Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mo Rocca Learns To Knit

Knitters across the country listening to NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" are angered to hear Mo Rocca disparage hand-knit sweaters.
Knitting is a privilege, not a punishment.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Knit

I am working on a chunky satiny pink vest knit from the book, "Simple Style: 19 Innovative to Traditional Designs with Simple Knitting Techniques." I used Farmhouse Yarns' I Am Allergic To Wool in Dusty Rose.

I can't believe I've put off learning how to cable for so long. Actually I feel foolish at how simple it is to create these fat cables. They're lovely. One note: if you don't choose a flat color for your yarn (like the blue shown in the picture), the pattern won't show up so much in relief.

Crafting in the Cab

Now there's a reason to do an about-face in your opinion of truckers. You know, those omnipresent behemoths of the highway that make drivers of "fuel-efficient" and "compact" cars (like me) cringe as they pass at 80 miles per hour and spew mud and rain and slap your windshield with slush?

Gotta read this. Looks like they do have redeeming qualities.
The Wall Street Journal publishes: "Idle Pastime: In Off Hours, Truckers Pick Up Stitching"
There's something discordant in this: "Kevin Abraham-Banks, a 37-year-old trucker with a shaved head and dragon tattoos, passes time at truck stops with his cocoa and knitting."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

All that racquet: Andre Agassi’s memoir gets intimate

Open: An Autobiography
By Andre Agassi, Alfred A. Knopf, $28.95

The front and back cover photos of Andre Agassi’s new memoir, Open, epitomize the world-class tennis star’s life story.
On the front, Agassi’s 38-year-old face fills the entire cover, speckled with sun spots from three decades of hard time on the court. His amber eyes look directly at the reader.
On the back is a late-‘70s shot of a 7-year-old Agassi in a trim white polo and jean cut-offs, Dodgers-blue Adidas set off by red-banded crew socks, racquet poised to slam an incoming tennis ball.

It is ghostwritten by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author J.R. Moehringer, whose memoir The Tender Bar Agassi devoured while competing in the 2006 U.S. Open. (Moehringer also wrote the L.A. Times magazine article about a homeless man claiming to be former heavyweight boxer Bob Satterfield that later became the film, Resurrecting the Champ.)
The book is so grittily honest and electric, you wonder if two years of collaboration tightly intertwined Agassi’s photographic memory with Moehringer’s journalistic gift for writing, causing the two voices to be inextricably and brilliantly bound for this project.
The story opens with the tennis champion mustering every ounce of verve he still possesses just to rouse himself from the floor, where Agassi sleeps most nights to assuage the excruciating nerve and spinal pain that have crippled this relatively young man’s body — making it more like that of a 96-year-old.
Even if you’ve never done more than volley a tennis ball over a net and couldn’t come close to understanding the game, let alone outline its major features, you’ll find Agassi’s account so compelling, his frank, staccato style so heart-pounding, that it won’t matter.
And that gets to the heart of the appeal of Open — what we consider a charmed life is actually fraught with strife.
It might shock some that Agassi reveals he has hated the game since as early as he can remember, when, he’s told by his mother, his father, a former Iranian Olympic team boxer, taped a ping-pong paddle to his infant hand and encouraged his son to bat at a tennis-ball mobile above his crib.
As a toddler Agassi is given “a sawed-off racquet” by his cruelly driven and violent father and told to hit whatever he wants with it.
“I specialized in salt shakers. I liked serving them through glass windows. I aced the dog. My father never got mad.”
At age 7, his father made Agassi train like a pro, hitting 2,500 balls a day. In seventh grade, his father sends Agassi to a tennis boarding school in Florida run by a former paratrooper, after he sees a story on “60 Minutes.”
Not being able to afford the annual tuition of $12,000, his dad sends him for three months to a place his mother later tells him is led by Nick Bollettieri, “who was in essence running a tennis sweatshop that employed child labor.”
The bombshell in this memoir is Agassi admits he was addicted to crystal meth and lied his way out of a positive drug test by the Association of Tennis Professionals that could have penalized him with a three-month suspension from the game.
From his rock-star hair and unconventional tenniswear, his on-court battles with greats Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, an ill-suited marriage to actress Brooke Shields, his notorious anger fits on the court, championship wins and losses, and eventual marriage to former tennis pro Stefanie Graf, the birth of a son and daughter, to his last tournament in 2006 and current charity work, you’ll ride the peaks and endure the sinkholes of this intimate look at an American Everyman. n

Monday, March 22, 2010

Skinny Legs Like I've Always Wanted

Knitty.com spring/summer 2010 has an awesome pattern designed by young knitwear and T-shirt designer Craig Hunter CUBISTLITERATURE.COM of New York City. At first glance they do remind me of diaper covers, but glance again!! They're awesome. I just can't get over the male pattern, it's so cool the way the front has a little panel and the back has a semi-fancy seam going down the center. They're totally impractical (knit in wool!?!) and you could only really get away with wearing them around the house because otherwise you'll risk looking like the cyclists in the movie 1979 "Breaking Away" (Dennis Quaid in white short shorts!).
The lady's eye makeup is inspiring. Wonder if I could go five minutes in my house with the kids and the hubby and nobody comment. How come some people get to be "expressive" and I can't wear leggings with holes in them (a total fashion DO) without some clown making a comment?

The guys panties are knit in Harrisville Designs New England Highland but I'd use some sort of merino or cotton (and just may).
Another amazing creation from Hunter is this "bathing costume" he created using leftover balls of yarn from his stash.
"This is a wool prototype of a cotton version I plan to make.
It is inspired by men's bathing suits circa 1920's.
My color choice is arbitrary, as I was merely trying to use up
remnants of other skeins I had laying [sic]around."

Kudos for him posing in the thing. That alone sells it. How come when I try to combine balls from my stash into something I end up just frogging it because it look so awful? I have to get more adventurous.
Gonna go home tonight and knit something really out there: sparkly underpants and freakin' wear them OVER my pants and look really cool. See Elle magazine. They make it look so NORMAL.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Knitting Bandit

I heard this story on NPR yesterday morning on the way to work. They treated it wittily, however, there is something disturbing about treating knitting as graffiti.
'Midnight Knitter' Wanted In N.J. Shore Town
The story is here: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/288919

From the story: "A person or group calling him/herself "Salty Knits" has claimed to be behind the colourful handmade decorations that show up overnight. There is a Facebook group for the 'mystery knitters who are sick of knittin kitten mittens.'"