Drive by

This morning was complex and has completely taken the wind out of my sails for anything but a Random post. I’ll do better tomorrow.

1. Heads up to Southern Ontario, I’ll be speaking in Aurora at the York Region Knitters Guild, Tuesday, August 1st at Needles & Knits (15040 Yonge Street). I’m totally thrilled to have a Canadian event on the books at last…and you have Sandra’s organizational skills and persistence to thank for it. (Also, she may be a little bit of a stalker. Pleasant, friendly and a lot of fun… but, a stalker.) If you are coming, please do the guild a favour and email Jen ( so that they can get you a chair, the evening will be in the large meeting room upstairs from the shop. (It’s a really nice shop.) That’s the first day that I’m back from my next US junket, so you can expect me to be thin, punchy and weird. (Well. Weirder than usual.) Should have a fairly high entertainment value…

I’ll add the details to the Tour Page.

2. I went back and forth to the airport twice this morning in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to get Joe on a series of ever diminishing planes to Deer Lake. (He was flying standby) In another episode of my battle with the roads at Pearson International, I got lost both times, and the first time, I was funneled against my will onto the 427 hwy headed for Niagara Falls. When I run the world, things will be different. Sadly, I will likely not run the world by tomorrow morning when we will try again.

3. Some bloggers are contagious.


(Also, I may be weak.)

4. Reenie sent me a link to this, and I think it’s a wonderful idea. They are introducing Charkhas to Africa to improve the productivity and income of women living there. Spinning cotton is a traditional activity for these women, and having a wheel instead of a spindle changes everything. It’s another fabulous example of a “hand up” instead of a “hand out” program, and there’s a fundraiser here.

I love it.

5. Amy S., a proud member of Knitters Without Borders is making the most of a difficult situation. Due to extreme (and I mean Extreme) downsizing of her living space, she’s … wait.

You should sit down.

Ready? She’s giving away most of her stash. (I know, I know. Put your head between your knees an breathe deeply if you feel any dizziness.) These things happen, and Amy has decided (because she is a very good person.) that if her stash must leave her, it will do so for a good cause. To that end, Thirty-four (!) members of Knitters Without Borders will be gettting an email from me with Amy’s email address, and they can write to her and choose (first come, first served) from among the 34 lots of fibre and yarn that Amy’s giving away.


Can I get a round of applause? I thought so. It’s the most noble de-stashing I’ve ever seen. In light of the recent tsunami and MSFs good works, I think that Amy has secured herself a place in one of the comfy chairs in the Big Yarn Shop in the sky. All hail the noble Amy.

94 thoughts on “Drive by

  1. You’d think I was just sitting on your blog, occasionally hitting refresh to see if you’d posted. Yeah…
    The de-stashing is incredible. Good job, Amy!

  2. Ohmygosh, I am so excited that you’ll be coming to Needles & Knits. It’s my favourite yarn store, I live right down the street (danger!) and I love minimal travel time to the things I adore.

  3. I’ll be at the Aurora book signing for sure! But one question…
    On my calendar, August 1 is a Tuesday… are you going to be there on the Monday or the Tuesday?
    Can’t wait!!!

  4. I generally manage to get to our airport, but I have the devil’s own time getting back home–all those signs to read when you’re already almost comotose from having flown somewhere–are confusing as all get out. Today we’re going on our 19th hour without electricity at home in 100 degree temperatures. I think the yarn I have stored in the freezer may be the only thing that survives!

  5. I have overly amused by the term junket. You just throw it out there all willy nilly. As if any Knitter in the world will eventually have their own. 😉 Safe travels…

  6. Amy is an absolute Saint! OMG! 32 bundles no less! I jsut can’t imagine or spell apparently)!

  7. And just when I was all sad that last night was my last Lettuce Knit stitch and bitch because I am moving to Aurora. 🙂

  8. Out of pure curiosity, the money raised by Knitters without Borders ( YAY for them, BTW!) is there some kind of, I dunno, chart of what help this has been:
    As an example:
    $25 – for a new surgical thingies (25)
    $15 – for bandaids ( 10000)
    $10 prenatal vitamins for a year for moms ( 200)
    etc etc etc.
    Numbers, Steph, we needs numbers! It will make us swell up with pride.

