Back at Alaska

It says a lot about you guys and my family that two days after coming back from Alaska, you can all make a birthday a very good time. I had a wonderful day, fully appreciated all the wonderful comments ( especially from those of you who also have trouble with keeping track of your age) kicked off the night before at Knit Night, full of good wishes and cake and my favourite Indian restaurant and new yarn which I am happily knitting up.

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Yarn from Lettuce Knit (a gift from Joe) hand dyed by Laura. (Who is good at so many things you’d want to smack her if she weren’t so nice.) I’m knitting it up into Monkeys. (I know. It’s Cara. She makes it all look so beautiful that you don’t even notice it’s peer pressure.) The lace pattern is sort of lost in the colour, but I don’t care. Just made a mental note to knit them again in something plainer.

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Before the birthday partying, I was in Alaska, and I still owe you a post about that. (I’m sort of glad that this is the last one before I get caught up. Blogging in the past tense is weird.)

I landed in Anchorage at about 11pm, and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was light as day! The sun shone and shone…the lady at the hotel gave me a little lecture about using blackout curtains and paying special attention to AM and PM (good tip, since there is no difference in how 10am and 10pm look) and I went up to the room and laughed and laughed. It simply didn’t get dark. Unbelievable. I took these two incredibly dorky pictures.

This is my hotel clock radio at

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AM – and this is the view out the window at that time.

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and I don’t even care how dorky that makes me. That’s a BLUE SKY. A blue sky at 1:44 AM. Unbelievable. (Yes. I had a little trouble sleeping.) I kept looking out the window as I lay there and all I could think was “If I lived in Alaska I would get SO MUCH DONE.” My esteemed husband – when I phoned him to tell him about how efficient I would be if the sun shone all the time, had a one word rebuttal. “January.” Point taken. I suppose that how energizing and thrilling this light is, is exactly as draining and hard to bear as the lack of light would be for me on the other end. I’d like to see the dark days though. I think it would be just as interesting.

The next morning I had a little time, so I went into Anchorage to see what I could see. For the first time I wished I drove enough that I could rent a car and go see some stuff a little further out. (Like a glacier. I really wanted to go to a glacier.) I settled for this instead.

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The sock and I went to the Cook Monument.

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Mount Susitna (The Sleeping Lady) is the mountain you can see there. It’s pretty darned big. If it had been a clearer day than it was, then I’m told I would be able to see Denali, the highest mountain in North America. (I know some of you are going to protest the name, claiming “Mt. McKinley” is right. However, my rule…when these things are in debate, is “When in Rome….” and Denali is the official name recognized by the State of Alaska and the people who were there first. Good enough for me.)

I saw some other mountains:

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Most interestingly, I went to Oomingmack.

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Oomingmack is a cooperative of qiviut knitters. The knittting is done by more than 200 native knitters across Alaska and the cooperative owns herds of Arctic Muskox. The fiber is gathered, then sent to a mill to be turned into yarn, then sent to the knitters. The knitters all pay a $2 annual membership fee. This entitles them to the qiviut yarn supplied by Oomingmack, and they are then paid by the stitch for the knitting that they do. When they are finished they send the scarves, hats and nachaqs to Anchorage, where the staff block and sell their work. At the end of the year, because it’s a cooperative, the knitters are paid a share of the profits.

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This is Regina, she works at the shop in Anchorage. Behind her you can see the blocking boards they use. This is Portia and Jonathan:

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Great tour guides. Jonathan showed me this fantastic map with pins for all the herds of musk ox and the villages with the knitters. Each of the villages or areas uses a pattern relevant to their history. Qiviut is a miracle fiber. This downy undercoat of the Arctic Musk oxen does not have scales like wool, so it is never itchy and doesn’t felt. (This also means it has no “memory” so things made of qiviut will “grow”. It’s a reason it’s so good for lace.) It’s hypoallergenic and like wool, it stays warm even when wet…though it’s 8 times warmer than wool.

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The scarf above is the “Harpoon” pattern, trademark of the first village to join the co-op, Mekoryuk, home of the Cup’ik people.

My favourite is “Wolverine Mask”, from Unalakleet. Unalakleet is said to be the firs settlement in all of North America, having been settled in about 200 -300 BCE. In Donna Druchunas terrific book Arctic Lace, she tells of how only 13 members survived a smallpox epidemic there in 1938. The early Christian missionaries banned the Yup’ik and Inupiat people from making their traditional masks, and now that the culture is in recovery, the “Wolverine Mask” pattern for these lace scarves is especially significant.

The co-operative is not a knitting shop. They don’t sell yarn (except for bulky yarn sold in a hat kit.) and they don’t publish the patterns, since both of those activities would undermine the profits of the co-operative, or fail to protect the cultural property of the knitters. It’s a fascinating place, and if you’re interested in knowing more about it then I really suggest investing in the Arctic Lace book. It tells the stories of the native knitters of Alaska, provides patterns in the family of what they are doing (without violating their own patterns) and is a completely fascinating chronology of how knitting helps to shape these peoples world. I love it.

From the co-op I went to a lovely knit-in at the town square, then over to Title Wave books for the talk. There are a lot of knitters in Alaska, let me tell you.

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This is a whole knitting family.

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Well, baby Rachel doesn’t knit, but she’s wearing knitted pants, and that’s her knitting mum Casey and her knitting Dad Jay (holding his 1st sock) so I have high hopes for her future.

This is Heather with her awesome Alaska washcloth

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and Katie, the Prairie Knitter

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(I love meeting imaginary friends- which is always how I think of far-away bloggers, especially out of context, which Katie certainly is. She’s far from home.)

This is Jodi (If my handwriting is to be believed, and I don’t know that it is)

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Who has finally come up with a knit-blogger use for the commercial sock. (Camera case)

This is Holly: (But not this Holly– who was totally there too.)

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Holly is holding her sister Mandy’s book and a note from Mandy requesting not that I sign her book (which was implied) but that I hug Holly, since she really doesn’t get to see her enough. It was really charming. (Mandy – I delivered that hug for you.)

In return for the hug –

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Alaska Summer ale in felted beer cozies (Which is a darned good idea, especially in a state where, like my home, your hand could freeze to your beer if you weren’t careful.) Sorry you two look so manic in that one.

Anne:

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with the washcloth that proves that everything really is bigger in Alaska, and our wonderful Anchorage Hat lady Linda,

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who collected a staggering 95 hats. Which means that (as expected) Anchorage totally overachieved.

Finally, we rolled out of the bookstore and off to get some beers, and when we staggered into the parking lot I took this picture.

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Knitters. Near midnight, in daylight.

Let me tell you. Alaska is one freaky cool place.

Back to blogging in the present tense. Whew.

156 thoughts on “Back at Alaska

  1. Knitting and blogging by the light of day. And day. And day. No wonder they got so many hats done! Well done Alaska knitters!

  2. We have had nightless nights for a month now, and the first stars will be seen on begin of september. Old story tells that in summertime lapp-people they go fishing and have sex, and in winter time its less of fishing..
    Are you coming to Finland sometimes??

