Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Hiding Under My Yarn

Those who know me know how much I just love air travel. If you sense dripping sarcasm you would be correct. I approach each flight with something more akin to terror than trepidation. I know there are drugs and I have some. They are meted out with great austerity by the prescribing physician who seems to think that I verge on the edge of addiction. This is borne out by my obvious headlong descent into a life of crime and heavy use of street drugs in the 3 year period since the last time I asked for a refill. Since the remaining pills (of the 15 originally in the bottle three years ago) had expired I thought I should get new ones. She is, she says, not afraid of flying. I should not be either. There is no danger in flying. I should get over my fear. Her hesitance to give me a simple pill for anxiety is in no way, I am certain, biased by her own fearlessness. How could it be? She is a physician after all and trained not to make value judgments about her patients. Right? It would be cruel of me to hope that someday she is stopped in her tracks by a panic attack, doubly cruel if I hoped it happened on a plane.
The truth is that I respect and appreciate her rationality, and even covet it. The truth is that I try not to take them. I bring just enough with me to get on and off the planes I need to, and often I don't take any. I need to know they are there, the magic feather in my pocket just in case. I use relaxation techniques, I knit during as much of the flight as possible, I am really very healthy in my handling of the whole "certain death in the sky" panic thing.
I leave for TNNA on Friday morning and while I am excited to be there, happy to see people, thrilled to sign books, the time between now and then will be a delicate dance of panic versus will, fear versus the power of the mind to overcome it. I will, once on the ground, forget about the return trip in the flurry of activity. On Sunday it will creep back up on me and I will spend a potentially sleepless night mentally projecting positive images of take-offs and landings and no missed connections, always with amiable and polite seatmates; no screaming toddlers or loud people, please. And no stinky provolone cheese man, like on that train from DC to New York. Monday when I land I will be happy and a little surprised to have lived through yet another series of flights. It should get old, I should adapt, it should fade in time and yet it never does. No, I am not controlling, not one little bit!
The babies are growing here and have turned into adolescents.
I spend time with them now because I know by Monday they will be bigger, and the Monday after they'll be bigger still. I go right from TNNA to Virginia with a brief 2-day stop at home, to Coordinated Colors Yarn Shoppe where I will endeavor to teach people how to knit socks two at a time from the toes up. I am not flying. Luckily for me, flying into the Williamsburg area from Hartford takes nearly as long as driving or taking the train, and costs about as much too.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the birds pass from fluffy to feathered, from infant to adolescent. They begin with an insatiable curiosity about their environment right from the start and as they grow that only increases. 
Now they are concerned not just with what takes place within their pen. They want to know what else is out there, beyond their walls. The parallels to humans are not lost on me. First they explore the brooder. Then they expand outward until mom (that's me) lets them loose on an unsuspecting farmyard. Eventually the whole world is theirs, or they believe it is.
They mimic adult behaviors, like scratching, right from the start. They play at roosting along the way and now at over a month old some spend the night on the roosts. The majority pile in a heap on the floor when the sun goes down.
The ones who show precocity in their behavior now will be flock leaders as they grow. The pecking order is firmly established. I can shake it up by moving birds around which I occasionally do, but in the end the leaders still are leaders and the followers still follow. This weekend I separated them clearly into groups based on breed. For the chicken geeks, one pen now contains Marans, Fayoumi, Lakenvelders, what we think are black laced Wyandottes and the "gang of nine" mongrels. The other has meat birds and Cochins, Giants, Buttercups, Anconas and Leghorns. Somewhere in the mix are a few I am not sure about, and a couple of single birds of rare breeds which will be enjoyable to have around if they are hens, but don't enhance a breeding program. It makes me happy to see them, and that's enough. I cannot have every single breed. I probably would if I could.
The rest of my time is spent swatching and obsessively knitting projects from Vintage Baby Knits. I've only finished two, but have bought yarn for two others and discovered enough in stash for three or four more. I have a loose desire to knit the whole book, which I adore (the book, not the idea, although I find the idea very compelling).
The first project I finished was the Stella Pixie Hat. It is modeled here by the delightful and charming Jennifer who sits still and does not fuss or cry, ever. She's around 38 years old, so we'd expect good behavior. When I was five and she was fresh-smelling spotless vinyl she was more fussy, and needed a lot of attention. We've both changed.
I have not yet attached the button band. Love this hat and plan on making many more of it. It's quick and simple and adorable. I am making matching thumbless mittens from the remainder of the skein. The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in Scottish Highlands. Love the yarn, love the hat, love love love.
I started first, but finished last the Violet Sacque.
Finished last because although I had the yarn on hand, I thought, I ran out and needed reinforcements. Webs, which is where I got the yarn originally, no longer carries Lang Jawoll solids. An internet search revealed some at Simply Socks Yarn Co. The yarn has been in stash long enough that I would never have found the dye lot, so I took what came. As a result the collar is significantly off from the body; noticeably darker.
I plan to distract from this by the use of a contrasting green ribbon at the neck. If that fails, maybe I will over-dye the whole shooting match with brown. That should haze things up a bit. I love the sweater. I like Jawoll well enough for a basic meat and potatoes sort of a fingering weight solid. It's durable, washes well, and softens up after washing which makes it a good baby yarn. Go ahead, unknown future infant, barf away.
And I swatch, and draw pictures and make notes. Here are some swatches.
I know. Exciting right? That's actually three sweaters and three shawls/scarves.  And then there's this:
the rest of the yarn for the new book (both bins). Almost all of it. There's a bit missing still, some Spirit Trail and a bit of Lorna's, but by and large it's all here. From now until Friday, more or less, you'll find me under it.
A note to my beloved family as I head out for TNNA: do you know what would make me feel truly loved? Really respected and appreciated? It's really quite simple. All animals alive and accounted for, hydrated and fed. And on top of that, just one small thing - the house cleaner than when I left.
Stop laughing. A girl can dream.
For updates from TNNA, or any time I am not home or blogging, you can follow me on Twitter either in the column on the right of this post or on Twitter itself. My user name is the amazingly original "Melissaknits". I also dual post tweets to my Facebook account where I am known by the even more original Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Expect sarcasm, cool stuff, and occasional wit. Lots of sarcasm.


booksNyarn said...

I never would have pictured you for the sarcastic type. :)

Yay for growing chicks! Almost as fun as watching children grow (maybe sometimes more? At least the chicks don't dirty up the house after you tell them to pick up their sock/shoes/bags/etc. for the ninety millionth time.

Deep breaths, flying can be fearsome. But you will do great!

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Anonymous said...

Jennifer has a twin in Kansas!! Little Miss Baby is missing a few fingers, but is otherwise going strong at 43. How fun to see Jennifer when I was reading about knitting/