Photobooth Cardi

This is the Knitty Gritty Jacket as seen by Apple’s Photobooth software. đŸ™‚ It’s really quite warm even in my cold basement where some electrical problem keeps switching the space-heater off.

A couple of days before I left for Burbank I had an article due for Crochet Today. I was writing it on our old laptop (a road warrior that’s been dropped multiple times by the inquiring hands of Baby Jay). I don’t usually write on the laptop but we had house guests in my studio. Anyway, I had just finished the article, when it was time to put the baby to bed. I put him down for his nap and when I returned, laptop was dead. kaput. permanently. I ended up re-writing the article that night, but I spent the afternoon at a computer repair guy’s house where he tried to get it going again to save my article (ironically, he was able to retrieve it the day after I re-wrote the piece). I was standing in the driveway getting ready to call James to consult about the computer when I dropped my phone on the pavement. The lens of the camera phone shattered. The phone seemed otherwise unhurt, but I use the camera feature all the time for work and fun, and since I have insurance on the phone, I called to get it replaced. A new phone arrived the next day. What I didn’t realize until I got to Burbank, was that the replacement phone was defective. I could make calls, but the recipient couldn’t always hear me. It was very frustrating. So what I had with me on my trip, essentially was a low-quality camera with text-messaging capabilities. It did the job and the phone has been replaced a second time now that I’m back.

All of this electronic madness helped me not to think about the whole being on tv thing the last week before the trip. I also felt pretty calm from the time Cecily picked me up at the Burbank airport, and the time we entered the studio on Monday morning. Our first stop was Porto, a cuban cafe where I had a grilled sandwich and Cecily loaded up on pastries to take home. We stopped in at Unwind looking for LARGE stitch markers. (I’d been using paper clips up till now to mark stitches on my huge size 17 needles. (The folks at Knitty Gritty thought that was awesome, so you’ll see them on the show). No luck at Unwind, so we went to CVS where I bought little ouchless hair elastics that were the PERFECT size.

Cecily took me to Little Tokyo on Sunday afternoon–we had a great time! I wanted to go because she had told me about a great bookstore where you could get Japanese crochet books. While we were walking towards the bookstore I spotted the Japanese $.98 store. I. love. dollar. stores. I love this dollar store even more–cool stuff from Japan–cheap. Stocking stuffers were bought. Loads of kitchy office supplies, many bamboo chopsticks destined to be kids’ knitting needles. I have to say, I wasn’t the only one who was racking up a $40 bill at the dollar store, but Cecily was more restrained than I was. At the bookstore, I bought a Tunisian crochet book and one on finger knitting. The japanese not only finger knit the way we learned as children, they also cast on stitches onto one finger, and knit them off onto the other, they finger crochet elaborate pieces of fabric in a similar way.

Later at the Studio, when Cecily and I were recounting the dollar store to Annie Modesitt, another dollar store fan, we all mused about opening a store of dollar stuff from around the world. “Worldy Crap.” Annie quipped. I love it. (Annie was there with Drew to film an episode with dogs!)

After Little Tokyo, we scooped up Cecily’s guy Rob and went out for Ethiopian food (see photo, below of the two of them at dinner). They then dropped me off back at the Hilton so I could catch up on sleep. (I had started my day at 3 a.m. Eastern time). Back in the hotel, there was a knock at the door, “Room Service!”

“I didn’t order room service.” I replied.
“It’s complimentary.”

I open the door. “You must be from the east coast,” says the accented bell-hop as he breezes into my room and sets the basket of fruit and snacks on my desk. He left before I could scramble for a tip. Why the east coast? Because I don’t assume I should be receiving free gifts from the hotel?

I did get to sleep by 9pm despite having to change rooms because of strange construction debris in the bathroom. The Hilton is a nice, comfortable place, but I had very strange dreams while I was there.

Cecily picked me up at 7 a.m. which was so nice because she’s not a morning person–Cecily was my hero throughout this experience. She shuttled me around and was a wonderful host, showing me her favorite spots in LA and the ones she thought I would enjoy the most (we got lost and ended up at K-Mart which turned out to be fun for both of us! I bought tea towels and pencil grips to use as crochet hook grips.)

Once at the studio, I got breakfast at the Craft Services Table (Stephanie, who is known for her insatiable curiosity asked everyone why this was called a “craft services” table. NOONE on set had any idea, and there was no wifi to be found, so we had to wait. I did guess that “craft” meant the craft of acting, so I’m pleased to see my guess in the right direction.)

I rehearsed with Stephanie Girard because my producer Lorelei was taping. The rehearsal was very helpful. It gave me a good idea of how the show would flow and gave me a bit of work to do changing adding to my step-outs. (Not so much work that Cecily and I couldn’t run off and have fun).

We got out of the studio at around 3:00 and dashed down to the Garment District. I loved seeing all the small shops bursting with beautiful colors and textures. There are whole allies full of beads, stores devoted to tartans, others just for Hawaiian prints. We shopped at Michael Levine–a big craft and fabric store. I bought some lovely wool felt that will become xmas gifts, a bit of Hello-Kitty fleece for Selma, and some *real* oil-cloth (which is normally very hard to find, not to mention expensive) to make a tablecloth. The scraps will become handbags, I think.

On Monday night we went to Paru’s, an all-vegetarian Indian restaurant which was locked from the outside–you had to ring a bell to get in, so I felt as if we were entering a private club or Speak-easy, but inside it was warm and friendly. The food was delicious–South-Indian, focusing on curries. I felt truely nourished. On Monday, Cecily stayed with me at the Hotel, we knit, she helped me TONS with step-outs, and we watched Heros and Studio 60. I still wasn’t nervous.

Tuesday morning, it finally all started to feel real. I got dressed and blew-dry my hair. I put on some powder, blush and lipstick (way more makeup than I ever use), and we were off. I was “second show,” which meant we didn’t start filming until 11. I had lots of time to get nervous, but I also got to hang out with Stephanie, Michael and my knitsters. I rehearsed again, this time with Lorelei, the makeup lady pinned back my hair (which I wasn’t too happy about because I never wear it that way, but of course they dont’ want hair in your eyes), and we were off!

My episode took FIVE HOURS to film. Everyone said this was longer than usual, but no one seemed to be upset about it because they all loved the subject matter–Math for Knitters–I was teaching how to customize a sweater from scratch and I had to slowly walk through each and every calculation. I did have a good time. Vicki Howell was supportive and friendly, the crew was great–my knitsters were awesome. I’d do it again. definitely.

After taping I went out for dinner and drinks with Stephanie Pearl McPhee and Cecily. I got a chance to give Michael a quick hug before Cecily took me to the airport. I boarded a 9:25 p.m. flight, and I was in Baltimore by 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday. James took Wed. off so I could catch up on sleep, but by 2:30 I was teaching a class of tweeners in Bethesda.

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