Marvellous Madison

So the sock and I got up (I shall not write the ungodly hour of our travel on here, the sock doesn’t like talking about it, and we flew from Northampton to Detroit, then Detroit to Madison…. by then I was sufficiently buoyed by airline coffee to take a picture and knit a little.


I keep forgetting to say what the travelling sock yarn is this time. You know I like to show a nice little Canadian sock yarn the world when I do this, and I love this yarn. Red Bird Knits “Romney Sock”, lambswool grown and milled in Ontario, dyed by the Fleece Artist in Halifax, and sold in Toronto. It’s a lovely rustic-ish yarn, not at all like the firmly spun merinos most dyers are using for blanks right now. Really different and pleasant to use. (It’s standing up to the particular abuse I put a travelling sock through really well.) I don’t see the colourway on her site right now, but hand dyed art is like that. You gotta takes what you gets.

The sock and I saw the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin,


but most of all, we saw knitters.






I know this bunch looks innocent sitting there, but these are some of the most seriously fun knitters I’ve had the pleasure of running into – and I’m not just saying that because I got more beer at the Madison stop than ANYWHERE else on the whole tour – regardless of number of knitters. (Naturally, to avoid a drunken harlot incident that left me wounded today, I passed some (not all…oh no) on to the bookstore folks who helped make the whole thing work. They like knitters a lot now too.) I swear that when a well trained Canadian thinks a city is big on beer, they are a force to be reckoned with. There were the requisite first sock knitters… Anna, Emily, Stacie, Annette, Beth in Wisconsin (double teaming with a washcloth too), Leslie and Mary, who brought her first “Good” socks, which is an impulse I respect entirely.



Then there was Kate, who is the last one there, and deserves honourable mention for her first sock, (will eventually be a pair…don’t rush her) which started out as monkey socks, and wound up as Monster socks.


My daughter Meg just sat up straight in her chair when she saw those. I’m this far away and I can feel it. She’ll be knitting a knock off of these by the time I get home. Meg? Go study.

Mums and babies came, although my ability to get them to smile was clearly off this evening. There’s Lisa and little Matthew, who is three weeks old, but has an adjusted age of -1 week. (I love the way he looks like he’s saying “no pictures please”) There’s Susan and Anya, who was amused, but did not smile. Kitty Mommy and Isaak, who was an unyielding ROCK in the smiling department, and finally Lee and Wren, who didn’t even wake up for the event -though her mother made up for it.


Hailey – the requisite young knitter represented for her kind.


There were washcloths. Meet Kathy, Sue, and Becky – who brought a “cheese cloth”. (Har-dee har-har.)


Here’s Jaala, who puts out an awesome Knitzine… Knitcircus. (Let’s here it for the Indie gals.)

(It really is good. I had a poke through my copy.)


Here’s Ellen from Sheepwreck. (Totally helpful and awesome blog for spinners.)


Adrienne, showing up with a sense of humour and the first of several bottles of Fat Squirrel beer.


Sock guy Ken showing off a pair of size 17 socks. (He was advised not to date the recipient, lest rumours be true and lives be lost.)


Connie is a knitting taxi driver, and I can’t tell you how much I wish I had been taking a taxi to the Madison airport instead of a car to Milwaukee this morning. I think we would have had an awesome time.


Mary wants to say hi to her knitterly friend Tracy in Doha, Qatar.


Maxine is the cheese lady. (For obvious reasons. That there is a big bag of squeaky cheese…all mine.)


Julie rounded out the meal with a bottle of Monty Pythons Holy Grail Ale.


Last but not least, quite possibly the best thing in these parts. My beloved Dale-Harriet. Present, and accounted for.


Whew. There was more, so much more, but time is short if I’m planning on showing up clean in Carmel, Indiana tonight. I lost a little time when a very nice man accidentally took my suitcase instead of his when we landed here. When the only case left going around was one that looked a lot like mine, but wasn’t mine…I went to the airline. A thousand thanks to Midwest Connect, who tracked down the charming Bill (who was hugely sorry and back at the airport with my bag like lightning.)

