Thursday, July 16, 2009

Needles to say...

You may have wondered about the title of my blog or maybe not...I’m going to tell you anyway. Back in the early 90’s there was a lovely magazine called ‘Machine Knit America’ and I was a fairly regular contributor for most of the 6 years of their duration. Many of the experiences I had with them shaped some of my quirks for K’words - more on that another time!
In Vol 2 No 1 (July 1992), I had a design they called ‘Canadian Cooler’ - totally dumb name, considering the jacket was made with DK wool, nothing cool about it and, in the previous issue, I had a 2 piece threadlace outfit they had named ‘Strawberry Cooler’. I’m sure you may see some of my motivation for the names of the designs in K’words!
They had certain ways of wanting things said and done in their magazine, which is their right, of course and I had to follow their format. Anyway, it was such a popular design that I re-knit it, made a few changes and published it as a single pattern pamphlett in 1995. I had made the jacket many times, having done several hands-on workshops with that pattern, both locally and nationally.
January 1996, I received a letter from a lady in Florida - really just copies of 2 previous letters, reprinted from her computer files, that she wrote to the editor of MKA. The first was dated October, 1993. In it, she explains she made the ‘Canadian Cooler’ and although happy with her finished product, she found the experience to be ‘very hard, frostrating and time consuming to make something and it does not go together very well. I sure hope, that this Lady proofs her Knitting.’ Her letter was so full of errors, it was hard to tell if they were typos, spelling mistakes or just how she talked. She outlined her troubles and, using her own brand of abbreviations and words, told how she fixed the glaring problems in the pattern. Another of her comments ‘Everything was fine until I got to the Nick band. 70 stitches? Even a very thin person would not fit this. I made it 120.’ ( I still have my original notes, using 140 sts, but somehow MKA changed it to 70 sts.) Marie continued to tell of the changes she made to the pattern, and ended with ‘It is very hard and time consuming to make it look nice. Well, needles to say, with my next garment I was smarter...I do hope, this writing does not get too long and booring. I also hope, that you will respond to my letter.’

January 18, 1996, Marie again writes to the editor of MKA, saying she never received a reply to her earlier letter. She had recently attended a seminar in Tampa where a demonstrator had a ‘folder of the very same "‘Canadian Cooler" and when I looked, I found, that there been a lot of improvments in the Pattern, some been my suggestions. Needles to say, I felt very hurt about this. Nobody ever contacted me in any way, and yet, some of my suggestions been used. Again I would like to say "it would be nice, if you would answer your mail. I am sure you get a lot of mail, but in all this time, surely you could had found a couple of minutes to answer. Afterall, I do buy your magazine or at least I did in the past.’

By the time I got to the end of her second letter, I was laughing so hard, I could barely hold the pages and I kept saying, ‘needles to say...I just love that - one day I’ll use it!!’
Anyway, I did send her a hand written note (I kept a copy of it too)
Jan 26/96
Dear Marie, I was very concerned, upon reading your letters, that you have had such an experience. It was never brought to my attention there was any problem with the ‘Canadian Cooler’ pattern in MKA. I must say you seem to be a very determined knitter to have overcome all of the problems. Keep up the good work! I am sending you a complimentary copy of the slip cable jacket as my way of apologizing for the situation. Sincerely, Mary Anne

I never received an answer.


Marlene said...

Don't you mean "needles to say you never got no answear"?

Cindy said...

I always wondered about the title; thanks for the history. Just recently, I picked up three or four old issues of MKA in a thrift store. Now I will have to look for your designs in them!