A whole pan of shortbread

So, I’m knitting along, keeping to the schedule, trying not to think and ignoring the gloating tree. (There is gloating shortbread now as well. Sugary arse of a snack.)


Could someone convince me that I will not feel better about Christmas stress if I eat that entire pan of shortbread with a good cup of coffee? Could someone else convince me that it is not pathetic that my main concern with eating an entire pan of shortbread is not that I would have single handedly and swiftly consumed an entire pound of butter, but that I shouldn’t eat it because there is no time allotted in the schedule to bake another pan? Anyone?

The scheduled knitting proceeds apace.



This is a super charming Sophie bag, almost finished. (That puts me about 35 minutes ahead of schedule. If I can keep scoring time I might be able to eat the shortbread. Then again, if I’m ahead of schedule, I might not have an emotional need to eat the shortbread. We’ll see.)



Hank’s spiderman mittens. Here, for your perusal, is the ridiculously easy chart that I worked up. Choose a mitten pattern that uses a multiple of 6. Fudge the rest.


I thought about doing something more complex, but remembered (right before I spent more than the allotted amount of schedule time, that it is just as likely to be rejected for not meeting a four year olds complex set of criteria if I spend 50 hours or 10. Simple decision really. Rule #9. Keep knitting for fickle four year olds simple so that your heart isn’t broken when they throw it at you on Christmas day for being the wrong shade of red). Hank spent yesterday afternoon here..interrupting knitting (though he’s so cute that I could almost forget that he cost me a chance at shortbread) and playing gingerbread person tic-tac-toe, and singing his favourite Christmas Carol:

Helize and your dad.


Who wouldn’t knit mittens for that face?



Socks. Super cool socks with Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to my socks” written on them (in the original Spanish.) Adapted from Socks, Socks, Socks. (Note: I have linked to Amazon for convenience only….check your local Independent if ya can). Seriously adapted. Like, “don’t even try to figure out what I did to the pattern” kind of adapted, or “holy cow I hope I can repeat this trick on the second sock” kind of adapted. These are behind schedule. (By about 2 pans of shortbread, for anyone who, like me has learned to think about knitting in those terms.)

You should all be aware that I am considering dumping it all. Every bit of it, and dedicating what is left of my days on this earth to eating whole pans of shortbread and knitting THE LITTLE TINY LATVIAN MITTENS (scroll down to December 7th) on Susan’s site. Be still my beating heart.

Gifts for Knitters Day 14

Anything of the really beautiful kits from Fiddlesticks Knitting. Darn this stuff is purdy. You can’t go wrong either. Dorothy’s patterns are extremely clear and concise. For Canadians, there’s the added bonus of buying (and shipping) Canadian, and for Americans…the bonus of the exchange rate. I love her stuff, check out the brand new “loopy scarf” kits. (The real reason it’s today’s pick, though what knitter wouldn’t want the blocking wires at the bottom of this page? ).

Can’t ignore that.

Attention: There is very little time left. This is in the living room.


This is not a good sign. An 8 foot tree glittering menacingly in the spot usually occupied by my spinning wheel is not something you should ignore. The presence of the tree is an extremely serious indication that a largish holiday will arrive shortly. The tree is mocking me. Then there are these.


These really, really look like Christmas cookies to me. I baked them, the girls decorated them and they look pretty freakin festive to me. There is no way that anyone would be putting perishable cookies in the house if there was bags of time left. No way. See the cookies, be afraid.

I know I should be reassuring. I know that a kinder person than me would be saying the things that my family says to me. Relax. Enjoy the season. Don’t freak out. Try to stay cool. Well I’m here to tell you….DON’T RELAX. FREAK OUT. THE TIME FOR THE FREAKING OUT IS NOW. DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. There is a tree in my house. There are perishables. This means that there is not time. Not nearly enough time. Go. Go now. Shop. Take your knitting with you because there is not enough time for that either. PANIC NOW. Get someone to drive you to the shop so you can knit in the car. Stay up late. Get up early. Call in the reserves.

