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

Sweet Sassy What?

Dear Ann,
Sometimes I think you’re a regular person, who talks, you know, regular? Then you say something like “sweet sassy molassy.” What are we, moseying now? Land o’ Goshen! Sakes alive! Whatever!
Anyway, I’m back from Omaha (where people mostly talk regular, except for drinking pop and carrying groceries in sacks and calling that lid on the house a ‘ruff’). All is well in Omaha. One highlight was a fambly block party in honor of a young cousin’s high school graduation. The entertainment at this righteous affair included this:
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And this:
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Yes. That’s me, called up to croon ‘Crazy’ by request of Most Moisturized Mom, who likes to invoke the spirit of Patsy at life-cycle celebrations. I was working on zero alcohol, people, in broad daylight. If you are in the Omaha area, and find yourself in need of professional karaoke services, I highly recommend Brandy & Barry-oke. Barry can really sing, if you are in need of a duet partner, and the playlist is deep and wide.
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The list included Fraggle Rock and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. (This group also sang “American Pie”. Which is a very long song.)
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Here’s Most Moisturized Mom and her brothers proving that it’s A DAMNABLE LIE that humans don’t get cuter with age. That’s Uncle Terry on the left (en route to a Jimmy Buffett impersonator throwdown), and Uncle Pauly on the right. (In another episode of John Deere Presents: Uncle Pauly’s Tales of the Highway Maintain-ance Crew, Mom recently drove a rental car out on the highway looking for Uncle Pauly so she could tell him about a minor family emergency. Uncle Pauly saw her pull up beside his truck and thought, “What’s this little old lady want?” Immediately followed by “Crap! It’s my sister!”)
Big Love
In terms of knitting, I do not have a lot to show. As you know, I have been preoccupied with steaming and manicuring and otherwise grooming handknits to show their best selves –their immortal souls–for the camera. But I managed to squeeze in a touch of mitering.
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Look! It’s Big Miter! It was really fun when it got down to 72 stitches and it seemed like a normal miter again, zipping along.
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According to my Susan Bates MiterChek (shown above–it’s a pain hauling that thing around in my knitting bag), Big Miter is exactly 5 normal miters square, or the equivalent of 25 normal miters. But I can guaran-frickin’-tee you that I could knit 25 normal miters much faster than Big Miter. It’s all explained by the Psychology of Knitting. Things that seem to go faster, do go faster, even if you have to do a lot more of them. Big Miter was an arduous thing, a lengthy thing, and the striping was frequent. Now I have to figure out how to frame it up and make it into something for Dotty Chair to wear. All suggestions welcome, as I am lacking my usual fierce mojo on this one. I am apt to commit something boring. Big Miter deserves better. It’s so big, you know.
The Dog Ate Our Handwork
I’m so happy that I was offline the entire time your suitcase was missing in action. Just reading about it, even knowing the happy ending, was making me queasy. What were we thinking? If a handknit falls in the forest, and nobody photographs it, did it have correct row gauge?
Love, Kay

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49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. ooooo, I love Big Mitre-really, LOVE it. I know it is not terribly exciting, but what if you just backed it with some pretty silky, chintz type fabric that is really different yet complimentary to the handknittyness of Big Mitre? It would juxtapose nicely with Big Dotty, too-the funkiness, fanciness, and knittyness all buddying up right there in your parlor (don’t you think people should still say parlor? sounds so cozy…) I think it would be simple, elegant, beautiful-and really simple-no end weaving necessary even!! just my 2 cents…

  2. Well, make fun of Ann if you want, but I sure am glad you clarified “Land o’ Goshen” for me. My dearly departed Grandma of Pleasanton, Kansas, upon seeing one of my quilts, exclaimed, “Great landagotions, girl!!” At least that’s how I heard it, having no clue of the origins of this gem of outdated exclamation. Now I get it! (And I must say, I’m tempted to use it myself, a propos of Big Miter – you’ve outdone yourself, Kay!)

