Friday, November 30, 2007

Whoosh! Zoom!

So listen, this is going to be brief. I'm taking an impromptu jaunt to San Francisco, leaving this afternoon, and there are piles of things to deal with before I go.

This will be an actual vacation-type trip, not a 1,000 Knitters trip, though maybe I'll be able to chat up a yarn shop owner while I'm there about a return visit. I remember San Francisco fondly from time I spent there during a two-month gig working on a rather unfortunate production of Gounod's Faust with a regional opera company in the late nineties. Any excuse to go back is fine by me.

I definitely plan on visiting Lacis to breathe in some lace. Any other suggestions are, of course, welcome.

Before I head for the airport, a couple of things to mention, in no particular order.
  1. Contestant photographs for "America's Next Top Romney" (aka the Dolores Look-Alike Contest) have been sent to our panel of celebrity judges for commentary and ranking. We had more than two dozen entries, and may I say I was amused, touched, and occasionally horrified by what you folks came up with.

  2. My buddy Tom has an eBay auction going on that may be of interest to those of you who collect vintage needlework. It's a set of crocheted placemats (with matching centerpiece) made as part of a wedding gift for his parents back in the forties. Nicely worked, I've seen them in person. If you're interested, here's the link. The auction ends pretty soon.

  3. The thousands of us who have missed Brenda Dayne's Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters during her hiatus (she was dealing with her son's wedding, in Italy, for which she sewed the bride's beautiful gown) are about to get our fix at last. The new episode is slated to appear today, and I do believe I'll have an essay in it.

  4. I gather from the comments that some of you like Abigail's snowman hat and would be interested in getting a pattern. Well, happy to oblige. I made it up as I went along, but I'll work on writing it down and even try my hand at re-sizing for baby/child/adult. Thank you for all the compliments–it was a heck of a lot of fun to make, and I can't wait to put it on her head.

  5. I have some news! But...oh gosh...look at the time. Gotta jet. Byeeeeeee.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Less Talk, More Action

Contrary to all the whispered rumors flying around the men's locker room, I am in fact still knitting. True, there's been little photographic evidence lately. Christmas surprises are taking up most of my time, but by way of introducing variety I also decided to work up a bit of whimsy for my Exceptional Niece Abigail's® first winter.

I'm not a veteran knitter of baby hats, and I don't have Abigail here to try things on, so for sizing I cross-checked seven or eight books and two online sources. I am sure they must all be cahoots to mess with my mind. Abigail's head cannot possibly be as big as they suggest. The bottom of half of her is so tiny and cuddly, but apparently she has a head like a bowling ball.

I know, I know. Babies have big heads. But as big as all that? I'm amazed Susan and Phil don't have to prop her up with two sticks or something.

Anyhow, I made this for my niece's apparently gigantic head.

Snow Hat - Front

I'm not the first (hell, I'm not even the twentieth) person to make up a snowman baby hat, but I did try to put some little personal touches into mine.

Snow Hat - Side

It's too cold in Maine for even a snowman to cavort in the raw, so I started the fellow off with a handsome red scarf. About halfway up the face, I realized the scarf ought to have a hat, so I knit a hat onto the hat.

Snow Hat - Top

A hat on a hat. If you ask me, every well-dressed baby ought to have a touch of the surreal in her wardrobe. If you ask others, it's probably a good thing I have no children of my own.

Around the back, to help keep the neck warm, are the "ends" of the scarf.

Snow Hat - Back

All the yarn came out of my stash, thus:
  • The red and white are Berroco Ultra Alpaca left over from the Littlest Democrat Sweater.
  • The black is the end of a ball of some mystery worsted.
  • The mouth* is a scrap of Cleckheaton merino.
  • The carrot nose is Lamb's Pride worsted that must have spontaneously generated in my stash cupboard. I cannot for the life of me imagine what I would ever purchase bright orange Lamb's Pride in aid of. I'm quite certain it wasn't a gift. And yet, I have two full skeins of it.
The hat is for Abigail, but it's dedicated to her Grandma Ann. Grandma Ann has enough snowmen in her collection to repopulate a small town, and it was one of these that I saw on my last visit home that inspired the hat.

