Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Slow Yoga (Sock Version)

May 31, 2018

Part of what I love about knitting is the opportunity to try something new — a new stitch pattern, like entrelac, or a new technique, like putting in a lifeline and ripping back to fix a mistake.

A year or so ago, a pattern for yoga socks caught my eye. I’m a big fan of sock knitting and practice yoga somewhat regularly, so I figured it’d be a good fit. After I finished my most recent pair of socks, I cast on the yoga socks as my traveling knit project.

If you’re wondering what yoga socks are, they’re basically socks without the fun-to-knit bits — that is, without the heel or toe. You might think that they’d knit up really fast, but I’m finding them kind of slow going.

I’m almost never knitting only one project at a time. Having a small project that I can tuck into a bag and take “on the road” is a must-have. Just after I cast on the second yoga sock last week, I worked a few rounds while taking the subway into downtown Boston where I was leading a two-day social media marketing course (one of my day jobs!).

yoga-sock-start

Over the holiday weekend, all five of us were together at our rustic, quirky, old island house. The weather was gray and somewhat chilly, so we spent time near the fireplace in the unheated “barn,” playing cards and Scrabble, reading, napping, and knitting.

yoga-sock-barn

While I love the colors of this yarn — Schoppel Wolle’s Zauberball Crazy (Malerwinkel colorway) — I’m finding it somewhat hard to read . Or perhaps I need a new pair of reading glasses!

I got a few more rounds done while waiting for Michael to get four wisdom teeth extracted. I love how knitting absolutely transforms waiting time.

yoga-sock-knit

 

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LYS visit: Fibre Space

May 17, 2018

During our visit to Alexandria and Washington earlier this month, I slipped away for an hour to visit Fibre Space, just a few blocks from Chris and Karen’s. The first clue that this is not an ordinary local yarn store can be found outside, where several sheep and a yarn-bombed bicycle mingle on the brick sidewalk.

Fiber-space-bike

Inside is equally as charming and color-filled, with sassy mannequins bedecked in a variety of handknits. Who doesn’t love a bright red yarn-bombed animal (deer? sheep with deer antlers?) overlooking a room?

Fiber-space3

As often happen when I’m surrounded by miles of luscious yarns, enticing sample knits, thousands of notions, and all kinds of knitterly goodies, I was almost overwhelmed and unable to make a decision. Maybe some Skinny Singles sock yarn from Hedgehog Fibres? How can you go wrong with beautiful sock yarn?

Fiber-space2

“But you’ve got at least five or six skeins of sock yarn at home,” my stash-controlling alter ego reminded me. Maybe something a bit heavier? The “big wheels” of Hazel Knits DK were mighty tempting, but I’m not in the mood for a shawl or sweater, especially since the Sunshine Coast is moving along so slowly.

Fiber-space

Since yarn is my go-to souvenir when I’m traveling, I focused my purchase energy on local products. A wall of Neighborhood Fiber Co. skeins caught my eye. The company is based in Baltimore, about 50 miles away (which counts as local for me). The colorways are named for neighborhoods in Baltimore and also in Alexandria and Washington.

Neighborhood-fiber-yarn

When we lived in Alexandria more than 20 years ago, we lived in the Del Ray neighborhood. While I was tempted to buy a skein of the “Del Ray” colorway out of sentimentality, I’m really not a fan of yellow tones (at least, not for me — and really, that’s who it’s all about). Instead I chose a skein of superwash merino in blue-black Old Towne East.

While the supremely helpful shop staff assisted another knitter, I just had to peruse the “accessories” conveniently displayed near the register. A project bag from Chicken Boots (Charm Keeper model in Big Kitty) caught my eye — just-right size with a see-through bottom and a handy carry strap. How could I resist?

Fiber-space-goodies

I have no idea what I’ll make with 400 yards of this lovely yarn. I’m guessing it’ll become a hat or maybe a pair of mittens. What do you think?

 

Back to the Old Stomping Grounds

May 8, 2018

I’m regularly surprised by how long it’s been since we moved from the Washington, DC, area. I know, I know, “surprising” probably isn’t the right word if I keep doing it, but really — 21 years?!

We’ve been fortunate to maintain friendships by visiting once a year or so and seeing friends whose travels take them to the Boston area. And then there’s our wonderful family — my brother Chris, sister-in-law Karen, their two teen daughters and pre-teen son. The best fringe benefit of my eight-month interim management gig at a DC-area organization last year was my weekly visits to their home. Plus the rates and amenities were unbeatable!

