Author Archives: Franklin Habit

  • Lesson One By Franklin Habit

    Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and franklin_400x400insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

    She. Let’s do it now! I’m ready.

    Me. Are you sure you want to do this?

    She. Yes!

    Me. Okay, then. Come over here and sit next to me.

    (She does so.)

    Me. You’re going to have to put down the iPad.

    She. But I’m watching “Word Girl.”

    Me. You can’t watch television and learn to knit at the same time.

    She. You did knitting while we watched The Great Muppet Caper last night. You knit during the whole movie.

    Me. That’s different. I have been knitting for years. So I know what I’m doing.

    She. You do?

    Me. Well, maybe not in a cosmic sense; but I can knit and purl and also sing along to “Happiness Hotel.” Now, sit down.

    She. And the iPad is not the television, it’s the iPad.

    Me. You can’t watch or listen to programming of any kind, educational, frivolous, or otherwise, on any electronic device and learn to knit at the same time.

    She. You use a lot of big words.

    Me. Are we going to do this or not? Because I haven’t got all day.

    She. Yes! I’m ready now.

    Me. Then sit here next to me.

    She. Wait a minute, I want to get Sheba Bear.

    Me. You can’t play with Sheba Bear and learn to knit at the same time.

    She. I’m not going to play with her, she wants to watch so she can know how to knit, too. I will be back in a minute. Don’t go anywhere, stay right here.

    (She exits. Fifteen minutes pass.)

    Me. Are you coming back or what?

    She (offstage). I can’t find Sheba Bear.

    Me. She’s on top of the toy box.

    She (offstage). No she isn’t, I looked.

    Me. Look again.

    She (offstage). Oh!

    (She returns, with bear.)

    Me. Now, both of you sit here next to me.

    She. Sheba can’t see. She needs to borrow your glasses.

    Me. If I don’t have my glasses, I can’t see the knitting.

    She. Is that because you are so old?

    Me.

    She. I said is that because you are so old?

    Me. I wasn’t when we started this.

    She. What?

    Me. Never mind. You sit there, and Sheba can sit there.

    She. But she can’t see without her glasses!

    Me. Yes she can. She has excellent eyesight. All bears have perfect eyesight.

    She. Why?

    Me. Because Boy Scouts are high in Vitamin A.

    She. What?

    Me. Never mind. Just. Sit. Down. Are we talking about bears or are you learning to knit?

    She. Learning to knit! Learning to knit!

    Me. Okay. So you need to sit down.

    (She sits.)

    Me. Now, this is our ball of yarn. It’s made of wool. You know where wool comes from, right?

    She. From sheep.

    Me. Correct! Good!

    She. Can I pet the yarn?

    Me. We can always pet the yarn.

    (She pets the yarn.)

    She. It’s soft.

    Me. Yes, it is.

    She. Sheba wants to pet it, too.

    Me. Okay, fine. Be quick, Sheba.

    (Sheba pets the yarn.)

    She. Sheba says it’s soft like a baby raccoon.

    Me. I guess she would know.

    She. But she doesn’t like the color.

    Me. Well, that’s too bad. This is all we’ve got.

    She. That’s not true! You have a whole room full of yarn!

    Me. Well, this is the yarn we have to use right now.

    She. Why? Why can’t we use your other yarn?

    Me. Because when you are starting out, it makes more sense to practice on scrap yarn. And this is good yarn. I used this to make a very nice hat.

    She. I know what I want to make.

    Me. What do you want to make?

    She. My wedding dress.

    Me. Are you engaged?

    She. NO!

    Me. Then there’s no rush, so you can start with something smaller.

    She. It won’t be a real wedding dress. Just for pretend. So that is smaller.

    Me. Even a small dress is a lot of work. Let’s just learn the knit stitch today and see how it goes from there, okay?

    She. If I made a wedding dress for Sheba Bear that would be a lot smaller.

    Me. Do you want to knit or not?

    She. I do, but we can’t use that color because it’s not white and Sheba wants her wedding dress to be white!

    Me. That’s pretty nervy of her.

    She. Why?

