Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's a Barbie World.

Best Quote I Heard All Day
If you carry your childhood with you, you will never grow older--Tom Stoppard

I admit to jonesing for a Barbie when I was nine. I, who hated dolls, wanted Barbie and her clothes. I've just finished writing a bit about this for the book. I made clothes for her from scraps of cloth gleaned from my grandfather's closest friend, who worked in Manhattan's Garment District, and knitted weird tubular ropes using my knitting jenny. I didn't know about I-cord back then.

If I had that 1959 Barbie MIB (mint in the box), I could retire. Anyone remember her wedding dress? Exquisite. And cost $5 back then. I saved for that for weeks. 

OP Knitting
I find it interesting that many designers use other people to do the knitting for their books. I'm knitting every piece for my book. Why, given that I work a full-time job and have limited time? Because Knitting in Public is my story and it deserves pieces made by me, not some friend with too much time on their hands (I don't mind the plural possessive, despite my love of Strunk and White).

I suspect that most writers/designers of knitting books don't work full time outside the home and have plenty of minions willing to knit for them, which is why there is a continuing stream of useless knitting books. I'm sure I could round up a few volunteers to knit for me. I won't. Ever. 

That means that I may only write one or two books. Big fucking deal. I'm sure that the market doesn't need a book a year from me. God knows it's enough to work on the book every evening. Write a little, knit a little. Jerry's probably sick of looking at the current book project. I know I am.

Other Fiber Shit
Despite the book, I have found a little time to do some experimental weaving on my Flip loom. What you see in the picture is me fucking around with the warp and weft. I like the colors but the warp, a 10/8 cotton, is too thin. 
The first picks were done in leftover Raggi sock yarn, just to see what kind of fabric I'd get. A mess. Then I used the same warp cotton for weft. Another mess, too thin for the reed. Finally, I tried some Harrisville Shetland that I bought at WEBS two weeks ago. I bought two cones of magenta and dark green. Now I know that I need to use the Harrisville for warp and weft. Off comes the cotton, which I'll save for the Mighty Wolf loom when I can set it up. 

And I do have some embroidery waiting to be started. Sometimes I need to cleanse my palate.

Mammy's Birthday
Ellie's still going strong. She'll be 86 this Friday. You'd never know it. She still drives, does her own shopping, knits better than many people half her age, and doesn't miss a trick mentally. My brother is convinced that as long as she keeps planning knitting projects, she won't have time to die. I agree. She asked for yarn for her birthday. "What else do I need at my age?" 

My mother just got her Stitches flier yesterday in the mail and noticed that there was no mention of any instructors--she found that quite odd, along with the new Hartford venue. So I said to her, "Maybe I'll go this year, what the fuck. Wanna go?" I figured she'd say no. 

She said, "Sure, why not?" I almost fell over. We both got sick of Stitches a few years ago and she wasn't really interested in going to Rhinebeck. 

So look for me and Ellie at Stitches this year. For those of you who have met my mother, you know she's a trip.

Happy birthday, Ma. I don't know what I'd do without my bestest knitting buddy. May you live for another 20 years, like your doctor thinks you will.

Da Mags
I just picked up IK tonight at the supermarket, of all places. Haven't looked at it yet but these days, I flip through the knitting rags and immediately forget what was in them. Jaded, I suppose. I don't think I've bothered to look at a copy of Knitter's in more than a year. And the rest, I leave alone too. The new VK is out and I'm shaking with ennui. I'll get it because I like reading Lee Ann's column, dude.

The Rowan Magazine, which I will always buy sight-unseen, is the exception. And the exceptional. It puts the rest to shame.

Books are another story. I do want the new Marianne Isager book, Japanese Inspired Knits, and Spin Control, by Amy King. Besides, I love receiving packages in the mail when I get home from work. 

I'm such a child, as Jerry says. He's right. And rare and handy. It won't be long now...I'll see him tomorrow night. We didn't kill each other on our vacation. Always a good sign.