  3. See? I told you I wasn’t first! I absolutely loved this post. I want to visit Alaska something awful! Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks for the photos of day/night skies! It’s amazing isn’t it! I’d be awake making sure that it stayed light….. someone might have fibbed about it staying light all night, you know. :OO And the opposite darkness would really be difficult for me, I know. I’d have to use lighted needles a lot! The sock yarn is amazing! Such wonderful colours. I must try that monkey pattern. Hey! I got my GoKnits bag yesterday!!! I’ve been waiting for ages for the Naked Sheep to get them in and my dil to pick one up for me. I love it!!! Dil wasn’t sure knitting needles would fit, but she doesn’t know about sock needles… Welcome back home! samm

  5. See? I told you I wasn’t first! I absolutely loved this post. I want to visit Alaska something awful! Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Beautiful pictures of Alaska. I’ve always wanted to go there, especially now that I know there are so many talented (and prolific) knitters there. Great hats!

  7. A few years ago I visited Norway & Iceland in Jully, and loved the midnight sun, too! The only problem was sleeping, because I really need dark for that, and even with blackout curtains just knowing that sunlight was out there was enough to keep me up…after a few days I crashed. Still, it was totally worth it.
    Glad you had a wonderful birthday and were gifted with yarn!

  8. I took a deep breath when i saw that oomingmak. I almost bought some at String (yes THAT String) In NYC. My thought was that we didn’t need to go food shopping this…month. Alaska is beautiful.

  9. My bil was born and reared in/near Anchorage. He, too, is one freaky cool dude! And so is my sister, come to think of it! First year he was at college in southern Iowa he wore a jacket all Winter – said it was too warm for a coat. Thanks for listening to my idiocy.

  10. I just met a woman whose family had recently moved back from Alaska. She said one of her daughters went through much confusion when she was old enough to understand the concept that day was “supposed to be” light and night was “supposed to be” dark. She would try to tell her mother she had to go to bed at two in the afternoon in the winter because it was dark, or that she couldn’t go to bed at 10PM in summer because it was still light.
    The whole thing would mess me up no end. I love the idea of all the light, but I could not handle all the dark! Still, visiting in summer would be fun for a little while. Glad you got to see it for all of us back here, and welcome back to the present tense.

  11. I have (and love) the Arctic Lace Book. It’s a fascinating history of the collective. Glad you could see it in person.
    Whereas I’d love the midnight sun, I think I’d have a real problem with the noontime moon in January…

  12. It was wonderful to have you here in Alaska, you’re more than welcome back any time. Winter is also pretty darn cool and we manage to get plenty done, we just wear more clothes and head lamps for the outdoor stuff. Winter means LOTS of knitting time and great x-country skiing. We were all so glad you made it up here and happy birthday a little late!

  13. It was wonderful to have you here in Alaska, you’re more than welcome back any time. Winter is also pretty darn cool and we manage to get plenty done, we just wear more clothes and head lamps for the outdoor stuff. Winter means LOTS of knitting time and great x-country skiing. We were all so glad you made it up here and happy birthday a little late!

  14. I am really wierded out by the daylight at night thing. Anyhoo, Alaska is tops on the list of places I want to go someday…..so nice to read an Alaska tourist ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Yeah, the midnight sun is really neat. I spent a few weeks in Yellowknife one summer with my cousins, and there would be little kids playing outside at 2AM because it still wasn’t particularly dark. Dim, really, just twilight.
    Are you coming to Winnipeg again? I’d be so thrilled to get to see you in person instead of sending sock yarn with my Mom!

  16. I spent a summer season on Antarctica. Coming out of a bar at 2:00 in the morning in broad daylight is… a singular experience.
    Maybe you could get a commission on the Arctic Lace book sales about to be generated from this. I’m going to get my copy in the next couple of days for sure.

  17. Wow. What a wonderful commentary and how cool to see all the pictures. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. For those of us who hardly get out of town, this is a real treat!

  18. Although I’m with ya on the round the clock sunlight, I would royally hate to be there in January! My mood swings are bad enough when it’s a cloudy day in Los Angeles!

  19. I know people (did I tell you this already?) who live in Anchorage, or maybe Fairbanks, somewhere in southernish Alaska anyway, and they say that the darkness-at-noon thing gets really old after, oh, a day or so. I have enough trouble dealing with 9 hours of daylight at midwinter; I don’t want to know what I’d do with *no* daylight for weeks on end.
    I knitted my brother a qiviut neckwarmer. The stuff is furry butter. (As I recall I bought a 2-oz skein for $30, which I thought was amazingly splurgy of me at the time. Little did I know that the price would quadruple the following year.)

  20. Okay, the stupid server ate my very long comment, so I’m going to try this again. I want to know where the “8 times warmer than wool” figure comes from, because the same thing gets said about alpaca (and presumably cashmere and any other exotic fiber). I’ve never seen a reference for this cited, and David has been in the fashion industry for 15 years and never seen any references, either. It has become a running joke for us (“21.5 times warmer than wool!”). So I’m going to give you a challenge. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to determine whether these numbers have any factual basis and how they were established and then report your findings back to the rest of us.
    I’m sure that the challenge itself would be enough for you, but just to sweeten the pot a little, if you do manage to track down a source for this information, I promise to buy you beer – good beer – whenever we manage to meet up. In perpetuity. You & Joe would even be welcome guests here on this little alpaca farm on the Maine coast if that’s what it takes to cash in on this offer (Who knows. Sightings of our neighbor-to-be, Daryl Hall, might even be possible.). If you manage to meet this challenge, you will certainly have earned it.

  21. How is it that your publicist arranges for a trip to Alaska, but you have yet to visit the very heart of the heartland? I for one am waiting with great anticipation for your arrival to the Kansas City area. I’d bribe you with great BBQ, but something tells me that may not do the trick. Let me think … the baked beans are good too. In the mean time, I think I need more yarn to console me.

  22. Now that looks like fun. Seems your family and friends know just how to make the Harlot happy on her birthday. glad it was a good if not confusing one;) It’s the kids I tell you!

  23. What a lovely ittle trip I just had . Thanks to you I’ve seen a little bit of Alaska and all the lovely knitters there. Did you buy anything made of qiviat or any of the yarn if they sell it ? Glad to see that you survived your two birthdays. I too shall look into reading the book on Alaskan knitters

  24. Alaska looks so cool! No pun intended. I love the idea of north!
    Hey Stephanie, not to change the subject to the very far south, but did you hear about the “worldwide downturn in wool”? I heard about it because of the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War (see, very far south). Scary!

  25. Quivet AND denali. I think a kniter’s road trip is in order.
    How was the beer?

  26. Excuse me while I sit down . . . just the thought of that much Quviut in one place is making me weak at the knees . . .
    Thanks for catching us all up on your travels. Way To Go Alaska hat knitters! That is quite a haul, and they’re pretty too. I’m really impressed. Must be all that sun at midnight. Of course, had you come in January there might have only been a couple . . .

