Thursday, January 29, 2004

To Dye For!

Why are knitters so susceptible to bad puns?

As promised, here is a step by step explanation of a dyeing thing-y I've been doing. It was inspired by an article in Threads by Rebekah Younger from June 1995

As I've said before, I was sort of Rip-Van-Winkling it during the 90's in the knitting world, so when I discover these things it's like waking up all over again!

As soon as I knit up some of the yarn from this dyelot I'll let you know how it looks. I'm envisioning using the matching balls in a geometric colorwork, but we'll see...

Superstar Scarf
Well, I'm not a celebrity knitter, but I'm knitting for a celeb! My first scarf for the film was received with way too much praise for a such a simple garment, and they want several more. Huzzah! I'll post pix when I finish the next one...

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


A chance comment in my last post led to an email exchange and the possibility that I may teach a class in warmer regions! Stay tuned - it would be a blast!

Today is devoted to finishing 2 sweaters for Unique Kolors that I've been terrible about avoiding. MUST - SIT - AND - KNIT - NOVELTY - YARN.

The kids are home today. Heck, for the amount of time they've been out of school this year I should just break down and homeschool them. Just kidding - I'm a FIRM believer in Public Ed for most kids as an equalizer and enhancer of multi-cultural values in our society. Notice I say "most kids" because I do truly believe that there are some kids that are so unique that they require a special arrangement. I know I would have benefitted from a different type of High School (I dropped out - but went on to get my BA & MFA, so I'm not a complete idiot - sort of)

I'm riffin' today! Snow blindness, what can I say? I went to bed last night wacky-worried about our older cat, Butkus, who was missing. I knew he was in the house, hiding from the kitten and dog, but I couldn't find him and had horrible visions of the kids letting him out in the snow and poor Butkus frozen under our front bushes. Yes, I went out to look for him under every odd mound of snow in our yard at midnight.

This morning when I went downstairs he was running along beside me - obviously somewhere warm all night (like my shoe closet). When Gerry got home from work last night at 12:30am he shoveled the walk before he went to bed - but I think it was guilt induced (I folded 4 loads of laundry last night, it's our own personal immunity challenge.)

I'm working on a cool dyeing thing that I can't wait to show you - I'll wait until it's dry and I actually use the yarn for a swatch. It's not for any magazine or anything, just my own edification and our collective education!

Monday, January 26, 2004

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Rrrrrrr

Superfluous comment, I know.

I've never been so cold in my life (inside of a house.) And our house is actually pretty WARM (thank heaven we had new windows installed a few years ago - WHAT a difference that made!)

But the collective weeks upon weeks of bone chilling cold that we're feeling, it gets to you. Not that I don't like it - I'll take cold weather on top of hot, hot weather anyday. But today I'd like to take a flight to the Keys, thank you, for some snorkling at John Pennecamp park, some boiled shrimp and a six-pack while swinging on a hammock in the sunset. Hmmmm - I could probably get a cheap flight - let me do the math...

Okay, daydream is over. Back to knitting!

I finished a scarf for that film - let's see today if the designer likes it! If so, I'll be doing several more, which is always a smile (and better money that the usual knitting fare...)

My new class that started on Saturday is wonderful - a really great group of women and we had such a great time! I found myself telling a potential student, "Yeah, private lessons are great and you'll learn a lot, but if you're in one of my group classes you'll have more fun..." Now that's what I call great sales(wo)manship!

I finished a project for a brand-new-yet-unveiled online knitting 'zine from England with a heavy emphasis on the Rowan Yarns (at least my project is Rowan...) I haven't seen much of the other projects, but I have a lot of faith in Kerrie, the knit-diva putting it together, and think it will be a wonderful addition to the online knitting community!

Here's a little taste of my own project...

It's going to be an amazing Spring project, good for office or for party-ing! And I think it will look HOT on a variety of body shapes and sizes! (and couldn't we all use a little heat right about now? Nothing like an Emma Peel-esque zipper to allow a woman to let off a little steam!

Friday, January 23, 2004

Two More

At the risk of sounding like a death calendar of sorts, two more folks who I greatly admired from my youth have passed away.

Captain Kangaroo (aka Bob Keeshawn) created a TV show that spoke to children in a respectful, non-violent and intelligent way. I certainly appreciated it growing up in Toledo in the 60's. Ironically, my father in law, Sydney, who is loved and who passed away 4 years ago this spring, worked as a stagehand on the show. There was some "ping pong" story that we never quite got out of him, but apparently there was a bouncing mis-hap that he caused by accident and it almost ended his career on the show.

