Sunday, September 16, 2007

New Directions in Infant Knitting, My Hero, and Yarn in Portland (a saga)

So today I am writing patterns up for this next catalog. I have four things I think, the kid Sugarloaf sweater with the color block on it, Southwick infant set, pair of Franklin socks and the t-shaped pullover in Williamstown. Writing is not my favorite part of the process. I often forget to record things as I go, although I was getting much better. Or I thought I was. I did the socks first – socks are easy. I should have saved them for last, but we’ll call it a little toe-dip before we jump in headlong. Next was the kid pullover. I wrote nearly nothing about it except some chicken scratch on a notebook page and a lovely color sketch. I moved onto the infant’s set. Things were going really well. Then I come to this notation:

“4 rows gs, patt 1 full rep.
st st to underarm.
+2@end gs??
st thru TF over bridge L Aberton??”

I kid you not. This is apparently some new sweater knitting method which will require all who knit this garment to drive, fly or swim to Turners Falls, MA, go straight over the bridge and then go left (don’t ask me where) onto something apparently called Aberton (or is Aberton a person??). Or maybe it's take a left and watch for Aberton? I read it over. I read it out loud. I don’t remember writing it and didn’t know what it pertained to. Had I missed an appointment on Aberton? Or with Aberton? Is Aberton a person? A place? Was I supposed to deliver Aberton to the bridge in Turners and then take a left? Then it came to me. Girl. Girl got a flat tire a couple of weeks ago. She had directed me to her location by telling me how she’d gotten to where she was – she’s not so good with the whole street name thing. The good news is that anyone knitting this garment will NOT have to come to Massachusetts to do it. The bad news is that the notes for the sweater stop right there. Nothing more. Not shaping, not anything. Just a dead stall interrupted by a flat tire on a car I just PUT brand new tires on not more than a year ago. AAARRRGGGHHH!!

OK, now a field trip!
Back a few weeks ago I discovered that Brad Paisley was going to be performing in Portland, Maine. Now, you must understand that I have been dragged kicking and screaming to the alter of country music. When my friend Cindy started humming along I considered taking her in for treatment. When other friend Kristie urged me to try Tim McGraw's latest CD a couple of years ago, I spurned her. But then there were these free tickets to a Tim McGraw show in Connecticut and she begged me to come along, so I went and was hooked. I drew the line there though, Tim Only. Meantime Mr. Wonderful, always a rock person, was being slowly and covertly corrupted. I'd get in his car and strains of the local country station would flow forth from the radio. I'd say "What's this?" and he'd reach out and slap the dial and mumble something like "How did THAT get on there? I wasn't listening to THAT!!" Eventually he broke down and confessed - he'd been secretly listening to country for months. And he liked it. And he wanted to buy a Toby Keith CD, on purpose. I gave in. A lot of it I reject, but some appeals to me. Brad Paisley appeals. I like, for some reason at this time in my life, the stories. The realness. The sweetness, and mostly the simplicity. I'm Gonna Miss Her. Online. She's Everything. And, recently, I’m Still a Guy.
Mr. Wonderful managed to WIN tickets to see Toby Keith - or rather Girl won them for him, and Tim didn't come close enough or to a venue I like. So the big chance for me to see an act I enjoy was Portland, Maine. I bought cheap seats - if we'd been any higher we'd have been hanging from the girders. Thank God for the modern invention of the large screen. You get itty bitty whoever live way down there on stage, and a big screen or three, so at least you know you're at the right show.
We saw Itty Bitty Taylor Swift first. Next was not so itty bitty Rodney Atkins. Oh wait - here I totally have to back up! Remember the other day when I said I adore Mr. Wonderful?? He is totally and utterly my hero. This man, those of you who know him will attest, is rather of a quiet man. This is not a man who pushes himself forward,
He's not a performer. Well, he performed for me, baby, and won me a t-shirt with a big picture of Brad right on the front. Hershey's is sponsoring this Brad tour, and they do all these fun pre-show giveaways, including karaoke and this quiz thing. As the Hershey's guy chooses people from the pre-show audience to go up on the little outdoor stage, he notices he's got a lot more girls than guys. All of a sudden he's grabbing Mr. Wonderful and dragging him up. MY Mr. Wonderful. Mr. "Allow me to sit here in this chair while you socialize". Mr. "Do we have to go to the social event?" That Mr. Wonderful. On stage. And answering questions! Hershey guy asks each contestant one starter question (simple stuff, fill in the blank of this Brad Paisley song title - "___on the Tires.") and then they enter the lightning round...this is it, the first to get two points is the winner. There were some simple ones - who is Brad married to? (Kim Williams, that adorable girl from Father of the Bride). What is Brad's son's middle name?(Huckleberry, as in Finn). I knew the answers and it was killing me not to scream them at poor Mr. W. He got himself on the board with "What Disney movie did Brad write and record two songs for?" (Cars - if I had a dime for the number of times we watched Lightnin' McQueen last year with Aidan I'd be rich). A few more questions fly, and now there's four or five folks all with one point - it's coming down to the wire..."What is the title of Brad's recently released CD?"
I draw a blank. Everyone drew a blank. People were guessing stuff all over the place. I am panicking. I can't even help the man cheat because I can't remember the name of the CD I just BOUGHT, Then Mr. W’s hand shoots up and Hershey guy says "Yes, Gene...", and Gene (that's Mr. Wonderful's other name) says "Fifth Gear". And he was right! MR WONDERFUL ROCKS! And I got a T-shirt identical to the two I just ordered from Hershey's - for which we had to eat 20 bars of Special Dark, torment indeed. But the one Mr. Wonderful won is WAY the best of them all.
OK, here's me and Brad hanging out before the show (like you believe that? I wish I did). The truth is that yes, this is a cut-out Brad and yes I posed with it. Sadly, because STUPID Ticketmaster would not accept my code, I did not get the preferred Fan Club Member Meet N Greet ticket, or that'd be Real Brad Paisley not Cut-Out Brad Paisley (stupid Ticketmaster.) Eh, it wasn't meant to be. I just wanted to ask him if it's true that he's a 32nd Degree Mason. And if I were my father I'd have slipped him the Secret Handshake or whatever. The real Brad actually performed well, but looked very very pale to me and if I were his wife I'd be worried. He looks overworked and exhausted. Which is what happens to people when they have babies and music tours, even if they're man-people. The tour schedule is scary fierce. From Maine to Ohio in less than 48 hours, by bus. Uggh.
I found yarn - technically chronologically before the music, but presented out of order here:
Tess Hand Dyed. We found this by accident, sort of. The shop is on Spring Street, 1 Spring Street to be precise, and was obscured by a bunch of construction stuff going on at the site itself. OtherMelissa told me about this yarn and I tried to find it online but am an idiot. Mr. Wonderful spotted it as we headed for Starbucks and Stonewall Kitchen (the samples can carry you through a meal. They even had corn chips so those of us not tolerant of gluten could indulge) and he said "Hey, there's yarn..." pointing across the street. I just kind of took off, totally ignoring, oh, stop lights and traffic in Portland on a weekday?? (What's a vacation for but to be run over in the street 150 miles from home??) Anyway, about the yarn - sock yarn, $15 a skein, though not that way for long I guess as they're expecting a price increase from the vendor of said yarn, 450 yards, hand dyed. I bought two skeins. One reminds me of a pinto pony and the other, well, I just liked it. I call it Bug. I don't know any blue bugs, but it's Bug anyway. The yarn is quite squashy-soft, has great elasticity and looks to me like it's going to have wonderful stitch definition. Reminded me a bit of Louet Gems, only hand dyed. Be great on babies, grand babies maybe even...

