Evil, thy name is Bodice Inset.

There you go. Two works that I can go the whole rest of my life without running into again. “Bodice Inset”. If you don’t know what a bodice inset is….make no further inquiries and put it right out of your mind. I finished the dress last night (well, I hemmed it this morning as Meg stood ready) and managed to make a cloak for her as well.
(None of us are feeling well. Meg is on the mend, but is only capable of looking this thrilled. Trust me, she is very happy)
Highlights of the evening include the following:
-Managing to sew all pieces of the bodice backs together so that all four of them (the bodice is lined. Did I mention the bodice is lined?) were “left backs”. Unpicking two so I could re-sew them and get two “right backs” then sewing them up in exactly the same way.
– Getting Ken over here to put in the zipper, (Ken and I have a long-standing agreement about zippers. I do all the making up on his knitting, and he puts in all my zippers) then watching him bail out when he ran into the Bodice Inset. He claims that he had to work. I don’t believe him.
-A creative and stunning display of expletives (even for me…and I practice) when I realized that I’d sewn the filthy zipper in so crooked that I no longer zipped. (Which sort of defeats the *&^%$$ purpose doesn’t it? I’ll get Ken for this.)
-A very quiet period of reflection when I disovered, shortly after I finished the dress that I had pattern piece #11 left over. It claims to be an “underlap”. Probably related to the execrable Bodice Inset….seems to be unimportant, since it is on the dining room table, and the dress is at the school. Makes me wonder how many of the other 17 pieces were unnecessary.
-Very calmly, (probably *too* calmly) putting the dress and the half-way set in sleeve with contrast lined cuff down on the floor. Muttering the words “ease stitch this you #$%^&*(*&^% ” and sitting in the corner knitting a mitten for a while, just to take the edge off.
This morning I have a wicked sewing hangover (and probably the virus that everyone else got, though I will die blaming the Bodice Inset) , but my buddy Norma has rescued me…
Norma my pet, I’m using it all today. ( I miss you too) That, a nap, a little mitten knitting and I won’t even remember the word “staystitch”. Bodice Inset my arse.
(PS….if you need a Halloween costume, read yesterdays comments. Keep leaving them if you like, and I’ll post a page of ideas when Halloween is over. Brilliant. Simply Brilliant.)

Can’t I just knit something for this?

So it’s almost Halloween, and that disturbing thing is happening again. Ordinary women, who would normally laugh in your face and lie down on the floor of The Gap and giggle madly, spilling their custom Starbucks coffee all over themselves if you merely suggested that they make their children’s clothing are responding to some deep human instinct and are being dragged helplessly by a psychotic maternal urge to make capes and hats and clown costumes to prove their love. They are in line at Fabricland and they all look a little dazed. They aren’t sure what’s happening to them. After all, they aren’t sewing mothers, they haven’t sewn anything since last Halloween when they finished that elf thing at three in the morning, and that’s really sort of hazy. There may have been rick-rack or interfacing or something where you had to clip the curves. Who knows. All they know is that not only are they at a Fabricland (oh…the humanity) but they are caring a lot about finding a princess pattern that doesn’t have poofy sleeves (because they are *so* Disney..and we’re aiming for a more Lord of the Rings sort of princess) and that they suddenly are feeling sort of pissy that ribbon doesn’t come in more shades of pink.
How do I know?
Shoot me. For the love of wool. Shoot me.
There are so many ways out of this sewing nightmare. I can think of lots of things that wouldn’t take any more than a hot glue gun, four things out of my recycle bin, 10 minutes and a stapler. What’s wrong with those ideas? I even hear tell of parents who (get this…) BUY costumes, ready made. Freaky eh? It’s not like I don’t try to avoid this either, why just this year my two greatest no-sew costumes of all time were rejected again. (You may steal these. Someone should have some satisfaction. I’ve been trying to get one of my kids to do this for 15 years.)
1. A highway. The child wears all black or gray clothing, then yellow and white reflective tape is applied to their body in the pattern of a road. The arms and legs are ramps. Hot glue gun toy cars onto the road.
2. The child wears various half knitted objects. Sleeves for leg warmers, swatches in various states of unravel pinned to them… odd balls and skeins of yarn are stuck to them with hot glue. When someone asks what they are, they reply….Stash.
The baby hat is done. The cat is still completely uncooperative. I didn’t even try to put it on her head. (Ignore the black fur stuck to the side of the hat).
I’m trying to resist the urge to knit bootees. I expect to fail.
Kristin wanted to see how the decreases on the top look….
I oblige. I changed my basic recipe a little for this, (Can you believe that I can’t even knit my own pattern without changing it? It’s a disease.) instead of just gathering up the stitches, I worked a little I-cord at the top. I think it looks like a little stem. This amuses me to no end, mind you…I’m still a little shocky from the whole Fabricland thing. I’ll be looking for my pincushion, if anybody needs me.

