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Envious? Me?

Dear Kay,
I am writing today mostly to brag about my new friend Mareike.
I met Mareike two weeks ago, when Hubbo and I were invited to a back-to-school party hosted by a Vanderbilt professor and his wife whom I’d never met. It was the first time in ages that I had attended a party that involved a keg. How thrilling! How communal! We are all going to drink this thing together! There were dozens of young graduate students speaking foreign languages. People from the Iberian peninsula. People in the back yard playing guitars. For a brief moment, I pretended that I too was an exotic academic, not a suburban knitter with a stale old B.A. in English.
The rumor spread to me that this professor’s wife was a knitter, and that she had published patterns. I forsook the keg in order to find her. “She’s in an orange dress,” I was told, which was helpful considering that there had to be a hundred people in this bungalow. Sure enough, there was Mareike (I kept chanting her name so that I wouldn’t blow it), looking cool in her orange dress. We talked knitting for a minute, but we resolved to continue our conversation when there was less cultural anthropology going on around us.
The next night, Hubbo and I went to see The Doyle and Debbie Show with Mareike and her brilliant hubby Ted and other assorted reprobates. I realized, as we were eating blue cheese polenta fries after the show, that I knew that Mareike knits, but I didn’t know anything else about her. I realized that I’d forgotten, as I often do, that anybody who knits could actually HAVE anything else going on in her life. It was at about that moment that she started speaking in Mayan.
I discovered that she’s working on a dissertation about modern Mayan culture. While cranking out patterns for Knitty and Interweave on the side. And throwing huge parties at her house. And wearing the sort of dress that, the very next day, the New York Times would remind us is the “season’s dominant shade on Fifth Avenue.”
If Mareike weren’t so uncommonly great, I would despise her brainy/knitty/stylish ways.
If you’ve seen the new Knitty, then you have likely seen her pattern, Henry. It’s the handsome herringbone scarf. There are so many things I admire about this pattern. It is knit longways, which to me is much faster than having to turn your work all the time. It uses a slip stitch herringbone pattern that looks like it’s woven. The long edges require cleverness to work, and the resulting edges are exactly what that scarf needs. And it passes that killer test: will a man actually wear it? Her field tests indicate that yes, he will.
I’ll get over this Mareike thing, at some point. Someday . . .




  1. Since the new Knitty came out yesterday, my group oof knitting peeps have been totally AGOG over Henry. And that’s saying something since we are from South Florida. I predicted that this pattern would become one of those Knitty patterns that we know by name like the Argosy and the Branching out Scarf and KALs will be popping up like dandelions!

  2. i live in florida
    west central florida it can be cool inside
    movie houses and theaters henry would be
    lovely in a yarn with gliz in a light
    color this would be nice for the red scarf
    project you all do meet intersting people
    thank you i hope the fall trees are
    lovely this year

  3. That is indeed a lovely pattern. I was just impressed in general with this issue of Knitty for having a goodly number of patterns for men.

  4. You, dear Ann, possess your own super-fantasticness! It just doesn’t happen to wear an orange dress.

  5. Aw, you have a knitter-crush! How cute! Go get yourself an orange dress; you know you want to.
    xo Kay

  6. It is indeed an awesome pattern. Maybe even something my nearly-grown boys would wear. They’ve declined all offers for handknits so far. Perhaps in Purdue black or gold?

  7. That is a great pattern!

  8. Dear Ann,
    To us you are an “exotic academic”! You certainly write well enough to qualify for that title.
    It’s always nice to make new friends (which reminds me a an old Girl Scouts song…).
    Please pass along that I love the pattern and can’t wait to finish other things so I can knit it for my hub-ster.

  9. Don’t you just love it when you meet someone like this? They really force you to move a little outside your box and realize you (meaning me) need to explore your own potential a little more. Of course, this is all directed at moi. I think it is wonderful to meet new and talented people to get your blood and imagination flowing!!! Sounds like some fun stuff going on!

  10. I really loved a lot of the patterns in the latest Knitty. I haven’t shown the scarf pattern to anybody yet. I’m still telling myself 1) I knit enough scarves, and 2) my friends and family have enough scarves.
    It’s true, right?

  11. Also agog at Henry and at least 4 other patterns in the new Knitty. Your new friend invented Henry and speaks Mayan as well? That’s racy company. (Looking around to see on whom to bestow Henry amongst the already over-scarfed family members….)

