2 days, 700 miles, and about 14 hours of talk and video

posted in: Creativity, Knitting, Spinning | 15

Linda Ligon, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, and I have known each other for a lot of years. Linda edited and published the first edition of Priscilla’s Knitting in the Old Way (1985), and I edited and published the second edition (2004). I worked for Linda, the founder of Interweave Press, from 1986 to 2000—thirteen years—as book editor and as editor of Spin-Off Magazine. That adds up to a bunch of history between us. I hadn’t traveled with Linda in at least 15 years. Linda hadn’t seen Priscilla in ages.

About a month ago, Linda got in touch with me and said she’d like to visit Priscilla and get some video of her. I said I thought it was a terrific idea, one I’d been trying to find time and equipment to pull off for a couple of years. (I even had a videographer who was willing to work for free to get some recording done at Sock Summit, but then it turned out that even with everyone’s permission there could be no video work done at that event.)

Priscilla was open to the idea, so we made a plan that Linda and I would go to Priscilla’s together and we’d all have a chat, some knitting, and some recording with a video camera.

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I drove. Linda filled the gas tank. Priscilla fed us exquisitely and found places for us to sleep. Jack, Priscilla’s husband, loaned me his laptop so I could check e-mail even though we couldn’t figure out how to get my computer connected to their wireless. We all talked. Jack went ice-fishing. Priscilla, Linda, and I knitted and talked. The video camera sometimes sat on a tripod and sometimes was in Linda’s hand. Linda had not, in fact, left home without its recharging pack. I goofed around with my Canon Powershot.

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(The sock on my foot is one of Priscilla’s designs, worked in a different yarn and with fewer colors than the original. Writing about it is one of the blog posts that haven’t gotten done because of The Project’s all-consuming nature. It will happen.)

Interweave will be putting together an article featuring Priscilla for an e-zine (new idea). Linda got what she needed for this test run and video magazine project.

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Lots of ideas arose while we were exploring the video medium
in a casual way: we’ll probably go back for another visit for more structured (but still relaxed) recording on other topics.

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Here are the socks Priscilla wore on Wednesday, which may be familiar to people who’ve seen them (on the wrong-sized feet) on the cover of Vogue Knitting’s The Ultimate Sock Book:

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Because Vogue Knitting wasn’t ready to feature socks that don’t match, few people have seen the pair of socks Priscilla wore on Thursday:

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They don’t match each other or the previous day’s socks. . . .

We had good supervision for our work and visiting. By best estimates, this rescue is now 17 years old, although you sure wouldn’t believe it to see or pat him (or watch him in action).

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During part of the human conversation, I re-wound a very large basket of Cowichan-style singles yarn that he apparently rearranged (THOROUGHLY) for a winter napping spot. I changed the tangles back into huge balls—Priscilla’s bulky spinner’s bobbins can hold two pounds (1 kg) of yarn!

Priscilla’s knitting during our visit was on the second sock of a pair for an upcoming Interweave book (black cotton: hard to do at night, deadline imminent). She doesn’t do many projects for publication any more, but she has a soft spot for a few people, and one of them asked. . . .

Linda was making a monedero (little bag) from lovely two-ply alpaca spindle-spun by women in Pitumarca, Peru.

Here’s what I knitted:

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When I left home, the sleeve on the top in this photo was about as far along as the sleeve on the bottom now is, and the sleeve on the bottom didn’t exist at all.

I left my house at 7:30 Wednesday morning and arrived home at 11:30 Thursday evening. As I was dropping Linda off at her house, a few snowflakes drifted through the air and made tiny wet specks on my windshield. By the time I reached my house, hail-like clumps of snow covered the roof of my car as I unloaded my backpack. When I got up on Friday morning, we had about 5 inches (12 cm) of fresh snow and I decided to walk, rather than drive, to the library, even though my car would have done just fine . . . other folks’ might not have.

It was a great trip. Just not long enough (in time, not miles).

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That’s llama/silk Priscilla is spinning and plying for a personal series of projects, using her handspindles.

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15 Responses

  1. LynnH

    Oh! Precious time. I love it when Priscilla smiles like that. She positively glows with passion at times.

    Love her unmatched socks, too. And I wish I could see Linda’s monedero. You know how I adore Andean knitting. I haven’t made a monedero yet, it’s on the long list.

    It’s snowing here today, too. Yesterday it was in the upper 60’s F Go figure. At least the calendar says we’re in spring now.

  2. Deborah Robson

    We had 60s on Tuesday, and high 50s on Wednesday driving over. This being Colorado, on the drive back on Thursday the temps ranged between high 30s and low 60s.

    Linda hadn’t brought the contrasting color, so a photo of her very dark alpaca knitted very fine wouldn’t have shown much.

  3. Carol Leonard

    What lovely photographs of Priscilla! Good to have news of her.

    And a photo of her Mongold spindles – it was falling in love with one of those during a SOAR Retreat class with her that started my love affair with spindles and spindling…..

    Carol

  4. Anna McCarthy

    Priscilla G-R- Oh rapture, rapture! Never enough Priscilla. I have progressed to the un matched sock situation- being forced to do one at a time, I decided why should they have to match except in gauge? Much more amusing.

  5. Lindy

    Great pics. I will look forward to the article in Interweave.

    Subaru – saved my toosh a few times so I know what you mean. 🙂

    My next pair of socks will be unmatched 😀

    Lindy – just back from a beautiful week in northern MI to the now hot Sonoran Desert.

  6. Deb Robson

    I wondered who would pick up on the spindles when I put that photo in–! No more Mongold spindles being made, alas. Forresters, yes!

  7. beth

    Sounds like a fantastic trip and I wish i could have been a cat on a chair in that room:-)

  8. Kris Paige

    Oh, frabjous joy–a Priss smile! I can hear her laugh, just from seeing the picture. Although the drive was long, what a glorious treat–time with Priss and Linda! I agree–wish I could have been a cat in that room! Thank all of you so much for preserving for others the joy of knitting/fiber/spinning/creation.

  9. Joanne

    I just finished teaching an intro to spinning (spindling) class. I pointed out why students should buy Priscilla’s book and I’m so thrilled to see these happy sunny photos of her on your blog! What a wonderful treat. I look forward to hearing what comes of all that tape and talk!

  10. L.M. Cunningham

    Wow — you’ve been having way more fun than I have been having with trying to move.

    At least we haven’t had crummy weather, although there’s a forecast of wet nasty blowing snow for tomorrow. A good day to sit and sort through the mounds of junk at the old place….

  11. Shelagh

    We call those Fraternal Socks! I make many a spindle spun pair. My Forrester is my No.1 spindle; followed by a unique Hatchtown; a Bosworth (for worsted wgt); and another 18 or so…..

    Happy to see Priscilla looking well. Have her back problems been resolved?

  12. Deborah Robson

    Priscilla’s medical challenges are not of the sort that can be completely resolved; the good news is that she’s spinning and knitting. There used to be a big loom where the rocking chair is, but that’s been passed along to a family member who also loves it.

  13. Marcy

    What a delightful report on Priscilla. Thank you, Deb. I very much look forward to seeing her on video. I had the happy/sad privilege of being in her last ever SOAR retreat session several years ago.

    And of course we picked up on the Mongolds! 😉

  14. Deb Robson

    So glad you were in Priscilla's retreat session, Marcy! I was in the background, making sure the necessary equipment and supplies were available, but didn't have the opportunity to actually be in one of her classes.

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