Birth of a glacier.

While we were in Newfoundland this summer, we vistited the Tablelands. This barren, rocky place was incredibly hot, yet up near the top of the mountain was a patch of snow. It was August, the mountain barely qualified as a mountain, so I didn’t think that the temperature could be different enough for there to be snow…so I asked the guide how there could still be snow up there.
He explained that so much snow falls and drifts in that area, that it can’t all melt during the summer. Parts of the tablelands are covered in more than 90m (295 feet, for my American friends) of snow and it just can’t get hot enough, for long enough to melt that amount of snow. Come the next winter, there’s a little patch that hasn’t melted, and the new snow falls on top of it. Each year, that little patch of snow gets a little bigger. The guide explains that this patch of snow makes Geologists nervous. What is happening with this little ever-growing patch of snow is the birth of a glacier. (If this makes you nervous too, you can relax. It’s going to take a really long time).
This week, I realized that the same thing was happening in my email inbox. Every day I am getting a little more email than I could ever answer. I am trying really, really hard to answer everyone, but everyday the inbox grows a little larger, and emails are getting buried and frozen in the pile. It is the birth of a glacier, and it isn’t taking a long time.
I read and love every single email and comment, and don’t want anyone to have hurt feelings if I can’t reply, I’m just giving everyone a heads up that I’m shovelling as fast as I can…but the snow keeps falling. If you sent me something that you really think I should have answered, send it again. I don’t want to discourage anyone from leaving a comment (or sending me an email) especially since the comments on this blog are often funnier and more interesting than the blog itself, just don’t take it personally if I don’t answer you….I’m probably just buried.
Tuesdays were for spinning, and I’m pretty darned happy with the results. The Merino/tencel is pretty freakin slick and slippery (Hey Kerstin? Can I be Slick Chick now? I always wanted a nickname.) but after 10 minutes of having it snatched out of my hands faster than a sequin at a Cher concert, I got it figured. The long draw (my preferred spinning technique) is hard with this fibre, so I used a supported long-ish draw, holding the twist out of the drafting triangle, then sliding my pinch along the fibre. At no time did I relinquish my grip on said fibres. (I would suggest that you hold the fibre with a force somewhere between “death grip” and “exceedingly firm”.)
When your hand cramps severely into a distorted spinning claw in….oh, 7-9 minutes you’ve probably got it right. I kept the tension on the wheel at a “whisper”. The singles looked pretty good.
I toyed with they idea of plying it with the white mohair laceweight. Imagine how sexy it would be? I gave the idea up after a few moments, when it turned out that the idea was far, far more elegant than the reality.
Disappointing, Yes? It looks like a designer nursery layette vomited.
I plied it back on itself, and I’m actually happy with the results. Shiny, slick, very nifty, and putting the colours next to each other made them a little more edgy I think. I far prefer it to the saccharine candy of the first plying attempt.
Bippy, Cassie and Erika have all asked about Joe’s gansey. I knew someone would. This day had to come. Harlots are notoriously unfaithful. Truth is, the spinning for Joe’s sweater is on hold until I turn on the heat. I need to wash more fleece and I just can’t face the piles of damp brown fleece rats lingering around the house for days. Once the heat is on I can pile fleece rats on the kitchen heating grate and dry them in a matter of hours. It’s so good that I have all of you to keep the pressure on, isn’t it?
I’ve cast on a wee hat to go with the sweater, using my patented roll brim hat approach. I give it to you here:
Roll Brim Hat Recipe.
1. Cast on 20 stitches with the yarn and needles you would like to use. Knit in stocking stitch until you have a piece at least 5 cm (2 inches) long, longer if you think that swatches are funny, pleasant or if you are collecting them. (Note for proper knitters: if you are the sort of person who has not yet accepted that most simple roll brim hats are lost way, way before they are ever washed, or if you are giving the hat to someone you know is so responsible that they will want to wash it, you may wash the swatch now. I never have.)
2. Measure how many stitches to the inch you are getting. I cannot stress enough the importance of being completely honest here. If is is 4 1/3 stitches, then that’s what it is. Do not give in to the urge to stretch, squash or lie about your stitches.
3. Measure the intended head. Subtract an inch. Multiply this number by the number of stiches your swatch has to the inch. For example: The head measures 20 inches, subtract an inch = 19. I’m getting 5 stitches to the inch.
19 X 5 = 95.
4. Cast on that number.
5. Knit until the hat measures (with it’s brim allowed to roll up) the length of the intended victims hand, from base of palm to tip of longest finger. (Note: this may not be long enough if your victim is a baby, on account of their freakishly large heads. Make it about 12cm (5 inches) for them.) If the victim is not available, I just make it the length of my hand, plus or minus an inch depending on the person’s size.
6. Begin to decrease for the top.
Knit 2, knit 2 together all the way around. Do not worry if this doesn’t work out evenly with your number of stitches. Fake it. I have never been struck by lightning for doing this.
Knit a round plain.
Knit 1, knit 2 together around.
Knit a round plain.
Knit 2 together around.
Knit a round plain.
Knit 2 together around, every row until you have less than 10.
7. Break yarn, draw through remaining stitches, tighten up (not too tight, for wool’s sake, pulling the yarn hard enough that you snap it is a serious bummer at this point).
8. Show it to everyone who is home, put it on the cat and make fun of her. Dogs and helpless children are also good. Spouses are generally resistant to this part of the process.

