Sunday, June 20, 2010

2010 World Wide Knit-in-Public Day - I love Challenges!

It was just a few minutes before our event, and I pulled up in front of the restaurant we were using for WWKiP this year. I was running a bit late, but had it all planned in my mind for set-up of the registration table, the Sponsors' Table, and the table our speaker would be using, so I wasn't sweating it at all - until I saw this:

Since I'd spoken to both restaurant managers within the past two weeks, I was dumbfounded. But closed they were, and WWKiP participants were arriving as I stood there in disbelief.

It took seconds to sink in, and a few minutes to re-think and move to Plan B. Unknown numbers of people were expecting their WWKiP, and I had to think fast.

First, I drove over very quickly to a nearby restaurant a mile away to ask if we could move there. The restaurant wasn't open for another hour, but I could see movement back in the kitchen, and pounded on the door until a somewhat bewildered manager opened. After all, it isn't every Saturday morning that some crazy woman is pounding on your restaurant door an hour early.

But the crazy woman had a knitting emergency!!! As I explained the problem, he immediately welcomed our group, but mentioned that he was short on staff and that they wouldn't be there for another 45 minutes. Ahhh, I said, not a problem - we knitters come prepared with our own personal entertainment.

After giving him a giant hug for allowing our group inside his restaurant early, I zoomed back to the Stupid Restaurant and posted our "new meeting place" sign:

Notice the other small pink sticky-notes? Those are two other groups who were planning to use the Stupid Restaurant, and had also left memos about where they had moved on.

At the Great and Wonderful Erbelli's Restaurant (that's what I call them, but their sign doesn't include the superlatives) we quickly set up our WWKiP. I say "we" because several of the gals helped me drag stuff in, set up our tables and generally get the show up and rolling. Thank you to Jan and Karen - your help was much appreciated!!

Barb Marr, of Marr Haven Wool Farm in Allegan, gave a great presentation on being a small business owner of a Merino-Rambouillet sheep farm. She's funny, and quite entertaining, and we all enjoyed her discussion of the trials and tribulations of buying rams, owning sheep, and the differences in her wool. Great talk, Barb!

She also donated beautiful yarn for our WWKiP drawings.

Other wonderful Sponsors for the KazooYarnies' 2010 WWKiP included Ideal Images of Kalamazoo, Your Local Yarn Shop of Battle Creek, Studio June Yarn of Kalamazoo, Becky Chambers and Kay Alexander, both KazooYarnies. Here's their generous donations:

One of our KazooYarnies made special knitterly buttons with some fabulous mottoes, and they were only $2 each. I quickly snagged one of the "Charity Knitter" buttons.

The food at Erbelli's was great, and having a bar made it even better. I was surely tempted, and encouraged by very understanding K-i-P friends. However, the worst was over and the WWKiP was going well. Here's our group with their door prizes:

Note: Linda (front right) was having a glass of wine for me, which I made me feel a whole lot better.

Thanks to our best-of-best Sponsors for their generous yarnie prizes - many of our group went home smiling because of you.

We also did show-and-tell, and were inspired by beautiful projects - here's just a few:

Below is the ChickenLady, aka Kim Wood, who won a ten-pack of beautiful Cascade 220 wool yarn, donated by Your Local Yarn Shop. Kim sure is smiling - she won the "farthest from home" Grand Prize by driving 35 miles one way to our WWKiP!

I want to thank everyone who came to this year's World Wide Knit-in-Public. Sorry for the temporary disruption, but sure glad you were able to share a really fun afternoon! Special thanks to Barb Marr of Marr Haven Wood Farm - hope you can join us at one of our regular K-i-Ps to share more sheep stories!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Other People Must Love Yarn Storming Too

Last week we yarned Bronson Park, and - because we're a curious group of gals - several of us checked the park over the next few days to see what was or wasn't there.

Before we'd even left the park on the first night, one of our knitters noticed that I'd dropped one of the parking meter cozies. I hadn't yet realized it, but since she did, she headed over to pick it up - except a fellow walking by it saw and snagged it, read the card attached, and stuffed it in his pocket.