Ann Miller passed away yesterday. You have to love someone who had better legs at 60 than most women have in their 20's! The fastest tapper in the world, her sense of self-irony and her talent made her one of my absolute favorites.

I'm working on a scarf for a movie. Hint: Darryl Hannah could knit this if she wanted.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

What a wonderful world...

We've carved such a lovely little knitting community here on the internet - what an odd and beautiful thing it is, huh?

I met ML for lunch yesterday - she's a blog reader who had a suggestion for a possible venue for an Autumn Knitting Retreat in Vermont. We had a lovely (short!) chat and discovered that we have several other internet friends in common. She wrote to me today,

I think it's SO COOL that two women, who have never met before, can meet for a quick bite to eat and in the course of 45 minutes put together something like this [the retreat], as well as talk about other people they both "know".

I think it's cool, too!

Another cool thing is that I've heard from IK that they're taking a few of my things for the Fall & Winter issues, yeah!! AND I finally finished some sketches and swatches I'd been promising Jen at Spirit Trail Fibers for WEEKS. Sent them off today - I hope there's something in there that is useful for her!

I'm finishing up a few things for Unique Kolors in Colinette Yarns - due next week (gack!) and, of course, every spare minute is spent on THE BOOK. I've volunteered to write the database for my daughter's school's auction which is 2/7 - it should be fun and I am SO crossing my fingers that the database works well to help speed up the checkout for the bidders!

I have a class starting on Sat and it's filling up nicely. When I read about Alison's 22 person beginner classes I have a mixed sense of envy and relief that my own classes are much smaller! My Tuesday evening class is 3-1/2 people (one student is just coming for half of the classes) and that's a nice, comfortable number for an evening at home!

Oh, and then there's this. Saw it at Eklectica's Blog

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Back to School!

Well, the kids are FINALLY going back to school today! Last week they only attended school TWO days, Monday was a teacher prep day, Thursday and Friday were weather days, so today Hannah got up on the bus for the first time since last Wednesday. Whew!

I love having them home, but yesterday two other moms and I got together and we were all in agreement that many more days with the kids home, and the weather too cold for them to play outside for very long, would be the cause of some VERY raw nerves. Coming so soon after the extended Holiday break made it a bit more nervewracking.

Coming during a crunch period for me (several projects "due" this week) this extended home time made it impossibly difficult to get more than a few rows knit at any time. Now I will knit like the wind! Just as soon as I salt the front walkway so we don't get sued by any Seton Hall students as they walk to the University.

Sunday, January 18, 2004


As I've mentioned before, ever since last year's surgery I tend to get lost pretty easily. This is an annoyance for most folks - for me it's a source of severe frustration and sometimes panic.

I used to have such a good sense of direction that my husband would joke I had a metal plate in my head that always pointed North. When you have something precious and lose it, it's maddening. I can honestly say I never took my sense of direction for granted - it was a source of comfort ("I can find my way out of anything!") Now that warm blanket has been pulled off and I'm cold and quite often, lost.

I taught a small but wonderful class yesterday - a great bunch of 3 women (and some droppers-by) worked up my Aline bag in Raffia - and they did remarkably well working with the odd paper fiber! Not everyone finished their bags, but there's no question that they WILL finish them!

The class was in Stratford, which I found quite easily and arrived there 1-1/2 hours after I left my home. I was there all day, from 10 - 5, and by the time I left I was pretty exhausted. I run on fumes when I'm tired - it's adreneline that keeps me going on days when I don't get my nap.

The ride home was more eventful. Somehow I ended up in Queens (I think I took the Throgs Neck) and had to manuver through Manhattan to get home. It's the way I used to drive home to Brooklyn from CT years ago when I worked for La Stewart, so I think my tired mind just went on auto-pilot.

And - icing on the cake - I just got a phone call from a student who's coming to my Toe Up Sock Class this morning. My brilliant response - "What class?" Oy. THAT'S how to instill confidence in a student!

Right after she called I got not one, but two messages from other students that they wouldn't be coming because of the weather (they were coming from NYC) so it's going to be a skinny class.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Out the Door!

I just had to add this! A good friend (the Alison for whom the Alison Scarf is named) just gave Hannah the pop-up Alice in Wonderland by Robert Sabuda. You have to visit his website for instructions on how to make pop-ups - he's amazing! Here's a link to a radio interview that he did on NPRL which was just charming!

One major project is out the door - others await (but are very close to the finish line!)

Sorry I haven't posted more lately - I've been caught up in work and also planning for the retreat. I'm getting email from a large number of new folks who want to be kept in the loop, so it may be a bigger retreat this year!