I can’t tell from here…

I’ve just returned from the ophthalmologist where I have been ritually blinded. She put those stupid drops in my eyes despite my attempts to bargain out of it. I offered 4 visual fields tests during which I would silently and pleasantly co-operate ( if you have met me, then you know that she should have taken that one) in exchange for no drops, but she was unmoved. Offered cookies, she advanced anyway. I offered the fleece artist socks I was working on…
She didn’t care. She put in the drops. I hate the drops. I am immature about the drops. The drops make me hostile. If you are an opthomologist and you are thinking about sending me an email explaining how important the drops are, and that they are not stupid, and that I am being good about vision care by getting them and those kind of ophthalmologist sentiments….well, go ahead. I suppose you have a point. Still, I retaliated by spelling out my feelings when reading the eye chart. Every time I couldn’t see something (which is a lot of the time…or I wouldn’t need to be ritually blinded this freaking often.) I substituted a word that I felt best reflected the moment. For example: the I bet you didn’t know that the third line reads C -R -U – E – L or that the one below that (If I can’t read line three…why are you asking me to read the one below it? I get it. I can’t see. Your all powerful drops have rendered me blind and I am at your mercy. I give up. You may stop taunting me now.) reads D – U – M – B – A – S – S.
I think the ophthalmologist and I understand each other now.
(R – E – L – E – A – S – E – M – E.)
I returned home and took these photographs. They may be out of focus. There is no way to know. I wonder what it says about my personality that I would take pictures while I am blind? This is (I think…) the little baby Jacket… (has anybody noticed that everything I’m working on is sort of close in colour? You don’t really notice till it’s all a blur…) You can see (one of us should) that I didn’t entirely lick the colour pooling thing.
The pattern is from Morehouse Merino, for those of you who were asking. It’s called “Little Red Riding Hood”. It may or may not be on the page I linked to. I have no idea. I took the hood off and improvised a collar.
Since Tuesdays are for spinning, when I regain my sight I will be spinning one of the choice rovings I got at The Sheep Shed (site under development) in Rhinebeck. Pretty, pretty.
Perhaps a little over the top in the colour department, but I think they are going to be less wild when spun up,
The two fluffy looking ones on the left are a merino/tussah blend, and the slicker looking ones on the right are something I’ve never tried, merino/tencel. We’ll see. (or not…) I’m not bitter.