When I feel this looming sense of panic I know that there is only one thing left to do. I push my panic button. My personal panic button consists of making a list of all that I must accomplish during the next few weeks. Knitting, baking, cleaning, shopping…I write it all in an email along with the number of hours I estimate it will take to execute each festive nightmare. Then I flip out. Then I email it to Lene, organizer extraordinaire. Lene missed her calling in the world. She’s a writer and a social worker, but really? She should be queen of the world. Lene excels at telling people what to do time management. Lene can boss anybody around organize any situation. Lene saves my Christmas. I email Lene my To do/to knit list, and she takes a good long look at everything that I’ve got to do. She takes a look at my life, works out where I have to be when and then emails me back a schedule.

“A schedule” you ask? Yes, that’s right. A schedule. All I must do to make Christmas work is EXACTLY what Lene tells me to do and it will all work out. I must empty my mind of concerns. I must stop thinking. I must do as the schedule directs me and all my knitting will be done. I don’t need to freak out, as long as I keep to the schedule.

I know it sounds anal retentive and controlling, but it’s actually liberating. No planning. No worrying. Only complete and total compliance. My day is divided into three blocks. Morning, afternoon and evening. My time is my own after I have completed the activities that Lene sets out for me. Take yesterday for example.







See? Because Lene is a knitter, she knows that I need a variety of projects, knit in different gauges to provide interest, and allows for compatible activities. Plain projects for when I am on the bus. Fancier work for when I can concentrate. No two projects that take the same set of needles at the same time. I’m telling you, it’s a relief. Every time absolute wrenching panic seizes me….I just look at the schedule.

Want one?

Gifts for knitters Days 11, 12 and 13

A sweater stone. Takes the annoying little pills off of sweaters and stuff.

Stash bags. I have tons of these. Keeps all the yarn from falling on you when you open a closet. You still run the risk of thirty balls and the stash bag hitting you, but at least it’s only one large object and you have a better chance of deeking it.

Very cool Adopt a rare sheep program. For the knitter who wants one but doesn’t have enough yard space. They even send your knitter the fleece (or spun yarn, for an extra bit of money) from the sheep. Love it.

26 Concerts total

As near as I can figure, I’ve been to 16 school Holiday concerts. We are in the killer years for Holiday concerts. For two years, our three daughters are in 3 different schools. This means that each year we must attend three concerts. This means that I have 10 to go. 10 more and then I don’t have to go to any ever again. I figured this out last night at Megan’s school concert, prompted by the lady next to us who was at her very first school concert. You could tell. She was accessorized and excited. She had her whole extended family with her and she had a digital camera, a film camera and her husband had the camcorder. Her family was similarly equipped. (When her kid finally came out there was so many flashing lights near us it was like hearing sweet five year old voices sing “What a wonderful world” in a Disco. Joe said he thought he was having a stroke.) The other give away that she was new to the school holiday concert circuit was that she thought she would be out of there in under an hour.

Joe scanned the program and called it. 90 minutes. He was wrong. It was 105, I knit almost half a sock. (Note: due to a bit of a yarn shortage, these two socks will be fraternal, rather than identical socks. I’m having a little emotional trouble with that, but trying to lighten up.)


School concerts can be brutal or they can be wonderful. Usually, there about 95 minutes of brutal, interspersed with the 5 minutes that your kid performs and about 5 minutes where magic happens. (Sometimes these two things happen at the same time, sometimes not. It’s a crap shoot.) You know that thing where you are in a crowd, and something happens to sweep up everyone into a collective expression of joy? It’s rare and spectacular.

Like, maybe you are at your kids holiday concert, and the Celtic club comes out (The Celtic club at Meg’s school cracks me up. It’s about 15 kids, all playing Celtic folk tunes on tin whistles, accompanied by fiddles. Out of the 15 kids I’d say that 3 of them have any sort of Celtic background. The rest of them are from really Celtic places like Sri Lanka, Jamaica, and Pakistan. It’s Toronto’s brilliant multiculturalism at it’s finest, it does my heart good.) So the Celtic Club might come out, and they play “The Lilting Banshee” and pretty soon someone is tapping their feet. The tapping becomes a stomping, and the room begins to fill with the noise of the rhythm of The Lilting Banshee, and people are clapping and stomping and everyone’s faces glow while we are all pulled together as a community, however briefly….and everyone forgets that they live in a big anonymous city and it feels more like a kitchen party with the fiddlers and just for a few moments you know that you all feel the same thing and that it’s all going to be ok, because really, humanity has the same goals.

