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

Thread Things

Dear Ann,
One thing I love about big-city life is how much sheer STUFF you can cram into a few hours if you’ve got a Metrocard and know how to use it. Witness last night.
Intelligent Play
At 6, I got off the B train at 86th Street and popped into the Bard Graduate Center for some Cultcha. The BGC is the coolest. A) it’s free and (2) you can see the most awesomest, constantly changing exhibits of fiber and decorative arts work in (c) an over-the-top-gorgeous restored townhouse.
I had been lured to the BGC by our intrepid-yet-blogless friend Amber. Amber loves a beat-up, weird old textile more than most people (even OUR people, who skew kind of high on the Loving Weird Old Textiles scale). Whenever I am with Amber, I see something new to me and cool, and I almost always end up buying a Beautiful Yet Obscure Art Book (Preferably Not In English). I am already thinking about which worthy institution, hopefully decades from now, will receive the priceless legacy of Books Kay Bought With Amber.
Yesterday’s book.
All I can say is, if you’re in the area, go see this exhibit (did I mention it’s FREE?) of Sheila Hicks’ small weavings. There is much to savor, and an excellent video of Sheila Hicks looking at her own work hanging on the wall, commenting and reminiscing. Here are a few nuggets that I jotted in my MoleskineTM:
“Your deepest research is intelligent play. How do you continue to play seriously and not fall into the trap of repeating your greatest successes?”
“There are no contradictions or separations in my thinking when creating textiles….or other thread-things. Pure expression and the utilitarian often join in the most surprising moments.”
Think about THAT when you’re knitting. (Don’t fall into the trap of repeating your greatest dishrags.)
Just Play
But enough High Culture. Now it’s time for:
Tracey Ullman’s butt. (Photo used with permission.) (Really!)
Metrocard sizzling, I raced from the BGC down to Columbus Circle, where Mel Clark and Tracey Ullman were holding forth and signing copies of their brand-new knitting book, Knit 2 Together.
I rushed in, breathless, grabbed two copies (who loves ya, babe?), and approached the table. Tracey was wearing this skirt, in Euroflax linen. It looks like a wraparound, but it isn’t. MUST KNIT THIS.
Shyly I told Mel and Tracey about my own passionate support of theTwo-Headed Knitting Book. Tracey seemed surprised that I don’t have a Southern accent, and started talking in a Southern accent (MUCH more Southern than yours by the way–you really need to work on that). She asked me if we’ve reviewed their book on this blog of ours. Not a shrinking violet, that one.
So here’s my review: Knit 2 Together is a credit to the two-headed knitting book. Mel Clark’s designs are fresh and wearable. And when I say wearable, I mean wearable even by non-celebrity, not particularly Pilatisized people. I especially like the flattering necklines and witty finishes (finally, a use for fancy silk ribbon!), and her wonderfully diverse yarn choices. (Mel is a woman after my own heart: she says linen is ‘lovely to knit with’.) I would love this book even if I weren’t crazy about Tracey Ullman. Which I am. Tracey is not one of these celebrity knitters who can’t purl (not that there’s anything wrong with it). She is as crazy about knitting as the rest of us nuts, and she’s much, much more photogenic.
I think I would have bought the book for one pattern alone: the SUIT. There is a suit (the “Ponsonby Suit”), and it’s a cute suit. Very ‘lady’, but very chic. Do I dare? Would Rowan Calmer be a good non-wool substitute for Karabella Aurora 8 (100% merino)? Can I knit something that big (if it’s not square)?
A profound truth: In LA, they have better hair.
A case in point.
Life is good!
Love, Kay




  1. WOw, cool. You managed to meet the great Tracey.
    I have been a big Tracey fan since about 20 years!
    Whatever she does, it’s great. Singing, comedy, acting and now writting knitting books. Is there no end to Tracey’s talents?

  2. What an awesome excursion! First, love me a MoleskinTM, and the quotations from Sheila Hicks, and you hobnobbing with Tracy.
    Is she as funny in her book as she is on TV?

  3. and what a gorgeous night it was to be out! I’ve got to get back into leaving the house after sunset …

  4. I am enormously jealous that you got to meet Tracey.

  5. what a great day in new york! i love my metrocard πŸ™‚
    a suit in aurora 8! oh my. my own object made with aurora 8 was a scarf that, upon blocking, grew 400%! you would have to be very careful to knit something fitted with it πŸ™‚

  6. Very, very kewl! I shall have to check out their book. Your hair is just as good as theirs!!

  7. Oh, I am soooo jealous… green, in fact. I saw Tracey on Today show yesterday morn. I immediately went to Amazon and it is not in yet! I may have to pay full price and run to the bookstore. My first thought was “this book might be as fun to read as Mason Dixon.” Did you see the tie she knit Matt? She also quipped something about knitting him a toupe! (Did I spell that right?) Somehow, from her that wasn’t a slam. I just love her.
    Lucky you!!!!!

  8. Ha! Shirleyknits beat me to it. Your hair’s just fine. Thanks for the book review. Flattering necklines and witty finishes sounds v-e-r-y interesting.

  9. that just goes so way beyond cool. I don’t even have the word.

