Just keep your mouth shut

I sometimes read feminist blogs. (Dr. Steph and I had a conversation at Knit Night last night where we said that we would both read them more except neither of us wants to be angry and exhausted all the time…which is problematic, but true.) I got to feeling sort of guilty on the way home that I wasn’t keeping up and so this morning I made a quick tour and read up. One story in particular caught my eye. (Well, it caught my eye after the hysterical blindness caused by learning that women who think this sort of thing is wrong are referred to in some circles as “feminist supremacists” abated.)

Tory Bowen says that she was raped. Actually, Tory Bowen, was pre-law at college when she had a drink at a bar that was the last thing she remembers until she woke up in a strangers bed, with a stranger, who was doing something she hadn’t consented to. (That would be the rape.) She went to the emergency room, was treated and had a rape kit done and called the police. The police charged her attacker with 1st degree sexual assault and a trial was set. That’s where things got weird.

The judge decided that many words around this issue were too inflammatory. That they made the defendant sound guilty, and that they implied a crime….”Rape” is a legal conclusion- he thought. We cannot call it rape until a jury says it’s rape. (Hear that women? You can’t know something is rape until there’s a vote. I suppose being there doesn’t grant you any special insight.) So he banned some words. Nobody in his courtroom may use these words, when it comes to this trial:


Sexual Assault.





No one can say that the hospital did a “Rape Kit” and they can’t say that at the hospital she was treated by the “Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.” In fact, inside the courtroom no one can even say that the defendant is charged with 1st Degree Sexual Assault.

So what, if anything, was allowed?

Ms. Bowen is allowed to say that she and the defendant had “sex” or “intercourse”, which she complains (and very rightly so) implies the exact opposite to a jury, that the acts were consensual and non-traumatic.

Worse than this…perhaps the worst of all, the jury did not know that the words were banned. The jury was never instructed that the ruling was made at all. Can you imagine being a juror at a trial where a man is accused of not even sexual assault, but just sex?

A trial where the victim (oh, crap. Forgot we can’t call her that.) the “complainant” can’t say she was forced? A trial where the victim never accuses her attacker of rape?

If you were a juror, how seriously would you take a woman who testified about what happened to her for 13 hours without ever using a single word that implied that she thought what had happened to her was a crime?

Not surprisingly, the first trial resulted in a hung jury. A second trial is about to start and the same ban is still in place. The judges name is Judge Jeffre Cheuvront and he is a judge in Nebraska. There is an interview with Tory Bowen here, on the CBC (it’s the first story in Part 1) and it’s well worth listening to.

Whether or not you think Ms. Bowen was raped, forced to have sex, was sexually assaulted had sex with her attacker, the defendant is irrelevant. Limiting how rape victims can describe what happens to them is prejudicial to a jury and insulting to the victim. it’s also insulting to the jury to not tell them that you’ve banned language at all. (A friend of mine pointed out that this ban is actually insulting to every single person involved except the defendant.) If this offends you, please consider taking a moment to tell someone how you feel about this. If you live in Nebraska you can find your Senator here. You can file a complaint about an attorney or a judge here. If you don’t live in Nebraska, maybe your Senator knows a Nebraska Senator?

Tell them that until the words “victim” “attacked” or “forced” are banned from all trials, until at a robbery trial we say that “the interested party liberated some property and nobody minded” or at a murder trial the only thing that can be said about a serial killer who brutally murdered twenty people is “he may have reduced to zero the life energy of the other concerned parties” – that this is sort of obviously about women and their rights.

(See what I mean about the anger and exhaustion?)

PS. (Added at 3:30, when I still couldn’t stop thinking about this)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the language Ms. Bowen is allowed to use, and trying to think of a sentence using only “sex” or “intercourse” that could possibly stand in for the phrase “he raped me” or any other phrase that makes it sound like something was done “to” her, rather than “with” her. Interestingly, I’ve discovered that I can’t. Every time I use one of her two allowed words, I have to use the word “we” or “with” to make it work (you can’t say “he sexed me”, you must say “he had sex with me” or “we had intercourse” ) all of which imply she was a partner in the process. Try it.