You know that feeling?

Last night? Last night was the EXACT OPPOSITE of that feeling.

Don’t get me wrong. It had its moments. The 10 year old who was dressed as a tree with garlands of leaves strung around him? When he got to the part where he was supposed to drop his leaves (it was autumn) and he just about strangled himself with the leaves in an attempt to not miss his cue? I loved that kid.

When Meg’s choir sang “Imagine” and “Happy Together”? Pretty good too. I’m just saying…. 10 more to go. (Note: if you were there last night? Your kid was good as well. )

When I got home I returned to my beloved latvian mitten….


It’s getting there. It is here displayed against the very stripey goodness of the other mittens palm.

I’m delaying putting the tree up because the odds that I’m going to be able to continue to ignore the fact that Christmas is in 15 days will be nearly impossible with a 10 foot tree taking up most of the living room. I might be starting to freak out a little.

Gifts for knitters: Days 7,8,9 and 10 (I fell a little behind there)

Extremely cool personalized woven labels.

Note cards with pictures of yarn on it. If your knitter has to be writing instead of knitting at least put a picture of yarn on it.

Beautiful baskets from Peacecraft. Give your knitter a place to put yarn and projects while you do good in the world.

Rings with knitting on them, miraculously accomplished without it being lame or dorky. I’d totally wear the cable one. A good gift for the male knitter. (I think. Can’t be too sure. I’m not promising.)

Desperate times…

We’re sorry, The Yarn Harlot can’t come to the blog right now.


She and super-brother have taken measures into their own hands and hope to report walls in short order. Despite the brutish manual labour, she thinks her hair looks pretty good.

Please leave a message after the tone.


Plague of locusts.

I’m sure you all understood that the plague of locusts in the basement would be metaphoric. No actual locusts, just a string of irksome and annoying little things, that, much like locusts, are no big deal individually, but together are a paralysing disaster.

For starters, I have a splinter under the fingernail of my right index finger. (The finger otherwise known as “The finger that it turns out I use for everything in my whole life all day long”) The splinter is not serious, the splinter will not harm me in any way…its only impact on my life is to provide a little stab of pain every 2-7 seconds all day long. (I can’t find the stinking tweezers)

This wouldn’t bother me too much if it wasn’t for the drilling in the back of the house. Now, I’d be the last person to complain about the back of the house. The back of the house is even starting to look like the back of everyone else’s house. I’m thrilled and happy that the back of the house is coming along, I just wish that the drilling noises didn’t coincide with the stabbing finger thing.


Once I’d accepted the stabbing and the drilling and the phone…(did I mention that everyone in the whole world called yesterday during the three hours I was trying to sit and work?) I really didn’t have many problems. Oh…except the hat I was knitting.

What hat? EXACTLY. I knit the better part of a hat yesterday until I discovered that the stabbing, drilling and ringing had apparently thrown me off my game a little and I was knitting a hat with a 31 inch circumference. (A little note to help you understand the freak show locust hat size: Joe has an enormous head. It is so large that when I tell people how big it is they suspect that I don’t know how to use a tape measure. Joe’s head is 25 inches around.) See the pretty hat? Feel the rising blood pressure?


Never mind. I’m sure I can comfort myself with a little mitten knitting. I knit the red flowers, and made my way merrily about 5cm up the green and white hand. Where is it ?


Don’t ask. Apparently the whole enormo-hat thing caused some sort of brain damage and I didn’t centre the pattern on the mitt. Ok. I didn’t even try to centre the pattern. Actually, I screwed up the red flower border too and forgot to do the black braid at the top. This photo represents only what I was able to redo after the locust invasion.

Now normally, I’m a pretty relaxed person. That’s a lie. I’m never a relaxed person, but normally I have a pretty good grip on real life anyway. I understand that these things happen. Some days just have real teeth to ’em, and you just have to accept that there will be days when there is stabbing, ringing, drilling, enormo-hats, whacked mittens and poor outlooks. I’m ok with that. I don’t like it, but it happens. I am as a rock in the river. I should just let this flow over me.

