Monday, July 16, 2007

Click Click Click Click Click

Such a weekend. This will be a quick post, though, because the christening shawl must be blocked not later than Thursday night and I can't spend much time doing anything else until it's done.

Saturday, of course, was the first full day of shooting for the 1,000 Knitters project. My secret goal was to end with fifty sittings complete. And, would you believe, exactly fifty knitters sat and worked their little bit of the scarf.

Lower Half

I hope I didn't look as nervous as I felt. I am terribly shy by nature and the prospect of meeting many of you was both thrilling and daunting. At about 7:30 on Friday night I considered whether it might be better for all of us if I were to just scrap the project, get on a plane bound for the Lesser Antilles, and spend the rest of my life quietly doing whatever it is they do in the Lesser Antilles.

Anything, anything rather than make an ass out of myself in front of lots and lots of people.

And then I thought, well, you're assuming lots of people will show up. You're assuming anybody will show up. It's possible nobody will show up, and then won't you feel silly? Won't that be a fun blog entry to write?

Suddenly the Lesser Antilles didn't seem remote enough to constitute a refuge.

But I did show up.* So did you. And bless your hearts, you were cooperative and good-tempered and enthusiastic. You gave freely of your time on a beautiful summer's day. I am grateful.

The parade of people was fascinating.

Here, on the very first day, we had women and men. A straight married couple. A lesbian married couple. Black people, white people, Asian people, Hispanic people, old people, young people, skinny people, fat people. People with tattoos. People with floral print dresses. People who have been knitting less than a year, and people who have been knitting longer than I've been alive. I even photographed a lady from Serbia who spoke no English at all, and whose son had to translate for me–until she picked up the needles.

You know what? It really is a bond that goes beyond language.

One thing that amused me mightily was the number of people–dozens–who picked up the yarn and said, "Eeewww. What is this?"

It's the first yarn I ever bought, that's what it is. The final remaining skein of seven, purchased three days after I learned the knit stitch. I decided I was going to knit a sweater. I went to the nearest yarn shop. I threw myself at the mercy of the very ill-tempered, suspicious saleswoman and she took full advantage of my naïveté.

Ironically, that yarn was Hot Stuff for the time–1991. It's pure wool, and it came from a producer in New England small and crunchy granola enough to be considered artisanal. It cost a bundle. And it's nasty.

Now that same shop is owned by a friend and sells much better stuff for far less money. My friends, my friends–what a wonderful time it is to be a knitter.

It's an exciting time for the project. I have enough raw material now that I can begin (once the shawl is done) to sift and sort and see how the series might be arranged. Already, in my brief scans of what I've captured, possibilities are presenting themselves that I didn't imagine at the outset.

Special thanks, of course, to the Arcadia Knitting crew (Kathy, Sharon, Chandra, and Sarah) for hosting the project and taking pains to make it work.

I'm not sure when the next shoot will be, but there will be at least one more this summer. Stay tuned.

I have to go knit lace now.

*Thanks in part to my father, who called at 6:30 a.m. to make sure I was out of bed, and not hiding under it.

93 comments:

Red said...

Congratulations to you, all the knitters, and the shop on a successful first day. 2007 must be the year of Knitters Representing.

Just heard your episode on KnitGrrl's podcast and really enjoyed it. I could have listened to y'all talk all day.

calamity rach said...

oh, I'm so glad that went well. That shot is beautiful. I can't wait to see how the rest turn out. Do you know if the rest of your sessions are going to be in Chicago or are you going to travel around with it? I want to be part of this, but I'm still in KC.

caitlin said...

hi franklin. guess now i know why it looked like you were photographing my shoes. seemed kinda odd at the time. just want to say again that i love your project, and i'm glad i could be part.

dale-harriet said...

O MY but I want to see this thing when it's done, and somehow, sometime, sure would love to be a part of it. What an intriguing idea! You know, Chicago's not so far....wonder if I could finagle a yarn crawl under the guise of a trip to the Natural History Museum!?!?!

