Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawl is on through Sunday, September 25.

Dateline: Limbo

Dear Kay,
Greetings from Nashville! I just love awanderin’ the big city with ya and all, but there’s no place like home. Within five minutes of giving the fellas a souvenir from New York, a copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys, one of them took a magnifying glass out into the sunny day and set fire to a wicker basket on the front steps. I mean, on fire. Like, comes-and-gets-Mom on fire. They didn’t get the idea to set fire to a basket from this book, but I’m concluding that we may not need any help in finding danger around here.
Thanks for your hospitality. Staying at your apartment was really great. The photo shoot was really great. I can’t wait to see how the photos turn out. I mean, I really hope the photos turn out, because we may not have the chance to shoot some of that stuff again.
I sort of hate even to mention this, but right this minute I can’t really say where that duffel bag of knitted stuff for the book has gone. It’s going to be fine. I’m sure. I mean, I’ve only truly and really lost a bag “forever” once. This situation is just a little test of our mettle, that’s all.
I mean, I got to LaGuardia with time to spare. I checked my two bags. Bag A: my usual lame collection of T shirts. Bag B: all knitting. A third of the projects for the book–you know, the samples so lovingly knitted in a clammy panic by us and kind people with quick fingers?
I have to say, even as I watched my bags suck into the giant X-ray machine, I had a feeling about things. There were just too many people lined up at the American counter–a hundred or more. It looked like Christmas, only less festive. There was a batch of at least six shrink-wrapped valises bound for South America right ahead of me, big enough that you could pack a couple of humans in there. Too many people, too much giant luggage.
Odd. Only one person asked me what I was knitting. The flight attendant gave me a whole entire can of ginger ale, without my having to ask. The plane got to Nashville early–a half hour ahead of schedule. It was all too weird.
You know that moment when they turn off the conveyor belt at the baggage claim? You know that party-is-over feeling? That turn-up-the-lights-Jack White-really-has-left-the-building moment? Even as the conveyor belt slowed to a halt, I was sprinting to the lost baggage desk, right behind the four guys who had been offloading peculiar black wooden boxes with interesting names stenciled on the side.
As I stood there, I heard the whole story. “Instruments,” the guy said in an eastern European-sounding accent.
The lost baggage guy was absolutely blank in his demeanor. A bomb defuser shows more emotion. “What kind of instruments?”
“Bouzouki. Big.”
Bomb Defuser blinked.
“Mandolin. Big mandolin.”
Bouzouki Man asked when the bouzoukis would arrive. When Bomb Defuser said the plane landed at 8 pm, Bouzouki Man did an admirable job of not collapsing on the floor and weeping like a baby. Bouzouki Man explained that their concert started at eight o’clock, and the plane arriving at eight o’clock was going to mean that they blew their job. It was a stroll down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, I tell you. I was in semi-tears for the guy.
Bomb Defuser did not buy into the drama of the situation at all. Dead eyed, he handed over a sheet of paper and said, “We’ll deliver the [pause] instruments when they arrive.”
It made me feel slightly less self-pitying when my turn came. “And what was in the second bag?” he asked.
“Knitted samples. Totally irreplaceable knitting.” OK, so maybe Bouzouki Man’s story made me juice up my story a little. I managed not to say priceless. We could totally replace all the knitting–I mean, it’s not like we don’t have the patterns for them or anything. But how would you feel about getting all this stuff made all over again in time for the next photo shoot in three weeks? My calculation is that there are five projects in that bag which were not photographed this week. It makes me want to semi-throw up.
I’ll keep you posted. But at the moment I’m trying really hard not to imagine the wicked, evil baggage handlers at LaGuardia draped in our homely handknits, holding stuff up to the jet headlights and critiquing our yarn choices.
“I would have gone with a smaller gauge for this,” says Vinny.
“Subpar blocking on this thing,” says Artie.