Also, an intruiging idea - how do you think an early autumn retreat in Vermont would fly? It's just in the barely conceptual stages, but it may turn out to be a possibility...

The snow is just lovely here - so deep and powdery! The kids were playing outside until their feet and hands froze, then inside for hot soup and hot chocolate. Now they're upstairs watching a video and I'm settling in to knit some more! Gerry did an amazing job of cleaning the driveway in record time, the kids really helped, too! This light and dry snow is much easier to shovel than the wet, heavy stuff.

I'm diving back into the book with passion, again! I now feel a desire to get it finished and look into self publishing in a more serious way. When I looked at what I'd finished it already amounts to a sizeable number of chapters and projects! Now it's time to refine and re-produce the illustrations that aren't quite as clear as I'd like them to be.

Sunday, January 11, 2004


WHAT a tremendous class yesterday at Urban Knitter! Thank heaven for Alison - who was a great help - she made the class seem as if there were half the number!

The students themselves were outstanding! Everyone finished their necklaces, everyone did such creative things with their beads and I think everyone left very happy! Congrats to all of you - you are stellar!

I'm stressing that my class in CT might not be full next weekend - it's to make the Aline bag (see photo to the right and below) and I think it will be a good time! I swear, it's either feast or famine in the free-lance biz, that's for sure! There's really no fool proof formula to determine if a class will fill up or will be almost empty. I guess the better known I become - and the more my classes are chatted up by my students - the quicker my classes will fill up! Everything in time, right?

Tonight is dedicated to swatching. I started a project for Unique Colors (I have two for them due in early Feb) but I set it aside to gear up for a design deadline this Wed. I meant to do swatching this afternoon, but just as I was settling into my nice, warm sofa with my needles and yarn strewn around me, my daughter appeared at my elbow with Brownie uniform and her cookie order form in hand. Mom, you promised we could go out to sell Girl Scout Cookies this weekend!

A promise is a promise. If a troop leader can't get off her butt to roam the neighborhood in 10 weather, how can the other parents be expected to put in the cookie time with their chicks?

We were out for about 1-1/2 hours, visited a lot of neighbors (we love our neighborhood) and sold a lot of cookies! Obviously we earned big points with the 'hood for actually BRAVING the cold and I feel a lot of the sales were pity purchases. We'll take them. All in all, I hope it's a good memory for Hannah - it certainly is for me! Max joined us for the last few houses - little "me too" had to tag along. Hmmmm - tag alongs - my favorite cookie!

Thursday, January 08, 2004


It takes so much time and effort to put together a class - and I always forget how much! Constantly underestimating the amount of work involved - that's what they should put on my tombstone.

I spent a good part of today running errands - silly things, stuff that must be finished. Buying wire, beads, other supplies - post office run - dropping stuff off, picking up, returning books to the library. What an exciting life I lead!

I had a student late this afternoon - the daughter of a student from one of my beginning classes. She's quite good and is leaving tomorrow to go back to college in New Orleans, so I really hope she remembers what she learned! It is such a delight to teach - I'm so lucky I discovered how much I love it!

As you may or may not know, I'm a browie co-leader and this year I'm in charge of the cookie sales for our troop. After pouring over the cookie manager information guide for hours (this is harder than entrance exams to many top colleges...) I finally feel just slightly on top of the cookie mishigas.

I'm not supposed to sell these (or let my daughter sell them) online - no girl scout cookie websites or anything - but it's okay if some of my friends who read the blog want to email me with an order!
nudge nudge, wink wink The cookies are $3.50 a box - isn't life grand?

The sale officially starts on 1/10 - cookies will be delivered around 2/19. We want to use the money we earn from our cookie sales for a cool trip - it would be great if we could go into the city for a play or something! That would be a NIGHTMARE of permission slips and health forms,though. Once again I am blown away by the bureaucracy it takes to put together a group of girls for a camping trip or visit to the local museum.

Have I mentioned how bad I am at paperwork lately?

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


I got the word today that my knitting with wire class at Urban Knitter has 16 students - YEOW! Luckily, I have a most excellent knitting friend, Alison, who took the wire class with me before, is an established teacher and will help me with the class. Woohoo!

FYI - Alison is teaching a class on Steeks at Urban Knitter - check out her blog to see her SENSATIONAL colorwork and you'll understand how helpful a good steek can be!

I love it when the classes fill up - this was a surprise, though! I spent a bit of today shopping for some great beads for the class and getting some new wire at a new local source because I'd only been counting on 6 or 7 students. Can you say, "Low on stock...?" That's the kind of problem I like to have, though!

