#6 the corkline
(for previous posts start with Cordova Gansey Project The Long Story Introduction)
After several weeks and a busy reprieve, the long story continues, and now... back to the Shetland Islands, where our story finds us on the last Saturday of Shetland Wool Week in October 2014. Following a wonderful week of classes scattered around the islands, the icing on the cake was that my final class would be a color workshop with Knitsonik Felicity Ford.
I was still reeling from the "Fishing for Ganseys" class on the fishing boat from the day before, where Stella Ruhe, our instructor, had shared her expertise with us on Dutch Ganseys and the Dutch interpretation and modification of the traditional ganseys of the United Kingdom. She had given us the opportunity to convert our own ideas and imagery into patterns and graphic charts. Using knits and purls, we designed, then created swatches to test these ideas and how well they translated into actual knitting. (see blog #5 A & B )
Dressed and ready to face this last class day with plenty of time to spare, I was a little sad leaving the cottage at Vementry that beautiful morning, yet proceeded to pack up my car for the days outing. I remember thinking to myself, I wish I could spend the WHOLE day right HERE just soaking it in; so peaceful with the calm water wrapping around the spaces between the sunlit hillsides dotted with Shetland sheep and ponies. With my full schedule of classes, it seemed like each day it was already dark by the time I got "home", and that I had hardly had the time to explore much around the property.
Be careful what you wish for. I quickly took some photos and jumped in the car to find that my petite lime green rental car had a dead battery. Now what? I asked myself. I knew the kind woman, Marion, in the cottage immediately up the hill who had been my lodging hostess had gone off to work for the day. I realized I had to explore the "neighborhood" for help, and in reality, I knew there was only one other house on the property which was where Marion's family lived, and no other options for at least a mile or two away.
I hiked up the little hill and around to the two story house. I first hesitantly knocked on the door, as it was still fairly early in the day, but no one answered. There was a boat engine idling on the dock down below, so I then wandered down the muddy path to the boat dock and shed, but unfortunately found no one there.
I walked back up the hill and tried knocking on the house door once again, this time a little more forcefully. I heard noises and giggles, and then two sweet little girls with the cutest faces answered the door. They went and fetched their mum. Although I felt bad disturbing her morning, I was grateful for her offer to help. She tried calling her husband, who was off attending the mussel beds. After unsuccesssfully attempting to reach him on his cell phone, she took off on the four wheeler to go find him, leaving me with the children. While she was gone, I had a delightful time visiting with her girls. They were quite friendly and wanted me to have some of their "lollies and biscuits". I loved hearing their sweet voices and accent as they showed me their "catty" (kitty), their trophies, and their big screen tv.
It is funny, for me, as I drove around Shetland, seeing these charming crofts scattered on rolling green hills, in my mind somehow I imagined walking up to the door of one and maybe finding an 18th or 19th century family living inside. This house at Vementry in particular with the stone walled garden full of giant cabbages and vegetables, and Shetland ponies wandering about, and from the way the building itself in all its charm looked on the outside, I half expected in my imagination that the inside would be a step back in time as well. I thought on this as I listened to the girls chatting and sharing their stories with me in their little Shetland voices, looking out through the foot wide window coves as we pet the cat. Eventually their father returned and helped me get my car going and I was off and on my way.
Although I was VERY late to class and embarrassingly so (once again), this unexpected morning walking around the property up and down to the dock and into this home with the delightful children was as a much a part of the wonderfulness of the day as the rest of it that followed. If not for my dead battery, I would not have had that chance for those moments with the young Shetlanders, or an eyeful of the giant, beautiful, bright orange carrots with huge fluffy green tops overflowing from the edge of their kitchen sink, petted and scratched a Shetland catty behind the ears, or had the very much desired hike I was longing to take around the property.
I reflect now on that time where I had no other option but to just sit and visit with those girls as we waited for their mum and dad to return for my auto rescue. Such a good example of the priceless incidental and accidental adventures that we encounter and savor as we look back on our days. The extra bonus was that I was able to speak with the father after he helped me get my car started, as I had hoped somehow to purchase a fleece from the farm there, and when I returned that night I found on my doorstep a most beautiful prize fleece. A treasure indeed from a mishap morning.
Perhaps when we are in a faraway place we are more prone to be open to appreciating these unstaged moments, but it is a good lesson for me to remember about making the most of the opportunities to appreciate what is there to be had in the midst of inopportune times.
All this to say, that when I FINALLY arrived at my class with way too long of a story to explain, I just crept in hoping to not be too disruptive, and squeezed in around the full table of knitting students at the Jamieson & Smith Yarn store where the workshop was taking place.
That is all for now...The Cordova Gansey Project and the Long Story continues when we find out what happens next...
I am so enjoying your stories! My dad was Portuguese and so fishermen are in the blood. My paternal grandmother taught me to do handwork; I spent my younger years with her and her “old lady” friends and love knitting, crocheting and all handwork. The stories that go along with the patterning and stitches are my love. My dad and I use to work puzzles of all kinds and patterns remind me of working through puzzles; the final ‘picture’ being fantastic!
I own a yarnshop now and know how very much my nana, her friends and my dad would love it were they still alive.
Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful stories!
The Merry Weaver