And I would…except for that it is 17 days until Christmas. There is no room for error. There is no time for mistakes. This is the Precision-Operations of knitting. I must rise above the locusts set in my path. I must not be thrown off by the stabbing, ringing, drilling, enormo-hats and mitten retribution. I know how this goes. Today I restore order. Today…

Today I find the tweezers and take it one step at a time.

A little note to whoever is responsible for deciding to drown my blog comments in spam over the last two days:

In the interest of you not wasting your time and me not wasting my time, lets clear a few things up. I don’t play roulette and I don’t know what “Texas-hold-em” is, but I assure you that I don’t want it. I don’t need to diet, and I wouldn’t buy drugs from you if you were paying *me*, furthermore, if I did want to make a health decision, I assure you I wouldn’t think to myself, “Hey, didn’t my blog comment spam offer me medical advice the other day? How convenient”. While God and I are not on speaking terms, I understand that he probably wouldn’t like you sending me bible verses with imbedded ads for what we shall politely refer to as adult toys and extra curricular activities. I hope he smites you. I’m not balding, I don’t do that with my pets (and I think we can all agree that there is something very, very wrong with you and your suggestions.) I’m no prude, but I can tell you that I think better of women than you do and would prefer that if you must demean them (though this is probably why you were alone last night) with filth and poor taste that you do it somewhere where a feminist ain’t paying the bills, baby. Finally, nobody here feels inadequate about their penis size (though sometimes we wonder what you are trying to prove) and can rise to the occasion without any guidance, concern or email from you. Please stop offering, it’s offensive.

In conclusion, I’m going to offer you one more piece of advice. I will never, ever, no matter how desperate I become, or how convenient it may be, or how many times I see the word “busty” purchase anything from someone who is really, really PISSING ME OFF.

I bet your mother cries when she thinks about what you do for a living. Get your arse of my blog and better yourself.

100 things

1. I live with my love, Joe.

2. We have three daughters.

3. I never wanted a son.

4. We are not married.

5. In the last 17 years there has only been 10 days that I did not knit.

6. I am a vegetarian. I don’t mind being at the top of the food chain but I think eating meat is hard on the planet.

7. I eat one slice of turkey at Christmas. This always gives me a stomach ache.

8. I hate having dirty feet, but love bare feet.

9. I wash my feet before bed every night

10. I am very shy.

11. I am the oldest of four children. Two boys and two girls.

12. One of my brothers is an aboriginal Canadian.

13. I talk to my mother and siblings almost every day.

14. I love Joe’s family.

15. I was a La Leche League Canada Leader for 10 years.

16. I am an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and have been for 8 years.

17. I am not religious.

18. I love to play the SIMS and will take the game from my own children.

19. Ken is my best friend. We have been friends since I was 15.

20. I am a writer.

21. I am a birth doula and a childbirth educator.

22. I think it is a profoundly cool thing to be the first human to touch another person. I keep a private list of the names of people I touched first.

23. If there were only one food I could eat forever it would be wasabi rice crackers.

24. I am not a very organized person.

25. I try very hard not to ask a question until I am ready to hear both answers.

26. I talk a lot. If I am nervous, the amount is alarming.

27. I get a lot done, even though I am not a very organized person.

28. I work well under pressure. I will often procrastinate to create this pressure. This

occasionally backfires.

29. I was either pregnant or nursing for a continuous decade.

30. I like socks better than shoes. I only own 4 pairs of shoes. ( I am presuming that we are not counting skates.) Snow boots for the winter, Blundstones for the fall, Birkenstocks for the summer and a pair of black dress shoes in case some event comes up. This is a personal record number of shoes.