I don’t know if he opened it, but I had to wonder what he would have thought if he did. Beer. Yarn. Chocolate.

Heaven knows what he would have called it, but I call it a party in a bag.



This morning, all I can think is that Steve and Kathy at WEBS are the smartest things ever. They had a thousand (maybe more) knitters turn up yesterday, and I didn’t catch either one of them crying in the bathroom from the strain of it all. (Kathy and I did have a matched set of stomach cramps though. Stress.) Steve directed traffic in the parking lot, Kathy wrote names on post-it notes so I could spend time with knitters that didn’t include asking them how to spell names, and they experimented with a “pre-event signing” from 11-1 that, while it worked well, just about killed me. (I am still not so sure what is so tiring about this job. Meet knitters. How hard can that be?) There was a scary and totally weird moment on stage when I felt a little faint (of course. That’s never happened before but it just has to happen in front of a thousand people) where I felt sure I was going down and all I could feel was a terrible certainty that if I did faint, a thousand knitters were going to A) blog it and B) pose socks on my fallen form.) Kimberly (my favourite stalker) saved me with a bottle of water and I felt better almost instantly….as you might have guessed from the lack of reports that I went down like a house of cards. Totally bizarre. I blame fear…because this is what it looked like.



Individually, the knitters were way less scary.

Here’s Guido, from It’s a Purl Man, came with his wife (yup. She’s real, though camera shy) and their wonderful hand knit Chuppa (I somehow missed a picture of that. It was beautiful.)


Amy won a skein of sock yarn from me, and she’s turning it into a little sweater (there’s a baby under there.)


Jennifer and Maaike came all the way from Montréal, bringing me fresh bagels (there is Nothing like a Montréal bagel) and squeaky cheese and dishcloths to add to the effect.


Kimberly, the rescue stalker. (Never before has a bottle of water meant so much to me.)


Nell brought her octopus. He knit on the sock.


Heather brought “Eye of Jupiter” yarn (Get it?)


There were first sock knitters EVERYWHERE.

Meet Noelle, Nancy, Lynn, Chris and Carol (brought me a beer that was my best friend later that night) Chris, Alex, Maria, Cheryl, Dennis, Stacy, Lucille, Dianne, Carolyn, Dan (who has only been knitting for three weeks and had a perfect sock) Jennifer, Louise, MargoLynn (she had a monkey too) Cori, Rebecca and Angela. (Whew. As always, Click to embiggen.)






There were mums and babies: Cynthia and Emerson, Jessie and Eamon, Aimie and Matrim, Lee and Charlie, Kristine and Lucy (I love that kids smile. You have got to click on her.) Zoë and Aoite, Lia and Zephyr.



There were young knitters, Leah (almost 10), Emily (7) and Nicole (8), Emma (9) and Sarah (13). There was even a whole family of knitters (and one pre-knitter) Jonquil, Eliana, Talia (9) and Jeff.



Washcloths from all over:

Linda, Susan (hers was handwoven), Ruth, Kristen, Sheila (who was knitting a bunch but they weren’t for me) Shanan, Charlene, Maria, Scott (by way of Patti) Patty (that’s a CT Knit for the Cure one) Jayne, and Heather.





Melodie made wee me things:


and Kristina was knitting a Hemlock ring on size 000000 needles. (Seriously. That’s a dime.)


Jess and Caro came. (Plus Caro’s mum, who is very nice.) Caro’s got great pictures.


My buddies Stitchy, Melanie and Kellee. (Maryse was there too…I don’t know how she got away from this picture.)

They brought me veggie fare. I loves them.


and finally, Aaron. Aaron stood up at Webs last year and said that he was only knitting one scarf. That he didn’t believe that it was addictive, that he wasn’t going to get sucked into it’s evil web, and that he was not going to be a knitter. He was just going to knit one scarf. Yeah.


