Monday, February 27, 2006

What a Weekend!

I love the work I do. I get to meet wonderful people, work with beautiful fibers and link up the most incredible people to one another. There are some mornings that I can't wait to get started.

I say all this because this is one of the weekends that I basically worked through - and loved every minute of it. First I visited the Harlem Knitting Circle ( I dropped in at the end of the meeting - hoping to meet the group leader and organizer, Njoya Angrum ( Even at the meeting's end there must have been at least 75 people in the room - and a lot had already departed! The group filled an entire "Community Room" in the local public library and there were all levels of crocheters, knitters and quilters in attendance. The level of experience and knowledge was obviously high as was the warm welcome for the announcement I made regarding an upcoming event at Knitty City (more on that later). Tables were set up all over and the stage at the head of the room was filled with women quilting. Dawn Nellis, a well known quilting expert, was running a workshop for it and there were a number of women there from her quilting group. Dawn's own work is influenced by her knowledge of African and African American culture and she is, herself, a treasure trove of knowledge and information.

Historial influence captivates my imagination and deepens my interest in handwork immeasurably. I've always known that it's part of my own DNA and when I consider how it links us through our individual and collective pasts, the spirit of the work resonates even more. Who among our group of dedicated craft workers has not breathed a sigh of reverence or cried outright when faced with work of past generations and/or cultures? The "memory" is in our fingers, our hearts and our souls.
This segue does have a reason for being and here it is:
For the past few weeks, I have been completely enthralled and captivated by this new book from Interweave Press - Knitting Out of Africa.( The book is beyond incredible and it has sparked a desire to honor the work by honoring the culture that inspired it. Hence, the reason for my visit to the Harlem Knitting Circle. It was to announce an event that is scheduled for next Saturday, March 4th, at Knitty city (208 w. 79th St, (between Broadway & Amsterdam)
Tel: 212.724.9596
The store will be honoring the book by showcasing it and 6 sweaters sent to us by Interweave Press - especially for the event. We will also be hosting women whose work draws inspiration from their culture. We will have a quilter, a crocheter and a knitter in attendance. Anyone who is interested should come. The "show" is free but the inspiration will be priceless. That's it for the "advertisement".

Sunday dawned cold and crisp and I admit that I was tempted to stay indoors and enjoy my 18 month old nephew's presence in our home, but am I glad i ventured forth. I attended the awards ceremony for the Knitting Olympics. Actually, it wasn't so much an awards ceremony as it was a chance for the members of a down town group called Booze and Yarns to convene. Hosted by Corrina Mantlo, the downtown group met to collect items intended for charitable causes and to schmooze and share. Again, the range of people was impressive I was lucky enough to sit between two incredibly gifted people. A wonderful knitter named Alphone Poulin who collaborated on a book called Knitting with a Smile and the founder of the group, Corinna, ( Corninna is a rebel with a cause and her formation of this group was due to a desire to share her knowledge and interest and to grow the passion for knitting and neighborhood - and she has succeeded admirably. The group is filled with young, energetic, smart people who obviously have a common ethic. I can't recommend her group and their spirit highly enough!

So there you have it. My idea of the perfect weekend - one spent exploring, learning and sharing - and talking! In between these iimportant visits, I visited Knitty City - nothing can keep me away - ordered some interesting new patterns for the store - conferred with Pearl Chin, the owner and visionary behind Knitty City, helped a few customers (I love doing that since I get to meet other knitters and hear their stories), had dinner with old friends and went to a party where two people told me I had "style" - and they were strangers. I will tell you where the real "style" is - it's in those groups which I was fortunate to attend - it's in their variety, their knowledge, their community and their hands!

Before I close, I have to share a dream I had on Friday night. In the dream I was worrying about losing my way - i was lost in a foreign country - but I found my way home with the help of another woman who told me she had been knitting all her life - and it was that connection between us that prompted her to help me. I told her that knitting had saved my life. So it appears that I have found a way to "knit" in my sleep after all. Have a great week!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Happy New, New Year - If you're a Dog, that is!

Wow! That was a quick New Year, wouldn't you say? Last time I looked up, I was wishing my few but dedicated readers a Happy New Year. Now, here I am at it again! Never mind that it is the New Year of another culture. This is the year of the Dog! And what a dog I have been (not in appearance, i hope) for not writing sooner. Some of my fellow bloggers write so religiously that I feel guilty even calling myself a blogger since I can't hope to compare myself to their dedication and good work habits. Nonetheless, here I am - nothing if not dogged!

Last time, it was a travel odyssey that obsessed and delayed me. This time it's been work-related. A project with tough deadlines, a trade show and a professional problem of sorts have all kept me preoccupied and not particulary interested in writing. Yet, here I am, again. Hat in hand, needles in tow, to write of a new adventure.

I have been assisting a client with a new project. Namely, the opening of Knity City, a neat and cozy knitting store on the upper west side of manhattan. The store opened a month ago, and it's been gang-busters ever since. I work behind the scenes on buying and marketing the store and its events. Anyone who lives in NY, should give it a go-see. We are working on the web-site development and I'll have a link to share in the not too distant future. Knitty City is located at 208 w. 79th St., between amsterdam and broadway.
Knitting wise, I continue to work on the Hanne Falkenberg. It's as if I'm knitting a life - and, in many ways, we all do. This life is long, tedious at times, beautiful and bright - like my own. The Falkenberg is an odyssey and a study in tenacity. Thank goodness I like to knit so much and that I also like to see return on investment. I hope to finish it by next month.

I have also replaced my camera's batteries so I am now in a position to share with you the odyssey that Hanne calls "Mermaid". She's named that, I would guess, since she has a little flare at the bottom - don't we all? This picture shows her flat and all laid out. She's knitted side to side and since she's on size 0 needles, it's been a bit of a haul. I still have to do her sleeves. The lighting in my diniing room doesn't do justice to her lovely coloring.

Talking about lovely, if you seen the book Knitting out of Africa, grab it. I think it's going to be one of the hottest and most important books of the season - and it's sure to be a collector's item.

In the meantime, I'm also knitting a rug. The pattern is from The Knitted Rug - logical, wouldn't you say. It's made with heavy thick yarn and since I'm doing it on needles that are a tat small for the thickness of the yarn, it's as dense as a liar's conscience. Nonetheless (love that word!), it's coming along and presents a nice change of pace from the size 0 needles that the Falkenberg requires.

Speaking of flare, I am thrilled beyond measure to tell you that Mason Dixon's new knitting book is off the press. Take a look at it at their website: Some may call me biased and while it's true that I am not completely objective regarding this book (a design of mine made the cut), I think it's safe to say that I am not the only one singing its praises. Clara Parkes ( also talks it up, big-time, on her zine, and I am being as objective as humanly possible when I say that this book is anything but another knitting book. I have already pre-ordered 3 copies for myself, and another bunch for the store since I know they will be in demand.

Today is the first full snow storm of the the winter season here in NY. Here are some pictures
taken from my bedroom window, my back deck and my living room window. I am blessed to live on a very old, very beautiful street in the middle of manhattan and the trees pay homage to the architecture as a rule, but today, the weather pays homage to the trees by decking them out in their lovliest christening gowns!

Write, tell me you forgive me for being non-communicative and I'll send you an update on Magellan's recent travels. This time with his daughter to China. (He missed his plane home but it really wasn't his fault - and I have pictures of the warriors of Xian for anyone interestesd.)

Love to all - and, in closing, here's to another holiday: Happy Valentine's Day from me - and this lovely.