Kage Baker loved road trips. She made lots with me that really had no bearing on her likes, interests, or current work load – but from time to time I would need to drive out somewhere for my own stuff, and she was always happy to ride along. Good thing, too, as she was my GPS system – also, tall enough to clean heat-dried perma-bugs off the entire front windshield; which is a vital talent.
An event I always like to make is the Stitches West convention. It is a textiles temple. Not fabric, per se, but dedicated in particular to knitting; although anything involving string and sticks is fair game there. It’s a needlework mecca, Disneyland for those of us who cannot sit still with empty hands. If you habitually carry a knitting or crocheting project in your purse – if you have special knitting patterns for working in darkened movie theatres – if no one in your family is safe from scarves and socks – Stitches is the place for you.
Kage wasn’t that into textiles. Fabric, yes – she loved fabric stores. But she also loved colour, and design, and patterns cunningly devised. She also liked hand-made socks, since she had narrow feet that were nonetheless a size 12 – elegant hosiery is hard to get off the rack for feet like Kage’s. And she enjoyed the proximity of obsession, just on general principles; obsession, for Kage, being one of the founts of creativity.
So she came to Stitches happily when I went. The last three years I have missed out – first Kage’s illness, then my own – and I have missed it dreadfully. The dozens of catalogs in the daily mail, the hundreds of email ads that come in are just not enough to feed my lust for yarn. And needles. And knitting toys … besides, you can’t touch touch the stuff in catalogs.
So tomorrow I am driving up to Santa Clara for the convention. I’ve kidnapped Kimberly – who would very much like to become obsessed with knitting, if she can just find the time. I figure exposing her to the delicious excess of the entire Santa Clara Convention Center full of wool, silk, cotton, linen, milk protein, banana fibre, thistle, Lycra, acrylic and fine gauge metal wire – plus all the goodies to play with them – ought to do the trick.
We’re leaving her husband and son home with the menagerie. Hopefully, no one will starve in the next two days, or be forced to eat one of their fellow inmates. We’ll be back Sunday afternoon in time to see the Oscars – Kage and I sped south after several Stitches events to make the Academy awards, which for inexplicable reasons always occur at the same time.
Then we can sit and wind yarn while we howl over the fashions on the red carpet. Combine your obsessions! That’s a sure-fire way for fun.