A lovely baby is due in four weeks, and this will be her jacket.
Hood? No hood? Haven’t made up my mind. I’m loving the Morehouse Merino I’m knitting it out of, it’s very, very beautiful, and very, very soft. Lauren asked in a comment how it compared to Koigu. It has the same beautiful colours, but that’s where the similarities end. The Morehouse is a barely spun single ply, compared to Koigu, which is a two ply with a fairly tight twist. This yarn is actually so soft that I’m very, very worried about pilling. I’m hoping that knitting a baby jacket out of it will mean that it doesn’t get too ratty looking before the kid outgrows it. I’d love a sweater for myself knit from it…but the neurotic, overwhelming concern about the downside of it’s softness keeps me from considering it.
Speaking of neurotic, overwhelming concerns, I’m having some issues with the colour repeat of the thing. I’m breaking the yarn every so often (like, every 2 rows) to avoid pooling or flashing of the colours. It would seem that this yarn is dyed in intervals so regular as to be self patterning. Check out what Alison’s Morehouse is doing. Freaky eh?
I decided last night that the jacket wasn’t enough. I can’t tell you what else will be knit for this baby. I may have had a few fleeting starts, but I don’t think that any of them are going to “take”.
I thought about a shawl. Then I remembered the soul crushing defeatism of having every row get longer, and longer and longer….I’m usually the *go to gal* for soul crushing defeatism, but I just don’t have it in me so soon after the Rhinebeck thing. (It’s important to take time in between insane project relationships, you don’t want them getting the upper hand. Gotta regroup. Make a plan. Restore what’s left of my watery self esteem. Everybody has that with sweaters? Right?) Then I got to thinking….why not knit a shawl from the edge up? Cast on the two long edges of a triangular shawl, then decrease at each edge and twice in the middle on every right side row….that would make a triangle, I’m sure of it. You would end up casting off a stitch or two at the centre of the top edge. No problem. I think. Now a reasonable knitter would knit a little sample, try out this idea on a little swatchy kind of thing. We all know that I didn’t bother to do that. (Don’t bother to remember this moment so that you may all mock me later. If it turns out that I’m wrong about this and have created a fluffy lace-weight gate to hell for myself because I thought the 15 minutes it would take to test the theory was stupid… I will engage in a knitterly version of self-flagellation that will exceed any “I told you so” that any of you could muster.)
I figured out the length of one of the sides of the shawl, picked an edging and cast on the 185 stitches I would need. Then I ripped it back because I’m a moron who only cast on one of the sides. (Yes, there was a moment there where I was so loathe to cast on again that I tried to figure out how I could just knit one side of the shawl at a time…)
I doubled the stitch count so I could have two sides. (Nice touch Steph) and tried again. Note: This means that I was casting on 370 stitches in lace-weight. There are several intelligent ways of doing this. Some knitters put a stitch marker every 50 stitches or so, that way you don’t have to keep counting. Some knitters count off the stitches with contrast yarn marking off the sections of lace….I don’t do any of these things. I cast on what I think is 370 stitches, then shriek “I’m counting! Stop it. Do not speak!” for as long as it takes for me to feel reasonably sure that it actually is 370 stitches. Then I count them again, get 372, take two stitches off, count again, get 367. Add three, count again, get 371. Take off one, count again , (wonder why in the name of H-E- double hockey-sticks I don’t use one of the intelligent ways of doing this) and get 382. 382?
There’s only so much one woman can take, you know? We’ll see if I recover enough to try again.
In the meantime, everybody troupe on over and give a big Blogosphere welcome to Cassie (Cassie was winning my votes for cool knitting stuff at Rhinebeck, be sure and check her gallery) , and heap praise on poor blogless Casey, for she has thrummed, and it is good.
Finally, Bippy left the following challenge in the comments.
If you can manage not to turn on your heat until New Years…I will give you a prize. A good one.
Bippy. I have decided to resist. It has not been easy to walk away, since we have already established that I am exactly the person that this kind of baiting was created for. Still, I am walking away. I will forgive you this taunting because you live in Texas, and you do not know of what you speak. I don’t mind being crazy. I understand that I have a more flexible relationship with traditional normality than most people, and I’m ok with them calling me “crazy” or “nutty” or even “delusional”, but Bippy? I realized, (while I was just sort-of abstractly thinking about what kind of a prize it could be) I should draw the line at “dangerous”.
I’m hoping to make it to Oct 31.

This argument goes in circles.

Before we get on with Stephanie’s excellent dye adventure, I’m going to take a minute to respond to a comment of Rams’ yesterday. (Don’t pity her. She can take it. She’s a fine, clever woman with well thought out arguments. She’s intelligent, funny and…well, holding an opinion contrary to my own.)
Rams saw that I had started Maddy out on straight needles, and was expecting her (a rank beginner, and a 13 year old one at that) to manage. She writes:
So…..No one else is going to comment on knitting across and purling back (for a beginning knitter) and, God forbid, sewing together to produce a tubular garment? Anybody? Just me out here with the lions? Okay —
(eyes rolled to heaven — think St. Sebastian stuck full of straight needles. With last breath–)
circular needles. circular needles. circular needles.
(What it is to suffer for one’s faith. Meg Swanson, don’t tell me you’re not lurking out there…)

