"The Nation's Leading Bi-Regional Knitting Blog" --Ann's husband • "Kay sure is wasting a lot of time on this" --Kay's husband

December 31, 2008

Should Old Blogquaintance Be Forgot

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Dear knitting friends, both far and near
It's Mason-Dixon Knitting here.
Your frabjous galpals, Ann and Kay
Are hollering, "calloo! callay!"

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Our inspiration: that elegant codger,
The New Yorker's arch Angell, Roger
We don't expect to do him justice
R-to-the-A busts our rhyming--trust us.

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'Tis seasonish to offer greetings
Lushily, at cocktail meetings
The Interwebs save us the trek
(Next year, let's do it at Rhinebeck!)

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To everyone who hoists a needle
Including Eggplant (and her Deedle)
Those who knit with greatest speed'll
Try to keep up with Zeneedle
We hung socks on our Chrismukkah tree
With yarn from What's That Gonna Be?
On New Year's Eve, at fetes uproarious
We'll raise our bubbles to Knitorious
And throw air kisses, light and friendy
To our constant knitter, Wendy
What a pity there's no way to
Cin-cin with Mustaa Villaa and Tilkkupeitto
They're all the way across in Finland
(Not Helsinki--further inland).

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2008 was gone too soon
It took our stitches to the Moon
Oh-eight brought babies, so much fun
To Mind of Winter and January One
But the year wouldn't have been half so fine
Without Henrietta, Merna, and Purling Swine

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As bloggers on their book tours barnstorm,
We mourn the sad demise of Yarnstorm.
But think of how much worse the shock it
Would have been without Jane Brocket!
And whither MagKnits-- why no link?
It popped off, quicker than a wink.
To paraphrase from Conway Twitty,
We couldn't stand you leavin', Knitty!
May the year bestow great riches
Upon the pen that drew It Itches"
And on the glorious depth and breadth
Of all the works by Harlot Steph,
On She Shoots Sheep Shots.
Who thinks deep thoughts,
And those books fantastic (albeit rarer)
From yarn's Marie Curie, sweetheart Clara.
Election year risked knitblog drama
Some knit for Clinton, some for Obama
But civility ruled (in the main)
Twixt Obama and McCain
Recession, though it's not the nicest
Reminds us to "knit through a crisis".
This word to our President-elect
Is wiser than he may suspect:
To make peace (and to spend that debt),
Put knitters in your cabinet!

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We hope St. Nick brought you a hybrid car
(Or at least one for your Ravatar)
Cashmere for Donder, reinhair for Blitzen
And a coupla tickets to see Frost/Nixon
We wish you a year stuffed with projecks divine
Like ChicKnits and the Twist wunderkinder design.
But if--on occasion--your knitting turns tatty,
A pox of knots on the blogger who says something catty!
(But that doesn't mean there's a rule against grudgin';
It's a must for Queer Joe and the Knitting Curmudgeon.)
The economy's in the tank, but boy do
We hope we can still buy Koigu.
May the woes be limited to stock
(And nothing as vital as Socks That Rock).
Speaking of the Wall Street crash:
Sell Grandma's ring, but hold your stash.
To the venerable ghost of Knitsmas Past,
Our ever-pious thoughts we cast:
Elizabeth Zimmermann, hear us plead
For more photos on Brooklyn Tweed!
Forty shots is not enough (at all!)
For an exquisitely soft-focus shawl.

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The first day of the year, at break of dawn,
As we cast on '09's first Norah Gaughan,
We'll leave the old year without sorrow;
There's always more to knit, tomorrow.

Wishing you peace, love and natural fibers,
in 2009 and beyond.

Ann and Kay

(Note: All photos taken during preparations for our annual honky-tonk New Year's bash. We started in September.)

