Big Teeth

The schedule, my friends, is starting to kick my arse. It is starting to loom behind me, bearing down on me with hot fetid breath and big teeth. I can feel it lurking behind me all the time, waiting for me to lose my grip for even a moment. It’s like I’m running fast on the Christmas knitting and the schedule is just waiting for me to slip on the ice and lose speed…just for a second, and that will be enough that it overtakes me and all is lost.

The schedule is tight. Darned tight – and it’s all that stands between me and the annual descent into lunatic behaviour and midnight knitting sessions that I was trying so hard to avoid this year.

The schedule said that a pair of socks had to be finished this morning…


and they are…but it was by the skin of my teeth. (Standard issue sock pattern – but with a short row heel so as not to disturb the fetching little stripes that turned up, Duet Sock Yarn in “Chocolate Crunch“.) Duet sock yarn comes with a variegated colourway for the main part, and a co-ordinating solid for the heels and toes. (Hence “Duet”) I made a ladies medium sock, and there is plenty left over. If I were a bold toe-up type who had bothered to weigh and divide the skiens first, these would have made much bigger socks.


I was hoping that the lead I had on the schedule would last, but I’m only part way through the first sock on the next pair…


(STR “Dixie Chick”…which is not my colourway but will thrill the pants off of the recipient this Christmas.) It is the presence of a real job which seems to be slowing me down, along with the fact that I was the tree-putter-upper last night, since it would appear that the teenagers I had counted on to do the task have a schedule all their own….

and Lene didn’t make it. Epic time lost to light wrangling, ornament hanging and an attempt to be merry about it.


I think maybe I am going to need an elf.


I recovered fairly well from the clothing incident yesterday ( what with these sorts of upsets being so frequent, I need to be good at coming back from them) and left triumphantly wearing a different wool skirt (the one that is a little narrower than my stride so that I can’t walk very fast. I hate that one.) and the pair of stolen tights. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing until I crossed my legs in the airport lounge and noticed that the stolen tights were navy blue, not black…but it was too late and I decided that if I tried hard I could compensate for tight colour with charm…. and also….at that point, who cares.

Freaking out over skirts and pants ate up a chunk of Lene’s knitting schedule for me, so I applied myself most diligently while I waited to board and finished the Embossed Leaves socks…seen here photographed in that most elegant of settings, a hotel room.


They don’t fit me, which is something I shall be noting on the post it note I’ll stick to the pattern. I have really little feet, and these would need to be knit on much smaller needles to come down small enough to fit me, but at pattern gauge they are going to fit the recipient (who has average womans feet) rather nicely.


Embossed Leaves socks from Favorite Socks, Lotus Yarns sock yarn in “Hydroponic”.

While waiting for the plane to take off I started another pair of socks, but was thrown off the schedule by a hyper-vigilant flight attendant who felt that my needles posed a risk to others during take off and landing. There’s no arguing with the people who run things (though I was tempted to show her the schedule and explain that Lene really hadn’t figured on this) so I stowed them until the seatbelt light went off….but there went a chunk of knitting time on each end of the flight. I shall have to be superquick today to recover.


It will be easy, since I am so in love this yarn so much I want to marry it. I surprised myself when I bought this colourway, since this group of colours isn’t usually my thing, but I love it. Adore it. Am charmed to the point of unreasonable behaviour by it. Last night at dinner I totally dorkified myself by forcing people who really don’t care at all to admire it at some length. It’s Duet Sock Yarn in Chocolate Crunch and I am totally, completely obsessed with it.


I haven’t even got to the co-ordinating yarn for the heel yet. I expect it shall put me right over the edge. It’s these little one row stripes that are making me so happy…. I am a simple woman.

How it goes

– Trying to leave for airport. Realize that my favourite brown pants are not clean. Begin hunt for alternative, pausing briefly to berate self for not being the sort of person who looks into this the night before.

-Find charcoal wool skirt. Remember I like charcoal wool skirt.

-Put on skirt. Realize that I need tights with skirt.

– Begin hunt for tights. Locate brown pair immediately. Celebrate.

– Remember clothes should match. Discard brown tights.

– Begin hunt for black tights.

-While hunting through drawer, locate 23 pairs of ratty underpants that nobody would ever wear and try briefly to understand why anyone would keep these underpants when what they really need is tights. Leave underpants in drawer because hunt actually concerns tights. Begin to understand why the underpants are still there.

– Locate black tights. Put on. Celebrate.

– Discover huge run down leg that will not be covered by skirt and boot combo.

– Examine brown pants to decide if syrup on leg is actually a big problem.

– Decide syrup on leg is always a big problem.

– Re-launch hunt for black tights.

– Find pair almost immediately and put on. Celebrate.

