I've been to the Pittsburgh knit and crochet festival twice.
I don't remember but I think I went with knitnightclaire in 2008. It was my first cashmere, my first swift, my first drop spindle and one of my first attempts at getting past the social anxiety that has always been a part of my life.
I went alone in 2009. They changed locations. I dropped mr. Sophanne off at the casino and went in the cold February rain. I'm pretty sure this was a conscious choice. People make me nervous and I wanted to enjoy the yarn. In spite of that, I wore my Central Park hoodie hoping that it was such a recognizable pattern that people would notice it and magically be my friend. Later I sat in front of a hotel fireplace with other knitters pretending to be part of their group. Lacking adult supervision, I purchased blocking wires and a felted tea cozy pattern that looked like an orange slice. The blocking wires have been used minimally. The fruit slice was used as a hat once and discarded.
The 2009 trip reminds me of the dog pre-bath time. She play bows as I go for her and in the next moment runs away barking because I say the word bath. She is a dog conflicted. I was a social being conflicted.
Tomorrow I will be at the festival with three knitting friends gathering from hither and yon to travel together in knitnightgina's van. It is likely that I will run into another friend who is going as well.
In addition to the fine and sometimes not so fine items I have made, the greatest gift of knitting has been the funny laughing friends and the slow process of relaxing in and enjoying the company of others. If I have to increase my yarn stash as part of the process, that's a sacrifice I am willing to make.
And tomorrow if I see someone wandering alone in a hand knit sweater, I will welcome him/her and bring him/her into the fold.