I’m still mad.


When I first heard about Elizabeth Zimmermann I read some of her stuff, loved it, and thought that she was a very clever lady. Then I knit my first baby surprise jacket and realized that she was not clever, she was a genius. One of those sparklingly stunning quick brains that does things ordinary brains do not. A brain that thought around corners and not in the limiting straight lines that I can’t even manage most days. I’ve knit a multiplicity of these little puzzles over the years, and when I had leftovers from the Dream in Colour fixation a little while ago,I knit one up over the weekend. It only takes a few hours (maybe….six- eight?) and is simple, assuming one can follow directions. This was my personal barrier to success with the Baby Surprise Jacket over the years. I kept trying to “figure it out” instead of just knitting one and letting the logic of it dawn on you. The first one takes blind faith. Just like turning a heel, when you are learning you suspend disbelief and leap. To make a baby surprise jacket, first you knit something that looks like the garter stitch equivalent of a manta ray.


I changed colours when it suited me, and as my leftovers allowed. It took more yarn than I thought it would, so this sweater contains leftovers from both mine and Ken’s “Rocketry” sweaters, and some extra from my “green” wrap Cardigan. I weighed the sweater when I was done knitting and it took 151 grams of Dream in Color “Classy” worsted. Odd piece of knitting accomplished, one folds it up like origami, and sews up two seams along the tops of the arms…



(Sort of carefully, since these seams are very public)


When I’m done that the sweater is technically finished, but I don’t like the raw looking edge of the neck so…


A crochet edge.


I don’t crochet, (current evidence notwithstanding) and am badly befuddled by crochet patterns in general. For some reason, the crochet terms have evolved differently in the US than in Canada/Europe and between the inconsistencies and my own inexperience, I can’t figure patterns out. I can do my own thing, but the trouble starts with following a pattern. Is it US? UK? I swear, it seems to me that if you wanted to start a barfight in crochetville you could just swagger into the local pub and say “I do believe I have worked me a fine double crochet on this here sweater” and someone would stand up and shout “No you ain’t! That’s single crochet” and the next thing you know hooks are drawn and the whole thing is a mess. (If you would like to have a version of the same fight in a knitting bar, ask what “moss stitch” is.) For the record, I believe I have worked one row of double crochet.


Now all the little wonder needs is three buttons (whoops. That’s another change. EZ’s pattern calls for five buttonholes, but I like it better with just three at the top.)


I love this little sweater, it’s always a pretty surprise. This pattern was written the same year I was born, but it never gets old for me. It’s really a classic.

Elizabeth Zimmermann’ s Baby Surprise Jacket, pattern found in The Knitting Workshop, or as a leaflet from Schoolhouse Press, or even as a DVD that walks you through it…but I haven’t seen it. There’s also an adult version….and an especially pretty example here.


Another surprise. I actually finished the yarn from yesterday.


Pretty eh? I love how you can see the learning curve. (Sort of, I mean I would have loved it more if there was no learning curve and I was just perfect all the time.) If you look at the greyish-pink in the centre of the ball, that’s where I was having trouble. The better reddish outsides is where I got it together. You know…in as much as I ever get it together. Still, an excellent effort. Now, I’m off.


It’s that time of year, and I’ve got my work cut out for me.

It told me so

For all the talk we do about being the bosses of our fibre, of taking charge, of bending its filaments to your will, there sometimes comes a moment when I remember that fibre has a voice, and that failure to listen can result in disaster – or crappy yarn, depending on your personal definition of disaster. (I only advocate telling other spinners that the fleece was talking to you. You would be surprised how many people are suddenly really busy if you bring up the voices in polite company.)


Such is the case with the fibre I started spinning last week. My intention was to divide the batt in half lengthwise, then spin one half of it up, progressing from one end of the batt to the other, then repeat with the other half onto another bobbin, then ply the two together and hope that the colour change present in the batt would be present in the yarn.


