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

Mason-Dixon Mailbag

Dear Kay,
Much has happened since last we co-posted the entire history of our lives: Clif’s first soccer game. (Half the team decided to hang on the sideline, citing fear of the opposing team, but Fella was out there showing a surprising level of spunk.) Ninety-sixth birthday party for Hubbo’s grandfather, Big Daddy. Tennessee Titans professional routing of the loathsome Oakland Raiders. I’m a wreck.
Foremost, of course, is my thrilling progress on Birch. I have decided to chronicle its development in the most painful detail possible, so here we are, 9/9/03.
The fantastic fluffitude of Kidsilk Haze cannot be overstated.
The fourth repeat of birch leaves is the first time one feels that perhaps the decreases might someday actually add up to a shorter row. I am proud to announce that this shawl has become my tote-along project of choice, usurping for the moment Jack ‘n’ Eddie, which will return to top status once I screw up Birch and drop a bunch of stitches.
Mason-Dixon Mailbag
It is fantastic to hear from our readers. I’d like to give a yoohoo to Dr. Betty Ruth Speir, a Pat Clack-level knitter down in Point Clear, Alabama, and dear family friend. I’m talking ten-sweaters-for-Christmas productivity. Knit herself an alpaca suit. Good grief! Here, to give you a sense of where she’s coming from, is one of her projects:
This is surely the first three-dimensional bear-hug sweater I’ve ever seen. It’s as if Debbie Bliss decided halfway through a stuffed bear pattern that it needed to be a pullover. Amazing!
Much blogosity to come shortly.
Love, Ann

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  1. Hi Ann
    glad we finally convinced you that Birch is an ideal carry along project! I missed my original self-imposed deadline and am finally on the 3rd ball. This is definately a soothing commuter project and excites much attention in a London rush hour.

  2. Birch is looking fantastic! Congratulations! Truly a thing of fluffy beauty.
    and I love that bear-hug sweater – it’s soooo cute – any hints on where to find the pattern?

  3. Your birch looks really nice. You’ve cracked it for good. :0) Now all you have to do is to convince Kay that she wants to make one too,

  4. You are the master of the Birch! The fluffiness looks fab. Go Ann!

  5. Jo, the bear sweater (so cute!) is made of Sirdar Snowflake and a kit can be found at this site: http://www.fibershop.com/snowflake/bear.shtml. Ann, congrats on the Birch. It’s looking mahvelous.

  6. Beautiful Birch.I knew you’d like it … once you’d got over the initial fears.
    ‘Spunk’ is not a word nice girls use in the U.K. ! Just in case you’re visiting & feel compelled to say it ! Really.Don’t !!! It means something completely different.

  7. I’m really dying to make the Birch Shawl but a couple of other sites have been screaming in frustration. I noted though that you’re actually carrying it around with you to knit which tells me it’s not something that you have to be absolutely holed up in a locked private room to concentrate on. Could you give me your opinion about whether or not an experienced beginner could handle this? Thanks!

  8. Beverly–you should look back a few days–Ann was really cussing up a storm during her first few attempts at Birch. Which doesn’t mean it’s not suitable for an experienced beginner! (That is NOT a slam on Ann; knitting lace with cobwebs has a wicked steep learning curve and then, apparently, it’s smooth sailing, to the point that you can carry it along with you and knit it while driving or entertaining people on the London Underground). Mason-Dixon Knitting strongly recommends that you do a practice swatch using another yarn that behaves like, well, yarn. This way you can learn the pattern and perhaps see it a little better without all that fuzz clogging up your vision. Then you can proceed to the mohair and click away on it until you find it a total bore.
    Dear Emma–it is so funny that spunk is not a polite word in England. Here, as you may have gathered, spunk is foremost among the virtues, a quality greatly to be prized in the young. A synonym is ‘moxy’–does that mean anything nasty in England?? Then again, I am the only person born after the turn of the (20th) century who still uses ‘moxy’ in ordinary conversation. I think it went out with the phrase ‘horseless carriage’.
    To all–I’m thinking of practicing what I preach and attempting Birch, but in Denim of course. Wouldn’t that be a fab accessory for Stevie Nicks to do her twirling dervishy dance in?? “She is like getting dark, and then she is the darkness….” ???? No wonder everybody makes fun of the 70s!!! XOX Kay

  9. “Knit herself an ALPACA SUIT.”: Eureka!!! at long last, the next MDK Kay-Ann exchange! You knit me an alpaca suit, and I’ll knit you one!!!
    This lady must really be SOMETHIN. She has moxy aplenty, in addition to enviable skill. So pleased and proud she’s an MDK reader.
    Let me know when to start knitting alpaca.
    I really always have wanted to knit a faux Chanel boucle suit–you know, something with a hint of lurex and a big gold chain a-dangling. Is that an overshare? Should I seek professional help? xox Kay


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