The Knit Signal

This morning, at approximately 9:56 am, an email was received by this reporter from Ron Miskin. Although this informant is involved with The Buffalo Wool Co, this email didn’t concern bison in the slightest, which was odd and slightly disappointing, but he’s a nice man, so I read on.  Ron was writing to relate a tragic story, and pleading (Ok fine,  he was just asking) me to consider making public a sock crisis out of Oklahoma.

Approximately 21 hours ago, a very nice knitter named Britt was travelling through Oklahoma City airport when she spotted a single hand knit, self striping sock on the floor. Recognising its worth instantly, Britt retrieved the sock and somehow managed to convince the airport to make an announcement.  As we can all imagine, trying to explain why this sock was worth more than a regular sock would have been accomplished at great risk to Britt’s reputation, and she has my profound respect for pressing on though what must have been a period of time in which she was regarded as absolutely nuttier than a home made granola bar.

reinactment 2014-07-23

(This photo is from a dramatic reenactment of the airport sock crisis. This is not the actual sock, and that’s my kitchen floor, rather than an airport. The real sock is probably different. This is just one that I had handy and any resemblance to any really lost sock is purely coincidental.)

Unfortunately for the knitter who’s dropped the sock, nobody responded to the announcement, and Britt (again, at great peril to her reputation) somehow convinced the airport that a single sock was an object of great value, and must go into the lost and found. (I will pause here to allow you once again, to imagine this conversation and feel respect for Britt grow in your heart.

This single completed sock now resides in the lost and found box at the Oklahoma City airport, alone, unloved and likely, deeply misunderstood. Somewhere, a knitter is opening his or her knitting bag, pulling out the nearly completed second sock, and is staring, shocked into the empty knitting bag, and thinking “Are you *&^!ing kidding me?” while wondering where in their travels the sock was lost to them.  Our task? To reach that knitter, and tell them to take heart. Their sock has been found, and it is waiting for them, because out of the thousands of people who wandered through the Oklahoma City airport that day, their sock was lucky enough to encounter someone who knew what it was, knew what it would mean to lose it, and rescued it. Cheers Britt. You’re a good egg.

In case that sock is your sock,  the link to Britt’s original Ravelry post is here.

Quickly, and standing up

Hi guys, this is a driveby blogging, since I spent the day riding and hunting up the bits and pieces that I need to camp for the nights ahead of me. (Have I ever mentioned the camping? It’s not my favourite part of the rally.) Now I’ve got a little time left over in my day, and our good man Pato is coming over to help me adjust my new bike seat. (It’s not good people, not good. Hopefully Pato can fix it. He’s handy like that.)  If I hustle through that, I’ll have a nice evening ahead of me, with some knitting in it, and I can’t sacrifice that, or I’ll be screaming in the street.  (The pressure might be getting to me a little.)

Still, seemed like a good time for more presents, and behold!

From Caroline over at Wool For Brains, we have this lovely handwoven project bag.

Carolinebag 2014-07-22

I know, handwoven! I know that Mother Seraphima will love it. (Not that a nuns Karma was ever in doubt, but how lovely to see her name come up!)

Last year Christina won a pretty skein of yarn, and so this year she’s paying it forward, a lovely skein of merino/rayon/nylon handdyed (by her two little hands) sock yarn

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and she’ll be sending that along to Sue P.

Deb Moran, designer of the fab pattern for these socks Roadtrip to Rhinebeck

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would like to make five knitters days a little nicer, so she’ll be sending digital copies to Bethany A, Jen K, Edie S, Sarah G and Allison R.

Next up, well  just hold onto your socks. (On the needles, or otherwise.)  Liz S has taken full leave of her senses, and in an incredible display of love and generosity, is offering up the most amazing chunk of her stash.  Three cheers for Liz!

Cascade 220 Superwash -  4 skeins, going out to Suzanne T.
cascade220super 2014-07-22
Cascade Pima Silk -  13 skeins going out to Chris M.

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Debbie Bliss Eco Aran – 5 skeins, going off to the email that starts with Redvan.

