Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bear Shoot

What is a boy raised in the tropics to do when he's freezing to death in the midst of a nasty, chilly Chicago January?

Why, go north to Michigan, that's what!

(It made sense at the time. Never answer your e-mail when you've been dipping into a bottle of champagne left over from New Year's Eve.)

But a promise is a promise, and I want so much to meet you folks over there on the other side of the lake; so there's going to be a 1,000 Knitters shoot at the one-and-only Threadbear Fiber Arts Studio in Lansing, Michigan on Saturday, January 26 from 10 am to 5:30 pm.

The usual guidelines apply: no advance registration, etcetera. If you're not familiar with how it all works, please take a look before you come on over.

On the other hand, a trip to the Frostbite Belt is a fun excuse to wear my new Maltese Fisherman's Hat from Knitter's Almanac.

I was lucky enough to spend one perfect day in Malta, two summers ago on a university tour. We docked in Valletta, the capital, and I ditched the sightseeing excursion. Rather than be stuck on a bus, I wandered at whim up and down (mostly up, it seemed at the time) streets like these.

Street 01

Street 02

Street 03

Needless to say, I fell in love with the place. The memory still haunts me. I hope to go back some day.

I kept an eye out for fishermen wearing anything that looked like Elizabeth Zimmermann's famously offbeat design. But it was June, and not weather for wool, so I can't say from personal experience that any self-respecting Maltese would be caught dead wearing one of these.

Maltese Front

Right. It's not exactly...sedate. But I love it. Look at the adorable ear flaps. Flap, flap.

Maltese Side

They cover the neck, too. And my swanlike neck is terribly, terribly sensitive to frosty winter draughts, don't you know.

Maltese Back

And then as lagniappe in addition to all that function, you get a pointy top with a tassel!

I made out of Malabrigo Chunky that I picked up at ImagiKnit, so it's all squishy and soft like a kitten. Of course, I'd never wear a kitten on my head. That would be silly. But this?


Oh, yeah. Smooth, baby. Smooth.


Laiane said...

I read about your coming to Threadbare and started hyperventilating. I'm a mere hour away. I am sooooooo there.

Jan said...

Twenty years ago I fell in love with Malta, and, like you, will return one day. Thanks for the pictures of paradise. BTW, great hat!

cedar said...

You might want to go for the kitten....chuckle

knitmd said...

Sexy hat in a way only knitters can appreciate. Malabrigo rocks for hats - no scratchy foreheads!

Ruth said...

I made one of those hats, too! It was great fun. I sent it off for Dulaan, but I still think of it fondly. Your Malta pictures are really inspirational.

MonicaPDX said...

Gorgeous pictures. Amazing streets! Fantastic hat. Hope you have a wonderful shoot!

Anonymous said...

I could use just such a hat. Yesterday I wore a scarf, hat, fingerless mitts INside the house (it's been really cold down here). Really must get a copy of that book. thanks for pointing me toward the pattern and BTW, kitten on your head? Hmmmm.

Kniterella said...

Very nice hat - you will need it in Michigan. I may trek the hour to Threadbear...

no-blog-rachel said...

Considering the yarn you had piled on your head in your last post it wouldn't surprise me at all if you were to wear a kitten on your head! Though yarn doesn't have claws (maybe novelty yarn does, I don't know).

I just finished a sweater in Malabrigo - fabulous soft stuff!

Meredith said...

The hat's lovely! I especially like the color (on my monitor it's stuck in limbo somewhere between blue and purple, but it's a gorgeous limbo).

Toni said...

Ah, if only it purred!

You look adorable, natch. And as Maltese as I've ever seen. (Which would mean a lot more if I'd ever seen anything Maltese... and known about it... other than "The Maltese Falcon".)

Happy 2008!

Marcia said...

I'm so excited you're coming to t-bears, I can hardly type. I just hope that the zit that is currently eating my face leaves a little bit for a picture.

Julianne said...

My husband and I went to Malta on our honeymoon. Even though we've both traveled all over the world, Malta is both of our favorites! I can't wait to go back. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Ewe-niss said...