31. Joe is not the biological father of our children.

32. I am only 5’1”. Most people think this is a lie. They think I’m taller. This flips me out pretty seriously.

33. If I could change one thing about myself, I would be taller.

34. I am afraid of the dentist.

35. I am very proudly Canadian.

36. I can play the piano, but I suck pretty fiercely.

37. I use Canadian spellings and can get a little hostile if corrected.

38. I do a lot of yoga, but am often too self conscious to go to class.

39. I think I am a very fast knitter.

40. I hate doing the laundry.

41. I hate cleaning.

42. I like my house very clean. I understand that given #24, #40 and #41 I am doomed. This is a

constant source of irritation to me.

43. If unsupervised, I would spin and knit all day.

44. I am afraid of spiders though I pretend I am not so my kids won’t inherit it.

45. I try very, very hard to put people before things.

46. The younger a human being is, the better I like them.

47. I am often told that I am an empath. This worries me.

48. I like canning.

49. I don’t like cooking.

50. I like baking bread, but cannot make a decent pie crust. I don’t mind, since I hate pie,

especially apple. If you are an American, just let it go.

51. I feel like a good mother when I make soup, even though neither me nor my kids cares for


52. I am not graceful, and I have fallen “up” stairs.

53. I am mostly blind in my right eye, and am often startled by things happening on that side.

54. If I have writer’s block I take a bath. It always works.

55. I take a lot of baths.

56. My house has no shower.

57. I have a plan to take up a pack a day (maybe more) smoking habit when I am 80.

58. I love thunderstorms and extreme weather of all kinds. This has lead to a completely obsessive relationship with disaster movies.

59. I only recently learned to type well. In high school I once told my typing teacher that she had to pick. She could have it fast, or she could have it right. Not both.

60. If I am busy, I can forget to eat.

61. Due to a fixation on Joe’s part, I have seen every James Bond movie ever made many, many times.

62. I sort of like James Bond.

63. Good manners are very important to me.

64. I would never bungee jump.

65. I don’t usually wear makeup.

66. I don’t like to sleep and consider it wasted time. I seldom “sleep in”, never nap and always go to bed too late.

67. I drink a lot of coffee. I don’t ever drink decaf.

68. If there is no cream for my coffee, I won’t settle for milk, but will instead take it black.

69. I think sugar in coffee is gross.

70. Despite being an impulsive person, I really like schedules.

71. I grew up in Bramalea, a suburb of Toronto that is famous for having the entire city in alphabetical order. My house was in the “E” section.

72. I will not eat a peach unless it is peeled. The fuzz on the skin creeps me out.

73. I love crosswords and I’m pretty good at them.

74. If I have more than 2 drinks, I’m loaded.

75. I get lost all the time, and if I tell Joe I think we should go North, he turns South. Despite all this evidence that I do not, I believe I have a good sense of direction.

76. I have had most of my friends since high school.

77. I would rather drive a standard than an automatic. It feels safer.

78. I love airplanes and am thrilled if I get to take a plane somewhere.

79. I get very passionate about politics. I am very left wing.

80. My middle name is Anne.

81. I am a good public speaker, even though if frightens me.

82. I recycle and speak harshly to people who do not.

83. I have never, ever returned a ball of yarn to the store and furthermore, I can’t imagine doing so.

84. I hate the winter, but I don’t care how hot it gets.

85. Even though I hate the winter, I don’t think I would live somewhere that didn’t have one.

86. I love lists.

87. I have never had much money, I would rather have time.

88. I think cell phones are a nightmare, and don’t have one, or want one. When Joe lost his I was thrilled.

89. I can stay awake for more than 24 hours without really minding.

90. I love to travel. I would go anywhere.

91. If I could be a movie star I would be Jennifer Aniston. I know this is wrong.

92. I am a pacifist.

93. I have a very quick temper, but am never angry for long.

94. I dance in public. Sometimes on the sidewalk. This embarrasses my children.

95. I can’t sing, but wish desperately that I could.

96. When I am older I am going to learn to play the cello.

97. I worry a lot about big things like war, racism, poverty and human rights.

98. Except for parties, I don’t carry a purse. I don’t know why I carry a purse at parties.

99. I keep ALL my yarn in ziplock baggies of varies sizes, due to an almost pathologic fear of moths

100. I try very hard to be a good person.

(PS Elise in Brooklyn won the thrum kit. Congratulations!)

Got a superpower?