Too bad the batt didn’t give a crap about my plan. (Too bad the colour sucks on these pictures as well…the colour on the right is an intense coral/red/pink. Just plain refuses to photograph without being over-saturated and disco intense. Try to use your imagination. ) Actually, I’ve got no business accusing the batt of duplicity. I did not properly assess the batt, I disregarded the will of the batt, and the batt behaved as batts will when they have their dignity offended that way…which is to say that the whole thing sucked.

Since I started out deciding what I wanted, I had pretty much decided how I would spin it. Woolen style, forward draw.

“Worsted” and “woollen” when used in spinning, refer to fibre preparation (as in “woollen prep”) and the way things are spun. (While worsted is a weight or yarn in knitting, it’s not in spinning. A yarn spun “worsted” can be any weight.) To over simplify entirely it goes like this:

Worsted = straight. Fibres are combed in preparation making “top”, where the fibres are parallel and close together. Worsted spinning emphasizes using techniques that keeps the fibres straight and parallel and minimizes the amount of air in the resulting yarn. This yarn is very durable and strong.

Woollen = airy. Fibres are prepared on cards, making “roving” where fibres are more jumbled and have more air between fibres than in worsted. Woollen spinning emphasizes keeping this loftiness, using techniques that don’t compress the fibres. Yarn spun this way still has the air trapped between the fibres, and is warmer and softer, but not as durable or strong.

Now, you can totally mix and match here. Worsted prep top can be spun using woollen techniques, and the other way around. An example would be spinning a merino top using the long draw technique. I can’t do it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t (or shouldn’t) be done. A lot of spinners spin everything the same way, regardless of prep type. Generally speaking, I find it easiest to spin worsted yarns with worsted techniques (merino top, short forward draw) and woollen yarns with woollen techniques. (Grafton batt, long draw.)

See that second example? Yeah. The whole short forward draw on the batt thing that I was planning? Not so much. After spinning a quarter bobbin of yarn that had as much finesse as my birkenstocks at the ballet, I wised up and took a look, and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong.


(Photo courtesy Samantha, a bored 13 year old who will certainly find something else to do tomorrow so she isn’t co-opted into taking pictures of her dorky mother doing dorky things.)

As I was holding the fibre in my hand and pulling it out and forward towards the orifice, it was almost seizing. Any little criss-cross of fibres (of which there were many – it’s a woollen preparation) weren’t pulling out in between my hands but almost tightening and knotting as I tried to force it. It was a frustrating crap scene and I wasn’t getting what I wanted, a light-ish very smooth yarn.

I walked away. I knit. I thought about it. I stewed it over. I went back to the wheel from time to time and tried variations on my plan. I held the fibre more loosely, more tightly. I shortened the drafting zone. I lengthened it. I pre-drafted. I didn’t. I refuse to tell you how long I thought about it, because it’s a little embarrassing. Finally it hit me. If what I was doing wasn’t working….why didn’t I try something else!

(I am not as smart as you think.)

Instead of trying to figure out how to do the wrong thing better, why didn’t I see if there was a right thing!

(Just pass the Nobel prize right over here.)


This would be me, using a long draw to spin a fine single that is looking a whole lot better and is a lot less like trying to nail jello to a tree.


Better? I thought so. Held loosely in my back (for me that’s left) hand, with the twist allowed to flow freely up the single as I swing my arm wide, the fibres are untangling and almost flowing.


This single is coming up finer than I planned so I bailed on the other part of my idea too. I’m going to spin up the whole batt, one end to the other and chain-ply ( or navajo-ply, depending on who you ask). I should end up with…well. Something a lot like what I was planning on, albeit a 3-ply instead of a 2. It’ll still have that colour progression though…I’m just getting there the fibres way instead of mine, since I started listening to the batt and what it had to tell me.

Just don’t tell any ordinary people it talks….all right? I’m misunderstood enough.