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Debbie Bliss Eco – 5 skeins headed straight to Michelle F.

debbieblisseco 2014-07-22

Queensland Super Aussie -  8 skeins, going out to Allison C.

queensland 2014-07-22

100% Wool (hot pink yarn)  4 skeins for Michelle E.
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Berroco Linsey 8 skeins for Michelle B.

linsey 2014-07-22

Cascade 128 Superwash 2 skeins for Vicki K.

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Rowan Truesilk 3 skeins for Nancy R.

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Valley Yarns Southwick, 13 skeins for Katie D!

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Once again, thanks so much to everyone who’s participating.  It’s an amazing thing, what’s happening.  Everyone on our little family team is a top fundraiser, and they’re getting there one little bit at a time, and we are all so grateful. In case you’ve somehow missed what we’re doing, we’re riding Toronto to Montreal (leaving Sunday, yikes) in support of the People with Aids Foundation.  If you make a donation to anyone on our little team:

Me

Jen

Ken

Samantha

Amanda

Pato

and then send an email to me at Stephanie@yarnharlot.ca with “Enter me” as the subject line, and give me your address, and whether or not you’d like to be in it for spinning gifts, or just knitting, then you’re in for the draws, and there’s a lot (and I mean, a lot) left to give away!

See you tomorrow. I’m off to knit and ice my arse.

I think they have a calendar

We have squirrel problems. I know I’ve mentioned this. I even wrote a story about one particular furred lunatic in Yarn Harlot.  That one stole fleece and yarn, and generally had a wool fetish that was a wonder to behold.  Anything I put out there to dry, he was off with – right up until Rams and Presbytera invented the squirrel deterrent system way back in 2007.  (I still use that. Works a treat – although it could also be that the squirrel in question has passed from this earth to his eternal wool laden reward. Squirrels still try to get into my yarn and wool, but not with the fearless aggression of the squirrel of 2007-2009. That little arsehole was legend.)

The trouble doesn’t end with the yarn though, and I dare say that out of everything the squirrels have screwed with over the years, the wool and yarn (while being the most enraging and deeply personal of the attacks) has been the least expensive. These insensitive members of the order rodentia have ruined wiring, chewed multiple holes in our roof so that they can nest in our attic, stripped shingles off the porch for no reason other than their own entertainment, and have taken to crapping in just about the most offensive spots in my garden.  They are completely unafraid of all humans, simply can’t be scared off of any part of the urban landscape and while you’d expect their wool fetish to endear them to me, It doesn’t.  Far from feeling a sense of camaraderie or understanding for a little mammal just trying to keep warm in the harsh Canadian winter, I have always felt that the squirrels attacks on my person and property were personal.

Joe, who hates squirrels as much as I do, does occasionally try to talk me down. The squirrels are, he maintains, simply trying to do what we do.  They just want to have a nice home, keep warm, get enough to eat, have a nice family… they’re just being… squirrels. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing loving or generous in his heart for them. He just thinks that when a squirrel rips a hole in your roof and gives birth in your insulation, that they’re running on instinct, not making a personal attack on us based on who we are as people. This doesn’t stop him from calling them names while we write the cheque to the roofer, but you dig where I’m going. (For the record, if I was a roofer, I would LOVE squirrels.  I would have a squirrel stencil on the side of my new car that the squirrels bought for me when they chewed through another twelve roofs. I would feed them bon-bons off my porch and sit around with my electrician friends toasting chewed through wiring in attics and making plans to go to the Bahamas together. I would be talking about how we could encourage Toronto’s squirrel population. In short, if I were a Toronto roofer, the only animal I would love more than squirrels is freakin’ raccoons.)

Up until now, I’ve felt a little bit like Joe was right.  I mean, I like wool, they like wool, I like to be warm, they like to be warm… their existence probably isn’t the attack on my personhood that it feels like.  I shouldn’t take it so personally, you know what I mean? Sure.  Then yesterday morning I headed outside to go on the last official training ride of this year.  The bike rally rolls out on Sunday, and I think we’re ready.  I had my bike tuned up a couple of weeks ago, because really, there’s nothing worse than a broken bike on the road, and you want to make sure that everything is in good working order, but on the other hand, you don’t want to make any last minute changes to the bike.

