I am almost loathe to mention it, in case Gaia hears me and whumps me with another massive snowstorm for daring to be hopeful…but I think it’s spring. If you can overlook the fact that it was snowing this morning, there are signs. The one I like best is that the air is warm enough for Sam to make giant bubbles today.


We tried the other day but it was just too cold, the sight of a child outside, wearing only a down vest, sweater and bubbles is downright encouraging. (Since somebody is going to ask, the giant bubble book and frame is this one. Extremely cool, with the bonus of using up at least 13 minutes of the March Break. Only about 11520 more minutes to fill. ) The girls and I were in the village today, (Tulips and pussywillows for sale!) and walking there and back, I contemplated how it was that I didn’t feel like the planet was trying to kill me. On the sunny side of the street the snow is melting and I’m betting that someone in Toronto has snowdrops. My mood is spectacular, hopeful and cheery…which is good, since I’m getting my chain pulled by my knitting again.

I’ve been knitting on my bus socks, and it was only last night when I got out the two at the same time to see if they matched for length and as I held them together, I noticed this.


These socks do not match. There’s no reason for this, which I find infuriating. They were knit on the same needles, from the same yarn with the same number of stitches by the same knitter. It isn’t just that the variegation is working out differently either, if you see these socks in person you can see that the colours are actually different. The second one (on the left) has more blue, a lighter blue and less red and orange. They look like different dye lots, but were knit from a single skein of Fleece artist hand-dyed sock yarn. It must be that the dye job is subtly different moving through the skein, so subtle that you don’t notice while you’re knitting (or maybe you would if you were the type to pay more attention) but it shows up side by side. Since my feet are largely side by side, I have a feeling this is going to bug me.

I love this yarn though, and I love each of the socks in their own way…so I’m working to get past my anal retentive compulsive feelings about matching socks and learn to enjoy their fraternal rather than identical nature. Or maybe I just won’t take off my shoes much.

I’m also working on this…


a little wee coat/dress/sweater for a baby I know. In a move that’s quite rare for me, I decided to use a pattern right the way it was printed so that I could save time. Sadly, while I’m succeeding in knitting to gauge, I’m hating the fabric. Too stiff and closed and I dorked up the intarsia motifs. I have a feeling that this is on it’s way out.

I am comforting myself with this, which has likely ruined me.


This is my new favourite yarn. I am completely on a yarn high. It’s Artfibers “Golden Chai” (colour #10) 100% tussah silk. When I got it in the mail today from Tonia, who clearly has impeccable taste, I dumped every other project I had on the go like it was common crap and cast on something slick. I am simply twitterpated with this yarn. It’s soft, the colours are beautiful and the thick-thin action enchants me. This yarn is so beautiful that it has ruined me. Ruined any chance that I was going to do laundry today, ruined any chance that I will clean house, ruined the odds for anything other than the simplest of dinners. I can only be grateful that it arrived after I’d taken the girls for a walk and bought food, or I wouldn’t be doing that either. The rest of my day will be dedicated to knitting with this little slice of heaven and watching everyone run out of clean underpants while I do nothing to prevent it. I will distract you from these lower impulses of mine and point you to Jan…who finished her version of my Snowdrop shawl pattern out of her “first handspun yarn”.

If this is her first handspun…I’m just going to nip off and drown myself.

66 thoughts on “Springtime

  1. I’m working with some of the Artfibers Siam which is the non-handpainted version of Chai. I concur that it is amazing both to touch and to knit with. I’m currently trying to figure out what I could knit with it that would do it justice. Keep us posted on spring – its still far below zero in Calgary.

  2. Klutz Press! Go Sam! My daughter and the children of quite of few of my friends have modelled for their books–they’re in our town, and they call their store the Intergalactic Headquarters of Klutz. One of their employees even asked me to write them a knitting book once, but I wasn’t interested; they got someone else to do it.
    And that Chai is gorgeous enough to make me want to drive up to San Francisco and check out Artfiber’s latest. Beautiful!

  3. I had the same problem with Fleece Artist sock yarn that I bought last summer. The colors in one sock are much brighter than the other (the yarn is pink variegated).
    I thought it was a little odd but knowing that it has happened twice is just plain weird.

  4. who ever said that socks have to MATCH? Non-matching socks are a lot better!!! I make them on purpose.

