If you’re Rhinebeck-bound, we would love to see you at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night–details here.

Happy Birthday to Kay!

Dear Kay,

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays! If only you were on Facebook, by this point in the day you would be awash in happy birthdays from dear friends, former colleagues, people you wish you knew better, and the odd Starbucks gift card. (Has anybody ever sent or received a Starbucks gift card for a Facebook birthday? I think it’s like winning the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, or first-row parking at the airport: a dream, a dream.) (They ought to have Facebook Birthday Send-A-SkeinTM offers–now THAT’s something I could get into.)

At any rate, I hope you’re enjoying all the fruits of the day. As for me, I’m back from a week of spring break. The older the fellas get, the simpler travel becomes. The only suitcase I packed was my own. Repeat: I didn’t give a rat’s ass whether anybody else in the family had underpants, or socks, or a lightweight-but-waterproof windbreaker. It was great, the whole week.

As for the knitting, you are right when you say that blanket knitting is truly the greatest of airplane knitting projects. I did yeoman’s labour on this Fussy Cuts blanket, to the point that I embarked on what I call Phase II of a Fussy Cuts blanket: the framing.


Each square gets its own personalized frame of garter stitch with mitered corners. Once I crank ten rounds of garter stitch, I thread the live stitches onto waste yarn, where they await their destiny during Phase III: The Attachment.


The only twitchy part of this is making absolutely sure I’ve got 48 stitches on each side. If I don’t get that right, Phase III: The Attachment will be fraught with misalignment, dodgy faking, and general slipshoddery. I realize that this may happen no matter what I do, but at least with Ol’ 48 in place, it won’t be the squares’ fault.

What shade of Noro Silk Garden is this, you ask? It’s Shade 84, also known as the BEST. It’s that red/pinky/green/brown melange that is my favorite shade of Noro Silk Garden. I realize that it is not Shade 211, also known as The Only Neutral and our favorite blanket filler shade. But this blanket has a particular purpose and recipient, and color is what it’s all about.

The big news around here and by “around here” I mean inside my head is that my half sis MK is getting married in April. In India. And a batch of family seems to be all in for the trip to Bangalore. Including me.

Now, you can imagine how this would completely and totally blow my mind. I’ve never been to Asia, or any subcontinent, or even that hemisphere. Once you hear that your sister is having a Hindu ceremony, where everybody is going to be wearing a saree, well.

You start to think you should wear a saree, too.

Which takes you right to: Indian wedding websites. Saree shops. Bangles for Bangalore. Tigers and leopards and Indian novels to read, Google maps to study, classes in Hinduism that your husband kindly downloads onto your computer.


It is obviously the sort of occasion that calls for a blanket.

A blanket that doesn’t hold back on color.


The good news is that MK is not much of a knitting blog reader, so we’ll keep this between us, OK?

Love, and really really happy birthday wishes to ye,


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  1. I have actually been on the receiving end of a Facebook gift card, courtesy of my mom! I, too, thought that no one ever took FB up on the offer, but I was wrong. (Facebook actually mails you a generic gift card, and then any subsequent gifts also appear, as though by magic, on the same card.)

  2. Read Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy before you go. Or while you’re there. Or anytime, really, it’s a fantastic book.

    • I am reading it this very minute! Great minds think alike!

  3. I hope Kay’s birthday is awesome. I could get on board with send-a-skein also. Nice looking blanket. It looks almost as colorful as a sari.

  4. Happy birthday to me! I am mellowing like fine wine, people. Parts of my neck are getting *really* mellow. It’s awesome. There is lemon pie. There is gin. There is sunshine until nearly 7. There is wicked cold temps outside. My cup runneth over.

    I got so SO excited when I saw you were doing your frames in Noro Silk Garden 84. I have done an entire twin sized bed cover in 84. I love the brown, the pink, the orange and the red. It’s perfect with those cool green fussy cut (not fussy cut in your case, as you are a naturalist when it comes to not messing with Mr. Noro) centers. I love it very much. It makes me very happy.

    Thank you all for birthday wishes. Waiting on my Starbucks card. Already got a free carwash, and I wasn’t even there. Niece took car to carwash, and they said Happy Birthday Free Carwash. Life is getting better and better. xoxo Kay

    • Happy Birthday! I’m not on FB either, so didn’t know gift cards were even an option. Besides the free and no effort car wash sounds even better!

      Ann – another gorgeous Noro blanket.

    • Happy Birthday! We are on the road touring colleges, and hoo boy knitting would have made some of these info sessions more bearable…too bad I don’t knit…would they look at me askance if I did hand stitching on a big ole quilt in a hoop??
      Anyway hope it is a great day, miss you lots, Julie

    • Happy Birthday, Kay! Sha’n’t ask how many, but wish you as many more as you want.

    • Very, very, very happy birthday to you, Kay! Wishing you a wonderful year!

    • Happy BirthKay two dates late!