  9. Is there anything that any of us can do for Amy? That’s a brave and honorable thing to do and it just makes me think to try and help her out in someway?

  10. Did you ever get a snail mail address for the lady looking for sock yarn leftovers? (I sent her an email directly and never heard from her.) I have a small box of leftover sock yarns and am moving in a month. I would love to send it to her; if not it will be rubbish – there’s too much else that must be moved and these are just left overs. Makes my scots-ancestry soul squirm, but I keep telling it we must be practical.

  11. Stalker Sandra checking in here. Steph’s right – I’m really quite nice, but I have been stalking her… just a little.
    I’m so glad I can finally post that you’re coming!
    And Amy? Seriously cool, chickie. Although the thought of de-stashing scares me…

  12. I hate Pearson. I can’t even find the way out off the plane when I am in that airport, I sware!
    She’s giving away stah….**puzzled at the completely foreign concept**

  13. Amy’s reward will, truly, be in heaven. And surely heaven will be a yarn store the size of California…

  14. Oh, I am loving that argyle…a dazzling colourway (it just sent all kinds of pleasure zings from eyes to brain). Something I INTEND to do within this next year. I am so ready for you to run the world, sign me up, it’s about time a very knitterly person got the job. Amy, that’s just amazing, and just how extreme of a downsize is it? like not as extreme as a box over your bike I hope.;) ok, what I’d like to know is…what are you ‘keeping’?
    46 days

  15. I’m with the questions about Amy also, is there something we can do for her?
    still 46 days

  16. I just have to tell you, randomly (since this is a random post and all), that my best knitting buddy and I went on a trek to WEBS a couple weekends ago, and before we started the trip, she gave me “Yarn Harlot” as a birthday gift. For inspiration, we read the chapter on the different kinds of stash (I was shocked to realize that I have all of those layers of stash!). That chapter proved to be so inspirational that Amy bought more yarn than she ever had in one trip. I believe she said she doubled her stash. I, the stash queen, however, was too shell-shocked by WEBS to do much more than wander around aimlessly, touching things.
    Also, I didn’t realize you were related to James McPhee. He was a brisk seller at the book store where I used to work, if it’s the same James McPhee who wrote the Canadian sea-faring books.

  17. I’m commenting rather than e-mailing.
    Do you want to see Abq at all or our shop? Jayme said she got car service for you but if you want to DO anything….. let me know. Okay? Or are you literally just getting here and going to the talk/signing and leaving? There’s the Fiesta Outlet too. Just sayin’! Oh yeah, and margaritas!

  18. I LOVE the charkhas idea. My Noah (the twelve-year-old who reads your books, remember?) had two bake sales at school to raise money for Kiva. I think I’ll introduce Kiva to Charkha . . .

  19. Wow. Amy is an inspiration. One day I hope to have a stash so large that I, too, can give it up for a good cause. *nod**nod*

  20. Yesterday I ordered very similar yarn to make argyles (orange, yellow and red). That Julia, she’s guilt-tripped us into it.

  21. WEEE!
    This so makes up for the karma backlash I’ve been experiencing this week!

  22. Oh my goodness, I have a sudden compulsion to knit all things argyle. Socks, sweaters, hats, bikinis, whatever. But I must knit argyle now.

  23. Yaaay, Amy! I am totally stunned. And going immediately to contribute to TSF in case anything like this ever happens again. It probably won’t, but I will still have a clear(er) conscience to show for it.

