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December 2007

Saturday in the Park with Sock

You can't actually get food in Bar Harbor. Note to travelers: Always always always pack fruit, drinks, nutrition bars, or whatever, since you never know when you will NOT be able to eat a meal (or any meal) when you travel. Last night's delicious supper of a half bag of potato chips left over from the trip up to Ellsworth was, shall we say, unsatisfying. (I couldn't get seated in the hotel restaurant because they were too busy; I went into town to find a restaurant, and not only were they also too busy, but I couldn't find parking anyway.) And this morning, there was a 45 minute wait to get breakfast. You can tell where the restaurants are in Bar Harbor because of the long lines on the sidewalks in front of them. I couldn't even get into the the hotel restaurant, for heaven's sake, due to the four tour buses that had filled the place. Bar Harbor has too many people, and it is mid-October. I guess it is good for business, but ironically, I wanted to get away to be alone and to relax, and I *thought* Bar Harbor in mid-October would be perfect. Leaf-peeping season is usually over by now, but I guess it has been a late leaf season. Oh well, poopy for me.

So having not had supper or breakfast, I went into the only place in Bar Harbor that had food AND had no customers inside, the natural food store; that's telling, no? Apparently tourists don't like whole wheat and tofu. Who knew. So I stocked up on a day's worth of organic fruit, organic drinks, whole wheat fig bars, organic nutrition bars, and I got a big cup of organic coffee to go, with soy milk instead of cream. I would say "Yum!", but well... it was soy milk. In my coffee. Sigh... at least it did have caffeine in it.

I drove down to one of the back entrances to Acadia National Park and arrived at Sand Beach. Did you know you have to pay $10 to get into the National Park? Not that I mind, but I kinda thought the national parks were part of the national budget that our taxes pay for, like a park perk for tax payers, as in U.S. citizens should not have to pay a fee to go to the park that their taxes support. I'm sorry... I am being whiney. It's my conservative, soy-milk-in-my-coffee & too-many-tourists bitchiness catching up with me. I will try to do better!! I will get comments on my post today, you betcha. So to all you people who race forward to tell me how wrong I am and that it is perfectly wonderful to pay a fee for a national park, and I am just being a bitch, I say, Yes!! Today, I am a bitch!!! Tomorrow I will probably feel just fine! And to all my customers whom I have just offended, I deeply apologize. But now you know what I am really like.

Sand Beach is pretty. I had not been there since about my sophomore year in high school. It looked smaller than I remembered. I remembered it as a huge sandy beach, but now that I have been to southern California, Sand Beach looks small. However, it is very beautiful and the surf was really booming. I loved watching the morning sunlight through the tops of the waves as they crested, just before crashing onto the sand. I found a rock to sit on, pulled out my organic nutrition bar and some organic juice, and had breakfast while I watched the waves. The sun was warm and the breeze was cool but pleasant. There were tourists on the beach, but I walked as far away from them as I could and took a seat on a likely rock near the water. Here is where I sat (top picture) and some pictures of the water:




I had untangled my messed-up sock yarn last night, so I got comfy and prepared to cast on 72 stitches onto size 0 dpn's:


I knit a couple of inches and watched both the tide start to come in and the stream of tourists growing more and more numerous, and they had all decided for some reason that where I was sitting was the best place on the beach to be. So I left. But I took a picture of Sock in all his newly-knitted glory on the beach:


I decided to go to my other favorite point in the park, Thunder Hole, which is conveniently located just a bit down from Sand Beach. I did go down and look at it, but did not take any pictures or stick around too long. Although the tide had just turned, it was still a few more minutes before Thunder Hole began thundering -- it was more whispering, at the moment. I would have stayed, because one of my favorite things about Acadia National Park had been hearing the huge booming thunder and seeing the giant explosion of cold, salty water as the waves pounded into the cave at the end of the narrow inlet. I noticed that two tour buses were parked on the road up above, and they were both full of people waiting for Thunder Hole to become active. If I had stayed, I would have become trapped by a wall of tourists, and I am afraid my impulse either to jump into Thunder Hole myself, or to throw some of them in, might have overcome me, so I erred on the side of caution and left. I think maybe the soy milk was getting to me.

At this point it was noon. I needed gas, so I drove down to Somesville and pulled into a Mobil station. I have never been so happy to see a convenience store in my life, heh heh. I stocked up on more food which is sooooo NOT organic, and carbonated beverages. I figured housekeeping must be done with my room by now, and they were, so I am holing myself up in my room for the rest of the day and night, and getting up extra early in the morning so I can get out of here and back to my nice safe store, where I can work every day for the rest of my life, and I don't even care. At least they do not have soy milk in the coffee there.

This afternoon and evening I'll be knitting the end of clue #4 on my black Mystery Stole, possibly a hat that I haven't shared with you yet, and maybe more on my Sand Beach sock. We'll see. :)


Ya know, a vacation is a goooooooood thing....