  5. Happy Birthday Kay!

    Anne, if you want to go sari or shalwar kameez shopping, visit Kay and take a train to Metropark, NJ and head over to ‘Little India”‘ and I’ll meet you! Plus, some really good food.

    Or, I could lend you one of mine – silk shalwar or a block printed cotton sari from when I lived in India years ago. You will have a field day there with all the textiles. Sadly, some of the things I have are no longer made.

  6. Ann – Did you saree shop in the East Bay last week? There are supposedly some great places!

    Kay – Happy birthday! Food52 has a fabulous looking gin cocktail up today: http://food52.com/blog/10024-the-gin-hound. I happen to have a bottle of Hendrick’s in the kitchen and will toast to you!

  7. Happy Birthday to Kay. Perhaps Hubbo is treating you to a fine dinner tonight?
    The blanket is gorgeous.

  8. I wore a saree to a not-Hindu wedding in Galveston, TX. With the exception of my own wedding day, I have never felt more glamorous. AND I breastfed in it. I don’t know why we aren’t all wearing them.

  9. I know I’ve already said it, but happy birthday Kay dearie. Hope the lemon tart and gin is delicious.

    Ann, my favourite India book (novel) is The Far Pavilions. Otherwise for factual you can’t go wrong with anything by Mark Tully or William Dalrymple. X x

  10. Happy Birthday Kay! Hope it’s perfect.

    Ann, what an awesome trip to look forward to as well as experience.

  11. Happy Birthday, Kay! I must have noticed this sometime in the past years, but you and my sister have the same birthday. I hope to see a movie about glamorous aged crones in NYC soon (in a month), called Advanced Style. I will tell you all about it. While Ann tells us all about India!! All very exciting.

  12. Happy Birthday Kay! Sounds like a great day, any day with sun, gin and a free carwash is winner! Horribly cold STILL here in Boston. As always a B.I.G. ( weatherman always say this) storm due tomorrow night… whoopee-doo….anyway, go back to your gin… enjoy your day! xxx. P.S. I second that…I wish you would join the Facebook fun, it’s one wild party!

  13. Happy Birthday, Kay!
    Congratulations, MK!! (I know she’s not reading, but I wish it anyway!)
    We all want a review of what are the best resources to prepare so we can pretend to go with you, Ann!
    Delish! What a marvellous gift – an all-American pattern with an all-Japanese yarn that will work so very well for an Indian wedding.

    Also, John Irving, Son of the Circus. I remember it as being the first novel I read after moving to NYC, and really delicious. About India – not just a random book rec!

  14. Happy Birthday Kay! I am glad that the sun has graced your day with light. May your year be graced with the light of many blessings.


  15. Happy birthday Kay!!!!! Enjoy the sun before the storm before the spring weather coming.

    Ann, if a purple sari with silver thread sounds interesting, I bought a sari in Malaysia some years ago thinking I would make it into throw pillows, but, alas, I still don’t sew, it is in its original wrapping and I’m happy to ship it to Tennesee for you to wear.

    As for the trip, hope the husband has miles so you can upgrade to business class, as someone who flies to Asia more than a little, it certainly makes the flight more comfortable. Either way, I’m sure it will be a great fambly adventure.

  16. Birthday greetings to Kay!

    The blanket is shaping up to be fabulous. I’m annoyingly curious as to what portion of India might call for a wool blanket? My knowledge of the country is sketchy so let me leave you with the thought that our handmade wedding gifts were some of the very best things we received. That, and I’m thinking of letting Hubby pack his own bag for the next trip, but it would be twice the size of mine.

    • LOL–the happy couple live in Chicago, so my biggest concern is that I haven’t got enough yarn in the world to keep them warm. Bangalore in April, on the other hand, will be hot hot hot, so this blanket may not make the trip with us!

  17. Congrats on the blanket, Ann! Have you given any thought to just how you will get it there? I’m about to leave for my daughter’s baby shower, where I will give her the Modernism Baby Blanket made with 9 squares instead of six, so it’s about 45″ square. That’s one big squishy blanket to try fitting into a suitcase! Let me know when you have figured it out; you have until Thursday at noon.

  18. Happy birthday, Kay!

    @ Ann – I love Bangalore! The ITC Gardenia is a wonderful hotel. An Indian wedding will blow your mind. The whole thing goes on for 5 days….and oh, the colors and the flowers! Enjoy 🙂

  19. Happy Birthday, Kay!!

    My sister moved to Brazil a couple of years ago and, since the mail between Rio and here is Not That Good, everyone received Target gift cards via Facebook for birthdays, weddings, and babies… until, for some reason, Target was barred and then it was Best Buy. Fine.

    Love the colors in that blanket!

  20. Oh, happy, happy birthday dear Kay! I hope that this year brings you unexpected joys, love, and , of course, licks from Olive.

    Anne, It Does Not Die by Maitreyi Devi


  21. Happy Birthday, Kay! Too bad you aren’t on Facebook, because I have 6 friends on there with birthdays today, and they are all “library people.” You would fit right in, I’m sure!

