Monday, November 9, 2009

My Weekend Getaway

Doesn't that look wonderful?  I spent the weekend up at Bjorklunden, my school's "North Campus" with my clarinet studio (remember I went there last year with a few fellow knitters?)  The thing I really love about this place is that Lake Michigan is literally right outside of the lodge.

This time I didn't have nearly as much knitting time as when I went there to knit (shocking, I know), but I did still get a bit done on my Regatta sock.

I actually had forgotten the pattern back at school, but on Saturday morning I remembered that I had emailed it to myself earlier in the week and I was able to print off a copy.  I then finished the foot (I actually knit it too long and had to rip out a bit - see above about not having the pattern at first), and then I knit the heel.

...and then I ripped out the heel because I realized I had followed the directions for the smallest size instead of the largest (which, in this case, made for a longer, pointier heel).

...and then I re-knit the heel, but it looks just like the second picture, so I didn't take another one.

I wasn't able to bring my Expedition Pullover with me because I packed really lightly, but I'm halfway done with the second sleeve on that one, so it'll hopefully be done really soon.  (Although I'm also currently in my last week of classes before finals and I have to get ready to record an audition tape early next week and I have papers and final projects to deal with, so we'll see how quickly it actually happens.)

I was really lucky this weekend at Bjorklunden because the weather was very accommodating and allowed for very pleasant walks along the lake shore and through the woods.  I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I have a thing for nature, and I love to take pictures of it.

Really this is as close as I ever get to an ocean, and even this is extremely rare for me.  You should have seen how many eye rolls I got from friends because everything excited me and I kept exclaiming things like, "Look, it's the ocean!" or "Ooh, here comes another wave!"  They may think I'm easily amused, but I like to think more that I'm simply still awed by the natural world around us.

And I mean, really, it does look like the ocean (I think).

Although oceans maybe aren't normally surrounded by coniferous forests, but I don't know, I could be wrong.

While sitting on a rock ledge over the shore of the lake, I was able to do some early morning thinking in relation to knitting.  I was trying to be aware of all of my senses while I sat on the rock and knit, and I began to notice how differently I perceived my surroundings because of the fact that I was knitting.  Normally I would find myself gazing out on the lake, taking in all the sights, while listening to the birds and soaking in the smell of the woods behind me, but when knitting, my perception shifted to one much more centered around the auditory sense.  Instead of seeing the lake, I was listening to the waves crashing on the rocks below.  I then extended this to the woods behind; no longer smelling it, I tried to hear it - I listened to the wind in the trees, leaves falling, twigs snapping.  I then listened to the sound of my needles, the sound of the yarn running through my fingers.  How was I contributing to the cumulative sound of my surroundings?  It was a really interesting experience.

I also thought about where we bring knitting.  It didn't slip past me that although I was secluded in the north woods of Wisconsin along the shore of Lake Michigan, I still had knitting in my hand.  I thought about the places we bring knitting as a companion, as a source of meditation, as a record of memories - a documentation of sorts.  No doubt these socks will now always remind me of my experience that morning by the lake.  I then turned the question around, no longer was it "Where do we take knitting?", but "Where does knitting take us?"  I don't necessarily mean that only in relation to physical location, but mental as well.  I wondered, if I had been without my sock, how long I really would have spent out there on that rock.  Did my knitting allow me the opportunity to experience the world around me in a different way?  Perhaps it opened my mind to meditation, or offered enough distraction for me to not notice the chill of the rock, maybe it calmed me enough to allow my mind to be enveloped by my surroundings.  We all know where we take our knitting, but I'm curious, where does your knitting take you?

...and just because I'm hanging on to any hint of color I can find in early November, here are a few more pictures.

(and some strange residue left on a rock - I have no idea what it is, where it's from, why it's there, but I thought it looked interestingly like chains of crochet.  I'm assuming it's from some animal or plant.)

Take care!


  1. The ocean here is surrounded by coniferous forest - at least in most places. The smell of the ocean is totally different from the lakes, though.

  2. I feel like I was right there with you, almost kinda sorta. And holy COW that really does look like crochet chain lace. How cool is that?!

    You're a smart cookie, and I like the way you think.

  3. The photos are beautiful! Let your friends roll their eyes at you, you probably enjoyed the experience ten times more than they did.

    Good luck with Finals!

  4. what lovely pictures! i agree, the lake looks a lot like the ocean sometimes (i live right across the street from lake michigan, we go down to the beach a LOT).

  5. The place looks lovely. I've never been to that part of the country. Thank you for sharing your lovely excursion. Your sock looks wonderful, and very fitting for your trip.

  6. What a wonderful post! Can you always have some type of brain fodder posted on a Monday morning? It seriously set me in the right frame of mind! Then again, the water always does. There's just something about it that soothes my soul.