Dude’s screwed. I reiterated to him what I said last year.


When it was all over, I drank beer with Steve and Kathy (you would be proud of how much forbearance we showed in the face of a day like that) and we drove back to the hotel, where we saw this.


Movin’ on. The Calvin, and me.

I’m in Madison Wisconsin now, about to jump in a cab and go find me more knitters. ‘Cause you know. I haven’t had nearly enough. Bring it on.

(Tomorrow: Indianapolis at Barnes and Noble – Carmel. I’ve just realized I have NO IDEA where Indianapolis is.)

One fine morning

It’s just before 6am, and I’m about to dash off to the airport, to go to Madison. (Who am I kidding. My ability to dash is long gone. I’m so tired that watching me navigate the world should be a sitcom.) I’ll post about WEBS, which was awesome, as soon as I manage to find the time to process the billions of photos generated by an event with a thousand knitters at it. (There are a few.) That’s not why I’m posting though.

I’m posting (before 6am.) because it is Denny’s Birthday, and she’s worth the loss of coffee drinking time.

Happy Birthday Den!

One fine day in Portland

There is so very, very much that I love about that part of the world. I think of it when I am in Vancouver and Victoria and Seattle, but never so much as this time in Portland. It is green and lush and green….and lush….and standing off in the corner are Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood. (That’s a volcano too…but they say that it is sleeping.) I love how everything looks there. This time, because I was hanging with Tina, and she runs Blue Moon Fiber Arts and that is in Scappoose, that’s where I went, and I was absolutely stunned to see something totally new to me.



See that? It’s moss! Big Moss! Moss that wraps up all the trees and covers everything. It drips from the trees like some sort of thick verdure spraypaint. I loved it. I was so completely flipped out by it that once again I found myself thinking about how much I would love to live there, and then it started to rain, and I remembered. (I think I must have been a cat in a previous life. I hate getting rained on.) The Pacific Northwest and I will just have to date. We could never live together.

(While I got to see the inner workings of Blue Moon, how they dye everything, how it all works – the mountains of yarn, I didn’t take pictures. The light was bad and the space deserved better. Rest assured that it’s as magical as you think.)

We journeyed to the Forestry Center (which is a really beautiful space) where the Blue Moon team was setting up for their day and doing a heck of a job. They only sold one colourway that day, a fantastic one called “Doctors Without Borders” $3 from each skein goes straight to the good guys. (You’ll be able to get it on the website soon.)

I knitted some up into Leyburn socks (I love that pattern) but I’ll show you in a day or so when I can photograph it nicely. I paced around the back, walked off my nerves and listened to the sound of more that 400 knitters arrive in the driving rain. (There’s another difference between there and Toronto. If it was raining that hard in Toronto a bunch of us would have stayed home. Totally.) Then it was time. I walked out and already there was big fun. Tina had done an Earth Day scavenger hunt. (You should look at the pictures here. They’re fantastic.) Here’s the winner – Susan.


Susan got up at dawn, spent the whole day with maps and a plan and claims to have had a fantastic day. I don’t doubt her. Susan and the runners up chose yarn from the big box of Socks that Rock.


When I got up there, this is what I saw.



Portland knitters. More than 400 of them. I’d have been freaked out but they were too much fun. Just when I was working my way up to having a stroke completely, Duffy got up and sang. (You gotta see it here.)


I got her to hold the sock. It was the least I could do.


Portland babies represented: Amanda and Everett, Shannon and Jaxon, Mia and Gunner. (Click to embiggen the babies.)


There was, as always, the first sock brigade: Jillian, Tinivial, Rachel, Mary, Camille and Hillary.



Camryn represented for the youngsters. She’s a competent and knitterly 8.


Nic was sent on a mission (bribed with fudge) to get his Aunt Kathy (from the comments) a book. (He admitted to having a good time Kathy. Keep working on that one.)


Melissa went to Voodoo donuts for the scavenger hunt and brought me back this baby.