Posted by Kay at 11:13 AM | Comments (75)

December 23, 2008

Countdown, Leaning, and Liftoff

Dear Kay,

It's getting rugged around here. Can't really eat enough:

Twelve pieces of Nashville Toffee Co. toffee,
Eleven pounds of pecans,
Ten powdery cookies,
Nine giant cupcakes,
Eight more pieces of toffee,
Seven rolled-up pieces of salami,
Six glasses of wine,
Five cups of DIP.
Four crudites,
Three bourbon balls,
Two pounds of pig
And some more toffee to finish the box.

The State of the Tree

As of Tuesday morning 10:43 am CDT . . .

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Now. I know you're wondering about the tree--and not trying to get to Omaha or anything else like that. The tree has been a significant source of consternation to all who see it. People walk in and go "WHOA! You oughta do something about that" and I'd say, "Well, there's a contest going on right now so I can't really mess with it because it would screw up the contest." Or they'd say, "WOW! That thing's gonna fall," and I'd say, "You wanna enter a contest?"

At this point the contest is totally screwed, because two significant things have happened since the contest began.

1. A father/son engineering team with a bag of gravel and a pile of wood wedged all manner of stuff into the tree stand. At this point, it's like Stonehenge down there.

2. Many of you guessing about the likelihood of the tree falling based your vote on whether we have cats in the house. When the contest began, the answer was no. But I am happy to report that as of a couple of days ago, we adopted a pair of these:

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This is Eliot. His friend Kermit is so reclusive that we are not sure he still lives here. It's like the Loch Ness Monster.

I'm happy to have cats lurking around again, but Kermit is the largest, strongest cat I've ever had. Clif says he's a BEAST. So if Kermit gets in the mood to climb, all bets are off.

At this point, I've closed entries for the contest, due to the befuddling, altered circumstances of this tree. I'll be awarding yarny prizes to both an entry from the cheerful folk who said the tree would stand AND an entry from the deliciously gloomy souls who predicted it would fall. If, by chance, it does still fall, a special award to the pessimist who picked the closest time. Stay tuned for the winners.

By the way, did you notice something else about the tree? The way the midsection lights are no longer working? That happened just as the last ton of gravel was loaded into the stand. Unbelievable.

Stocking Liftoff

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The stocking for Nora made it into the sleigh yesterday, just barely. She's only six months old. I hope she finds it good gnawing.

Wishing you all gratifying times in the coming days.

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 11:29 AM | Comments (73)

December 20, 2008

Snow Day

Dear Ann,

Thursday night, 11 p.m.. AccuTrack DoppleMatic StormTrak 2000 Forecast: possible potential possibility of near-flurries overnight, likely resolving into dampness on the morning commute. Triggering thousands of phonebot calls: snow day Friday.

Friday dawned gray and dry.

Kay dawned gray and cranky.

But by early afternoon, there was DoppleVindication. Damn. I mean, yay.

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A self-striping tree. (Noro Silk Garden, Shade 267.)

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Ben and Carrie are fine. Their mothers: still defrosting.

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 04:51 PM | Comments (37)

December 18, 2008

Mason-Dixon Boyz N Scarvz

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Dear Ann:

I know it's kind of worrisome for a middle-aged woman to keep posting photos of young guys wearing her knitting. I'm sure you're concerned--quite rightly--that I might be stalking them, or perhaps sitting on the sidewalk with a scrawled sign soliciting assistance. You're probably thinking I've been saying things like "dude".

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Fear not! All models 100% guaranteed to be related to me, by blood, marriage, or the fact that I have known them as toddlers. These young men are showing up for one reason, and one reason only: if they don't, they'll have to deal with their mothers. (Mothers of young boys take note. THIS is the promised land, the end point of all your toil: to raise up a good man who will pose with handknits. Eyes on the prize! Climb those stairs to glory! There should be a gospel song for this!)

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This is another Noro 2-row, but with a difference. It's worked in mistake rib (scroll down for instructions), casting on 2 additional stitches, and then slipping the first and last stitch of the WS rows. I like the way the stripes are less sharp than with k1, p1 rib; yet it's still reversible. And, theoretically at least, it knits up faster because you don't have to switch the yarn back or forth with every stitch, but with every two. (I guess this economy applies only to "throw" style knitters.)