    I'll be sending you any spare brain power I've got for your finals!

  7. The sock looks lovely!!

    I really enjoyed your post; you raised a lot of good questions. I often listen to music or podcasts while I knit and so don't often hear my surroundings or my knitting. It's rare that I simply sit and knit in a natural environment. Perhaps I should make more time for that... when it gets warmer...

  8. what a beautiful post! and your photos are stunning. how i wish i could have been there listening to the waves with you. if i go to the beach here the cacophony of tourist and surfers often drown out the sounds of nature. :P

  9. It actually does look like the ocean. It reminds me of the coastline of New England. I'm a lot like you in the fact that I enjoy going out into nature and exploring; just taking in the natural scenery. I've never taken my crochet into a natural setting, but I have taken my music notebook and my journal so that I can sketch ideas and write.

    Your love affair with nature reminds me of Thoreau and "Walden Pond." Ludwig van Beethoven also had a great love of nature and he was inspired by it to write some of his greatest music. I think it's great that you had this experience and that it caused you to reflect. It would be great if more people took the time to do this.

    I must say, it is amazing that you have only been knitting for such a short time because you are already creating very advanced pieces.

  10. Yes, your photos do look like the ocean! The ocean back home is surrounded by coniferous forests in places, making for some great coastal hiking. It sounds (and looks) like you had a lovely getaway. Good luck with the end of the semester!

  11. I've been living in California for two and a half years now and I still point out palm trees all the time. Some things you just never get used to!

    P.S. I first read your post as saying "carnivorous forests". Because I'm that smart. :-P

  12. Nature?


    I never would have guessed. ;^)


  13. Beautiful photos, both the nature and the knitting.

    Also, what a nice surprise to suddenly see a Swedish name in one of your blog entries: Björklunden (the birch grove)!

  14. Beautiful area and sock. What, is it philosophy day on the knitting blogs? ;-)

  15. What a cool place! Yeah, what Mel says. I grew up in Mass, and went to the ocean a lot, in MA, NH, ME... When I moved to central NY and first saw the smallest Great Lake, I was SO CONFUSED. Sandy beach, big water, couldn't see across, little lapping waves on the rocks, but the smell was ALL WRONG!

    If you want to see more about Maine natural communities, go here, It's a bunch of links to fact pages about each community type. Check out the crowberry-bayberry headland. Meh, all the great photos I though might be there aren't... I'll post them up SOMEtime. I have to charge every minute of my day to particular projects, and I recently got a grant to update the web, but I won't get that money in the budget until January. So come back then!

    That odd stuff on the rock, I'm going to ask around about it.

  16. the url got cut off...


    have fun

  17. That looks like Door County. I love the Great Lakes! I need to head up to a lake near Iowa City. Your photos are amazing also. What kind of camera do you have? I have a Canon Rebel. It's amazing!

    The yarn matches the lake perfectly yay!!! Scalloway is a town on the Shetland Mainland along the Atlantic. This pattern looks amazing!!! You're an extremely talented knitter, just like your sister. =P

    All I can say Peter is amazing!! Btw, what do you think of the yarn while knitting it? <3 <3 <3 <3

  18. Btw, about your comments on where we take our knitting and why. I take my knitting everywhere I go a a calming tool. At the end of October I took it with me (and almost had it taken away by security checking bags) to a Bob Dylan concert. It's amazing how it passes the time and calms you. It's wonderful.

  19. Nice to see another male knitta on here! I enjoyed your post. looking forward to more...

  20. Beautiful photos - what a lovely getaway. While I don't necessarily miss the ocean or the lakes, I sure miss trees like that out here in NM.

    And the socks are coming along fantastically well! I really do like the pattern/color combo you picked

  21. Ahhh you take such gorgeous pictures. I could use a weekend getaway like that myself...

  22. Nature has so much to share with us if we'll listen. Your weekend get away was refreshing and relaxing for me, too. Thanks for sharing it!

  23. Oh, and I love the line "hanging on to and hint of color". That's how I feel this time of year.

  24. Thanks for the multi-sensory experience. You're totally crazy for fixating on the small things of life. C'mon, be bored!

    No, really, it's great that you are noticing what's around you; it's wonderful food for the soul. I figure that even in a city there are amazing blades of grass growing in the sidewalk cracks. Such a perspective comes in really handy at the nursing home, where you have to look beyond the first impression to glean the good things surrounding you.

    Knitting is not so meditative for me, though; it keeps me from thinking myself into a hole. There's so much color and texture and designing possibility that I usually am rather distracted by knitting. That said, it helps me to stay in one spot much longer than my antsy pants would permit otherwise.

  25. Those photos are simply gorgeous! Thank you! It brightened my entire day.