. The whole homeschool thing takes up a load of my time and I tend to be a little burned out for reading by the end of our average day. That said, Knitlandia has got a lot of cool insight into knitterly events around the world for the knitting armchair traveler in all of us. Because of my schedule, I really appreciated that each chapter stood on its own, too. In addition to the history and general feel of events themselves, Knitlandia also invites the reader to get a taste of the personalities of the who’s who in the knitting world. It’s well written and funny, a solid travel narrative.

As I read along on her travels and imagined myself at these events, I’ll admit that I found myself a little lost. Introvert that I am, I couldn’t really place myself in her shoes. As amazing as each adventure sounded, I couldn’t imagine choosing to travel far and wide for these festivals regardless of their irrefutable awesomeness. And I just could not understand where my disconnect was in it all. I mean, I am a fiber artist. I love the company of my fellow fiber artists. What was my problem? The deep waters where the Fear Of Missing Out tends to fester weren’t stirred in the least. Then I came to the final sentence:

Maybe there was some magic in those woods after all.

Now, Parkes was talking about her experience at the Squam retreat in New Hampshire which I’ve always been a little wistful about, but as I read it and closed the book, all I could think of was this…

And this…

And this…

And this…

And this…

All images from our Monday family hike just a few miles from our home. And all I kept thinking was, of course there was magic in those woods. There is magic in every woods. And again, I felt a little out of step with this story.

As I think back across Parkes’ travels though, I feel that maybe I was missing the point. Maybe to get to the root of this book, you need to look past the physical places and the knitterati involved.  Most of us will never have tea with Ysolda Teague or taste the fresh donuts at Rhinebeck, but we will all inevitably find our own knitting world to inspire us. Good knitting friends with whom we can laugh and teach and share. If we’re lucky, we’ll have a festival or two to attend or a good LYS to be active with. And if you’re like me, you inspiration may come in the form of salamander tails and shawl collared dogs and a husband who occasionally holds toads in the forest. I’m a firm believer that the magic has always been there and not just in the woods at Squam; it’s in the woods here in Wisconsin, in the people who inspire us, in the festivals and places both big and small that we visit, in our own needles and yarn. We just have to be in the frame of mind to see it and then be brave enough & strong enough to unleash the magic that has always been there.

20 thoughts on “The Magic in Those Woods”

  1. Loved today’s blog and now I’m considering Knitlandia or some other armchair travel book. I love being at home, it’s my nest and I don’t care to venture too far. All around me are beautiful tall trees, gardenia bushes that give me a that bit of nature that is good for my soul, but traveling is just not for me now. Although I have traveled quite a bit and lived overseas, that is behind me now…so thank you for the review and I’ll be looking for that special travel book now. Oh, and so good to hear that Moose got a good check-up!

  2. great blog post! I love how connected you are to your home and region. And that Moose – he is so cute! But I think I have said before that I have a goal to go to each state’s fiber festival. I don’t expect to see any famous people, and wouldn’t know them if I fell over them – but I have a yen to see what knitters and dyers in different regions are doing, and meet up with particular Ravelry and wordpress friends I have out there. And I am excited to be starting with Wisconsin. 🙂 But I will say that the whole adventure will be exhausting, and I will be glad to return to my own woods, my own little local yarn shop in a barn, and hang with my Saturday Whorls and Purls gang, telling them stories of the big brave world. I expect I will never write a book about it. But probably a blog post or two will find its way off my fingers:-)

    1. I totally get that interest in traveling and visiting festivals. There are a couple I do think I’ll make it to – I’m so excited you’re starting with this place!

      1. Lol – I think Rhinebeck will be last on my list – that and Maryland seem overwhelming in their size and crowds. But they are on the list, if not the top. 🙂

      2. I think Rhinebeck is the only really big one I’m interested in as a someday. I’m sure Maryland is awesome, but it strikes me as a very different vibe and maybe one that’s not really calling to me. Rhinebeck strikes me as a lot like WI S&W, but way bigger on all levels.

  3. I wish you were bringing Moose along on the Wisconsin meetup. Of course, I look forward to meeting you too, but that Moose – I just want to snuggle him! What a charmer!

    I read Knitlandia when it first came out and I dreamed of visiting some of those places, revelling in her descriptions of yarn in the grocery store and the Squam Retreat and Rhinebeck. I’d love to do all of it, but as Salpal said, I’m always happy to come back home and get snug in my own little world. You described your love of outdoors so beautifully and I think you nailed it when you basically said the magic is in the world right around us and in our craft. We just have to stop and appreciate it. Thanks, Sarah, for that reminder. Well said.

    1. He would love it, too, although there would be a serious lack of napping for him. And I don’t believe they allow him at the festival. 😦

      I think from my perspective, I spent the first 25years of my life looking as far as I could from where I was for fulfillment and beauty and now I just want to appreciate fully what’s right in front of me. That’s not to say I don’t like to travel and attend other festivals — I’m going to try to go to Shepherd’s Harvest in MN next year (because it’s actually closer for me than WI S&W now) and someday I’d like to go to the Taos festival with my friend who lives in New Mexico. And maybe someday Estes Park because my hubby loves it there. But I think my travel, at least for the foreseeable future, I just want to be for my family. If we can fit woolies into it, that’s awesome, but that’s not the priority for me.

  4. Lovely post! I admit I feel out of step also when I read about all the fibery festivals and meet ups. I usually feel conflicted – my inner extrovert shouts “yes yes yes! Sign me up!”. At the same time, my inner introvert says “But you have all you need right here at home, and then some. Maybe next year…..”

    1. Oh, it’s good to know I’m not alone. I’ll admit I like the one in my state. I go once a year and there are a lot of familiar faces, but it is exhausting for introverted me, for sure.

  5. My boss gave me Knitlandia a year ago as a random gift. I’ve read bits and pieces here and there. I find that if it isn’t an audio book at the end of the day I just can’t do it. And glad to hear Moose is happy and healthy 🙂

    1. Our new house has some excellent reading spots, so Mr KS & I have been making a point to read more. Like read actual books. It slows us down a lot and we like that. 🙂

  6. ❤ all the Wisco woodland magic. I wish I had more time to read, too. Especially, my copy of Knitlandia after reading your blog post.

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