Alrighty, then. Back to work on the _____ and the _____ for _____ and _____. How's your holiday knitting coming along?

*The mouth was going to be made of coal, too, until I worked the eyes and discovered first-hand what a pain in the gazoo it is to knit bobbles.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Baby Talk

Just over six months ago, when my Exceptional Niece Abigail® was born, the whole family spent hours bent over her in wondering attitudes, rapt. We analyzed every squint and gurgle, trying to puzzle out what she might be thinking.

Well, sit down on a sturdy chair and move your coffee mug away from the keyboard because my dears, I've cracked the code.

Dolores* and I were sitting in front of the television a couple of morning ago giving each other pedicures and watching "Today" when Meredith Viera introduced a segment on babies and sign language. Apparently it's been discovered that long before they can say, "Uncle Franklin, don't you agree that Barney the Dinosaur is utterly jejune?" in so many words, they can be positively chatty by means of wiggling and waving.

At least I think that was the idea. I only caught the first part of the report because just as Meredith and some doctor with three names were getting to the heart of the matter, Dolores choked on the fruit in her cosmo and nearly severed my Little Piggy Who Had None with the nail file. By the time we stemmed the bleeding and cleaned up the carpet, "Today" had moved on to Al Roker interviewing Angelina Jolie's former housekeeper's sister-in-law's best friend's college roommate about her views on Afghanistan.

However, I was still fascinated by the thought that Abigail might have been signing to us all this time. I grabbed the first three volumes of her baby book and began poring over the snapshots for any hint of intelligibility. And lo, armed with my newly acquired scientific knowledge, it took mere minutes to bridge the communication gap that once yawned betwixt uncle and niece.

Below, a few astonishing examples of Abigail's baby sign language translated into idiomatic English.


A couple skeins of Socks That Rock would be a great Christmas present.

Rough Night

Can we talk about this later? I was up until midnight reading an article on sleeve caps in the new Interweave Knits.


A rock? We hiked all this way for a @$%!* rock? I thought there was going to be a @$#% yarn store up here.


Have you seen the pile of lost stitch markers under our sofa?


I got my Ravelry invitation before you did.


Oh, it's quite good. But what I'm really looking forward to is the reissue of
The Principles of Knitting.

*Don't forget...the Dolores Look-Alike Contest deadline is 28 November!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Search Continues

Notice to the public: the deadline for the Dolores Look-Alike Contest has been extended to November 28, 2007. I've had about as many pleas for an extension as I've had entries, and it occurred to me that the combination of holiday drinking and Dolores-flavored accoutrements might yield some terribly, terribly interesting results.

By way of inspiration, I place before you this ensemble put together by one of the panel of judges, Carol of Go Knit in Your Hat and Black Bunny Fibers.

The New Dolores?

The resemblance, you will doubtless agree, is almost frightening.

If you are willing to do this to yourself, a pet, or a loved one, or some other unfortunate creature you manage to subdue and drug, you stand to win some of the following:
If you've already sent an entry, I'll send you a confirmation of receipt post-Thanksgiving. The rest of y'all, go hunt up late Aunt Sadie's cat's-eye glasses and get to it.

And, since I'm bound to get lost in the midst of tomorrow's flurry of roasting and baking I'll say it now: a very Happy Thanksgiving to everybody out there who's celebrating it. Travel safely, dine well, and I hope your team wins.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Visit to Lorna's Laces: A Report By Franklin

Lorna's Laces is a company in Chicago that makes pretty yarn. The yarn is so pretty that sometimes when two knitters are in a yarn shop and they see it at the same time and they both want it that they get mad at each other and there is hair-pulling and bad words, and then the yarn shop lady says knock it off both of you or I will make you knit with Red Heart. That is how pretty Lorna's Laces yarn is.

This is the lady who is in charge at Lorna's Laces. Her name is Beth.


Beth said to me, if you are not busy some time why don't you come over and visit us. So I did. I made some brownies to share except I ate one first and I got on the city bus, and soon I was there.

