The speed of four

I’ve got nothing. I’ve been sitting here trying and trying to think of something exciting to tell you, some place the Dublin Bay sock has been, or some new project that will scintillate and thrill you all.
I’ve got nothing.
The truth is that the 24 hours since I’ve been with you last have been pretty ordinary, except that I got to spend some of them with my four year old nephew, and the object of frequent knitterly atterntion, Hank.
Hank is a pretty fun guy, in a four year old way, and I had thoroughly forgotten the speed and sensibilities that the world moves to when you are four.
My sister was out of town, so I agreed (in exchange for her car, which is darned fun to drive – despite her insistence that If I am going to drive it, I call it “The Shite-mobile”) that I would pick up Hank from daycare, keep him for a while, then take him to the airport to meet my sister. No problem. I am the stunning and agreeable mother of three. I have experience, I have skills. Here’s how it went.
– While I was knitting the Cherry Aran, Hank insisted that I put it down, for three very reasonable and intelligent reasons. 1. The needles are very pointy and dangerous to little kids, like him, for example. 2. The Aran is not for him so why bother? 3. I can’t play lego and knit at the same time.
While making my arguments (I lost) I managed to finish the neck band and one of the button bands. You will notice that I have obviously had some rather serious button band issues. This is the inevitable cosmic punishment for mouthing off yesterday about picking up stitches. The killer is that as I was distracted by my attempts to play lego and knit at the same time, I decided to pick up the number of stitches listed in the pattern so I wouldn’t have to do button hole placement math. The pattern is clearly incorrect. (We will not discuss how it is that a knitter of my experience could make it all the way to the cast off edge without noticing that it was magnificently screwed up. All I can say is that Hank is probably very right about multitasking.)
I will refrain from using foul language, but will say that the pattern is (and I quote Hank) “a lying bad liar guy”.
– I took him to a department store to buy a big plastic storage bin. Hank insisted that he be placed in the bin, the lid replaced and the bin carried around the store with him inside it. The ultimate plan of course, was that eventually the bin would be placed on the cashiers counter and Hank would jump out, and yell “Surprise Lady!”. While I did carry him around for a while in the bin (Don’t look at me like that. He wasn’t running around the store trying to push other peoples carts while he was in the bin. He couldn’t see “Dora the Explorer” colouring books while he was in the bin, he couldn’t try on high heel shoes while he was in the bin. The bin is not all bad.) I managed to convince him that the yelling surprise part was pretty immature and maybe (just maybe) a little “too surprising”. His compliance cost me a pack of sugarless gum.
-Feeling a little twitchy, but having returned to the “Shitemobile” with my nephew, my bin and my sanity, we headed for home. Sadly, I had forgotten that all car trips with a four year old must take routes which avoid these attractions: McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins and Pet Stores, as four year olds cannot willingly pass these locales without attempting to make you stop the car. Volume and kicking the seat are the weapons of choice.
-Luckily for me, after screwing up by passing not one, but TWO of the taboo locations above, I managed to remember that the antidote is a Fire Station, and changed direction enough to go by one.
-Back in the car after a snack (Yeah…I screwed up there too. I forgot to dry the raw green beans. I must have been out of my mind) we left to go to the airport. In an attempt to distract Hank from the tedium of an hour in the car I brought Sam with me to entertain the troops. Sam taught Hank how to play “eye spy”, ” ‘A’ my name is Annie”, “Going on a bear hunt” and other all time hits. The high point of the car ride however…the all time high point, the point at which I remembered everything about being the mother of a four year old and was sincerely, truly glad that I have done my time, was when Sam taught Hank how to play “Simon Says”, and Hank said to me ( as I wind my way through the insane maze that is the Pearson Internation Airport with an exhausted car bound four year old who has wet green beans, misses his mother and has run out of gum)
Auntie Stephie….Simon Says, *drive like an apple*
You know the rest.