La Cabeza Grande said...

I love the "shoe shot!" Since we express ourselves with our whole bodies, I can definitely see a range of pictorial possibilities. How exciting.

And how gracious you are. No nerves apparent. Just ease and good humor, my dear.

Lee Ann said...

Oh sweetie. I knew that woman, too. And yep, she wasn't nice. You done got taken like we all did.

That said, I'd be proud to knit with whatever the hell you put in my hands.

Anonymous said...

Can I just point out how cool your father is (not that you probably ever had any doubt)?

carma
www.dorkybestfriend.typepad.com

grrlmonster said...

great job for not staying hidden under your bed! i probably would have...
anyway, i would LOVE to participate in this whole event of yours. if for any reason you decide that you need to be in kingston, ny (upstate ish but not very) i would help out in any way i could. seriously. this is a beautiful thing you are doing here.
btw, im a punk rawk knitter full of tattoos currently knitting a (sorry...) harry potter wizarding robe. heh. i cant help it. of course its all about ron weasley but thats another story.
so if you are interested, ive got a futon and home cooked meals, some kids and a few cats... were lots of fun.
come shoot some knitters in upstate ny!!(with film not bullets please! :)

Victoria said...

yeah for you...i am happy that it turned out so nicely :-)

Pink said...

I wondered how Saturady went...that pic is beautiful, and I can't wait to see the end result.

Carson said...

Nor, good on your Dad.

Kat said...

How wonderful that your shoot went well! I wish I could participate, but I don't think my family would appreciate being dragged from Oklahoma up to Chicago.

I can't wait to see more of what you've done, nasty yarn and all!

Jen said...

Thanks for doing this project, Franklin! Glad I could come down and be a part of it. Can't wait to see the pix!

Kris said...

You were nervous? ...gosh I know I was nervous. I'm anxious about how the shots turned out, but I trust you.

I had a fabulous time and I wish you all the good knitter vibes in completing your shawl.

Judy said...

That sounds so wonderful! Oh, I really wish you were coming to Portland, or anywhere in the Northwest.

The other day I had someone ask me if my knitting were "a nervous habit." I'm so glad there are so many that share it. :-)

joan said...

You were nervous? Really? I never would have guessed.
I was nervous because I rarely photograph well, but I was really pleased about being able to focus on the knitting.
It was so wonderful to meet you and to be able to participate in this project. I wanted to hang out all day and just knit and watch.
Thank you Franklin!
Thanks to your Dad, too.

Anonymous said...

Franklin, this is the coolest art project ever. a truly frickin' great idea. i'm sure you are as disarmingly charming in person as you are in the blogsphere.
knit on, my brother.

Janet said...

This is a really exciting project Franklin. Can't wait to see more results. Did I miss something? - are all your models going to be working on the same piece of knitting?

sarah said...

Oh, I want to be part of this. Such a brilliant concept. Please thank your dad on my behalf!

Anonymous said...

It's charming to hear that you were nervous too. Of course I was, what with the meeting a knitting celebrity and being photographed. It's amazing the moments that inner shyness rears its head.

It was wonderful to be there and participate in the 1000 Knitters project, and I very much look forward to the final unveiling. I hope that you might make it possible for the knitters to buy prints of their shots from you - my friend Katy and I had you take an extra shot of us together, and I hope we can get copies for a keepsake.

Thank you so much for doing this, and having all of us participate. It is an honor and a priviledge to be memorialized for posterity as one of the 1000 Knitters.

Lisa

Pearls Mother said...

Congrats on your bravery,
Yes, it's brave to photograph strangers
and a big hug for Dad for his wake-up call,
Lindy

Tina M. said...

Franklin, you have no idea how incredibly jealous I am that you are not, as far as I know, going to be in NY to shoot knitters. I live upstate and would hoof it down to Manhattan if I had to.

I loved your photography back when you first started the blog. You have a sensitivity behind the lens that shows through. Just the shot you chose to showcase here is enough to leave me no qualms about entrusting myself in your care.