Lorna's Laces is in a factory building near the railroad tracks that looks scary on the outside like maybe inside they are filming a slasher movie but really inside are nice things, like Pearl. Pearl is Beth's dog.

Your Tour Guide

Pearl met me at the door and then she walked around with me and let me pet her lots. She is a very nice dog and does not eat yarn. If she wanted to eat yarn she would have a lot of yarn to eat, but she does not eat yarn.

Here is a picture of some yarn they made at Lorna's Laces that is going to go to yarn shops all over the universe.

Orders in Progress

Pearl was the only dog I met during my visit, but there are a bunch of other people who work there and they were all nice like Pearl, except I didn't try to pet them. (Instead I petted the yarn, and also Pearl.)

Here are some Lorna's Laces people.

The Jolly Crew

As you can see when it is lunch time a lot of them knit things. They work with yarn all day and so you would think maybe at lunch they would be sick of yarn and instead of knitting they would play xBox or do the Cosmo quiz or something, but I guess they must really like yarn.

This is the newest Lorna's Laces person. Her name is Emily.

Emily Winds Skeins

She got her job after she answered Beth's ad on Ravelry and I think that made the other 4,000 people who also wanted the job a little upset with her, but if you are one of those people don't be upset with her she is very nice, okay?

I had so much fun at Lorna's Laces meeting all the people and playing with Pearl and touching the yarn, and when I left I even got some yarn to take home because I guess they really liked the brownies. I am not going to show you a picture of the yarn I got because it would just piss you off and it's only Monday morning and I am sure you already have enough to deal with.

Thank you to everybody at Lorna's Laces for being so nice and letting me talk to you and take your picture. I had so much fun and I'm glad you liked the brownies. Remember the secret of the recipe is the little dash of vodka.

Beth says if you want to visit Lorna's Laces yourself the way to do it is to join a local group like the Windy City Knitting Guild because they get to come in for special events and stuff every so often. When you go please tell Pearl I said hi. And remember they like brownies.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Christmas Knitting Update

(Note: Some details have had to be obscured in order not to spoil the surprise. But of course you'll know what I'm talking about, right?)

Way back in August I had an epiphany about what to knit for _____ for Christmas. I had been kicking around patterns and considered doing a _____ or maybe a _____ , or even a pair of _____ , but even after scouring the Internet and my LYS I turned up nothing entirely suitable.

So I decided to make a _____ , and work out the design myself using patterns by _____ and _____ as points of reference. (I've always loved _____'s way of handling these; in fact I'd be tempted to make one for myself except I think the _____ on the _____ might drape less than flatteringly on my _____.)

The yarn I picked out is _____ in the colorway _____ , which I think is both _____ and _____ enough to make the _____ really stand out. My only fear is that might a little _____ for _____ , but you have to take chances sometimes if you want to make something special.

Of course, _____ is notorious for putting a lot of _____ into her _____ and I have no intention of doing anything of the kind. All of those _____ might look fine on her, but of course she has no _____ to speak of so she's doesn't have to worry about her _____ looking like a _____ stuck in a _____ with a couple of angry ______ and Condoleeza Rice.

It's coming along splendidly, so I took it over to the park and got a couple of progress shots, mostly of the ____ on the ____. Here's one:

Mystery Project

Do you think the _____ looks wonky? I know, it's a little dark. I probably should have gone earlier, when the light was better. Oh, well.

Field Trip!

Tomorrow morning I get to go over and play with the nice boys and girls at Lorna's Laces headquarters. I've never been. I'm so wired at the prospect I probably won't be able to sleep tonight. I feel like this:


and when confronted with gorgeous vats of dye may well end up like this:


Note to Beth: maybe you should put the lids on tight.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There and Back Again

California Dreamin'

"No," I said. "It's absolutely out of the question."

"I think you're being silly," said Dolores. "You've never taken the project on the road before, and you don't know the terrain out there like I do. I'm practically a native."

VanHoofen's Honeylambs"Are you, now? When was the last time you were in Sacramento?"

"Well, it wasn't technically Sacramento but it was very close by. In 1982 my act played an exclusive men's club just up the river–"

"Up the river."

