Dear Readers,
Since your happiness is my only concern, and I begin and end each moment of my day with thoughts of how the blog may please you and as, frankly,
I live to serve… I am once again allowing the blog to set my destiny.
This willingness to put my life in your hands is not one I take lightly, and it is only because I know that those who read this blog are people of exceptional taste and wisdom that I can lay my needles at your feet and humbly await my instructions. Despite the fact that I have been somewhat indecisive in my checkered past, it is important for you all to understand that I am really not doing this because I cannot decide myself, or because I agonized over it for a long time already and am really sick of the freaking decision and I feel weighed down by the pressure of potential projects, or that last night I had out, maybe ..20 magazines and books out and everything I start seems wrong…
No, no…It is simply that I care more for your gratification and contentment than my own.
Here, my friends, are your choices. Don’t hold back.
A. Who do we love? Why Claudia of course, especially since she sent the mango microspun to release her me from blue. How about I make her happy and knit myself this tank top?
Pro: Well, it’s darned nice, and who doesn’t need another tank top? It would use the orange yarn that I am just about desperate to get on needles and break up the proliferation of the blue on the blog, and it seems pretty fun and easy. In addition, Claudia is on vacation right now and not reading the blogs. I could complain bitterly about the yarn if it proves annoying and not worry about injuring her tender feelings.
Con: Clearly I would need to find some way to change the front. I’m thinking no ribbon and closing up that revealing bit. I believe, though this theory is untested, that I would rather let a troupe of roving 4 year old girls cut my hair than leave that tank that open, so a minor modification would be in order. Also in the “con” section…how many tanks can you knit for yourself before the word “selfish” starts to be bandied about?
B. Joe’s a good guy. Considering the depth of my love I don’t knit enough for him. Socks aside, his last big score was this sweater, and that was a while ago. I like this corridale fleece almost as much as I like Joe, and I was thinking that I could wash it, card it, spin it and knit it into a gansey.
Pro: Who is more deserving of that amount of work than Joe, the long suffering husband of harlot? It goes without saying that Joe respects knitting and he would cherish a sweater with that much work in it. Plus, of all the yarn, wool, fleece and jetsam I have brought into this house over the years this fleece is the first time that Joe has ever expressed a desire to have any of it for his own. When I think about my big wooly husband standing in Gros Morne with the wind whipping in his hair, fortified by my love and my wool… c’mon, that’s heady stuff.
Con: Note the use of the word “big”. Joe is a big guy. We’re talking about a 50″ chest. Just thinking about that amount of spinning and knitting makes the world start to go a little black around the edges. Just to be perfectly clear, choosing this option means months (maybe years) of delirious ranting from me about how this washing/carding/spinning/knitting will never end. I would expect that this amount of work may lead to hysteria and possibly some sort of altered state.
This sweater would be Commitment. This sweater would take staying power. Then again, that’s what it takes to stay living with him…
C. Last year Ken gave me some organic 80% kid mohair, 20% merino roving. Touching it induces a rosy attitude that lasts for hours. I was messing around with it yesterday (Tuesdays are for spinning) and I made 150 m. of the prettiest laceweight (about 40 wpi). I was thinking that I might start another shawl, and spin as I need it. Maybe a butterfly shawl….
Pro: Well…shawls are darned nice, and not too heavy for your lap in the summer. When I was done there would be another pattern on this site…and designing the last one, while frustrating, appears to have done me no permanent damage.
Con: Is anyone bored with shawls? The whole Charlotte thing is all over the blogs and I don’t want to beat a dead horse. While I like knitting shawls, knitting them with fine yarn that you are spinning as you need it does threaten sanity. Also, I don’t believe that I would be capable of giving this shawl away, so it does nothing to release me from the impending crush of Christmas or birthdays. (What does it mean that I still think that anything would help release me?)
D: Maybe I should just finish stuff? There’s Ken’s “Claw Inducing” shetland socks, and the Dublin bay ones, (though really I’m still working on those, they are my bus knitting) The shawl I started yesterday, the boring cardie and …well about 40 other things.
Pro: Well, I would be finishing stuff. I would get the thrill of the finished object and the delight of reclaimed closet space. I would get to say that I “did something” about the stash.
Con: Boring. Poke your eyes out with a dpn kind of boring. Leave the blog and never come back kind of boring, and I feel bad for all of you having to watch me knit boring things and still try to be polite about it. It’s nice of you and all but really, don’t we all want to move on?
E. Something else….none of this is any good.
Vote early, vote often. I’ll tally the votes tomorrow, maybe get Ken to help me make another neato pie chart and accept my destiny. Don’t just be lurking around either. My fate is in your hands, and a large sample size seems wise.
Also…even though I realize that my suffering can be entertaining, try not to base your decisions on what you think has the potential to cause me the most pain.

