Another ordinary day.

Just grateful to be home yesterday, I had nothing planned. I’ve learned a thing or two about burning out on re-entry and I’m slowly phasing myself back into laundry and housework. (I’m lying. You all know I’m lying. My normal approach to housework is slow. Slowing up my normal approach means I am doing nothing at all, with the exception of emptying Mr. Washie’s lint filter, an intimacy that, despite his recent dallying with Joe and the girls…we still apparently share alone.) I’d contemplated upgrading “nothing” to something like dusting, but was thwarted by the fact that in order to dust a surface, you have to find a surface. I was considering moving some of the stuff (read “yarn”) from the top of the piano and giving it a wipe when the phone rang.

It was Joe, who wanted me to come to the studio with a camera.

“Dude”, I said. “I’m working.” This was sort of a lie. One of the good things about being a writer is that you can say you are working just about all the time, since a huge bit of writing is thinking. What I was actually doing was knitting, but since I write about knitting that’s really work. (Brilliant eh?)

(I have four rows and a cast off to go on the alpaca dental floss shawl. I have posed it here with my wee violets, just for Chelsea)


Joe says “I need the camera” and then in a hushed tone “Gordon Pinsent is here”.

It takes a minute to register. Remember, I’ve been out of town. Clearly I have missed a few really interesting developments.

“Okey dokey” I say, and instantly shove the camera into my backpack. I thought then for a moment, and then shoved the sock in there too. It’s not every day that the sock gets a chance to meet an icon of Canadian culture, or someone who has received The Order of Canada.

I troupe myself down to the studio and when I get there it is really Gordon Pinsent.


I can’t explain to you why I was surprised that it was really him, but I was. (I spent a few minutes while he was singing trying to get a hold of myself. Mostly, when these impressive things happen I give myself a little talk. “Don’t say arse too much” (Trying not to say arse completely is out of the question) “Don’t gush” (Even though as a Canadian of my age group Gordon Pinsent is eternal and godlike) “Don’t talk about knitting.” (That one is just hopeless. Do I even have another topic? What was I thinking?)

We talked then for a little bit, about knitting (he learned in school) about famous Canadians (he knows them all) about The Canadian Celebrity Rules of Engagement (very different than those of our American friends) and about winning every honour that Canada has to bestow on an artist.

(Let’s not even try to relate to that.)

I was really trying to be all impressed and awestruck (I mean, c’mon. It’s Gordon freakin Pinsent) but truth be told, he’s such a charming and lovely man that after a few minutes you forget that he’s impressive, er, I mean… not that he isn’t…but, well. You know. (Shut up Stephanie) I left then (having apparently finally learned that when the voice in the back of my head says “Shut up Stephanie” I am probably mere moments seconds away from humiliating myself in some way that will be mean that I need to spend the rest of my life dodging Gordon Pinsent.) leaving behind the sock (for the music mojo…I mean, Ron Sexsmith held the sock. What could it hurt for Gordon to finger the cuff a little?) and the camera. When Joe got home I had this picture.


Take me now, for the sock has done it all.

(Last night I told my mother-in-law that I had met Gordon Pinsent and that he was lovely. “Oh yes” she said “that he is.”

“You’ve met him?” I asked.

“No Dear” she replied, “but he’s a Newfoundlander.”

Enough said.)

For those of you who are thinking that yet another Tuesday for spinning has gone by without even a nod toward Joe’s Gansey and suspect that in my wild attempts to distract you from my slacker attitude I have actually begun to corral Canadian celebrities to aid me in my despicable avoidance of the Gansey in question, I give you this.


Fresh washed fleece, drying in the sunshine of a Toronto spring.

I am immune to your gansey guilt.

Three points of business.

1. Lene has a new blog. Go torment her.

2. I updated the Tricoteuses sans Frontiers total. I hope the sun shines on all of you today.

3. Claudia needs your help. She and her accomplice (I think she’s married to him) will be putting themselves on a bike and riding in a fundraiser for MS, a cause very near to my heart. If you can spare anything at all, go sponsor her. (She’s bribing you with a shot at some very pretty yarn, but I know you’ll all do it for the warm fuzzy feeling it gives you.)

