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Now that Vogue Knitting has had such success with its inaugural event in NYC, a new event has been planned. It was announced at the NYC show that the next one will be in Los Angeles September 23-25! Interweave Press is joining in too! They will be holding their first knitting event, Knitting Lab, at the San Mateo Marriott (outside San Francisco) November 3-6. Madrona is one of the finest shows around, held in February in Tacoma, Washington every year on President's Weekend. It is a smaller scale show, and maybe that's a big part of why I like it. It has a more intimate feel and is held in a beautiful hotel, decorated with handblown glass by a different artist on each floor. It is a block or two away from the Glass Museum, which is a not-to-be-missed adventure! Knitters Magazine puts on four shows every year around the country! Stitches West is next week (Santa Clara, February 17-20), Stitches South is April 14-17 in Atlanta, Stitches Mid-west is August 25-28 in Chicago, and Stitches East is October 20-23 in Hartford. TKGA (The Knitting Guild Association) is the oldest knitting show in the US, starting in 1985. This year, TKGA shows will be held in Minneapolis, MN July 28-31 and in Greensboro, NC September 21-25. If you have never been to a knitting event, consider it. It is so amazing to be in a hotel where everywhere you look, there are knitters and crocheters, lovers of yarn, teachers and students, classes and the market, where you can do some hefty stash enhancement. Then there are the cruises and tours sponsored by CraftCruises.com (the cruises I teach on are through them), Joyce James Tours (highly regarded!) and more! Vogue and Interweave have sponsored trips in the past, but I couldn't find anything on the web about them for this year. Of course I will be teaching in Normandy France in May and in Italy for Alpine Adventure Agency in September. Click on the heading above "Teaching Trips Abroad" for more information. Any one know of other trips to mention? For a good idea of other fiber-related events, Clara Parkes of Knitters Review fame has a fabulous listing of knitting events here and abroad. Aren't we lucky to have so much to choose from? There is no reason to feel like a solitary knitter all the time! Get thee to a show!
My trip to Italy was spectacular. It has taken awhile to go through all my videos I took in Italy–in fact I am not really done. Please bear with me. I tried to capture photos from some of the movies, so that's why some don't move! Those that do move, are pretty jerky. I need to learn to be more smooth in my picture taking–sorry! I flew into Venice and was greeted by Daniela Anderson, the owner of Alpine Adventure Agency and the others who came on the trip. After grabbing a quick snack at the airport, we clamored onto the van and went from sea level to 1400 meters at San Martino di Castrozza. The ride was lovely, winding up and up through the forests, past Tyrolean homes and buildings, replete with overflowing flower boxes. Once we got into town, we visited the grocery store and jewelry store as well as clothing stores. We had a lovely welcome dinner at the charming Hotel Regina where all stayed. I loved looking at the vintage rocking horses and doll houses scattered throughout the hotel on all the floors. The hotel rooms were comfortable and charming. Some of the many wonderful side trips we took were to the Passo Rollo, a section of the mountain path, to be up close and personal with the amazing mountains. We visited a cheese factory and watched men make the cheese! These ripening cheeses are each about a foot and a half in diameter. [wpvideo qQ1U09Cl] We met a weaver who weaves on 400 year old looms, and a wood carver. I was very skeptical of taking the trip up the mountain via two separate cable car systems to 2700 meters (8800 feet). But, I was surprised that I felt perfectly safe in both of the cars. [wpvideo hqGfw0wy] The weather was clear and mild so the view was spectacular! Earlier in the week, it had snowed up on the mountain! You can see in this movie that there is a building in the distance and people are walking there. I was told it takes about an hour to walk from where I was to that hotel/restaurant. [wpvideo aczotDIK] One day, several of my group took a 3 hour walk through the forests to a wonderful restaurant. The cows had just been sent up to graze on the mountainsides for the summer. They wear these huge cowbells that make a constant sweet tinkling sound in the distance. Along the way, Some of us spied