The Spirit of the Law

My name is Stephanie and I can’t do as I’m told.
Well, that’s not entirely true. It is simply that I am far more interested in The Spirit of the Law, rather than the Letter of the Law.
This concept (one of which I have been fond for some time) is well illustrated by the difference between a Saturday night in Toronto, and a Saturday night in a very small town. Let’s say that a guy is walking down Queen Street in Toronto. It’s a busy street, there’s tons of people, it’s a hot night and dude’s walking home from the beer store. Suddenly, he gets an idea, reaches into his bag and cracks himself a cold one. Buddy is walking down Queen Street, drinking a beer, completely sober, hurting nobody. I promise you, if a cop sees that beer open on Queen Street, our friend is going to the Don Jail til Monday morning. The law says no drinking alcohol in public spaces, and that’s what the cop is going to enforce. Toronto’s a big city. The cop doesn’t have time to work out that buddy is sober and harmless. The cop is enforcing the “Letter of the Law”.
Now, switch over to a small town. Same guy, same Saturday night, same beer. Dude’s walking down the street, drinking a beer in public…which is absolutely still against the law. Luckily, this is the only crime being committed in the small town this evening and when the cop sees him, he has time to figure out what’s going on. He talks to the dude for a bit and finds out that he is sober and harmless. Since the “no drinking in public law” is really there to keep harmful drunks off the street, and this guy isn’t a harmful drunk, the cop reminds our friend that he shouldn’t be drinking on the street and suggests he pour out the beer and get along home before he opens another. This is “The Spirit of the Law” in action.
Here’s today’s example as it applies to knitting. The Cherry Aran pieces are all knit and now all it needs is a neckband and button bands. Excellent. I glance at my pattern book and see that the sweater does indeed have a neckband, that it is knit in 1×1 rib and that you pick up and knit some stitches after joining both shoulder seams. There’s some other information there, like how many to pick up, what side they think I should pick them up from, and how many rows of 1×1 rib they think the neckband should have. Those instructions represent the “letter of the law”. The “Spirit of the law” is basically saying that you should end up with a neckband done in 1×1 rib, not that I should sit here for 17 hours tinking and picking up stitches along the neckline to get the exact number in the pattern making myself crazy until I’m mean to my husband and hate the stupid little sweater.
I didn’t even read how many they thought I should pick up.
It’s not that I don’t have any respect for what they are telling me. I understand the law. I understand that someone went to a lot of trouble to work that out for me, and darn it…I appreciate it. Considering though that I am familiar with the law and what it is intended to do, I don’t believe that they intended for me to throw my common sense out the window and give myself new wrinkles trying to pick up 46 instead of 44 stitches or disregarding the experience I have gained knitting neckbands in the past, or that they want for me not to think about what kind of neckband I would like. Therefore, I will pick up as many stitches as seems right, and if it looks right, I’m just going to follow the rest of the instructions which specified a 1×1 rib for …well, as far as I like it. I am absolutely confident that knitting is something where the spirit of the law matters more than the letter.
I’m not drinking a beer on Queen St. though. The Don Jail sucks.

