Sunday, February 13, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.--H.L. Mencken

The older I get, the more frivolity I generate. And a frivolous, wonderful time was had by all today at Kathy Merrick's 50th birthday party, hosted by the lovely and witty Liza Prior Lucy.

So today's entry is all about the swell time we had at Liza's. Don't you love reading about people you know fuck-all about?

Fun and Games in No Hope, PA
John and I left around 9:30 a.m., stopping once to check out a truck John was interested in. We arrived at Liza's just as Joe and his partner, the handsome and mushroom-collector extraordinaire, Thaddeus, arrived. For those of you unfamiliar with Liza Prior Lucy, she has been a designer, Rowan rep, and now works with Kaffe Fassett on his quilting books and selling his fabric, which is unbelievably beautiful. Check it out here.

This will give you an idea of the kind of work Liza does. This quilt top was amazing and the photo doesn't do it justice.

Joe and I spent quite a while admiring it.

That's Joe in the foreground, Liza's friend Meg to his right and the birthday girl up front.

Liza has taken strips of Kaffe's fabric, cut them on the bias and knitted them. Very interesting effect, I thought.

After a lovely brunch of bagels, cream cheese, whitefish, smoked salmon, juice, coffee and a lot of bullshitting, we settled into Liza's living room for the presentation of gifts to the elderly Benoit-loving Merrick. She received a red hat, purple tracksuit, and an AARP card. Only the finest for la petite bouffante, n'est-ce pas?

You'd think Carol could have kept her tongue to herself.

Here's Merrick showing off her photo collection of the swarthy, dwarflike Benoit Bourque.

I'm forever asking myself, "Why?"

A couch full of partners: Joe, my Johnny, and the handsome but elusive Thaddeus.

Finally, it was cake time.

Such a demure pose for the scourge of the Twitlist.

But I've saved the best for last. Carol, who has been so supportive during my little bout of manic depression (as has everyone, I might add), decided to create an incredibly wonderful gift for me.

Meet Bipolar Betty.

This is Manic Betty.

Here's Depressive Betty (Carol said she cut her hair with nail scissors--I can dig that).

And here's the two, bound together for eternity or some such shit.

I think Carol should either publish the pattern or make them and sell them. I know a lot of lunatics who'd buy them. Of course, they're not on the Knit List.

And by the way, totally off-topic, I recently decided to knit my cellphone a cover from Homespun. My cellphone's name is Stanley, because I think every item one owns should be named and covered with knitting. But that's me. Rare and handy.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Football is a mistake. It combines the two worst elements of American life. Violence and committee meetings.--George F. Will

The best part of the Super Bowl was watching Paul McCartney sing. Before that, I worked on socks. Now I'm done with football.

On with blogging and leave the TV to John.

Books Redux and Then Some
Never mind that I still have laundry to do and the evening is becoming elderly. Let's talk about Fair Isle and lace books.

As far as Fair Isle books are concerned, (and lace too, for that matter), these books will be either heavier on technique and lighter on designs, or vicey versy. In my opinion, Alice Starmore and Ron Schweitzer are the two foremost Fair Isle designers around. Ann Feitelson comes in third. Ron designs a lot with Shetland 2000 yarn and is featured on Yarns International's website. Ron also has had designs in the Jamieson books that are wonderful. AS you all know. If you don't own any of her books, try to buy one. My personal favorite is Stillwater but they are all outstanding.

Technique for Fair Isle has been best explained in Sweaters From Camp, which was edited by Amy Detjen and Meg. I am not crazy about most of the campers' designs; however, the technical info therein is the best I've ever read. For that alone, for those few pages, it's worth buying. And of course, AS's Book of Fair Isle Knitting is a must. Amazon has 7 copies of it right now at $130, if you feel like plunking down the bucks.

Lace knitting and knitted lace--I swear I can never remember which is which. There are lots of good pattern books out there but one of the best technical books on lace was written by Susanna E. Lewis, Knitting Lace. This book uses the lace sampler from the Brooklyn Museum, first re-creates each lace section with clear charts and instructions, and then teaches the knitter how to design lace. Absolutely invaluable to the would-be lace designer. I had the pleasure of working with Susanna back in the mid-80s when I edited a machine-knitting magazine called MacKnit. Susanna was a very well-known machine-knitting artist and teacher who is probably the most technically talented knitter I have ever met. More talented than EZ, in my opinion. And much like EZ, Susanna's designs were often hit-or-miss. But she cowrote The Machine Knitter's Guide to Creating Fabric with Julia Weissman, a book that I'm sure machine knitters still use.

