January, oh January. Where have you gone? About two days before Christmas I caught a horrible, persistent, and painful cold from Nina that lasted up until the day we had to fly out to New York for Vogue Knitting Live and it has been brutal. The holidays were a blur and my brain fog resulted in a series of unfortunate mistakes on my part. Oh January. But mistakes are just opportunities to get up and try again, right? Right?
In any case, we came back to New York after having traveled here exactly six years ago. And what a different trip it was this time. Last time, it was just Dan and I at VK Live, running around New York taking in all the fabulous foodie restaurants, secret eateries, and divine bakeries. This time, I came back to fulfill a bucket list item… teaching at VK Live. In order to make this trip happen, we decided to make it a mega family trip by traveling with our 10-month old not-at-all-night-weaned Nina and our 3-year old Russell, plus Dan’s parents. The last time Dan’s father had been to New York was nearly 45 years ago, so we thought it might be great for everyone to go together.
Juggling teaching responsibilities with family responsibilities was very challenging, but we just put one foot in front of the other and made it happen.
Thursday night, Dan helped me set up the classroom which helped bring my set-up time down from 3 hours in Minnesota to just 2 hours in New York! I mixed dyes and laid out the cooking equipment while he distributed handouts and skeins of undyed yarn for the students. Though our classroom was about half the size of the room in Minnesota, we had floor-to-ceiling windows on one side, overlooking the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre where they were playing “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The big, bright purple banners were an energetic display and a great view as we worked.
I was absolutely thrilled to teach five sold out classes in hand-dyeing yarn and fibre to these wonderful, enthusiastic, and happy students. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking walking into a room where I’m not quite sure of the access to water or the power capabilities. You never know what might happen when you attempt to plug in a bunch of double burners, hot water kettles, and water dispensers… but you can probably assume that at some point you’d blow the power. And we did. Twice. But it’s all good.
In our Complex Colourways class, each student left with a depth of shade gradient mini-skein set that we dyed together as a class, along with two full skeins of sock yarn that were dyed using different dye application techniques.
Since we can’t just dump leftover dye stock down the drain, we need to use and exhaust it. One of my favourite things from these teaching trips is when I take all the leftover dye stock from the classes and pour them all together on some spinning fibre or yarn. I make this random “leftover” stuff that I really actually consider my “souvenir” yarn and fibre. It is an archive of what I did during the class and I love and cherish these little bumps of fibre. One day when I have a few more minutes and brain cells, I will pull out this fibre and spin it, remembering my trip and all the smiles of my students.
Despite not having a ton of time to leave my classroom to visit the Marketplace, I did a quick run around and was so thrilled to find Maryanne Moodie at her booth! I picked up a copy of her new book and hope to make space in my life for a lot more weaving in the coming months. On the plane-ride home, Nina napped so that I could read the book from cover to cover. Simply amazing.
One of the big joys for us is that right at the end of December, Nina started walking. And now she’s able to be a lot more interactive and somewhat more interesting to her older brother, Russell. The first full day in New York, we took them to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan where they had a great afternoon playing with all the child-friendly displays.
One of the crazier things that Dan and I have done for good food is wait 95 minutes for a bowl of ramen at Ippudo. This was of course, six years ago before we knew the value of time. But this time around, the craving for ramen just couldn’t be satisfied, so on the last day of our trip, all six of us defied the cold weather and walked to Ippudo at 11 am. We narrowly missed the opening of the doors and so we still had to wait 60 minutes for noodles. A bit insane, I know. But the ramen was delicious, of course.
Yes, we’ve discovered that traveling with young kids is a tremendously different experience than without, but it’s still been incredibly joyful and worth the challenges. We just pack a few extra boxes of crackers and raisins, make friends with the flight attendants, and relax on the nap times. Then just welcome the chaos.