Things I learned at the Prince Concert

1. It is probably not going to happen between me and Prince.
I understand that now. There was a moment when he looked right at me and it was so moving. I can tell that he feels the pull that I do, and there was no mistaking that we both have regrets about the last 20 years and a real sense of nostalgia for the good times that we’ve shared, but we both have other commitments now. He has his career, his music, his art…his responsibility to his fans and me, well….I have like, at least 7 loads of laundry.
2. I was glad that Prince searched for me in the crowd so we could communicate our feelings for each other. If he hadn’t done that I would have had to use “plan B” to get his attention. Since it didn’t come to that, and I’d like to walk away from this with my pride I will not disclose “plan B”, except to say that it involved the fact that I wore my “good bra” to the concert.
3. Prince is still a god walking the earth as man. Dude played for almost 3 hours (which is really a long time, I saw U2 last year and Bono totally crapped out before the 2 hour mark). He did all the classics, tons of new stuff and the new band is beyond anything you could believe. There is (for anyone who cares about the music and not what it meant to the desperate yearnings of a beleagured heart) a review here.)
4. Despite the fact that Prince and I recognize that our life paths are taking us in different directions, and that I love my seriously sexy husband very, very much, it turns out that I would still sleep with Prince if he asked me. This is somewhat disappointing on an ethical level, but there you have it.
5. I was, (as nearly as I could tell…there was 17 000 people there) the only one knitting. I knit while we waited for Prince to come on. I didn’t knit while he performed. I couldn’t remember how.
6. Even though the ticket said “Wear something purple” on it, I am really, really glad that I didn’t. Just a little too 1984, ya know?
7. They are very serious about the “no cameras” rule. Convinced by my pals that there was no way I was getting in with my digital camera, I was comforted by my buddy Nick who has a cellphone/camera thingie. He pointed out that they wouldn’t take his phone and that we would still manage to secure a picture of the Dublin Bay socks at the concert. During the concert however, as we joyously held the sock aloft and aimed the cellphone/camera thingie at it, we were warned by a largish thick-necked security dude that we should cease and desist from this activity if we wanted to continue to enjoy Prince’s company. I did point out to him that technically, we were taking a picture of a sock, not Prince, and that cell phone picture quality was really so crappy that it hardly even counted as taking a picture. I told him people were counting on me. He was unmoved.
(I resisted the urge to point out that he was leaning over a girl smoking a joint to tell me and Nick to put down the phone, it seemed petty.)
8. Item #4 on my “Clear indications that Prince must love me the way that I love him” list (a compelling work that I have been compiling since 1984) has always been “Prince is only 5’2″, which is only an inch taller than me”. While I have always believed that this was a very, very clear indication of compatibility between us, as an adult I know see the deeper meaning…that Prince would be really easy to knit for.
9. While Prince would almost fit into the Cherry Aran,
Jodi (from the comments) is right. Even though Prince lives here in Toronto, I can’t really see him wearing a gansey. This is probably the most compelling evidence that our lives have wound their ways apart and that we wouldn’t find true, long, meaningful love together. (This does not, for the record, have anything to do with the cosmic rightness of a meaningless wanton one (or three) night stand).
10. While I accept all of this, I am still a little sad. Even though my heart has been wrung out by the king of all things seriously funky, even though it’s important that both of us grow and mature, even though I understand that Prince and I had a moment, let it go, and moved onward with closure and dignity….even though when he sang “Come on and touch the place in me, that’s calling out your name…” it took all my strength as a woman to walk away from that very clear invitation…
it turns out that casting on a new project can always make me feel better.
Meet my new poncho.
and Prince? I think it’s better we take some time apart to get used to our new arrangement. I’ll call you.

