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.
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…
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.