"Yes, and we were quite the hit. Oh, you shoulda seen it. I got this troupe together, Van Hoofen's Hoofin' Honeylambs, four other girls with me as headliner. Oh, it was beautiful. A merino, a corriedale and these twin border leicesters we picked up in Idaho. For our big finish we did this static electricity number where we rubbed up against each other while the band played 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' and then...well, let's just say the guys ate it up."

"Up the river. From Sacramento."

"Yeah. What?"

"Folsom Prison?"

"They were a very appreciative audience. It took the National Guard three days to restore order."

"We're drifting away from the point. You are not coming to Sacramento and that's final. Besides, if you're there who's going to watch Harry? Mrs. Teitelbaum is with her daughter in Highland Park until Thanksgiving."

Surfin' Harry"Look everybody," shouted a happy little voice. Harry rolled in from the bedroom and twirled around on the carpet. "Look at me! I'm a California dude! Cowabunga! Pass the tofu! I get to go on a plane! Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!"

"You already told him he could go?" I hissed.

"Don't worry," Dolores whispered. "I'm sure he'll recover from the disappointment. Eventually. With therapy, he may even cease to hate you."

"Cowabunga!" shouted Harry.

Pre-Flight Jitters

A few e-mails to the Sacramento guild sorted out that it would be a party of three, not one, arriving from Chicago. My contact, Cindi, even graciously asked whether Dolores, being a sheep, had any "special needs."

"Yes," I wrote back, "but most of them are illegal, even in California."

Harry was so jazzed at the prospect of his first airplane ride that he packed his suitcase a week in advance. By the night before departure he was bouncing off the walls, singing "Go West" over and over until I was ready to felt him.

Dolores was fretting over her luggage for the fiftieth time. The living room rug was strewn with enough outfits to open a boutique.

"We're only going to be there for one day," I said, digging through a pile of chiffon looking for a missing dpn. "I really don't see why this needs to be so complicated."

"Says the man with five dozen black t-shirts. Listen, nobody cares what you wear. But me, I have a reputation to uphold and I don't want to disappoint my public. How about this one?"

She held up a frothy, flouncy piece of silk with crochet lace insets.

"Mutton dressed as lamb," I said.

"Who asked you?" she said.

Getting There Is Half the Fun

My alarm was set for six in the morning, but I needn't have bothered. At about five a.m. I woke to a gentle tap, tap on my forehead.

"Shouldn't we get up?" asked Harry. "I don't want to miss the plane."

"The plane leaves at ten-thirty, Harry," I yawned. "Go back to sleep for a while."

Five minutes later I felt another tap.

"How about now? Is it time now?"

"No. If you can't sleep, go read a book or something."

"Can I play on the computer?"

"Fine. Sure. Whatever."

He rolled away. I pulled the comforter over my head and tried to pick up my dream (Viggo Mortensen, Sea Silk, cop uniform) where it had been interrupted.

"I checked the Web site! Our flight is on time!"

"Fine," I sighed. "Thanks."

"The current temperature is 42 degrees!"

"Uh huh."

"A guy named ChiFuzzyStud says good morning and he wants to see the rest of the fourth picture in your profile. Should I send it to him?"

I got out of bed.

Somehow, even with the early start, it was still a bit of a mad dash to catch the train to the airport. At ten minutes to seven, Dolores was still frantically trying on and discarding hats. Harry had finally agreed to leave his longboard at home, but only after I demonstrated via Google Earth that Sacramento, an inland city, is not exactly a surfing mecca.

We arrived at Midway to find the usual slurry of humanity oozing through the security lanes. Given past airport experiences, I was tempted to separate myself from Dolores. Harry seemed a little nervous, though, so I decided to stick close.

"You keep an eye on him," I warned as we merged with the crowd.

"Hey," she said, "Take your pill and chill out. It's under control."

I went first. Dolores followed behind, taking a little more time than is customary because she insisted on being patted down. Twice. We met on the other side of the metal detector as my camera bag slid into view.

"I just gotta get my purse," said Dolores.