Beautiful job and I can't wait to see more! And, would you consider coming to New York? Morehouse Merino isn't far from my house and I think you'd like them. :)

Mama Llama said...

Congratulations on overcoming your fears! I can't wait to see the project when it is finished.

Sarah R said...

This is so cool. I wish you were coming to Baltimore. And I hate being photographed, so that says something right there. If you want to travel to Baltimore, I have a guest room...

Of course, you have to climb over a rocking chair, several cartons of books, two cats and a pile of laundry to get to the bed...but we could do something about that....

amy said...

Dads are great, aren't they?

Please come to New England... Please come to New England....

KellyD said...

Congrats on the great beginning!! I don't suppose you'd be coming to Kentucky? Like maybe Lexington??

Glenna C said...

This is so fantastic to hear more about this project. I can't wait to keep reading and hearing more, you really are taking on a wonderfully inspiring task. And how lovely to hear about the diversity you encountered on only the first day.

Kara said...

If the two pictures you have posted so far are any indication, you are an amazing artist, both with the needles and behind the camera.

And I would never have pegged you for a shy guy. Dude, you just OOZE blog confidence!

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

I love that shot!

Textile Whore said...

Congratulations! It sounds like you're off to a great start! I even saw the photo shoot listed on the Events section of Ravelry.com! Aren't you just the famous little photographer. ;-)

Sooooo.... when will you be shooting in New England???

Sneaksleep said...

Awesome!! I especially love your story about the Serbian woman. A great reminder to us just how universal this language of hands and fiber and needles and creation is. I'm looking forward to you taking the shoot on the road!

Karin said...

Yes yes Morehouse Merino. Or the NYS sheep and wool fest. Or heck, my backyard, for all I care. But please do consider coming to New York.
I can't wait for the book, I will buy it in a second.
You are gifted, Franklin.

Dr. Steph said...

Starting it always the hardest part--congratulations!

Come to Toronto!

doulicia said...

Perhaps part of the universality of knitting (or is it just your talents as a photographer): When I saw the photo for this post -- before the title or content -- I thought it was a photo from the '40s or '50s You know sometime people put up old photos to accompany a particular post? I thought you'd done that. Then I read the first few lines and realized this was one of your photos from the weekend. Capris never go out of style!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. Just Brilliant.

Deb S. in Virginia

Leslie said...

Franklin, The Boston Knit-Out is Sunday September 30th. I bet Sean would love to have you shoot in the shop where you purchased your first yarn - just to make it up to you. No, I haven't talked to him and he doesn't know me, but I'll volunteer him anyhow. You could spend Saturday with Abigail, Susan & Phil then come down on Sunday for the shoot and fly home early Monday morning or late Sunday evening. Whaddya' think??

this verification is just plain diry - xocuum - my oh my...

HB said...

What a beautiful project. Will this get out of the Midwest, by any chance?

I'm impressed that your first yarn was wool, nasty or otherwise.

V said...

That sounds great and I am looking forward to seeing more photos at the end! And maybe by the next time I'm back in Chicago you'll still be working on this and I can join in. Keep it up!

Victoria said...

Aren't Daddies just the best people? And the picture is gorgeous x

pacalaga said...

Oh my. Oh my oh my. I can't wait to see the whole thing. I'm going to have to take a week off work to peruse it at length...

Tasha said...

How lovely (both the story and the photo)! I'm moving to Chicago in early August, and you can bet I'll show up for this, if you'll have me.

Wily Jeneric said...

Mazel tov! This is such an amazing project (I am jealous that I didn't think of it) - a fantastic way to document the diversity of the knitting community. I think of it as the visual manifestation of what the Harlot has recently been advocating. I wish I could be a part, but alas, I am far from Chicago (NJ) and will be moving (to MI).

Anonymous said...

Franklin, you were so nice to work with! I didn't think you were uncomfortable or nervous at all! Thank you again for letting us participate!