    Me. Never mind.

    She. You say never mind a lot.

    Me. So. Anyway. Here is the yarn, and of course you know what else we need to knit.

    She. Needles!

    Me. Bingo. Here are our needles. Take this one in your right hand.

    She. Sheba can use the other one.

    Me. Fine, okay. Sheba can use the other one.

    She. Oh no she stabbed herself with it!

    Me. Oh, did she?

    She. She stabbed herself with the knitting needle! She stabbed herself in the ear! Oh the blood is going everywhere! She needs the emergency doctor! Ow ow ow! We have to go to the hospital so they can pull it out again or she can’t hear anything!

    (Exit, swiftly, with bear.)

    Me. Can I have my needle back, please?

    (Silence.)

    Me. Needle! I need that needle back! Bring it back, please!

    She (offstage). The operation was a success, nurse!

    Me. Smashing. Bring back my needle.

    (Enter, with needle.)

    She. Here you go. Sheba is resting now.

    Me. Great. I’ll send flowers. Shall we knit?

    She. No.

    Me. Why not?

    She. Sheba says knitting can kill you.

    (Slow curtain.)

    habit-08-16-illo

    —–

    Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book (Soho Publishing, 2016) and It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008) and proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. His publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Ply Magazine, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and Knitty.com.

    He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, Stitches Events, Squam Arts Workshops, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

    These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with a Schacht spinning wheel, two looms, and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned. Visit him at www.franklinhabit.com

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  • Yarns for a Summer Evening

    franklin_400x400Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

    Yarns for a Summer Evening

    Little Maybelline and I were sitting on the porch swing as the dusk drew in like gently felted wool. I was knitting something; I can’t remember what. Perhaps it was a new penwiper for old Mrs. Pennyfeather across the way; she had lost hers that year in the spring gale and mourned it ostentatiously.

    Maybelline drained the last of her lemonade and said petulantly, “Sing to me, Uncle Franklin.”

    It was a peculiar request, as I had never sung to her before; and in fact I am well known to have the worst voice in three counties. I declined, politely as I could. But Maybelline has never been one to let go of an idea without a fight.

    “Sing to me,” she insisted, the bow in her hair shaking in a threatening fashion. I recalled the grim fate of a rather introverted doll of hers, by the name of Ophelia, who had obstinately refused Maybelline’s repeated summons to a tea party. The heliotrope in that corner of the garden has yet to fully recover.

    Therefore I began to sing.

    * * * *

    lb-07-16-illo-final

    Old Mother Hubbard
    Went to the cupboard
    To fetch some merino in blue.
    But when she got there
    The cupboard was bare
    And so Mother Hubbard screamed,
    “How many times do I have to
    Tell you all to stay out of my stash?”

    Old King Cole
    Was a merry old soul
    And a merry old soul was he.
    He called for his pattern,
    And called for his yarn,
    And called for his hook, size E.

    Three little kittens,
    They lost their mittens,
    And they began to cry.
    And all I could think was
    What possessed me to knit clothes
    For the cats?
    Should I seek professional help?¬

    Sing a song of sixpence,
    A pocket full of yarn,
    And another pocket full of yarn.
    Has anybody seen my knitting bag?

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
    How does your sweater grow?
    I asked you please to shut your mouth
    ’Til I get to the end of this row.

    There was an old woman
    Who lived in a shoe.
    She had so much yarn,
    She had to store most of it in the second shoe.
    Good thing shoes come in pairs
    I guess.

    Hey, raddle heddle,
    The cat and the treadle,
    The cow jumped over the loom.
    The little dog said
    I told you we didn’t have
    Space in the living room
    For that thing.

    Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, knitter man,
    Knit me a sweater as fast as you can.
    Cabled and bobbled, like that one in the store,
    I will totally pay you fifty bucks
    Plus the cost of the yarn.

    Baa, baa black sheep,
    Have you any wool?
    Yes sir, yes sir,
    Three bags full.
    One for $7.50 per skein, and
    The other two are on sale
    At twenty percent off
    Because the colors are being discontinued
    So it seems this is your lucky day.