Here’s what I think. I always start new knitters on straights, or at least working back and forth on circulars. I think that it makes for a better start. People who start with circulars often (not always) learn to regard purling as the crabby and difficult sister of the Queen Knit, hold dark and bitter resentment for sewing up seams, and spend their lives searching for patterns knit in the round, complaining bitterly when they are faced with back and forth knitting.
My theory is based on the idea that a knitter comfortable with knit and purl equally, able to sew a decent seam and think nothing of it, is a free and comfortable knitter. He/she can take up circulars later and not lose their “I can do anything”, “never say die” knitting attitude. Arans that need seams for stability and are better knit flat? No problem. Garter stitch baby sweaters in the round? Intarsia? No fears. Learning to regard the two stitches of knitting as simple opposites creates a knitter who can do it all. Even become a deeply committed circular advocate.
In my (admittedly limited) experience beginning with straights and /or back and forth knitting creates a knitter who sees knit and purl as sisters. Ying and yang, the two equal parts which make up all knitting. Know these two stitches, know it all. They accept making up as a basic skill of the knitterly, (which is is) and fear no evil.
You may now argue your points. Do not try the “but purling is really too hard” argument. I taught knitting at a toy store. I have 15- 20 six year olds lined up to mock you. (PS. If Meg Swanson read this blog I would die).
Big Dye adventure.
A photo essay with comments.
See me patiently soak the yarn with hot water and vinegar. Despite my personality traits I was able to soak it for the full 15 minutes.
Having been advised by Claudia K. (Countrywool) that this was toxic stuff, I did the mature and decent thing and performed the majority of the process outside. (Well, not outside. It was raining. I did it in the mudroom with the door to the backyard open and tried not to breathe) Here I am mixing the powder with water (in a disposable container) before adding it to Denny’s crockpot.
Denny’s crockpot has an issue or two, but it beats the pants off of my imaginary crockpot, so I love it anyway. The crockpot has some sort of electrical thing going on, and needs to be unplugged before you touch the water. This is really, really easy to learn. (Since if you don’t unplug it…the jolt it gives you is what you could refer to as “a teachable moment”.)
The dye is in the water. I unplug, stir, plug wait 5 minutes, unplug and stir.
I add the wet fibre, wondering only briefly if it is going to fit. (I was really worried for a moment there. There’s just no coming back from a mistake that big). I plugged back in the crockpot and waited 45 minutes. I wanted a variegated roving so I did not touch the crockpot during this time. No stirring, no peeking, no swirling the crockpot around. The threat of mild electrocution is helpful here.
After 45 minutes I dumped the whole thing into the sink. It needs to cool before it can be rinsed or it will felt. I got myself some “amenities” to help me wait. (Note: watching wool cool is not very interesting. I watched anyway, but I am not a very smart person. Anyone smarter than me would want a book for this part).
I filled the sink and rinsed the yarn. Despite my belief that there was no way that this could have worked (it was just too easy, ya know?) very little dye came off into the water.
Claudia K. said to put it in the sun to dry. This is Toronto in October. I improvised.
Ta Dah!
Before I leave you for the weekend I’ll share this. This is what I’ll be doing this weekend.
Pity me, for my enthusiastic 10 year old has taken up the french horn and loves to practice. There is no way to explain the completely random noise that comes out of this thing. I believe a noisy, constipated, elephant in heat would find it unsettling. May the force be with me.


It would appear that my daughter has accidentally figured something out. It seems that the leg warmer pattern in Knit Wit is a corrupting force that can be used to draw young girls helplessly into knitting. They cannot resist, flailing uselessly against the combined force of Meg and the book.
It began like this. I brought home my copy of Amy Singers book. It disappeared and has not been seen since, though 4 complete pairs of leg warmers have turned up. The first pair was desperately wonky, as Meg complained that she “didn’t understand your knitting language!” A quick talk about reading a pattern and the next pair were much better. (Meg is a child of my heart. She considers patterns interesting, but not essential. She made several changes for *style*)
Sorry, a little aside. Meg missed an entire instruction in the book because she is a child of the internet. She thought that this ” Turning row : P ” was a title, followed by an emoticon of a person sticking their tongue out. She skipped it. I laughed for an hour
By the time she had finished the second pair and worn them to school, the other girls were screaming for them. Meg began to desperately knit faster and faster, using up her meagre stash (Yes, she has her own stash. You didn’t think I gave the girls my yarn, did you?) turning out a pair of leg warmers every evening. One pair went to Meg’s best friend Maddy…
Who found a novel use for them when it got cold…
Maddy asked for a second pair (perhaps because she had realized the powerful multi-use ability of the leg warmer) and Megan, up to her armpits in leg-warmer begging, turned her down cold. There began a period of bitter negotiation which ended last night, with this.
I think I need another copy of the book.
I finished the (hopefully) stripy yarn last night…though I must have been out of my mind when I thought that one bag was enough. It produced about 100m of yarn, which falls short of my minimum sock length by a bit. (Ok. Fine. A lot. It falls short by a lot. I was trying to be an optimist. It’s half of what I need. I was drunk on yarn at Rhinebeck and don’t know what I was thinking. The bag was in ounces. ) Ideas? Contrasting heel, cuff, toe? Socks for a small person? Crap. I can’t believe I’ve been knitting this long and can still suffer yarn delusions.
I am comforting myself with some awesome mail. Emma sent me some tips on top down short-row sleeves (such a good idea) and tucked some very, very yummy sock yarn in with it. Thanks Emma!
Allyson sent provisions for the Sewing-up Party (to be held here November 7th for Mason-Dixon Knitting, don’t forget to come. Email for directions, then see if the Nashville one is closer to you.)
I know I’d rather have Allyson here than coffee…but I’ll save it for that day, and ceremoniously open it in a grand toast to the generous Allyson, who clearly understands me.
I enjoyed a little more of the Rhinebeck spoils last night and thought about beginning the pleasant job of washing the samples of Southdown fleece that Liz and Gussie brought me. They had read my article in Spin off about my Great-Grandfather Archibald Stewart and wondered if they could use my photo of him on their website. They gave me this southdown fleece when they saw me at Rhinebeck. I’m so touched by their kindness.
I did play with my dye kit from Countrywool last night but the last instruction is “put in sun to dry” and Toronto is a joyless gray damp place right now. It would help if I would turn on the heat, but that would be giving up. My brother and sister have taken to calling me daily to ask if my heat is on. Toronto temperatures? Let’s see who blinks first.