The horse I’m supposed to be on

It has struck me recently, as I finally accept the death of my hard drive and try to move forward, that the reason I have been so devastated (and deeply, deeply in denial) about the death of the drive, is that computers are deeply mysterious to me. I spend a great deal of time working with them. I entrust massive amounts of information and images to them, all of us use them for communication and banking and…I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely no idea how it works. My knowledge of my computer – despite it being VITAL to my career and lifestyle – is pretty much driven by what I need to know and what I cobble together and manage to infer from things I read and hear around me. (Note the difference between “things I infer” and “facts”.)

The day the laptop Bricked (as in “turned into a” ) I remember looking at Joe and Ken and not being too upset. I mean, there’s always something you can do…right? There is some sort of backup (I hear people mention that) and things on computers are “restored” (I hear that all the time too.) one of those things would work for me.

I stood there, not too concerned really…sure, everything on my computer was gone, but I knew where it was. It was on “The Server”. One time I asked Ken where all the blog entries were saved. “On the server” he said. (Score one point for the server) then I noticed where my mail was coming from, “the server” (two points) then when I was connecting one Mac to the other in the house…the button you click on your laptop is “connect to server”. I took those three pieces of information and concluded (inferred, really) that the server had all my stuff. Knowing this brought me enormous relief as Joe and Ken stood there telling me my drive was dead. I sighed thankfully. It was all on the server.

I’m pretty sure that Ken and Joe flipped for who was going to have to tell me that servers don’t work that way. Despite their names, servers actually serve you very little.

I still wasn’t upset. When I bought this laptop I got a lot of extra memory. Seemed to me that now that the drive was dead, and the server didn’t serve, that it was a darned terrific move on my part, getting all that extra memory. Turns out?

Computer memory doesn’t remember anything. Nothing. It forgets it all when you turn it off. Your DRIVE remembers things, your memory FORGETS things. I know this is hard to hear, but if you are, as I was, labouring under the delusion that there was no way that some of the smartest people in the world would design something like computer memory and give it such a misleading name, or put all of the actual memory in the part of the computer that breaks most often…well. If my pain can save just one knitter….

Turns out all of my things…my writing, my photos (I had some of those on cd) the Knitters without Borders Database….all gone. All. Gone. Way Gone. Joe and Ken had though that I was smart enough to be doing a backup (never underestimate my stupidity) and I thought that since they “make blog go” that they must be doing all the vital things with the computer. They are computer GUYS. This seems to be the crux of the problem. They figure that something like backups are computers 101. They can’t imagine that everyone doesn’t know how to do a backup, or doesn’t do one. They don’t understand that those of us who came to computers on a “need to know” basis and inferred the rest might have missed the day that they explained that memory forgets things and drives remember things and all of your eggs are in one very breakable basket so you have to store things in another way. (Though it’s just so obvious now that I can’t believe I didn’t know.)

By the way? If anything I’m telling you is at all surprising and you’re getting a vulnerable feeling? Here is how to do a backup on a Mac. and here’s Windows. I’ll wait here. (If you use something else, like Linux it’s my understanding that you are either a big enough geek to know how or you live with one. Ask them.)

In any case, the next phase with a bricked drive is to send it to the hospital. My drive went first to the computer emergency room where they confirmed it was bricked and said it wouldn’t “mount” or “spin”. (Turns out that drives work a lot like record players. The drive spins and some high tech fancy reads the spinning record. ) From there (stopping only while I wrote terrible, terrible letters to Steve Jobs that he didn’t answer) it went to the place of it’s birth. Incredibly one of my readers is an engineer type at the company that makes that drive and sells them to Apple, and she very generously offered high level attempts to recover things. She sent me emails periodically to tell me how it was going. She coerced other engineers and tech people into helping her. They used robots and sterile labs. They did things I can’t even fathom, and after each attempt, I would get an email.

“It didn’t work, but don’t give up…there is some other insanely clever thing we can try.”

It was hopeful and crushing at the same time. Each attempt brought us closer to running out of options, and each attempt could conceivably have worked.

