Strange days

I have to tell you, that the modern age occasionally freaks me out.

(Well, more than occasionally, but I’m sometimes freaked out by gas stations. I may have a freak out level that is lower than normal.) I did two things worth mentioning yesterday.

I spun.


(You didn’t think I was going to spin that boring brown did you?) This delightfully cotton candyish batt was a birthday present from Laurie (That Laurie) who really, really has excellent taste in fibre. It’s a Brushstrokes Batt from Indigo Moon Farm and is a completely seductive mix of 50% LLama, 25% merino and 25% silk. (Some dizziness when contemplating that is normal. Put your head down for a minute if you need to.) It is as soft as it looks, and when it’s spun up it has a glorious sheen….that’s the silk.


I met Lee Ann. She’s here on a little vacation from her real life in Montreal, and we arranged to hook up at the local. You will note that she’s holding the boring baby blanket. Lee Ann really deserved the sock, but I didn’t have it with me. (I am carrying only the blanket since my self control is so crappy that I can only knit it if it’s all that I have.) I was so delighted to meet her, and enjoyed her so much that I was overwhelmed with the urge to have her hold something….I had to make do with what I had.

Here’s the freak out. (As previously mentioned, this may only freak me out.) I find in incalculably strange that as a modern day knitter/spinner, I can swing between an ancient activity like spinning…and half an hour later I can be meeting a knitter from another part of the continent, knowing what she looks like before I meet her, knowing much about her life and being able to detail her current project (the pony puke poncho) even though we have never met. That through the magic of the internet and the wonders of things that plug in, I have friends all over the world.

It’s the sense of expanded community, that we are all actively engaged all over the world in each others intimate lives and doings, that I could pick Emma (or at least her son) out of a crowd, or that if I needed to I could get Vincent out of the pound for Norma, or that I know exactly what Sandy’s couch looks like. I can hope Amie’s ok today, and wonder if Cassie sent Cassie some roving (since it’s at least partly her fault that she took up spinning). I can walk in the sunshine on Saturday and hope that it’s not as hot in Boston as it is here, since Claudia was doing the MS ride.

It’s the wonderful modern electric connectedness of it all. That I can get dropped into any terrifying brand new city in North America and have somebody to have dinner with. That we wouldn’t know each other at all, that I wouldn’t have thousands of comrades in wool, if it weren’t for two things.

Absolutely cutting edge, up to the minute modern technology

and ancient, never changing, timeless knitting.

Freaky contrast eh?

86 thoughts on “Strange days

  1. It’s a pretty freakish world when you look at the juxtaposition of ancient knitting and modern blogging. Gee, thanks for pointing that out. Now you’ve got me freaked out, too. And I don’t freak out easily. Hunh.

  2. The internet is a strange and wonderful thing. Check out the blog survey at MIT’s Media Lab — They are compiling info on “the way that weblogs are affecting the way we communicate with each other. Specifically … interested in issues of demographics, communication behaviors, experience with weblogs and other technology, and the meaning of various types of social links within the blogosphere.”
    Sound exactly like what you posted abut today!

  3. You’re absolutely right. The contrast is at once freaky and wonderful.
    To lessen the freak-out scale think of this way: No matter how fast the world and our lives turn (notice I didn’t say spin..) we have the ancient art of knitting to keep us centered in the midst of the maelstrom.

  4. Why just the other day I needed to do an invisible cast on, had NO idea how, the instructions in the book were no less than mind boggling. A quick google and I had a video playing on my wireless laptop showing me how to do this thing (dance move?) that someone probably invented before the printing press. Freaky. The alpaca pi shawl edging is now lovely and almost done….I have complete confidence I can find one for grafting 😉

  5. HOw very profound. And think of the thousands (probably way more) people who know you and your duaghters and Joe and Ken and Norma and Mr. Washie, and you don’t even know they know. I know!

  6. Yep! It’s a world where you can be friends with anyone anywhere! People you wouldn’t meet in your everyday routine!
    It’s good, I think it brings us together a bit more which we need!

