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Archive for April 14th, 2008

Leeann’s First Sock/Spring

Monday, April 14th, 2008

leeannspringsocks08.jpgLeeann sent me a photo of her springlike yarn for my “Knit Spring into Existence” project, and I posted that photo on March 30. Here she shows that she did dive in and start her first handknitted socks. She reports that it’s so much fun she doesn’t want to knit any of her other projects.

I say that you can not buy passion, and that sort of enthusiasm for knitting anything must be embraced. That’s what I say, anyway.

Knit on, Leeann!

In the News

Monday, April 14th, 2008

garnetsmallduluth.jpgGarnett Kepler (stage name Yasmina Amal) is in the State News (Michigan State Univ. student paper) today for her work at the World Languages Day at MSU. She taught a session called “Walk like an Egyptian” which included both dance and cultural awareness.

Garnett is my dance teacher and the Director of Habibi Dancers. The article is here.

Photo is the best one of Garnett I’ve ever taken; Minnesota, May 2005.

Kristin Nicholas Speaks in Detroit Tonight

Monday, April 14th, 2008

I have talked of Kristin Nicholas here before. She loves color perhaps more than I do. She is a knitter, and author of knitting books, embroidery books, books for kids to knit and crochet. She writes a wonderful blog, called Getting Stitched on the Farm.

She has illustrated a number of knitting books (my favorite of her illustration projects may be Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick, which is also an excellent starter book for adult knitters). When I need inspiration, I pull out Kristin Knits or Colorful Stitchery.

Kristin is in the Motor City this week to film the PBS show “Knit and Crochet Today.” She will be busy in the recording studio all week, but one night she is sneaking out to meet the fine knitters of southeastern Michigan.

Tonight, Monday April 14, she is presenting her talk about color. Here are the details from her website:

The Joy of Color Slide Presentation
City Knitting, Fisher Bldg. Detroit, MI
5:30 to 7:30

I can not tell you how sad I am that I can not go. It is not a long drive for me (Kristin lives many states east of here). However, I have to teach my last class of the term for Community Ed (it’s a makeup class because I didn’t teach when I was sick with the flu). I can not cancel or reschedule, because the new term starts next Monday. Sigh.

If you can get there, by all means do. Enjoy it for me!

Stephanie Creates a Great Party

Monday, April 14th, 2008

I went to Ann Arbor on Friday with several hundred other knitters (and a few non-knitters) to hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Yarn Harlot) speak. It was a promotional event for her new book, Things I learned from Knitting …whether I wanted to or not.” I am very happy I went.


Every time Stephanie appears, a gathering happens where knitters convene and celebrate what they have in common. As she points out, many of us would not hang out or even get along if it were not for our yarn and needles, and the love of creating knitted items.

Some of us knit sweaters, some socks, some both. Our politics and religions are varied, our backgrounds, income level, anything you might want to use to define us, can not be defined.

I remember the days when she was “Stephanie Pearl (not Purl)” on the Knitlist. We occasionally wrote private emails to one another. I started my blog in November 2002… since I archive all personal email (yes, I’m obsessed but sometimes it is quite handy to go back in archives) I see a note Stephanie wrote to me on April 3, 2003. When I look at the Yarn Harlot blog page, the earliest archive is January 2004.

So it was early blogosphere time, and email discussion lists were how knitters met/found one another. She would write funny posts to the email list, rather than on her blog or in a book. Her posts were always a highlight of the list for me.

These days if we write, it tends to be a quick comment on the other person’s blog. She’s so busy with sometimes 300+ comments a day, that I’m sure correspondence takes up a huge amount of her time these days.

Now she’s promoting her 5th book. She is doing what outsiders think is impossible… making a living writing humorous books about being a knitter. She’s very funny to insiders, and confusing to those who have chosen to remain outside the knitting realm.


Whether you knit or not, whether her comments make sense to you or not (they do if you knit), she is authentic Stephanie. She’s real, she laughs at her human foibles.

Humans passionate over any activity (knitting, fishing, cooking, running…) will exhibit behaviors that are a bit confusing to those not similarly passionate. And these unique things can bring a chuckle without the need to feel “less than.” It’s just the product of intense immersion in an activity that brings much pleasure. In this culture sometimes we insult ourselves in order to present ourselves as humble. Stephanie avoids the insult and the postured humbleness.

Sometimes I contemplate how this very human and very approachable person has become sort of a superstar, at least in the knitting world. Let’s face it most authors can’t turn out the 750 or so listeners she had at her book launch for the last book, in New York City. She turns out hundreds of knitters at every one of her talks/book-signing events.

Superstars are sometimes worshiped rather than admired. But I think Stephanie’s real appeal is her humanness.

She admits when she’s not happy with her kids. She admits when she needs to focus on a writing deadline and all she wants to do is cast on for a new pair of socks. She admits she knit long past the point where she knew it was not working out, and admits when she has to rip out the work she did while knowing full well she would need to rip.

So many people in the public eye cover up their weaknesses. Stephanie writes books about hers, without losing her dignity in the least.

We had such a good time! I met some folks from City Knitting in Grand Rapids, (I’ve already met a few others from this reaaally great store in East Town). I am embarrassed I am going blank on their names right now, I should have taken a notepad. One of them said she had knit my Fast Florida Footies pattern, which of course made me feel good.

I met a few young women waiting in line, one from Canton and one from Dexter (I think I got that right) who were in the (second) photo above I tried to take without being noticed… see them laughing in the photo? I am not good at hiding, not at all.

Almost everyone was knitting while waiting in line. The 5th grader in that photo said she was not a knitter (and those around her were teaching her to say “not yet”). I told her I learned to knit in 5th grade.


The first photo here in the post is a crowd of folks from the Lansing area with Stephanie. This way photo-taking took less time, she could get on with signing another several hundred books for those willing to wait in line.

The last photo is the rainbow that followed us for about 30 minutes on the commute to Ann Arbor. Rae was driving (yippee) so I had time to take dozens of shots trying to capture the colors. We could see it from bottom right to bottom left, the whole arc, much of the time (and every color down to violet was easily visible to the eye, though not obvious in the photo). Gorgeous.

Stephanie, thanks for the great party! “The Knitters” had a great time, thanks to you.