Aw look! One pattern, 364 versions of the MDK New Ancestral Christmas Stocking.

Driver Education

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Dear Kay,
I can drive a houseboat now. It happened when I was on a houseboat this past weekend with a bunch of women, and when the guy who was explaining the houseboat arrived at the helm to demonstrate how to turn on the houseboat, he said, “So who’s driving?” We all looked at him blankly, realizing that we hadn’t really addressed the issue of how the houseboat might make its way around the lake, and it occurred to us that somebody was going to need to be in charge of that. So we all perked up, I felt a rush of hot terror, and somebody ran off to find a pen to take notes. I am guessing that’s the first time that houseboat-operation instructions have been scrawled in a cute little black Moleskine: “TURN ON BLOWER. TURN IT OFF. TURN LEFT KEY. LEFT ENGINE, CONTROL BUTTON, GUN IT.”
He’s leading us around the thing, opening up hatches and shining a flashlight on a giant red generator saying, “Just mash on this switch if the carbon dioxide sirens go off.” Carbon DIOXIDE? That’s even scarier than carbon MONOXIDE! CO2 is EVERYWHERE, man. I felt like Slim Pickens riding his A-bomb to his doom in Dr. Strangelove.
It was stunning to me that this guy left a 68-foot houseboat in the care of a completely unqualified group of potential drivers. He didn’t even hand us the keys–they were already in the ignition, suggesting “Hell, anybody, have at it.” I asked, “Are we the least qualified group of renters you’ve ever had?” and he laughed hysterically and said “Oh no,” then told us about the Tennessee Titan who pretty much sunk his rental.
Anyway, I have found the ULTIMATE, ABSOLUTE FINEST PATTERN POSSIBLE for knitting on a houseboat: Different Lines by Veera Välimäki.
It’s a scarf/shawl/wrap. No, it’s just a cool, weird-shaped piece of garter stitch knitting, and there is nothing better than that for knitting on a houseboat.
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This was a game-time decision, taking this with me. Last week’s lacrosse marathon finished off all the squares I needed for my Mitered Crosses Blanket, so I was in a full-out panic until I found this choice pattern. I stash-busted three skeins of Koigu and a fat loaf of some mystery yarn with the Koigu twist but no label. Complete mystery as to how I ended up with that stuff, but there it was.
It’s not all that hard to drive a houseboat. It helps that you’re ten times bigger than anything else on the water. You’re an obstacle. You can’t run over anybody because you’re going maybe 8 miles an hour. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure we left the marina.
Love,
Ann

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Oh, what fun you will have! I am the admiral on our 35′ trawler – leaves plenty of time for knitting since we only do 7 knots. Just remember that your craft will take time to turn, and may slide as it does so. I am jealous – your water will be warm – compared to the water here in the Salish Sea – 55′ to 60’F. I tipped the kayak Memorial Day weekend – cold, cold, cold!

  2. It does look like some rather boat-ie colors, was that on purpose, or by accident.

  3. It sounds like the houseboat is a blast. I’ve had a secret love for a houseboat for years, but have no idea how I would store all of my yarn!

  4. Where are y’all? Center Hill Lake? Eat some catfish at the Cookeville Boat Dock!

  5. You must post pictures of this adventure for those of us who live vicariously through Mason-Dixon. It sounds like fun. Hope you had a great time.

  6. Hey, sign me up as one of “those who live vicariously through Mason-Dixon.” Houseboat FEVER!
    Except I want my houseboat to be on the Thames, with curtains and a nice little garden on top. Those are swish.
    We are going to have Dueling Veeras going, any minute.
    xoxo Kay

  7. Hiring a 66 foot long narrow boat (canal boat) was much the same, there was more time spent on the operation of the shower than steering the thing.Thinking about it that must have been because steering consisted of going in a straight line at a maximum of 4mph, places wide enough to turn were few and far between.

  8. Wow, you piloted a 68-ft. houseboat? You’re a better (and gutsier) woman than me, Ann Shayne!
    Last week I bought a shawl pattern by the same designer–the Stripe Study Shawl. I haven’t had a chance to start knitting it yet, though. I’m still cranking out Mitered Crosses!
    Mary G. in Texas

  9. Wow! Cosmic convergence! I spent the weekend on a 76 ft. houseboat, but I was not expected to take the helm. What a fun experience. I didn’t bring my own knitting but a friend brought something that she needed help with. I hope to have another chance to knit on the houseboat.

  10. I had to stop reading after the Dr. Strangelove reference, so I could laugh out loud for a while. Now I’m returning to read the rest. :)

  11. Sounds great, and I love the knitting too!

  12. Hi, I’m back! This post is timely (AND funny, of course) because just two days ago I pulled out a project from last June, when I spent four days on a sailing boat off the coast of Maine. It took 364 days for me to face the bundle of mistakes smooshed into that little ziploc bag. Here’s what I know for sure (is that phrase available now?): if you are going to be crammed into a space where you can’t stand up straight or move more than an inch without banging some body part against wood or metal, where the ceiling above your bed is 8 inches from your nose, and where rain is dripping down through the hole that also houses your light fixture…sock-knitting is not the way to go. Not even no-purl monkeys. Rip, rip, rip. Also: ahoy, matey!