20 years later

December 2nd 1984. I was sixteen years old, and for the very first time my mother was going to release me from my mundane suburban prison and let me and my friend Sue K take the bus from Bramalea to the epicentre of civilization, Toronto.
My mother let me go to Toronto, because if she didn’t I would die.
There was The Prince Concert at Maple Leaf Gardens. It was the Purple Rain Tour, and to me, Prince was a genius, who was also godlike in his beauty.
I spent hours analyzing his poetry, I knew he was talking to me….well, fine, not me…I mean he had never met me, but it was clear that he was searching for someone like me, and that the only reason that he didn’t love me was because he hadn’t met me. I believed that really, the only thing that was standing in the way of our simple, perfect love was lack of opportunity.
I would go to the concert, and there would be a moment where he would look into the crowd and our gaze would meet and in that one perfect second he would see the truth inside me and know that I was the only girl woman that would ever really see what he meant when he said “I only wanted 2 see u laughing in the purple rain”. What incredible poignancy.
I spent hours getting ready. It was the 80’s, so my hair took a long time, and just getting my jeans zippered up took both me and Sue. Sue was my best friend and that day, was the first time that I noticed she was really beautiful. I realized in an abstract sort of way that if you are going to a Prince Concert, and this is the one incredible chance that you will have to catch his eye, then maybe you shouldn’t stand beside some hot chick who’s going to screw it up for you. Then I realized that Prince wouldn’t care. We were meant to be. Sue had a letter that she wanted me to give him. The letter had all the songs she had written in it. Sue didn’t love Prince the way that I did, but she really respected him as an artist, and knew that if he read the songs that she was writing he would want her to work with him on his next album.
When he swept me out of the audience and into his life, I just had to remember to give him the envelope from Sue. We had it worked out, this night would change our lives.
I swear that it had never occurred to me that this wouldn’t work. I swear that I was shocked to discover that the concert was not intimate, that there were many thousands of other girls women, none of whom shared my destiny and conviction, all vying for space at the concert. I swear that all I felt as Sue and I walked to our seats, the seats that had taken all of our babysitting money, the seats that we had taken our mothers on for the right to take the bus to….the seats that were the gateway to the most significant, meaningful, defining moment in our lives….. that all I felt as I walked to those seats was a horrible, nauseating swirl of a nightmare.
The seats were so far back that Prince was an ant. He would never be able to look into my eyes, I was a 85 pound, 5′ tall sixteen year old in a seat that was hundreds of feet from the stage. Miles away…there was a pole in front of one of the seats, but Sue took that one. There was no way that Prince would see me. There was no way we could even throw Sue’s letter. All was lost.
I have always wondered why Prince and I didn’t meet that night. I can only imagine that there were forces that placed the thousands of thronging, maniacal girls, (none of whom loved him the way that I did, their love was shallow, superficial…immature) between us. Maybe Prince wasn’t ready for me to come into his life. Maybe destiny meant for me to have my wonderful husband and delightful children. Who knows the answers to these questions.
All I know for sure…is that tonight, I am going here, and this time I’ll be in the 17th row, and I’ll have the Dublin Bay Sock. Let Destiny do what she will.

I am a knitter

As we all know by now, your local Yarn Harlot is, to the general public anyway, Nobody. I go nowhere good, I don’t travel in celebrity circles and I don’t get invited to the kinds of places that you all hope for. My life is miraculously, quietly boring, and it is staggering to me that you come here every day. My Darling Joe, on the other hand, is wildly interesting. He knows people. He goes places, and he mucks about in the wilds of the Canadian music business like it’s the grocery store, largely unaware that he is So. Freakin. Cool. My favourite illustrative points about how Joe is unaware of his own coolness, is the year he won a Juno, he didn’t even watch it on TV. He didn’t know he’d been nominated (and lost…but he lost to “Snatch“) for a Golden Reel award until he discovered it while working on his resume.
Because Joe is so cool, I sometimes get to go to places where they don’t let ordinary people like me in. (Once, while at the opening party for Festival Express, I passed Sylvia Tyson toilet paper.) Since this sort of excitement only happens occasionally, there is always a wardrobe crisis of epic proportions when I am called upon to accompany my cool mate to the cool places. This time however, I was ready. When we got the invitation to Jose and Lily’s wedding, I knew that I had this.
We mixed, we mingled, we danced (well, I danced, it is better if Joe doesn’t) we ate little tiny foods, I dangled my drink and stood beside Joe as he talked to fancy people. It was terrifying. (It is a little known fact that I am shy. Horribly, terribly, shy. I manage to fake outgoing and confident rather well, but inside…I am quaking)
Ryan, the Dublin Bay socks came with us, and had a spectacular time, fearlessly hanging out with Canadian Rock Stars and dazzling locals. The Bride and Groom even took a moment to thank the sock-in-progress for coming.
Most awkward moment award: (and oddly, wasn’t getting the Bride and Groom to pose with a sock in progress at their wedding, somehow that felt natural.) We were standing next to a Manager and Publicist, who were introducing us all around. Joe gets the big long introduction, that he’s a producer, that he owns a big studio, that he is formally “cool”. Then she turns to introduce me. Now at these events I’m really lucky if I maintain my name. Generally speaking, I walk through the door and I am suddenly no longer Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, fine and interesting person in her own right but merely the ornamental “Joe’s wife”. (I have leaned that it is counterproductive to fight this at the moment that I am being introduced. All attempts to maintain my independent role in the universe have resulted in episodes that end with me being more likely to be introduced as “Joe’s insane wife” at the next event.) This time however it appeared that the sweetie of a publicist was going to give me an actual identity….I was staggered, and shocked, and I waited to see which of my life roles I would be assigned today. Would she say I was a Doula? Childbirth Educator? An IBCLC? Perhaps in this crowd she would go with “Freelance Writer”? Or maybe she’ll mention how I worked for a Native Health Centre for a few years, how exciting! Perhaps after I was introduced with a job and a life I would be able to talk to someone instead of just standing next to Joe. The suspense is killing me when she leans forward out of the din of the band and says:
“This is Stephanie….she….is a knitter.”
The little hub of cool people stare at me, then look back at the publicist. Perhaps they heard her wrong? Knitter? Seriously? Like, with yarn? All day? They glance at Joe, perhaps hoping that he will explain what someone with his level of cool factor is doing with a “knitter”, or that perhaps that they had misheard, and I’m a “fitter” or “neurosurgeon”. Joe is not correcting them though, he is grinning like an idiot, nodding agreement with the publicist. Knitter it is. I decide that there’s nothing for it. If I try to tell them that I am more than a knitter, or that knitting is fascinating, or that it’s not like I “only” knit…for crying out loud, I’m going to look desperate. (Which I am, but I really thought it was better to play that at little closer to the vest).
The cool people wander off and I stand there, thinking that I might have been slightly better off when I was “Joe’s wife”.
It was right then that I decided to take the Dublin Bay socks out of my purse. What the hell, I had nothing to lose, I am a knitter.

