So this trip produced a number of knitting stories, including the college student who sat next to me on the E train from JFK to Manhattan and asked me questions about knitting the entire ride. (I sent her to S'n'B and her local yarn store to learn and I think she probably will. Without me saying anything about the benefits of knitting, she said, "It seems like it would be really calming." If you can look at someone balancing double pointed knitting, with luggage, on the subway and think that it is calming, you're probably a natural.)
The best story, however, may have been while I was still frantically trying to finish this shawl. I was promming at the BBC proms. (Speaking of which, um, amazing. Think of that Doveman/Nico Muhly/Samamidon show without any talking and a full orchestra and all the singing being choral/spoken word and no liturgical dance.) And since I was super early, I went to the pre-prom talk. Which was being recorded for the radio. Before it started, the host was warming up the crowd: "If the guests say something funny, laugh. If the guests say something thoughtful, say "ummm" thoughtfully. Just do whatever you would naturally do. Clap when you want to clap. [and with a look at me] Keep those knitting needles clicking." I was delighted to hear this, since I would have felt compelled to put them away when the talk began. So I responded, "Oh, I can do that." After waiting for a little while for the first prom of the evening to release, the host returned to the crowd to say, "We should all have knitting, shouldn't we?" To which I couldn't help but say, "Well, I do recommend it to everyone."But back to the shawl. As you may recall, I was making it for a friend to wear during her wedding reception. It's the hanami pattern, made with malabrigo lace. Delightful to knit with, delightful pattern to knit. The idea behind the pattern is that it looks like cherry blossoms falling from a basket, which I thought was perfect for a friend who is starting her married life in DC. I was a little distracted on portions of the cherry blossom section, which led to some mistakes, but luckily for me, it's supposed to look random, so I just kept going. Which was good, because I ended up blocking it on my bed the morning before the wedding and delivering it to the bride only two hours before the ceremony. I will be okay if I never knit anything as photogenic as this shawl. But, quite honestly, some of these gratuitous pictures are just to show off my South of France travels... Here's the loft where I was staying. (My friend was incredibly kind to let me stay on the estate with the wedding party since I knew no one else at the wedding to split a hotel with.)
And here you can see the estate's vineyard.
I held myself back and didn't take any pictures of the shawl in front of the olive tree grove or the poolside garden. But don't worry. Moving into my apartment in Hartford, with its oh-so-charming view of a parking lot, has brought me quickly back to reality.