Saturday, December 12, 2009

Up to My Neck

Feh. Blurgh. Yuck. Five days laid up with a cold. And such a cold. Such a cold as I would not wish on my worst enemies, not even parents who let their five-year-olds push the grocery cart.

This was no pissant, garden variety, off-the-rack sniffle. It was epic. Five days of ceaseless misery; of labored breathing; of lying in bed and looking up to find a flight of angels beckoning toward a bright, bright light.

Cough Cough Cough

And I was like, Are you kidding? Have you seen all the Christmas knitting I have left to finish? And they were like, Whoa–nevermind.

So I was not gathered to my reward, and am expected to make a full recovery; but Dolores is working on a screen treatment of my story. We're hopeful that HBO or Lifetime will option it for a new picture in which I'll be played by either Steve Buscemi (if the former) or Valerie Bertinelli (if the latter).

I'm back on my feet just in time to trot up to Madison, Wisconsin to speak to the Madison Knitters' Guild (details here). The topic will be Antique Knitting Patterns. And you can wipe that look off your face because that's what they asked me to talk about. Those knitters up in Madison are hardcore. They appreciate the entertainment value of this kind of thing:

Old Pattern

You just know it's going to be a wild night.

Calaf

I finished knitting something. It's the neck warmer that launched a thousand swatches, and was begun in earnest while we waited in New York for the flight to London.

Calaf 2

I could have skipped the swatching and been done with it in a week, if I hadn't decided it would be fun to work out my cable pattern.

And then I thought, wouldn't it be fun to work the cables the long way so they'll wrap around the neck? And then I thought, wouldn't it be fun if the cables flowed out of the edge treatment? And then I thought, wouldn't it be fun to make the edge treatment flow out of the cast-on edge? And then I thought, wouldn't it be fun to make the cast-off edge the mirror image of the cast-on edge?

And then I thought, wouldn't it be fun if I stopped swatching and knit the damned thing?

Calaf 4

Look, children, at all the fun.

Calaf 3

It still needs buttons. I haven't found the right ones yet. I'm being hyperfussy about the buttons. Surprise.

Calaf 5

It has, to my eye, an air of chinoisérie, therefore I'm naming it "Calaf" after the hero in Puccini's Turandot. Calaf tells Turandot the Ice Princess that he thinks she's groovy, and she threatens to have his head cut off; so there's a subtle jest in using his name for a neck wrap. Okay, a very subtle jest.

Shut up. I bet they're laughing in Madison.

P.S. Lorna's Laces Fisherman Yarn in "Pine." Good stuff.

116 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are my hero. That is just beautiful.

JelliDonut said...

How gorgeous is this!

Benita said...

Very lovely! I think it could one of those gifts that appeal to both men and women, which makes it doubly a great design. So, when are you going to emulate Jarod Flood and write your own pattern book?

RagdollDesigns said...

I love it! I'm glad you stopped swatching, it would be a shame if it was 'still in the the skein'(TM).

Chris said...

That is the most beautiful neck warmer!

Mary said...

Loves the fun. Glad you are feeling better!

kmkat said...

That is seriously gorgeous. But I'm not sure the word "fun" comes into it...

Mel said...

Lovely. Will it be aired for viewing at the holidays? Will you be coming this way as usual?

My verification word is "facism", which I believe must be discrimination against people who don't have faces.

nosenabook said...

I just knew you were a genius!

Brenda said...

It's beautiful! Love love love the cable design and how it flows from the edges....

Becky said...

Glad your having 'fun'. Share the pattern so we can too ;)

At least the beastly cold will have left in time for the Silly Season festivities.

Anonymous said...

That is just a beautiful work of art....

Linda said...

Speechless with wonder; grateful you made it past the beckoning angels; love the play on operatic themes manifested in stitches. You're quite inspiring...as usual.

Margaret said...

It's really lovely -- both the color and the cable design. I hope you're working it up as a pattern to share! I could use something like that..! And I'm glad you're on the mend.

Jeremy said...

Tell me that you'll be posting the pattern for Calaf soon. Great Muppety Odin, it's beautiful.

Laura said...

I think I'm in trouble - I understood your 'very subtle jest' - but then I did see the encore Met production of Turandot at my local movie theatre last weekend. Who knew opera was soooo much fun.
Love the "Calaf'
Glad you are well enough to go to Madison.

Laura said...

Just had to add - the new word verification is 'operma'

Rudee said...

It's stunning!

I hope you feel better, soon.

Carole said...

are you sure it was a cold and not H1N1? (which sounds to me like a virus that would attack your ribs.)

Judy in Indiana said...

That is gorgeous. You could sell that pattern and make money.

Angela said...

Worth every swatch.

