You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2007.

Working the phones

I’ll tell you, this NY media business is heady stuff!  Here’s Greg talking with the publicist on the cell phone, and also the publisher on the hotel phone.  “Hold on, I’ll get right back with you . . .”

To continue the story: Rested, fed and refreshed, we went downstairs to meet Jennifer Richards, who shall hereafter be referred to as Jen the Wonder Publicist.  The car from Comedy Central (which we thought of as the Lincoln Clown Car) was already waiting, and supposed to leave at 5:20 to take us to the studio.  No sign of Jen on the sidewalk, or in the lobby, so at 5:15 we headed to the car.  As we were partway down the weird chartreuse escalator a voice called out to Greg, and it was Jen, with someone else in tow. As we descended introductions were performed and her companion was introduced as Yeardly Smith, which neither of us picked up on at the time, but Jen later told us we had just met the voice of Lisa Simpson!  Jen will be representing Yeardly in connection with a children’s book she has written.

Going for a ride

Here we are getting in the car, and that’s Jen the Wonder Publicist holding the sock.

We were were whisked away to a very anonymous looking building on the West Side. A staffer met us at the door and deposited us in a comfortable green room for while.

 Comfortable green room

Greg was taken off for make-up, and the producer came in to ask a few more questions and alert Greg that they might play a couple of clips from silly SF movies as part of his intro.  Jon Stewart stopped by for about 2 minutes, and we got a couple of things signed.  It didn’t seem right to wave a sock in his face, so it rested quietly in the bag.

 Brilliant book!

The producer popped in to say that the feed from the show would be on the TV in the room, and Greg would be in the third segment.  The show started up, and Greg was whisked away when the second commercial break occurred.  Jen and I watched from the green room, and were amazed, amazed! at how well it went, and how much of a focus there was on Quantico.  She said, “Well, I guess I earned my dinner for tonight,”and I said, “Hey, you can probably order oysters and champagne!” (We were meeting the publisher for dinner afterwards).  Greg returned, we watched the moment of Zen, then back into the car for the trip to the Beacon Restaurant .

Talk about your celebratory mood!  Roger Cooper, the publisher, and Richard Curtis, Greg’s agent, got the blow by blow description of events, and silly cocktails (roasted pineapple mojito for me) and fine dining (lobster soup, seared ahi tuna, warm ricotta almond cake with roasted peaches and blueberries) followed. We walked back to the hotel in a light rain — as Seattleites we said “No, thanks” to the person who was selling $5. umbrellas.  New York is amazing; when an economic niche appers, someone is there to fill it.  Jen gifted me with some lovely novelty yarn from her hometown of PIttsburgh.

.Soft fuzzy goodness

It’s a fabulous blend of mohair curls, wool, and fine rayon to hold it all together. I’m thinking of making a woven boa, like this, only with a continuous length of yarn, rather than cutting the ends for each row. Jen also said that she is representing Laurie Perry, AKA Crazy Aunt Purl for her upcoming book Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair , which, if it’s anything like her blog, will be hilarious, touching, and good for your soul. With Jen the Wonder Publicist at work, I predict this book will do well.

Friday morning we met Richard for breakfast and he took us to the  Brooklyn Diner, a somewhat fancy new deli-inspired restaurant.  I had the classic lox/bagel/creamcheese, and was very happy.  We had a couple of hours left before we had to catch a taxi for the airport, and on Richard’s recommendation walked across the southern edge of Central Park, then turned north on Madison Avenue, where the shops are the epitome of wretched excess.  We strolled past expensive  shops — Jimmy Choo was having a sale, but my suitcase was full of yarn — and got invited by one of the beefy guards in a jewelry shop to enter the sacred sanctum, a beautifully lit emporium for sleek Italian designs, lightly touched with incense.  Later, I was stopped in my tracks by this:

Be afraid, be very afraid

When good yarn goes bad.  What were they thinking? Is there anything besides a size 4 mannequin that that would look good on? And two pounds or so of wool for a summer dress?  Get real!

We then headed back to the hotel to check out, deposited the bags with the bellman, and walked north on the west side of the park, passing Lincoln Center and seeing the lovely buildings stretching away into the distance.  So much to see, so little time!  A taxi, a long flight, and so to bed.

Our trip got off to a mixed start — Greg forgot to take the Swiss Army knife out of his pocket, so he had to put it in the trash.  But, having made that sacrifice to the travel gods, we were able to get two seats together on the plane due to one person not showing up.  We ran into a young friend who wished to remain anonymous (“Don’t print my name, my Dad would freak!”) who was off to Morocco with a group from her high school for a month-long trip.  Have fun, nameless one!

Nameless One with sock

 Here she is gamely holding the traveling sock.

We checked into our murky and oddly stylish hotel, The Hudson, which has a great location near the SW corner of Central Park and Columbus Circle. After a walk down Broadway as far as Times Square, we came back to meet some friends from the Gunroom for dinner at the Carnegie Deli:

Deli dinner

from left, me, Abbie, Wanda, Hugh, Greg, and Larry.

