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Stuff I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You

Dear Ann,
There’s just loads of stuff going on here. For example, Cin won the Wacky Baby Knits contest. Come on down, Cin! Send me your snail mail, and before long, the cute-o-meter of your life is going to be off the charts.
In other news, I went to England. Now I’m back. It was kind of a last-minute mission. Of course there was knitting tourism along the way, and even some destination-worthy needlepoint cushions. But more about that, another time.
Knitamatography Master Class
There is great news for all of you knitters out in Minnesota who are tired of burning your fingers on the flash cubes that pop offa your Kodak Instamatic whenever you try to snap a shot of your beautiful knitting. Help. Is on. The way. Gale is going to be spilling all her secrets of photographing knitting and maybe even some of her secrets of photographing other (obviously less interesting) visual aspects of life. Gale will be making her debut on July 23 and 24, in two upcoming workshops at The Yarnery, in St. Paul, Minnesota. This is one of our favorite yarn shops in the whole world, where they sing crazy made-up songs about visiting knitting book authors. Details can be found on Gale’s blog. Time’s a-wastin’!
No Knitting Content, But DANG
Here’s where I spent a recent afternoon. Photography was not allowed, but that’s OK because these treasures are so astonishing that I wouldn’t want to spoil the gasp of surprise for anyone who sees them for the first time. Mind you, I am not a big fan of jewelry, old or new. I would rather look at a textile, or a painting, than something bedazzly, you know? But these pieces–particularly the first-century gold found in the graves of nomads– knocked me for a loop. Handcrafted, ancient yet inexplicably modern, and somehow, emotionally moving. Hundreds of delicate amulets that were once sewn onto clothing that disintegrated into the earth. The story of their discovery, and the fact that they survived the chaos that gripped Afghanistan in the years since, is nothing short of miraculous. Ann, you gotta get up here and see this. Bring your knitting.




  1. Kay —
    Can’t wait to hear about the needlepoint cushions. I’m a real fan of the Elizabeth Bradley kits — and her books. Also love the stuff from Ehrman. What did you get? I’ll be checking back for an update!
    Laura in Indiana

  2. gee, i thought minnesota was out of instamatic flash cubes! they lied to me at the Rexall Drugstore! My friend Ernie was recently in Enguh-land…did you see him? He was at Leeds Castle, the Tower Bridge, Tower of London, the Thames, Princess Di Mem. Fountain, Globe How ’bout at Royal Albert Hall? hmmm, well, if not, I did get a post card from the Queen saying she told Ernie she wants to meet me for tea…did she ask about me when you were there? Welcome home! lol Jodie in ND

  3. I like my film camera, no matter how many of my teenage daughter’s friends laugh at me!;)

  4. I saw the Afghanistan exhibit recently in San Francisco before it left for… New York apparently! I agree, such a wonderful exhibit. I felt so special, being able to see these precious relics previously kept under lock and key. Glad you enjoyed it too!

  5. Glad you are back. Don’t try to get Kodachrome for that camera. They are finally giving it up. New lawyer in our office so young she didn’t know what it is. Sad but true. You would temp us with wonderful textiles. I know where a really good Afghan restaurant is in Rosslyn VA to match the exhibit.

  6. Am I the only one bothered by the fact that they dig up graves and take what was buried with the people and then call them artifacts???

  7. For those of us who can’t make it to NY (or England, sigh) this summer, be sure to click on the National Geographic link from the Met page Kay links to. It has a really cool interactive website about the Afghanistan exhibit ( if you want to go direct). The history of Central Asia is so obscure to most of us and we tend to think of that time period in colorless statuary. The Begram glassware in particular is so strikingly colorful and “modern” looking. Thanks for sharing, Kay!

  8. Must comment on the snippet about the uniform project! Great idea, and now I am trying to think of an accessory to donate.
    And any picture of a camera these days makes me start singing Kodachrome by Paul Simon. sigh.

  9. NJJK: I do feel a little guilty about the origin of certain kinds of artifacts, especially mummies. Those were real people once. However, I also enjoy looking at museum exhibits, and we do learn a lot about our human past from archeological research. I reconcile the problem by being very respectful in the museum, as if I were at a wake, and saying a little prayer for the dead person. I also plan on being cremated so no one rifles my grave in a few centuries. 🙂

  10. Knitamatography?! Why couldn’t I think of that?!!
    ps does anyone else remember freshly popped flash cubes as smelling like cinnamon?

  11. Argh! People! Stop talking about Gale’s knit photography classes! I will be camping on the North Shore those days so I can’t go! And it burns my biscuits to miss it! Help, I can’t stop with the exclamation points!

  12. I want to take that class! Alas, California is SO far away… Which I guess means the Met is out of the picture, too, but wow, what an exhibit…

  13. I saw the Afghan exhibit at MFAHouston, where it was a wonder. The intrinsic sheen of gold and gems, eh?

  14. Dear Kay…can you tell me where in NYC the Afghanistan exhibit is appearing? I would like to try to see it when we visit the city in late August…I spent my growing up years “around the corner” from Kodak Park in Rochester, NY…such Kodachrome memories…the BEST of days…nice to have you back!!

  15. My grandfather still has film for an Instamatic. Even though he doesn’t own one anymore and I’ve pointed out to him that I don’t think they can even process the film anymore (with a date stamp of 1974 on the side of the box) but he just can’t bring himself to take it out of the refrigerator and throw it away.
    And remember the flat long ones? Yeah, he has that film too.

  16. I’ve always been bad at loading film cameras. I have to tell myself that it is my skill rather than the very shoddy cameras I used that resulted in my poor picture results (I mean, really poor… like entire rolls coming out black).
    I wish I could go and take this workshop, but MN is like another world away!

