Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pond Crossing Imminent

I grew up in a military family and we moved around a lot. To this day, the sight of brown cardboard packing boxes makes me as nostalgic as a whiff of dearest mama's green pepper casserole.

We spent so much time on the road that I was only six or seven when the first of my pre-trip rituals emerged. Books to be read while traveling had to be put into quarantine, literally set apart on their own shelf. They could not, under any circumstances, be opened until we were out of the driveway. I still do this.

Over the years a host of other ironclad customs have joined the first. Together, they form a lovely little framework of neurosis and superstition with which I shield myself from the fears that might, if I gave into them, possibly keep me from going anywhere at all.

The newest tradition debuted when I became a knitter. It comprises a 50-yard dash of finishing, weaving ends, blocking, and then worrying over the piece at it slllllooooooooowwwwwwwllllllyyyyy dries on a towel on the living room floor.

I know there are knitters out there who are much better about this sort of thing. They are never to be found frantically undoing blocking pins while the taxi to the airport is waiting downstairs. But there aren't any knitters like that in my apartment, which is good because I would smack them.

Well, a whopper of a trip is nigh. We're going to England today, Tom and I. It's a just brief jaunt, a whistle stop in London. And then we're sailing back on the Queen Mary 2. I can't believe it. Tom figured out how to do it without smashing all the piggy banks. He's smart like that.

So he gets a new knitted thing, in this case a simple but useful garment I'm calling the Transatlantic Hat.

Transatlantic Hat

It don't look like much but it was an interesting knit. First I did the outside - the cabled bit. Since the yarn is DK weight (the same I used in Grandma's Swallowtail Shawl) that made for a thin hat, not terribly warm. So, borrowing an idea from dear Elizabeth Zimmermann, I picked up stitches around the bottom and knit a lining for it in the same wool. And then, to make quite certain fierce Atlantic winds won't get through, I picked up stitches again and knit a roll-up brim in 2x2 ribbing to give extra protection to Tom's neck and cute little pink ears.

I'm sure there's a more efficient way to do all that, but since I was making it up as I went along I'm just happy it worked. I'm also happy it's finished. Even with a fan blowing on it, it took the sucker 48 hours to dry. At least I beat the taxi driver this time.

I Knit, You Knit, We All Knit at I Knit

I sent Queen Liz a gob of e-mails and kept poking her on Facebook, but she never got back to me so I'm going to hang out with knitters instead. I'll be at I Knit at 6:30 on Thursday evening, and as William the Conqueror said as he stood on the French side of English channel, I cannot freaking wait. I'll sign books and read some and draw some and generally natter away until they all throw shoes at me.

While I'm Away

The Etsy shop has been put into suspended animation for the duration, since there's no point in your ordering things when I can't ship them. The Guys with Yarn calendar will return to stock (along with prints, cards, etc.) when I get back. Meanwhile, the Cafe Press shop (which doesn't require my direct involvement) is still open for business for all your bag, shirt, ornament and thong needs.

During the trip I will have minimal access to e-mail, then no access to e-mail, because there's no way I'm going to pay Cunard's extortionate rates for a bad satellite connection in the middle of the ocean. Talk amongst yourselves, darlings, and I'll be back with a full report.

A Note to the All the Fibertarians

I can only imagine it's been a rough week for those who supported Dolores for President. I promise you it's been even rougher to live with her in the aftermath. She actually disappeared for about two days, presumably working through her disappointment in the company of one or more jockstrap-clad campaign advisors at the Lucky Horseshoe.

When she at last slunk back through the front door, she refused to receive visitors or answer her cell phone. Even very sweet overtures from the Obama camp regarding a cabinet post fell on deaf ears. I asked her if she might not want to issue a statement to all the loyal party members. She screamed "Thanks a million!" and threw an empty bottle of Everclear at my head.

And then, perhaps inspired by the sight of my own open suitcases, she left this note on the refrigerator.

