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

East End, We Hardly Knew Y’all

Dear Ann,
Were you here? Was that you sleeping with the spiders at Casa Kay? Was the coffee too strong? Was the shower okay? Did you make it home all right?
Here’s your report card for this mini-leg of our Neverending Book Tour.
Ann Shayne: East End Report Card
Grooming: A-plus! You have never looked more summery and serene. (I credit the Grundy County 8-Week Cure. Sign me UP.) And you managed to achieve Perfectly Fine Hair without your ionic (iconic, ironic, whatever) hairdryer, which frankly scares me whenever you start talking about it.
Chattiness: A good solid A. You talked fully as much as I did. I believe our Combined Word Count exceeded previous levels, which nobody thought possible.
Preparation: This is bringing down your average, Ann. You forgot your camera. Wait, I need capitals for that: YOU FORGOT YOUR STINKIN’ CAMERA!!!! To borrow a phrase from your Hubbo, forgetting the AnnCam was ‘subpar’. I’m going to have to give you an incomplete. Next time, bring your camera, and I’ll restore you to a B.
I suppose that in fairness, I should give my own report card.
Kay: Honest Self Performance Evaluation
Grooming: C. This is a ‘gentleman’s C’. My whole look was irreparably dragged down by my Footwear Situation, to wit:
My foot is okay, except for the unfortunate aesthetics of the Surgical Shoe. On Monday, I was in the city for a quick tour of pediatric dental care providers. I was walking on West 3rd Street with the kids. Wearing my Merrill Flip Flops 2006. A person walking in front of me accidentally kicked a broken bottle. The bottle hit Joseph’s sneaker-clad (praise the Lord) foot and ricocheted into my left foot, painlessly gashing 2 toes. I immediately activate Mommy Mode: ‘oh tra-la, kids, I’ve got a boo-boo on my foot let’s just go to the dentist and she’ll give me a bandaid oh I feel just fine I’m definitely a-ok and can we just walk a little faster okay?’ Two doors down, my flip-flop is filling with blood at a sort of scary rate. I do not understand how a mere toe boo-boo is causing such a lot of bleeding. I look up, and (violins playing in my head) find I am standing in front of a Firehouse. I go in, as if this is a normal thing to do, and say, ‘Excuse me, my foot is bleeding do you have a first aid kit?’ Firefighter is very helpful but says the truck has just left with their first aid kit. He gives me a giant wad of Bounty paper towels (the Quicker Picker Upper–this was no time for off-brand paper towels). I swaddle my foot and limp onward for 3 blocks to the dentist’s. I pass many people. These people see a woman hobbling on a bloody paper-towel-swathed foot with two young children. They do not bat an eye. I love New York.
Long story short, I had 2 stitches in 2 of my toes, and I have to wear the dreaded Surgical Shoe for 10 days. No swimming, no bathing, no getting it wet in the shower. I was not embarrassed by the shoe itself, or even the ratty sock–I was embarrassed that it was not a handknit sock. And I call myself a knitter. Disgraceful really.
Let’s move on to the next categories, in which I promise to try harder and do better.
Chattiness: A-plus. What do you take me for? I unleashed a blue streak of solid KnitChat. No question un-answered, or even under-answered. I’m an open book. What do you want to know?
Preparation: I had the KayCam. I had the ultra-fine Sharpies. I had the Suitcase of Love, freshly pressed. I found my car keys EVERY TIME (even if it took a few minutes of going, ‘Crap, I can’t find my car keys’). So I think I get an A here too.
Let’s do some pictures shall we? It was really a great time. Made me proud to be an East End resident. The knitters out here have mad skillz and a strong sense of community.
North Fork Stitches/Cutchogue
Tuesday we went straight from the airport to the North Fork, stopping only long enough for you to raid the cooler full of steaming hot roasted corn at a roadside stand in Aquebogue. We were not prepared for the fabulously festive scene that awaited us.
