Saturday, 12 November 2011

But where are the little chocolates?

As you have probably guessed from a few days without posts, I am back home now and back at work. It feels strange to be back in the real world, it was a particular shock to have to plan and cook meals again.  DH misses the hotel turndown service with the little chocolates left on the pillow. 

So we had a night flight and arrived very early Sunday morning back in the UK. I can’t really sleep on planes so I was very tired on Sunday and still feeling a bit bleah by mid-week. I’ve gradually worked through my loads of laundry, the piles of mail, and have made some small inroads into the taped television shows.

 After my last post, we had a day where we drove up to Plymouth to visit the Plimoth Plantation, a partially-living history recreation of the first colony including a recreation of the Mayflower ship. I enjoyed seeing some of the antique or recreated textiles on display in the wooden houses. Up in the main town, there was a knitting shop advertised on the local map, Knitted Treasures, but when we walked past it, it had been replaced by a different business.

DH offered to take me back to Tumbleweed Quilts but instead we used the excess weight allowance to go back to the fabulous Parnassus Books on Hwy 6A on Cape Cod, in Yarmouth Port, to buy a 1911 set of Encyclopedia Brittanica that DH had fallen in love with. The volumes were fairly small so by judicious distribution, we managed to end up with four bags that were all just under the weight limit of 50 pounds.

On our final day, we drove up past Boston to visit Lowell, one of the cradles of American industrialisation. Here the famous mill girls worked in the cotton mills in the 19th C and we were able to visit the museum with working (and incredibly noisy) looms where I bought a few tea towels woven on site. We also visited the boarding house exhibit which shows how the girls typically lived. But first we went to the New England Quilt Museum  (pictured left) – all the sites are within an easy walk of each other within the National Historical State Park – which had a great gift shop but not that many traditional quilts on display. The main exhibition which took up most of the small display space was of new quilts made in Haiti. However, the members’ lending library was open, what a fabulous resource. I wish I lived in the US just so I could borrow from it. The library also had a sales rack where they sell donated books and magazines and I was very pleased to score a couple of early Rowan knitting magazines full of classic designs by many recognised names such as Kim Hargreaves and Kaffe Fassett. One is issue seven, I think, and the other doesn’t have a cover but must be a similar time period around 1989. There are some great designs although of course most are unflattering boxy drop shoulder designs, but could probably be adapted. Even just taking out some of the excess width (up to twice body width in some cases) would help a lot to update the designs. We just had time to nip over to the American Textile Museum and I wish we had gone there first as it was an excellent introduction to the different fibres, their uses in textiles in America, how the textiles were made including a large display of working looms with an excellent audiovisual presentation, loads of historical fashion galleries and even a small knitting display – which had an exquisitely knitted baby bonnet of very fine thread. I parked DH in the lobby and had a very quick whiz around the displays, would love to go back.

The trip home was uneventful apart from a smaller plane with Virgin Atlantic which was very cramped. I had to ask the flight attendant to ask the man in front of me to put his seat back up for the meal, because we were so close together that I literally could not spoon food out of my meal tray to my mouth because of his seat back being practically in my face. My wooden interchangeable needles once again made it through Security so I was able to knit on my Fan Stitch Half Circle shawl during the flight. This has been a really enjoyable travel knit, and I might even knit this design again. My only complaint is the shorthand in which the pattern is written makes it very difficult. You are asked to repeat large quantities of rows, which in themselves ask you to repeat smaller quantities of rows, so it got very confusing and in the end I just had to write all the row numbers out on the back of our itinerary, with the corresponding pattern row next to each one, so that I can keep track of where I am. It’s the kind of pattern that could benefit from advance preparation with an Excel spreadsheet before you start to knit.

TV knitting has been the kit for the baby hat that I bought on Cape Cod, which is knitted in a no-name cotton yarn of approximately Aran weight. The pattern is in three sizes for Child’s small/medium/large. I chose the medium and commenced knitting in the round, but after about 2.5” I started thinking it looked awfully big. I am a loose knitter but I know that so had gone down a needle size. I tried the hat on and it actually fits me snugly. So I asked DH if I would look stupid in the child’s design and he doesn’t think so, so now I am knitting it for me. It’s one of these colourwork patterns where they just tell you to ‘follow chart’ without specifying whether the original was knit in intarsia or fair isle. I’ve chosen fair isle but it does mean carrying some of the floats for quite long distances. I am weaving them in on alternate stitches but because it is thick and grippy cotton yarn, the floats are peeping through which is a bit annoying. Perhaps it will get better when it’s washed and blocked (the eternal knitters’ hope).

I’ve had time to put away my quilting fabric and haberdashery purchases, but all my new yarn is sitting in (spilling out of) a plastic crate in the living room, waiting for attention. I've decided the time has come  to break down and photograph my stash for Ravelry. It’s just gotten too out of hand, it’s too hard to keep track of what I have and what project I bought it for. I was dreading the job, it will take ages to find it all, photograph it all and make sure the right photograph ends up with the right details on Ravelry. Also kind of dreading the realisation of just how much I have – more than a few lifetimes at the rate I am knitting. I don’t want to fall victim to Shopper’s Remorse…  So far I've just done some of my sock yarn, and it's already taken about three hours.  Bleah.  I am photographing 12 at a time, and storing them temporarily in numbered partitions in a cardboard wine box to take over to the computer to catalogue.

I took more than 500 photos (the majority being either autumn foliage, heritage wooden homes, snow or coastal scenes) so won’t subject you to all of them, but here are a few.


Quilt at Shelburne Museum

Antique bandboxes at Shelburne Museum

Keepsake Quilting

The back-room Sale area at WEBS, Northampton

Very strange knitted dress in a gift shop in Chatham, Cape Cod, with a bodice made out of gloves and mittens, and a skirt made out of detachable and interchangeable knitted petals


Tamra said...

What a fun trip. I really enjoyed your posts from the road. I remember going to Plymouth as a teenager. And I completely understand the yarn stash issue. Three lifetimes wouldn't knit it all up, and I've long since lost any yarn/pattern tie in.

Daisy said...

I once left Neil some chocolates on the pillow when I went away on a work trip. He didn't see them, did the laundry and they nearly ended up in the washing machine!

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