Thursday, February 4, 2010

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Many of these posts offer a bit of a guide to the city where I live. I have lived here many years, yet still remember a younger version of myself who had only read about New York. My teen aged appetite was fed by novels and also by the weekly delivery of The New Yorker magazine. My appetite for London was simultaneously being fed by novels from many eras and the weekly delivery of Punch magazine.

Only one of these magazine is still flourishing. My reading Punch as a child and teenager was due the gifts from the same great auntie who taught me to knit. She was a major influence on my big city aspirations. It was my grandmother whose generosity gave me the necessary $100 for my very first trip to New York. Decades later, I funded my own first trip to London.

So, the lure and experience of these global urban giants are held closely in my mind and heart. I so enjoy the opportunity to pass this enthusiasm on to others. (At the same time, my decades of living in New York has also increased my interest in the wide open air and landscape of the country. It's the land in between that does not hold my interest.)

With this backdrop, how grand it was to meet a delightful couple who live in Wales, and were making their first trip to New York. These are very sophisticated folks, and so my tour guide duties were not required to explain what it uptown, what is downtown.

Instead, we shared the treat of visiting my once-upon-a-time workplace, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's a big building that sprawls its rectangle into Central Park, while clinging to its Fifth Avenue address.

Those of you who have visited this place know that it is a treasure chest, full of representations of wonderful creativity from many eras and countries. In warmer weather, the Museum can be crowded, maybe a bit too crowded. In the chilly winter months, visitors can have a much more relaxed and welcoming experience.

And so, my friends Chris and Tom from across the Atlantic and I had a grand time in this elegant time machine of cultural excellence.

Tom was kind enough to take this photo, and being a very fine artist, got a great view. Chris and I were in good hands. We three had such a good time getting better acquainted, trading anecdotes, trading opinions on art, trading laughter.

I wish that we could soon again have the opportunity to continue our conversations. Tonight they are home, and today, I have had another day off, a day during which I was "on call" awaiting a call from other friends, who might have needed my help in getting one of these dear friends home from a hospital stay. As I turned out, this friend did get home, and is now resting, without my assistance. My assistance will no doubt be helpful in the weeks to come.

As I waited today for a call or e-mail, I busied myself with completing those Crofters wood socks that you might remember from an earlier post.

This is my second pair of hand knit socks, and I do think I have got the hang of it. Not at all the complicated process I used to imagine. Later this evening, I might just start another pair of socks, just to be sure the turning of the heel is securely within my repertoire.

Tomorrow, after this day's relaxation, I will be back to the shop, for a day that will demand energy, poise, discretion, strategy, humor ... oh, lots of qualities that have nothing to do with knitting socks.

Best wishes to you all.


  1. Delightful recounting of events. Glad you had such a great visit with Chris and Tom, and that your friend is home safely from hospital.

    When you were with the Met, what did you do? I hope it was intriguing.

  2. I know how you could have been lured by wonderful cities. I was also lured to many places and I just wrote a post about traveling and what it does to one. Every time we go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York we feel that we could stay there a week and still not see everything, it is just so pack full of wonderful pieces of all kind. You are so fortunate to have it so close – the art scene in Atlanta is not too exciting.

  3. Oh how cruel you are tellinus you have been to MOMA and not saying what exhibition you saw!!One day I will get there on day!!All taht and socks too is there no end to your skills!

  4. My dream would be to visit MOMA. Lovely that you met another blogger.
    I think your socks are just gorgeous and wonder if you will progress to a jumper? It reminds me of the ones I used to get from Scotland for the children...years ago.

  5. I love the idea that a wool inspired by something as humble as a crofter should find its way so comfortably to such a buzzing city as NY - when two very different worlds meet.

  6. Lovely post and lovely pic of you and Chris.
    You are every clever knitting socks, turning heels and all. Wish I could do such things.

  7. What a wonderful day out you had... and such stylish socks!

  8. So glad you had a day at the Met.
    So glad you had excellent company there.
    Totally impressed with the socks -astounded by your talent in fact.
    I keep meaning to start Henry's hat!
    Will go to the cool wool place at Union Square and buy wool.
    Hope to see you very soon.

