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

Scenes From a Knitting Party

Dear Ann,
Today is one of those busy Mondays but I had to throw on the blog some pictures of Saturday’s doings in beautiful downtown Andes, New York. Andes is a bit off the beaten track. Remember that TV show Northern Exposure? The one where the moose strolled down the middle of the street during the opening credits? That could totally happen in Andes. Andes is unspoiled, yet it has good coffee. Hard to find that combination. And when you see a building in Andes that is kinda lean-y? Rest assured that it’s because they like it that way. Because when the citizenry of Andes wants to beautify something, they get busy and BEAUTIFY it. (I’m not saying whose house, but somebody’s porch decorations for Christmas included mini-chandeliers. I’m not saying it’s the house where we shot our book. I’m just saying: chandeliers.)
Where to get the good coffee: The Slow Down Cafe. (Slowing Down is mandatory at the Slow Down; there is none of this vulgar barking-your-latte-order business in Andes.) The owner/chef of the Slow Down is Rosalie, who, by sheer nutty, knitty coincidence….
…raises alpacas and has their fleece spun into amazing, perfect yarn. Rosalie’s alpaca flock/herd/cotillion is a regular soap opera, but they produce beautiful fiber. I begged Rosalie to let me know when she goes commercial with this yarn. I’ll keep on it.
The Host Wore Handknit
Mercantile’s co-owner, Lee, went so far as to wear a handknit to the party. Now, Lee is not a knitter. I think he was expecting that at a gathering of knitters, there would be ancient rites and rituals, perhaps the wearing of the Secret Apron or something. He may have been disappointed in this regard. The knitters showed up, looking otherwise normal, sat down, knitted and yakked. You know–the usual procedure? What we knitters call A Rollicking Good Time? Afterwards I heard Lee describing it to Rick on the phone, with some wonderment, ‘Well, at first nobody was there but me, Eva and Kay, and I was freaking out that nobody was going to come, then they all came and they sat and knitted and it was great.” Which just about sums it up. We sat. We knitted. It was great.
Our hostess, Eva, Mercantile’s sole employee. Eva can turn out the handknits like crazy. Her only problem is she needs the patterns to be in Danish. So imagine my glee when she unfurled a Moderne Log Cabin! Proving that even if you only knit in Danish, you can knit the Moderne. Eva’s color sense is amazing, as is her strength to churn the garter stitch. She’s not even winded and she’s more than halfway through.
Partial view of table.
The Dude Knitters of America sent a representative. Gerry claims to be a newby but had an impressively cabled scarf on the needles. Gerry is involved with the Roxbury Arts Group and told of its tantalizing line-up of felting classes with Jill Kline, coming up this winter. Git on it, Catskills knitters!
We went nuts when this baby looked in the window. Since we were in Andes, it is likely that this baby was strolling on her own. Just out for a walk and a look-around. She stared for a long time, very solemnly taking in her first knitting party.
An ordinary hat, you say?
Not hardly–for the North Country, you need a lining.
Look! A Vintage Velvet, worn in the French Manner! I had mine on too. Also in the French Manner. Jinks–buy me a Coke.
Anyhoo, must get out and make my rounds. Knitters of the Catskills, I did not collect your links so feel free to send them to me and I’ll post them!
Love, Kay




  1. That dude is welcome at my knittin’ party anytime!

  2. It looks and sounds like you had a lovely time! Knitting with others is almost always more fun than the solitude of knitting alone…it is motivating to see others’ accomplishments. I sat with a group of 8 ladies knitting rectangles for a Warm Up America afghan on Saturday. Even though the results don’t have a WOW factor or “what pattern is that?”, we had a great time chatting and working on a common project. I’d recommend it to all!

  3. Love the small towns – the picture of the baby in the window is too funny! It reminds me of visiting Talkeetna, Alaska (which I think is what Northern Exposure is actually based on). We spent 2 nights there, and at dinner on the second night in one of the two restaurants, we already knew everyone else there. That just doesn’t happen in many places… it’s nice to get away somewhere like that every once in a while! 🙂

  4. Okay- next time, i’m comin’. and that’s a promise. love the photos of Andes!

  5. I. Am. So. Jealous. Seriously, I’m loadin’ up the truck and movin’ to Andes. So beautiful! So much knitting to be done! And the Slow Down Cafe looks like my kind of place.

  6. That is one serious lining! I am impressed. Knitting in the Catskills looks like a grand time.

  7. Patterns in Danish only? A somewhat weird choice but if you need any help, let me know.

  8. heavenly “moderne”…..made me all misty-eyed!

