Actually, I only made it 22 hours, but that was still enough to make me the only nut who never went home. The fact that home was an hour’s drive away helped in this. I showed up at the gallery at four pm friday, where they were still in a sort of “set-up panic”, even though everything pretty much was set up, and the only things left were the DJ equipment (not there yet) and the decision about whether to tidy the collage materials table and then sigh deeply when the first person started rummaging, or just leave it in a mess. Oona did eventually tidy it up, mostly I think for something to do. I opted for staying out of the way and spinning quietly. Four o’clock was the last time that I knew the hour for a long time, so all you get here is sequence – the next time someone looked at a watch and announced the results, it was four o’clock again!
Jodi Green was the first knitter to turn up, and I can show you the two of us knitting when she forwards me the pictures Peter took, because I was still being too dumb at that point to whip out my camera. We wound up staying in the window sort of behind the DJ – the “sort of behind the DJ” part wasn’t ideal, but wasn’t as bad as it sounds either, and the “in the window” part was brilliant. There were people stopping on the street to watch the crazy girls knitting, and people were taking pictures. Quite a few people were taking pictures, and only one of them worked for Artcite. I found that a bit odd, but then again maybe two people working on the same thing (and racing, we were definitely racing) looked neat, I guess I’ll find out when I see Jodi’s pics!
About the racing – Jodi’s super fast, but I was feeling pretty good about my own pace. We were both working two sets of circular needles, since the Round Thing was set up for four, and there were only two of us. She definitely caught up to my sets once, but for the most part I held it together. Saturday morning she came back and whipped my sorry arse, but politely assured me that by the end of her last day-night-day knitting marathon she was creeping along pathetically as well. So we knitted and knitted, and had a great catch-up visit in the meantime. I haven’t had any good ‘Jodi time’ since Narnia was released!
After Jodi left, I finally had the sense to pull out the camera and shoot the Round Thing – I’d only done a few rounds on it since the other day, so you can see we made a fair amount of progress.
There weren’t a ton of people knitting, but there were some, and the ones I hooked stayed. Davydd Cook was the first – a total novice, he learned the basic knit stitch and was off to the races – made it all the way around the circle at least twice.
Then Sandra, a University of Windsor graduate student and devoted knitter joined in. Alas, her picture is blurry, (that’d be ‘too much coffee too fast’) but perhaps you’ll be seeing/reading more of her, because she’s interested in Knitting With Others, and we just may be setting that up. Y’ hear that, Sandra? Email me, I’ll let you know what’s up and when!
(Edit: Someone sent me this not-blurry picture of Sandra and I knitting together – Sandra’s the one in front, I’m the one who looks like I haven’t brushed my hair since March. Image courtesy of Elaine Weeks.)
Here are Marissa and Irina – three is as many as we managed going at one time.
I also took the opportunity to introduce Marissa to the drop spindle. I think maybe some of that fibre from Emily is getting one more pass-along. Marissa here is working with the “butt fleece” (that’s Jodi talking) and couldn’t put it down.
All that kept me and the Round Thing happy until almost three am (ok, I did know what time it was around 2:30 when they took the beer away.) After that there were fewer people – only the diehards stayed past three – but I did still get some other newbie knitters out of the group. Unfortunately I can’t remember anyone’s name just now, and it was too dark to take pictures. (They turned all the lights off so they could project old educational films onto a building across the street.) I also managed to use the lull period to work on a rag rug for the bedroom, and I knit on some wire too, which I’d started and was working on occasionally just because it looks so cool.
We lost almost everybody around four thirty, and the last of the all-night crowd went home by six thirty. By then Leesa had come back (she went home and slept the sleep of the Just on friday, having been up to the wee hours all week getting the gallery ready) and she plyed us with coffee until we felt human again.
‘Round about the same time humanity returned, Jodi returned as well and we dove back into the Round Thing. Peter showed up at a time he said was about one, and he waited until Jodi helped me cast off before sweeping her away. The weather Saturday was crappy and there was no one coming in to the gallery, so we decided that the Round Thing was officially done.
Overall? This was a really fun thing to do, and I’m so glad I was involved. Knitting two and three to an object is indescribable. The awareness you have of what the other people are doing, and how you and they are affecting each other… it’s more than just the speed, you are actually knitting their stitches, you can feel the differences between their tension and your own, there was even a sort of trust thing (as in, “I am not going to ask if they are remembering to increase. I am NOT.”) And it worked out great!
(Thanks to Jodi for the picture)
Final diametre, unblocked (as it will remain): 33 inches.
But what to do with it? I shuddered to think of trying to mount it on the wall, but it looked so lonely lying there in the middle of the floor. Jodi had been trying to convince me it should be turned into an ottoman, but I said there was no way I was bringing it home to stuff! I spread it out on the deep windowsill near where we’d been working. And then, someone came in with flowers. People had been bringing us presents; presents for the gallery, and also stuff for the nutters who were staying up – like breakfast! – mmm. So this fellow came in with a huge bouquet of flowers, which were beautiful despite one of them being a sunflower.* They were in a tall glass vase, like an enormous wineglass. He was trying to make them look nice on the windowsill.
He looked at me.
I looked at him.
And just like that, the existence of the Round Thing became justified for its own sake, not only as “a neat thing to do with others”.
Art? Craft. Perfection.
*I am afraid of sunflowers. Don’t judge me.