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14 December 2006

Wisconsin is...

...home to very many great things, not the least of which are good beer and the Brewers, good brats (I'm partial to Johnsonville, myself) and the Packers, good cheese (mmm, curds), baked beans, sauerkraut (it's good on brats and good for you, too!), the world's largest hamburger, and maybe ice cream sundaes.

It's home to Lakeside Fibers in Madison, which also houses an excellent coffee shop and cafe (fabulous light, wonderful view), where I met Gail/Gail's Good Yarn yesterday for a little lunch, a little visit, a little nibble of some local chocolates, and I am so pleased to say that I even got a little Christmas shopping done!

Wisconsin is home to knitting legend and talented knitters (who will, apparently, never go hungry, at least while they remain in Wisconsin!) -- Elizabeth Zimmermann, Meg Swansen, Amy Detjen, Joyce Williams.  I had nothing to do with where I was born, or where they were born or where they chose to live, and yet I can't help but feel proud that we share this place.

I can't explain what wonder I feel about these knitters, about the fact that yesterday I was able to stand before actual, in-the-wool works of all of the above and then some, including Kaffe Fassett, Teva Durham, Cheryl Oberle.  Yes, I was every inch of verklempt.

All that wonderful wool brought together in celebration of the great and powerful EZ -- that's how it felt to me, anyway, like a celebration.  It was thrilling to not only stand before, but also beside, under and behind many of the works because of the way in which they were displayed -- hung from ceiling, away from the wall a bit, even out in the middle to walk around, and overhead.  I would have stuck my head up each one, if I'd been allowed, crawled inside -- tried them on!  Apologetic signs at frequent intervals throughout the gallery implored visitors not to touch, while at the same time acknowledging that this would be difficult for the knitters.  (There's an understatement!)

It was very telling, to me, the appeal of the great and powerful EZ, in that there were a couple of young women, along with two or three small children, gathered around a TV to watch an EZ video.  The children were as interested and mesmerized as anyone!  Listening and watching.  I may have witnessed the planting of new seed, knitters being born, perhaps they'll grow to be great and powerful someday themselves.

Stand-outs among stand-outs were EZ's Original Aran, Original Ribwarmer (I want one, DH would love one), the smallest of wee Baby Surprise Jackets (they aren't the same on the computer -- Katie saw them all lined up and had to ask if I'd knit wee sweaters when she has a baby -- they just make you think that way, even if the time for babies is a long ways off, or a long time since), the Original Adult Surprise Jacket (I think this was on the one with the frayed cuff -- it made me want to plotz, right there, still does to think of the time it took, the work, the love, to wear out the wool), the Bog Jackets were wonderful, and Gaffer's Bavarian Jacket... it was all so, so wonderful.

Joyce's Bavarian Twisted Stitch Shell really tested my resolve to follow the rules and not touch -- I got as close as I could.  If it had been behind glass -- *bonk* -- I would have left a nose-print, no doubt.  If you've knit Bayerische or contemplated Am Kamin, you'll have a teensy tiny inkling.  The gauge, the details... the perfectly beautiful curve of the shoulder, the increases at the side.  Well, I just love Joyce Williams now more than ever, if that's possible.  ; )  Her beautiful Lily Jacket (which I've been fortunate enough to actually see her wearing) and Cornfields Pullover were also on display, as was the amazing Olive Branch Pullover.

If you are in the Madison area, I urge you to go see this show before it closes on Sunday -- New School Knitting: The Influence of Elizabeth Zimmermann and Schoolhouse Press.  If you are not in the area, do take a look at the virtual gallery.

Finally, check out TECHknitting -- check it out and bookmark it or get it on your Bloglines list because I guarantee you will be wanting to see what comes next.  Yet another reason to bust my Wisconsin cheese buttons over here.  ; )

Comments

You are truly a lucky woman! Thank you for the great links! It will have to be virtual visit for now;)

Hi Vicki: Thanks for the plug and thanks for putting a link in your posting...I can tell that one of the great things about blogland is going to be discovering other knitters' sites, like yours--nice work you are doing there, and the green garden picture is a great pick-me-up in the middle of a Wisconsin winter! Also, NICE work in your galleries AND your website layout--really nice work. And finally, THANKS for the Wisconsin resources list, how great is that.

Just wondering why Gail's Good Yarn is no longer on your blog list? I enjoyed her site, and read yours most every day. It's about time I told you that I've learned a lot from your site and especially appreciate your links to other sites. Thanks.

Vicki, you KNOW I can't lurk when you mention Madison ;)
Just tonight I was playing mahjong with a friend here in Syracuse, who I originally met back in Madison (funny how we all ended up together again here of all places!). Her husband is there in Madison now for a conference, and promises to bring us back some croissants from L'Etoile (and hopefully some Ancora coffee!) Now if I could just get him to stop by Lakeside and bring me something fibery!

Wow, am just a teeny tiny bit jealous, thanks for sharing.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the show. It sounds wonderful!

I am completely, totally jealous! that sounds like a perfect day.

sigh...i spent many a happy day in pittsville with the swansen's. thanks for sharing your experience vicki.

Beautiful write up of the EZ show. It gave me a sense of what it must be like to stand before her greatness. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings while visiting this Icon of our art.

What a great post! I love Wisconsin, too, mainly because it is so much more fun to motorcycle on your roads than the ones in Illinois!!!!

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