  24. Oh no…not the dreaded Argyle disease….so….hard…to…hold….out….
    Make the sock yarn stop screaming. Please?

  25. I’d be much more able to be sympathetic about your airport driving woes if I’d received one of those emails saying I could contact the lovely Amy and pic something out of her very generous stash sharing.
    And dude? Do you have ANY idea how far north of Bloor Street Aurora is? *giggle*

  26. Interesting about the Charkhas to Africa. I’ve never spun yarn before (something i want to learn how to do someday) so i’m not sure how long it takes to do that with a wheel or a spindle.
    Wow to all the yarn Amy is giving away. I would cry if i had to get rid part of my stash. The stash is precious. (This is someone who thought teaching their mother to knit might not be a good idea because she would have to share the stash yarn. I still haven’t taught her how to knit, but i said i would anytime she wanted to learn.)
    About the baby fruit and veggie hats. I mailed a hat a week or so ago to Ilene. And then today another hat was mailed off to Jeanne. The baby hats were a fun little project.

  27. 1. I am so planning on being there.
    2. For a good giggle, go to and have a gander at the road map posted for the airport. It looks like a cat got into some yarn. I avoid the highways if I go to Pearson and use Dixon (aka Airport) Road.
    3. Mmmmm argyle. I made an argyle afghan for my brother when he got married. He’s now separated. Wonder if I can get it back.
    4 & 5. Reenie and Amy are both saints and have restored my faith in humanity after a blech day.

  28. Ok, and you’re *from* Toronto. Imagine the pain those of us who only fly into Pearson once a year feel as we’re trying to get out of the airport and are looped off somewhere, invariably in the wrong direction.
    Amazing argyle, btw.
    And… /bows down to Amy for her courage in destashing…

  29. Wow, that’s a lot to de-stash. Very generous indeed.
    As for the airport, maybe Joe can take one of those van shuttles. Think of the gas you will save!

  30. Sorry about the airport. They should offer commuter helicopter service.
    You find the greatest charities, that African community of women looked so awestruck.
    Even though I’ve read your blog through all the archives, I don’t remember anything about joining doctors without borders. Is there some way to find that post and re-read how one contributes, or am I being incredibly dumb?
    In addition to all these global miracles you enlighten us about, I’d like to give you a big thank you for the miracle (albeit a small one) you’ve brought to my home.
    **Before the knitting olympics, I’d never dreamed I could knit a pair of socks. I’m now on my fifth pair.
    **Before reading your blog, I never thought about knitting for charity.
    **Before reading your blog, I was convinced I’d never learn to knit with two colors. I just sent a fair-isle-ish baby hat off to Jeanne.
    It’s small in the great scope of things, but it’s big to me. Thank you.

  31. doh! I was trying not to succumb to the argyle-pushers and you are not helping!!
    BTW–9 days until your in Austin, yay! Not to scare you but it’s like 247 degrees today.

  32. I’ve met that Sandra, and she is indeed a stalker 😉 She’s very persistent. (Hi Sandra! Maybe I could get out that night!)
    Would you like to come visit the Orangeville Knitter’s Group? I’m not a stalker! I may really wish I had you as my LC, but I promise not to ask any b.f. questions…

  33. One thing I look for when I share with a charity is what percent of the money I give actually goes to the people in need, and what percent goes to management expenses. Some Charities have directors who make hundreds of thousand of dollars a year, fly all over the world first class, and never get their hands dirty. (Red Cross and United Way for example)

  34. I think I may save the photo of Amy and her stash for when I get grief for mine (although, I’m betting mine would look a lot like hers should I make the mistake of putting it all in one spot in front of people!). We all know what a gift of the heart stash is – three cheers for Amy!

  35. So cool about the charkhas, but, Steph, I’d like to donate money directly to it. The fundraiser is cool, but where to donate $$ (or whatever currency) directly? Seems somebody in the readership or blogosphere could do that for them, I mean set it up. What say, folks? If I knew how, I would, but I’m clueless.

  36. If Joe needs a fix of watching someone sitting around knitting, please encourage him to stop by–we are only an hour from Deer Lake. But should warn you–lots of crochet here too.
    impressive stash! Even more impressive to GIVE it away. Perhaps it will feel liberating..? Right.