I also hit KnitWit on Congress Street and got a skein of Colinette Jitterbug, just because I could. Mr. W. set a budget of $20 a store (silly man). Someone needs to tell him about the actual price of sock yarn. I had plans to progress through other yarn shops - Seaport and Central Yarn respectively, but when we realized what time it was, and how long we had till showtime, we decided in favor of pre-show dinner at Margaritas. I love this place. Aside from the fact that out server Andrew was charming and wise in the ways of Agave, we were totally entertained by the presence of the local country station and a string of pre-show party goers attired in their country best. Cowboy hats and boots reigned supreme. About Andrew - Margs must go out of their way to educate their servers about tequila. When I said I wanted a '...nice anejo', Andrew suggested something I had not tried previously, Herradura - top shelf, so out of my budget, but hey, what's a vacation for if not to hit the top shelf?? - and I LOVED it. Very earhty, lots of flavor. He also suggested a straight up Marg - no green goo, just tequila, Gran Marnier, lime juice. Lovely.
Another trip highlight - Room 900 of Holiday Inn By The Bay. Ask for it by name. Actually anything 00-ish will do, as long as you're up a bit, say over the 5th floor. You get rewarded with this:

On a cleeeeaar can seeee.....ok, you can see the bay and the Atlantic. And boats coming in and out, and the Scotia Prince if she's in town. Once we sat and watched a cruise ship coming in. You don't realize just how big them Carnival puppies are till one's stopping in Portland, Maine.
OK, mostly all I did today was write patterns and my brain is mostly dead. I am going to sleep now and hope that all the missing information comes back into my brain by morning. Tomorrow is the last day of Mr. W's vacation. We're going to the Big E. We're going to eat dried fish on a stick, and see cows and stuff. I love the Big E.

P.S. - which one is he? Well, we have a rule around here. "Always choose the guy on the right."

P.P.S. - Aberton doesn't exist. It's actually Atherton, and it's a nearly dirt dead end, and it's not even in Turners. But we did find her and fix the flat.


sophanne said...

That sounded loike grand fun. I love a good adventure out into the world. Hooray for Mr. Wonderful.

Cirilia said...

Ready to swoon?

Tell Girl!

Cirilia said...

Whoops, doesn't work, Google Brad Paisley and John Mayer!

Yarnhog said...

I notice you haven't told Mr. Wonderful about the actual price of sock yarn. I wouldn't either. I never even buy yarn. The stork brings it.

That sounds like a totally fun concert. And for the record, if you didn't tell, no one would ever know that wasn't the real Brad in the picture!

MelissaKnits said...

cirilia, that link worked. made me all nostalgic for when we had cable.
I am never telling him how much yarn costs. I have taken to not leaving a hotel without my visa in my pocket in case we cannot come to agreement.
mary alice -we're trying not to overinflate Jules' head. we don't want her to get all ego on us. but yes, the picture is perfect.

Melissa said...

My blog is

Love the yarn you chose!!! :)