  1. (((hugs))) Ann. Sounds like a knitter’s worst nightmare – hope your luggage is tracked down soon.

  2. How absolutely awful. I certainly hope the baggage handlers at LaGuardia realize the importance of hand knits and return your bag very soon.

  3. Fingers and toes crossed for you and also for the poor Eastern European band. Wish we had a way we could hear the rest of their story, but I suppose they are blog-less as well as Bouzouki-less. Fate(and LaGuardia baggage handlers)can be cruel.

  4. American is really good. They’ll find the bag. Then some nice person will bring it to your house. Even on a Sunday. And they’ve never scared me. That’s why I’ll get on one of thier planes no matter where I go. And I don’t even work for them.
    It’ll be ok. Knit your way through it … and breathe.

  5. OH Ann, so much HEART goes into knitting… even samples. We will pray that the bag falls into a knit lov’in, self-determined cutie-putie that has read your book from cover to cover and takes it upon herself to get that bag right back in your hands where it belongs!

  6. OH NO!! Did you file a Gimme-Back-My-Stuff report? Did you mention that those items are knit of unicorn fur yarn and you can only gather the bits left on YoomaRooma trees by the light of the full moon at Solstice, and that those knit goods will vanish if not returned to you in three days – and you can only gather unicorn fur once a year……and you need it for a book??? (I’m not above a little hyperbole if called for, and here? It’s called for!)

  7. Every lost bag I’ve had (and there have been lots of them) has turned up a couple of days later. I’m thinking you’ll get a call tomorrow morning that it’s arrived.

  8. Ok – I am really tired (MIL’s bday tonight 91) but all I can come up with it ACCKKK!!!!

  9. Oh Ann! I agree with Brenda- they will call! But be on your guard- they always seem to call at 4AM.
    When we were growing up and travelled a lot with the family, we were n-e-v-e-r allowed to check baggage. If it did not fit over head or under the seat in front of you, you were NOT allowed to bring it. You shoulda seen how much crap I could manage to carry on back in the day!
    Thinking good baggage returning thoughts- Love- KT

  10. Tell Vinny and Artie I’ll come use the Mommy Voice on them if they don’t find that luggage. Combined with the Mommy Look it’s been known to make grown men tremble. They better find that bag!

  11. Well, Bless your Heart. Not only do they lose your luggage but your boys have found one of the wonders that all boys find sooner or later. I guess they all have to try it at least once.
    Hope your knitting is back with you soon and can’t wait for the next book.

  12. I hope everything turns out with your lost bag. If you need help re-knitting things, I’m a willing volunteer.

  13. Those baggage handlers at La Guardia confiscated my biltong (like beef jerky, only made from kudu and elan and ostrich and anything else that moves on the veldt). Oh, wait, those were the security guys. The baggage handlers did okay.
    You’ll get your stuff, although I can’t guarantee it won’t have been *modeled* by Vinnie et al.

  14. Aw, Dude. That sucks. You have my sympathy. Hopefully soon you will have your bag.

  15. OMG…
    and Nooooooo!
    I’m pretending with all my heart that in the time it’s taken me to get around to reading blogs today, the silly airline has found your bag, and the knitted samples are safely at home again.
    If not…
    I’m volunteering to knit something for you (and no, not a randome something… and actual something you need), pronto.

  16. I think I’d be out starting fires with the magnifying glass myself. It’s a good way to take your mind off things.

  17. I LOVE The Dangerous Book for Boys. There is a waiting list in my classroom for it. I hope none of the little darlings set anything on fire at their respective house.
    Do you notice how I have not even mentioned The Bag?
    It’s safe with the Eastern European instruments, that’s why. And it WILL show up tomorrow at a most inconvenient hour.
    It will.

  18. American has never lost any bag permanently for anybody in our household. They did loose a wooden discus once, but it was in a little slippery bag by itself. I hope to read that your samples are in hand. SOON. I carry on my CPAP device, knitting and meds. I look like an Eastern European… even if I’m only going to the next state. Best wishes.