  3. I loved the “Sweet sassy molassy” and went back to check the phrase a few times to make sure I was memorizing it correctly so I can use it on my daughters one of these days. My youngest is 15 and she, along with her BF, finds all these old fashioned sayings so totally lame that they think they are cool. I can’t wait to give them the sweet sassy molassy one and have a never ending supply of equally endearing phrases from my parents and grandparents.
    I love your big miter and I’m glad you were offline too while the knitting projects took their own personal vacation. Love your family. They sound just like mine.

  4. Ooh! Big Miter is lovely – and on that awesome chair! So Wonderful! The colors are incredible!
    Now, are you talking about backing it with fabric? If so, a lusciously textured, beautifully hand dyed, naturally neutral hand dyed piece of fabric? If that ends up sounding like the perfect look you were going for, I’d even dye it for you…you do so many nice things for other people, sometimes people can do nice things for you!
    BTW – take a look at my flicker site and you’ll see I’ve got dots and neturals on the brain right now!
    Take care – Candy in California

  5. At the risk of being smacked… Little Mitres? Each 1/2 the size of a normal mitre? Maybe with a small (1 or 2 row) garter ridge in between the Big Mitre and the Little Mitres and a little more garter around the outside again?

  6. Funny-my first karaoke memory is of me and my childhood best friend, age 7 or so, singing at a Halloween town fair. New England, hayrides, apples, bobbing for donuts on a string, and Nikki and I and a few other classmates singing the 8 minute long “American Pie.”

  7. Noooooooo! You can’t back it with fabric, it’s not a quilt! Stand Away from the Woven Stuff with your hands above your head and no-one will get hurt. I’m not sure at this point exactly what you CAN do to it, but I’ll get back to you on that one. It probably will involve garter stitch, though.

  8. Big mitre is great, and I totally agree with your knitting psychology, I’m zipping through Barbara Walker’s 63 squares, but have trouble with 2 rows of Moderne some days. The fambly looks great.

  9. I agree, humans do get cuter with age. What a cute bunch!

  10. Big Mitre! Just the name makes me want to write a song. It’s excellent.
    What a fabulous party, complete with Buffet-channeling. Always a plus.

  11. I’ve actually never managed to keep a group singing American Pie to the bitter end. Most wander away, get distracted by the bar or doze off by the four millionth verse.
    I stick it out to the last note though. Which is why I’m not often invited to Karaoke evenings.

  12. Nice nice nice.
    I see the Le Grande Miter and can envision it as an ottoman. Or as the top part of a slipcover to an ottoman. In the spirit of the Big Dotty cushions.
    Or maybe its the biggest dishcloth know to humankind. perfect for washing the car! (okay, that’s sacreligious, I know!)

  13. Sweet SASSY molassy, that miter is bigger’n a large-mouth bass on a two-foot pole. Or something. I hate to say it, but it really needs to be four big miters. It is all about SCALE.
    By the way, does anybody have a real live, ackshul good way to attach a fabric backing to a piece of knitting? I have never seen one, and I have been alookin’. Alookin’ like a one-eyed monster ogre watchin’ a 3-D movie pitcher.

  14. Can you hear me laughing in CT? I’m from very near Omaha – and am in stitches over your comments (it’s good to be able to laugh at oneself). Looks like a great time. Too bad you didn’t make a You Tube of your Crazy debut. LOVE the Mighty Miter.

  15. How about normal sized miters going around, but pointing in the opposite direction?

  16. This might not be Mighty Miter’s style, or even Dotty’s Chair–hell, it might be totally inappropriate and not Kay-Style, but I would love to see something lace-y or frilly.

  17. First off – I’d just like to mention how wonderful I’ve found both the M&D website and the book!
    Anyway, that done….there’s a Psychology of Knitting. Well, knock me down with a feather.
    I wondered what strange contrariness on my part made me knit, say, 5 x 25 row patches faster than I could put an 8-row border on the edge of a blanket.
    I’d always put it down to my goldfish-like memory span, and my inabilty to entertain myself for longer than 3 seconds…I’m so relieved to know I’m not a freak!

  18. I. Love. The. Big. Mitre.
    Seriously.
    I will dream about it tonight. It is freakin’ majestic….

  19. My first thought was a wide lacey/meshy crochet border in one of the dark colors for preference.

  20. Holy Monster Mitre Batman!

  21. I’m with Belinda: Don’t put a backin on it. I love the right-/wrong-sidedness of knitted things. I know it might sounds subversive but what about sewing on a satin trim. It would make a nice contrast and give it a finished look without taking away from the wonder of the Big Mitre. (And it is wonderful.) Your sewing machine hasn’t been out in a while and this might make for a good advernture for it.

