Where was I?

So on Friday I had the surreal experience of being on tv, which actually doesn’t feel like you are on tv but would instead feel more like being chased by wild dogs with red eyes and rabies. Or something like that.

I haven’t blogged about it (well…until now) because, to tell you the honest truth, I don’t remember it very well. At all. I remember going into the studio. I remember the charming and ridiculously good looking hosts talking to me about knitting. I remember knitting….but I don’t remember what I said.

As I walked toward the hosts the first time I remember thinking three things.

1. This is live. Do not use “colourful language”, do not say “arse” too much and in the name of humanity….do not let me do something horrible, like spit when I talk or laugh that way I do when I’m nervous. Do not let me lose my everlovin’ mind and talk about mohair while I giggle oddly, it makes people think I am whacked.

2. Why are all these people so thin?

3. Please, oh please oh please in the name of all things wooly….strike me with lightning. Quickly, right now…before I get to that chair and the terrifying green light goes on the top of the camera and I open my fool mouth and babble about yarn in a way that makes me sound like a crazy woman. Make the lightning swift and sure before I tell one more person that I think knitting is “fun” in that chirpy voice I can’t seem to stop. Immolate me right down to the freakin shoes. Please, oh please.

Then the green light went on, and I knit on my sock and I don’t remember a thing. Not a single moment. Some sort of hysteria induced blackout. I remember that everyone was very nice, I vaguely remember feeling like they asked good questions, I remember that at no point in either of the interviews did any of them suddenly go white or appear uncomfortable, which would probably mean that I didn’t say something horrible that could be interpreted as a wildly disturbing sheep fetish.

We’ll see. Apparently they send you a tape. (I have mixed feelings about the tape. On the one hand, I desperately want to watch it so that I can see everything that I did, on the other hand…What is the point of watching now that it’s over? I mean, if the worst did happen and I looked the way that I felt…(which was sort of like if I was a hyena with an essay due on Friday who happened to be trapped against a cliff wall by a group of tick and herpes infested starving Siberian Tigers) then why would I want to know? Why?)

I can tell you that if I had not had my knitting in my lap to keep my hands busy then I don’t know what would have happened. No idea. Without my knitting I likely would have wigged out in a very Harlot, but grossly ineffective way. As long as I had that knitting in my lap….I had one thing that I knew was going right, one thing I knew how to do. I hadn’t realized until right that moment, that knitting really takes the edge off of nervy stuff. Flicking the yarn over the stitches while I talked, it was almost like having a sort of weird meditative thing. (“I’m in my happy place” ).


If I did not rave, say arse or throw up on tv (and it has not been confirmed that I did not do these things) then I have this sock to thank. (This sock is for someone special and has been having a pretty good time. Not many socks get to go on tv.)

I will now resume neurotically obsessing over the little speech I have to give tomorrow night at the launch. (I’m so excited to meet everyone and so frightened to stand up in front of them that I can scarcely work a decrease.) Any minute now the people booking all this stuff are going to come to their senses and I’ll go back to the laundry.

I leave you with this….Hare-lot. Holy crap….is that screech? Pass it over.

(Thanks Katy…I love her hair.)

(PS. It would appear that much email was lost in my servers hissy fit over the last few weeks. If you think you should have heard from me, but haven’t…try again.)

My one and only



is exactly how long the train ride from Ottawa to Toronto is. One half sock. It struck me, as I rode the train the 400km through the Ontario countryside, that as a knitter, I measure distance and time in knitting. The subway station is four rounds on a sock away. “As it Happens” is two inches on a sweater long, my doctor is a fast one, and usually only makes me wait three rows on a cardie front. I wonder sometimes, as I think about measuring this way…if I keep knitting this much, will I eventually give directions like this?

“Knit four, purl 2 cable 3 left, turn right. Drive for 3 inches on a sock then turn right and work a short row.”

The ride back was (despite pondering the mysteries of knitting and trying to figure out how I could standardize this system to allow for the varying speeds and gauges of knitters and yarn) a lovely quiet thing. This was the first train ride of my life (I am a woman of little experience) and I am in love with the train. The whistle, the rocking…the knitting time. It’s a romantic way to travel and beats the pants off a plane.

Have you been on a train?