I also spent a good part of today driving down to Ocean Grove to check out a few alternative locations to The Shawmont (where we had our last retreat) I'm aiming to have this sometime in May, probably the weekend of 5/22-23, but it's not set in stone. I'd love to get feedback from readers who might come and have preferences about dates and what kind of class I should teach. Knitting with wire is high on my mind...

I also think I'm going to try to structure the weekend differently this time in hopes of reducing the overall fees for participants - I think I want to just get a block of rooms and pair folks up (who want to be paired up, of course) and see how low I can keep the overall costs. I can't see any way around eating out for some of the meals, though - but perhaps we can keep that to a minimum... There will, of course, always be an option to have a private room if someone wants that!

Speaking of classes - I know this is short notice but I'm teaching a new class at Janet Kemp LLC Fine Yarns in Stratford, CT (click here for map.

It's a class to make my A-Line Bag and I think it will be a really fun class! Just in time to have a cute little bag for MLK day! If anyone is interested, contact Janet to register for the class!
I Rock!

It occured to me that the rockers I love the best are the ones I grew up listening to, which is kind of sad and kind of nice. Love Elvis (C) and Chrissy (H) - loves em.

Well, I have to add a new band - Bubble - because I got the greatest letter from this rocker who, after reading the S&B book, went through the highs and lows of thinking her knitting was "wrong" and then discovering my Combination page by reading my bio in the book and learning that she's not wrong at all, dear, just different!

The letters I get from combination knitters who feel legitimized after perusing my site are definitely the high point of my day - they make me so happy that I put the site up, and so proud of them for perservering against the tide of Western knitting!

I want to start a
revolution. Or rather, I want to 'legitimize' the revolution that's already out there. More to come...

Monday, January 05, 2004

Back to the Grind...

Up at 7:00, feed and dress the kids, feed the pets, morning chores, walking Hannah to the bus - well, we're back to the old routine! Today is Brownies (woo hoo!) and then knitting at the Dancing Goat this evening at 7:00. Hopefully some of you can join me there!

I feel like the years are streaming by so quickly - I can't even begin to get a handle on it! Hannah and Max are both so tall and growing so fast. BTW, Hannah LOVED her doll - LOVES it - it's the first thing she tells folks when she sees them, "Santa brought me KIT!" and she's amazingly careful with it, which is wonderful! Max is already glued to his bike and rides it like a 7 year old! I thought it would be a bit big on him, but it's just right. He's getting so tall!

I'm finishing up a very satisfying sweater for a new venture (how exciting!) It's daunting -and at any given time I have many, many long strands hanging off the back of the work. It's an exercise in the zen-ness of colorwork. I keep repeating to myself, Just let the strands tangle, they'll untangle themselves (or if necessary, I'll untangle them every 10 rows or so). I can't wait until I can show you guys!

Friday, January 02, 2004

Naturally Curly

I've been getting an amazing amount of queries lately on how to keep knit fabric from curling when knitting a flat item like a scarf or the edge of a blanket. Below is a link to a pdf file where I outline my magic rule (dare I say commandment?) for non curling knit fabric:

That gigantic whooshing sound that was heard throughout NJ, NYC & southern CT was my sigh of relief that I finished my submissions yesterday. My dear, dear hub is going into the city today so he'll hand deliver my Vogue submissions. I'm sending my FCEK subs via email, so it will be an imperfect test of how each type of submission is received.

Now - finally - to Spirit Trail! Jen, I promise I'll be sending you some sketches and swatches by the end of next week!!! And K, it's coming along BEAUTIFULLY!! My next submission date is Jan 16, and I have a few projects due right after that, so it will be a rich and full knitting month for me!

Please note that the date for my contemporary knitting class has changed - it's starting a week later than originally anticipated! It will still be a 6 week class, but will end on 2/28. It will be a blast, I promise you!

Thursday, January 01, 2004


Or is that with one "s"?

Anyway, I should have mentioned this earlier as - not only is it about knitting in New Jersey, but it's also my DAUGHTER'S SCHOOL and I volunteered quite a bit with the program last Spring. I haven't been able to give much time this Fall, but hope to get back in the groove in the Spring again! It's a great article!

Kids in NJ are ... Kniting!
Red Carpet Convertible
Gerry's Multiple Myeloma Expenses Fund

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Snail Mail:
Annie Modesitt / Landy
1043 Grand Ave
PO Box 117
St. Paul, MN 55105

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