and she’s back…

Apologies for the lack of a blog yesterday, I’m fine (thanks for asking/emailing), I went to a birth, so now I am gloriously, fabulously, incredibly “off call” for the rest of the summer. I put my pager in a drawer. It felt good.
Number of consecutive hours awake : 31
Number of cups of coffee needed to do this : 5
Number of cups of coffee that I actually had because the hospital does not have adequate provision of coffee services: 1
The number of times I complained about this to hospital staff: 7, plus I wrote a letter when I got home.
Type of baby: Boy, very cute, and I’m not just saying that, because we all know that there are a lot of babies out there who look like Winston Churchill at first. This one really was cute.
Weight of baby: 9lb 13oz.
Number of times I told the mother she was impressing the hell out of me: too many to count.
Amount knit at the birth: almost one repeat of the Cherry Aran.
Sticking with the Cherry Aran is going to be a difficult thing, since I may have lost control of myself at a S&B at Lettuce Knit on Wednesday evening. I had the best time, and did two of my favourite things.
First, I corrupted another knitter/blogger, Marmalade blogs about it here. (If you are a Canadian, and feel the love that I do for Canadian spellings, check out the “letter zed” button she made. I’ll be ripping that off shortly”) I don’t feel bad about the corruption I wrought either. She’s a really neat person and a terrific knitter who just needed an enthusiastic session of enabling to…er… come over to the dark side of renegade ‘you can do it’ knitting. She’s now going to try converting a sock pattern to “toe-ups”, and she’s knitting a Fiddlesticks knitting “Rippling waters” scarf, and I did sort of encourage her to buy some laceweight yarn. Yes, I’m aware that there is a fine line between “enabler” and “pusher”. No, I do not think I crossed that line. Yes, I will help her if she gets stuck on the lace knitting, and Yes, I do think that she still likes me.
Second, I bought some yarn. Luckily for Kelly (Marmalade) and my bank account, I was paged to the birth before I did any real damage to either of us. The poncho fixation culminated in the purchase of some Mission Falls 1824 wool
enough for a shortish poncho which I am quite certain I am not starting until the Cherry Aran is done. I usually shun superwash, on account of the slipperiness doesn’t agree with me. This time though, I’m sort of looking for slippery. I got the new Interweave knits, and a new circular, and this…
This is Blue Heron handpainted cotton laceweight. There are 1050 yards in this bad boy, more than enough to make a version of a totally funky poncho I saw at Lettuce knit. Laceweight yarn knit on 9mm needles. I’m flipped out about it. Completely flipped out. I have no idea how I’m going to keep myself from abandoning the 49 other works in progress and dedicating every single waking moment of my life working on it.
This is a better representation of the colours. Don’t you want it? Don’t you love it? How can you go on living without it? You should have it. You will be happier and more fulfilled if you have it. Did you hear me say it was more that a thousand yards? That’s a lot of yarn. The sun will shine a little brighter. You know, even if you don’t like cotton, this is cotton on big needles, it’s different. You can do it. It’s going to be fun, we can do it together! C’mon. I’ll meet you at Lettuce knit next week and I’ll admire it and everyone will want to be us.
Now you have a better idea of what happened to Kelly/Marmalade, only she could touch the yarn, thus increasing my cosmic sphere of influence.
I hope she’s ok.

