Sunday, October 14, 2007

DKW 2007

The group at high tea. Pardon my blink.
This past weekend was our annual Damned Knitters Weekend, or DKW. (You might remember last year's weekend.) It was at my house, a locale I'd volunteered a week or so before the rabbit died. My plan initially was to get the place finally together. Paint the rooms that needed painting. Finally get a new dining room table that didn't teeter if someone cut meat too vigorously. Fix the leaky sink. I didn't realize at the time that the next few months I'd be lucky to muster the energy to get showered for work. So the house wasn't out of Martha Stewart Living, but with this group of laid-back women, it didn't matter. We could have been camped out in a cabin without running water and still had a great time, provided there was lots of food and a bit of beer.

This has been an interesting year of transition for nearly everyone in the group. On top of my surprise pregnancy, there have been relationship shake-ups, a pending divorce, a pending move across the country, and international adoption. It was so good to get together, compare notes, encourage each other, and of course, eat lots of cheese.
And I mean LOTS of cheese.
Friday everyone came, weighted down with supplies for the weekend. Katie brought growlers -- jugs of beer brewed at the local brewery Broad Ripple Brewpub. Kitty brought a few bathrooms' worth of fun and indulgent bath supplies. Kim brought specialty food, including ten (yes, ten) kinds of cheese recommended from Frasier's Gourmet Foods. Kate and Betsy were both feeling environmental this year and brought everyone the absolute coolest gifts: From Kate, stationery made from recycled Monopoly cards and earrings made from recycled electrical insulators; from Betsy, beautiful magnets or pins (we chose our objects and what we wanted them to be) that she made by painting and sealing with resin recycled beer bottle caps.

Katie and Kitty get down to business.
We spent the next three days eating great cheese, interspersed with meals, knitting, and talking talking talking. The only excursions out of the house in the 90+ degree weather were to go for a short walk Friday (I bowed out and fell asleep on the couch) and to go for high tea on Saturday.

Betsy, somehow looking both funky and Victorian, at high tea.
What did we eat? Other than the prolific cheese -- which included a four-year-old cheddar so silky and tart we were encouraged to eat it sans crackers -- Kate made her famous stuffed mushroom caps, which we used as a pre-cursor to Kim's vegetable-pasta soup for lunch. For dinner Friday night we had cornbread-topped chili. The next morning, we had scones and fruit. Saturday afternoon was high tea, where we stuffed ourselves with more scones, cucumber sandwiches, chicken finger sandwiches, little tartlets, fruit salad in lovely little parfait glasses, and gallons of tea. That night we went the comfort route with ginger chicken, risotto, and roasted carrots. The next morning we made a baked fritatta with leftovers: the filling from Kate's mushrooms, some ricotta and cottage cheese, tomatoes. For lunch, we had the uber-easy crab cakes.

As she did last year, Kim volunteered to be the Ken Burns of the weekend, documenting our every move. She's been publishing a series of digital photography books, and is getting very advanced in her technique. Like this altered focus of Katie and flowers:

Or this knitting action shot of Kitty and a yarn swift:

We realized that next year will mark the tenth year we've gotten together for this weekend. We started thinking of things we wish we would have recorded, and someone mentioned that it would be cool to remember what we'd been working on each year. So, for the record, here's what we were doing this, the ninth year. The eight previous years might be lost to history:

  • Betsy: A baby blanket for Iraqi orphans that she began years ago, at the start of the Iraq War, at he behest of a politically active friend. After Betsy completed a few inches, she lost steam and put away the blanket. She made quite a bit of progress over the weekend, however, so unlike the actual war, the end is in sight for the blanket.
  • Cindy: My third Hourglass Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. This is my all-time favorite sweater pattern. I realize that it's ludicrous to make any garment with a fitted waist, as I'll have no prayer of wearing it for another year, but the Hourglass is a completely mindless pattern, so I didn't have to worry about finding my place after taking numerous breaks for more cheese.
  • Kate: Kate is the only non-knitter in the group, but is crazy-crafty. She stitched instead of knit. She embellished some China flat shoes, made a friend an adorable "Dictator" onesie from her book Not Your Mama's Stitching, and spent the rest of the weekend on a cute, multi-colored cross-stitch.
  • Katie: A beautiful red in-the-round sweater made from yarn she purchased during a rare yarn run Kim, Katie, and I took a few weeks ago. Katie's been knitting for years, and only in the last year actually completed a sweater that looks great on her (she completed one years ago that she hated and shoved in the bottom of a bag upon completion, and then never tackled a sweater again), so this is a second version of that successful sweater.
  • Kim: Kim worked on a beautiful charcoal wrap/poncho (Phil calls them "raponchos") with an allover cable stitch from Weekend Knitting. The yarn also came from our recent yarn run. She's thinking of giving the raponcho to her sister, but I spent the weekend trying to convince her she should keep it. We'll see if her altruism or my selfishness win out.
  • Kitty: Kitty is the most prolific knitter in the group. She completed half a pair (i.e., one sock) of pink lace knee-highs that looked stunning with her new loden Danskos. *And* she made a friend a My So-Called Scarf from grape-hued, rich Malabrigo yarn. (Even if you're not a knitter, sometime take the opportunity to fondle this yarn.) As I did with Kim, I tried to convince Kitty that she should keep the scarf for herself.

Kim just accepted a job that will have her moving to Seattle at the end of the year. (I'm weepy just typing this.) So we've already planned that our 10th DKW will be in Seattle. I'm already scheming about what to knit and what we'll be eating.


Anonymous Julie K said...

That sounds like so much fun! How did you all meet in the first place? Did you work together? Are you all from Indy? To keep a group together for so many years is quite a feat!

4:34 AM  
Blogger Cindy K said...

Hi, Julie: We all essentially met while working in publishing back in the 90s. (Betsy didn't work at the publishing house, but we knew and loved her, so she joined us.) We started knitting together once a week, which lasted until we all started moving away. It's been fun keeping this date every year; it's the only time all of us can get together, and we start scheming about it (what to knit? what to eat? what to drink?) months in advance. Most of us have young kids, so it's nice to look forward to a little concentrated adult time every year!

6:19 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Lots of fish--that is what you will be eating. Take a jaunt to the famous market and you can find all kinds of stuff there.

9:04 AM  

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