  27. Love your travel/knitting blog! Really, one of the things I like about reading all these knitting blogs is that the people are all over the world. It’s so cool to read the tidbits about their lives on the farm, in the city, at the top of the world, etc. I agree with you about the flip side of all night daylight. I hate it when November is here and it’s dark at 5:15 p.m. Which means I see about 1 hour and 15 minutes of daylight during the work week.

  28. Yep. January.
    So…spend your Summers in Alaska then go home for the Winter…..is there a problem with that? heh.
    I’ve always loved the sound of ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’….

  29. Funny thing about Holly & Jodi, when they’re together, they always look manic.
    Thanks for the proxy hugging!

  30. I’m so happy you enjoyed yourself up there. We were sorry to have missed you (we were up in late may) but we hope to see you the next time around because we’re moving up there to be closer to my family! If you ever need a tour guide in Fairbanks Alaska you should definitely drop us a line ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS – I was born and raised in Fairbanks and I have to say that Alaskan winters aren’t that bad. I’ve acutally seen worse winters in Michigan these past 6 years if you can believe it! With the dark and the cold comes the beautiful northern lights.

  31. I don’t think you’re a geek for the midnight sun pictures – I know I wouldn’t be able to resist taking them! My boyfriend’s brother had a collection from Iceland – but since he was out drinking in the sunlight he kept trying to take pictures of the actual *sun*, so they didn’t work out so well.
    We don’t have midnight sun in Indiana, but we did finally go on Daylight Savings Time, so now it’s light until around 10:00 in the summer. Why don’t you come down for a visit and see?

  32. He got about a bit that Cook chap didn’t he? It rocked me a bit to see a Cook memorial in Alaska, I’d never realised that he went north as well as south. I had to check it was the same one that has the jaw bone memorial in Whitby (UK).
    The things you learn from knitblogs

  33. My great-uncle made a living for years and years working as a stand-up comedian in Alaska. I’ve always wanted to go… thanks for the pictures.
    As for the Midnight Sun, I once spent 2 weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia in late June/Early July and had the same experience. After a week, I was totally hallucinating. It was … odd… I seem to recall teaching a bunch of Russians in a bar how to sing George M. Cohen songs on the eve of the 4th of July. I’m pretty sure that was an hallucination.

  34. Thank you for sharing your visit to Alaska with us. I have always wanted to visit that part of the world. I have a few questions for you. Did Alaska seem American or Canadian? What is your favourite Indian restaurant? Have you ever heard of NONIA? I met a few NONIA knitters at a craft fair and they amazed me. http://www.nonia.com. Thanks again!

  35. Wow, that sock looks great and Alaska looks so beautiful. I’ve always wanted to go there. And isn’t it amazing that everyone looks so FIT there –must be the extra daylight gives people time to go for a run. Or maybe people move to such a beautiful landscape if they’re really into the outdoors and outdoor activities. Thanks so much for writing this. –Barb

  36. A few years ago my husband and I lent our selves to be camp counselors in Alaska at a kids’ camp. It is freaky to wake up in the middle of daylight and not know what time it was (Time to get the kids up or not?). It was freakyer to walk to your cabin and talk to yourself so the bears wouldn’t be surprised by you and eat you. We loved Alaska and can’t say enough great things about it.

  37. Waaaaay cool, Steph. Alaska is a place I really, really want to see. But first I must recover from the trip I just took: I showed 85 seventh graders Washington, DC. ๐Ÿ˜€ Three days. I knitted on the bus. I taught two more to knit. (YAY!)

  38. When I win the Lottery I am buying enough Quiviet to make a pair of socks and a turtleneck sweater. Michigan can be brutal in Jan/Feb. The book ARCTIC LACE is absolutely fascinating!! If the winnings are big enough I may even make a best friend a sweater/sock combo. The warmest people on the North American Continent.

  39. Freaky cool awesome, I’d say! Look at those knitters, and those mountains, and that near-midnight sun. Wow.
    Thanks for the info re qiviut & the knitting cooperatives — I’m interested in finding out more from the book “Arctic Lace”.
    In winter here in Wisconsin, since I work 7 am -5 pm at least in a windowless office, I may not see daylight either — but at least I know it exists if I get to a window! Can’t be too much different at the latitude you’re at, Steph. I read a book called “Icebound” several years ago about living on Antarctica for a year (an account by the physician who developed breast cancer while there and had to be treated long distance because in the winter, there was no way to land a plane to get her out). She said that mentally and physically, people had more trouble in the summer, with the lack of darkness, rather than in the winter with the cold and dark; in the summer, tempers were hot and wounds didn’t heal, hair didn’t grow. Weird.

  40. Hee…I took that exact same out-the-hotel-room-window picture last summer in Fairbanks at about 3 am. Too cool!!

  41. i love Donna Druchunas’s book !! love it and the qiviut is like knitting with something out of a fairy tale. i used some a few years ago. my GodSister gave it to me, i knitted it up and gave it back to her. dreamy

  42. Woah… I’m totally going to move to Alaska! It would probably be really weird since I’m totally a city girl, but still. I like the whole light all the time in summer and dark all the time in winter. Granted, it’ll be remarkably disorienting, but I’m sure it’s going to be alright. That and there’s a fantastic reason to wear knitted objects there.

  43. It was great to see you in Anchorage, thanks for coming all that way! Sorry you didn’t get a chance to hit up the Anchorage yarn stores, but my friend Pat and I tried to cover for you, since we came down from Fairbanks and spent the afternoon shopping. I recommend Grace’s – remains of a yarn store in her home. By the way, we think you could get as much of a turnout in Fairbanks were you to ever make it. The winter daylight is just as interesting as the summer night light.

  44. You know where else they’ve got glaciers? New Zealand. There are also palm trees, unbelievably good coffee shops everywhere and more sheep than you can shake a pointy stick at (should you wish to)
    Just thought I hadn’t put in a plug for NZ in a while!

  45. I did that 7 day cruise thing in Alaska for our 20th anniversary – it was outstanding, truly lovely there and lots of fun. I had hoped to visit a glacier in person, but the helicopter trip was cancelled by the stunning amount of rain falling (saving me a lot of cash in the bargain). We did get to sail fairly close to a glacier face and watch it for a while, which was awesome. I think that is why icey blue is one of my favorite colors.
    This cruise thing takes place too far south to have all that “midnight sun” fun, though, and I look forward to getting to do that one day.
    Happy summer!

  46. There’s an old children’s poem that begins “I hate to go to bed by day ….” It’s one my father used to read to us and then in the early 1960s we spent some time in summer in Denmark and I got to experience daylight until all hours for myself.
    It’s amazing – although I would not care to be there in December. No wonder the winter solstice was an event for our ancestors when the dark started to go away again.
    Love the Monkey socks. It occurs to me that since the Jaywalker socks scare me a little that these might be perfect for this skein of Fleece Artist that I acquired in a little … incident. You know about those incidents, right?
    Happy birthdays.

  47. thanks for your blog about Alaska. What a fabulous place. the dean of the College of Human Ecology here in my home town spins qivuit. She doesn’t knit, only spins, because she loves the fiber so much. I also love seeing the hats people brought. Unfortunately, at the book signing I attended, the hats were not photographed by the collector! Selfishly, I really wanted to look for my hat in the bunch. Thanks for photographing the hats now.