Now, please save me the bother of weeks of swatching and swearing, and write up the pattern.

Then I, and others, will give you money. And nothing says "Hey man, the flow of your cables rocks my world," like pockets full of shiny new cash.

Marianne said...

Forget the buttons. Sew it together end to end and make it a cowl and you can have continuous cables.

Deborah said...

That really came out nice! I love the color and style. I am very glad you did not follow the light as you would be missed.

KnitNana said...

Gorgeous...get well.. then write the pattern pretty please?
;)
(((hugs)))

Dawn said...

Hope you're feeling better! Your project is STUNNING! No surprise though, all your work is fantastic. That vintage pattern? Hmmmm. Couldn't figure it out. Wish I could though.

Mady said...

YOU are fun!

Sharon Rose said...

I feel your pain, brother. I spent an entire day Friday (oh jeez, was that just yesterday?) trying to work out the perfect leafy cable. I finally gave up and designed a non-leafy one. Yours is wonderful, particularly the bit where it flows out of the edge. Well done!

LFRIES said...

I'm not one to beg famous bloggers for patterns, but that is a thing of beauty. Write it up? Please?

B and the boys said...

Glad you are feeling better. Totally laughing!!! Needed this humor to brighten my weekend. Read it to my hubby and he has learned enough about knitting to laugh too.

Christy D. said...

Love your neckwarmer. It's beautiful. And I'm sure I had the cousin of your same cold virus...it was awful. Screw the swine flu, that cold was as sick as I've been in a long time! Glad you're better in time to go to Madison!

Leigh Witchel said...

I am tickled imagining you as a consumptive Little Nell going to your greater reward. It's just so much less derivative and so much more gay than being a Gashlycrumb Tiny. I hope I will be allowed to sit at your bedside wearing black and doing whitework. I need to find some appropriate onyx beads, jet cameos and other assorted morbid Victorian drag. One thing I gather that is not happening is the traditional keepsake lock of hair.

You need to do a whole warm lounging line based on that design, starting with a Calaftan, the high class Snuggie for opera buffs.

deniasha said...

Glad you survived! One cannot leave this earth until all their Christmas knitting is done.

So when can we hope to see you publish the pattern? The cables are amazing!

Jaimee Drew said...

Oh dear, that is just so pretty. I really adore the way the yarn really almost makes your lovely cables glow.

Also, please write a pattern. Pretty please?

FiberQat said...

Leigh expressed the images I had, only not so much Little Nell as Prince Albert on his deathbed with the weeping Vicky by his side. I don't think though that Dolores is the weepy type. More like searching the cupboards for salable pieces of silver before your sister comes over. I'm glad you're over your ague.

Nice work on the cabling. I agree with others -- it's time to consider a collection of patterns.

anne marie in philly said...

pretty...ya know, you could go to www.naturebuttons.com to find what you need (just sayin')...

get well soon...you have been missed!

Liz said...

That's beautiful...

Hope you're feeling better very soon... and glad to see you're limbering up for the knitters of Stirling in the summer!

TinkingBell said...

Just lovely and almost worht the trouble of swatching. Almost. But then swatching is against my religion, so its a separation of church and state thing...

Petra said...

Nice cables! Love it!

Liz said...

Vicisti!

Mette May said...

That is one good looking neckwarmer.
I haven't anything more intelligent to say.

Mary said...

I love the way the cables flow up the edge, and you're right, the yarn is gorgeous.

I've been swatching for a sweater for my mother for a couple of years now (off and on, don't laugh, I have knit her other stuff in the meantime) I wonder if that edge treatment would work.... humm... off to find the box with her sweater stuff in it. (I swear, the rate this sweater is knitting, it'll be done sometime after the world ends in 2012 :)

Holli said...

Oh my. Sensational. Really. I envy your neck.

Kathleen said...

Beautiful. Pattern and yarn. I'll have to fondle some LL Fisherman, perhaps at Loopy over Christmas.

Wendy said...

Looks like it was worth the trouble. I love the detail.

knithound brooklyn said...

Beautiful. Nice combination of yarn and pattern!

Jamie said...

Love love love! Love you, love the cowl, and looove the subtle joke to the head chopping!

Northmoon said...

I was reading along thinking "old patterns, yes, yes - very interesting" then I noticed the row numbers! Whoa!! Row 248, Row 249, etc. - are you kidding!!! Now that's hard core for sure.

PS your neckwarmer is beautiful.

Julia said...

Franklin, you know it's the perfect blog when you can't decide which is more skilfully done, the writing or the knitting! Too funny by half!

Anonymous said...

