August 30, 2005


Our family spent all of last week at our cabin in the San Juan Islands. While we do have a cabin to stay in, it is exceedingly rustic: no electricity, no running water. There's a woodstove for cooking, and a woodburning fireplace for heat. If you've ever seen the book Handmade Houses, this cabin is right in keeping with the houses in that book, as it was built circa 1970, for a budget of $250. (It was built by the family of some friends of ours.) Most of the timbers are driftwood found on the beach; windows were salvaged from a house that was torn down on the mainland. The money they spent to build this cabin went for cement for the floor and nails.

So, away from telephone, television, and computer, we slow down to the pace of island time.

Which brings me to The Top 10 Signs that You're Having Fun on the Island:

(10) Sleep outside under the stars and have it never ever rain on you once, not a drop.

(9) Have your sister and her husband come by in their sailboat and bring you homemade spaghetti for dinner.

(8) Roast marshmallows in the evening fire until they are crispy on the outside, melty on the inside, and never ever burn one.

(7) Play lots of "Oh Hell" (three-handed solitaire, very fast-paced) with the kids.

(6) Have a bee crawl inside your blouse and sting you on the back -- but not so much that it swells or is too painful.

(5) Vastly entertain your family by flapping your arms and yelling "OW OW OW! SOMETHING'S BITING ME!" while being stung. It gives them something to talk about over dinner each of the subsequent nights.

(4) Find a darling little internet cafe in Friday Harbor, where you can check your e-mail. Enjoy the significance that this internet cafe is located on Argyle Avenue.

(3) Read on the beach in the morning sun. Do this every day.

(2) Enjoy how the sunlight dapples the path between cabin and beach, and falls across your favorite moss-covered rock.

And . . . drumroll . . . the number 1 Sign that You're Having Fun on the Island:

(1) Get lots of knitting done!

I almost finished sock #2 for my sister. Knitted a few rows on the snowflake lace scarf. And worked a few rounds on my Level II vest.

Now, if our border collie Lady were able to write for you her Top 10 list, her number 1 activity would be rolling in the deer poop and various dead crabs and things that washed up on the beach. And if the kids were to write their list, right up there on it would be poking the jelly fish that washed up on the beach, and getting towed behind our boat in a giant innertube. I guess you could say that we had a little something on the island to please everyone.

We were taking the kayak down to the beach for the girls, when we discovered walking up the path, my sister Shirley and her husband Bliss:

Cabin 001.jpg

We all continued to the beach. Scott launched the girls:

Cabin 003.jpg

After dinner, Shirl and I happily washed dishes at the outside worktable:

Cabin 005.jpg

Cold water ahead!

Cabin 008.jpg

On two different days, we boated over to Friday Harbor, where we used the public showers and stocked up on ice for our coolers. We bought groceries at the little store, books at Harbor Books, and yes, I even bought a ball of yarn at Island Wools.

Monday, back home, it's back to business as usual. Many new items coming in to Two Swans for the fall knitting season. But the one item that has charmed me the most, today, isn't new on the market, just new to me and my store. You see, an e-mail penpal of mine had recommended to me the book by Nancy Bush, Knitting on the Road. This book contains 17 patterns for socks, and each pattern is inspired by a place Nancy Bush has visited on her travels. I know this book has been around for a couple of years, but frankly, I'd never looked at it, and wouldn't have paid any attention to it but for this recommendation from my penpal, who has knitted 5 of the patterns. Knitting on the Road came in a shipment of books today, and the book opened up for me in the most synchronicitous way: it fell open to the page for the Friday Harbor socks!

The socks have a little criss-crossing lace panel up the front of the foot, about which Nancy Bush writes: "the pattern reminds me of the wake a sailboat leaves as it glides by on a misty morning." This pattern has just charmed me, in my post-vacation mood. Well, I can see that I'll have to be knitting these, sometime soon.


POSTSCRIPT: A little postscript about those Friday Harbor socks -- I see Jessica Rose (from Guild!) recently finished a pair, and has a photo on her Aug 30 blog entry.

Posted by Karen at August 30, 2005 01:53 PM


Posted by: Nancy J at August 30, 2005 02:51 PM

What a lovely vacation Karen, I can't wait to see the Friday Harbor socks coming off your needles.

Posted by: Angela at August 30, 2005 07:31 PM

Sounds even more delightful now that I've seen the photos! Days spent without that extra noise our world surrounds us with. Ahhhh, a delight!

Posted by: Rebecca at September 1, 2005 10:44 AM