Older and er…wiser

Thanks everybody for the birthday wishes, I had an extremely nifty day.
Ways is which my birthday was very good (an abbreviated list)
1. I had a really great lunch with Lene downtown, on a patio, in the sun, wearing a tank top and drinking Stella Artois. That alone was great, but then the very young and hot waiter hit on me. While ten years ago I would have thought he was a pig, there’s something about getting older that makes it less harassment and more absolutely charming and thanks so much. (It’s like how getting carded when you are very young is horrible, but now I think I would weep tears of joy.)
2. Joe bought me a new battery for the phone. My old phone held a battery charge for approximately 3.5 minutes, (assuming of course that I had the presence of mind to charge it for 8 hours prior to wishing to use this 3.5 minutes) I’m sure that anyone who has tried to have a 4 minutes conversation with my and been consigned to the abyss will appreciate this am much as I do.
Joe and the girls picked the most beautiful handmade glassware for me, and it was my lovely and charming husband who co-ordinated my day so that I knew only joy.
3. Ken wrote the best guest blog ever, and I feel extremely grateful that he’s put up with my insanity for 20 years. Grateful enough that I’m contemplating his next pair of socks. How could I not, after he knit me this?
We are ignoring (graciously) that there is only one. (We are openly mocking the pointy toe, mostly because it’s fixable and Ken mocked it first.)
4. Dinner was prepared by people other than me, and I did no dishes. It speaks volumes about my life that this filled me with a simple joy that I will not even attempt to convey. You have to live it.
5. Kelly, my very tidy sister-in-law who happens to live in Nova Scotia, gave me this (this is as good a close-up as I could manage, check out the perfect, regular curls of mohair.)
Fleece Artist “Curly Locks”. Kelly and her husband Ben would like to personally apologize for the blueness, but acknowledge that while the blog may tire of blue, for me…blue will never die.
Yes, that is the beginning of a shawl, and yes I did cast it on while Kelly was still here. No I did not consider the feelings of the boring cardie. I have donated four days of my life to the cardie,
(yeah…ok, fine. It was four days sort of on and off, and I was rather impolite to it yesterday) and it’s it’s own fault that it’s getting dumped, because it is boring. It reeks of monotony and no reasonable knitter could be expected not to dump it the minute a better yarn came along.
(Obviously I missed my calling as a marriage counsellor?)
6. Ken gave me this.
It’s Lion Brand “Van Gogh”. A bulky single, 100% wool. There’s about 240 yards. Any ideas?
7. I watched the french language debates. (Canada is about to have a federal election, and since we have two national languages, there are two debates, one english and one french. ) Is it just me or did Paul Martin say something crude about taxes? The moderate and lovely Canadians around me I’m sure will maintain that The Prime Minister said that he would “abaissez les impôts” (Lower taxes), but with my wool as my witness I will go to my grave believing that I heard him say that he would…well, let’s just say that the verb “baisser” in Quebecois french can be idiomatically used to mean…well “baisser” and “abaisser” are very different. If you must know, ask in the comments.
The very thought that the Prime Minister may have uttered this phrase in a National Debate is a birthday gift all by itself.
All in all, I am a lucky, grateful harlot. Today I’m going to enjoy the spoils of the day, knit a little on the new shawl, and cast filthy looks at the sulking boring cardie, and watch the english language debates. Tomorrow, (hoping that elves have finished knitting the cardie in the night) tomorrow I start something new and exciting.

