Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two Books In My News

Did you miss the launch reading of The Honeybee Man? Never fear - I'll be reading it again next Sunday, April 10 at BookCourt (163 Court Street in Cobble Hill),  from 11:00-12:00. I'll also be doing a bee-related craft with the kiddies, so please come on down!

Long before she discovered the delights of bees and honey, my daughter, Ada, was crazy about clothes. And here I mean crazy in a frenetic, difficult and daily challenging way. It took me a long time to understand that it was her extreme sensitivity to the things she was wearing – socks, shoes, shirt sleeves under sweaters, the label stitched at the back of her dress – that caused every morning to culminate in a boneless, shrieking meltdown as we tried to get out the door. To other parents who find themselves desperately attempting to cope with Tactile Defensiveness, here's a book that's certain to help: I'll Tell You Why...I Can't Wear Those Clothes, by my oldest friend on the planet, Noreen O'Sullivan. Its interactive format offers the opportunity not only to talk to your children about what plagues them, but for them to explain themselves as well. Noreen's currently working out US distribution, but the book is available to order on Amazon UK right this minute (just follow the link). I wish I'd had this in my motherly arsenal way-back-when!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Meet Renée

That's right, Renée is a tiger pelt. A knitted tiger pelt, to be precise.

This gorgeous and exacting wool specimen was created, on three sets of circular needles over the course of about three months, by artist Ruth Marshall, who I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing yesterday at the Museum of Arts and Design. Not in time to grace the pages of ASTOUNDING KNITS, alas, but in plenty of time to appear in the Fall 2011 of Twist Collective. While I'm busily writing her profile, visit Ruth and her ever-growing tribe of tigers, ocelots and snakes.
Ruth and a nameless - though nevertheless technically excellent - ocelot.

Monday, March 21, 2011


To all my old friends and new who attended the launch of THE HONEYBEE MAN, a humongous THANK YOU for making the event such a great success. powerHouse Arena was sold out of books by the time I left the building. Wow!

I hope you all enjoyed learning a little about honeybees – and here I need to proffer another giant thank you to apiarist John Howe for sharing his knowledge, not to mention those excellent sparkly bee antennae. NYC Beekeeping, which John founded a decade ago, is an excellent source for learning even more about these vital, pollinating members of our community, especially if you think you might be interested in becoming an apiarist yourself.

Finally, I share here two more terrific reviews. It's such a thrill to know that the book is out there in the world, being read and appreciated.

She Is Too Fond of Books
The Record

Friday, March 18, 2011


Dear friends:

I can't wait to see you all at the powerHouse Arena in DUMBO for the launch of THE HONEYBEE MAN, this Sunday from 4:00 to 5:00 PM! Here's a fascinating bee fact to get you in the mood: honeybees actually prefer to forage for nectar and pollen in trees, such as Brooklyn's own myriad lindens. Why? Simple - more flowers per square inch than in your average flower garden. Apiarist John Howe will have lots more facts to share on Sunday – come with your questions!

Meanwhile, here's a fabulous review of the book by a librarian in Wisconsin.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

For My Friends in Japan

This ASTOUNDING entry was created by Kiyoko Yoshikawa of Kyoto. Positively famous in some international knitting circles for her amazing little book, FOOD KNITS, a few years ago Kiyoko turned her needles to knitting up animals - this one, for the sportswear company Descente.

Feeling utterly useless from this distance of thousands of miles, I virtually offer this extraordinary handmade penguin today in honor of all my friends in Japan – those I've heard from and know to be safe, and those from whom we are still awaiting word.  And much love and optimistic wishes to all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


 Hungry for knits?  ASTOUNDING KNITS features Kiyoko Yoshikawa's luscious bento boxes and whole roasted fishes; and such knitted dainties as Leslie Sudock's Passover feast (excerpts pictured below). For two years, Sudock toiled at her task, stitching up not only the usual assemblage of  bitter herbs, shank bones and roasted eggs, but also items that make appearances on seder plates in some progressive homes: potatoes, beets, oranges. And an olive branch, she says, "in recognition of the shared suffering of the Palestinian people...."  Some of the strands this 50-something grandmother used to knit the meal came from a stash she started amassing in high school. What yarn junkie doesn't relate?

ASTOUNDING KNITS hits bookstores March 27, 2011. 

Leslie Sudock's seder plate...

...and gefilte fish platter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy 0th Birthday to THE HONEYBEE MAN!

Back jacket illustration by Kyrsten Brooker
Today, MARCH 8, is official publication day. To celebrate, here are 8 FACTS about honeybees and THE HONEYBEE MAN. Have some facts of your own to share? Post them posthaste!

1. Honeybees were domesticated even in long-ago times. The Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians; ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all kept bees for their honey.

2. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that honey distilled in water would dissolve gold, rendering it liquid and therefore, drinkable.

3. Now as then, one honeybee can travel up to 8 MILES a day to forage for nectar and pollen.

4. If this tireless bee were to reach her full life expectancy of 12 weeks, she could fly a total of 672 miles - that's the distance from Brooklyn, NY to Lafeyette, IN. 

5. And still, this bee, having visited tens of thousands of flowers, would collect only enough nectar to make 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.

6. Some of a honeybee's favorite flowers are:
     Black cherries
     Sweet pepperbush
     Purple flowering raspberries
     Woodland sunflowers
     Black-eyed Susans
     Blueberries & Cranberries

7. Fred, the apiarist in THE HONEYBEE MAN, takes his likeness from illustrator Kyrsten Brooker's Grandpa Fargey, a dedicated flower gardener whose beautiful peonies Kyrsten (and no doubt, a fair number of bees) remembers with great fondness. 

8. John Howe, for years an apiarist in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and the founder of the NYC Beekeeping meet-up, was the heart and brains behind Fred. He told me almost everything I know about honeybees and even introduced me to his hives. Even though until March 2010, it was illegal to keep honeybees and other "wild animals" in New York City. Now, almost everyone seems to have gone crazy for urban bees and honey!

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    While You Wait for Spring, Warm Up With Some ASTOUNDING KNITS!

    Now available for pre-order! 

    "Silver Darlings," knit of 0.25 mm copper wire by Anita Bruce.

    Close-up of Theresa Honeywell's motorcycle cozy. 

    Robyn Love's "Knitted Mile" awaits unfurling...

    ...through the streets of Dallas, Texas.
    "Knitted Mile" Photos by Shannon Stratton.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    MEANWHILE, back in the land of knitting...

    ... Astounding Knits: 101 Spectacular Knitted Creations and Daring Feats (Voyageur Press) hits bookstore shelves on March 24. This book was great fun to write - and hopefully, will be great fun to read! It features some truly amazing artists and craftspeople: from Dave Cole and his "Knitting Machine," which stitched up an enormous American flag using utilities poles and excavators as needles, to Alasdair Post-Quinn, whose revolutionary double knitting features one pattern on the front and an entirely different pattern on the back; from Tatyana Yanishevky's anatomically correct flower garden, to Helen Pynor's representations of human organs knitted up with strands of human hair. From the sublime, to the outrageous, and everything in between, this book will be available soon for pre-order via my website. Look for it!
    Tatyana Yanishevy's incredible passionflower, top; and hibiscus.