Actual Useful Content

Listen, I may be telling you something everybody already knows, but in the rush of holiday knitting, the temptation to skip blocking is strong, particularly something that already has nice tidy edges and a crisp look, like a Noro 2-row stripe scarf. But I'm begging you to take the time to wash it and dry it flat. The Noro Silk Garden yarn becomes so much softer with washing. It blooms. It relaxes. It drapes much more suavely.

Also, some good news for people who haven't knitted with Silk Garden in a few years: the product has improved. Remember those scratchy bits of hay that people used to complain about? They're not there anymore. I've knitted about a dozen skeins in the last couple of weeks, and there is NO VEGETABLE MATTER. It's still crisp and a little rough when you're knitting it (merino it ain't), but you can fix that with a quick wash and an overnight rest on the kitchen counter to dry.

More Stuff I'm Cranking

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A mitered hanging towel from Book 2, in Peaches & Cream shades Shrimp and Baby Green. (Which don't sound that appetizing together, but I like.)

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After 3 long scarves, this project seemed almost thinky. Had to keep my focus. Very satisfying.

Love,
Kay

P.S. Thank you Joshua!

Posted by Kay at 08:44 AM | Comments (44)

December 17, 2008

Bob's Your Uncle

Dear Ann,

Having achieved Junior Crone status, I am, generally speaking, a reliable source of advice. Today I have a writing tip: When you can't think of anything to write, it's helpful to remember that Charles Dickens is in the public domain.

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The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.

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At length the hour of shutting up the countinghouse arrived. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from his stool, and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the Tank, who instantly snuffed his candle out, and put on his hat.
"You'll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?" said Scrooge.
"If quite convenient, sir."
"It's not convenient," said Scrooge, "and it's not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you'd think yourself ill-used, I'll be bound?"
The clerk smiled faintly.
"And yet," said Scrooge, "you don't think me ill-used, when I pay a day's wages for no work."
The clerk observed that it was only once a year.
"A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin. "But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning."
The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walked out with a growl. The office was closed in a twinkling, and the clerk, with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat), went down a slide on Cornhill, at the end of a lane of boys, twenty times, in honour of its being Christmas Eve, and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt, to play at blindman's-buff.

[Then there is a bunch of stuff that happens to Scrooge that does not involve Bob Cratchit's white comforter, so we skip over it.]

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But he was early at the office next morning. Oh he was early there. If he could only be there first, and catch Bob Cratchit coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon.
And he did it; yes, he did. The clock struck nine. No Bob. A quarter past. No Bob. He was full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. Scrooge sat with his door wide open, that he might see him come into the Tank.
His hat was off, before he opened the door; his comforter too. He was on his stool in a jiffy; driving away with his pen, as if he were trying to overtake nine o'clock.
"Hallo," growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it. "What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?"
"I'm very sorry, sir," said Bob. "I am behind my time."
"You are?" repeated Scrooge. "Yes. I think you are. Step this way, if you please."
"It's only once a year, sir," pleaded Bob, appearing from the Tank. "It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir."
"Now, I'll tell you what, my friend," said Scrooge, "I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore," he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the Tank again; "and therefore I am about to raise your salary."
Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it, holding him, and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait-waistcoat.

"A merry Christmas, Bob," said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. "A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I'll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob. Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!"

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(Many thanks to my friend Alex, for stoic public posing, and even pretending to hail a cab from a spot where nobody would hail a cab. )

The Foxy Bob Cratchit Scarf will be winging its way to its unsuspecting recipient. I don't like to brag, but it's the only scarf I know that provides full body protection from the cold. Eat your heart out, Gap!

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 08:52 AM | Comments (46)

December 16, 2008

Unbreakable Christmas

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Dear Kay,

I'm not one to stress out about Christmas, but in the past couple of days, I have found myself behaving like somebody who is . . . knitting on a deadline.

