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

June 27, 2009

Give A Man A Fish

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Dear Ann,

While it may be wise to teach a man to fish, so that he can eat for a lifetime (provided he's not a vegetarian), would it kill you to give a guy a tuna sandwich once in a while?

That's sort of what happened with my friend LB's Noro Log Cabin.

You will recall that I ripped and re-knit 8 skeins that she had knitted into a bucket shape while intending to knit something more typically blanket-shaped and therefore flat. I did this because she had already ripped it and reknit it once herself. The yarn was getting plumb WORE OUT. I didn't want her to get discouraged, and I did, very much, want to knit up some Noro Silk Garden, so I had a fabulous time and even added some personal touches along the way, i.e., yarn LB didn't start out with.

Last week, I presented this 2/3-finished blankie to LB with my final strip all ready to bind off. I wanted to troubleshoot her tight bindoff method, so that she could mend her ways and enjoy the sweet satisfaction of finishing the blanket herself.

Guess what? You won't believe it! She was binding off as loose as can be. No problem whatsoever. Suddenly, I felt like an episode of "Car Talk." ("Can you imitate the noise the cah makes when you go over 30 miles an hour in the rain? Is it more of a B-flaaat or an A-shahp?") I opened up an official investigation.

It turns out that the problem was that when LB went to pick up stitches for the next strip, she was picking them up from the back, scooping the stitch with her right needle, and kind of twisting the loop as she knit it up. I use both needles when I'm "picking up and knitting" stitches, and I pick up from the front of the stitch or ridge; it feels almost like regular knitting.

Anyhoo, when the problem had been solved and I attempted to give the blanket back to her, LB became, quite frankly, what I would call "tremulous". She wanted the thing DONE, this chapter of her life OVER. She said many self-deprecating (and patently UNTRUE) things about her inability to face finishing the blanket, her deep fear of another screaming attack of The Buckets, etc. She wanted to start a new project, with a clean slate and a finished afghan on her cozy red sofa.

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Oh, all right. Twist my arm. I spent a couple of days gartering my fool head off, happy as a clam. Or in this case, a hermit crab. (LB lives in little ol' Rhode Island, where we were visiting.)

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It's finished with applied i-cord. And yes, I purposely matched the i-cord to those little squares on the edge. I was in The Zone.

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Love,
Kay


Posted by Kay at 03:06 PM | Comments (102)

June 26, 2009

Armed and Cheesy

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Dear Kay,

Rushing around today, but wanted to make sure you saw this piece of breaking news from Shelbyville:

Couple Accused of Assault Using Cheetos.

Love,

Ann

Posted by Ann at 12:32 PM | Comments (42)

June 21, 2009

Fathers Day Poetry Slam

Dear Ann,

Thank goodness--thank GOODNESS, I say--we never made a big deal about Mothers Day or Fathers Day in our house. It was always kind of "Sunday: bagels as usual (we'll run out for cards later)" --and that is a fine, fine thing, don't get me wrong. So we have not suffered unduly today. Just another Sunday in the New Normal. Which isn't all that normal, but never mind. We got our uncles some very lovely cosmetics at Lush, just to freak them out! (With any luck, both uncles are going to be smelling very citrus-y on Monday.)

But someone sent my daughter a poem recently. Not having been an English Major, as I should have been, I did not know it before. It's a poem about the father e.e. cummings had. We should all be so lucky. Happy Fathers Day.

my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if(so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm

newly as from unburied which
floats the first who,his april touch
drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots

and should some why completely weep
my father's fingers brought her sleep:
vainly no smallest voice might cry
for he could feel the mountains grow.

Lifting the valleys of the sea
my father moved through griefs of joy;
praising a forehead called the moon
singing desire into begin

joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice

keen as midsummer's keen beyond
conceiving mind of sun will stand,
so strictly(over utmost him
so hugely) stood my father's dream

his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
no hungry man but wished him food;
no cripple wouldn't creep one mile
uphill to only see him smile.

Scorning the Pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;
his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain

septembering arms of year extend
yes humbly wealth to foe and friend
than he to foolish and to wise
offered immeasurable is

proudly and(by octobering flame
beckoned)as earth will downward climb,
so naked for immortal work
his shoulders marched against the dark

his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he'd laugh and build a world with snow.

My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)

then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine,passion willed,
freedom a drug that's bought and sold

giving to steal and cruel kind,
a heart to fear,to doubt a mind,
to differ a disease of same,
conform the pinnacle of am

though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit,all bequeath

and nothing quite so least as truth
--i say though hate were why men breathe--
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all

E.E. Cummings

------------

Love (more than all),
Kay

Posted by Kay at 09:36 PM | Comments (52)

June 20, 2009

All Kinds of Mess

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Dear Kay,

I really do have to apologize for my long silence on the correspondence front. I've got my wi-fi set, the iced tea is flowing, and the knitting is now coming along at a regular pace.

These blanket squares are, unfortunately for you, going to be the menu for a while. So addicting! So many ends! But this stashbuster is already looking like it's going to require more yarn in certain colors. That I have to, like, buy. Which is what happens with all stashbusting projects, isn't it?

Activity Number One

I had a huge morning watching the bluebirds, 2009 edition. This was their big day, and I managed to get some superfantastic, unprecedented footage:

So stuck! Epic fail! But the recovery was strong, once he got over his hurt pride. I was so delighted to see the wings--I think the white dots and those blue wings would make a beautiful . . . blanket.

Get There First with the Most

Remember a couple of summers ago, when we shot those pictures of that beautiful girl wearing the Belinda Wrap in the field of flowers up here?