  5. I’m so glad you like the Chai and can’t wait to see what you transform it into. 🙂 (Note to Joe and the girls: I’m sorry – I didn’t realize the effects would be quite so drastic!)
    Last year I knitted myself up a Moebius scarf from the stuff, which turned out to be lustrous, soft and lightweight, and still surprisingly warm. But – and this is the heartbreaking part – I LOST IT. Fortunately the lovely Kira at Artfibers had a variegated colorway that matched the dark pine green of my leftover yarn, so I can replace it. And it really is a joy to knit, so not too much harm done.
    Happy knitting, and happy spring!

  6. I got a bunch of Chai from the sale rack a few weeks ago at Artfibers. It’s a really pleasant little store in the Financial District with a knitting circle, comfy cushy chairs by the windows. They have bins of all their different yarns and an array of needles, and people sit and chat and sample.
    The socks are supposed to match? I like them as is, especially since the color is a lovely spiral. Just started a pair of socks in some Regia, both balls the same dye lot, and one is dark and the other is medium saturation. EBay yarn.
    You know, you could dye some tussah and spin your own Chai…

  7. Hey, my partner saw crocuses in Ottawa the other day (they weren’t flowering but they were up) and found alive lettuce in our garden where some of the snow has melted. Spring seems to have sprung. We didn’T even get any snow today 😛
    Lovely knitting. Send the socks to someone who likes mismatched socks (don’T your girls? kids seem to think they are cool). enjoy the tussock silk. To h*ll with the housework. Those kids are big enough to wash their own underwear.

  8. I have just finished a pair of socks using Opal yarn. I made the first pair using the yarn from the centre of the ball – for some unknown reason I did the second one using the yarn from the outside of the ball. The patterning is completely different – one had dark zig-zags of lightning on a variegated background, the other one has a striped pattern….but the colours are the same. I wear them with long trousers…..

  9. That bubble is almost bigger than Sam – pretty cool. That tussah looks really yummy and rich. I’m anxious to see what you make with it. You should be done oh, tomorrow morning right? I’ll check back. About the socks, as much as I have coveted the socks that you knit, they are in the end, just socks and even if they aren’t perfectly matched, they are wearable and what else will you do with that amount of yarn that doesn’t match, hmmm?

  10. I just had to post a note to say that you and your blog (knitting, spinning, family, writing, opinions, puns etc.) have kept me from going completely mental on many a winter day this year. I procrastinate at work by reading your blog. Unfortunately now I am completely caught up so now I’ll have to find more work to do!
    Thanks so much for being the yarn harlot!

  11. You know, Stephanie, you make me feel downright good about my own flitting from project to project. And that really isn’t an easy thing to do.

  12. Oh, thank heaven. I was just trying to figure out how to blow out the pilot light so I could put my head in the oven. In a desperate rush to get a pair of felted clogs done (SOMEONE suggested this was doable) on the only size thirteen and a halfs available in the county– sixteen inches, and NOT LONG ENOUGH, let alone at Addi Turbo prices — I finally finished alligator-rassling the final stages of the second one and noticed, huh, they’re different sizes/shapes. Oh, well, I’ll just felt one more.
    Many bad words later, let me assure you that felting the fraternal produces monsters. I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth producing a third in the hopes that it would match one of what I’ve got, but since one is too big and one is smaller but deformed…
    The Knitting Goddess is in bitchslapping mode, apparently. If I were a good person your socks would not console me. As it is, they still are infinitely preferable than my Quasimodo clogs, being two variations on beautiful rather than something that genetic counselling could have prevented.

  13. I’m feeling quite disloyal to the Prayer Shawl I am a mere dozen rows away from finishing, perhaps because weaving in ends and putting on fringe are not much fun compared to choosing the yarn in the first place and envisioning the end result.
    We have 50 degrees Farenheit here in Maine, and although there is still snow aplenty, I believe it is Spring.

  14. dorked up? awesome. I thought true spinners would scoff at people like me who are amused by thick and thin yarn. I’m glad to know this is not the case.

  15. I knew that was Chai the second I saw it. I have three gorgeous skeins of it sitting in my “garnhaus”, because it is so beautiful I can’t figure out what to do with it. You should try Kyoto as well. It can be ordered on line. (Evil, I know, but you know you’ve got to have more.)

