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EST. May 2000 (AD)

 
 

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By Julie Ward

Here are some of the knitting books you might find prettily gift wrapped this holiday season:

Stockinette Stories

Twenty knitters, twenty points of view-this impressive collection of personal essays introduces the reader to those unique individuals who have devoted their lives to decorating the surfaces, walls, ceilings, and sometimes even floors of their home with knitted accessories. From the self-awareness of Nigel Cubby's no-nonsense essay, "You Say Tacky, I Say (Tea) Cozy," to the haunting questions raised by Maggie de Rainer's "Alone in My House" ("Why did my husband take the children and leave after I knitted the toilet tank cover in a red faux fur?" she wonders, challenging the reader to look beyond the obvious answer), to the exuberant, politically incorrect prose of Alyssa H. ("I made this alpaca and acrylic seashell mobile/I'd like to see you knit THAT, seashore!"), "Stockinette Stories" mines the rich vein of humanity in individuals who are often characterized as "scary" and needing to get "a life."

We All Loved Crafting While Talking Dirty So Much

The Wild Sex Kitten phone line inhabits that dark, edgy place where sex-talk-for-money meets the traditional needle arts. In this oral history, the authentic voices that emerge convey a slightly chaotic spirit and schizophrenic energy. After all, who is speaking-expert mistresses of sexual pleasure, or housecoated frumps who luxuriate in a job that pays them to sit, snack, knit, tat, and yap on the phone all day? The truth lies somewhere in between, and it is told by the women who are living it. Gradually, a picture emerges of dedicated multitaskers who have very high standards. This is best exemplified by one Chrissy6, who rants against a knitting colleague whose dropped stitch translates into coitus interruptus for her client. Includes patterns for three original projects:

 

  • A crazy quilt to construct from the lingerie that your stalker sends you

  • A headset cozy to knit
  • The Lacy Poodle Lipstick Holder Project

    In early 2001, thrift shop owner Merrilee Briggs hoped to revive interest in French poodle dog kitsch. She put together several grants that allowed her to open her home to a diverse group of knitters. Encouraged by a steady harangue from Merrilee and margaritas from her Osterizer, the team knitted thousands of poodle-shaped lipstick holders in only 48 hours. "The Lacy Poodle Lipstick Holder Project" documents the weekend that changed ten knitters' lives, and actually killed three others. (The dedication of the book and companion video to the departed women is a touching reminder of that dodgy intersection where sociopathic employee motivational techniques meet old age. It also helped soften the jury's feelings toward Merrilee.) In the end, the Project suffered from the fact that Merrilee's vision could not be fully realized: she ran out of funding before the knitters could make and attach pompon tails to the lacy poodles. The unfortunate knitters bore witness as Merilee sold their unfinished handiwork to a surgical supply company and fled with the money. "The Lacy Poodle Lipstick Holder Project" reminds us that there are no easy answers to the important questions about how we choose to spend our time, the nature of greed, and whether your surgeon used knitted lace during your last knee operation.

     

    Gonna Sell My Crap on eBay: A Story of Survival

    In our increasingly genericized world where we're expected to buy more and more prefabricated objects, this story of a man who not only knits his own stuff but actually supports himself by selling it on eBay will inspire you. Readers of the survival genre already know Zane Stewart's work. He has recounted his previous tests of the limits of human endurance in "The Yes I Can Series: Sue Your Teacher!" and "The Lazybones Guide to Staying Healthy on a Daily Bus Ride Full of the Working Tubercular." As from his other books, the reader will receive vicarious thrills on almost every page, from the breathtaking description of how he piqued bidder interest in his signature piece, the "Single Color Fair Isle," to the victorious ending, when Stewart discovers making a profit is as easy as inflating his shipping prices. Finally, "Gonna Sell My Crap on eBay" shows how the intensity of one man's life reaches new levels after he decides to make every decision matter, such as whether to ruin a non-paying bidder's life with trumped-up child pornography charges. Handwritten and hand stitched editions available.


    Biography

    Julie Ward is the manager of communications for InduSoft LLC. She lives with her husband and two sons in Austin, Texas.