Good thing apologies are free.

There are several people I need to apologize to.

1. Judith MacKenzie McCuin, for not only telling some people that I thought she was a goddess, but to confessing to her face that I would be perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life following around her lovely self, standing behind and to the left of her…never speaking, just trying to be worthy. There is nothing this woman could not make interesting. Nothing. Better than that, she taught me to spin laceweight…


That’s a penny for scale. It’s exceedingly fine, though I concede to it’s problems (painful lack of ply-twist, just for starters) but I love it anyway. I’m thinking about getting it its very own velvet box. Anybody could spin that if they talked to Judith. She’s remarkable, but I probably shouldn’t have told her that and followed her around quite so many times. Sorry Judith.

2. Nancy Bush. What can I say. The woman is as inspired in person as in her books. I knit Estonian lace, I fell in love with Nupps….she’s great. Really great. (I eventually did speak to her several times. She’s very nice and not at all scary.) The apology? Oh yeah. Rose-Kim/Jessica and I sort of ended up sitting next to each other in Nancy’s class, and, well. We both felt sort of bad about it but at 2:00 it was Knitting Olympics time and while Nancy did this:


We did this.


(Oh, hold on. I owe Jessica an apology too.)

3. Jessica. When Nancy came over to our table to see our Estonian lace, I put down my olympic stuff real quick but Jessica got busted. Sorry pet. Better luck next time. I felt bad, but not bad enough not to take a picture.)


(Note that while she looks sad and regretful, she has not put down the olympic knitting.)

I’d like to apologize to the crowd I spoke to that evening, for putting their pictures on the internet with a sleeve. (Cause you know….it’s so much less crazy with a sock.)



4. I’d like to apologize to all of Knitting Team Canada, for bitterly muttering under my breath being regretful that I could not attend the opening ceremonies party. Their party looked like this.

Mine looked like this.


I’m over it, sure they had no fun without me, planning better for the closing ceremonies.

5. Sally Melville deserves an apology for how hard I laughed when she temporarily lost… and consequently searched for a misplaced double pointed needle, which was then located IN HER KNITTING.


(Apparently being a fountain of knitting books and information and travelling around the world teaching people to knit will still not save you from dumbass knitter mistakes. I don’t know about you…but I love that. )

For the rest of today I’ll be still be working on the first sleeve of Hardangervidda.


(Let’s not discuss my slow progress and how very, very humiliating darned funny it’s going to be if I’m the only knitter who doesn’t get a medal.) Onward ho!

Needles Raised

So here we are, poised on the edge of greatness. Thanks to the monumental efforts of S.Kate, Emma, Kat and Ken (Really, I swear that I didn’t think this would take 5 people to manage) the list is pretty up to date. We currently sit at almost 4000 knitters with more coming.

I think we have added everyone who got their names in before the cutoff, and because we are nice (and crazy about knitters) we have kept adding as we can manage and I’ll continue to do that, as knitting and working allows. (Speaking of that, if you’d like a chance to hear a speech I haven’t written yet and get me to sign a book, I’ll be talking, signing and knitting (Hardangervidda) at the Tacoma Sheraton at 7:30 tonight. C’mon down. Show me your Olympic stuff.

Kat has brilliantly created an Olympic frappr map for all of us to use. If you like, take a minute and we’ll paint a picture of knitting olympians all over the globe. (That aughta scare a few non-knitters.)

Today, thousands of knitters stand sit poised to knit their way to greatness. For most of us, this is a close as we are going to come to they Olympics…Welcome to knitting as a personal sport.

A sport is defined as a physically and mentally challenging activity carried out wit a recreational purpose for competition, for self-enjoyment, to attain excellence, for the development of a skill or for some combination of these traits.

Today at 2pm, (your local time, wherever you may be) or while you watch the Olympic flame being lit in Torino these thousands of sporting knitters will all lift their needles and begin a personal epic, an odyssey of excellence, and a phenomenal period of sixteen whole days in which they will strive to improve themselves as knitters, however they personally define it. These knitters, having created their own challenges, pay tribute to the real athletes who (inexplicably) find their greatness in ways other than those of wool.