  9. HEY! My sister and I used to play the “Jinx you owe me a Coke” game all the time. It has been awhile since I heard anyone say that! Good times….. I am on a knitting TIME OUT- horror of all horrors- Carpal tunnel symptoms have me in a splint with doctors orders not to knit for 2 weeks. Please think happy thoughts for me!

  10. I grew up in the Catskills (near Monticello) and miss it so much. Visiting there is like going back in time! Winters there are so gorgeous! I’m glad that you had a good time!

  11. Your photos of Andes make me want to put a “For Sale!” sign in my yard. What a great place. I don’t want to visit there, I want to live there. And that yarn! Oh YUMMMMMMMMMM.

  12. What a wonderful day of knitting. Makes you want to move to Andes and set up house. That’s the way to live. Although the hat with the lining…. pretty cold… hmmmm. Let me think this through. Maybe for the spring/summer/fall.

  13. Lee’s sweater reminds of one from that Sesame St. segment – I bet you’ve seen it – that follows the yarn from sheep to the mom measuring her two daughters then turning out two similar but diferent sweaters for them. Remember that?

  14. Are all the men in Andes as handsome as Gerry and Lee? Nice eye candy.
    Oh, yeah, where are my manners… Great knitting, too!

  15. The colors of the wall! The lamp behind Gerry! My goodness this looks like a page from “Catskills Country Style” (Gross/Daley) – wish I had been there!

  16. Oh Kay, mom had a great time Saturday. Even though she didn’t bring her knitting (yes, I chastised her for that)she loved meeting you and watching everyone else. I do miss those small little upstate towns (just not the cold). Maybe you will go back this summer while I am up visiting family?

  17. Is the Vintage Velvet some famous pattern I don’t know about??? It looks gorgeous!

  18. Gerry looks just like the Cantor at the temple where I grew up. How wierd is that? So sorry I missed it.

  19. I LOVE the 4H Calendar! Did I ever tell you that I was once President of the Happy Homemakers 4H Club of DuPage County? Two years in a row–that’s right, re-elected to office. (That was in the mid-sixties, but from the the looks of that calendar, not much had changed since 1950.) Andes looks like a wonderful place.

  20. I need to move north.

  21. I love the part about the “dudeknitter” there should be more dudeknitter’s everywhere! My hubby never would- my Dad would’ve! That cabled scarf didn’t look “newbie” to me, but hey maybe he’s just gifted.

  22. So, I am trying desperately to knit with people in my area (northern california-vacaville specifically) and I am having a hard time finding any groups in my area. I attended one at the local library, but was very turned off by the air of superiority some people had that evening. It seems that the people that read and post on this website are of similar humor and pretty durn hip. Is there anyone who might like to try and start something….knitting that is!?

  23. Your fotos make me miss my small Up North hometown somethin’ fierce, Kay. Lucky you to be able to have a knitting party in such a nifty spot!

  24. I went to college in Oneonta, and I used to go through Andes all the time (slowly, of course). I miss the relaxed pace and the friendliness, but I don’t think I miss all the snow.
    Great photos! But none of you?

  25. A community with free-range babies! Where do I sign up?

  26. Vintage Velvet is the best — I just finished mine a couple of weeks ago and it is luscious. Everyone looks like they are having such a good time!

  27. So Kay are you an honorary member of the Andes Tourism Board already? If not, they need to swear you in and vest you with all the regalia, quick, because you’ve got me hankering for the Catskills!

  28. That DOES sound like a rollicking good time! I love all the photos of handknits. I’d compliment each one, but please take me at my word. Lovin on the handknits.

  29. I read a review in Jan/Feb 2007 Fiberarts last night at knitting night at the bookstore. I cannot tell you if the review was good or bad because it detailed what would be included in the next up and coming travelling musuem show of Gee’s Bend Quilts focusing on the architecture and patterns taken frome very day life and many quilts made of work clothes! Some famous knitters once said – “you know, you can knit those quilts.”

  30. Sounds like a good time was had by all!! Love that alpaca!

  31. Boy oh boy, look what happens when I stay away for a few weeks!!!! How the heck did this happen the one time I wasn’t around? I live in Bovina Center (next door to Andes) I buy my linden soap from Eva, and I’ve been searching for a knitting get together up in these parts for ages! Boo hoo, how I would’ve liked to be there! I’m thinking of hosting knitting get-togethers next summer on my new sunporch… we need more of these up in these sometimes lonely hills. Hope you might contact me if you do this again! cheers,


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