The blog is down

The blog is down. It will be back up again soon, due to the fantastical cleverness of Ken, who not only explained the problem to me in a way I can understand but has kept me from smashing things or explaining my frustration to the webhost people using unladylike and counterproductive words. Here – in terms I understand, is the problem.

Apparently, when we bought a very big closet from the webhost, (our webspace with 500MB of space) the builders may have neglected to mention that we are only allowed to hang 12 blue shirts in the closet. (We can only have 100MB of mysql database storage.) Unfortunately, all of our shirts are blue (Movable Type only uses mysql database storage for its whole operation) and although we are allowed to hang as many other kinds of things up as we want…pants, jackets, silk blouses and ties, Really, we got this closet to hold our extensive blue shirt collection. (This blog)

When the builders (the Webhosts) realized that we were trying to hang up the 13th blue shirt (another blog entry) they decided to put a one way door on the closet. (Permission denied.) We can take anything we want to OUT of the closet (deleting) but we can’t put anything new in. (Posting.) They want us to either take some of our old shirts out (archives) or buy a really, really, really huge closet the size of your house. (Dedicated server.)

With me so far? Now, we could totally take some of our blue shirts out of the closet to deal with this, everybody has a couple of old ratty shirts, but unfortunately, we need to put our hand (Movable Type) IN to the closet to take the shirt OUT, and since the webhost people (and it remains to be seen whether or not Ken and I consider them people) say nothing can go IN at all….not even to take things OUT. We are screwed.

I admit that I think that the builders of the closet should have had to warn us that we were approaching the 12 shirt limit before they locked the closet. I also wish that we had known that there was a blue shirt limit when we bought the closet in the first place – since all of our shirts are blue. I also wish that they were sympathetic to my desire to give blue shirts to knitters, but you can imagine the reaction that I got when I tried to explain that knitters were not going to be happy that I couldn’t put any shirts in the closet. (In my complete and utter fury I may have mixed a metaphor or ten.) Long story short – Ken is trying to cut a hole in the floor of the closet so that we can get to the shirts, the builders are “escalating” our complaint and I am doing my share by calling them up at regular intervals and screeching about building code, ethics and how much I always hated blue shirts anyway.

Stay tuned. It won’t be long, (24-48 hours) and I have a great idea for Knitters Without Borders.

Out the other side.

Done, home and I couldn’t be happier. Holy crap.

The people running Knitty Gritty couldn’t be nicer (All of them. Even the director refrained from sudden moves and loud noises that could spook the queasy knitter.) and all of the other knitters were fabulous. (Huge thanks to Wendy, who went way, way above and beyond the call of duty) but the whole thing is pretty high pressure. They need you to be the networks version of yourself and for me, my version of myself is pretty hard to let go of. It’s a funny shift, and one that freaks me out. I’ve spent all of these years working hard at being exactly who I am – and then suddenly there are a team of 20 people making a TV show who all want editing rights on your looks, your skills and your personality. This led to a couple of retakes because I said “Crap” (though it would appear that they let “arse” slide. We shall see. I bet the next phalanx of editors get it )- and also led to me wanting to spend the whole day yelling “You’re not the boss of me…” which, of course – in this context….they are.

Day one was for rehearsal. I packed up my baggies of socks and half knit socks and walked to the studio (shocked gasps all around) found my producer Sonya


and we rehearsed. It hadn’t occurred to me before I rehearsed knitting…but since you knit on all the step outs to practice what you are doing, then when the rehearsal is over, you need to unknit everything you did and reset them to be ready to go again. If you’re going to show how to pick up stitches, then you pick them up, then tink them back. Knit — tink back. Knit–tink back.

I met Annie and Drew


Authors of Men who Knit and the dogs who love them.

Saw Michael


Author of Knitting with balls (I love this book. I’ll show you sometime. It does much to address the lack of masculine how-to-knit books, it’s not like most guys who were interested would pick up Stitch n’ bitch.)

Amy O’neill Houck


Saw Trisha Malcolm From Interweave, she was there talking about Lace Style (I need to see this book.) I saw Cookie A.


Yes. That Cookie.

I met Lisa Shobhana Mason.


Author of Yarnplay. (I haven’t read this yet. It looks beautiful.) It was like a parade of talented knitting people going by.

There’s a table called “Craft services” (I don’t know why they call it that. No one could tell me.) where you get all the free coffee and cookies and stuff that you could ever want. (Unlimited coffee. Nervous knitters. You do the math.) and you sit around, getting more nervous until the day is over. Then I went back to the hotel room and paced around it practicing what to say and the way you have to hold your knitting over this “target square” for the camera.

The next morning was filming day. I was going to do it without makeup, because I don’t wear makeup…but Wendy (she knits, blogs and does hair and makeup in LA) sent me such a desperate and eloquent note telling me that this was a mistake of such a serious nature that I gratefully accepted her offer of a bit of a do over the day of. Here’s Wendy.


She comes with a big case of makeup that she puts on all parts of your face. When she was done with me I went “On Set” (See that? I learned some of the lingo.)


I stood at the table. I sweated. I felt nauseous. They clipped a big box for the microphone to the back of my pants. (This made me very worried that on top of the whole thing my pants would fall down.) and taped the microphone to the inside of my shirt on the front. They put a big camera right over my head to film my hands.


It looked like this to me.