68 thoughts on “Another ordinary day.

  1. It’s so nice (as an American who is sick to death of our own pop culture icons and ashamed that our media inflicts them on the rest of the world) to be able to put a name to that face! I’ve seen his work before but had no idea who he was, and it’s nice to learn that he is actually so very famous and accomplished.
    As you collect fleeces for Joe’s Gansey, how do you know it will all match? Or doesn’t it matter?

  2. Do you even know how many middle-aged Canadian women are green with envy today? The sock has indeed done it all. Lucky, lucky sock.

  3. Are there any other young americans out there scratching their heads saying, “Who is this mysterious man?” and “Tell me again why this is such a big deal.” I can honestly say you’re talking about something i know nothing about. Congratulations – not many can take me there!
    Glad you’re back and happily installed.

  4. Gordon Pinsent: AWESOME.
    Gordon Pinsent with the sock: Whoa.
    What a nice gift for Joe and Gordon to give you! What a thrill for the sock!
    He does seem like he would be a lovely, lovely man. So glad to hear that it’s true.

  5. I saw a giant book of Canadian facts and information yesterday, and thought of you. But of course you already know all the information. I’m the one who would need to buy it.
    And somehow, the picture of the fleece is not persuading me of progress. Try harder.

  6. OMG! I’m just mint green with envy (no! really!)
    I adore Mr. Pinsent as “Hap Shaughnessy” on the Red Green Show (here in the states, it’s on our PBS channels)… How lucky is that sock?!

  7. I looked up Gordon Pinsent and, in addition to knitting on the sock(!), he was in Blacula, a movie which has always cracked me up beyond reason. (I’m still going to stick with my Alan Rickman obsession, though.)

  8. Your world continues to amaze me: celebs, celebs knitting socks, almost $65,000 raised for MSF, attempts at housework, washed fleece drying in the *sun*-it is almost too much to believe. Thanks for sharing it with us…

  9. Furthering the interests of competitive sock photography, I am now plotting ways to top this. Be afraid.
    Thanks for the mention.

  10. God bless you, roggey. Otherwise, I was going to have to be the first crass Yankee to say out loud “Who the hell is Gordon Pinsent?” (Would a hint have killed?) I expect the guys at Google are currently staring in amazement at a spike in Pinsent queries.
    But what am I doing here? Lene’s got a blog!

  11. I am a Canadian immigrant to the US, and having grown up watching Gordon on the tube can only say, ooooooo wheeeeee GIRL!!! Is he as dashing in person? must be… Now don’t throw that sock away! its special – Gordon touched it!

  12. Speaking of Lene, I have in my possession a book of Adrienne Vitadinni’s designs (well, I have several, she’s a favorite of mine) in which there is a pattern for a sweater which is completely covered in large tiger-like stripes. It’s not a tiger face on a sweater, it’s a tiger-pattern. And it’s very cool.
    However, I never plan to make it for myself. So do we have thoughts on the copywrite legalities of my gifting this pattern to someone who might be interested in such a knitting pattern??? Hmmm….

  13. Where are you in the November Chatelaine? I’ve gone through it a dozen times. Have you taken to writing about food? Make-up? Clothes for tall people?

  14. When I saw the name Gordon Pinsent mentioned I had no idea who he was (sorry – not Canadian) but when I clicked on your link and found out he was in the Shipping News I was intrigued. Then I went to the IMDB and discovered that he played Billy Pretty! Oh my god woman – it is insanely cool that you actually got to meet this man. I’m am very envious – but we don’t get too many Newfies down here in Memphis so I console myself. That movie is actually responsible for a small (I think) obsession with Newfoundland in general. I actually went so far as to see what I’d have to do to be able to be lisenced to teach there and looked at property and immigration info online. My husband thinks I’m insane. How neat for you that you actually got to meet him, and he got to meet the sock!

