Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawl is on through Sunday, September 25.

Maybe This is a Good Thing

Dear Ann,
Do you ever have a week where you are just a one-woman hive of productive activity? You know, where you polish all of Hubbo’s shoes while doing the taxes and organizing family photos going back to 1988? Where you re-do the rolodex and cook up multiple batches of chili and soup to freeze for nutritious meals of the future?
Me neither. Which is why the past few days have been so strange. Honestly, I’ve been getting so much done I can barely keep track of myself. Knitting and otherwise. At some point, I asked myself, when have I felt this peculiar feeling before? And I remembered that day in October 1998, when I suddenly realized that it was necessary to vacuum all the draperies and blinds with the Special Drapery Attachment whilst standing on a step ladder with a bottle of Windex in my other hand. By early evening I had achieved a Dust-Free Enviroment and realized that it was time to have a baby. In a couple of hours. Oh, so this is the Nesting, I said. The Nesting is a powerful thing.
Well, clearly, we can rule out Nesting. So then it occurred to me, with a horror and a dread, that maybe this was something of a similarly hormonal nature. Like maybe it could be a sign or a symbol of the beginning of….the Condition About Which We Are Not Ready To Think. I’m not saying that I’ve taken the step of discussing this with anyone to whom you are related by marriage who may or may not be my age, but let’s just say that notes have been compared and I’m expecting the house to be EXTREMELY CLEAN and my person to be TOASTY WARM, on and off for the next couple of years. It might be a good time to visit if you’ll be wanting fluffy towels and muffins for breakfast and the occasional 20-minute rant about lint filter maintenance.
With all this productivity, I do not have time to be sitting here at the computer (wait, let me just dust off the screen with the Microfiber Mitt–there that’s much better) jawing with you. So I’ll just show you the knitting pictures so I can get on with the business of Alphabetizing the Spice Jars 2005.
My friend Mary the Paralegal Extraordinaire, who saved my butt from many a document production nightmare back in the old days, has taken up African Drumming. Mary doesn’t do things by half-measures. She’s a-drumming all over Brooklyn and Manhattan. She needed a case for her tray drum which she informed me, in a sort of hinty way, is 18 inches in diameter and 2 and half inches deep.
(Universally Recognized Object is for scale.)
This is my third attempt. I do not want to talk about attempts One and Two. This is going to work, dammit! I’m making a drum sandwich out of two of these, joined with a garter stitch strap. All pieces will be felted separately and then dried on the drum itself. It’s going to fit, okay? I need to believe that.
In re Blu
Cristina and I would like to post a tip sheet for the Blu baby jeans. So far my only tip is that it is not strictly necessary to sew the live waistband stitches down with sewing thread. Personally, I hate taking those sharp sewing needles to knitting. They are sticky and pokey and so very reminiscent of Home Economics Class. So on one of my 5 pairs, I used regular denim yarn to sew the waistband down, and found that it didn’t add much bulk to the waistband, and even if it did, it was well worth it to be able to use my blue plastic yarn needle and not hurt myself or have to deal with making teeny-tiny knots in sewing thread.
If anybody has any tips, please send them in.
We also have a beautiful schematic drawing, which may be helpful and may even qualify as a tip. (Tip: this is how the leg pieces are sposed to look.) Reader Cheryl K. of Philly was kind enough to cook it up for us. Isn’t it so cool and professional looking?
BluSchematicGardiner copy.gif
The question has been asked: why did I make so many? (The assumption here is that I needed a reason.) Well, for one thing, I never seemed to have the right size at the right time. Also I wanted to test-drive the different sizes, and I was curious to see how many cool handmade labels Cristina could come up with. Also I wanted to show a pair with a “WEAR Rowan Denim” label. (Tip: one of these labels comes in every 20-ball pack of Rowan Denim. If you are not buying a full bag, ask your friendly yarn store person to see if there are any full bags in the back; the label will be stapled to a piece of paper in the bag.)
Glad Rags (and I Do Mean Rags)
I know you, my girl. I know that nothing says Festive Holiday Spirit to you like a brand new cardigan the color of peat, or dung, or perhaps a color that is so colorless that it is not considered a color at all. So I am channelling a little of my manic busywork in your direction:
Yes, it’s the much-delayed, long-promised Olive cardi. The sweater voted Easiest to Forget You Ever Made Because It’s Such A Long Murky Slog of Tweed Stockinette. It’s all for you doll. I’m a-settin’ in some sleeves while the light is good enough to distinquish one doleful piece from the others. Is this a sleeve? Is this a front? Will anybody notice if I set the fronts into the armholes? We’ll see. One thing is certain: you’re gonna just sparkle on New Year’s Eve this year!!!!
Time for a bracing cup of soy hull tea or other godawful holistic remedy. You have a nice day now!
Love, Kay




  1. Kay, good luck with the personal summers. My biggest lament is the pile of wool sweaters that I may never wear again. You’re so wise to knit with denim. I’ve found that regular exercise (who has time!) and limiting sweets (give up chocolate?!?) helps. Good luck!

  2. Oh, I remember a day in 1988 when my husband came home and said “You cleaned out the linen closet? Is this what people were talking about when they talked about Nesting?” And I scoffed — scoffed! — and assured him that it had needed doing for a long time and I was happy to have had the time to do it.
    Less than 12 hours later: David!

  3. Hormones are weird like that. I get that cleaning urge every month.
    My mother will call me and ask what I’m up to. When I answer something compulsive like re-sorting my underwear drawer by color and type, vacuuming the slot where the lint screen goes in the dryer, or expiration-date checking every theoretically non-perishable item in my pantry, she always says something like, “PMS? oof. I’m sorry you get that from my side on the family, but look on the bright side! Would you ever get around to sorting/vacuuming/checking this otherwise?”