  48. I would love all that sunlight! I can’t even imagine how wonderful it would be during sleepless nights to be able to go sit on the deck and knit/spin and watch the sunset/sunrise. I think the thing to do would be to live in Alaska during the sunlit months and then travel (much) further south during the frigid months. I am so envious of your Alaska adventure – it looks like it was so much fun!

  49. I love the land of the midnight sun – my sister worked up in baffin island for a summer. so beautiful in so many different ways.

  50. I love the land of the midnight sun – my sister worked up in baffin island for a summer. so beautiful in so many different ways.

  51. A qivuit coop!! Wow! That had to have been a wonderful experience. I can see how Alaska can have many knitters. Cold, lots of sun now to do work late and early, lots of dark in the winter so nothing better to do than knit. Works for me.

  52. Just for the record- January (or the wintermonths) aren’t thet bad up north, as someone said earlier-we get the beautiful northern light! And also plenty of time to sit in front of the fireplace knitting and drinking hot chocolate!
    Loved your Alaskan adventures. When are you coming to Norway?

  53. I want to eat your birthday yarn. Or marry it, I’m not sure which. (Joe? Ya done good.) Glad you had a great time! And oh my, *what* a report. All the great pix, and fantastic overview of the qiviut co-op and the history, and the hats, and everyone… ::happy sigh:: Thank you! Kudos for remembering all that, and congrats on being back up to date.
    Although I have to giggle re the midnight sun; I’d be one of those people sighing with relief when winter came, ’cause I love the *dark*. Yep, I’m weird.

  54. The poem is “Bed in Summer” which is one of the poems in “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” one of my favorite children’s books of all time.
    In winter, I get up at night,
    And dress by yellow candle-light.
    In summer, quite the other way,
    I have to go to bed by day.
    I have to go to bed and see
    The birds still hopping on the tree,
    Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
    Still going past me in the street.
    And does it not seem hard to you,
    When all the sky is clear and blue,
    And I should like so much to play,
    To have to go to bed by day?
    My daughter heard poems from that book every night when she was a small child. I still can recite several of the poems.
    My own “midnight sun” story is much less impressive. When my husband and I were traveling in England and Scotland one summer, we’d just drive and stop at whatever “attractions” we felt like. Then, when it got towards evening, we’d look for a b and b. Well, in Scotland, that turned out to be after 9:30 pm! It was only just starting to be twilight, and we hadn’t had dinner. Alaska must be so far beyond Scotland. It really sounds wonderful.

  55. I can’t stand the cold, and yet I find myself inspired to move to Alaska and beg the native knitters to let me fondle the qivuit. So much qivuit . . .

  56. First I have to say I love the socks! I am totally bummed her store isn’t stocked! I was going to break my yarn diet (I started again today) for a skein!
    Alaska is so cool! Also it is even better that someone from the state I live in flew there and saw you!

  57. Hi, Stephanie: I usually read-but-don’t-comment, but I am *so* glad you got to meet a bunch of Alaska knitters! I was there last fall for the Alaska State Yarn Council’s Yarn Expo, and wow, was that good company. That was October, when it isn’t light at midnight (or even 7 a.m.), but Snow City keeps a body going until the knitters show up and all is good. The sock got to meet Oomingmak knitters! How fine. Thanks for the good words about Arctic Lace–I know I am prejudiced about the book, but I think I am prejudiced with good reason. Off to Sitka myself tomorrow. I’m taking socks (made, in progress, and as plan yarn potential) and info on Oomingmak. Cheers, Deb

  58. I have sooooo enjoyed these travel adventures of yours. Alaska looks absolutely enchanting. I can’t think of a better set up than endless summer days to knit and winters that allow you to appreciate the fruits of your labor. Artic oxen with magical woolen properties completely seal the deal.

  59. I’ve never seen it, but I call it Denali. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oomingmack sounds fascinating! Alaska is such a beautiful place – I hope to get there someday.

  60. I had to do a doubletake while reading your blog today. I just last week had recieved and happily devoured Arctic Lace.

  61. Makes me want to go to Alaska in June. And my dear, are you implying you actually cannot drive? I thought you just didn’t own a car, but sometimes you-know, borrowed one. Believe me, if you can knit, you can learn to drive. And, think what an interesting blog day that would be…

  62. My hubby worked in Alaska as a fireman and EMT for quite a few years, and one day we will move back there, and Aunt Bunk will finally hold up that promise to a pound or two of quivet, seeing as she works for the UAF with the muskox…
    Someday!

  63. That was a very nice post. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Loved reading about Alaska.
    When I read that you went to the co-operative, I gasped. I had found out about it in Donna’s book. You’re very lucky to have seen it! Did you come home with a scarf from there?
    All the Best, and can’t wait to find out where else you will be headed this year.

  64. I just went back and looked at your new sock again. Joe really is in tune with you. The more I look at the sock and the colors, the more I think it fits the Alaska theme. White for snow and a lot of light, light blue for ocean and glacier water, dark blue for winter nights, pink and the swirls in the stitch pattern for aurora borealis.
    No?

  65. Oh man, watch out for those monkey socks! I finished a pair, and then before I knew it, there was another one on the needles!

  66. Hi yarn harlot! Your books are so cool! Update your tour page; my city may be next! ^_^

  67. Hi yarn harlot! Your books are so cool! Update your tour page; my city may be next! ^_^

  68. Wanted to pop in and wish you a very happy birthday. Couldn’t yesterday as the site was swamped! I can really related to needing more hours of daylight to be productive. Too bad there’s that trade off. Are you going to come to Indiana on your next tour? Please?

  69. My husband and I have taken 2 long rafting trips, one on the Grand Canyon and one on the Tatshenshini/Alsek rivers in Alaska. On the Grand Canyon, you didn’t need a watch…. just float along on “river time”….. eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, knit whenever you want ( but your wooden size 2 needles will never be the same again!) In Alaska we did need our watches, so we would know (in our tents) whether it was time to get up (i.e., Morning!) or whether to go back to sleep because in spite of the light, it was 2 am.
    Alaska is indeed an interesting place.

  70. Oh, man, oh man, my mother is in Alaska right now, maybe it’s not too late to direct her to take a plane, train, auto, dog sled, whatever, to find some qiviut. And, isn’t it a great Scramble word…lovely post.

  71. Love your monkey sock. That yarn looks like mixed berries. I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Alaska, but I’m really enjoying your stories and pictures. Thank you!