  37. AURORA!!!! Hurrah – a short drive from Stouffville. Me and my sock are so there!!!
    And I’ve done the airport thing too, headed west instead of east. I blame the signs.

  38. Amy takes my breath away. I hope that she is racking up some serious good karma for this. You know, like her next life she’ll be born a Vanderbilt or Bill Gates’ favorite grandchild or something.

  39. I have a question…..does every major Canadian city have a Yonge Street? And if so, WHY? Not that I am much on Canadian history, but who was Yonge and why did he/she have so darn many streets named after them?

  40. Joe careful on the plane, cause there could be…………
    oh Newfoundland , I almost forgot . No
    SNAKES in Newfoundland, sorry dude.
    Do I to learn to do the E MALE to get the free yarn.DAM IT thought so.
    This comment thingy was pretty easy,maybe I go learn now.bye luv denny

  41. Since someone mentioned charity CEO salaries in the comments and I feel like playing devil’s advocate, I thought I’d point out being CEO of a large charity is pretty much like being the CEO of a large company. The American Red Cross (for example) is literally a multi-billion-dollar organization. People qualified to be the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar organization don’t work for chicken feed. 🙂 As always, if you want quality, you have to be prepared to pay for it! The money they pay their CEO represents a very small percentage of their operating expenses and if it keeps the charity efficient, well-run, and financially sound it’s probably money well spent.
    Small-scale charities like this, with few operating expenses, are great! Large charities that have the resources to launch big programs — which means, of necessity, more administrative overhead — are also great. Both have their place.
    (Yes, is there a place to donate directly?)

  42. I’m with Dee, where can I send a check for the charkhas for Africa? Or have they set up a Tax Id # so I can donate through work (and have the company match it at the end of the year)? I checked out the links, but I couldn’t find anything for just a money donation….
    My fingers are crossed for some of Amy’s stash, though, for the life of me, I don’t know where I’d put it…wait, maybe my husband doesn’t really need his closet….

  43. Wow…I’m so proud of Amy… I’d say more by I’m having a panic attack and a frantic need to go check my own stash, even though most of it is out in the garage where it’s actually hotter than it is outside…

  44. Hooray for the courageous use of destashing. I’ve done it a few times over the last few years.
    Once, it all went to a women’s day shelter including extra needles and hooks. I got flamed for giving them my “junk” yarn – you know, the half used skeins of stuff I have no use for. Little did the flamer realize that I wasn’t giving half used skeins, but rather, fully unused ones that I was not going to use. I sat in on many s&b’s they had watching these poor souls who lived on a day to day stuggle in one of the poorest streets in Canada brighten for being able to knit or crochet something. A lot of them were awed that someone could give away something so creative. Most of the time, they got clothes or household goods. But craft supplies? The yarn was well used. This was a garbage bag full.
    Second time it went to a second women’s day shelter. The next day, I went by to pick up some info and one of the councellors caught me knitting and tried to drag me in there to pick out some yarn because I obviously needed it. I spent the next hour laughing because I didn’t need the yarn back. This was also a garbage bag full as well as a ton of stuffed animals.
    Third time, just recently, I put it up on freecycle and a school of fine arts grabbed it for their summer day camp. I got called recently and thanked for that donation. The kids really liked the fun yarn. A couple of other balls showed up and I gave them to someone who had begged me to save her a few to knit for either preemies or the homeless.
    There’s just something… freeing about ridding oneself of, well, junk that won’t be used. It takes a lot of guts to go through stashes and more to actually be willing to give it to people who are less fortunate or who would really appreciate using it.
    And those little spinning wheels – that is just such a cool idea! Hand up is far better than a hand out, even if a hand out is needed to give the hand up. (did that make sense?)

  45. I gave them money, but I realize that my mother was right in quoting Gandhi-until every one has some you don’t get more. The housekeeping is destroyed with fluff. I will contemplate giving some away. Spiritual materialism in fluff. Good for her. But can I really do it?