Well, there was a mess of Rebels and Yankees out in the field yesterday.

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This is my commander, Captain Rice of Abingdon, Virginia. He seemed to know a lot about Nathan Bedford Forrest.

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We were pressed into action.

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I got to shoot me a dang cannon. It like to bust my eardrums I'll tell you what.

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"The capri pants got to go, that's for sure."

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 10:48 AM | Comments (36)

June 15, 2009

"A Dingo Stole My Baby!"

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Dear Ann,

This is one of those tales of When Good Deeds Go Bad. Or Good Girls Go Bad. I was lapping up the praise of my so-called kindness in re-knitting, flatly, a friend's blanket that refused to be flat. I felt a bit sheepish about taking any credit, though. Let's review:

1. It's garter stitch.
2. It's Noro Silk Garden.
3. It's log cabin.

In other words, for a person such as moi, with my log cabin/garter stitch/Silk Garden "condition" and all, this is less like a good deed and more like eating somebody else's ice cream. Nice for my frustrated friend, but not so praiseworthy on my part. It's not like I was getting traction on any of my other projecks. This was fun for me.

As I was knitting, I started getting those thoughts that I get. Those Sean Scully-meets-Gee's-Bend type of thoughts that I get. Before you knew it, not only was I knitting somebody else's garter stitch, but:

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I hijacked the dang thing.

I got permission, OK? And I'm totally OK if she wants to rip it back a few logs.

Moving on.

Hope you are enjoying the mountain air. Thinking of all you wimmin up there, I am buying stock in Capri Pants Inc. And also Gin.

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 09:56 AM | Comments (84)

June 08, 2009

Hallucinatory Pre-Loadout Knitting Episode

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Dear Kay,

I'm trying to get me, my junk, and also two children (who I am going to maintain are not junk even though they will still fit into a canvas tote bag if I fold them up right) up to Monteagle for the summer, and it's frankly not going very well.

I have NEVER in all my knitting days had such colossal indecision. Everything looks interesting; nothing looks interesting. I sit and stare into my bin of sock yarn and think, Socks? Could I do this? Are socks what I'm about right now? It's all so daunting. So impossible, in fact, that I have ended up packing my entire Cristina-built circular needle holder, which means I'm taking probably four dozen circular needles with me to the mountain, including my 60" size 15. I am SURE I'm going to need that thing. I'm taking the blocking wires. This is ridiculous.

In terms of yarn, I'm sticking with your Belinda Shawl, my log cabin squares blanket, and all the handspun I have collected over the years. I wonder what will happen to it! Definitely some sock yarn in there, just because it's so decorative. And I reserve the right to stock up whenever I see handspun enabler Lynne Vogel, which will be at least twice if I get it right.

Meanwhile . . .

I really, really hesitate to post these photos, because I think it's going to permanently put you into the creepies about this shawl I'm making for you. But I had to document what happened, when it happened, because the moment has now passed, and I wanted to have proof of it for myself.

The scene: the indoor skatepark, downtown. Clif is delighted to skate all afternoon. I'm in the parent-storage area, which has a huge, spongelike chair that nobody in her right mind would sit in. Except I am already kind of sleepy, and it is so very upholstered . . . I am on row 4 billion of this shawl, yet working on a 10" needle, so I have no way of telling whether things are coming out right. All 300 stitches are crammed onto this little stick. I wonder idly what it would look like, all liberated and spread out. I realize I've had this thought about a hundred times in the past week.

I'm slumped in the worrisome sponge chair, drifting in and out of consciousness as Bob Dylan's "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts" blares at 120 decibels, which pretty much provides a lifetime supply of Bob Dylan in one song. At the same time, I'm trying to listen on my iPod to a course about Russian history, so I've got Peter the Great, Bloody Anna, Catherine the Great, and Pugachev's Rebellion floating around in my head, too.

Amid all this, it occurs to me that I could take the shawl off the needle if I threaded the working yarn through the stitches, doubled up or something.

So I did this:

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right there on the skatepark folding table. I sort of wiped it off, but I was completely zonked out by the Dylan and the Russian history and the prospect of seeing this shawl SPREAD OUT. I had to know. I had to see what was what.

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The good news is that I have about eight more rows to go. The bad news is that I am going to have to soak the thing in Oxyclean for a week.

And yes, that's the orange stitch marker right there in the middle. Front and center.

Next stop: Monteagle. See you on the other side.

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 09:03 AM | Comments (47)

June 02, 2009

Thin Men of Manhattan! And Mr. Boy!

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Dear Ann,

It's always exciting when a new issue of Twist Collective goes live, and I get to see what we wrote. In the brand-new Summer 2009 issue, there are additional delights:

Franklin, at the height of his powers in "13 Ways of Looking at a Knitter." A wonderful piece of literate, laugh-out-loud whimsy, with drawings reminiscent of Picasso's late work. (My Franklin crush is obviously out of control: hello, Picasso?)

And, introducing....

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Mr. Boy! A top-down, saddle-shoulder pullover, sized for little boys (and little girls) and big strapping men (and big strapping women). In this photo, Mr. Elio of Phila*Craft fame is modelling a prototype of his mother's design. I have it on good authority that wearing this sweater turns an ordinary human boy into a cherub or a seraph.

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(I'm knitting one for Joseph, in Rowan Denim, on that assumption.)

There are many other beautiful, knitterly designs, as always. Really proud of those Twist girls.

Enjoy!

Love,
Kay


Posted by Kay at 09:15 AM | Comments (26)
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