  7. I love the connection you made 🙂 I never really thought about knitblogging that way before, but it’s so true. We use state of the art technology to take pictures of, keep track of, and discuss our age-old obsessions. Excellent. By the way, while we’re on the subject of visiting North American cities, may I suggest PHOENIX? Oh you don’t have to come right now, and you don’t even have to come until after October. But when it’s -23482937 degrees in Canada’s December, it’s a beautiful 60 degrees F down here. Do I sound like a tourism board commercial yet? Good. Please come. We’ll feed you delicious Mexican food and we’ll KNIT.

  8. About 10 years ago, when my DH’s grandmother was 100 years old, her grandson asked her to name the most important invention in her lifetime. He expected her to say TV or airplanes or even the automobile. Instead she said it was the ability to walk into a room, turn a switch and have the light go on! She told him that every time she walks in a room and turns that switch she is amazed by it.
    I wonder if the internet will be that one most important invention in our lives. The thing that touched us all and changed all of us, the thing that will still amaze us every time we use it?

  9. My head IS spinning! That is the most beautiful roving/yarn I have ever seen! Guess I had better get to learning how to handle a spindle. My post tomorrow is about the past and future connections…it must be in the ether;-)

  10. Lovely contrast. I think of blogs as folk art – art of people reflecting their culture (including their technology). But then, my art history teachers were rather liberal in their definitions….

  11. My mother never knit a day in her life, and yet when I see someone knitting in public, I feel comforted and think of home. There’s just something about it that seems to sooth the human spirit, even if you don’t know how to knit yourself. Mom loves it when I bring my projects to her house because through me, she see’s her own mother and can remember.
    The thing I love about blogging is we live in a society where people are all too often judged by appearance and blogging gives us a chance to get to know one another through character and creativity.

  12. When I was in college (as a late blooming student), I discovered I could become friends via email with professors all over the world who were willing to help me with my projects and experiments. It was then that I became intrigued with the idea of cyperspace as community. Blogs have just expanded that concept, and made it a much more accessible and interactive one. That we knitters and spinners, practitioners of old arts, connect in this manner just tightens and enhances our community and performs the task of strengthening and spreading the crafts as well. Interesting how the world and societies, both real and virtual, evolve, eh?

  13. My favourite meet-up story is your encounter with “Curls & Purls” on Madison Avenue. What were the chances of such a meeting, in a large city?

  14. But in a way these blogs and the communities that are created by them act as communities acted in the past. We talk about projects, we get help, support, and we gossip and bitch. It amazes me when I see pictures of really old knitting but then I imagine the people who knit them and think that they probably had friends like the ones in the blogging cyber space. Not all globalisation is bad for every wrong action taken by the act of intergration good also comes out when you meet like minded people who you feel you know without meeting because in a way you do, because they are like you but different.

  15. Knitting and computers do indeed mix. Take my husband, for instance. I knit, he’s not impressed. I start a blog about the fact that I knit and he’s incredibly impressed. He’s even been asking more about my current projects. Should have started a blog long ago.

  16. I just had that freaky connected/disconnected feeling when I received an e-mail from flylady about the horrors of soda/pop consumption and felt urge to send it to Norma. Even though I have never met her. Also scary, everyone knows who I mean by just typing Norma!

  17. I’ve been a part of on-line communities for 10 or so years now, and sometimes it is just astonishing to me. My parents (who are not computer types) are always amused when I talk about having “friends” in Australia or Singapore or Vancouver; friends that I’ve never met in person and might not ever meet, but that I talk to regularly, who would be welcome in my home without a moment’s thought. But then, I hardly know my neighbors, other than to chit-chat about the weather.
    It is strange, but it’s wonderful too.

  18. It’s my first comment…I’d been waiting to join the conversation for months – this seemed like the right time. I am a American knitter living in Italy. I read you all every morning instead of the NYTimes like I used to when living in Denver. The internet is a great thing.
    PS. Is the tour making a European swing any time soon?

  19. I think the truly wonderful thing about knitting is that it reminds us, even as we live in the crazy modern world, to take time and honor the traditions of our ancestors. Thanks for the reminder.

