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

October 30, 2011

Finally, Decent Instructions on How to Knit

Dear Kay,

If you're needing to teach somebody how to knit, I recommend this:


(Thanks, Jori, for the link!)

Posted by Ann at 10:51 PM | Comments (50)

October 26, 2011

Rhinebeck Blowback, Or, The Attitude Is Gratitude

Dear Kay,

Seriously, it took me about a week to get over the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. I may never get over it. Maybe it was the superb weather, or the breathtaking and MEMORABLE traffic, or the serendipity of running into so many cool knitters--whatever the convergence, Rhinebeck was deeply, awesometastically great. I think it was that moment of bonding with that Cotswold sheep that did it. She was telling me something, and yes it did sound a lot like "BLAAAA. BLAAAA." But there was a lot in that BLAAAA. Hey sheep: I get it. I totally agree.

It was inspiring to be surrounded by people who are comfortable in their skin, who don't give a crap about listening to the beauty industry. (Now there's an oxymoron for you.) There were all sorts of people at Rhinebeck who knocked me out with their cheer and their matter-of-fact way of navigating life--everybody was having such a good time doing the goofy thing we like to do.

I took maybe one photo at Rhinebeck, and it was this:


This is Ann Weaver, the dervish designer who is modeling her own pattern, the brilliantly Zen Albers Shawl from her first book, Craft Work Knit. Kay, you may recognize this as the shawl you yourself finished in the car on the way up to Rhinebeck. Isn't it amazing? Don't you get kind of tearful just looking at it?


I bought a copy of Ann's spectacular new book, White Whale, Volume 1. It's a collection of patterns based on Moby-Dick. I don't think I need to add anything to that. I also bought a whale-gray batch of yarn from Tess Designer Yarns. Oh, Tess, why do you abuse us so? Your yarn is insane. I was lucky to get out of your booth with my credit rating intact. I have never seen so many grown women weeping openly at a skein of cashmere.

Here's possibly the first memorial yarn I have ever bought:


I bought it from kilt-rocking Mel and David, who live in Maine. David sells the heck out of Red Maple Sportswear. As for the yarn, it's Henrietta. I mean, it's yarn made from their neighbor's creature (a sheep? an alpaca?) who passed away recently. All I can remember is Mel telling me this story about the kibbutz they live on, or something like that, and there was this friend's awesome sheep/alpaca, and now she's gone, but here's her fiber captured forever in these lovingly spun skeins.

ETERNAL LIFE FOR HENRIETTA. I had to get in on that.

And Finally


I continue to work away on Laurel from Rowan 50. This is one of those deceptive patterns. Once you get your comfort zone set, you start watching Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. (Have you seen these? Young love!) Then all of a sudden you discover a wayward cable snaking halfway across the sweater. It's a good thing I like to knit, because there's one five-row stretch in there that I redid three times.

Wishing you authenticity, and enough frowns,



Posted by Ann at 12:34 PM | Comments (19)

October 19, 2011

World Premiere: Merle Hazard Takes on Those Thievin' Bankers

Dear Kay,

Oh, it's ON. Econo-crooner Merle Hazard is back, and he's headed for a showdown in "The Ballad of Diamond Jim." Hope you enjoy The Man in Beige in his most dramatic song yet.

The PBS NewsHour has a lot of juicy Merle-related stuff over here, including a video interview with the MIT economist Simon Johnson, who watches Merle's video and does a damn fine job of explaining exactly what the problem is with our banks.

Merle's settled in at Occupy Dodge City . . .

Share this with everybody you know who's cranky about the way things are.


PS Dianne asks if Merle has a Facebook page, and the answer is heckyeah he does, right here. Go ahead and like him--and he's Tweeting @MerleHazard.

Posted by Ann at 01:41 PM | Comments (18)

October 14, 2011

Rhinebeck Bound


Dear Ann,

You are here. We had fun watching 8000 people waiting in line for the Uniqlo grand opening on Fifth Avenue, didn't we?

We are leaving for Rhinebeck in 15 minutes. It's high time to blog about our Rhinebeck sweaters!

Oh dang. We didn't knit Rhinebeck sweaters.



If you see this blanket, the person underneath it will be either Ann or me.




Posted by Kay at 03:05 PM | Comments (28)

October 06, 2011

Rowan Does That Thing It Does, Yet Again

Dear Kay,

I have lost all sense of proportion. Things are a little wacky right now. Here's why:


ROWAN Issue 50!

We haven't discussed Rowan lately, have we? I don't have time for a full Talmudic commentary today, tragically, so here's my one-word review: scrumptrelescent.

Suffice it to say that you can turn a frown upside down by driving down Franklin Road, stopping in at Textile Fabrics (Nashville's only fabric store/yarn shop, a truly adorable place with about a thousand miles of ribbons and many buttons), and buying a Rowan magazine. I stopped getting mine in the mail a while back because it felt like all I did was renew renew renew. And there is something delicious about walking into a beautiful shop, finding something you covet, and joy upon joy, bringing it home with you.

