Random Thursday

I know I usually do random Wednesdays, but I lost track of the days of the week again am being really random by doing Thursday.

1. As many of you would know already, Mr. Etherknitter (Husband of our lovely Etherknitter) was involved in a dreadful ski accident a little while ago. He’s ok now, though stranded abed, and today is his birthday. If you are so inclined, you can inundate him by dropping off a comment here. I bet it would cheer them both.

2. I finished the new socks…and I think that they are the perfect antidote to the drab greyness of Toronto this time of year.


These are Grumperina’s famous Jaywalker pattern (I had to do it at least once) knit from Vesper Sock Yarn in the “Crew” colourway, modeled by Meg, who’d like to point out how well she thinks they go with her new shoes.


You may use your imagination to guess what else her spectacularly 14 year old fashion sense will allow her to wear. Some days I’d like to get back the button she had when she was three that said “I dressed myself today”.

As reported by so many, the pattern is tons of fun, though the patterning on the leg is sort of inelastic, so if I were knitting them for anyone without really slender legs and feet I would have gone up a size, regardless of foot length. It should also be noted that I didn’t have the pattern with me when the time came for the toes, so I did my own thing.

3. That Laurie left a comment yesterday, and she makes some darned good points.

First, what everyone else has said about the math involved here — you have calculated to your own detriment AND not counted the considerable labor of washing and carding — also part of spinning (as is PLYING, come to think of it!).

Second, you have also written 2-3 (4?) books in this period of time — blame it on book tours and making us happy.

Third — and this one is key — you need to start knitting the sweater! Nothing inspires power spinning so much as the need for more yarn when the sweater is underway. The knitting creates the love of the yarn which begats more yarn.

The one problem with your readers’ advice about the vest is that I bet you are planning to DESIGN your Joe’s Gansey, possibly using Beth Reinsel-Brown’s delightful book? Even so, you could start.

After all, your working gauge in gansey knitting MIGHT mean you need less yarn.

You can always count on That Laurie for some clear thinking.

First, Yeah. I didn’t add the washing, carding and plying time, though it’s true…those add considerable time to the effort. I think I probably spend as much time washing and carding as I do spinning, which is mostly due to my own obsessive techniques for those activities.

Second, yeah. Right Laurie. (This is why I love Laurie, she’s always willing to supply me with a decent rationalization) It’s because of the books and the tour. Uh-huh. I’ll take the heat on this one. It’ll because it turns out that THINKING about spinning gansey wool while you knit, isn’t the same as sitting at the wheel SPINNING gansey wool and it turns out that I can’t make yarn with the power of my mind and I’m actually going to have to commit to working on it if I want to start making progress.

Third, Start knitting the sweater? This is an interesting idea. I am planning on designing the sweater myself, using this book and this one. My worry, and perhaps it is misguided, as so many of my worries are…is that this yarn is being spun over such a long period of time that I’m concerned (guaranteed, actually) that the yarn I’m producing can’t be consistent. I’m worried that I’ll start knitting with the stuff I’ve already spun, and end up with sleeves two different sizes or something. My common sense tells me that if I were to knit the gansey from two alternating balls throughout (one old, one new, a couple of rows with each one) that maybe I could disguise the fact that I’m about as consistent with my spinning as Elizabeth Taylor is with her husbands.

Thoughts from experienced sweater -spinning knitters? Is there another way? Should I care?

4. I put the new tour page stuff up. There’s some stops listed there, starting a staggering two weeks from today. There will be way more added as we welcome Kelli-the-new-wonder-publicist, who replaces Sarah in their attempts to move me around the world in a way that lets me see as much yarn as possible, meet all of my imaginary friends, go to yarn parties, er…publicize the book? Yeah. That’s it. Who’s coming?

5. Look what I got!


That’s Mason-Dixon Knitting, from you know who, and Inspired Cable Knits, from Fiona Ellis. Both beautiful. Both to be reviewed. Likely tomorrow.

6. I washed fleece for the sweater even though it was Wednesday.

173 thoughts on “Random Thursday

  1. I love those socks, and Meg’s shoes really kick some ass. I am almost 33 and many days it does looks as though my 4 yr. old dressed me.
    Rock on Meg. And rock on Harlot.

  2. Can you come to Salt Lake? Please? We will treat you kindly and give you coffee. I know we’re way out here in the middle of the desert and the mountains and all that, but we are lonely, and there are a few polygamists here and there, but mostly we’re like the rest of USA/Canada and we are lonely out here in the West all alone without the Yarn Harlot.

  3. Love the socks…..how about coming to southampton, England on your book tour????

  4. Beth Reinsel-Brown! Hooray! I took her class, aran cardigan from the neck down at the Michigan Fiber Festival and I almost bought her gansey book but teh 220 aran stitches seemed more apropos. I’m not much into the green socks but I have purple/cream/grey that is begging to be made into socks –

  5. Any chance you might make it to Minneapolis or St. Paul? We have a lot of yarn stores in the area ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the socks – you keep motivating me to try knitting my first pair – I just picked up a book this week and hope to try a practice pair this weekend!!

  6. I say you can start knitting as soon as you have enough for the sleeves. The guage will be close enough that as long as the sleeve guages match everything else will be fine.

  7. Love the socks! Happy to know that you will be visiting us in St. Louis. I’ll be the crazy groupie sitting up front.

  8. wow- Rutherford NJ is pretty close, and I’m actually free that day-I may actually be able to get to see you in person!! maybe I’ll organize a field trip…any other NYC Harlot fans out there? I have wheels…the socks rock- as does your daughter’s fashion sense.

  9. PLEASE have them add Illinois. PLEASE have them add Illinois. There’s a fabulous kingdom of yarn in Marengo, Illinois called The Fold. It is the most beautiful shop I have ever been to and the proprietor is a goddess bar none. There is EVERYTHING you could possibly want. Fiber, wheels, needles, books and the selection of yarn will make you swoon. Yes swoon. I swear swoon. I will personally invite every member of every guild nearby to give you a rousing welcome.

