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

What I’ve Been Up To

Dear Ann,
Well. I’ve been keeping busy. We needed to go to Florida for a Family Event (a sad one, sadly), and as it was Presidents Day weekend, we stayed for a few extra days. What this meant, from my perspective, was: Knitting Time. Being the World’s Meanest Mom, I have trained my children from infancy to travel quietly on airplanes. Carrie eats Sweet Tarts and drinks Sprite while creating illustrated books about exotic animals she wishes she owned and/or could speak to. Animals such as the teenytiny alligator, the cuddly boa constrictor, and the coatimundi, which even Mommy thinks is cute.
Meanwhile, Joseph spends at least an hour and a half studying that plastic-coated card that shows, in elaborate pictograms, everything you ever could need to know about evacuating this particular equipment on land or sea. Did you know that you can NOT use the wing exits in a water landing? No, you cannot! Do not try it! Did you know there is a right way and a wrong way to sit down on the slide in a slide evacuation? Yes, there is! Know the difference! Ask Joseph!
While all this wholesome educational activity is going on, I knit. I knit from sit-down to that bell going off that says you can now safely unfasten your seat belt. I knit through Sprites and pretzels. I knit through the Always Awful Movie and the wails of children who have not been properly programmed (or perhaps not given enough Sweet Tarts and Sprites to do the job). I find Airplane Knitting to be one of the great pleasures of life, right up there with First Cup of Coffee of the Day and my annual Just ‘Cause It’s August Gin & Tonic (just one and then it’s back to drinks that do not taste like medicine with a squeeze of lime).
What I Knit
What did I knit on my Presidents Day vacation? When I was packing for warmer weather, as I was bemoaning my lack of a good spring/summer cotton pullover, I had a brainstorm. Hey! I thought. Here’s an idea: I could KNIT one. So I got out the Denim People, knowing that it would be more likely to contain a Very Simple Boxy Pullover than the previous Rowan Denim book or the fancy-schmancy Artwork vintage book or the Rowan mags with wonderful gansey-inspired patterns here and there. Bingo, there it was, a Very Simple Boxy Pullover, which, since this is a Rowan book after all, is called ‘Creeper’. I like that it has a center cable (flattering) that is instantly memorized. I like that it has no side shaping (ah…roomy!). I like that the cable is bordered with moss stitch. I like the funnel neck which requires no sewing or picking-up of stitches. I like that I had plenty of ecru Denim in the stash. Here’s the progress I’ve made so far:
The idea is, Creeper will be as comfy and washable as a sweatshirt, but more ladylike and respectable to be seen in every damn day. ‘Cause that’s what I do when I make something I like, that fits me. I wear it every day, weather permitting, like a uniform. Do you think I’ll finish it in time for Julia’s Afghanalong sew-up bee in Boston next weekend?
Hello Stranger
Since I knew I would be stuck in Florida without the distractions of felting, or Persian Poppies, or felting Persian Poppies, I also took with me a little project that has been, well, neglected.
Yes, these are the sleeves to Olive. They are wrinkled because they have been sitting at the bottom of a basket since December 2003. Yes, it’s the sweater I was knitting for you in our little exchange, which turned into an exchange in which you knitted a gorgeous cardi for me and got bupkis in return. See how close I was to finishing the second sleeve when I quit working on it?
In the loneliness of my hotel room, I resolved to figure out which size I was making and finish the last sleeve. Then I took a long hard look at the Already Finished sleeve, and discovered that there was a tiny little dropped stitch sticking out, WAY down in the middle of the sleeve. Painstakingly, I pulled it up the ladders. But this created a tight crease. I knew in my heart of hearts that this crease could not be soaked or blocked our pounded out. So I began to rip. But no! It would not rip! The Felted Tweed has a tendency to felt to itself, and it was going to be a long, torturous rip-back. (And I don’t even observe Lent.) What did I do? With a heavy heart and a shaking hand, I cut across the stitches at a point where I thought I could more easily begin to rip:
It worked. And yes, I re-knit more than half of the first sleeve, and then I finished the second sleeve, and then I made that weird little old-timey Peter Pan collar that is So Very Ann. I did all of this for you, dear. ‘Cause I love ya. Of course, nobody is putting any odds on when I will actually sew this thing up. Keep hope alive, keep hope alive. (Remember we agreed that the deadline was 2015?)
Dishrags for Tsunami Relief
You know I love me a good charity knitting project. I just found out about the String Scrubbie Project, which benefits victims of the Boxing Day Tsunami. I already happened to have a dishcloth on the needles (quel surprise!), which I will finish and mail to California so they can sell it for 10 bucks to somebody looking to add a boatload of ‘quaint’ to their kitchen. There are piles of alluring dishrags to ogle here.
Alluring dishrags: a phrase that could be uttered by only one person, and that would be me.
Happy Weekend!
Love, Kay