The cover, with that Rhinebeck-ready young lass sporting her multiple handknits, really got to me. All those cables! Serpents and eels, all over the place, just ridiculously tantalizing. It must be 95 degrees, wherever this girl is, but what a transcendently peaceful look she has while sporting fifteen pounds of handknits.

A flip-through led me to this photo:


If an anthropologist came across this photo, 300 years from now, he would instantly be able to say: "Yes, there was a time, long ago, when lissome young women spent a lot of time sitting in trees and wearing rubber boots."

This may be the most comprehensively Rowany Rowan photograph ever taken. I'll welcome other nominations, but really. Forest: check. Full-length skirt: check. Wanness: check.

This pattern is Laurel. I am PROUD to say I was the first person to start this project over on Ravelry, though I am sure I won't be the first to finish it.


I'm using Berroco Ultra Alpaca rather than the specified Rowan Kid Classic. YES, KAY, I have Kid Classic in my stash, but it's a dun color that didn't really grab me. This Ultra Alpaca is going to get me good and ready for the coming ice age. Lush and insulating.

Speaking of Rhinebeck, I am wound up kind of tight about getting to come this year. It just about killed me to hear that the pot pie people are not going to be there. Who's going? And an essay question for extra credit: what is the maximum number of handknits a person should wear? (Note please "should" versus "can.")


Posted by Ann at 10:16 AM | Comments (53)

October 05, 2011

Thanking Steve Jobs

Dear Kay,

We all just got the news that Steve Jobs has died. Truly the end of an era!

Here's the post I wrote about him when he stepped down in January, along with his amazing Stanford commencement speech. Definitely worth watching.


Posted by Ann at 07:47 PM | Comments (10)

October 03, 2011

A Great Blanket, Now That I Remember It


Dear Kay,

You write of this blanket pattern, this Fussy Cuts Blanket pattern. So haunting, like a faded memory from the past.

Hold on--I remember it now! How could I forget making a 36-square-foot blanket? Maybe it's because I finished the thing and incredibly stuck it into the mail to a complete stranger.

For those just joining us (where have you been?), Fussy Cuts is our blanket pattern that appears in the new and lush Craft Activism by Joan Tapper and Gale Zucker. This pattern is particularly well suited to a group knitting effort, so I got a bunch of knitters together to test the pattern and to make a raffle blanket for the Monteagle Assembly's library renovation.

This was in May 2010. I completely associate this project with the Nashville Flood, which happened on May 1, right as I was receiving squares back from knitters. At one point our dining table was covered in squares while the roof leaked without pity into buckets right beside it.


The yarn: Noro Silk Garden. I bought a bunch on sale, with little regard for colorways. More is more, after all. This thing was going to be OFF THE CHAIN. I launched yarn and pattern to volunteers Morgan, Ann, Pamela, Sue, Cullen, and Pam.


Within a couple of weeks, this stellar group had returned every single square--not a layabout among them. Most impressive, they all got gauge.


The squares were SQUARE. My tears of relief mingled with the deluge raining into our dining room.


I took on the framing and joining part of the project myself, to test the pattern and also to give myself a colossal project while the house dried out.


I spent a long time dithering on the color for the frames and ended up with a pea green Noro that seemed sort of summery. For a wool/silk blanket that was going to be raffled in July, we needed all the summery we could get.

I think we all know now that Noro Silk Garden in that neutral cream shade would be the obvious choice. But I didn't even know it existed, lo those many moons ago in 2010.

Also: in the interest of finishing this thing asap, I made the frame on each square narrower than specified in the pattern. It worked just fine to do them this way.

And we didn't do any fussy cutting to get the centers of the squares to pop out. I honestly didn't think it would make a bit of difference when the color situation is so crazy.


The back looks almost as tidy as the front, which is what you want with a knitted blanket.


Before the raffle, I dragged the blanket all over the place, sentimental that it was about to leave home.


The raffle went well enough, though it just about killed me that the adorable lady who bought 100 tickets didn't win. I managed to do the right thing and mail the blanket to a lady in Cowan, Tennessee.


Conclusions: This pattern is absolutely addicting. Each square equals one skein of Noro, basically. You don't stop knitting until the square is done. Everybody seemed to love the pattern. It was great.

Now that I remember it.


Posted by Ann at 12:47 PM | Comments (52)

October 01, 2011

Ready, Set, Crawl!


Dear Ann,

Guess what? This weekend is the New York City Yarn Crawl! A select bunch of the city's best yarn shops are flinging open their doors and also hosting drawings for prizes. Visit them all, or visit your favorites, or visit the ones that are out of your zip code. It's really fun. Today and tomorrow. Enjoy!

Details here.

Happy weekend!


Posted by Kay at 09:47 AM | Comments (4)
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