Er, yes. It is shaped like what you think it is, and it is (naturally)…. Cream filled. (Also, yes. It does appear to have been licked. Not by me.)


Michelle brought an Oregon washcloth and Leann gave me a rabbit rescue one.


Knitters with cool tats turned up. That’s Maiya and (although I was so impressed with her back I didn’t get her face) Kelsey. (I love what hers says. Click to embiggen.)

Maiyatathat2304-1 Kelseytatwools2303-1

Libby knit a “Princess Diana” sweater in the eighties. (Bitterly, it turns out, since all her friends were able to go and buy a commercial version right after. ) It’s knit on supertiny needles.


The PDX knitbloggers turned out in scary force.


…and they even brought Judy Becker with them, which is awesome, since she’s a genius.


Roxanna wears a mean hat and gives a wicked, wicked backrub. (I want to be her when I grow up.)


….and, in case I wasn’t overwhelmed enough, here’s Deb from Fearless Fibers. (Which I have coveted for some time, seeing it beautifully pimped out on Knitspot.)


Finally (and I hope I didn’t miss anyone) this is Zarah, who lost a sock while doing the scavenger hunt.


In her words the misplaced sock is 1 bright green simply soft “ugly sock” lost on Gateway bus #19 (probably.)

Have a look around will you? A hand knit sock is a terrible thing to waste.

All in all, it was a spectacular evening, only made more so by the terrific efforts of Blue Moon Fiber Arts, comprised of several women I am pleased to count among my friends. Jolly good.

For now, I’m off to bed. I’m in Northampton, totally freaked about tomorrow. The big WEBS event looms large, and I’m petrified but at least I’m here. This morning when the sky turned grey and stormy over Toronto (that storm moving along from Chicago tried to get me on this end) I was nervous, but although we had a terrifically turbulent take off, I’m all the way here. Wish me luck. It’s going to be a big one.

PS. Reports are true. I’ll be in San Franciso May 3 at the Maker Faire. Saturday, 11am at the Main Stage, and then I’m doing something (I have no idea what…maybe signing…at 2pm at the Craft Demo area “Fiesta”. (I especially like the “Fiesta” part. Makes it sound like fun.)

The law of Averages

The law of averages dictates that eventually, you must get all results, and I suppose that if you’re going to travel this much, eventually you have to get this result…

but man, does it suck.

I’m here in Toronto, not in Chicago. They cancelled my first flight this morning at 9am, and when they rebooked me on a slightly later flight I went to the airport with no idea what I was in for. I’ve spent 8 full hours at the airport today, as they cancelled flight after flight after flight to O’Hell. O’Hare. I made three full circuits through customs and immigration, I picked up my bags without going anywhere three times. I sat on chairs, waited in lines, struggled through customer service and burned through an entire cell phone battery. There wasn’t even knitting time -and I still didn’t get to Chicago. Rain there. Thunderstorms there…. No planes going there.

I’d tell you the whole story, including the part where Jayme and Amy from Storey publishing and I were ALL on the phone with different agents trying desperately to get a flight to anywhere near anywhere that might work at all. I might even find a way to tell it that was funny, or hysterical or manage to generate a few ha-ha’s out of me weeping in various parts of the airport, but it’s just not funny at all. After all of that, charging around the airport as they cancelled all my flights and then announced that the weather that was closing O’Hare was going to move this way and close Pearson here, and I looked at the board and saw nothing good at all, and as Jayme and Amy and I slowly came to realize that it was already 7:00 in Chicago, with nothing on the horizon at all…. that I wasn’t going to make it, no matter what we did. That I wasn’t going to be late. I wasn’t going to run in at the last minute with a great story…. In that moment, I have to tell you that I lost any shred of something that might have resembled a sense of humour. Turns out that this sort of story is only funny if in the end, you make it to Chicago. Which I didn’t, and it’s not.