  22. you guys crack me up :)

  23. i love you guys! :o)
    just love reading these entries and about your MMM! haha! and the big miter?! holy cripes!
    talk about HUGE! and Ann’s suitcase of knitted items?!!! i can’t believe it came back safe and sound?! amazing. simply amazing.
    I talked to Dotty Chair–she is anticipating the day she gets the big miter throw, in all it’s wonderful glory. she also said, when are my peeps going to come visit me?! i.e. the rest of the furniture? :o)heehee!

  24. OK – that’s it, I’m gettin’ out my M&D book and try that mitre business. Do I aspire to the huge one? Nawww, but I sure do want to know how that works. I’m a charter member of the NeverSingers Guild – but once my best friend and I went to a party at my Very Straight Suburban Big Sister’s house and sang “Little Houses”…with a straight face. We got applause. {teehee}

  25. I laugh so hard when I hear your stories about Uncle Terry and Uncle Pauly ( my children look at me like I just lost whatever mind I had left)! Every time you say Land O’ Goshen, it makes me laugh also as I was born in Goshen, NY!!! I agree with the psychology part…yes, I would rather knit 100 baby sized log cabin blankets than another twin size log cabin….God forbid I ever had to make a queen size!!!

  26. I really, really like it, the Big M. Re: the late bag o’knits, that must have been scary. Hemingway never got back his case of stories that his wife lost on the train.

  27. The Big Miter is really beautiful! But I understand about the bigness issue making a square seem so much larger. I had a frantic, marathon knitting session on Saturday, trying to finish a log cabin blankie for a baby shower on Sunday. (I made it. By asking to be seated at a table in the corner and knitting through dinner.)

  28. I’m still with the no-sew three more, to make it a giant cross, rather than giant concentric squares.
    But perhaps you’re sick at the idea of making three more gigantor miters – the equivalent of 75 miters, I suppose, is not to be sneezed at, even during this allergy season. I would be tempted also to consider a Kaaffee Faasseettt poppies border (Who doesn’t love florals + stripes? Lots of room for color play), AND/or a Moses basket type lace border. The stripes are so big and so strong, I think you definitely need a different pattern or just solid for the border.
    Also? Have I mentioned how much I love Excel? I put in the numbers for the rows and have a little mathy math so I know when I’ve hit halfway and when I’m a quarter, two-thirds, etc. Halfway through the half since the last half. Six more rows to the seventh section. One to the two to the three-four-five. Know what I’m saying?

  29. I laughed when I read what your Uncle Pauly said. I have been known to spot a reflection in a window and wondered who that bleached blonde old lady with the gut and the butt is…. you know who it was… maybe that is why I dry my hair and brush my teeth without my glasses… so I don’t have to face the ugly truth that we don’t get cuter with age.

  30. I love The Big Miter! The color combinations are gorgeous, and the size…. ahhh, the size of it has my little ol’ heart a flutter. Angela’s idea of framing it with a whole lotta mini-miters is intriguing… I can see it lovingly gracing the back of Dotty Chair.
    This marriage between Dotty Chair and Big Miter will be a thing of beauty – I can feel it!

  31. Sober daylight karaoke ? – sounds like it ought to be one of the events on Takeshi’s Castle (do you get that on TV ? Japanese ritual humiliation gameshow ?)You have real backbone missus, I’d love to see how you do in the hunting for hidden objects in pig sewage round ( yes, this is a REAL event in Takeshi’s Castle).
    LOVE big mitre. If only it wasn’t warm here (well 16 degrees is warm for Scotland) I’d dig my lazy-ass mitre blanket back out and soldier on !
    Heather x

  32. I *heart* sweet sassy molassy. My previous favorite had been sweet raisin danish. But this is wonderful PLUS so easily yields sweet sassy my @ssy :D

  33. I’m deeply immersed in knitting the small miters which you can see on my blog, knittingbymoonlight.blogspot.com. But the big miters? OMG! I have to make that one too. My sock knitting has fallen by the wayside and I feel unfaithful and guilty, but miters are . . . well, they are so rewarding and completely simple.

