Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Letter to my Knitting Goddesses

Dear Ann and Kay,

It must be interesting being a knitting luminary. On the one hand, you're relegated to the local morning talk shows (I wish I'd known you'd be on KING-5 yesterday morning between the traffic and the weather), but on the other hand you have the capability to make a normally-normal high school English teacher get all kerfluffled and give you a bag of coffee and make it sort of sound like she sort of doesn't like your books when in fact she practically has them memorized.

So since you've been busy and haven't had the chance to catch up to yourselves blog-wise, yet, I thought I'd write to you about last night's reading at the University Bookstore in Seattle.

(I must say that you did look just a TETCH tired last night. Who wouldn't be? Being on a book tour must be like Cro-Kay-ing a border all the way around a big blanket: a bit tedious, kind of daunting, but secretly satisfying.)

They had us stashed in Poetry, which I hope made your literature-loving hearts happy. (Has anyone else noticed that Colin Firth is looking more and more like Robert Lowell every day?) And, of course, they totally didn't have enough chairs. And the AV didn't work. But who needs AV when you've got a whole table full of handknits to show off? I ask you.

Anyway, you two talked about how you met...had some nice patter about being on the road...and then shared about your vision for your books: to create a kind of knitting book that wasn't there before.

This stopped me short. I looked down at the hat I was knitting (a striped Noro/Cascade 220 number) and I thought. Huh. Never before.

Because, to me, you guys are the Ur-Text. Your book is Lucy.

As I mentioned in my unfortunate schoolgirl blather while standing in front of you at that table last night, yours was the first knitting book I ever bought.

In college, I learned to knit from my neighbor, but I really only ever considered hats. I made four, got frustrated, and stopped. (Ye Olde Demon Gauge was the culprit, as he so often is.) I knew there were books out there for crafters: books on sewing, quilting, embroidery, cross-stitch. I had spent hours and hours of my childhood and adolescence perusing my grandmother's collection of Better Homes and Gardens craft books, circa 1975, full (as you can guess) of LOVELY crocheted THINGS. I myself owned several books about quilting, which was my first crafting love. But knitting books just didn't OCCUR to me. And then I set down the needles for those intervening eight years.

Meanwhile, there was this whole world out there about which I had no idea.

And you guys wanted to revolutionize it from within.

Meanwhile, I picked up your book on a whim, and just thought that's how the world was. (No wonder so many other books have been disappointing to me.) You assumed that I (your reader) was smart, functional, creative, dedicated, whimsical, and had a good sense of humor. You recommended all of the right books to me (I owe you BIG TIME for Maggie Righetti and Elizabeth Zimmermann) and you showed me how to knit baby kimonos and ballband dishcloths. You introduced me to Good Yarn and told me why it was important; you also introduced me to dishcloth cotton, which shows that Good and Cheap are not Mutually Exclusive. You made me laugh (your captions are the best) and you made me think and--best of all--you inspired me to knit, which I've done nearly every day since I picked up your book and perused the internets for a video that would teach me this mysterious and arcane Casting-On-of-the-Long-Tail Maneuver.

So, I hope you had a great time in Seattle and got to see more than your hotel and the airport. We didn't lie when we told you that the weather's not always that nice, but I do think that we all appreciate it that much more when it is gorgeous. I hope you enjoy your Tony's coffee (roasted right here in Bellingham) and I'm sorry I didn't think to bring you a ziplock bag so you could divvy it up.

If I were standing in front of you again, I'd add the following items:

  1. Your books are actually precious to me. And that whole story about me not putting my name in book 1 and thinking I might send it back, which I'm afraid came out a little bass-ackwards, was actually intended to make the point that I really fell in love with it and read it over and over and I couldn't believe tonight that I never HAD put my name in it and so I did and now it has rubber stamps of you two and that makes me inordinately joyful.
  2. The hat I'm knitting is juicy and blah for you, Kay, and the same color of Cascade 220 as your Perfect Sweater, Ann. Is that weird, coincidence, or fate? Discuss.
    (Not an option: stalker.)
  3. I want to knit a Margaret Sweater and embroider the First Amendment on it--I teach journalism, too.
  4. Oh, and I actually have read your entire blog archive.
    (Again: not a stalker. I was a nursing mom at the time. I also read all of the Yarn Harlot and about half of Grumperina until she pissed me off.)
  5. And I am knitting REAL fair isle for the first time.
  6. Thanks.

1 comment:

SAS said...

why did grumperina piss you off?

(I got here by looking at your Ivy League Vest post that was linked on Ravelry. I'm not a weirdo, I swear...)