It is my greatest pleasure to imagine a wave of energy released at that time, streaming through the world, rushing poignantly from the needles of women and men of excellence paying homage to the old and mighty idea of challenge elevating the human spirit.

It is not whether you fail or knit. It is not whether you get a sweater or you simply learn what wonder you can achieve when you think about knitting for sixteen days. It is the magic of the combined effort of thousands of knitters all making the smallest of movements with their hands, adding up to the greatest epic of craftspeople all knitting for one goal, at one time, ever known.

(Cue the music…)

The Knitting Olympics Athletes Pledge

I, a knitter of able hands and quick wits, to hereby swear that over the course of these Olympics I will uphold the highest standard of knitterly excellence.

I will be deft of hand and sure of pattern, I will overcome troubles of yarn overs and misplaced decreases. I will use the gifts of intelligence and persistence (as well as caffeine and chocolate) and I will execute my art to the highest form, carrying with me the hope for excellence known to every knitter.

I strive to win. To do my best, and to approach the needles with my own best effort in mind, without comparing myself to my fellow knitters, for they have challenges unique to them.

While I engage in this pursuit of excellence and my own personal, individual best, I also swear that I will continue to engage with my family in conversation, care for my pets, speak kindly with those who would ask me to do something other than knit, and above all, above every stitch thrown or picked, above every cable, every heel stitch, every change of colour, I swear this:

That I will remember that this is not the real Olympics, that I’m supposed to be having fun and that my happiness and self-worth ride not on my success….

but on my trying.

Let the games begin!

15 minutes from Tacoma

I have 15 minutes before classes start, I’m sitting in a hotel room ready to roll, and I’m nervous.


(This is Tacoma from my hotel window. I knew you were dying to see it.)

Those who read this blog have likely already worked out that I tend towards the “high strung” end of normal human behaviour, and this sort of thing flips me right out. (My natural response to this is to drink a great deal of coffee, which totally doesn’t help, but that’s another post.)

1. Atla, says to tell Nancy Bush that she loves her. Nancy was the first person I met when I got off the bus last night. I have a class with her today and I will tell her you love her. (Last night I told her I love her, and I may have accidentally gushed a bit, so there’s chance she won’t be speaking to the crazy little Canadian today, but I’ll try. ) She seems very, very smart and nice, but surprisingly, there is no bright golden glow emanating from her, which I was really expecting, considering that she is a knitting goddess. My plan is to say nothing in her presence lest I screw up.

2. Suzanne Pederson, the co-ordinating genius who makes this retreat work is our new Olympic heroine. Last night when I realized that I had left the powercord for the laptop on the dining room table and that I had 22 minutes of battery time left (along with hundreds of un-entered olympians), Suzanne performed a spectacular magic trick and made one appear. I am so unbelievably grateful. All hail Suzanne, Official saviour of the knitting olympics.

3. I have borrowed this wheel from Suzanne for my class on spinning and knitting Estonian Lace.


I have no idea if I have put it together right. I hope I don’t look stupid in front of Nancy Bush. She seems nice enough not to point and laugh at me.

4. There is no snow in Tacoma, and the parka I brought is ridiculous overkill. I saw a live, green fern. (I really can’t get over that.)

5. I love this.


A knitting olympics button in ancient greek, made by Sara.

Sara is clearly insane, and totally my kind of person.

I’m packing it in

This is how your suitcase would look too…right?


It turns out that I may have been lying when I said that regular blogging would continue today. To avoid having to knit underpants when I run out, I’m busy packing some other stuff to go in that suitcase. The flight to Madrona fiber Arts Retreat leaves soon and (other than having all of my yarn ready) I’ve got a lot to do. The list of knitting Athletes is over 3300, and Emma, S.Kate and I are still working on it. If you don’t see your name by tomorrows post, or there is a glaring error you want us to try to correct, let us know tomorrow and we’ll do our best to get it up there before the flame is lit.