There's no cure like travel. Have taken to the road to
rediscover my soul. Borrowed your rollerblades, your
portable sewing machine and your copy of
The Eustace Diamonds.
Au revoir, cupcake.
P.S. Don't touch my stuff.

84 comments:

Kim said...

Be safe, darlin', and have a wonderful, glorious trip! I look forward to the report when you get home. :-)

Donna Lee said...

The QE2! Lots of jealousy here. I hope the trip is a good one. I loved the book and I'm sure the Brits will too. Have tons of fun.

bjrest said...

Sounds like an exciting journey... Safe travels... can't wait to hear all about it! xo bj

Sharon Rose said...

You would not believe the filthy things I said about you to my husband when I read you are not only flying to England (I *so* need to get back) but... but... the QE2??? My god, man! The husband said "Do you have any idea how many women would die to do that cruise with him?"

Oh yes, yes I do.

marcia-x said...

Can you point me to Tom's travel-tip blog?

Northmoon said...

Have a wonderful time in England. Queen Liz obviously doesn't know what she is missing.

I can hardly wait for the travel report when you return!

Mary deB said...

Lucky you! Take lots of pictures: The Ocean, Day 1; The Ocean, Day 2, etc

My non-spammer word here today is "mormic" which sounds so much like a real word. Have a very mormic day!

Liz said...

What a fabulous trip! Have a wonderful time!

kmkat said...

Frankly, I think Queen Liz would bore you. Maybe you should e-mail Fergie instead. (Does she still live in England?) Have a wonderful trip, knowing that at any given moment there are great whacks of North American knitters who would give their Addis and Harmonies to be traveling with you.

Cara said...

Do you quarantine yarn and projects for the trip, just like the books? Of course you must!

Have a blast on the trip--it sounds like a dream come true.

creativetextiles said...

WOW!! Lucky you, enjoy, relax and have a ton of fun. But please take pics the rest of us poor slobs need to live vicariously through your adventures. Bon Voyage!

Sue said...

I totally dig the hat.
Have a great jaunt!

Lynn said...

I am pre-travel routine superstitious as well (or maybe I'm just a procrastinator).

Bon voyage, cheri!

Fluzz said...

I warn you now, it's bloomin' freezing over here in bonny England so wrap up warm and pack jumpers and thermals.

Enjoy your whistle-stop visit and the sail home afters.

Paul said...

The hat is beautiful! Have a terrific time!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Dolores can see her younger self in Lizzie Eustace -- though of course Lizzie is still a modest Victorian maiden compared to our Dolores.
Bon voyage,
Gretchen

Mel said...

Well, Tom is likely to be a much more sedate traveling companion than Her Wooliness. Let's just hope that ship doesn't end up with a stowaway.

JellyDonut said...

I am so deeply, insanely jealous, but not so much that I can't wish you a fabulous trip. I love, love, love cruising. Do not use the elevators once you get onboard, make a trip to the workout room (however brief) once a day, and begin all your meals with a bowl of fruit. Result? No weight gain!

The hat is just gorgeous!

Kathy in San Jose said...

Have a wonderful time! (sighs and waves wistfully)

alala said...

Wow. I could almost get to London from here. Almost.

Sigh. Perhaps next time. Have a wonderful trip.

Nell said...

What an amazing trip! Have a great time!

Anonymous said...

Dolores and Lizzie Eustace and interesing combo
Enjoy your trip
Fergie

M-H said...

That Tom's a keeper. We visited iknit on our recent trip from downunder and it was great. London is much nicer now they have the congestion tax that prevents cars in the inner city - much cleaner and easier to get around. Have a wonderful time.

Sara said...

Have a fanTASTic trip! Looking forward to some pictures from the ship once you're back!

LittleWit said...

Have a safe and wonderful trip. The sail home on the QE2 sounds amazing! I will have to do that some day. :)

Inghild said...

