Countdown to England

So the countdown begins. . . and what was the very first thing I did when I found out we were going to England again after all these years?  A trip to the knitting store!  I love a project when I travel — I also thought you might enjoy seeing our little knitting shop.  With music of course!

I took my camera to take pictures in case I saw anything pretty along the way! The shop is only about a block from my house, so past the little houses I did go, hyacinths popping all around . . .

And like so many shops and restaurants in New England, Knit Works is in an old house; right at the end of Main Street.

There’s a kitchen in the back, complete with kettle and cups, where the girls drop in to knit together on Wednesday nights; no appointment needed!  Isn’t it perfect that it’s in a kitchen?

It’s a house of color and creativity.  The mind boggles at the possibilities!

This little project was on the kitchen table, a hat, being knitted by Michaela, one of the women working there. Look at the beads she’s knitting in!  Isn’t that adorable?  You can just catch a glimpse of this whimsical variegated yarn in the lower left of the photo.  I visited with Michaela while looking around the store for the perfect little project for me.  First requirement: it must be something that requires absolutely no knitting knowledge.

Oooo, the colors!  I do remember sitting on my mother’s knees, leaning back into her, her arms around me, the knitting needles in front of me, her fingers working my fingers, teaching me to wrap the yarn around the needle and make a stitch.  I loved it, but with all the other fun things I love to do,  that’s about as good as I ever got. The last time we sailed on the QE II, the lady next to me on the deck chair taught me to use my little finger to wrap the yarn around the needle, that was a BIG improvement to the way I’d been doing it.

 So I will make a nice long scarf.  Easiest thing in the world and perfect to do on a ship; perfect to do while watching the Chelsea Flower Show on BBC.  There will be no thinking involved, but it will make me feel like I’m accomplishing something, and that will be enough. The biggest problem is what color???  I always have such a hard time choosing.

But this time, I came armed — I had my new secret weapon with me, my colors!  Remember a few months ago when I went with my girlfriends and had my colors done?  (Click there if you

missed that post and want to see it.) Everyone received a wallet like this with individually chosen color swatches that were just right for each of us.

It changed my whole way of life.  Now I don’t have to wonder what color yarn to buy!  And I can get on the Landsend web site, hold my colors up to the screen and get the right shade of whatever!  It’s really wonderful.

The other thing I love about knitting stores . . . they always have comfy chairs where you can just sit and knit if you want to . . . particularly good when it’s winter (or looks like winter) and you want to get out of the house, talk to friends, or learn something new!

♥      ♥      ♥

So I said good-bye to Michaela and Alix, (if you ever come to the island, and need a project, go say hello to them!). I picked up my bundle and my camera and headed back home.

If I ever went to prison, which of course I will never do (I’m so not the prison type), I know I would come out of it better than I went in. Because I would have projects.  I would either get thin, speak French, knit scarves, make a diary, or something. A long trip is a little like prison, no normal things go on, you’re out of your element; so I’m determined to come home having accomplished something … I’m gathering my projects . . . I have a little collection of books to read, now the scarf to remember the trip by, and a diary!  I won’t come home speaking French or thin.  I would really need prison for those things.

Back home I went, past my own front door, and up the driveway . . .

I laid it all out to show Joe (who was fascinated as I’m sure you know; he could barely contain his excitement when he said, “Are you talkin’ to me?”).  It will be a royal purple scarf (so appropriate) that starts with a thin stripe of lime on the edge, then purple, then another thin stripe, then the whole rest of it will be purple!  Pretty?  My colors!  That dark purple is supposedly one of my “wow” colors.

A couple hours later, I was painting in my studio when I swiveled around in my office chair to go to the kitchen, and there, on the floor in front of my feet, was my lime yarn in stages of unraveling.  Jack, my kitten, brings me gifts; usually it’s his ball!  I forgot about kittens and yarn.  I feared for the purple and ran to where I’d left it.

Lime is the color of my true love’s eyes.  Funny to discover I just love men with facial hair! :-)

 So innocent, and pure as the driven snow.  He didn’t get the purple!

So that’s the end of the story, a happy ending.  All is well.  LOVED your comments about the trip. SO excited to have you along, as excited as I am to take me!

I think about showing you the wild Atlantic over the ship’s rail in a video; isn’t it just amazing that we can do that?  And that’s just the beginning.  We’re going to Beatrix Potter’s House!

It’s much more fun to go on a trip when you have someone (s) to share it with.  I have such plans for us!! Only five weeks before we go!  Have a wonderful day girlfriends!

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447 Responses to Countdown to England

  1. Connie K says:

    I can’t wait to “share” your trip to England – especially the Lake District. I am reading Susan Wittig Albert’s last Beatrix Potter mystery this weekend: “The Tale of Castle Cottage.” The 8 books follow her real life between buying Hilltop Farm & getting married to Willie Heelis – so much fun!

    I am a knitter too – a lazy one. But I love to knit while on road trips – I can keep conversing with my hubby, but don’t have to watch traffic. Your yarn shop looks delicious! Enjoy!