Wool overload

In which Stephanie tells you a little more about her trip and shows you beautiful things, some of which belong to her now.
Rhinebeck is huge. I don’t know what I was thinking, but it’s huge. Joe says that there are more vendors at Maryland. I’m not saying anything about Joe, but I am going to say that there are so many booths, tables and stalls at Rhinebeck that I find his claim difficult to take seriously. There was so much that I can not conceive of a place where there is more. There was so much that…get this, there was so much that it is sort of difficult to buy it.
Look at Annie. Classic. She doesn’t even hardly know what to do with herself. Look behind her. That’s Brooks Farm yarn behind her. I never did manage to buy anything there…I was incapable of making a choice. Incredible stuff.
It’s like being a waitress, by the end of your shift you’ve seen so much food that you just aren’t hungry anymore. You think “Food? Oh no thanks. I’ve had so much”. (Note: I have been a waitress and a bartender. There is no similar effect from bartending.)
I sort of liked this “overload” since I am that kind of person, but also because it means that you can’t just buy anything. In this sea of wool and yarn, you wait until something grabs you. Something special. My haul is all darned nifty.
My haul is also huge, so we’ll be doing it a little at a time.
Today is a horrible, rainy, dark day…so the pictures aren’t all they are should be. I promise to show you everything eventually.
This is my moorit fleece from Countrywool. I can’t rave enough about it. It is cream, coffee, butterscotch….mmmmm. I haven’t done anything with it yet except place it atop the piano as an “objet d’art”. I only bought a piece so I’m still contemplating the rest of the fleece.
Behold! A “Heathered socks kit”. Contains merino/mohair roving, 1 envelope of Cushing’s dye (I got Bronze Green. I got to pick. I love that.) Instructions for dyeing, spinning and knitting the socks. I was going to do this some other time, but between my own obsession with it and Claudia‘s dyeing exposé… Today may be my day.
You will note to the side of the kit, a zippered bag also purchased at Countrywool. It’s purpose: to protect the vulnerable innards of Mr. Washie from horrible fleece rat attack during felting. Mr. Washie must be protected at all costs, as the only way for me to have another washing machine is if I move. When Joe and I renovated the kitchen we accidentally narrowed the entrance to the basement. Mr. Washie cannot leave, and no new appliance may join him. Mr. Washie is not a young washer…and considering his workload, I figure the zippered bag was the least I could get him.
Tuesdays were for spinning (It’s back!) so I went into the pile of new stuff and pulled out my new Robin orifice hook. (Is it just me or should we find a name that’s less obscene sounding?) I got the bag of Copper Moth odds and ends that I bought and sat down at the wheel. I discovered that the new hook wouldn’t fit through my the orifice (for the love of wool…a new name!) Meg took a picture of me at this moment that is so incredibly unflattering that there is no way I can post it on the blog. Suffice it to say that I am pouting. I have cropped this smallish part of the picture so that you may see the hook. (Yes, I am wearing Rhinebeck. I’ve worn it everyday since I finished it. I think that’s a normal thing).
A little surgery on the tool with a wire cutter and some sort of tool from Joe’s room and it worked. The Copper Moth grab bag is being spun by random lengths. I broke all the pieces of roving into pieces, and put them in a bowl. I reach into the bowl with my eyes closed and spin whatever I get. (This is Very Hard for me.) I’ll Navajo ply it to maintain the colour separation and knit striped socks. They will not match. This will be ok.
I’ll leave you today with this photo of Laurie, (Yup, that Laurie) at Rhinebeck. I have to tell you that Laurie is really very cheerful, despite any impression that this photo may give you.
Laurie took a whole whack of her famous yarn, (Remember the yarn? Look here and here) and knit a sweater out of it. Genius. I dread the day that she figures out that I’m not really cool enough to be her friend.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching the whole family scramble after reading the blog. The three kids froze when they saw the picture of the ice-cream and Meg whacked Amanda and said “I told you the spoons were wrong”. There is hope for them yet. Joe? It turns out that he’s dissapointed too. He told the kids to “dispose” of the container.
He regrets nothing.

