In my “Ten-for-’10” last December I said:
8. Go to at least one Knitting Meet-up so I get to…
9. … Meet some more online knitting friends in the flesh
By “Knitting Meet-up” I was thinking Knit Camp or the Ravelry Weekend; and by “online knitting friends” I particularly had Averil in mind. Why?
My friendship with Averil began when she was my up-stream pal for the first ever Secret-Pal Swap for the Irish Knitters Group on Ravelry. Organised by Jagienka, there were 11 participants and many of whom were taking part in a swap for the first time, me included. Jagienka didn’t use Elfster; so she drew the names herself and each participant created an anonymous email account to communicate with their down-stream pal and keep their identity secret. It was both exciting and disconcerting to be receiving cheery messages and not have a clue who they were from. DH thought the whole thing was decidedly odd.
Averil’s parcel was great fun and very thoughtful. She included yarn and sweets from Spain, where she lives with her boyfriend. The sweets made a very fitting addition as a gift to two Ibero-philes that we visited that Christmas.
The following summer I made the yarn, Katia Nordic Print, into an Instant Gratification Scarf. I started it with Averil in mind, as a gift for her birthday; but decided it just wasn’t knitterly enough to give to a knitter and made her a hat instead. Yes, a 100% Wool hat was gifted to a woman living in Madrid for her birthday in June – I kinda didn’t think that through! However, my prescience paid off – it came in handy during the the cold snap last Winter.
We’ve been exchanging pressies and messages ever since – much to DH’s continuing amusement and bemusement: “What’s this? Another parcel from someone you’ve never met, eh?” is often heard round here. So I was determined to change that – 2010 would be the year we’d get to meet.
One of the big Knitting Meet-ups seemed the most likely venue. Averil went to the Ravelry Day in Coventry last year where she met SusyMcQ, amongst others – how jealous was I? But then we realised that this year the Ravelry Weekend is being organised for Stirling in Scotland; somewhat off the beaten track from Madrid. Unfortunately, Knit Camp – despite being scheduled in (the-infinately-more-accessible) London – clashes with our planned family holiday in Paris. I’ve suggested to DH that he could take the three crazies to Euro-Disney for the day and I’d take the Euro-Star to London but – so far – he’s not biting.
All was not lost! Thankfully, one of Averil’s siblings very kindly organised to have a Christening; giving Averil an excuse to come to Dublin to visit me! (You do all understand my sense of humour by now, and know when I’m being tongue-in-cheek, don’t you?)
So finally, after all the messages and presents, and the to-ing and fro-ing; we met in the Bell Café in Dublin City Centre. Chicwithsticks and Iontach came too and we spent a happy two hours chatting and drinking tea like we’d known each other since we were children. I also got to meet Averil’s boyfriend – it was lovely to put a face on the name of the person who prevents Averil from opening her Secret Pal Parcel or Birthday presents until the prescribed day.
Hi Averil! I’m sure you’re reading this. It was so great to – finally – meet you. I hope it will be the first of many. I’m still working on DH so that I can get to Knit Camp in London…