I pulled my bike out of the little roofed bike spot in the back, and put my hand on the seat to turn it.

eatenseat 2014-07-21

THE %^&*&^%$#ing SQUIRRELS HAVE EATEN MY BIKE SEAT. Took a big freaking chunk out of it, and they ate my seat-bag too.  Just gnawed it the freak up, and scratched the hell out of the inner tube that was in there, and let me be clear, that’s all that was in there. Bike repair stuff.  Not bike repair stuff smeared with peanut butter, and my seat wasn’t sprayed with the pheromones of another squirrel in heat, and there is no reason, my friends, no damned reason at all for a squirrel to EAT YOUR BICYCLE SEAT.  That’s not squirrels being squirrels. That’s not instinct.  There’s nothing in wreaking my bike that supports the betterment of that squirrels life, unless we include his personal satisfaction.

eatenseatbag 2014-07-21

That, my friends, was personal.  More than that, it was rather mean, and disturbingly prescient. My bike has been outside all summer. All spring and summer. Every day.  There’s been ample opportunity to eat my freakin’ seat if the urge was there. Did they? No- no, they waited. Biding their time, lingering by the bike and whispering to each other “Wait… not yet. Be patient. We must not eat the seat until no time at all remains to break in another saddle before the rally. Restraint, my brethren.  Soon we eat the seat.”

Freakin’ squirrels.

Presents!

Last night I finished the sock, and I’m not totally sure that I’m in love with my solution – but we shall see.  I’d post a picture but I might yet rip it back – For now I’m trying to start the second one of the pair, and for the life of me can’t remember what cast-on I used, or what changes I made to the pattern.  I have no idea why I didn’t write it down. It’s like I’m new or something.

I’m going to distract you with a big round of Karmic Balancing gifts.

First, two presents from long time friend of the show, Susan of Spinning Bunny Fame.  She’s got a wonderful gift of Hand dyed Blue Lagoon blue face Leicester / silk (4oz), hand dyed Caribe cultivated silk (2oz) plus her Chatty Shawl pattern.
spinbunnyfibre 2014-07-16

Good thing that Leigh W is a spinner, I bet she’ll make good use of it.

That’s not enough love from Susan, so she’s also got two skeins of her pretty hand dyed Woody, and her Art Deco sock pattern for Kat M.

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Next up, a gorgeous 30g mini-skein set from Modeknit’s “MidWife Speaking” series. It’s lovely fingering weight superwash yarn.

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I hope that Lise F really loves it.

See this fun stuff?

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It’s some crazy fun yarn, courtesy of Heidi, Knit Collage “Gypsy Garden” in Bubblegum.  It’s wildly nifty to knit, and I hope that Breeanna S can think of something awesome to make with it. (There’s suggestions on that page.)

Here’s a big one, Elizabeth H, Dotty W, Mary L, Pilaar Y, KJ. EtoshaMa, Donna, Shelia P, Marla G and Stephanie NB are all getting a present from Tanya Luescher!

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She has some beautiful shawl patterns, and each of those ten lucky knitters will get two for free! Shazam!

Heads up on this one, because the good times just don’t stop rolling.  Lisa, AKA KnitWench, is offering up a really wonderfully generous set of gifts.  Not one, not two, but SIX, count’em, SIX projects bags, the winners choice from any bag in her rather delicious Etsy Shop.

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I’ve just put three photos here, but I could go on all day, they’re adorable.  I hope that Lynn P, Marie, Niki R, Lindsay I, Julia F and Karen H are thrilled.

Another one for the spinners, the remarkable Sarah over at They Told Me Sew (lovely things, just lovely) has a beautiful roving that she’s willing to part with.

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It’s 7.8oz of hand dyed Merino called “Liquify” – and she says it’s a joy to spin, and I don’t doubt it for a minute, and I bet that Donna D agrees.

Betsy who’s as generous as the day is long, has two presents that she’d like to move from her stash to the home of some lovely knitters, as generous as she is.  She has three skeins of Classic Elite Inca Alpaca, in her favourite shade of blue for Claudia G.

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She’s also got two skeins of alpaca in a pretty black/gray/natural marl from Carrell Farms, and I bet that Lesley D will make something beautiful.

betsy alpaca2 2014-07-17

Gads! That’s more than 20 gifts out the door today, and many more to come – and no matter what, it will never be enough to thank you all for your support.  It means the world to me, and to my amazing little family team.  Thank you!