The delicate balance of power.

Before we do anything else…an announcement. My clever daughter Amanda auditioned last night for the TDSB Youth Orchestra. She was so nervous that this was the third scheduled audition. Amanda got it together, did the hard thing and I’m so proud that she even managed to play at all. The icing on the cake is that my little musical genius is now the youngest violinist in the orchestra, and the only representative from her high school. Just being selected is a thrill, but the best part is that they will travel to Vienna and Krakow in March for 2 weeks of performance and study. I’m so proud I could bust. Really. (See Amanda? You don’t need to knit to be blogworthy.)
Now that my beloved Mr. Washie and I have been reunited, (Hey, did you all read Michelene’s very, very funny “note from Mr. Washie” in the comments on the 13th? Hysterical) I cast on my Morehouse Merino yarn to make a baby jacket.
This stuff is beautiful soft…
I’ve begun the tedious task of restoring my home. I’m not concerned with historical accuracy, I just want it back the way that I left it on Wednesday. How do these people do so much damage? It is difficult to know exactly what went on while I was away, but there is evidence to be gathered and I’m slowly putting it all together.
The first indication that the family may have cut a little loose while I was gone, (well, the first indication other than the way that the whole house was trashed) was found in the recycle bin.
I bet they didn’t think I would look there. (Duh. Who did they think would carry it to the curb?) This extreme violation of the nutrition code was so stunning that I knew that this was more than a little “lets all eat refined sugar and trans fats while Mummy is away.” This was a clear and obvious grab for power. They must have felt while I was absent, they could make some of the changes they have always wanted. Hopped up on sugar and left without my control and restrictions influence, the children only want anarchy and ruin, so their changes in the house are the most obvious. Joe is more subtle.
At first I thought that I had his biggest infraction nailed. This.
This is a bold transgression. This is electronics in the dining room.
I We have a “no electronics in the dining room” rule. Joe loves these random piles of electronic thingies, and left without a great deal of electronics “structure” the house fills up with them. Joe loves wires and things that plug in the way that I love yarn. He stashes them the way that we do. Don’t believe me? Similar piles were uncovered in the living room…
and have been returned to The Room he has full of this stuff upstairs.
Yes. The Room. (This is why he can say nothing about the wool. He’s got too much mysterious crap with wires to hold any sort of real leverage.) Despite this electronic insurgency, I had a feeling that I still didn’t know what the real goal of this revolt was.
Then I found this.
I know. Incredible isn’t it? Who puts the knives on the top? Do these people not even live here? Look at it! The big spoons are beside the little spoons! Who needs that kind of spoon access? (People eating ice cream…that’s who. It’s all coming together now) These people are setting the stage for this family to become a whole other kind of family. An eating ice-cream with easy access spoons on the couch because the dining room table is full of electronics kind of family. No way. I restored the cutlery to it’s former proper life shaping glory and still felt a little puzzled. The more I thought about it, the more I knew in my heart that there was no way that Joe would leave it here. There had to be something bigger. Something really significant, something he has always wanted but been denied. I thought hard. I paced the kitchen. What could it be? The cutlery was a distraction, I knew that much. Joe didn’t really care about easy-access spoons, he knows that I have put a lot of thought into spoon location and that I would get all caught up in the cutlery and that would keep me from discovering his real goal. Coffee helps me think. As I walked toward the cup cupboard I got a sick feeling. Not that, he wouldn’t have done that….Would he? Something that daring, that…sacred? I opened the cupboard door and shock ran over me. We have been arguing about this for years. This is probably the most significant bone of contention in our marriage. He’s been trying to get this his way forever…and now, the minute I leave my home he overturns my decision about this and changes it?
The cups are upside down. My pain is real.
More about Rhinebeck tomorrow, when I’ve recovered the balance of power.

Words fail me.

