“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Only In New York

Dear Ann,
So, there I was. Thursday night, trudging up Park Avenue in a freezing wind. Ahead of me, also trudging, a woman wearing a phantasmagoric, multicolor, full-length crocheted coat.
Well, of course I spoke to her–we’ve got a blog to put out, Missy!
I said, ‘That’s a gorgeous coat….did you make it?’
With the quiet pride of an artisan, she said, ‘Yes.’
I asked, ‘Did you DESIGN it?” (I thought there was a good chance that she had because the coat was so original. We’re talking, eat your heart out, Kaffe and Alice.)
Again, a modest ‘Yes.’
Me: “Can I take your picture?” Mind you, it was FREEZING. It was DARK. She looked like she had SOMEPLACE TO GO.
(Graciously) ‘Yes.’
So I took this very blurry photo of a forbearing craftswoman:
Xenobia.jpg
And then came the only-in-New-York part. She handed me a postcard giving the details of the exhibition of her work in a gallery uptown.
You gotta give me credit–I know a work of art when I see it!
It turns out, this gracious paragon of patience was none other than Xenobia Bailey, an actual artist, whom I had read about in magazines. (Go ahead, Google her! ) The Xenobia Bailey who imagined, and then actually made, the amazing Sistah Paradise’s Great Wall of Fire Revival Tent. That Xenobia Bailey.
Needless to say, this reporter will be making a beeline to Aaron Davis Hall. Watch this space.
Love, Kay

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Kay,star roving reporter,you have a good eye !
    Fab tent.I look forward to the report on the exhibition.Hope you get to meet the artist again.
    How’s your knitting doing ?

  2. Ah, Emma, knitting, schmitting. On my trip, I slogged through 3 of the 4 parts to the Updated Dolman from the current Interweave Knits, in substituted DBliss Cotton Denim Aran, which makes a nice sweat-shirty-cozy fabric when knit fairly tightly. Then I ran out of yarn (luckily more here at home). I fear it’s going to be too small for me, but won’t be able to tell until I sew it up and block it out. It was perfect car knitting. An easily memorizable pattern and stocking stitch all the way. Some fun casting-on of the knit-on, horizontal sleeves to keep from nodding off. I also started ‘Checker’, a little denim jacket from Tadpoles and Tiddlers, which is an overdue contribution to a silent auction from last spring (I promised ‘around Christmas’ to the winner who selected this rather complicated piece of texture stitching). I’ve gotten one sleeve done, and a good start on the back. Must stick to it, as Portly Dad Jacket and Knitalong Olive Cardi 4 Ann await me!!!! xox Kay

  3. Kay,
    Well done on recognizing true art. I`m amazed you had your camera with you. I never seem to have mine when I need it. Way to go girl!

  4. Sissel–ANN MAKES ME TAKE MY CAMERA WITH ME AT ALL TIMES. She said she read it in Martha Stewart Living, but then again she might just be messing with me. Martha’s got a lot of good ideas, but then again Martha also says you should roll up your nice holiday tablecloths in acid-free tissue paper, with no folding whatsoever, so they will be fresh and crease-free next Thanksgiving when you need them. WHAT’S UP WITH THAT????? Where do you store a 9-foot long rolled-up tablecloth? And, hello–acid-free tissue paper???? When I read this, ahem, ‘tip’, I nearly (nearly!) cancelled my subscription. But Martha is right about the camera in the pocketbook. It’s a Good Thing.
    Good to hear from you, Sissel. You could keep up with Xenobia, of that I’m sure. (I’m still wincing to recall that, before she gave me the exhibit card, I perkily announced, ‘I’m a knitter!!!’) The two of you could design Sistah Sissel’s Viking Castle or something!!! xox Kay

  5. UNfreakingBELIEVABLE, Kay. I GIVE UP. Xenobia Bailey–you just happened to run into Xenobia Bailey, in that amazing technicolor dreamcoat? And you had the presence of mind to snap a pic? Double gobsmacked. Dead brilliant.
    Sistah Paradise Great Wall of Fire Revival Tent is totally amazing. Will you get to see it? I’m having a completely covetous NYC moment.
    You have two missions: 1) Attend the exhibition and get enough dreamcoat pix so we can create our own technicolor dreamcoats. (I do, however, like the covert, blurry, Loch Nessy photo that you got. Proves that this interaction actually took place.) 2) Tell Ms. Bailey about Mason-Dixon Knitting. Tell her she can guest blog with us whenever she likes.
    And it’s true, Martha was the one exhorting me to carry my digicam at all times. As soon as I finish rolling my 9-foot tablecloth, I’ll check to see which issue it was.
    Xenobia Bailey. Too good. Cannot get over this one.
    x0x0x0xx0x0

  6. Whoa–settle down, Ann! It’s not like I ran into Ralph Fiennes, fer pete’s sake!!! xox Kay, reporting to you live from New York, where the streets are paved with famous fiber artistes

  7. I want a tent! I want a tent!
    O.k. Stop me now before I head into the bits and pieces bins down in what my husband calls “The Yarn Annex.”
    (But I do want a tent.)

