Four things

Four things that happened this morning.

1. I stayed up super late, but I got all the sweater pieces finished, and washed, and semi-blocked. By semi-blocked, I mean that I laid it out sort of orderly on the rack of the dryer, and then set it for a while, and went to bed.

2. I got up super early, so that I could hit the reset on the dryer if it was still too damp for sewing up.  Even though this means that I got way too little sleep, it was a very good call. All pieces are now dry, and in my suitcase.  I’ll sew them up when I land. After I buy buttons.  Ok. I’m a little behind. I still think it’s totally possible though.

sweaterpieces 2014-10-17

3. I drank coffee and carefully wound some yarn for the trip, then realized that I’d wound the yarn in the wrong direction (don’t laugh, this yarn totally has a direction) and decided to quickly re-wind it.  I’ve known that my ball-winder was headed for the great big yarn shop in the sky for some time – I can always tell that I’ve worn through another one when they start making breast shaped yarn cones instead of pretty cakes, but this one confirmed it’s impending absolute uselessness by being nearly completely bloody useless this morning. It made a freaky shaped yarn thing, then flung it off the winder, tangling in the tension curl, and tumbling to the floor with the other half of the ball.  (It there collected an unreasonable amount of cat hair, but that’s hardly the ball winders fault.)  It did this as my cab arrived.  I had 30 seconds to curse its vile name, put the tangled snarl into my suitcase for rescue tonight, and quickly grab something already wound.  I guess I’m making socks.

4. I drank enough coffee (see #1 and 2) that I can sort of feel my hair growing.

Maybe it’s required

This year, I swore it would be different.  This year, I swore that I would get a grip, and not do this to myself, and just opt out of the madness, because it’s totally optional. This year, when I finished Myrie’s sweater and found myself a week out from Rhinebeck, I had a moment of complete and total delusion in which I wondered if I could knit a Rhinebeck sweater in a week.  (Actually, this year it was six days.)  I sat there, and I thought about it, and I even went so far as to choose yarn and a sweater, and I calculated how much I would have to do each day, and I thought about what it was like last year, and this year, I looked at my time and energy, and my friends, I chose life.

 

I still wanted a Rhinebeck sweater though, and I thought about something that @litknitgrit on said on Twitter, when I asked if it was too late to try for one.  She said “The trick is to find one almost finished that needs sewing up and blocking. You know you have one”.  I thought about that – and you know what? She was right – or sort of right.  A little while ago (FINE. MAY 2011) my friend Andrea and i were having a little knitalong on a sweater, and I don’t know what happened, except that both of us wandered off, really close to the end.  Since then that sweater has been plunked in a bag, just waiting for me to care about it again.  I had knit both sleeves, and the better part of the body.  I was almost at the part where you divide the thing into two fronts and a back, and other than that, it just needed button bands, and buttons, and blocking, and sewing up.  This – this seemed perfect.

This year, I thought, as I pulled Acer out, and hunted up the pattern again – this year I would have a Rhinebeck sweater, and it would be easy, and I wouldn’t have to stay up all night, or put it in the oven, or sew it up in the car on the way to the fairgrounds.  This year, I had it licked. This year, I got too cocky.

sweaternotdone 2014-10-16

This year, my friends, I was wrong again.  Turns out that Acer needed more than I thought. (The tiny angry owls were probably a mistake too, time wise)  I thought I was pretty much done the body – Wrong. It needed about 8 more centimetres, and I’ve somehow only got one front done (and it’s the wrong length. I have to rip it out and add more, and last night I finished the back, but that still leaves 1.5 fronts and the button bands and the neckband, and the blocking, which is really the biggest problem, because that’s the only thing I can’t make happen really fast.  (I have a rack for the dryer. It might work, but that’s not really blocking. Still, it’s as good a day as any to cheat.) After that there’s sewing and buttons and ….

And I’m starting to think that there’s a thing with the Rhinebeck sweater. Maybe it has to be like this? Maybe it always ends in a mad dash to the finish, maybe that’s part of its charm? Who the hell knows, certainly not me, and I can’t talk about it now.  I’ve got a flight in the morning, and in the name of all things woolly and pure – I will have this sweater.

 

If a Knitter has a minute

After I finished Myrie’s sweater, I decided to follow in the grand tradition of knitting the littlest cousins matching things. (It’s not actually a tradition. I just made that up.)  it seemed a waste to not make the most of the 24 hours I had free before Thanksgiving/Myrie’s Birthday gathering to make her and Lou more knitted things.