The panorama of cheese. Darn GOOD cheese.
Young Jack taking orders for delicious local ciders. Note that Jack is wearing the Official Yarn Boy Polo Shirt.
It was touching, how you needed A Moment when you were reunited with the Tailgate Rug. Proving the old saying about how you can take the girl out of Grundy County, but she still loves a rag rug.
MDK rules surrounded us with inspiration. Maybe you were right: we SHOULD have called them ‘Profound Truths’ instead of merely ‘Rules’.
North Fork Stitches’ customers are some knitting FOOLS. Look at this amazing Elsebeth Lavold cardigan, modelled by the lovely lady who knitted it, and whose name I didn’t write down!!! (Ellen? Helen? Betsy? Am I even close?) What amazed me most was the finishing, which I do believe would pass inspection by Becky herself. Grosgrain ribbon buttonband reinforcement, with machine-sewn BUTTONHOLES—that’s what I’m TALKIN’ about.
Go ahead, look at the back. Perfect fit. Sumptuous yarn (Debbie Bliss Cashmerino). Yum. YUM. North Fork Stitches had the sublime, but it also had:
….the Ridiculous. This is a Baby’s First Birthday hat. I still haven’t figured out why the store calls it the ‘Weenie Hat’. What is that all about?
After a dee-vine evening of laffs with a great crowd of Forkers of the North and South persuasions, we just HAD to stop by the Modern Snack Bar. It just felt like the thing to do.
Thank you, Jamie, Jack, Jack, Beatrice, Doris, Carol and EVERYBODY at North Fork Stitches. I cannot believe that the East End has such a fabulous full-service yarn store now, thanks to you. Well worth a detour, and be sure to stop for some roasted corn.
By way of introduction, let me just say that Southampton is a town with a history. Its history is that it was founded in 1640 by brave folks who sailed down from Massachusetts, which hadn’t been settled for very long itself. The descendants of those hardy settlers are alive and well. Being from Nebraska, and having no idea where my forbears were in 1640, other than that they were not in Massachusetts or Long Island, when I am in Southampton, I try to keep a low, respectful profile. If I had a bumper sticker, it would say, ‘Just Happy To Be Here.’ So imagine the inutterable THRILL for me of getting to sit and knit in the Southampton Historical Museum, at an event sponsored by the Rogers Memorial Library. I’m not kidding. I can’t believe our good fortune. This explains why I took a lot of pictures when we were setting up. In the MUSEUM y’all!!!! Get OUT!!!!!! We’re setting up the handknits in the MUSEUM!!!!!
Look at the beautiful room.
This guy was Not Amused by the Suitcase of Love. I was getting this Scooby Doo vibe off him. (And because I know people will ask: YES, this portrait was the inspiration for the Baby Bib o’ Love. Original name: Puritan Bib o’ Self Denial.)
More Poetic Scenes of Ann. (If only you’d had the AnnCam, we could have Poetic Scenes of Kay. Alas.)
While waiting for the audience to show up, you finished a sock. Rilly! You just sat there and Kitchenered that toe. (Matisse would have loved the shawl.)
Once the audience came, I forgot all about my camera. We had such a fun time. It was the best kind of knitterly gathering. Knitters of all ages and backgrounds, local book-lovers who were curious to see what a couple of knitting-book authors could possibly have to say, out-of-town knitters dropping in for a fix—really a lively, fun bunch.
I managed to capture a picture of lovely Joan, our youngest knitter in attendance. Joan is 16, and MAD MAD MAD about knitting. I tried to talk her into knitting that Rowan “Arlen” Ball Gown–in Kid Silk Haze and Kid Silk Night, for prom–wouldn’t that be awesome? We’ll see! (C’mon Joan! We’ll help ya!)
I’ve been coming out here in all seasons for the past 16 years–suddenly I feel (almost!) local. Thanks, Southampton!