So glad you're better - no angels singing you to your rest until you write up that pattern for the rest of us! Have you thought of using pewter celtic knot buttons? They would sort of mimic the center cables, and the pewter would look great against the pine!

Barb

Epenthesis said...

That is amazing. And beautiful. And now I feel I must knit something with cables.

=Tamar said...

Eeee! I love the neckwarmer. It's so much fun! Seriously. (Making it fully continuous would spoil having it come out of the cast-on, and anyway, if it were reversible cables it could be moebius as well. Aarrghhh)

I wonder why the 19th century author had to repeat the 6-row sequence so many times; maybe she couldn't figure out how to say "do this pair of rows six times, then do them eight times" (or however that should be). I have that book, I should read it.

=Tamar said...

Duh. Please ignore where I misread the Ladies' Work Book pattern. *sigh* But it could still have been written more compactly.

pie said...

Thank God! Something in green with cables that isn't called 'Celtic...' something. Love it, very classy, and subtly clever.

It also amuses me far too much that my word verification is 'stiffi'.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, ooh! It's so pretty, it's so pretty, I want it! Are you going to give away/sell the pattern for it? Please say yes!

Ann (yet another) said...

Crikes! I wish I was in Madison (and how often is THAT said in December?) for what promises to be a classic of a class. I also wish could pat that neckwarmer.

Sigh. Instead, I am staring at a screenshot of a show trying to discern whether the actress is wearing a scarf, a very large cowl (one of the men was wearing a rather attractive cowl in this earlier), a wrap or some sort of capelet.

I'm not knitting. I have no knit mojo at the moment. It has deserted me just as I was hoping to knit some hats for the rest of the horde for Winter Solstice or Xmas, since I already missed Bodhi Day and the start of Hanukkah. I'm thinking 3 Kings Day may be more likely.

Anonymous said...

Your writing and your knitting are both spectacular!

Dragons Knitting Lace said...

It's beautiful! I'm glad you are feeling better.

You are truly a constant source of inspiration.

Hi to Dolores and Harry.

Cathy said...

How interesting -- the antique pattern instructions I mean.
When I was a little girl in Australia, I was taught the Plain stitch and the Purl stitch. To this day I still say purl one, PLAIN one, in my mind when I'm knitting rib. And in some way I think it makes more sense to knit Purl and knit Plain instead of knit Purl and knit Knit!
Jum8uck on Ravelry

Sweet Camden Lass said...

Dearest, you know if I had been there I would have had Tom applying Thermogene and Brown Paper to your chest while I sang The Red Sarafan...

LesleyD said...

Sending you Chicken Noodle soup via email as I type. ;-) I hope you get to feeling better!!

The Calaf is awesome! Although tedious cables can be all the more worth it in the end! It's incredible! Get well soon and I hope you find your buttons. :-)

Eileen said...

It's neckwarmer weather, all right (I just made a 20s inspired neckwarmer & cloche in a very similar color. Not as impressive as yours. And it's unnamed.)

I'm glad your cold has left for warmer climes without you (though I hope it doesn't find a new host).

One more thing; I loved your Knitty article on Mrs. Roosevelt. Thanks!

Gerri in St Paul said...

I'm running off to increase the length of my Christmas knitting list as a disease preventative measure. Who knew? Glad you survived and thanks for reporting back on the remedy.

Calaf is wonderful!

Rebecca- former NAA coworker said...

On a completely unrelated topic: Franklin, have you seen this: http://discovermagazine.com/photos/03-the-bizarre-and-brilliant-world-of-knitted-science. Science knitting!

Tiny Tyrant said...

Here's hoping you make the pattern available.

Like the new article in Knitty too.

Patti (from Ottawa) said...

That is absolutely beautiful. And what a great colour for those flowing lines!

Llamabean said...

You better believe we are laughing in Madison :)
The neck warmer is beautiful. Can't wait for your talk tonigh!
Amanda

Miss Sandra said...

We call THAT kind of cold "the plague".

dana said...

i'm on your fan bandwagon. the neckwarmer is fantastic. the cables, from what i can see, flow beautifully. and the color of the yarn!! what a wonderful green. what is it? will i be able to get me some? (will be checking out your projects page on ravelry for more details...)

pattern please please please.

Seanna Lea said...

That is gorgeous. I want to pet it even though I know in certain circles that would be considered creepy.

Anonymous said...

LOL, from someone in Madison

Angeliner Mediner said...

Beautiful work! Your knitting and writing are works of art.

Anonymous said...

We ARE laughing in Madison!!! Turandot is my all-time favorite opera...nay, my all-time favorite piece of music. Ever. Really.

Oh, and the neck warmer is GORGEOUS!!!

Mari said...

just gorgeous!

Heather said...

Hi Franklin,

I'm glad you're better!