Last week,  a promo copy of Gramma Nancy’s Animal Hats arrived here, and at first glance, I thought it was perfect.  A lot of the time when things arrive here without me asking for them, they get passed along to a knitter who will really use and love them, but this book reflects a deep truth that dwells within me.

One of the things I like best about little kids is that you can put whatever you want on them, and this book totally feeds that bizarre urge to dress a little baby up like a chicken. (Or a pig. Or a BEAVER. See? It’s totally normal.)  On second look, I wasn’t sure the book was for me.  The hats are all knitted out of Vanna’s Pride (a yarn that I’m not a huge fan of, I like natural fibres for the very young. Get them while they’re little, I say) and more than that, all the parts of the crazy cute hats were supported with styrofoam (no thank you) and put together with a hot glue gun. (Would that really work?) While it’s totally fine for you to like those things, I don’t like those things (also I dislike apple pie and mistrust most dogs)  so I almost put the book aside, then got a grip on myself and realized that I could change the yarn, and stuff things with wool roving, and sew wherever she said “glue”.  Once I had that idea sorted I was on my way to hat town, and there was no stopping me.

hatsdone 2014-10-15

One evening had the simple roll brim hats finished, and I thought once that was done, that would be the bulk of it finished.  Wrong again, knitter.  It took longer to knit all the little bits (beaks, ears, etc) than it did to knit the hats.

beaks 2014-10-15

I thought that was time consuming, and then things got wild.  I’d decided not to glue anything, and so I embroidered the yellow onto the black for the eyes (8mm felt disc) and then sewed the black to the white, then sewed the white to the hat. (The original pattern suggested that I was to disassemble a wiggle eye, and glue the parts together, then glue it onto the hat, but I kept imagining Lou chewing off the plastic discs – which are totally too small to block an airway, but still make me nervous. I feel better about a sewn on disc of felt than a glued on disc of plastic. There’s no accounting for it.)

I found it easier to get the beaks on if I put the hats over the newel post for the stairs, I used it like a huge darning egg.

sewingowl 2014-10-15

(Let us gloss over the part where Joe came home from work, and I had a baby hat over our stair-post, and was sewing an upper beak on while clutching a lower beak in my teeth. It wasn’t a super normal moment in our marriage.) The wee hats, when they were finished, were a thing of beauty.  I love them.  No, wait, that needs all caps.  I LOVE THEM.

owlsdone 2014-10-15

LOOK AT THAT. THEY ARE OWL HATS. TINY LITTLE ANGRY OWL HATS.

Best part? We can make the tiny people wear them, for they have no power.

owlhat 2014-10-15

myriewont 2014-10-15

Ok.  Maybe they have a little power. Myrie tried to eat the beak off hers, and then threw it on the ground. I believe she’ll feel differently when the snow flies. There’s nothing like super-cold weather to bring a kid round to the power of hats. She’ll get there, and even if she doesn’t?

owlsalldone 2014-10-15

OWL HATS.

That will be all.

 

 

More wool than sugar and spice

What a weekend. I charged through Thanksgiving, Myrie’s first birthday party, a quick sail, and tons of cooking and family and it was the very best kind of busy,  although I feel now like having a little lie down. Still, you come here for the wool, so let me tell you about the sweater.  Myrie, my little niece (I bet even though you don’t know her, you remember her blanket) celebrated her birthday this weekend. My relationship with Myrie is a different one than I have with my nephews. Both the boys (Hank and Lou) live close by, and we’ve been lucky to have a lot of them. Myrie lives farther away, and her mum and dad travel in different circles than we do, and their tiny family of three is perfectly, gorgeously tight. This means that while I’m absolutely thrilled that their lives are just the way that they like it, if I ran the world, that kid would be in my arms, my house and my time a lot more often than she is.

myriecake 2014-10-14

Me being a knitter, I have only one way to express this.  I can cover the child with wool like it was my arms, and try to make the things for her as special as I can, so that she knows I love her.  (Please note that I am not completely delusional. I know that a one-year old has no idea that someone really seriously busted a move on a sweater, and has no idea what vibe I’m transmitting.  She’d rather chew on the ribbon I put on the box the sweater came in- at this age, all I’m doing is pleasing her parents, and making things that maybe Myrie will look at someday when she’s much bigger, or a mother herself.)  You’d think not being as close to her as I’d like wouldn’t trigger special handknits, but oh, does it. All the time I would spend in the park, on walks, reading books… that time can all go into a sweater, and so I feel entirely mad for making something this intricate.

