Monday, November 10, 2008

With apologies to Cameron McIntosh

I just returned from my overnight venture to Baltimore, host (for the last time) of Stitches East. I was joined by intrepid traveling companion Mindy -- who for the first time in a long time, was NOT working the show.

This was my third (I think) Baltimore Stitches, and I was just beginning to get to know the city a little. Alas, the X-men are moving next year's Stitches way further north: to Hartford, Connecticut. They even had a guy from the Hartford Chamber of Commerce sitting at a table to give out literature about new locale. Bye-bye, Baltimore -- it's been fun.

While many of the regulars were there -- WEBS, thank God, and the Mannings, and Yarn Barn of Kansas -- some of the smaller yarn shops and many of the farms and smaller vendors weren't. Blue Moon Fiber Arts was one conspicuous absentee; Morehouse Merino and Green Mountain Spinnery and Kid Hollow were three more; I'm sure there were others. The crowds also seemed smaller. There were only a few times where I was aware of there being a long line at a vendor or more than one or two people looking in a booth. I guess the struggling economy had to affect the knitting world, too.

And while I enjoyed myself, I couldn't help but feel a bit bereft. Oh sure, we had a delightful lunch with the charming Mama E. I got to say hello to some of my faves, like Kathy from WEBS (her husband Steve is quite a hottie, too -- way to go, Kathy!), and Linda P., whom I dearly love, and Kristen Nicholas (maybe someday when her slutty licentious kitteh gives birth for the forty-seventh time, I can convince Tom to let me take one of the kittens: an itteh-bitteh kitteh from the knitterateh?); and, okay, Li'l Ricky was wearing something awful (in this case, pants the color of stale ketchup); and I bought some fab yarn and books, including the yarn and pattern for a Norah Gaughan sweater (she is the best thing that happened to Berroco. Ever.).

But something was definitely missing.

At dinner, an empty chair at our table mocked me.

The maid left three pieces of chocolate in our room, when there were only two of us.

As I stared into a box of pastries that Mindy brought, I thought wistfully: Vé-vé would have loved these...


It wasn't that something was missing; it was someone.

I missed Vé-vé.

Yes, it was all coming clear now.

Here was the lonely, empty chair where she would have used my laptop to check her email and send saucy billets-doux to her sexy husband.

This would have been her wineglass, to share the impertinent yet inexpensive (with a hint of poir) bottle of red that we (finally) tracked down.

(I never thought I'd find a state with even more bizarre liquor laws than Pennsylvania, but Maryland is pretty weird. I mean, what kind of state sells wine at a Rite-Aid?)

Mindy would have (sniffle) showed her the Salt Peanuts she made from Vé-vé's pattern:

and I would have shown her this advance copy I just received of my new book:

When I saw Mindy's clothesbasket full of coffeemaking equipment -- Mindy brings her coffee press, spring water from her well, a heating source and saucepan, mugs and coffee with her on every trip -- I got morose, imagining how Vé-vé and I would have teased Mindy about her fancy "portmanteau" and about how seriously she takes her café americain.

And this architectural detail, on the outside of the Wharf Rat? We would have admired its decorative lines together as we supped on a light déjeuner.

Yep, Stitches East was fun and all. But it just wasn't the same without Vé-vé.

On my own
Pretending she's beside me
All alone, I walk with her till morning

In the rain the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
And all I see is she and me for ever and forever, knitting...


Carol said...

With apologies to your wonderfully poignant post on Ve-Ve - the new book looks AWESOME!!!! (And I have all new respect for Mindy and her serious coffee baggage. What a great traveling companion.)

Anonymous said...

If I were not still so blue over her absence, I would be laughing hysterically.

(coffee baggage- what a great term!)

Unknown said...

Wow a preview book photo and tarts (I meant the pastries...).

I have to admit, Véronik does add an amazing amount of flavor to an event like Rhinebeck.

Anonymous said...

Feeling is mutual -- and I would have never thought to go to a Rite Aid!!


Anonymous said...

The Book! The Book!

Looks bee-you-tee-ful!

Anonymous said...

in MD and VA you can get beer AND wine in the grocery store, the drug store, etc. IT ROCKS! the state stores sell hard liquor, like gin, etc.

I miss that about living in VA. (sigh) but nothing else!

stitches was crowded thurs. and fri. I met vivian hoxbro and purchased her new book (she autographed it for me). I met a new fiber vendor from telford PA. I took 3 classes. I had dinner fri. night at the wharf rat. I did some sightseeing. I ate crabs. never once did I spot the dragonboy.

rogue1 said...

Here in Illinois you can by beer, wine and hard "likker" at most drug stores (I always thought they should sell CD's too, so you could get your sex, drugs, and rock n roll in one hedonistic swoop!) and many gas stations (?!?!?). You just can't buy it between midnight and noon on Sundays.
Did the Dragon have pleather pants?
Or boots? Or a haircut like Kate Blanchett in Indiana Jones vs the Privatization of Social Security?

Anonymous said...

Hartford? Only an hour away from me--no excuses.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Rogue, you are a genius! Mwah!

Simmer down, Caro, I don't love her more than you.

Ali P said...

Aaaaaaw. I'm all choked up at how much you love your VeVe.

Anonymous said...

When does that awesome looking book make it's debut? I.. must.. have.. that.. book.

Kristin Nicholas said...

So good to see you last weekend Carol. Can't wait to see the new book when it comes out. Cover looks lovely! Congratulations!

Kathy said...

So glad that we finally got to meet in person! We were both bad bloggers though and forgot to take a picture in all of our excitement! Good thing you have that awesome new book coming out soon (looks GREAT) - perfect excuse to come back to Noho.

Kathy (who thinks Steve is a hottie too ;) )

the hanged man said...

But Carol, Obama won! I don't know about you, but I'm going to be riding that high for another month at least.