Cincinnati was great! More than anything, I just wanted to get out of town. That the destination was someplace I’d always wanted to visit made it that much better.
The conference was good, but the Skyline Chili was better.
I don’t know what it is about me and Ohio, but I’m definitely going back.
So summer is not over in Nashville. I’m beginning to think it might be here to stay. Forever. And ever. It’s pretty lame, really: I’ve got all of these kicky shawls and shawlettes I can only wear indoors … where the air conditioning is set at “frostbite”. Then I wander out-of-doors — to go to class, buy some gummy bears, make copies, commit acts of tom foolery in front of my students — only to find myself over dressed.
That might be why I’m kissing my beer at the end of a very. long. day. In which I tried — and failed — to vanquish Faust I. I might have knit a row and a half of my Idlewood. The cowl is complete, the body is in an advanced state of shaping, and all systems are a go.
Except fall isn’t here yet.
Back home, Pimm’s Cup in hand. It was a good day.
Let’s just not talk about how it was also the first day of my fifteenth semester of grad school. (Secretly, I’m not horrified.)
They say you learn something new every time you teach. Well, consider me enlightened: not only do I still get nervous, but it turns out 18 year-old boys will look down your shirt if you wear a v-neck. Duly noted.
Good thing the rooster introduced me to a project with no shortage of coverage: Idlewood.
Yeah, that’s how I feel. A little confused, a little lost, a lot behind. Often whiny. Where did the summer go?
But go it did, and the new semester starts on Wednesday. All in all, this first year (or first year and twenty days) has been very good: not just second chances and academic challenges, but hot chicken, Robert’s Western World, giant chryselephantine Athena, new and old friends, George Strait, sloe gin, and a summer full of happy surprises too.
All that to say, I can’t complain.
But on to the knitting!
I finally blocked and photographed the stormclould shawlette. It’s soft and airy and I love it very much.
See how it opened up? With lovely differences in texture in each section … I love the movement from dense to open and back again.
Please, let’s pretend that my bed is made and my hair washed.
Since I like my shawls large and in charge — and was on a mission to use as much of my two precious skeins of Crown Mountain Farms sockhop as possible — this version has only a glancing kinship with the shawlette: I used almost two full skeins of fingering-weight yarn (approx. 400 yards) on size US9/5.5mm needles. Final measurements: 68″ across the top, 20″ deep at the center.
A perfect, quick shawl.
… but, it’s been a busy couple of days. A friend from college came for a visit and we did the town: giant statues, lots of food, some walking, more food, a very bad midnight movie, and — okay — a bit of knitting. She learned to knit socks and was very excited. Probably not as excited as I was, but still pretty thrilled.
Yep, she’s 42 feet tall. And gilded. She will blow your mind.
Double yep, I ate all of that. It blew my mind.
So that’s it for now. Things are good here, people. Very good.
I’m a person who gets stuck. On people, on ideas, in routines. Needless to say, I also have a lot of rules. All of them are designed to protect, a few of them are productive, most of them are wrong or unhelpful, but there you are.
There are serious examples, of course, places where I’ve been stuck that have been very dire and sad — but that’s not for a knitting blog. Today, it’s about guacamole.
Which is not to say I’ve tipped into frivolty. It’s been a hard adjustment, coming back to Nashville from Switzerland. My trip east and across the Atlantic was a confrontation with some serious nostalgia and I don’t quite know what to do with it all yet. It was fun, but it was hard.
And in the midst of feeling a bit unsettled, a bit mopey and sad, I lost track of my summer project. Indeed, I made guacamole last night, not so much because I wanted to, but because the avacadoes were about to go bad. It was sad guacamole, the guacamole of necessity. Not what I wanted.
Now I have all of this guacamole. And I wasn’t sure what in the world I was going to do with it all. Then I thought, I could put it on toast. Who says you can’t eat guacamole for breakfast? So that’s what I did. And I feel better.
It was delicious.
Now I’m going to the public library to track down some Alice Starmore.
… a wall of hand-knit shawls.
I did the math today and realized that I have moved six times in six years. That’s a lot of packing and unpacking. This year, though, I’m staying put. And taking advantage of the chance to do some organizational fine-tuning around the apartment, the kind of stuff you just don’t get to if you’re always on the way to a new place.
Closets are organized, containers are planted, and now the shawls are out for all to see (well, me, anyway). In the exhaustion of moving in, and then the exhaustion of the semester (which started soon after), I never got around to taking the shawls out of the closet or off the back of the chair. Target to the rescue! (And my dad, who believes in independence through power tools.) A few minutes of work and voilà!: instant hand-knit heaven.
This display makes me quite happy. And quite wishful for more shawls.
It’s just that beautiful.
We drove over the Klausenpass yesterday: 6000-some feet, up above the tree line … it was one of the most spectacular experiences. The pass is closed in the winter and had only just opened for the summer: it was quiet, empty, and cold. A very peaceful afternoon somehow.
There was snow at the top,
and cake! It is now my dream to stay at this hotel someday.
All of these were taken out of the car window, as we wound our way up one switchback after another. The Germans say “Serpentine.” I think that’s a much nicer word.
I don’t know why, but this one is my favorite: something about the colors and the movement, the stone building against the mountains.
I promise I’ll get back to the knitting soon.
Kickin’ it with Otto Schneider at the Kneippanlage in Maisental, Bad Urach.
What is kneippen you might ask? To be honest, I don’t know myself: it happens at the end of a hike and involves wading in a very particular (not to say peculiar) manner in a pool of knee-high, freezing-cold water. It was spectacular. Sebastian Kneipp was definitely onto something.
This was the guy in charge. He instructed me in proper technique. Since it was my first experience with the Kneipp … I asked for a picture. Just to record the moment. I never do that kind of thing, but I decided not to think about it and ask before I could reconsider.
crazy tourist impulses against decorum: 1, katie: 0
For a while now, I’ve had stewing in the back of my mind a project I can best describe as Buellerian. Thinking of it in terms of a John Hughes movie gives it the right flavor of playfulness and deflates any (or at least most of the) potential pomposity from the get-go. In a nutshell, the project is simple: to record some stuff that makes me happy every day this summer. It’s silly, but that’s the point, too.
In a larger nutshell, it’s a bit more complicated. I suspect this year of being sponsored by the letter “F”: frenzied, frantic, and frenetic. In all the ways that those words can shift between exhilarating and exhausting. So the summer is all about seeking out the silly — luckily, Nashville provides ample material — and revelling in it. That’s where Ferris Bueller comes in: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I think I’ve been missing it.
So I’m attempting to miss less.
In that spirit, I bought a ridiculously bright scarf yesterday because it was cheap, at H&M, very yellow, and made me happy in its beacon-like unmissability.
And in the midst of all of this heady activity, I’ve even managed a bit of knitting. In fact, the first of the Regentag socks is limping towards completion thanks to a couple of delightfully outlandish ingénue-based movies: A Summer Place (1959) and Sissi (1955).
That’s right: a turned heel and a new notebook. So far, so good.