sweaterwhole2 2014-10-14

Myrie’s little sweater was Minni – knit out of Madeleine Tosh Sock in Antler (the cream) and Magnolia Leaf (not the cream).  The needles – in case you were wondering, were 2.25mm and 1.75mm – fiddly, I  know.   I trimmed it in green left over from a sweater last year, and I made the largest size because when you make something like this, it should fit for a while.

sweaterties 2014-10-14

It had lovely details.  The overall pattern was a ridge of garter, alternated with two rows of stockinette, but in important spots – like across the centre of the back, or at the top of the shoulder, that switched to garter, for extra stability.  I crocheted a little chain of the green along the border at the bottom, because the pattern said to, and because it was very pretty indeed.  There was no end of fussiness, but the best part was the little embroidered patch.  Since I finished early, I decided to give my idea a whirl.  The pattern came with a few little templates for the embroidery, and they were cute, but Chris, Robyn and Myrie have a sweet little dog, Olive, and I thought it would be extra cute if she was on the patch.

olivesketch 2014-10-14

I had my mother-in-law send me pictures of Olive, and I did a little sketch. When we all agreed that the little patch looked just like Olive, I held the sketch up to the window, and put a little square of linen over it so I could see through.  I transferred a few little markings to help me stay on track, and then I started embroidering the dog onto the patch.

olivepatchdone 2014-10-14

A few incredibly fiddly hours later, I had the patch done, and it was as cute as I had hoped. It personalized the sweater beautifully – it was nice work before, but a one-of-a-kind special thing after.

sweaterdown 2014-10-14

I think they loved it, and as silly as it seemed, the best part for me wasn’t the patch, it was the sweet little diaper flare over her wee bum as she crawled that really did it for me.

sweatercrawlbetter 2014-10-14

fromabove 2014-10-14

sweateron2 2014-10-14

I am totally and completely thrilled with this sweater. If a knitted thing has to stand in for you, then this, this is the sort of sweater that I’d like to have do it for me.  So completely perfect in every way.  Myrie wore it for hours and seemed to think it comfy – unlike the hat I gave her, which she ripped off and threw on the floor. (I’m not bothered by that. I hate hats too, and I bet she likes it better at -20. I’ll show you the hat tomorrow.) The little miss stayed awake long enough to be doted on by all of her adoring fans, then corked off for a wee nap in the garden, sleeping in her buggy in the cool fall air, wearing her sweater, and tucked under her blanket.

buggy 2014-10-14

It was lovely to see them being used, and I liked how it felt to me. Even if I’m not around – I’m around her.  It’s just my wool instead of me. If you’re a knitter, it’s the next best thing.

 

It’s a good day to be a knitter

I’ve been going full steam ahead on Minni, and I’m delighted to announce that after much effort and no end of fiddling around, it’s almost done. I finished the sleeve the other evening. I stayed up way too late, practically nodding off in the chair, with Joe suggesting repeatedly that I give up and send myself to bed, but I was so close, and you know how it goes… one more row…

betterbefore boerser 2014-10-10

Yesterday I picked up the million stitches that I cast on provisionally so long ago, and as I went back and forth to my meeting on the streetcar yesterday, it was somehow finished.  This morning, there was just the ends to weave in (about a thousand) and then I did the last little bit of finishing – a single chain of crochet along the border between the stripes and the plain bit.

hookingwhenIhaveto 2014-10-10

Crochet isn’t my best thing – even a chain is hard for me to make tidy, and not at all for the first time in this project, I wondered why I do this to myself? The deadline, the late nights, the fiddly bits?  It’s hard to explain, isn’t it? How you’d torture yourself a little bit, all for the sake of a wee gift?  Today, I’m finished (almost) in enough time to do the optional bit.  The original sweater has a little embroidered patch on it, and from the beginning I’d thought that maybe I’d do it, and maybe not.  I can embroider, but not quickly, and not too well, so I though that if there was time, I’d give it a go.  I’ve got the stuff together, and if it works out, I’ll sew it on, and if it turns out to be a train wreck I’ll burn it under a full moon and pretend it never happened.  I have a really cute idea for it though, if it works.

readytoembroider 2014-10-10

There’s other big news though, way bigger and way better than me struggling through a sweater of unusual fiddliness, and it’s this.