After a few too many days of this:
.... I realized I needed to get AWAY. I counted it up and discovered that in the last 35 days, there were only two days that I had not come into the store or been working in some regard. I wanted just a teensy bit of time where I looked at something that I didn't see every single day... I wanted to look around and see something new, and I am not talking about new yarn, either. I wanted to drive down a new road, not have to talk to anyone if I didn't feel like it, and be a person that other people helped instead of being the person they looked to for help, just for a day or two.

So I took off. I asked Joe if he wanted to come with me, but he was unfortunately busy... just as well for him , since everyone knows that yarn shop ladies who go on vacation..... buy yarn!!!!

I'm on vacation. Right now. I'm actually in a hotel room right this second as I type this. I took off Thursday after work and I will be back at the store on Sunday morning after I drive back from Bar Harbor. Yes!!! That's where I went on vacation!!! Bar Harbor, where everyone in the world goes on vacation in Maine. I figured, why not??? It's like being on vacation without having to work very hard. It's practically next door (well, if next door takes you two and a half hours to drive to), it is easy to get to in the middle of October, and the ocean is just as pretty now as it ever is. Prettier, maybe.... lordy lordy lordy, you should see how gorgeous the foliage is up here. My, my, my... such pretty colors, orange and yellow and red and green and brown and the blue/green ocean.

I realized that in my two days off, one day, today, would be rainy (and yes, it poured), but one day promised to be a little bit sunny. So I am going to Acadia National Park to do the ocean & nature thing tomorrow. Today, my lovelies... ah, today..... I went to THREE yarn shops!!! All by myself!!!! I am still shivering with the delight of it.

First I went to Bee's, which is the most fabulous combination in the world: a yarn and chocolate shop. Sigh. I quiver at the perfection of that combination. I indulged mightily in yarn at Bee's, and I got enough Elsbeth Lavold's Silky Wool to make a sweater, along with the pattern book and needles to start said garment cuz ya know. I only brought about 9 projects with me, already started, and you know I neeeeeed to start this Silky Wool thing. Geez. I also bought a skein of utterly lime-a-licious sock yarn and teensy needles.... I tried to start the sock yarn in a restaurant, but why is it that the more you want to get started on a project in a hurry, and the more you are in a public place doing that, the more the yarn you pull out from the middle of the skein is a monstrous tangled mess??? I got the tangle half untangled and then my pie came. Guess which I finished first. Oh, and I also bought some loverly chocolates from Bee's as well: coconut snowballs, Grand Marnier truffles, espresso truffles, coffee creams. Yum! Here's the yarn porn for you to look at:

Off I trundled to Southwest Harbor, where one of the best yarn shops in the state is located, Lilac Lily. I love this store very very very very very very very much. I had never been there before, and I am duly regretful. It is a fabulous and awe-inspiring place. You'll never meet nicer people, find a richer or more varied selection of products or have a more comfy place to sit and knit. It is amazing... a whole house filled on two floors with yarn and needlework supplies. I filled another bag with goodies and had a nice long talk with Chloe, the owner. It was truly wonderful to meet her! I walked out with a seriously decadent yarn haul: two skeins of 100% silk, hand dyed by Great Adirondack, a pattern and Lantern Moon rosewood needles for said yarn (see above about needing to have required goods to start any project immediately) and several skeins of that new sock yarn that has chitin from crab shells in it (it's new to me, anyway... ). And needles for said sock yarn, of course!! Here's the Lilac Lily haul:

The last shop on my daytrip list was Shirley's, in Hancock, of course. Shirley's is truly a legend unto itself. It has everything. Really, everything. It is a huge gift shop and candy shop (with homemade fudge!! which I somehow escaped buying), but it is also one of the biggest yarn/needlework/craft/beading/paper shops I have ever seen in my life. So when I say Shirley's has everything, I mean it. It is no exaggeration. The people there are so friendly and wonderful, too. I love going there. I was kinda hungry by this point, it was after 2 p.m. and I hadn't eaten any lunch, so I shopped fast -- I had a serious pie date at Helen's in mind. Nevertheless, darlings, I managed to find some treasures to make your heart stop. I got a wonderful fingering weight 100% merino, hand painted yarn from Claudia yarn -- a skein of limeade and a skein of Tropicana, which has lime in it. Socks, of course... And I got some Omni Knit Sticks needles because I like the points on them better than the points on the needles I got at Bee's ... just in case I start that Silky Wool sweater before I get home. Never mind about the 27 sets of size 6 needles I already have at home. At Shirley's I also got a skein of luscious merino/alpaca/silk yarn from Araucania, a slightly thick and thin singles, hand dyed in Chile... in such beautiful, glowing colors! I had to have it. I'm thinking mittens. So I got dp needles to make mittens, in case I want to start them now. I am so pathetic, no??? Yes ... I did need a vacation... Here's the Shirley's loot:

