Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So Many Knitters

I'm sitting here with my half-packed suitcase nearby. I can't quite believe it's time to travel with 1,000 Knitters again. The more the series grows, the more surreal the experience feels.

I know photographers with more training, more experience, more talent, and more money than I. And yet so many of them have projects that have been stalled or stunted for months or years. So why is this one flying along at such a startling clip?

The difference, of course, is all of you. It's your interest and support that power the dynamo. Without you, I'd have a ball of yarn and an empty frame.

With all that's happening I never got around to properly thanking Lauren (aka Knitter 0176) and the Windy City Knitting Guild for a splendid Chicago shoot, during which we added more than fifty sitters to the line-up.


We also achieved a milestone, though due to a miscalculation I was wrong about when exactly it happened. Ladies and gents, I give you Diane, Knitter 0500, who brought us to the halfway mark.

Knitter 0500

Lauren, who has the patience of three or four especially put-upon saints, managed to get me to a Guild meeting after only nine months of planning. It was wicked cool. I want to go back again as a private citizen so I can just hang out and knit.

And then, of course, there was a shoot during the Yarn Market News conference. I owe that opportunity to the magazine's intrepid editor (and conference planner), Karin Strom. Talking to so many folks who who keep us in yarn and needles and roving and wool wash and notions and cute bags and other necessities of life was a treat and an education.

Yarn Market News 12

(The only bummer was missing Cheryl Krementz, who couldn't come along with the team from New York. Cheryl's a smart and prolific writer–not only for YMN but other publications including; and she always gives me juicy illustration assignments for the magazine. One of these days, Cheryl.)

And that brings me to this past weekend, and what I was doing while Dolores was inflicting deep mental scars on those poor 4-H kids.

The folks from The Yarnery, who apparently don't require sleep like the rest of us, decided it would be nifty to schedule a visit from yours truly the day after a night of testifying and song with the Yarn Harlot. (Seriously, dudes. They sang to her. It's on You Tube.)

After such a night they would have been fully justified in being cranky and overtired, but no. Tim and I dropped by the shop to say hello and chat with the Yarnery's vigorous men's group, and I got a royal welcome. They had cookies!

The Yarnery Guys

These three guys from the group (Eric, Scott, and Sean) came the next day to have their portraits made.

Three MSP Guys

Scott's the one who made the cookies. From scratch. Exceptional chocolate chip cookies. And he showed up for his sitting with more cookies. I like Scott. I wish I lived closer to Scott's oven.

The shoot was at Yarnover, a long-running annual day of fiber-related indulgences put on by the Minnesota Knitters' Guild. This is a seriously impressive event, folks. The vendor market was large and varied, although I totally didn't buy anything. Except some yarn.

And the classes–oh, the classes. What a list of instructors. I actually got to meet the Rainey Sisters, Joan Schrouder and Lucy Neatby; and I heard Chris Bylsma, Sally Melville and Melissa Leapman were in the house. And those are just the names I know about.

All told, 73 absolutely gorgeous knitters for the day. Here's a tiny smattering.

MSP 18

There in the center of row three is Lucy Neatby, who announced, "I'm going to put a hole in your scarf," and then did. You can see it clearly in the center of the bottom row, in the portrait of my buddy Robert. Robert was one of the first guy knitters I ever met, back at my first Stitches Midwest.

The final knitter of the day was Gerrie (0622).

Knitter 0622

Gerrie was scheduled in the last spot, but her goodie bag–crammed with toothsome fresh-baked treats from the Franklin Street Bakery in Minneapolis–was waiting for me at the shoot first thing in the morning. When I'm walking around Provincetown in a caftan this summer, Gerrie, I'll think of you.

I owe special thanks to everybody at The Yarnery, especially Maura (who deftly handled all my arrangements) and Mary Lou, Knitter 0620,

Knitter 0620

who served as my assistant during the shoot. She went above and beyond by running to Home Depot to replace a lightbulb that the airline managed to smash through a cardboard box, a metal protector and five inches of bubble wrap. Mary Lou, you were the perfect companion, especially when Lucy invited us to rummage through her case of samples and we discouraged each other from "accidentally" walking away with certain pieces.

I can't wait, my dears, to come back again if you'll have me. Even if you don't sing to me because nothing rhymes with 'Franklin'. (And nothing family-friendly rhymes with 'Dolores.')


=Tamar said...

It's neat to see so many knitters' portraits. By the way, you seem to have two knitters in the 0622 spot.

I bet the Yarnery writers can come up with something to rhyme with "Franklin".

Franklin said...

Oops! Thanks tamar - fixed it!

