Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawl is on through Sunday, September 25.

Cat Swallows Canary

Dear Ann,
I don’t know what I did to get on the angels’ good side, but it’s a very nice place to be. Great things have been landing in my lap lately. I gotta crow!
On Monday, my friend Djelo (pictured above) paid me a totally unexpected call. Djelo and I met in May 1986, in Conakry, the capital city of the Republic of Guinea. I was a lawyer then. An exceedingly wet-behind-the-ears lawyer. I went to Guinea in search of documents for a case, and for my first, breathless look at Africa.
What I found there: dusty documents, and a lifelong friend. Djelo, who worked for a Guinean shipping company, took me under her wing. She drove me all around Conakry, where little children acted like Madonna and Missy Elliott had just pulled up in a stretch limo (not something I was used to). She took me clubbing in Conakry, and a few months later, I took her to SOB’s in New York and to a snowy Thanksgiving in Nebraska (not something she was used to).
Anyhoo, 18 years on, I cannot tell you how perfectly priceless it is to spend time with anybody who remembers that I ever went dancing (on a weeknight!)at SOB’s. When I’m with Djelo, I suddenly remember how to speak French. I am so multi-culturally cool that I hardly bat an eye when she says, ‘Mais, Kay, tu as grossi…..’ because I know this is not a criticism coming from her (and also because if I want to believe her when she says, ‘Tu n’as pas vieilli du tout’, I must take the bad with the good).
As I was leaving for my afternoon with Djelo on this glorious Monday, I stopped in my tracks. There, on the table, could it be? A PACKAGE FROM ENGLAND. From EMMA. The customs declaration said, ‘KNITTED GOODS’.
I ripped it open with my teeth. The elevator came and went. Time stood still.
In the package was the gorgeous microfiber beaded bandana you see me wearing above. What better for my autumn uniform (the same dang jean jacket, every dang day) than a vibrant lace bandana (a Caryl’s Kerchief, to be precise). I have been wearing it everywhere, including to my local knitting stores, where I have to remove it for thorough examination and exclaiming-over. Thank you, dear Emma! (Emma also sent Yorkshire Tweed squares for the Afghanalong, and a copy of the Yorkshire Journal to give me further material for my Anglophile fantasy life….thank you, thank you!)
‘Tis The Gift (Part Deux)
I have been remiss in show & tell about another wonderful gift. (The reason will become clear.) Remember the amazing eyelet skirt that Benedetta made from a Knitty Summer 2003 pattern? Remember how she used recycled Rowan Denim she got by ripping out an old pullover? Well, ever since then I have been writing to Benedetta telling her how much I love the idea of beat-up recycled denim, and she has been writing back telling me how much she loves it too. At some point she disclosed that she had some of this wonderful stuff left over after making the skirt, and that she had—sob! strangled sob!– given it to her neighbor. Ben told me that she would try to swap it back. I lit a candle and hoped.
So when Benedetta showed up at the sew-up bee in September with a little bag for me, I pounced. But it was not the Neighbor’s Denim at all—it was Ben’s own Knitty skirt!
“Oh no! I couldn’t possibly, I could nevereverEVER accept such a thing,” I said, with tremendous sincerity. (All the while clutching the skirt in a death grip.) Benedetta graciously assured me that she wanted me to have it, and then slyly added that she wanted me to post a picture of me modelling it. Hence the delay…..
Benedetta, I’ve tried! But I cannot do it! Not when there’s that gorgeous picture of you wearing it> out there in cyberspace! But it is a treasure, it does fit me (let us give thanks for drawstring waists), and I swear before everybody here in Blogville that this is my now and forever Beach Attire of Choice. Benedetta also generously gave me some pure silk yarn from Italy, with which I am going to make this.
I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy, I’m SOOOOOOOOOOoooooo not worthy.
But very happy! (Canary? What canary?)
Love, Kay




  1. What a fantastic set of gifts and surprises!

  2. sharing close old friends from years gone by, makes my heart smile…..!

  3. Dear Kay,
    I think you’re very worthy! I also think that you and I should play LYS games some day soon!
    Love, Jon

  4. I love this story. Just love it! It reminds me of a Swiss friend I made in N.Y.C., where I was interning for a judge and she was taking an English class. (Almost 15 years ago, already?)
    And I must exclaim: How generous and talented is our EMMA???? Love her, too!

  5. Several things: Numero uno–Djelo! How fantastic to see yer ol’ buddy again. One of the good things about getting older (I’m working on this topic mightily these days) is that there are people who knew you Back When–to remind you of what you were like Back When because you’ve forgotten.
    Numero two–I saw that picture of you and Djelo (so great) and thought, Wow, Kay has been channeling Emma or something. That looks eggzackly like an Emma kerchief. NOT that your denim jacket needs a boost, but that tasty tidbit takes you into a new realm of cool.
    Nombre three–Ben and that skirt. I agree that Ben wearing that skirt is one of our finest blogmoments. We need these bony types around to model our efforts. I just want to point out how extraordinary it is that Ben had an Old Denim Sweater to unravel and recycle in the first place. I never even heard of denim sweaters until four years ago. I have a long way to go before I’ll be unraveling an old denim sweater–I need to make one first.

  6. I can think of a good many things you have done to get on the angels’ good side.

  7. Kay, of course you are worthy and then some!
    and if you are not going to show me a picture of you wearing the skirt, well, i’ll just have to come and abuse your hospitality again, but this time it will at the beach in the summer, so i can see for myself!
    Ann, it just shows you another bonus of getting older! aged denim – really, just how long have i been knitting?! as for boniness, i don’t really think you are in a position to make comments: you are positively scrawny!
    much love

  8. Wow, you’ve been having a great time recently. Old friends and knitted gifts ! The only problem with old friends is that when you start in on how far back you go, you remember just how old you really are …. which is practically dead according to my 6 year old. She struggles to understand how anyone survives past the age of 30. The little darling.

  9. There’s only one problem with old friends I find – and that’s that they have photographic evidence of all those horrible fashion mistakes (not to mention the strange hair dye colours!)
    Or is that just me?

  10. Sarah–Anybody who wears glasses can testify to the dreadful Parade of Eyewear that goes with a stroll through the old scrapbook. I found a 1983 photo of Hubbo and me during college, and I was stunned at How Enormous My Glasses Were. Windshields! How did they stay on my nose? Why didn’t anybody say anything to me??????????

  11. Ann, I totally forgot about the glasses!!!! I was remembering the hair, the strange clothing ensembles but forgot completely about the huge red plastic glasses. How could I????


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