P.S. I've made my reservations for Rhinebeck. Have you?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Maine Lining

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Babies don't need a vacation but I still see them at the beach.  I'll go over to them and say, 'What are you doing here, you've never worked a day in your life.'--Steven Wright

I always ran into the surf when I was a toddler and drove my mother nuts. She ended up putting a harness on me. 

Back in the High Life Again
Yo. I'm back from vacation in New England. A short but wonderful week. We stayed with Jerry's friends John and Mary Jean at their beautiful house on a small lake in Lovell, ME.

Ya can't be crabby on vacation. Every morning I sat on the deck and worked on a book project. Here's the view. It was hard to keep my eyes on the work.

Jerry and I had a fabulous time. I needed the rest. But I worked on the book project constantly. Here's a teaser picture. This is the scarf in progress, with one of the mitts that goes with the set. There will be a hat, too. I chose the Mini Mochi rainbow shade because it is reminiscent of my very first knitting project, the one that Ma started me on. I will include the original pattern too--dare I say that it was Red Heart? Yes, I have the original Red Heart color, so I'll be making that scarf too, illustrative of what I did when I was eight years old. 

The book will be littered with my designs that reflect different times in my life. At this point, the book has 15 projects that will be interwoven with the text. Some of the designs: the Winnepesaukee summer jacket done in a cotton/linen blend, a sweater tribute to Mary Quant, one of my first fashion influences, a few sock patterns, and Fair Isle Mania. You'll see. I'll give you some more teasers as I go along. 

One thing I've learned--doing your own designs beats the piss out of fucking around with someone else's stuff. I realized the other day that I have done nothing but my own shit for the past year and a half. And been quite happy with what I've accomplished. In a few weeks, I'll put up a short excerpt from the book. I appreciate the publishing suggestions but I know who the publishers are. Whether I go with any of them shall be seen. Interweave is a possibility, although I will insist that I see the final edited copy. The last time I wrote for them, I was not accorded that courtesy. As a former magazine editor myself, I know how to deal with writers. You keep their voice. That should not be edited out. The editor is not the writer. 

Song of the South
Well, I've been hearing nothing but Asheville from readers and from friends. Jerry and I don't mind the mild cold--it's the subzero crap that we hate. I can tolerate 40 degrees or so. Plus, New Jersey is ridiculously expensive and we both want out. Funny, because he was born in Brooklyn and I in Manhattan. Yet we're both country people. I guess we'll never lose our accents, and I'll always love being a snotty Jersey skank. This move won't happen for a bit--logistics, ya know.

New England Fiber Haunts
I did go to Patternworks. Feh. The shop in Center Harbor, NH, is just a regular place, not even half as good as my LYS, Stix 'n' Stitches in Montclair, NJ. Frankly, if you take a trip to New England, you can pass it by for Halcyon, in Bath, ME, Harrisville in NH, or the Fiber Studio in Henniker, NH. And of course, WEBS is a must. I made it to WEBS and bought some Harrisville Shetland for a weaving project that I've got on the Flip loom. We really didn't have the time to go to Halcyon or Harrisville. Jerry was a good sport--he went into WEBS and sat in one of their comfy chairs. When I dipped into Patternworks, he took a short nap in the car.

One of these days, I'm going to do another tour of these places--anyone want to come? There are other smaller places in New England that I'd like to visit. I did go to Keepsake Quilting, which owns Patternworks. I'd consider quilting if I had the time and the room. I learned how to quilt years ago and would do it again. I would love to do a reproduction Civil War-era quilt or perhaps a Depression-era quilt. I prefer the antique reproductions to more modern fabrics. It's my love of history, I suppose. I know everyone loves Kaffe's fabrics, and they are lovely. But not what I would use if I were to quilt. Actually, I had often thought of doing a whitework quilt, where the quilting stitch is the star. Fuck machine quilting. Give me a needle for my hand. Machine piecing is OK--machine quilting is a bore, to me. 

So it's time to put this entry to bed, as well as me. Going back to work today was not at all rare and handy. But they do give me money, so what the fuck.