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Tomatoes, Porter, Dolly, and Such

Dear Kay,
Tidbits from the past few days . . .
Friday afternoon: World’s greatest tomatoes. So great. Had to take a pitcher of ’em. Heirloom tomatoes from the Fresh Harvest Cooperative in Nashville. I’ve never had such a tomato. Absolutely perfect. Enough to make a girl weep.
Real late, Saturday night: I’m watching the teevee, and I come across Porter Wagoner in one of his most baroque outfits, sitting on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, looking solemn. Out comes Dolly Parton, in one of her classic all-white get-ups which she tends to save for finales. It’s Porter’s fiftieth anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, so Dolly starts into her showstopper, “I Will Always Love You,” which she always sings better than Whitney Houston ever did. Now, I am TELLING YOU, amid this sea and I mean SEA OF RHINESTONES, Dolly’s sincerity and Porter’s long face just did me IN.
11:02 pm, Sunday night: I’m working on my tweedy squares, Hubbo is Up To Something in the basement, and I hear thunder. It’s raining. Raining! It hasn’t rained here since July, weeks and weeks of 100+ degree temperature. In Patrick O’Brian’s seafaring novels, he writes about sailors long at sea who can smell land hundreds of miles away. That’s the way it is with this rain: within moments of the rain starting, even without opening my windows, the scent of the rain creeps into the house. So green, and damp–I didn’t realize how wet the rain smells, and how I missed it.
11:43 pm, Sunday night: Square #64 is done. I’ve made a big ol’ blanket! Sort of!
Let the seaming begin. I’m kind of looking forward to sewing this mess together. As I said before, I’m going to be clocking myself on this. (You know, there really needs to be a knitting reality show. If I can sit and happily watch people cook and sew clothes, why not knitting?)

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  1. Rain, send some this way in NC. We haven’t seen or smelled any in weeks either. Doesn’t do much for the tomatoes, you know. And while you’re timing yourself on the sewing up you could also video tape yourself and just talk about knitting. I’d watch it. Carolyn in NC

  2. I LOVE this blanket — can’t wait to see it all seamed up!

  3. This is a fab blanket – simply fab. I aspire to such greatness. Thank you for leading the way. Will your next project include rhinestones? Maybe a tour getup for Merle Hazard?

  4. I watched a Johnny Cash Hour on PBS the other day – The Man in Black, Eric Clapton and Carl Perkins picking along. That’s about as country as I get.
    The other day I took out all my squares (I did it the individual method, not the no-sew) and managed to weave in the ends on one whole square. Then I took one look at the pile and took a nap.
    I wish you all the best! SEAM FAST!

  5. I just found a word for that smell in my word-a-day. (True nerd.) Petrichor — the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell. http://wordsmith.org/words/petrichor.html
    We had us some of that smell this weekend. Now it just smells wet wet wet.

  6. I’m just so glad I’m not the only person in the world who can weep at the goodness that is a fresh (really fresh) heirloom tomato. I think I need to go make myself a tomato sandwich RIGHT NOW.

  7. I would totally watch a reality show that is all about knitting. Maybe they could do a Big Brother-style set-up, where they lock all these people up in a house and give them knitting challenges. Except when someone gets kicked out of the house, the remaining knitters get his or her stash.

  8. I swear, you two are channeling some serious artistic brilliance when it comes to your color sense. ‘Tweedy Squares’ and ‘Buncha Squares’ belong in a museum or a textbook about color or a shuttle sent into deep space to be our ambassador to aliens. Ok, I gush. But it comes from love. Thank you for sharing your genius with the world!

  9. I think it would be great late-night background tv. With you talking, yes, but just to yourself. You know, when you have a jolt in the middle of the row of seaming and look up and say “Did I print out a copy of Hubbo’s latest lyrics for Bob to review yet?” or “I bet it’s that french cheese that’s stinking up the fridge!”
    Maybe you really should tape-record the whole thing. You won’t have to slow down to write down those mid-seam revelations. The timing function would be built in. And you could watch it all sped up to analyze where you could even out the smoothness of your sewing to increase seaming speed in preparation for the finals. Right?

  10. I love Dolly too.

  11. Total agreement on Dolly and the song…which I canNOT stand to hear Whitney sing but love it when Dolly does it. She is Something.

  12. Total agreement on Dolly and the song…which I canNOT stand to hear Whitney sing but love it when Dolly does it. She is Something.

  13. Mary Lou beat me to the punch by mentioning that there is indeed a word for that lovely smell after a rain. Thankfully, she had the correct spelling, as I was about to butcher it.
    Love the blanket – it mixes traditional and modern in such a fun way. Godspeed with the seaming!

  14. Oh My! So you were watching my husband’s television network…!! No, really…he’s the President of GAC! He won’t let me bring my knitting to the Opry when they film it live…what a party pooper! We were there when Dolly and Porter performed…pretty much rhinestone overload, no doubt! πŸ™‚ Keep watching! We love a knittin’ fool!

  15. Oh My! So you were watching my husband’s television network…!! No, really…he’s the President of GAC! He won’t let me bring my knitting to the Opry when they film it live…what a party pooper! We were there when Dolly and Porter performed…pretty much rhinestone overload, no doubt! πŸ™‚ Keep watching! We love a knittin’ fool!