  1. Well! How lovely the whole tour was and I thank you for it. For those of us who live out in the sticks, away from more civilized areas that have yarn shops, this is as good as it gets for tours. Seriously. So thanks and keep up the good work.

  2. Oh your poor foot! Other than that tragedy everything else sounds like fun, fun, fun.

  3. And I am VERY sorry about your foot! May you have a speedy recovery.

  4. Holy crap I’m so sorry about your foot!! That’s awful! On the other hand it really opens the door to some knitting possiblities; boot cover, better sockiness, that sort of thing.

  5. Take care of that tootsie, my dear. It looks so forlorn in that little bandage!
    P.S. I hope that girl knits the ball gown for her prom. Man, I would so totally curtsy to her for doing that.

  6. So sorry to hear about the foot… we have had some stitches of our own here lately, perhaps they are catching? Sounds like a good time was had by all!

  7. thank heavens you didn’t gush blood on a handknit sock….perish the thought! heal, babe….

  8. Not only might you have gushed blood on to a handknit sock – it could have been gashed too! Hardly bears thinking about……

  9. So when are you coming to Westchester? We have a North & South too!

  10. Miss y’all!! I hope your toesies get better! Definitely handknit yourself a bandage, though. It will look tres chic inside the Boot of Self-Denial.
    Looks like a very fun and picturesque gathering. Wish I could have been there.

  11. Wow! What a wonderful post. I couldn’t smell the ocean or taste the food… but everything else was fabulous! What fun… do other authors have as much fun as you?
    So sorry about your foot… major bummer! You are a trooper though. In Indiana people would have stopped and tried to help you. Of course, I would have fainted at the site of all the blood and you would have been trying to help me.

  12. I totally get that you weren’t in a handknit sock, I mean, the blood, mixing with the varigeited (how DO you spell that word) it would be even scarier. But we’ll have to talk to FDNY about sending out the only first aid kit in such an emergency laden time!
    Heal fast.

  13. Hope your footie feels better, sure looks like you girls had a blast!

  14. Oh,foot ! Poor,poor foot. Pleased to see you stoically continued with the knitting tour.
    Take care of the toes,dear one.
    p.s. Ann,you look so lovely,sutting,knitting your sock,in your gorgeous silk shawl.

  15. Hope you’re on the mend soon!
    I just have to tell you, I got your book today and I. Am. In. Love. With. Ya’ll.
    Love! Not the stalking kind, promise.

  16. Ann — I am so glad you were Kitchenering your sock I had been so stressed about bringing my sock instead of a MD project.
    And I think that together you can convince Joan to do the dress she really really wants to do it – I can’t believe I picked her name twice and her mom’s name once for the raffle out of all the tickets – it was meant to be.
    Kay – Your poor toe – hope it is feeling better…
    I absolutely must make the hand towels now that I have held one and felt it – but I am having trouble finding the Euroflax for it.
    We all had so much fun – I hope you enjoyed it as much as the audience did. We are a loud group once the official part stopped aren’t we heheheh.

  17. Seeing Ann working on that sock from a Ziplock warmed my heart. For I too am working on a sock from a ziplock. I feel silly taking it to knitting meetings, but it fits it’s purpose, cheaply might I add!

  18. At least you didn’t bleed all over a handknit sock!!!!

  19. Hope the foot’s feeling better! Miss you!!!!

  20. Sounds/looks like a lovely tour. It would be fun to see the knitting in person, hear about the knitting etc. So when is the West Coast tour? Like in Oregon. We have a city in the North– Portland. We have a city in the middle– Eugene. We have smaller towns in the South. And we have yarn stores in many locations in between. We read Mason Dixon Knitting here too.
    Until then I’ll just keep checking the blog.

  21. why couldn’t these sort of events happened when i actually *lived* (as a full-year resident) out there?! (i grew up in east quogue, since college i’m a brooklyn girl, my mum now lives in aquebogue just past the farm stand you stopped at)
    wishes for a speedy and complete recovery of your toe.

  22. I have to have the pattern for that hat! Where, pray tell?

  23. Ouch – your poor foot! Once I slipped out of my thong, um, darn, flip flop (sorry, I’m an Aussie) and cut the inside of my foot on a piece of glass and jeepers did it bleed. I’m feeling for ya!