"Fine," I said. "Harry should be through next, right?"

"Yeah," said Dolores.

"I don't see him."

"Here he comes," she said, picking up her purse from the conveyor belt. I heard a muffled scream from inside.

"You sent him through the X-ray machine?"

She opened the flap and Harry popped up, still screaming.

"It was less complicated this way," she said. "Harry, pipe down, people are staring."

"I'm sterile!" Harry screamed. "I can never have babies!"

"Oh please," said Dolores. "You heard the man. There's only a forty percent chance. Jesus, I need a drink. That screener had very rough hands."

Around that time my pre-flight Xanax mercifully kicked in and I don't remember much except that Harry finally settled onto the arm of my window seat with his eyes glued to the view, too fascinated by the passing landscape to ponder his potentially childless future. I drifted off to sleep while Dolores, in the middle seat, began chatting with the aging hippie sitting next to her.

I woke up about two hours into the flight and both Dolores and the hippie were gone.

"She'll be back in a couple minutes," Harry said. "She said they had to go to some kind of club meeting."

I took another Xanax.

Welcome Wagon

We touched down right on time in Sacramento. As we rolled across the tarmac, Dolores finished cutting the latest notch in her lipstick case and tucked her new friend's phone number into her bosom. Harry was singing "Hotel California."

"Listen," I said. "We're supposed to meet the guild representatives at baggage claim, so keep your eyes peeled. They'll probably have a little sign that says "HABIT" on it or something so we can recognize them."

I need not have worried. They were easy to spot. See?

Weclome to Sacramento

In the back row, from left to right you have Lorna (as in Lorna's Laces...could you die?), Cindi, the man who accompanied Dolores Van Hoofen to Sacramento, and Beth. You know the front row.

While we waited for the luggage, Dolores whispered to me, "The signs are cute...but what's with the weird glasses? Is that a California thing?"

First Things First

It was too early to check in at the hotel, so we were offered our choice of yarn or food. Guess which one we picked.

The luggage went into Beth's SUV, and we piled into Lorna's vintage Ford Mustang for a top-down, wind-in-your-face, sun-drenched ride to Babetta's Yarn and Gifts.

In the Mustang

Maya and BabettaWe were cordially welcomed at the door by Babetta herself and her daughter Maya. The two of them run the place together, and are obviously the kind of people who were put on earth in order to connect other people with yarn.

I loved the shop. In Chicago, space is at a premium and so our fine establishments are always fighting the battle of elbow room versus display space. At Babetta's, the shelves just seem to go on and on, yet there's still plenty of room for a comfortable sitting/teaching area.

The selection was great, and I was able to get four skeins of [censored] which will be perfect for the [censored] I'm making as a Christmas present for [censored].

(Blogging around the holidays can be such a pain in the ass.)

Later that evening, Dolores disappeared to rendezvous with Humphrey, the hippie from the plane. Harry snuggled happily into bed at the hotel with his sudoku book, and I joined a trés intime knitting session at Laura's house.

Laura's a guild member who knits the most incredible lace as though it were plain stockinette, does bead work that has been featured in galleries, and with her charming husband has raised a teenage daughter who, of her own free will, introduced herself to me clearly and politely before returning to her room to finish her homework.

We will now pause for a moment to admire the wonder that is Laura.

And I got a chance to get acquainted with Emmy, a former Chicagoan who years ago used to live on the same street that I do now–a street which is also a Lorna's Laces colorway. She presented me with two skeins of it. We bonded. It was hard to say good night, but I was getting very sleepy and nearly messed up a very long row of the [censored] I am knitting for [censored] for Christmas.

(Blogging around the holidays can be such a pain in the ass.)

Show Time

Bright and early, Cindi hauled me and Harry off to the shoot venue (Dolores sent a text message that she and Humphrey had decided to drive to Santa Cruz for couples aromatherapy massages and a Pro-Hemp rally).

I barely had things set up before the first knitter arrived, and then...we were off. Aside from a delicious lunch eaten outdoors (outdoors! in November!) with the guild members who were working hard on a charity knitting project there was a non-stop stream of wonderful people in front of my lens.

