Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Magical Sweater and Other Tales of Glory

A sweater, a happy Mary Alice, and in-house repair genius, Alison.
 Mary Alice, our KYA masseuse and all around drop-of-constant-sunshine arrived on Monhegan Island this year as she always does, with her massage table and beloved puffin sweater in tow. This is a sweaterher sister made for her a long time ago. But Houston, she had a problem—the sweater had some worn spots and was coming unraveled.


Enter Alison. You might recall that Alison and Susan teamed up to do emergency surgery on my Beowulf Sweater, and the operation was very much a success. Well prior to, during, and after that undertaking, Alison worked all along on a tricky, painstaking weaving sort of repair to the puffin sweater. She finished it on Wednesday and presented it to an extremely delighted Mary Alice, who lit up like something that lights up really, really bright, which in turn caused those of us around her to also light up like something that lights up really, really bright.

We practically were blinded by the brightness and just when we thought the story couldn’t get anymore delightful, it took an amazing turn worthy of an O. Henry story. Back story: every year we wind up sharing the Monhegan House with the birders who, pardon the irresistible pun, flock here this time of the year because something like 97 million rare species of birds pop by on their way to their condos in South America. We like to tease the birders and the birders like to tease us. So who could ever guess that the two groups would come together in a moment of delicious tear-jerking synchronicity?

It unfolded like this—a glowing Mary Alice was strolling through the parlor wearing her puffin sweater when a birder approached her, gestured at the puffin, and said, “That sweater must have a story.”

In fact, he was right. In 1977, Mary Alice had gone to Hog Island to be part of Project Puffin, which was started by Dr. Stephen Kress to reintroduce the funny little birds to Maine. She was so moved by Kress's work with the puffins that her sister made her the sweater. And so, to answer the curious birder, she began by saying, “Do you know Stephen Kress?”

To which the inquisitor responded, “I AM Stephen Kress!”

Seriously—does it get any kookier or more serendipitous than that? And so we must make this some sort of National or at least Island Holiday, don’t you think? Something to commemorate how this was the day that MA was reunited with both her sweater and the man who inspired the sweater? Kress Day? Mary Alice Day? Puffin Day? SKMAP Day? Help me out here, people.

Well, anyway, we can settle on a name for the holiday later. All I know is I witnessed some joy tonight that I plan on calling up on ye olde mental screen from here on out any time I start feeling a little down in the dumps. I’ll say to myself, “Self! Cheer up! How can you be sad on a planet where a member of Team Knit can run into a member of Team Bird and it ends so darn happily ever after?”

Ah, such is the magic of Monhegan Island.


The definition of Morning Person-- she is in our midst!
View from the lighthouse. 
lunch of champions.
This is Hypno-Kitty. She sits on a table at the Mall and puts us all in a bag-buying trance. 
Memorial Bench with chickens at the Monhegan School 
Is it any wonder so many painters come here? 
I repeat-- is it?
Life imitates lighthouse-- look at me beaming! 
Happy hooker or not happy hooker? Well, okay, I confess I had some serious spatial relations hurdles keeping me from Granny Square Certification.  
Other students figured it out quickly. 
Some figured it out so quickly that they-- not naming names or anything but might rhyme with Steve-uh-- got a little smug about it if you ask me.  
Patience is a virtue. This is a crocheted manifestation of a virtue. 

I feel the 70s coming on...
Granny Square vest anybody? 
Susan really schooled us. 
Yours truly demonstrating what a real Knitting and Yoga Adventure looks like. 
Granny Square Machine. 
I might not be able to construct Granny Squares but I sure as hell know how to deconstruct Peachy Cobbler Squares.  
Has anyone seen Susan? I need help.
On Wednesday, thanks to a little stormy weather earlier in the day, the waves were really putting on a show. 
Action! 
I'd tell you why they're smiling but what happens on Monhegan stays on Monhegan. 
And to our right-- what is shaping up to be This Season's Most Amazing Mitered Square Project. 
Seriously-- LOOK at this puffin sweater! Look at Mary Alice! A holiday truly is in order. 
They look like fast friends here but trust me, they had a disagreement just moments before this photo was snapped. For a behind the scenes look at the source of the argument, scroll down.
I still can't find Susan. Has anyone seen Susan? Susan! Where the hell are you? 
Yes, they argued over a Grisham book. And yes, Boots won. And no, she is not giving Evelyn the finger here, that is actually an optical illusion created by the placement of Boots's han near the picture frame.  
This is from Day Two, when we used Mary Alice's sneakers to light our way to the sunrise spot. Thanks to Catherine for this pic.
Here we are posing for our CD cover.  More thanks to Catherine. 
A morning hike on a wet day. Glorious. Pic by Catherine. 
No seriously, Susan? I know you're hiding behind that Granny Square. I need you to show me the double chain slip ball change apple orange apple orange grind the coffee move. Or whatever it's called. Just help!!

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