thebagisback 2014-10-10

Just a day ago, that arrived at Kelly’s Canadian address.  (Her daughter/my niece Savannah lives there.)  It is (DRUMROLL PLEASE) Kelly’s missing suitcase.  That suitcase left Madagascar with Kelly on the 31st July, and promptly went missing.  Kelly arrived, and it didn’t and within it was Kelly’s entire knitting for an entire year.  (I’m just telling you this, in case you didn’t read the entry about it last week)  Kelly has spent the last several months trying to track it down.  Many calls, many claims, many frustrating episodes with the Air Canada reps, during which nobody seemed to really understand that this wasn’t simply a lost bag, but a lost years worth of work.  As many of you said when I blogged about it, it was heartbreaking.  On October 2nd, I blogged about it.  Kell and I had talked, and we weren’t sure if anything would come of it, but we imagined that it couldn’t hurt. Maybe somewhere there was a knitter who worked for Air Canada, or the baggage company, or… we didn’t know.  At the very least it seemed like this should be a grief that was shared.  At the very least, Kelly would have the sympathies of people who understood to balance out the 47 heartbreaking conversations with customer service.

faound!  2014-10-10

It worked too – and not just because people started looking for the bag, but because Kelly read all of the comments that night, and she felt less alone, and less crazy, and she texted me that night and said “The comments made me cry. Some people really, really understand”.  We do understand too.  When Kelly wrote about the loss of the bag, she talked about what it’s like to knit for people you’re not with – people you can’t be with as much as you like. She talked about conjuring the feelings of Lou’s little arms round her neck when she knit sleeves on his sweater, or the feeling of Myrie’s soft skin which she made her a vest.  The desire to keep them safe and warm and care for them, even though she can’t from where she is.  All of that, you know… it gets poured into little knitted things, and to lose those things? I think to Kelly it felt like losing that connection.

Your gift to her went beyond that understanding though, although that would have been more than enough, I assure you.  Many of you tweeted to Air Canada, and some of you did work in the right places, and some of you had insider email addresses to people who might be able to help, and you drew attention to the nature of the disaster, and Air Canada did tweet back and say that they were looking, and I guess maybe the power of so many knitters giving the problem so much attention paid off, because just a few days ago, after months of no movement, and the certainty that the bag was gone, right after I posted about it, a courier called Savannah and said the bag was found. In London.

bettergoods 2014-10-10

The bag arrived, and Savannah opened it up, and behold, all of the things were in there.  Warm vests, little dresses, tiny sweaters, and bigger ones too.  Hats to keep little ears warm… all the things that Kelly had looked crazy knitting in Madagascar….

thegoods 2014-10-10

They’ve all found their way home, on the brink of another Canadian winter.

sweaternat 2014-10-10

It’s like a little Kelly arrived.

These things will be all her proxies.  When Katie pulls a sweater over Lou’s head, it will be like Kelly’s there to give him a hug.  When Myrie’s cozy in January, it’s Kelly who will have done it, and while she sits in the sweltering heat, far from all of it, she’ll know she’s doing her bit.  She’ll be present, in a way.

Kelly sent this little message for you:

kellythank you 2014-10-10

I would like to thank all of you for the solidarity, support, positive thoughts and activating your networks! We may never know how the bag found it’s way home but it cannot be a coincidence that only 4 days after this appeal – it was found in London!
As you know, I live very far from all of the people who mean everything to me. In my absence, a couple of very special people were born. I knit for them almost every day and all of my love goes into these little hats, sweaters and dresses. Misoatra Tompoko! (Thank you all so much).

I don’t know about you, but it’s a good day to be a knitter.  Not just because you likely organized a rescue of the most tremendous and fantastical sort, but because it reminds us why we do this.  It’s love. The things we make are beautiful, cozy, portable containers for love.  I

I can stay up late to make that happen.  It’s  magic.

Counting is hard

Last night I sat down to accomplish the 30 rounds I needed to do in order to meet my sweater deadline.  I was pretty tired, and the work’s going slowly, and I have, as Quiltyknitwit (I love your names) pointed out in the comments yesterday, lost my will on this one a little bit.  I’ve apparently also lost my ability to count (not an unusual state for a knitter) because while I was plodding towards the daily finish line, a little bell rang in the back of my mind.  It said “30? Will that work?” I took another sip of my glass of wine (because wine is a well known aid to problem solving) and thought “of course it will. Shut up brain, you’re no help.”

