East End, We Hardly Knew Y’all
August 17, 2006
Were you here? Was that you sleeping with the spiders at Casa Kay? Was the coffee too strong? Was the shower okay? Did you make it home all right?
Here’s your report card for this mini-leg of our Neverending Book Tour.
Ann Shayne: East End Report Card
Grooming: A-plus! You have never looked more summery and serene. (I credit the Grundy County 8-Week Cure. Sign me UP.) And you managed to achieve Perfectly Fine Hair without your ionic (iconic, ironic, whatever) hairdryer, which frankly scares me whenever you start talking about it.
Chattiness: A good solid A. You talked fully as much as I did. I believe our Combined Word Count exceeded previous levels, which nobody thought possible.
Preparation: This is bringing down your average, Ann. You forgot your camera. Wait, I need capitals for that: YOU FORGOT YOUR STINKIN’ CAMERA!!!! To borrow a phrase from your Hubbo, forgetting the AnnCam was ‘subpar’. I’m going to have to give you an incomplete. Next time, bring your camera, and I’ll restore you to a B.
I suppose that in fairness, I should give my own report card.
Kay: Honest Self Performance Evaluation
Grooming: C. This is a ‘gentleman’s C’. My whole look was irreparably dragged down by my Footwear Situation, to wit:
My foot is okay, except for the unfortunate aesthetics of the Surgical Shoe. On Monday, I was in the city for a quick tour of pediatric dental care providers. I was walking on West 3rd Street with the kids. Wearing my Merrill Flip Flops 2006. A person walking in front of me accidentally kicked a broken bottle. The bottle hit Joseph’s sneaker-clad (praise the Lord) foot and ricocheted into my left foot, painlessly gashing 2 toes. I immediately activate Mommy Mode: ‘oh tra-la, kids, I’ve got a boo-boo on my foot let’s just go to the dentist and she’ll give me a bandaid oh I feel just fine I’m definitely a-ok and can we just walk a little faster okay?’ Two doors down, my flip-flop is filling with blood at a sort of scary rate. I do not understand how a mere toe boo-boo is causing such a lot of bleeding. I look up, and (violins playing in my head) find I am standing in front of a Firehouse. I go in, as if this is a normal thing to do, and say, ‘Excuse me, my foot is bleeding do you have a first aid kit?’ Firefighter is very helpful but says the truck has just left with their first aid kit. He gives me a giant wad of Bounty paper towels (the Quicker Picker Upper–this was no time for off-brand paper towels). I swaddle my foot and limp onward for 3 blocks to the dentist’s. I pass many people. These people see a woman hobbling on a bloody paper-towel-swathed foot with two young children. They do not bat an eye. I love New York.
Long story short, I had 2 stitches in 2 of my toes, and I have to wear the dreaded Surgical Shoe for 10 days. No swimming, no bathing, no getting it wet in the shower. I was not embarrassed by the shoe itself, or even the ratty sock–I was embarrassed that it was not a handknit sock. And I call myself a knitter. Disgraceful really.
Let’s move on to the next categories, in which I promise to try harder and do better.
Chattiness: A-plus. What do you take me for? I unleashed a blue streak of solid KnitChat. No question un-answered, or even under-answered. I’m an open book. What do you want to know?
Preparation: I had the KayCam. I had the ultra-fine Sharpies. I had the Suitcase of Love, freshly pressed. I found my car keys EVERY TIME (even if it took a few minutes of going, ‘Crap, I can’t find my car keys’). So I think I get an A here too.
Let’s do some pictures shall we? It was really a great time. Made me proud to be an East End resident. The knitters out here have mad skillz and a strong sense of community.
North Fork Stitches/Cutchogue
Tuesday we went straight from the airport to the North Fork, stopping only long enough for you to raid the cooler full of steaming hot roasted corn at a roadside stand in Aquebogue. We were not prepared for the fabulously festive scene that awaited us.
The panorama of cheese. Darn GOOD cheese.
Young Jack taking orders for delicious local ciders. Note that Jack is wearing the Official Yarn Boy Polo Shirt.
It was touching, how you needed A Moment when you were reunited with the Tailgate Rug. Proving the old saying about how you can take the girl out of Grundy County, but she still loves a rag rug.
MDK rules surrounded us with inspiration. Maybe you were right: we SHOULD have called them ‘Profound Truths’ instead of merely ‘Rules’.
North Fork Stitches’ customers are some knitting FOOLS. Look at this amazing Elsebeth Lavold cardigan, modelled by the lovely lady who knitted it, and whose name I didn’t write down!!! (Ellen? Helen? Betsy? Am I even close?) What amazed me most was the finishing, which I do believe would pass inspection by Becky herself. Grosgrain ribbon buttonband reinforcement, with machine-sewn BUTTONHOLES—that’s what I’m TALKIN’ about.
Go ahead, look at the back. Perfect fit. Sumptuous yarn (Debbie Bliss Cashmerino). Yum. YUM. North Fork Stitches had the sublime, but it also had:
….the Ridiculous. This is a Baby’s First Birthday hat. I still haven’t figured out why the store calls it the ‘Weenie Hat’. What is that all about?
After a dee-vine evening of laffs with a great crowd of Forkers of the North and South persuasions, we just HAD to stop by the Modern Snack Bar. It just felt like the thing to do.
Thank you, Jamie, Jack, Jack, Beatrice, Doris, Carol and EVERYBODY at North Fork Stitches. I cannot believe that the East End has such a fabulous full-service yarn store now, thanks to you. Well worth a detour, and be sure to stop for some roasted corn.
By way of introduction, let me just say that Southampton is a town with a history. Its history is that it was founded in 1640 by brave folks who sailed down from Massachusetts, which hadn’t been settled for very long itself. The descendants of those hardy settlers are alive and well. Being from Nebraska, and having no idea where my forbears were in 1640, other than that they were not in Massachusetts or Long Island, when I am in Southampton, I try to keep a low, respectful profile. If I had a bumper sticker, it would say, ‘Just Happy To Be Here.’ So imagine the inutterable THRILL for me of getting to sit and knit in the Southampton Historical Museum, at an event sponsored by the Rogers Memorial Library. I’m not kidding. I can’t believe our good fortune. This explains why I took a lot of pictures when we were setting up. In the MUSEUM y’all!!!! Get OUT!!!!!! We’re setting up the handknits in the MUSEUM!!!!!
Look at the beautiful room.
This guy was Not Amused by the Suitcase of Love. I was getting this Scooby Doo vibe off him. (And because I know people will ask: YES, this portrait was the inspiration for the Baby Bib o’ Love. Original name: Puritan Bib o’ Self Denial.)
More Poetic Scenes of Ann. (If only you’d had the AnnCam, we could have Poetic Scenes of Kay. Alas.)
While waiting for the audience to show up, you finished a sock. Rilly! You just sat there and Kitchenered that toe. (Matisse would have loved the shawl.)
Once the audience came, I forgot all about my camera. We had such a fun time. It was the best kind of knitterly gathering. Knitters of all ages and backgrounds, local book-lovers who were curious to see what a couple of knitting-book authors could possibly have to say, out-of-town knitters dropping in for a fix—really a lively, fun bunch.
I managed to capture a picture of lovely Joan, our youngest knitter in attendance. Joan is 16, and MAD MAD MAD about knitting. I tried to talk her into knitting that Rowan “Arlen” Ball Gown–in Kid Silk Haze and Kid Silk Night, for prom–wouldn’t that be awesome? We’ll see! (C’mon Joan! We’ll help ya!)
I’ve been coming out here in all seasons for the past 16 years–suddenly I feel (almost!) local. Thanks, Southampton!