this was the scene in my kitchen last friday morning, before i left for miami—the day dawned hot and though i hadn’t planned on putting up tomatoes before my flight went out, the very ripe scent filling the house told me i’d better.
so i roasted and pureed and cooked and by the time i left, i had eight more quarts put up for the freezer. tomatoes wait for no woman . . .
i got to the airport just in time to discover that my flight was delayed a few hours. oh joy. i tell you, the big airline that has bought all the other airlines?? should not be allowed to grow any bigger til they get their act together. it was a grueling day, indeed.
BUT, it passed eventually and when it did, i found myself in sunny miami (only it was well into the night by then, so it was dark, heh).
the good news is that i finished david’s longjohn socks before i even got on the plane (i would say “go me!” but i really don’t deserve that, since it has taken like, ten months to complete them, heh).
these will be a sturdy and warm addition to his pile of anniversary socks this year. and you know what?? i think my sock mojo is creeping back—i actually feel like starting another pair right away. it’s our tenth anniversary this year, so i should try to make at least one pair that is especially brilliant, right? more on that next time . . .
once i finished those, i cast on right away for my secret project in that lavender precious silk from the natural dye studio. of course, i can’t show it to you, but i can tell you it’s going swimmingly; i finished about one-third of it before landing in miami. but boy, i was almost sick of knitting by that time, no kidding—that’s how long i was traveling . . . no worries though; i got over that feeling after a good night’s sleep.
anyway, i didn’t get to my hotel til 1 am (and luggage-less at that), so i hit the sack immediately to rest up for classes on saturday. it wasn’t til the next morning that i finally got to meet my lovely hosts for the weekend, virginia and annie, who own the knitting garden yarn shop in coral gables.
the shop is a delightful destination for knitters in the greater miami area; if you live there and haven’t been, well, you haven’t lived. they have a delicious selection of yarns arranged throughout their comfortable, friendly shop space. a large table in the back invites knitters to sit and work or take a class, while a cozy seating area near the front provides another spot to settle oneself for a visit.
virginia and annie go to great lengths to illustrate their yarn inventory with copious samples, swatches, and pattern support. they also provide a full schedule of classes and events to bring their knitting community together.
an incredible selection of knitting-related gifts and accessories are tucked into every nook and cranny; you won’t have any trouble finding interesting buttons, gadgets, and gifts here.
as a fairly young shop (not yet two years old), they have made a giant effort to provide an active place for knitters to meet, learn, and shop. in addition to classes and KALs, weekly events include movie night (monday), kids knitting club after school (wednesday), and happy hour (friday). you can see all of the shop events on their calendar.
we had three really good classes that left me pretty jazzed up—it was my first time teaching two of them, so there was a bit of an experimental component there, but everyone seemed to take that in stride (thank goodness knitters are fun and easy-going!).
i taught the start to finish class, which is a smorgasbord of various starts for shawls—provisional cast on and pickup, starting from a knit edging, knitted edge bindoff, etc. there is a lot to cover in a short time, but our group was focused and ready to learn; we had a blast.
then we tackled the marie antoinette sock in the afternoon. this sock looks very complex, but actually, if you take it step by step, it’s not overwhelming, so it makes a good class project. it’s not something you can finish in a class, but i think everyone went home feeling they could manage the rest on their own.
then on sunday, we had an all-day shawl project class, which is a great kick-off for a shop KAL around one particular shawl design. this group chose to work on the pine and ivy shawl; a complex, but very pretty piece. we worked through a swatch to introduce all the patterns and the shawl architecture during the morning, then everyone cast on for the actual shawl and got started working with the full-sized pattern. lots of knitting that day—i think it’s wonderful that participants take a whole day away for themselves to focus on a more difficult project; something they might not be able to make time for at home.
once it gets underway, this kind of class is a little less hands on for me—while i’m there to guide and answer questions and help get people unstuck, most participants want to get as much knitting done as they can before they leave. there is a lot of quiet time, which can be almost strange for a teacher, but good too, because it means everyone is happily working away.
it’s good to have some knitting of one’s own to do
so i brought out my wasp and rose to work on. i actually got quite a bit done—though i started it at home and got almost this far on the plane ride, i had decided to rip it all the way back and adjust the way i knit the edgings. i was able to restart it in class and work that out during the quiet times.
i am so impressed with this group—while not the most experienced of lace knitters, everyone tackled this project with relish and seemed determined to get a good start. the mood was entirely positive, which always makes for a great teaching experience. and that’s the thing—going into a class, you don’t need to know everything ahead of time—being open to learning will allow you to get what you came for. virginia and annie plan to expand this class into a shop KAL; they will have a monthly meetup at the shop when participants can bring their pine and ivy project for group knitting and support. isn’t that fantastic?
after class on sunday, five of us piled into barbara’s car for a nighttime tour of miami before dinner. i got to see all the sights from coral gables, down through south miami beach and back again—it was awesome (i’m only sorry it was too dark to take pictures). barbara, annie, elena, and carmen all grew up right there in miami and have an extensive catalog of personal and factual information that they proudly share about their city. it was almost too much to take in, but i loved every minute; it reminded me of how my own extended family talks about albany, where they grew up.
we ate delicious “modern” cuban food for dinner and then headed back up to coral gables. i would have loved to ride around all night with them, haha, but i had to get up bright and early for my flight back home.
so, while i don’t even have one picture of the beautiful palm trees and gardens in coral gables (i was too busy during the days and wow, it gets dark a lot earlier there), i have a memory filled with exciting architecture lit up by the night lights at the beach. wonderful.
because my evenings were pretty full, i didn’t knit much in my room at night, but i still got lots done this weekend—on the return trip (which went much more efficiently), i worked on the gray mitts for my niece.
i know this photo makes it seem as if i’m in exactly the same place as when i left but . . .
i also have a finished done to show for myself. yay.
i love these mitts—the stitch pattern is from one of my favorite socks and the yarn is simply delicious—so light and soft, that in a fitted mitt like this, it feels like a second layer of skin.
this is some dye dreams classy sox that i had left over from knitting the cité neckwarmer. the merino/cashmere/nylon blend is perfect for a mid-season mitt—light enough to wear effortlessly, indoors or out, but enough of a layer to chase off the chill at this time of year. these will fill the bill perfectly for the “classy, neutral” pair my niece asked for (in addition to a lacy pair).
i also worked some more on my secret project once i got home and into my monday afternoon class. what a shock when i got back to ohio—i left it on a sunny, 90-degree day and came back to that raw, wet, fall weather that makes me want to hide indoors under a blanket.
there are ripe tomatoes out in the garden to pick but i’m having trouble psyching myself up to go out there—i’m a terribly fair-weather gardener; as soon as it turns chilly like this, i lose all interest, haha.
i mean, i will go out there—a nice hot bowl of pasta with roasted tomato sauce sounds good for dinner—but i need to talk myself into it.
on the other hand, warming up the house by using the oven?