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April 11, 2005

I met Annie Modesitt! Oh, and learned to cable, too!

Are ya'll the most jealous you have ever been? GOOD! Because yesterday I did the coolest thing ever, I took a class at Unwind with knitting goddess Annie Modesitt, who traveled all the way from New Jersey just to show me how to cable without a cable needle! Oh, and she showed some other people too. But mostly for me! Shut up, she totally did!

For weeks I have talked about my "Cabling Without A Cable Neeedle" class to all my friends, whose eyes glazed over with a look of painful boredom, but did I stop talking? Ha! No way Jose. I tried to explain to my non-knitting friends that she's like... a knitting legend. It's as if you were taking guitar lessons from Jimmy Hendrix. Only with less LSD and pot on hand.

And Annie is so funny (notice how I am now on a first name basis with her?) and she's smart and energetic and patient (and I can wear a person out, with all the talking and the talking ... but she has an eight-year old daughter, so she was very patient with me. Yes I am a grown adult. Moving along.)

Annie Modesitt helping class member Bernadette:

And the other people in the class were so nice. Everyone just chatted and cabled and helped each other out. Except.. oh, ok ... there might have been this one woman who was not so much into it. When I arrived I took the only remaining seat at the table (at the left hand of Annie, the weight and portent of which were not lost upon me, ya'll I was seated at the left hand of Annie Modesitt) and anyway, another woman beside me at the table (seated to MY left) ... well, she just up and left five minutes into the class. Apparently being seated at the left hand of crazy old Aunt Purl is not quite the same religious experience. I'm not one to be paranoid (ha!) but do you think when she found out I was Southern she immediately had to flee? Was it something I said? Did she recognize me and my evil Internet ways? Or was it when I tried to convince the class that Texas was an alright place because of sweet tea? Was she on one of those carb diets and the mere mention of sweet tea sent her on a bender? It was so weird. She just... left. No goodbye, nothing. Just... poof.

All the nice ladies in class (click for bigger images):

After the mystery disappearing act, class became very entertaining. Especially when we all tried to read from a chart. And do yarn overs. Somehow I got tricked into using teeny size 8 needles (newsflash: I am such a beginner) but I was so nervous to do a good job for Annie, goddess of knitting, that I did not even complain, and ya'll know how I am.

And look, I made a faux cable here:

[click for bigger pic]

After another row of garter stitch to separate the swatch, and I made cables! Real cables... without a cable needle. Which I suppose I should have gathered from the title of the class, but sometimes you get a wee bit skeptical of your knitting ability.

My amazin' cables:

[click for bigger pic]

During the class, Annie was endlessly funny. She alternated between calling her stitches "hot tramps" and "pretty girls who did not get asked to dance" and occassionally referred to her left needle as Hot Dude Brad Pitt, all the while working in some knitting philosophy. She had a keen observation about knitting mistakes -- she says that messing up is actually really, really good so you can learn from your errors. I was a superb student, too, since messing up is my specialty (see: whole life, esp. four cats, divorce, one potty mouth.)

And let's face it, a sense of humor is critical in knitting, especially my knitting ("Oh, looky here, I'm knitting this whole thing inside out. Isn't that funny!") Sometimes knitting books and classes can be a bit ... dull. Know what I mean? There's a lot of very technical stuff in knitting, and I can definitely appreciate that, but to me the whole joy of making fabric from string and chopsticks is the sheer surprise of seeing it all come together, a handmade wonder, knots and all.

With her sense of humor, she was speaking a language I could get, it all made sense to me. Because if you listen to me knit (oh yeah! I knit out loud, it's so so charming, for the first five seconds. Then you want to kill me.) Anyway, after listening to me struggle with a pattern, you will eventually begin to think that "Fuck!" is a type of knit stitch. As in, "Ok, here I knit one, purl two, yarn over, FUCK! knit two more ..." Not that Annie Modesitt said the F-word, she's way too goddess-y for that. Even though I may have accidentally done my knit-out-loud thing once or twice in class, no one so much as shot me a mean glance. And she was such an amazing knitter, lightening fast, and witty, and kind, and even though she probably thought I was a total stalker ("Hi! I watched you on TV! Hi! I love your website!") she never even tried to call the cops once. I have to go now, because I have to write her an email. How does this sound? It's my third draft.

Dear Annie, Class was so fun. I'm not stalking you, promise! OK yes maybe I have now decided to move to New Jersey, but I swear it's not 'cause you live there. It's not! I'm only moving there for the... uh.... the cake. That's right! The cake is really good there. So anyway, want to hang out sometime? Like next week? When I move to your town?

Your Best Friend Laurie

Posted by laurie at April 11, 2005 7:52 AM