Just a little smack.

Holed up in a corner of Juno’s chesterfield couch in NJ, (carding polworth and shetland with Juno and Cassie is an extraordinary way to spend a day off.) I sat here not more than an hour or two ago and told Kelli-the-wonder-publicist that not only were things on the road good, that they were perfect. Really perfect. I had navigated the airports with success, I had met charming cab drivers. Amanda had come home from NYC safe, and I had spoken with her on the phone. The events had been great, the knitters charming and the coffee excellent. All of my hair had not fallen out simultaneously while I was public speaking (I worry) I had not yet left an expensive computer cable in a hotel room (my specialty) and despite learning (rather sadly) that the fly on my new pants doesn’t like to stay up, I have managed, through careful vigilance and paranoia, to not give a talk standing up in front of a whack of knitters with my panties showing. I was sitting here, really feeling pretty smug, when I plugged in my digital camera to tell you about Pittsburgh and Doylestown and my new sock (Life was too short for the pastel garter stitch baby jacket that wasn’t even knit long enough for me to show you.) and show you pictures of all of that when the planet decided to dish a little balance.

The computer refuses to acknowledge the existence of the camera.

Just a little smackdown to keep me humble. More later, when I can get the thing to do my bidding. For now, Juno and I are going to ricochet out of her house to go to Loop. (Ann and Kay were there Friday. They have to be a hard act to follow.) I’m hoping the camera is all my life has planned for me in the way of evening up the score.


It doesn’t matter how many times I type Skaneateles, it looks wrong.

(Especially since it’s pronounceation is “Skinny-atlas”) It’s a charming town, with a pretty lake that was too dark for a picture by the time I got there with a sock.

Skaneateles knitters look like this


and this


and this…


Actually, I lie. That’s Andrew. Andrew is not a knitter. He didn’t come with a knitter he was related to or in love with…he just…came.

Andrew was doing a search on something on Google…(some sort of mitten. I should have asked him why he was googling mittens in his College room, I’m sure there’s a story there.) and found Hanks pink dragon mittens. He started reading, discovered the world of knitters, and has been lurking around ever since. He is – get this – a NON-knitting knitting blog fan. He doesn’t buy the books (because he doesn’t knit) and he didn’t have a book for me to sign (doesn’t know any knitters) he just came to say hi. Trippy eh? I asked him if the blog had had any effect on him. You know..any sort of knitterly urges at all. Did he now slow down in front of yarn shops? Finger the cuffs of sweaters, sometimes wonder “Why am I just sitting here…I feel sort of empty inside, Isn’t there something I’m supposed to do with my hands?” I got him to hold the yarn that Cheryl Schaefer gave me (I was so impressed to meet her. She dyes that beautiful yarn herself. If you haven’t seen their “Anne” sock yarn, get thee to a yarn shop.) I asked him if he felt anything. Tingling? Sort of a warm affection? Anything?

He didn’t. He just said it was “nice”. Nice?

This blog is the Knitting Borg.

He will be assimilated.

Tonight’s stop…Pittsburgh.

Airport blogging.

Since you saw me last…


A birthday cake for Megan, owner of Lettuce Knit. (Denny spun it herself. Isn’t that the perfect knitters cake?)


A new sock. I finished the old pair of travelling socks last night. (It was sort of hard somehow.) New book, new tour. New Socks. Meet my charming fleece artist companion, debuting in a photo atop the Yarn Harlot Remote Blogging System, in Pearson International Airport. (The lady in the background looked so bored for so long that I almost tried to teach her to knit.)


An old project, rammed in my purse for airplane knitting. I’m travelling with three projects. This shawl, which is “Summer in Kansas”, the sock, and…well. We’ll see if I even get the third one out of the suitcase.


A sky (over NY) for Sandy. I can’t tell you how odd it was to fly into and out of NYC and know that Amanda was there somewhere. (I looked for her, but I couldn’t see her.) It’s unspeakably weird to be somewhere travelling, and know that your child is there travelling, and have nothing to do with each other. T- 5 hours to Creekside Books. I’m a little nervous. A little nervous the way that The Shining was a little creepy. Like that.

Launching pad

So, I’m panicking packing. I’ve given up trying to organize these people (you can tell your plan is really going nowhere when you are reduced to referring to your beloved family as “these people”) and I’m now concentrating on the basics. Food. Shelter. Supervision.

So far today I’ve put Amanda on a bus to NYC. (Recipe for disaster School trip), taken Meg to the orthodontist, done 4 loads of laundry, tried to pack my new pants (convincing myself I can hem them in a hotel room), bought groceries, and taken a trip to the sewing store to buy a zipper for the now finished Garter Vine Cardi.


It’s blocked, but remains to be sewn up, I’m going to deal with that tonight at the S&B at Lettuce Knit. I don’t mind the sewing up, but I have to tell you that zippers give me the willies. They are always fraught with disaster and intrigue. (And yet…I put them on a lot of sweaters. I can’t explain it either.) This morning I put on my best optimistic nature and went to go buy one of the cursed things. The trouble started straight off. I’m standing there trying to choose one, and notice almost immediately that there is no zipper, not in any brand, size, weight or type, that matches this sweater. I sighed. I held sundry and assorted demon minions zippers to the sweater. I checked the rack a hundred times. I sighed again…then picked two that might work and went to the cash.


“Those don’t match very well” the lady at the cash says.

“I know” I sighed (again.) “I just can’t seem to find anything better. I think the black might work, but I’m going to get the other one too and make a decision later.”

“You know” she says …(If you’re not sitting down you might want to. What comes next in this story is so perplexing that trying to process it may cause some dizziness and befuddlement.)