I have a number of very good lace books in my library, all of which I think are worth having--Sarah Don's Shetland Lace, the Marianne Kinzel books, Shetland Lace by Gladys Amedro (one of the best), Traditional Lace Shawls by Martha Wiseman, The Lacy Knitting Of Mary Schiffmann by Nancy Nehring. You can't go wrong with any or all of these books.

Some of these books may be out of print. You'll have to check, if you're interested in buying. But if you're interested in knitting either Fair Isle or lace, you really can't have too many of them. I've done a fair amount of lace but nothing terribly complex. It's an area of knitting that I'd like to explore more.

So, what books would you like me to discuss next? Let me know. And dare I say that having your significant other glued to the TV is a rare and handy thing? Yep. "GO PATS!" That and a couple of beers makes John a rare and handy guy, don't it? May you all have a blessed Super Bowl Sunday and thank God when it's over.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?—Scott Adams

Here are the kinds of questions stupid people ask. For those of us who broke our “Delete” key last week getting rid of Knit List Survey responses, here’s one survey response that the List Moms didn’t have the cojones to publish, written by our own Lisa McNulty.

(If you don’t know what Riker’s Island is, you’ll figure it out from the answers.)

Lisa’s “Survee”
1. City/State/country—Riker's Island, NY
2. Mental age—3
3. Physical ageish if you care to share—I can't count higher than 20.
4. Occupation other than knitting goddess/god—Pole Dancer/Bioengineer, currently guest of the state
5. Hobbies other than the obvious if you have time—Golf, Strangling Animals and Masturbation
6. Taught to knit by—The sisters at the convent got me started, but it was my last round in the big house that really honed my skills. All that time in solitary...
7. Years knitting experience—15-20, with time off for good behavior
8. My favorite needles are—Carved out of old shivs I find abandoned in the showers.
9. My favorite place/time to knit is—Three words. Monster. Truck. Races.
10. Daily time spent knitting—After lights out
11. The most treasured object you have knitted—I've recently taken to knitting pot scrubbers out of old gum wrappers--does anyone have a pattern for a file?
12. My favorite yarn shop I have ever been in is—I did do a little shoplifting in the yarn section in the Walmart—never did time.
13. I tend to buy most of my yarn here—Buy?
14. OK, OK I admit I have approximately this many skeins in my
Stash—I can fit about 10 skeins in my mattress.
15. #Kids/#Grandchildren—None, but my cellmate's got a pile.

More Book Crap Coming Soon
I’ll post on Sunday the continuing saga of knitting books, this time focusing on lace and Fair Isle books worth owning. I’d be doing it today but I, um, don’t have access to my library at the present time, given that I’m not home. I like to have my resource materials in front of me so I don’t write off the top of my head.

You could call me detail-oriented. Or another name, if you wish.

I’m Mostly From Mars
There was some weird comment made on Joe’s blog about someone coming to my blog and not finding what they expected. My response: WTF would you expect? I suppose I need to worry about other people’s expectations of me? Not likely in this life. I rarely expect anyone to get what I'm about, knitters or non-knitters.

However, I did have a nifty moment with my boss, Gerry, the other day. Now, I love Gerry dearly. He’s a great guy and I figured that my knitting in the conference room at lunch wasn’t a big deal and that no one much noticed anyway. But I was totally blown away when he said, “You know, Mar, I love to see you knitting. You have such a passion for it, and that’s a really good thing.” Gerry understands that my passion for knitting translates into a passion for work. Or perhaps a passion for doing anything the best I can. He’s one of the few male non-knitters who gets it.

I guess knitting all those little hats and scarves for our stuffed eagle mascot Rocky meant something. Gack.

So keep your eyes peeled for a post on Sunday. After all, the Super Bowl is neither rare nor handy…and writing the blog certainly is.