    Connie in San Diego

  2. I am smitten with Beatrix Potter. When I was 10, my dad’s mother, my grandma, gave me the BP book that she had read to my dad and his brothers when they were tiny lads. My grandma knew that I had been very lucky to have had a Beatrix Potter authority for my 1st grade teacher, Dolores Bowles in Newport Beach, California. She was a wonderful teacher, story teller and puppeteer. Our lives crossed paths many times over the years. For years when I had a retail store, I sold BP collectibles of all kinds and was always taken back to my childhood by them. I still have my dad’s Beatrix Potter book!
    I can’t wait to go to her home…with you!
    xo, Chris

  3. Deb Wisker says:

    Susan, have you ever purchased yarn from Island Alpacas? I was there 2 summers ago and saw they had it for sale in their gift shop. Not knowing anything about alpaca yarn, I thought it to be a bit expensive.

  4. LindaBloom says:

    I guess purple isn’t your kitty’s color. Have a good time on your trip!

  5. Elaine says:

    Thank you sooo much for paying so much attention and then sharing the details of all your trips. Sometimes I can hardly wait to check to see what you are posting!!!! “Our” trip to England is going to be so exciting!!!! Thank you!!!!

  6. Gert~Iowa says:

    oh Susan..I can not wait to see the makings of your new scarf! I love the colors! And just think each time you use the ‘green’ you will see Jack’s pretty green eyes! How lucky you are to have such a beautiful shop so close to you! How inviting it is!

    Hope you are enjoying this beautiful SONday, as the first day of April appears! Did I tell you I won your calendar from Joann? I absolutely love it!! And cannot believe all the work you do to prepare these for us!

    Blessings,
    Gert

  7. Fran Sigdestad says:

    Susan, this isn’t really about your blog but I had to say when I turned the page on my small and large calendars, I love what you did for April!! Each month is wonderful and such a pleasure to look at and read. This is no April Fool’s. Thank you for not only sharing your art but also your heart. XOXO

  8. CarolK from NJ says:

    Hi Susan, Just read the latest Willard, good stuff. Talk about reading books: I took your advise a few blogs back and read The Enchanted April and then I watched the DVD. Liked it very much which lead me to another book entitled “Uncommon Arrangements: Seven portraits of married life in London literary circles, 1910-1939″. That was VERY, VERY interesting. Now see how things snowball. lol Then one of the girlfriends mentioned a story that you suggested came from 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I found a video tape at our library and boy was I glad I did! What a great real life story THAT was. Now I’m just finishing up Helene’s sequel to 84 entitled The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street written in journal form about her first trip ever to London. If you haven’t read that one, you should, it’s a quickie, just 137 pages long but funny as all get out! I’m sure you have a lot to do between now and that fab trip but if you’re like me, there is always time in between time to read……April Hugs from Cent’l Jersey

    • sbranch says:

      One thing just leads to another and pretty soon you are going to be an expert! Love those suggestions!

      • Connie K says:

        The sequel to Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is “Q’s Legacy” about HH’s 2nd trip to England. Also a wonderful book!

        -Connie in San Diego

  9. Lois Burgess from Nova Scotia, Canada says:

    Hi Susan,

    I was so excited to hear about your trip to England with Joe!! I have always wanted to go to England and I was a HUGE Lady Di fan. And of course I got up early for Will and Kate’s wedding :) I just had to tell you I ordered a used copy of your book: Girlfriends Forever on line. Every day I eagerly opened our mail box to see if the book was there. Last week it came!! It was in wonderful condition, just a cut on the dustjacket which is easy to repair. Thanks so much for such a lovely book Susan!
    A few posts back Susan you wrote about cursive handwriting…I just wondered if you knew of any old handwriting books I might get online or through the library to copy the beautiful handwriting from earlier in the 20th century. I have done a little research on line, but haven’t come up with a lot.

    Happy April to you, the kitties and Joe! Hope Joe doesn’t mind the kitties came before him…lol!

    Take care,
    Lois

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve collected a few old school handwriting books, just here and there when I find them at flea markets and used bookstores, that’s where I would look. Good luck!

  10. maybaby says:

    Oh Susan, the pictures from the knitting shop nearly did me in. I would love to have that card catalog in my own home, I have a small section I found a few years ago, but nothing like that beautiful piece!

    We just came home from our train trip to Whitefish, I walked over a mile into town looking for a yarn shop. I always make it a point to find a yarn shop on any trip we take, and buy some gorgeous yarn to make something to remember our trip by. I was not disappointed!

    Our travels had me knitting socks, my favorite thing. I cannot wait to read your posts from your England trip!

  11. Ana says:

    I would love to have a shop like that here where I live. They are beautiful shops and I also like that you can meet there to knit and have a nice time. I totally agree with you about the prison thing. I don’t think I would get bored there as well.

  12. Ana says:

    I’ve just thought of something. If you are in London and you have time, please, visit Liberty Stores (Regent Street). I think in the third or fourth floor you can find beautiful yarns and lots of things for sewing and knitting and the building is really beautiful. I like John Lewis Stores (Oxford Street) as well.

    • sbranch says:

      OK! We’ve put ourselves into the hands of my girlfriend Rachel when we get to London . . . and we only have 2 or 3 days there, plus, we apparently have to have tea four times a day to get to all the places we want to go to for tea. It’s already too short and we haven’t left yet!

  13. Maxine Boyce Buckman says:

    Just found your name on a Gladys Taber site. I’m so glad I did, Susan. Am looking forward to your England trip – am an anglophile through and through as well as a forever library/book lover. Visited Pilgrim/Puritan area of Britain with a tour group many years ago – brought tears to my eyes when we landed at Heathrow. Never thought I’d get to go abroad. Never had a chance to return to all the other sections I wanted to see but will be very pleased to follow your path(s) to Beatrix Potter’s home and other trails you’ll take “us” on.

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