“You should knit sweaters that are regular colours.”

I stared at her for a minute or two. Probably about 30 seconds longer than I should have, because I noticed that she was sort of making a face at me. It was that face that people give you when they are trying to figure out if you’re confused, stupid or having a stroke. (I was wondering myself.)

“Regular colours? You mean, like…the colours that are regular for zippers?”

“No.” She says emphatically, frowning disapprovingly as she holds the two zippers up against the sweater.

“So, like…not heathered colours…more solid?”

“No.” Even more emphatic here…clearly I am on the wrong path. “Just more regular colours.”

I feigned understanding then, paid for the zippers ($3.69 total. Gotta love the sewing shop) and staggered out into the snow with my irregularly coloured sweater. I’m still not sure what she meant, but I don’t think it bodes well for the zipper, and I still can’t decide which is my best option. Irregular green and pale irregular green…


or Irregular green and black.


I’m leaning toward the black, but that could just be because I feel the looming weight of impending zipper doom upon me.

For now I’m off to finish packing. With this sweater done, I’m looking for some travel knitting to take with me this week. No ideas yet…but a lot of yarn has made it into the suitcase. Also in the suitcase, for those of you who I’ll see this week, are the TSF pins.


Bring cash, buy ’em for your friends, take up lists. A minimum of $2 gets you one, but all proceeds, every tiny penny, goes to MSF.

(We’re still going to plan a way for you to get them if you won’t see me…but this is a start.)

I’ll see some of you in Skaneateles tomorrow. I’ll be the nervous looking over-caffeinated Canadian wearing a zipperless sweater and un-hemmed pants. No guarantees about the condition of my hair either. Could be worth seeing. Who’s in?

How long are the socks?

Lene (not my clever Toronto dwelling Danish friend – she’s got pictures of the twins again) but a Finnish Lapland knitter Lene, has written beautifully about hand knits here.

You should go read it. She raises some wonderful philosophical questions about knitting for “everyday wear”, about the difference between the things we make now (which are mostly luxuries) and the things that were made as necessities to keep people warm and covered.


(The baby is my grandmother, she’s wearing a beautiful hand-knit garter stitch dress with a checkerboard collar and hem, that was undoubtedly knit to be both beautiful and warm. This is Canada.)

In most of the world now, certainly where I live, it’s faster and easier (and usually cheaper) to go and buy your socks and hats and mittens, than to knit them up yourself. Many older people are grateful from having been released from the burden of having to manufacture these things. (Can you imagine? Truly, the idea of having no source for socks for my family except the ones that came off my needles gives me the heebie-jeebies. They’d all have lost toes to frostbite. Not only that, but there’s no way I would have the energy left to make them beautiful.) Lene made me think about the changing value of handknits…from necessity – to luxury item, and she got me reflecting on my personal philosophy, that beautiful things are more beautiful when they are useful.

Finally, she got me to think…you knit a pair of socks. Really beautiful ones. Socks knit from that special wool that you got when you went on a once in a lifetime trip. (It goes without saying that since you really love it, this yarn is now discontinued) Ones like the stockings Lene’s knitting, something with lace and twisted stitches and all sorts of carrying on. Not just complicated, but long too… Socks that go all the way to the knee of some really tall person. Lets say that you knit these (did I mention that it takes a long time?) and you give them away and now that person (who you obviously really love, since sock length is clearly related to affection level) can do as they please with them. How do you want them used? Tenderly? Rarely? Often? With so much affection that they get big holes in them, or with so much affection that they are worn once a year and will last a lifetime? What would you consider the greater compliment?


Another complete cop out on the blog today. I’m trying to get ready to leave on Thursday and I have to un-explode my life before that. It’s not going well. It would seem that the natural state of my life is exploded, and any attempts to get it to fit into the confines of a spreadsheet that dictates when/where/how things happen when I am not here is sheer folly doomed to fail. (The chart detailing dinner, shopping and teen activities was multi-coloured and deeply flawed.) I am also burdened by the knowledge that I need to buy a new pair of pants before I leave, and this pains me. Does anyone care if I’m wearing the same pants as the last tour? Haven’t we established that my goal should be to be wearing pants at all? In any event…You get a short form blog today.

Update #1.


New socks on the needles: Trekking XXL, colour 90.

(Bonus, proof that spring has finally come to my front yard.)

Update #2: Susanna has found out how to get in touch with the mitten people. Should you be burning with a desire to possess this kit….check here.

Update #3:


I tossed the stash (by “tossed” I mean “pillaged” not “tossed” like “threw out”. I can’t believe any of you think that I would throw out yarn. At the very least I would yell “scrambles” first.) and came up with my neglected Garter Vine Cardi. It only needs a sleeve, so I’m thinking that if the pants excursion goes well (stop that laughing. There has to be one company in North America that can produce a pair of pants that fits me.) that I can finish it before I leave on tour.

Update #3:


My brother Ian and my sister-in-law Ali have left for an extended trip through Thailand and Cambodia. Think safe travel thoughts for them. They are experienced travellers, but we still worry when they are far from home. (You may also send them wooly thoughts, since they have promised to find and mail back yarn.) They are holding all of their luggage. Five weeks away…and everything that the two of them need to live is in those two backpacks. I can’t tell you how shocking I find this.

Update #4: Kelli-the-new-wonder-publicist has added two new thingies to the tour. I’ll be at Loop in Philadelphia on the 10th of April, and WEBS in Northampton on the 22nd.

Details on the tour page.

Note that I will be taking way, way more luggage with me for one week away, than Ian and Alison trucked to a five week trip on another continent. I thought this was odd until I remembered that I would only need a big purse if I didn’t take yarn.