Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hope Over Experience, or, What Mrs. M Did (and Didn't Do) on Vacation

Whenever we go on vacation, I always pack too much yarn.

For me the very word "vacation" conjures up hopeful (but improbable) images of unlimited crochet time. I envision productive hours spent stitching in the car as we drive from state to state; quiet hours of designing in hotel rooms; leisurely hours of crochet while chatting with family members. So I tend to pack plenty of yarn to keep me busy, and hooks enough to cover any contingency.

This year's trip was no different. Into a large bag went a precious skein of Noro; surely I'd have time to dream up a project for it - aye, and finish it too (or so I told myself). Nylon netting for scrubbies (mindless crochet); some red sock-weight in case I needed a quick cowl to go with a nautical-striped shirt; some Planet Penny Cotton which is great for swatching stitch ideas; crochet thread for a beaded bracelet; and, in case I ran out of projects, a bit of gorgeous rose-tinted gyred yarn just begging to be made into something special. Also into the bag went scissors, measuring tape, and paper and pencil (to record any brilliant designs that might flash upon the Micawber brain).

Thus equipped, I set out with Mr. M in pursuit of novelty and amusement.


A long day's journey takes us south to Illinois, then east through Indiana to Ohio. Our destination: the American Motorcycle Association's Vintage Motorcycle Days. (Mr. M's idea. I tend to prefer non-mechanised two-wheel events.)

After a good night's sleep, we spend a happy morning looking at these (and thousands more like them):

$21k for this vintage Ducati. Any takers?

In the afternoon, I leave Mr. M to his motorised delights, and drive a few miles north to look at these...

...and dither delightedly over baskets of this:

Then I rejoin Mr. M, who's been watching a lot of this:

The sidecar races were amazing.

At the end of a long loud day, we're glad to take a break in our quiet hotel room, and watch a quieter (but no less exciting) form of locomotion:

Then it's out again to admire some of the beauties of downtown Mansfield, Ohio.

WWI Memorial

Art Deco detail on a building

The next day we're on the road again. Crossing Ohio, we drive through a corner of Pennsylvania and into the wine country of West New York...

...on our way to spend several days with a dear niece and her family.

Looking for Canada

And of course I keep my eyes open for these:

Bittersweet Nightshade



I'm happy to find some new wildflowers to add to this year's list.

After several days in West New York, it's time to hit the road again. Back we go, past miles of vineyards, to the old-wooded, deep-shaded highways of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Back across the rolling green of Indiana and through the exciting tangle of Chicago. Westwards across the wide fields of Illinois, then northwards and home to green Wisconsin, where banks of rudbeckia welcome us back with sunny brown-eyed smiles. Back to the trees and hills we love; back to the comparative quiet of village life.

It's good to get away, to experience change, to see new places and new things, and spend time with loved ones far away. But it's also good to come home, to see one's own place with fresh eyes and appreciate it anew.


So what did I crochet on vacation? In the end, not much. The Noro project never materialised (though I haven't given up on it). Some motifs were designed, then frogged and reworked. A scrubbie or two were finished, and a few design ideas sketched on a scrap of paper.

As always, the triumph of hope over experience. The imagined hours of crochet shrank to more-realistic minutes, yielding nothing worth writing home about.

But that's okay. The yarn will wait. We spent our time much better.

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Do you carry yarn or craft supplies when you travel?

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  1. Usually the first think I pack is my yarn. And I also ALWAYS take more than I could ever use. But hope springs eternal, right? Your trip sounds absolutely lovely. I've never been to any of those areas of our great nation.

  2. Strangely, I don't bring yarn on holidays. I don't think I would be able to crochet/knit in a car or anything else that moves and lazy time in hotels or sitting around tend not to happen very often.

  3. When I'm going away the FIRST thing I think about is which project to take, but, just like you often end up not doing any at all. I think it's a nesting/comfort thing.

  4. oh yes i carry craft supplies on holiday - i set off for the Seychelles with needle, thread and patchwork blocks and got almost nothing done with them; but the very packing of them said ' holiday' to me. :-)

    I think the unidentified yellow plant is a crucifer - a member of the cabbage family, possibly something like wild radish?

  5. Oh yeah ......just like you, more than I could EVER need. LOL

    Your pictures are beautiful. I love that part of the country and I am very partial to Pennsylvania (my home state). Glad you had a good time AND got some alpaca time!

  6. Oh yes! I take along what ever project is in progress and a second project just in case I finish the first and try my best to find at least one yarn store! Love those trips!