Safely home, I wondered what awaited me in the house. There had only been one panicked phone call to an Ottawa hotel (concerning whether or not a certain teen daughter should be allowed to attend a certain party and how to deal with the fact that Joe’s (appropriate) refusal to allow the aforementioned teen daughter to do this had exacted a rather inappropriate noise level and heated statements about Joe’s commitment to “her life” and his attempts to ruin same). Overall, one phone call for 54 hours of absence seemed like a pretty good record, so I wondered if there was something I wasn’t being told.

Joe and the ladies met me at the train station and all of them were wearing clothes. (So far, so good). We drove home and I opened the door with trepidation. I was shocked. Shocked off my feet. I sat in stunned silence in the living room and surveyed it with alarm and horror.

It was great. It was tidy. When I could stand, I ran to the kitchen. More of the same. Clean counters, food in the fridge, leftovers that spoke to a minimum level of nutrition being met. The girls told me stories of going for walks in the park, there was no sign of a housefire that had been extinguished by the fire department moments before our home was consumed. No-one had sold all my yarn to bail anyone out of jail, the cat, hamster and new fish (Wanda) were all alive and there were no notices from the sheriff on the front door. I went upstairs and the girls had (be still my beating heart) cleaned their rooms. In short….

they do not need me.

As I sat quietly pondering this, and other matters of astonishment, and feeling decidedly romantic feelings about my charming husband (who seems to have finally taken the old adage “No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes” to heart…) Joe approached me with a cold beer extended.

“How did I do?” he asked, beaming with pride.

“Joe…good job dude. Seriously good job. I’m impressed.” I took a swig of the icy beer (Joe knows I like ’em real cold) and said nothing about this trip being two days and the next one being the real test of his fortitude. I picked up my sock and worked a round while Joe puffed out his chest and surveyed his mighty domain before he sat down beside me.


“Yeah Joe?”

“You’re going to tell the blog about this right? That I did ok?”

Who knew. Reporting to you is a behavioural tool. Who knew?

I, Stephanie, do solumnly swear that Joe is to be congratulated, and that I have nothing about his homemaking performance to complain about. He is a god, walking the earth disguised as man and I am lucky, even honoured to be knitting him socks.

Although… checked the laundry pile…and Mr. Washie and I do still have a completely monogamous relationship.

You can’t have it all.

I may have miscalculated

After a rather harrowing journey here…Ottawa is good. Better than good actually, freakishly good. I’m completely delerious and exhausted and I’m telling you, if you really want to get a freak on, write a book. It’s like one day your life is laundry and kids and a dirty kitchen floor, and then today it’s road signs and signing books and travelling the country. It makes me nervous and grateful and …well. I’m waiting to wake up.
I made it through yesterday’s signings at both Yarn Forwards, (despite having made the bonehead decision to wear a white tee-shirt on a rainy day) despite being freaked out. Roger, Carol and Louise are wonderful hosts and I once I remembered that any yarn shop in the world counts as home turf, I was ok. In fact, at several points I realized that I was having a lovely time. Meeting people in person was wonderful and really quite reasurring. (I have had moments where I wondered if all of you were really just my imaginary friends.) Everyone I met was real and charming, funny and gracious.
I have photographic evidence that I met Aven’s parents…

I recognized them by the sweaters that Aven knit. Does it say something about blogging that I can pick the parents of a fellow blogger out of a crowd in a different city by noting that I’ve seen those projects before? Aven, they are both sweet as pie.
Finally, as I sit here in my hotel room getting ready to go to do today’s stuff,(Anyone coming to Leishman’s Bookstore at Hazeldean Mall today?) wondering how Joe and the girls are making out…and drinking what I hope is enough coffee to get me through the petrifying tv things…. I offer you this.
This is Marilyn, the lovely sales rep. assigned to take me from place to place and keep the coffee coming. At 12:30 yesterday when I met her, she was a non-knitter.

Our plan to take over the world continues apace.


This is a test of the Yarn Harlot Remote Blogging System.
If this is here, this means that I have (against all odds) figured this out and can now blog unfettered by the laws of time, space and things that plug in. (almost).

What’s wrong with my arse?

Yesterday, instead of blogging (my apologies) I got a lot done.