  10. I just love reading your stuff. Your books, your blog. I hope you’ll be heading to Western PA sometime during this tour. Bring the girls…and Joe, too! I’ll show ya’ll around Pittsburgh, maybe even take you wheeling (you know, if there’s time.) (But don’t bring the knitting unless you can tuck it in a baggie…there’s often mud involved.)

  11. Love the socks (and Meg’s shoes).
    Any chance of the tour swinging to the slight north of Toronto? I’ll even make you dinner – I make a mean primavera pasta with three kinds of cheese, and wine…
    But, if I have to, I’ll come downtown one of these days if that’s my only option…

  12. Reading theblog today, and seeing how other people were so helpful, was like insight being smashed upon me…please disregard my rather negative comment from yesterday. I wish I were more Polyannish, but alas, I am a product of deep,early programming and conditioning. Again Sorry. On another note, Please, Please, Please come to Knoxville, TN. I read your touring list the other day and it indicates you will be in Memphis, TN in April…it only makes sense that you stop in and visit us in Knoxville. You can email me if you want me to call my LYS (there’s only one and Boy oh Boy is it ever expensive there!) and ask them to make arrangements with your publicist or whatever. On the other hand, we do have LOTS of Bookstores, including Borders and Books-a-Million, Waldens, Davis Kidd, etc. One last thing, I agree, you should start knitting the gansey. It will propel you towards your spinning wheel when you run out of spun wool.

  13. Excellent socks, Harlot… and I notice you’re coming to Berserkely which is only 100 miles or so West of me… If we have any money by then, I may have to make my husband take me… or I could just abandon him with four kids and a freezer full of frozen burritos… but then I’d be knitting through your talk with my own load of guilt and we wouldn’t want that… anyway, looks like an eventful summer, and like I said yesterday, I’m sure Joe’s gansey will not be abandoned in the meantime…

  14. Your travel schedule is quite impressive..and glad to see you will be Portland at the absolutely coolest book store ever..Powell’s..that date is on my calendar..have fun!

  15. Love the socks, and they do work well with the shoes!
    Now all I have to do is figure out how to get my non-driving self out to Skaneateles (and, more importantly, home again) in two weeks…
    Plot, scheme…

  16. lovely socks. i have that colorway, and was contemplating whether or not i should make them into jaywalkers. in an odd sense of satisfaction, i feel i don’t need to anymore now that i’ve seen your socks. should the urge ever strike me, i believe i would probably make them anyway. but for now, i will be content to revel in the beauty of your socks.
    and regarding the “smarty pants” comment you left me, i was never offended. i believe “star struck” would have been more appropriate. THE YARN HARLOT was calling ME a “smarty pants”!? you could have called me anything in the world, but the fact that i received an email from someone i consider a knitting celebrity is just gravy. for the many emails and comments you receive on a daily basis, i’m just grateful for the small expanse of time you took to respond to my comment. hurrah. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. and after you stop in salt lake city, it’s just a short hop to denver, colorado. we will show you a good time. please come.

  18. Lovely socks! Hey, I don’t mean to be whinny but why can’t you come to the mid west and meet you imaginary friends here! I am in Wisconsin but can make the hike to St Paul/Mps.

  19. Hm. And here I thought it was Mamacate who was random on Wednesdays, and you were more of the ‘fly by the seat of my pants I’m so random it hurts so I’ll be random whenever I remember to use it, um feel like using it for a post’ type.
    And dude, That Laurie pretty much owes you some comforting rationalizations, given that she’s been guilty of sending you pretty, pretty fibre that has you skipping away from the gansey spinning at the drop of a hat on more than one occasion. She knows your ways. She ought to have been more responsible really.

  20. I can’t wait for the book reviews. And Laurie seems to be one smart cookie. As for the book tour – how about Denver? Or the Estes Park Sheep & Wool Festival in June? That’d be fun. Doncha think?

  21. Okay, I won’t belabor the information (as an old bookstore trot) that people who want you should get stores/libraries/festivals to pester Storey Press, since you wouldn’t dreeeeeeeam of dropping in unannounced.
    But Harlotina, Harlotele, tulip, pet? Is there some reason you’re not taking down last year’s schedule? ‘Cause at least two people, in the fluster of their love and enthusiasm didn’t read closely,and they think you’re coming and I don’t want to be the one to point out they’re a friggin’ YEAR late!
    Poke. Prod. Pester. Nag.

  22. Oklahoma? I can sing you the song, If you come during the summer, we can take in the outdoor show! Tulsa preferably – but I’d drive to The City to see you!

  23. OMG!! I can’t believe you are coming to my town (Rutherford). I have reserved my seat already. Will we be able to buy books at the library, or should we get them before?

  24. I hear Skaneateles is a lovely place – pronounced ‘Skinny-at-liss’ in case you were wondering…

  25. How cool would it be to do a podcast interview while on tour? Maybe Sarah could get in touch with Caroline from the FiberCast or Dave from Chub Creek or Sage from Quirky Nomads. Well, it would be cool for us anyway… maybe just more pressure on you though.

  26. I had the same thought about knitting the gansey before the spinning is complete. Trust your instincts and spin before you begin.
    I actually WON the new Fiona Ellis book AND it’s signed copy ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s beautiful and as inspiring as the title implies. I know you’ll enjoy it.
    On the tour front….how ’bout Colorado?

  27. Steph, I think a really wonderful yet twisted mother would let her 14 year old daughter have this particular pair of socks provided that said daughter had to knit a pair of socks for her wonderful and generous mother. Of course, the odds of the mother ever seeing a pair of socks knit by her daughter are fairly slim.
    And, any chance of you making a return appearance at Sheep & Wool again this year?

  28. This Laurie recommends that you ALWAYS listen to That Laurie. She is a very wise (and objective) woman.
    You should see the smile on Mr. Etherknitter’s face as he is reading his happy birthday wishes. Knitbloggers are helping salvage this most difficult time for him.
    Sometimes I wish I was 14 so I could get away with dressing in good colors that bear some relation to each other, on some random planet. The socks are spring on(in?) a foot. Yes.