Have a wonderful trip! (We did a trip to England a couple of weeks ago, we went to see the Stonehenge..... )

Kristen said...

Have a glorious time!!! How wonderful that you will get to travel the QE2 on her retirement voyage!

Anonymous said...

Sorry that I won't be at iknit on thursday, but a huge number of knitter will and they are sooo excited about it. It is a good job that the QE2 beckons as the celeb welcome they have planned might have induced you to stay!. Safe Trip.
Jacqueline
ps I'm sure Graid and Gerard will be blogging about you for all those who can't wait to see how it goes, make your way to the Iknit site

Knit - R - Done said...

I am so jealous of your phrenology model. What happened to the good ol' days of inventing sciences?

sue said...

Have a wonderful trip and don't hit any icebergs!
Is Harry with Delores or is he staying home alone? Perhaps he's going with you...

Calvin said...

Have a safe journey, Franklin.

Anonymous said...

So you're having a trip to England? Tom sounds like a resourceful chap to get you a good deal - on the QM2 as well! I notice that most if not all of your commenters have mistaken the ship for the QE2 (which is now 35 years old). Bring lots of wet-weather gear with you - it's bound to rain, even if it's not too cold. Have a good trip.
MelindaJ, Lancashire, UK.

Patti said...

have a wonderful trip!!! the QE2.. prime knitting time for sure.

Patti said...

Opps.. make that QM2... silly me...

Flossie said...

See you on Thursday!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday, and to The Book. Have a great flight
Christine

Lisa said...

Uh oh. Dolores on Everclear?!?! Sounds utterly terrifying!

Have an "ab fab" time...we're all looking-forward to THE REPORT upon your return!

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Bon Voyage and happy knitting.

Hedgehog Librarian said...

Have a wonderful trip!! Look forward to hearing about it when you get back

Liz Vincent said...

There was a piece on NPR this morning about the retirement of the QE2 (noting you are sailing on the Queen Mary 2) and I was truly sad that one of my "must dos" is now a can't. Can HARDLY wait to hear the stories from your trip.

The Knifty Knitter said...

Enjoy yourself! Take lots of pictures!

anonymous, too said...

I'm jealous, and I just got back from a trip to London! Be sure to stop in a pub and have a pint or two for all of us -- and please tell Camilla to return her hair to Krystal Carrington.

the scarlet piglet said...

The Eustace Diamonds!? Good for Dolores - drowning her sorrows in Trollope's Palliser saga. If you hear from her tell her she can crash at my place if she comes to NYC.

dale-harriet said...

Oh, YES, have a fab time; relish every moment and every morsel (I hear you eat really well on those boats). And - I hope Dolores stops to visit my campaign office for her; we're sure there must've been a mistake because everyone WE let in...erh...saw vote had her name on the ballots. Although - if not her, then I'm glad that nice young man with the adorable daughters won. I, too, will wait excitedly for pix of the trip. "Vicarious" is my middle name. (My mom was hoping for a boy)

Teyani said...

safe travels.
happy knits.
and hopefully you'll get to relax and unwind on the journey back (sans sheepy politicians! heh heh)

Carie said...

You'll have no end of fun in London, it's just a shame that you don't get to see the rest of the country (it's not very big I promise) and I am very impressed about the QM2 - it just seems like travelling in style.

sara said...

Hope that you have a brilliant time here in England. Its a bit chilly at the moment. The return journey sounds fab. Very jealous.

martian77 said...

I've got the day off, and will be heading up to London to visit! Woohoo!

=Tamar said...

Have a wonderful time!
Next time you knit a thick hat, look for a metal basket the right size (or make a wire mesh form) so air can get to it from both sides. It's amazing how much faster things dry that way. (My hat that had been wet for three days only took another 12 hours to dry once I found the wire basket.)