The way that sock is

Hello Poppets, and thanks for waiting here for me. I’ve been in over my head for a few days, and today’s the first time the fog of overbooking myself has cleared enough to find my way to my desk for anything other than a sigh of regret.  Jen and I swept two rides on the weekend. (“Sweeping” is riding slower than the slowest rider, making sure nobody gets left behind.) It’s fun, but exhausting, and Sunday’s ride was marked by a beginning in a torrential downpour, that then left us riding the remaining 95km in soggy clothes and shoes, as the rain stopped, and the sun came out, and Southern Ontario was transformed into a steambath.  (I am proud of the lack of profanities I used on that ride.)  Monday we had a Team Leader thing, and yesterday… fine.  I fell asleep.  I took my laptop to the couch and put it on my lap and started to type something to you about how I felt about my hamstrings, and whammo.  I woke up about three hours later, and I’m not sorry either.  There’s a big challenge headed my way, and by wool, I can’t go into it tired. I struggle enough without stacking the proverbial deck against me.  When I woke up, I didn’t write a blog either. I knit. I had a feeling that’s the way the lot of you would have it.

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I’m plugging along on the Starry Starry Night Socks, and have encountered a problem.  (First, there’s the fact that my monthly sock deadline blew by me yesterday like cashmere at a 50% off sale, but I’m not talking about that right now.) I’m at the toe of these beautiful socks, and I decided long ago that these were for me.  They were fitting (mostly) and I love them.  I kept imagining the part where I wrapped them up and gave them away, and I wasn’t able to do so without feeling resentment towards the intended recipient, so I gave up.  I’m sure the occasional bout of knitterly selfishness can be forgiven, so that’s it.  The problem is that I have (like many knitters) a little bit of an obsessive streak, and in my heart I know that these socks must end at the finish of a star. I can’t see anyway at all that a half star would be fetching at the top, and so that’s where I’m stopping.

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Last night I knit to the end of the stars, and this morning I proudly stuck it on my foot, ready to begin the toe.  I’m spot on for gauge, and the pattern says that the toe adds about 2.5″ to the foot, and that’s where I’m screwed. I have particularly short feet, and knitting the prescribed toe onto it at this point will make the sock too long for me. The way I see it, I have some choices.

A) I can knit the thing as I’m told, following the pattern and putting a very fetching and proper toe on the end, and accept that I’ve knit another bloody brilliant Christmas present, and accept that destiny has punished the petite footed, once again. (Also a point of consideration is that this sock is actually a tiny bit big for me all over, but up until now I had chosen to ignore that entirely, and I think I can continue to do that.)

B) I can pull the work back, and start the toe 3/4 of the way through a star, and get over my idea that there needs to be a whole star at the end, and actually now that I think about it I don’t even know why I’m putting that option on this list, because it would totally ruin the whole thing.

C) I can rework the toe so that it ends sooner, and have a slightly less fetching sock, although probably still a very good one, and I’ll just have to think over a little math.

D) I could rip back the entire sock and work it on a smaller set of needles so that it’s… screw it. That’s actually not a real choice.

E)  Actually, I can’t think of another option.  Can you?

Shall we move onto presents? I can’t thank you guys enough for the magic you worked on my pledge page.  Knitters, man. You’re not normal people. The fun I’ve had over the last few days explaining that it’s a knitting blog and a mutual love of yarn that’s doing all this has been nothing short of extraordinary.  You haven’t lived until you’ve  seen the looks on the faces of the Rally Leadership as they look at me, look at my knitting and try to figure you all out.  It’s delicious, and I can’t thank you enough, so PRESENTS.

First up, the completely gorgeous Rachel Coopey has donated a copy of her book Coop Knits Socks (It’s a great one) and will be sending it to Keeley S!

coopknits 2014-07-16

The lovely Lee has a beautiful skein of IndigoDragonfly’s 50/50 wool/silk fingering weight (and unless I miss my guess, that’s the rather amazing colourway “beige“) and she’ll be mailing it – prewound and everything, to Lacey P.

fromleeindigo 2014-07-14 (1)

Next, the incomparable Maureen has a charming gift.  She’s donating all 28 of her patterns to Chrissy M…

maureenpattern 2014-07-16

and the best part? Maureen says that Chrissy can keep them or share them as she wishes, and Maureen will email them wherever. Nice, right? (The patterns are darned nice too. You should click that link.)