Happy Birthday to Stephanie

With apologies to those needing a fix of “the harlot”.
Stephanie asked me to write a “guest entry” for her blog today, with the excuse that she doesn’t work on her birthday. My initial response was a most emphatic (and cowardly) NO! While I have no problem whatsoever posting random thoughts on my own blog, there are standards here. An established audience. People Who Care. She called me yesterday evening, asking, “Have you thought about the guest blog?” “Yeah, some,” I replied, quite calmly I thought, “though I’m a bit nervous.” “It’ll be fine,” she reassured me. “You have to be funny, though. REALLY funny. What time will it be posted?” When I’m done throwing up, was all I could think.
Funny. No, REALLY funny. Okay, go! Be funny! … … … … Okay, how’s this: That Stephanie, she’s a real purl!
Clearly, the only thing worse than not being funny is trying too hard to be funny.
Okay, so no more funny.
When Stephanie does a thing, she does it completely and wholeheartedly. blasting on ahead and leaving the rest of us somewhat dazed in her wake, still trying to figure out how things work. While I’m still trying to figure out how to find time to get things done, Stephanie simply gets them done, and in a way and to a degree that I couldn’t have previously imagined.
I’ve knit her some socks (sadly, this is currently an odd number, as she received only one (1) completed Latvian sock for her birthday), and she’s knit me these:
Ken's sock collection
This isn’t even complete. Some are at my boyfriend’s place, and some have worn out or been, well, shrunk somehow (certainly not through improper care, I assure you). Does anyone, who shares neither genes nor a bed with the knitter, have this many hand-knit socks? Many of these even predate any reciprocation on my part, as does this:
Sandtracks sweater
The image isn’t the best, but there’s a lovely subtle random ripple throughout. It all started when I asked for a sweater that looked like sand dunes, and no, I didn’t really know what I meant by that, but could it be kind of, well, random? I had no idea at the time what knitting was like, how “randomness” could be complicated. I just asked, and received.
We had a relatively brief yet intense period of obsession with origami. We both became fairly competent. Then we had the “who can fold the smallest crane” contest. You can guess who won that one. Then I received 999 paper cranes. We had heard a Japanese legend that giving someone 1000 cranes (senzaburu) you had folded meant that they would marry you, and Stephanie wanted to show me how close we were. I’d just like to say for the record that a box containing 999 paper cranes is an excellent, if slightly insane, demonstration tool.
I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that Stephanie is more. More of everything. More fun, more ethical, more talented, more committed, more empathic, more nice, and ye gods can the woman ever talk your ear off! It’s all right, though; I now have a cordless phone with a headset so I can go on with my life. Just one more thing I have because Stephanie is in my life.
Just so y’all know? All good things in life come from Stephanie. She’s the best friend anyone could ever ask for, and I’m supremely glad she’s mine.
Happy birthday, Stephanie.

Less is more

Well, it’s done. Or mostly done. Kelly and I purged the living room (which I thought was fine) the dining room (which I thought was fine) and the girls room (which I had no illusions about). Many, many bags went to Goodwill and plenty to the garbage and recycling. (No yarn or patterns were harmed in the purging of this house.)
Elizabeth and Gina both blogged about this massive purging of stuff from the house. I’m telling you, I don’t know how they did it without Kelly.
The woman is a machine. Things just fall into place when she does it. When I go through my stuff and toss useless things and organize the rest, somehow at the end you can’t really tell. When Kelly does it, pounds and pounds of crap are gone…and she manages to be so charming about it that you don’t really mind that she’s throwing out all your stuff.
A few times I balked a little, and said “but Kelly, what if I need that, what will I do?” Kelly’s reply?
“What would you do if you were a Rwandan refugee?”
Oh. Nevermind. I am so not worthy. That one statement made more of an impact on me than anything else. (More of an impact than discovering that I own five gravy boats. I’m a vegetarian for crying out loud. More impact than discovering that if I send three wagon loads of the kids toys and books to Goodwill, they will not be able to tell you what is missing..that’s how much they have. ) I suddenly felt so excessive. I felt enormous guilt, here I was, trying to keep my stuff, and feeling so broke all the time, and I have way, way more than most people in the world. That Kelly, she knows how to motivate.
Even without the guilt, I highly recommend purging tons of crap out of your life. Trust me, it’s holding you back. Kelly kept telling me how peaceful it is to have less, and now I see where she was going with that. It’s very, very restful and clean. My life feels way more manageable.
The boring cardie proceeds apace, one sleeve done, the next started.
I’m knitting as fast as I can, to try and entertain everybody, but the big clean sweep mission took a lot of time yesterday, and when I was done I couldn’t do much but collapse. Today should be better, assuming that I can ignore the fact that by comparison, the kitchen (which I swear I thought was my best room, very tidy and clean) is now a pit of filth and garbage.
I leave you now with this thought. Go sweep under your upstairs hall rug. Trust me, you want to get to it before Kelly does.