Until then, stop looking at me like that. Everybody packs yarn first.

I knew there were perks

I’m rather unexpectedly in MA visiting my publisher for a photo shoot, and I have learned three things.

1. It takes a lot of makeup to make it look like you are wearing no make-up at all. This is extremely disconcerting if you are the sort of person who normally wears no makeup and achieves the same thing.


2. I have no idea what is going on here.


This is a life size concrete elephant. This has nothing to do with my photo shoot, but it was strange as all get out.

3. If you are an knitting book author long enough, apparently the perks start to be things you couldn’t imagine.


This is my Yarn Boy. Charlie was the handsome gentleman assigned to position my yarn and pull lengths of it free from the ball for me. (I swear it. A yarn boy. Can you imagine? “Oh Yarn boy….”) He may have done some other stuff too, but I was laughing to hard to tell .

I’m home tomorrow (briefly) and we’ll catch up then.

Olympic Notes:

The deadline for new entries is tonight at midnight. This is necessary to keep S. Kate, Emma and I from sobbing helplessly as we try to keep up. There are nearly 3000 entrants, if you are not on the list yet, keep holding one. There will be a change to make corrections to the list tomorrow.

Finally, from Beadlizard…some very, very good advice.

We are many

My darling knitters…I am astonished.

The Knitterly homage to the Olympics will now have more participants than the actual Olympics in Torino, There’s 2400 of them, and we’re already at more than 2500 (if the update isn’t there yet it will be soon) and you have no idea what kind of mess my inbox is. If it wasn’t for Emma and S. Kate – both of whom I completely owe my sanity to, I would be a gibbering idiot, instead of someone who actually thinks all of these knitters will eventually be entered on the list.) We can all thank Kat as well, as she’s the Official Librarian of the Knitting Olympics, and is doing a great job of keeping track of all the teams and groups. Leave her a note if she missed one. (Librarians love accuracy.)

What’s rocking my world is that each and every one of the knitters on the list are striving for their personal best. I’m impressed with each and every name on the list because every name, every one of them is a celebration of two things.

1. Excellence in knitting. Every knitter on the list is trying to stretch their skills. Not everyone is cut out for self improvement, and I’m sure even if you are not part of the olympics you are busy striving for excellence in another element of your life…but all of these names are knitters trying to do it better. That elevates the craft. That makes it personal art. I’m proud of you all.

2. Challenge. Nobody tries to do better without challenge. It is the elevating force of humanity, and at the risk of sounding like a motivational speaker…challenge is good for you. A chinese proverb reads:

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.

I’m a long way from perfect, but I’m closer for trying, and so are you.

Knit on.


All tinks sweaters, all the time around here. (Can you tell that my enthusiasm is weak at the moment? )


This here is the first of two sleeves. When it is done I need another the same (Bored? Me? No way. I’m just ummm….waiting for the olympics.) then I cut six steeks (two fronts, four sleeves) knit button bands and neck bands and I, my friends, I am outa tinkville.

This needs to happen pretty quick, since I’m out of town all of this weekend and next week, and I wanted to finish the Tinks before I started Hardangervidda. Did I show you the yarn?


(What? You didn’t think I was going to knit it the way it is in the picture, did ya?) The choice of colours likely also tells you that I’m not knitting it for Joe. This ones for me. (The Olympic advantage of that is getting to do a 36″ chest instead of a 48″ one. I might be crazy, but I’m not stupid.)

Finally, go fill up Sandy’s inbox. It’s her bloggiversary.

Sandy is a consistent force for love and good in the blogosphere. I have the privilege of calling her friend in my private life, and I tell you this: If there is a gentle kindness leaking out around anyone, it is Sandy.

Sandy loves skies, so this ones for her.


(Sorry about the weather Sandy.)