Finally, there was one thing left, and it failed…and there was nothing they could do. Nothing. The truth, after months of denial, effort, trying and superhuman rescue attempts was that not one byte of information had been retrieved, nor would it ever be. My stuff was gone, all gone. It was nowhere. The sick reality finally hit me. It was not going to be ok. I had lost it all.

Sorry. This is upsetting. Here,


I finished the Loksins socks. (Lisa Souza sock yarn in “Turqua“)


Aren’t they pretty? Feel better? I know I do.

I’ve spent the time since then trying to pull it together. I’ve had to rebuild all my addresses, phone numbers, the writing I lost (oh, that still makes me nauseous) and now that I more or less have it all back (or have reconciled myself to the loss) the only thing that’s left to rebuild is the Knitters Without Borders database.

What I had before was a list (private) of all the people who had donated, their email addresses and the amount of their donations.

Since I was in the process of tallying more donations when the drive bricked, I also lost all of the emails that were yet to be added on. I want to rebuilt the database so that two things can happen. The tally in the sidebar can be correct and we can know what we accomplished, and to have a complete listing of all the names of the knitters who gave so you can all have an equal chance in the draws for gifts.

I need your help to make it work. If you have ever contributed to Knitters Without Borders please read and sort out which of the two things you should do. (Please read carefully.) The total in the sidebar is accurate up to this last December 26th, plus it has anything really recent (since the crash) on it too.

1. If you donated and sent me an email to tell me about it (probably after December 26th) and I did not acknowledge it – PLEASE RESEND IT. The original is fine, if it’s still in your email. Make sure your email has your name, the email to contact you at, the amount of your donation and what currency it’s in. I’ll send an you acknowledgement as I work through the list and you are added.

The email address just for sorting out this mess is kwbATyarnharlotDOTca

2. If you have EVER donated (from the beginning until now) and I did acknowledge it please resend me just your name. Please put “Name” in the subject line of the email so I can sort things easily. I don’t need to know how much you gave because I have already added you to the total, and we’re all working together. The email to send your name is the same one, kwbATyarnharlotDOTca.

(Change the bold words to the right symbols, @ and “.”)

Rebuilding the database is going to be a mammoth undertaking on my end. I don’t mind, I’m happy to do it, but as I navigate the thousands of emails, it would really help if you guys tried to stick to the two formats above as much as possible. I’ll send you each a note as I work through the emails. Please be patient. When I’m done, we can start with the gifts. (I also lost the emails from anyone who was offering a gift. Feel free to resend those too…) Please spread the word to anyone that you know gave as well.

Got it? Questions? Let ‘er Rip.

By the way? I have backups up the whazzo now. Automatic backups, cd backups, keychain drive backups, big drive in the basement backups. Never again my friends. Never again.

For tax purposes

I got this in the mail from Cathy in Sarnia (that’s here in Ontario, home of the Sarnia Sting) apparently I’ve been issued a receipt of sorts.

Dear Stephanie,

Squirrels Without Borders would like to thank you for your kind gift of wool. Several sweaters will be donated in your name to the less fortunate city Rat Bastards.

Tree Rat Couture 1



The blogger know as Moth Heaven (aka Julia) is a danger to other bloggers and should be approached with caution. Though she writes nicely about a very great many things and certainly seems honest and guided only by the finest of principles and her desire to spread joy and the love of wool where ever she goes, yesterday she tricked me into starting a new project and she could do it to you.

The set up:

I am home alone and defenceless. It is raining, which always lowers my resistance, as my energy drips as low as the water covered peonies. I am reading blogs. Many of them mention MS 3, but I am mostly clueless and unconvinced. I have heard much talk of this enterprise, in which a pattern for a lace stole is received by participants in several chunks, each Friday over the summer. You knit clue one, then clue two…you have no idea what you are making (except that it is a stole) and at the end you have something. I am overlooking these mentions, because I am working on other things and I am not going to do it. Not. I read Julia’s blog, in which she mentions falling down the rabbit hole on this one, and shows pictures of the pretty laceweight and beads (beads? It’s beaded?).