(I am convinced that they can see down your top. They say no…but really. Look where it is.)

I got Knitsters!


I met Vicki Howell


and I got through somehow. I’d say “it’s not that bad” or “it turns out it’s easy” but it’s not. It’s really hard to remember to say everything about socks that you meant to, it’s hard to face the right way all the time and not have a spontaneous moment. It’s hard to knit v e r y s l o w l y so they can film it. It’s hard to remember that not everybody knows what an ssk is, and that you have to be specific. When you are not specific, you have to not use unladylike language or they will make you do it over. (Ask me how I know.) You have to not lean over your knitting as you hold it over the “target” or you block that camera that’s looking down your top and the whole time it’s really important that you don’t wast time, because time is money.

I will say that other than the first 2 minutes of the thing, in which I was stunned to discover that I had forgotten anything I had ever known about socks, I think it went well. Vicki whispers helpful stuff if you forget what you’re doing and she really puts you at ease…and it totally feels like everyone wants you to do well. It’s intense and wild for two hours…then…. Your stuff goes back into a ziplock….and that’s it. That’s the whole thing. All the anxiety, all the knitting, all the carrying on and flying and the hotel room and the hair and makeup and all of it comes down to two hours of an out of body experience and then you leave.

If you’re lucky, then you leave with Cookie and Wonder-Wendy and go into LA from Burbank and go to a really cool restaurant and have hempseed crusted tofu and then drive back through these twisty crazy hills past Bob Barkers house….


and you help Cookie wind yarn in Wendy’s car.


Doesn’t it look like Wendy’s driving with her eyes closed?

The knitting? The real knitting was all on planes and in airports.

Leaving Toronto –


Arriving in Denver-


Waiting in Denver-


Flying to Burbank-


Leaving Burbank-


Waiting in San Francisco (I did a little shopping.) –


Flying home, knitting and watching “Firefly” –


Home. Two pairs of socks.


Let’s not talk about the green ones until later.

For Craps sake.

Just wrote you a nice big blog about how much fun it is to walk in Burbank and watch people try to process that, and how agonizing rehearsal is (I think there’s no way I’m going to remember what I’m supposed to say when…and how many people I met when they were here taping and rehearsing…. and the whole thing crashed and burned….links and all. There’s no time left to rebuild it before I leave either. (I have no idea how old I will be when I remember to hit “Save” often enough.) Instead of rushing or screaming or losing my cool about this…I’m simply going to say “oh Crap” and move on. Better post tomorrow.

The producer who rehearsed my highly unreliable self yesterday says I’m totally ready for taping today. I don’t know if she can be believed. I mean, it could very well be that I’m ready and doing a good job, but if I wasn’t …would she say so? I mean, what sort of a person would turn to you at the end of a rehearsal and say “Well. You suck, and I don’t know who the hell booked you on this nightmare, but we’re out of time to try and sort it all out. Unfortunately for us we’re just going to have to hope that your too-short for Hollywood self improves in the night and you get some kind of a freakin’ clue or you and I are both going to be sucking up whatever this train wreck of an appearance does to both of our careers. Sleep well Yarn Harlot, and don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out.”

Or maybe it’s fine. I’ve gotta go. Thank goodness that there’s only one day of rehearsal. I don’t think I’ve got the psychic strength for more.

(PS. Vicki Howell is sort of short.)

Check, double check.

I am so nervous that I almost can’t drink coffee….but I think I’m ready.

Two weeks worth of socks packed up to go?


Check. (I’m taking these babies carry-on. Can you imagine the nightmare of them not turning up for the show? Even I can’t knit with enough conviction to get out of that one.)

Knitty Gritty ordered manicure?


Check. (I got it yesterday at the last possible moment and have already had to touch it up twice. Is it just me or are these manicures really not for people who have to scrub things?)

Sea Silk shawl/scarf thingie to make me feel better?


Passport, ticket…sock?

Check, check check.

Obsessive compulsive amount of knitting packed in the suitcase?


Twelve tops in suitcase because I couldn’t make up my mind because everything I own is stupid and shouldn’t be worn in public never mind on TV?


Spindle packed so I can observe spinning for Tuesdays?


Firm conviction that airport security is going to look at me that way again?


Cab called?


Creeping horror bordering on phobia that some sort of horrendous thing (probably related to my incredibly uncooperative “I live to see you suffer” hair) is going to happen during the taping that will make me look like a huge idiot and be aired in Knitty Gritty re-runs for THE REST OF MY LIFE.


I’m getting on a plane now. If you see me today, do the world a favour and take me down with a sedative blow-dart….will ya?

I think I prefer doing radio.


Dear New Socks,

I love you.

Your simple lack of green-ness and the decency with which you are not a step-out would be enough dear ones, but even without comparing you to other socks I have known…you are a thing of wonder. Considering that I just slapped you together as another variation of my sock pattern to use on the show, I’m so glad we’ve found each other.


When I charted your fair isle on the graph paper I had a feeling that you would be something special. When I started knitting the graph after your ribbing….I was moved to see the sock you were growing into.


The variegated Fleece Artist against the black of your contrast is strong but balanced, delicate but geometric….short…but long enough. I loved these qualities in you enough to cast on immediately for your second sock. I know that when we go together to LA on Monday we will have a wonderful time. You’re going to make someone on my Christmas list really, really happy.