Tuesday, August 25, 2009


A brief note to say that I am FINISHED my yoga mat bag. Ta-da! I improvised the top, going for sort of an envelope flap look. I did a makeshift button hole to accommodate the enormous button I tracked down. And, like a little miracle, I had just enough yarn left for the strap. Okay okay, I'm READY. Is it time yet? Can we get on the plane yet? What? We still have twenty-six days to wait? Dang.

Well, at least that's less than a month.

Can't wait. Can't wait. Can't wait!

There's another pic below:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Getting There!

Hey Y'all,
Lisa is off crafting away on vacation. I'm here in Austin in the six thousand degree heat, which I will not let deter me from working with wool, wool, and more wool. I just keep the a/c on and pretend I'm in Maine, which-- hooray-- I actually will be in THIRTY-SEVEN days!!

Lisa and I have been having a little knitalong, each of us working on a yoga mat bag she designed. Hopefully some of you are working on one, too. I'm taking the lazy knitter's route, just knitting in the round, a nice smooth surface made more interesting by my choice of variegated yarn. Lisa, the knit whiz, is sticking with the original pattern, which involves some lace. She's made quite a bit of progress, as you can see from the pictures.

I've actually made a good bit of progress, too, though I admit I got sidetracked by The Itch To Keep Multiple Projects Going At Once. I got the new Interweave KNITS a couple of weeks ago, fell in love with the sweater coat on the cover, designed by Deborah Newton, and immediately started in on it. I'm hoping to get it done in time for Monhegan, but I do sometimes get overly optimistic about these sorts of things. I guess we'll just have to see. For now, the goal is to finish the sweater, the yoga bag, a new hat, and maybe a scarf. Oh, okay, and a pair of lace socks. I know, I know... but a girl can dream, right?

Hope you're getting excited. I certainly am.
See ya soon,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Meet Mary Alice-- Our Fantastic Massage Miracle Worker

Hey Y'all,
As part of a week of wonderful relaxation, everyone on retreat has an opportunity to receive a massage from Mary Alice. I met MA last year, on my first retreat. Let me say that the massage she gave me sent me so far off into another realm, a place of pure chilled outedness for mind and body, that I really didn't want to get up off the table. Ever. I am so looking forward to this year's massage. I asked Mary Alice to tell me about herself and her practice. Here's what she had to say.

Spike: Were you always a masseuse?
MA: I started massage therapy 15 years ago after teaching in a junior college for 20 years. I thought I would be at the college the rest of my life or do something different. I wanted to explore the intuitive right side of my brain. I was in my mid 50s.

Spike: So, was the career switch a good thing?
MA: I love what I do and hope I can continue for some time. I think I connect with clients because I have been blessed with good hands, energy and intuitiveness. I am in touch with each person I work on and concentrate on my craft. I also have taken many seminars and I guess I could be called a "workshop junkie". However, all the continuing education has enhanced my practice.

Spike: Have you had any funny encounters with clients?
MA: Early in my practice I was doing home visits and I got a call from a local "strip club" asking if I could come to do a massage on woman who danced. She received massage regularly. So I said yes, and went with my table. Of course I looked in the paper the night before to see if I could recognize the dancer. When I got there, she looked nothing like the "image" in the paper. She ws a young woman who "traveled the circuit" and was from the Midwest. She was married with 3 children and was waiting to go home and see her kids. I did 1 1/2 hour massage and she asked if she could pay me in cash. She said it was the best massage she ever had. I was pleased and I charged her $80 and she gave me $100 in $1 bills. I immediately took them to the bank. The bank ask me where I got them and I said it was too long a story.

Spike: You've done massage in some interesting settings. Tell me about that.
MA: I volunteered at the 2002 Olympics in Utah and the 2004 Olympics isn Athens, Greece. Working with athletes from all over the world has too many experiences and stories to tell. I remember an alpine skier saying "just my feet"...that was the only English he knew. I also volunteer for many athletic events in Maine, Boston and New York such as Beach2Beacon, Boston Marathon, IronMan Triathlon in NY. I have volunteered at nursing homes and health fairs. Working with older people is very rewarding. It seems that just "touch" for someone in late 80s or 90s is so important.

Spike: Are you a knitter?
MA: I knit a little and usually bring the "same sweater" back to Monheghan each year. My sister is an avid knitter. Mabe someday (if I ever retire) I will try to learn to knit more.

Spike: You've been on the retreat a number of times. How does it measure up to your other massage adventures?
MA: I have always been so impressed with all who attend the retreat. Monhegan Island is a wonderful place for a retreat. You can knit, hike, do yoga or just rest and not feel rushed. Only a ferry ride will take you to the mainland. The Maine Island life is something everyone should experience and Monheghan is the perfect place.

Beach to Beacon Race

At a workshop in Greece