Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Attention Shoppers!
Can't find them in the stores? Don't fret -- here's how you can make your very own Pink Hello Kitty laptop! Since my laptop already goes by the name Miss Kitty, I think it's definitely time to adorn her with pink paint and feathers. Or at least knit her a laptop cozy. You know how cold it can get here in New England...

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

I just got feedback from a non-knitting friend about the new Knitter's Review banner ad (which you see below). Half kidding but half serious, she said, "Well... I mean... um... the thing is, knitting is for sissies."

Yes, her comment was absurd, and I retaliated by threatening to cut off her supply of handknit socks permanently. What can I say, she's an athletic type who thinks that any stationary activity qualifies as sissy-like behavior.

But the whole conversation gave me a rather entertaining thought. What if we introduced "extreme knitting" as a new sport?

I can see it now. Skydivers casting on as they make their descent. Two snowboarders whizzing down a steep slope side by side, one holding a hank of yarn while the other winds it into a ball. And perhaps a few whitewater rapids-running kayakers whose paddles double as giant needles.

Then we could video the events and submit them to the Banff Film Festival. Or we could just stay at home, knit quietly, and poke critics with our needles.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

It's not as fun as Prozac, but what the heck - here's another Knitter's Review banner ad for you to check out. Whaddaya think, does it inspire you to pick up the ol' needles?
I saw a deer this afternoon as I was driving back from the post office. I always consider the deer a good omen, and today's sighting proved just so.

What did I discover in my mail box when I got home? A big fat package from ROWAN/JAEGER in the UK!!

That's right, sample skeins of all their new Rowan and Jaeger spring/summer yarns, copies of all the new design books, as well as new color cards. The yarns have interesting new textures. Look for more tape-type yarns this summer, including very thin tape-ish ones, rather like a cross between spaghetti and linguini. And the patterns? SASSY.

Postmistress Gossip: An old abandoned farmhouse surrounded by blueberry fields and overlooking the ocean and countryside - it's been used for many a postcard over the years - suddenly burned to the ground last night. Everyone suspects arson, they just don't know who lit the match. More as the story unfolds.

Saturday, February 16, 2002

When not publishing Knitter's Review, I support my fiber habit by serving as a freelance writer for technical publications and high-tech firms. Normally it works out really well, but every once in a while I end up in a nasty, nasty spot. And that's what happened yesterday. Hence no blog.

I'm writing an advertorial (i.e. a print version of those God-awful Suzanne Somers infomercials) for a company, I'll call it Company X. I present a detailed outline to them. We go over their feedback, step by step. All in agreement, I retreat to my cave where I do my writing.

(Not a cave, actually, but a spacious studio with two big north-facing windows overlooking our blueberry fields, rolling hills, woods, and a lake...)

So I deliver the piece. And the next morning, boom. It's like someone put Pop Rocks and Coke in their toothpaste. They hate everything they see, they tear apart phrases that they themselves had added in the first place. Then they start hounding me by phone, and then getting other people to start hounding me.

I listen to their voicemails. The voices sound uptight, serious, urgent. And I look out my window and heave a heavy sigh on their behalf.

All these people are getting their trousers in a serious twist over what is, in the grand scheme of things, totally inconsequential. And that's why I left San Francisco, that fabulous career in high-tech publishing, that whole world.

And here's what I have now:

  • A postmistress who calls me personally if I have a package to find out if I want to pick it up or if she should let the carrier deliver it.

  • A transfer station with an overall-clad old-timer who manages the place and has a penchant for Bach.

  • Kind strangers who see me shoveling snow and pull over to plow my driveway with their truck, no questions asked.

  • A place where if I feel like getting outside and being "in nature," I simply leave the house and start walking. None of this getting in the car and driving somewhere else.

Sure, the nearest sushi restaurant is an hour's drive away. Maybe I'll just take up fishing instead.

Thursday, February 14, 2002

Maybe it's just because I had the high-visibility, next-to-the-register table at my coffee haunt this morning. Maybe it's just because I'm not particularly fond of Valentine's day. I don't know.