Boleros and ponchos

Bolero –
1. A very short jacket, usually open in the front.
2. A Spanish dance in triple meter
3. The music for this dance.
The little bolero from yesterday is finished, and I was right, my life does actually feel more complete and rich, even though this pattern departs from the usual “open in the front” bolero rules. What the hell, I mean…once you’ve lawlessly stopped in the middle of a row, rules are nothing to you. Nothing.
Laura asked for the pattern source (she also asked what a Bolero was..but I already answered her), and I’m destined to disappoint. Not only is the pattern from a weird little Patons book from the 50’s, I changed it. The original was done in a two stitch basket weave, so I changed it to a ribbed slip stitch, from 365 Knitting Stitches A Year (Which I love, even though the considerable errata is here) and I made the cross over front slope a little less slopey. The main issue was the basket weave. I hate basketweave stitch, I hate it enough that I have never really even tried to get over it. I know I’m being unfair, I’m ok with that. I believe that basketweave stitch, and all of its incarnations are “puffy” and that this puffiness, when used in a garment that goes anywhere near a person who is not a truly unhealthy kind of skinny will transfer it’s qualities of puffiness to said wearer, thus making them look puffy.
I won’t even stand near somebody wearing basketweave.
New business:
I have, in the last 12 hours developed an obsession with ponchos. I have looked at ponches before and almost knit Steph’s pretty clever ponchoification of Charlotte. I decided against it. (I have reservations about Charlotte. We’ll talk about that another time).
In the end, I wondered why I’d want to make a poncho at all. Big, easy, shapeless…not usually what I’m into at all. Then, I saw Aven’s poncho here, and something snapped. I am obsessed. I can’t explain it. I have spent several hours over the last 12 cruising poncho’s on the blogs, looking at patterns, folding up napkins in attempts to design a poncho, ripping yarn out of the stash to see if it’s poncho material….I can’t explain myself.
Why do I care?
Then I was talking with my mom. I mentioned the poncho obsession, and she said “Christ. Not this again.” Turns out that that when I was 7 I wanted a poncho very, very badly. I begged, I pleaded, I folded tablecloths into artful and wearable poncho shapes and I was denied. My mother thought that ponchos are stupid, so now, it turns out that once again ….I’m scarred for life.
I’m going to have to knit a dumb poncho. (Now that I think about it, this could explain the odd attraction I have to fringe too…)

Sure, mid row.

