Friday, April 20, 2012

Playing with Strings of Two Varieties

So, what have you been up to? I've been on the road. Kansas City and environs.

I thought this was my first visit to Kansas, but my father has since corrected me. Turns out that in 1974 we drove through on our way to a new assignment at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. We stopped at a rest area and had barely unfurled our picnic blanket when a sharp gust of wind carried it away. I weighed about as much as the blanket and was convinced I'd be next. I didn't stop screaming until we were back in the car heading for Oklahoma.

Now, Rodgers and Hammerstein said Oklahoma is where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, but they were native New Yorkers and knew bugger all about the Midwest.  On this visit, Kansas gave Oklahoma a run for the money–there was one superfestive night when both states broke out in tornadoes–and if I hadn't been so busy I might have worried once again about blowing away.

However, I was too preoccupied with yarn-related joy inside the hotel to bother with what was happening outside. The Sunflower Knitters Guild (an amazingly good group of people, even by knitting standards) puts on their festival–Knitting in the Heartlands–biennially. This was a growth year for the event, and I was honored to be the featured teacher at the moment when they expanded  to include a keynote address, more classes, and a marketplace that spilled out of one ballroom and into a second.

I love snooping around the vendors at regional events because you so often run into good stuff you haven't seen before. Here's some of what followed me home.

Yarns from KC

From top to bottom:
Before you ask–no, I did not punch up the blues in "Tenth Doctor." That's what it looks like in person. No way was I leaving it there for somebody else.

Not shown, but much coveted: Paco-Vicuñas yarns from Hickory Ridge Farms.  Not for the budget-conscious, perhaps, but dammit that vicuña fiber makes cashmere feel like asphalt.

While I was in Kansas City I did very little knitting. I don't mean I didn't knit much, I mean my knitting was very small. I finished the "Double Rose Leaf" lace insertion for Ethel's petticoat.


That's all the lace I need for now, but I find myself feeling at a loss without something new on the US 00000 (1mm) needles. I may have to knit edges for a christening outfit just for the ducks of it, even though there's not an unchurched baby anywhere in the vicinity. Or maybe Ethel would like a fichu?

Meanwhile, the handkerchief linen is awaits cutting.

For Ethel's petticoat.

I'll also mention–in case you missed my jubilant screams on Twitter and Facebook–that while in Kansas City, I launched the pattern for the Anna Shawl.

The Anna Shawl

And that meant I was able to send Iceland Sky to the tech editor. He's making quick work of it, so if all goes well it will launch before I leave for my next trip–the Downtown Knit Collective Knitter's Frolic in Toronto, Canada.

A Floundering Minstrel I

One more thing. I spend so much time using the visual part of my brain–what with the knitting and the drawing and the photography and so forth–that a wise person of my acquaintance suggested I give my brain a rest and a stretch by taking up a creative endeavor that puts a different clutch of cells to work.

Which is why I now own a ukulele, upon which at present I can play three shaky chords.

New Buddy

Life is full of interesting things to do. If you're bored, it's your own fault.


Heather said...

funny how most of memories can be on the way to or from one AFB to another :)

Evelyn said...

"Life is full of interesting things to do. If you're bored, it's your own fault."

This needs to be worked up into a poster. So true!

Bummble said...

Great minds think alike I guess - I've just taken up the Ukulele last week as well!

I don't really play any kind of instrument, which makes it all quite a challenge, but it is SO much fun!
Also, you can play it while having a cat asleep on your lap.

Unfortunately, while I can knit and read at the same time, I haven't found a way yet to combine ukulele-playing with knitting...

KayakChickee said...

I bought my husband the very same ukelele for his birthday last year. He makes up his own songs (and notes, and chords) and we sing on the sailboat on Lake Michigan. Perhaps you (in Chicago) heard us while we were in Michigan City, IN last summer? Our neighbors LOVE us!!!

Teri said...

It was really wonderful to meet you, Franklin. Your keynote speech was wonderful and it was great getting to know you. Very much looking forward to the Iceland Sky pattern!

