Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Busy, Busy!

I've been remiss in posting to my blog of late. Sister Kay has been in town for two weeks and as always, it's been one party after another and I'm constantly distracted! She leaves tomorrow morning so my focus will be much better.

I thought this would be a good time to give you an update on one of the major projects we've got going on around here - the Great North American Afghan.

There are 24 squares in all and we are now on square number 9! It's been a great exercise in technique. There are a total of 7 colors and the color techniques include intarsia, slip stitch color and Fair Isle. It's been great fun to see everyone's squares since all chose different colors. They look totally different from each other.

I chose earthy tones to match my new couch. Eileen and Barbara chose colors for their bedrooms; Marge, bless her heart, is giving hers to her kids - she's making each of them an afghan - and her colors are close to the colors in the book. Kris and Carol chose shades of blue; Joann and Pam chose shades of pink and green; and Adriana, Eva and Sheila's afghans have no particular color theme, but are beautiful nonetheless.

Here's what we've accomplished so far. I've finished this month's square by the eccentric Rick Mondragon of Knitter's magazine fame, but I haven't blocked it yet.

Great North American Afghan

Lynn Youll Square

Great North American Afghan

Great North American Afghan Square

Gloria Tracy Square

Pam Allen Square

Lois Young Square

Elise Duvekot

And in other Shop news...someone stole Mr. Ben's baby and took him to Colorado. As you might expect, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Mr. Ben was hysterical at the loss for a while, but as you also might expect, he got over it. By the time the baby came home, Mr. Ben had forgotten all about him. I'm still trying to get them to bond again. Mr. Ben does continue to get a daily break from the damn baby when he goes to his AA meeting. Many thanks to the kidnapper who turned our boy into a raging alcoholic.

Friday, April 02, 2010

An Unabashed Endorsement

for Mike the Painter Extraordinaire. Mike's been at my house all week, sprucing things up. My good friend Paula is married to Mike, the Painter Extraordinaire, which is how he ended up painting at my house in the first place.

Paula, in addition to being a great little knitter, comes from my home state of Massachusetts so we have lots in common. We discuss our homesickness and all of the things we miss about the great little Bay State, especially the food. Oyster stew, fish chowder, Friendly Ice Cream Fribbles and Big Beefs, fried whole belly clams, and many other uniquely East Coast delicacies. Paula was one of the few who understood my delight at having this grotesquely large crustacean on my plate last Summer:

I live in Beverly in one of those old houses (circa 1927) that has plaster walls, decorative plaster crown moldings, and lots of other eccentric features that would cause just about any painter to head for the hills. Any painter except Mike, who used to restore old churches back in the Bay State.

We had 2 particularly dicey situations, one in the living room where there are plaster beams that had been painted to look like wood, grain and all, with stenciling on the beam faces; and, in the dining room where the crown molding is painted some weird metallic gold. Both rooms needed touching up and the Master of Plaster replastered the molding where it was crumbling, color matched the wood grain beams, the stencils, and the weird gold in the dining room perfectly. I must say it was very impressive work, very impressive indeed.

This time around, he painted one of our bathrooms and he's so neat, I didn't even have to clean it when he was done. So if you want a really good, I mean, really good painter, one who can match any color, tackle weird plaster patching, wallpaper, clean up after so it looks like he wasn't even there, let me know and I'll give you his number.

Naturally, I couldn't end this post without a story and this one is oh so true.

The first time Mike came to paint for us, he was setting up all his stuff as I left for work.

"Have fun," I told him as I walked out of the house.

About noon, the phone rang.

"Hi, it's Mike."
"How are you Mike?"
"I wish you had told me that you have a cat."

He sounded slightly annoyed. There were 3 or 4 people in the Shop at the time and they all heard me reply,

"I don't have a cat."

Both the Shop and the other end of phone went completely silent. Everyone in the Shop, I'm sure thought, "Geez, where is this going?"

"Mike? You there?"

He then started talking really fast.

"I went out to get some supplies out of the car; when I came back inside and started working, this red cat came up to me, brushed up against my legs; flopped down on the drop cloth and made himself right at home.

I went out again and the cat ran out before I could stop him. I spent a long while trying to catch him thinking you'd kill me if he got away or God forbid if he got hit by a car. I ran through the front bushes after him, into your neighbor's yard and I finally got him.

I brought him back in the house and damn it, didn't he tear out ahead of me the next time I went outside. I chased him again and then he ran under my car. I went back in the house and poked around the kitchen for cat treats, but you didn't have any. I'm now back outside, and the cat is still under my car."

Even though I was feeling rather speechless, I managed to say again, "I don't have a cat."

"He must of snuck in when I left the door open."
By now, I'm laughing so hard all I can say is yup.
"Okay then, so I guess he's okay outside?"
"I'm going back to work," he said sheepishly.

Several months later when the furnace guy came, the first thing he asked me as he looked furtively over my shoulder was, "Do you have any pets?"

"We used to have a lovely red cat," I said as forlornly as I could muster, "but our Painter let him run away."