I'll be there! Bringing one of my fanatic knitting teenagers.

anne marie in philly said...

the first thought I had whilst looking at your malta pix was "san francisco". my second thought was "pittsburgh". streets that go straight UP. drives you crazy if you are scared of heights (like me)...

I am still hoping you make it to philly for picture taking (pretty please?)...

kmkat said...

The arch expression on your face sets off the hat perfectly :)

Paula said...

That's a great hat. I hope it stays cold enough for you to wear it. I made one for my son a couple of years ago and he loves it. It is a clever design and was fun to knit too.

knitnzu said...

This hat has been on my 'gotta make it' list for some time...

Judith said...

I moved back to Michigan after living in coastal California for 6 years.
One morning in the fall a young man got on the bus I was riding. He was wearing a hat with earflaps, and I immediatly thought, "Ear flaps:dorky"
A couple of weeks later, in a blowing snowstorm, the same man in the same hat got on the bus again. I immediatly thought, "Ear flaps: WARM!"

Fibra Artysta said...

Oh great!!! I will see you when you come to Michigan, how fun!!! :) And our weather is completely nuerotic. It is in the fifties and raining today. By the time you get here, it could be in the eighties, you just never know! LOL!

Alwen said...

I think I am going to drive up there to Lansing, depending on what the weather does.

First we had a foot of new snow. Today it's 41 degrees and slushy. Thunderstorms this week, snow next weekend. What Fibra Artysta said!

If I can get there, I'll be there.

Cara said...

Yeah, I thought earflaps were dorky before I lived in snowland. Not much call for earflaps in L.A. Now I'm trying to figure out a hat with a full body flap. And you must be the furthest north I have heard someone use lagniappe. Your pics of Malta make me want to book a flight, just gorgeous.

quinn said...

Just last night (!) I searched Ravelry for "earflap hats" and that very pattern was the hands-down niftiest pattern I found!
Will you be making another one for for Dolores?

Sean said...

I love this hat, Franklin. It's on my list of things to I've gotta go knit it! Maybe tonight. Thanks for the inspiration!

Moorecat said...


I guess you're doing the next best thing.

If you're not coming Down Under for the 1000 Knitters shoot, the least you can do is hold one on Australia Day (Jan 26).

Can somebody wave an Aussie flag or hold a kangaroo or something?

* Contractually obligated to start most posts with "G'day!" It's part of our citizenship test thingy...

trickytricot said...

Great minds think alike - I just finished one of these earlier in the week!

Now, tell me Franklin, is that tassel, the tassel of your dreams? *grin*


Carrie K said...

The hat is darling. And warm.

Wow, for a brief mad moment there I thought that was a picture of Michigan. The mountains there aren't that steep. Gorgeous place, Malta must be!

Anna-Liza said...

Oh great, now I have another thing to add to my Ravelry queue. Thanks, dear! (Maybe I'll make several ... )

rams said...

Cherish those wilderness fantasies. Taking the windchill into account (and we always take the windchill into account, Chicago's colder than Lansing thirteen days out of twenty seven. I'll flag you down as you pass Kalamazoo -- slow down as you pass the Oakland Drive exit ramp.

Kath said...

It's all about the tassels baby! (Just ask Dolores.)

Mel said...

The big problem with wearing kittens on your head is that they're just not very good about staying on.

Cindy G said...

Now Franklin, if you can make it to California and Michigan, surely you can come to Madison?

Jeanne said...


I must be there. I have no hand-knit sweaters! Alas. I have socks. But I will be there!!!!! Best news I've heard all year!

Suzanne said...

That's some *smooth* short row shaping.

Rabbitch said...

That hat is the best, but a kitten would be just about as silly ... *g*

(I wear a violently-coloured hat with kitty ears, so I'm there already)

Also too I have to move to Malta now. You coming with?

Gotta Knit! said...

Lets all move to Malta! Love the hat.

Karen said...

Reading this on Sunday morning...thanks for the am chuckle...with, mind you, chuckling with you, not at...

