Why isn’t there milk here?

The ladies are away with my Mum at the cottage and it’s just Joe and I alone in the house for a week and the whole deadline writing plus lack of parental responsibility has just turned me into a completely feral human being. The lack of structure on my particular personality type has turned out to be just devastating. I simply don’t do anything civilized. I’m sleeping, eating and writing all on my own internal schedule and I am getting a ton of stuff done, but it’s all very surreal. Not having to make lunch for other people means there is no lunchtime (why cook if it’s just you?) and not needing to get up in the morning means not needing to go to bed at night, and not having to be anywhere at any particular time means not knowing what time it is. This lack of children has revealed several things.

1. Our house is very quiet without three daughters in it. It is even quieter at night, I think I had never realized how much they filled the house up with just their breathing. Without them, I am prompted to wind Gansey wool just to fill up the house with a noise.


Isn’t it beautiful? My own handspun, sitting there looking like real yarn.

2. I always think that if I didn’t have any children that I would do all this stuff, go all these places… Now that I don’t have any children I can’t remember what those things are or why I wanted to do them. (I imagine that I will remember what they are on Friday, the moment the Ladies roll back into town.)

3. I wonder if the girls are wearing enough sunscreen or eating right or if the Blackflies are bad. I wonder this almost all day. The realization that I can’t unplug from them is tempered with the knowledge that the minute that they walked out the door they stopped thinking about me.

4. I have figured out my writing process. I need to get bored. Really bored. Then I start thinking up stuff to entertain myself, and then I write it down. (This explains a lot about why I don’t get anything at all done when the kids and Joe are around. They are a lot of things, but boring ain’t one of them.)

5. We had been out of milk (and a lot of other stuff) for 4 days before Ken, who was just visiting, went to the store to get some. Joe and I had begun drinking our tea clear rather than disrupt our slothlike child-free state by going to the corner store. We are not ashamed either.

6. If you have no children/teenagers, mostly, when you clean something? It stays clean. (This brings a singular joy to my life that I can scarcely contain.)

7. Romance level is currently sitting at the top of the chart. Turns out that Joe and I will totally still make out in the kitchen if someone 15 years old doesn’t scream “OH GROSS!!!” at us while we do it. Who knew?

8. Left with enough time, I will swatch for the Gansey.


(That noise you just heard was Rams and Rachel H smacking their foreheads trying to figure out what their goals in life are if they don’t have a gansey to bug me about.)

I began the swatch with 4mm needles and worked my way up to a 4.5mm, then a 5mm. I was hoping (naturally) that I could work on bigger needles to make it go a little faster, but after much reflection (where I tried to convince myself to like the 5mm part of the swatch) it turns out that the fabric really looks better at 4mm.


This isn’t really devastating to me (much) though I did do the math. At 5mm I was getting 4 stitches to the inch, Joe’s chest is 48 inches, so my cast on would have been in the neighbourhood of 192 stitches.

At 4mm I’m getting 4.75 stitches to the inch, which means casting on 228 stitches. That’s 36 more per round, or about 252 more per inch of body height, which is about NINE THOUSAND more stitches in the body than it would have been if the 5mm had looked right.

This is a very cruel lesson in gauge, and I assure you that the 4mm looks way, way better than the 5mm, or there would be no stinking way that I would be able to bring myself to accept knitting NINE THOUSAND extra stitches before I got to the sleeves. (Dude has long arms too.) Let this be listed in the big book of proof that I love this man. A lesser woman would be casting on with the 5mm right now. (I am still considering the 4.5)

9. I am contemplating this yarn…


and waiting for it to speak to me. (3000m of Shropshire laceweight from Habu in NYC. I forgot it was in the stash. My love for it is pure.)

10. I finally have time to write about Aurora, now that so much time has passed that I scarcely remember it. I rememeber that it was hot. Stupid hot. So hot that it is a wonder that anyone came. Susan chauffered me from Toronto to Aurora, and consented to take this photo with the sock before we descended upon our enabler.

The enabler in question here, was Sandra, who opened her home and (her beer fridge) and make veggie quesadillas for me and at one point, as I sat knitting in her kitchen, noshing away I took this picture. There is something so homelike about it.


Sandra laughing, the Clifford plates, the yarn, the ball winder bolted to the kitchen counter. The casual clothing, the bantying about of “eh?” in it’s proper linguistic context… The butter tarts… that perennially Canadian of deserts. (They were wicked ones too…Thanks Jen!)


It was all very much a homecoming, despite the 48/118 degree heat that kept us from going anywhere near her beautiful deck. (When I think about it, that excessive heat was very Ontario as well.)

Properly fortified by the York Guild Executive, I ventured to the shop where the guild meets. Now, I’ve spoken to this guild before. They are a very lucky guild, in that they have acess to the upstairs room at Tove’s yarn shop (Needles and Knits) which is one of my favourite yarn shops of all time. We all trucked upstairs, and I spoke to the guild while they did their level best not to faint dead away.

We kept the lights low to prevent the addition of extra heat because man….



there is just no freaking way that any air conditioner installed in Canada has the guts to deal with 48 degree heat and 60 + knitters in the upstairs floor of a yarn shop. Despite air-conditioning and large fans pointed at the knitters, several threatened to melt. (I was one of them, having selfishly – and foolishly, declined a fan out of concern for the audience.) My grandfather used to chastise me when I was little and would say I was “sweaty”. “Stephanie” he would intone, “Horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies merely “glisten”. ”

He would have been very disappointed in all of us in Aurora, let me tell you. The instant I was done talking we all went downstairs where we replenished our fluids, talked, shopped and I signed books while trying not to drip on them. (Sorry again Grampa.)

Here’s Boop!


Poor Boop had surgery that week, was drugged to within an inch of her life, drove from Fenlan falls and then was baked in a yarn shop. She was charming anyway, which is more than I can say I would be under similar circumstances.

Jo-Anne turned up, wearing what her daughter had informed her (and my daughter had informed me) was very inappropriate footwear.


My foot on left, hers on right. Clearly, great minds think alike. (Our heels are equally matched, by the way…giving you some idea of the freakishly small, wide, square feet I walk around on. My feet do not have a cell of elegance.)

Here’s Sarah.


Holding a sock and not melting despite her recklessly warm dreads.

And here is my beloved Tove, who has an accent just like Lene and her mum Bea, and always makes me thing the best things about Danish people.


Tove was fresh back from the Icelandic knitting symposium (Knitting in iceland. I wish I was her.) and cracked me up so bad I couldn’t even speak by trying to teach us all how to pronounce the names of the shawls in this book.


(This is the one that Hyrna H. is in.) She told me that the problem is that there are 36 letters in the alphabet to wrap your tongue around. I’ll buy that, since there are at least ten that my mouth can’t even get near.

Note to Canadians who don’t want to import the book from the states? Tove has it. She has it, and it’s cheap. She has it, it’s cheap and she has the icelandic laceweight to go with it.


I actually have some too, since going to Tove’s store always results in just the worse yarn seizure. (I am the only person in the world who didn’t know that Lopi made a laceweight? Stunning news.) Totally worth the drive. Ladies? Keep that beer fridge plugged in. I’ll be back.