Last (but oh my, so just only for today) is a beautiful gift from Jaime, at Yay for J.

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She makes lovely handwoven scarves, and the scarf of Kim R’s choice will be on it’s way to her shortly. (Obviously, since I was in charge of stealing pictures, I like that one.)

Thanks so much to all of you, and know that there will be scads more presents tomorrow… there just won’t be a blog post today if I don’t stop here today.

Thanks everyone!

 

 

Time Out

Last week my Mum asked me if I wanted to go up to the rented cottage our family has been fond of for years.  I declined.  I had too much to do, too many things to organize, was too far behind on email and should stay here and ride my bike because The Rally is in two weeks and I’m starting to have a terrible cramp when I think about it.

My mum pretty much ignored everything I was saying, and said something along the lines of “Whatever, see you Tuesday.”  I got off the phone stunned, and spent the next few days trying to figure out how to cancel. (It’s really hard to cancel when you’re not sure you agreed in the first place.) I talked to my sister and she said “Whatever – see you Tuesday” and so Tuesday I just got in the car and left.  It seemed easier to play along.

ferry 2014-07-11

sunset 2014-07-11

For the record, I love the cottage. I love Georgian Bay, I love the rocks, I love the sunsets and the sound of the wind and I love watching out for poison ivy and walking to the lighthouse and there’s really only two things that I don’t love.  I don’t love backing onto the ferry to get there (I am very bad at driving backwards, and live in fear of ramming the ferry, which I’ve never done but still worry about all the time) and I don’t love that there’s not really any mobile service or internet up there.  I say there’s not really any, but the truth is that there’s just enough to be a tease.  Someone will get a text out of the blue, and nobody else will have service, and then it will disappear before you can answer.  When I first got there I had enough internet to post to instagram, but it never surfaced again – except as I was driving along one of the roads to Big Sand Bay, and I could hardly use it then. I’ve expressed this to my mum a few times, that if there was internet I could come for longer.  More than just 36 or 48 hours, because if I could work while I was on vacation then I could take more of them.

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That one got me a stare, and that look my mother saves for when she thinks I’m missing the point.

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As fast as the trip was, it was worth it.  A freezing swim in Georgian Bay, I read an entire book in a day (The Rosie Project- grand fun, I recommend it.) I knit on the socks that I threw the last pair under the bus for.

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(Starry, Starry Night Socks.)

I had fun taking pictures of the finished Emperor’s New Scarf too.

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Erin thought that it looked like a tree.  I do too. I’m completely in love with it, and every single chain of crochet was totally worth it, and it did get easier as it went along. By the end it was only taking me a few minutes to do each one, and I hated it less.  I’m still not saying that the crochet was fun for me, but I am saying that it wasn’t too hard, and that I love the finished scarf so much I’d do it again.

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It looked so at home up there, blowing in the breeze.

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All in all, it was a beautiful 48 hours, and I even got a chance to set up the tent that Jen and I will share on the rally, and I made sure that the air mattress I bought fit inside.  (I had to buy a new one on account of the fact that last year I took my knitting into the tent with me, and my dpn poked a hole in the air mattress. The only reason Jen didn’t kill me that night was because she’s a knitter too. This year we have a “no needles in the tent” rule that seems reasonable to both of us.  There’s not much that can make the rally harder, but sleeping (or not sleeping) on rocks is right up there.)

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My mum tested it for comfort. She says it’s quite good.

Now I’m home, and chained to my desk for the day, and getting ready to spend my weekend in the service of the Rally.  I think Jen would agree when I say that we grossly underestimated the time commitment of being Team Leads.   We’re sweeping two rides this weekend.  The first in a car, and the second on our bikes, and the combo means that other than when we’re sleeping, we’re serving the cause.  It’s a wonderful thing that the rally does, and I feel proud when I think of the good it does in the world, but man.

I’m going to knit the pants of off August.

PS: Because someone will ask, the stop sign is in Ojibwe. The cottage is on Beausoleil First Nations land, so the signs are in the language of their nation.  It’s like how in Quebec the stop signs are in French.  Canada’s big on language. 