Tomorrow I am going to sleep late (again)(I always sleep late, heh heh) and then I am going to have a little brekky and head to one of the lesser-traveled entrances to Acadia National Park. I haven't been there in so many years... and it is such a gorgeous place. You could never see the whole park in one day, so I am going to re-visit two or three of my favorite spots, take lots of pretty ocean and rock pictures, and find a lovely place to knit for the rest of the day. Tonight I will have a little supper (better be a salad, after that pie at Helen's!!!) and knit my evening away. Yes, I think this is the perfect, perfect vacation, and it is just what I needed. :D

And just to end this on a really grand note, did you know that the Unique One fall yarn sale is going on right now? 20% off regularly-priced yarn in stock; the sale ends Oct. 21. So if you want to go on a little vacation too, come to Camden and snag some yarn at a good price! We have a lot of new yarns, so if you haven't been in Unique One for a while, now would be a mighty fine time to go!! And what the heck, wander up to Bee's and Lilac Lily and Shirley's too, if you have a few days. It is definitely worth the trip!!

Smile while you knit, darlings... :D


Here Comes Trouble

Yeah, I know, it's been a while...

So anyway, I noticed something recently, about knitters. Other people who own yarn shops will probably identify with this. I thought it was interesting and curious, so I figured it might be a good post to break my blog silence (which btw was caused only by my insane summer work schedule, not because I was deathly ill or had taken up some dangerous hobby like postage stamp collecting or anything.)

Unique One has the good fortune to be located in kind of a touristy area, so most of my customers are not from the area. Which means, most of them don't know me and I have never seen them before. It is important to remember that, they are complete strangers to me. Mostly. So I don't know what kind of criminal records any of them may have.

Let's say a typical customer comes into the store. She's from, oh, Baltimore, or Dallas, or New Hampshire (the land of "Oh, we don't pay sales tax in New Hampshire", hee hee) or Massachusetts. Or even Europe. This phenomenon I will describe is universal and worldwide in its occurrence, I think, which is just one more reason it is kinda a little bit scary, in an exciting and intriguing way. I'll call this hypothetical customer Gladys. She is a knitter. Possibly suffering from knitting addiction. My favorite kind of woman!

Gladys and her husband wander into the store, the husband secure in the knowledge that Unique One is just one more gift shop and/or clothing shop, a serene place to purchase sweaters, and he is not too concerned about the little woman spending much money because hey, who would buy a sweater in the summer?? (ummm about 900 people, sorry). So he happily follows her into the store. Imagine his dismay when he finds that there is OH NO a yarn shop in the back of the store. The sweater/clothing/gift shop was, in fact, just a front for this illicit business in the back. He has been duped!!! And once Gladys has discovered it, it is too late to lure her back out the door, because the yarn part of the shop is at least 20 yards from the only exit. For a woman, the male equivalent of this horrible discovery would be for him to saunter into a hardware store, trailing his wife behind him, only to find that in the back, it's a stripper bar, and there are at least 99 kinds of Cuban cigars available for sale as well. Luckily, men rarely find that to be true.

So Gladys' eyes kind of glaze over, and she starts breathing hard, saying ohhhhhh, a yarn shop!!! and her hands and fingers are going a mile a minute trying to touch everything all at once, and by the time she gets her armload of new stash up to the counter, it's $50 or $100 or $200 or about ten times more than her husband actually planned for her to spend in the nondescript gift shop when they first entered. But because he truly loves her, he pulls out the credit card or check book or cash, to pay, and then she starts to feel just a weeny teeny little bit guilty, not to the point of being willing to give up the purchase, but knowing she wants to justify the purchase a little, so she says the thing that I have heard a million times and always always always wondered about: "Well, at least it keeps me out of trouble!"


First, I want to know, lady -- what kind of trouble do you tend to get into, that you need something to keep you out of it?

And then secondly, considering the huge number of times I hear this from customers day in and day out, year after year, from every state and every country around the world..... what is the connection between knitters and their heretofore bad behavior???? Because they all freely admit, on a regular basis, that knitting keeps them out of trouble. They are bad, I guess. Misbehaving without any control over it, really, and they need to keep some knitting in their hands to stay out of trouble. It's curious. I am glad to help so many women stay out of trouble , but I wonder what the world would be like if they neglected to purchase yarn and therefore... got in trouble. I am pretty sure the world would end. So I am, in effect, saving the world, selling one skein at a time. I feel so ... powerful.... !

And then the next question is, why do so many women, upon walking INTO the shop say, oh no, I'm in trouble now! Heh heh... seems like a paradox to me!

Have fun knitting, stay out of trouble (unless staying out of trouble means you have to stay away from your local yarn shop), and keep posted because we have got a TON of cool new yarns here at Unique One lately, and it is going to take me a few weeks of posting just to get all caught up!!

Love ya :)