Saturday, April 14, 2007

Off the rails...

Let's just say that travel by rail isn't what it used to be. Minty recently documented her Amtrak jaunt by posting impressionist images here. My train experience can be conveyed by the following list of people sitting within two rows of me on my return trip:
-elderly man, hocking, mouth breathing and clearing his throat every 3 minutes. I timed it. It was every three minutes.
-couple 'sharing' the headphones on an ipod which is blasting Jethro Tull and Nickleback (?!) at maximum volume throughout the train car. N.B. : I hate Jethro Tull, but not as much as I hate Nickleback with every fiber of my being.
-palooka on cell phone, drunk dialing and speaking very loudly about how he and his friend Matty "almost got shot last night."
-woman with glue gun and riveting stud and rhinestone kit, decorating Shelly Winters-meets-Buffy Saint Marie fringe t-shirt. Yes, riveting studs, on the train.
-mother threatening toddler by telling her that "the conductor would take her off the train at the next stop" unless she quit fussing. She sold it by making a fake phone call on her cell phone and pretending to talk to the conductor, who according to the mom, "was ready to leave her off the train". The child became understandably hysterical.

Did I mention that these people were all within two rows of me? At one point, upon seeing me knitting, the elderly man commented with disdain that "well, that's
one way to pass the time." Indeed.

So, unpleasant mass transit experiences aside, I had a great time in New York. The conference went well, and School Products was a sight to behold. I scored some massive amounts of Karabella Zodiac in order to make the Jat tank. I also picked up some Karabella Aurora Mélange to make some socks. Yes, I said socks. I am now back to socks on big needles as I need to feel that I can actually finish a pair of socks. Case in point: I cast this on while waiting in Penn Station, and after my railway ordeal, look where I am!


I went to the Point and knitted and chatted with the Spiders. They are a lovely and friendly group of knitting gals who are so much fun! I really enjoyed meeting them and appreciated their friendly welcome. See for yourselves:



A gorgeous bunch, no?

The tedium of the train ride afforded hours and hours of stockinette body action, which means that the end is in sight of a project that has been a long time coming. I made huge headway on the Green Gable and will be ready to show it off in my next post...

28 comments:

gradschoolknitter said...

Sorry to hear your train ride was a near train wreck... but at least you found some Lovely knitters to hang out with! I can't wait to see the green gable!

Sonya said...

Oh my. You have my sympathies, especially on the Jethro Tull. Ug. Perfect time to work on all that Green Gable stockinette though. Good yarn scores too!

schrodinger said...

Dear God, that sounds like a most irritating journey - congratulations on not hurting anyone, seriously!

It was great to meet you Friday, even though I managed to pull a silly face in your picture :)

Diana said...

Even though the train ride was a little rough, it looks like you got a great deal of knitting accomplished. I'm jealous that you went to NYC and met up with the Spiders for knitting.

pamela wynne said...

sounds like so much fun!

Except the Nickelback. That sounds like torture. I always imagined that the train was less vile than the bus, but it sounds like that's not the case. :)

Prof. Knitwit said...

Wow! It looks like you had a very successful trip to NYC - all that yarn and knitting progress..oh, yeah - and the conference!! So sorry that you had such an awful experience on the train though. What awful luck!

Jennifer said...

Nice progress on the socks. A little downtime is a good thing, sometimes. While I (usually) enjoy attending conferences, one of the best parts is checking out the local knitting scene - fer sure ;)

Rachel said...

I just finished Green Gable too! I'm getting a little nervous about how much we have in common...is this going to turn out to be some kind of "Sliding Doors" thing?

By the way, your description of your train companions was HILARIOUS. The image of the woman gluing rhinestones is just absurd. I'm glad the trip made the journey worth it.

amanda cathleen said...

wow! you are realing flying on your sock. I love the colors in the yarn that you picked out. I'm glad to hear the trip made the journey worth while. Your tale of the train ride did make me laugh though! I'm sorry!

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

You don't like Nickelback? Those good ol' boys from Hanna, AB? Gee… I wonder why ;-D.

Your train ride makes for a funny story no matter how agonizing it must have been at the time.

Looks like the rest of your trip was great!

Knitting Bandit said...

Thanks for the laugh! I loved your descriptions, I almost felt like I was right there with you. Thank God I wasn't!

Sarah said...

I have similar train travel experiences--I don't know why they choose to serve alcohol to people in such confined spaces--the good part is that it is once in while, I hope.