    Hickory, dickory, dock,
    The mouse has knit one sock.
    The other one
    Will never be done.
    Hickory, dickory, @#!$*.

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty was knitting a shawl.
    All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
    Asked him so many questions about it
    That he lost his place in the chart
    Messed up sixteen long rows
    And had to rip out and
    Start over.

    Mary had a little lamb
    Its fleece was white as snow
    And everywhere that Mary went
    The lamb was sure to go.
    She made the lamb into a shrug,
    And wore it to the fair.
    The color looked divine on her,
    But the neckline was wonky.

    To market, to market
    To buy a fat hen.
    Home again, home again,
    With enough yarn for
    Two afghans
    And ten pairs of socks.
    And I forgot
    To get
    The hen.

    —–

    Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book (Soho Publishing, 2016) and It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008) and proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. His publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Ply Magazine, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and Knitty.com.

    He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, Stitches Events, Squam Arts Workshops, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

    These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with a Schacht spinning wheel, two looms, and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned. Visit him at www.franklinhabit.com 

    - See more at: http://www.lionbrand.com/blog/franklin-habit/#sthash.X5C4UaYn.KlwvR9p6.dpuf

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  • Resolved! by Franklin Habit

    franklin_400x400Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

    It doesn’t get much better than this.  I sit writing to you from a  country cottage on hill, bathed in what my grandmother always called a “million dollar breeze.” A breath of fresh air so sweet, so soothing, that it couldn’t be bought for any amount of money.

    The generous friends who rescued me from a weekend of swampy heat in my city neighborhood have given me the perfect place to hammer out resolutions for the coming year.

    No, I’m not six months late. I know resolutions are supposed to be a January thing. But January in Chicago never feels like the start of something new. The winter howls along unchecked. It doesn’t care that I’ve flipped a page in the calendar and frankly neither do I. I can barely get out of bed in the morning, let alone muster the energy to reupholster my life.

    Early summer, with the buds and the windows wide open, feels like the season of possibility. This is when I make plans.

    Here’s what I have so far.

    1. I will play with at least one yarn that’s out of my comfort zone. It will not be difficult to find this yarn, because my comfort zone would fit inside a broom closet and still leave room for a couple of armchairs and a credenza. My stash is chock-a-block with quiet, solid, predictable skeins of wool and wool blends. This year–who knows? Texture? Sparkle? Leather? Dog hair? As my mother said of green beans, “You don’t have to like them, you just have to try them.” (I did try them. I still don’t like them.)
    1. I will weave in all the loose ends inside the sweater that I have been wearing for eight months without weaving in all the loose ends.
    1. I will always swatch, instead of just telling people that I always swatch.
    2. I will unravel the half-finished sweater with the fun repeating skull pattern. It seemed like such a good idea seven years ago, when I was trying very hard to be a different sort of person. I will wind up the yarn and pass it along to someone who will use it. I will make peace with the knowledge that I am never, ever going to be a fun repeating skull pattern sort of person.
    1. I will knit outdoors as much as I possibly can before it starts to snow again.
    1. When I am knitting outdoors and hear, repeatedly, “Wow, I’ve always wanted to try that–but I don’t have the time to just sit around,” I will remember that I am an Ambassador for My Craft and smile and say something encouraging. I will remember that throwing punches is not encouraging.
    1. I will finally try entrelac.
    1. I will stop saving the Really Good Yarn in my stash for an imagined Someday that is never going to come. I will use the Really Good Yarn, enjoy working with it, and enjoy the things I make with it. Nobody knows how many productive days they have left. The time for the Really Good Yarn is right now. Summer doesn’t last forever–and neither do we.

    What am I forgetting? What’s on your list?

    habit-lb-06-16-illo

    —–

    Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book (Soho Publishing, 2016) and It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008) and proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. His publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Ply Magazine, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and Knitty.com.

    He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, Stitches Events, Squam Arts Workshops, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

    These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with a Schacht spinning wheel, two looms, and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned. Visit him at www.franklinhabit.com 

    Tagged In: Read More
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