So, I’m reading this book and knitting on this little pink baby bolero.
Yeah, that’s right, a bolero. You got a problem with that? Haven’t you ever just sat around looking at the little Aran you are knitting and thought, “Holy crap! I could be knitting a pink bolero with a cross over front! What am I doing with my life! It’s all wrong….I’ve got to get it together.” Then thrown down the Aran and seized a sweet pink wool with these little slubs in it and immediately cast on a damned Bolero? I thought so. These problems are far more common than most people would expect. It’s not just me.
A quick note about the Cherry Aran: Mary and Chelsea ask “What Aran?” and wonder if this is the handspun sweater for Joe, and Julia thinks maybe she recognises the “Must Have Cardi“. All wrong, rest assured that when I begin Joe’s sweater with the handspun, no one will miss it. There will be a parade and a party, and cats carrying little trays of watercress sandwiches, and a bevy of trumpets playing a joyous song while the sun shines down on the belly dancers and the release of a thousand white miniature sheep all wearing little gold necklaces, as I dance in the street because I have finally, finally finished the thousands and thousands of yards of freakin’ spinning for the sweater.
Don’t worry, you won’t miss it.
It’s not the Must have Cardi either, though I forgot how much I like that sweater….(focus…don’t lose your focus…) The Cherry Aran is just the wool re-incarnation of the bungled cotton baby sweater from last week. Nothing new, nothing fancy, It isn’t even my pattern since I found the perfect pattern in this book.
Back to my point. So I was reading the “Tips and Tricks” book, when I read this…
We have all been told never to stop in the middle of a row of knitting….”
It goes on to describe the various ways in which one may avoid doing this.
I’m a little freaked out here. “We have all been told“? “never“? Or what? What happens if somehow you get to be someone who has been knitting for 31 years and you have never, ever heard of this and to make things worse, much, much worse, you have in fact taught many, many people to knit, including innocent children for crying out loud…innocent children, and you never told them this at all. Why, in the name of all things wooly, why do you never stop in the middle of a row? Locusts? Bad Karma? Tornados? What about circular knitting, how do you avoid it, it’s all one long row isn’t it? What, once you start a circular sweater you have to finish? No eating, no sleeping, for the love of sheep….just. keep. knitting.
I’ve stopped in the middle of a row a thousand times. Sometimes, I even stop not in the middle, but towards one side – why, I’ve been completely random with it, never knowing that there was yet another knitting rule that I had smashed to smithereens. What will become of me? What have I been risking? It’s gotta be something bad or the book wouldn’t say that, but it can’t be anything to do with knitting or I would have noticed. Listen, I’m really just mentioning it here as a public service. I’m gonna stop. You better stop too.