  20. It’s no wonder there is so much mental weirdness, it is just too, too much to take it all in!
    BTW-the dress was perfect. Meg looked so happy, so you did the right thing. I only know that I, having made the same choice, would have been asking myself why we didn’t just BUY THE DRESS!

  21. One more thing-and this may have been mentioned before, but I don’t make it a habit to read comments all of the time, I think that is what knitting does for me (one of the things). Takes me to a place that, despite my sense of urgency to finish something (negating the purpose I am about to mention, go figure) that is slower and calmer. I go into my hands and my self and develop a rhythm that works with my heart rate, my breathing, my electrical impulses. Then I turn on my computer, check blogs and feel like it must feel to be on speed-all the choices, the knitters, the new projects and fibers! Aaaack! Needles! Give me my needles!

  22. Good point. It goes to show that people will always look for an opportunity to communicate. 20 years ago some said that computers and technology would estrange people from each other, and society would be unfriendly and cold. How wrong they were!

  23. Cool contrasts! Freaky yet interesting. Next time you are in the Pittsburgh area, you have a standing invitation to dinner.

  24. It is a such a small world. And since I check in on LeeAnn’s blog I knew exactly what you were talking about when you mentioned the ‘Pony Puke Poncho’…I hope you had a wonderful visit. Thanks for sharing!

  25. I just returned from a Few Freaky Days in NYC and these two things — knitting and blogging — have changed my world. If I’d gone to NYC 18 months ago, I’d have not known a soul; last week, I not only met over a dozen bloggers, but one of them was indispensible in the planning of the trip to a place that would otherwise have intimidated the bejeebers out of me. I’ve been a nonsmoker for coming up on four months now, and one of those bloggers was the catalyst for that change. Another has been a wonderful listener and advisor in the past regarding a situation where she has some expertise.
    It’s freaky and, man, it ROCKS! I can’t think of going anywhere without thinking of bloggers who might live there (or on the way).
    With all your galavanting over recent months — and more to come — I can’t believe you’re only freaking out about this now…

  26. It IS freaky. But it’s oh-so-cool too. Now I’m going to go have some of that cake that I’m so ashamed about. And you know exactly what I’m talking about, too. ;-P
    P.S. Hot dress for Meg!
    P.P.S. I’m totally sickly jealous that you met Lee Ann before I did.

  27. I loved what you had to say about community. I view the internet�first usenet, then blogs�as a chance to have a social life unconstrained by geography. Through the net, I do indeed have friends all over the world. One of these friends has real-life (as opposed to on-line) friends who refer to her on-line friends as her “imaginary friends”. But J’s imaginary friends include experts in a huge range of different things, from copyright law to city planning to the London transit system. Oh, yeah, and knitting.

  28. I’m so envious that you got to meet Lee Ann that I’m trying to forget the fact that you just dissed Joe’s sweater fleece.
    Given the fact that that candy-stuff came from That Laurie, I think you might be forgiven. Barely.
    Joe’s going to be cold this winter. Poor thing.

  29. Want to know something just as freaky? Alvin Tofler predicted this in “Future Shock” which was published in the early 70’s. I think he called it “high tech/high touch.” That the higher our tech becomes the greater our need for the touch, meaning the hand-crafting, traditional holidays, etc. And even freakier that I remembered it. Pick up a copy next time you see it in the dollar bin at the used book store.

  30. Oh, beautiful yarn!
    I guess my requirement level to freak out is much higher than yours, love, as I find that human beings are a walking contradiction.
    It’s no wonder that the lives we lead are, well, living contradictions. Email for mundane stuff, but handwritten letters for care, tenderness and love. Knitting and spinning by hand, but making dinner with the help of a stove, microwave and refrigerator.
    However, I’m glad I live in the age I do (for many, many personal reasons, the first being I’m a woman) as it gives me more time to pursue those activities, which use to be mundane chores, which now brighten my life and the lives around me.