  72. I love your blog, but I am a lurker. I am writing to try to help some of your readers. I saw the rainbow yarn and the cardi pattern and knew I had to make it. When I followed your link to the yarn, I saw that wollesuche.de was German, not Danish. It means “In Search of Wool.” I had no trouble ordering the yarn, but I do speak a little German.
    Here are some tips for Anglophones who have to have the rainbow yarn. Feel free to point people to my post or quote any of it or have people e-mail me for help.
    Follow the Harlot’s link or point your browser to wollesuche.de. On the menu on the left “Kategorien” (categories) choose Kauni Effektgarn EQ. Ignore everything but the weight in grams. To put it in your cart, click “in den Korb.” When you have it in your cart, go to “Kasse” (checkout) Click on “Neuer Kunde” (new customer) and fill in the form.
    The form is not too tricky. “Vornahme” is first name and “Nachname” is last name. “Geburtsdatum” is your birthdate. (It’s part of the culture. You can’t buy yarn in Germany without giving your birthdate, but you could have a math error.) Be sure to express it in the european manner. Day, followed by month and then year. “Strasse/Nr.” is street and number. Do it in the American way. E.g., 222 Main Street. “Posleitzahl” is zip code. “Ort” is city. “Bundesland” is state. Pick United States from the drop down list. “Telefonnummer” is your telephone number. E-mail address is equaly obvious. So is Passwort. “Bestatigung” means confirm.
    There are two payment choices. One is Pay Pal. The other is a wire transfer. I chose the latter and got an e-mail in German telling me the account name, number (Konto Nr.) and routing info. PayPal might be easier for the Anglophone.
    They say they’ll ship when they get my wire transfer. I can hardly wait.

  73. I love your blog, but I am a lurker. I am writing to try to help some of your readers. I saw the rainbow yarn and the cardi pattern and knew I had to make it. When I followed your link to the yarn, I saw that wollesuche.de was German, not Danish. It means “In Search of Wool.” I had no trouble ordering the yarn, but I do speak a little German.
    Here are some tips for Anglophones who have to have the rainbow yarn. Feel free to point people to my post or quote any of it or have people e-mail me for help.
    Follow the Harlot’s link or point your browser to wollesuche.de. On the menu on the left “Kategorien” (categories) choose Kauni Effektgarn EQ. Ignore everything but the weight in grams. To put it in your cart, click “in den Korb.” When you have it in your cart, go to “Kasse” (checkout) Click on “Neuer Kunde” (new customer) and fill in the form.
    The form is not too tricky. “Vornahme” is first name and “Nachname” is last name. “Geburtsdatum” is your birthdate. (It’s part of the culture. You can’t buy yarn in Germany without giving your birthdate, but you could have a math error.) Be sure to express it in the european manner. Day, followed by month and then year. “Strasse/Nr.” is street and number. Do it in the American way. E.g., 222 Main Street. “Posleitzahl” is zip code. “Ort” is city. “Bundesland” is state. Pick United States from the drop down list. “Telefonnummer” is your telephone number. E-mail address is equaly obvious. So is Passwort. “Bestatigung” means confirm.
    There are two payment choices. One is Pay Pal. The other is a wire transfer. I chose the latter and got an e-mail in German telling me the account name, number (Konto Nr.) and routing info. PayPal might be easier for the Anglophone.
    They say they’ll ship when they get my wire transfer. I can hardly wait.

  74. Which Indian restaurant is your favourite? Mine isn’t far from U of T– but then again, school didn’t leave a whole lot of time for culinary exploration…
    You should plan a European tour!

  75. I love your blog, but I am a lurker. I am writing to try to help some of your readers. I saw the rainbow yarn and the cardi pattern and knew I had to make it. When I followed your link to the yarn, I saw that wollesuche.de was German, not Danish. It means “In Search of Wool.” I had no trouble ordering the yarn, but I do speak a little German. Here are some tips for Anglophones who must have the rainbow yarn. Feel free to point people to my post or quote it or have people e-mail me for help.
    Follow the Harlot’s link or point your browser to wollesuche.de. On the menu on the left “Kategorien” (categories) choose Kauni Effektgarn EQ. Ignore everything but the weight in grams. To put it in your cart, click “in den Korb.” When you have it in your cart, go to “Kasse” (checkout) Click on “Neuer Kunde” (new customer) and fill in the form.
    The form is not too tricky. “Vornahme” is first name and “Nachname” is last name. “Geburtsdatum” is your birthdate. (It’s part of the culture. You can’t buy yarn in Germany without giving your birthdate, but you could have a math error.) Be sure to express it in the European manner: Day, followed by month and then year. “Strasse/Nr.” is street and number. Do it in the American way. E.g., 222 Main Street. “Postleitzahl” is zip code. “Ort” is city. “Bundesland” is state. Pick United States from the drop down list. “Telefonnummer” is telephone number. E-mail address is equally obvious. So is Passwort. “Bestatigung” means confirm.
    There are two payment choices. One is Pay Pal. The other is a wire transfer. I chose the latter and got an e-mail in German telling me the account name, number (Konto Nr.) and routing info. PayPal might be easier for the Anglophone.

  76. I would never stop knitting if it never got dark. It would be bad times! Great job Alaska on the hats! Way to represent! ๐Ÿ™‚

  77. I have a story from the dark side… I spent two semesters in St. Petersburg, Russia (about as far north as Anchorage). It was dark when I left to go to classes and dark when I left to go home. It was rather depressing. And since I was there from August to May, I missed the white nights. I’ll go back some day to see those.

  78. Hi Stephanie, thanks for sharing your experiences in Alaska and the wonderful photos from your trip. My two trips there — the first to do research for Arctic Lace in 2004 and the second to teach at Yarn Expo in 2006 when Arctic Lace was published — were highlights of my life. I’ll never forget the wonderful places and people I visited.
    There’s no place quite like Alaska, and the work done by the knitters of Oomingmak is both unique and intriguing. Everyone who has a chance to visit the Co-op store in Anchorage and the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer should do so. I promise you won’t regret it!

  79. Ohmygoodness! You have taken a picture of Jodi, my friend from grade school in Kalispell, Montana (although the first picture you have labeled as her is not of her, but the one where she is with Holly is her – did that make sense?). We recently reconnected through email and discovered that we had both developed a love of knitting. When the website was loading, I saw that one of the pictures had the name “jodi” in the title and I just knew it was going to be her. I am so jealous I could just spit – jealous of you for seeing Jodi and jealous of Jodi for seeing you! I love the worldwide knitting web!

  80. So, um, glaciers. Well, next time you come to Seattle, we’ve got quite a few around here (North Cascades and Rainier). Rainier of course is a twofer–she has glaciers AND she’s a volcano.

  81. Love the Alaska pictures! It sounds like a great place. Someday I would like to see the sun all day, but I have zero interest in seeing no sun all day. I get itchy enough when the sun isn’t up until 8:30am and sets at 4:30pm.
    Of course with George W. Twit in charge, I would be going to the Yukon, NWT or Nunavut to see my all day sun.

  82. Denali. It is most definitely Denali. It has been Denali since long before McKinley was born.
    Denali AND a quviut co-op. And midnight sun. How cool.
    Alaska is on my short list of places to save up for, and relocate to, when it’s time to retire. They are all COLD places, full of knitters, and out of the path of hurricanes.

  83. Being married to an Alaskan, I can tell you that the PARK is officially named Denali, and the Mountain is officially Mt. McKinley. FWIW.

  84. When my brother was a reporter for the Anchorage Times, I was intrigued to see that sunrise, sunset, and hours of daylight were on the front page every dayโ€”not stuck way back on the Weather Page as they are in the rest of the world.