  15. HOLY CRAP!
    A less than mainstream (in the states) Canadian that I know and you’ve met him. Seriously, dude, this just isn’t fair. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Phil Lesh AND Gordon Pinsent??? I’m completely envious.

  16. Ah. Could one humbly request a precis of The Canadian Celebrity Rules of Engagement (maybe we’ll be able to infer the American Rules)?

  17. THE Gordon Pinsent!? With THE sock? Awesome! I’ve always thought of him as being beyond the reach of most people to meet, and very celebrityish. I keep fergettin’ he’s a Newf bye! I love what your mother in law said, and I second. Most of the lovely people I met in Toronto were from Newfoundland!
    *still green with envy*

  18. As a person from “the old country” (Britain) I have this image of Canada as a country that’s “nice”. You know, full of really “nice” people that do “nice” things and where everything is “nice”.
    Thank you for upholding my dream!
    P.S. nice sock!

  19. Gordon-freakin’-Pinsent? With THE sock??!!!
    Your ordinary days should be a model for mine. Maybe then something good and exciting will occur.
    Or, I would just meet really wonderful famous people and AWE-some knitters.

  20. Did I ever mention how cool I think you Canadians are? I’m glad to be of partly Canadian ancestry. It makes me feel cool by association.

  21. You people are killing me. Gordon freaking Pinsent. Due South, people! The ghost dad of the hottie. (Wait a minute, maybe that was a Canadian show…) Billy Pretty in Shipping News….
    (Although I admit I didn’t know that that name went with that face until Steph made me google it. But I’m horrid with names.)
    As for the rules, see notes under “Rex Murphy”:
    Because we are Canadian, we only give out these rules in a sideways kind of way. We would never give them headings like this:
    The Canadian Celebrity Rules of Engagement
    – Because we are Canadians, not one single person acknowledged that he was Rex Murphy. Not, “Hello Mr. Murphy”, not “Gosh Mr. Murphy, I sure do like your work”. Not one single….”Holy, crap! Are you Rex Murphy?” (Not that you could mistake him for someone else) Nothing. I personally made eye contact with him for a moment but even that felt quite brazen.
    -Not one word was spoken of the fact that Rex Murphy walked among us like a mere mortal, until he left. Then practically everyone in there turned to the person next to them and said “Wow. Ya see that? Rex Murphy”.
    Those are the rules…subtle as they may be…

  22. I hope that sock wasn’t intended for anyone else. I don’t think I could part with a sock that has made an aquaintance with such a star. (Wow. Your sock has quite the social life. Excuse me while I go feel inferior to a sock.) ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. There are so many celebrities here that I am starting to get you mixed up with the Manolo Shoe Blog.
    Joe, what a doll to get that shot. I’m sure it cost him some dignity. xoxo Kay

  24. At first I thought you said Claudia would give you a warm and fuzzy feeling.
    Gordon Pinsent should be asking for YOUR autograph.

  25. well, rams, I recognized him when he was holding the sock and began laughing so hard that I nearly choked on my tea — see, I was remembering him in the skit where he’s chatting with “Red” in the “Ask the Experts” portion of the show. Hap goes on and on about being on the road and playing with the Rolling Stones.
    (Damn near fell off the couch I was laughing so hard at that episode when I saw it, too.)

  26. While I think its awesome that you met Gordon, I’m more intrigued by what exactly the fleece that is lounging in the sun is. I love the coloring and can’t wait to see it spun up into yarn.

  27. And I was coming to say I thought I had a cool picture of the bookbookbook…yet I find you had a much cooler day! I have to say, I just barely know who he is, but he’s famous, so that is VERY cool! (I abused the word “cool” in this comment)

  28. Screw the middle-aged women who are going nuts over your interaction with Mr. Pinsent…. what about the under 35 set? I’m losing my mind here! It’s his voice, I’m telling you, his voice gets me every time. He’s the James Earl Jones of Canadian celebrity.
    In my dream world, Mr. Pinsent would sit beside me while I knit and tell me all about his incredible life. And when I got bored (as if) with knitting, we would play crib, drink tea and eat biscuits.
    That’s it. I’m going to have to start introducing my knitting to celebrities. Especially the socks. They need encouragement.

