Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Of Whoopie Pies, Mitered Squares and Beowulf Sweaters

Home: This is where I want to be.

Another day on the island equals another day of bliss. This morning I kept my promise and got up at 5 am to lead a sunrise walk to Burnt Head. Fortunately Holden also kept his promise and got up who knows when to make sure the group— and there were a lot of us— had hot coffee to take along on our crack-o-dawn jaunt. Thank you, Holden! You’re the best.

Down at Burnt Head, a flock of seagull-sized mosquitoes attempted to thwart our efforts to immerse ourselves in the quiet beauty of a rosy-orange horizon. We persisted though, and I found gratitude in my heart for the mosquitoes, because with each bite came another opportunity to complain (for the sheer sport of it of course) about poor me and my itchy knees/legs/feet/butt/etc. 

The sun creeped up looking like a peachy lozenge, rewarding us for dragging our tired selves out of bed so early. And then, after another wonderful breakfast at Monhegan House, I hightailed it back to bed to catch a few more winks so I could be all rested up to a) fend off Eva’s barbs and b) knit my fingers off.

Tunisian crochet keeps Eva from succumbing to devilishly idle hands. 
 With word of an impending storm informing our itinerary planning, several knitters decided to get in a good hike today just in case—poor us—we are “stuck” in the house knitting all day Wednesday. And some of us (including yours truly) just lazed around, shopped over at the mall, and counted our blessings and our stitches.

In my case, blessing and stitch counting came together in a stunning Venn Diagram of Unbelievable Kindness when I stepped inside to find Susan secretly fixing the admittedly hairy garment I made that Eva calls my Beowulf Sweater. Last night when I brought it out to show it off it got a huge group laugh. So okay, it looks like it’s still part of a goat (I believe Evelyn said, “That thing looks like it can still walk…”) and kind of still smells like a goat. But it is my pride and joy, mohair made from angora goat fleece spun by my friend Lisa who raised the goats herself (and I even met them). I did have to admit that the sleeves were a little long—by about 15 inches each. But over dinner, Alison and Susan assured me that the fix would be “easy.” 

Evelyn is our official Kool-Aid yarn model.
Well, that's what they said BEFORE they saw the Beowulf Sweater. Here I would like to take a moment to discuss relativity as it pertains to my knitting skills and also the word “easy." As it happens, Susan and Alison both apparently learned to knit whilst still in the womb, whereas I can still be found sometimes fumbling through garter stitch potholders. Thus we can safely conclude that one gal’s definition of easy fix is another gal’s nightmare in goat’s clothing. Alison, who will be winning this year’s award for Most Patient Teacher Ever, spent a good deal of time teaching me how to cut (yes CUT) and then unravel part of the sleeve to shorten it. I sort of failed miserably, but she persisted very kindly and calmly in educating me, supervising as I eventually managed to get about two stitches on the needles. 

Catherine took this shot looking down from above.
 Then today Susan took over and picked up where Allison left off. In fact she went ahead and just made those sleeves the right length. When I walked in and saw her doing this, I was reminded of just how many skills I have picked up on these retreats. This is my fourth time out with Knitting and Yoga Adventures and it is because of what I’ve learned here that I am now fearless with the cables, curious about charts, and currently in the midst of a lace shawl pattern that five years ago would’ve brought me to my knees.

If Susan keeps this up she's getting a guest spot on Breaking Bad.
For me, coming here means, among other things, knitting in a manner that is on par with playing tennis with a better partner. I have to push myself to keep up, but it’s a pushing that I am delighted to go for, no complaints (well, except for sport). I have learned, more than once, that what I thought I couldn’t do, I certainly can do. That would count as an exceptional experience for any knitter, but given my aforementioned potholder fumbling, I have to say I'm never not totally amazed at what the coaxing of the pros can yield in the hands of an amateur such as moi.

 Raising a little shell down at Lobster Cove.
Once Susan finished up shortening the sleeves, I popped the sweater on and immediately people took notice, declaring that the Beowulf Sweater now, in fact, looked splendid. And it does. Then took a stroll out in the village and I am not kidding when I say I lost track of the number of compliments I received. In conclusion, I think it's safe to say: “What a difference (removing) three (excess) feet (of sleeves) makes!” And all joking aside (for a nanosecond) I learned something new about design and repair.

When she was done spoiling me with personal lessons, Susan then whipped out some excellent yarn and schooled us all in mitered squares. I figure I can master this technique by the morning and plan to finish a king-sized quilt before we hop on the ferry Saturday. 

And now, still more pics...

This picture reminds me-- next year let's play Mobius Strip Poker.  
Tea and Honeycomb.
If Eva were a Kennedy...
Breakfast of champions.
Holden preps for our big Friday dinner: Hand Painted Linguini. 
Do you think we should go for a clam sauce or a pesto? Decisions, decisions! 
Lobster Cove sunset for those who understand that getting up at 5 am is not for everyone. 

Old friends. Sat on the soft couch like bookends. 

Party Animals.  
Still more party animals. 
Mary Alice had two of these. Don't tell her I told you. 
Alison makes me CUT the Beowulf Sweater.  
Alison discovering that no good deed goes unpunished.  
Contemplating what to do with all that leftover sleeve.  
Bless Holden's heart: 5 a.m. coffee. 
For those of you who missed it, this is what 5 am looks like at Burnt Head.  
Profiles in Courage (against mosquitoes)

Susan crocheted this while the rest of the group was out hiking. 

Look at that lozenge sun.
The man, the myth, the legend: Wee Hour Coffeemaker Man!!
Chocolat chaud & Cherry Scone at The Mall.
Suzette holds in her hands a metaphor for a week of knitting-- it's called Whipped Cream on Top! 
No, Susan is not being attacked by a poodle. This is the Beowulf Sweater begging for treats. 
Because it's Knitting and YOGA adventures-- Melora, demonstrating that yoga keeps you young, leads the class in her patented One-Two-Cha-Cha-Cha move. 
Patty, modifying to protect her knee, invents the horizontal One-Two-Cha-Cha-Cha move.
What happens on Monhegan Island stays on Monhegan Island.
Remember that episode of the Brady Bunch when Marcia helps the nerdy girl look hot for the astronaut? Well Susan tamed that Beowulf Sweater so watch out NASA, here I come...
Preparations for the big festival. 
Concentration on mitered squares.
In fact, it was a concentration competition. 
Susan holds up the prize to be awarded to the greatest concentrator. 
Happy Feet. 
We need a hat model on Aisle Five... hat model... aisle five, please... 
Maybe if I dress up like a jelly fish swimming in a tangle of yellow seaweed, Holden can pretend he is running the Monhegan House and Aquarium!
(Alternate caption: If only Birdman were here, he would mistake that yarn for worms and come closer and closer!)
It's hip to be square.
Look Ma, a lace lap warmer!
I see, honey! That's very nice!
It's still hip to be square.
Be there AND be square.
Getting squared away. 
I'm running out of square jokes. 
Occupy Monhegan! 
Hay, hay, hay! 
Look to the right. Those aren't just whoopie pies, people. Those are red velvet whoopie pies. I ate enough to transform my gluteous maximus into my own private whoopie cushion. 

1 comment:

  1. my sweet husband said he could help with coffee and do the cocoa if they gave him a couple of hints. we loved Maine (Cadillac Mountain in particulr) years ago and that alone will get us back! we will keep an eye on your trips. cv