  29. I’m so glad you will be in St. Louis! My LYS owner/friend and I will be there. We’ll see who else we can gather up from our Tuesday night knit group to come along. I also have some YHITs (yarn harlots in training) to bring along too, if we can get organized. They meet with me in the library mornings reporting with a sigh that they had to “frog” their work and start over again. Some of them even have 2 or 3 projects going at once and they’ve only been knitting since January!

  30. Oh Yarn Harlot. You have no idea what you’re doing to me. I just started reading your blog a few short weeks ago, and somehow, in that time, I have gone from being a nice, easygoing, regular old knitter to OBSESSIVE KNITTER. I’ve been spending money I don’t have on yarn I don’t need, and totally ignoring my business in favour of knitting, buying yarn, and searching for knitting related stuff on the internet. My blog (www.sacredcircleherbs.blogspot.com), which is supposed to be about my business–making and selling natural body care products and soap–is slowly but surely morphing into a knitting blog.
    Aaaagh! What is one to do when they’re so absolutely, totally inspired? Well, knit some more, I guess.

  31. Argh! You’re not going to be in Chicago until October!!!! C’mon, you know you want to see the Windy City before then!
    I love the socks–so springy.

  32. Kelli, Sarah promised to send Steph to Arizona for a stop. Please oh please oh please don’t break our hearts! ๐Ÿ™‚
    So, if you want to alternate, then *spin a skein, knit two halves of skein* until you’re done.

  33. Stephanie, you’ll be in my state, not too far away, on my birthday!! I’ll have to see if they’ll let me out. . .

  34. DENVER. Pleeeeeease Denver. I will do anything. I will take you up to Boulder for the most delicious vegetarian food you can imagine. I will lavish you with yarn and fleece and sharp, pointy needles (carefully!)
    Ah, hell, anywhere in Colorado. I will take the day off of work and drive to see you where ever you are, if you’ll just come close enough!
    Of course, I will be so excited and nervous to meet you that I probably won’t be able to stammer out my name, but that’s neither here nor there.

  35. I am the Queen of Inconsistent Spinning, yet I’ve got more reasonable looking self-spun, self-knit knitters than many much more accomplished (and more OCD) spinners.
    I say, screw boring standardization. Do what’s fun. It will work out.
    P.S. Personally, I spin the whole she-bang first, then start to knit. Then you know what you’ve got (how many skinny skeins and how many fat) so that you can sorta hide the “issues”.

  36. Ooo, ooo, ooo! Can’t wait to see when your tour will bring you back to the NW.
    The Jaywalkers are lovely, BTW. Love that green. It sings “Spring” to me. I just finished a pair in Koigu yesterday , and am contemplating a second pair. And can I just say…fabulous job matching up the stripes!!
    I think you need to hook Meg up with Lucy Neatby, who also has a wonderfully eclectic fashion sense. (Besides being an amazing knitter, that is.)

  37. I think I might cry. When I saw Maryland Sheep and Yarn Festival on your list, I thought it was this year. Please tell me you’ll be there! I was so looking forward to seeing you there!

  38. Meg’s tennies would look really cool in blues! Like your jaywalkers A LOT! And about knitting your handspun —– oh, grrrl, you ain’t handled yarn, you ain’t knit with yarn, you ain’t dreamed about yarn till you knit with handspun. It has a whole different grist and is So Wonderful with which to knit. The inconsistencies in thick/thin disappear, amazingly enough. Just gee-orgeous stuff. Design now!

  39. Spinning. This is a pretty standard method for dealing with inconsistent sweater lots. When you have finished all the spinning, wash the hanks and measure them. Compute the grist and total yardage for each hank and label them accordingly. Arrange them in a spectrum from fine grist to coarse grist.
    If you have, say, two rather thick hanks and one really thin one, with the rest of the center being within 5-10% of each other, do the body of the sweater with the center, the sleeves with the heavy, and the ribbing and/or facings with the fine (and drop down a needle size, use more stitches, etc.). If you have half heavy and half light, use the thicker yarn in the bodice and the thinner yarn in the sleeves and lower part of the body. And so on. Does that make sense to you?
    Alternating two strands works [somewhat] with color fluctuations, not differences in grist. If you do it with grist you’ll get something similar to seersucker.
    Tour. Could you please, pretty please, come back to the San Francisco Bay Area? I wasn’t able to get to Stash the day you were there and have been lamenting it ever since. My dad wants to meet you, too. So does DD.

    Thank you very much. Doylestown is a good place. They’ve got donkeys all around. I was going to have to wait til June otherwise, and on the day before finals start. Our parents were not happy about that idea.
    I do have one question, though, which Ill probably end up calling the bookstore about. But do you have to buy the books there or can I buy it ahead of time so I can read it?

  41. I’m with Sandra – a visit slightly north of Toronto would be awesome! And as Rams so aptly pointed out, some of us knitters (not mentioning any names) are getting confused with last year’s harlot tour. I’m sure Ken could help you (us) with this.

  42. 1. Personally, I think being random at random intervals is much randomer-er. Er… Anyway, gotta keep ’em guessing.
    2. I really want to say that it’s okay to not worry about changes in yarn gauge. But I have half a sweater I had to CUT OFF the other half (and then finish knitting with newly (and more carefully) spun yarn that actually matched the first half. TG it was a kid sweater. Still. I spun it all in advance for Kepler, and I was still inconsistent, but had this crazy idea that it didn’t matter because I was alternating. You saw the bald spots. Dagnabbit. I’d say, yes, you can start knitting, just follow the advice of some brilliant spinning teacher I have heard quoted: just because you spun it, doesn’t mean you have to knit it. If you find a skein that doesn’t match, well, you’ve got yerself a matching hat. That will be my policy for the next sweater.
    3. Those caveats in place, I do agree that knitting the sweater will increase your motivation and make the spinning a much sweeter task.
    4. I’m becoming fond of handspun shawls. Two-dimensional objects handle variation in grist much more nicely. Yet I still have a handspun sweater in my head. Stubborn, stupid: fine line.
    5. Nice socks.
    6. Shoes, too.

