This trip was one of the latter.
Where did I go? Here's a hint.
No, not Anchorage. Here's another hint.
Who said Buffalo?
What do you need, a picture of a breast implant? I was in Los Angeles.
Here's how it happened.
Not long ago two knit bloggers struck up a long-distance friendship. This one lives in New York City. He was going out to Los Angeles for his second appearance on DIY Network's "Knitty Gritty."
He was talking about the TV appearance with the second blogger, who lives in Chicago. The second blogger made a joke about coming along to help out, and the first blogger said, only half-joking, that he'd already imagined that could be fun. And then they laughed, and then nobody was joking. And then suddenly there were plane tickets, and two bloggers who had never met in person sat in their respective cities thinking, "What the hell just happened?"
Which is how John Brinegar and I wound up walking at sunset on the beach in Santa Monica,
which I must say for the record is rather nicer than walking down State Street in December by myself.
John seemed to enjoy it, as well.
It turns out that he and I knit at the same gauge, which made it possible for me to help put the finishing touches on his step-outs for the show. (I won't explain step-outs, since you all read Yarn Harlot anyhow.) This photo is so that my Mom and Dad will know which bits to cheer for when the episode airs.
I just hope they spell my name properly in the credit roll.
Curiously, I have discovered that I have almost no photographs from a day-and-a-half at the studio. I was too blissed out to click the shutter, I guess. No, not blissed out. That suggests calm. I was giddy.
It can be tough sitting around on a set when you're not involved in the production, but the folks at "Knitty Gritty" were so jolly and accomodating I didn't feel de trop at any point. Instead, I got to watch Something Being Made. I've always enjoyed that. I'd rather be behind the scenes than in the audience, any time, and this was my first visit to a television studio.
And aside from the people who make the show, there were the other guests who kept popping in and out as their episodes were put together, including Amy Singer, Iris Schreier, Jennifer Hansen (aka Stitch Diva), and Stephen of HizKnits fame. Stephen taped just before John, and then much to my delight decided to stick around which meant we got to sit together and dish and bond and bitch and kvetch and giggle–you know, the things all men do when in good company.
And Amy let me try on this hemp slip-stitch sweater from her new book (the one with no sheep in it) which fit me as though it had been made to measure. (Amy honey, you have my address. Parcel post will work just fine–winter won't be over for ages.)
One moment so I can sweep up all the dropped names.
The day after the taping was free and clear, so we met up with the formidably cool Wendy of Knit and Tonic at Wildfibers, which I didn't realize until we got there is owned by Mel Clark, who collaborated with Tracey Ullman on Knit Two Together. I didn't buy much, but what I bought...well, I'm saving that until last.
Wendy led John and I out to Malibu, where we sat at a restaurant by the ocean and watched dolphins and pelicans and aggressive seagulls, and ate peanuts, and dished and bitched and kvetched and giggled and bonded–you know, the things all knitters do when in good company.
Afterwards, we went down to the beach and used Wendy's clapotis to pretend we were doing a location shoot for Rebecca magazine.
"Ja! Ach du lieber! I em dee krazee skinnee German knitter! I em zo filled vit gemütlichkeit my head vill explode et enny zecond!"
And then home, and then another sunset, and then a knitting lesson, and then the goodbyes, and the airport, and home again. Typing this, looking out to the frigid lake over the snow in Lincoln Park, through the frost that is covering half the windowpanes.
I don't know why, but a different person left for LAX on Wednesday than is sitting here right now. Maybe it's because Southern California has always scared and intimidated me–it's the only city I've ever been too that has done so. This time it didn't. Instead I felt magnified, more confident, as though I were being carefully lit and retouched everywhere I went. Hell, I even got a compliment from a stranger in a restaurant.
This all feels weird for a guy who spent the first 33 or 34 years of his life (I'm 35) trying miserably to be what other people expected him to be. Never worked. That phase is finally ending, I guess, although I don't usually notice it except in brief moments of clarity. I had one in, of all places, Wildfibers.
I was looking around in the sock yarns for something masculine and shoved aside a skein of Wildfoote in lime green to pick up a little bundle of quiet rust-and-brown that was behind it. And then I picked up the lime green. And I imagined myself wearing socks made of it, and I thought how bright it is, and how silly that would look, and how respectable men never, ever wear bright lime green socks.
And then in a flash I realized three things:
- I love strong colors.
- I really want a pair of lime green socks.
- I just don't give a fuck any more if people think I'm respectable–particularly people who are going to judge me according to the color of my damned socks.
Wherever you are reading this, whoever you are, I hope you feel at some point today...or any day...as good as I do right now.