Ever since, I've been wildly imagining what interesting event he's planning with his own personal parking meter cozy.

The next morning, Sheila checked the park and immediately noticed that the felted yarn ornaments she'd made were gone (above). We've been laughing about that; while she was hanging them, she told us that she was going to feel really bad if all the other stuff was taken, but not her ornaments. Obviously, she underestimated her beautiful ornaments and their public appeal. Loved and gone!

The bench scarf was gone too, as was the trash can cozy.

And for some reason, someone really wanted that picnic table scarf. That didn't last 24 hours. Not surprisingly, Terri's beautiful tam was gone too - and someone now has one gorgeous little hat.

Over the next couple of days, our yarn art was pretty much left alone. Only the parking meter cozies disappeared - five of them were gone, two remained.

But some time after the two-day Art Fair opened, things started leaving quickly. One of the benches no longer had it's bright sweater, and one of the evergreens had lost it's shawl - but the
new owner had left the tag so we wouldn't forget.


While wandering the Art Fair on Saturday, I was tickled to see the reaction of the public. The photos below speak for themselves.

Children played on the statues, and this young girl enjoyed the art fair activities from her own special seat.

Women laughed at the adorable pink hat and scarf on the pointing little girl;

And a lady deep in conversation with her friend never even noticed the bench decoration she was resting her hand on.

But of all I saw, this is the one that gave me pause, then brought me the biggest grin. Originally Val had placed the yarn bracelet on this little girl's wrist, but someone thought it looked much better as a headband.

Interactive Yarn Art!!!!

How cool is that? Especially since that Artiste had to climb quite high on the statue, carefully balance themselves, and then stretch it tightly so it would fit around the little girl's head.

Less than an hour later, it was obvious that others really liked that headband too - it was gone, taken in the midst of more than 1,000 people enjoying the Art Fair.

That makes me smile too.

Yarn Storming at Bronson Park, Kalamazoo


Our first yarnstorm, and right off the bat we meet the police.

Kalamazoo's Finest were on bike patrol in Bronson Park, and even though it's large park, somehow they just happened to sit at a picnic table right in the middle of where we were installing yarn.

The three of them watched us for a while, somewhat bemused at these ladies of the yarn, and then finally asked Sheila and Becky very politely, "Whatcha doin'?"

I suddenly realized that Becky was explaining our purpose to them, and quickly shot the above photo from quite a distance away. Sheila never batted an eye, and never stopped hanging yarn balls from the tree. Becky told them that we were installing Yarn Art for the upcoming weekend's Kalamazoo Institute of Art's annual Art Fair. One of the officers responded, "Art Fair?????" They just smiled, got on their bikes, and rode off to catch bad guys. Guess we just didn't fit the bill.

So we continued on, laughing and giggling our way through trees big and small, benches, trash cans, statues of children in the fountain, a picnic table, the Abraham Lincoln historical sign, parking meters, and the railings to the band shell.

Terri wrapped a huge sycamore with a giant tree cozy, and Val placed a little yarn bracelet on one of the children in the fountain. She and Terri also installed gorgeous hats and scarves on the children as people nearby watched us in curiosity.

We hung bright pink laminated tags on many of the works, in hopes that folks might recognize them as art and leave them alone. However, we all knew that most likely our yarn art wouldn't be there long, and it was okay with us if they were liberated.

We even brought a ladder, knowing that we'd probably have something to hang high. Except that I got the tree shawl stuck on a branch, and couldn't straighten it out of it's lop-sided drape. Terri tried too, with help from her yarnfriends, but it was very definitely stuck. We all finally agreed that it looked best lopsided.

When we finished, we snagged a passerby and asked that he take our photo in front of the beautiful children. Nice guy - snapped our shot, and didn't even ask why we wanted a photo of us in an empty fountain with yarned-up children statues. Call us crazy, but by the end of our adventure, we were beaming.

Before we left, we noticed folks walking up to our yarn art and reading the tags. That really made us smile. Even if he was carrying a beer bottle.

But best of all was this hand-written note that Sheila left on one of her felted tree ornaments.

Yes, it was a good day for friends and laughter, and most of all - we are now officially GUERILLA KNITTERS!