PPS. Thank you very much.  Thanks to the generosity of knitters, yesterday I met my fundraising goal for the Rally.  It’s been a hard year, and meeting that goal actually made me cry – and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I did set that goal a lot lower than in previous years, knowing that things are tough all over, and I’m just so impressed and honoured to know the lot of you.  Stand by for present-o-rama in the upcoming weeks. The generosity on that front has been staggering as well.

PPPS. Only because there have been some emails asking – Yes. Last year my total came in at $50 000, which is more than double where I stand now, and yes, the needs of PWA are the same, or greater than last year.  If you were planning on giving, please don’t let the fact that I met my goal stop you.  You can pledge me here, and I have two things to tell you. First, if everyone who reads this blog or follows me on twitter or instagram was able to give $1, that total would be staggering. Don’t think that a small donation doesn’t matter. We’re knitters, we understand how one little thing together with many other little things adds up. That’s what knitting is. Second, for the next little bit, a generous knitter who prefers to remain anonymous has pledged to match donations up to the incredible sum of $2000. Her letter was beautiful and kind and everything decent about people, and I’d like for her generosity to count as much as it can. Thank you all.  As big a commitment as this ride is, it does no good at all without you behind me.  You are, each and every one of you, amazing.

 

Baby, don’t look at me that way

I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to these socks. If they weren’t inanimate objects and actually had feelings, we’d probably be on our way to some sort of couples therapy right now, and I don’t think it would be going well for me.

socksfolded2 2014-07-08

She’d be asking me questions like “Don’t you think the socks have a right to be upset with you? Didn’t you tell them that you were going to finish them by the 17th of June? Isn’t it July? How do you think they felt when you posted pictures of them on the internet when they were completely unfinished, and then called them names and said in front of everyone that you were sick of them, that they were boring… that you were going to end it if they didn’t try harder to entertain you.  I think we have to validate the socks feelings of humiliation here.”

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Then I’d be stammering, and trying to come up with a defence, and I’m sure that I would try and come up with some excuse.  You know, I was busy, it was a joke, I write the blog for fun and I didn’t know I was hurting the socks feelings… blah, blah, blah. I’d sit there, and I’d apologise to the socks, and I’d tell them that I never meant to hurt them or shame them in front of the other socks. I’d say things like “Socks, you’re self-patterning, you know I’ve always loved self-patterning, you’re one of the enduring loves of my life, it’s just… The Rally.  The Rally is hard on my time man, and I know I’ve blown knitting deadlines in the past but I’m just really stressed out and I love your stripes baby, you’re classic, and enduring and really cheerful and I didn’t mean it when I said you were infernal and a pain in the arse it was just a bad day, or days… you know what I mean socks, It’s just that I…”

sockschair 2014-07-08

Then the therapist would put up her hand in a gesture to stop me, and she’d shake her head softly, and the socks would burst into tears and finally say it.  They’d look at me with resentment and hurt and their gussets would blaze with anger as they shrieked “WE KNOW ABOUT THE OTHER SOCKS STEPH. WE SAW YOU TOGETHER. YOU DIDN’T EVEN CLOSE THE PROJECT BAG.”

And there would be nothing I could do or say to defend myself. I am that kind of knitter, and there’s no point in pretending.  I’d just block them like I always do,  and move on.

PS: Yarn: Fortissima Colori, Socka color #9072, Needles: 2.25mm. Pattern, my plain vanilla socks from Knitting Rules.

Dew

Poppets, I’m pretty tired. The weekend was chock full, and I feel like I may never recover from staying up most of the night for The Rocky Horror Picture Show Fundraiser. This morning I was so exhausted that my coffee cup seemed heavy, and that’s a truly bad sign.  Today I’m actually not feeling so hot, and I don’t know if it’s the start of a cold or just the logical consequences of burning the candle at both ends, but I do know that this close to the rally, with a lot on my plate, I’m listening to what my body’s telling me, and it says stop, rest and knit, so with an eye to living to fight another day, I’m taking today off.

I did find the time to knit a little over the weekend, and in a formidable show of restraint, I finished not the socks (pox on the earth, I’m so sick of them) but instead my Emperor’s New Scarf.  The last dastardly bit of crochet came together quite quickly – I don’t know why I was putting it off, now that I’ve actually got the hang, and yesterday afternoon I gave it a bath, and laid it out on the backyard table to dry.  It was such a beautiful day, and I thought there couldn’t be a better spot.