– Discover huge run down other leg. Curse violently.

– Suddenly realize that it is the same pair as before, only I have put them on backwards.

– Briefly regret dreadful lack of ass that would prevent this mistake. Move on.

– Try to wash syrup off leg of favourite brown pants.

– Fail, but try to work out if I have enough syrup off pants to pass for clean.

– Remember any degree of syrup is bad. Curse.

– Go to teenage daughters drawer and search for black tights that she has not cut the feet off of in a moment of misguided vogue.

– Find pair. Celebrate.

– Remember that daughter is 5′ 8 and I am…..not.

– Decide that if tights fall down the extra will collect in boots. Not a problem.

– Put on daughters black tights. Feel grateful that I will be far away when she discovers that I have taken same.

– Discover daughters tights have huge hole in crotch.

– Contemplate.

– Decide that chain of events that will reveal large crotch hole is, even for me….unlikely. Put on skirt.

– Take deep breath, wonder if anyone else has this much trouble getting dressed.

– Go downstairs. Pour cup of coffee. Walk to desk.

– Sit down and pour entire cup of coffee on lap. Curse violently.

– Go back upstairs. Take off skirt and spike it violently onto floor by brown pants.

– Spend unreasonable amount of time trying to decide what’s worse. Syrup on brown pants, or coffee on charcoal skirt.

– Realize that all of this is moot because I still have not found my bra.

– Go lie in traffic.

Dashing Done

Just a quickie from me. I’ve got to travel tomorrow and I’m running off to get a haircut. I always wash my hair before haircuts because while I love the guy who cuts my hair, I do think his shampoo smells funny and I’d rather use mine. I’d have tons of time but for the winter. It’s cold enough here that going out with wet hair means frozen hair so I have to budget time to blow dry this mess. I recognize that the fact that this is all I have to tell you….that I’m drying my hair so that it doesn’t freeze solid is rather profoundly boring…so look!



My pair of Dashing was finished last night and are here modelled by Joe (who obviously missed his true calling as a hand model. Look at that elegant pose.)


Joe thinks they are rather good (though they are not for him) and I loved the wool. It’s a mystery two ply worsted from the stash, and I liked it before I washed it, but see below?


Swished in a warm bath the yarn bloomed and softened like nobodies business. (Wish I could remember what it was. A thousand curses on stray tags. This is the downside of a well-aged stash. I’d buy more of this if I had any idea what it was.) The astute among you will notice that my pair has cables crossing to the right on both hands…that’s a mistake. The pattern for Dashing actually indicates that they should cross left on the right and right on the left, but I didn’t see that particular instruction until I had knit both of them and although I can usually compete in the obsessive compulsive error correction category at the Olympic level, I snapped and chose to ignore it.

I’m all for perfection and good knitting, but I just didn’t see how it was a big enough error to rip one of them back. Actually, it not only seemed like it wasn’t a big enough error, but that it was sheer lunacy to care that much. They are good looking. They work fine, are very cozy indeed, and the recipient certainly isn’t going to take them out of the box and heave a sigh of regret that they don’t cable in opposite directions. As a matter of fact, since I am likely the only person who will ever notice, let alone actually care in any way at all… I’m letting it go.

It’s the 5th of December and that’s one item off the list…14 to go.

Schedule Day 2

I am on fire with the schedule. Seriously ON FIRE. If this keeps up I will not suffer at all with the Christmas knitting. I am Blowing Through the schedule with an enthusiasm and dedication that is pleasing me to no end. I haven’t had this much fun since Steve and Kathy said I could come and live in the back room of Webs when I get old. (Don’t worry. I haven’t told them yet – and I sort of think it’s a moot point when we outnumber them this way…but I’m setting up the Webs Home for Aged and Vaguely Confused Knitters. We can all go. It will be lovely.)

Example of the way I am winning the Schedule War #1.

These are the socks that are job one on the schedule. According to Our Lady of the Extreme Organization, if I want to make this Christmas thing work, these need to be at the halfway point tomorrow around 6pm.


Look at that! Mwaha ha ha! That’s more than halfway now! Now…when it’s noon on Teusday….not 6pm on Wednesday! That puts me ahead on ITEM ONE. (For the record, Item one is The Embossed Leaves socks from Favorite Socks, 2.25mm needles, Lotus Yarns sock yarn in “Hydroponic”.)

Example of the way I am winning the Schedule War #2

This is a super-sneaky-secret project that shall not be named here (except to call it Item #2) nor shall yee who have a guess reveal it in the comments. Yeah verily, we shall not speak of what this might be or who it may be for…but I shall revel in the truth that this is scheduled to be at the halfway point Sunday at midnight and dudes….