  29. Hey Stephanie,
    I know you’ve been away and busy, but you should have received some emails from me, and I’ve not heard back… did they get to you?

  30. Wow! I will never look at Gorden Pinsent the same again. He will alwasy have that sock in his hands wherever I see him. My favourit GP movie – the name escapes me – is the one where he played a newfie from one of the towns being relocated. In the movie, he and his wife’s house had to be floated to the new location. Very poignant.

  31. Stephanie, welcome home. I got to see you twice on your grand tour, once at Cirlces in Boston and a brief hello at New Hampshire Sheep and Wool. I just finished your book last night and loved it. My book signing went well, thanks for the good wishes! And thank you, for a blog entry many moons ago when you showed us all how to predraft your fiber for spinning, it has made a huge difference in the yarn I can now make!

  32. hey now I wouldn’t mind meeting Gordon,better then meeting Rex Murphy…I always said cool men knit now I’m right you have the proof!

  33. Being a Newfoundlander, I love that Newfoundland gets airtime on this most sacred of blogs. Gordon Pinsent ROCKS! Everyone needs to go rent The Rowdy Man. It was good, he was great and it was filmed in my home town (parts of it quite near my parents house). I wish I had ordinary days like yours.

  34. The ghost dad from Due South?! Now I get it. None of the other Pinsent references rang bells and I was going to have to google for myself. But, now I know…I watched Due South (and loved it. and miss it)
    How I wish I were in the sun with the fleece. Beginning to doubt that it will ever be “…Just Spring when the world is mud-luscious…”

  35. Sounds like the sock has all the fun!! I’m new to your blog,and I looooove it!!! I gotta say…the fleece kinda looks like tribbles!

  36. This may be a tall order, but is there any chance you could snag us a picture of the sock posing with the fleece-stealing squirrel?
    You know it’s pretty bad when we’re making requests, eh? Perform for us! Now! Heh.

  37. Well I don’t reeeallly know who Gordon is, but any guy who fondles a sock in progress like that is a good guy.

  38. Stephanie: I just attended your reading last week in Acton, MA, and you were (predictably!) super. I’m so glad to read the shout-out to Newfoundland. Ever since I moved to New England about 4 years ago, my family has made a point of visiting as much of Atlantic Canada as possible, and we so fell in love with Newfoundland that I’ve been a one-woman tourist bureau for the place ever since. We’ve spent a total of 4 weeks there in the last two years (hey, it’s only 846 miles from my doorstep to the the ferry at North Sydney!) and what a wonderful place. The people, the scenery, the birds, the water–all full of especially Newfie-style wonderfulness. So I’m not surprised to hear that GP is a Newfie!
    BTW, for anyone who read “The Shipping News” before going to Newfoundland, read it again–it’s much better after visiting the real deal.

  39. ok, i contributed to claudia’s cause. did it last night before your request, lol. i’ve got a cause as well, lol, if you’d like to amble over to my blog, betwixt confabs with mister washie, and contemplating dusting, and meeting GP. i will have to google him, sorry, my brain is fried tonight. too much teenage angst going on (DD has tonsilitis, and her checking account is over drawn, and her speeding ticket was due today, etc, etc, ad nauseum. will this ever end (she’s 19, lol)) sorry, don’t mean to whine in your comments, lol.