Because I AM.

Back in July, shortly after the birth of our newest fambly member, I started a New Ancestral Christmas Stocking, just as I promised myself I would do forevermore, whenever a new fambly member arrived, or there was a baby who needed a Christmas stocking, or a baby I decided really ought to have a Christmas stocking whether or not he actually did.

It was summertime, I was feeling pretty smug about my organizational skills, and the whole thing was going to be great. My niece was going to get her stocking in plenty of time to be photographed in front of this stocking, icing forever the proof that this Christmas stocking was a part of her life from the get-go. Practically from the womb.

Yeah, two days ago I discovered--unearthed, exacavated, dug out--this bag of knitting while rooting around in my office. Not in some dank closet--in my lair, right there, about four feet away from me where it has sat for all these days while I've been shopping for cheap shoes online, watching Hamster on a Piano (Eating Popcorn). While--appallingly--I've been knitting garments for me.

Horrified, I sat down on the floor, right there, and finished the argyle part zipzap, and I've been working on this thing whenever I can.

I am somewhat comforted by the fact that I recall cranking one of these with an equal amount of desperation when we were photographing it for the book. I think it was still damp, or maybe my hands were still down there at the toe while Gale was photographing the top part.

I'm knitting the Fair Isle parts with the stocking inside out, so that the floats don't pull too tight. I can hardly express how well this reduces the worry about tight floats. Eliminates it, really.

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It's also fun to see the reversed-out pattern as I crank this.

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The only concern I have now is not that I won't finish this. It's that my other niece, baby's older sister, really needs one of these, too. Like, in a week or so.

Announcing: The Will It Fall Down? Holiday Sweepstakes

The other source of creeping discomfort right now is this:

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This year's Christmas tree ought to have a novel written about it. All I'm going to say here is that once we diagnosed the crooked trunk and the hairline crack in the tree stand, we had invested so much time, brainpower, and screw-turning effort in this $*%&^% tree that we concluded that it looks really great exactly the way it is, and it reminds us of Pisa, which we really want to visit someday.

I will point out that the entire decoration of this tree is 100% unbreakable. All those fabby glass ornaments I've been collecting for the past decades? All settled down for a long winter's nap--in the closet. I didn't even know we HAD so many construction-paper-based decorations. So sustainable, this tree! So like a preschool around here!

SO. Here's a contest. Leave a comment in which you predict whether our tree will fall down before 9 am Christmas morning. If you think it will topple, name the exact time. If you think it will stand, God bless you for your optimism.

If you guess yes, and the tree does in fact go, then the entry closest to the time of its collapse wins.

If you guess no, and the tree does in fact hang in there, I'll draw a random winner from the nos.

A yarny prize from my stash to the winner.

And no, we're not watering the $(%& thing.

Merry freakin' Christmas, y'all!

Love,

Ann

Posted by Ann at 10:37 AM | Comments (438)

December 14, 2008

Twelve Daddies Puffing

Dear Ann:

I love Reader Mail. This just in, from Barbara:

Hi Kay,

[Puff Daddy] is the perfect pattern. A little bit of luxurious yarn, a little time, and boom, I just finished making 12 of them for the girls in my New York and Hong Kong offices! Here are the ones I got to pose....

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So, everybody who is freaking about their Holiday Knitting, channel your Inner Barbara. If you were knitting everybody a Puff Daddy, you'd be finished by now.

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 03:03 PM | Comments (17)

December 11, 2008

The End of Weather

Dear Ann,

As you've probably noticed, my butt is dragging. No. Gumption. Whatsoever. I blame the weather. For days it's been going from mist to fog to drizzle, around and around. It's neither warm nor cold. It's not really weather; it's atmosphere. One finds oneself thinking about vampires, the Bronte sisters, and Jack the Ripper, and googling "mildew". Yet one persists with the knitting.