Anonymous said...

How about "hank'rin'"?
I gotta hank'rin for Franklin...

Tsarina of Tsocks said...

Sure it does. I give you a little ditty my uncle used to sing (AFAIK he never actually knew anyone named Dolores):

Oy, oy, oy, Dolores -
Your skin is soft and porous.

OK, maybe not so appropriate, but at least it's pretty clean.

Man, I'm thinking maybe I should run down to Philly this Saturday after all. At the rate you're going, you're gonna make quota before Austin.

Mel said...

Well, I don't know Scott, but Sean is good people and I trust him not to hang with people who aren't also good people. And, of course, the cookies are just icing on the cake, as it were.

Apparently 24 hours without sleep causes mixing of metaphors. Among other things.

Vanessa said...

I think your sense of humor and generosity of spirit have also had a lot to do with your project's development of wings.

Lise said...

I spotted the hole in your scarf right away. I sure am glad it was on purpose! So ... just wondering ... how long is your scarf at this point?

thanks for your wonderful sense of humour!


Lauren in Austin said...

Well, yeah, "whore us" is not family friendly. "Bore us" and "snore us" are family-friendly, but they're not the least bit descriptive of Delores.

carey said...

YAY! I'm so happy I was able to be a part of this fabulous project and have the opportunity to meet you in person--Franklin, you're the best!

When can we expect the YH/FH double feature? :-)

PS-the last time my pal Paul took the Amtrak to Chicago, he (along with his partner) ended up drinking ALL the vodka on the train. I hate when that happens. LOL!

Kristen said...

Trust me, those 4H kids could probably give Dolores a run for her money.

The best I could come up with for Franklin is a sort of half rhyme: spankin'. I suppose that's not very family friendly either (unless one wants to go with the trite "brand spankin' new"), but it made me giggle!

Barca Viola said...

It was great to meet you! Would love to have had time to visit. I agree with Vanessa. The fact that your project is moving along has a lot to do with the fact that it is your project.

As for the caftan and P-town, oops, sorry about that. I just didn't think of it. The last time I was there, I won't have noticed if someone's jeans were a bit too tight; the guy walking around with a snake wound around his neck was too distracting. I really don't think you have a thing to worry about, however.

The Yarnery crew really packed a lot in. It has been a very knitterly time around here. Harlot, Mr. Habit, Yarnover, MN Knitters Guild meeting and all the workshops offered by shops since all those teachers were in town.

Gerrie in St Paul

Dianne said...

Oh, Franklin, those of us in the Antipodes (and, I'm sure, other out-of-the-way places) are sighing in envy as we read about your wonderful project and see all those happy faces knitting away together. What about expanding this to be a global project- One Million Knitters: The Global Sequel!

Anonymous said...

You MUST come to Austin, even if you have your 1000 knitters by then!

Bobbi said...

...and there's "3rd Daughter" right above Lucy Neatby! I haven't seen my darling girl since Thanksgiving...Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I detest having my picture taken, but if you wind up within 200 miles of here, I will be standing in line.


=Tamar said...

While I was out anklin'
my way down the street,
I ran into Franklin.
Who else did I meet
but Harry and Boris,
all singing in chorus
in praise of Dolores,
How neat!

(No I don't know who Boris is,
but he rhymes.)

Meema said...

We were already batting around ideas for your musical tribute last night at Ye Olde Yarnery.

And yes, the lyrics will be family-friendly. The determining factor will be which family...

Tracy said...

Two things, first I'm scared to death I'm not going to one of the 1000. What do you have on the agenda just a handful of Yarnery-type shoots and you'll be done!?!

Secondly are my eye's deceiving me and my powers of deductions failing? Wasn't Eric one of the singers and Scott playing the piano?

Oh come now there must be something that rhymes with Dolores, get out your thesaurus. :-P

Paper Tiger said...

I love how may people in the photos are mid-word or -laugh.

Amber said...

I made the blog! I made the blog! I didn't pee my pants though. Thank goodness.

Thank you so much for coming and bringing your project to the cities. Know that you are always welcome and I do hope you come back soon.

(As we were leaving, my mom almost forced me to go and see if you already had dinner plans. I hope you did, otherwise she'll yell at me.)

Anonymous said...

"although I totally didn't buy anything. Except some yarn."


There is absolutely no frickin' way to explain any of "us" fiberish folks to all the fiberless!

Maybe our LYS doesn't understand us (quoting your fabulous drawing) but we sure understand each other!

Some yarn... giggle giggle...


Alwen said...

Okay, you met Lucy Neatby, so how many degrees of separation does that make between us now?