Too bad about your brother's opinion, after you mentioned it I was thinking a cat poncho would be really cute!

Katy said...

You should have told the spitty old guy, "Hey, it beats expectorating."

Nice to meet you!

ali said...

Oh, that toddler manipulation was just awful!
I love socks on big needles- I'm working on a worsted weight pair right now myself...
Glad you had a good trip.
Happy knitting,
ali

Anna said...

aah, there's nothing like knitting with friends. Things seem to zip along when they would normally be stagnant.

So sorry about your Amtrak experience! I've pitched a fit in the past in order to get my parents to spring for a sleeper car room. Definitely worth the extra cash!

Gorgeous green baby sweater, can't wait to see it finished. :-D

Wendy DG said...

OMG! I just looked at your location and saw Hollidaysburg, PA. I can't believe I never noticed that before. My Aunt Sandra Jane lives there. My grandmother is in Martinsburg. My cousin, Anita, is in Roaring Spring, and I have a whole bunch of family in Altoona. SMALL WORLD! I visited a little yarn store in Duncansville last year. Are there others in the area?

I Knit London said...

your train journey sounds like a journey in the UK but I'm sure it was less expensive. I was just at School products! isn't it amazing! and The Point, we met snb NY and some of them took us out for drinks afterwards - they were so nice! Loved reading about your train journey - hope the next is better!!!

Zarzuela said...

Glad you had a good trip despite the train travel. I deal with some or all of those people on my commute on a daily basis. Sad comment on humanity, isn't it?

Jessica

nicole said...

Ah yes, dear Amtrak. DH and I recently took the 12 hour train to and from NYC thinking it would be "romantic", "scenic" and "relaxing".

Instead we sat next to greasy college boys recounting all the slimy details of the previous night's "wicked" pub/strip club crawl, endured 2-hour delays at the border, and tried to ignore the 2 small kids behind us screaming and crying because they where stuck on a train for 14 HOURS!!! (I felt like joining in). Then 2 days before we where set to return home, Amtrak called to say that our return train had been cancelled and we had to leave a day early, with NO compensation or apologies from them whatsoever.

BUT yarn stores like The Point, Purl and School Products somehow made it worth it.

(P.S. Thanks for your lovely comments on my Icarus shawl. I wish I could reply automatically to your comment, but Blogger doesn't seem to allow that and I can't find your email on your blog.)

Jen said...

I'm lucky in that train passengers have never given me any trouble, but what is it about people on planes?

I'm convincd that the sickest I ever got was a bug I picked up from sniffly, coughing people on the DC metro. Stay home, people!

KnitPastis said...

Looks like you truly had an enjoyable time in NYC! I have been wanting to visit the School Products shop one of these days. I bet you found lots of great yarns there. I love the yarn you are knitting your sock in.

Heather said...

Thanks for the well wishing on my new house :)

I can't believe the awful train experience you had! Normally, I love travelling by train, and prefer to almost all other forms of travel. Awful that so many unpleasant people had to gather in the same place

WonderMike said...

Jeez, that sounds like HELL. All I can say is you need your own antisocial device... aka iPod. That way you can listen to David Sedaris or Ira Glass. It's the only way to travel. Can we talk about how jealous I am about your trip to School Products?!!!!

Lone Knitter said...

Oh, I HATE taking the train when it's full of folks who seem to have no regard for others or for life. I get ill seeing how some people treat their children. School Products is so much fun. I love how they have so much Lamb's Pride. I've never been to The Point, but your pictures make me want to go! Get sock progess!

Mintyfresh said...

I was actually riding the dog--taking Greyhound. And lucky for me, it wasn't crowded at all, so I had the seats to myself. but I've had my share of ridiculous Amtrak trips!

I have got to get myself over to School Products.

sophanne said...

As a fan of the train, I highly recommend business class. Not so much more as a sleeper. Definitely a smaller collection of train travelers-

Angela said...

When I was in grad school in Tuscaloosa, I took the train to New Haven a few times to visit my then-boyfriend, now husband. I would get a mini-sleeper from Atlanta to DC or Philly (whereever they switched the sleepers out), so I had 10-12 hours of peace on the 24-hour journey. The cattle-car thing is painful, though, and flying really isn't much better, except no cell phones. (Please, oh, please, I hope they never allow cell phones in-flight--I'll never go anywhere if they do.)

Romi said...

Sorry to hear train travel is not what it used to be.

They *are* a gorgeous and friendly looking bunch! :)