Beth, who used to be a school teacher and so knows how to keep things organized, took such great care of the paperwork and introductions that I was able to relax and really enjoy meeting the models.

We were about halfway through the afternoon when somebody announced that a very large van had just pulled up to the building and knitters were pouring out of it. The van contained eight people from San Jose and Monterey, who had driven all the way to Sacramento. I was floored.

Jasmin and the SockThis is the ringleader, Jasmin, who asked me to pose with her and her sock. This is perhaps the closest I will ever come to being Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, so needless to say I savored the moment.

Here's the whole San Jose/Monterey group, courtesy of No-Blog Rachel who, ironically, now has a blog.

San Jose Knitters

And I had another surprise. I'd just heard a gorgeous, poetic essay on "Cast On" by a writer named Melanie Hamilton, so gorgeous I'd listened to it five times with undiminished pleasure. And Melanie was the last sitter of the day.

California Six

I couldn't believe it was over already. For the chance to meet people like this, I could have kept shooting well into the night.

Home Again

The trip home was less eventful than the trip out. I had a lovely breakfast with Cindi, Beth, Emmy, and Laura, and then it was time to head back to the airport.

Dolores, who stumbled in at about four a.m. after spending the night with Humphrey at a potluck poetry slam marathon, kept falling asleep. We finally dumped her onto a luggage cart and wheeled her to the gate, where she woke up long enough to send a text to Humphrey the hippie that it had been wonderful, but it was just one of those things.

"It could never have worked out anyway," she mumbled between sips of her Bloody Mary. "I could never commit myself to anything long-term with somebody so bloody sensitive."

"Crunchy granola?"

"Allergic to wool."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

South Side Represents

For those from elsewhere, here's a nutshell overview of Chicago's geography.

We gotta North Side, a South Side, and a West Side. Where there might be an East Side, there is instead Lake Michigan. Roughly in the center, where it all began on a spit of mucky, smelly, bug-infested mud that the Native Americans had too much good sense to inhabit, is the Loop.

People from the North, South and West sides tend to mix in the Loop. It is somewhat less common for Northsiders to head into the South or vice versa. We're not talking about a couple of blocks, we're talking about miles and miles and miles separating what might as well be two quite different cities, each with its own major league baseball team. I've lived in Chicago since 2001 and until this October I'd been to the South Side exactly four times, three of those being visits to the Museum of Science and Industry.

So when I got a message from a South Side LWYS (Lady with Yarn Store) suggesting I take 1,000 Knitters down her way, it was a little like National Geographic asking if I'd consider doing a piece on filet crochet in the Amazon rain forest. Would I be able to get there from here? What language do they speak? Where's my passport?

The LWYS refused to coddle me and insisted I was worried over nothing. The journey could be made easily by the commuter rail which had replaced the mule trains some time in the 1970s, and her shop was literally steps from the station. She would take upon herself the task of spreading my name among the native tribes. I wouldn't even have to get shots or buy a pith helmet. I was delighted, except that I really had fancied buying the pith helmet.

So on October 26, 2007 I arrived via the Rock Island line with camera and baggage at My Sister's Knits, and within about five minutes I'd begun to consider sending north for my books and relocating.

0203At right is Carol, the LWYS, and one of her two amiable canine sales associates. I have now been knitting long enough to have some experience of yarn shops, their proprietors and clientele, and I have never met a shop owner with a more fiercely loyal following than Carol.

Her motto is "Come for yarn, leave with a friend," and she means it. Means it, hell. She lives it. Her relationship with more than half the shoppers I met verged on the familial.

The night of the shoot was pissing down rain rather inclement, and in order to make sure I'd have people to photograph she kept calling folks up.

"'s Carol. Yeah. You busy? Well listen, you need to come over after work. And bring So-and-So. There's somebody here you need to meet. Hey, how's your mother doing? Did you finish that red sweater yet? Well, good. So get over here, got it? And bring the sweater. And your mother. Good. Bye now."

