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The Crossroads of the Universe

Dear Kay,
Oh, sure, you’re up there in the crossroads of the universe, with every Sally, Sissy, and Sue who comes through New York City calling you up for a pint of coffee with ya.
Well, Nashville is a crossroads, too, you know. Grant writers LOVE coming to Nashville–the place is just rotten with ’em. Those grant writers just can’t wait until it’s time for an Association of Grant Professionals throwdown–they pack up the Power Points, sharpen their pencils, and head to Music City for a few days of wild and crazy nonprofit fundraising strategizin’.
Fortunately for me, Larissa Brown is one of those nutty grant-writing experts who came to town from Portland, Oregon. Which meant I got to hang out with her on Friday after she finished her talk.
She is more familiar to us online knitting types as the author of the blog Stitch Marker. Larissa ought to have three heads, because she is not only a granty expert, she is an artist as well the author of a forthcoming book. She and her husband Martin (Pause. Imagine writing a book with OUR spouses. Chew on that one for a minute.) are at work on a book about knitalongs and community knitting.
At the moment Larissa is at work cooking up a knitalong for the book. Here’s the Knitty piece she wrote about the hats she is encouraging folks to knit. Go poke around her blog, knit a hat. There’s so much to see over there.
I find all this fascinating. Larissa is one of those people whose boundless creativity is inspiring to me. Her art uses office supplies as the material; she does things like make quilts out of people’s Day Timer pages. Hmph. Love that.
I don’t know how Larissa got through her conference without her name badge, which I just found in the bottom of the Mom Bomb. I’ve been wearing it around town, and people keep stopping me, asking how I can get Bill Gates to fund their cat rescue program.
I keep forgetting to take photos at the library knitting circle, but here are a couple of highlights of what is turning out to be a very cool be-in for middle Tennessee’s knitting fanatics.
Mamsey! (say it Mumsey and you’ll have it!) Mamsey finished her first hat. Mamsey is in Nashville with her husband who is part of our church’s sabbatical priest program. All the way from Johannesburg, South Africa. Imagine her surprise at ending up in a room full of Nashville knitters, learning to decrease.
Francie Owens, of mitered polymer clay fame, has taken to messing with thrift store sweaters. I think this bag takes the prize as Best Adaptive Reuse of a Sweater That Ought Never to Have Been Made in the First Place. Very cool! She says she got the instructions off the Web someplace. If she tells me where, I’ll pass that along.




  1. OOOHHHHHH the bag is soo purty! Please do share info about it when it becomes available!!!

  2. Way cool. I signed up yesterday for Larissa’s KAL. A thinking cap to think about.

  3. I have a beautiful shrunken thrift store sweater here, and feel myself slipping down the slippery “do things with shrunken thrift store sweater” slope.
    I didn’t know there even were professional grant writers. I sure learn a lot coming to this here knitting blog! Irons, perfume, grant-writing….

  4. is that Larissa Brown of Blogging Baby fame?
    Is the internet that small?

  5. Francie’s sweater tote turned out great! Here is a set of online instructions that I’ve used for a felted sweater tote:

  6. Yes, Meg, that’s me! I really ought to have about 7 heads. I didn’t want to confuse Ann by trying to tell her about everything. It’s too much for a first date. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Oh, and Ann I was so sorry to be going around without a name badge for the rest of the conference. You can only imagine how nice it was for no one to know I was me. Sigh of happiness.
    And I LOVE that bag. I posted a tutorial on sweater bags a while ago too, in case anyone wants another option:

  8. I too have a sweater that wants to be a purse/tote. The book Alterknit also has directions for making a felted bag out of an old sweater, as well as a pattern for knitting a screen door. (also on the to knit list).

  9. Well done Larissa. There should have been more knitting talk going on at BB. I have an intense co-dependant love/hate relationship with that site. I remember when your husband filled in for you. You both are pretty durn funny.
    Anyways, you’re a grant writer? I’m taking a grant writing course next semester. Hopefully it will be productive.
    How funny that you show up over here, what a small neighborhood this knitting community is!

  10. Thanks for the links to Larissa’s art and blog. I must investigate further.

  11. Beth and Patricia are both right about the pattern for the recycled sweater tote. Here is the link to the article again: http://www.canadianliving.com/Canadianliving/client/en/Crafts/DetailNews.asp?idNews=233920&idSm=306
    A longer version is in the book Alterknits. I was inspired to go in search of 100% wool sweaters after seeing a red sweater bag tote at the October Nashville Library meeting. Unfortunately, I paid more attention to the tote than to the identity of the knitter who made it. You know who you are – thank you for the inspiration. I went to the Goodwill store and bought 12 sweaters and shrunk them all. So I have 11 more sweaters waiting to be transformed. Thanks for starting the Nashville Library knitting group. I really enjoy coming.

  12. Thanks! Now I know I am meant to be a “meat head”!

  13. Dear Ann,
    I don’t know how to put this to you, so I’ll just say it: Hubby has been asking for a chapter in our next book. He has been cooking up a kick-ass photo essay on Medicaid Regulation in New York State. It’s HIL-arious and really great to knit to.
    Hope this is okay.
    Xtremely jealous about all the knitting action going on in Nashville. And have you noticed that Francie is FOREVER MITERING things even if they are not mitery in their natural state? Should we be concerned? xoxo Kay
    Love, Kay

  14. Love Francie’s bag (and get many many compliments on my pin that I bought from her)and the hat link.
    Thanks, grant writing is way better than Danielle Steele perfume…….

  15. Wasn’t there something about re-purposing bad sweaters in Knitty?? Maybe frankenknits????

  16. Love the bag! Way, way better as a bag than as a sweater.

  17. Write a book with MY spouse?! Well, you can write a book with my spouse if you want, but there’s no way I’m going there. It doesn’t bear thinking about.


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