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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Florida and How I Met Barbara Walker

My next stop after Rhinebeck was southwest Florida to visit with my Grandmother. It was so warm and relaxing, I didn't really want to come home! And yes, if you must know, there was knitting happening by the pool.

Sunset on the Gulf

The visit seemed so short, but I manage to pack in a decent amount of activities plus have time to relax. On the first day, we took a trip up to the Marie Selby Gardens. I am a big fan of orchids, and it certainly did not disappoint.

orchid

On the way back, I wanted to do a little yarn shop exploring and I found a wonderful shop called A Good Yarn. Susan, Amy and Crew were so welcoming it was definitely my LYS away from home - so much so that I ended up coming back for knit night on Thursday and stopped in one final time on Friday before heading home. They have only been open for 6 weeks and the selection was wonderful: Madelintosh, Schaefer, Rowan, Malabrigo......I could go on and on! I didn't come back with any yarn (darn deadline projects), but I did manage to pick up Wenlan Chia's new book Twinkle Sews and a pretty cheap project bag.

And here's where the story gets very interesting - and don't mind my fan girl gushing. When visiting A Good Yarn, I had found out that I had just missed.....ready for this......Barbara Walker! Yes, The Treasury of Knitting Patterns Barbara Walker! I couldn't believe it! How could I have been so close to meeting one of the knitting greats and it got away from me? As we were talking about it, my Grandmother realized that this must be the same woman that her neighbor knows and had told her about a year or two before, she just could never remember her name.

When we returned home, a few phone calls were made and sure enough, her neighbor did know Barbara and just like that, I had a meeting set up to meet her on Friday at her home. I can't even pretend that I was cool, calm and collected when I heard the news. I was jumping up and down, twittering the news, smiling from ear to ear. I know you guys understand!

Barbara Walker and I

On Friday, I met Barbara Walker and got to see a small portion of her doll collection, actual knitted pieces from some of her books, pictures of her published designs, and sweaters she had knitted for herself, family and friends. She has knit so many beautiful sweaters over the years and many were sparkly. I was in such a state of sensory overload, I wish I had asked more questions, but we briefly talked about magazines not giving credit to the designers in the past and how the pay scale hasn't really changed much. She also talked about how she has created some 1,000 original stitches never seen before.

Barbara Walker and I

Next, she showed me a book shelf filled with books she's written, books that she wrote that have been translated into other languages, and books she has contributed to. Besides her knitting books, she has also written several feminist books. I also got to see her tarot and I Ching decks which she had done the artwork for and her extensive mineral collection. Barbara Walker is quite the amazing woman and I feel so lucky to have had the chance to have a short visit with her.

Barbara Walker and I

So I celebrated my birthday, saw some great sunsets, ate good food and met Barbara Walker. I don't know how I'll ever top this one!

19 comments:

craftydiversions said...

What a fantastic birthday present for you!! Lucky, lucky girl. Can I say that I am thoroughly jealous that you not only were able to have a nice sit-down convo with the great Barbara Walker, but that you got to tour her house!! I am so very excited for you. Thanks for sharing!
- Anne

Shannon said...

I am beyond jealous! What a fantastic, amazing visit that must have been!

melissa said...

that sounds like an amazing birthday and vacation. i'm a little (lot!) jealous! :)

subliminalrabbit said...

oh. my. goodness. how wonderful! what a once-in-a-lifetime experience! i echo the others - so very beyond jealous!

Shelby Allaho said...

Great post! It sounds like the perfect vacation! What an incredible visit with Barbara. She is a true inspiration!

Jocelyn said...

Wow. Just wow. Congrats!

emileeknits said...

Oh my goodness, that's awesome!

Moni said...

WOW! That is just amazing! What a lady :)

Maya said...

that is amazing! you're one lucky gal. :)

gleek said...

wow! you lucky girl! barbara seems like a totally awesome woman :)

goodkarma said...

You went to her house? You went to her house! Wow. She is so accomplished and interesting, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. Wonderful! Happy birthday, too. :)

cristalle said...

That's amazing!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing- I love all of her collections! And Happy Belated Birthday!

Ellen Bloom said...

I'm very impressed. That is so cool that you could visit Barbara Walker in her natural habitat and see all of her collections! Wow!

Kirsten said...

Lucky lucky! Congratulations. I'm so jealous. What an awesome birthday and vacation.

Elizabeth said...

So amazing! Thank you for sharing this with us. And until now I hadn't realized that our Knitting Barbara Walker is the same as the Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets Barbara Walker! Very cool! What a wonderful day you must have had!

Elinor said...

That definitely counts as one hell of a birthday! What fun!

mel said...

Wow!! Happy belated birthday - and how amazing!!! The look on your face says it all, I am so thrilled for you! I'm not sure I'd have been able to speak at all!

Romi said...

OMG. How incredibly cool!

Robin said...

Life is sure wonderful sometimes -- congratulations!