  17. Oh yes, I took a day off work to see it in DC w/ hubby after school started last fall. Then I started a little discussion on the archeology group on ravelry about the belt that looks for all the world like knitted gold wire. Made my heart beat fast!

  18. I’ll have to go to the exhibit- it sounds fabulous. Wow, does the Kodachrome bring back memories- my dad worked for Kodak and met my mother at a film spooling machine. We used to get tons of free film and experimental flashcubes. And free vitamins…

  19. you went to london without us
    not even a note so we wont worry
    i take the i knit london newsletter
    they are always up to something
    and you too it would seem
    good for cin

  20. Where did you get my childhood camera??

  21. So glad you got to see Treasures from Afghanistan! How about the crazy, real story about how some of the objects were thought lost forever and then found a few years ago in those locked safes in the basement of the presidential palace in Kabul. We loved the exhibit when here in San Francisco. afghans for Afghans had a good time having “tea and knitting” sessions in the museum on the four free family days. Chris from Imagiknits generously taught knitting to the many visitors. The rest of us knitted away in public and showed slides of Afghans wearing our knit gifts. We invited some of our Afghan-American and relief-agency friends to join us in visiting with the public. Can I put a link in here? I’ll try …
    Knitting and tea during Treasures in San Francisco
    The show’s really in the King Tut blockbuster category. Let’s hope that one day the treasures will be back home, safely at their own national museum when Afghanistan is more stable for people and things. And, one day, this history will be a part of the school curriculum for all the girls and boys in Afghanistan. After NYC, the exhibit visits Canada. And, yes, the National Geographic links contain a lot of good material (video too) for everyone to see. The Khaled Hosseini-narrated movie is also shown on public tv here and there. Sorry to go on and on … sounds as if I am part of the Afghan Embassy staff or something … I just feel it’s so important that we all know about some of the beauty and cultural heritage from that region, since mostly the current news is not so good.

  22. Wow! My older cousins Tony and Harry (no, they’re not twins) got me an Instamatic Camera for the Christmas I was 10 years old (they gave grandma a Teflon frying pan). But I didn’t have long fingernails, or anything, like in the picture.
    How come those hand models never bite their nails, or have raggedy looking cuticles? Knit on, anyway!

  23. Photographing for knitting – Does this involve “knit styling”? I just saw a show on the food network about food styling – for photographing food so it looks fabulous. I hope knit styling does not involve spraying on WD-40 and using blow torches.

  24. I had an Instamatic! Loved it! Kids these days don’t know what they’re missing, although I now love my Cybershot. I was thinking just a couple of days ago that I wished I knew how to photograph my knitting because I was trying to update my Ravelry pages and no picture came out as nice as I wanted. Anyway, I’m in New Mexico and I won’t have time or money to spare the end of July to go. I did look at miles and flights and it just won’t work. I truly hope the class will be offered again, maybe somewhere closer, but at least AGAIN so I can go.

  25. Thanks for the link to the exhibit- wow!
    I had a later incarnation of that camera- the X-15 I believe, with “magicube’ flash bulbs. Had that thing through the 80s. Slowly crawling up the tech ladder; I hope to get a digital camera this year.

  26. Thanks for the link to the exhibit- wow!
    I had a later incarnation of that camera- the X-15 I believe, with “magicube’ flash bulbs. Had that thing through the 80s. Slowly crawling up the tech ladder; I hope to get a digital camera this year.

    will get you to an exhibition guide where you can see photos of the amulets sewn on clothing, for us who are very curious, but not willing to get on a plane to go see…

    will get you to an exhibition guide where you can see photos of the amulets sewn on clothing, for us who are very curious, but not willing to get on a plane to go see…

    will get you to an exhibition guide where you can see photos of the amulets sewn on clothing, for us who are very curious, but not willing to get on a plane to go see…

  30. I saw the Afghanistan exhibit in DC, and it was so amazing that we spent most of the afternoon there.

  31. Re: Uniform Project:
    My favorite thing about stay-at-home momming is the wardrobe – jeans, jeans, jeans! Two pair of Levi’s 501, one is usually laid up for repairs until the other breaks somehow and I rotate.
    BUT, wanted to say, I found the Little Brown Dress project pretty interesting a few years ago, someone who wore the same dress all year (without daily alterations):
    I also had a college classmate who did a project about wearing the exact same jeans, t-shirt, belt, etc. for a year. Her project was a senior thesis to complete her BA in art. She had what seemed to be a bizarre spin that it was about celebrity and how celebrity was created (like if she had this static image including all the same clothes every day, somehow she would be more recognizable…?) By the end of the year, she was wearing t-shirts of herself wearing the outfit. Whack-y-ola.
    Just had to share because of the sidebar.
    Will try to make it to the Met, thanks for the heads-up.

  32. Ok, apparently the crazy art kid from my college went on to become an adjunct professor at our alma mater and is still obsessing over her self-image, to the tune of hooking a rug as a nude self-portrait.

  33. Seen the movie The Kite Runner yet? (I’m guessin’ you have.) Beautifully done and lovely images from Afghanistan as well. After watching it, I had to read the book. (It’s excellent too – and guess what? It’s a slightly different ending – same finale, but different road to it. Worth the read.) His second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is likewise brilliant. Get the tissue box handy if you read it.

  34. So glad that nail fashion has changed; those nails would now be considered lethal wepons, and not allowed on airplanes, public museums, or near small children….

  35. So glad that nail fashion has changed; those nails would now be considered lethal wepons, and not allowed on airplanes, public museums, or near small children….

  36. Just got Rowan 46!


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