First of all, great news! Really great news. Intrepid blogger Cristina has created a rumpus room online for everybody working on projects from the book. Her Mason-Dixon Knitalong has appeared like MAGIC, and it’s going to be a ton of fun for everybody who’d like to share tips, UFOs, FOs, suggestions, mint julep recipes, and deep philosophical musings about life.
You can post your own entries, photos, mint julep recipes (sorry I already mentioned that) once you’ve emailed Cristina here to let her know you’d like to join in. Or you can email her directly from the knitalong site.
I’ve already seen two ideas I’m going to mooch shamelessly. A thousand Valomilks to Cristina for setting up this knitalong.
Question: What Is a Valomilk?
That is only one of many, many questions we have asked since arriving in Kansas City/Overland Park Missouri/Kansas. (This is a Valomilk, shared by the brilliant librarian Barbara. Its “Flowing Center” will strike fear into the heart of any yarn shop owner.)
Who named this place Kansas City? It’s CRAZY TOWN.
I don’t know how people can be so calm around here, in a place where you’ve got state lines running down the middle of the street, tax rates that change by city block, and peculiar happenings in suburban yarn shops.
SO MANY QUESTIONS. We hardly know where to begin.
Question: What Is A Burnt End? Does It Require Ointment?
We arrived in Kansas City on Quatros de Mayo, ready to celebrate Mexico’s independence or whatever. Start early! Kay’s remarkably patient brother Van met us at the airport–and I have to say, it is a relief finally to meet some of Kay’s kin. I was beginning to think she’d made them all up. (She’d tell me, “Yep! We each have three-letter names. Rilly!” And I’d believe this?) By the end of our visit to her home town of Omaha, I hope to collect the whole set of Gardiner fambly trading cards.
Kansas City is famous for its barbecue. Writers have built careers on Kansas City barbecue. Van immediately led us here. We had this. And, of course, these. What digital photography cannot capture is the perfection that is the burnt end (that pile of stuff on the plate). It’s pork, beef, whatever, slow cooked over hickory flame, then, as if that wasn’t enough cooking, they cook it again. Slap some sauce on it, and those savory tidbits stay with you well into the night. The three of us were struck dumb by this experience.
Until we got to Yarn Shop and More.
Question: What is the “More” at Yarn Shop and More?
Denise Kelley is the owner of Yarn Shop and More. She’s a pistol–a fireball of energy and good humor, and she made us feel welcome from the git-go.
We noticed things. Like:
Baby kimonos and pinwheel rugs on the walls. Staff member Carol here reveals a pile of baby bibs and burpies that she cranked for a new baby coming into her life. Love ’em!
We noticed tender old friend reunions:
College friends who hadn’t seen each other in six years. Beth on the left lives in KC. Kirsten on the right drove all the way from Texas and won the distance award from the yarn shop! I loved seeing them.
Tracy made her baby kimono from yarn she spun herself. Next time she’ll probably go shear her own sheep. Intrepid, she is. She is the sort of person who spends time in the Himalayas on a regular basis. She has a very cool project we’re going to tell you about this week.
At one point I lost Kay completely when she discovered
someone knitting denim. Check it out! I don’t know a single detail about this except it derailed Kay for at least ten minutes.
spontaneous displays of buttonhole bags.
proof of log cabin activity.
a dishcloth rug almost finished.
Elizabeth and her mom Christine. Mother/daughter knitting duos are just the best. Mwahs to you guys!
And finally–after the Valomilks and the laughs and the second trip in one day to Jack Stack Barbecue with Denise and Carol and Julie, where (we are appalled to admit) we put the hurt on these–we continue to be haunted by an encounter late in our event at Yarn Shop and More.
As the shop cleared out, a man zoomed into the shop to buy a book for a woman who asked him to pick one up for her. We dutifully documented the presence of A Dude Buying a Book for a Woman, and Kay began to sign the book. At that point, The Dude stood behind Kay and started doing this. Then this. We were totally cracking up at this spontaneous application of back-rubbing and figured this guy had to be, like, the owner’s nutty brother-in-law, or SOMEbody known as a spontaneous rubber of backs.
But no. Mr. Relaxation was a new face at Yarn Shop and More. No one knows who he was . . . or where he came from . . . or if he’ll return . . .
So we ask: Who is this man?