  85. When my brother was a reporter for the Anchorage Times, I was intrigued to see that sunrise, sunset, and hours of daylight were on the front page every dayโ€”not stuck way back on the Weather Page as they are in the rest of the world.

  86. We were all so glad to see you in Alaska. I’m another one who came down from Fairbanks as was the missnamed woman with the camera sock. Yes, Fairbanks would have had a great turnout too but we really are at the end of the road and it is hard to get folks up here. I hope you and Joe are able to come up here some time and spend some time. It’s a special place with special people. (I know, everyone says that about thier home.) Thanks again and I’m glad you enjoyed the trip.

  87. We were all so glad to see you in Alaska. I’m another one who came down from Fairbanks as was the missnamed woman with the camera sock. Yes, Fairbanks would have had a great turnout too but we really are at the end of the road and it is hard to get folks up here. I hope you and Joe are able to come up here some time and spend some time. It’s a special place with special people. (I know, everyone says that about thier home.) Thanks again and I’m glad you enjoyed the trip.

  88. Great post. Is it true you don’t drive? Three cheers for you if so. I’m a New Yorker and I didn’t learn to drive till I was 41. (I was reluctant even then, but I just couldn’t get the third kid to school without driving.)Three years later, I drive my kids around all the time, and I admit it’s more convenient–but otherwise overrated. If you wanna know the truth, I’d rather knit.

  89. Thanks for a lovely post – I think, in general, those of us who live here think we’re lucky to live (and knit) in such a special place. So glad you enjoyed Oomingmak! Half the hats have gone to their new homes, and the other half will go this week (though they probably won’t be truly needed until fall). If you come back in January, you could always drag Joe up to Circle Hot Springs and enjoy the northern lights and Milky Way while soaking in the hot water – outdoors! But seriously, I hope you can come back sometime with some or all of your family. My grandson will be here soon, and it will be interesting to see how he gets along in all the light – very different from his home in Colorado. And yes, I’m up late commenting – getting lots of things done while it’s light!

  90. Fascinating post, thank you!
    I was given some Oomingmak qivuit yarn as a Christmas present last year and it is lovely to read all about the place it came from.

  91. I lived in France for a year, and discovered it’s much further North than I realized.
    I arrived in late September and didn’t notice anything. But at Christmas, the sun started to peek over the horizon at about 8:30 am, and it was pitch dark before 4 pm
    In Summer, though, it wasn’t dark until about midnight. I never caught the sun coming up, but it was broad daylight at 4 am.
    We lived about halfway between Paris and the English Channel.
    I never lost track of time, and the light or lack thereof was just an oddity. It was too external to bother me.
    I was a lot younger then. I think it would be more of a problem for me now. I can barely keep track of what day it is, let alone what time.
    But I’ve never experienced light or dark that lasts all day and night.
    I’m glad your trip was so wonderful!

  92. I lived in France for a year, and discovered it’s much further North than I realized.
    I arrived in late September and didn’t notice anything. But at Christmas, the sun started to peek over the horizon at about 8:30 am, and it was pitch dark before 4 pm
    In Summer, though, it wasn’t dark until about midnight. I never caught the sun coming up, but it was broad daylight at 4 am.
    We lived about halfway between Paris and the English Channel.
    I never lost track of time, and the light or lack thereof was just an oddity. It was too external to bother me.
    I was a lot younger then. I think it would be more of a problem for me now. I can barely keep track of what day it is, let alone what time.
    But I’ve never experienced light or dark that lasts all day and night.
    I’m glad your trip was so wonderful!

  93. Your gorgeous socks made me wonder, do you know about Cider Moon? Check them and their amazing colors out — sock heaven! Am about to represent on many planes (if allowed) and in public in Ireland & France, and am hoping the awesome power of knitters isn’t limited to this continent…..I’m glad all your traveling was so wonderful and that you’re back in the present tense.

  94. I was in Alaska last year, just about this time. It was fabulous. I took public transit (sort of – I think some of the trains and buses were mostly for “tourists”). But I got to spend my time knitting and watching scenery and wildlife rather than driving. Those people who came from Fairbanks? I think its 7 hour drive. ๐Ÿ™‚ Its a big state, but you’re from Canada. You’re used to that.

  95. I must admit I was amazed to see a statue of Cook there. I had no idea he even went to Alaska. Just goes to show what they teach here in Australia.
    I love your Monkey socks and I don’t think the lace pattern is *too* lost in the colour. But now I must knit the Monkey socks. Along with all my other sock needs. Is sock knitting really as addictive as I tell my husband?

  96. I was scanning the group pics hoping to see Katie and then there she was in a picture all her own! Yay Katie! Belated Happy Birthday Stephanie.

  97. I’m swedish and live in Stockholm, Sweden (lat 59). Personally I can’t really see myself living much further south because as much as I love the long summerdays I also love the winter darkness. As someone above stated it doesn’t get that dark, there’s the snow and dusk and dawn are very stretched out here so even when the sun isn’t over the horizon it’s quite light outside. Wintertime is perfect for sitting in front of an open fire knitting.
    I’ve been to the very north of Sweden a few times enjoying the true midnight sun. There’s a ski resort where you can ski in sunlight at midnight. The snow is really bad that time of year but it’s fun.
    I really love your blog by the way. This is my first time leaving a comment but I always read your posts.

  98. Thanks, Stephanie, for letting me experience the midnight sun – this has long been a dream of mine, mainly because I just can’t imagine it, and I figure I’d be giggling all the way, too…
    and a belated happy happy!

  99. The picture of the clock radio and the sky at the time so do NOT make you dorky. If you hadn’t have done that, even though I believed you, well, I kind of wouldn’t have believed you.
    And then the photo of you all in the carpark at midnight? I looked at it for the longest time.
    Light at night.
    Weird.

  100. I love Arctic Lace! I checked a copy out of the library and loved it. It became mine after I spilled red Kool Aid all over it. My husband accused me of doing it on purpose but it really was an accident.

  101. Stephanie – loved the Alaska posting and can’t believe that no one has commented on the felted beer cozies!! LOVE those!
    We need a pattern… or a clue ๐Ÿ˜‰

  102. Nachaqs?? Can you enlighten me? (Okay, given the midnight sun, I couldn’t resist the pun.)
    Terrific trip. The quiviut knitting was awesome. Always an inspiration to see the many ways the world is united by knitting.

  103. Nachaqs?? Can you enlighten me? (Okay, given the midnight sun, I couldn’t resist the pun.)
    Terrific trip. The quiviut knitting was awesome. Always an inspiration to see the many ways the world is united by knitting.

  104. Oh my goodness! You have caused a mere furry in all of Europe! Every yarn distributor in Europe is mentioning that your blog about the Kauni Cardigan is causing normally peaceful knitting shops to be bombarded by orders for the rainbow yarn. They’ve had to put their knitting down and run around like a chicken with their heads cut off to try and fill all the orders your blog generated! You are a saleswoman to the enth degree without even trying. The knitters grapevine spreads across the world! It’s strong and fast and now very colorful!!!