StarSpry said...

Congratulations! I love that picture :) Good luck with the shawl; can't wait to see more of the 1000 Knitters project.

debsnm said...

You are an extraordinarily gifted man and I cannot wait to see the finished project - whether I get to participate or not.

knitter #11 said...

You looked perfectly at ease. I hate having my picture taken, and up to the last moment I was considering not doing it at all. I'm glad I did. You were friendly and professional and calming, and made it the most pleasant photo shoot I've ever had. I can't wait to see the results!

Eldronius said...

Woooohoooo! Congratulations on a shoot well done...or it sounds like it anyway.

And you should not be shy! You are charming and cute, and people apparantly love you!

Betsy said...

I see THE art book of 2008 in your future...there will be money in it for you...you will be able to leave your job and create your own job...
No, wait...perhaps a series of art books...first the knitters, then the yarn producers, then...ahem...the sheep (and the llamas and alpacas and angora bunnies...and so on and so on and so on).
Unfortunately, you will have to go back to work for others when it all goes to your head and the fourth book is a "photo essay" on the life and times of Dolores...

Seriously...spectacular work - thanks for archiving the beauty of the modern knitter...

Knit Mongrel said...

Hey - I'm so sad I missed it, but I hear it was fantastic! Next time, I'm yours... I hate being photographed, so I'm coming for sure. Kind of like taking someone who's afraid of heights to the top of the building. Whee! :) Thanks for being my LibraryThing friend.

kmkat said...

Just like doulicia, I thought that was a vintage photograph. Looking at it again makes me think that was not unintentional. You are an artist, Franklin, as you [should] already know. And the story of the Serbian knitter is one that warms the heart of all knitters.

Okay, I'm a mere 8 hours away and have relatives I could visit in Manteno. Barring unforeseen circumstances -- such as having to work -- I shall endeavor to participate in the next photoshoot. (woot!)

Molly said...

This might sounds crazy, but I am 90% sure that I saw the knitter in that picture on the purple line this morning. Or, there are two knitters in Chicago who both own the exact same pair of adorable shoes.

Annette said...

Congrats! I think this is such a great idea for a project. I'm going to fly to Chicago for the exhibit when it's done.

Let's talk the LA area. I can help you arrange a LYS if you ever make the trip and I'll help spread the word.

Your dad sounds like a great man! Dads are the best. :)

Anonymous said...

Nerves all around!
I was so nervous to have my picture taken I didn't even look at any yarn...now that's nervous! My apologies to the Arcadia Ladies, who must have thought I was incredibly anti-social. Ah well. Thank you so much for this experience, and I can't wait to see the final project. What a great idea, and example of the wide community we belong to as knitters. You're a treasure.

Jeanne M. (#16)

anne marie in philly said...

you worried yourself for nothing, silly boy.

man, if you come to philly, you WILL feel the love!

can't wait to see the shawl, and see it wrapped around sis and baby.

MonicaPDX said...

Ohman. Just-- Wow. I'm... well, pretty inarticulate, at least on the way this post and the photo make me feel. [g] Hurray for Dad. Congrats to you and your first 50. And I think I'd better start saving up for the book!

lizbon said...

Yay! And wow - what a great dad.

danielle said...

How exciting! And I am sure the knitters were as thrilled about this as you were...c'mon...how much more fun can there be then talking with lots of people about knitting and doing something to spread The Word?
Love the photos you have had on your blog!

Miss T said...

Cool. Congratulations for doing this. I love that you used the yarn from your first sweater! Beautiful idea.

Jen said...

Franklin,

You need to come to Toronto to do a chapter of your 1000 knitters here. We will treat you like royalty...and feed you champagne, food and ply (no pun intended) you with yarn.

Come hither.

Jen

TinaB. said...