Well, this is a let down.

I feel bad for all of you this morning. You get your coffee/tea/hard liquor and head over to the computer and log onto Yarn Harlot thinking, “I wonder what that woman is up to? Has Joe done something? Have the children endangered her life? Has she screwed up her knitting beyond all reasonable hope and is yet going to bravely launch herself into another pit of knitting disaster and tragedy? The tank is finished, maybe she’s starting an exciting new project, maybe there’s a swatch….”
Sorry, but the Harlot is boring today. If you are close to dying of ennui, keep on going, there’s no help here. Absolutely nothing of note has happened in my life since we spoke last (oh… except we went for a bike ride yesterday and got lost, and we ended up in this really rich neighbourhood and the girls kept calling it “Stepford” except all the women they saw had small breasts, so they decided it wasn’t Stepford after all…but that might have just been funny to me) and to make matters worse, I have begun another Boring Cardie, and to add insult to injury, it is (poor Claudia…) it is blue.
I will try to add interest by knitting it really, really fast. I’ll pretend it’s a knitting race.
A few notes from yesterday.
Thanks for saying nice things about my rack. I appreciate it. Considering that for years of mothering these were “working girls” it makes me feel good to know that they haven’t lost their aesthetic appeal. (Even if I have to knit them special outfits to make them look good)
A big shout out to Kaare who defended the spouses of the knit-obsessed everywhere, and tipped us off to the fact that we aren’t getting away with as much as we hoped. (Maybe go back and read his comment…he’s a funny guy)
Now me, I don’t get away with squat, but I don’t try to. I have my own money and I’m fiscally responsible. (Fine…I’m cheap. Horribly, terribly cheap, though I prefer the term “frugal”) and the way I see it, Joe shouldn’t mind what I do so long as I don’t mind what he does and so long as we can all pay the bills at the end of the day. So here are the questions of the day. (See what I’m doing? I’ve got nothing, so I’m getting you to entertain each other. Smart eh? )
Do you sneak yarn purchases?
If so, Why? Avoiding disapproval? Concealing your habit? Creating an aura of mystery? To see if you can?
If not, can you imagine circumstances under which you would?
Clean Sweep.
In mere moments my super organized insanely tidy Sister-in-law Kelly will arrive. Kelly will be helping me find the house I know is somewhere under this mess. Kelly has a way of taking 89 pounds of crap and making it all seem like 2 pounds of crap. (This is probably because she throws away 87 pounds).
I have discovered that it’s pretty much a crock to expect me to be able to work a 50 hour week, take the girls on bike rides, read stories, help with homework, make there be food and be the sort of happy knitter that I want to be if I have to clean the house too. It’s too much.
Therefore, I am accepting that if I want to be able to keep this house under control, there needs to be less to control. The kids and Joe can, (and do) do their share, but we are all being overrun with “stuff”. This stuff needs to be tidied, dusted and managed…and it’s sucking the life out of me. This stuff is out of here.
Note: For anyone feeling nervous, Kelly is a knitter.
Kelly surely understands that stash, needles, patterns, newsletters, books, roving, spinning stuff, drop spindles, fleeces and works in progress are not “stuff” and that we will not be throwing away so much as a ball of crappy acrylic or a pattern for a chunky sweater with a moose on it. That in fact, when I say “this stuff is out of here” I am referring to the crazy amount of stuff that everyone else in the family has, not my stuff. My stuff is essential.
Right Kell? Kelly? Ok?