  34. Kay, Just loved Most Moisturized Mom and her brothers, Uncle Terry and Uncle Pauly. They look like pretty darned good family. But what made me comment was that last quote “If a handknit falls in the forest, and nobody photographs it, did it have correct row gauge?” WOW! That was good.

  35. Love the Big Miter………so few ends to weave in !!! Love the fam too, ‘specially Uncle Pauly’s rosey cheeks. And a shout out to the gal who said she grew up in Goshen NY, I went to high school there!

  36. Holy crap I love the big miter! However, bearing in mind Mason-Dixon knitting rule number whatever-something, I fear I do not love it enough to make one myself. I tip my hat to you, Kay! You’re a pluckier knitter than I am.

  37. I’m with Ann ya need 3 more. Not just cause it looks amputated but cause it is really beautiful.

  38. I’m with Ann ya need 3 more. Not just cause it looks amputated but cause it is really beautiful.

  39. it’s good to see MMM looking so sprightly. thanks for keepin’ on knittin’!! xoxo

  40. Unoriginal lap blanket would be my two-knitted cents. I really can’t beat the Susan Bates MiterChek, love that thing.

  41. Is it me, or does Spongebob look weird?
    I like how big miter looks with the smaller miters around it. Also, I like Ann’s suggestion about making 3 more amd making a big miter square.

  42. Sorry to say it, but I vote for the 3 other huMONGous mitres to go with the one huge one (that came from outer space?).
    I am a quilter, and four of these monsters would really balance each other out. Look at the color combo next to those bright guys. They, unfortunately, make the beautiful big one dull, which I am sure it is not when viewed alone. Think of Kaffe and what he would do. He is all about many colors and juxtaposition, but not so much about unusual cuts or piecing in his quilts. If you had another (or 3) giant mitres, you could vary the contrasting colors over a larger scheme which would work better than the little guys.

  43. i LOVE the sassy molassy!! i’ve been saying it to myself nigh-continually since it appeared on the site! no, really. and i’m so far north i’m canadian, so it has to sound pretty darn stupid coming out of my mouth. and yet! i can’t stop.

  44. What about one big-ass miter across from that one at 2 big-ass plain blocks? Wouldn’t induce vertigo and wouldn’t detract from the dottiness of Big Dotty. Gotta respect the dots Kay, can’t let the handknits steal the show ALL the time.

  45. This has absolutely nothing to do with your current post, but the pattern for the “Chevron Stripes Handtowel” from your book is still wrong, even with the correction on your blog here, as far as I can tell. It should read:
    Chevron Stripes Hand Towel, p. 27:
    Row 6 (RS): Using B, k5, *k2tog, k2, kfb in next two sts, k3, SKP; rep from * to last 5 sts, k5.
    It is missing the “k3″, unless I am mistaken.
    Just thought you’d want to know!
    PS – Love your blog and your book – when is the next one coming?!

  46. I’ve looked about (and probably missed it in half a dozen places) but what is the math behind the miter? I’ve made many a miter in the same guage/size as the MD book but I wanted to experiment and do some squares in a sock yarn about the same size as I was doing before.
    But it came out all pointy and diamondy. There must be a: _____ stitches/inch divided by 2 + ____ gives you the point where you do ____ decreases.

  47. I love the great big miter! What about putting a ruffle all around it, such as the ruffle from the Nina Shawl. You could make the ruffle as long as you wished. I really don’t care for the “little miters” border idea – it would detract from the main, I think. A solid colored ruffle would be my choice. B

  48. Ohhhh, you just make me smile. And laugh. And giggle. And smile some more. Where you been all my life?

  49. Okay, Miters are my favorite thing to knit and I’ve done a lot of thinking and tinkering about how they look best (especially in blanket form). Big Miter might need 3 Big Miter friends, then they can just be their own big ass miter blanket all by themselves. I know, it could be a big snooze to knit, but Big Miter might just totally upstage it’s tiny friends. (Also, the colors are beautiful, just in a different family.)