...in which we briefly glide over Sheepin and Woolin in New Hampshire...With Side Trips to Maine and Connecticut.
Look! I remembered that I have a blog!
Every Mother's Day will find me at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival. This is not a new tradition for us. This year was difficult for me, as it was my first Mother's Day without a kid at home. Girl was in Indiana, finishing up the semester. Dan is old. Eric and Brendon are old. None of them understand the lure of sheep dogs and wool. Brendon came by on Saturday with a gift, and stayed to play cards and eat Chinese...but there's something about Mother's Day with Girl at a sheep and wool that really makes the day for me. So I knew going in that it would be a tough day.We tried to have fun, and were successful. Mr. Wonderful did refuse to wear the braided Girl-wig and Girl-hoodie with knock-off Birk sandals. Nor did he jump around getting excited over felting supplies and sheep dogs, while saying things like "Mom, you totally need that!", but he did his level best, I am certain. AND he let me shop, even if by accident! We began with breakfast - Fage yogurt with honey and apple for mealong with a Chai from Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters. He had the Day-Old Goo in a Pile there - something cinnamon-y and chocolate croissant. These were well received.We found the Tsock Tsarina, Lisa, first and I bought my long-coveted Vintage Leaf kit. It was a close call, that or Imbas really. But I figured something could wait till Cummington, right? Mr. Wonderful never even saw it coming. He made the crucial mistake of wandering off, thereby failing to prevent my little shopping accident. Then we had lamb, or I had lamb, and he had french fries. The lamb stuff was in a cup with tsatsiki sauce and was excellent. Very, very yum. We wandered around a bit. I bought Girl a spindle at Foxfire Fiber and said hello to Barb Parry, who had a busy morning signing a certain awesome new dye book - that would be her newly released Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing, for those who haven't heard of it. I don't think signing books ever gets old. I always say I'll sign anything, except a blank check. It's fun meeting people and chatting about something we all love, whether it's dyeing or knitting or spinning or crochet or what have you. Heck, you can also talk to me about chickens, gardens, bees, and now wine making (but I'm saving that for another post).We entered the raffle, which we do every year, and I won a lovely basket that I can't show you because I loaned it out for the photo shoot for the book before I took it's picture. But trust me, it is lovely. While we were dropping raffle tickets in buckets with hope in our hearts, we found Mary Alice and her friend Deanna. Mary Alice was easily convinced that raffle tickets were a good thing. She's more convinced now and will be hooked for life, since after the raffle she came away with a car full of winnings! Really!! I don't remember now how many items she won, but she won a LOT!
We watched dogs run, which I have always loves to do. I took some video for Girl, so she'd feel like she had been right there with us.Then we headed into our traditional "last building", located right near the kettle corn guy. I bought a lovely basket from The Children's Initiative. All funds go directly toward helping kids in Ethiopia, Vietnam and Honduras. I contemplated a huge basket for Mervin or Dazee, figuring they could fight it out. Maybe next year.We found Leslie Wind, who gifted me one of her really lovely new seaming needles. Just beautiful. It makes me happy just to hold it, AND it works, so double bonus.She shares her booth with Ball and Skein. Meg bought me sock yarn here last year, and I felt I needed to buy more in remembrance...so I did (oh, please, twist my arm to get me to buy the sock yarn, right??). I selected one skein of Arbori merino silk, dyed in this lovely iced purple and black colorway called Purple Haze. I love how tencel resists dye just enough to give it that frosted appearance.
The following weekend (wow. I have not posted in a while, have I?) Mr. Wonderful and I headed for Maine to teach a class on 2-at-a-Time Socks at Halcyon Yarns in Bath, Maine.
We headed out route 101, which is our traditional method of getting north into Maine and New Hampshire.
Dublin Lake...this is probably why we take 101. We can see the mountain (Monadnock), the lake, the drive is just plain pretty.We arrived in Maine just in time - thanks to my GPS, which is another post, possibly involving small arms and the firing thereof at small electronics - for my book signing at 4pm. I signed a few books, ate some yummy fresh vegetables, and had a delightful time with a certain little girl who's insistence that her mom did NOT have my book resulted in probably my favorite 2AAT Socks story to date. And I got to meet Jean in Maine from Ravelry in person, after the wonderful local Maine gift bag she'd left for me on a visit to Webs. While I signed books Mr. W. took a bike and cruised around town, finding things he had to show me once the signing was completed. First, the Bath Iron Works which covers a huge chunk of coast with these very large objects. How large? Well. In the picture below you can see the white peaked-roof raft there? Just a run of the mill raft?Can you find it here as well? Seriously huge toys we're talking about.He showed me a few other sights as well. The charming streets and shops of Bath, the waterfront dog park that I think would give Dazee and Boo a joyful heart attack, and the lovely homes scattered along the coast.