MichelleinCO said...

Thanks for those beautiful Malta shots. Another spot for my growing travel list; aren't there so many great places in this world?
I, too, have a swan-like neck and need me one of those hats!
Happy New Year, Franklin!

dale-harriet said...

Here's Vote #2 for your coming to Madison (waving to Cindy G)! Can't tell you how excited I am to have you recommend something in a book I ALREADY HAVE! **woot**, as they say. And yes, I think you should make at LEAST one of those hats for Dolores, you know what she'd say! (Also -- are you sure that's Malta? Looks like Duluth MN to me......)

glr said...

Hey, I live about 10 minutes from Threadbear and have already decided which handknit sweater I'm wearing. Was already asked if the sweater that I'm making with my handspun yarn is going to be done in time for the shoot but not going to happen. Still need to spin more yarn before that I can finish knitting it.

I'm so going to be there.

Patty said...

So glad to hear that you are coming to Michigan! I've been trying to make a 1,000 shoot in Chi-town since both my daughters live there, but I have never been schedule the same weekends. I'm just an hour and 1/2 from ThreadBear......can't wait!

Eldronius said...

Smooth as a baby dipped in mineral oil.

And stop showing me fun things to knit that I don't have time to knit.

Karin said...

Congrats on getting to shoot at Threadbear! If you happen to run into LynnH-- please say hello from me...
And the fact that it's so close to your birthday! Added bonus, don't you think?

Ahem. You know what I miss in your blog lately? posts about what books you're reading or aquiring, and posts about Zen buddhism...I know, you're busy...

Robin said...

Aww, I'm 4 hours north of Lansing, maybe I'll send my son over, he's 10 minutes from Threadbare. It's 46 today, and about 53 in Lansing. Maybe it will cool down enough so you can wear your hat.

Anonymous said...

Nice hat.
You have a great sense of the absurd.
Margie in Maryland.

you know, Maryland is a nice place in which* to take pictures of knitters

* "in which" added because YOU will know that it is correct grammar.

mehitabel said...

Your pictures of Valletta reminded me a lot of the scenes I saw in Villefranche-sur-mer this past summer.
Love the hat!
When will the 1000 Knitters tour be coming to SoCal? Don't you need a trip to somewhere warm--well, relatively warm?

Marcy said...

Franklin, I think the line of knitters is already forming at ThreadBear . . . they have several comfy couches and I think people are camping out.

As others have noted, the weather is already warming up in anticipation.

I, too, have settled on my sweater - an Icelandic cardigan knit from Reynolds Lopi many years ago.

Are Dolores and Harry coming as well? Dolores might find the place a bit provincial (although the locals will know where to find her should she wander off), but I'm guessing Harry would like the zoo.

neverknitathing said...

Wild Thang, I think I luuuuve you!

Uhhem. Sorry. Just a random song worm going through my brain.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Lagniappe. Used in a sentence. Correctly. (Commenter shivers happily.)

And great hat, dude.

Anonymous said...

Hi Franklin, I never saw a maltese fisherman wearing one of those hats, but it looks cute on you. When you are back in Malta I would love to sit for a picture. Romina from Malta.

doulicia said...

methinks a Lansing roadtrip is in the cards. Thanks for the advanced notice.

Very embarassing question: where is Malta? (will you still photograph me even if I'm a dumbass?)

knitting for me said...

Being married to a Maltese man for the past 18 years and spending each summer holiday there I was happily reminded of Valetta and I think you could pass yourself as Maltese if only you could master the accent!!!! Have to say with the temperatures as high as they are there - I doubt I will ever see a Maltese wearing said hat.

DeanB said...

Oh for heaven's sakes it's Lansing, not Escanaba or Marquette or Ishpeming. You were in Maine two weeks ago. You can handle it.

_Knitters Almanac_, hey? I'd better look for my copy.

noricum said...

Wow, there sure are a lot of ups in Malta! I'm not sure my legs and lungs would have survived. (Especially after being breathless from the sights!)

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