Edelweiss, that lovely white flower that grows only at certain altitudes. I had no idea that Edelweiss are fuzzy flowers! Every day, I taught for three hours after the morning activities and lunch. Then we'd gather in the comfy sitting room to knit until dinner. As Daniela promised, the eye-candy wait staff provided much entertainment—such handsome young men with impeccable manners! I am afraid I was somewhat obnoxious with my Flip camera, so I won't show you that. The time passed so quickly, as it does when one is having a wonderful time! All of a sudden it was time to leave San Martina di Castrozza. We all packed up in anticipation of our last day being spent in Venice. I am in love! Venice is my newest favorite city! After a train ride to the station outside Venice, we took a water taxi to the island of Venice proper. I had no idea that there are no cars in Venice. It didn't occur to me that there is no place for them—one either walks or takes a boat to get anywhere. There are bridges all over the place, some very old and beautiful. Here is a movie of the Grand Canal, the main thoroughfare through Venice. It's about 4 minutes long and shows the busy-ness of the Canal, as well as singing gondoliers and some of the lovely architecture of Venice. [wpvideo 0ncGhDIG] We first visited a mask maker. She spoke to us at length about Venice society from the 13th to 18th centuries. I had no idea that the mask was an important part of communication during that time. Masks allowed nobility and peasants to connect, to do business, to have wild affairs, to live double lives with anonymity. For over 500 years, there were no wars in this area and some believe the use of the mask allowed easing of any tensions between the classes. When Napoleon arrived in Venice, however, he saw rampant crime and a degenerating society. The mask had come to the end of its usefulness and he banned its use. As a result, Carnival, the celebration before Lent (we know as Mardi Gras in the US), was disbanded until 1980 when a group of students resurrected the mask. Today there are many mask makers in the city who are able to make their livings in this creative way. And Carnival is alive and well again! The mask was originally made of rags or bits of paper pressed into a mold. The mask was held in place by a three corner hat (Tri-corn). A black hood was worn under the mask which hid one's hair and ears and the fancier the lace below the hood, the more affluent the wearer. [wpvideo NOCbRVrQ] After enjoying the collection of masks at the studio, we went on to the Piazza (the Plaza). Daniela took us to the Florian, a most wonderful restaurant that has been operating continuously since 1702! There is a story that Casanova, having loved the wrong woman a bit too much, or getting on the wrong side of the law too much, was thrown into prison in the Doge (see below). He is the only man to have escaped from there, but on the way out of Venice, he just absolutely had to stop by the Florian for a cappuccino before he made his departure. Well, supposedly, anyway. [wpvideo OgZL1t7Y] I know where Casanova was coming from. I had an exquisite lunch at the Florian, while I enjoyed people watching and listening to the live music there. The wait staff must know several languages to work there and the service was impeccable! Hmm... what to eat for lunch.... (See Daniela and our waiter at the end of this movie.) [wpvideo Q854MPom] And then, the food came! A very memorable lunch! [wpvideo HtCEtAUv] I then ventured out to visit the Basilica–an amazingly beautiful cathedral with columns of all kinds of marble and alabaster, mosaic floors of every pattern imaginable (oh the quilt squares one could make!), and lovely religious art. [wpvideo IaqvxzqI] Next on my agenda was to see the Doge, or palace of the Domo (as in Major Domo?). It just went on and on and on. I saw tiny grim cells in the dungeons, enormous ballrooms (one was 52 x 26 meters), chambers for law makers, the courtyard...
[wpvideo 7wWuDxBt]...and the famed Bridge of Sighs. The legend is that the Bridge of Sighs was the last place a prisoner could catch a glimpse of the outside world as he was being led to the dungeons for the remainder of his life. Note the grates in the bridge–these are the windows out of which the condemned would gaze, and sigh. [wpvideo fQXlQTAU] After a busy day in Venice, we all collapsed in our rooms and took a shuttle to Marco Polo airport the next morning. What a grand trip it was! I can't wait to go back again next year, probably in September. I hope some of you will join me!