What Other Knitters Know
The fate of the world depends upon the benevolence of knitters. With a few exceptions, notably Madam Defarge, we tend towards patience, we have thoughtful observations, and we never smuggle anything that can cause extensive harm to the population.
With those words I must also concede the fact we do still smuggle.
Last Saturday evening, I attended a birthday celebration which was a continuance of the previous Thursday festivities. The event was held at the Oregon zoo and included a performance by Portland’s own Pink Martini. It was the perfect location for a lovely concert. The sunset followed by starlight glowed over the audience as the not-to-pungent scent of the elephant compound wafted and intermingled with the smells from picnic baskets and beer. And, as every Portlandian knows, there are few better ways to celebrate a birthday than with a beer, or two. I do not judge.
I hold no shame as I admit my tendencies towards smuggling as I’m certain I’m not the only knitter who uses perfectly good wool to hide things from time to time. Once as a small birthday gift, I smuggled a medium size pizza into a showing of Blade Runner carefully tucked away inside of a pre-felted Lamb’s Pride bag. A few excess skeins on top of a plastic bag covered pizza box and until now, no one except the birthday-girl and me was the wiser.
I also hold no shame as I admit my tendency towards using knitting as a seemingly harmless tool for social dis-interaction as I’m certain I’m not the only knitter who uses perfectly good wool to avoid uncomfortable social situations from time to time.
Let’s visit Thanksgiving, circa 1998:
“Sorry Auntie-so-and-so, I cannot comment on the (imagined) insult Cousin-so-and-so expressed as I was busy counting stitches.”
Fast forward to last Saturday and reflect upon these important facts:
A number 1: I’m tired from working all day.
B number 2: I’d like to relax by knitting on my small Asian farmer while enjoying China Forbes’ dulcet version of “Hey Eugene” without interruption.
C number 3: I need to spend one evening free of the inevitable query, “Hey, are you knitting a Voodoo doll?”
D number 4: I need at least one beer to maintain the universal knitter’s measure of patience.
E number 5: It is not within my budget to purchase three, $7 beers, because I will certainly need more than one beer to maintain the universal knitter’s measure of patience when the inevitable query is hurled with much force towards my ear holes. I’m trying to believe it is not intended as a racial slur.
So, I smuggled beer under a Merino Alpaca sweater inside of my knitting bag because I know no Muggle will venture lower than two inches into knitting. With all of the needles, I suspect they are afraid knitting is communicable.
When the question was popped, I popped the lid off of my frosty brew and responded sweetly with, “Why yes it is. Now may I please have your name and a lock of your hair?”
One Small Asian Man
The procedure for cranium reduction is a very involved process. Like all reconstructive surgeries, the end result is reached (or nearly so) through several complicated sequences.
Currently on the gurney is a small Asian man:
The chief surgeon, i.e. me, first tried the poly-fill liposuction technique, followed by a reshaping process through several very painful felting procedures. The short row jaw helps to define the shape, redistribute volume, and create an optical illusion that fools the viewer into seeing a Richard Kiel-esque profile. While the end result does not look spectacular, the overall skull volume was reduced by 60%.He now only has a slight “big-headed” issue and even with his Asian heritage, he now appears to look like some of my most beloved family members. Additionally he might be able to one day stand on his own with out the aid of arc-boutant.
Most of the items for the Knitted Farmyard Knit-along are progressing, with the exception my farmer and some creatively placed udders, rather smoothly. The other farmers, this one knitted by Sandy Kay look like regular folk.
More on Sandy Kay at the end of this blog.
I ask you, dear reader, who exactly is “regular folk”? If this farm is to represent the masses; the trials of life; the human experience; shouldn’t all walks of life have a place on the farm? Can not the young farmhand caught in a nasty combine accident still feed the chickens from his wheelchair? I believe he can. I see all races, all sexes, and all levels of ability co-existing peacefully on this idyllic wooly Xanadu. Therefore, my small Asian is a metaphor for all people who feel “different”. He is a beacon for the unloved to realize they too are worthy of human compassion and affection. He is a symbol of hope.
Now back to Sandy Kay.
She is such a show off. Look at her perfectly-headed farmer. She even knit Hifa clothes! I ask you, what kind of Xanadu is it where people wear clothing, even if they are knitted? If you check out the Jaimeson’s dog she knitted, you can see it not only has character but expression. His head is slightly cocked as if to say, “Wanna play ball?” I must destroy her.
Labels: Sandy Kay
Thursday's Knit Night
I can't begin to explain how wonderful it was to have Amy Singer, author of “No Sheep for You” here on Thursday. Not only is she an amazing well of knitting knowledge, she is quite a dame. (I use the term as a sign of affection, much like Bogart did when referring to Bacall)
The store was packed and everyone was in good humor. Marjorie made Grand Marnier spiked chocolate mini muffins in celebration of someone’s birthday. I brought my own chair; with so many students in class, I knew seating would be at a premium. I’m expecting photos soon from a dear customer “Uptown Jenni Brown”. Expect to see more on that eventful day soon.
By the way, I think everyone believes that the cover photo on “No Sheep for You” is a picture of Amy. Actually it's a model. This is Amy.
