Letter from Paris: Twin Cities?
February has flown, and so have I. Back and forth across the Atlantic.
I spent a week in New York City, teaching at one of the largest and best-known knitting shows on the North American circuit–Vogue Knitting Live.
That show and I have a history. I taught at the very first one. In fact, it was my first engagement at a large event, joining a faculty that included at least a dozen of my personal idols. I sat quiet and saucer-eyed in a corner until one of them noticed me and came over to introduce herself, whereupon I jumped up and spilled my orange juice down the front of her gorgeously cabled cardigan.
What better way to announce one’s arrival on the scene?
Since then, my sample case and I have traveled thousands of miles. I, the Spiller of Orange Juice, have on many occasions become the Spilled Upon.
But teaching in person, which used to be all in a day’s work, is now a novelty. I had dreadful jitters at the prospect of going back into a classroom. Nightmares, panic attacks, even hives.
At the event, the students could not have been kinder. If anyone noticed my shaking hands, nobody said anything. We got to work. We knit to fit, we played with color, we boldly cut up our knitting in various ways. I was delighted, and honestly surprised, to find myself having fun.
Sparkle, Franklin, sparkle!
All those hives for nothing.
Meanwhile, New York was right outside. It’s a city that overwhelms a lot of people, I know. Me, I find it energizing. Floating down any given street or avenue on a wave of light, sound, and motion gives me the thrill that some folks say they get from whitewater rafting or playing yarn chicken. It electrifies every part of my brain at once. Bracing. Invigorating.
The Empire State Building plays peekaboo.
Wandering around, I inevitably began to compare New York and Paris. I wondered how I would explain New York to my French friends who’d never been there.
Both cities are crowded. Both cities are noisy. Both are constantly battling grime, crime, and pigeons. Both have populations unfairly maligned for being unfriendly.
New York is taller. Paris is deeper. New York glitters. Paris glows.
Both, above all, are cities that can drive you to the brink two or three times a week. You’re just trying to get through your day, what should be a normal day, and the city decides to play a nasty trick. A simple task ties itself into a Gordian knot. You rage, you bite your knuckles, you curse the ground and wonder why the heck you ever wanted to live here.
You think about all the nice, easy places you could be living.
And you realize that no, actually, there is no other place. This is home, and that’s that.
Meanwhile, I was knitting when and what I could.
Last month, I wrote about a personal breakthrough long ago that involved a pair of lime green socks. These days, lime green is my navy blue. I turned the heel on the second of these on the way to New York, and grafted the toe as I landed at Charles de Gaulle on the way home.
The stripey parts are Canon Hand Dyes in a colorway called “Trick or Treat,” with heels and toes made with what’s left of the blue yarn I used in my Jane Gaugain mitts …
Understated hosiery for the discreet gentleman.
I feel so thrifty, using up my odd balls. The sack of them continues to shrink rapidly as I work on my knitted crazy quilt…
If it sits still, I’m knitting it into this quilt.
And since I can’t bear to be without a sock on the needles these days, I went ahead and started another pair. Given the choice of three different skeins to vote for, my Patreon patrons decided that I should use this vibrant yellow.
Oink Pigments Oink Sock in “Sunny with a Chance of Peaches”
I’m pairing it with this mystery candied violet out of stash.
Easter Bunny Vibes, Yo.
I know, I know. But listen, darling–compared to what you see walking around in my neighborhood, this is practically camouflage.