  16. Guess who gets to come see you at Circles in April?
    Me!!!! I know that you’re thrilled…LOL…
    Thanks for showing me the Golden Chai…I just swore I was done buying yarn for a bit until I finish some of my projects…but noooooo, now I want some Chai…darn it!
    Hope Spring Break is going well…my daughter’s starts this Friday…

  17. I think fraternal variegated socks are fun and unique!
    And I, too, am seeing hopeful signs of spring here in northern Indiana. Yay!

  18. Oh. My. Goddess. That Chai is delicious. Who could blame you for failing to feed the ungrateful hoardes for a few hours? Or is that days?
    March break is survivable. Barely. Only one “accidental” nose-elbow encounter to contend with. Out here in the wilds of K-W we had ours last week. Thankfully, I had today off to recover. Those Klutz folks are geniui – we used all the supplies in the dog tags and the velvet art books.
    I’m totally chuffed that I got to go to my most wonderful Wordsworth Books today and order your book. I shall await word of opportunities to ply you with coffee and Green & Black chocos in trade for an autograph.
    I’m glad you’re not lying on the floor anymore. The children would have walked all over you by now. Only nine more days to go.

  19. Well, spring sure has a funny way of showing itself around here. It’s raining cats and dogs. I did yesterday, too, while I had to be outside at the horse show. It was too wet to knit.
    Love that Chai. I’m going to have to get some of that. Soon. I have no idea what I’ll do with it, but I loved it when I was in the store and now that I see you’re knitting it, well, that’s that. Besides, it’s the perfect excuse to not do laundry.

  20. Is twitterpated anything like pixelated?
    Golden Chai, huh? Gonna have to get me some of that. Love seeing new fiber.
    My kids used to have that bubble wand and book. I enjoyed it more than they did.
    I saw a robin today. Spring is coming!

  21. Ah, all of those gorgeous colorways! It makes me long for spring. Although this was the first day in a loooonnnng time that I was able to walk to the train without wearing boots.

  22. I’d finished the back of a variegated pullover and was almost up to the armscyes on the front when I noticed Something Terribly Wrong with the colors. Same skein, yet the “inside” yarn took the dye very differently … as in, different shades, different sequence, some undyed sections. Ack! After contemplating life as a harlequin, with mismatched front and back, I ripped, rethought, and restarted. Sigh. At least now I know I’m not the only one this happens to.

  23. I had the exactly same experience like you too… (how’s that for duplication…) with artistfleece sock yarn… I thought it was just me… but I love to wear my socks and look like I’m wearing two different ones… With the leftovers I made Huxley some socks and they match, so it’s definitely in the dyeing…

  24. You CAN blow bubbles outside in the winter if they’re small. It’s pretty neat when it’s really cold out. They freeze and fall and shatter!
    “Drip, drip, drop, little April shower…”
    Another victim of too much Disney.

  25. Glad spring has sprung somewhere-it seems hopeless here, but I am still hanging in there. A child in a down vest, sweater and bubbles-all is right in the world. Am I a dork because I like the motif? Nevermind, don’t answer. And Jan’s shawl made me gasp-wowza.

  26. I feel your pain about the socks. I had something similar happen to me… upshot is that now my mom has a pair of handknit socks she hadn’t expected. Non-matching things bug me. (As do crooked pictures, but that’s another story.)
    If I weren’t such a slob, I’d drive everyone around me crazy with the straightening and the matching.

  27. I made a top out of Artfibers Chai — it’s just divine to wear against the skin. I’ve never felt anything so soft. And it was such a beautiful yarn to knit with. Definitely do their ironing trick. It really does polish up the stuff.

  28. The Chai is gorgeous…what are you making with it? I think I will have to find some of that to try…and that handspun of Jan’s, well, her pictures were perfect, and I feel really terrible now since I can’t seem to get the hang of my drop spindle – I make it to 6 inches and everything goes right to h*ll.

  29. I had the same thing happen with Fleece Artist merino in a turquoise shade. I love the socks but every time I wear them the fact that the colours don’t match really bugs me. That Chai is to die for.

  30. Yes, those fraternal socks would definitely bug me, too. If you want to frog them, you might consider doing a pattern in which the multi-colored yarn is combined with a solid in the stitch pattern. I have seen several and done a couple myself, and differences like this could be made less noticeable. Or, just take it as a challenge to be less picky.

  31. Your baby coat/dress/sweater looks rather familiar. Could it be possible that we both own a copy of Mon Tricot from the 1970s? I’m guessing this is the pattern on page 121 called a hooded gown.