Helen said...

oh and I'm not going to be able to get down there to meet you *sulks* The finances, and the need for occasionally attending at the CorporateJob (TM) mean I shall be stuck north of the border. Have a lovely trip, and make sure you buy lots of Rowan (I understand it commands a good price on the US / Canadian black market nudge nudge)

New Jersey Laura said...

Lovely hat! Bon voyage :)

Miss Sandra said...

The only spot for a write-in candidate on my ballot was for a regional council of government. I wrote in Dolores Van Hoofen but someone named Ann got the post. I tried.
Have a fantastic tour!

Anonymous said...

Jealous is the only word but I hope the trip is great! The QM2 should be a lovely way to travel, I mean, how could even the north Atlantic in November be bad when you can knit for 6 days straight??? I do hope you had the forethought to leave the "learned to knit in prison" t- at home.

I am wondering about Harry, too. Perhaps I need to get out more if I'm worried about a ball of sock yarn, you know, are his feelings hurt from being left out of the story???

Gerrie in MN

Jenn said...

What is Dolores pouting about!? I did my part, and voted for her! Now I wanna see some woolcake! She promised.

Seanna Lea said...

Have a great trip! Can I borrow Tom for a bit of trip planning? My hubby and I haven't gone to anything except for weddings for the past few years, so it would be great to plan a trip that didn't cost us an arm and a leg (or two)!

that girl n said...

Oh, Franklin, I wish I could make it to your signing tomorrow, but sadly I can't - dratted timing! Have a fabulous trip! Hopefully you'll be back soon for a longer visit? Would love to show you my hometown :-)

Verification word is litase, which sounds like some kind of biochemistry term...

Roggey said...

Here's to smooth sailing, fantastic sunsets, and starry nights - Bon Voyage!

Anonymous said...

My word verification is "tinglo"...sounds like a word describing your feelings about your great trip ahead. I,too, grew up in the military and know exactly the feelings you described..putting my books and toys aside and yep, I,too, go through the same ritual to this day. Now it's books and knitting. Safe travels from your Montana fans.
Suzanne

Emily said...

What a rockin hat! Have a great time!

Ruthcrafts said...

Just wanted to say have a great trip! Wish I could drop everything and run to London... can't quite... but will be sending yarn-filled thoughts in your direction :)

Gamba Girl said...

Saw an item in the paper this morning - the Wichita Eagle of all places - that the QE2 had run aground! I assume you grabbed your knitting and Tom before having to abandon ship...

Gamba Girl said...

Oops. I suppose I should read more carefully. It was the QE2 that ran aground, and you are fortunate to be on the Queen MARY 2.

Bobbi said...

I can vouch...after knowing him for 25 years...Tom DOES have cute pink ears! Safe travels Boys!

JellyDonut said...

Does anyone know the location of the pattern for this FABULOUS hat? It is exactly the hat I've been yearning to make, minus the lining. That's the one good thing about hot flashes!

la G├╝era said...

Envious of Tom's new hat and doubly envious of your trip!

Bon voyage!

Melissa said...

I knit sweaters for my grown sons for Christmas and inevitably, the night before the 16 hour road trip, I'm finishing up something (weaving in ends, sewing in a zipper by hand, seaming.....) which, of course, causes me to stay up half the night and then the other half of the night I'm too excited to sleep. Thank God for Starbucks.

Have fun in merry ole England! Wish I could hit the pubs with Dolores.

Anonymous said...

I am an Australian. In my first ever trip to Europe last year I had a free evening in London and managed to find Stash Yarns, who put me onto I Knit London. It was like a miracle that I got to anywhere in such a big city using public transport, but then I was in this place where my in flight first attempt at crochet (no knitting needles on flights out of Australia) was put to rights by knowledgeable strangers, the guy keeping the shop was knitting a knee high sock in yarn he dyed himself, friendly strangers welcomed me, I got advice about pride London which incidentally was next day, and then there was a film. Wish I knew a place like that locally. Have a great time! Even friends who don't knit were impressed by my account of this place. I'd send them my love, but you don't know me and they probably don't remember me :-)

Cazj said...

