Many of us knitters read the KnitU email list that XRX publications sponsors. For many years, a very nice woman named Gail was the moderator. And since KnitU is the most heavily moderated email list I have ever been on, it was a lot of work! She read every single post, passing on ones she approved, and commenting on nearly every one of them. It was more of a list where people wrote her than a list where people exchanged ideas with each other, because there was always the intermediary commentary. Luckily, it was usually quite enjoyable, part of the unique KnitU charm. I never really posted much to the list, though, because I mostly knit socks, love to knit socks, and love to write about socks, and Gail had very strong anti-sock feelings. After having my one feeble attempt to ask something sock-related sweetly put down, I decided to lurk on that list. I do realize most people found it a charming quirk, so I decided it must be my issue, not hers (but ya know, I don't like Lion Brand Homespun yarn, but I don't make fun of anyone who mentions it--I figure they are entitled to have different experiences and preferences from mine).
Still, I enjoyed reading what Gail had to say other than the sock thing, and was as sad as the rest of the knitting community to hear of her sudden passing. She had a lot of knowledge to share, and was very kind to others. There are lots of places where you can read about how to contribute to her favorite charity. A nice place, with a very nice tribute, is Dez Crawford's blog. Consider doing something in memory of a woman who gave a great deal to the knitting community!
Mary Walker Phillips also passed away recently. I had just been thinking of her when I found the Counterpanes book she wrote among my recently unearthed knitting books. I remember thinking that I hadn't really seen many other resources on these cool knitted squares--so it was interesting to read about it in the obituary (linked above). Now, I am not sure if Miss Phillips really hated socks herself, but the person writing the obituary seemed to feel that she felt her work was somehow "better" than the work of a sock or sweater knitter--and really put down anyone who was so unimaginative as to "just" follow a pattern. The obituary writer made quite a few swipes at the humble sock!
Humph! There is a world of creativity possible with socks, and that was even before the New Pathways series started! And even if you follow a pattern, it's just a suggestion. Nearly everyone I know veers off from the pattern's instructions in some way or another, not to mention the art of pairing pattern with yarn!
Still, I am grateful that people like Mary Walker Phillips showed up to shake up the knitting community, demonstrate how knitting can be used in art, and reveal that there is a lot more to the craft than taking your skein of Red Heart and making a ripple afghan (which you are still free to do if you want to--I do sometimes!). Do read the obituary--she sounds like a pretty fascinating person. I hope her last years were peaceful--Alzheimer's is a hard way for a creative person to go.