I feel just sick. Beyond sick. All those knitters sitting there, waiting for me and I can’t get there. I was, and still am, just furious with frustration, and there isn’t even anything that I can do about it, or anyone that I can blame. Mother nature gave me the finger today, and I can’t apologize enough to all of the knitters who got the shaft, and especially to Trish at Nana’s Knitting Shop, who must have done so much work to get ready for this, only to get rained out. I’m really, really, really sorry. So sorry.

Survival based

Whoa. That exploded on me. Two events piled up on top of each other like teenaged weasels caught in an illicit festival of love. I don’t think my exhaustion was too obvious, except for when I tried to check into the wrong hotel in Seattle. I knew where I was supposed to be, but somehow just staggered into the first hotel I saw and tried to believe. (Me to my friend Tina: ” How come this Sheraton has all these Hilton signs in the lobby?”) Arrggh.

Onward to Third Place Books, where there had been some sort of a misunderstanding and there weren’t enough books until Tina remembered that she had some for the Portland event back at the hotel in the trunk of her car. The events person from the store took off at a tear to get them and despite my hysteria (I was seriously upset. I mean, here I tell you all to please wait and buy the books at the events and then there aren’t any?) she and Tina saved the day and it all worked out. I was seriously flipped though. (Getting seriously flipped is a symptom of fatigue for me. This away from home thing is making me strange and worried.) Apologies to any of these knitters:



Who were inconvenienced before we pulled it together.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Seattle is a knitting sort of town. The place is filthy with them. There were first sock knitters:



That’s Molly, Carmel, Becky (who’s husband totally shrunk her first socks. Look at them. It’s terrible, although I believe they are still married.) Laurie, Adrienne, Fay (who totally overachieved, bringing a first sweater and socks) and finally Aubri, who’s first socks were rather wet as the result of a bookstore sink washing, the tragic consequence of a bottle of Nyquil coming open in a knitting bag. Poor knitter.)

Seattle knitters with knitters in training showed up in force. That there is Jen and the Gonzopants baby. (Who I was simply thrilled to meet.)


Katie and Evelyn, who was just a bump when last I met her.


There’s Jackie and Jake:


Emma and Olivia


Jennifer and Sarah


Sarah and Elliott (sorry I invented a different name for him) (check out his cool knitgear.)


Megan and John Henry:


Then there were knitters in training who had begun their life’s work. Sherri brought five year old Thomas and seven year old Abby, both knitters. (I bet they were bored, but darn they were good.)


This is Tracy (the mama) seen here with both her first sock and her first knitter, both coming right along. That’s Sabrina, age seven, a very competent knitter.


A little older, this is Emma, who runs a teen knitter group for her fellows.


How about McKenna? She’s our lady of the stash weasels, and a fine gal about to graduate. That sock she’s holding will be one of her culminating works. Hand spun, hand knit. Congratulations McKenna!


Farther along the knitter continuum, there’s Anne Marie (she won one of my contests a while ago. That scarf is what she made with the yarn I sent her.) She’s awesome. I’m so glad she won.


Karen brought me a Breastfeeding Activist (that’s a lactivist to you ma’am) washcloth (I love the way these are starting to be about causes as well as states) and Heather made sure that I had Washington covered.



(Remind me sometime to tell you what I’m going to do with all these washcloths. It’s awesome.)

This is Cheryl. Check out that Addi turbo. Damn. When bad things happen to good needles.


Rabbitch (we are toying with changing her name to Kali) showed up. I don’t even want to discuss where she is on the continuum.


Finally, although this is in no way intended to imply where he may be on the continuum, my buddy Paul turned up, with his ever lovely companion Naomi.


They are always infinitely a pleasure, and I look forward to seeing them every time that the wind blows me far enough west.



