Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All went well.

Start with the big one: Franklin is a brilliant teacher, as several of you had told me. Not for him (although he might so easily have adopted it) the role he describes in his wonderful essay for Knitty, “The Ten Knitters You Meet in Hell”:

“The Divine Presence: She considers eighty dollars a bargain price for the opportunity to spend three hours just being in the same room with her. Offering actual instruction would be overkill. Instead, she may proffer extempore, colorful anecdotes from her fabulous life; or perhaps an “inspirational” slide show of her immortal designs—the patterns for which are (of course) for sale from her booth in the marketplace.”

The lessons were meticulously planned and timed. I learned a lot. It was a small class – seven of us, and Franklin. Interesting women, with things to say. He was brilliant at contributing to the conversation without being overbearing, and then getting back to the point.

I had my camera with me – I had even put in new batteries that morning, although the camera hadn’t asked for them. It’s heavy on batteries, and I didn’t want to take any chances. But when the moment came, at the end of the day, it was too embarrassing, I couldn’t ask.

But then Franklin said he wanted to have his picture taken with me – leaving everyone else to wonder, for an instant, whether perhaps I were Jane Sowerby. I think the picture on his great big camera is perhaps slightly better than mine, seen above, taken a few seconds later, in which I look hysterical.

Other aspects of the weekend were equally successful. I managed London on my own, although it was scary. One particularly sweet moment occurred on Sunday morning, when I emerged from the tube station at the Angel, Islington, wondering somewhat whether I would in fact be able to find the venue.

And there, just beyond the barrier, miraculously, was Shandy. “Are you Jean?” We had a grand time together, including our lunch at The Elk in the Woods which would have gone on all afternoon, if I hadn’t had to get back for the afternoon class.

Shandy did only the morning session with Franklin, so she had time to have a serious look at Loop later on. I missed out on that – they didn’t let us in until just before the lesson, and were closed when it was all over. It’s a seriously wonderful shop, that much was clear. Maybe one day I’ll get back there. (On-line is great, but there’s nothing like an actual fondle.)

And all went well at this end. Indeed, it suddenly began to seem easy as soon as Rachel turned up on the doorstep on Friday evening. My husband has clearly very much enjoyed the company of his nearest and dearest other-than-me. The dining room pictures are hanging, and look good. The food from Cook was distinctly successful. My husband had a nap on Saturday afternoon while everyone else went off to watch the rugby in a pub.

Scotland lost. 


  1. For once it does not matter that Scotland lost. What mattered was that you clearly had a magical weekend. I am jealous!

  2. Not hysterical. I see two genuine beaming smiles there, you obviously had a wonderful time!

  3. Jean,
    I am so glad it went well at home and in London. Lovely photo of you both!


  4. That's the first time I can recall seeing Franklin all dressed up. I've never been in any of his classes and haven't gotten to spend as much time with him as I'd like, but he is a dear.

  5. rosesmama11:50 AM

    I'm so glad you went and that all went well. I do envy you a class with Franklin . . .

  6. It's a lovely picture of you both. Very natural and honest. Glad you had a great time and it all worked out on the home front.

  7. Anonymous1:06 PM

    Thanks for the updates! New precedents have been set in a few directions.
    So glad you finally had a class with Franklin.
    Lisa in Toronto

  8. I am so glad to hear that everything went well and you had such a great time with one of your heroes. It's all made even better by the fact that your husband had a good weekend of his own, so no complaints when you got home.

  9. I feel kind if silly, but I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. I am so, so happy for you that your weekend was such a grand success! You don't look hysterical in that picture. You look beautiful. And I LOVE how Franklin asked to have his picture taken with you!

    1. That should read "kind of silly." I told you I had tears in my eyes. I couldn't see what I was typing. :-)

  10. Wonderful! I'm so happy you had your time with Franklin and he had you have your picture taken with him. He is a sweetheart.

  11. I have been holding my breath waiting for this post. Even though I knew your weekend would have to be wonderful, I really wanted to hear it from you.

  12. MrsAlex4:13 PM

    So glad you had a great weekend (and everyone else, of course!).

  13. Anonymous4:40 PM

    Oh, Jean, it is so good to hear that you had a wonderful weekend! I had thought about you on Sunday, and wondered how you were doing with navigating London, the class, and Franklin, and how things were going on the home front.

    I was also pleased to hear that Franklin's classes are well-planned, as I will be taking a class with him in April at a Fiber Fest here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I had signed up for two classes with him, but his classes filled up within minutes of the opening of the online registration. I have been informed that I am #1 on the waiting list for the other Franklin class I wanted. Would it be bad of me to hope that someone from that class has to cancel their attendance between now and April?? (Shame on me.)

    Mary G. in Texas

  14. Certainly not hysterical, madame! I think you look like a portrait of delight.

  15. Love it! I'm so glad everything went smoothly. Classes with Franklin are such fun.

  16. Sarah JS9:44 PM

    SO glad that everything went swimmingly! In London and at home.

    Based on the one class I took from him, Franklin has a way with teaching, and holding one's attention, and being fabulous ... and totally unpretentious while doing so!

  17. AnnP in NY1:02 AM

    I think you look absolutely wonderful in your photo with Franklin. What a souvenir! So happy for you that all went well. Nice to see Shandy, too.

  18. I am not exaggerating one bit when I tell you that meeting you - at last! - was one of the highlights of the trip. Thank you for coming so far, and for being as wonderful in person as you always have been in your writing.

    Your compliments on my classes are so kind. It was a delight to have you there. And I am so happy that you were willing to indulge me with with photos. I had a hard time not being a Forward American and hugging you when you came into the classroom.

    I truly hope this will only be the first time our paths cross.

    I'm at the airport in New York City - we left the ship around 9 am. I've been waiting and waiting to have Internet again so I could write and thank you!

  19. Jean, The photo of you and Franklin is such a winner, thank you for posting it. You really met! It makes me happy.
    And I agree entirely, he is a good teacher.