  1. Just when I was starting to wonder where the sweaters of MDK had gone, (not complaining, just wondering) there are TWO fabulous ones, just about all finished up.
    In the spirit of community, we could probably organize a sewing-up party for Olive.

  2. Alluring dishrags. It’s good to have you back from Florida.

  3. After working in the coatimundi’s natural habitat (in a country no one actually wants to really work in but is great fun to visit) I can personally vouch for the complete and utter fabulousness that is that animal. We had a wild one near the site that took a fancy to me, and used to come sit in my lap (!) while I did my daily paperwork. I named it, admittedly erroneously, Arthur. I missed him more than any part of the job when I came home.

  4. Do not talk to ne about aeroplane knitting! Given that I am a Brit, the only flights I ever make are international and sadly our aviation authority remains convinced that it is possible to hijack a plane with a knitting needle. I therefore spend hours wishing I were knitting, while my current project travels to wherever I am going in the hold.
    No amount of logical argument about the size of a knitting needle and the comparative damage that could be inflicted with a stilleto heel or a biro, say, has prevailed thus far. I continue to try though.

  5. Well now! I feel like I got my money’s worth here today! Yes, I did! Stories of denim boxy pullovers and alluring dishcloths and mythical children who will sit quietly in an aeroplane. Definitely worth the price of admission.

  6. you certainly have been busy!
    well, i hope you will wear your new denim sweater for the Boston party, so i can admire it in person, but wear your thermal undergarments, it is cold here!
    and thank you for the dishcloth charity link, that one i might actually manage to make a knitted contribution to, in this lifetime.

  7. OOH , pretty Creeper ! I like :0) That’s a great name for a band btw “The Alluring Dishrags” – we could go places with that.
    Heather x

  8. This is awful! Let me recommend Bombay Sapphire gin, kept in the fridge, Schweppes indian tonic, (NOT diet) ice, and sicilian lemon juice and a slice. I guarantee you’ll recover from your worming medicine experience. Excellent Creeper, too.
    Best, Anna. (UK)

  9. Creeper already looks fantastic ! You are the Rowan Denim master knitter.
    Finish Olive.You will feel so good.You could bring it for me to do.Really.

  10. Now I know I’m going crazy. I actually felt choked up to see Olive return. All I need is a Keava comeback and I’ll be through all my Kleenex pocket-paks in record time. This is better than General Hospital.

  11. I just bought the yarn for Creeper and for a one-color Nashville, non-beaded version of Voyage. I lurve me some Rowan Denim.

  12. kay….almost weepy to read that your florida adventure had sad overtones, but….i was dreamily transported by your knitting projects in various stages of completion…. especially creeper! and speaking of creeper,…. slither-er, and freaking me out….convince carrie she needs a fuzzy, fun fur boa instead….that brave girl….

  13. Where on earth did you find that dishcloth pattern? I must have it!! Where did you find it/buy it?
    I like your creeper, too!

  14. Dear Kay . . . welcome back and everything.
    What, the hotel wouldn’t let you do a little felting down there with the sheets and towels? THINK of what you could felt in an industrial hotel-sized washing machine.
    What airline are you taking that has an Always Awful Movie? Air La Tee Dah? On Southwest, we got nothing but stale pretzels and a hockey team all around us. Now THAT’s entertainment.
    Creeper looks so wonderfully creepy. We all look forward to endless photographs of you wearing it during the summer. “Here’s me, in Creeper, in front of Big Ben.” “Joseph LOVES traveling with me, and Creeper.” “What I love about summer? Sun, Sand, Creeper.”
    And finally, last but NOT least, of course, the OLIVE. The Ann she loves the Olive, she gave up on seeing the Olive ever again. She figured the Kay had felted the Olive and turned it into attractive wool flowers for the buttonhole bag number eighty-two.
    You know, I hate to say it, but I think you get credit for a steek, hon. If you’re cutting into the handknits, I’m calling it a steek. Never mind that you’re cutting SIDEWAYS or anything. Steek’s a steek. Right on! Put that in the MDK Hall of Fame.
    And that dishcloth pattern! I LOVE it. Where’d you get it?
    Hurry up with the Olive. I’m currently experiencing gray sweater failure.

