Still trying to catch up with history... (written way back when and never published!)
Last July (2014), I hauled Elias Cabot on the Southwest Chief for the first leg of a trip across the country - destination Geneseo, New York!
This blog is about my fiber arts adventures, but I have to put in a plug for AMTRAK here. I hate, hate, hate to fly. Love to drive anywhere, and really love to take the train. Having made the mistake, though, of taking an overnight train to Seattle in steerage (a.k.a. coach class seat, where the person in the seat next to you WILL TALK ALL NIGHT), I will only go on overnighters if I can get a sleeper compartment.
The great thing about the sleeper is that you actually get to sleep if you want to. Meals are all provided - if you're traveling alone you'll be seated with up to three other people which has been loads of fun for shy little me most of the time. And you're free to wander up and down the train if you're feeling social. But you're also free to lock yourself in your compartment and relax in privacy if you're so inclined.
It's not an inexpensive way to travel - but for me it's a self-contained vacation, not just a way to get from point A to point B. For someone who always needs to be doing five or ten things at the same time, I always find myself just relaxing and enjoying watching the country go by for hours at a time.
So two nights on the Chief, a brief stay in the Chicago station and transfer to the Lake Shore Limited. My sleeper had an honest-to-goodness toilet (!) in one corner. I'm not sure how much fun it would be sharing that space with another person, but for someone of my relative years, what a luxury not to have to toddle down the hall to the community bathrooms in the middle of the night.
I thought three days on the train would give me the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with Elias Cabot. First of all, these rascals are heavy. Trying to haul Elias in his carrier up a very narrow and twisting set of stairs to my compartment on the upper floor of the train was not so much fun. But I'm nothing if not persistent.
So on my very first day, I set up my table and was ready to start cranking. I never really notice the rocking motion of the train, so it never occurred to me that it might be a little difficult to knit. Cranking was fine, but doing any fine work was out of the question. Imagine trying to move a stitch from one needle to the next, while you have someone pushing on your elbow randomly and someone else moving your machine around. After a few tries and more bad words than I realized I knew, Elias went back in his carrier for the duration.
MADE TO FEEL WELCOME BEFORE WE EVEN GOT OUT OF OUR CARS!
Marty Wieferich Shows her Ribbons
Head Over Heels for Vets
Knitted Items Ready to be Given to Vets
We honored members and guests who are vets.
What I Learned
When I wasn't visiting with the vendors and members, I was determined not to go home without getting a handle on heels. I sat and cranked out twelve heels in a row.
THE BIG ROOM
Here are most of the workstations in the center of the room.
I was fascinated by all of the different workstations - from modified barstools to rolling cabinets. Here are a few of them. I took very careful notes about the owners of each and put them away safely. They are so safe that I may never find them.
Carol G. decorated this barstool with duct tape.
This was my setup - a lightweight metal table from WalMart - fortified underneath with plywood where the CSM is attached.
My neighbor had a portable workbench. I had my eye on the wooden crate he built to carry his machine and supplies.
Susan Sivey came from Shreve, OH with a supply of sock yarns.
Plum Cottage Crafts
Stephanie DeVoe brought a variety of yarn on cones and in skeins. I didn't give her a chance to finish setting up before I snapped this photo. OK, I actually didn't give her a change to set up before I was shopping for yarn.
Subito FarmWhile daughter Sarah Monroe was teaching classes, cranking out socks, and winning contests, mom Cindy was manning the shop. A nice variety of handmade accessories, handspun yarns, and patterns.
Fred C. HauckFred does CSM restoration and repair, and makes accessories - stands, buckles, weights, heel forks, you name it! I was sorely tempted by the bright red weights until I remembered that I would have to carry that extra six pounds all the way back to California. Fred spent most of the conference helping people solve problems with their machines.
Semper Fi Wood
John Hilgers makes beautiful wood things. In addition to cone winder adapters and bobbins, he brought tool holders and a pair of carriers for Hansen MiniSpinners.
John is also working on a CSM travel case. You can see the prototype in this video:
My current mania is turning wood, so I brought along a variety of my wood-handled hooks, latch hook tools, seam rippers, and needle cases for the 'garage sale.' When one of the vendors couldn't come at the last minute, I sold the society's window decals and tote bags along with my tools at the vacant table. It was pretty thrilling to see so many of my tools go home with society members.