The Carnegie Deli is a warren of rooms filled with people eating enormous plates of food. We were led back, back, back to an empty table, and quickly brought menus and a bowl of pickles. Such pickles – half sour and full sour, crisp and fresh! Despite warnings about the portion sizes I ordered a chopped liver sandwich and Greg got a Reuben. The chopped liver was a mound roughly the size of a softball, resting between two slices of nice seedy rye, unctuous and delicious. The Reuben was reminiscent of Mt. Rainier – enormous and draped in white, which in this case was melted cheese. The corned beef was flavorful, lean, moist, and piled high. Why can’t one find corned beef like this outside of New York? The stuff I can get at my local upscale grocer’s is very nice, but in a different class altogether.

Despite not all being members of the clean plate club, we ordered a slice of strawberry cheesecake to share, and I think everyone had at least one forkful of the tangy, creamy goodness. Larry manfully finished it off, with an able assist from Hugh. And the hilarious thing was that this quintessential Jewish deli had a 100% Chinese waitstaff, and a Hispanic kitchen crew. I guess the founders have all retired to Palm Beach.

Thursday, Greg had a meeting with his editor, Betsy Mitchell of Del Rey Books.  The sock came along

Betsy and sock

but was too tongue-tied to make a book proposal.  It was quite impressed with the view of New Jersey, though.

We then trekked downtown, Greg to meet with the publisher of Quantico, and me to meet with Lisa at School Products.  She’s put up some  great shots that capture the utter fabulousness of the store, but I’ve got a picture of the proprieter asking her, “The question is, how much yarn do you need?”

The Question 

A lot, evidently.  That stuff on the counter, not counting what’s in the basket?  All Lisa’s.  It’s an Investment, she says. I was a bit more circumspect and only got two skeins of merino laceweight, and  . . . err .  . . a pound of silk.

It followed me home

Lisa also bought a pound of the silk, and is talking about knitting a wedding dress overlay for some incredibly lucky friend.  I’m thinking maybe of weaving  a painted warp shawl, but the yarn has to age a bit first.

We rendezvoused with Greg on the street and Lisa led us into the bowels of the subway for a quick trip back uptown to the area of our hotel.  In dire need of refreshment, we got bottles of  ginger Kombucha and a box of raspberries, and settled into a little pocket park for lots of fibrous chat.


We admired The Iceman Cometh Sock, which is truly delicious

Yummy Iceman Sock!

Laceball WIP

and Lisa showed us the current Laceball Cap, which she had hoped to finish in time to wear that day, but you know how that goes. Then she obligingly held the traveling sock

 Sock in park

before pulling out the  incredible Yarn Hog  Kitri Shawl.  This object, when completed, will slay Spanish knights at 20 paces.

 Yarn Hog

Kitri Shawl in its natural habitat

By the way, Lisa has made the most amazing knitting project bags, which I didn’t get pictures of.  She says she’ll someday maybe make a pattern available, or find a manufacturer, or something.  I sure hope so, as they are the completest thing, with well-thought-out places for every little tool, and safe yet accessable storage for knitting projects. I did remember to get her to sign my copy of her book

Lisa signing Lobscouse

Lobscouse and Spotted Dog, an amazing cookbook of foods mentioned in the Aubrey/Maturin books by Patrick O’Brian.  She co-wrote it with her mother, the late Anne Chotzinoff Grossman, and if you look closely at table at the left of the photo, you’ll see a clear sticker on its backing with a scanned and printed copy of Mrs. Grossman’s signature, which Lisa affixed to the book.  A very sweet and touching gesture.

We could have talked all day and far into the night, but I needed to get ready for the evening, so we parted ways with promises to meet again.  I snagged a sandwich to nourish Greg before The Big Event, and Lisa went off to score some skyr.

 More tomorrow!

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it – New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it – New York, New York

                                                    — Fred Ebb

Okay, I’m not going til tomorrow, but who’s got time to post a blog entry at 5 in the morning?

My husband, Greg Bear,  is appearing on The Daily Show Thursday night, so we’re off to NYC for a quick trip!  And I get to meet the Tsock Tsarina at School Products for a dive into the bins of mill ends and European yarns. Whee!

Traveling sock

The traveling Monkey sock has been started, in what I’m calling the Delphinium colorway.  Now to pack some clothes . . .

Sample swatch

I’ve knitted a bit of a sample of the dyed yarns — rather pretty in its garish way, don’t you think?  The astute observer will note that the bottom of the bottom portion, which is looking a bit more purple this time, is knitted in one repeat of the Monkey Sock pattern.  I’ll be casting  on for the actual socks tomorrow, in this yarn

A little calmer

which is the latest experiment for Damselfly Yarns.  This will be a traveling sock, sort of like the Yarn Harlot’s . . . Ooo, she’s making a Monkey sock, too!  Anyway, my socks are gonna have some fun, and I’ll tell you a bit more about it tomorrow.


Here’s a quick peek at the first test batch of sock yarn for Damselfly Yarns.  The base fiber is Knit Picks Bare, the dyes are Jacquard acid dyes.  I clearly have lot to learn!

Believe it or not, the skeinlette on the right is purple/black, no blue at all.  Why is purple so hard to get right on the screen?

 I’m off to a busy couple of days of meetings and madcap socializing, but I just wanted to share the tiny progress made on the sock yarn thing.