Labels: Jenni, Marjorie
The Knitted Farmyard
Last winter I fell in love with a splendid book titled “The Knitted Farmyard
”. Commander in Chief, a.k.a. Sandy
, had an old out of print copy and she graciously shared it with me. Inside were recipes for knitted chickens, farmers, and crops. There were pigs, horses, cows, a virtual plethora of ungulates. It was the best of both worlds: knitting book and toys. I vowed to find a copy to call my own.
Rumor has it the book was originally written eons ago by a German woman named Hannelore Wernhard. It was eventually translated into English and became a book available in England. Sometime in the mid-eighties the book was again reprinted and sold here in the US. It just became available again.
Management, a.k.a. Commander in Chief, suggested I make a knitted farmyard for our store window display. Now, I may love toys and yarn but an entire farm seemed a bit daunting. However, I consider myself “management material” and quickly delegated out all the different projects to staff, class instructors, virtual strangers… frankly any warm body that walked through the door.
We thought it might make an ideal summer project for a knit-along. The projects are small and utilize all those scraps of yarn moldering in stash. Plus each farm is so personalized. There is no end to the creative process.
I think all of the projects use fingering weight yarn but I’ve found the need to purchase some Hifa, Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, and Sea Silk for special colors. I’m also excited to use up some of my scrap Koigu for clothing.
So I invite everyone to join in on the fun and knit a chicken, a farmer, some crops, an ungulate or two. Take a picture and post it on Flickr. Then send me a note so all can see your lovely pretties.
Rethinking the Blog
I’ve gotta rethink this blog thing.
Love them though I may, customers are interfering with my yarn hoarding.
Do you notice something peculiar about this photo?
No? Okay, how about this one:
That’s right folks, it’s missing.
I suppose I made a tactical error in announcing my new favorite yarn as Habu Textiles’ Bamboo. One day it’s there happily smiling at me with a come-hither expression the next day it’s gone.
Not to worry, I’ve been assured by my commander-in-chief more supplies will arrive soon. In the interim, we will all just have to survive on these succulent beauties:
Yeah, I know. They look like bathing beauties basking in the sun. I believe the technical term for this sort of attraction is “Homina-homina-homina”. It’s Hand Maiden’s Sea Silk and these skeins are the “off” dye lots. Fearless Leader, a.k.a. Darcy, ordered a little extra so customers could have more choices for the Tuscan Lace Shawl class with Amy Singer. Like the Bamboo, it’s completely RAI approved.
For the rookies out there, that stands for “Roll Around In”.
Such yarns include: Alchemy Yarns’ Bamboo, Joseph Galler Yarns’ Pashmina, ShibuiKnits’ Baby Alpaca DK, and Windy Valley Muskox’s Suri Alpaca. A yarn so scrumptious your first inclination is to rub it on every part of your body (for test purposes of course). Hence: Roll Around In.
I suppose I will just have to drown my sorrows in another company’s yarn. I’ll cope somehow.
It seems with every year there are fewer and fewer “beginning” moments but surpluses of “been-there-done-that” moments. It’s painful to realize the trend can only continue.
Last week, two new knitters completed their first hats. Do you remember the thrill of that first half-sphere of warm yummy goodness? What was the texture? What was the color? Mine was an acrylic, fingering weight, hombre pink hideousness. (sigh) I loved that hat.
Tiffani Shakespeare completed hers out of ShibuiKnits “Baby Alpaca DK” in Mulberry. It was her first knitting project. She withstood the pain of the cast-on. She bravely battled the double pointed needles. She disregarded the friends who said her hat would be ready just in time for the summer heat.
Sandy and I had the thrill of showing her how to cinch up the last stitches, and with the ends neatly woven in she gingerly tried on her rolled brim hat. It was stunning. No really, a top notch job.
Thwack! She plunked down her money for more purple yarn. This time it was for Louisa Harding “Nautical Cotton”. Then she strutted in an Antonio Fargas “Fly guy-esque” kind of way out the door into the rain. We live in Oregon people; what summer heat?
The other new knitter was Winter Mcleod. She is going to be a fashion designer someday and she has the right name for the business. Say it with me folks: Winter Mcleod. Sounds posh doesn’t it?
Anyway, she finished a baby hat for a brand new relative and later eyeballed the worsted weight wall. Again, say it with me folks: Worsted weight wall. Hmm, that sounds posh as well.
It was exciting to share their “beginnings” and as I think about it, I realize I still get twitter-pated when I see new yarn or begin a project.
Right now, I am all about the Habu “Habu Bamboo”. Sandy plotzed over the Hand Maiden “Big Sea Wool” in Blackberry. Darcy, as cool and serene as Lake Tahoe, purred (I kid you not) when the Hanne Falkenberg kits arrived. I foresee new projects in our future.
Although there are fewer of them, we will still have beginnings. This blog is new and I’m just beginning my blogging adventure. So, comment on your favorite new project or yarn. If you still have them, post those memories of your first fiber art related experience. With your help, I hope the beginning of this new relationship with you is as memorable as your first project.
Labels: 2007, Darcy, July 20