  31. Joe will forgive you; I am very happy that the Indigo Moon blend was pleasing — and I love the artistic shot of singles with batt-background. How did you choose to deal with the layers of many colors? Her batts are so yummy to spin but demand choices!Whatever you did, it looks even more lovely in spun form!
    Welcome to summer vacation with the rest of us!!
    That Laurie

  32. Every now and again I stop and think about how differently I use the Interent compared to when I first got online 14 years ago… the mind boggles. Of course, I sometimes do the same thing with my knitting; I’ve gone from a moss stitch scarf to knitting complex lace shawls. One thing I really like about looking back in time: so many things change while so many other things remain the same.

  33. I have to confess that I’m a bit of a Luddite (which probably explains my reluctance to join the blogging world, in spite of my wonderful blogging friends’ urging me on to do so). As such, I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. In many ways, I think the internet can be a very scary place, but it has brought me so many friends and so much good information and entertainment, so it’s obviously got a BIG upside. I guess like everything else in life, it’s a question of balance. And yes, the extreme juxtaposition of old and new is always kind of a mindbender. As always, you’ve articulated it beautifully. BTW, your newly-spun yarn looks downright edible.

  34. great post, as usual.
    I actually think about this pretty often, or at least everytime I go to any type of knitting event. Here I am, a fairly eccentric looking, heavily tattooed, very modern looking woman (i guess since I turned 30 i have to go from girl to woman, damn!) and then there’s the juxtaposition of me spending the majority of my time knitting and spinning. It freaks people out, me included!
    also, hi!

  35. Bloody marvellous I call it !
    Knitting,spinning and the internet have all so enriched my life.They’ve also given me a community of like minded people.
    Beautiful new fluff and singles.What will it be ?

  36. Modern science certainly makes the world a much smaller place. You can meet and expand your circle of friends with people from every corner of the earth without leaving your computer desk.
    Having said that, this displaced Canadian will be there to meet you at your Seattle WA, stop in August and I too would drop everything to break bread with you.

  37. Met a woman through an online knitting list. She used to live in sight of my cul-de-sac in California, before I moved there. Now she lives close enough to my parents in Maryland that when I told her the name of their street, she said, Oh! Which house? Turned out she’s right near them.
    And right now I’m typing from the folks’ computer. It’s good to be home. Looking at your photos from yesterday, I gotta tell you: you’re always a little girl to your parents. And right now I’m really enjoying that fact. Except when they forgot I know how to drive in the dark, even if they don’t.

  38. I’ve got a sort of love-hate mindset towards the computer age we find ourselves in now. On the one hand, I think Bill Gates’ original business plan of “a computer on every desktop” has done a lot to contributing to the social dilema we find ourselves faced with – parents working longer hours, bringing the office home with them, kids being inside on the computer instead of being outside playing, not being able to let the kids play outside on their own because of all the undesirables out there trading sick information via the internet etc…
    On the other hand, if it wasn’t for the computer, I couldn’t be here now, reading and laughing and sharing. And in fact I probably knit more BECAUSE of the stresses of the whole work thing mentioned above. I keep a knitting project at my desk so that when I need to, I can take a 2-3 row break and allow myself to slow down and focus on simpler things. I haven’t been doing it very long, relatively speaking, and I’m not that good yet, but I knit to let myself create in a way that my very, very computer oriented job doesn’t allow me. I regularly correspond via email with a fellow in Mauritius whom I will probably never meet, who developed a website for kids my son has loved since he was 18 months old, and he’s 4 now. (for anyone with young children, it’s
    I agree with Regina – it’s a question of balance. You’ve got to take the good with the bad. And it’s nice to see that this technology which is propelling us into the future so very fast is also a wonderful way of connecting us to the past, and to each other. A toast to all the knitting and spinning bloggers for making that so! Cheers!

  39. I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I am enjoying it. Such wit, such off the wallness. I can relate to your ponderings. I can’t wait for tomorrow! Maybe you’ll get to know me too! I feel as if I know you yet we’ve never met …odd? Yes. Martina

  40. I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I am enjoying it. Such wit, such off the wallness. I can relate to your ponderings. I can’t wait for tomorrow! Maybe you’ll get to know me too! I feel as if I know you yet we’ve never met …odd? Yes. Martina

  41. Sorry for the double send of the previous …I am new to this blogging business!!

  42. Grasshopper, you must learn to use your power wisely. I think we have flamed poor Lee Ann — her site is currently impregnable. Don’t know your own stren’th.
    You know those exquisite singles are going to require Navajo plying, and I bet you have a cunning plan for them. Tell Joe to take his Vitamin C — he’ll need all his Newfoundland immunities to see him through next winter (in the frozen wasteland of those recording studios.)

