how i knit to stay sane

May 12, 2008

Vacation from Real Life, Part II

Filed under: Uncategorized — K @ 11:57 am

The day after I got home from Massanutten, I took the Metro to DC’s Union Station, where it was “All Aboard” the Capitol Limited.  We were about an hour late getting out of the station, and didn’t make up the time, so we arrived in the station at Chicago around 9:30 or so.  My friends joke that I can smell yarn, and I suspect that’s not too far from the truth!  I sat down next to a woman in a stunning red hat, and pulled out my socks-in-progress.  Turns out, she was traveling with her own sock-in-progress (actually, a stump sock.)

After a shaky night’s sleep on the train, I spent my morning knitting in the observation lounge, sipping coffee.  I met another lady there, on her way to a conference in California, who was an avid crocheter.  The three of us all had other trains to catch that afternoon from Chicago, but we all had the morning to spend in the city.  We had a quick breakfast in a bakery that offered free internet, and I used my laptop to find directions to Loopy Yarns.

The staff went above and beyond to let us in a little before they opened, to save us from sitting on the stoop on a colder-than-expected day.  Trust me, though, when I say the three of us made it worth their while!  I introduced one of my new peeps to Noro’s striping beauty, and my other new pal stocked up on some self-striping sock yarn.  I am proud (though a little depressed…) to say that I avoided purchasing yarn, but I did buy a beautiful shawl stick and a pair of see-through clogs that show off my knitted socks in all their glory!

After a stop back at the same bakery for some French Onion soup and a Chai tea latte, we headed back to the train station for a picnic-style lunch and to talk about what our new acquisitions would grow up to become.  We went our separate ways, but it was so much fun to spend a day in an unfamiliar city with like-minded women.  I know I felt much safer heading through the city with 2 other people who were looking out for me, and I for them.

At 2 pm, I boarded the California Zephyr for the 34 hour trip to Salt Lake City.  I made great progress on my socks on this trip, and that was important to me — my mother-in-law had given me the sock yarn for Christmas, and I wanted to show her how that particular pair turned out.  I did make it most of the way to the top of the leg (I worked this particular pair toe-up), so she got to see them mostly finished, but I admit, I got distracted before finishing them….

I enjoyed dinner in the dining car that night, and managed to get a decent night’s sleep that night — I could really feel the rhythm of the train becoming normal to me.  I woke up a couple of hours before we got to Denver, and I was really excited about that.  I know Denver’s the mile-high city, so we should be coming into the mountains anytime, right?  Not yet…  We had seen nothing but flat plains since leaving Chicago, and I was apparently too eager in my anticipation of seeing mountains.  At least the day before, the plains had been farmland — lush and green.  This morning’s plains were desert.  My fellow travelers and I, in the observation lounge, amused ourselves with a rousing game of “I Spy.”

“I spy something brown.”

“Is it that?” (pointing out the window at, well, everything.)

“You win.  Your turn.”

“I spy something brown.”

<repeat as needed>

I kind of felt sorry for everyone else… At least I had my knitting!

The true treat, though, was after leaving Denver.  Shortly after leaving the station, we found ourselves in the mountains.  I was thrilled I had staked out a seat in the observation car already — the view was stunning.  We spent about 8 hours, between Denver and Grand Junction, wending our way through the Rocky Mountains.  The canyon we traversed went alongside the Colorado River (where a group of kayakers amused the whole train with a “Colorado Salute” — the whole group mooned us from their boats!)  I can’t even remember all the wildlife we passed.  There was a red fox, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, a bear, antelope, mule deer, white tail deer, rabbits, and even a few snakes sunning themselves.

Brandon met me in Salt Lake that night, after 11 pm.  I actually had trouble sleeping on a bed that wasn’t moving, at this point — actually, ever time I closed my eyes, I felt everything moving in that way that makes you feel slightly ill.

We had a great family visit with Brandon’s parents and siblings.  My mother-in-law seemed to like the socks I was working on (I was really excited to show her how cool the yarn was — it’s Austermann Step, with the Aloe-infused yarn.)  I did finish these the following week, after returning home.

I also stopped by the store where she had purchased it, the Needlepoint Joint, and bought about a billion colors of Plymouth Encore DK.  Yes, I know you can get that anywhere, but I had a specific goal in mind for it.  I started Jean Greenhowe’s amazing Topsy-Turvy Cinderella Doll.  I have completely finished the “before” side, Cinderella dressed in rags, with a dust cloth in her hand.  The flip side just needs a few minor details to finish her off.  And arms.  Nothing major…

And I couldn’t just do something so extravagant for Catie, without something for Noah to play with, too, so I have started recreating Jean Greenhowe’s Monsters and Little Men, as well.


1 Comment »

  1. Such cute toys for the kids!

    Comment by Patty — May 12, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

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