  32. It may be a sign that the beginning is coming, but I don’t think it’s fully spring until it stops snowing. The socks: why I fear variegated yarn. They are each very nice in their own uniqueness. But you aren’t thinking about socks now are you? 😉

  33. I’m sitting here reading about misbehaving Fleese Artist socks, wearing MY first pair of FA socks (pair #2 on the needles). Looked down at my feet. Damn.
    If you hadn’t mentioned it I never would have noticed.

  34. Isn’t the Chai amazing stuff? I made myself a little shell out of it…they designed the pattern for me. I wanted something I could wear against my skin. I love wearing it (even though the fit is not perfect) just because it feels so good. I think I used the exact colorway you have too. I think that this must mean that whatever you are making is destined to be sent to me!

  35. You know, I like the fraternalness of the socks. It makes them unique. I hope my sockapalooza buddy likes it too because I had one sock flash on me :P. Actually, I’d like to get ahold of some Fleece Artist just to MAKE fraternal socks. Knowing my luck they’d be identical though.
    Don’t forget you’ve still got my bracelet to give away for MSF! I can’t wait to give someone a piece of spring (be it early or late).

  36. The same thing happened to me when I was knitting Fleece Artist thrum socks,ended up with fraternal twins. Luckily, I had a sister-in-law who coveted them,so I was able to give them to her for Xmas. Win,win!

  37. P.S. I like fraternal twins, just in case I’ve offended anyone. Just, not in socks!

  38. BE VERY CAREFUL about saying spring is here. In central BC our snow was gone (except for a strip on the north side of the house) and we were wearing t-shirts and down vests – no hats, mitts or boots – and guess what? Over a foot of snow in 24 hours – begining yesterday the first day of spring.

  39. That Chai is to die for. I love the colors! I am always attracted to thick-thin yarn but I am just a beginner and I don’t know what to do with it. Any suggestions?

  40. I saw wee – very wee – sprouts of some mystery flower on the weekend. The birds are doing that… well, twitterpated twittering, my allergies are going nuts and IT’S HERE!
    Love the socks. Get a grip, woman. It’s Spring – live it up!

  41. I am so relieved to find someone with the same anal retentive compulsive behavioural patterns as myself.
    I hear your pain – that would bug the crap out of me!

  42. Hmmm, I would say that people who are OC about symmetry should not use handpaint. Just a suggestion mind you.
    I am not OC about symmetry, so I use handpaint on my socks so that I will not bore myself to death throughout the year (I don’t make fancy socks – I just make socks).

  43. Ohmygod the Chai! (dog-humping leg sounds here)
    To all you OC and anal-retentive, with all due respect: Life is un-uniform. You’ll kill yourself trying to change that fact of Nature. Look at your own two hands…your fingers are not the same length on each hand, how could you POSSIBLY create something perfect with THOSE?
    Just something someone pointed out to me. Ok, YES, in a bar, on St. Patrick;s Day, but seroiusly…take a look.

  44. No drowning. You spin quite decently now. Eventually people will forget how your FIRST set of family were strangled by the loops of hawser-like, yet with a life of its own, Cthulu handpainted as it squirmed and gyrated off the accursed wheel…
    Kind of suspicious you were spared, really.

  45. OOOOOOoooooOOOOOooooo~ the Chai is so pretty! I just love seeing new yarns (to me) that I probably can’t (translation: shouldn’t) afford and will now probably buy. BTW, *what* is your Chai going to be?? Inquiring minds wanna know.

  46. Harlot, what are you doing to me? I resolve to be more “conservative” in my yarn purchasing, and you go and show me Chai. I think twitterpatted is the exact word to describe it. Our spring break does not start until the 28th. I’m nervous.

  47. Yea Spring!!! When it’s time to get all twitterpated about something. Whether it’s yarn or a veggie garden that I have no idea to start – I don’t care 🙂 Bring on the twitters and gloveless days!
    p.s. I think those are like totally the coolest socks EVER (no, I’m not high) but the derivation of pattern while still keeping the colour theme would probably keep me occupied with hours of staring.

  48. Your book is here! The bookstore just called an hour ago.
    Here in Newfoundland the crocuses are starting to show themselves and the snow is beginnig to disappear, despite occasional flurries.