Song sung blue

I love it.
I labour under the delusion that it makes me look thin and clever, and with my snazzy linen pants, sort of elegant. Me looking “elegant” is significant, since really, the best that I can manage its usually “dressed” and on a good day “clean”. There is a special day coming however…and the harlot will be well dressed. Assuming of course that I can keep the tank from getting some kind of stain on it over the next few days. (Oh wait, I’m wearing white pants, clearly they will be the target). Just the same I’m intending to eat only dry, non-staining foods today while wearing this get up, things like plain rice chips and er….water, I guess.
As much as I have trained Joe in the ways of the needle, (this means speaking to him about knitting directly and constantly for years) he has apparently learned very little. Witness the conversation this morning.
Me: Do you like this? I wonder if I should have made it a little longer… Joe?
Joe: Hrmnf.
Joe is reading the newspaper. Joe is making affirmative grunting noises. I am asking him about knitting, and he is doing his best to make the grunts seem well placed and thoughtful. This is what we do. The minute he hears the word “knitting” he goes into some kind of automatic mode. I do not get angry about this (mostly because when Joe talks to me about…say…the amount of compression the studio console is getting, all I can hear is the noise that the teacher used to make in Charlie Brown television shows. Wah-wah, wah-wha-wah, Wah.) I attempt a second time. Besides, we have discussed this before, and Joe assures me that even though it would appear that what he is doing is giving me monosyllabic grunts of appeasement, he is actually expressing his belief that our relationship is so deep and connected that there does not always need to be all these “words”.
Me: Joe, Joe? Do you like the cables on the front? I’m not sure about the mattress stitch I used on the sides….Joe?
Joe: Hmmump.
Clearly I’m not making an impact. At all. Two things are obvious. I really, really need some knitting friends and I was right when I decided that Joe was infinitely more willing to discuss knittting if I am at least semi-naked. Since I want to show him the tank top, taking it off would be counter productive. I try one more time.
Me: Joe? Lovie, look, I’m wearing the new tank top.
Joe: (no answer)
Ahh…phase two. His brain has chosen “flight” over “fight” and he is no longer present in the conversation. Now I’ve been married long enough to know what works. I’m not some silly girl who can’t engage a man in the art of conversation. I pull out the big guns.
Me: Joe? Do you think that this tank is too low in the front?
Joe’s head snapped up to admire the knitting so fast that I worry about whiplash. Ahh, I think, now he will see my handiwork, comment on the cables, we can discuss the making up and he will say nice things about the grafting on the shoulders. Now that I have his attention, now we will really talk.
Joe: Nice Rack Baby.
Really. What did I expect.
Finally today, I got an email today telling me that “Yarn Harlot” (the blog, not me) is a

Very cool. I’d like to thank the academy, and my posse of commenters who make it all worth it.

Resisting my charms

The tank is not onside. I don’t know what to tell you, but it is not finished. It is, in fact…close to finished, but close don’t put a tank on momma’s back now, does it. (Aside: I told Sam I was almost done the tank and she looked at and said “I hope that is *really* stretchy)
Fixing the wrong stitches proved to be a little more involved than I thought it would be. Like maddeningly, insanely more involved. When I was laddering stitches back up last night at 10 pm, sighing loudly, Ken confessed that he would have frogged. Oh, c’mon. Where’s your sense of adventure? As Laura said yesterday in the comments
“There is something so satisfying about stitch surgery. Everyone makes mistakes, but performing some insane feat of skill to correct the mistake is an art, all its own”
So today I will finish the tank, except because fixed the ribbing the hard way I won’t just finish the tank. I’ll defeat the tank. I’ll get the better of the tank, I’ll put the tank in it’s place and make it cry like a girl, Score: Harlot 1, tank NOTHING, that’s right, squat. Suck it up tank-baby because you are going down and there’s nothing you can do about it.
(Probably should have done that little bit of tank-tempting-trash-talk when I was done with it eh? The chance that I’ll fall down while carrying the tank and it will manage to impale me on one of the needles is now so close to a certainty that the best thing for me to do today is go lie in a darkened room)
I won’t though, because Tuesdays are for spinning, and the mohair/merino laceweight project continues. I’m going to be an old woman when I get this together.
Finally, yesterday Nathania lost her cool a little bit when her morning was disrupted by Wendy’s server trouble. While I understand freaking out when you can’t stick to a perfectly good system (just try getting between my and my email at 8:00am) the best thing to come out of it was that Nathania listed her “must reads”. (She included me, nice of her eh?) One of them I had never been to before (and I get around), so here’s your chance to tell me, what other awesome blogs don’t I know about ? What are your “must reads”? The ones you check every day single day and feel “off” if you can’t read them. Lay it on me.

