Monday, April 27, 2009

On the Jersey shore

We were on the Jersey shore this week for the New Jersey Library Conference. The restored boardwalk must be a half mile long.

This Carousel House and the casino below were designed in the 1920's by Beaux Arts architect Warren Whitney. The casino is being restored.

Boardwalk sculptures. Couldn't find the who, what or why of them.

The Paramount Theater at the other end of the boardwalk, also designed by Warren Whitney.

Inland we found a tiny bit of farm land, with this delightful rooster. And very delicious organic free-range turkey sandwiches.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Ode To Missing Hats

From Katherine Jane:

The process of putting my project pictures up on Ravelry started off with a series of somewhat disheartening discoveries. The first thing I realized was that most of the projects I’d made that were impressive or especially beautiful had been made as presents for other people, and were given away without any photographic evidence. A pair of Fair Isle gloves was the only thing with any real cachet I had to hand (so to speak); all the rest of my finished projects that I ended up keeping were hats or scarves.

But even that wasn’t enough, because the second thing I realized was that I only really had one finished project, besides those gloves, that I was able to actually locate in my drawers—a virulently-colored cap that I hardly ever wear because it is too tight. After the years and years of knitting that I had done, this was all I had to show for it: a pair of gloves I don’t dare take out of the house for fear of losing them, and a hat I don’t like all that much.

Only moderately daunted, I started going through all my old photos from college and from post-college traveling. And, sure enough, although I had never made an active effort to photographically record my knitting progress, by dint of the fact that I wear hats a lot I was able to find quite a few pictures that I could crop down to size and use.

After my initial triumph at having found the pictures, however, I ended up even more depressed than I was before. Although some of these projects were made to practice a new technique when I was just getting started knitting in the round, many of them were hats that I had loved with all my heart and soul, hats that I had worn day-in-day-out, hats that had been my go-to solution when my outfit was blah or my hair was being cantankerous; hats that I could rely on to be waiting faithfully at the bottom of my bag when it was cold. They were hats, in short, that I had a relationship with—and hats that apparently I could not keep in my possession. And it’s not like this was an issue from when I was young and careless; at least two of those hats had been lost in the past four months, presumably abandoned to the cold cruel streets of New York!

But then I remembered wisdom that my favorite jewelry shop owner had given to me once: “Wear your jewelry, and wear it a lot. If it gets broken, stolen, or lost, at least you will have happy memories of the times you wore it and how much pleasure it brought you.”

And so I took a more careful look at those photos, looking not just at the hats themselves, but at the girl who was wearing the hats. And oh, the happy memories those pictures brought back! The hats that became favorites were part of so many experiences. I used one to keep the bees out of my hair while tilling soil on an organic farm in Ireland; a different one while I stomped around the hills of rural Wiltshire with a best-beloved cousin.

Another, less fortunate hat got vomited into on a subway in London when I had the flu, and later (after a thorough wash) kept me warm while I helped my aunt clean out the moldy apples from her cider shed.

I wore the hats while falling in and out of love; I wore the hats while hanging out with my family. I’ve worn them in two different hemispheres, three different continents, in a multitude of different countries. I wore them while Thelma-and-Louiseing with a pair of disgruntled koala bears, and while fulfilling a lifelong dream of holding a wombat.

In short, my hats have been part of a thoroughly enjoyable existence. Looking through my record of lost hats was a visual presentation of all the risks I’m now so glad that I took, and reminded me to be grateful for the life and experiences that I’m lucky enough to have had. And, in the end, if my only legacy is leaving a trail of well-worn, well-loved knitted caps strewn across the face of this planet—well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing, after all.

-Katherine Jane


Katherine Jane Arathoon lives in New York City and occasionally guest blogs for Knitting Out Loud. She also blogs at Between Ewe And Me.


We celebrate Passover and Easter. These are Ukranian Easter eggs (pyansky) made over the last 30 years, including some made by my daughter and her cousins when they were small. Yes, small children do love to play with hot bee's wax and candle flame.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Magnificent Egypt

My friend and neighbor, Kristen, has just returned from Egypt. Her fabulous Egyptian blog with gorgeous photos is listed as Kristen's Egypt under "links" on the right-hand side, or you can just click here.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

mystery scarf, spring crocus, snobs

Mystery scarf! A lighthouse keeper's daughter, a Swedish ship captain, love on the Maine Coast. Tune in next week for their romantic story and help us solve the mystery of this scarf.

This is spring in Maine. Dark gray sky and howling wind. Brave crocus. Knitting in front of the warm fire in the woodstove.
We listened to this audio book on the way to my "Stories of Knitting" talks in Connecticut (Preston and Canterbury Libraries) this week. It is very funny! And beautifully read. Julian Fellowes won an academy award for his screenplay for Gosford Park. Warning: there is no knitting in this novel.