I need to be packing...
So of course I'm going to write a blog post instead!
Hello, blog! How are you? I've thought about you more frequently in the last few days. Lots to talk about! [I promise not to continue this anthropomorphication of the blog any further. It's getting creepy already.]
If you've been following my Twitter feed, you know I've been in a Sock Summit preparation frenzy for the last month. I understand many of the other instructors have been similarly focused/freaked out and it's a bit of a comfort. See, these are two brand-new classes I'm teaching at Sock Summit: simultaneously exciting and terrifying. I can't even begin to go into everything that's been running through my head, so I just won't.
I do know that I'm looking forward to Thursday night when I will have finished teaching each class once, and can breathe a little easier. I want to kick ass with these classes [without actually kicking anyone in the ass, because I don't think the students would like that].
It didn't occur to me that I might need to get a massage before the trip because my neck and upper back would seize up, so I didn't book one. And I guess my favorite miracle worker is away for the weekend, so oh well. We pulled out the Thumper and hub went to town and it has helped!
I'll book her for when I return. Because man, will I have earned it!
You probably know I think the internet is a wonderful place, and this next story just proves it once again.
I'm enamored [understatement] with the ukulele. I adore playing it -- not that I'm fabulous, just that it makes me SO HAPPY. Here's a little something my BUFFs [best uke friends forever] and I worked up a few weekends ago...Take the Skinheads Bowling. Original version by the incomparable Camper Van Beethoven. Our take is the world premiere of our new girl group: No Skanks On Sunday.
One thing girl uke players have to deal with is that our natural appendages get in the way of holding the uke flat against our chest like guys get to do. This makes it harder for us to play -- or some of us, anyway. So I posted a query on my favorite ukulele forum asking if anyone had ever tried to alter the architecture of the ukulele to accommodate our protrusions, and the discussion didn't go south...it got really positive, constructive and interesting, really quick! Here's the thread in case you're interested.
The summary: the back and forth discussion prompted one forum member to ask about making a concave-backed uke, which I thought was a brilliant idea. After the jokes about custom cup-sized ukes were finished [can't blame them], up stepped a skilled and kind luthier who wanted to give it a shot. In fact, he offered to build a prototype for me and just send it to me. As a gift.
I was floored. His name is Brad Donaldson and you can google him, but you won't find much right now. I offered to build him a website for his work as a thank you, and he's accepted...so that makes me really happy. [No, I won't start work on it until fall Knitty has gone live, promise.] Brad lives about an hour and a half outside of Portland [you know, where SOCK SUMMIT is being held this week?]. So tomorrow, when I get off the plane, I'll be heading to pick up my rental car and driving out to get my brand-new first-ever concave-back ukulele.
Once Brad got into working on this project, he was on fire. Every day, I got a progress e-mail with pictures. He started upgrading the wood he was using, because he could tell it was working out well and he wanted it to be even prettier than he'd planned at first. So instead of solid mahogany [which is fabulous enough], it's now mahogany and quilted maple with rosewood trim and abalone fret markers and his logo. Here, some pictures of the uke without the finish on:
and the money shot:
Look at the curve in that back! He's already strung it up and says it sounds great, and since then, has applied a gorgeous gloss finish which has been curing for the last few weeks. Tomorrow, I get to pick it up and play it. I am so excited, it's hard to think straight.
I'll post pics when I'm back home in a week, so you can enjoy it with me, but if you follow the Twitter feed, you'll see a snapshot or two as soon as I have it. For Sock Summit attendees who are curious, yes, it'll be with me all the time during the week so you can peek at it.
I'm also quite certain that Brad will build one of these for other people as well. I believe he's already started on a few. So I'll share his contact details when it's okay with him.
Like I said, the internet is an amazing place where great things happen.
Underwear is washing, suitcases pulled out of hiding and my new treat to myself for this trip is ready to be loaded: it's an ePac rolling backpack. Key feature for me: easy access pocket for my laptop so when I get to airline security, I don't have to unpack my bag to get at it. [The bag I've had for the last 3 years only works when the laptop is on the bottom of everything else. Ack!]
I already feel my travel mood improving as a result. I'm just tired of fighting with luggage in front of every xray machine.
There's room in it for a little spindle and fiber, some knitting and even a pocket at the very back for my class handouts, so it's the perfect travel bag. And cheap at $79.
So there you have it. My pre-trip update. There will be no WWW news this week, for obvious reasons. Mel is going to collect more good stuff for the next week and it'll go up when I'm back.
I'm looking forward to meeting all sorts of people this week, and hope everyone has a great time at the Summit. And for those not going, I'm quite certain that the benefits of this event will trickle down to the entire sock-knitting community in the form of new patterns, books and ideas that we can all share.
Have a great week, everyone!