Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Meeting Franklin Habit

Or, The Uber Tardy Blogger Catches Up Again...

Clearly, I am using my kids with four different nights (weekdays)/days (weekends) of activities, getting ready to take a new craft class (basket weaving…shh, don’t tell my hooks and needles about the new packing tools I had to buy…), zipping back across half the the nation to get a new car and work (yes, I even do that occasionally) as an excuse for being behind on the blog.

I know. Me. Behind on the blog. Shocking.


Anyway, I seriously can’t believe I’m behind on this one, because I got to meet Franklin Habit and spend a delightful few hours immersed in photography when he hosted a class at The Purl Diva. I found out about the class totally by accident. I was in Yardgoods, buying…um, looking, I mean looking at…yarn and was peeking at Franklin’s book while by the counter. One of the ladies informed someone had been in to buy the book so Franklin could sign it when he did his class in Brunswick in two weeks.

Class? Brunswick?? I immediately went home and caught up on the Panopticon, then checked out Purl Diva’s site, telling myself that the class would probably be way too expensive so there was no harm in just looking at the course information, gasping and going about my regular business.

But it wasn’t. It was well within even the single-mom-on-a-budget budget. And I had belated birthday money that had just been sent to me, with instructions to splurge on myself. (Like the sender really had to twist my arm on that one.)

Great. Now that I knew I could afford the class, it was probably full. Still, I emailed Ellen, as I am stupidly optimistic like that (said trait explains how so many of my dead-end relationships kept going around the cul-de-sac, but that’s another story).

Ellen emailed back that it had been full, but since it was two days after Christmas, people had cancelled and if I wanted, there was a spot available.


I immediately signed up and smiled happily to myself. After all, I had done the preliminary car shopping and would certainly have a vehicle before the 27th of December.

Or not. My parents phoned. They had found a minivan in the same age range as what I had been shopping for, but for about 3,000-4,000 cheaper than the prices here, depending on how well one dickered (and my dad can dicker, believe me). So wouldn’t I reconsider the idea of purchasing one out there and saving myself some money?

Well, yeah. Stupidly optimistic I am, but I hope I’m not stupidly stupid (well, no more than average, anyway).

The problem arose when I realized that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve was very critical to our retention team. I wouldn’t be able to get the car until after the 1st of January.

I was stumped. What should I do? Rent a car? Grab a bus and arrive 8 hours later at a destination that was less than an hour away, having paid well more than twice the amount of the class to get there? Set out heroically early and hike the back roads to Brunswick in the predicted snowstorm? Only the first sounded remotely palatable.

And then I remembered. Someone else in my general area was taking the class too…

I emailed Ellen, who emailed the person, who emailed me, and on the very snowy morning of the 27th I met

Gina (a nurse) and Cathie (a doctor) who graciously let a complete stranger carpool with them. Besides introducing me to gelato after the class,

it was heaven to be in a car with two people who did not find talk of which level of needle pointiness one preferred, master knitting classes, and books like Shear Spirit strange. I added a bit here and there, but mostly I just listened, enjoying the almost exclusively knitting talk and Gina’s steady-in-moderately-bad-snow-conditions driving until we arrived.

Ellen’s shop is just beautiful, laid out with a true artist’s eye. It pulls you and practically beguiles you into having one of those falling-down-and-swiping-your-credit-card-on-the-way-out accidents that the Yarn Harlot occasionally mentions. Which explains (along with the birthday money prodding me) how I happened to leave the store with this

(because I have been wanting to learn to spin and so can’t afford a wheel) and this

my very first ever purchase of yarn without a project in mind. I think that naturally colored alpaca in toffee, chocolate brown and warm cream a good choice. I’ve always loved the color brown. (Hey, I’m a Midwestern farmer’s daughter. ‘Nuff said.) I’m not sure I even want to knit it up just yet. It’s so soft and so beautiful and I don’t want to muck it up making it into something it is not supposed to be.

So, I and my debit card were pretty well history in the five minutes we had to wait for Franklin to set up, even though I managed (barely) to hold off purchasing until after the class.

Oh, yeah, the class. You were wondering when I was going to get to that, weren’t you? Me, too.