  43. Boy, I must have been having a bad day yesterday. I re-read my post which I thought was full of tea and sympathy, and instead I feel like I left bad-smelling garbage rotting on the sewing room table. So sorry it was abrupt and whiny.
    Now, I’m going to whine some more!
    Quote:April 8th – Doylestown, PA – 12-2pm at the Doylestown Bookshop I HAVE A BIG COMMITMENT IN NEW JERSEY
    April 11th – Rutherford, NJ – 7:00pm at the Rutherford Public Library I WILL BE ON VACATION IN PENNSYLVANIA
    This is my life. My one shot at winning the lottery and I can’t get to the store to buy a ticket.

  44. I have 4-5 sweaters from my handspun. The alternating balls of yarn technique works pretty well. Stitch selection is also key when you’re not confident of consistency in the yarn. Garter stich, moss stitch and other knit/purl combination filler stitches will hide a multitude of “sins”. In fact they are even more interesting w/ handspun yarn. The drawback: they use more yarn. Stockinette stitch hilights inconsitencies.
    There’s nothing wrong with spinning as you go as long as you have established a baseline.
    June’s (two sheep) with the index card works pretty well. (business card w/ out of date phone #’s etc. are great for this too.) However, Patsy Z. teaches a class on spinning for consistency that also addresses keeping track of the drafting style used on the yarn…for me this has been key.

  45. Okay, I live on a beautiful little island off the coast of Southern California (see VisitCatalinaIslandDOTcom) and since we have only one very small bookstore in this small town on this small island I accept the fact that we will never be on the Harlot’s Tour Schedule. But could I put in a request for someplace in Southern California??? Long Beach, Torrance, Newport Beach…all places with lovely book stores and lots and lots of knitters!

  46. Come visit us in Minneapolis/ St Paul. Lots of good yarn stores and a lovely Knitter’s Guild to welcome you! (Plus you’re from Canada, so our weather can’t possibly scare you). And some of the western Wisconsinites could make it!

  47. First, I am so excited you are coming to Classic Yarns in Grafton Massachusetts. I’ve signed up for your book (yes, I will wait an extra month to get it JUST so I can meet you!..it will not be easy).
    Second, I’ve got Fiona Ellis’ Inspired Cables and it is an amazing book. I absolutely love the styles and it has a sort of peacefulness about it if that can be! The only criticism is that it does not list yardage in the requirements, only # of balls/skeins needed of a particular yarn. So a bit of digging is necessary to find out what to use that’s equivalent.
    I will see you at Classic Yarns wearing (or carrying) my Olympic sweater, depending on the temperature. Can’t wait!

  48. I hope I can make it to St. Louis — just a 2.5 hour hop, skip & jump up the road…. and on a Wednesday night *sigh* Hmmm… or if you add Memphis to the tour (I know, you did that last year, and I missed it… I don’t know what I was thinking!), it would be about the same distance away.
    And in a completely random aside, I was inspired by your Golden Silk Flower Basket Shawl — my Artfibers yarn arrived today! The photo with the pattern in the magazine was so uninspiring, but your finished shawl changed my mind.

  49. Love the sock and shoe combination. Any chance Meg will let us see the complete outfit?

  50. I love the shoes! Where can I get some in my size, I wonder. She is right, the socks really do go with the shoes, in a sort of plaid with polka dots kind of way.
    What do we have to do to get you to come to St. Paul/Minneapolis? Sock yarn? Fleeces? Wine? Beer? I’m sure I could steal talk my husband into sharing some of his homebrew.

  51. I got Cable Knits on Monday and I like it a lot. I don’t know exactly how many of the designs I’ll actually knit, but it’s kinda like yarn porn.
    Why, oh why, oh why would you go to St. Louis but not stop in Chicago? I promise we would all fawn at your feet! Well, at least I would… if my wife wasn’t around. (She’s jealous enough of the yarn porn.) What has St. Louis got that we don’t have? Besides the arch and the Mississippi, that is.

  52. I’m just thrilled speechless that you’re coming to my town! You are my hero. Now, what will I wear, what knitting to bring, and all like that! Meg is right, the socks do go with the shoes. After all, she is the perfect age to carry it off.

  53. Any plans for coming to NYC?
    I know this is asking way too much…but could it be anytime, but a Tuesday or Thursday night?
    I know there is very slim chance, but I had to ask.
    Enjoy the tour! ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. If you can’t wear those socks with those shoes at 14, when can you? Carpe diem, I say.
    I can barely spin enough yarn to make a dishcloth, never mind a sweater, so I just boggle at your wonderfulness. I know that’s no help.
    Grafton, mapquest informs me, is 37 miles from my house. Willow Books is roughly 1.5 miles from my house. There is absolutely no way I can justify the extra time, expense and GHG emission unless I can get… um… about 22 people to carpool with me. To fit into my van they would all have to be very small clowns. So I will have to pray either that you come to Willow or that the Midget Knitting Circus comes to town.

  55. hi stephanie, i’m responding to your query about sweater making spinners. sorry to be blunt, but, don’t start the sweater til you have all the yarn!! i am working on a sweater i spun the yarn for. i designed the sweater and it’s a cable pattern i love (the story is on my blog). i had to rip out 4 inches (around the raglan yoke) the other day cuz the yarn i spun on a different day than all the rest really did not match. i thought i could make it work, but no.
    i’ve done this before, too. one way to handle it is to get all the yarn spun, and then design and start the sweater. set all the skeins out and put them in order of consistency. then decide where you can put it all; sometimes it’s nice to have the ones that are a teeny tad heavier in the arms to keep the arms warmer. likewise the upper back. save the ones that are a little lighter for under the arms where bulk is not needed, or for the waist area where a man’s sweater needs to be narrower. or like you said, switcharooney all the way through the sweater!