minnisleeve2 2014-10-08

Five minutes later, my intellect had caught up with me.  There are 120 rounds in the sleeve. If I do 30 each night for four nights, that’s it done. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Saturday I do the bands (except that’s two days work, but let’s gloss that over) and then bingo. Done for Sunday.   Except for this… Sunday is Thanksgiving. We’re celebrating two days in a row, once for each family, but that means that Saturday can’t be a big knitting day, it will be a day for shopping and cooking and roasting pumpkin and that means it will be a small knitting day, and so that won’t work.  I very intelligently thought that through, and upped the number of rounds to 40.  40 for each night, and then I’m done on Thursday, and I can do the bands Friday and Saturday, and I’m still done in time.  I patted myself for being so clever, and stayed up late to do 10 more.  I trundled off to bed, and lay there plotting out the next few days and realized two things. Thursday I have meetings that will take up some time – 40 rounds though, that should still be cake. I reminded myself to get wrapping paper, and then I remembered.  Blocking. I’ll have to block the sweater, and weave in the ends, and it will need at least 24 hours to dry (damn you damp weather) and that means… I almost got up and did 10 more rounds.  I didn’t, but today I’m going to have to pick up the pace.

In other news, a few spots (and we do mean a few) have opened up for the retreat that Debbi and I are hosting at Port Ludlow in November, and we’d love to fill them. The classes are tiny and intimate, the nicest way to learn (only about 14 or 15 people per class) and our theme this time is “Emergency 911″.  I’ll be teaching knitting rescue and repair. We’ll focus on mistakes and getting out of them, and on fixing damage to finished knitted stuff.  You’re more than welcome to bring damaged goods, and we’ll have a go.  I’ll also be more than happy to take a look at your knitting style, and see if it could be streamlined, and made more efficient and quick.  We’ll be joined by our good friend Judith MacKenzie, spinning teacher of considerable fame.   She says this about her class.

judith 2014-10-08

(That’s Judith at one of our other retreats, talking about how that there can be used for dye, and finding a rather large slug.)

“Does your wheel seem a little under the weather? Cold chills, a bit sluggish? Bring it in for a tune-up and a little tweaking. All spinning implements welcome. I have a few magic remedies that might be just what you need for good wheel health.
Does your long draw falter? Is your worsted a little the worse for wear? We’ll diagnose the problems and put you back on the road to recovery.
And do you have fiber that seems terminally unspinnable? Bring it along and we’ll see if it can be resuscitated!
Bring along your spinning implements – wheels or spindles. Bring any problem fibers. I’ll have spinning treats and fibers lovely enough to bring any wheel back from the dead!”

Sound good? Yes. I thought so too.  (This is another one of those times that I wish I wasn’t teaching so I could take that class.  My worsted is definitely a little the worse for wear.)  Also with us this time, a special treat, Carson Demers is coming.

carson 2014-10-08

Carson’s a knitter, spinner and a physiotherapist, and he specializes in ergonomics for knitters and spinners.  In the morning, his class will deal with the basics of ergonomics, and the ideas around injury prevention when it comes to knitting, and in the afternoon, Ergonomics for Spinners. He says “Time seems suspended when you’re at your spinning wheel.  Hours melt away but stress and strain can be accumulating in your body. Spinning shouldn’t hurt! In this class you’ll learn what ergonomic risk factors are, and where the exist in spinning at a wheel.  Most importantly, you’ll learn what to do to minimize them, and early warning signs that could prevent an injusry.  Safer strategies for seating,  balancing your pinning work, and of course, stretches will all be taught.”

I know, it sounds great, right? There’s more though. We’ll have little surprises and bonus stuff, and every room at the Resort at Port Ludlow has a fireplace, and a Jacuzzi tub to rest in, and of course, our signature attention to food. (If you’re running away from home, shouldn’t the food be as delicious as the time away?)

dinner 2014-10-08

Chef Dan has a lovely menu planned for us, and you’ll be served up three spectacular meals a day, and have the option to add on wine flights, paired to the meals by the sommelier at the resort.  (Just at dinner. We haven’t gone completely mad yet.)  The retreat is a spectacular, lovely treat, and it costs $845. (USD) That price includes all your meals, the three six-hour classes, and all materials. (Accommodation at the resort and the wine flights are on you. There’s nothing we can do about the price of wine, but the resort has special knitter pricing on rooms.) The retreat begins with your arrival the evening of November 14th, classes are on the 15th, 16th and 17th, and most people go home Tuesday morning, the 18th.  (I say most people, because some sneak away the evening of the 17th, after dinner and our gathering.)

portludlow 2014-10-08

If you’re interested, send us an email at StrungAlong@yarnharlot.ca, and we’ll get right back to you. Like I said, we’ve really only got a few spots left, but we’re proud of these retreats, and we think you’d love it. It’s a special thing, and a great opportunity to learn how to save your knitting, spinning, body and (depending on what you get away from when you take this break) your mind.

