This morning, before I packed my bags and got ready to head for the airport, I spread out my knitting and had a little sigh about it. I brought three projects with me on this trip – and I didn’t meet my goals on any of them. I forgot how completely exhausted I am after skiing, and what it’s like to try and juggle my other responsibilities with that. Joe always says that the great thing about being self employed is the flexibility. You can work any 14 hours a day you want, and both of us were feeling that. If we were in the hotel room we were on our laptops, trying to get stuff accomplished and pretend to the people we had commitments to that we weren’t playing on the slopes, and I only managed to carve out about an hour of serious knitting each evening. I did manage to get a few hours of non-serious knitting in each day as we travelled back and forth to the ski hill. We like taking the bus once we’re there, and it gives you some pretty good knitting time, although I couldn’t bring myself to bring the blanket on the bus and then stuff it in my ski bag. I’m too far along for it to get dirty or what if someone stole my ski bag? There would be no coming back from it. I kept it in the hotel room – resisting the urge to put it in the safe.
I had three knitting goals this trip. I wanted to finish the romper.
This did not happen. It might happen today as I make my way home – my flight’s been delayed twice thanks to a snowstorm in Toronto, and it’s farther along than it is in that picture since I knit on it on the way to the airport, but mostly I’m behind.
I brought this little white sweater (pictured in the corner above) It’s a plain white cardigan knit on 2.25mm needles which is, rather predictably, taking forever. I aimed to finish the body and start the sleeves. Even brought needles for the sleeves, but it was a total bust. While I thought about it a lot, it’s had the audacity to stay about the same, only a few centimetres longer than it was when I left Toronto. I suppose that I would have made better progress if I’d knit it instead of thinking about it, but I was so demoralized this failure that I didn’t even pack it in my carry on. It can think about what it’s done while it’s squashed in my suitcase.
The blanket…. that was the big fail. My goal was to finish the border I’m on now, accomplish the little garter band before the next border, and be finished the next border, which is smaller than the first. Sadly, not only did I not get this done, I fell way short. I’m on the last round of the first border. I think I forgot to take into account that this blanket is growing rapidly. Right now there are about 712 stitches in a round – but that grows by 8 stitches every other round. Predictably, those rounds are taking longer and longer. Still, I’m on to 8 rounds of garter now, and then 20 of a lace pattern much simpler than the last, so maybe there is some hope. I’m going to work on it all the way home today, and it’s a 4.5 hour flight, so maybe? It’s making me anxious, I’d like to make some real progress, but I’m going to avoid setting a crazy goal that just generates more knitting deadline anxiety.
Whew! almost done, which is good because I’m off to stand in the Standby line and see if I can get myself anywhere close to Toronto, but one last thing. Debbi and Judith and I have had lots of questions about the retreat, and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that if a couple of people write to ask us, then a lot of people are wondering about it, so we thought that we’d take a few minutes a few days in a row to answer questions. (We’re speaking here of the Strung Along Spring Retreat. It’s March 20-23rd, and there are details on this page. There’s also details about the June and November retreats there, but please note that those two are full, with a wait list. We can put you on that wait list, but for November in particular, those odds are not good. If you were hoping for a retreat this year, March is your baby.)
I’m answering today- because this is a question we get that could be sung from my own little heart.
I would love to come and I wish I was the sort of person who could, but I feel really anxious about going alone and not knowing anyone and I’m not sure I can do it without a wingknitter. Does anyone come alone? What’s it like if they do?
Knitter, my little cowardly, introverted, nervous self hears you. There was a birthday party for someone really like last week and I had trouble going because I wasn’t sure I was going to know anyone there. It turned out absolutely fine, but I hear you. I actually AM you. I can tell you a few things about the retreat that might make you feel better. First, yup. About half of the retreat is brand spanking new to the experience, and coming alone. You wouldn’t be the only one, for sure. Second, almost everyone else who’s coming is a repeat retreat who came alone the first time that they did, so they understand how you feel.
Next, this retreat was set up by someone who’s as nervous as you are (that would be me) and someone who’s pretty normal socially. (That would be Debbi.) We’ve got it arranged so that it’s pretty cozy. On the first evening you meet everyone in a big room, but you don’t have to talk to them or do anything, Debbi and I take the heat. From then on, you’re in a small group with 10-14 other knitters, and they’re the same ones every day. The whole retreat gathers for meals and evening activities, but you’ve always got that little group that you’re with every day, and almost everybody makes buddies in that group.
Last, I can tell you two things- there is lots of time to go to your room, regroup, knit quietly and gather yourself before you return to the fray. On the other hand, if you’ve made a friend or twelve, there’s lots of cozy living room style space to hang out and knit together. We’ve got a little lounge that we hang out in.
The other thing of those two? We have knitters who have been coming for years, because it is the one time of the year that they see the friends that they make at Strung Along – it is a point of pride for Debbi and Judith and I that the retreat is a ship that has launched a thousand friendships. It is a beautiful thing.
If all else fails, you know me. I’ll be there.
If you want to come, email email@example.com and we can talk about it.