Life’s a bowl of cherries

No kidding. I am being haunted by these cherries. They are in my house, near my house, on the sidewalk in front of my house, being tracked into the house, being pilfered and thrown by neighbourhood children and stolen by little old men and women with bowls under cover of darkness. (Not that I mind…they can have as many of the little red orbs from hell as they want, but if you want to steal cherries, and you come at night so that I won’t know you are there, try not to have a loud argument in Ukrainian two feet from my window, it blows your cover )
The cherry situation resolved a little when I discovered that I can pit cherries with a 2mm needle. I believe that this act tricked the most basic, instinctive parts of my brain into thinking that I was doing something to do with knitting, thereby making the pitting process at least only mind-numbingly stupid, not torturous.
Cherries pitted, there only remained the problem of what to do with several pounds of pitted cherries. Answer?
Mmmm….the first aran sleeve and Cherry Upside-Down Cake. This yarn and the cake are both heartily recommended, enough so, that the burning pain of pitting a thousand cherries sort of started to seem like maybe it was worth it. Sure, that twitch over my eye is back again, but now I’ve got nice knitting and good cake. This combination restores my spirit and I wander back into the kitchen and attack the remaining pounds of cherries. (I am troubled briefly by the fact that there doesn’t seem to be less cherries, I mean I was just in here, I took a whole whack of them out of the bowl…shouldn’t there be fewer cherries?) I make…
The second Aran sleeve and Cherry Bars. These are good, but not as good as the cake. Actually, that’s not fair. It could be, that if I had tried the cherry bars before gorging on several pieces of Upside down cake, and pitting all those cherries and sweeping the suicidal ones off of the sidewalk, and generally wishing for sweet release from the cherry nightmare that has conumed my life, that I might have had a more positive attitude toward the Cherry bars and cherries in general. I admit that at this point I have inexplicably begun to call this little sweater the “Cherry Aran”, even though it is not cherry coloured, or has cherry motifs or even bobbles or something you could interpret as cherry-inspired. No, no, it is guilty by association. When the cherry bars were baked (and not eaten) I went back into the kitchen to try to deal with the remaining pitted and waiting cherries. I will confess at this point that I suspect Joe of picking and pitting cherries secretly to replace the ones that I used up in these marathon baking sessions. The other alternative is that the bowl of cherries is bottomless, which is too horrible to even contemplate.
I decide to switch tactics.
What cherries?
Damn straight. I’ve begun the back of the Cherry aran, and heartlessly thrust the remaining pitted cherries into ziplocks (in amount appropriate for upside-down cake) and shoved them into the freezer. I’m sure that when the memory of cherry overload fades I’ll feel like eating them again. Seriously, I picked several pounds and gave them away, then I picked several pounds and baked and froze them, plus I was ripped of my neighbours, not to mention the tons that have been eaten by local wildlife, including the kid down the street who has been using them for “ammo” for several days. You would think that the end would be in sight.
Not even close. Here’s Sam as of 10am this morning. I’m going to look away, I’m going to avert my eyes. I’m going to sit down with the little Cherry Aran and not speak of this for some time. What’s wrong with a little good old fashioned repression? What?

Poor little socks

I love this yarn.
You know how it is with a yarn that is just so beautiful, every few rows you lay it on your lap and run your hands over it. I pull on the bobbles and lace, and admire the softness. Wonderous good it is, and a pleasure to knit. The two ends are done, and I’ll make a decision about what lace to put in the middle sometime after I’ve triumphantly knit the baby sweater. I have stuffed the cotton into a clear plastic zipper bag prison and sent it to the rear of the stash. It has been replaced by a decent, upstanding, reliable wool purchased from my local this morning.
I may also have come home with a fair bit of baby wool…..
but we shall not speak of this, or how much baby wool this means I have in total. (I love 100% wool for babies. I really do. Discuss)
A while ago Aubergine sent a comment about the Dublin Bay Socks. He wrote:
I can’t help but wonder about those dublin bay ones tho- they don’t look any longer since any of the other photos. Could it be you’re just taking the socks with you and _not_ actually working on them?

Ahem. A careful forensic examination of the photographs will reveal that while progress on the Dublin Bay socks is shamefully slow, they are actually a little bit bigger in each photo. I admit that I’m not making good time, but it’s not like I’m not working on them. The problem is that they are my bus knitting. This is a problem because it’s summer, and I don’t take the bus. I ride my bike. Me and my little harlotites are in training for our annual family vacation which is always an epic bike ride.
This will be our third serious bike trip. The first year (when our youngest was 8) We rode our bikes from Toronto to Niagara falls. (200 km) Last summer we looked for more of a challenge and rode the 400 km from Toronto to Gananoque (The Thousand Islands) and carried our camping gear on our bikes, camping in Provincial Parks all the way there.
This year, after what should be a fabulous trip to Newfoundland to see Joe’s family, we will meet Ken in PEI with the bikes and ride our way through the province. (Camping all the way) I know this sounds nuts, but I assure you that it is fun. It is a rather complicated way to wrangle a trip to Fleece Artist, but a Harlot’s gotta do what a Harlot’s gotta do.
Expect progress on the Dublin Bay socks to be slow as long as we are riding 20-40 km a day to get ready. I’ve explained all this to the socks, and they are looking forward to the Maritimes.
More details later, but for now….
I’ve been promised a recipe for cherry cake, and discovered that a 2mm needle makes an excellent cherry pitter.