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Here we have Cuff One on the Foxy Bob Cratchit scarf. There was a brief stall-out when it was time to sew those two long seams to join the stripey halves of the main section of the scarf, thus creating the "crashing stripes" I was so excited about. I still am excited about them, but slightly less so now that they have been Accomplished. The dream has become reality; let's move on. There's still one more black denim cuff to go. This first one took two goes. On the first try, I picked up the same number of stitches as on the body pieces. Ribbing has a quality of pull-in-iness that is well known--but I forgot. So I ripped it and reknit it, this time adding 1 stitch for every two. Now the cuff is very nearly puffy, but I'm not ripping again. I'm carrying on with Cuff Two and then I'll pronounce this delirious project done and give it to the unsuspecting victim of my whimsy. I'm sure he'll wear it. If it gets cold enough. We can debate its other qualities, but the Foxy Bob Cratchit scarf--with around 400 grams of wool in it-- is warm as toast.

During the brief pause on Bob Cratchit, and when not running to the store for more Tilex, I'm sure you can guess what I did.

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The notorious K1, P1 scarf in 2 row stripes of Noro Silk Garden. I cast on 43 stitches, and slipped (purlwise) the first and last stitch on all the WS rows (which are easily identified because the WS rows begin and end with a purl stitch). This one was a gift for my friend Katherine, who endured a Major Birthday quite recently.

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(She got so old that she has turned to stone.)

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Katherine is so allergic to feminine frippery that I did not so much as think the word "yarnover" as I worked on it. She was well pleased. It goes great with her many variations on the Chic Upper East Side Lumberjack look, and it will keep her warm.

The 2-row Noro stripe is going to be a bit of a theme for me in the run-up to Christmas, as I've realized that there are others in my life who would love this scarf. On Saturday I went into my NNS (Nearest Noro Source), Annie & Company on Madison Avenue. I was minding my own business, mixing and matching 2 balls of 2 shades for each scarf in the production line. The saleslady politely inquired what I was going to make. I looked at her. What kind of a question was that? What else would I be making? TWO-ROW STRIPES, WOMAN. DID YOU NOT GET THE MEMO?

So that's where I'm at with the knitting. It's a good place to be.

Love,
Kay

P.S. Knitting Daily has put up brilliant galleries in which they show sample sweaters from Interweave Knitting's Winter 2008 issue. Each of the sweaters is shown as photographed for the magazine, and on half a dozen other women. Although each sweater fits each woman, the difference is still amazing. What we should learn from this: different sweater shapes look really different on different body shapes. My take-away: I should knit sweaters for other people.

Another P.S. Passing the sociable knitting table on the way to the cash register at Annie's, this caught my eye:

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It's a Liberty Blanket that Kiley is knitting, downsized for an American Girl Doll, in wonderfully wavering Artyarns Ultramerino sock yarn. I thought you would like it.

Posted by Kay at 01:49 PM | Comments (41)

December 10, 2008

Picking Up

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Dear Kay,

First the governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, has a bimbo eruption, now the governor of Illinois is selling off a senate seat? In the name of COMMON DECENCY, people, really now. What is going ON?

Throw the bums OUT! It's a disGRACE!

I watched the news conference for this astonishing set of allegations while tidying up the button bands for my 95% finished Margaret sweater. (I'm counting the word-stitching part as another whole project. I'm not waiting to wear this thing; in fact, I wore it out yesterday, ends still trailing out the sleeves. And people say knitters are dotty and distracted . . .)

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I attached the sleeves with great delight--an unusual construction, for me: the saddle part makes for a tidy fit at the top. Feels very tailored and organized. The sleeves fit right in place, and of course I had to try on each sleeve, the minute I finished sewing, to see how they fit. They fit great! Such a pleasure. Such a relief.

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Picking up stitches for a button band seems to work well in stockinette if you just stitch with a 3 stitches to every 4 rows recipe.

It's all very thrilling--I get to go the button store now for the ten buttons down the front. It's like CHRISTMAS! I'll get my Photographer to take some photos. I am LUVIN this sweater, which is sort of a coat, really.

