Thursday, May 8, 2008

MD Sheep and Wool: Ain't No Party Like a Ravelry Party

So, by the end of my festival time on Saturday, I was pretty tired and maybe just a little sunburned. As I was pulling out of my car, Casey and MaryHeather (and probably Jess, though I didn't see her) were walking by, and I shouted out the window "you guys are awesome." Hopefully they didn't think that was too weird. I went home, drank a good four glasses of water (something I'd foolishly avoided at the festival except at the end, so I could avoid the restrooms) and immediately started playing around with my drop spindle. Before too long though, it was time for the highlight of my weekend: the Ravelry party!

I was able to get to the hotel just fine, but I (along with the rest of the knitting world) was a little confused as to where exactly I was supposed to go. Happily, I found a group of equally confused Ravelers, and we asked someone at the front desk who helped us find a way around the weddings that were going on. The first thing I notticed once I got to the party were the awesome decals! My favorite was the bob decal:
Bob loves Ravelry
It was totally awesome. I got all 'checked in' (which really meant picking up my drink tickets and raffle ticket) and walked around taking in the sights. So many people with such gorgeous knitted garments! One of my first stops ended up by the Rav Merchandise area: there was (the birthday girl - look up tag later) with a stack of Ravelry tote bags! I'll be honest, when I looked at the RavStore online, the tote bag was maybe the only thing that did *not* capture my attention. I've never been much of a tote bag person in general, and the neon green didn't really do much for me. Of course, once I saw it in person, I could hardly resist it. I kept trying on the sample bag, and petting it, and thanks to the wonderful TeamRav members, I was convinced I had to own the bag. Purchasing it, of course, took up my very very last cash at all, and the end of my budget, but it was money well spent. The tote is incredibly sturdy, it has a large capacity, it has a nicely flattened bottom, and it has a great pocket between the straps on the front. Add to that the fact that the straps magically happen to be my favorite strap height ever, and you can see why I was sold. Plus, I'll admit it, I felt kind of cool walking around in my (albeit heavily modified) beta shirt with this awesome tote.

Walking around the party, I ran into SpaceKitty. SpaceKitty went (technically goes) to my old high school, and though I didn't know her when I was there, she was friends with one of my best friends from high school. (Hi, M!) She had already found a table and made friends, so my Gimlet and I (my standard mixed drink) walked over to the table. I met a bunch of wonderful people, most of whose RavIDs I forgot, but notably I met Julsey and Pamster73. While we were sitting around a lot of people were knitting, so I pulled out my Embossed Leaves and started knitting away. Clearly, I had found my people! People were very nice and complemented my most recent sock-in-progress bag I'd sewn (which you haven't seen yet...they'll be a post about that soon. =] ) and we all admired how really, Risata was a much nicer yarn than you'd necessarily expect from knitpicks. Pamster and I discussed our trials with lace, and I admired socks all around. We took a picture later in the evening, but I'll post it here:
Ravelry party!

Somewhere around here, I saw someone wander by with strawberries and I decided to go search them out. I found some and then I met Ikumi, a fellow MD Raveler. She's in school for medical illustration - maybe the coolest thing ever. We chatted for a bit, but then it was time for the RavGods (as I call them) to give their adorable speeches and hand out the billion door prizes.
Rav gods
Jess and Casey seemed amazed that Ravelery has come as far as it has, and I'll admit, I'm still amazed that they're as great as they are. I use Ravelry proportionally more than any other web products than Google products, but you don't see the GoogleReader designer throwing a party for his users, and drinking and chatting with them.
The Gods
Then, the raffle. Sadly, I did not win anything in the raffle, but SpaceKitty and ChezAristotle, the two people I have some connection with 'in real life' did, so that's good enough for me. The raffle and the festival convinced me though - I need to get some buffalo and yak fiber, and I need it bad! Thank you thank you thank you to the sponsors of the RavParty: it was a great party, and I'm grateful you helped make it possible. I'll list them here so any readers who haven't yet can go check them out:

After the raffle was over, ChezAristotle came over to chat with me. Now, much like I was four years above SpaceKitty in highschool, ChezAristotle was three years above me in college. I knew of her my freshman year (her senior year) because she was someone whose name was known, but I'd never spoken to her. It was thanks to Ravelry that we 'met.' Plus, she has one of the best blog posts about Hegel ever. (Her site's down temporarily, but I'll link you later.) We chatted about philosophy and about some of the trials and tribulations of having graduated from our mutal Alma Mater. Mary said it best - back when we were in school, we both thought it was kind of silly the way alums would talk about the importance of getting to know other alums, but now that we find ourselves graduated, we're seeing what they were talking about.

At the end of the evening, I caught Jess and Casey (Mary Heather I just spoke with in passing - she complemented my beta shirt mods. =] ) and was able to chat briefly with them. Were I less shy and worried about being an imposition, I would've gotten a photo with them, but there's always next year!

I went home happy and excited: I'd made new friends, met some of my internet idols, and had a great time. It was the best party I'd gone to in a long while. As someone who's not usually the most social, it was great to know that I could go somewhere where I knew almost nobody and still make friends. It also rekindled my desires to join a knitting group; knitters are such a cool bunch. The next day it was off to the festival again, this time with my mother. That will get one final post a little later.

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