I can't believe you're up to 600+ already. Boy, I'm glad I got in on the 1000 Knitters early.

Joni said...

Franklin - if you'd like to come to Seattle to shoot photos, the yarn shops in Western WA are having a LYS Tour the weekend of May 15-18 - 24 shops in all! You could seriously add to your stash. If you're interested, contact Ellen at and see!

Gauss said...

I am very much looking forward to the photo shoot this weekend! My group has been planning the trip for weeks.

Scott R said...

Yes, Eric and I were part of the Yarnery Family Singers, as was Angie, also pictured. We all blog, all knit, and all want Franklin to move to Minneapolis where he belongs. And Franklin, whenever you want cookies, just say the word. They'll be on your doorstep moments later.

Sean Dilley said...

Mel, thanks for vouching for me, and Franklin, thanks once again for being such a charmer. Scott, Eric, and I all had a great time that morning.

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Be careful what you wish for. The Yarnery Family Singers are a rhymin' bunch. Please come back to MSP soon.

Chris said...

D'oh - I forgot to ask you to sign my arm. Too starstruck, I guess. ;)

Anonymous said...

Of course, Seinfeld knew the rhyme for Dolores and no, it is not family friendly...but...Oh Go... you made me laugh remembering that :)


Roxie said...

Franklin, you are one buff little stud!

Michele Vogel said...

I wish I could have come up to have my mug included in the 1,000 knitters. I live in Southern Minnesota and couldn't make the drive up. Sounds like you had a fabulous time. Come back soon. We'll treat you to more "Minnesota Nice".

MaryjoO said...

GREAT posting, full of lots of info and looks like you are REALLY enjoying this!

And the link to the Harlot songfest on You-Tube -- priceless. Must have brought the house down!!

amysue said...

"waling around Provincetown..." Oooh! Maybe if you haven't taken all 1000 knitters pictures you'll have a shoot there and I'll have a chance to take part. Our summer place isn't to far from Ptown and we spend a lot of time hiking that way. we are also always there for family week catching up with all the 3 million other folks who have adopted kids from Asia (family week is not specifically for families with kids adopted or adopted from Asia but sometimes it sure looks that way)

Anonymous said...

Whaddya mean, nothin' rhymes with "Franklin"?!

Put your Dolores hat on and THINK!

"Oh Franklin,
I get a hankerin'..."


Zelda said...

Others with more talent? I scoff at the suggestion.

No, really, the difference is not just us; it's you. You've noticed how people will drive across multiple states to meet you and be a part of what you're working on? Those others with more training apparently just aren't as witty, insightful, and all-around fascinating.

Now that you're approaching 2/3, it's time to announce what final form(s) the work will take, right?

FiberQat said...

Nothing rhymes with Franklin or Dolores, eh? Heh heh heh heh ... you just wait.

Carole said...

I am an avid reader of your blog and spent last night going thru your posts. I am an avid reader and can so appreciate your obsession with getting at the truth of Thomas Mann's writings. I hope I did not open Pandora's Box. hehehe Anyway, thank you for your writings, drawings and spceial inspirations for us knitters! I have added your blog site to my blog so I can share you with my knitty friends. Hope its ok?
Hugsss from PA tooo near Kennett....

Anonymous said...

when are you coming to NYC????

Cathy Goldman said...

i'M NOT ANONYMOUS.....I'm and we need you in ny

Holly said...

Franklin, your lovely pictures are so full of expression and happiness. They are wonderful!

grrlmonster said...

you are amazing. i think i say this every single time i comment hoping that it may ben enough to sway you to travel my way.
I BAKE! cookies, and pies, and cakes oh my!
unfortunately, all i have to offer is company and a pull out couch. and cats that love guests. and a tortoise, some fish... cute kids.

im starting a new knit group in kingston, ny that still needs a name. we could name it after you and your gang... if youd come to our grand opening...

cmon now... whats it gonna take??

i of course, adore you completely.


Ken said...

Franklin, will you be coming back to Maine for the 1,000 Knitters project? I missed it in December and I live one town away from Brunswick....darn!

famous steve said...

Please, please, please come to Atlanta! We would love to have you here. I work at Knitch on Sundays, (my only day off from my "real" job), and I'm sure Kim would love to host your photo shoot. (she didn't put me up to this.... really)

Diane said...

I'm so honored to be knitter 0500! I remember having a great time talking to Franklin about going to Meg Swansen's knitting camp last summer. Don't know why I look so serious in the photo. I guess knitting camp is serious business! Thank you Franklin for taking on this amazing project.

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