Hope you have a great time in The Smoke would love to be at IKnit to see you but am a long way away in damp old Cornwall. The QE2 did briefly run aground but was refloated on the rising tide, she sails to Dubai - I think - for her last voyage to become a floating hotel.Sure The Queen Mary 2 is as superb - would love to get the chance to find out. Bon Voyage

Bronchitikat said...

Congratulations, Franklin, on getting to the Mother Country! Think a DK hat will be warm enough for here, though you may well need to waterproof it.

& as for those who reckoned they read you're going back on the QEII, which retired Tuesday . . .

Enjoy your cruise. Nice to know there are some Americans untouched by the Credit Crunch! Well spotted, Tom.

BTW -my word verification thingy was 'stotcyt'. Sounds like the after effects one might suffer from all that pre-journey knitting & finishing.

Ari said...

Enjoy London and see you in January in Billings, Montana!!!

Flavaknits said...

Am so jealous - What a beautiful ship (even tho its not Clydebuilt! lol)
There is a restaurant in Glasgow that was opened and kitted out to look like the interior of the first Queen Mary - FABUOLOUS (called Rogano's)
Have fun, wish I'd have made it to the Iknit event, sounded great!

Sarah said...

Just to say it was lovely to see you at IKnit, you are entirely as cute, nice and funny in the flesh as you seem on your blog. And as far as I could see everyone was laughing way too hard to throw shoes ;) Also, Tom is adorable, you are a both lucky men.

I hope the journey back is as fantastically romantic as crossing the Atlantic in a Cunnard liner should be, it's so 1920's darling!

Come back soon, us UK knitters will miss you. I could almost have wished Sarah Palin on America if it meant you would have emigrated (and brought Tom with you :)).

Ann said...

Bon voyaaaaaaaaage! I can't wait to read your travelogue!

Puss-in-Boots said...

Hi Franklin

Hope you enjoy the UK and your trip on the Queen Mary. Bon Voyage.

Laiane said...

I find The Eustace Diamonds an interesting choice for travel reading for Dolores (interesting as in "I nearly laughed myself silly"). So few appreciate Trollope!

I'm looking forward to seeing your blog post when you get back from your trip. Your clever and elegant turns-of-phrase are well-suited to London and the QE2.

helenkosings said...

looking forward to your return! The knitblogosphere is so lonely wthout you....

JanKnitz said...

Franklin, you dog! That is my dream vacation and you're having it!

You better take good pics and blog well, because it's as close as I'm ever going to get!

Lynne said...

You may not even see this among your dozens of comments. I rarely leave comments because there are already so many and I guess you've got more to do than read the same 'I love your blog' comments over and over; none-the-less, it's true.

BTW, my word verification was "parkworm" - I wonder what Dolores would make of that?

PS I hope you don't mind, you've been awarded.

Bo said...

You are so lucky!!!! I grew up as a diplomatic-brat and I have "travel customs". I usually get a stack of magazines---a BIG stack---and also a good book---in one of those kiosks at the airport. Don't know why, but they all have to be bought AT the airport, heh. And the cruise sounds heavenly---I'd pack about a zillion pounds of yarn for that and park myself at the pool! (Once I did that and caught myself aiming the video cam at some eye-candy, bad girl....)

Miss Sandra said...

Franklin, I think you've been gone long enough now. Time to come home.
My word verification is "wirdshoo".

Gamba Girl said...

Franklin come back. I am adrift without news of your trip, Dolores, your knitting, etc. Hoping you had a great time.

Dorothy said...

Hope you have a great time!

Dolores should try Canadian politics. Bet she would be a good Prime Minister. Can't be worse than Steven Harper.

HarpTonya said...

FFFrrraaaaannnnnnnnnnkklllliinnnnnn........come home, we miss you!

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