Monday, April 3, 2006

The Ewephoric Experience

This past Saturday I awoke early.  At five.  An hour I haven't seen since ... well, I seemingly can't remember; maybe back in my "working corporate" days, but nothing of recent comes to mind.  Five.  In the morning!  Ugh!  (My hat is off to those of you who do awake at that hour on a regular basis!)  For this night owl it was difficult.  But I did it!  A major accomplishment!  ((thanks to LOTS of coffee!!))

I packed my felted crocheted bag (I'll have to see if I have a picture of it somewhere) with my various crochet supplies, skipped wearing a jacket and opted for my poncho and out the door I went.  It was now six in the morning.  Even though the weather forecast said rain, I could see that the sun was going to be out nice and bright.  I was glad I opted to wear the poncho.

I met up with Jen and Grace.  (For long-time readers, you already know that Grace is no stranger to my blog here -- she's usually with me, sometimes even kidnapping me -- as we travel the countryside enjoying various crochet adventures!)  Today was no different.  The three of us were on our way to Avon, Connecticut, to experience what the store, The Wool Connection, calls "The Ewephoric Weekend."  It would be our first time attending and we were quite excited!

We arrived in plenty of time; the event was being held at the Avon Old Farms Inn which is both a restaurant and conference center (I had previously wrote about this Inn the last time Grace and I went on an adventure; we went to hook up with freeformers Mel and Susie).
  We checked in and parted ways.  Jen and Grace went to their knitting class and I started to make my way to my class on Crocheted Flowers.  It seemed to take forever to get to my class, but I didn't mind.  This is because I kept getting stopped with admirers for my poncho.  "How ever did you knit this," I'd be asked. 
     "It wasn't; it's crocheted," I'd reply. 
     They would reach out and pet the poncho.  (Note:  If you attend a fiber event and wear a crocheted or knitted item, expect to be petted!  This is a normal phenomenon!)  "Oh, I could never crochet something as beautiful as that, I only know the basic crochet stitches," they'd say. 
      I would smile and answer, "Well, that's all you need for this poncho.  It's crocheted with the basics -- the single crochet, the half-double, and the double.  The trick is to let the fibers do the talking."  
     Instructor Barbara Hillary"Really?!," they'd reply back, seemingly shocked at the simplicity in the design.  Regardless, they loved it and many said they'd like to try crocheting one for themselves.  I love when I can inspire others to pick up the hook!  :)

There were many crochet designers there from Melissa Leapman (pictured in yesterday's replacement blog entry), Margaret Hubert, and Lily Chin -- and knit designers too (although because I knit very little, I am not as exposed to them so their names are not as recognizable to me).Barbara's Class Samples. Later she gave me the red & purple flower as a gift for my daugher!  Wasn't that nice of her?  Thanks Barbara!  It was fun to watch their fans "celebrity spot" them for the first time! 

I made it to class and met some very lovely ladies who were fairly new to crochet.  We enjoyed a wonderful discussion on our experiences with the two fiber arts until it was time for class to begin.  The class was taught by Barbara Hillary, founder of the New York City Crochet Guild.  She took out some of the most beautiful flowers and began inspiring us to mix our fibers and our stitches.   I unpacked my bag, The flowers I created during class.and using the fibers I've been crocheting freeform to cover a jean jacket with, I created four flowers using her patterns/techniques and opted to create my own for the fifth.  In looking around the tables at everyone's creations, it sure looked like spring! It was a very fun class.

Afterwards we headed to lunch.  Lunch was like a huge family reunion as Grace, Jen and myself were able to hook up with members from the NYCCG.  (I say *family* because we attend so many events together, such as the New York City "Knit Out &Crochet Too!" sponsored by the Craft Yarn Council of America, that it's always a pleasure to see them again!). At our table we had more of a confessional type of discussion going on -- talking about why we have unfinished projects and what prevents us from finishing them.  Overall, I think it was the emotional attachments that we feel to the work that won out over the time factor on why this seemingly happens to us all!  (Yes, I did hang my head in shame and confess that I still have not completed my daughter's freeform sweater!)Outside of the Wool Connection's store.

I was delighted when I got a chance to chat with Melissa Leapman briefly when she spotted us in the buffet line; I also got an opportunity to speak with Lily Chin too (she even sent a "hello" message to my children who are amazed at how quick she can crochet).  It was good to chat with them, even briefly!  :)

When lunch was over, Margaret Hubert scooped the three of us up and drove us over to The Wool Connection store.  We were not alone! The store was humming with activity as many of the other participants from the Ewephoric Weekend were enjoying an opportunity to purchase an assortment of yummy fibers.  Margaret took the time to personally introduce me to the store owners and event coordinators, Bob and Phyllis, who I found absolutely charming.  I found their store to be well organized, clean, and very well staffed!  (Considering that there were so many people in the store at one time -- it was amazing how well the store looked!) 

I treated myself to a pink nightshirt (it has a sleeping sheep on it dreaming of it's fleece becoming a cardigan), a ball of Trendsetter Yarns' Joy, and some matching buttons. There's Margaret! (I didn't see the nightshirt listed on their website.  If you're interested in it, please inquire with them as it's a product only offered by them.)

Soon it was time for our second class, and this time the three of us were together; make that four because Margaret joined our class too!  Again my instructor was Barbara Hillary, and the class was on Swirls, Twirls and Spirals.  Since I already knew how to create spirals, I focused on the Twirls and Swirls, again using the fibers I'm utilizing in the jean jacket project.  One of the things I love most about taking classes like this, besides learning new techniques, is because it's an opportunity to see everyone's work -- with the fibers and color selections being different the end results are amazing -- and inspiring -- to see!  To visit Barbara's website visit

It was time for us to go; we needed to return Grace to her family as it was her birthday and they had a family celebration planned for her.  (Happy Birthday, Grace!!)  We did not stay for the wine and cheese, but in reading Margaret's journal entry today, it sounds like it was fun.

Here's another blog entry about the Ewephoric Experience: Fiber Artists Unite!

I enjoyed my Ewephoric experience and now have thoughts about attending next year.  Bob, Phyllis:  thank you for putting this event together; it was a lot of fun!  :)

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