  24. aint new yorkers grand?
    i mean really, my southernness and sensibility and all would have come to the forefront over my two decades in the CITY and stopped to see if you needed help… i mean.. bleeding and with two kids!?
    the tour continues to sound great!

  25. Dearest Kay,
    Do not, I repeat: do NOT diss the ionic hair dryer again, or I shall be forced to take a slow train from Washington and batter you about the head and shoulders with my own beloved ionic hairdryer. (And since I cut all my hair off a month ago, that would be the most action my ionic hairdryer has seen in a while.)
    Sorry about the boo-boo on your toesies! Heal well and heal quickly.
    Love, Wendy

  26. “Scooby-Do vibe”, snortguffaw!

  27. I followed your link to Becky (wanted to see the finishing fanatic) and that link led me to this:
    Nothing at all to do with knitting, but totally hilarious. (Do not visit this site if you don’t have a significant chunk of time to waste!)
    Cannot wrap my head around the concept that you can buy ROASTED corn on the roadside. Here in Ohio, it’s the raw, unshucked variety or nuthin’.

  28. Any other 41 year olds out there who belly laughed at the “Scooby Doo vibe” comment? I can always count on a good laugh from your blog.Thanks!

  29. Personally I think any sort of knitted prom/ball/wedding gown is a mistake, but what I really saw when I first looked at that picture was the hair. Looks like Vincent from Project Runway got to choose the styling for that.

  30. Scooby dooby doo! Now that we (as in gang of university friends) are all old and settled (!) we no longer have to take it in turns to hire a transit van and ‘move’ one of us every now and then. Which means that we haven’t pretended to be Daphne, Velma, Scooby etc. in the back of the Mystery Machine (along with varying belongings) for quite a while now….
    Ballgown – all very well, but a bit warmish for party wear? Bit woolly?
    I think you should sit with your foot up and be waited on, at least whilst you have to wear the unsightly boot. You can drape a fetching silk scarf over it… x x

  31. Yes, my first thought (well, after “Your poor foot!” and the chuckle at the Mommy-mode “Tra La” to lessen the emotional trauma of the kids) was that it would have been worse if you’d been wearing handknit socks. What if they’d been damaged? What if they’d been so badly stained you could never get them clean? If you’re going to get your foot sliced open by a kicked bottle, then “ratty” is exactly the kind of sock you want on that foot.

  32. Poor little foot! Brave you!
    And please, does someone, anyone, know what book that Lavold cardie came out of? I’m in love with it…..

  33. Never mind, I found it, it’s Zarah, from Embraceable You. Yay!

  34. Ooh, we love the Rowan ball gown at my LYS! Sure, it would cost a ton for the yarn (but good ball gowns OUGHT to be $400 anyway, right?), and possibly take forever to knit (because we all love to knit, that’s the important thing!), but it would be The Most Fabulous Ballgown Ever. You might not be able to wear it to an actual ball or prom, because once you start to “glisten”, the mohair could become unpleasant, but who cares? YOU KNITTED A BALL GOWN! The project to end all projects!
    I just hope her prom is NEXT year, not this year. Heh.

  35. Love that beautiful Elsbeth Lavold jacket. Puritans just wanted to have fun ..somehow I guess .I can’t imagine not being allowed colour ,now that is a sin .

  36. Hello,
    I believe you will have 4 Hefty bags of tossables after your cleaning spree.
    Love your blog,
    Teresa Simpson
    Eau Claire, WI

  37. I have loved knitting for only a short period of time, and I was so pleased to have come across your book. Your writing touches my funny bone and makes me feel I have sat in your kitchen before drinking coffee and sharing stories. I find your work even more enjoyable as there are no knit shops in my area (Abilene, Texas). There are sheep in every direction, but no knit shops! I am always looking for a kindred spirit to share my obsession with. But we are few and far between here. Thank you for taking the time from your busy life to write down and share with the rest of us your wonderful insights and clever patterns. If you come down this way, please email and let me know. I won’t pass it up.


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