  43. Finally, I understand. It was the boring brown of it. The fact that it was super soft llama wasn’t enough to inspire the Grand Harlot. Not that I blame you. My batch from the very same animal still stares at me. Maybe I should put it into a less see-though bag…

  44. Finally, I understand. It was the boring brown of it. The fact that it was super soft llama wasn’t enough to inspire the Grand Harlot. Not that I blame you. My batch from the very same animal still stares at me. Maybe I should put it into a less see-through bag…

  45. Poignant, and definitely freaky. I was thinking similar thoughts the other day. Actually, it was the debit card scanner-thingie at K-Mart on the self-check aisle that was freaking me out. It had CG graphics to illustrate what you were supposed to do. Truly a futuristic world, but one still grounded in the past, that I can use the technology in a department store and then go home and spin for a few hours.
    And Megan and Megan’s Dress looked gorgeous! Good luck surviving the summer.

  46. First physics now philosophical ponderings and all on a knitting blog. That’s freaking me out.
    As I was reading today I thought of Gandhi.
    Gandhi’s response to rampant development and westernization was to spin his own thread and wear only cloth made from it.
    There is something to the balancing effect of spinning. It’s quite meditative but it does make the modern world seem more shocking by contrast. Of course Llama mixed with Merino and Silk goes a long way toward soothing that shock.

  47. You are absolutely right. The other awesome thing is….the only reason I have a phone is because my kid knew someone who knew someone, otherwise there weren’t enough lines. I only get mail 3 times a week, and if there is a stat holiday I get it twice. BUT I have high speed internet off a satellite. Very strange world.
    Barb B.

  48. I was thinking along those same lines the other day. Not only do computers and knitting go so well together, they actually *encourage* each other! How many people knit or spin now, who wouldn’t have been able to find the resources to learn before the ‘net? So many people can’t ask older relatives, the way this knowledge used to get passed on, so they have to go elsewhere. I think there are more knitters and spinners (and tatters, bobbin-lacemakers, crocheters, etc.) now than there were about 5-10 years ago partially because there is so much better access to the knowledge now.

  49. I know what you mean. I am very excited that I am meeting my first blogging friend on Saturday – at a yarn shop! I tell people I’m meeting someone I met on the internet and the way they react, you’d think I was meeting an axe murderer! But wait, I say – you don’t understand. She’s a knitter, for Pete’s sake!

  50. Eggzackly.
    This Internet age is fine when you happen to drop into somebody’s town and there they are and you already know them (how cool!), but when you long to see them and they’re miles away on the other end of the freakin’ broadband, it can feel lonely, no?
    That’s me, always looking at the dark side.
    xox Kay

  51. And it’s interesting that this is what the science fiction writers/Star Trek people, etc., didn’t foresee. That in addition to beaming people up and all that, in the World of the Future there would still be knitting and cooking and sheep etc..
    OK, 3 comments and I’m becoming a comment hog.
    Sorry about that. xox Kay

  52. Indeed freaky — it’s the time/space warp in which we continuously immerse ourselves.

  53. Totally awesome dress and graduate! I must have some of that roving even though I do not spin. It is the most beautiful stuff I have ever seen! You may have cyber hooked me on spinning how is that for a freaky contrast!

  54. What a beautiful post. It’s so true though. I’ve enver met any bloggers in person (yet!), but I feel like I know so many. And I’m so lucky I found this whole community 🙂

  55. I recently spent 10 days in the Vancouver area at a Knitting Retreat hosted by one of the Elann chat group members. While there, I also stayed with two knitters in the area who offered me lodging; I had only ‘met’ them on the Internet. I’ve met Crazy Aunt Purl at my LYS, and on Sunday I’m planning to meet another Elann poster from the Midwest, who is visiting the LA area where I live. In every case, we have hit it off amazingly well, knitted and chatted for hours.
    I completely agree with your comments about the possibilities for friendships via knitting and the Internet. It has become a marvelous way for people to come together over interests in common. I’m looking forward to meeting you next month!! Need a place to stay???