  105. Now THAT’S a city I could live in! I could sit in the backyard, watch the mountains, ponder God (because in that beauty, there is one) and knit, knit, knit… I just felt a tingly!!!! There’s nothing I’d like more than to sit down and NOT be interrupted and get back to liking cables and lace and cardigans – you know, things I can really sink my teeth into without forgetting where I left off!

  106. *sigh* Qiviut. On my list of dream fibers. Every time I go to my lys… I in full denial and psycho-ness.. I check to see if it’s on sale. Even worse- I check the clearance bin to see if somehow they have placed a lone ball into the basket….there never is. ๐Ÿ™
    But a knitter is always hopeful. Maybe next time.
    I love the idea of extra daylight to knit by. (could solve my dilemma of sleep vs knit) But, how the crap do they convince their kids it’s bedtime? Even in the summer here in Michigan, I catch flack from the 5 yr old cause “It can’t be bedtime it’s not DARK out!)”
    I bet te qiviut makes it worth it.
    Hmmm do they do a dna test or something or can anyone go to alaska and participate in the co-op and knit qiviut to sell for $2.00 a year?
    Could be worth the hassle. TOTALLY.

  107. Fantastic post!! Now I want to go to Alaska even more! ๐Ÿ™‚ Really interesting info on Denali, I never knew that name.
    Out of curiousity, how cold was it there? The last picture suggests that it was a lot warmer than I would have imagined. I guess all that sun helps.

  108. I love your blog, and I read it daily (well, assuming my Internet connection stays up!). But I do have a question: I was just realizing in reading this blog entry that you were mentioning early Christian missionaries and some less-than-positive actions they forced on others, and it made me realize that any time any form of religion is mentioned on your blog, it’s usually in a negative light. Is this just a coincidence, or have all experiences with religions or religious people had a negative impact from the standpoint where you’re observing? I ask because I live in a religiously very pluralistic area, and I know lots of great Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, etc. Lots of them are great people and really contribute to the local society…and I’m assuming you’ve met knitters of almost every religious or non-religious stripe out there at this point, and found tons of great people among them. Any thoughts, or am I just assuming too much here?
    Thanks again for your great blog and the great role you play as a uniter amongst all knitters–

  109. Hi,
    I live and work out in one of the villages that knit for this co-op. I have yet to meet any of the women that knit for them yet. It takes time to do that in the village. Their work is wonderful! I am so sorry I missed you in Anchorage as we passed through a week earlier! Next time—-may be you could come out to Unalakleet!
    Nancy

  110. Well, after reading your blog for months now, and reading all of your books (just finished Casts Off last night), I’ve finally decided to start my own blog. I resisted for a long time, since, as a new knitter, I didn’t know what I would contribute. Then, last weekend I found a fun yarn shop and wanted to tell people. And I didn’t want to have to wait until Wed nite when I met up with my fellow knitters. Soooo….
    Thanks for the laughs!

  111. Hi Harlot,
    I’m shedding a tear of Homer-sickness after reading your Alaska post. I had the same fear of dark winter days as everyone else has mentioned – but in fact, dry crisp snow, bright moonlight and aurora, and perpetual wood fires and comfort food make winter pretty awesome. MUCH more pleasant than soggy gray New England. and the summers are so glorious.
    Cara – As a non-believer, I definitely look upon modern Christian charity differently than on historical acts of missionaries… in Alaska there is a lot of bitterness over forced removals of Native children to boarding schools for example – but many of these same children and their descendents are Christians today. So I’d add time/history to your list of pluralities…
    (It’s raining and cold in Cape Town)

  112. I would absolutely LOVE all the daylight. That’s just so neat. However, the darkness in the winter would probably kill me.

  113. When we travel, I rarely insist on going anywhere particular, but Anchorage has an exception. The convention center has a spectacular bead sculpture, called “Northern Lights” (I think). This had appeared on the back cover of an early Threads magazine, with accompanying article, and I had to see it.
    As for the “warmer than wool” business, I’d imagine that the numbers are based on R-values, which measure the heat conduction of materials. R-values are relatively easy to measure in a materials lab and I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that someone had gone through and measured the R-values of all kinds of fibers. After all, the tensile strength of silk is well-known, so we know that fiber has made its way into the materials labs.

  114. I love that yarn you’re doing Monkey socks in. So pretty. You’ve definitely made me feel the need to visit Alaska. Definitely for me, a visit rather than live there place though.

  115. Thanks for posting a picture of my mom, Anne! I don’t get a chance to see her very often. I hope you had a good time in Alaska it is a very fun place to be. Good knitting!!

  116. Hahaha, I have (lovingly, of course) referred to CARA as the monkey on my back… I’m glad it’s not just me.
    Who’d ever have thunk it? Midnight in Alaska… good for you (looks like fun)!

  117. wow, i wanted to go to alaska before but now i reaaaaaaaaaaaly want to go to alaska.
    also, love the blue and pink yarn!

  118. Regarding qiviut being 8 times warmer than wool, during my research for Arctic Lace I discovered several studies of qiviut wool, but none of them tested r-values or in any way scientifically examined the warmth of the fiber compared to wool. I was not able to find out where the “8 times” information came from. If anyone does discover the study or source of this information, I’d love to hear about it! Thanks.
    Donna Druchunas
    Contact via website: http://www.sheeptoshawl.com

  119. dude, i live in Alaska and i never heard of arctic lace until today….must go to Library immediately.
    The important answer we are all dying to know….what beer did you order at Bear Tooth?

  120. Thanks for the hilarious talk at Title Wave! I was surprised when my husband (the gorgeous guy with the handlebar mustache) said he wanted to attend with me, but it turned out to be one of our more unusual and fun date nights! You had the audience in stitches! Within days, he’d been inspired to ask me to teach him to knit again (first time since he was a small child). He’s already had lots of practice tinking and frogging, despite his first project being a basic garter stitch scarf. (Yes, I tried to convince him to start with a hat, as you suggested in your book, but…)
    Actually, I think most of us Alaskans knit much more during the winter than in the summer. When it’s light, Alaskans enjoy the beautiful outdoors, whether in traditional activities like camping, fishing, and hunting or like my husband and me – riding our tandem bike or walking with the kids on Anchorage’s many bike trails.
    And sadly, while qiviut does feel incredibly soft to the touch, it still causes problems for some of us with animal fiber allergies. I have to wear a liner under my qiviut hat or I begin itching within a few minutes and shortly break out in hives. Sigh. When I picked it up at a thrift store for a few cents I’d somehow forgotten why I gave my qiviut hood to a friend. Guess I’ll bless someone else.
    And what you said in your talk about non-knitters not understanding was absolutely correct. When we got home and relieved our babysitter, he looked completely uncomprehending when we told him we’d been listening to a comedian whose topic was knitting. I’m betting he thought he must somehow have misunderstood, as English is his second language. After all, what’s funny about knitting?

  121. Oh, one of my sons saw me teaching his dad to knit and begged the next day until I gave in and taught him too. The other son wanted to as well, but it’ll be years before he can hold the needles. It’s infectious! Thanks for starting something.