Moron alert

I am a moron. I have no idea what possesses me sometimes, but I manage to make startling and innovative knitting errors without even trying. I’ve been happily knitting the blue cabled tank, (especially enjoying the cabled part) and gleefully I reached the arm and neck shaping last night. I was thrilled (because I would have something finished to show you this morning) and began to do the decreases.
They didn’t work. the decreases are supposed to fall in a particular place in the ribbed pattern, and on one side it was all…well, perplexing. Careful examination revealed that I had made a mistake in setting up the ribbing, and had faithfully knitted the entire tank with a ribbing pattern completely generated by my imagination. It’s whacked. You know how sometimes you can see where you went wrong? Like you transposed two numbers? Or you misread one of instructions…you can look at your work and say “Ah, yes, there’s my mistake . That’s the moment.”
Not this time. The ribbing pattern that I knit bears no relationship to the pattern. None. As near as I can tell it is completely random. Funny thing is, I remember setting up the pattern and really paying attention. At this point it’s going to have to be fixed or the straps won’t look the same. Here’s the plan. The way I see it, only 2/3 of the blue tank front is on crack, so frogging the whole thing seems like the true path to misery, equalled only by repeated floggings inefficient. I have therefore decided to fix the ribbing one wrong stitch at a time.
I dropped the first of the wrong stitches (naturally, since there are only two options, knit and purl – some of the stitches are correct, not because I didn’t screw them up, but because there is a 50% chance that some will be right, even if the knitter abandons all conventions and picks a random ribbing pattern) and encouraged it to unravel all the way to the cast on.
Here’s something interesting. Ever noticed that if you drop a stitch by accident it will run all the way to the cast on edge in a heartbeat, but if you want it to run down you will have to spend time encouraging the lame little arse to run down, unpicking it each and every row? Don’t tell me that knitting is inanimate. I have too much proof that it holds a grudge.
Once I had dropped it all the way down, I whipped out my trusty crochet hook (there’s a phrase you thought you would never hear on this blog) and chained the stitch back up correctly.
Now, I only have to do that with 15 more stitches. (See that? See the way I managed to type that sentence with no hint of the bitterness that I’m feeling? The tank was supposed to be done today and instead I’m playing stupid little crochet hook games and there isn’t anybody I can even blame but myself. I hate that. Still, I managed to type that sentence without revealing any of the dark, loathsome feelings that I’m having for the blue tank, and instead only showed it my concern for it’s well being. I am hoping that this will encourage the blue tank to abstain from punishing me further. I suspect that this trouble with the tank stems from it’s resentment of the photoshopped images where I debase it’s blueness. I may have to either refrain from altering it’s images, or not knit near the computer.)

Cable this

Oh cables, how I love thee. I have reached the cables on the blue tank, and the magic happened.
What is it about cables that speeds knitting up? You would think that all that screwing around, moving stitches from needle to needle would slow you down, but nope. Cables up the fun factor and the whole thing just whizzes along.
I personally cable without a cable needle.
This is a decision that I made seven years ago on a Wednesday morning riding the 504 King Streetcar.
Some knitters learn techniques out of a sense of ambition. They want to be the best knitter possible and challenge themselves constantly. These knitters hear of a technique, or even more impressively, invent a technique, try it, then adopt or abandon it according to how it fits their personal knitting style. These knitters are on a constant mission to elevate their knitting to the highest possible form. These knitters know 7 heels for a sock, 3 ways to make a steek and 4 different buttonholes. I salute them.
Some knitters are content knitters. They have their own way of doing things and not much moves them to adopt new technique. What they are doing works for them and why change? These are happy knitters who are probably not going to try techniques for fun, but may try them to solve a knitting frustration or because a pattern they adore demands it.
Then there is me.
Riding the streetcar that morning, as I lovingly inserted my cable needle into the soft wool stitches, the streetcar shuddered it’s way over the track divisions at Dufferin. (If you live in Toronto you know what I mean. That 20 feet of track will shake the teeth out of your head. I realized recently that I quietly clench every muscle in my body as I pass over it, just to minimize the wobble) As we passed over the last of the track, the cable needle (well, it wasn’t actually a cable needle, it was a dpn, I lost the cable needle quite some time before this) slipped from the back of my work, hit the floor and rolled into the crack that runs down the side of the street car. It all happened so fast. I stared with horror at the crack, and examined my options.
1. Try to remove the needle from the crack with the power of my mind. (Although I always *try* this option, it is yet to work. I think it’s important to keep it at the top of the list, despite it’s miserable track record as an actual solution.)

