Thursday, November 15, 2012

A lovely Habit

Last Saturday my darling daughter and I took a trek from the Boston suburbs to Western Massachusetts to Franklin Habit, knitting celebrity, IN PERSON at WEBS, America's Yarn Store.  What fun we had!
We were fortunate enough (with the help of the GPS) to arrive early enough to stop for an extra dose of caffeine/sugar at LaFiorentina, an Italian Bakery/Cafe in Northhampton.

I missed having Italian Bakeries on every corner when I was in Texas.  This one was old school, with Babba au Rhums, Napoleons, sesame cookies etc. etc.  I ventured to  have a SamPellegrino lemonade... and must say, I prefer the plain water, because the limonata is SOUR!.

 We also had enough time to walk around the corner to Northhampton Wools.  I did NOT stop in at the Tattoos and Piercing venue, although I really like their sign!
 I've spent lots of money at Northhampton Wools before and would have again... except, I knew we were heading to WEBS!
 We hemmed and hawed about shopping before or after Franklin's presentation, but quickly opted to quaff some more water and have a cookie because the doors were open to the old shipping dock, where he was going to speak.
 I bet you'd never assume that an internationally known male knitter was a Harvard grad.  But if you had  heard his talk, you would know that he had a fine classical education and great tutelage on how to do research and how to present it.  I didn't think I'd necessarily be fascinated by the topic (I had plenty of faith in Franklin, who draws cartoons, makes puns, writes patterns, and has pithy observations on the state of everything), but I was.
 Most everyone in the audience knit during the lecture.
 An operatic soundtrack, plaid cap, bohemian (?) goatee and dramatic delivery were all at his disposal.

 After explain how long it took (and how confused people were for hundreds of years... think 1400-1850) to standardize the symbols and vocabulary for knitting, he showed us some FO's from the antique patterns he found.  A Pence Jug to keep coins in... it was only about 1.5 inches tall.  CUUUUUTE!!
 A ball knitted like an orange.... Again, CUUUUUUUTE.
 A padded hood for baby.  A book editor insisted that the hood be modeled by a live baby.  This live baby was borrowed from one of Mr. Habit's neighbors.  I suspect this is what most babies look like in new knitted creations... and that the darling babies in Debbie Bliss books may have been doped up on something.
 Franklin decoded several lace edgings, and shared a lace sampler.  He inspired me to actually buy the new Piecework magazine with the intention of trying a Shetland lace sampler AND an Estonian sampler.  Cross your fingers.

 A historian working at the National Park where Eleanor Roosevelt spent a great deal of time found one of ER's patterns, which was indecipherable.  She asked Mr. Habit if he might be interested in ciphering them.  OF COURSE he was!
 And Ms. Roosevelt's mittens were elegantly simple.
 I don't believe Ms. Roosevelt had anything to do with the very fine Night-Cap shown here and modeled by Mr. Habit's significant other.  I can hardly wait to make one and see if I can get my Dear Husband to wear it.  They both have about the same amount of hair (i.e., none), and a tendency to get chilled.
 Dashing, no?
 And in the category of "the more things change".... below is a set of "reins for children" also knit from a very old pattern.  Just because "they" made them, and still make them now, doesn't mean it is a good idea.
 There was a mini trunk show of Franklin's finished objects:  a middy sweater, a pineapple "purse" (all the rage for no particular reason), and a balaclava/neckwarmer combination.
 After we all got to fawn over hims as much (if not more) than he could stand, the WEBS people whisked him off to sign copies of his book, It Itches, and a book in which he has a featured pattern, 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders

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