  12. Oh wow! I was just admiring that pattern. How fun that you got to actually meet her and befriend her!

  13. I am no judge of knitting, but Mareike is as wonderful as Ann blogs her to be. Now, the focus is on the knitting here, but I just want the world to know that the husband of Mareike, and model of the Henry knit, Vanderbilt professor Ted Fischer, is a star in his own right. Long before I met him, I had bought and enjoyed his excellent course on cultural anthropology from The Teaching Company (title: People and Cultures of the World, available at http://www.teach12.com). So when I met Ted, it was, to me, like meeting a rock star. “Dude!” I said, star-struck, “I have all your lecture CDs and they ROCK!” And they do. That is some couple!

  14. Ann,
    I’m moving to Nashville this weekend!! WHOO!! (it’s so exciting for me) and I hope to meet you, though I feel I will be much like Hubbo and be awed by your knitterly awesome-ness. I am such a fan of the Mason Dixon book, I can’t wait for more.
    Also – when I was up this summer I saw the Doyle and Debbie show. I thought it was hilarious! Hope you liked it too.
    I will try to find the local knitting groups through Ravelry and the LYS.
    Hoping to meet you soon,
    Carolyn/Stick Knits

  15. Okay, my next dress is going to be orange….wow, how very cool to meet Mareike! I agree with Cindra, your post is pushing me to explore a bit outside of my comfort zone. Thanks! And now to find the right yarn for Henry….

  16. Ann, if you want to impress Mareike, ask her if her Mayan is Oventic, Tzotzil, Tzeltal, or some other Mayan dialect. My older son is volunteering in Chiapas, a predominantly Mayan province of Mexico — you can read about his adventures on my blog, http://www.kmkat.typepad.com, and click on Chiapas in the subject cloud in the sidebar.

  17. I have a circa-1968 pattern for an orange crocheted dress. You’ll be fab.

  18. I LOVE Mareike’s “Henry” pattern! Second to the lovely “Muir” shawl! Better yet, I have some lovely olive green Jaeger Matchmaker to make “Henry.” After I get a pile of my WIP’s done, Henry is going to be cast on!

  19. I had no idea Vanderbilt profs threw raging keg parties. Hmmm…. this is definitely changing my perception of Vanderbilt as a whole… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. Ann,
    I had looked at that pattern and dismissed it as too hard for my teeny brain. It is gorgeous in a manly way. Of course now that she is your new best friend, I will have to give it a stab.
    Carolyn: WELCOME TO NASHVILLE! The weather is finally lovely and it is much easier to knit when the temp drops below 100.

  21. Oh, I just saw a terrible thing on the Henry pattern and that would be size 2 needles.
    I think not, even though I would get to bask in the sun of your approval. Size 2 and 3 needles Not Happening in this short life.

  22. That is the one pattern that stood out to me from this issue of Knitty. There is something so beautiful & elegant, even classical, about that pattern.

  23. Well, now you know how we all feel at times when reading your book and blog…
    Henry just made my ‘to knit’ list.

  24. Oh Robin, just make it in different yarn with thicker needles! I saw Henry this weekend and really thought my husband might wear it. And thanks for the NY times link, I was away that weekend and missed it, but for a rare feat, I actually bought 2 orange dresses this summer, and I’m NEVER counted among the fashion forward types, I feel so lucky!!!!

  25. WOW! I’m a knitter in Nashville who lives with two Vandy anthro students–our worlds have officially collided! They are some fun and interesting people.

  26. Hey y’all! Come over to my blog to see the ULTIMATE orange dress. It’ a painting called Flaming June at the Museum of Art in Ponce, Puerto Rico. http://www.tejedoritadulce.blogspot.com/
    not much knitting news there lately, but the orange dress is worth the visit!

  27. Oh, Ann, a BA in English is NEVER stale. It’s one of the classic degrees! Unlike a BA in, say, Hypertechnology of the 1970s, it will truly never go out of style. Unlike the color orange, which seems to dodge in and out of fashion, despite my parading it at every possible opportunity all year, every year. No, no, a BA in English is like a herringbone scarf, handknit with fine yarn. Wears well, always classy, always useful.

  28. Blue cheese polenta fries? Those sound awesome!

  29. kUNJGxwEprmKsfrKZp 7457


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