Saturday, August 03, 2013

SSK, y'all!

In my head I've been writing an epic, epic I tell you, post about my recent week in Tennessee.
One day I took a looong walk down Broadway to see Nashville's bright lights.

 Unlike the last post and this other one, I can share all.  Plenty of photos. AND ELVIS!  As it turns out I'm making my Tennessee adventure a  2-parter post, I am writing this from a job in VT but I left a  random half of the photos on a drive at home. grrrr. Still it's gonna be a long one, buckle in.
Laura of The Knitgirllls handing out shopping bags at the market. That's her & Leslie's attitude: welcome.
When I met  video podcasters The KnitGirllls Leslie and Lala last year, they told me about this retreat they put on in Nashville.  When I got a note inviting me to teach at it, I was pretty sure anything those two schemed up was a WIN, so I said yes.
Oh man was I right. Pom poms on the staircases and all.
 SSK is in  Nashville, Tennessee, at a peaceful urban retreat center, with gardens, gothic stone buildings and a labryinth. What a place to teach and stay for a few days.
Best classroom door signs, ever.
My class making use of an archway's beautiful light.
My students? SO FREAKIN' WONDERFUL! It was gazillion degrees out and steamy,  yet they went outside and played along with me.

Unintentional patchwork sidewalk.
OK, so we got a little heavy-handed and silly with the photo editing part of the class--this is Laura's sister Beck, who good-humoredly posed for us  (sorry I can't remember whose shawl she's modeling!)
This was the Before shot. Nice location for a photo shoot, right?

Classes were optional:  take up to 4 if you want. There were also self-generated breakout sessions all over the joint, and on every subject, from plying techniques to podcasting tricks to charity knitting patterns. And everywhere, all the time, knitters, knitting & spinning & chatting.

Amy teaching a tricky cast-on in her Finshing Sweaters class, that's Mel, from Hawaii, getting it. 
Mel blogs and video podcasts here. Go visit her, she is a sweetheart!
I was so lucky to have two of the other instructors be designers I've long admired and wanted to meet: Susan B. Anderson from Wisconsin, and Amy Cristoffers,aka Savory Knitting,  from Vermont.  We clicked instantly (Amy & I met when changing planes, so we chat chat chatted our way into Nashville-what? you say it wasn't a 10 minute flight?). They are delightful  company- both so crazy talented and at the same time, so UNself promotional. In fact they each could be just a bit braggier about what they do. Seriously. I mean look at their Ravelry Designs pages: Amy's , Susan's. Huh.
Amy at the board-you can tell how lovely the classrooms were from this.
 I asked if I could spy photograph in each of their classes a little. I'd recommend each of them, whatever they are teaching. In Susan's class, I found out there's a much much smarter way to carry along and trap a long strand than the idiotic way I've always done it. I'll a spare you the details.
Susan B. Anderson. So nice! Also, buffest knitwear designer I know, in her class.
 She's inspired me to do some stranded knitting and to do more miles.
The last morning, two of Susan's students ran up to her to show they'd finished their Fair Isle hats. Love!
The attendees were 150 happy knitters.  I was oblivious, beforehand,  to a few things about SSK.  First: hardly anyone was from the Northeast, and there was also no irony employed, at all. Coincidence? I think not. I met knitters from throughout the south, from Austria and Hawaii and Nebraska and small towns in southern Ohio, places where the knitting community gets spread pretty far apart, and The KnitGirlls have created a virtual living room for their fans.  Also filed in the Oblivious Dept: there are a whole posse of podcasters (video and aural) who are part of The Knitgirllls community.  I hadn't realized how many podcasters are out there. Note to self: listen to more podcasts. 
One more in the Oblivious category: highlight for many attendees was the market on Saturday. Laura & Leslie curated about 18 vendors, indie folks. Here's the thing though- people lined up hours early to get first crack--for many it's a rare chance to handle limited edition yarns and beautiful fiber , instead of ordering online and hoping for the best. It was quite a scene-and you can watch it on the first 4 minutes of  this video podcast, which was done in time lapse--but it kinda felt like that. At about 20 seconds you see me sort of sidle up and poke my camera in, then flap my hands about and talk to Amy & Susan as they exit ( we teachers got to shop earlier-oh yes we did--that'll have to be in my part 2).
Broadway, downtown Nashville.
I was delighted to find that Hillsboro Village was walking distance from us, and there we could buy Las Paletas, at Hot and Cold. I've been a little obsessed by natural popsicles this summer and I knew that Nashville is ground zero for them. Amy joined me for um, 6 pops in 3 days (5 visits) , and we got Susan along for at least a couple. My fave: lime and mint, although I had a chai tea one that was dreamy. Then we heard about the boot deal, above, and hoofed it to that. It was a good long walk to the honkier tonkier part of downtown.

Ernest Tubbs record store- vintage portraits of country music stars by sisters who used to work there. Loved the place.

I didn't have any luck with a pair of boots but had the satisfaction of seeing the other 3 in our party get shorn. As loud and crowded as it was with sidewalk music-star wannabees, rhinestone cowboys, country folk come to town, people there to drink their asses off, and vacationing families, I was glad we made time for it. I hate to be somewhere and not really visit the scene.

Nashville is a gracious city, really pretty--and it's a hoot that no matter who you're with , they'll point out a couple of the music stars' homes, right in the center of the city. Taylor Swift, Tammy Wynette....
And, we found Elvis.


Kathy said...

I dare say there may be some northerners next year -- looks fabulous!

Stripeyspots said...

I can't help myself. I know you are a professional photographer but I keep wanting to write, "Ooh! Nice pics!" as a comment...
Seriously though, great pics. You should do this for a living... ;)

Mary Lou said...

That looks like a blast! Maybe next year...

Ellen Bloom said...

Love. Nashville. Especially Printers Alley!

kelli ann & lorie said...

LoveLoveLove it. Y'all can come up to the extreme North & we could try to have that much fun. I would do the translating!

maryse said...

looks like you had a great time. no irony, though. i don't know. that sounds kind of unnatural ;)

Wool Free and Lovin' knit said...

Who's the cute little papillon?