  22. I wish Kay the happiest of birthdays!!!

    Congrats to MK on her upcoming nuptials. The blanket will be awesome. 🙂

    the other MK

  23. Happy Birthday Kay! Hope the lemon pie was delicious and the gin was smooth.

    Love the blanket Ann. Bangalore is a great place to buy silks and saris. You can buy a sari there (have a member of your soon to be Indian family go with you to negotiate). They sew the top right from the excess material on the end of the sari. And word to the wise: ask whoever wraps you into yours to tuck it tightly into the underskirt so it doesn’t start to unwrap when you inevitably trip over all the material sweeping along the ground (ask me how I know about this…..). I really like the Leela Palace hotel.

  24. Happy birthday, Kay! Much love—

  25. Happy Belated Birthday, Kay! Hope it was sweet & mellow. Just returned to Miami from a girls’ weekend in NYC, ahead of another winter blast?!? Thankful for the beautiful weather we had as we walked and subwayed for miles. Your son might enjoy ROCKY the musical – and you may as well! (Don’t pay attention to Ben Brantley…ever.)

    The wedding blanket is beautiful, Ann, and a gift the newlyweds will cherish. My college roommate married a man from India and had two ceremonies. She wore a beautiful red & gold Indian saree and a traditional (for us) wedding gown – it was a wonderful weekend that joined two families more than 25 years ago. It’s awesome that you’ll experience this in India!

  26. Happy happy birthday dear Kay!

    And the only thing I ever made with Noro was in the 84 color. 😉

  27. Happy Birthday!

  28. Maybe try reading Rohinton Mistry – one of my favorite authors. Birthday wishes for Kay and congrats to the bride!

  29. Happy (only a little) Belated B-day from one Mar. 24 to another. Many more!

    Ann – The Ramayana by Valmiki followed by a viewing of Sita Sings the Blues.

  30. Happy Birthday, Kay!!!

  31. Happy Birthday, Kay! Another seasoned Aries woman!!!!! So is Aretha. Enjoy your day with gin and lemon pie.

    Ann – the mitered corners are great. I’m impressed.

    Cindy, in the western mountains of NC, where we are having a snow day. I am tired of snow days this year!

  32. Wow, what a great trip to be planning! My reading recs are “White Mughals” (William Dalrymple historical nonfiction) – it had me hooked right to the end. For a modern take, try “Holy Cow”, written by an Australian girl who was living with her journo hubby in India (lots of laughs and eyeopeners). All the best to MK.

  33. Hey there, any change you can stop by Bangkok on the way? Lots of people do (though, admittedly, mostly those coming from the West Coast, *sigh*)

    Enjoy! And don’t forget to check out the SilkIndian there in India. Which is, I know, a big country. A friend in Malaysia did and was blown away!

  34. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAY! from Pam, from the shop formerly known as Angel Hair Yarn Co. 🙂

  35. Might be my favorite Fussy Cuts ever.
    I decided for future Fussy Cuts to leave the live stitches of the squares on 4 separate waste yarns, each with the correct amount of stitches, because the pickup was vexing me.

  36. Ann, you do realize that you will have to share your quest for a saree. Please!

  37. Kay! Hippo Birdie Two Ewes!

  38. Another late birthday wish Kay… Hope it was fun.

  39. Happy Happy Birthday!!

  40. Happy Belated Birthday Kay! Late because I was on a ski vacation–first attempt in several years and elated at the end of each run to have sustained no injuries! Hope you had a great day. And ooh, Ann, a trip to India–that will be a wonderful experience! Congrats to the happy couple, and that’s a beautiful blanket that they will treasure. My niece is having a baby this summer, so I have an actual reason to knit a baby blanket now, and she has chosen the colors–yay!

  41. Happy birthday (belated) to Kay, a fellow March baby!! I love the way you are framing those squares, Ann. It would never have occurred to me to use circulars, but it’s brilliant. The blanket is going to be epic!

  42. The wishes are belated but real – happy birthday Kay! Maybe you’re still celebrating & collecting starbucks cards? I say, never stop if they don’t make you!

  43. Dang—-I wish I’d seen this before today. (Anybody besides me still not getting email notification?) Anyway, I hope that the day itself was happy, and that birthday week was pleasant, too. And say…did anybody send you skein after all?

  44. Happy Birthday to Kay!
    At the risk of sounding like a spoilsport, do people in India even use wool blankets? Isn’t it terribly hot there?
    I have family in Asia & am knitting the newest addition a cotton blanket (to be on the safe side).

    • The happy couple actually live in Chicago, so the actual concern I have is that it’s not warm ENOUGH! The wedding is in India because the groom grew up there. ; )

  45. Ann–I just love your Fussy Cuts Squares, and can hardly wait to see Fussy Cuts, The Blanket. You are creating a wonderful family heirloom, which I am sure will be warming generations to come.

    Knit on!



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