  56. Love the socks. Am printing off the pattern as we speak. I was wondering what I was going to do with that lovely Mountain Colors I picked up in Phoenix last week. Now I have a plan and a pattern! (have you ever gone shopping for sock yarn in ARIZONA? Interesting experience – but let’s face it. Socks are perfect spring training baseball knitting.)
    Yeah, there better more stops on that book tour. I didn’t see SEATTLE! If you stop by my neck of the woods, I’ll bring brownies again……..
    My friend and one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, is book touring on April 3 and 4 here. For her, I bring knitted stuff. This year, a pair of embossed leaves patterned socks out of turquoise koigu. Nice! My first real lace knitting and it is actually going pretty well.

  57. I missed you the last time you were in Chicago…I’ll miss work before I’ll miss you again! Please come back to Chicago!!!

    You Are going to Doylestown!
    yay.okay leah is happy.

  59. Uhm, do you think you will be making it a bit further South, say Tennessee, or even dare I imagine, Atlanta, GA?
    We would so love to see you and what ever sock you happen to be knitting.

  60. 1) I notice that the dates of your tour do not include any in the desert southwest. I am hoping that you add Tucson (or Phoenix if you must) to your list.
    2)I got my copy of Inspired Cable Knits yesterday! And since I buy so much crap from Amazon, they sent me a $25 gift cert, which they know I will spend within the week.

  61. Two words: Knit Happens. Two more words: Alexandria, Virginia. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’d love to see you in this fair little town!

  62. The socks look great–and what’s wrong with a little rationalization? It keeps you mentally healthy, everybody knows that! And, Rutherford, huh? That’s not actually THAT far, but it’s a work night . . . I’ll have to see what I can do!
    Oh, and I love my copy of Inspired Knits, and can’t wait until my Mason-Dixon book comes!

  63. I just checked the tour list, I must pester the McNally and Robinson bookstore to have you come to Calgary, AB. I may even ask for cake?

  64. Rams – thank you for clarifying that last year’s schedule is still up. I was panicking that there was NOT going to be a Yarn Harlot sighting in St. Louis in April, as I previously had heard. (Thankfully – not true. We can’t wait to have you here, Steph!) I can’t even find the 2006 schedule – it only brings up the 2005 one (even when clicking on the link in the middle of today’s entry.) Maybe my computer has a bunch of yarn snarled into its innards….

  65. “New Jersey, never quite what you expect.”
    Poor Joan in Rutherford has no idea of what she is in for.
    But we do, looking forward to The Visit.

  66. re: the Jaywalkers and fitting a little snug. I feel like a bit of a heretic, as they are so univerally popular “as written” – but I used YO’s for the increases, which gave me little vertical rows of eyelet and LOTS more room. Just a thought. I really liked that pattern and will probably make another pair.
    Other than that – enjoy the book tour!

  67. Yay! You’re coming to St. Louis! I will be there, with my knitting. I can’t wait. The Jaywalkers look great, and I think they’d go great with green plaid sneakers.

  68. Yea! You are coming to NJ! I work very close to Rutherford, so I’m in! Nice socks – can’t believe you finished them so fast.

  69. Hey.. I like the shoes with the socks.. but that is coming from the girl who was known to wear yellow and red and white stripes.. and all together because ‘Ronald McDonald wears red and white stripes with yellow!!’
    and Skaneateles,how do you pronounce Skaneateles?? and is it near my Mother’s house??heheh
    hmmm road trip?

  70. Care to make those same socks in a red/royal blue/white colorway??? Then you would have Rock Chalk Jayhawk Jaywalk Socks….The Captain (obviously from Kansas)

  71. Hi! I just got your book, and its fabulous! I read it on the bus home (it was even more appealing than knitting!) and you left me in giggly hysterics, no doubt frightening the other commuters.
    You really ought to come to Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota. We have some really really great yarn shops, and loads of knitters! And besides, we’re practically honorary Canadians, since we’re so close to the border!

  72. Some of our states had stupid ideas about naming their towns – same name different county. Turns out Doylestown, PA is in both Bucks County and Franklin County. There is a 3 hour travel time difference between the two towns. One of them is a short hop from my sister’s house. Can you list either a zip code or a county?

  73. The perfect thing for Jaywalking leprechauns! I’m impressed. I started my first pair for the Knitting Olympics and I’m still working on them. I’m small, and they fit me better than any socks I’ve knitted. I’m looking forward to making many more pair.
    Please come to Salt Lake City on your tour — besides dangerous ski slopes we have one of the greatest yarn shops anywhere (The Needlepoint Joint, in Ogden.)
    Nancy Bush lives here, so it can’t be all bad…..

  74. Dear Harlot –
    I was dismayed to see Grafton, MA on your tour schedule for a date that I will be out of the state. PLEASE PLEASE come back to the Greater Boston Area. My favorite venue would be Willow Books in Acton, MA. I will *personally* supply the cake if you will appear. Perhaps I should lobby with Dave D. to make this happen.

  75. Well, there you have it. The Harlot has knit the socks. I can die a happy woman now. Would you like them to appear in the JW gallery? (I ask everyone)

  76. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come to Tucson!!! We’ll worship the ground you knit on!! Please!!! Or at least Southern AZ (before June would be great. I will still be in the country, and you won’t die from the heat…)

  77. Darn darn darn! I bet St. Louis is as close are you’re coming to Kansas City huh? Hmmm, if it wasn’t so late I’d seriously consider the 5 hour drive (each way)… I’ll be ok. Ann and Kay are coming to see me. I mean, Kansas. Right, Kansas ๐Ÿ™‚

  78. Oh please, oh please, oh please come to Texas, preferably Dallas or Lubbock. I would say Midland, but the stupid town where I live doesn’t even have a yarn store. Lubbock must have one, for my sanity’s sake. If you come to Dallas, I will make the seven hour drive. Please, oh please, oh please!!!
    P.S. Nice socks, can’t wait to get the book and learn how to make socks.