That may very well have been true, had I remembered it was out there sometime before it rained in the night.  It was under an umbrella, so it didn’t get directly rained on, but the humidity and mist did something interesting, and this morning this is what I found.
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A fine layer of droplets, suspended in the halo of the angora.
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Pretty as anything I’ve ever seen – and the darker spot here is where I touched it – wondering if it was soaked through, but it wasn’t. It was dry-ish underneath, and the layer of water clinging to the halo sunk in the minute I touched it, moving into the scarf and away from it’s precarious place.
spoiled it.  2014-07-07
I don’t know why I loved it so much, but don’t you?

A fitting day for it

Happy Friday world, and Happy Birthday America. I’m gearing up for a busy weekend here (The Rocky Horror Fundraiser at the Fox Theatre is tomorrow night at midnight – is anybody coming? I have to rest up if I’m going to pull off anything fun at that hour) so today I’ve got some knitting planned. I’ve been so tired this week, and a good go at knitting will be just the thing to set me to rights.  I have so many projects right now, many of them really close to finished, and yesterday I found myself longingly eying the stash and thinking up big plans.  I remember this feeling from last July, It’s such a ridiculously busy month, and all I hold onto is the idea that I am going to knit the hell out of August. For today though, I’d be happy to finish a pair of socks.

socksonthego 2014-07-04

These ones are pretty – but holy cats am I sick to death of them being on my needles. I don’t know what’s wrong with them that they’re taking so long, but man, do they ever have hang time. If I can’t finish them today, I’m putting them in time-out for being boring.

In the meantime, you know what’s not boring? PRESENTS.  Hang on kids, because here’s today’s round.

Hey, what’s this? A beautiful skein of Helen’s Lace, that’s what, courtesy of Beth at Lorna’s Laces. (Good people, them.)

helenslace 2014-07-02

It will be making it’s merry way to live with Leianne S!

On a totally unrelated note, how about these two skeins of yarn from Mrs Crosby?

toucan 2014-07-02

Nice, right?  Ruth Ann F will be giving  two skeins of  Satchel, in the rather gorgeous colourway “Toucan” a great new home.

My friend Kate Atherley (who is good at a great many things, but is an exceptional tech editor) has digital copies of her books to give away.

knitaccessories 2014-07-02

Knit Accessories (I love this book) is going out to Bev W.

beyondknitpurl 2014-07-02

and Beyond Knit and Purl (which is great for knitters of all stages) is off to Kate K, and I don’t have to wonder at all if they’ll enjoy them.

Next up, the lovely Karen S has a little stash that needs a new home.  These two skeins of Alpaca With a Twist will be going to live with Ginger J,

alpaca withatwist 2014-07-02

and these two beauties (Valley Yarn’s Berkshire) will make their merry way to Melissa K!

valleyberkshire 2014-07-02

Shannon Okey, over at Cooperative Press has a great gift to share.  Ingrid L will be choosing any three Cooperative Press books (good luck choosing) and also recieves a year long subscription to Knit Edge magazine!

Cooperativepress1 2014-07-03

The enchanting knitter Randi has a great gift from her stash,  12 (Yup! TWELVE) skeins of Patons Classic DK superwash to go to Teresa F.

randiclassiccork 2014-07-04

That, not surprisingly is one of my favourite colours.  I’m a little jealous of the sweater that could come of it.

Melissa has another sweater quantity, this one’s a rather fabulous lot of 12 skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK (Yum) in a solid black. Winter is coming, and in the name of all alpacas,  Colleen H will be warm.

blackalpaca 2014-07-04

More! Look at this, it’s a pretty JulepB kit, donated by Helle.  It’s a pattern for Cora, yarn to do it with, and a pretty bag to carry the whole thing in.  Cheers Hannah M, it’s for you!

julepb 2014-07-04

Kara wrote me about this pretty Shibui sock yarn that she’s letting go of.

shibuisock 2014-07-04

I think it looks just like stargazer lilies, and I hope that Marcie R loves it, because it’s on it’s way to her needles.

