I had the pleasure of attending the Craft Council of America's Knit-Out and Crochet 2008 event at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN on Saturday February 16th. This was only the third time I set foot in the great Mall of America. The last time was seven years ago when my first born was just a baby. What a place! What an amazing event! And my, oh my were there ever the people there! Most importantly, for anyone who knows anything about loom knitting, the most important person in our little loom knitting circle was there! The sole purpose of my attendance at this giant event! My only goal was to meet this talented woman. Yeah, sure, bonus for the free patterns, crochet hooks, skeins of yarn, and knitting needles!
Well, after what seemed like hours of wading through the constant flow of people (all the time carrying my two year old daughter, I might add), I finally spotted her. At least I thought it was her. I could barely see the back of her head peeking through these giant glass elevators. I was behind the speakers so the voices were muffled but I thought I heard this woman say she was Isela Phelps!
The very long line I was standing in slowly inched forward. The microphone was handed on down the line of ladies seated at the long table on the stage. Each author introducing themselves as they held up the books they had written. Finally I reached the side of the stage and I got a better look at the ladies sitting on stage. It was her! But how was I going to meet her face to face???? Ohhh, the agony! My arms ached from holding my daughter...I was so hot I could pass out right then and there (there were so many bodies in one place)...my son and my other daughter kept wanting to wander off and my stress level was very high from making sure they were in sight at all times all the while thoughts of someone snatching them up kept coming to mind...the line inched further along. Eventually the line I was standing in for free stuff moved further away from the stage and from the person I attended the event for in the first place. I didn't think I was going to find her again in this avalanche of people! I looked back and the authors had moved off of the stage. Oh well, I thought, at least I got to see her.
I checked on the schedule of events and noticed Isela had a demonstration at 11:00 a.m. Checked my watch, 12:30! Dang nabit! I missed the demonstration too (the traffic was horrible getting to the mall and we just couldn't find a parking spot so we were late getting there)! Just about then my two little girls needed to go potty! Arrrrrrrrrgh! I stood in line this whole time and now they need to use the potty?? My sister and her friend said they would watch my son and told me to just go and come back to the line when we were done. Note to ladies in line behind me: So, sorry, my little girls need to go potty!
As my husband and I waded toward the bathroom I looked back over at the stage, I noticed these tables with the authors sitting at them! Whoooooooo hoooooo! Then I saw her! She was quietly sitting there and I walked right up to her and introduced myself! Isela shook my hand. I told her my name and my yahoo and Ravelry user name and told her I had just tested knitted her cabled mitten pattern for the Loom along on Ravelry. She knew who I was and thanked me for my help. She asked me if I was enjoying myself and the only thing I could think to say was how terribly hot I was! She introduced me to her talented husband Sam. I shook hands with him and asked him about those cute little looms they were giving away. He told me about Isela's second demonstration at 3:30 that afternoon and he told me they would hand them out at that demonstration. I handed Isela my Loom Knitting Primer book and she signed it for me! While she was signing it, my four year old daughter tugged on my sleeve telling me she had to go potty! Oooooh, the agony! I wanted to chat with her longer! Catch 22! If they hadn't had to go potty I wouldn't have gotten to meet her, if they hadn't had to go potty, I could have chatted longer! LOL! At least I got to meet her and I got her autograph! Isela stood up and shook my hand again and I dejectedly walked off toward the ladies room! Oh, why couldn't my hubby have taken them to go potty??? Oooooooooh nooooo! I left without getting my picture taken with her! I brought my camera and didn't think to get my picture taken with her??? What a doodoo bird! Ok, I thought, I have another chance, I can go to her demonstration at 3:30! My spirits lifted.
We found our way back to the line where my sister and my son were after the "potty break". I excitedly told my sister I got to meet Isela Phelps! My sister doesn't know a thing about loom knitting, she is more into needle knitting instead. She asked me who she was. I showed her the book I had and her autograph. She said that was cool. We stood in line waiting and inching along for about 45 minutes longer picking up free patterns and crochet hooks and knitting needles. Eventually we reached the end of the line and the kiddos had had enough. Everyone was hungry and thirsty. And I was exhausted from carrying my two year old.
The Mall of America is four levels. Since I hadn't been there in seven years I had no idea were the food court was. My sister's memory was a bit fuzzy on that too (even though she had been there more recently than I). All the while carrying my daughter (she just wouldn't go to my husband and she was so scared of all of the people she wanted me to hold her), we wandered around from floor to floor trying to find a place to sit down and refresh ourselves. Eventually my sister and her friend decided they wanted to just leave the mall and find a place to eat away from the mayhem. I hesitated since I really wanted to go to the loom knitting demonstration at 3:30. We seperated and my husband and I remembered we had seen a Subway somewhere so we set out trying to find it. 45 minutes and several floors later we finally found it! It was 2:00 p.m. The kids were tired and cranky. We promised them rides (there is an amusement park right inside the Mall of America) if they just held out a little longer.
After we ate we headed for the amusement park. Alas, we just didn't have enough money on us to purchase tickets. Ideally, if you want to go on rides you buy tickets at the beginning of the day and ride all day. It didn't look like you could buy tickets individually to ride only a few rides. An all day pass for one person was all we had. The kids were heart broken. We promised them we would take them during the week sometime and bring enough money for everyone to ride next time. It was just too much, the kiddos were tired and dissapointed. It was 2:45 and my four year old daughter threw herself on the floor of the mall and cried. We had to go home.
I left the Mall of America with lots of patterns, some free yarn, a crochet hook, a set of lighted knitting needles and my autographed book of Loom Knitting Primer, but no cute little loom keychain (sniff, sniff), and no picture with Isela. Perhaps next year???
My notes for the next Knit-Out and Crochet of 2009 if it comes back to the Mall of America:
- Leave hubby home with the kids
- Bring camera and use it!
- Arrive in plenty of time to go through the lines of free stuff so I can find the people I want to see and spend more time chatting with them!
- Bring something to drink!
- Wear a t-shirt!