I am seriously excited. I’m just having the best time these last few days. (You know how that ends, don’t you? I’ve said it out loud and now there will be a plague of locusts in the basement by 3:30 this afternoon. ) Reasons why?

In my wildest dreams I had never imagined that you would all be so nice about the bookbookbook. The whole time I was writing it I kept imagining that there would be mocking and laughter and important people would tell me to go back to knitting and blogging and making muffins. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are all either really genuinely pleased about the book or possess the kindness to lie to me. Either way, you’re all sweet as pie. If I was the type to blow air kisses, I would.

It is snowing. It is level three snow, though it may be level 4 by the end of the day. Level three snow not only stays on the ground, but requires the use of tools to manage it. I am looking for the shovel. (How do you misplace a snow shovel? Seriously, I mean how many places could it be? Shovels are huge, it’s not like it could be stashed in the back of a drawer somewhere.) Level three snow also makes you feel less stupid about hauling a tree into your house, which is something I’m thinking about doing later. (Thus beginnith “The Tree Thing” between Joe and I. It’s already started. Yesterday when we were at Rona Joe suggested that we look at the trees. I glanced at them and knew all I need to know. They only had like….40 trees. That’s really not enough of a tree pool to choose from. Joe rolled his eyes. It starts with eye rolling. )

I finished the first Latvian Mitten.


You know, the one that I innocently posted a picture of without realizing that there was a HUGE HONKING MISTAKE in the pattern? Yeah. That one. I had even yanked back the “are you smokin reefer while you’re knitting” style decreases and corrected them when the first of the comments gingerly pointing out the HUGE HONKING MISTAKE started to roll in. Once I got over having my soul crushed, I decided to fix it. Since I had already hit my daily quota for how many little tiny Latvian stitches I can frog without feeling nausea and rage, I decided to take a different approach. I would ladder down each stitch to the error, correct each one with a crochet hook and….well. That was the whole plan.

This is what I looked like while executing the plan.


Nobody said it didn’t take a little “focus”. How I look brings me to…

I labour under the delusion that I have Sarah Jessica Parkers hair, and that I just need to find the right hairdresser to release it. (I also need to accept that Sarah Jessica Parker probably spends more than $20 on a haircut and $1.29 on shampoo as well as having a personal stylist hanging around..but it’s my delusion and I’ll do it my way.) The last time I went to get a haircut I went to the little old Greek lady around the corner. I said ” I want Sarah Jessica Parker hair”. The lady said “Who?”

“Sarah Jessica Parker” I insist…”she’s from Sex in the City.”

“WHAT!” the little old lady says….The sex thing might have put her over the edge. I sputter for a while and try to explain that I’m really not watching porn or anything and that it’s a good show, and really not as morally corrupt as it sounds and besides that I’m really just talking about the hair and….She interrupts me, waving my words away.

“You sit down” she says. “I make it nice.”

Needless to say, while my hair was “nice” (see above) it wasn’t Sarah Jessica Parker hair.

Saturday I went to an actual Salon. I noticed several things.

-the stylist didn’t try to give me bridesmaid hair.

-she pretended to think that I was in my 20’s (bless her little heart)

-she washed my hair with some shampoo that didn’t smell like watermelon (ours does)

-when I said I wanted SJP hair…she said, “Oh yeah.”

I love it. I bought mousse. When a hairstyle drives me to purchase product you know it’s good. I’d show you…but I didn’t put the mousse in yet. (Do you think it matters that the mousse was $1.29?)

I knit a pair of clogs as Latvian mitten antidote. It took me 4 hours. Seriously, 4 hours. Who can do that? I mean, admittedly it’s big needles and doubled yarn and I’ve knit the pattern a hundred times and I didn’t sew them up yet, but 4 hours? That shocked even me.


It may be that my superpower is clog knitting. I was really hoping for something like flying, creating peace or growing massive foodcrops to relieve world hunger (oh wait! invisibility would be good too) …but no. Clogs. This is almost as surprising as discovering that the most useful thing I learned in University was how to make a really killer Caesar.


Ken is in the process of using some sort of technical computer thing to randomly generate a name. The winner of the thrum kit will be notified by email later today, and I’ll post the winner tomorrow, when I will also try to work up the nerve to put up the 100 things list.