Julia has $7 burning a hole in her pocket, and a very sweet idea.  She’s donating any ravelry pattern that Michelle K would like. Michelle chooses a pattern for $7 or less, and Julia picks up the tab.  Thanks Julia!

One last one? You bet.  Kat owns The Thankful Ewe yarn shop in Minster, Ohio, and also runs Paper and Yarn, and etsy shop that has some very pretty yarn…

prettyblue 2014-07-04

and some very funny stitch markers.

oopscrap 2014-07-04

Kat’s donating a $25 gift certificate to her etsy shop, and I really hope that Katie V gets those markers.

There! Fourteen gifts, and a happy Independence day to my American friends.

Thank you so very much to everyone who’s helping with this cause.  Knitters are amazing.

Finally, progress.

Yesterday I spent some real time knitting and I am reassured of three things.

1.The only thing keeping me from prison is knitting.

2. The reason I wasn’t making any progress is because I wasn’t knitting anywhere other than in my mind.

3. Progress in my knitting makes me feel like I have progress in all things. This is inaccurate, but lovely.

As soon as I sat down to knit, this literally jumped off the needles.

cowlalone 2014-07-03

It’s my Oatmeal Stout cowl. (The “extra cozy” version)  I designed it, and the mittens and infinity scarf that go with it for Clara Yarns.

mittenscowl 2014-07-03

Do you know about that? Clara Parkes, who’s the longtime genius behind Knitter’s Review and The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool, has started making yarn.  With a resume like that, I don’t think anyone thought the yarn would be bad, and it isn’t – it’s actually fantastic, and she’s making it in a really unusual way.  Clara Yarn is born when the lady finds some great wool, a small batch, and has it produced exactly the way she wants it. It’s small amounts, not repeatable, and as each batch has been finished, she puts it up for sale, and when it’s gone, it’s gone, and she sets about making a new kind.  I love the idea – commercial, repeatable yarn is cool, important and I wouldn’t give it up, but this kind of simply curated yarn that’s the fruit of someone’s experience and brain? LOVE IT.  She sent me some of her most recent batch, an outstanding CVM/Romeldale in three natural colours, and I designed this set, and then I launched the pattern and she launched the yarn, and then the yarn was all gone before I could even tell you about it. (When I say small batches, I am not kidding.)

cowltwice 2014-07-03

I know it seems unfair, telling you about the thing when it’s all over but the crying, but you could still knit this if you wanted to – there’s a couple of other yarns I’d suggest if you wanted the same look, like Green Mountain Spinnery’s Weekend Wool  or KnitSpot’s Confection.

cowllook 2014-07-03

There’s others too – what you’re really looking for is a worsted weight yarn that’s soft, deliciously bouncy, and would feel like a million bucks on a blustery cold winter day. Something with lots of air and cush to trap air and insulate you against the forces that conspire to make you cold.

detailthree 2014-07-03

I had three skeins of Clara Yarn, each about 270m per skein, and I was able to make the mittens, the infinity scarf and the cowl – the extra cozy version.  (The cowl and scarf have two versions each.  The cowl shown here is extra cozy, the scarf, regular cozy.)

threesome 2014-07-03

I loved this project, and despite how long it took me to cross the finish line, it’s a very quick knit, and easier than it looks. There’s only one colour used per row, thanks to simple, but fancy looking slipped stitches, one of my favourite tricks for doing colourwork without… well, any real colourwork skills.  There’s no stranding or floats to catch, none of that. It’s simple enough for a beginner, I think.  I like it so much in the natural colours, but I can’t wait until someone (that might be me) does it in some colours. Oh, the possibilities.

The funniest part of this project is that the whole time I was knitting, I thought I was getting ahead on a Christmas present, but now that I”m done?

selfiecowl 2014-07-03

I’m keeping it. (And yeah, that’s a particularly bad selfie.  Sue me.)

———–

PS.  I haven’t forgotten that I promised you prizes today, and I had them all queued up and ready to go when something went very wrong with my mail client.  I’m receiving mail, but can’t send any. Ken’s working on it, and we’ve tried everything, but it remains a hunk of inert crap at the moment, which means gifts have to wait.  Cross your needles for tomorrow.  My apologies.  I assure you, both Ken and I are using enough expletives that it should be fixed soon.