A one-minute audio linguistics lesson: how New Orleanians pronounce “Chartres.”

Literal Snippets from Literal Mason-Dixon Mailbag


Dear Ann, A couple of weeks ago, reader Helen G emailed me a tantalizing image from a fashion article in that weekend’s T Magazine. I went digging in my pile of New York Times, but the magazine was not there. I was so excited by that glimpse of vintage Jean-Paul Gaultier sweater that I asked Helen G if she would mind sending me the magazine if she still had it. (It was worth the risk of Helen G thinking me a weirdo for needing to see this...

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One-Sock Knitalong: A Blaze of Glory

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Dear all, Here’s the thing. You get a bunch of people knitting socks at the same time, and it quickly turns into all sorts of things. What follows is a look at some of the socks created during the One-Sock Knitalong. What you can’t see from these photos are the stories knitters share along the way—tales of families, work, stolen time to finish a heel. It’s about socks, and it’s not. Thanks to everyone who dug up a...

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One-Sock Knitalong: Day of Destiny


Dear Kay, Here we are, on the cusp of history, the brink of tomorrow, the edge of forever, the corner of Yesterday Street and Future Avenue. Today is the day of destiny, the final hoorah, the last-chance disco for everyone aiming to finish some socks for the One-Sock Knitalong. When the clock strikes midnight in Nashville tonight, the curtain will drop on what is surely the lowest-stakes, EZ-access knitalong in recent memory. If you’re on...

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Summer Love


Dear Ann, Don’t get me started on the notion that knitting is seasonal and that its season is not summer. That’s crazy talk.  I don’t understand how a person who likes to knit could stop doing it for an entire season.  As a mammal, I understand that hot temperatures and cuddly-cozy animal fibers might not be compatible. Yesterday, when New York suddenly came over all muggy, I started to really feel the alpaca content as I...

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Go Toward the Light, Literally: The Knitter’s Life


Dear Kay, This time of year, the light through the kitchen window hits a peak of glory around 6 pm. I keep an eye on the kitchen sun schedule the way a fisherman knows the tides. This late afternoon light? It looks like Jesus will come striding out of the cedars any minute. Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light, wishes his light looked like this light. I had a slim window in which to get a picture of my latest sock-finishing effort. There was...

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Curiosities for the Curious Sock Knitter


Dear Kay, When you’re on a sock binge, you end up wandering the Internet in search of EVERYTHING SOCKULAR. The image that haunts me today? The oldest knitted item in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London happens to be: a pair of socks. Apparently humans two millennia ago had two toes! I did not know this. A sock binge also leads me to sock books. I keep thumbing through three that I have on hand. Sometimes a bracing bit of history...

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