Now, if you’ll excuse me – I have a sleeve waiting for me. (Sigh.)

PS: Apologies, and in response to a question or two, YES. This retreat is perfectly good for beginning spinners and knitters. Only basic knitting skills are required (cast on, off, increase, decrease, knit and purl) and beginning spinners will do just fine.  If you can spin a continuous thread (of any type) you’ll be just fine. Judith has a special way with new spinners, and getting to work with Carson while you’re new can keep you from growing bad habits.

Catching up, carrying on

Home late last night, one tuckered knitter, and today I’ve made a vow to sit at my desk all day and get caught up on my work.  I love being away for events (especially since lately, I seem to go to great ones, Knit City was outstanding) but it sure throws off my my ability to get paperwork and desk work done.  Today I haven’t even put a sock on my desk – so that it can’t tempt me.  That’s a theme over the last little while.  Not casting on, or not having something with me so that I can’t cheat.  It was part of my plan for this last weekend, actually.  When I was packing to go, I deliberately underyarned myself.  I had the toe of a sock done, and knew that I’d crush the rest of the sock on the way there, and sure enough, by the time that Saturday rolled around, I had finished them.

socksdone2 2014-10-07

They’re a standard toe up (which isn’t very standard for me, but the yarn called for it) and a Men’s medium, and will go straight into the long range planning box.

socksdone3 2014-10-07

That’s pair #11 for this year, and it’s only the 7th of October, so I’m feeling like a superhero. (Note to self: it is when you are awash in confidence that things start to go wrong. Don’t let your guard down.)

(The yarn is Must Stash – Dark Side of the Moon. Out of stock at present, but back soon, I’m sure.)  Sam thoughtfully modelled them this morning before she headed out.

socksdone 2014-10-07

So, when I was packing, I knew those would be done fast – and I thought about putting yarn for another pair in the suitcase, and then I looked at the little baby sweater that’s got a deadline breathing it’s hot breath on my cheek, and I didn’t do it.  I went with just the sock, and the sweater, and I thought that would force me to work on it. I was almost right.

sweaterfloor 2014-10-07

The sweater (Minni) just needed a graft down the side, and sleeves, and then a band round the whole thing, and I keep using the word “just” but the truth is that this sweater is knit on 2.25mm needles, and it’s probably about the same work as a full size adult jumper. I keep letting its size fool me, and that’s a mistake. That’s how you end up with a deadline too close, so was trying not to underestimate it. The sweater – besides being a lot of work, is at this point, rather a lot of boring work.  I practically weep tears of ennui when I think of it, and since I usually knit to relieve boredom, rather than create it, my usual motivators aren’t working. What I needed, I knew, was no choice.  If it was my only knitting, I would have to knit it, because….well.  I have to knit.

That night, when the sock ran out in the hotel room. I turned my eye to the sweater, heaved a sigh of regret, and picked it up. Then I turned for the sleeve needles, and after a fruitless search, realized I’d forgotten them. The plan was crap. I had a whole needle roll, chock full of every size of DPN that I didn’t need, and not a single right one for the sleeves. I made it through that evening somehow – without any knitting (and without ending up in prison) and the next morning I was the first person in the marketplace, hunting up a set.

sweateronesleeve 2014-10-07

It occurred to me later, too late really, that my sock needles, the ones that I’d just finished using, were TOTALLY THE RIGHT SIZE. Panic does terrible things to a knitter.   I also managed somehow, to force up the will to not have the new sock yarn I bought wound up – even in the face of an offer from someone to do just that.  I’m proud of that moment.  Now I’ve got one sleeve done, and I need to do 130 rounds for the other sleeve, and then the bands, and a little making up, and that’s doable. As long as I can avoid casting something else on, this should be easy.

I’m thinking about putting the ballwinder and swift in the car and having Joe hide it from me for a few days. It might be the only way.

Time Lapse V.4

Just a little time now, before I head to the airport in Vancouver, and fly for home. Quickly then, I give you the story of Friday (and Saturday morning) in sock pictures. Toronto to Vancouver.

Torontosock 2014-10-06

Coffee at home.

inthecab 2014-10-06

In a taxi.

yyz 2014-10-06

With the Inukshuk at the airport.

aircanada 2014-10-06

On a flight.

