It takes a long time to unpack everything from a long trip, especially when the trip encompasses experiences like SOAR and Rhinebeck and seeing hundreds of members of my “tribe,” the fiber folk.
It took a few days before I had all my clothes unpacked, laundered, and put away; it took a few more before I sorted through all my new goodies and put those away. And yet, here it is, ten days after my return, and there’s still one bag of class materials and a bin of tools that I have not gone through.
It’s the same with my internal bags and bins: All are full of new experiences, new lessons learned, new techniques mastered, new friends made; all are wonderful and exciting; and all are still hanging out in my brain, waiting for me to find places to put them in amidst what was already there.
It’s like the new fiber I bought on my trip: I often just put all the fiber from a single trip into a single bin and label the bin with the place and date (“SOAR 2011” and “Rhinebeck 2011” for this year’s goodies). There the goodies sit, associated only by the event at which I purchased them, until I finally feel that they ought to be incorporated into the rest of the bins, organized by fiber (“merino and mixes;” “silks;” or “camelids”) or by some other it-seemed-logical-at-the-time method (“Spunky Club Fiber;” “Drumcarder food from Jen”).
I think that’s why I have trouble writing about Big Events directly afterwards: I need time to integrate all the New Shiny Fun Wonderful, to sift through it and to see what is really worth writing about and what was more of the you-had-to-have-been-there-and-perhaps-have-had-a-beer sort of thing.
I feel a special pull towards consciously evaluating my SOAR/Rhinebeck trip this year, as next year, along with everyone else, I’m going to have to choose only one of the two events to attend–the Powers That Be have scheduled SOAR 2012 for the same weekend as Rhinebeck 2012, and the two events will literally be at opposite ends of the continent, SOAR in California and Rhinebeck in, well…Rhinebeck.
The question “Which one will you be going to next year, SOAR or Rhinebeck?” was overheard frequently during my trip, and it was always fascinating (to me) to listen to people’s choices and reasons for those choices. Proximity was a big factor for many folks because of the travel costs, of course. But for folks like me whose job usually means attendance at both events, or for folks who have the resources to travel cross country, the choice is less clear.
I think knowing I will have to make that choice has made writing about this year’s trip a bit tough, sort of like writing evaluations, in a sense, of each event and what it has meant for my fiber work, my income, my friendships, and my sense of connectedness to the fiber world.
I’m really lucky to be living geographically close to both locations this year, and of course, I am fabulously blessed to be able to attend even one of these events. One of the reasons I go is to be able to come home and share stories with those of you who can’t go, so that you don’t feel too left out, so that you can get to see what it’s like, even if only through my eyes.
This year, I even had the pleasure of shopping for you! I brought back several goodies to give away to you fine readers over the next few weeks, and every time I stopped in a vendor booth I asked myself if there was something there “my readers” might like. (I think I drove friends crazy, holding up this or that goodie: “Do you think they’d like this? How about the colour?”)
Since you are definitely part of the reason I go to fiber events–whether to meet you in person, laugh with you at dinner, or share stories with you when I return–I’d like to know what your thoughts are. As I blog about SOAR and Rhinebeck, let me know what you think. Do you want to hear about what I learned, who I met, or what I bought? All the above? None?
The Cute Critter is…
…an alpaca! Rosario the alpaca, in fact. Some folks wanted to know who the cutie in the photo was, so there you are. Paca face!
OK, enough with the heavy thinking.
According to Naomi’s camera, I REALLY liked the fried dough at Rhinebeck this year.
Zombie font. Just like it sounds, just in time for Halloween.
In the I-can’t-make-this-stuff-up Department: The Do Knit Disturb hotel room in Britain. Warning: The article makes use of every tacky turn-of-phrase possible.
Ridiculously cute kitten photos. No explanation necessary, right? Right.
Frank Lloyd Wright house in Legos. As a kit. For sale, even. (I love the internet.)