She has signed up. I leave her a comment to the effect of “I really need for people to stop talking about this stole thing. I am worthless and weak.” Thus revealing to Ms Moth Heaven that I am apparently ripe for the picking.

The swing:

At this point, Ms Moth Heaven does not reply to my comment. Not in the traditional email way to which I have some resistance. (Also, insulation. My inbox is such a disaster of Herculean proportions that I would not have seen her email for several days.) Perhaps knowing this, the woman phoned my house (this is not creepy, we know each other in real life.) and left me a message while I was busy working. The message essentially detailed how many people were doing it, shot down a few of my arguments against participating and invited comment, along with the expectation that I would return her call. Tricksy knitter.

The hit.

Now, Julia will tell you that this was an honest phone call – not actually a demand that I knit this thing, or a clear attempt at coersion…and she will likely say in her defence that by the time I returned her call a short time later, I had already signed up for MS 3, which she will tell you is proof that I wanted to do it anyway, and that it is not her fault, and that she did not corrupt me. In my rebuttal, I can claim that I only signed up so that I could tell Julia that I had and we could move onto other topics, and that I had not yet selected yarn or beads (or started the knitting) all of which means that I was clearly uncommitted and had no intentions as yet.

The Home Run.

I accused her of corruption straight off when I phoned. She (feigning innocence) maintained her position, and invited discourse on the topic. Why not ? She queried. I stated my concerns, and the felon Juila answered each of them in turn, pointing out the following, paraphrased here:

1. There are more than 4000 knitters signed up. Signups close Friday at midnight. How are you going to feel when everyone is having fun without you?

(This is dirty pool. Julia knows I hate it especially when people have fun without me.)

2. There are beads. You have beads. You put them on with a crochet hook. It’s easy, plus, they are optional.

(Again quite cruel, since she knows I am both consumed with the joy of the bead and frightened by it.)

3. If when you are done, you don’t want it for yourself, you will have Christmas present finished.

(Hellion. The vixen knows that the weight of holiday season lies heavy upon me even now in the warm time.)

4. It’s is only a little bit of knitting per week. Clue one was only a 1/2 afternoon of knitting.

(Right. Make it sound trivial. The woman knits like the wind.)

5. You have the yarn.

(That’s a low blow. She knows I am only knitting from stash because of the stove.)


As a final sweeping oppostion, I told her that my knitting time was at too much of a premium to knit something without knowing the outcome, and she reminded me that knitting is fun, that I like knitting and that it is impossible for knitting time to be a waste.

Touché, Ms Moth Heaven. I am yours.


PS. I know that some of you will believe that I only told you about this because I am as dangerous as Julia and because misery loves company….but really? I’m just warning you so you can see right through it.

PPS. You have to sign up before midnight Friday.

PPPS. Julia might also tell you that the whole time she was “convincing me” I was rooting through the stash, thus making it appear that I was already on board. Lies. I was…..just , um.

Tidying up. Yeah. That’s it.

Rain, rain go away

I really shouldn’t wish it away, since the garden badly needs it, but I had such busy plans for today, and if your bike is your transportation, rain sucks. (It also sucks if you like to photograph your knitwear in the bushes, but I suppose that’s not crushing.) I hate rain so much that I really wonder if I was a cat in a previous life.


The spots on my glasses, the dampness, my hair frizzing, water running down my arms. The way all the kids stay home on rainy days, bored, arguing and inactive. The way the basement leaks. The way it makes the bottoms of your pants wet so later, when you come in and sit cross legged it makes your arse wet, and how if you are accidentally wearing sandals because you hate rain so much that you can’t even acknowledge that it might happen so you just carry on, even though the sky is totally black and yellowish and you know it’s going to pour, but instead of putting on closed toe shoes and sucking it up, you just wear your sandals like it’s not happening at all in your special land of denial and then you get your shoes full of water?

Hate that. I know that there are people who find rain cozy and pretty and look upon it as an opportunity to take baths and make soup and hunker in a bit…I can feel that way about snow sometimes, but rain has never moved me. I do love thunder and lighting, which at least has some sort of interest going for it, but this sort of rain…where the sky just leaks on your plans all day? Hate that.