  13. I love that you all channeled your inner Hucks and Jims for a weekend boat adventure. I, too, now have Houseboat Fever!

  14. Nice, nautical.
    Love the image of a group of people kind of staring at each other, like, ‘with a minute, do you know how to drive one of these?’ and knitting while navigating = cool.

  15. Years of houseboat memories flooding in. It was only 27 ft; lovely mahogany interior. Oh, I wish we still had it! Used to love knitting for A4A while floating on the St Croix. Lots of good things happen at 4mph!

  16. You see, that’s why we have stashes, for emergency knitting situations. It looks pretty. I’ve finally got my yarn for my mitred crosses blanket (cheap ass version). No Noro will be harmed in the making of this blanket.

  17. Stitched Together, I attest to the fact that (cheap ass) Universal Deluxe Long Print for the crosses and Lion Brand Fisherman for the log cabin parts makes awesome looking Mitered Crosses squares.
    Ann, I envy your houseboat weekend and just ordered the shawl pattern. It’s a garter stitch summer!

  18. Love, love, love being on the water. Learned a bit about sailing a couple of years ago, but mainly just rent a canoe or kayak and enjoy the Potomac River.

  19. OMG – Love It. I’m not sure that knitting and piloting don’t equal ‘distracted driving’, but who am I to say? I’ve never helmed a houseboat. I’ve been dithering over what colors to use for that pattern several days now. It should be labelled ‘vacation knitting’, IMO.

  20. shades of hepburn and bogart

  21. Wow! I am very impressed. I grew up in MI – surrounded by the 5 Great Lakes & dozens of not-as-great lakes and I still have absolutely NO idea what boat-y type people are talking about when they start throwing around their nautical terms.
    And you got some knitting done while driving the boat? Unbelievable….give that woman a reality show!

  22. OH how fun a houseboat…Seems like the only way anyone could screw up driving would be too be completely wasted. But knitting on a houseboat? How can this be done when it’s just so darn hot? Really the only thing that can be done is to drink and fan yourself.

  23. Very funny! You made me laugh out loud.

  24. Hey, weren’t Cary Grant and Sophia Lauren in a movie about living in a houseboat? (If you see Cary, give him my undying love and affection….).
    The wrap looks very interesting. Does it only call for fingering weight yarn, or could DK weight fit the bill? Please, please won’t model it for us when it’s finished?
    Well, wishing you smoothe sailing this summer.
    Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
    LoveDiane

  25. Dang, but does that sound like big fun or what! You and Kay continue you to inspire me, both with knitting and other activities. The scarf (and yarn choices) are lovely.
    Gotta go and see if I can’t get my sisters-in-law to plan a ladies’ houseboat trip to Lake Cumberland before the summer is over . . .

  26. Like the way you chose Finnish colors for the Veera shawl. Perfect.

  27. Have always wanted to do a houseboat….good for you guys! Am waiting to start on Stripe Study Shawl by the same designer….

  28. I don’t know how big that particular piece of knitting is, but it looks to me as if another piece of the same shape mirror-imaged more or less from where you are might make a very cool faroese-style shawl or scarf. But again, I could be wrong.

  29. Great! Now when you come visit you can drive the boat while I water ski! This is great news!

  30. Not only Finnish colors, but the colors of the Greek flag, as well. OPA! OPA!–No dancing in the isles, Zorba (especially on a houseboat…).
    Can’t swait to see the finished product being modeled!
    LoveDiane

  31. You didn’t go the pampered route on Rivership Cruises? Now there is some knitting time! Last time I had cranberry and pecan goat cheese, some yummy wine, pork medallions, dusk on the river, and a sweet wedding at the turn around point mid-trip. Old Hick can be pretty romantic!

  32. That’s a jaunty scarf for sailing in! (or whatever houseboats do–float in a determined manner)

  33. I love houseboats. I also have learned to drive a boat with approximately 5 minutes of instruction, but that’s a long story. Your post keeps reminding me of the movie The African Queen, and I don’t know why.

  34. Rae walks in and says that she needs a good garter stitch project to get her through sitting around the theater during rehearsals and I say check out the shawl on Mason Dixon. She looks at it and says that looks perfect. Winds the yarn she came into wind and leaves. Not five minutes later Laura comes in to sit at the table and knit and chat. She takes out what is her new favorite shawl to knit. She’s on her third one. It’s the DIFFERENT LINES shawl. I’m thinking there’s one in my future. In fact, I think there may be one in all of our futures.

  35. lol, yes it has a bit of nautical flair! Haven’t driven a houseboat before but what fun! Friends always laugh cause i always let hubby be in charge… till we hit the water, then it’s all me! He turns into my crew as i am the one with my 100 ton captains license, lol. i told him i outrank him! Glad you had a blast!

  36. Ann,
    I liked your shawl so much I bought the pattern on Ravelry and have begun. Now I think I am doing something wrong. I have switched the the cc color and have begun the short rows, but when I do the wrap and turn and go back to the beginning I am not on the correct row according to the directions (ws, rs, etc.) Can you help?
    Tina

  37. I love the idea of a houseboat. But with my tendency to get motion sick I’m afraid sleeping inside might end poorly.

  38. I want a houseboat!
    Iron Realms Entertainment games: Achaea, Aetolia, Imperian, Lusternia and Tears of Polaris scam