  19. I swear you were talking about the baggage handlers at LAX! Only they’d be like..’dude…we got knits here.’
    They’ll deliver the bag. With the knits. Or we who have sharp pointy sticks will chase ’em down.
    I know the baggage delivers by name by now.
    Remember to breathe. In. and. Out. Breathe.

  20. agreed with the above comments. whenever my bag was lost i’ve gotten it back (and they deliver it to the house too). it’ll show up.
    ps – i feel really bad for those musicians. to lose an opportunity like that — oh, that’s tough.

  21. ahh.. this does bring back some memories.. (ok, maybe they are trauma memories?) of a few years ago- when I was moving from one foreign country to another. The movers had ‘uh, accidently’ packed my small carry-on bag and I wouldn’t get it for 3 months along with the rest of my household goods.
    So, there I was.. w/ only my backpack to pack my ‘carry on essentials’.. and since, it was a MOVE not a vacation- I had a lot of ‘paperwork’ etc.. that needed to go with me.. and this was the ONE TIME that I did decide that I did not have room, in the backpack, to pack a pair of undies and another shirt with me on the plane in my carryon- which in this case was a normal sized backpack.
    You can tell where this is going, right? Sure enough.. there I am.. I land in VENICE, Italy.. and no large checked bag that belongs to me arrives. So, I go through the process.. to declare my BLACK bag ‘missing’.. and I did look carefully through the large collection of ‘anyone can take them because no one is watching them and they aren’t locked up or anything’ group of suitcases stored in a big open area of the airport- but, none were mine.
    SO, I get on the bus.. for a 2-3 hour ride to my temporary home: A hotel w/out air-conditioning.. hey, it’s only AUGUST IN ITALY.. no problemno! I wash my many time-zone traveled bra and panties out.. take a shower to wash the travel uck off of me and go to bed naked. Fighting off the mosquitoes that were buzzing in the room- because the windows (w/out screens) had been opened all day.
    Woke up the next day- to find that the undergarments are still ‘damp.’ Actually, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if they had been dry– walking around in the sweltering heat- made everything all wet and sweaty soon anyway. I also wanted to try to buy some clean undergarments and something else to wear. As I walk around, I find out that I am in a village w/out shops to buy these much needed items.
    However, there were 4 hardware stores in the little village. I had no car to drive to go somewhere else, and there weren’t any taxi’s to hire to take me somewhere else. Nor was there a washer and dryer anywhere in the area.. and what was I going to wear to do my laundry? My bed linens? D:= *On the third day, I started having thoughts of knocking on a strangers door to ask if I could use a robe and their washer and dryer? However, I didn’t speak Italian and the plan was thwarted because my suitcase did arrive about 30 minutes after I thought of that plan.
    So, I spent 3 days wearing my ‘travel outfit’ and undergarments.. but, on the third day my suitcase finally did arrive with fresh, wrinkled, clean clothing.
    Ahh, the joys of travel. AND, learn from me and remember NO MATTER WHAT.. always, always.. stash one pair of panties and another shirt in your carry-on to ward off travel bad ju ju gods.
    AND, I’m sure, sure, sure that you will get your bag back soon. It’s usually takes 1-2 days. Or three if you are in Italy.

  22. It will turn up! They always do!

  23. Oh Ann – my empathic powers are causing me not a small amount of nausea right now!!
    If you don’t get your bag back in a couple of days (if you can sleep until the bags get found and delivered it’ll pass like no time at all!) and are truly desperate and can get the yarn sent super fast to me I can probably help you out with a project. If I send it directly to the publisher it would probably even be on time. Let me know, really, – I’m great with knitting emergencies!

  24. Oh, I know how frustrating losing baggage can be. USAir lost my baggage when I went for my son’s wedding. It was delivered 15 minutes before the wedding was to start. I looked like a wrinkled, rumpled mess! Hope it has already been delivered to you!

