March 28, 2006

Dear Ann and Kay

I been sitting here for a good long time with your new book, in fact, as soon as it arrived, I assumed the position. It looks like this.


Your book, a cup of coffee (or seven) a sock in progress (or three) and several hours (or days) of my life that I will never get back and don't care about. It was worth it. I think it's appropriate that I get around to talking about this book on it's official birthday publication date. See that? There was a reason that the computer ate my post yesterday. (I'm almost over that.) I know everyone will want to send you their congratulations. I want you to know too, that your book shares it's Birthday with Joes' sister Katie, who is charming and beautiful and unbearably clever and living in Spain and she's so wonderful that you would hate her except for she's brilliantly, perfectly human and decent. It's an auspicious day. If your book does half as well as Katie does, you'll be thrilled to bits.

This book, with apologies to Forrest Gumps' mother, is like a box of chocolates. You can open it at any page and have no idea what you're going to get, but know it will be good. When I first got it I was so excited that I phoned a friend to tell them about it (I actually may have told everyone I know about it. I'm so proud of you two.) and I tried to explain what it was like. "Is it a book of patterns?" she asked. "Yes, well, no...well...not just patterns."
There are patterns. There are rugs and blankets and page after page of beautiful things.
Things like this..


and this...


and this...


and I know, my dear Ann and Kay..I know what people are going to think when they see the genius that is these simple, elegant patterns. (I know because I said it myself.) They are going to say "well now. A linen hand towel. Knitting on jean jackets. Log cabin blankie-o-rama. I could have thought of that." and it's true, but you know what? They didn't think of it. I didn't. You did. (That's because you understand that giving people tools, a lot of beautiful pictures and a decent shove is going to yield more beautiful knitting that any of us can dream of. ) The patterns may be simple, but they have a weird hoodoo, becoming even more engaging and inviting possibility the longer you look at them. Good for beginners, and a neat inspiration to the experienced.

The sections on knitting with your kids were slipped surreptitiously to my own daughters, and I have to tell you that Meg looked at that pinwheel garter stitch rug (which may be a shawl, knit in different yarn) and conceded (and I would remind you that she is 14 and you are not, and this means that very little you are capable of is acceptable to her on matters of principle) that it was (and I quote)..."Cool".

I told my friend on the phone that it wasn't just patterns, that it was... (Note to self: Consider reading your friends the very informative subtitle of the book that says the book has "Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, jokes and Pictures. It will save you time.) it was, writing about knitting. "Oh" she said. "Like you do, essays and stories." "No" not like that. It's got patterns, but it's not really a pattern book. It's got stories, but it's not a book of essays, it tells you how to do stuff, but it's not a how-to' a box of chocolates. Something good every time, but no way to know what it's going to be. (Unless you're going to lick the bottoms off of all of the chocolates in the box and put back all the ones that aren't an orange creme, a trick my brother used to play when he was little.)

The book is charming, and I have to tell you that you two got me to cast on a dishcloth.


See, you wrote so eloquently about their usefulness and allure that I remembered that I like knitting the occasional square of cotton love. I was moved. That's right...moved, by the 450 words you wrote in their defense. People can say what they like. Washrags are cool (though mines a facecloth) and the three of us will take on anyone who says otherwise.

Like a box of fine chocolates, this book is an indulgence, (I may only feel that way only because Joe and earn our livings engaging in the arts and are therefore frequently set upon by a spontaneous and unpredictable income...well, that and I'm sort of cheap frugal) and is priced like one. It's not expensive by yarn standards, and not expensive considering that it's a very beautiful hardcover that would not be amiss on a coffee table...and certainly not expensive when you consider that it's an inspiring conversation and a lovely visit with the two authors. You guys did a good job. I love the book more each time I open it.

The good news is that I'm pretty darned sure that the book isn't going to humiliate you both so that you have to run away and change your names while you take up making only red bookends of plastic canvas, collecting small statues of dogs dressed as leprechauns and swearing that you've never knit a stitch in your lives. (That's really what you were afraid of...right?) Fear not.

Fondly, as ever,


PS. I happen to have an extra copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting, so I'm going to share the fun of owning it. I'd like to give it to somebody who's itching to own it but would have to save up. If that's you, send an email to me at stephanie AT yarnharlot DOT ca with the subject line "I'm broke" and I'll choose from among you. Good luck!

PS again...Kelli-the-new-wonder-publicist added Pittsburgh to the tour schedule.

Posted by Stephanie at March 28, 2006 7:40 AM