Beki Grinter

Adventures in Yarn

In crafts and craftiness, HCI on April 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Last week I went to Stitches South! It’s a yarn convention, there are demonstrations and classes about yarn techniques. I’m used to going to conferences, it’s an occupational hazard in Computer Science. Bring on the tote bag (free) and the t-shirt to commemorate the event (for a price). I’m used to selecting among sessions and also trying to decide what, if anything of the vendors who come, typically with books, I would purchase.

Other than that yarn is quite different. Most strikingly, the gender balance of course. There were some men at Stitches South, I even recognized one of them (he organizes the men’s knitting group at a local yarn store I purchase wool from). But, they were few and far between. As a friend of mine pointed out, they also fall into two distinct categories. Those who knit, and those whose wives knit.

And while there were books for sale, there were other things too. Yarn of course. Lots and lots of yarn. I wish Computer Science conferences had the diversity of alternatives as yarn conventions. It would be like looking among Commodores, Amigas, ZX81, as well as the PC or Mac question. And then there were all the unnecessary things you have to buy to make knitting fun. That’s probably the equivalent of a laptop case (even though you have several, you can be persuaded to buy more, well I can). I’m going to a conference in my professional field soon, CHI, and I wish there were more things to amuse my purchasing interests. After a long day in sessions, I think there’s a target market for the whimsical purchase.

And since I’ve written this much…

…the most ridiculous thing I purchased at Stitches South was a contraption that allows you to wear a ball of wool. It has a bangle like attachment from which a stick suspends with a cap below. You attach the bangle to your wrist, thread the stick through the centre of the ball of wool and then use the cap to ensure that the wool doesn’t fall off. Now I can look like a complete knitting pratt. But it will save those embarrassing accidents in the cinema where you begin knitting with wool on lap and then somewhere, usually during the darkest scene in the entire film, the wool falls off and down into the murky world of “below the cinema seat.” Not only is the process of fishing around for it usually futile, there are all manner of disgusting things below the cinema seat. Old popcorn is among the least offensive. So, I’ll be saving that particular gadget for the next trip to the movies, or perhaps for this Friday when I can recreate cinema conditions watching the Royal Wedding before dawn while knitting.

  1. Oh, nifty! That’s at the same location as Anime Weekend Atlanta! (in the fall, of course…)

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