WOW, it has been a long time since I've written. Needless to say, it has been a bit crazy, with everything that has happened in the last few months. But today I feel like I'm beginning to get a grip on my new and very different life.
First, for the exciting KOTOTW news!
Nicky and I are giving a presentation at this year's VK Live event in Chicago from Nov. 1-3! And Vogue Knitting (at least right now, anyway), is planning a real fashion show, with a runway and professional models, to wear both the pieces from the book and the ones I made! And if we have time, they are also going to help me to auction off some of the pieces!
The website with all the VK Live details is here:
and the online program brochure is here:
The text of the program about our presentation reads:
Lecture: Knitting Around the World with Nicky Epstein
Mary Taylor made it her mission to knit every pattern in Nicky Epstein’s seminal book, Knitting on Top of theWorld. Nicky and Mary will show you finished pieces and tell you about the 3-year journey they took “together.”
I'm frankly just so excited to spend a little time with Nicky, the rest is just sprinkles on the cupcake, so to speak.
Unfortunately, Nicky took a very bad spill on a trip to Scotland and ended up fracturing one ankle in three places and dislocating it, tearing ligaments in the other leg, and falling hard on her hands (!), so I'm sort of wishing we could postpone the whole thing to a later VK Live until she is fully healed. But I think VK is so deep in the planning, she is feeling like we should just go through with it. (Luckily, she is approximately 3 feet tall, so if worse comes to worse and she's having trouble walking, I can just give her piggyback rides! :D)
Other Random Stuff:
Here's a partial update of random things, based on photos I took with my cell phone, thinking I would share them...
Back in July, my firm sponsored its usual golf hole at the annual MNCREW (Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women) golf event, and I made the usual golf club covers, this time in teal:
I spent the last week and a half of August in New Jersey, finishing up the process of packing my Mom's belongings and getting her house ready to sell. In packing, I found the original piece of knitting that inspired me to learn how to knit - a rather homely afghan made in striped bans of a feather and fan-like stitch in 1960's shades of tan and orange. I packed it up and brought it home, just because of the powerful memories it evokes. My Mom had an Aunt Violet who made afghans for everyone in the extended family. I remember just being fascinated with it, sticking my little child's fingers in the holes made by the stitches, and trying to guess how on earth it was made.
While in New Jersey, I took a couple of days off, to visit with an old college friend, David. We both met as sophomores at Drew University, during a week-long orientation for incoming non-freshmen, and as we were both English majors, we ended up spending lots of time together, and have very fond memories of those college years. David went on to teach English in his own high school in Dover, New Jersey, and just retired after 26 years of teaching.
We spent a few days in Cape May, New Jersey, a lovely old town of Victorian-era houses on the shore at the very southern end of the state.
The buildings all look like this:
We had a great time visiting a local zoo, wandering around the very beautiful neighborhoods and along the shoreline. The town is famous first for tbeing a key east coast port during the whaling days, when whale oil was used to light our homes, and whale bones to give structure to corsets; and then for the turn of the century when Washington DC decamped there for the summer; and finally for the fabulous Victorians, which were summer homes of the well-off New Yorkers and other east-coast types in the early 1900's. The old street signs, and the second-story balconies, give much of the town a very New Orleans-y feel:
Cape May is also legendary for its amazing ghost stories; we really enjoyed a ghost tour one night, which was basically a gentle stroll in the moonlight, with a young aspiring actress telling us stories about the inhabitants of the houses as we passed by. I always like taking the ghost tours, as they give you a sense of the personal history of a place, of the actual lives of people who lived in those amazing old homes. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the stories give you a hint of the human drama "behind the scenes," so to speak, and of the stories that truly animated the imagination of the town's inhabitants in the past.
Other random things I wanted to show you:
My friend, Lindsey, was recruited to do the face painting at the firm's annual picnic. I've never seen anyone with her particular skill at this, and was especially amused to see that she incorporates googly eyes into her work! (This, of course, is a "minion" from Despicable Me):
The nine-stripe shawl from the book Wearwithall. The yarn is from Sun Valley Fibers, all colors I picked out at the Lake Elmo Sheep & Wool festival. This was a present to myself, to celebrate my 50th birthday a year and a half ago. I'm really thinking it will be a permanent feature in my winter garb this year; I may have it live in my office on my chair, to help cope with the inevitable Minnesota chill.
Other than finishing that shawl, my knitting pace has fallen off quite a bit; I finished all the gifts I made for my dad's nurses before we left New Jersey, and have been finishing up a bunch of baby bear hats and other knitted gifts. But did I remember to take photos??? No I did not (sigh).
After we finished packing (my brother Geoff had done most of the work in getting the house ready for sale and packing; Mom and I just finished up the kitchen, the office, and her clothes), my Mom and I took a road trip from New Jersey to Minnesota in my Dad's old minivan, to bring her out here to live in Minnesota with me and Nathan. Unfortunately, she took a bad spill early in the morning before we left, tripping over a suitcase, and landed hard on her back. I thought we should maybe delay our journey, but she was determined to get on the road. Then, the very first dayreaching behind her in the car, she pulled a muscle in her shoulder so her left arm was aching and not working very well, so she was just sore and having a hell of a time the whole trip. It was almost a blessing when the AC in the minivan broke down in Elhart, Indiana; it gave me a good excuse to stay two nights in the same hotel so Mom could rest, while I found a repair place.
The last day, we drove almost 600 miles, so determined were we to sleep at my house; here's Mom at one of those over-the-highway oases just outside of Chicago, pooped but so happy to be nearly there:
We arrived home on September 6, and since then it has been a bit of a whirlwind. The moving truck came a week later, so I spent a couple weekends unpacking. My niece, Amanda, helped us to organize the kitchen a bit better, and my brother, Geoff, who lives nearby, has been over a ton. He put together a nice wardrobe and a china chest from IKEA to make room for some of Mom's (and my) stuff, and was there when the movers came to help figure out what furniture went where.
In the meantime, work has been really busy, and I haven't really dug out all the way from the pile that rose up on my desk when I was out for over 2 weeks... and I'm giving another presentation at this year's Real Estate Institute in November, and materials are due October 10, so I pretty much know what I'm going to be doing this weekend. (It should be a fun presentation, though; it is about learning from everything that went wrong in residential developments during the downturn, and I'm going to build it around a theme of drive-in horror movies, like, "The Curse of the Phantom Outlot," etc.)
Poor Mom has been ill; her back is slowly healing up, but I think her immune system is down for the count (which is what you'd expect, really, after the year she's had, losing Dad, and selling her house, and saying goodbye to so many friends, and trying to get used to new surroundings - how many stress factors can one person handle, let alone an 80-year-old person!?!) Her blood pressure was through the roof, but we have a cuff now to measure it, and got her some antibiotics to deal with a hell of a sinus infection she caught, and I'm hoping she'll feel much better after a good rest and a quiet week. I love having her with me; she is good company on nights when Nathan is at his Dad's, and is a wonderful cook to boot. We are catching up on the 3rd season of Downton Abbey, and watching great old movies like Gone With the Wind together. She's also agreed to watch Breaking Bad from the start with me - it turns out it is one of her favorites (who knew??? Seems a bit violent for my dear old Mom, but she's tougher than she seems on the outside).
Now that life is sort of returning to normal, I plan to write more often and keep you posted, on VK Live plans and more!
Hope you are enjoying the first days of leaves turning and cool evenings!