As we do every year, we had neighbours up to the cottage for the August long weekend. We have a routine now of playing euchre every evening we have together (and eating pie, but more on that later) and I thought, I wonder how much sock I can knit while hanging out with friends? I mean, yes, there is swimming, and pegging out wet gear, and group food prep and washing up, but in between there is downtime, right? And sometimes you can knit while playing games, too.
I had a completed cuff and one or two rounds of stocking stitch when we left Toronto, expecting to get a good chunk of leg done on the drive.
Ha! Not a chance. For one thing, I didn't factor in that we were leaving late on Friday night instead of early on Saturday morning like usual, which meant the light would fail partway there. The first setback came when I realized I hadn't e-mailed some cousins about various news items they needed, so I sat typing on my little phone keyboard for the best part of the evening instead of waiting till it was too dark to knit. Then when I used the mini flashlight in my bag I was recommended to keep for night knitting adventures (thank you again for that tip!!), Pete found it too distracting with all the heavy traffic, and I had to wait for pit stops to fix mistakes.
Sidebar: I was reading yesterday that Canada is known for its embrace of multiculturalism, and I thought: yesss! this is me. Because every time we pulled into an Enroute roadside stop for bathrooms and travel snacks, it made me so happy to see the huge range of humans, in various family and friend combinations, of every age and ethnicity, all agreeing that long weekends are to be celebrated by traveling someplace where 'outside' is different from what it is at home.
I have to say, I also love how long weekends at Enroute stops give you a sense of what camping in Ontario is like, without actually doing it. So many people looking tired and a little bedraggled, sporting flip flops and accidental sunburn and big new bug bites, and yet relaxed and enjoying themselves... it's wonderful. And yes, I usually look much the same even though we have indoor plumbing at the cottage, apart from the sunburn. Who has time for a shower when you're up north for the weekend?
The whole outside-in-summer thing is kind of like knitting, to me... it's a common point for huge numbers of people who might not have many other ones.
Speaking of which: sock! Another setback occurred when we played euchre. I forgot how fast the hands go when the four of us get together over a deck of cards. Plus, unlike with Scrabble with its handy tile ledge, your hands are always engaged.
But worse: somebody got the idea to open up a new jigsaw puzzle, then lost interest.
It's not that I love jigsaw puzzles. It's more that I can't stand random things lying around when they have a logical place to go. I'm basically compelled to put them there just to make the annoyance go away. When it comes to puzzles, I can pore over them for ages trying to make them tidy and when I finally get a piece in it's like YAY! the best thing ever just happened to me! Totally out of proportion to the accomplishment, but still enough of a rush that I have to keep doing it. Even when there is a sock pitifully waiting for its leg.
When our neighbours left to go home, we drove with them as far as the highway - they turned south, and we turned north to go to the hardware store in Bancroft, about 45 minutes from our door. We had carpenter bees to deal with, and we needed a ladder, and there was a fish and chip shop Pete wanted to try (OMIGOSH I am ruined now for any other fish and chip shop, and we live across the street from the Market, where Buster's Sea Cove always has a line up around the corner.) And since we were out anyway... I was able to talk Pete into a stop at the Old Hastings Gallery for a tablecloth I fell in love with last time we were there.
Isn't it lovely? It's from April Cornell in case you're interested. And I got a little more knitting done in the car, too, whew.
(Technically, this cloth is perfect for the table we took up to the cottage, but I think I will bring it home at the end of the summer because it will also be perfect on the kitchen table when the house is done. All those blues and reds and light browns should blend in really well with the French linen tea towel window coverings, don't you think? And the blue sofa in the adjoining room, too.)
That afternoon - it was Monday, the third day of the long weekend - we thought, meh, maybe we should just drive home tonight. Surely the traffic won't be that bad? (it was. ) We left late to guarantee minimal traffic (thereby guaranteeing maximum traffic) and so I lost the light early again. But this time, I saved my e-mailing for after the light failed, and I got a little more sock onto my needles.
So I guess the answer to How Much Sock? is not a lot, when you are talking about a weekend away with friends by a lake when the weather is perfect and the pie, delicious*. They're coming up again Saturday but this time, we're traveling by morning light. Let's see how I do this time, shall we?
* Last year, we discovered the delicious raspberry pies at Trudy's, where we turn off the highway for the last leg of the cottage drive. But this year we noticed they sell raspberry pies at Dooher's in Campbellford too, so we did a taste test of both and all four of us agreed that while the runny, gentle raspberry of Trudy's pie is amazing, the darker, sharper flavour of Dooher's approach, not to mention the amazing pie crust, is just enough better to make it the first choice. So we will be leaving Toronto very, very early on Saturday to make sure we score one for the Saturday night euchre game!