  7. Always good to go, sometimes even better to get home. My only project I take is books to read.

  8. Oh yes, yes, yes. Packing yarn is the only packing I really enjoy. Who needs socks and t-shirts and sun milk as long as you have enough yarn?! Before we leave I love to think about projects that will make me happy during holiday and usually I crochet much less than I hoped I would do! But one day the holidays will be perfect crochet holidays and then I'll be happy that I packed enough yarn. Viola

  9. Indeed we are kindred spirits when it comes to packing yarny projects for trips, Sue :) The latest trip I took I actually completed several headbands using your Rampant Arch pattern [which is beginning to look tattered because I took it out of the magazine I purchased and then folded it and dragged it with me EveryWhere!] I enjoyed seeing what you saw on your trip through your photos. I'm glad that you and yours, including Miss Tallulah, are enjoying being home...a wonderful conclusion to travel!

  10. I take both crocheting and counted cross stitch in a nice big tote bag that holds everything nicely. I do have a question. I have only made scrubbies with cotton yarn but did not like them because they don't rinse out well nor do they lather well. Where do I get netting to crochet? That would be perfect. Thank you, sweet lady.

  11. Of course I do what serious knitter or crocheter doesn't? I am just like you always planning for much more time than I actually get. Your trip sounds wonderful.

  12. So glad you got to get away and have some fun. It's always good to travel and see loved ones. You got some sketches and who knows where those might lead you! I do bring things with me when we travel. I try to have a complicated project and a simple on to bring along. That way I always have something to do, depending on the mood. Hope you have a wonderful day dear friend. :)

  13. Oh I Love your images of the trip. The kids with their hair so perfect PRE pool swim is darling. I have knitted up a storm on some trips and barely at all on others. I ALWAYS bring my knitting with me . I can't go without it.
    Last trip I knitted and RIPPED and started the shrug new on the way home. It was all good.
    I love the sky across the farmland. Aren't the wildflowers amazing right now in the midwest?

  14. I think Mr. Lizard would have enjoyed Mr. M's brand of entertainment!

    I, too, carry yarn (or thread) almost everywhere, just in case, just like the camera. There have been a couple of trips when I didn't manage a single stitch. And there have been trips when I've been able to complete a pair of socks! So better to have it and not get to use it than to have time and nothing with which to play!

    I love your new wildflowers!!!

  15. Packing yarn is a priority with me, and I usually take way more than I can use. Even though I was sitting in a car passenger seat for at least ten hours over the weekend, I didn't finish the easy slippers I started. As you found out, a lot less crafting gets done than you expect.

  16. So what did Tallulah think of the journey?
    So many beautiful places along the way each holding a memory for the cooler days ahead...
    I take knitting or hand sewing in my bag to sit sometimes before work at an on site auction. In the early hours of daylight I find it hard to concentrate on stitching instead enjoying the birds and sometimes a few deer that are off in the fields enjoying the cool morning air.
    We are creatures of habit and would find it hard not to take a little something along to inspire or fill a moment of contentment...
    Susan x

  17. Snowcatcher is right, I would have enjoyed Mr. M's selection of entertainment.

    I love road trips as well. But there's nothing better than plopping onto your own bed after a road trip.

    As for your flowers, I really like the Bittersweet Nightshade - Kuule Beanz!

  18. We're on a similar road trip but ours is going to be almost 4 weeks of it! I also brought my white alpaca shawl to work on and actually, you did much better than me.. all I've done is show it and my Lucy bag to a few admirers and I haven't done a stitch. But I saw the Grand Canyon. 'Nuff said. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  19. Hi Sue!
    The non-identified-yet flower is "Schöllkraut" lat: Chelidonium majus. There is plenty in my flower garden and everywhere. You can use its orange juice against warts. I don't know what yarn and projects to pack for my flight to Montréal yet. :-)

  20. What a wonderful trip. My husband and youngest son would have loved the motorcycles and the races. They are, in fact, headed up to the state of Washington for some racing this weekend. Oh...noise and clouds of dust.
    The last big trip I went on, was back home to Hawaii. I did pack yarn and my brother's cat discovered it in my suitcase. Nuf said.

  21. I usually pack enough for a simple project usually a baby blanket, mindless kind of crochet and then that blanket will be named after the place I have visited, of course more difficult if you intend to travel to many places what would you call it then I wonder. Your trip looks and sounds fantastic I'm pleased you had a great time and yes it's always nice to get back home. :) xx

  22. Ooh, vintage bikes, what fun and the racing takes me right back to the 60s when every weekend would be spent at a racetrack. Lovely memories, thank you.

    Did you buy any Alpaca yarn? I know I would have done.

    The first flower is called Woody Nightshade here and the second we call Greater Celandine, related to Poppies. The Heal All is known as Self Heal - strange how the names have diversified isn't it?

    It's good to know that you had a good time.


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