  4. Hi Kay,
    It’s little better coming off 20 years of BC pills and patch!
    Chaste Tree Berry liquid extract and Fem-Restore liq. extract, both by Gaia Herbs:http://www.gaiaherbs.com and usually available at a health food store, as well as Progesterone cream, also available at your HFS, have helped me a lot.
    Taste – well, not so pretty, but after 3x a day for over a month, I got used to it and I feel better. I was not about to suffer needlessly!

  5. On the other hand, it can go pretty smoothly–I had 2 months of hot flashes (maybe 3 or 4 a day), and that was it…no more periods, no more obscure desires to check behind the dresser drawers to see if those slat-thingies needed to be dusted, etc.

  6. Gosh, I wish the Condition About Which We Are Not Ready To Think had that effect on me. Instead, I’m just really really bitchy.

  7. I just returned from DELIVERING MY PAPER ABOUT EVELYN WAUGH, and the relief I am feeling is right up there with that moment when they say, “YOU CAN STOP PUSHING NOW.” I am currently laughing so hard at your entry that I can’t really stop.
    And you can hardly image the glee I am experiencing at seeing the pieces of my long-awaited, eternally dreamed-about Olive. The legacy of my writing this paper about Evelyn Waugh is that I have decided to adopt the dressing style of Evelyn’s long-suffering wife Laura, who was fond of tweed suits, tweed in general, and gray. And cardigans. There is not one smiling picture of her anywhere to be found, but always she looks fantastic in her 1930s costume–and she would heartily approve of this gray tweed cardigan. I’m sorry only that it’s such a light tweed.
    PS Just one suggestion on the Blu jeans schematic. I think the word “seat” should be “hiney.” And “crotch” needs to be “winky.”

  8. Cleaning ? Nope. My hormonal upheaval is revealing itself in an inability to write e-mails or finish anything !
    Blu = fabulous design. So you. So perfect. I’m very proud of you.
    Love you !

  9. Clearly I need your help. When are you coming over?

  10. Too funny. Unfortuantely the take-away message is that if I ever want to get my shit together I have to get knocked up or go through the change of which we will not speak. It sounds awfully true, but terribly unfair.
    Oh, yeah, and I second Hiney and Winkey. In fact, I’m referring to mine by those names from now on. And don’t tell me girls don’t have Winkies.

  11. The only way it manifests itself for me is to crave Milka milk chocolate with hazelnuts. Every day. And to become violently protective of them should another innocent member of the family glance their way.
    btw you are now eligible to enter…

  12. Two questions:
    Can I join Ann’s book group? It sounds way fun.
    Does the relationship between nesting and hormones go both ways? I mean, if you start dusting spindles and alphabetizing dry goods, do you think your body responds in kind? If so, perhaps ob/gyns should start harnessing this natural– and renewable!-source of femini-nergy to stop and start reproductive cycles all across the globe. Mind. Boggling.

  13. I agree with Wendy – I think my new favorite expression is “Yah, whatever. Just stop talking.”

  14. It’s called a “peeper”. Regardless of gender. Because I didn’t want to hear my 20-month-old uttering fateful phrases in the grocery store.
    As for The Condition About Which We Are Not Ready To Think, I suffer from Grand Mal hot flashes and all I can say is Thank God it’s really damn cold here right now because that means I can go stand in the garage in my underwear to cool down and actually stand a chance of cooling down. Red wine consumption seems to make it worse. Stick to white ;> I hate it when you realize that certain events are really, really late and you know that either outcome is really Not Good and wonder which one is worse.

  15. My Condition came about via chemotherapy (sweetly named chemopause), so I was cranky, hot flashing and hair-free. I remember asking my husband “Why am I such a one-boobed bald bitch?”
    Try saying that 3 times fast.

  16. I’m not mentioning ANY of the conditions that shall not be named. I’ve got my fingers jammed in my ears and I am NOT LISTENING.
    But I do want to make sure, I’m sure you’re going to do it, it goes without saying, but… you’re going to wrap that drum in a whole lot of high-grade plastic while the felt is drying on it, yes? Yes. Ok. That’s all.
    I just could see it, you know, in all that mania… and it might have kept me awake tonight.

  17. girls have honey pots.
    must pass these comments along to my mother, whose trick is to immerse her head in cold water when she feels a hot flash coming on …

  18. Right. Puts a sore throat into perspective, that does. I’ll stop complaining and take a lozenge now. xo, c.

  19. About that condition, suffice it to say, I keep a spare, lightweight, cotton t-shirt in my office these days!

  20. As I was telling Kay, a coupla weeks before Someone Close to Me had her junk out because it kept falling down, she called me with the announcement that she had bought her last box of Tampax. I can’t wait. I’m sick of this business.
    But why I don’t feel like cleaning? Ummmm I dunno. Maybe it has something to do with my filthy lifestyle? Like I said, I was watching BR when I went into labor, not cleaning.
    Here’s how bad it is: When we got engaged, Ann&Clif’s mother told my mother, “You know we can *never* visit.”

  21. Just make sure you get it over with before Carrie starts up!

  22. I get something similar before a migraine… this is not helpful information, is it? My perfect sweater yarn has arrived! ~x~

  23. Is that why I occasionally clean?
    I remember taking a sable brush and cleaning the dust off my african violets almost 17 years ago.
    Soy nuts help me with the current namelessness. Also, find a nice little notebook that you can carry with you AT ALL TIMES for the next few years. And be really specific WHERE YOU PUT YOUR KEYS. And LISTS. I had thought those people were crazy. They’re not.

  24. It’s validating to know that I’m not the only one who loves her blue plastic yarn needle. Gold is nice, too, but there’s nothing like blue.


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