Oh, that’s not a knitter. That’s Frankie. Beloved (and actual real) dog of TMK and Mossy Cottage Ryan, darling friends who had Tina and I to dinner after the event and provided me with one of the THREE (Total. Just kill me.) meals that I have had in the last 22 days that was not made in a restaurant, hotel or airport. It was awesome, and would have been even if it had not been absolutely totally tasty (which it seriously was) and I am forever in their debt. I wouldn’t have told you that a salad and wicked homemade soup could save my sanity a couple of weeks ago, but there you have it. I love them. (Plus they had beer. I am so cheap.)

Right. Laundry is done, it’s midnight and I’m off to bed. I’ll try to post about Portland in the morning, before I go the airport, with my bag repacked, but to tell you the truth, I’m going to drop you like a hot rock if Joe has time to have a coffee with me.

A word about wee ones

I’m home. I’ll post later today (I hope) about the events of the last few days (I have to do laundry so I can leave again tomorrow.) but first….

I love babies. Just about all of them. They are the only human beings on earth that I judge as a group. (This likely has something to do with the way that they don’t mouth off.) Everyone else, everyone above about the age of 18 months, I meet individually, understanding that I’m going to like some of them (most really) and not like others. I’ve never understood people who say “I love children”, since it has always seemed to me that children are people, and I am going to like some, and not like others. Saying “I love children” has always struck me as bizarre as “I adore the elderly” or “Aren’t middle aged men just the best?” Sure, I admit that the very young have powerful qualities that make it more likely that I am going to love them…three year olds are the major repository of charm in the human race, for example, and scientific principles explained by a six year old are nothing short of devastating in their ability to captivate, and I like the unbridled stupidity, wilfulness, stamina and energy of teenagers – as long as they are yours. (In mine, the charm is lost on me.)

This belief, that children are people, with rights, needs and privileges, is central to what I’m about to tell you. There has been an incident or two at events, over the last weeks, where some adults have felt that some children should not have been present. The occasional mother has been asked to remove her child (not by me, nor by someone hosting the event.) and I wanted to go on record as saying that the actions of attendees at my events do not reflect my beliefs. (I also don’t want to go into the specific incidents. I’ll simply say that I was unaware of all of them, which, since I was at the front of the room, facing all possible offenders, must mean that none of them were a massively big deal. Nobody screamed for an hour, I assure you. Please try to avoid any specifics in the comments, if you know of them. We’re speaking in very general terms here. I don’t want you to write about who’s kid you think was disagreeable, which mother could have done better OR what some other person attending said that you feel wasn’t nice. Anybody who wants to can read here, and I don’t want people saying bad things about each other. It’s very hard to read about yourself.)

I believe that children are people. I believe that as people, they have a right to be anywhere that people have a right to be. I also believe that some babies/children/mothers are inseparable and that that is how it should be for them. Amanda was the kind of kid that I could have left with a babysitter any time I wanted. She didn’t mind at all. Megan, on the other hand, earned herself the nicknames “velco” and “The Klingon” (get it? Cling- on?) within moments of birth. If I hadn’t taken Meg places that I wanted to go, then I wouldn’t have been able to go anywhere…

and isn’t motherhood hard enough? We’ve got the only culture on earth – or in the history of humans that actually segregates adults and children, and it’s really hard on those of us who have little children who feel in their bones that they should be with their mothers. These mothers then have to choose between meeting the needs of their kids, or missing everything for years and years, and I think that really sucks, and discourages mothers from doing what is right for their particular little one. If a kid isn’t ready to be without their mother (or the other way around) and there is an ever increasing list of places that babies/toddlers/children aren’t welcome…then what’s a woman to do….curtail every aspect of her life for years? That’s really feminist…suggesting that a parenting/breastfeeding woman not take part fully in society. Just stay home and breed honey. Whoops. That’s a debate for another day.

That said, I also think that children disrupting something is pretty sucky too. I’ve been at movies or plays or something like that where a child wasn’t happy and nine times out of ten, the mum high-tailed it out or went to the back as soon as she realized that her kid wasn’t into the scene. The tenth time, maybe she didn’t, but I still cut her some slack because I understand that it might be the only time she’s left the house in two weeks, and leaving the house is really hard, and maybe the only thing standing between her and taking up chewing on sticks from the park as a hobby, and because maybe the first step toward decent child care, maternity leave and ethical treatment of parents and families is actually accepting THAT CHILDREN EXIST and are so far, the only way we have found (despite them being loud, dirty and occasionally too damp for my personal taste) to continue the species.