  9. Such a lovely picture of you Francis, and that you achieved your youthful dream of living in the big city! I wonder what you would make of London now - it is still a fine place, although I daresay the atmosphere is different. (I can bear it for a day, if I have to and then scurry back to the country!)

  10. Lovely socks, Frances! Have you checked out the Trekking? Always such gorgeous colourways. And there used to be one called "Cherry Hill" maybe? They used to have the most beautiful sock yarn.

    It does become addicting...

    Lisa xo

  11. I love popping in to see what you have been up to in the painting/craft line and here you are knitting fabulous socks, and meeting ChrisH as well. What next Frances?

  12. nice one, i just added up lots of new emo backgrounds 2 my blog

  13. Love your posts. You are my window to New York City, except for one memorable trip. I have never been to London, but would love to go.

  14. Aw, Frances - that day was the perfect last day in New York and Tom and I were very fortunate indeed to see the Met through your expert eyes. We have many happy memories of New York and of that day in particular - thank you so much for giving us so much of your precious time.

    And a ps! We did get the train to JFK - no hassle at all and at a tiny fraction of the cab fare!

  15. Thank you so much for voting for the bees !

    I have serious sock envy.

  16. Hello Frances. How wonderful your socks are. Knitting anything more complex than purl seems like pure wizardry to me so I am ratyher in awe of these.

    How wonderful to meet up with friends and have such a day. It sounds like such a treat.

  17. Glad you had such a good time meeting Tom and ChrisH. You see your tourism blogs are working!

  18. What a sweet grandmother to know your heart's desire and to fund your trip. Imagine only spending $100 to get to NY nowadays! Lovely socks, Frances, so cozy and warm-looking.

  19. Frances, I do miss the city life still. All that is on offer in London and New York so readily and effortlessly s so far out of my reach here. Yes, it is beautiful here and peaceful and clean and calm, the air is fresh and the living is easy, and still....

    Still, the pull remains.

  20. What a lovely time you had at the MOMA with your friends. I truly enjoy your blog. I have read it several times. What got me interested is the one about your china. Please keep us informed about your surroundings in New York for you are a very interesting writer.

  21. It sounds like the most wonderful time, I can't wait until I too am able to come and meet you and spend an equally lovely day with you.
    The socks are amazing well done.

  22. A wonderfully relaxed read as ever, Frances.

    It sounds like you had a very special time with Chris and Tom - such a lovely photo of you and Chris! Isn't the world of blogging just fantastic in offering an opportunity to meet across the pond!

    So glad your friend is home safely from hospital - knitting is the perfect way to keep your mind occupied at such times. Lovely wool and socks.


  23. Lovely to see that picture of you and Chris together, and how lucky for them to have a guide with such expert knowledge. Gorgeous socks - I might have a go at a pair of those when I've finished my gloves. Such gorgeous wool and fun to knit. xx

  24. Beautiful socks! And a delightful read, as well.

  25. Hello Frances,
    Lovely to read how you enjoyed meetings the couple in your city and sharing some time together.

    The socks look cosy and it looks nice wool. I am wearing mine, a great fit and warm. Now knitting some for my husband and agree the second pair is much easier, once you understand the shaping. Having a cold spell here, so warm feet is such a bonus.
    Nice to see your photograph, your self portrait placed just to the side, is a very accurate image of you.
    Best wishes, Milly

  26. Love the socks - I haven't seen that colourway of Crofter, I really like it. Once you realize how simple sock knitting is, it is quite compulsive - and they knit up so quickly compared to jumpers which is nice!

    Pomona x

  27. ooooh, knitting socks looks hard but they look so comfy!

    Happy Valentine's day!

  28. Dear Frances,

    A wonderful post and wonderful pictures too.!

    How lovely to meet up with Chris and Tom in your hometown of NYC, I am sure there will be many more 'meet ups' in the not too distant future.

    Love the knitted socks Frances, wish I had your amazing talent, I must seek out those knitting needles soon, although I am merely an amateaur, not sure my socks will look so good.