Just a Little Patience

I finished this Triangle Tulip Shawl from Brooke Nico's book Lovely Knitted Lace yesterday.  It is made with Malabrigo Worsted.  It is intended to be a Christmas present for my aunt, but now I am in a dilemma as my impatience makes me want to give it to her now.  

“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience- or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.” 
-Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

I could never do that.  I don't have the patience."  Every time I hear those words in reference to my knitting, I experience mixed emotions--both an urge to laugh and a sense of frustration that people have such a misconstrued understanding of me and of the nature of my hobby.  I am an impatient person. A person who, when aiming to make a right turn and faced with a long line of cars at a stoplight, will cut through an adjacent parking lot. A person who, when young, quit entry level jobs in publishing (highly coveted by recent college grads), as I was unable to bear the notion of waiting for my turn to rise through the ranks and gain a position where I would make a decent living and have some autonomy.  A person who, in her early-twenties-eagerness to  get life started on a large scale--big house, fine meals--hitched my wagon to a dark horse with an eerie physical resemblance to John Gotti, one whose depths of dysfunctional arrogance and unbridled ambition were worthy of any reality show star.  A person who later still wanted a big house and found herself in a crumbling two-story residence replete with a rotting balcony, squirrels in the walls, and several unusable fireplaces, a domicile that was virtually too dilapidated to inhabit and so financially draining that my husband and I have still not recovered from this early marriage mistake.  

Alas, sometimes in spite of our best efforts to hurry up and reach tomorrow's goals, life forces us to be patient.   And in these very moments of resigned waiting (when I am experiencing sometimes unbearable impatience), knitting fills the void.  I knit in the waiting room of the doctor's office, at my sons' football games, in the wee hours of the morning when I am sometimes itching to get up and begin my to-do list but know that turning on lights and clomping around would be unwelcome by the rest of the household, or at least by my husband (as teenagers sleep so soundly I could run the vacuum with music turned up loud enough to hear over the machine's roar and my sons would probably continue their snoozing).  And while knitting has its rhythmic, relaxing properties, ultimately there is always an element of impatience coupled with any project. The desire to finish spurs me on and either results in a finished item in a few weeks time or works in progress--especially those made with airy light yarn--that rest in bags stuffed into my closet or hanging from hooks in a my knitting nook.  

With the Christmas season suddenly encroaching on my basking in the cooler temperatures and bright colors of fall, I am determined to slow down and not set any goals that will result in my knitting like wildfire in every spare moment.  I need to engage in the moments of knitting--the process over the product.  I also need to bring this same skill to my new job, working each day to grasp the school culture, the expectations, the students' levels of ability, and not focus so much on reaching my goal of being accepted and valued.  Those things take time.  

I also need to focus on waiting patiently for the summer, for a planned trip to England.  In the interim that means fewer meals out and a moratorium on yarn shopping and weekend getaways.  Fortuitously, though, in the heat of summer, some former coworkers and I had planned a weekend trip to the mountains before a generous invitation from my friend in England (blogger Mrs. Thomasina Tittlemouse).  So last weekend, six women and I headed to Black Mountain, North Carolina, for some much-needed rest and for a visit to the Southeaster Fiber Arts Festival (SAFF) in nearby Asheville. 

These felted bobbles were on sale at SAFF.

Tonya, my former roommate at Vogue Knitting Live in New York back in 2013, enjoys her new-found knitting skills picked up our Manhattan trip, and Dawn is a crocheter who is also a talented graphic and visual artist.  The other women who traveled with us weren't fiber artists but enjoyed attending SAFF and seeing the displays and vendors.  And, of course, petting the animals was a highlight of our day. 

I exercised self-restraint on this trip and spent less that eleven dollars on some sock yarn. Of course, I couldn't resist purchasing a handcrafted yarn swirlette, a revolving holder for a ball of yarn. While this contraption might seem gimmicky, I have loved using this.  The yarn ball stays neat and tidy and doesn't end up tangled with pens, paper scraps, loose yarn, etc. in the bottom of a bag.  

My yarn swirlette with one of the two skeins of sock yarn I bought.  

On the Friday evening before our planned day at SAFF, the seven of us attended a haunted tour at In the Oaks, a 1920s mansion built in the style of a Tudor English country manor by Franklin Silas Terry, an industrial magnate.  The house is now the property of Montreat College. Volunteers, some of them descendants of the the original owners,  dressed in period garb reminiscent of Downton Abbey and played the roles of In the Oaks residents.  

Left to Right:  Lisa, Dawn, Darla, and Tonya in the gymnasium of the mansion.

Left to right:  Vicki and Genny.  

The guide tells us about the "Dutch Room" in the Prohibition-era mansion.  This room has
a double-layered door for muffling noise and access to a hidden wine cellar.

On Sunday, our group said and good-byes and went in various directions.  Dawn and I drove to the farmers' market in Asheville to purchase apples and some other seasonal fare and then drove back to Black Mountain for lunch in a German restaurant on the way home.  

I am certain that sharing a house together required a bit of patience on the part of my fellow travelers.  I know that in my exuberance to maximize the opportunity for a weekend away, I'd planned an exhausting schedule of activities and realized (after the fact) that a trip to a vegetarian restaurant with tofu in nearly every recipe wasn't particularly welcomed by the group.  (As Asheville is an artsy city populated by numerous Birkenstock-sporting vegans with unruly hair, I couldn't fight the schoolteacher in me and had to plan a foray to The Laughing Seed to expose my friends to a little local cuisine.)  While I enjoyed my sweet-potato-filled quesadilla, some of the women were a little hesitant to order--although that fact may have been due to the hot dogs I had espied some of them eating at SAFF!

Ultimately, though, whether the weekend required patience, indefatigable energy, or a sense of humor, the time away was enjoyed by all.  So much so, that the seven of us who shared a house are eager to do so again.  But I'm not getting online to look for dates right now.  I am looking forward to my big trip this coming summer, though that time seems so far off.  In the meantime, I'll be patient.  I have plenty of knitting projects to fill the hours.    


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