  46. You are not weak. You are mad. Tartan weaving is reasonable. Cutting it on the bias for stretchy socks that stay up is reasonable. Attempting to replicate the effect in knitting is — no, stop. I’m being judgemental. Here, I’ll help. Hold still and I’ll whip you with nettles. If you like argyle you’ll LOVE this…

  47. oh no… argyle! I need a spinning habit to whip up all these short lengths of solid color – it’s too expensive to buy 5 different balls of yarn for just one pair of socks…

  48. I do not like that airport. No. It is a bad airport. Bad airport. Bad bad airport! Not only was 3 hours very nearly not enough time to get from one flight to another (no time to eat, no time to pee, missed one flight because I was waiting for the luggage that was lost on the Halifax-Toronto flight, so they put me on another, but I almost missed that one too. Whimper…), but the stupid baggage handlers tried to break my bike!!! You don’t put a big box that says oversized and fragile down the luggage chute with everything else, you morons! It reached the bottom and tried to bend in half when it reached the belt that was going around and around and got pulled in with all the luggage and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. The box was actually bending!
    Stupid bad airport….

  49. where’s. . my. . . paper . . . bag. i think i’m hyperventilating. goodness me, that’s generous (and a write off, too, isn’t it?)
    and dont’ mind me, my brain is truly fried, but am i a member? i’ve got a sweatshirt.

  50. dh happened to come over to talk to me and read this over my shoulder (he is such a good dh. he put my new spinning wheel together tonight, while hanging out with all four kids so i could go have dinner with a friend–this is a never to be repeated night for me. but i digress). destashing? he asked tenatively. there was a little hint of eagerness in his voice. no honey. i’m just going to use the wheel to make even more.

  51. Ohh, beautiful argyle. Love the colors, and it looks awesome.
    Umm, Stephanie? I’m feeling like a complete dork for doing this, but I wrote a blog post for you, with pictures of various stages of an argyle. Just in case you, umm, y’know, don’t know what lies ahead.
    (I’m writing for The Harlot?? I must be mad. Shoot me, somebody.)

  52. Please please please give some consideration to coming to Kelowna, in BC’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. There’s at least 4 good reasons: 1) oodles of wineries to sit and knit at 2) Direct flights between Pearson and Kelowna 3)You can have your picture taken with Ogopogo and, most importantly 4) even though it’s hot, it’s not humid, and that is a beautiful thing to experience.

  53. Has anyone ever read Queen Noor’s autobiography? She has done a lot for the women in Jordan to help them turn their native handcrafts into a sustainable income for their families. Jordan may be in the Middle East, but it is not an oil rich country, so developing an effective economy is a primary goal. You can even buy Jordanian native handcrafts on ebay (I think.)

  54. Hi. I’m presently not a member of Knitters Without Borders but I am interested in some of Amy’s lots, particularly Lots 33 and 5, maybe also Lots 23 and 13. I’d be willing to pay for these items. Please forward my email to Amy so that she can contact me with a price. I would appreciate it so much 🙂

  55. Hi again. I just read my post and don’t like the tone it evokes. I want to stress that I’d like to buy lots 33, 5, 23, and 13 only if Amy absolutely cannot find any takers. Thanks.

  56. wow! what a generous woman!willing to deal with stash withdrawl!!! where can we send cash directly for charkas?? In ALbequirkky.(spelled that way on purpose!)..go to old town while you are there….very quaint, old southwest shops, don’t miss it. or have them drive you up Rt 25 to Sana Fe if you have never seen it…it is wonderful..the sock would love it! see you next week in Phx.!!!yea! and humid here……beware of Texas hair!!!….Jenna

  57. Why, I wonder, would anyone give their stash away????
    O.M.G. it could be, maybe,no …..
    Somtimes I think my learning this comment thing, maybe not a good thing. luv dennyxoxoxoxox

  58. I am interested too in a direct donation to the charkha project/program/thingie.
    Is there a direct linkie poo?
    Details! We need details!