This is a long way around saying that babies/toddlers and children who will be happy there are welcome at my book events. In keeping with the “children are actual people” thing, I would hope that no baby/toddler/child who would be unhappy there would be brought or forced to stay, and I have faith that 99% of parents will make the right call for their particular young.

This means, and I know some of you will be disappointed about this, that it is very likely that these smallest of humans will continue to be present at events. (I hope) Most of them will be happy children, because their mothers, want to meet their needs by staying with them, but also want to meet their needs by not forcing them to stay when they are clearly miserable. These happy children will likely make happy kid noise. As long as this is a reasonable amount, I would like to suggest that the same way we wouldn’t ban anyone who used medical equipment that made noise or a person who had tourette’s who was unable to be quiet, that we all just cope. Happy kids make noise. (Actually, almost all kids make noise, and most adults have a terrible track record, there are tons of happy and unhappy adults who can’t zip it either.)

Saying babies/toddlers/children are welcome as they need to be, however, does mean that every once in a while there is going to be a happy kid who makes too much noise or a mum who fails to recognize that her child is being disruptive (seriously, it’s like becoming snow-blind. Mothers can’t always see it – I assure you that getting 3 hours of broken sleep a night can mess with your judgement.) or there might even be an unhappy kid who was predicted to do well and doesn’t, and instead uses the time to finely hone their impression of demon spawn, and those kids are going to be a pain in the arse….Just like some other people we are all going to meet in our day (I am keeping a list) that are a pain in the arse that we don’t have the right to get rid of either. I know these occasionally loud kids are going to get on your nerves, and sometimes mine too, but I’m begging, on behalf of mothers everywhere, to approach these baby/toddler friendly events of mine with a little tolerance and gentleness for these inexperienced little people and those who are trying to both have a life, and keep the peace.

Back to the regular blog shortly, I’m working on it. I got to bed after the Portland event at 1am, and had to leave for the airport at 4am and all day yesterday was lost to travelling home. I’m wiped, and I’ve got to go again in the morning. Still…I’m on it, and I’ll get something up about Seattle (I love Seattle) later.

Peace out.

In Which Things End as Strangely as they Started

Here are some things that surprised me in the last few days of sock camp.

1. How very, very seriously knitters took making their little sock monkeys. By Friday, clothing and accessorizing the little gaffers had become an obsessive endeavour, and by the time we were all ready to play “show me your monkey” on Friday night, they were all nothing short of art.




There were homeless monkeys, monkeys doing yoga, shriner monkeys, brokeback mountain monkeys, monkeys with “hobbies”, monkeys with habits… monkeys, monkeys, monkeys. Be sure to click to embiggen these monkeys, they are totally worth it. We even buried Debbie, the pattern’s designer, in monkeys…an experience from which she is sure to never recover.


My monkey? Well. I got a little carried away. My monkey knit a little sock on dpns (toothpicks)



and because he was busy I made him an argyle vest to wear.


We had a sock puppet show, which was funny from the front,


but way funnier from the back.


We had a talent show, with Yodelling knitters (you have no idea how rare yodelling knitters are) dancing knitters and a camp song (Addicted to yarn) sung to the Robert Palmer classic, complete with backup knitters. (I have no good pictures of this. Know that it was the brainchild of Stephen at Hizknits, and will likely show up on the Yknit podcast at some point.)

I think that it would not be a mistake to say that the bartenders for the whole final evening were so stunned that they could scarcely move.


It was incredible to watch them. They couldn’t look away. They were glued. They were stunned and amazed and they had no idea what hit them. The two of them were exceedingly awesome, considering that they were entirely shellshocked by the number and nature of sock camp.