So many ideas.... the photo exhibition, followed by the book (maybe with a few patterns included to boost sales), followed by a poster series -- like those posters so popular decades ago: "Doors of Philadelphia," "Doors of Lancaster," etc. Knitters would make great poster art. You are destined to do great things, Franklin, and all in the name of knitting! Namaste

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a great first photo shoot...we know its great because we saw one great photo and I'm sure the remaining 49 are just as awesome. I'm hoping that at least one of the remaining shoots will be at Stitches Midwest...for purely selfish reasons...I want to participate. It's amazing to me that you were nervous because its hard to think of the witty Franklin as nervous...us mere mortals yes...just goes to show we're all more alike...except maybe for that seller of yucky yarn!

Char
Madison, WI

Scienceprincess said...

I was thrilled to meet you, Franklin. It was great fun, and my only regret is how long it will be until I get to see the finished prduct.

Best wishes!
Science Princess (knitter #30)

Amy (knitter #15-ish) said...

OK, now I can't wait to see how the project works out. Can 950 more people please just get their pictures taken already?

Franklin, you were great. I never would've known how nervous you were. I was convinced that you could see what a giant geek I was and that I was nervous to be meeting you.

Nikki said...

Very cool. Congratulations. A friend of mine went, she was #50. I hope you have plans for Stitches Midwest cuz I'd love to contribute to your young, black, straight, sexy woman demographic, and I'm also pretty interested in seeing the varied demographic in real life.

nessagr said...

Congrats on a great first day! It is so exciting to see this project take shape- I'm sure it will continue to go as well as you progress.

sfmommy99 said...

SOOOO is this a book in the making? if so, I'll take 2!

Nikki said...

I'm so glad you had the right amount of knitters and it all went well! BTW, I really do love that shot you have in this post!

Warrior Knitter said...

How cool would that be. A coffee table book of knitters. "One Thousand Knitters." And posters of knitters. And note cards of knitters. I think it's neat that they're all knitting with the same yarn on the same project.

You're a genius. Again. Still.

knitnzu said...

You are too diplomatic in not naming the 'eww'! Congrats to you and the 1000!

Judith in Ottawa said...

Oh I do hope you'll bring this parade to Rhinebeck! My posse and I are coming down from Ottawa, all for our first sheep and wool show, and we are all fans of your blog. Say yes, pretty please!

Kate said...

Brilliant - it's so exciting watching a concept evolve and become more than it's net components. This collection is SO going to be exhibited at the MoMA and The Getty - and then tour the world. When it comes to Australia your fans will all stand in a cue at the opening ceremony and drink lots of shiraz or chardonnay and toast your brilliance. I can't wait : D (And BIG thanks to your dad)

Teresa said...

Franklin...I live in Dayton, Ohio but will be in Chicago over this coming Labor Day weekend. Is there anyway to participate / have my portrait done when I'm in town? I'm including my email just incase it doesn't automatically show in the comments: tstetlerclear@gmail.com

Tia said...

I'm so glad your first shoot went well! If you have a hankering to come up to the Twin Cities, I'm sure I could help find a place for a shoot. :)

Terri said...

I have suffered with the shyness you describe, so I truly understand. From you blog, you appear as an incredibly intelligent and kind person, and I am sure everone was charmed by your presence.

Last but not least, congratulations on your first session being a success!

Anonymous said...

Cool thing how dads become cool. Thank him for the knitting community.

As for that yarn and the person who sold it...I'm glad that another batch of bad vibes, bad energy, bad karma, whatever, is being transformed. Think of how a community of enthused and joyful people are creating good out of that. The world needs us all to do our bit to transform "ewwww" to something good. Someone puts up with touching the yucko yarn and someone else puts time in the shots and beauty triumphs. Good work.

Gerrie in MN

Knitting Painter Woman said...

I will buy the book as soon as it is on pre-order at Amazon. Wonderful idea, and great teasy bit that you posted.

Jenn said...

If you ever make it back to Fort Worth (rodeo or not!) we'd love to have you in at the shop I work for to continue the project! It looks great so far!

yarnkat said...