1. I finished this very, very beautiful little baby sweater from the supermerino.


Then I did a little dance in the bedroom while it was blocking because for once in my knitting life something happened almost exactly the way that I thought it would with absolutely no difficulty, upset or panic. I just knit a little sweater. The yarn even puddled pink in two matching spots on the front. Brilliant. The pattern was charming (The “Baby Surprise” in EZ’s Knitting Workshop). It took three skeins of yarn, with this much left over.


(I’m thinking about sitting with my feet in a bucket of water so that I can’t be forced to spontaneously combust as punishment for enjoying this so much. The sweater has no buttons because I can only imagine that the full complement of disaster that should have plagued the sweater will be exacted upon five little pink buttons.)

2. I went to the Eaton Centre in a desperate attempt to procure a pair of pants that I can wear when I leave for the Ottawa part of the tour tomorrow. (Oh…wait, the Ottawa details are updated on the Book Tour page, link also now conveniently located on the sidebar. Also currently cracking myself up that Harlot On Tour spells out HOT. Man that’s funny if you are wearing old yoga pants and a tee shirt with a rip in it.)

I went, with my tenacious friend Sinead, to every single womens wear clothing store in the entire Mall (and it’s a big mall) desperately tried on every pair of pants that there was in every store (well, almost) only to discover a few things. Firstly, I am still quite short, and secondly….my arse is wrong.

My arse being somehow an enigma of surprising tenacity comes as a bit of a shock to me, considering that it appears of normal size and shape, at least as viewed by me twisting round to look at it. Sinead assures me (though I was sort of undone by then, and she might not have wanted to be completely honest, lest I go right batty in a “Sears”) that my arse also seems well within the scope of normal. It is perplexing then, that I would not be able to get it either into a pair of pants, or (on the other side of the coin) have it appear completely absent. I am ashamed to admit that driven to desperation and panic by the fact that I am leaving for Ottawa tomorrow morning and will be (hopefully….) be meeting any of you in the area, plus going on TV (this looms in front of me like a black, swirling wall of petrifying panic) and have only one crappy pair of jeans and the aforementioned ratty yoga pants, I did something that was most unlike me.

I walked into the Gap and told the salesgirl that I wanted (and I quote) “Those pants that Sarah Jessica Parker is wearing in the commercials.” Sarah didn’t let me down, and while I do not labour under the delusion that my arse comes anywhere close to her well sculpted and professionally trained one, (which was unceremoniously dumped by The Gap, despite the campaign having worked on me) the pants are pretty much OK. I still have to hem about six inches off the bottom (thus defeating the elegant “flared leg”) but I will be wearing real pants in Ottawa, a fact that should reassure the publicity people to no end.

3. I tried to absorb the “remote blogging technology” that Ken has installed on the laptop he’s loaned me. Should I be able to execute it successfully, the blog will march on unfettered (except by my incompetence) no matter where I am in the world.

I’m going to a coffeeshop down the street that has some magic called “wireless access” this afternoon (after I hem my pants) to test it. My hopes are high.

Without further ado, more presents!

Birdsong (wouldn’t you love to be called Birdsong? Can you imagine what a lovely baby she must have been to be called “Birdsong”?) has beautiful needles and a fab mousepad


that Maggi T. will be using.

Abigail (who is generous to a fault) will be shipping this beautiful lot of Peace fleece


to Jane – the one I emailed. (Lucky knitter. Peace fleece is nice stuff)

More later….assuming I can blog from a coffee shop. See you in Ottawa! (Bring your knitting, we’ll have a lovely time.)

A little balance

So, in a fit of bravery, inspired by tales of ironed Chai silk that glowed like they were lit from within, I ironed my Flower Basket Shawl.


As I ironed it, I agonized and worried and tormented myself about whether or not ironing my silk was the right thing to do. (It totally was, but I’m letting go of that for the moment.) Let’s examine that sentence shall we? Iron my silk?

When it occurs to you that the troubles in your life that are occupying your thoughts most intensely are things like “How will I ever write all the notes to people thanking them for the nice things they say to me?” and “Should I iron my silk?” it might be time to make a return to a focus on those who actually know what problems are.

Thus we return to updating the Knitters without Borders page and giving away thank you gifts and working to quietly remind ourselves that while I ironed my silk, the United Nations estimated that more than 300 000 people have died in Darfur.