Gifts for knitters: Day 6

Get your favourite knitter some cool Knitty stuff. Loving this hoodie.

Wanting you to think very seriously about your knitter before buying this. Be careful.


I’ve decided that with all the bookbookbookbook going on in the comments that I would finally have to deal with the rumour that I’m writing a book.

I can absolutely 100% DENY that I am writing a book. The truth is,

I already wrote it! (Kindly insert maniacal, hysterical laughter here)


By the way? No matter how hysterical you imagined that laughter, I assure you that you didn’t even come close. This is the cover of my very own book, being published by Storey Publishing and being distributed by Workman in the US and Thomas Allen in Canada. Every time I look at it I get a little woozy.

The book is so real that it has it’s own page in the sales Catalogue. This truly freaks me out. Truly.


(I made this a thumbnail in case you didn’t want your whole page eaten up by the dumb catalogue page that I love but you don’t care about. Click if you care. Cruise on by if you don’t). The book “officially” comes out in March, but you should be able to see in on Amazon in a few weeks. (I can’t believe I just typed that. It’s like a dream, except I don’t think it would have been so much work in my dream…)

I am proud like you wouldn’t believe….and I really need to have a little lie down now.

Gifts for knitters Day 3,4 and 5 (it’s the weekend, I’m stickin’ extra in.)

Very funky jewellery for knitters.

The Sheep Thrills mug from here. (Which is very cool and on my table right now)

These. 24K gold knitting needles. Only $2,585. (Thanks Kat…I’ll run right out and get them. Maybe 2 pair. Hell, I’m a writer now.)

Really? Walls?

Well, it would seem that I was right about the universe seeking balance again. Why would I be surprised about that? I had such a honking good time reading all your comments yesterday (though, seriously…Who would have thought that there were so many of you that want a lowly little thrummed mitten kit? Stunning) that late last night the universe decided to exact a little “balance”. See the mitten?


Looks good eh? LIES. This photo is, as Hank would say, a “Lying, liar, bad guy”. I could pretend that it was fine. The picture would let me get away with it, but the guilt of misleading a bunch of fine knitters who think me an honest and honourable knitter would eat me alive. I have started the decreases for the pointy mitten top, placing them with great enthusiasm, commitment and finesse. It would appear that there are two decreases, separated by a stripe of elegant green running up each side of the mitten. That would be the lie.

I have somehow placed all of the decreases in the wrong spot.(s) All four of the slinky little devils are on the BACK of the mitten. The worst part is how long I continued to knit them up the wrong spots, knowing deep in my heart that they were in the wrong spots. I just kept going. I couldn’t help myself. My desire to avoid frogging this mitten top was so strong that I couldn’t let myself see the truth. Today? Buh-bye.

Almost making up for the crushing mitten defeat balance?


I have a roof and a door. I also have my brother Ian and his buddy Rich who are here with tools, attitude and promises of something mystic they call “walls”. The current effort appears to consist of standing around looking macho and using phrases like “hammer drill” “2X4 framing” and some sort of incredible thing called a “vapour barrier”. This “vapour barrier” is being afforded the highest possible regard, since I hear tell of it stopping the back room from having it’s own weather forecast. My attractive, clean, handy brother Ian is posing here with the alleged location of the “walls” and


His wedding ring. Sorry ladies.

Gifts for Knitters: Day 2

Yarn. I know, my friendly little non-knitter. I hear you. You are telling me that your esteemed knitter already has yarn. You are thinking about getting them an appliance instead. There are a few myths you need to let go of.

1. My Knitter already has a lot of yarn. Untrue. I don’t know how much yarn your knitter has. I don’t need to know. They can use more.

2. My Knitter wouldn’t want more yarn because they have “too much”. I don’t know who told you this…perhaps your knitter has said that they had “too much” yarn. They were lying. Sometimes we knitters say things like that to make you think that we are aware and sympathetic to your perception that there is “too much” yarn. Your knitters does not really believe that they have “too much” yarn. They may not have enough time to knit….but they do not have “too much” yarn. There is no such thing as too much yarn.