  59. Charkas to Africa is a marvelous idea! And I like the idea of detailing what donations to TSF would purchase. Some folks don’t realize that the supplies are purchased at a discount rate, not the price we see at the store.
    I hope that if I get an email it’s not over the weekend as I’ll be out of town. Wow! What a stash busting! She can commiserate with Tallguy (

  60. ARYGLE? What a clever idea for my DD’s stupid school socks that she has . . . the rule states that they have to be knees socks in: red, gray, hunter green, navy blue, white. There was not an “and” or an “or” in this list so the 8th grade girls have been having a blast trying to find stripped or polka dot knee highs with those colors! Argyle is another option . . . and it would look just as hideous with their plaid uniforms as stripped socks would!

  61. Wow, that’s a heckuva stash to de-stash. Yikes. And SIGH…I missed you the last time you came to Chicago and now I find that you’re going to be here again…but waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay on the south side. The only solution is that you must write another book in order to do another tour in order to come back to Chicago in order to be a yarn shop that I can actually get to. Harumph!

  62. Aw man! I just checked your schedule and we are in Chicago on the same day. But you are an hour away and I can’t manage to get to you. Poop. Who knew I would have to go to Chicago to get ‘that close’ to stalking – ahem – meeting you in person.
    Rest assured, that Monday there will be a fellow Canadian close-but-no-cigar sending you “good hair and pant” thoughts while crying in her tea because she can’t be there.

  63. Folks, you can make a donation directly to Charkhas for Africa here: Scroll a little more than halfway down the page and look for the photo of the 2 African women that has “Make a Donation” printed on top of it. You’ll need to have a PayPal account, though.
    The Harlot has greenlighted argyle? Yay! I’ve always liked argyle, even knitted a sock (yes, one sock, it was to hang on the mantel at Christmas, okay?) long ago. Now I’m free to indulge in argyle fantasies and bring them to life. Thanks.

  64. Funny; I’ll be starting a pair of argyle socks this weekend. They were actually requested by my father some time ago but have just now made it to the top of my to-do list.

  65. First of all, Reenie, Therese & I want to very publicly thank Stephanie for mentioning the Charkhas for Africa project. The response has been fantastic.
    Please be certain, all donations go directly to purchase charkhas and hand carders. In addition to donating products we are donating 100% of our time and are receiving no compensation. The manufacturers of the Babe wheels and Strauch carders have been generous enough to offer us wholesale pricing on their products. As of today we will be able to purchase 3 charkhas and 4 sets of hand carders. We are certain as word spreads, these numbers will increase. Reenie’s internet is down today (we are blaming the heat) but as soon as it is back up we will be adding a counter to the site that will show exactly how the donations have been apportioned.
    If anyone has any questions at all, please do not hesitate to email me, And check back often, new items will be added, including knitting accessories, fiber and maybe even a spinning wheel or two. To see the products that have been donated so far or to make a donation please visit:
    Thank you again Stephanie and all of you for helping to make this project such a success.

  66. That may be a drive by posting but the bulk of it seems to be all about helping others. I like those kinds of posts:)

  67. Yay for Amy! She is so generous. Too bad I have not yet gotten my butt in gear to donate to become a member of Knitters Without Borders. I’ll have to sign up soon in case something like this comes along again in the future.

  68. i paid a visit to the York Region Guild on my last trip to TO and i fell in love with the place. when i was in the shop, i forgot about those scary stretches of kilometres of strip-malls & superstores in suburban toronto, and i dreamed about living upstairs in my very own yarn shop, too. *sigh*– thanks for the inspiring links!

  69. Oh, that stash of Amy’s is nothing —- compared to mine! I have just gathered it all in one place; it used to be hidden in a variety of locations, which didn’t look like there was that much! OMG! I’m embarassed to even tell you how much I have! But there will have to be some serious downsizing here — and hopefully before I leave all of this for my survivors to do by themselves. I would never want that for my worst enemy — well, maybe.
    Anyway, hurrah for Amy! What a brave girl, and what a load of her shoulders, literally. I wonder if I can run some kind of contest, and the prizes will be.. well, let me work on this a bit.

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