That’s equivalent to the tsunami toll, for which more than 6 billion dollars were raised, leaving workers scrambling to spend it all. In the face of the magnificent, generous and simply decent giving to that disaster, those who gave to MSF to support workers saving lives in all tragedies happening quietly in other parts of the world deserve a special thank you.

Barbara (B. to her friends) knit this beautiful hat,


destined to sit elegantly on the head of a small friend of Kate B.s

Claudia made this shawl


Which has the most beautiful backstory ever. Lisa F. I’ve sent you an email explaining all about it.

Suzie has 6 balls of a handsome Bando ribbon yarn


which will (sadly, without the equally handsome spokes-model) be winging it’s way toward Larry D.

Finally for today (more tomorrow…I promise, we’re working our way toward the mittens.) Debbi has a copy of Folk Mittens that she will be mailing to Stephannie T.

(Lucky knitter. That’s a beautiful book for the mitten obsessed.)

and a copy of Vogue Knitting Accessorize that will be going to the soon-to-be accessorized to die for Sarah H.

Happy Monday to my generous Knitters Without Borders!

Don’t take your eyes off them.

While I sit here serenely knitting my snazzy new merino


and you go peacefully through your day in whichever way suits you, I beg you to take a moment to hold my sister in your thoughts or prayers… Today is a day she will be tested and only the strength of her soul and the power of planning will help her.

Today, Erin travels deep into the worst that motherhood has to offer. Her task today is risky, dangerous and not for the faint of heart.

She’s having a birthday party for Hank and his friends.

Yes, Mr. Hankie Pankie is celebrating his 5th birthday (Hank is seen below being grateful to his grandmother for his birthday cake at our family celebration. Note the infamous Hankie-manic face.) Hank is very excited, and this doesn’t bode well for my sister.


Erin has a poor track record with these events and while she is a very good mother, she is absolutely not a natural one. Where I never had to be told that a playgroup meeting doesn’t need an open bar….Erin was forced to learn it the hard way. (You have not lived until you’ve seen the look on the playgroup mums faces when Erin offered Gin and Tonics all ’round.) My sister is so hip it hurts. My sister owns a restaurant. My sister’s purse matches her shoes, my sister knows what Prada is can spot and assess designer wear at a thousand paces. My sister longs for Blahnik shoes. Erin’s hair always looks good, hats flatter her and she owns panties that match her bra. More than that (and if you are a mother of a small child this will really bring it home…) Erin has a white coat.

Erin is, I assure you, ready for a thousand things….but she is not ready for this party.

I have reason to be suspicious. Previous mothering faux pas include:

1. When Hank was three he was in a community playgroup. The Mums took turns bringing snack in each week. You know the drill, cubes of cheese, grapes, slices of apples and goldfish crackers. When it was Erin’s turn to bring snack….

She had it catered.

2. At a Parent Council Meeting at Hank’s school to discuss fundraisers, the parents were offering their suggestions. Erin listened to the ideas (selling fudge, raffling movie passes, bake sale….) and then, clearly not understanding the “family” nature of the activities and perplexed by why they would not want to make some really serious coin, Erin made her pitch.

Hire a band and have a Kegger.

3. Finally, for this year’s Chinese New Year celebration at the school all the children were asked to bring some food to have a feast. Erin, rushing to get to a meeting but really wanting to contribute, ordered, paid for and had delivered a large, elaborate and beautiful tray of Sushi.

(Yes, she was aware that Sushi was Japanese, not Chinese, but felt that it still had a sufficiently “Asian feel”, and no…she was not aware that most 5 year olds would rather eat an entire tray of sandbox sand than sushi. Hank eats it.)

Erin can’t understand why you would bake cookies if you can afford to buy them, why you would cook if you can cater or (God forbid) why you wouldn’t take the time to moisturize every morning. Somehow, despite this deep lack of understanding of, well…mothers like me, Erin understands that sometimes you have to play along to get along and is desperately aware that she needs to figure out something about the life of an average mother before she’s lynched by the other women out back of the neighbourhood swingset one night after soccer practice, so she’s throwing Hank’s party herself. She’s got a cake and activities and a sugar-hopped horde of ravening four and five year olds descending on her and her white coat and her accessorized playroom. (I have sent Megan over so that this afternoon cannot end with a 911 call). Hold her in your thoughts will you? She’s setting out the cold canapés and olive tray right about now.