Thursday, October 26, 2006

Have you seen this?!

Nobody can say we knitters are without determination.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Just a quick update with two sources of inspiration. The first comes from a snippet I saw in Deborah Robson's blog. Check out this picture. Apparently Latvia is giving 4,500 pairs of these mittens, each handknit and each different, to every single NATO Summit visitor next month. Is that not the most incredible thing you've ever seen?!

And second, a snippet from Kristin Nicholas's blog. She and I share a deep respect for Julia Child. While I have my Julia Child rose in the front yard, she has a Julia Child cornmaze growing about 25 minutes from her farm in Western Massachusetts. I'd like to think Julia would've gotten a great laugh, and delight, from this one.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I was recently in line at Kinko's. A friendly-looking guy walked past, did a double-take at me, stopped, and asked, "Excuse me, are you at all related to the Ryans?"

"No, I'm not," answered I.

"It's amazing," he replied, "because you look just like this friend of mine's... mother." (Pause and italics mine.)

No sir, not his friend, but his friend's mother. As in the one to say, "You really should start thinking about a 401(k)" or ask, "You look tired, dear, are you taking your vitamins?"

I tell you, my first "ma'am" had nothing on this.

today Maine, tomorrow the world!In other news, while the rest of the world was at Rhinebeck fondling yarn and petting sheep, I was busy moving the Knitter's Review International Inc. North American Headquarters. This was one of many things that got pushed onto the back burner while I was finishing the book, but this week the denial hit me square in the face - this move must happen by November 1st.

Soon I'll occupy the entire downstairs of the building (pictured at left), with my old Clara's Window storefront on one side (soon to be the Knitter's Review International Inc. Corporate Office) and the old gallery/post office on the other side (soon to be the Knitter's Review International Inc. Order Fulfillment Center). The best news about all of this is that I'll finally be able to get true high-speed Internet access.

Would that be from the phone company, you ask? Or the cable company? Why no. Both of those fine entities have comfortably and openly declared that they will never - ever - provide high-speed Internet access to my town. Seriously. So an enterprising guy in town said screw this and got a T-1 line, which he split into a wireless network and is offering to people within its reach, which the new office is. So that's the good news.

the New Beginnings shawl

When not moving KR, I've been trying to finish up my New Beginnings Project before this year's Knitter's Review Retreat. The concept behind the New Beginnings project was that everybody cast-on new projects together that would in some way challenge them, and those who wished could have other people at the retreat knit a stitch in their cast-on row for good luck. I found the exercise far more moving and meaningful than I'd anticipated.

My project is a rectangular shawl whose name escapes me at the moment, but it's from Interweave Knits magazine a while back. The pattern originally called for laceweight Polwarth from Rovings in Canada, but none of the Retreat vendors had lace. So I got some gorgeous silk/merino from my friend Jen and have been thoroughly enjoying it. The pattern will really show with blocking.

fall, anyone?Here in Maine fall is amost completely done, leaving behind a grey leafless landscape that ranges from gorgeous to bleak depending on my mood.

The first few years after I moved east, every day was an exciting adventure that was completely different from life back in San Francisco. I embraced it. I took walks in the snow, I baked wonderful-smelling things, I decorated the house with twinkly bright lights and smelly candles and felt cozy and warm and grounded and very much New Englandy.

Well, I've been here eight years and have made the transition to Grumpy Mainer. Winter is no longer a novel source of thrill and adventure, it's an obstacle to be overcome.


Casey, on the other hand, has no qualms about the arrival of winter as long as he can do his Miraculous Half Cat Half Blanket routine.

Monday, October 2, 2006



Remember the opening scene from "Romancing the Stone"? Kathleen Turner is in her apartment, weepingly typing the last sentence of her manuscript. She's a mess. Her hair is all over the place. She's wearing a hideous floor-length plaid flannel nightgown (I think?). She's surrounded by crumpled up pieces of paper and overflowing garbage cans of used tissue. There is no food in the house. There is no kleenex in the house. There are no paper towels. There's no toilet paper. She has clearly been "in the zone" for who knows how long, but now she's done. "God that's good!" she croaks, before padding down the hall to find something, anything, onto which she can blow her nose. (She settles on her to-do list, which includes, "buy more kleenex!")

She lights a fire and sits down with her cat, Romeo, to celebrate.

Well in my case I was at a Starbuck's in Portland with no cat handy, but the feelings were the same. I was suitably disheveled, with questionable clothing, hair sticking out in all directions, and deep, deep circles under my eyes from a week of all-nighters.

So I called a friend who worked a few blocks away and who'd followed the agony from its inception. She came a running, and we sat there, together, not quite able to believe it could be done. I'll confess I did shed a tear. The combined feelings of pride and exhaustion were overwhelming.

The Book is off to the publisher for the next round of work. I'm certainly not under the delusion that this is the last of the work. But the first step is done. Now it's just a matter of making it as beautiful and clear and accurate on paper as possible, and getting it in front of readers. I joked with Jane that writing a book is like putting on a performance and giving all the audience members a bag of tomatoes as they enter the theater.

finally free from bobbin tyranny!I've been celebrating my newfound (albeit brief) freedom by finally plying the cormo/angora roving that's been hogging my bobbin since April. Here we have three glorious--if not a tad wonky from their delayed stay on the bobbin--plies of cormo/angora yarn, about 216 yards, soon headed for a pair of decadent ankle booties.

Then I went outside and picked these:

fresh berries

And now I'm just enjoying having my life back. Replying to long overdue emails. Finishing logistical stuff for the KR Retreat. Paying my bills. Balancing my checkbook (hello, how'd the balance dip to $12.61?!). And of course playing with more yarn.