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.
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.
(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.
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.
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:
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:
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).
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. . . .
Here’s what I knitted:
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).
That’s llama/silk Priscilla is spinning and plying for a personal series of projects, using her handspindles.