  8. Ohhhhhhhhhh! Makes me miss New York. Thanks so much for acting the reporter…it’s not easy to do that AND manage to get a shot of someone you don’t know. Wish *I* could see that coat in person! And plese let us know about the exhibition. (Dying of envy here!)
    P.S. Welcome BACK! :-)

  9. Must be a NYC kismet thingy. When I was trudging from the Yarn Connection yesterday back to Penn Station (again, someone, tell me WHY I did that walk in heels, with a laptop, knitting bag, purse, and yarn purchases in the COLD??!!) to catch ye old Amtrak Acela home, I walked almost smack into a woman wearing the most beautiful long knitted coat with wool and novelty yarn. So, of course, I had to ask her if she made it. She did, her own design. But unlike intrepid Kay, I had no camera, so I can’t report on the Blog. Plus, pretty sure my lady wasn’t famous. :( Way to go Kay!

  10. I like the mysteriously blurry photo. Such an impressionistic view of the lovely coat. New York Fiber Correspondants get such good stuff! I saw a few possibly hand-knitted scarves at the Lyle Lovett concert last night, but didn’t ask, much less document. I either need a smaller camera or a bigger purse. ;)

  11. I don’t know of this lady artist (used to have a friend called Zenobia?)but it looks a great coat.
    Kay, I have been doing swatches for the Updated Dolman, trying to work out what I could substitute for original yarn. Didn’t think of DB denim aran – at the moment the front runner is some Cash Iroa (originally intended for Merlanna from Cornelia Tittle-Tattle’s Noro book, but Sharon Towe has had Problems, and if she has Problems I’m not attempting it). Will give you a progress report later…

  12. Kristine–Egads!! I was in the Yarn Connection at around 5 on Friday. I’m assuming you must have been there on Thursday. The place was hopping but surely you would have recognized me, blathering away at the YC ladies (who were NOT in a mood to be blathered at! too close to closing time!!) about Xenobia Bailey. (Of course, they know her. The YC ladies know everybody.) You may have seen Xenobia….how many funky full-length self-designed-and-made coats could there have been in such close proximity on Thursday evening? Even in this fair and funky city? xox Kay P.S. Martha would be proud. Today I used my digital camera to take photos at the birthday party of a kid whose dad had not shown up with his camera yet! We blog for the blogless and take pictures for the cameraless.

  13. Jill–remember who you’re talkin’ too. DB Cotton Denim Aran may not in fact be a good substitute for the Updated Dolman. It seemed like it was swatching out o.k., and I really, really wanted to use that yarn, so perhaps there was some wishful stitch-counting involved. I’m halfway through the last quarter, so the moment of truth is approaching. My skinny friends should start currying favor now, as this sweater may be looking for a less-ample bod to hang on once it is sewn up. MonkeyArms, are you reading this? xox Kay

  14. Kay–I think Kristine spotted Her Serene Highness Xenobia. The timing’s too close. Ha!
    Also, unrelated, I reserve the right to pull my request for the Olive cardigan and replace it with something more miserably complicated. I’m liking that Golden Gate sweater that Creating Text(iles) Anne just cooked up.
    And who’s MonkeyArms? If you’re thinking of Mason-Dixon Ann, remember that MonkeyArms are connected to OrangutanBody these days. But if you’re looking for an extra few inches, just remember that here at the Cosmetic and Aesthetic Sizing Institute we can block the bejeezus out of ANYthing, into ANY size. Send it down for some stretch therapy . . .

  15. MonkeyArms is my dear friend Pam. I have always quite vocally envied the fact that, from shoulder to elbow, among other places, Pam looks EXACTLY like Audrey Hepburn. I began calling her MonkeyArms, admiringly of course, and referring to the slenderness, not the length, of the said arms. Newly awakened to the covetability, the downright allure, of the limbs she had taken for granted all her life, she began calling herself MonkeyArms. She went on to found Skinny Arms REJOICE 2003! and has helped many other waifs come to terms with their utter lack of underarm dingle-dangle.
    I would take you up on the offer to stretch my Dolman if necessary. But it would wear my poor nerves to a frazzle waiting for the thing to pop back into shape under changing barometric conditions. Poof!–it’s raining, and I’m a sausage! So we’ll just have to see how it sews up, if and when it sews up.
    I actually enjoy a good cabley project now and then. Have never tried a ***more, but I’m game. It might be just the thing to put me over the Seasonal Affect Disorder edge in January and February. Make a modest selection and I’ll do my best. You’ve already got tons of Olive look- alikes, and I can always convert my Felted Tweed to a Harry Potter sweater. xox, Kay