But there I was this morning, groggily downing my double short cap while finishing a final swatch for this week's yarn review (Adrienne Vittadini's Eva, crisp and sassy like a new tube of lipstick), when a woman turned to me and asked, "Did you knit that sweater yourself?"

As a matter of fact, I had. It's a cozy, oversized Rowan Chunky Soft turtleneck, you know, basically a blanket with sleeves.

But before I could smile and proudly say, "Why yes as a matter of fact I did!" I was hit with a worrisome thought. Was she asking because she liked my sweater, or did she just want to verify that no store in its right mind would sell such an amateurish, sloppy piece of crap?

Speaking of worrisome thoughts, still no action on the blogger.com banner ad front. Those promised "few hours" have turned into several days. I could be earning interest on my $50 right now. Better yet, I could be buying MORE YARN.

But hey, on a positive note, Ms. Dangerous Chunky mentioned me on her homepage today! I can't imagine a more meaningful Valentine's Day treat. Thank you, fair chunkstress!

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Many people routinely email me asking what I, the famous knitting writer and publisher, am currently knitting for myself.

OK nobody emails asking this. Not even my mother is curious.

Project du jour: Finishing the companion to a pair of toasty, lusciously soft Northwest Angora socks. The pink stuff at the top of the cuff was dyed in Kool Aid by yours truly, then spun up into what you see now. Witnesses described the dyeing as follows: "Oh GROSS, that looks like baby poop."

p.s.-Still no action on the banner ad front.

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

24 hours and still no action on the blogger.com banner ad. What the hell, I'll put it here for your review:

Whaddaya think? Is it true that knitting is better than Prozak? Do wool allergies actually exist, or are they merely the creation of overly neurotic people? And what is the proper past tense of the word "knit"? These questions and more will be answered in the next episode of "Clara, Lone Knitter of the Blueberry Bogs."

But for now, our droopy-eyed heroine must get her beauty rest.

Did I mention that it was 3 degrees outside when I got up this morning? But here's the amazing thing: It really wasn't all that bad. In fact it was pretty damned nice.

Tuesdays are our day to schlep down to Portland, so we were out this morning by 6am. The sunrise was unbelievably beautiful, an explosive series of oranges and pinks offset with bare, sculptural tree branches reaching out into the sky. The air was pure and crisp, it was just lovely.

Yet many people will only think, "ACK, 3 degrees, NO way, I'm staying in Tulsa where it's warm, dammit!" Sunrise? Tranquility? Beauty? Nah, I need a steady 71 degrees year-round, thanks very much. Oh, and a convenient Starbucks.
I'm terribly sorry, but Casey really is the most handsome feline on the planet.

Hey, at least I'm not forcing you to admire grainy shots of my baby's first poop. OK I don't have a baby, but even if I did I most certainly wouldn't take pictures of its first poop.

Note the Filatura di Crosa sweater he happens to be resting on - why must they always find the most expensive handknit you ever made and claim it for themselves? Better yet, why do we let them?

Monday, February 11, 2002

According to the Dull Men's Club, February is National Winter Bird Feeding Month.

But wait there's more. March is Maple Sugar Month. And I quote, "In March, we like to watch maple trees during sugaring time. Sap dripping — just right to watch — the right pace, the right suspense. And it’s so practical (Dull Men like to be practical) — we get to use it on our pancakes and waffles."
Finally, someone has spoken to my own heart. Read The Perks of Being Unemployed. My fave: "Learn to like eating breakfast." I must've been born unemployed. If there's a better meal out there, I don't know what it is.

One problematic tip: "invite some friends over and spend the day sun-tanning, reading old beauty magazines (that you picked up for cheap at a used bookstore), and painting your toenails."

1. I don't have any friends,
2. Hello, it's 12 degrees and snowing outside, and
3. paint my toenails??
Knitting ads on a blog site? We'll see what they say. In my quest to become more pushy and self-promoting (she pauses to whip out a business card and toss it on the table), I've decided to run some banner ads on blogger.com. Let's see if I get an email back from them saying, "Sorry, but, um, knitting?! No way."

In other news: Golden raisins are my new afternoon snack food.
Outside temp: 21 degrees.
Wind speed: 260 miles per hour.
Attire: What else? Attractive fleece from L.L. Bean.
Music: None.

