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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How to Amaze & Astonish the Locals…

Even though I’ve been traveling up to Northern Lower Michigan for years, I don’t really live here. My Parents moved to Tustin after all the kids left home – a romantic turn of events to mirror their first married days together when my Dad worked for the Highway Department.

Tustin calls itself the Headwaters of the Pines and indeed, you cannot walk any feet whatsover without being in the trees, sharing their wonderful air, being tickled by that fringe they have that passes for leaves.

It’s autumn now and Pine’s good friends and neighbors the Oaks, Maples, et all, are merging into an color palette that is so delicious but so elusive of words I’ll just have to show you…

AMAZE: take pictures of everthing moving
or not moving that is even slightly different from home.

I ran away up here for a few days to escape Chicago. The noise, the crowds, the endless traffic jams become too much for me a couple of times a year and I am lucky enough to have a Mom who will welcome me with a warm house, meatloaf and a baked potato if I land on her doorstep.

She’s also a knitter and we can knit together and watch old movies (currently having an Ingrid Bergman fest -“For Whom the Bell Tolls” & “Anastasia”).

Socks like that. I brought some with me, trying to Do the Right Thing and clear out the workbasket. I’ve been working on three different pairs since last year when I had the Sock Bug and it’s too sad to see Onsies sitting around the house so OFF they Go ON the Road and maybe get done…

I’ve discovered something odd though: people here do not knit while standing in line at the Walmart Superstore. They do not pull out the Sock while sitting in the McDonald’s enjoying a Happy Meal and knock off 1.5 rounds. And they don’t do THIS, apparently, EVER:

ASTONISH (scare the crap outta) the Locals: bring a sock to knit while you wait for your Mom to finish her doctor’s appointment, but leave the pattern in Chicago. Ask the receptionist for a piece of paper. Trace your Naked Foot. Put the sock down on the floor compare to your tracing to try and figure out the length and toe shaping you have to do.
PULL out your CAMERA to make sure with a picture.
See people on both sides of you get up from their seats and move to the other (really crowded) side of the waiting room…

AH – just a few miles away and you’re back in the woods, wandering around in blissful piney-ness not even caring if anyone (not likely) sees you petting the trees, delighted with their tickling handshake, letting them hold the new sock for awhile in return…


You are both Tourists and you are not ashamed…

27 responses to “Wednesday, October 12, 2005”

  1. Teresa says:

    Isn’t Michigan in the fall gorgeous? But alas, there is not much KIP. I live in Jenison, and always cause stares (and inquiries too)when I pull out the knitting. Doesn’t matter where I am-drs. office, eating out, school function-it is always the same. My in-laws live in Honor, and it is not any different there. Perhaps us lovely Michigan knitters need to start a revolution!?!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Good post today, Bonne Marie. I felt like I was reading a novel—just waiting for the “to be continued” :)

  3. AnnDS says:

    Dear Bonne Marie,
    So glad you’re posting from the road! I didn’t want to go too long without my ChicKnits fix! It’s getting colorful here in NE Ohio, too. Take care, and, uh, Go White Sox, I guess… :)

  4. terry says:

    Yeah same here in San Francisco – anything goes but go to the ‘burbs a few miles away and you can be perceived as wacky from SF. Wonderful post, thanks for thinking of your fans while you’re traveling. Yum, home cooked food – the best!

  5. Liz says:

    I love the photos! Evertyhing looks so fresh and beautiful. I completely understand the need to escape the noise and bustle of the city. It makes me want to leave NYC for trees and fresh air as well. I get to flee this weekend for the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool fest. Yippee!

  6. Nanc says:

    Ah – socks, Mom, old flix, and Lowpers a-gawkin’. Warms the cockles of my heart. (Of course, I am no Yupper. But love them crazy Michiganders.)

    Your pix are wonderful as ever. Thanks for giving me a bit o’ fall down here in hot TX!

  7. Laura from beautiful West Michigan says:

    I pet trees, too! Those lovely soft pines are too hard to resist. Michigan Knitters Revolution! I love the idea, Teresa! I’m in Zeeland and I do my bit for the cause here, including teaching the art club to knit last year! One of the girls was wearing the scarf she made just today. I was a proud knitting mama!

  8. Texasjackie says:

    Love that sock yarn, what is it? I so miss Michigan. Grew up there. Entire family still lives in the Carson City/Crystal/Hubbardston area. Beautiful Fall color you do not get in Texas.

  9. jackie says:

    Wow, that scenery is seriously beautiful. I’m jonesing for some Fall color after nothing but summer here and now rain rain RAIN for days.