Firstly, I just want to say I can see how Dolores has managed to stay around so long, despite her clearly delinquent behavior. Franklin is one of the nicest, politest people I have ever met. And not stilted, my-mother-taught-me-I-must-be-this-way-so-I-will-be-even-if-it-kills-me polite, but genuinely warm and very conscientious about giving each student time, as a good teacher should be. A person that nice will be a Dolores victim every time. Watching him instruct when talk part of the class was over was almost as much fun as trying to accomplish anything myself. He’s the most subduedly animated person I have ever met, and his reaction to stunning knitting (and from lace to Gina’s amazing ski sweater, there was stunning in abundance) was a burst of contained excitement. Hard to describe, but very neat to see.

I spent part of my time on Ellen’s computer, reading the manual for the point and shoot the ex-boyfriend had given me when he upgraded and which a friend had discovered for me online. I discovered that there was no manual setting. This did not please Luddite me, who had and a totally manual, non-digital camera when taking a B & W class and adored it (even I have my control freak moments). This means I have a choice between a flash that doesn’t do a great job of compensating for funky house lighting, no flash and having to either be totally still or to create a cairn of books to prop the camera on to get the angle I want (seldom works) or taking all pictures outside (beginning to seem a real possibility). *

The rest of the time, I tried to take pictures, but the shy gene, coupled with that stupid automatic flash that I loathe and detest, pretty much took me over. I was more comfortable watching everyone else than actually taking pictures with people around watching me. Though come to think of it, probably no one was. Shy me didn’t think of that at the time, though. Ah well.

I snapped this quick shot of Ellen and Franklin and had the double indignity of the flash and the lighting not getting along AND the auto focus freaking on me. It turned out badly (though my erstwhile fix-the-blogger's-crappy-photos-for-her friend did his dead level best to make it look better, and it looks far better than it did, believe me) and I was too embarrassed to try for another.

I also one other of the Shetland Lace Sock, though the focus seemed to think I really wanted the crockery to be the focal point of the photo; clearly it and I need to have a heart-to-heart. (And if I had been thinking, I would have gotten a shot of it with Franklin, which would hopefully shut up its whining about missing the Harlot. I felt badly that I left a photo op like that slip by, but the SLS assured me that just having Franklin point at it and discuss it was a thrill, so it’s all good.)

After that, I had a quiet discussion with Paul, and then with Paul and Franklin, on a camera a single mom could afford. They came up with the Cannon GL series, assuring me that even the older cameras with lower resolution were still dependable. Good stuff to know.

And hey, I also discovered out to make my very own, CHEAP light box (I like cheap).

See? (Oh, okay, so I played with the spinning stuff a bit.) I’m going to have fun playing with the types of lighting as well , as I can’t help but wonder what sort of effect hurricane lamp light would have on it. And Thing Two just received a camera for her birthday a couple of months back. Maybe IT has a manual setting.


*Because of the above, you really shouldn't blame Franklin for the lack of decent picture taking. Until I screw up more, I'll never get any better. So, my dear photo guinea pigs, please bear with me. Thanks much.


Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said...

I loved every bit of this blog! Since I live with a superb professional photographer myself, while personally sharing your Luddite reaction to clever-clog cameras with millions of options, I can so empathise!

Wish I'd been on that trip - the fibre you bought looks seriously good. I hope you get your wheel soon.

NeedleTart said...

Wonderful! I'm so glad you got to meet Franklin (not that I have). What fun to meet those folks we know so well from the net. I was moved to pick up a drop spindle at Rhinebeck in .....Oh, 2007. So far there hasn't been time to learn. All those projects waiting in the queue and not just the knitting queue, there's the quilting, the miniatures, the rubber stamping, most of them for other people. Sigh.
BTW I have been checking and your January 7th post didn't show up on my computer until January 28th. Is it me?

SunshineDreams said...

Luddites unite, Jo! We're all out there. I'm glad the fibre looks good because I'd be lost picking my own; it all came bundled together. Nice to know I'll get to lump up quality fibre :).

LOL, Bonnie, when I said I was a bad blogger, I meant it. I have three more posts for January (possibly four) which were written (literally) as emails to myself over a couple of lunch hours. Between three scout groups and basketball practice, though, finding time to get the photos and links in and them up has been hard. Then throw in a family-wide virus...

So, for the next few days, you're gonna have to live with my version of time.

You have my deepest sympathy.