A bloggers (silent) poetry reading

This charming mid-winter celebration comes from Grace’s Poppies (but I found it through Creating Text(iles) )

None of you know my father-in-law, and he’s a difficult guy to describe. Hard-working, decent, loyal…wonderful really. The thing that always struck me most about him though, was the silence. The gentleman is a man of few words, the sort of man where you sit down and ask him a twenty minute open-ended question full of detail and encouragement and he answers with “Could be so.” Coming from the sort of family that I do (we all talk all the time) I found this restraint perplexing, and took it as an absolute sign that he didn’t have much to say.

Then, out of the blue a couple of years ago I was absolutely stunned and agape to discover that he had been writing poetry. (It was a little like discovering that your local motorcycle gang is teaching pink tutu-esque ballet on Saturday afternoons. Not impossible, but unexpected in a way that smashes biases you didn’t know you had.) Not only was he (this man who didn’t talk) writing poetry, he was writing good poetry (which is excellent really, since you can only imagine how awkward family dinners would be if I had to spend the whole time reading craptastic poetry and searching for good things to say about it.) He’s been published a few times now, so I know that it’s not just my fondness for the man that makes me think it’s ok. Enjoy.

An excerpt from “Another Time (a pastoral)”

A walking wheel was stored in the dry room

under the stairs behind the kitchen stove,

the drive wheel had spokes and a bronze bushing

That rotated smoothly on a steel shaft,

a multiplying wheel turned the spindle

at high speed as grandmother pushed the spokes

She stood by the chaise, back to the window,

twisting and spinning the heavy coarse wool

into finely wrought yarn for mitts and socks

Over her shoulder green water glittered

but I was held by the whir of spindle

and eyes that glowed behind the spinning wheel

Red ochre was replaced with rich teak oil

Yet, the old wheel yearns for soft hands to toil.

Joseph Dunphy

Cease and Desist

To: The Stash

From: Stephanie

Re: Your Behaviour Of Late.

I know that you and I have an important, loving, fluid relationship, and mostly I treasure you and the way that you respond to new yarns and changes in how often I visit. (I really still appreciate how you were about that whole mohair thing, I’m still so sorry about that.) That’s why, after this time together, I feel badly having to lay down the law like this, but here goes.

You seem to be under the impression that we are in a marriage of equals. That I will love, honour and cherish you, and that you will take part in our relationship as a team-mate, an equal partner who makes suggestions and decisions about the life we lead together and what gets knit around here. That would be Wrong.

You are actually like my high-priced concubine. I love and cherish you, feed, house and spend money on you… and in exchange, you are to give me what I pay for. Entertainment, pleasure and silent nodding assent. I am a knitter with plans right now, and you exist to please me. Please cease and desist with the following behaviours:

1. Stop throwing sock yarn at me just because I finished a pair of socks.


(Shari’s lace – sockbug pattern, koigu yarn)

This behaviour will not be tolerated. You can quit wagging your fancypants yarns at me and throwing skeins off of the shelf. I am not doing it. I am going to finish the socks I have in progress before I want to hear anything about “hand-painted” anything.


While you are at it, you can quit tossing the Jaywalker pattern on the floor, printing extra copies and arranging for other bloggers to be knitting it all the time. You are a mighty stash, and I admire the way you stick to what you want, but No means not right now No.

2. Please leave the door to the closet closed the way I left it. I know it is you forcing it open sixteen times a day because I have made the decision to finish the tinks sweaters before I knit anything else.


Having made that decision, I am not the sort of person who would be opening the closet to fondle look at the grey merino all the time, so back off. I know it’s you.

3. Immediately stop with the whispering about the merino-tencel that Laurie (yes, That Laurie) dyed and sent me.


I take a lot of flack on the blog about how I keep sort of forgetting to spin the corridale for Joe’s gansey and I’m tired of people thinking it’s me that can’t follow through when you are the shameless hussy wagging fibre around. I spun two more skeins of 3-ply for him yesterday, and you can just suck it up. (You – the mouthy laceweight in the back, shut it.)


I want you to know that I believe in your basic goodness and that I think you are a reliable and decent stash. I would have never brought you that nice silk if that wasn’t true. I hope that this review helps us to continue our long and fruitful relationship together. Play nice and I’ll get you more of those extra big ziplocks you like so much.