Patrick and I flew down early Friday morning after snagging same-day tickets (released online at 6:30am) to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Like all great museums, there’s no way to experience it in a day (even an entire day) and you could return again and again and come away with new knowledge and inspiration. And probably sore feet, which you could rest alongside the water at the entrance.

NMAAHC

While on a morning walk through our old neighborhood, I was lucky enough to bump into an old long-time friend and former co-worker. Since he was heading out to walk his dog, we walked together back to Chris and Karen’s, sharing news of spouses, children, his brand new grandchild, professional endeavors, with only a bit of shared dismay at the state of what passes for political “leadership” today.

KMB

Patrick and I won the aunt-uncle lottery (albeit with no competition) and took the kiddos on a field trip to National Harbor for a few hours on Sunday. Nothing educational; just walking about. Since we’re not their parents, we said “yes” to nearly everything they expressed interest in. There’s a candy store? Let’s get a bag or maybe a chocolate covered Oreo. Ice cream? Absolutely. Nail polish that changes color in the sunshine? Who would be without it?!

There’s a fair bit of public art — statues, like this one of Henry Ford, which A. enjoyed mimicking.

Natharbor5

The little kids’ play area included less historic, if slightly more creepy, sculptures.

Natharbor

A giant sculpture of a giant, The Awakening, had been moved from its original site along the Potomac in D.C. to a human-made beach at National Harbor, where its various parts are explored by young and old alike.

Natharbor2

Four times around on the giant Ferris wheel gave plenty of opportunity to watch planes heading toward the nearby airport, gaze down at the marina and shops, speculate that it’d be a great place for an action movie scene, and wonder if you could survive a jump into the harbor from this height.

Natharbor-wheel

Natharbor3Natharbor4.JPG

Some day I hope to be able to take a selfie with Patrick in which we don’t look dopey, but for now, what you see is what we get.

The Sunshine Coast sweater got a bit bigger on the two flights, but you can’t really tell from this picture. Interspersed among the inches of stockinette stitch there are some lovely, subtle details. You’ll have to trust me on that for now.

Sunshine-coast-plane

Another highlight of the weekend was my visit to Fibre Space, a wonderful LYS that’s only a few blocks from Chris and Karen’s house. Stay tuned for that post later this week.

Socks on the Beach

March 9, 2018

“That’s so unlike you!” was the response from each of our children when we told them of our four-day trip to Florida. But January’s deep freeze had us planning for a warm weather get-away, and as luck would have it, we were away for a ferocious Nor’easter.

As usual, Patrick was first into the ocean. I’m more inclined to walk, look for shells, watch the wildlife (human and other), sit and knit — all the while mesmerized by the sound, sight, and smell of the sea.

PLD-Florida-beach

On the flight, I’d seamed the toe of Sock #2, wove in the ends, and then cast on a new sock. As usual, it’s a basic, top-down sock pattern; this one in Done Roving’s “Frolicking Feet” (Peacock colorway).

Sock-beach

The hotel loaned bikes (and kayaks) to guests — on the honor system, no less — so we explored some of the surrounding area. Shell seekers comb the beaches for hours, searching for treasures, some for souvenirs but many for their small businesses.

We had the pleasure of meeting an Ambassador from the nearby National Shell Museum (who knew?!). He identified some of our shells and advised us to clean the shells in a 1:4 bleach/water bath so they wouldn’t stink. His “I Know Shells. Ask Me” t-shirt was well earned!

Shell-seekers

After a morning yoga class, I discovered an historic cemetery, nestled under the trees only 50 yards from the sea. Grave markers, including this one of a 10 year-old girl who died in the 1880s, were often “decorated” with shells and sea glass.

Captiva-cemetery2

One afternoon, we opted for a guided kayak tour of the bay and a mangrove forest. In the quiet of the forest, we saw and heard birds — white ibises, osprey, turkey vultures, and pelicans —  dozens of ancient shell mounds from the Calusa natives, spider-like black shrimp that climbed the mangroves (fortunately staying far away from us humans).

PLD-kayak

The sock joined us for its — and our — first Spring Training baseball game.

Sock-redsox (1)

The get-away may have been unlike us, but given how wonderful and relaxing it was, that just might change.