Speaking of Christmas, I am shockingly behind on my hall-decking. We're going into overdrive today to get this place pepped up. It looks like leftover Thanksgiving around here, and that's just not good.

I will say, however, that the bunch of giant lilies I bought on November 26 finally bit the dust yesterday. Almost two weeks of lily pleasure. They were like pets, those humongous blooms. Living with those lilies made me remember how flowers can give you a lift, every day. Now I'm watching my paperwhites and amaryllis grow, and I'll give you updates over there in the sidebar. If you're looking to give yourself a little cheeriness, get some flowers in your house.

Love,

Ann

Posted by Ann at 09:26 AM | Comments (35)

December 05, 2008

Too much!

Dear Kay,

I seem to have COMPLETED THE SIGNIFICANT KNITTING PORTION of my Margaret sweater.

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Do realize what I had to do to get this photo? Do you know how hard it is to block a piece of knitting that is essentially THE WHOLE THING? I've had BLANKETS that are easier to deal with than this thing--once I spread out the accordianlike skirty part, it just kept spreading, and spreading, to the point that it would probably keep spreading, emblanketing the hemisphere if I hadn't just given up. I had to hire GoogleMaps to shoot this thing from its satellite. Do you see the curvature of the EARTH in that photo? This photo is taken from sixty-four miles up in space.

I even gave up pinning the thing. It takes up so much room in my lair that I had to erect traffic barriers around it. I got a zoning variance for it. I discovered a family of four having a picnic right there on the bodice.

I do have to point out that this yarn, Harrisville New England Knitters Highland, puffs up and softens up in a satisfying way.

And I am jazzed at the notion of working a saddle shoulder with a three-needle bindoff in there.

And it's great to have wall-to-wall handknit wool carpet, for the moment.

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 09:43 AM | Comments (27)

December 04, 2008

Nailed 'Em: Radical Knitting

Dear Ann,

Did you see our favorite dreamboat demagogue's show last night, fulminating on the dangers of radical knitting? Go to Colbert Nation, look in the video section on the front page, and click on the picture of the tank covered in a pink crochet cozy--that'll be it.

What that boy needs is a nice pair of cabled socks.

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 01:01 PM | Comments (27)

December 02, 2008

We Have Five Wieners

Dear Ann,

Not to interrupt the Mason-Dixon Knitting International Tragic and/or Supernatural Love Story Film Festival or anything--talk among yourselves--but I promised to announce the winners of the drawing for the Emma Peel Dress kits. I have sent an email to each of the winners, and as soon as they send me their mailing addresses, I will enjoy the blessed relief that comes from getting 35 balls of yarn out from under the desk without having to knit them up myself. Our winners are:

Dianne
Amy L.
Flan
Jen
Emily

Congrats!

Thanks to everybody who entered. It was great fun reading all the pets' names (and some of the girls' names--e.g., Ladybug and Sparkles). And a ginormous thank you to Betsy at Classic Elite Yarns, for donating the prizes, and picking such great colors.

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In other news, I see the light at the end of the Runcible Sleeve Scarf.

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And the light is Black Denim. (For the cuffs.) I am still as irrationally exuberant about this project as ever. I'm very impatient for the second half of the stripes to dry so that I can seam it up and get the cuffs knitted on. (Yes, I had to pre-wash the denim so that I could shrink it and get the excess dye off it. Why should anything about this project be easy? This is the way it has to be! Shut up!)

What do they call it--diagnostically, I mean--if a bus shelter talks to you?

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"BLACK DENIM CUFFS."

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 12:26 PM | Comments (21)

Never Let Go!

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Dear Kay,

What a glorious batch of movies. Thank you, everybody, for such brilliant suggestions. So many of these are new to me. I wish we could have a film festival where we could watch all 200 of them, back to back. Think of the knitting, the group therapy, the ultimate disconnect from reality.

I think I'll start with Mary B's suggestion, because I was intrigued that she was so affected that she couldn't think of a movie to pair with it.

