Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Because Knitting Is Everywhere...

Oh knitting, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! How much do I think about knitting y'all? Pretty much all the time. And my love of the craft is so well-known among my friends that they assist me in my constant knitting thinking.

For example, I was visiting my friend Doris Ann the other day. I hadn't seen her in ages. I walk in and she excitedly tells me she's got something to show me. Then she disappears into her room and comes back out with this amazing hand knitted red sweater. I love the pattern, I love the weight of it, I LOVE the color of it. She tells me her husband, Bart, found it for her IN A THRIFT STORE!

Okay, who sends knitting like that to a thrift store? I think. But before I can get irked with this person I'll never know, I console myself with the thought that at least Bart and Doris Ann found it, and that now it is in a home where it will be appreciated forevermore.

Does this make me dorky? That all of my adventures, including tea time with friends, somehow tie into knitting? OF COURSE NOT!! (Or should I say OF COURSE KNOT!!) One of the ten million things I love about my knitting habit is that no matter where I am in the world, all I have to do it look around me for evidence of the pervasive power of knitting. I've even got my man joining in on this spot-the-knitting game, too. More than once he's leaned over to me at a dinner party and said something along the lines of, "Say, isn't that a cabled sweater that woman is wearing?"

I also love knowing that if I need some instant friends when I'm traveling, I need only pop into the local knit shop. This I did recently. I was on a short jaunt to Houston, a few hours from my home in Austin. I'd been to a really cute knit shop down there a year or so before-- it's called Knitting in the Loop. I decided to pop back in and when I arrived, I discovered they had moved-- but not far, just to the building next door. The MUCH BIGGER space next door.

I walked in and a half-dozen knitters looked up from their spots on overstuffed couches and chairs and grinned at me. And I grinned right back. We were all in our happy place and we took a moment to savor our shared secret with knowing smiles.

I don't think I really knew, when I picked up the needles back in 2000, just what a big world would open up for me. But in the past dozen years, I'm not exaggerating when I say that knitting has totally changed the way I see the world, and the way I travel. Everything gets viewed through knitter's eyes now, and I have to say I love the perspective.

And then, there is our trip to Monhegan Island, which is like this super-concentrated dose of Knitter Happiness for me. On the island I'm one of the ones on the couch, looking up and grinning whenever someone walks in the door of Monhegan House and peeks over to see what "that group of ladies" is laughing about. Me? I'm laughing in large part because my everyday knitting joy is compounded exponentially on the trip, thanks to being in the company of others just like me-- fanatics who can't go five feet without noting something that reminds them of knitting.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Gift You Can Bank On

Here's something that I predict will surprise absolutely none of you: I knit pretty constantly. My hunch is that you probably do, too. This never ending knitting passion of mine elicits ongoing, full-spectrum remarks from friends and family. I hear comments ranging from, "Will you knit me a sweater?" to "It's rude to knit at the dinner table!" and everything in between. Once, I was listening to our local NPR station-- I do some commentary for them-- and I heard the morning DJ talking about me and how "Every time I see that woman she's KNITTING!"

Guilty as charged!

One plus side of having such an out-in-the-open pastime is that it nets me lots of great knit-related gifts. For example: I gave some little friends of mine a drop spindle, they sent me back a ball of homespun. Every Christmas-- though I insist on no gifts-- I always wind up with at least a couple of gift certificates for my favorite yarn store. And for my recent birthday, a good friend of mine gave me the little bank you see pictured above. Isn't that hilarious? I laugh every time I look at it.

Last night, I was hosting a dinner party, and my partner, Ori, was jokingly "bemoaning" how I drag him to knit stores around the country. Truth is, he doesn't really mind. Like the rest of my inner-circle, he knows that the fastest way to make me happy is to do something knit-related with me or for me.

So all this has me thinking-- going on the Knitting and Yoga Adventures retreats is this magnificent gift we give to ourselves. I so look forward to Monhegan Island that the minute we finish one retreat, I have the next one blocked off in my calendar. In one short week (that, thanks to island time, feels luxuriously long) I totally recharge my batteries, stretch my mind and body, and just feel so much better about life. Then, when I get back to civilization, everyone who has the benefit of coming into contact with me-- from the guy sitting next to me on the plane to my four dogs waiting at home for my return-- benefits a thousandfold. I mean, it is a win-win-win-win-WIN situation.

Which is all my way of saying-- if you've been thinking about attending but haven't quite decided yet, please consider this: sure, sure, it's a gift you give yourself. But really, it is the gift that keeps on giving and everyone you know will be so happy you went.

For more information on the Maine and Vermont retreats, just check out the website.

p.s. I'm working on a knitted yoga mat bag in preparation. How about you?