MAH-PLD-Captiva

Fiber Arts from Morning to Late Night

January 29, 2018

Despite its size, I find New York a remarkably easy city to navigate. Walking and the much maligned MTA subway were are sole modes of transportation this weekend. Keeping to my daily routine, I headed out from our hotel in Downtown Brooklyn for a solo walk early Saturday morning. After a mile or so, I discovered a yarn store (of course!) Alas, Woolyn wouldn’t open for several hours, so I just peeked through the window and snapped a photo.

Woolyn yarn shop in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Waterfront Park is a creative, accessible, and — on a mild, sunny, late-winter morning — truly beautiful public asset. On the edge of a renovated pier, I watched the Staten Island Ferry land at Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the distance (New Jersey, too). As always, I sent a silent prayer of thanks to my father, who arrived at Ellis Island in 1939.

After a tasty lunch with Hannah in East Williamsburg, we boarded the subway to Manhattan, transferring to the legendary A train for the journey to 190th Street near the northern tip of the island. Hannah did the New York Times’ crossword puzzle on her phone while a fellow passenger practiced guitar.

After a 10-minute walk through Fort Tryon Park, we arrived at The Cloisters, an exceptional museum “dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe.” A selection:

Cloisters There’s an extensive collection of tapestries, the most famous of which are the likely the Unicorn Tapestries. Given their age (more than 500 years old), travels, and centuries of less-than-ideal environmental conditions, they’re in remarkable condition. I didn’t even try to capture the detail or colors or scale. I hope you can see them yourself one day.

unicorn

Our evening included dinner with cousin Kathy, followed by a performance of “The Band’s Visit.” There really is nothing like live theater. The subway ride back to Brooklyn provided the perfect opportunity to dissect the day, marvel at our great good fortune, and get in a few more rows of the Wee Penny.

Weekend in the Big Apple

January 27, 2018

There’s much I miss about not having any children living at home (at least, most of the time), but being able to easily plan a weekend away isn’t one of them.

Yesterday afternoon, Patrick and I hopped in the car and drove a few hours to Stamford, CT where we left the car and boarded a commuter train to New York. Since we’d caught an express train, we arrived a full 90 minutes before we were due to meet Hannah for dinner, a 40-minute walk away.

What to do? We had the same thought at almost the same moment: the famed Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station (of course!)

Oysters and knitting work in progress

Patrick enjoyed a half dozen (minus one for me) raw oysters and some delicious oyster stew. We had a lengthy, enjoyable chat with a Swiss lawyer on the next stool, who was savoring his two dozen oysters plus a half bottle of wine.

By the time we’d finished our brisk 37-block walk to the East Village, we’d worked up an appetite for our second meal!

It’s Been a Minute

January 24, 2018

OK, it’s been waaaaay more than a minute, but here we are.

I’ve been traveling a lot for work and made good progress on Hannah’s throw (Siman Baby Blanket in Cascade 128 Superwash). But after a few square feet, I had to face the reality that it was getting too big to schlep about on the Metro and airplanes.

Simran-throw-growing

Clearly, socks  – the perfect travel companion – were needed. I dug out some lovely self-striping Felici from Knit Picks – colorway is Toucan.

Felici-sock-yarn

It felt great to be knitting a sock again! Part of what I love about making socks is the design and simple engineering of the thing. Although I’ve tried a couple at least one toe-up version, I prefer top-down.

Knit-sock-ribbing

My go-to pattern is the Yarn Harlot’s Good Plain Sock Recipe. I’ve made more than a dozen pairs with it, and it never fails to please me — nor the recipient. Kevin got a pair for Christmas. Same yarn, different colorway.

Kevin-socks

An added benefit of sock knitting? Totally portable, just about anywhere — for example, on a plane.

Knit-sock-airplane

It’s nice to be back. What’s on your needles these days?

 

 

Too Big for Travel Knitting

July 13, 2017

I’m doing a fair bit of air travel this summer, flying down to Washington DC every week for a couple of days with a new client. Even though the good folks at JetBlue provide free in-flight wifi, making it easy to keep up with online work, there’s still a fair bit of “down time” — or as I call it — knitting time.

Thanks to multiple flight delays (runway construction and summer storms are the double-whammy of on-time travel), the lovely Woven Sky Throw is progressing nicely. I’m close to the final tier of triangles, which means there’s “just” the border to finish. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s gotten too big for schlepping around airports and subway trains.