But I'm really commenting to say how wonderful this issue's Stitches in Time is. Really wonderful. I always love SIT but you really outdid yourself this time. Thanks so much for sharing this with us in the wider knitting community!

- Heather

Erin said...

That is absolutely gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Franklin, it's gorgeous...I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you'll be releasing it as a pattern??
Feel better...

Cathy said...

Franklin, You kicked ass tonight in Madison! You were fantastic! and it was wonderful to see (and touch) the Angry Baby's bonnet.

Thank you for braving "hardcore" Madison! And yes, you were GOOD!
cathy

Rainy Daisy said...

ooooooo...

yes, LL fisherman is severely and painfully underrated.

Anita said...

Oh how I wish you were my mate and you lived round the corner and I could just pop in and knit and share in the "fun". You make me laugh so much!

MollyBeees said...

Can't tell you how much I enjoyed your talk last night in Madison! Dale H and I will have fodder for hours of stories at Knit Night at The Ear on Friday night. Only problem is, now I've got this small inkling that I should just...you know...poke around...just a little ...and see what's out there for antique patterns....

Deborah C. said...

Yummy. Just - yummy.

Ann said...

"Please, sir, I want some more."

As in, the pattern for that neckwarmer in my hot little hands. Name your price!

Margaret said...

Both designs are gorgeous and, as always and I lOVE reading about Harry and Delores.(I read the whole page at once.) Unfortunately, my husband isn't a knitter, so when I try to explain what was so funny, he doesn't get it (sigh).

SusieQ100 said...

How on earth do you find the time to physically knit along with all your other activities?? I wish I had your dedication. Amazing pattern of cables!

nana said...

I really dig your Buddha, Pity I only got to see his cold shoulder ;-)
Nice carving and wood.

The neckwarmer sure needs those special buttons to make it complete. Good luck finding them (soon).

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's a lot of drama for a head cold.

Your idea of FUN! sounds like my. idea. of. hell. But your neckwarmer looks nice.

JuniorGoddess

K said...

Love.
Glad you're among the living in time for holly daze. Here, have a kerchief for your subsequent vapors!
(heh. Seriously: stay better!)

Alwen said...

Oh my god, Jane Gaugain! Can I just clutch you around the knees and worship you?

(I graphed one of the patterns out of her Pyrennees & Shetland Shawl book - o_O. Wow.)

Anonymous said...

That looks big to be a neck warmer? Maybe the scale is misleading in the photos...? Or maybe it is late, and I am tired.

But you are a Cable Master

Anonymous said...

I love the flow!
margieinmaryland

Anonymous said...

that is LOVELY. and the swatches resulted in a lot of details that are very knitter-geek. (which is, of course, always a plus.)

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be fun if you were my boyfriend?!

I have scads and scads of buttons...

Merryanne

Diane said...

Sure hope you're recovering from the "cold-that-isn't-the-flu". Sounds like the same awful thing that I had.

You really do need to publish that pattern. I'm another one who would definitely buy it!

tritne said...

I ran into one of the Madison Knitting Guilders at the auto glass shop on the 16Dec. She was saying that you had been there.Again I missed someone I wanted to hear speak. I looked at the pictures on the MKG website. That is down right scary. The knitter i spoke to was a teacher, she knitted socks and was working on the 7gs.5th edition of EZ sweater. you always create gorgeous things.

mildawg said...

Oh, Franklin. Your prose makes such wonderful reading. Thank you for brightening my days with your blog.
I am sorry to hear about your cold, and extremely envious of your beautiful project. I suppose envy is a fitting emotion, seeing the (gorgeous) tint of the yarn you used.

Namaoy said...

Thank you very good idea.

Anonymous said...

I laughed... But then again, I majored in Opera and Archeology in college so I'm used to getting all the opera jokes... Knitting Opera jokes are even better. Bonus points if you can work an ancient culture in there.

Anonymous said...

Sad opera, but suitably dramatic neckwear. Will there be a pattern recitative available in the not too distant future?

Rosi G. said...

Lovely, lovely. I can't wait to see the finished cowl.

What kind of buttons you looking for? I have some metal and wooden ones that would look nice. Cuz, you know, the best buttons are found in NYC. ;-)

Joan said...

Well, if no one else has suggested it, look up "man cold" on youtube--that's what you had!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! And you're going to have the pattern for sale when? I mean, with all that swatching, surely you wrote down the pattern? Right? Ok, maybe you didn't.

It's beautiful and well worth the swatching you did.

Patricia said...

I really like Calef. Now, when do we get to see the pattern. This is something I would love to knit.

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I just knew you were a genius!

only the dog farts here said...

Are you ever going to publish the pattern? Please??

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