  79. Are you a pro at spinning and knitting jumpers? I can’t remember if this is a relatively new activity or something you’ve done a zillion times. A slight variation won’t be noticed by anyone but you so that’s the only thing you need to worry about. Will every time Joe wears the sweater you say “Oh oh, I see an uneven spot”? I am starting to knit my first handspun jumper and I haven’t even calculated the yarn amount. I spun a kilo at about DK weight and got my gauge. Now I will charge in with a basketweave pattern and a tweedy wool and nobody will know but me. And how can you possibly knit socks that fast? ANd I won’t whine that you aren’t coming to AUSTRALIA!!!!

  80. “That maybe I could disguise the fact that I’m about as consistent with my spinning as Elizabeth Taylor is with her husbands.”
    But doesn’t that mean you’ll return to spinning at the same consistency at least once, if not many times over? The epitome of a love-hate relationship. *G*

  81. “Thoughts from experienced sweater -spinning knitters? Is there another way? Should I care?”
    I like to spin and knit at the same time. I find that by the time I’m done with all the spinning I am ready to start knitting the arms of a sweater. When I spin I usually start out a little thick and in the end the yarn is thinner. It happens because I have learned what the fiber wants to do, it really does have a mind of its own :o) The thinner yarn ends up in the sleeves, which is fine with me.
    It’s really up to you. If you think that, when you look at the swaeter it will bother you, then spin it all at once and then knit. It really is a very personal thing.

  82. i love her shoes! i want some!
    everything the youth group here in california owns or fight over is green. finally green is a cool colour! it has always been my favourite even when everyone was purple crazy in the 80’s.
    so she must be quite trendy with her green socks!

  83. A 2nd request for a visit to Southern California! Please! I only started knitting 1 1/2 years ago but quickly became hooked, obsessed, addicted, sleepless, penniless and stash crazy. Your website and books have helped to accept myself and the normalcy of my passion for yarn and all things knitted!
    Thank you!! It’s the 1st time in my life I’ve ever felt “normal” about anything. LOL

  84. In an ideal world, we would spin up all the yarn before knitting, I agree. (of course, in an ideal world, our friends would not tempt us away from our gansey spinning by sending tempting handdyed merino-tencel roving — guilty as charged!). However, in practice, having the knitting under way is a significant inspiration to spin. Thus speaks the woman spun some gray Romney for a reversibly cabled afghan, then stopped to knit on it when she got tired of spinning the SAME three-ply gray yarn. Went back to spinning when the yarn ran low. Heck, I even LOST a bag of the scoured fleece for that afghan, finished and blocked the project with what I had, fretted because it was too short, then found the fleece and made more of the yarn. And lengthened the afghan.
    Is the spinning completely consistent? No, but patterned knitting evens things out more than you would think. When I count the adventures of that afghan against the several skeins of grey corriedale that I made SURE I spun in its entirety only to delegate the whole batch (apparently permanently) to stash, well, my particular process occasionally needs the inspiration of a knitting project in process. Not perhaps for smaller projects like a sweater for ME or socks, but when I need THOUSANDS of yards of yarn — yes. The more attached I get to the piece I am knitting, the more likely I am to finish the necessary spinning.
    And Joe is, ahem, substantial. So you will probably also get tired of the knitting around and around and around .. you get the idea. So you go back to your wheel, and you are still making progress!
    Also, Sylvia above has great ideas for yarns of different thicknesses. I suspect you could even apply them with a little over half the yarn in hand…

  85. When I clicked on the link in today’s post, I got the 2006 tour list for April. Clicking on the name of the bookshop got me to their webpage: The Doylestown Bookshop is in the Doylestown in Bucks County, PA, zip code 18901.

  86. Loving the Jaywalkers! And the shoes that they go with, very neat.
    Gosh, I just might be able to stalk you at the Doylestown book signing! Probably an hour or 2 from my house. Hee-hee! Can’t wait to see your new Book Book Book.
    Cable Knits is a beeeee-u-tee-ful book. I’ve already drooled all over my copy. (I have a slight salivation problem.)

  87. I think it’s only right that you should come to Montr๏ฟฝal this time.
    I’m making the Jaywalkers too…only a lot slower than you, and I don’t think my mother would wear them with plaid, but I’ll certainly pass on the fashion tip.

  88. You should really come to Southampton, NY on your book tour. There’s a great independant bookstore called BookHampton (there’s one in Sag Harbor and East Hampton as well, but you’d have to come to the one in Southampton which is managed by my good friend Jane, who is a knitting fiend). There are a lot of devoted knitters in the Hamptons, and you could stay for a little vacation – summer is almost here! And then I’d get to meet you and thank you for helping (with the Knitting Olympics) to get me started knitting regularly, instead of sporadically (and I mean sporadically – one thing a year, maybe). Your blog (along with some others) has really helped me keep going.

  89. Nice socks! They do remind me of spring. And here is a plea for you to return to Northern California (San Jose or San Francisco even)!
    ~ Christina

  90. Cruel, evil wenches.
    St. Louis?
    This is the best you can do to get to IOWA?
    We are in the CENTER of the country. How can you miss us?
    Fine, if DES MOINES, IOWA doesn’t work for you, come to the QUAD CITIES.
    I’m going to go take my antibiotics, tuck into some dark chocolate and sulk as I knit my new felted (book *ahem* bag) project while watching Wallace & Gromit.
    (Did I mention I use to help coordinate community events, fundraising events for a nonprofit, and conferences for entire states’ worth of community colleges? I know things. I know people. I’m just sayin’…)

  91. Ever consider letting them send you on down to Florida? Soak up some nice FL sunshine, drinking coffee and roaming the yarn store I work at in Tampa?

  92. As long as Illinois has been mentioned, how about adding the Will County area? We have TWO (count ’em) LYS – one in Shorewood and one in Plainfield… and I’m sure there are more in the area.
    We would SOOOOOOOOOO love the Yarn Harlot to come visit us.
    And by the way, completed SOCKS in DAYS??? Oh my, I feel faint just thinking about it.

  93. I am reading Yarn Harlot and loving it. The story called “The Beast” was laugh out loud funny. My husband heard me laughing and read it after I finished. Last night he read it to our 12-year old when she was going to sleep. You gotta love a man who will read a yarn story to a child!!

