Ask the Problem Ladies, Fall 2010
By Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne
Another batch of good questions and good solutions from the Problem Ladies!
Woven Together: Connecting Fibers along the Silk Road
by Mindy Weisberger
You may not be lucky enough to have a stash overflowing with cashmere and qiviut but even so, you’re probably enjoying more luxury items than you might think. Did you sip a cup of tea this morning? Do you dress in silk or linen? Have you seasoned a recent meal with salt, pepper, or nutmeg? It’s easy to take these items for granted – they’re affordable and readily available, usually as close as your local mall or neighborhood supermarket. But that wasn’t always the case. For thousands of years, these and other similar items were luxury goods, associated with exotic and faraway locations. Where they were available at all they appeared in select markets in limited quantities, and then only after journeying many months across China, Persia, and India. You might find this world hard to imagine; luckily there’s an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City that brings it to life. Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World will lead you on a virtual road trip where you’ll encounter the goods that were traded, the vast network of roads they traveled, and the significance of the cultural exchanges that happened on these thoroughfares over time.
Swatch it Spring/Summer 2010
By Clara Parkes
Scarves and shawls play many roles. They can warm, they can drape from the shoulders, or they can adorn like jewelry—and sometimes, though not always, they can do all three. With this in mind, I chose Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark’s Lena to swatch for this issue. Made from relatively open, lace-inspired stitches, Lena can be worn as a large draping loop over the shoulders, or it can be wrapped once, twice, or even three times around your neck. Depending on how you wrap it and the yarn you use, you’ll get dramatically different results.
KNITTING LETTERS: A TO Z – An Abecedarium by Susette Newberry
by Lela Nargi
Susette Newberry is a historian who thinks like a knitter. Or is she a knitter who thinks like a historian? Whatever the answer to this chicken-and-egg-like conundrum, one thing’s for sure. Newberry’s craft-archivist proclivities have led her to a masterly opus: an alphabet, constructed entirely of knitting.
Prime Minister’s Problem Ladies’ Question Time!
by Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner
The Problem Ladies are forever finding themselves smack up against a deadline, with no questions to answer and the powers-that-be pacing the floor waiting for us. Recently we came up with a scheme to solve this problem. The scheme involved bribery. (Well, not exactly bribery, but a drawing for prizes on our blog, masondixonknitting.com.)
Suddenly, the questions flowed like box wine. So many good questions! So many bad (in an amusing way) questions! Being peppered with three hundred questions made us feel like Britain’s Prime Minister standing in front of Parliament with his notebook, and all the MPs shouting questions at him in accusatory tones of voice, and the PM giving as good as he gets and calling them “the Right Honourable Gentleman” in a manner suggesting that they are neither right nor honourable, and snapping his notebook shut. In other words: everyone having a fantastic time.
In this spirit, the Problem Ladies decided to have a go at answering a whole bunch of questions—using only our mental notebooks, which are crammed full of two lifetimes of erratic and perhaps even erroneous knitting information. Take ’em for what they’re worth, and keep knitting. It won’t hurt our feelings if you ask other knitters the same questions until you get an answer you like.
Knits Men Want
By Bruce Weinstein
It’s 6 p.m. on a Thursday evening in early fall. My class at Sit-N-Knit, a spacious and welcoming yarn shop in Bloomfield, Connecticut, is filling up—ten women have come to learn how to knit sweaters from the top down. Each one is knitting a sweater for herself, and each seems to have a sad story to tell about her experiences knitting for a man in her life. None of them are eager to try again; I’m hoping to change a few minds.