Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This afternoon I've been knitting at the neighborhood coffee shop where I do so much work we've begun to call it my Field Office.

The largest of the pieces-in-progress is a lace shawl design. As usual, the swatches for it have run to about a dozen, and I had them scattered across the tabletop along with the usual litter of tea cup, cookie plate, and laptop.

A lady in head-to-toe official Cubs regalia (we're near Wrigley Field and it's a game day) came in and settled herself with a latte at the next table. After a few sips, she looked over at me, and then at the pile of lace swatches. I could feel an interview coming on, and braced myself for the usual battery of questions. They're so predictable I've toyed with having the answers printed on a card so I could just hand it over and save everybody some time.

"Hi," she said.

"Hello," I said.

"Sorry to stare."

"It's okay. Happens all the time."

"I'm sure it does. You're pretty unusual."

"Heh...I suppose you could say that."

"Definitely. A lot of people sneak their own snacks into coffee places, but you're the first guy I've ever seen who brings his own doilies."

Speaking of Lace...

I'm teaching it at Loopy Yarns on Saturday. To be specific, I'm teaching "Lace Edgings: Before, During and After," which is a new class focused on sewing on edgings, knitting on edgings, and working edgings simultaneously with the shawl center. I premiered it at Renaissance Yarns out in Kent, Washington last month and we had a jolly good time. Do join us if you can.

And that's not all that's happening at Loopy. Veronik Avery's coming to town, and she's signing her new book on Friday and teaching a class on Sunday–visit Loopy's site for details.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Haus Is Not a Home

I came home from the studio yesterday and Harry me at the front door wearing a fright wig made of silver tinsel and holding a large brush from which green paint was dripping onto the blue carpet.

This is never a good sign.

“Hi,” he said. “Wow. Nice to see you. Did you have a good day? Did you get outside to breathe fresh air? You look like you could use some fresh air. You should go for a walk. Outside. For maybe an hour.”


“Harry, I’m tired. I spent half the day knitting a shawl and the other half ripping it back. I just want to order Chinese and watch television.”

“That’s not a good idea. There’s nothing on.”

“Yes, there is. The Yarn Channel is showing Behind the Fiber: Alice Starmore at seven o’clock.”

“We already watched that.”

“We missed the second half because Dolores threw her Sazerac Sling at the screen.”

“Oh, yeah. She said Alice pushed her off a cliff during a photo shoot.”

“I told you not to mention that again. Lawyers are expensive.”


“So go switch on the set and while I call Lo Hung’s.”

“Can I have an extra egg roll?”

“Sure. And ask Dolores what she wants.”

“Mostly she wants you to stay out of the living room. Except it’s not the living room now it’s the atelier.”

"The atelier?"

"The atelier."

“I don’t want to know why, but why?”

“Because the man is in there painting.”

“Painting what? The walls?”

“No, Dolores.”

“He's painting a picture of Dolores?”

“No. He’s painting Dolores. I mean, he’s putting the paint on her.”

“I don’t want to know why, but why?”

“So they can take some pictures for the poster.”

“The poster?”

“For the festival.”

“The festival?”

“The music festival.”

“The music festival?”

“Dolores is going to make a music festival.”

“A music festival?”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Dolores bellowed from the living room. “Just get in here, Harry, and bring Little Sir Echo with you. Laszlo can’t finish my left cheek until you wash out that brush.”

“You know,” I said, “I didn’t get any fresh air today. I think I should go for a walk. Outside. For maybe an hour. Or maybe all night.”

“Take me with you,” whispered Harry. “Pretty please?”

To be continued. Sigh.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Scorsese to Direct 4-D Biopic of Visionary Knitter

HeroineHollywood, CA. Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese today confirmed rumors that he will direct Triumph of the Wool, the long-awaited cinematic treatment of the epic life of Elizabeth Zimmermann, a British-born knitter whose pioneering work liberated millions from the tyranny of the printed pattern.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said Scorsese. “My work has always celebrated the underdog and the rebel. Elizabeth didn’t take no shit from nobody. That’s my kinda woman.”

The Fourth Dimension

The director was tight-lipped about specific details, but insiders hint that George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic has been tapped to supervise CGI fantasy sequences dramatizing the creation of Zimmermann’s mind-bending Baby Surprise Jacket and other signature designs.

Triumph of the Wool would, indeed, be a logical debut vehicle for the company's much-anticipated "AranVision" 4-D technology, which will allow moviegoers to reach out and fondle on-screen yarns and handknits.

Glittering Cast

StarThe A-list cast will include Dolores Van Hoofen, legendary cabaret singer and noted fashionista, in the central role of Elizabeth from her early teenage years onward.

Van Hoofen, speaking poolside at the Bel Air Hotel, pronounced herself “honored as all hell” to be cast and very much looking forward to a reunion with Scorsese, who last teamed with her to produce the unreleased Gangs of Rhinebeck. (Rumors of an on-set affair have been pooh-poohed by both parties.)

No Van Hoofen? Fuggedabouddit!

Scorsese admitted Van Hoofen was the only actress under serious consideration for the role. “Who the fuck else is there right now? Miley fucking Cyrus? Fuggedabouddit. Without DoDo,” he admitted, using his pet name for the notoriously temperamental star, “there is no picture. And check out that great caboose.”

DirectorAlso to appear are Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings) as Zimmermann’s husband, Arnold; Lily Tomlin as Barbara Walker; and Meryl Streep (Death Becomes Her, Mamma Mia!) as Zimmermann’s daughter and heir to the company throne, Meg Swansen. (Streep reportedly went into seclusion at her chalet in St Moritz shortly after this year’s Oscars to work on her pronunciation of words like "entrelac" and "antepenultimate.")

Location shooting is slated to begin in Munich and Marshfield, Wisconsin in late spring, with an anticipated release to IMAX theaters in time for Christmas 2012.