  25. Please say, “Mid-May Fool’s!” Please?

  26. We are all praying in an attempt to coerce the cosmos into returning your baggage back to you. Perhaps the cosmos can kick Artie and Vinny in the pants.

  27. My mom recently had a bad feeling when she checked her luggage. It was lost for 24 hours and then found. So I bet your bag of knitting will find it’s way to you.
    Also, my son just got the Dangerous Book for Boys for his 5th birthday. It is full of wonderful things. I especially like the section on how to talk to girls. Too funny.

  28. Sigh, Ann, Ann, Ann…I expected so much better! Rule #1 of traveling, never, ever check your knitting!!!! Even if you have to shove it all in those tiny little travel space bags and suck the air out of them to fit them in an overhead size bag. I would rather lose my entire wardrobe than a sweater I have been slaving over for two months! Clothes can be bought in a flash, knitting can never be replaced, it’s like time lost. I, however, have confidence in American Airlines, they will find the bag…probably in the Faulklands (which would be appropriate as the only thing on the island practically is sheep). At least now when I get the next book, there will already be a great story attached to it! You never cease to amaze and amuse.

  29. Sigh, Ann, Ann, Ann…I expected so much better! Rule #1 of traveling, never, ever check your knitting!!!! Even if you have to shove it all in those tiny little travel space bags and suck the air out of them to fit them in an overhead size bag. I would rather lose my entire wardrobe than a sweater I have been slaving over for two months! Clothes can be bought in a flash, knitting can never be replaced, it’s like time lost. I, however, have confidence in American Airlines, they will find the bag…probably in the Faulklands (which would be appropriate as the only thing on the island practically is sheep). At least now when I get the next book, there will already be a great story attached to it! You never cease to amaze and amuse.

  30. oh ann! i hope it turns up sooner or later. a note on the good side…i have never lost a bag for good! eventually they find it! if not there is a place in alabama that buys all the lost luggage, opens it, and sells the goods within. maybe the knitting would show up there! alabama is close! i’ll go with for moral support if needed! keep us posted! sending good vibes to the airport!

  31. All I can add is “fingers crossed”. Fly American quite a bit, and everything they lost, they found. And reasonably quickly. Keep us posted.

  32. If the samples smell like BO and Brylcreem I think a letter to American is called for.
    “Vinny, do these cables make me look fat?”

  33. So, when the irreplaceable artifacts from last summer’s trip to Tibet didn’t make it to O’Hare, even tho’ Clif was really really tired from traveling for more than 24 hours from Chengdu to Beijing to San Francisco to Chicago, we sat down in the airport and waited for the next flight to come in. Sure enough the bags were there.
    And here’s another story: Our friend Jim knows a gal who makes serious money driving all these bags around when they go astray. Last time it happened to us, the bag arrived at 3:30 a.m. Think of the overtime! It costs the airlines more to get the lost bags to customers than the cost of the tickets. And no one can figure out why airlines aren’t profitable….

  34. For Mary Neal–
    I love the word “gal” and can’t think of the last time I heard it. Bless your heart.
    I am on pins and needles about the missing bag.

  35. Oh, ouch. Here’s hoping it shows up pronto.

  36. Ann,
    It must be ‘going around’ — my daughter flew home for a friend’s wedding last weekend (in and out of town in less than 48 hours so she could be back at school for finals), and we had a 5 hour drive starting the following morning..and they “lost” her only suitcase. Yup, with wedding outfit inside (she came home wearing shorts), not to mention hard-to-replace stuff she meant to leave at home for the summer: formal gown, business suit, etc. and, the truly irreplaceable stuffed animal from when she was less than a year old. It was trauma time. Yes, they called the next morning and had her suitcase, but it didn’t save us from a frantic shopping excursion before the store closed, and a rough night. Glad to hear you also got your bag back!

  37. Yeah! Now, have you begun to breathe normally yet?


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