In any case, since all my errand running is cancelled (except for groceries. I still have to walk out for groceries in the rain) and the girls will be home all day, so there’s no point it trying to work very much, so I may as well do laundry and housework (another big reason to just love rainy days) and maybe finish what I started yesterday…

Which sort of is a reason to give rainy days a little credit.


(Picture taken yesterday before the accursed rain began to fall.)

It’s a beautiful pink/coral/taupe/grey sort of batt from Grafton Fibers, just like the one I used to spin and knit this, and admittedly I didn’t get very far on it at all. This time I’m trying to spin it a little more finely to get a smidge more in the yardage department. I’m using my Joy rather than my Traditional, just because I’m going to Navajo (or “Chain” ply) my singles to keep the colour changes consistent, and for me, that sort of plying needs to happen really, really slowly. If things move too fast I can’t work the chaining thing and the whole enterprise just implodes. I think I have a little more control over speed with the Joy. (That could just be a delusion, time will tell.)


(Crappy picture due to lack of light from the accursed rain.)

My startitis has subsided somewhat. This is probably because I took the edge off and made a considered decision, started a bunch of stuff. That is probably because I AM WEAK in the face of wool…oh, and silk. Damn, that soy silk is pretty too….wait, is that mohair? Maybe a rainy day isn’t so bad.

It must be viral

I have a wicked, unrelenting case of startitis. I spent all weekend pulling out new skeins of yarn and contemplating starting them all. I almost started a summer top (Rosebud – knit without sleeves) a new pair of socks or twelve. A new sweater (this one) a new shawl, and even a baby cardigan or two.

This is unusual for me. Not the startitis, the urge to cast on new things is my constant companion, fed by the blogs and the stuff I see my knitting friends knit, but it’s pretty unusual for me to be smitten by so much when I am deleriously happy with what I’m making.

To wit:

I am in the middle of the very beautiful Kauni cardigan, for which I have a big love.


I am happily knitting Cassie’s Loksins socks


Which are beautiful and perfect and move me to fits of good temper and amusement when I am looking for slightly fussier knitting.

I am knitting a gorgeous pair of very plain socks from Webs “Kangaroo Dyer” sock yarn in “Macaw”


which is so simple and beautiful that it needs be nothing else.

Plus today is Tuesday and I am going to spin something delicious,

So why the rampaging case of startitis?

Ravelry. I got on Ravelry. (Sneak peek here) I fell down and I can’t get up. Get yourself on the waiting list to be a beta tester if you aren’t there already. (They are adding people in a controlled way to make sure they get the bugs out.) It’s like smack. You want to see who’s knit a certain pattern and compare all the variations? Click. Click. You want to see everything everybody on there ever made out of Kid Silk Haze? Click. Click. How about see your “neighbours”? Ravelry keeps track of all your projects then shows you who’s knitting the stuff you’re knitting. Click. Want to see what patterns are the most popular? Click. What if you wanted to look at all the pictures for sport weight ladies cardigans? Click. How about all the hats in Noro? Click. What’s in Juno’s stash? Click. Hey I like that – what are all the designs from Sivia Harding? Click. Hey, what do people think is a hard pattern? Click. Wow. That is hard. I’m going to put that in my Ravelry queue to look at later. Click. Want to browse the “ugh” files and see other knitters disasters? Click. Click Click.Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

A great honking, community building, idea generating, creativity boosting, knitter organizing, time-suck of happy smack.


Oh Canada

Every year on Canada Day I post about Canada. I’m (naturally) a big fan and to let her Birthday slide by unnoticed? Not this knitter. The first year I did “Things for a knitter to do on Canada Day”, the next it was “You know You Are a Canadian Knitter when…” and last year it was “20 Interesting Things about Canada” This year I give you the A-Z of neat stuff about Canada.

