Friday, March 25, 2011

I have rounded the corner and am half-way through the 5th scallop on the second side. This is going to take a while. It goes slightly faster now that I don’t have to keep peering at the book – it still lies open, close to hand, but I won’t need it there much longer. It is extraordinary how often I go slightly wrong and either (a) need to tink back a few stitches or (b) can’t remember where I am and what I’m supposed to do next. Even now, even when completely rested and sober and paying attention to what I’m doing.

Funeral arrangements seem to be going forward smoothly on all fronts – assuming my husband’s trousers come home today as arranged. My husband is to do a reading, something from the Book of Lamentations, so one of today’s jobs is to look it up. We have the reference, but not the text, and we have only old-fashioned bibles in this house, King James and Douai and the Vulgate. My husband says the numbering is often different.

What I want at my funeral is St Paul’s “Rejoice! Again I say to you, Rejoice!” I heard it at a funeral once, and thought it was sensational. But C. remained furious throughout at her cancer and at God for inflicting it on her, and it sounds as if readings have been chosen accordingly. Little C. will read something from Rilke, an author known to me only by name.

The party is to be at C.’s house, and in her beloved garden if the weather holds. Our niece has told the caterer to expect 65. (I would be doing well to muster half that number.) The notices were in both the Scotsman and the Times yesterday – easy to spot, if you still have the newspapers lying about, as C. used her maiden name.

Rachel’s son Joe, in his final weeks at Nottingham University, is having trouble getting a two-day extension on a vital essay so that he can come. A weepy girl classmate had just secured a whole fortnight’s extension for “stress” and Joe assumed he would have no trouble, but his tutor clearly regards “great-aunt’s funeral” as next door to spurious. He was told at one point that he would have to submit a death certificate and agree to counselling. He is appealing to a higher authority.

Rachel and Ed and all the rest of the family will be here by Sunday evening, so one of today’s jobs is to iron our one tablecloth.


Both VK and Knitter’s have turned up in the last few days. The question looms: will I have the courage not to renew Knitter’s, as previously resolved? I have one more issue to go. There is even a pattern in this one in which I feel a transitory interest – the Cable-go-Round on page 56. Beyond that, everything seems predictable, dull, or bizarre; there is nothing to read except pages and pages of an interview with Debbie Macomber, who doesn’t interest me; and there’s all that X-type photography which continues to grate on my fragile nerves.

Whereas I wouldn’t dream of dropping VK, which has nothing whatsoever this time in which I have even a brief interest.

Tell me, who is StevenBe, the latest knitter in the Addi ad? We’ve had Franklin, I know who he is, and an LYS owner whose name I’ve forgotten. Perhaps he's just an aging pop star who happens to knit?


  1. Theresa I11:16 AM

    StevenBe is the IMO flamboyant owner of a yarn shop in the St Paul MN area. He's into some avant garde knitting materials. Old cassette audio recording tapes was one.

  2. go for it! I've had the knitter's for years, but stopped it last year - and haven't missed it one bit! I think the quality of design has gone down quite a bit during the last 10 years or so:(( you can always renew it a year later, if you do miss it (and I am sure back issues would be available if must be:))

  3. Steven Berg owns a local yarn shop (now too) here in Minnesota. He used to work in the fashion industry before choosing to live a quieter life. He is flamboyant and makes crasy stuff, but is also a genuine sweetheart. I think he and his sister own the business. He travels with his mother, who told me a wonderful tale of her escape from East Germany as a young woman. I think Addi is going for the boys.

  4. Maureen in Fargo12:48 PM

    As Theresa said, StevenBe is the very flamboyant owner of two yarn shops in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. He's become well regarded for fostering up and coming knitting designers and bringing them to The Cities. He's also very nice, when visiting his newer shop last Summer he invited my friend and me to sit and have a glass of iced tea and visit with him. I always look forward to YarnOver, the Minnesota Knitters Guild day of workshops and market, StevenBe will be there with a big booth dressed in a pink jumpsuit. This year he's bringing the Ravelry Crew to the market to meet us all.

  5. On the tutor that won't give the extension--- some universities have gotten really strict about these things because lots of students lie to get extensions-- which means that it falls on the people who do actually have a funeral to go to to prove it.It is not uncommon to ask for a copy of the obit as proof. I know many faculty who do that. I give my students an extension of a few days depending on the relative (for parents I usually give all the time they need.) I had a student who was really upset about her great-uncle-- she came and told me all about how he was like a granddad to her and she had to go to his funeral, and I accepted that because it seemed genuine.

    On the other hand a good friend of mine who teaches at a major Midwestern university had a student ask if he could postpone a final because he was going out of state for a funeral, and my friend (a theologian) granted it. Two days later (when the student was supposed to be out of state) he ran into the student at the Gym. My friend was furious, and (I think) he was able to fail the student for a breech of the Honor Code.

    So the bad kids ruin it for everyone else.

  6. Anonymous3:12 PM

    As has been said before me :-) StevenBe owns the Yarn Garage, south of St. Paul, MN. I believe it's in conjunction with his sister. He's a very clever and knowledgeable knitter, with a delightful sense of humor. He's also a very able marketer and salesman. Master of the skill of making middleaged women titter in reaction to his flamboyance. The shop has lovely yarns and has a beautiful sitting area to hang out in. It's on my list of favorite yarn shops ever.

  7. Another blog I follow has a Rilke quote today ...

    Love the story about the seamstress and your family connection.

  8. Gerri in St Paul5:40 PM

    Lots said but I do want to emphasize that Steven Berg, StevenBe is a very competent knitter. The pink coveralls (after all, the shop is the Yarn Garage) does distract at first. I was looking at a pattern once at his booth at Yarnover. He stopped, turned and said, "if you knit that in anything other than the original yarn, make sure it is..." the rest was either "tightly spun s- twist or z-twist." Blew me away. Sometimes all a shop owner can talk about is wool vs cotton or worsted vs bulky. The niceness, humor and community involvements are just frosting on that cake.

    Two commercial concerns: and

  9. Anonymous2:22 AM

    I know how you feel about dropping Knitter's but I did it 6 months ago and haven't missed it yet. One time I looked at it in a bookstore and couldn't even read a few pages. I read your blog every day. I hope all goes well on Monday. Mary in Cincinnati

  10. Anonymous6:02 AM

    I'm having the same debate as you, Jean, regarding my Knitter's subscription. I'm going to drop it when it runs out. The magazine has become just an advertisement for their Stitches events, and the designs are ghastly or boring. If I then see an interesting issue, I can always buy a single copy at the local bookseller where my knitting group meets twice a week.

    Regarding funerals, when my sister, brother-in-law, and I were making our mother's funeral arrangements with her minister, I chose "Ave Maria" to be sung by a professional soloist, and "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" (Beethoven's Ode to Joy) to be sung by the whole congregation. The minister commented that he was pleased that the service would include such a celebration of joy.

    Mary G. in Texas