The mere trailer for A Very Long Engagement is like The English Patient, Cold Mountain, and Atonement all in one. (See it here; Jeunet directed the beloved Amelie.) Bombs! Frolicking youths in glowy green pastures! Great clothes! A lot of crying and all-around desperation! I'll even put up with subtitles if it means I get to see whether Audrey Tatou finds that dreamy guy who disappears into the trenches of World War I.

I especially appreciate hearing from those of you who lean toward the dark, the unrequited, the doomed. Toni, I think you get a special citation for watching Munich and Schindler's List at Christmastime. Good grief, woman, that's stout.

Speakin a which, my Margaret sweater sleeve constipation turns out to have been totally foolish: a grand total of 78 narrow, decreasy rows was all that kept me from finishing the sleeves. So much fear and dread, such a big fat nothin when you get right down to it.

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 09:53 AM | Comments (29)

December 01, 2008

There Is No Stuffing Left in the House

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Dear Kay,

First of all, I have to point out that last night, David and Clif ceremoniously flushed ice down two toilets, simultaneously, at exactly 8:02 pm. David claimed he heard that doing this would make it snow.

I am here to tell you that there is snow coming down here in Nashville this morning. It never snows on December 1 in Nashville. I don't know what to make of this.

Catching Up on Things

I REALLY apologize for the delay in writing. The lag came because a while back, I set a goal for myself: I wouldn't blog until I finished the sleeves for that Margaret sweater. I thought it would give me a little challenge, something to shoot for, and I figured it would get my competitive spirit up. Kind of a Mike-Mulligan-digs-the-basement-in-just-one-day-type deal.

Well, it was so defeating that I'll never do THAT again. In fact, I'm going to blog only until the Margaret sleeves are finished. Which means you have a lot of blogging coming your way.

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So much has happened since I last wrote. OK, so not so much, but I have been working on the Margaret sleeves, and I knew you'd want to know that.

Thanksgiving Was Great

Thanksgiving was a blur of gravy and family, both delicious, and there was a moment on Friday night, when all 12 of us were wedged under this one roof, where I thought: this is really great. This would make life so interesting, to have six children, along with six parents, all living together. I mean: if we had another house glued onto the side of this one, of course. A suburban kibbutz, without all that pesky farming. Somebody always running off to the mall for something.

One thing I noticed: it's really great to have a three-year-old niece in the house, because she is ready and willing to do the Hokey Pokey at any time.

Holiday Cheer!

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I managed to sneak in two DVDs, an existential double feature that I recommend to anyone who's feeling too cheerful. Movie #1 was The Hours, which I was shocked to realize was made six years ago. I can't really believe that. Nicole Kidman lives in Nashville now--I think we've discussed this--and I really would like to talk with her about her wardrobe for this movie. Fabulous. So deliriously dowdy and 1923. I think this may be the direction I'm headed. The shapeless dress has a lot of potential.

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There's one scene in The Hours when Julianne Moore, the teetering homemaker of 1951, takes a look at the failed birthday cake she's made for her husband, and you just know: she's going to make another one, and you know it's not a good idea. "Go buy a damn cake!" I yelled at the screen. "QUICK! Get yerself to a bakery!"

Movie #2: Lost in Translation. I was shocked to discover that Scarlett Johansen was only 18 when she made this movie. That's just not all that old. This is the movie where Bill Murray plays a tired Clint Eastwood sort of movie star, in Tokyo to make a whiskey commercial for big pay. He meets Scarlett Johansen in the bar, and off they go on their existential journey of longing and karaoke.

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I think if you watch these two movies in close succession, you will need to run some Elavil in your tap water. Why am I drawn to such delightfully grim movies?

(If you want to watch The Hours in nine minutes, well, here ya go. YouTube never ceases to amaze me.)

I welcome suggestions for another DVD double feature. I have movie fever now!

(Still snowing. Just wanted to point that out.)

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 11:41 AM | Comments (99)
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