Franklin, I didn't notice your nerves at all!
I was just trying not to babble from being so star struck ;) You did a wonderful job putting me at ease in front of the camera! I can't wait to see more of the finished project and have a chance to chat with you again!

~katerina

dhi said...

(Sorry, but I'm still hung up on the "anal" in "art-IS-anal". As a Master's of English Lit, you'd THINK I would be able to get over these things...)

Your dad makes me miss my dad. ;-( What a sweet man.

Forty-seconding the votes for Rhinebeck/Philly/NY.

Anonymous said...

You do realize you've got a great book here, right?!!

I hope you take the time to get a proposal together to submit to an agent.

Feel free to email me if you need some recommendations or help. This story is too good not to be told to a greater audience outside the blogosphere PLUS I want a hard copy on my coffee table.

(mariannefithian - at- hotmail - dot- com).

earthday said...

Your story of the Serbian woman reminds me of a flight I took once. There was a woman from India sitting next to me who didn't speak any English and her family was sitting several rows away. I could tell she was very nervous about the flight. Once we were in the air, I pulled out my knitting and all of a sudden her eyes lit up and after a while of watching me she just grabbed my knitting and started working on it herself! I just smiled. I think it calmed her down.
Anyway, I hope you find yourself in Toronto mid-August visiting the harlot and doing a little photoshooting.

chandra said...

i was nervous too, but you were great! can't wait to see all of the pictures...

Anniebananie said...

what a wonderful beginning to a wonderful project. I would love to see the exhibit. Please come to Charlottesville, VA!

Tracey, in MI said...

Franklin. Amazing. Have to say the pics are looking spectacular. And, are making the whole idea of sitting MUCH less daunting.

Timeless is the word that scomes to mind. Not "modern knitting, ot "old fashioned" knitting... simply timeless.

Love it. Coming to Detroit or what?

KnitNana said...

YEAH!!!
(love THIS photo, Franklin!)
(((hugs)))

Kristen said...

I understand - I was nervous, too! But, it was great to meet you, and I look forward to hearing and seeing more of the shoot. Good luck with all of the work to come.

Stephanie said...

My son and daughter-in-law were the straight married couple that showed up. As shy as you felt, they were equally awe and star struck to be meeting you. I would love to make it to your next shoot. i live in Cleveland, but would like to make it. I am also a photographer (amateur)and am really excited by this project. I think it would make a great book. No, seriously!

Linda said...

Well done to your Dad who clearly knows you well and loves you!

obsessmuch? said...

You're friends with Sean?? I used to work there (woolcott and co) and now I am back in Chicago. How funny. So you must have bought your yarn from Niki, right?

I wish I had been able to make it to the shoot. It would have been fun to meet you and to see all the people!

sarah said...

Two comments:

First, that photo is stunning. Now I want to be a part of this even more! (Not that I thought that was possible, mind you. . .)

Second, I am pressed to ask: Are you expecting one single, solitary ball of yarn to last through 1,000 knitters, or do you have something else stashed up your sleeve?

Adrianne said...

Yay! Congratulations Franklin, of course it all went well, because if anyone showed up, they only wanted the best for you and your project. And of course they showed up because it's a beautiful interesting thing that you are beginning. Good luck and I'd love to be a part of it if I happen to be anywhere near where you happen to shoot. (for now I'm allll the way over in Ohio) I don't comment lots, but you should know that I read often, love your cartoons (you've got such a great flair), love hearing about your explorations into Zen Buddhism (So far it's the only religious/spiritual experience that I feel any calling to - I just haven't committed myself yet to more than occasional study)

So, Thanks again for sharing your life.
Oh, and your knitting is fabulous, can't wait to see the christening shawl in all of its glory.

Andrea R said...

I keep coming back to this picture becasue it's very intriguing. Can't wait to see more.

caitlin said...

i too was starstruck- but glad to be one (#46) of your adoring public! i do feel like my three rows were a bit excess- especially if the ball has to last for the other 950! i read all your comments, and by the time i get to the bottom, i never have anything interesting to say. so... what they said.