Then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any weirder…


It snowed.

(I’m starting to take the snow thing personally. I think winter is following me.)

There’s an altitude thing going on here that totally freaked me out.


See that? Below a certain altitude it all melted off the trees, but for a good twelve hours there it snowed. Totally bizarre. More bizarre? I finished socks.


Blue Moon Socks that Rock Heavyweight… 3.25mm needles, colourway that is currently a rare gem but will be for sale as soon as Tina gets to it. (Grimm’s Garden, when it’s done.)


These worked up like lightning, but still fit in shoes and are brilliantly comfy. I’ll write up the pattern for you as soon as I make another pair to check my work. Darned nice. For now, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow is the event at Third Place Books in Seattle, then the Earth Day event in Portland the day after. I’ll be really sad to leave the island, but totally happy to get back to a place with regular internet and cell phone service.

Another time…at sock camp

Hey? What are those knitters doing?


Can I see too? What’s Jen got on her computer?



Jen’s an engineer. Jen made a program that predicts colour patterns in painted skeins. You measure the colour sections of the skein, knit a swatch and measure a couple of things, then input that information into Jen’s program, choose the colours, and then click.


From there, Jen’s program can tell you what that skein of yarn is going to do at any stitch and row gauge, over any number of stitches, and knit flat or circularly, and it generates a picture to show you.


Big Brain. Jen has a very, very big brain. This is the best use of a knitters vocation and natural tendencies towards the obsessive compulsive side of things that I have ever seen.

When knitters run the world,


Things will be very different.

(PS. The pattern for the tiny sock monkey (and there is a big one too) is from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. You’ll be able to get it on their website, in about a week. Happy now?)

One sock camp

We are having almost a criminally good time here, but I have to tell you, I think that like SOAR, Sock Camp may have a mortality rate. (Like SOAR, I believe the proximity to water is helping to cover this fact. If I had to guess, I’d say the bodies of the knitters who don’t make it are stripped of sock yarn, needles and useful notions and rolled into the sea by the Sockateers.) I’m getting tired, but I’ve got my wits about me and expect to survive.

Here are some things we have been doing.

1. Learning about socks. The classes (though I have only been in mine) sound terrific, and everyone seems to be learning a ton. (Hopefully, some of them are learning something in mine.) I want to take the class that’s just about different cast-ons really badly. Three hours….lots of different cast ons for socks. I have stolen procured the hand out, so I am learning anyway.

2. Tina made their “camp project” a toilet paper cover. You were to make it and bring it. I didn’t have time – (I ended up doing what I did last year, which was something with Cat Bordhi that we just won’t discuss) but the campers really, really stepped it up. They were so much better than I thought that I just couldn’t believe it. Some were just beautiful.



Some were just hysterical.


(This is “Crapotis” – note the appropriate stitch pattern)

Some were darling.


Some were literary.


This is Edgar Allen Poo, who is standing like that because he has just released “the tell-tale fart”. He is, naturally, in front of the house of flusher. Yes. I think that is very funny.


Then we had a day where we made little tiny sock monkeys.


I am delighted with mine.


Then last night there was a knitting relay race, a game with toilet paper I don’t want to discuss but left a large and strange mess, and then there was a game of “Can you knit with this?” To which the answer was a resounding






YES. (The beef stick smelled really funny and the knitter who got the piece of a plastic hangar and a drill bit did finish, but boy, that was a challenge.)

After that, Cat knit faster than me with turkey basters, and we called it a night.

Today, more classes, some underwater knitting (camera free event) and I have no idea what else. This is the strangest way I’ve ever spent five days, but I’m having a great time.

Last, but not least, it is Rachel H’s Birthday. She’s funny, clever, organized, knows everyone’s schedule, (though I am particularly grateful she knows mine..) makes kick ass soup, makes a thousand things possible just by breathing air, and is my friend, for which I am very grateful. She has my love and very best regards on this day. Happy, happy Birthday.