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Waiting for the Canada Line Train.

skytrain2 2014-10-06

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Laura Nelkin, Kate Atherley, Indigodragonfly Kim.

ladiespumpkin 2014-10-06

What else should you do if you find a pumpkin coach?

cocktails 2014-10-06

At a Tempestuous Affair.

done 2014-10-06

(PS. The yarn for those socks is Must Stash – Dark Side of the Moon. I think it’s sold out at present, but check back, I’m sure it will go on preorder again.)

A sad knitter story

Here’s something that almost never happens.  I’m leaving for Vancouver (Knit City yay!) in the morning, and I’m ready. No running around to do, no last minute handouts or tiny balls to wind, my clothes are clean, I’ve hemmed my new jeans (sure, I’ve hemmed them three weeks after I bought them, but I’ve hemmed them) the house is tidy (enough) I’ve even made a quick run to the grocery store to make sure I don’t leave Sam with an empty fridge. (I think that last one was particularly generous of me.) I’ve got a bit more work to do, and there’s the perennial problem of the inbox, but mostly I can see a little room in this day coming my way, and I’m pretty excited.  I am bound and determined to get the body done on the Minni sweater before I head out. That’s 12 more very long rows, and then a long grafting job to join the two sides, and that seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

If that’s accomplished, then I can work on the sleeves while I’m away (not on the flight though, I save that for socks) and I’ll be onto a part simple enough to manage most of the downtime that I’m away.  I can’t see a world where I come home with this done on Monday, but I should be a whole lot closer, which is fabulous, exciting news – because even though I started this little sweater in “lots of time” it turns out that I’m made of crazy, and now the deadline is rather soon. Totally soon. I love this project, but damn it all to moths, it’s a lot more knitting than I thought.

I know I just said that I’m knitting socks on the plane, and the sweater while I’m there, and that I absolutely did just say that I can’t imagine there will be enough knitting time to finish the sweater, I am still hunting around the house for another project to take with me. You know how it goes. While it’s super unlikely that this will be the weekend that I suddenly knit eight times faster than I ever have before, and there’s not really even a remote chance that I’ll be separated from my stash for longer than I expect, and even if that happened, I’m flying to Knit City, home of a very, very nice marketplace chock full of yarn…

I still feel like taking out a little yarn insurance isn’t the worst idea I could have. You know. Just in case something bad happens – and sometimes things do.  Can I tell you about my sister-in-law, Kelly? Kelly lives in Madagascar – at least for now, and just as you’d imagine a super hot country off the coast of Africa to be, it’s not a huge knitting place.  Kelly, though, is a knitter, and her whole family still lives in Canada, and so as crazy as it makes  her look to the locals, she knits up a storm.

kellysknits 2014-10-02

That’s a selfie Kelly sent me today – she’s knitting Encompass, which I’m sure seems completely lunatic to the locals. A chunky cowl? Hard to explain in a place with no winter.

Kelly makes a pilgrimage home once or twice a year, and while she’s here she does (imagine this) all her yarn shopping for the upcoming twelve months, and brings home everything that she’s knit since the last annual wool fest.  Over comes a years worth of knitting, packed up, and back goes a years worth of yarn.  Intense, right?

Now imagine this.  Kell packed up all the beautiful things she’d made – and on top of that, she added in all the things that my niece Kamilah had knit in the four months she’d been visiting her mother there. (Isn’t that sweet? A 21 year old I taught to knit when she was tiny, knit… like.. half this stuff.)  She put it all in one suitcase together.  What had they knit?

2 Tamas

1 Quince and Co spring jumper and beret

1 Tokyo hoodie (Quince and Co, again.)

2 vintage style baby bonnets.

1 Small Thing sweater

2 Beyond Puerperium sweaters

1 Limepop sweater

A hat for Lou, and a few more things she can’t remember.

Everything was finished, except for the sleeve of Limepop. (You may be gathering that Kelly has some time on her hands in Madagascar, and you’d be right.) It’s all grey too – because that was all she had. She packed all of that into one bag, and started the trip home.  She went from Antananarivo, to Johannesburg, then London, then finally home to Toronto.  She arrived… and (deep breaths knitters, this is hard to hear) the bag didn’t.  She had three pieces of luggage, and two arrived, and the one with all the knitting was AWOL.  All of it, gone.  Now, Air Canada is usually pretty good about luggage, and stuff usually isn’t totally lost, it’s delayed.  A tag comes off, something – and somebody finds it, and matches it up with the baggage description, and you get it back.  I mean, sometimes it takes a while, but you get it back, and this is what Kelly has been thinking, except for now it’s been 60 days, and things look very grim indeed.  Kelly’s been phoning and checking and ever so nicely bothering them, but it turns out that one knitter’s treasures are a drop in the bucket when it comes to Air Canada’s luggage hunting abilities, and so we’re going to kick it old school.