  122. Renting a car to see a glacier would get you nowhere in Alaska. You need a bush plane. It would be safer too. Grizzly bears are BIG.
    I highly recommend you take up Mel’s challenge on the warmth percentage of qiviut and hit up the Mythbusters. They’d create some Rube Goldberg scientific test on the warmth of different fibers.

  123. Thanks for the great visit Stephanie! This is a late comment since we’re into day 5 of our drive from Anchorage to San Diego. Right now I’m sipping a cup of Joe in Prince George & taking the long anticipated advantage of catching up on blogging & reading.
    Please visit Anchorage again – several of us would be happy to get you to a real glacier.
    Cheers!

  124. Happy belated birthday, Steph. I was vacationing in North Dakota (which is *practically* Canada) with no internet, so I missed the official day.
    Your socks are way-cool. My Monkeys are in a colorway called Sharks, (Claudia’s Handpaint) so they’re now known as “Monkey Sharks”.

  125. I’m thoroughly enjoying your travelling exploits. I had no idea of the Alaska history so thanks for posting about that. I love your monkey socks too – the texture of these socks is wonderful – will have to make some myself one day!

  126. Your Anchorage trips looks just SO COOL. Sock on a chunk of glacier ice? Midnight sun? Whoa! Every so often I see my friend’s bro who lives in Fairbanks, I ask him what they all do in the winter, and he always just kind of chuckles. Then he says they get a lot done in summer. I’m with you about the blog being a public party. Every now and then I want to rant about my family, but they read it! So, once I did say something perhaps not overly kind (like big hair white trailer trash from NH) in a comment at somebody else’s blog (about my family)…it related to the post. Sometimes. Just. Have. To. Get. It. Out. But mean to anybody in the blogosphere on my blog? I guess I’m lucky, I haven’t even read that kind of meanness yet.

  127. So cool to see you visit my hometown. I mean, you’ve been to the town I live in now and the town I’m moving to next year, but I feel FLUTTERY seeing you in the town I grew up in. I do miss the midnight sun (but yes, the noontime moon can get wearing.) So bummed you missed out on walking on a glacier! It’s fantastic in the summer when you can walk around on solid ice with ice as far as you can see, but be in a tank top. The ice is so incredibly blue. You must go back!!

  128. I now have this incredible urge to visit Alaska and knit outside at midnight. Thanks for sharing some great pictures…It almost feels like I was there.

  129. You know, I love these posts from your travels, all the photos and the people that you meet. Thank you for sharing this with us. And I love the sock yarn from Joe!! Those are great — gotta make some myself.

  130. We lived in AK just short of 15 years. My two daughters were born there. Light in the summer was great. Darkness in the winter was SADD. I suffered from it and it took several years for me to discover it. AK is a wonderful place, many interesting people. And Mt. McKinley may be the official name of the mountain, but the name given to it by the Natives was Denali and I feel that is the name it deserves.

  131. You make me laugh! I love that you say you would get so much done and then follow that by a grounding re-examination of the likelihood. It seems plausible though, doesn’t it?
    Thanks for the info on the Knitting Co-op, very interesting. I will try and check that out through the library — and maybe when I go there this Fall (on a cruise ship! not a knitting cruise, well it will be for me).
    I so enjoy reading about you connecting with so many new(and not new) people on your trips. This vicarious KnitTravel is great.
    ๐Ÿ˜€

  132. DH and I considered an ex-pat gig in Stockholm. The discussions with the relocation expert about room-darkening blinds, and how to survive winter were both scary and exciting. The opportunity didn’t come through but it would have bee fun if it did. I think you can adjust to any living environment with the right attitude – that would be the laid-back kind! But for a visit – I’d be opening the curtains with you!

  133. i’ve been to alaska once. it was november. it was a little cold.
    someday, i”l get to comapare that with the constant daylight. it would thrill me to no end. i’m so glad you had a good time. and the qiviut is so cool!

  134. I’ve just got back from Finland where I had a similar experience with the midnight sun. In fact we were out taking photographs of Brown bears (my other hobby…photography not bears) at 2am in the morning! I giggled a lot too.
    Do you know if you are doing any events in September? I’m coming over to Toronto (from the UK) for a wedding and would love to say hi…do I sound like a stalker? I’m not I promise!

  135. I’ve just got back from Finland where I had a similar experience with the midnight sun. In fact we were out taking photographs of Brown bears (my other hobby…photography not bears) at 2am in the morning! I giggled a lot too.
    Do you know if you are doing any events in September? I’m coming over to Toronto (from the UK) for a wedding and would love to say hi…do I sound like a stalker? I’m not I promise!
    Kathie
    (long time reader, first time commenter)

  136. Let me open my mouth and remove all doubt that I’m a yokel: these Alaskan knitters? They look just like regular people.
    Somehow I imagined all non-native-Alaskans would look like Grizzly Adams or escaped convicts. These folks in your photos look just like the knitters in Iowa for goshsakes.
    Where are the home-tanned leather breeches? The itchy wool undies?
    Can you see the misinformation we lower-48ers are fed? Thank you for rectifying it.

  137. I envy you the trip- I never even considered the “daylite” nighttime- duh!
    Happy belated Birthdays- all (smile) 38 of them; I shouldn’t laugh since my older brother has the same problem- will insist that he’s 2 years younger- a misconception which I politely correct when ever the subject comes up (Mother always said I was too exact for anyone else’s good)
    I’m a frequent visitor & have been enjoying the whirlwind of your existance vicariously; thanks for the ride.

  138. Yes,nothing gets done in January…except probably a lot of knitting! People mow their lawns at 2am, very freaky! Glad you liked Anchorage,(skip Fairbanks)

  139. Next time your in the 49th you’ve got to visit southeast AK. It’s only 17 hours of daylight right now, and we have the most rockin’ knitters in the state. Personally, I came here 3 years ago with the intention of staying for 6 months. I fell in love with it here. BTW, my 2nd pair of Monkeys is on the needles!

  140. Next time your in the 49th you’ve got to visit southeast AK. It’s only 17 hours of daylight right now, and we have the most rockin’ knitters in the state. Personally, I came here 3 years ago with the intention of staying for 6 months. I fell in love with it here. BTW, my 2nd pair of Monkeys is on the needles!

  141. So *glad* you have a new closet! I’m sure your many readers (who were, of course, only trying to sabotage your blog) will be thrilled. I hope you’re selling enough books to afford the closet, but if not, perhaps we could have a Harlot-a-thon to raise some money for the blog? Memberships that would include a pin or t-shirt perhaps? I know you’ve made suggestions that we should have t-shirts, perhaps this is a prime time to launch those?
    Oh yeah, and thanks for those calming photos of yarn. I never would have made it through the post without them!

  142. Oh, how I miss Alaska! Isn’t the whole daylight in the middle of the night thing just incredible??? Alaskan Summer Ale and Alaskan Amber are fantastic beers! Both are very yummy. The co-op is a fantastic place to visit. I walked around Anchorage for a half hour trying to find it and when I finally stumbled in, I wasn’t disappointed at all. Glad you had a wonderful time in such an amazing state. PS, we call it Mt. Denali, too now.

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