  10. Lucky duck!

  11. Wow-we-wow! A day for the ages.

  12. I love Tracey Ullman. She is completely fearless. And she named her daughter “Mabel” — how great is that?

  13. I don’t know — your hair was looking particulary fetching in that picture. I will admit to feeling just a bit of envy that you can go to these fun things so easily, But I still don’t like the city … too many people in too little space for me. πŸ˜‰

  14. The Peapod cardigan from the book really got me. It’s about time produce got a spot of the lime(so to speak)light.

  15. Saw on Martha Stewart that Tracy will be on Monday and knitting will be featured on the commerical….set those VCR’s. How can we get this dynamic ladies on? It will be great to see a nice knitting show. When she started she had the poncho show, everyone was crocheting….

  16. You know what I love? That Tracy Ullman’s bootheels were dirty and that she has a slightly poochy tummy. And that she is not one bit afraid to go out in public like that. A Real Woman, that one. And fantastically smart/funny/talented, besides. Love that lady.
    Ann, your hair is Right Coast, theirs is Left. Different maybe, but definitely not better or worse.

  17. It’s not only the hair that’s better in LA, she says from the suite at the Regent Beverly Wilshire looking out over Rodeo Drive. I’m definitely NOT feeling like a Pretty Woman.
    I miss you terribly. Can we PLEASE get together sometime next week? I’m pissed I missed Tracey too. I really like her.

  18. Lucky dog–I would have loved to meet that pair. As a connoisseur of your hairdo, as a longtime follower of what your hair is doing, I give you a solid A for a commendable lack of flyaways. Must have been a low-humidity kind of night.
    Is Mel’s sweater in the book? Could that be a HEMMED neckline with the ribbon through it? Very cute.

  19. I reviewed it Kay! As a matter of fact I called it a must buy and the hollywood version of MDK πŸ™‚
    You make me miss NYC even more.

  20. How cool is that? I love finding out about books I didn’t know existed. (Your book, by the way, has made it to the local Michaels. Lordy, you gals are MAINSTREAM.)

  21. Kay! You lucky woman, you. You get to do the funnest things and meet the funnest people!
    I think your hair looked fabu. LA don’t got nothing on NY. (I live in Texas by the way, and we Dallas girls know a thing or two about (big) hair.)
    Knit on,
    mary kay

  22. Heck, gal, I am surprised La Ullman hadn’t heard of MDK? *This* two-headed blog and book are bonafide ‘Famous’ to the knitterati. (And your hair was nice.)

  23. I flipped through that book a week or so ago and was really impressed. But my favorite part? The fact that they have the pattern for the two-headed sweater on the front cover. I just love that. I have no idea how many people might make it (or wear it!), but I adore that they put it in there. How nifty you got to meet them!

  24. I just bought the book today–I was looking for something completely different, but this looks like it has a lot of patterns I would actually make. I love your book too, and even bought some yarn for dischcloths and a baby kimono. I’m working on stash enhancement now, but slowly knitting my way through things!

  25. You so all look like you belong together!I am overwhelmed/speechless/ all that.

  26. OH Kay .. i leave NYC and all the fun stuff happens, Steph was there for the Knit out.. first one i’d missed in all the years cause i even had one in 2001 when it had been cancelled by the knitting organization.. Now Tracey Ullman was there.. and you got t o meet her.. schlitz.. haha..l loving being out here in Phoenix.. don’t really miss anything.. except those exciting gatherings.. well anyway if you and Ann ever make it out here for a signing.. i’ll be first in line ! πŸ™‚ karola

  27. What a great great post! Must look into both of these topics further! “Pure expression and the utilitarian often join in the most surprising moments” – nice.

  28. She didn’t know about Mason Dixon Knitting??? What’s up with that? And it looks like stripes are in. I am so out of it.

  29. taking my love of Tracey Ullman even further. what pinchable cheeks. she gets ever cuter! (cute, in the best possible way.) excuse me while i go & change into 10,000 different outfits & sing “no, i don’t… listen to their wasted lines/ got my eyes wide open…”

  30. Ooooh, very jealous here! I’ll have to check out that book. I like Tracey Ullman even more now that I know she’s a real knitter.

  31. Ya know, I think some of that LA hair colour came out of a bottle…

  32. All three of you look fabulous.
    Tracey Ullman looks very good, butt pic and all. She looks fit and comfortable and lovely.

  33. What a fun day. Fall in New York looks just as fun as summer, spring and winter. I missed Tracy in Toronto, oh well. next time.

  34. How great to meet Tracy and Mel and they do have really nice hair.

  35. Heehee! You are a credit to the book! I love the two-headed knitting book! It and “Itty Bitty Hats” were the Two Good Books among the many, many craptastic titles we recently received at Hilltop. Okay, okay, some of the other new books were okay for other knitters. And the copies of your book that came in on special orders? Hands-down tops. But I’m afraid Knitting Haiku is not for me.

  36. Bard is only free on Thursday nights. But NEARLY free the rest of the time, at $3 an entry.
    Yes, I think you hit it on the head when you say that I like weird, beat-up old textiles. A LOT. Very very much.
    Great to see you, glad you came out and enjoyed (cause that is some ROCKING stuff Sheila Hicks makes).

  37. Aack! So many more reasons to live in the city. Someday…..

  38. i saw tracey today, i was just dying to say ‘oh i read about your book on anne and kay’s site and (effusive gushing)’ but of course i was too shy and just acted shifty, my usual preferred M.O, instead.


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