  49. I have that bubble frame! Have you tried it close to buildings where the thermal currents are rising? The bubbles drift slowly up in a really impressive way.
    Another activity that should occupy small ones whilst you luxuriate in gorgeous silk yarn – have them make kites, then try flying them. Lots of time involved in putting everything together, decoration, then trying out the aerodynamics. Oh, and have them make dinner! Approached with adequate enthusiasm, they’ll see it as fun instead of horrible drudgery preventing their mother from knitting 😉

  50. Well, I’m twitterpated too, because I have in my hands my very own copy of THE BOOK! Yes, my friends, I purchased my very own copy today in Ann Arbor, Michigan at my favorite local book shop, Nicola’s. I am completely enchanted with it and had to stop using little book marks for my favorite entries when I realized I was simply putting a scrap of yarn between each page! Thank you, Ms. Yarn Harlot, thank you.

  51. I have a decided fondness for mismatched socks, whether handknit or otherwise. This probably stems fromthe fact that I never can seem to find a pair of matching socks thanks to my dogs. I pretend my mis-matched socks makes me delightfully quirky.

  52. Quick question on your anxiously awaited book- has it been released by the publisher? Reason I ask is that I was on Barnes and Nobles (b.n.com) and they say they can ship in 2-3 days with no mention of it being on order. Amazon has the usual not released yet notice…
    Can’t wait…

  53. For somebody distracted by children in their office and twitterpated by awesome yarn you sure seem to be doing great stuff! I guess crossing your legs won’t increase the distance between feet for the non-matching socks. They sure are beautiful, though. Perhaps a complaint to the mfr would yield another skein…. 🙂

  54. I just finished my very first pair of socks yesterday made from Lorna’s Laces sock yarn in Tahoe. Same dye lot, one skein per sock. I ended up with fraternal socks… didn’t notice the difference in colors until I finished the second sock and tried them both on.
    One definately has a much brighter and prominent green in it. And even though they were knit with the same needles and number of rows for each part of the sock they are slightly different sizes – must have tightened up too much on the second sock in an attempt to get rid of the ladders. Oh well – they are the first thing that I have made for myself that I’ve actually finished and will wear. I’m going to try very hard to ignore the difference in color.
    BTW – Barnes and Noble said your book is on the way to the store – I’ve got mine reserved!

  55. stephanie!! first of all, I am so excited about your book tour. I am much like you i.e., the frame of mind that tells me when I go out for coffee with my boss, she is going to fire me! But I know your book is going to whip the ass of any other one out there in sales if not bold admiration and affection of the audience! Please keep us informed of your tour schedule since I will definitely come to see you in New York come rain or shine. I live about an hour away, so you’ll see my face as I fawn and become ultra shy and stupid acting in your presence!
    Secondly, can you tell me just how I could go about getting your snowdrop shawl pattern? is it for sale somewhere? and I also was wondering where the flower basket shawl pattern came from, I’m not sure if it is also one of yours. One other thing, is there a basic sock pattern somewhere out there in the atmosphere? I’ve been knitting with that prepatterned yarn and hate their specific pattern that calls for stitch strangling moves that I have not experienced before and don’t recall from my past sock knitting single experience. Also, I would like to knit socks on something a little larger than a #2 needle since finding a pair of glasses around the house that someone has not absconded with is a different sort of dirt sculpture adventure!
    I have to reiterate how much I love your blog and how you inspire me to knit for the love of it instead of just fulfilling gift needs!
    sincerely, mary erdman

  56. Try flipping the socks inside out – the purl side of stockinette may not be as strongly different,since the colors blend differently. (I have a pair of identical regia socks that I wear purl side out because I like the way the colors blend together better.)

  57. I think you shold knit a sock of a solid color to go with each of your variegated ones. : )

  58. Mmm… Golden Chai… I have a spool of that stuff, I can’t bring myself to knit with it yet. The colors just glow! What are you making with your?

  59. You like the Chai? The Kyoto is obscene. I’ve never seen anything like it. It glows so much I used it in the last power outage to guide me to the candles. It’s GERjess. And the manager is at my house every Sunday night to watch the L Word. Say the word if you want to dabble….

  60. I made my first visit to the Artfibers store today. I’m still pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Yeah, the Chai was fabulous, and I bought some, but what Rachel said about the Kyoto is dead on. This stuff looks like it’s lit from within. I bought a skein of electric blue, a color I don’t usually like, but I just HAD to have it because I couldn’t believe that yarn came in a color like that. I’ve got it right here with me and I still can’t believe it.

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