A is for Afghanistan. While Canada chose not to take part in the Iraq war, the Canadian forces are present in Afghanistan. While there is a continuing debate about this plan and Canada’s role and purpose there, it is worth noting that in keeping with The Ottawa Treaty and the Canadian military’s position on landmines, Canadians have helped clear about one third of the 10 to 15 million land mines in that country, which can’t be a bad thing.

B is for Briggs and Little. Making and selling yarn Canadian yarn made from Canadian sheep at a Canadian mill in New Brunswick for 150 years.

C is for chips, which in Canada come in flavours like curry, ketchup, Fries and gravy, pizza, roast chicken, smokey bacon and chili garlic.

(We know, but we like it anyway.)

D is for Doughnut shops, most commonly Tims. Canada has more doughnut shops per capita than any other country on earth. We don’t know why. (It is worth noting that Krispy Kreme was a pretty big failure here, not enough people thought they were…well, doughnuts.)

E is for Ethnic Diversity. Canada is the most Ethnically diverse country in the world. Other countries may have more foreign born citizens, but Canada has the most variety.

F is for Flickr. Started in Vancouver.

G is for Gun control. The Supreme Court of Canada states “Guns cannot be divided neatly into two categories — those that are dangerous and those that are not dangerous. All guns are capable of being used in crime. All guns are capable of killing and maiming. It follows that all guns pose a threat to public safety. As such, their control falls within the criminal law power.”

H is for Hockey. (Duh)

I is for internet. Canadians love it, ranking first for internet reach (70% of households online) and first for time spent per month.

(Apparently my contribution has not gone unnoticed.) There are 650, 000 Torontonians on Facebook and that’s more than the combined Facebook users of New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

(Joe wondered if they took that measurement in the winter. Would explain a lot.)

J is for Joints.

K is for Koigu.

L is for Legal to be “top free” for women. Since gender equality is written into the constitution, women are allowed to be bare on top anywhere that men are. This was most famously upheld in Ontario, where the law was tested in court, and hardly anybody took of their top anyway.

M is for maple syrup, Canada produces 80% of the worlds supply. (M is also for Mounties. Arguably the hottest police force in the world.)

N is for Nunavut, a brand new Territory changing Canada’s map in 1999.

O is for Oil. Canada has oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia, and is the top provider of oil to the US.

P is for Patons. Seriously. Could it be anything else? (Well. Maybe Peacekeepers.)

Q is for Quarters with poppies on them causing a stir.

R is for resources. Canada leads the world in the production of zinc, uranium, pulp and paper and is a major producer of gold, silver, diamonds and lead.

S is for size, and Canada has tons of it. Second largest country in the world, bowing only to Russia.

T is for Terms. Canada has no term limits, and a Prime Minister can be re-elected forever. On the other side of the coin, while an election has to occur at least every 4 years, one can be called anytime the government loses a vote of confidence. William Lyon Mackenzie King was Prime Minister for 21 years and 4 1/2 months, while Sir Charles Tupper was only in office for 2 months and 7 days.

U is for Universal Health Care.

V is for Vineyard, Canada is a big wine producer, producing many prize winning wines and is the worlds leading producer of Ice Wine.

W is for water. Canada has more fresh water than any other country, more than half of the worlds lakes are within it’s borders and it touches three oceans. (Further to that, a Canadian was once famously defined as “someone who knows how to make love in a canoe”. Don’t laugh. It’s harder than you think. Those things are tippy.)

X is for X-files, filmed in Vancouver. (That one was hard. Thanks Lene.)

Y is for Yarn and yarn stuff. (I can’t believe how long that took me. Idiot.) There’s not just Koigu, Briggs and Little, but Fleece Artist, Handmaiden, Mission Falls, Philosophers wool, Mary Maxim, Treenway Silks, Soak, Oceanwind Knits, Apple Laine, Knitty, Fiddlesticks Knitting, Needle Arts Bookshop, Lana Knits, Lucy Neatby …the list goes on and on and on.

Z is for Zed. Not Zee.

Your turn! Let’s hear your Canadian fun and Facts.

Happy Canada Day, eh?