  94. I too would like to see you hit Minneapolis and St.Paul…and what happen to the last Mr. Taylor? Larry Fortensky and the whole Elizabeth Taylor as a leather clad biker chick phase should not be forgotten.

  95. is there any way you could make kansas city, after st louis? it’s just across missouri, and much easier for me to wend my way down there! (i’m in omaha, ne, about 3 hours north of kansas city, but too far away from st louis to make the trek)
    the jaywalkers are cool, although the toes do look a tad bit different. i was working the jaywalker myself (until i frogged it when i discovered dropped stitches, and wasn’t happy with the 2×2 ribbing) and it is snug. but i have “shapely” calves, and it worked for me! did you make the small size for her?
    i would like that button right now for my 11 year old. he comes up with some of the craziest combinations!

  96. Rutherford! So close. And so close to the end of tax season. I’m going to try to sneak out.

  97. Well,from what I’ve read, Joe is in it for the long haul…I mean, the man has superhero yarn tolerance, right? The thing is, does he have a spare brother?

  98. Hi –
    Random question for random Thursday. Do you block your socks, and if you do, how do you do it? For just ribbed socks, it has never occurred to me, but the embossed leaf socks I am working on now, I think they would show the lacework better if I blocked them. I have seen pictures of what I believe to be sock blocking forms, but where in the heck do you find them??? Help from any quarter would be welcome.

  99. I see several Colorado votes….we are all real friendly here, have tons of yarn stores, llamas, and alpacas.
    We also have a couple of nice mountain ranges, perhaps you’ve heard of them? We have great vegetarian restaurants, micro breweries, and several chocolate makers.
    Just so you know, almost any of us would drive just about anyplace in the state to say “hi”.
    The Estes Park Fiber Festival in June is fabulous. You would like it. Springtime in the Rockies is unforgetable. It probably won’t even be snowing….

  100. Well, if a visitor to your blog read only the parts about where your knitting buddies want you to travel, one might rate you as having close to rock star status! Pack your bags, have lots of fun, and I will be praying for safe journeys for you wherever the road takes you. Blessings, Julie

  101. Wow, and here i thought i would be the recipient of “Mason-Dixon Knitting” in a fabulously timely manner considering that my other half works for the publishing company and brings free books home in staggering amounts. Guess i still have to wait for mine to appear. Sigh.
    Lucky Gal!!

  102. I know I’m way late to the party on commenting on this particular entry. I blame the teenager who’s trying to take over my computer while I’m busy watching babies.
    I just wanted to say that I REALLY hope that your tour brings you somewhere close to the vicinity of Texas, particularly Fort Worth. If you are ANYWHERE in the Metroplex, I AM SO THERE, even if I have to bring the babies with me. I actually hope that I have finished my Olympic knitting by then. *rolls eyes*

  103. Hey, any chances of your coming anywhere in the midwest close to Iowa? St Louis is too far, but I would give anything to see you. You rock!

  104. I don’t know whether to call if peer pressure or a stash siren song, but I’m actually knitting a pair of socks, albiet on #5 needles, with Big Mexiko, but I am trying out the afterthought heel. I only knit about one pair of socks a year, I think because I get a little carried away with pattern and/or length (knee socks, anyone?)… these quickies make me want to cast on another pair right away.
    Oh, yeah, and my request remains Book Revue in Huntington NY, a great independent book store, a stone’s throw from 2 yarn shops, and surrounded by great restuarants.

  105. Those are great gansey books, but what about Rae Compton’s Complete Book of Traditional Guernsey and Jersey Knitting? Mary Wright’s Cornish Guernseys & Knit-frocks? Maybe even Henriette van der Klift-Tellegen’s Knitting from the Netherlands? And unless you’re making the sweater skin-tight, think twice about adding underarm gussets.
    As for spinning consistency, you can leave all your yarn as singles until it’s spun up, then ply the thickest skein with the thinnest, etc. It adds a couple of extra steps (skeining the singles, figuring out the grist, preparing the skeins for plying) but it does make for greater consistency.

  106. I always miscalculate the amount needed for a handspun anything and have to spin more to finish. 10% variation in yarn consistency is OK for most pattern stitching without effecting the gauge a great deal. Perhaps a quick foray into sleeve knitting for the proposed gansey will give you an idea about how your yarn will knit up and how far it will go. As long as I have enough similar yarn for each piece I go ahead. I try to make a sample card to refer to if I am working on big projects ’cause I do get bored spinning enough yarn to weave a really big blanket and/or knit a sweater coat. I have to take the edge off with a bit of pretty something else once in a while.
    P.S. The socks are so spring like and perfect for this time of the year.

  107. Come to the San Franscisco Bay Area! California is the place to be! Hell, I’ll drive 2 hours in traffic to see you in the City. Or, you could come a little closer to a beautiful knit shop in Petaluma called Knitterly. Very beautiful, much good yarn, yes, you come! And it’s in Sonoma County–Wine Country–you like wine, right? AND you get to cross the Golden Gate bridge to get there with the beautiful Pacific ocean at your feet. Now doesn’t that sound lovely? So talk to that publicist.
    (How are you going to survive hundreds–no, thousands of us now, after the Olympics–whining for you to come visit us?)

  108. If you come to Halifax, I will be the happiest person alive!!
    I’m curious if you actually have any say in where your publicist sends you or if they decide and just send you? (I’ve a degree in public relations but am absolutely ignorant about the publishing industry, despite a deep desire to be a part of it through writing, editing or publicizing. Not a word, but I like it. *grins*)
    Those socks you finished are lovely. I may have to try the Jaywalker pattern soon. I have a skein of Opal Doktorfish yarn that are just begging to be used with something like that.
    Thanks for being so great and entertaining. Reading your blog is certainly one of the highlights of my day.

  109. Not only have you processed and spun the fleece all yourself, you have also had to fend off the depredations of the SQUIRREL!
    As for consistency, I am trying to spin up some yarn at present that is the same size as some I did six months ago… argh!
    If you ever needed to sit on a plane for a day, we’d love to see you. Honest!