Entrelac-throw-wip

So yesterday evening, I broke out the swift and ball winder and grabbed my two skeins of Anzula “Cricket.” After a few minutes, they went from this…

anzula-cricket-yarn

to this.

Anzula-cricket-yarn

Next step: casting on for the Spring into Summer Romper.

 

 

How do other people do this?

March 3, 2017

Regular readers and those who know me “beyond the blog” know that knitting helps keep me balanced. I love the creativity and challenge, but the repetition and focus help to quiet my mind — and I’m convinced, make me a better person.

I love having something to concentrate on — to do — during life’s “down times.” Waiting for a medical appointment, watching TV, sitting around talking after supper, or riding a bus, train, or plane.

My daily morning run serves the same purpose — getting out by myself, moving, breathing. A psychologist friend once explained that I’m not “in relation” to anyone during that time — I’m not a mother, wife, daughter, consultant, sister — so I can just be me. Makes sense. As my favorite poet-artist, Brian Andreas of Storypeople, conveys in this “story” that hangs by our back door.

screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-8-43-43-pm

Go to his site and look at the prints. They’re wonderful.

The power of these two habits has become abundantly and viscerally clear in the past day. I used the last of my yarn on the Gidday Baby sweater on yesterday’s flight.


I hadn’t brought the next skein from home. Ah well. I still had my book and running stuff in my bag, which I’d checked through to my “final destination” because the flight was totally full.

But my flight was canceled, and I ended up flying into another city and renting a car to drive to my “final destination.” However, my bag — which I’d taken a photo of just in case — never arrived.

 And, despite this lovely photo, it didn’t and still hasn’t. It’s not even been located, according to the automated customer service system.

So I find myself without my knitting, without my running stuff, without my clean clothes (except for new underwear from Walgreen’s – yes, 2 pack of cotton bikini), without my library book. Except for the undies, I haven’t had time to remedy any of these situations. I’m feeling the most out-of-sorts — downright cranky and occasionally weepy — that I have in quite a while.

So I wonder — after a very long and busy day, how do people do this life thing without knitting or running?

Wash and dry knits

April 19, 2015

Via my wonderful friend Cathie, a lesson in the resourcefulness of knitters and the durability of knitting. Picture this:

Skilled attorney, frequent flyer, intrepid knitter Cathie in the airport lounge where she’s passing the time during yet another Air Canada flight delay. Cup of coffee and suitcase by her side. In a perfect example of the domino effect, suitcase tips, knocks over coffee, which spills into open knitting bag at her feet, soaking her knitted baby blanket.

knit baby blanket variegated yarn

After some choice words (I wasn’t there but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t silent during said event), Cathie calmly takes blanket to wash room, rinses in sink (cool water, of course), squeezes excess water, and returns to lounge,

where the beautiful blanket is draped over the offending suitcase to dry.

knit baby blanket drying at airport

Sock Travels

January 21, 2014

While you could hardly say that I lead a jet set life, I’ve had my share of short, turn-around flights over the past few years. Most were work-related as I traveled between Boston and Philadelphia to a client, generally flying down and back in the same day although sometimes with an overnight. Since I finished that piece of work, I’ve not had the occasion to travel much.

Hannah’s role in a musical at a community theatre in North Carolina this month provided me and my Mom the chance to take a brief trip for Friday’s opening night performance. My latest sock (Berroco Sox in Red Multi) joined us. On the flight to Raleigh-Durham, I knit a few inches plus the heel flap.

TravelingSock

The show, 9 to 5: The Musical, was very well done. You’ll have to take my word for it, especially since photos were prohibited and no reviews are out. And, of course, Hannah was terrific. Yes, I’m biased but I know talent when I see it!

When we arrived at the airport Saturday morning, we discovered our flight was delayed two hours because of snow in Boston. One of the great things about knitting is the way it transforms waiting into something enjoyable — or at least distracts the knitter from some of the frustration of waiting. The heel was turned and gusset begun.

TravelingSockHeel

The time-transforming power of knitting was tested a bit when the pilot announced, as we were second in line to take off, that the Boston airport had gone into a “ground delay” and that we’d be waiting for another hour before we left the ground. And he kindly thanked us for our patience, to which Mom said, “Do we have a choice?” She didn’t have her knitting — just a book, one apparently without time-transforming powers.

What really matters is we made it home safe and sound, if somewhat later than expected, AND with a close-to-finished sock as a souvenir (of sorts).

IMG_2999

 

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