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January 30, 2005
wine tasting

We've had friends in town (staying right next door) for the last month and we've been having a great time. Last night was their farewell dinner and we decided to do a bit of wine tasting. I have been mocked for drinking cheap wine. I contended that my palate wasn't so sophisticated and that I was loathe to let good wine go bad by not drinking it soon enough.

Anyway, it was decided that we should try wines at different price points to see what we could discern. Understand that some of my guests might have professed a more sophisticated palate than I. I bought three bottles at 3, 10, and 30 dollars. Our guests felt that I hadn't explored possibilities enough and came in with a 90 dollar bottle of wine! On the tasting table (beneath foil wraps and color coded) were: Paul Hobbs 2000, Kenwood Artist Series 1998, Clos du Bois 2001 and Charles Shaw 2002. All California Cabernets for those who care.

After much tasting, interspersed with a lovely meal of Chicken Marsala, Green Beans with Walnuts, and Mache Salad with Chiogga beets and a goat gouda, the votes were in. The five of us told our preferences and guessed prices. There was not a clear winner, but two that were decided to be the favorites. The winners? Paul Hobbs and Two Buck Chuck! (in truth it wasn't even a 3 dollar bottle. Only $1.99.)

So I will happily continue drinking cheap wine.

03:51 PM
book news

So here's the book news:

I'm coauthoring a book called Knitting for Dogs: 20-plus Knits for Your Favorite Pup . It will be published by Fireside, a division of Simon & Schuster, this November (just in time for the holidays!). Our friends at Quirk are packaging the book. This book has been a big collaborative effort and it's great to be working with such a fabulous team.

Also, apparently my other book proposal is very close to having a publisher. It's going to be a lot of fun to put this book together, and it's something that will be much more of a solo project, so I am excitedly awaiting the news.

07:51 AM
January 24, 2005

I'm back from my first ever trade show. I went to the TNNA show in Long Beach under the auspices of Knitting in La Jolla and Curious Creek Fibers. It was fascinating... and exhausting.

I took classes in bead knitting, armhole designing and weaving techniques applied to knitting. I met bunches of people that I have "known" electronically and finally got to put faces and voices to their names. Lots of great Knitty advertisers that I was happy to meet. I handed out loads of business cards and scrawled my name and email address on lots of scraps of paper after I had depleted my supply.

I got some great feedback on things that I had designed and wore -- this is one of the things about such a show -- everyone's wearing their very best knit stuff and there is a subtle (or not so subtle) politic to wearing the right thing at the right time (and carrying the right cards to match your outfit). What yarns and designers you are wearing betrays your allegiances. And people will, without pause, come up and talk to you about where what you wear came from and, occassionally, fondle you.

Friday night was the fashion show. Curious Creek Kristine and I opted to wear our matching asymmetrical half linen stitch jackets (different sizes, different colors, and, strangely, opposingly lapelled [have to figure out how two test knitters ended up with opposite shaping from the same written words...]) which was a bit Bobbsey Twins, but naturally, drew more attention. There were, in my opinion, too many ponchos in the show. Interestingly, there were lots of knit skirts, including the show-stopping Koigu skirt which I cannot find pictures of anywhere (no photography allowed, unfortunately, at TNNA), but it was breathtaking and phenomenal and I didn't believe that it was knit until I saw it up close. One is tempted to design a skirt after all that, but I still wonder about how they would hold up. I think using a non-stretching stitch or a knitting/weaving technique may be the answer. And an elastic waistband. And a tight gauge. And a washable yarn. Naturally, everyone that I asked about the practicality of a knit skirt or knit dress given the omnipresent issue of stretch, swore up and down that theirs had no problems. I am still a bit of a skeptic.

Saturday I wore my Curious Creek W Top. This is a sleeveless top knit side-to-side in a series of shortrowed wedges. The math on the \top tickles me silly. But you'll have to trust me on that for the time being. Curious Creek now has a sales rep and we are aiming to have the first line of patterns out in early spring. So keep your eyes out, especially if you are in the Southwest where her yarns are already in stores. Happily then, it turned out that much of the armhole shaping class focused on short-rowing, so the top was a perfect choice.

Sunday, I wore my favorite all-time project, the "technicolor dream sweater" that made me start this blog in the first place. (Go back in the archives to see its story.) I also carried my felted mitered square bag. They both got lots of attention which was fun.

Aside from the classes and meetings, there was much time spent on the floor of the trade show where there were so many booths it made one's head spin. Half the show was non-knitting related, mostly needlepoint, which at least provided eye and brain respite. Still, if we walked 5 miles on the floor a day, it wouldn't surprise me.

My favorite new yarn was Diameterie from Diakeito/Dancing Fibers.

Surprising fact: Stacy Charles is a man. Am I the only one that didn't know this?

Kaffe Fassett's first name is one syllable.

Thoroughly enjoyed class with Lily Chin. Who wore a turquoise leather skirt and boots and purple fishnet stockings. And may still be stuck in the Dallas airport due to poor weather on the East Coast.

Vivian Hoxbro is fabulous. More than fabuous. Her designs are so brilliant and beautiful and have such a clear sense of style. And there she was right in the Harrisville Designs booth, happy to chat and eagerly dressing me in all her designs. Really. Vivian Hoxbro dressed me.

09:37 AM
knitting and politics

Interesting stuff here.

An article from The Guardian about Debbie Stoller, "third wave feminism", and knitting. There's been a lot of discussion of this article out there in the ether.

Also, check out "Wombs on Washington", another opportunity to make your knitting political. Dissapointingly, like so many other grassroots movements, I suppose, they still haven't got the specifics and logistics down, but I trust these will come in time.

09:23 AM
January 14, 2005

Here's my schedule for this morning:

Answer email.
Answer Knitty email and update advertising spreadsheet.
Technically edit two patterns if they come in from the designer.
Start setting up blog for Zoe's teacher.
Help everyone get up, dressed and ready for the day.
Take Zoe to school. Stop for bagel for her lunch. Square. Everything. Toasted with Plain Cream Cheese. Again. Debate whether or not to buy good coffee from bad place.
Return home to gather stuff for knitting class.
Teach from 10 - noon.
Run to post office to express mail packages to publisher. Three patterns knit for same book that I am tech'ing the patterns on. Stay tuned.
Pick up Eleanor at preschool.

And all that before lunch! But that's about the end of my "work day" and the end of any sort of grand scheduling. Whew! This is why my laundry still doesn't get folded, despite the fact that I have most mornings free.

06:23 AM