Yarn Geek said...

One of my first memories of Kansas also took place at a rest area, only my parents accidentally left me there and had to come back after they discovered I was not, in fact, sleeping in the back seat.

You have some lovely yarns to play with, that Tardis blue is to die for!

You keep teasing us with parts of Ethel's nightie. I am looking forward to seeing it all put together. She's going to be so pleased! After all, what girl wouldn't love custom made underpinnings?

Tell Delores I sympathize with her. When Bob started the banjo, I heard the first stanza of "Boil Them Cabbage Down" in my sleep. You might want to hide your Ukelele from her after the first week so she doesn't go all Pete Townshend or Jimmy Hendrix on it.

Abigail said...

Wow, I might need some Nerd Girl now.

The Foggy Knitter said...

I vote for a Fichu, what girl doesn't need one? Ethel is extremely privileged, that lace is gorgeous.

MerryBrown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

Can't wait to see you in your Aloha shirt and kilt!

Emily said...

Oh. Oh. Oh. It's a great day when you post! That blue is retina-scarring: just wow. I LOVE it.

MerryBrown said...

Gosh, I hate to go all fan girly on you, BUT! My goodness you have a way with words. Loved clicking thru all the references to your previous posts. Ethyl is a lucky girl. Can't wait to see the finished result.

Christine said...

wow you must've snatched that sockyarn right from under me. :)

Tell Delores I second Yarn Geek's comments of be glad it's not the banjo. A beginning ukelele still sounds hauntingly beautiful when strummed. A new banjo player? It haunts you, but not in a good way. Just ask my family. :)

KC was FUN! I've already put some new knowledge from your photography class to work! I feel POWERFUL I am occasionally the boss of my camera now! Thanks for coming to KC! Come back soon.

Geri said...

I'm looking forward to "Photographing Your FibRE" with you at the Frolic, Franklin. That is way cool that you're ukin'. I learned everything I know about playing the ukulele on YouTube. Ukulele Mike has lots of great instructional videos. Here's one of my favourites: (♫"Tonight You Belong to Me"♫)

See you on the 29th!

Unknown said...

Lace. Ukelele. Love.

kaykatrn said...

Wow!! Tiny lace, Nerd Girl yarns, 2 new gorgeous designs and Icelandic lace in amazing colors!!! And you survived a tornado or two! What a weekend!

Bonnie said...

"Life is full of interesting things to do. If you're bored, it's your own fault." I love it! Thanks for reminding me of this truth.

Wendy said...

Don't build up too many callouses playing that uke - very clicky on the yarn! Doubtless you've heard the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain?
Joni Mitchell got started on a uke, and look at all the nights of soul-searching that followed for her. But then possibly she doesn't knit...

marumori said...

"Vicuña fiber makes cashmere feel like asphalt."

I made a VERY work-inappropriate noise when I read that.

Diana said...

Growing up, I caught an episode of "This Is Your Life" honoring Vincent Price. They were discussing his painting, and this quote from him popped out at me: "The man who limits his interests, limits his life." Impressed me so much that it's been my motto ever since.

I always told my daughter that only boring people get bored.

Kate (KnitsInClass) said...

Last time I was in Kansas there was a tornado, too... unfortunately, there was no knitting to distract me, just my husband's family reunion.

kathy b said...

now you have to go see Ricky Skaggs when he comes to old town again...fabulous

Evalyn said...

"Life is full of interesting things to do. If you're bored, it's your own fault", to quote a very wise man. Amen, people.

FiberQat said...

Your lacework is stunning. The Victorian ladies would be very impressed with your work. A fichu would be very appropriate.

dclulu on Ravelry said...

Franklin, I love your blog. Have loved it ever since I discovered it a year or two ago. And now I love it even more because you've alluded to -- and punned on -- Gilbert & Sullivan.

Seanna Lea said...

Ah, but you are not a thing of shreds and patches even if you only have 3 chords.

Eileen said...

