They sicken of the calm that know the storm.—Dorothy Parker
A fine brunch was had by the participants below at The Stockton Inn this past Sunday, one of Dottie’s favorite places.
Beginning at left: Liz, Mar, Joe, Liza, Kathy, Selma
If you are ever in Stockton, New Jersey, make a point to have lunch at this wonderful old inn.
A get-together such as the one we had on Sunday is something that I treasure. And it’s not just about getting together with other knitters. It’s about spending time with friends. People who share life philosophies, who enjoy each other, and who care about each other. We’ve spent a couple of years developing this circle—first it was Joe, Kathy and me. Then came Lisa and Carol. And then Selma and Liza.
It’s a privilege to be part of this group, and I ain’t bullshitting.
After lunch, where my granddaughter Liz ate the most incredible desert, we went over to Joe's, where his partner Thaddeus was waiting with Mennonite carrot cake and the best espresso I've had in years. Liza brought along some interesting crochet that I thought was quite funky.
And then there had to be the obligatory cat picture. Joe won't put this on his blog but I will. Their cat Gage is beautiful. And sweet.
Hot Flashes From (and About) the Knitting Mag World
Sorry. I thought everyone had hot flashes. Shall I discuss mine in detail? Or perhaps you’d prefer reading about an injured extremity? I do so enjoy photos of maimed, bruised digits, don’t you? I could post a picture of me drenched in sweat at 4 a.m.
Anyway, I was initially shocked to hear that Interweave Press had been bought by Aspire Media a few weeks ago. My immediate reaction was, “Oh no. There goes the neighborhood.”
I’ve changed up my mind, as we say in my house. I think, in fact, that this sale may be a very good thing. Why? Read this and you’ll understand why. Clay Hall, the new CEO, understands the craft publishing market. This is not Kraft Foods buying a publishing company so that they can diversify. Hopefully Hall will sink more money into their book publishing efforts as well as expanding their magazine titles.
Knitting magazines in general are missing a huge market—their old one. Every knitting magazine, including Interweave Knits, has targeted all their editorial focus on the HYUKs. And they’ve alienated a large number of knitters who are more interested in quality designs with a more traditional slant.
So if any of you knitting magazine editors read this blog, hear me now: If you want to corner the market, start a magazine dedicated to the Dark Side. I’d suggest calling it Traditional Knitter or something like that. You’ll get all the rest of us who are sick of glitzy scarves, ponchos, knitted bikinis, and the rest of the junk that you’ve been publishing.
I’m available for an editor’s position, by the way. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m dead serious. Besides having worked for McCall’s N&C, MacKnit, Dolls, and a few other places, I once edited and produced an entire issue of Ships In Scale on my dining room table. That means pasting it up the old way, before computers did it all. How’s that for bona fides?
Iron Sausage Socks and the In-Stallment of Slainte
John, who likes to use the screen name Iron Sausage when he plays online poker (it’s from a Zappa song), will be the recipient of these lovelies.
That's John modeling his Iron Sausage sock. The yarn is Socka Colori, with a nice stitch pattern courtesy of Barbara Walker. And I will put the pattern up for sale in three sizes on the Knitting Vault because it's about time I made some chump change from this hobby of mine. Slainte got ripped out to the ribbing because I was A) not in love with what I’d designed and B) I left out a separator stitch. It’s in the bag, so to speak. Which means that I may work on it over the holiday weekend.
As most of you know, I consider IK the best of a very bad lot. Got a glimpse of the latest issue this weekend and besides some horrifically ugly designs that made my jaw drop (I know one of the designers, so I won’t be specific unless someone spews coffee on their keyboard and threatens me with cat stories), there might be one or two redeeming designs and articles. I did want a better look at the Shibori article. There was also a Veronik Avery design that looked good. I admire Veronik’s work very much. I'll leave the in-depth reviews to Joe. I can't be bothered any more.
Of all the Interweave magazines, I truly love Piecework. It’s consistently excellent. The latest issue, July/August, is absolutely spectacular if you love lace of any kind. There is a simple Nancy Bush scarf done in an Estonian lace pattern that I’m going to use for a larger shawl—now I can justify the suri alpaca purchase at last year’s Stitches.
Over the years, however, I’ve made it my business to learn more than just knitting. I can sew, quilt, embroider, crochet, and sometimes I stray from knitting for one of the others. For years I made a lot of my own clothes and some for the kids. I almost always made their Halloween costumes. I own a Bernina sewing machine that doesn’t get nearly the use it ought. I learned how to quilt because I had a quilting magazine dumped into my lap when the editor quit suddenly and found myself entranced with the color opportunities and the challenge of making a quilting stitch. I embroider because I love color…and I enjoy stitching samplers. On 32-count Belgian linen, not Aida cloth.
Learning these other needlework skills has enhanced my knitting skills. And I truly believe that if you wish to be an expert knitter, you owe it to yourself to learn as much as you can about other needlecrafts. You’d be amazed how you can apply one to the other and most important, learn what does not work with knitting.
Things From England (with no apologies to Scott Muni) and Other Interests
Somehow it came up in one of the comments that I do have other interests besides knitting and needlework. So here they are.
I am a serious Flow Blue collector. Flow Blue porcelain was made primarily in England from the 1830s to about 1912 for export to this country. I’ve got a pile of it and wrote an extensive cover article about my collection for a now-defunct collectors magazine. (By the way, I don't recommend buying any antique from eBay unless you are an experienced collector.)
Other antiques that I collect are miniature porcelain tea sets, Victorian porcelain in general, black rag dolls and Frozen Charlottes (doll collectors will know what those are). And I collect chintzy plastic snow globes from each city or region that I visit.
I play cribbage and poker online.
Although I studied violin for 15 years and guitar for 4, I haven’t played either in a long time but…I’d love to teach myself Celtic harp. My daughter Jenn plays it quite well.
I read incessantly, as you know. Big on history and mysteries.
Gardening is one of my favorite activities, either indoor or out.
Baseball is my passion, the Yankees in particular. Tennis is the other sport I’ll watch.
Well, enough is enough. That ought to make up for two weeks of void. Not exactly rare and handy to be so sporadic a writer but you know what I always say. Bite me.