  56. Yes, dear Harlot, it is a truely amazing time we live in. Know that in sub-tropical Louisiana I look forward to your daily exploits in lovely Canada. What a world!

  57. Waves from currently rainy Melbourne, Australia! Hi! Egads I so want to get to maryland next year to see amazing fibre supplies and meet a gazillion bloggers but that would mean giving up my fingerprints to the US govt. Hmmm. But Canada is OK!

  58. Definitely freaky.
    And YOUR BOOK BOOK BOOK is featured in the Borders in-store tabloid. I was proud… and I didn’t even have anything to do with it. Their brief blurb didn’t do your wit or knit-skills justice… but it DID have a picture of the cover.
    Remember to come to Te*as when it is cold there (because odds are, it’ll be warmer here!)

  59. I used to be freaked out by that stuff. But that was before I flew across the Atlantic to meet 4 fine gals, all knitters, who I only knew from the Internet and we fell into place with each other like old friends. Amazing to think that only 10 years ago we could probably never have met each other 🙂

  60. A freak-out, yes, but in the very best way. It does often feel like a reinvention of the olden days’ quilting bees, barn raisings, and other community events. Only, online, the “community” can be global in scope and as multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and even multi-abled as interests allow.
    My, oh my, that cotton candy roving spun up well. But, brown is beautful, too, you know… Maybe on your next spinning Tuesday? It looks like it needs love, too.

  61. That lovely spinning made me want another lesson. How about a series of mini demos on the blog about different techniques for spinning different types of fiber? This newbie spinner has only dealt with romney and I’m guessing all fibers are not equal. I soooo loved your pre-drafting info! Yes, ancient wisdom and technology are so cool.

  62. Just wanted to wish you and your family Happy Canada Day. May you spend today knitting some beautiful lace from that cotton candy looking yarn.

  63. Oh man! The picture of that yarn needs to be framed and hung. It is just gorgeous!!!

  64. Added bonus: Lee Ann finally gives us perspective on the blanket so we can see how large it already is. Wow–between that and the amazing graduation dress, well, I definitely have been slacking.

  65. Me too. Yesterday met my first ‘blogging’ friend. She moved here to Vegas and found me via my blog. The world is becoming smaller me thinks.

  66. Should I tell people that I’m shorter than you, so really, next to me, that blanket looks bigger than it is…and I almost offered to knit a row or two on it for you, I felt so bad. Good for you for reverting to sock and a Stella for a while.
    I had so much fun with you and the group, and I really think that Montr�al knitters ought to seriously consider the addition of sangria to their group meetings. And don’t worry, power outage in my neighborhood downed my blog. It wasn’t your commenters, honest.
    Really wonderful to meet you, and thank you for enabling…uh…encouraging me in the spinning direction. I can’t wait to try this beautiful stuff! It’s freaking sweltering out and I still can’t help but put it near my face. (Okay, Cassies both, I’m well and truly screwed here…)
    Norma, I’m an hour away. Hop to it, lady 😉

  67. We have all come a long way. I can remember not knowing what the Internet was. We had a computer, but it didn’t have enough memory to connect. Wow. And that was only 1999/2000. Sure we played games on it, but who knew? Now I can get on anytime, and “visit” anyone. What is even more thought provoking is that I never read a blog until August of last year. I was completely into cross-stitching then (still am, it was my first craft love). But some of those blogs crossed referenced others and soon I was reading knitting and crocheting blogs. And now I have my own. I feel lost if I don’t get to read all on my list every day. But regular life gets in the way. And now that I can knit, I am open to even more than before. And I swear everytime I see anything made of yarn, I look it over to see how it was put together. And I think, I might be able to do that too.

  68. The communication and bonding that is taking place between individuals from all over the world will make it less likely that governments with their self-serving agendas and their twisted propaganda can convince the citizens of this global community to go to war against each other. Maybe the internet will become a path towards peace?

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