Dr Who yarn...lace...00000 needles. Is this heaven?

And are you going to knit the uke case that Amy designed, or design your own?

Michelle said...

Shouting a loud AMEN to your last two sentences!

Unknown said...

I have to agree with you... if you're bored, it's your own fault bit. When I was younger I had a great fear of being bored. Not necessarily that irksome feeling when you are doing a task that is tedious, and you don't like it, but truly bored... with my life, with what I was doing. It's one of the reasons I took up knitting.

I think people are most healthy when they are always seeking new challenges.

Rosi G. said...

I missed the announcement of the pattern release on Twitter and Facebook because a) I quit Facebook last summer (couldn't keep up), and 2) for some stupid reason, I don't have you on Twitter. Not that I use it often anyway; can't keep up. Sensing a trend here??

But, I will remedy the above by purchasing this pattern immediately and finding some appropriate yarn to knit it up.

Grassy ass!!!

Pam Sykes (aka Pretty Knitty) said...

Anna is just lovely! And I am so glad that you did NOT blow away. :)

Anonymous said...

Wait, wait, wait I missed something. "Meanwhile, the handkerchief linen awaits cutting." Tell me more, please. Also I love the Anna pattern and have just the yarn for it. Heading to ravelry now for the pattern.

Jenni said...

Uke it up! I purchase one this spring and while I've not had as much time as I'd like to learn, I'm still loving it.

Patti said...

I like the last line the best. I may quote you -- often!

Lori said...

So if you and Amy end up in Columbus at TNNA will you do a duet? ducking...

Chingachgook said...

Aah, Franklin.
When I visit my sister in KS, she asks me if I've seen Toto as I drove over the plain... it's been awhile since he flew away. Then, when I visit the other sister in Wyoming, on the way back west, I'm reminded of the WY state motto: "What Wind?". I have had two sprung car doors that I opened into the wind (so, I'm a slow learner? or, an optimistic memory).
And, my Uke playing isn't up to my recorder style, which tain't quite the match of my flute, yet. But which do I have the most fun with? Yup. The Flea.
Thanks, again.

Mary Alice said...

Have you been communicating with my mother in the Great Beyond? If she said, "If you're bored, it's your own fault." once she said it a thousand times. Her other fave was, "Only boring people are bored." consequently I eschew boredom at all costs.

Tola said...

Saavalivali means "go for a walk"
Tele tautauli means "too much talk"
Alofa 'ia te 'oe means "I love you"
"Take it easy" faifi lemu.

Teine manaia means "pretty girl"
Fa'a milomilo means "around the world"
"Listen to me" means muso muso mai
'Oe auwe means "my oh my".

kmkat said...

Ukes seem to be the new black. Enjoy yours!

Lizz said...

Oh my goodness, I LOVE that tenth doctor yarn. (Though I'm actually a bit partial to the Eleventh Doctor, personally) I need to find some. Also- I'm very excited for the Iceland Sky pattern- that was a gorgeous shawl.

Kathy said...

"Life is full of interesting things to do. If you're bored, it's your own fault."

This is going to go down as one of my favorite quotes of all time!

Chris Laning said...

As a floundering minstrel, you may not be a things of shreds and patches... but you COULD be a thing of threads and snatches! ;)

Lynn said...

Amen! You probably don't get a lot of comments that begin like that, but your last sentence was spot-on, as is the lace insertion. I have seven Asian Ball Jointed Dolls who love fiddly stuff like that (which I have been known to create). If Ethel is not the jealous type, you are more than welcome to whip out 20 or 30 yards of insertion, which will save wear and tear on my tatting shuttle...

ZT! said...

Love teeny tiny lace.... I have two Ukelele Words for you... Jake Shimabukuro. Please go to Youtube and search "While my ukelele gently weeps." His website's been highjacked but he's doing a small us tour so check your local concert listings if you want to see him live.

Karen S said...

"Life is full of interesting things to do. If you're bored, it's your own fault."