Life in a small town: We went to the post office at lunchtime to mail something. Little did I remember, our post office closes from 12:15 to 2pm every day so that the postmistress can have lunch. On the way back we picked which house we'd buy for our card business and fulfillment center.
Note to self: Call realtor and arrange to buy house.
OK so I've decided I don't hate Lily Chin. My latest cause for animosity was nothing more than selfish resentment. Her new book, "The Urban Knitter," includes a glossary of supposedly the best online knitting resources.

Although it praises one email list with 2,000 members, and another with... wow, hold me back... almost 4,000 members, it makes no mention of my dear Knitter's Review and its 8,000+ members.
Note to self: Must learn to be pushy and self-promoting.

Dirt report: According to my (quite reliable) inside sources, not only did Lily make the yarn companies give her all the yarn for the patterns, but she also required them to pay her $500. Mind you, the book has minimal graphics and a low cover price. But she basically took rank beginner designers, helped them come up with something, and then published it in a book that carries her name as the author and copyright holder.

Fitting words from a person who can tangle a ball of yarn just by looking at it! And I say that lovingly.

Sunday, February 10, 2002

Am definitely not a knitter, but love certain knitters.

Saturday, February 9, 2002

And now, a pause to honor some blog greats:

My blog idol: mybluehouse. And she's even a knitter. Who knew.

I also bow to such knitting blog greats as : : w w w . d a n g e r o u s c h u n k y . c o m : : and not martha. While I've been diligently toiling away on Knitter's Review, these dames have been creating some pretty damn interesting, fun, and useful stuff. I'm particulary fond of not martha. Could it be because she also happens to read Knitter's Review? Pshaw...
Nothing cures a migraine like getting a big box of yarn in the mail. Hooray! Adrienne Vittadini, Karabella, Artful Yarns, Trendsetter, Rowan, Jaeger... yum yum yum.

Lots of cottons and cotton/silk blends. Some chubbo bulkies that would make me look like a Weebil. And a batch of truly drab Artful Yarns promo pictures that Clare suggested we use as a dartboard cover. We don't have a dartboard, mind you. Nor do we even own darts.

Note to self: Buy dart board.

Friday, February 8, 2002

Either you're a remarkably adept Web surfer with lots of time on your hands, or you know who I am and are curious to read more. In either case, welcome.

I spend my days at the computer -- a Dell Inspiron 8000 laptop fondly referred to as Miss Kitty -- putting together words. Sometimes they're words about knitting, which go in my weekly e-zine, Knitter's Review. Other times they're words about databases, data marts, data warehouses, enterprise resource planning systems, technology security infrastructures, you name it. Sometimes I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with such split lives, but it keeps things interesting.

A few years ago I chucked it all and left San Francisco, leaving behind a great apartment (two bedrooms with a yard, fireplace, and parking in Noe Valley for $1095, imagine!), a great career (at least on paper), and the admiration of my non-San Francisco-dwelling family and friends. My siggie -- who'd just been laid off from a dot-com company -- and I packed up the ol' Camry and headed east.

Destination: the great state of Maine. (I'll explain why later.)

Today, with patience, perseverance, and the generous interest-bearing support of a local bank, we're finally ensconced in a renovated farmhouse that belonged to my beloved eccentric great aunt. My home office overlooks 27 acres of blueberry fields, a beautiful lake, and rolling countryside. Occasionally a bald eagle flies overhead. Have I mentioned that the ocean is just down the road?

Our official tea time is at 3pm, although mine seems to extend more and more throughout the day. We drink Marks & Spencer Extra Strong Tea, two teaspoons of sugar and a dollop of milk thank you very much. We check the indoor/outdoor thermometer -- perhaps the most exciting toy any rural dweller could own -- and discuss business, interesting bird sightings, and -- always -- our beloved cat Casey. (I'm being entirely unbiased when I say he is the most exquisite feline creature on the planet. No really, it's true.)

There's much more to this exciting life, I assure you. But this will have to do for now. I have a deadline I must meet, clients to keep happy, and a cat to hug.