3. I’m afraid that I will get my knitter bad yarn.

I can’t even respond to that.

The Harlottiest Month

Ten Ways that December is going to be really fun in Harlotville.

1. The month kicks off with Claudia’s birthday. Go now. I’ll wait. Fill the comments of our favourite anti-blue, orange loving, funny, generous, sweetie-pie blogger with well wishes. It’s her 40th birthday. Imagine if every single person who reads this blog just went over and dropped a quick “Happy Birthday” in her comments? Overwhelm her. She deserves it.

2. 24 days until Christmas. I love Christmas. I am not religious but our family has embraced this season as a wonderful time to celebrate the people that we love and remind ourselves of our commitment to peace, kindness and the generosity that we should have every day. Plus there are cookies.

I love cookies. I word hard to make Christmas memorable. Unfortunately, this means that I swing back and forth between frantic and thrilled or thrilled and peaceful, or paniked and relaxed, or crazed and grateful for much of the month, knitting like a demon the whole time. That is very Harlotesque…is it not?

3. It is cold enough for mittens. I was going to knit them anyway…but now I look less crazy. (I know that “less” is all I can really shoot for.)


I’m showing the mitten inside out for those of you who asked. I completely understand the desire to see the inside. I love it when people show the inside. Look…here’s another one.


4. You have my annual holiday nervous breakdown to look forward to. It’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll be “a few elves short of an effective workshop” by mid December. That’s not good for me, but should prove entertaining for those of you who are a safe distance away.

5. Bookbookbookbook.

6. I have decided to provide an important public service. From now until December 24th I will be helping the friends and relatives of knitters to choose appropriate gifts for knitters. There will be one suggestion each day. Print them out. Leave them around. If we all work together, it should be possible to prevent any really horrendous “blender incidents” this year.

7. The girls are home from school for weeks at a time when I am sleep deprived, attempting to maintain my job and keep the house clean while simultaneously shopping, baking and putting festive clean clothes on the whole lot of ingrates while playing The Chieftans really loud. That should be fun.

8. Once again I will be warping the time-space continuum in order to knit…well, a lot. While even I cannot figure out how I do it, I can tell you that this year it will involve The Official Drink of The Harlottyiest Month – Screech and fat-free Egg Nog, as well as enough gingerbread to cause gastrointestinal effects. This combination is almost enough to take the edge off of the completely irrational fear I have of Mummers. (Mummers have never come to my house, but from the first moment that I learned about them I’ve been worried. I live with a Newfoundlander and so must never, ever lift my guard). See that? This is also the Harlottiest month because it is full of Canadian Christmas culture, and apparently alliteration.

9. December is the month in which Joe’s completely insane different approach to the holidays only makes me more me. I am bracing myself for such seasonal greats as “The tree thing” in which Joe tries to get a small tree and I mock him. “The party thing” in which we attempt to go to the same holiday party, together, at the same time…and “The Shopping thing” in which I loose my mind in progressively hysterical increments trying to get the man to BUY ANYTHING before the 24th.

10 Yesterday, when I was gripped in the 100 things list debate, Gail said:

I think it would be more fun if we, your readers, listed 100 things we know about you…your relationship with Prince, places the Dublin Bay sock has gone, how many bras you own, the name of the guy working on the back of your house, etc.

I laughed and laughed..then I thought….I think that would be more fun too.

I’ll make you a deal. You put your lists in the comments (it doesn’t have to be 100 things…one is fine, maybe even better) , and I’ll enter you in the first annual Harlottiest Month Mitten Contest. (There may never be another…)

I’ll enter all the names in a draw for a thrummed mitten kit. Not just any kit either…the yarn is the very same yarn purchased in Newfoundland and used to knit the Rhinebeck sweater, and the white roving to make the thrums was washed and carded by me. (The Harlotttiest Month Mitten Contest is a low-budget affair). I’ll post the winner on Monday…you can enter until Saturday at Midnight. Also on Monday…I’ll post the real list. (If I feel like it).

I love December.

Gifts for knitters: Day 1

The Blue Ridge Soap Shed

Extremely cool soaps, balms and salves designed for knitters.