That's for sure. I knit, quilt, sew and garden to name a few things. I'd rather be at home doing any one of those things instead of working. When I say that, people at work say they'd be bored if they stayed at home. I don't get it-find something to do.
Congrats on the pattern launch.

ellen in indy said...

"If you're bored, it's your own fault."

or, as i always told my kids when the "i'm bored" laments began, "boredom is also a choice."

thanks for making this knitter's life a lot less boring!


CeltChick said...

I'm with Evelyn -- Let's have a Habit cartoon for the poster, and slap it onto a tee shirt too!
As for the Anna Shawl, I'm going to break my moratorium for online ordering....

Michele H. said...

Ack!! You were in Kansas last weekend, during all of the entertainment with the tornadoes? So in Guthrie, should have called while you were in the area...don't think anyone around the region got more than a few hours of sleep for three days, LOL. We really know how to put out the welcome mat for folks, don't we? Thank God for storm shelters!!

Denise said...

Totally agree with those last two lines. I want it on a poster, a t shirt, and if I had time, I'd chart it up and cross stitch it on a sampler! Too much to do and not enough hours in the day.... and I ran across my three skeins of paco vicuna the other day - where is a pattern that deserves to be knit up in that?

Sandra said...

Hope to see you at the DKC Frolic - while I"m not taking any classes this year, I will be all over the market on Saturday...

HarryPotterAddict said...

I will shortly be coming by your house and taking that blue with me.

Now, where do you live again?

(Omigod, I love it!!)

debbieamy said...

My children were never allowed to say the "b" word. If they couldn't find something to do, I got to choose something for them. We had a large poster board on the kitchen wall with many, many suggestions of ways to stay occupied. If they did not find learning calligraphy, knitting dishcloths, riding their bikes, or some other fun activity worth their time, I got to choose something like junk drawer organizing, cleaning the hamster cage, or getting the mud out of their father's Jeep tires with a toothpick.

Riss said...

I couldn't agree more! There is too much in this world to do...I can't keep it all straight. So, kudos to you for keeping it interesting--I've got a few neglected knitting projects that have been calling my name..just as soon as I slow down long enough to snatch up the needles again. (c: Happy Knitting!

Anonymous said...

Amen to that. I had a teacher that used to say "Only boring people are bored." yep. And great minds DO think alike, I've been learning to play the guitar this week- funny! Much like knitting in the whole muscle memory thing...

knit happens said...

Thank you Franklin for your last two sentences. I've felt bored on and off since I first began to monitor the kindergarten wall clock 42 years ago, and I needed that reminder.

Julie Delves said...

'if you're bored it's your own fault'! Fan-bloody-tastic! Exactly :-)

janna said...

I, too, love the last two sentences. You need to put them on a t-shirt or a bag or something. We never said we were bored around my mom -- if you did, you were sure to find yourself taking out the garbage or something equally fun.

I also love the teeny lace and am glad you didn't blow away while in Kansas.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Iowa and I am pretty sure the last time I was in Kansas City it was in Missouri. Love your blog

Punk rock twins knitting jess said...

It is so true if your bored its your own fault becuase there are so many things that one can be doing... Love your site new to it and will definitely be following you. You can check out me and my sisters knitting site at

Margaux said...

Yes! Love the Nerd Girl! The Bounce and Stomp yarn (merino/nylon) was the first yarn I got that turned out a decent pair of socks. I totally encourage anyone to support her. (p.s. the conspiracy yarn base is yummy soft)

Anne said...

Welcome to the ukulele knitters, so happy to see one more falling for the potential of this little instrument. I promise it does make wonders with the brain, if not with the fingers at the beginning of the learning curve. Good luck and happy strumming. (P.S. I can recommend the book from Lute to Uke, renaissance music for frailed knitting nerves).

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angel Williams said...

I am so thrilled to get my arms on the routine for this. I very hardly ever see a routine for a ribbons scarf using two colors which is to my flavor, but this one is ideal for me. It's powerful, but sensitive, and I really like it.


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