On Saturday morning I headed back to Halcyon to teach eager learners all about knitting socks 2 at one time on one long circular needle. I think I cut three knitters, or four, out of this image, and I am sorry for that. Also note that in this picture they appear happy and joyful? That's because I haven't hit them with the hard stuff yet. We're still at coffee-and-attendance-sheets here. See Deb (Lose The Mittens) and her mom Judy on the right? And way down at the end of the table is a family that began with three eager learners, and ended with one eager learner and two wise women saying "She'll show us later, that's why we brought her!"I am sorry I can't remember everyone's name, but you were truly an awesome, wonderful, welcoming and eager group and I would come back in a heartbeat! Many, many thanks to Halcyon and Denice for inviting me. What a wonderful group of knitters. The shop is expansive. I bought some Peace Fleece, and a Dale baby book after I saw this jumper displayed in the store. Must...knit...wee...jumper...
Mr. Wonderful took me to Popham Beach. Just lovely. The rugosas are everywhere and make me want to return in June/July to see them in force. Just a beautiful Maine beach...of course tourist-free I always think they're more lovely, and I don't think I've been to a beach during "the season" in so long I've forgotten what it feels like to lay in the sun all day with other tourists!Loved this guy. He was awesome, and very busy with his crab. Mine, mine, mine!
All beach visits require that I get my feet wet, regardless of season or current weather.We stopped at Fort Popham for a quick look around, and then headed south. I loved this sign, and would have stopped for lunch if they'd been open. How can you resist "Wells House of Pizza and Roast Beef"??
We stopped at Ogunquit, which we love, and ambled some more.And Stonewall Kitchen in Kittery, which may as well be called "lunch". I bought some grill sauces, and sea salt, and a few wee mustards. I love their mustards, especially the maple and the champagne.I lusted after this lovely lazy susan made from an old oak wine barrel lid. Each has a different wine and winery name. If the man had said yes I could have spent an hour just choosing a vintage, so really it's better that he said no. I did get a really nice hot sauce, Habanero Mango. Nice sweet and hot balance. I love hot stuff.I resisted this delightful charmer Mr. Wonderful found, but it was by a hare's breadth. He found this at a kitchen outlet store in Kittery. It comes complete with it's own outhouse. For later.
On Sunday morning as we ambled further south I was saddened to discover that Yoken's on route 1 in Portsmouth (Thar she blows!) is totally gone. Now, I don't think we ever ate here, but that isn't the point. And I knew they had closed since the last time we were up the building was gone. When I was a kid the place was mobbed, always. Packed parking lot. The sign has some kind of significance to my wee little brain, and I am sad to see it going, too.
All the way to and from Maine I worked feverishly on a pair of socks for the cover of the new book. Monday was the photo shoot in Lakeville, CT for the technique section of the book. Last time I didn't go to the photo shoot, but this time I really wanted to be there. Here's Gwen and Mary (the brilliant art director who's penchant for paisley prints has made my little heart sing and my eyes leak a bit with great joy and delight but the rest of you just have to wait till it comes out to see why!) and Kathy Brock, one of my most excellent editors pondering a shot taken by photographer John Gruen. This was a great glimpse into a really interesting part of the process.Basically shooting the technique involves stuffing a hand model, in this case KT, in a box and taking very detailed step-by-step shots of every single step of the process of casting on and knitting 2 socks at one time, in this case toes up. Checking for accuracy, clarity, presentation of each individual photo takes a lot of patience and time. Really, really glad that I have stubby little fingers, let me tell you. KT was very patient. I don't think I could have sat there for all those hours without coming unhinged. At one point we ever discussed cutting off her left thumb, which she seemed ok with - anything so it looks right!Therapy for claustrophobia, right?
I came home that evening to discover that Corinne's rhododendron had bloomed. Corinne was my mother's former neighbor and a nurse with whom I worked when I was in school who struggled valiantly against cancer and lost her battle shortly after my mother lost her house. She and her husband Ron had given my mother the rhodo after it seemed unwilling to bloom in their yard. It's bloomed ever since her death, even after multiple moves. Every spring I am reminded of her courage and valor in the face of a disease that ended her life well ahead of what the rest of us would consider "time", of her husband standing by her side steadfast when so many men run from end of life illnesses in the women they love, unable to bear the pain of watching that person being taken from you inch by inch. Yes, men. Statistically men will leave an ill and dying wife much, much more often than a woman will leave an ill and dying husband. You can surmise why. I believe everything happens for a reason, but this death tested that belief. She was young, vital, and a dedicated nurse. There is never a right time to die, I don't think, for those of us left behind. Sometimes the person who's dying is ready, but I don't think we ever are. The rhododendron reminds me of her; of her amazing compassion, dedication to her patients; her love and understanding. She was an amazing woman and a fantastic nurse.
And is missed, still.