  10. Petra says:

    I love that sock yarn! Please tell us what it is. Beautiful photos! I can almost smell the pine…

  11. Leslie says:

    I live in the SF bay area and what amazes me that not only when you bring your knitting out, no one really asks what you are doing but I have knit some wonderful sweaters, like the Enchanted Forest from Vogue several years ago, I changed the pattern into a pull over, I

  12. Leslie says:

    Oop’s forgot to say how beautiful the photos are. Bonnie you out did yourself on the last one, it looks like a catalog shot for LLBean!

  13. Emily says:

    Wow, I love that photo with the red foliage. I’ve been itching to put a few burning bushes in my yard. I did meet a really nice knitter in the dentist office waiting room once by KIPping….didn’t have the camera though….maybe that’s what put them over the edge!

  14. Beth says:

    What a gorgeous picture. It makes me want to make something in those colors. If I were a painter, I would paint a picture of it. But I’m not. May I print it and put it on my wall?

  15. Jeanie says:


  16. Ruth Ann says:

    Oh, you made me laugh, as I am about to head up a little bit north to my own mom in my own Michigan small town for a Cooking Event in the basement of the Methodist Church. I’ve been trying to decide whether to bring my knitting as I’ve been told we need to be there 45 minutes early because there will be a big, big turnout . . . I will do it, in solidarity with the burgeoning Michigan Knitters Revolutionary Brigade.

  17. sahara says:

    The photos of the pines are beautiful! I would love to make a pine-colored sweater with the other colors as a fair-isle, but I purchased Twist and the yarn for it (in pine, incidently), so I guess I can’t distract myself.

    People moved from you in doctor’s office? That’s amazing to me! Thank God the trees don’t mind you knitting.

    That’s why they’re my friends.

  18. Diana says:

    I was astonished to see Tustin as the banner header for your blog today — my family homestead is about 6 miles from there, so it felt like going home. I, too, take my knitting everywhere – I’ve even been hauling my *very* orange Patagonian cotton sweater project to my art class to knit while the model takes a break. I have been thinking about trying my first socks and you inspired me to go get some sock yarn and just do it!!

    I’ll be heading to the homestead in a couple weeks, so I’ll be able to work on my sock project along the way.

    Beautiful pictures!

  19. Maureen says:

    Bonne Marie – tracing your foot! I just put the sock, needles and all, on my naked foot. That clears out a waiting room. I haven’t the nerve to do it at McDonalds — or at a faculty meeting. Fortunately, the length of my double points is just the right length of the sole before the toe decreases and I usually use that for a measure.

  20. Marji says:

    ah well, life in northern MI is a little slower than in the big city, and there isnt’ quite as much multi tasking going on – but there’s plenty of knitting. I’m from Traverse City, and miss it badly. Going up to the Sault next week to see my babybug, a junior at Lake States University. My only regret is that I can’t knit and drive at the same time – 13 long hours in the car – wasted! Tustin was part of my territory as a sales rep when I lived up there. Thanks for the beautiful fall pictures.

  21. claudia says:

    See, I’ll just put the half-done sock with all the needles sticking out akimbo right on my bare foot to check sizing. People really dig that.


  22. Siri says:

    Wait…tell me again. What was it that they found unusual? It all sound like average, everyday stuff.

  23. Nancy J says:

    The last photo would make gorgeous notecards, etc. I actually knitted in the dr’s office yesterday and had a knitting conversation including showing a woman how to knit continental! But we’re a little weird here in PA…

  24. Marcia says:

    It’s a different world up there, on many levels. But beautiful. I love how you can drive down a back road from a small town and not see anyone for miles. My mom grew up in less civilized town, a few miles from Tustin. When I was young, we were always hated by the other kids, as “city slickers.” It probably didn’t help that my grandma was reputed to be one of the meanest elementary teachers in the history of Lake County. But I digress.

  25. elisabeth says:

    Give Mom and Co. a big hug and kiss from me and Toddler Jamie (Yes, toddler, officially in one more month)!!

    Always envious of your trips home to Tustin and more importantly, your Mom.

    Keep the picture posts coming.

  26. Jamie says:

    I think you like to follow me around! I too was in Michigan this past weekend, stayed near Tawas City and checked out Mackinac Island. The colors were gorgeous and the country was very relaxing. I also was at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival too, apparently the day before you. It was nice seeing you at the book signing and I would have gone to dinner but got one heck of a headache. See you around.

  27. Cindy says:

    This made me chuckle. I knit everywhere! I am a teacher and will have my daughter next sememster for English 12 and she is terrified that I will suddenly begin knitting while lecturing!

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