It is there now. This is the biggest project on my list, and the fact that it is ahead of schedule makes me want to weep with joy.

Example of the way I am winning the Schedule War #3

Item #3 is a pair of Dashing (Yarn is unknown and antiquated stash, all I can guarantee is that it is 100% wool.) and Lene suggests in the document which rules my life that I would be happiest if I were to have the first one completed by 8pm tomorrow…..


and I’m ahead on that too. That’s a whole one, done like dinner.

Plus, before I even got to the schedule I finished these socks:


Which then didn’t go onto the schedule thus making the schedule something that was sort of possible for a human to do. (STR Rocktober, Feather and Fan socks from Socks, Socks, Socks – except I changed the heel and toe)

I hate to gloat, because I know that anything even vaguely resembling a smirk is a signal for the knitting fates to punch me in the metaphorical face, but really…doesn’t it seem to be going well? Every year when Lene embarks on the writing of the Christmas knitting schedule, she asks me how long I think things are going to take, and every year I tell her how long, and then I get screwed because I’m apparently unconnected with reality an eternal optimist. This year when Lene asked me how long it would take, I actually looked at how long it has taken in the past and applied that information. Do you see that? See what I did? I gleaned information from my previous experiences and and applied it in a way that will give me more success in the future. That my friends…that is the very definition of learning.

Seriously. My mother is going to be shocked. Neener neener.

Lene runs my life and I like it

A thousand curses on a real life that keeps interfering with my desire to blog and knit all day….Friday sort of got away from me, and the weekend wasn’t much better. Still, today is the first official “Lene Schedule Day” and so far, so good. I assured Lene that I could finish the beaded Swallowtail, and that she didn’t need to put it on the schedule and it took a reasonable amount of busting a move (and neglecting laundry…but what else is new) to finish it, but finish I did.


This is the whole enterprise, unblocked.


I used Misti Alpaca Lace in “CD43” (Love that colour name. So appropriate. It’s like poetry.) and the pattern from Interweave Knits, Fall 2006, along with some beads from Arton Bead on Queen Street West here in Toronto. (They were 75 cents. I love that.)

And post- blocking.


To turn it into a beaded swallowtail instead of the pattern as written, I placed a bead in the centre of each little motif in the top portion and replaced each nupp with a bead in the bottom part. (I used the crochet hook method here, so I didn’t have to string them all on ahead of time.)


When it came to the border, I just put them anywhere that there was a line of stitches that didn’t get messed with in the pattern. I’m totally thrilled.


For the rest of today, Lene has me working on a pair of socks,


(Embossed Leaves socks from Favorite Socks, in Lotus Yarns “Hydroponic” (I got this skein right from the dyer herself, but I know that The Sweet Sheep carries this yarn, as does Knitch. Happy Hunting. )

When I’ve done my time on those, then I work on a mysterious something, then a pair of mitts in the evening. Progress report tomorrow, but it feels good to have Christmas knitting underway, especially in this beginning part when nothing is screwed up or behind yet, nothing has fallen apart and everything seems possible.

Knitters Without Borders:

I got totally bogged down dealing with the gifts on Thursday, and still haven’t heard from a few of the lucky knitters, so I’ve got things on hold while I wait for that. The gift giving is a smidge complex, and I don’t want to screw it up by letting it get weird, so I’m going to do one “wave” at a time. I know you’ll all be patient. (As much fun as it is to watch me come unglued, I don’t think any of you want actually unhappiness on my end….right?)

I haven’t decided what our new goal should be. I don’t want us to loose track of how incredibly stunning and boggling what you knitters have already accomplished is…. This is an incredible thing you’ve done. Just incredible. Stop and look at that total….then divide it by whatever you think the average donation size is…and do a little math about what it’s taken to get here. Then try and breathe. It’s staggering. Absolutely staggering, and I don’t even know how to guess about what you’re capable of anymore. I remember getting an email from my Brother-in-Law Ben (the one who works for MSF) when we hit $15 000 and we were all just so stunned….

I don’t even know what reasonable expectations are anymore…so mighty is the power of the knitters. I’m thinking on it.

To start gearing up for this year though…I’m going to attend to the first job, which is updating those of you who give on a monthly basis. If you’re signing up to be a monthly giver OR If you signed up to give to MSF each month last year (or the year before), and you’re going to keep going for this year, I’d like to update you in the database with your new total. The address for letting me know is kwb AT yarnharlot DOT ca. When that’s done…I’ll open the floodgates to the rest of you! (It shouldn’t take that long either, since Sam is going to earn her Christmas money entering names for the grand price of 10 cents an email.)

PS. Tracy got Barack Obama (he’s a presidential candidate in the US) to hold a sock. She’s just my kind of people, an absolute NUTTER, but my kind of people.