  40. The Canadian rules of engagement are the same as the Australian ones. Treat the famous person like just another person and fer-Gawd’s-sake don’t make a fuss.
    I once stood in a theatre lobby four feet from both nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise while several hundred Sydney-siders observed this rule meticulously (for the record, she was A LOT TALLER than him and her skin is incredible) Then they went back into the theatre and everyone went bananas.
    Last weekend, we spent an entire Saturday morning football match standing next to bryan brown (remember him from ‘Cocktail’ – and a whole slew of other movies besides). His son is in my boy’s team. And again, not one single person did a thing but discuss the footy and bemoan the umpiring (to be fair, my darling husband didn’t actually realise to whom he was talking tactics, but that’s just absent-mindedness…)
    I think its a colonial thing…in a good way ๐Ÿ˜‰

  41. Ok…this is so amazing! Can’t remember how I came to this site tonight…but I am working on the snowdrop shawl….talk about absent minded. Also, a mis-placed Canadian for awhile at least. Grew up listening to the voice of Gordon…oh my..So in my far off land….can one meet Gordon Pinsent and Don Haron on the same day at the same place….I mean other than “Red Green”? And yes, PBS in Fairbanks carries it weekly…my little slice of Canada away from home. Keep doing what you’re doing! You are awesome!
    Hugs, Doll

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  43. One thing I love about Canada (maybe other countries too but today it’s Canada) is that you have celebrities that have not been stuffed up the nose of the entire known world. Can you imagine an American posting a blog entry being thrilled over meeting a famous American celebrity, and having it be someone you as a Canadian had not heard of?

  44. Oh CarolineF, I can imagine it and I can wish for it! Can I pick? Today, it’s Britney! No wait, Donald Trump. Darn it, how to chose…

  45. Dear Harlot-
    I got your book in the mail yesterday and read it last night (read early this morning!) Despite being an IS professional in another life I have never posted a comment before. So here it is, my virgin comments,
    1. Never in my life (and I’m a grandma) have I ever felt more validated. I laughed and cried and it was wonderful- thank you thank you thank you
    2. On the time to knit issue: I pay someone to clean my house- the slight decrease in availble cash for yarn purchases is more than made up for in hours and hours to knit and even more important, NEVER HAVING TO CLEAN TOILETS.
    3. I’ve been married 30 years to the man with whom I planned my life in the back of a Pinto in 1972. This year for my birthday he gave me a custom remodeled sewing/knitting room. His comment was “I guess you’re gonna keep doing this stuff so I thought you’d like a nice place to do it”
    I am so engaged to know somebody thinks like me sometimes. Thanks for who you are and for sharing it.

  46. Your ordinary days are definitely very different than mine. However, we both seem to be knitting up dental floss, so similarities do exist ๐Ÿ˜‰

  47. Isn’t it great to be home?
    Did I just notice a second bookbookbook coming out in September on Amazon? I think you are being sneaky with us….

  48. I guess we should expect sneaky from the woman who wrote:
    Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter
    240 pages (available September 2005)

  49. Gordon Pinsent is awsome! Such a lucky sock. ^_^ I nearly died laughing at what your mother-in-law said about Newfoundlanders (Which is, of course, all true! haha). Thanks for brightening my day with this post.
    I recently bought a copy of your book at the Chapters in St. John’s, and read it during a flight to Bermuda to see my relatives (since I could not knit on Air Canada, it had to do). I adore it! It’s so funny and so true. Thanks so much for writing it.

  50. My favourite Gordon Pinset moment was in the short-lived and kinda bad-in-a-good-way Sean Cullen Show two years ago. They had a fictionalized “CBC Program” called “Gordon Pinset Derides A Cat” at which point the monitor cuts to GP looking at a cat and restrained yelling at it “We have our babies one at a time, not in a litter … you Filthy CAT WHORE!”

  51. Steph, I was in a play (yes, in a theatre production) with Mr. Pinsent years ago…and I was also lucky enough to be the emcee for a must-see movie for Newfoundlanders called ‘John and The Missus’. It’s a wonderful film, and I also agree with the Rowdy Man comments above. A third time, I got to interview him for my show when I worked in Halifax. Charming man, beautiful voice – as someone here also pointed out – (something that’s fairly important in my line of work) and he probably would say ‘arse’ in his day-to-day life even more than you. You can’t get more down-to-earth than Mr. Pinsent. Glad you enjoyed meeting him.