I’m throwing up the knit signal for Kelly.  If you work for Air Canada in any of those cities (except Antananarivo- Kelly’s looked there herself) then we’d love your help. The bag looks like this:

kellysbag 2014-10-02

Except in that picture it looks purplish, and really it’s grey and black. It’s a Mountain Equipment Co-op Fasttrack 70L.  It’s bag tag (if it still has one) is SA771262, and the name on the bag would be Kelly Dunphy, or Ben Chapman.

I know there’s not much hope, and I know that Air Canada has probably done all the reasonable things that the do to find bags, but c’mon. This is one whole year of knitting – and there’s no way to explain to them the degree of loss. If anybody knows anybody who knows anybody who could help, we’d be so grateful. That’s a lot of presents and hard work to lose – not to mention the investment of time and yarn.

Go forth and hunt, my knitters, and thanks for the gasp I heard over the internet when you read that it was all gone. I bet it made Kelly feel way less crazy.

PS. You know how they don’t let the Queen and the Heir travel together, or the President and the Vice-President? I’m going to start thinking that way about my knitting. Split it up. Safer that way.

Randomly, on a Tuesday

1. Today is our wedding anniversary.  Remember that? Joe and I totally snuck that up on the blog, and now eight years have snuck up on us.  We’re as happy as ever (or at least I am, and if Joe’s not he’s really good at faking it) and still think that it was a brilliant decision.

2. We should really get around to taking that honeymoon.

3. I thought that I’d spend today playing catch-up. This place is trashed, and my inbox is exploding, and I’m getting ready for a trip to Vancouver this weekend, and Edmonton in a few weeks. I’m giving a talk (or doing knitting stand-up, depending on how you look at it) Friday October 24th.  There’s info in that link, but I don’t get out that way often, so I hope you’ll come out if you live near there.

4. I am all about the socks these last few weeks. I was aiming for a pair every 28 days, so I’d have several pairs in the pile for Christmas, and the two pairs I’ve made in the last little bit make pairs number nine and ten, and it’s October tomorrow, and that’s the tenth month, and I feel pretty awesome about that.

samtablesocks2 2014-09-30

(Yarn is Lang Yarns Jawoll “Aktion” I’ve forgotten the colour number, pattern is my basic one from Knitting Rules, and needles were 2mm.)

samtablesocks 2014-09-30

A nice big pair, men’s large, ready to be tucked away. I make all these socks with people in mind – I know who they’re for while I’m making them. When I’m done, I write the name on a slip of paper, and put them away in a ziplock so that when I pull these out for the holidays I can remember what my plan was.

stripes2 2014-09-30

(Yarn: Desert Vista Dyeworks Viso, in “Convo me” Pattern, I started with a picot hem, did a short row heel, and finished with my standard toe. I didn’t pick up the wraps on the wrap-and-turn short row heel. Nothing bad has happened. Needles: 2.25mm.)

didntpickupwraps 2014-09-30

Together with my current sock, it’s an impressive pile for just a few weeks.  I’m cool with it.

darksideofthemoon 2014-09-30

5. I have got to quit with the socks though, because the deadline for the baby sweater I’m making is coming up, and I don’t want it to end all in a rush. Like it always does.

6. Did you notice that everyone’s favourite sock model is here today?

sammodel 2014-09-30

That’s because yesterday, my sweetie-girl Sam came home to her mother, just where she belongs. (She’s going to just love that I said that.)  It takes a brave person to move out into their first apartment. It takes an even braver one to admit that she wasn’t ready, and high-tail it straight back home to re-group and re-plan.  That’s what this place (and your parents) are for.  I’m so happy she’s here, and I think she is too, and there’s just one thing that we didn’t bargain for.

7. She came back with a hedgehog.

8. While I am not completely thrilled with living with an extremely grumpy African Pygmy Hegehog named Marty, Joe points out that out of all the living things she could have acquired and brought home to us, a hedgehog isn’t that bad.

martysam 2014-09-30

9. That’s the attitude that’s kept us married.