Saturday, January 18, 2014

Miniature Entry: New York

The desk clerk on the second floor at The Strand looked exactly like a Fred Armisen character from Portlandia and I was going to snicker and then I realized that I was wearing a bow tie and a 1930s Swedish shooting jacket and a newsboy cap and wingtip shoes and a chin beard and so do I.


Friday, January 10, 2014

YO, Mama

There is no other way to start than with a word of thanks. Your reaction to the bathing drawers was everything I could have wished. Quite aside from the compliments, for which I am grateful, I was so happy (and relieved) that my preamble was taken as it was intended: as a plea for civility, not for praise.

You might like to know that the drawers will be going on the road. I'm heading to St Louis and the Kirkwood Knittery, and on the evening of January 24 I'll be giving one of my favorite talks: Impractical Magic: Oddities and Curiosities from Weldon's Practical Needlework. (Seating is limited. For tickets, call the shop.) The original photogravure from the pattern has been the title card for that lecture since I wrote it, and now I'm thrilled to present a realized specimen.

Around the same time I finished those, I finished a simple design that has since come out as part of a collaborative eBook, Dreaming of Shetland. The project was undertaken in support of Deborah Robson's research into Shetland sheep and Shetland wools, about both of which I am unabashedly crazy. Deb and I had a chat about it a year ago at the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat (read her own words here), so when the chance came to help support her I jumped at it.

This was my contribution: a lace scarf called "Fair Phyllida."


You may be aware that I have borderline-creepy obsession with old lace edgings. My first sketch for this piece was, rather unsurprisingly, a scarf with a lace edging.

Then I thought–why fool around with the scarf part? Why not make the whole thing an edging? So I fixated on a 19th-century Shetland motif as my point of departure, fussed with it, mirrored it, and this was the result.


Fair Phyllida is a gentle ride. (That doesn't sound quite right, does it? Never mind, time presses. Moving on.) If you have basic lace-knitting skills, you can do her. (No. Never mind, moving on.)


There are all kinds of things (not all of them lacy) designed by all kinds of people in the book, from bags and mitts to wristlets, shawls, and baby clothes. Take a look.

So's Your Mother

A couple of months ago, in my monthly column for Lion Brand Yarns I presented a selection of riddles reimagined for the yarn-centric. A friend who read it asked me if I'd consider doing the same for her favorite humorous tradition: the yo mama (var. yo momma, yer mom, yer mum, tu mamà) joke.

Before you curl your lip, please remember that maternal insults, like motherhood, have probably always been with us. They are ancient. They are hallowed. They go back as least as far as Shakespeare, who used them; they are almost certainly far older than that. My knowledge of classical theater is imperfect, but if there's not a yo mama joke in Oedipus Rex, there should be.

That being said, if you're one of the gentle, dewy-eyed souls who is never remotely amused by this sort of thing, you'll want to stop scrolling now and head elsewhere.

I mean it.

Seriously, stop now.

Okay, fine.

I warned you.

Yo mama's so short, she needs a ladder to read the top row of a chart.


Yo mama's so old, she remembers when they invented the second knitting needle.


Yo mama's so skinny, she tripped and fell through a yarn over.


Yo mama's so stupid, she thinks stranded colorwork is stuck at the airport.


Yo mama's so lazy, she gets First Sock Syndrome.


Yo mama's so tall, when she drops a stitch it takes three weeks to hit the ground.


Yo mama's so cheap, she tries to k2tog with one stitch.


Yo mama's so fat, she can't even cross her cables.


Yo mama's so ugly, she can only get gauge by sneaking up on it.


Yo mama's so fat, she tried to make an Elizabeth Zimmermann
percentage sweater and ran out of numbers.


Yo mama's so greasy, all her stitches are slipped stitches.


Yo mama's so stupid, when she saw "k1 tbl" she knit a coffee table.


Yo mama's so chunky, she knits up at three stitches to the inch.


Yo mama's so hairy, she is easily mistaken for a ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze.


Yo mama's so twisted, she biases sharply to the left when worked in stockinette.