Dear Mystery Subway Crafter:
Dude, counted cross-stitch! Seriously? How do you do it?
Knitting is one thing, but counted cross-stitch is an entirely new level. Okay, you win.
No, I haven't moved down South. Although, with the humidity soup that is New York City these days, I'm beginning to wonder.
But, where I have I been? Nowhere, really. It's just been me, NYC, subways, and a new kitchen. Some of you might remember that I mentioned our plans to redo the Subway Knitter Küche. And that's what's been happening over the past couple of weeks. Some photos:Here's the pile of cabinets that occupied about a quarter of our dining room. The cabinets arrived just before I left for Germany, and they loomed large for about two weeks. Call me crazy, but I didn't want to announce the the entire internet that 1) I had a big load of nice expensive cabinets sitting in my apartment and 2) I was leaving said apartment unattended for several days.
Here's a photograph of the kitchen before work began. Note how white and cool the room looks. Nothing wrong with that, but close up everything looked a little bit tired. We also had a white tile floor that was absolutely impossible to keep clean for more than five minutes (I think that you can see stains below the stove). I did a little dance when that floor left my life.
Here's the chaos about half-way through:
And here are some photographs of the way that the kitchen looks now. Of course, we don't have countertops, a sink, or a functioning dishwasher at the moment. We do have a microwave and a stove. It's a huge improvement over last week. We're still subsisting mostly on the Whole Foods prepared-foods section, veggie burgers (me), cheese sandwiches (Sven), and good restaurants in Prospect Heights (lots--you gotta check out Vanderbilt and Washington if you haven't been over here lately).
Here's some minimal progress on the cardigan. Between the dust and the distraction, I didn't do much knitting during the past couple of weeks. Despite Sven's terrific project-managing skills (seriously--it was wonderful to leave contractor-dealings to someone else), I found the slight disruption and total excitement at seeing the new kitchen taking shape to be enough to knock off the knitting mojo.
I'm slowly, slowly reworking the top. In addition to knitting, I'm also thinking about this fix a lot. Any time that I doubt my math or my methodology, I stop and think. Lazy summer days, and lazy summer knitting. Not, unfortunately, in my new kitchen.
I have returned!
Now I'm sure that you're thinking that this will be the post where I unveil a perfectly knit cardigan top.
Well, um, uh, it won't be. Why? You know how I always say that I'll have tons and tons of knitting time on the plane? [Check the archives. I always, without fail, say this before I leave for a trip that involves an airplane. Always, always, always.] The reality is that I never, ever do a lot of knitting at the airport or on the plane.
Why? If I knit at all, it's usually while waiting at the gate and during the first few hours of flying. This time I arrived at gate just as boarding began. This is a rare occurrence for Subway Knitter, as I usually like to leave for the airport with plenty of time to spare "just in case". Well, I guess this was one of those "just in case" moments. Things did not start well: the PATH train was an agonizing 10 minutes late. As a result, I had to take a later bus from Newark. The bus crawled through downtown. Every traffic light was red. Every other boarding passenger needed to ask (only after boarding) "Does this bus go to IKEA?" and then had to get off. I will swear that every departing passenger could barely walk down those two steps at the doorway and needed the driver to lower the bus (and then could still barely manage). By the time I arrived at the airport, I was a humid, soggy mess. I took a few precious moments to try and fix things in the bathroom. I had limited success.
Upstairs, the line at security stretched for a mile (luckily I had already checked in online, and had only hand luggage). The screeners did, however, move relatively quickly, and it was reassuring to hear that those standing with me all had similar flight times. We distracted ourselves by sending silent "shut up" vibes to that group of giddy, singing Irish teenagers who had obviously spent the last month doing a little too much "bonding". They could not have cared less how long that line was because they were with their friends, and that was the most important thing. The rest of us had Somewhere To Be.
We then remarked how old we were getting when a group of singing teenagers could send us over the edge [And wasn't it only a few years ago that I was doing the same thing? No, it was more like 15. Oh.]
The line would have needed to be much longer to have caused me to miss my flight, but I hate that feeling of cutting it too close for comfort. Long story short: no knitting at the gate.
On the plane, those seats are cramped. Then, they turn out the lights about two hours into the flight. Your seatmates don't like it when you put on that overhead spotlight (they don't say anything, but they're secretly shooting you death rays). Then, it's hard to get an accurate measurement of something if you need for it to be, for example, exactly seven inches long. I guess that I find the idea of plane knitting to be a lot more appealing than the plane knitting itself.
I know what you're thinking: "But surely, Colleen, you did some knitting while you were there. I mean, it was a vacation, after all. You like to knit. You get to do things that you like on vacation, so surely you knit on vacation."
Well, dear readers, the fact is that sometimes (and just sometimes) my life is not only about the yarn. I hope that all of you can say the same. Sven and I were in Germany for a friend's wedding.
I cleaned myself up, and put on a hat:
Between the eating, drinking, dancing, talking, eating, and drinking there wasn't any time for knitting. We were having too much fun celebrating the happy couple.
Besides, I had my hands full: I caught the bouquet! Somehow, Sven managed a brave face after this happened, but think that he's still processing the news.I got the bouquet through US Customs without a hitch. [Hitch, get it?] The question is, now that it's home, what do I do with it? I know that someone here will know of a clever tradition. Here's Sven, smiling, all the while looking for his escape: The next couple of days were a blur of boat tours, meals with friends, and a pretty German town. As an American I will always be impressed at the Europeans' ability to make modern life work in ancient towns like this. It's nice to be reminded that it can be done.
Canals in Hamburg. This was the view from our hotel room's balcony (!):
And watching the Euro Cup final. I was in Montreal in 2000 when France won the final (I know, Montreal is not actually in France, but that wasn't the time to have that discussion with the natives), so I felt as if I might bring the team some luck.Football playing not allowed? Try telling that to the locals. On Sunday everyone, and I mean everyone, was doing this:
The game was echoing in nearly empty streets as hundreds of televisions were simultaneously tuned into the broadcast. The restaurants that were open became impromptu sports bars. The remainder were closed.
The police were prepared for some serious shenanigans:
But why not watch the game until they happen?
On that day, my friends, I was a German Football fan. Germany lost. I have to say that the team didn't play extremely well. Whenever Germany had the ball, Spain managed to take it away. The disappointment was noticeable--for about 10 minutes. Then everyone resumed life. Ah, those efficient Germans.
[Note the little guy in the lower left corner with the self-made headband.]
And, here I am, back in New York. I'm back in my knitting chair, ready to continue. Tomorrow.