2. Let it go. (Yeah…good one. I have that kind of personality don’t I? Raise your needles if you think that I have ever, ever in my whole life just “let it go”. )
3. Casually attempt to retrieve the needle by using the other needles that I still have. (Love it. “Casually”, yup, my name is Stephanie and denial is a powerful force in my life. )
I opt for #3, because in my special kind of world, I actually believe that it is possible for me to dig a dpn out of a crack under my seat in a streetcar with my knitting while possessing dignity and grace. I began by “casually” leaning forward in my seat, extending my arm beneath me and attempting to raise one end of the lost dpn so that I could grab it with my other hand.
The attempt ended when I was crouched on the floor, arms twisted beneath the seat, dodging gum and assorted streetcar flotsam jamming my aran sweater (on the needles) into the crack…ignoring the stares of nearby passengers.
When the driver turned in his seat at a red light and asked me if I was “ok”, with a look on his face that indicated his concern for my sanity, I kissed the dpn goodbye, reclaimed my seat, tried to look normal, and learned to cable without a cable needle. Never looked back.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but embarrassment isn’t bad either.

Ban the Blue

It would seem that Claudia is taking matters into her own hands. Overwhelmed by the omnipresence of blue on my blog she has sent me the antithesis. Thanks lady!
The note reads “Ban the Blue”, and the yarn is Lion Brand Microspun, in “mango”. This is cool, not only because it is not blue, but because I’ve not seen this yarn in Toronto shops. It’s pretty neat. Amanda decided to take a stand and back Claudia’s blue ban. (except for the sweatshirt)
Personally, I think it’s a bold thing to do just to make a point about your mother’s blog…but what do I know.
Claudia enclosed a snip of the lime that she’s been knitting, and damn. That’s lime. You know how sometimes you can think of other words to describe colours? You say “it’s sort of a dirty lime” or “green apple-lime” or “well it’s lime, but lime in the shade…ya know?” Not this. There is only one word my friends, and that is LIME. Claudia’s going to look simply smashing in her tank.
I worked away on my blue tank (now that the socks are done I have returned to my former loves…though now that the mango goodness has arrived things are not looking good for them again). (Note: Photoshop may have been used to alter the colour of the tank.)
I’m only five cm up the front, but I’m the cables are coming up soon and I’m pretty hopped up about it. (Am I the only one who really worries about being excited by this kind of thing? Really, I’m probably going to get to the cables today and I can’t wait. Is that sad? Should I get out more?)
Now. A discussion question. This morning I read this. Surprise, surprise, I do virtually none of the things that Jenna advocates. (Well, that’s not true. I swatch. I read through the pattern to avoid getting bitten hard on the hind parts by something like “at the same time”, I check to make sure there’s no hidden crochet…) but other than that…I don’t do squat. I’ve never enlarged a schematic or marked decreases/increases and more than that, it had never occurred to me.
Don’t get me wrong, Jenna Wilson is clearly a genius and a very good knitter. She’s got an extremely good grip on how knitting works and her advice is sound. Very sound. There probably isn’t any of us who wouldn’t be a better knitter after taking her advice. We should all do this. Definitely.
This brings us to the question of the day. Having read the article, having a firm understanding that this would improve your knitting, fully knowing that this is an absolutely practical, reasonable, intelligent and thoughtful way to advance your skills and be a better knitter, please choose one of the following.
A) Yes. I will definitely be using this approach. I understand now what has been going wrong with much of my knitting and I want to knit smarter. The time spent preparing for a project will pay off in the knitting and the final product and it’s worth it. What most knitters don’t understand is that really getting into the technical side of knitting is fulfilling beyond words.
B) Well, I’m going to do some of that stuff. There’s some darned good ideas there, but I’m drawing the line at schematics.
C) No way. I’ll agree that it’s smart, but words like “calculation” “zone” and “geometric logic” sound like about as much fun as waxing your armpits. When I think about doing it this way I get an itch that starts right under my left foot and careens all the way to my brain, sucking all the joy, hope and relaxation out of my knitting along with it. With all due respect I’d rather throw myself into a bin of two mm dpns and hope that I take one in the heart than do this. I’m not afraid to live right on the edge, and I’m willing to pay for it with screwed up knitting and whole projects frogged into oblivion. It feels good to decrease without calculation, fail to highlight relevant pattern text and design as I go with out any regard for the laws of mathematics and the confining walls of logic and structure. I am a Knitter, and my business is with sheep and wool…I will turn my back on structure and planning and I…. WILL…..KNIT!
Naturally, I am not revealing my preference until after you have all commented.