When *I* am speechless…it’s really saying something. I’ve been trying to post all day, looking for a way to fit it all into one post. I’ve finally accepted that it’s not going to work.
I have had the biggest adventure possible. Since I am still too tired to string together very many complete sentences, you are going to have to make do with whatever ramblings I manage to produce. Many, many more details to follow.
Wednesday: I leave my house in Toronto at 2:30 PM destination…glorious Albany, NY. I arrive in my hotel room in Hartford Connecticut at midnight. If I ever recover from the trauma of what happened to me in the intervening 9.5 hours…you will be the first to know. (Hints: “Homeland Security” and “Fuel Leak”. As you construct various imaginary scenarios using those four words please know that my life was in no actual danger at any time. My sanity? Can’t say the same.) I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to my buddy Linda for the string of increasingly hysterical messages that I left for her during this time. I had a bad attitude and her phone number.
Thursday: Fred the cabbie picks me up and drives me to Massachusetts. I go here. Infer at will. Rhinebeck and I spend some quality time in the hotel room.
Friday: Linda Roghaar and I embark on a yarnish road trip. We end up here.
This is Claudia, standing in front of Countrywool, her shop in Hudson NY. I can’t remember the last time I had such a good time in a yarn shop. Claudia is funny, smart and kind. (We had no coffee. She made some. I love her.) I bought many things from Claudia, but the killer is part of a beautiful moorit fleece. You should go to the shop, even if you don’t need something. I promise that she’s worth the trip. (Wait till I show you the spinning kit. You’ll die.)
We met up with Tara Jon Manning and her lovely baby Zane and continued our journey ending up at Sky Lake Lodge.
Buddhists on retreat are very quiet. I am not. You may once again, infer at will. (It was a time of enormous personal restraint). The Buddhists were however, just as kind and interesting as they were quiet, and I will be eternally grateful for the bowl of soup that they rustled up to save us from starving to death after we drove in reverse up a mountain in the rain. Rhinebeck and I shared some private time at 1AM in the living room installing a zipper. (See that? Finished the sweater with 8 hours to spare.)
Saturday (and Sunday): Rhinebeck and I arrive at Rhinebeck. I hadn’t even stepped out of the car when Sharon spotted me. I was so stunned to be recognized that I barely spoke to her, but she will forever hold a warm spot in my heart as the first person to say something nice about the sweater. Hi Sharon!
Rhinebeck is beautiful.
It is so much bigger, fuller and wilder than you could ever imagine. Everywhere you look there is fleece, sheep, alpacas, llamas, yarn, roving…felt…it is sensory overload. The sweater watching was boggling. The Rhinebeck sweater quickly developed an inferiority complex as I spotted knitwear to die for. The best hats, the best socks (Hi Cassie! Cassie also takes a prize for shawls. She was wearing the most beautiful icelandic shawl. Everybody was talking about her. I wish that I hadn’t been so stunned that I forgot to take a picture.) I met so many people who read this and I’m grateful that all of you grabbed me to say hi.
Bloggers who turned out to be actual people? Norma. Who arrived at the festival a knitter and left a spinner. Note the fabulous sweater.
Gina (who’s mother-in-law is possibly the sweetest lady ever) , Our lady Kathy of the comments, (Has Benoit arrived?) Claudia, Anj, Kerstin, Annie(who ran away from home, just like me), Sandy(Sandy is real fun. I’d say more nice things but I’m me and she’s her, so I’ll just nod in her general direction. She knows what I mean.), Kim, Deb (owner of the best bag in all of Rhinebeck Texas), Silvia( I would like to be re-incarnated as her hair.), Annie(When I met her I was so star-struck that I wonder if I blathered like an idiot. I sure hope not.), Carolyn, Leigh, Cindy, and Marybeth. There were more. I will tell all. Just not now. You may content yourself with this rare photo of a nest of bloggers in their natural habitat.
Some of the bloggers in this picture are eating lamb. Am I the only one who thinks this may be counterproductive in terms of yarn? Just sayin’.
There was Claudia’s treat. I will show you the bags. You can guess what it is.
(I really genuinely liked Claudia, and I’m not just saying that because she gave me a treat. I’m saying it because she was clever, charming, kind and generous. She has a wicked wit, she taught Norma to spin..she spoke sweetly to everyone, her sweater was perfect and her taste….impeccable. If you ever get a chance to meet her you should.)
Was there yarn? Oh yes. I may have had a “yarn seizure” in a place or two…but nothing compared with the moment when I was discretely standing beside the sock yarns at the Spirit Trail booth. (Beautiful stuff) I had slunk over to a quiet spot beside the tent and was quietly staring at the yarn in a fibre induced trance when the wind came up, the side of the tent flew loose, smacked me in the face and revealed my stunned expression to all inside it. Red handed. I am only grateful that the tent hit me. If it hadn’t then everybody would know that I was just making my “yarn face” not my “holy crap a tent hit me in the face” face. (I am a little concerned that these faces are indistinguishable from one and other.)
Since everybody is artfully posing their new acquisitions gracefully in baskets, I thought I’d try.
What? Can’t see the basket? (Wanna know something embarrassing? Even though this pile is next to my desk, this photo is my desktop image.)
More tomorrow when I’m not this delirious. (Like Laurie (yes, that Laurie) in her incredible sweater knit from the famous hand dyed sock yarn, and Annie trying to choose yarn, and my stuff in more detail than you could ever want.) I leave you with this photo.