  15. what is that dishcloth pattern from?
    it’s gorgeous

  16. I must have that dishcloth pattern! It is absolutely wonderful. For the first time ever, I feel inspired to make a dishcloth. Can I have the pattern? Please?

  17. I really like that dishcloth. Please tell us the pattern!

  18. PS Um, hate to bring it up, but the deadline for finishing Olive is 2008, not 2015.

  19. Y’all. Please. No trampling, no pushing, no shoving for the dishcloth pattern. You can get it (1) on the back of the Peaches & Creme ballband in really tiny print, (2) at that wonderful dishcloth site that is full of free dishcloth patterns, which I will remember the name of real soon, but just google ‘dishcloth knitting pattern’, or (3) by emailing me.
    I will say that this is the dishcloth pattern that completely turned me from a dishcloth naysayer to a dishcloth celebrater. I keep one going in a bowl in the kitchen and I knit a few rows, sometimes with weeks in between, when I’m stuck talking on the phone or waiting for something to happen. Like coffee. Or something to get felted.
    And Ann, you hurt me. AS IF there is any doubt that you will get your Olive by 2008. Calendar year. Definitely. (Don’t go changing. Sizewise I mean.)
    People who publically swatched Keava should not throw stones. xoxo Kay

  20. Swatched Keava? SWATCHED? I’m halfway up the abdomen on that damned thing, I pracktickly used up a whole entire skein of Seafoam or Sea Rennet or whatever it was called. I am COOKING on Keava and I’ll show you, missy.
    I’m just meditating about it, thassall.

  21. I love the idea of knitting dishcloths! I got your email and I’ll work on it tomorrow, aww, shucks, thanks for the compliment!! And hey…I think you are going through felting withdrawl or something, I plan on felting my buttonhole bags this weekend…sometime…stay tuned!

  22. You mean the Dishcloth Boutique? Love it! I want to make round ones! I think it’s all in the yarn — gotta get some of that jazzy variegated stuff.
    That Creeper will be great, and looks like good plane knitting indeed. Lots of boring stuff, with the little thrill of the cabley bit to keep you awake. It’ll be finished in no time, along with the Olive. We’ll be waiting with bated breath.
    Mary de

  23. This was an MDK Classic. Classic, I tell you.
    My kids are pretty good about me knitting on airplanes, as long as I’m always ready to put down the knitting and tend to WHATEVER. Pretzel crises. Boredom. Dropped pencils. The overwhelming need for mom to draw a comic book character RIGHT NOW. You get the idea. Circular needles and simplicity work quite fine in that department (fancy stuff is saved for trips sans kids), so we make do.
    Creeper is SO fine. Get yourself some slick jeans and a pair of Jimmy Choos and let’s meet somewhere impossibly chic for lunch, o.k.?
    And…Anna is right. Bombay Sapphire makes all the difference. (Ten is also very lovely.)

  24. The Creeper, the Jimmy Choos, the top-drawer gin…..the head of the Manolo she is spinning.
    I’ll just switch the Jimmies for my Bjorns. They’re stylish. Sure they are. They were a HUGE style upgrade from my beloved Birkies. Which I could never wear to lunch with Evelyn. I know that. xoxo Kay

  25. I know what you are expecting. You are thinking that this is the part where I ask if you could please train my children (or send sweet tarts or sprite or something) but I’d actually really like to know, does that work on husbands? Sweet tarts? Sprites? Planes? Is it to late for him?

  26. hey, pretty discloth lady, welcome back! love the pictures and the travel stories — next time i see you, be it a run-in in downtown yarns, a super-covert law office yarn handoff, or a lower east side weekend knit-up, remind me to tell you my coatimundi story from my trip to brazil…
    enjoy the snow!

  27. Creeper…. you are very smart. I have the book, but hadn’t thought of using it as the uniform pullover for summer. I think I might copy….


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