  110. As a spinner and knitter, I say start on the sweater. After all, it’s a gansey and you are designing it yourself. Take advantage of any inconsistencies or (should I say) design features… You are going to be combining sections of different stitch patterns, right? So there’s no inherent reason that you can’t combine different gauge as well. Use the heavier stuff for something boring, like a moss stitch panel under the arms, and thinner stuff for some really detailed patterning. Might have to use some intarsia in the round to get there. Or use the heavier stuff for sleeves, the average for the body, and the thin for bands, as a previous poster suggested.
    You need to come to Georgia. The Atlanta Knitting Guild is something like 300 members, Peachtree Handspinners is also big, and there are lots of yarn shops…and rabid knitters.

  111. Okay, so far Lexington is the closest stop….I think I can do that….hubby shouldn’t mind me running off to Ky. when we’ve just gotten back from Florida a week before, should he? And tell Meg that I personally love the shoe and sock combo,and I’m 40. I’d wear ’em in a heartbeat, and everyone who knows me is nodding their heads in (resigned) agreement. Heck, I’d even make beads to go with!

  112. Psst! Hey Kelli! Idea for book tour! Much Ado about Books in Jacksonville, FL the second weekend in May (12 & 13). Come check us out! http://www.muchadoaboutbooks.com
    I’ll bet you’d get better crowds than James Patterson; he was just here a few years ago, so I think they got lazy on the headliner this year. Show ’em up!

  113. Please tell Kelli you need to come to Cleveland, OH! I went to Toronto with my family and jumped out of our moving car when I saw the Lettuce Knit sign and bought an autographed copy of one of your books (and maybe some Fleece Artist). You have fans here!

  114. I am a long-time lurker and only one time commenter (about the pencillin fiasco which made me laugh so hard I nearly, well you know) but your socks make me feel cheerful and the news that you’re coming to PA makes me even more cheerful and Amy and I will come and wave socks at you, possibly even jaywalkers although Amy’s are already done and pretty and mine, though loud enough to drown out Iron Maiden, are only limping along because I have so-many-projects-cast-on right now. But cheerful nonetheless. And frankly, cheerful is good right now.

  115. You’re going to be in Rutherford on April 11? That’s a mere hop, skip and jump from NYC. I hope the kind folks at Storey will grace us with your presence for an evening. Please?

  116. Oh, no, you’re not! You’re going to my home town! Where I haven’t lived for 6 years! A mere 14 hour drive away! Aaaaaauuughhh!!! (The home town would be St. Louis, MO. And very smart of you to be going in April and not, like, August, when you would suffocate in the humid air.)
    I live near Raleigh, NC now. Is there any way I can bribe you to come here? Please please please???
    BTW, I think you should start the sweater too. Just start alternating with the skeins you have. Or rather, start designing. Good luck!!

  117. I’ve been enjoying your blog for a couple of weeks now. I am very excited to see you are coming to St. Louis. Congrats on the new book. I loved the other two.
    If you start the gansey now, you could take it on the book tour with you. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to meet it. And just think of the adventures the gansey could share with Joe….once it is completed that is.
    See you in St. Louis.

  118. I don’t have anything useful to say, but every time I see her name, I have to point out that my husband is distantly related to Beth Brown-Reinsel’s husband. I have never met her, although I dream of it. I took my first knitting class just a couple days after she gave a class at my LYS. I am still kicking myself for missing it. Someday…

  119. Hey, guys…it’s “Skan-ee-at-liss”, not “Skinny-at-liss”…I’m a native so I ought to know! ๐Ÿ™‚ and I sure wish I still lived there so that I could meet you, Steph. Please come to Florida…you can bring the family, and I will put you up in grand style. I’m only minutes from the beach!

  120. You must truly be a goddess. Getting a 14-year-old to wear socks? The only socks I can get my 11 year old to wear are soccer socks – and only because the shin guards are required to be covered and the socks are part of the uniform.
    I bow.

  121. Thanks for rescheduling Skin-knee-atlas. I just called for my reservation.
    You don’t mind if we, you know, KNIT while you talk, do you? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  122. BTW, I think those shoes are cool.
    I believe her sense of “matching” could be equivalent to my father’s, who will wear blue shorts with an orange shirt because the kachina on the pocket of the orange shirt has one tiny little blue eye.
    If you ever want her to stop WEARING said shoes, lemme know, and I will send you a picture of myself and you can show her and say, “See, SHE thinks they’re cool too” and she will immediately burn them. I have that effect on teenagers.

  123. I feel doubly blessed. You’ll be at my favorite yarn shop the wonderful Elegant Ewe and then the NH Sheep and Wool festival the next day. I look forward to seeing you at one place or the other or both! Thanks for the comments about the Jaywalker and thank you also to Beverly’s comment about using YO increases. I’ve been planning to make a pair to see what all the fuss is about.

  124. Wow…all these comments…it’s like reading pleas to the knitting world’s version of the Pope.
    Does a visit from the Harlot mean a blessing for all the yarn and knitting in that town? I could certainly use that, but sadly I don’t think you’ll be travelling anywhere near me.
    I’ll just have to content myself with drooling over your Jaywalkers and Meg’s kick-arse shoes.

  125. Rats, what do those towns have that we don’t have here in Madison, WI???
    Meg, girl, you go with those color and pattern combinations!! Your shoe and sock combo couldn’t be funkier and cooler. Oh, I wish I were your age. Unfortunately, I’m about 40 years too old to wear the combo, but I’d love to. You will look cute and funky. I would look like a deranged old lady…

  126. I too vote for Texas…please? I’m in Houston, but would travel to Dallas/Fort Worth to see the Harlot.
    Though you should either come down by May, or wait until October, if you don’t want to swelter.

  127. You know we have a thing called the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool, May 13th and 14th? You can sit in our booth if you don’t have a home of your own. I can probably find you a bed (the ones here are taken, unless you are a more-the-merrier person. I’ll bribe you if you want.

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