  52. In true Harlot-y fashion your sock has fallen into the first pair of celebrity hands that traipsed by….just look at that star-*ahem*ing tramp of a sock!
    On another note, I’ve been reading through your archives….Sept. 13, 2004…ohgawd, I laughed so hard I almost peed. ๐Ÿ˜€

  53. Gordon freaking Pinsent?! One of THE Canadian celebrities I enjoy most ๐Ÿ™‚ And he held your SOCK?! Whoo Hoo!!

  54. Yes, I join the young American who is scratching her head. And I totally saw The Shipping News. But I guess if you’re not divorcing Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie, our American media doesn’t find it worth covering. I am super curious to know more about the Canadian Celebrity Rules of Engagement, especially since our celebrities are just so frigging annoying.

  55. Steph:
    What a Web?
    Had a great time meeting you!
    Haven’t had so much coverage since the gall bladder operation!
    Miss my sock!
    Got the mojo!
    Very popular with Penthouses 6,9, and 11, here at the condo!
    Now what do I do with it!
    Love your responders!
    Wish I’d come up with a smile!
    You’re lovely!
    Hope someone is telling you that once a day at least!
    Best, always.
    Socks forever!
    Gordon Pinsent.

  56. WHOA…I’m American, and I KNOW THAT FACE – but I didn’t know his name. All I knew was that at one time in my life, I MAJORLY Crushed on him, and I am SO glad to hear that he’s a super nice guy, and a Newfoundlander to boot! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Now, pardon this question if you’ve already answered it – but I’ve been very bad at keeping up with your blog lately…so here goes.
    What is The Sock destined for? After all this, you’re certainly not going to just…just…well, WEAR it…or gift it…are you?

  57. Brenda: The movie you are referring to is “John and the Missus.” A wonderful piece of work written by, directed by and starring Gordon Pinsent, based on his novel.
    Stephanie VW: I would have thought I was the only one who had dreams of Gordon Pinsent talking them to sleep. Whenever I’d see him on TV growing up–particularly on “A Gift to Last,” only the show’s end could break my hypnosis. His voice is entrancing, isn’t it? He could read the phone book and I’d melt into a trance!
    Fortunately for me, he is my uncle! My father, who passed away a few short years ago, was very much like him. They are both truly wonderful, down-to-earth people who have no idea how truly wonderful they are.
    For those still wondering who this remarkable celebrity is, perhaps you’d recognize him as the voice of Babar.
    As for Newfoundland, it is God’s country! Both of my parents were born and raised there. I spent some time there as a small child, but moved away as my father was relocated with the Air Force. My husband and I had a chance to go back there several years ago and spend some time there with Gordon Pinsent himself–even with his older brother in the house they grew up in. It was liking coming back to the home I didn’t know I had. Even though I barely know it, I will always think of it as home.
    Uncle Gord: I can’t believe you posted here! My heart skips a beat even seeing your script! I was just about to forward this link to you, but I guess I don’t need to now. I look forward to seeing you sometime soon.
    My friend Brenda: Thank you for forwarding this my way. It’s made my day!
    Stephanie: Thank you for this site, and for recognizing Mr. Pinsent in this way. And thanks to all those who have posted such nice comments. As the unofficial president of his would-be fan club, I’m thrilled to see him getting this kind of applause!
    Maria Work

  58. OMIGOD! You got to meet Gordon Pinsent! And he is a fallen away knitter! I am so in awe! Not that I wasn’t in awe of you already.

  59. I recieved you book for my birthday on May 31,
    I have read every page and love you and the book.
    I thought I was the only one who covets knit shops,,uses any excuse to knit , and talk at the same time. thanks for the meditations…When are you coming to Southern California?

  60. I recieved you book for my birthday on May 31,
    I have read every page and love you and the book.
    I thought I was the only one who covets knit shops,,uses any excuse to knit , and talk at the same time. thanks for the meditations…When are you coming to Southern California?

  61. Omigosh. I have to say, and I admit that I’m partly defending my fellow Americans, that I was a HUGE Due South fan and therefore adore Gordon Pinsent. And he knit. You made my day.

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