  16. sorry! double posted due to passing cat! haha!

  17. No, no, no. First you got me going on log cabin projects, and now this!!
    Please, as you inspire, try to remember that some of us HATE sewing things together. I spent 30 years figuring out ways to knit paneled afghans and blankets in one piece to avoid the sewing thing, and now you do this to me!!! “Have mercy!” (say it like Dolly.)

  18. I would give my right arm for a fresh-from-the-garden tomato. I’ve had none this year, and it’s enough to make a man cry.
    I always loved it when Dolly sang that song with her hair piled high. I can’t even listen to the Whitney version, because it just seems so wrong.

  19. It rained here too in Eagleville. We ran outside. it has been so long since we have seen rain. The plnts and trees are so happy, me too. Hope we get to see more. Love to sit and knit with the sound of rain on the roof tops.

  20. I love that blanket. I can’t wait to see it finished. Have you started the stopwatch? Tick, tick, tick…:)

  21. with you on the reality show – and SO with you on the blanket. LOVE it.

  22. I’ve got a pile of those squares laying around somewhere. Maybe watching you sew them together will inspire me! (And I love Dolly, too. And Porter!)

  23. Oh, now you’ve gone and made me homesick! I lived in Nashville my first 50 years, then moved to Michigan. They just don’t grow tomatoes like that here. πŸ™ I really miss that homegrown tomato wonderfulness (that and Porter and Dolly, of course.)

  24. Have you ever heard of the show “Quilting with Fons and Porter”? It’s a quilting show…. maybe you and Kay should start something like it, only with knitting!!!

  25. Love this Big Ol’ Blanket! What could be better than a reality knitting show? It would be like having knit night right in the house any time we want!

  26. Jealousy. You have made me green with it.
    First, I have tomatoes. Home grown, even. And mayonnaise. And salt and pepper. But I am out of bread. No mater sammich for me.
    Second, you have rain. We in North Carolina have gone on past wilting to withered and crinkly and limp.
    The blanket, now, that’s just cool. Get on with that seaming, and we expect pictures, young woman.

  27. I am in awe of your blanket, Ann. I own enough Cotton Classic to make one of my own for my twins, but lack all enthusiasm for this project whatsoever. I knit 2 squares when the yarn arrived, and then stopped. Now I can’t find them. big bummer.
    I am hoping to start again this week, as I am quickly progressing through this pregnancy. almost 4 months down already.
    have fun with the seaming. if I ever finish mine, can I send the squares to you for finishing?
    wish me luck.

  28. If you like Porter you should go out and get his new CD Wagonmaster (produced by Marty Stuart) It’s getting excellent reviews and I quite like it

  29. As a child went to a birthday party for one of Porter W’s children. They had ponies AND a pool in the shape of a guitar! So very cool.

  30. Is there a huge statue of Dolly anywhere? Maybe Dollywood? If so, I’m making a trip to pay homage.

  31. Here in DC, we’ve had almost twelve hours of rain and mist. Our high temp of the day will be 75 F. Fantastic!!!

  32. Well, it’s like winter in London…. rain, cold, grey. Bleargh. If I did you a web-cam it’s look like Shetland. Or Fair Isle. Or wherever damp and grey it is that you look at the weather… x

  33. I read somewhere that Dolly wrote that song for Porter. The song I can take or leave, but more than anything I love the fact that however many years later, both having moved on and lives diverged, she still sings it to him. We should all have the courage to treat the important people in our pasts with that kind of respect, and to move beyond any lingering bitterness or relationship fallout to acknowledge the lasting good.

  34. As much of a rock and roll girl as I am, the most sublime moment of live music ever for me wasn’t Bono on the edge of the balcony singing Bloody Sunday, it was Ricky Scaggs belting out a Gloria a capella at Gordon College’s campus chapel about five years ago. Still gives me goosebumps thinking about it.
    Sincerity always wins.

  35. Oh, how I love Dolly. Did you know, by the way, that there’s a variety of heirloom tomato named after her? You can guess what it looks like…(I learned this from reading Barbara Kingsolver’s latest book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.)

  36. When I was a little girl living in Birmingham (this would be in the late 50s/early 60s) Porter Wagner used to come on the TeeVee every week. Dolly was only a few years older than I was, but she was, well, shall we say more “mature”? He used to call her “Little Miss Dolly Parton” if I remember right. Porter and Dolly go waaaaayyyy back.

  37. No rain in Nashville and there was no rain in Minneapolis since June until last week. We will have to mow the lawn twice in one week! Unfortunately some towns is Southern MN are now under water.Oh and global warming and the resulting weather changes are still a conspiracy of the liberal media.NOT! Also I’m liking the blanket.

  38. I can well imagine that giant sea of Rhinestones. I agree with you, Whitney aint got nothin on Dolly! Apparently I have managed to mess with my keyboard and using an apostrophe or the arrows and also the backslash makes it think I want to quick search your comments. Yeesh.

  39. Love the tomatoes, we grew heirlooms this year, and Patrick O’Brien–but not as much as that Blanket!!

  40. that’s a beauty!


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