The weather gods smiled upon us. Both of our trips across the island were done in lovely weather, with clear roads. It was a little crazy to commit to anything in St. John's in February, as the weather on all the other days when we were there revealed, but we lucked out and made record time.
Here is the requisite photograph of the houses in downtown St. John's, taken in the fading daylight when we arrived on Monday afternoon. There are very pretty. I think what I especially love about them is that everyone participates in the whole colourful thing, even the houses that are more run down. And I love that there are run down houses. Not that it is so great if one is living in that particular house, but that St. John's isn't just a cutesy place. It has rough edges.
The roughest edge we discovered on this particular trip was that no one shovels their sidewalk. We spent the first whole day there in disbelief, asking every local what the deal was. I mean, even in NYC, people (for the most part) shovel their bit of sidewalk. We never really got an answer although everyone complained. Our B&B host, who grew up outside of St. John in Bay Bulls said it was "lazy Townies". But I noticed that she didn't shovel either! The result of it all was that everyone has to walk in the street, which was rather dangerous considering that the streets were quite icy and are famously hilly.
Ok, enough clutching of the handbag and fanning the delicate self with a hankie about those ruffians in the big, bad city. I was there to teach people to spin, and that is what I did.
This is part of the Thursday group. I totally did not photograph the Tuesday group, being busy, as it were, teaching.
The rest of the Thursday group. As you can see, we had a full house (both evenings) and I came away feeling like almost everyone was going to keep going. Several people had that look in their eye that suggested they might quit their day job and sell all their posessions so as to be able to spin fleece for the rest of their lives. Note to those participants: such measures are not actually necessary. It is enough to mildly neglect your children and grossly neglect housework. As someone from the Tuesday group warned the Thursday group on the ravelry page, "You might want to prepare some meals ahead of time."
Here is Bessie. Bessie belongs to Jenny who is the owner of A Good Yarn, where the workshops took place. It is a lovely, friendly yarn shop. And Bessie will greet you at the door and welcome you in a very quiet, sweet way. You should go there and spend a lot of money so Jenny can keep this gem of a place going.
One especially nice thing about the workshops was that several of the people who attended were people I had met when I came through town to kick-off Knitting Sprawl back in September 2009. It was very nice to see them again and feel like I had made some real connections. St. John's has a very enthusiastic and welcoming group of knitters (and now spinners), so anyone traveling through there should make a point of dropping in on one of their many knit nights. You will feel welcomed.
Another especially nice thing that happened was that I received some encouragement to plan a summer workshop here on the west coast on natural dyeing and spinning (including the wheel). Such a thing had been brewing in my mind anyway so it was really exciting to hear people say they would make the trek across to attend. Stay tuned!