Thus she summoned them, and thus happily they came. I was delighted that Jan, who was such a help with recruiting during the shoot at Stitches Midwest and who first told Carol to invite me down, showed up to act as my lieutenant and did a splendid job of keeping things running.

Carol, for her part, managed to run the shop while also being extremely solicitous of my comfort. She also introduced me to the new joy of chocolate-flavored Chex Mix. [Personal to Carol: Carol, Tom got the idea of using it as a topping for vanilla ice cream. Try it. It works.]

There were some familiar faces I was delighted to see again, including Lynette (0210) and Angie* (0211), and lots of people I know from the comments but had never had the pleasure of meeting before. Blogless Jan, who was such an immense help with recruiting sitters during the Stitches Midwest shoot, did a marvelous job of acting as my lieutenant and keeping all the paperwork in order.

Trio from the 200s

We had a few firsts that night, including (to the best of my knowledge) the first police officer knitter; the youngest knitter yet in the series (age four) and her mother; a baker; and a whole gaggle of nurses and school teachers. There were so many wholesome urban archetypes in the chair it was a little bit like one of those "Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?" segments from "Sesame Street."
Oh the knitter likes to sit and play
With her needles and her yarn all day.
She can make you anything you need,
'Cause she'll knit until her fingers bleed.

Oh, the knitter is a person in your neighborhood!
In your neighborhood!
In your neigh-bor-hood!

Yes, the knitter is a person in your neighborhood!
A person that you meet each day.
The shoot was so much fun it seemed to rush by in about five minutes. Before I knew it, I had to say good-bye and I did feel like I was leaving with a friend...with many friends, actually.

Thanks, Carol. Thanks, Southsiders. I hope to come back soon. You got it going on down there.

*Angie, I forgot to ask if you blog. Let me know and I'll put up a link.

Monday, November 05, 2007

She Who Puts the Chic in Chicago

Here I sit, back at the home office after flitting to Sacramento and back again in three short days. The frames from the Saturday shoot are downloading. I am trying not to think about the seventy-eight sunny degrees I left in California because I'm afraid my abundant tears will short-circuit the keyboard.

Thanks to your support, 1,000 Knitters is taking off. October was so busy that two past public shoots are waiting to be written up (that'll happen over the next two days) and there are a few more in the pipeline–details forthcoming. I will tell you that while in Sacramento (sniffle) the project hit the one-quarter mark.

Other work beckons right now, however, so this entry will be brief. I wanted to let y'all know that Chicago knitwear designer Bonne Marie Burns will preside over a fashion show of pieces from her line, Chic Knits, at Loopy Yarns on November 9 from 6–9 p.m.

Chic Knits at Loopy

Full disclosure: Bonne Marie is a friend and occasional employer,* a warm human being, and a helluvalotta fun. However, she's such a talented woman that even if she were a rampaging, cat-kicking bitch on wheels spit straight outta Satan's mouth I would probably still plug her show.

*The front page photo of Twist on her Web site is mine, as is the shot in the show announcement. Mommy and Daddy are proud.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

For Your Consideration

It's November 1, my dears, and that means it's time to reveal this year's Panopticon Shop holiday design.

2007 Holiday Design

I've put her on an ornament and cards, as usual; and also on a journal, baby shirt, and a few other goodies to see how that flies.

No pun intended.

She will be available through February 1, 2008.

I'm tickled to gay little bits at the response to the last two posts on vintage and antique needlework. If Sue gives permission, I'll approach PieceWork about an article on the embroidered World War I postcards. PieceWork is one of my few must-read magazines and I'd love to contribute something to it–thank you for the encouragement.

Today is all about final preparations for the trip to California. I would be lying to you if I said I weren't nervous. Californians: I am a small, jumpy man unfamiliar with your exotic ways and customs. Please be gentle.

Dolores is not helping much, as she has apparently been bugging Cindi, my guild contact in Sacramento, with a stream of questions about local nightlife and the whereabouts of "special interest" bars in the vicinity of our hotel. I wish to reassure members of the Guild that the viewpoints of Ms. Van Hoofen are her own, and do not necessarily reflect those of us at The Panopticon who have never visited a "latex and wool" fetish night and hope we never will.