A fitting day for it

Happy Friday world, and Happy Birthday America. I’m gearing up for a busy weekend here (The Rocky Horror Fundraiser at the Fox Theatre is tomorrow night at midnight – is anybody coming? I have to rest up if I’m going to pull off anything fun at that hour) so today I’ve got some knitting planned. I’ve been so tired this week, and a good go at knitting will be just the thing to set me to rights.  I have so many projects right now, many of them really close to finished, and yesterday I found myself longingly eying the stash and thinking up big plans.  I remember this feeling from last July, It’s such a ridiculously busy month, and all I hold onto is the idea that I am going to knit the hell out of August. For today though, I’d be happy to finish a pair of socks.

socksonthego 2014-07-04

These ones are pretty – but holy cats am I sick to death of them being on my needles. I don’t know what’s wrong with them that they’re taking so long, but man, do they ever have hang time. If I can’t finish them today, I’m putting them in time-out for being boring.

In the meantime, you know what’s not boring? PRESENTS.  Hang on kids, because here’s today’s round.

Hey, what’s this? A beautiful skein of Helen’s Lace, that’s what, courtesy of Beth at Lorna’s Laces. (Good people, them.)

helenslace 2014-07-02

It will be making it’s merry way to live with Leianne S!

On a totally unrelated note, how about these two skeins of yarn from Mrs Crosby?

toucan 2014-07-02

Nice, right?  Ruth Ann F will be giving  two skeins of  Satchel, in the rather gorgeous colourway “Toucan” a great new home.

My friend Kate Atherley (who is good at a great many things, but is an exceptional tech editor) has digital copies of her books to give away.

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Knit Accessories (I love this book) is going out to Bev W.

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and Beyond Knit and Purl (which is great for knitters of all stages) is off to Kate K, and I don’t have to wonder at all if they’ll enjoy them.

Next up, the lovely Karen S has a little stash that needs a new home.  These two skeins of Alpaca With a Twist will be going to live with Ginger J,

alpaca withatwist 2014-07-02

and these two beauties (Valley Yarn’s Berkshire) will make their merry way to Melissa K!

valleyberkshire 2014-07-02

Shannon Okey, over at Cooperative Press has a great gift to share.  Ingrid L will be choosing any three Cooperative Press books (good luck choosing) and also recieves a year long subscription to Knit Edge magazine!

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The enchanting knitter Randi has a great gift from her stash,  12 (Yup! TWELVE) skeins of Patons Classic DK superwash to go to Teresa F.

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That, not surprisingly is one of my favourite colours.  I’m a little jealous of the sweater that could come of it.

Melissa has another sweater quantity, this one’s a rather fabulous lot of 12 skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK (Yum) in a solid black. Winter is coming, and in the name of all alpacas,  Colleen H will be warm.

blackalpaca 2014-07-04

More! Look at this, it’s a pretty JulepB kit, donated by Helle.  It’s a pattern for Cora, yarn to do it with, and a pretty bag to carry the whole thing in.  Cheers Hannah M, it’s for you!

julepb 2014-07-04

Kara wrote me about this pretty Shibui sock yarn that she’s letting go of.

shibuisock 2014-07-04

I think it looks just like stargazer lilies, and I hope that Marcie R loves it, because it’s on it’s way to her needles.

Julia has $7 burning a hole in her pocket, and a very sweet idea.  She’s donating any ravelry pattern that Michelle K would like. Michelle chooses a pattern for $7 or less, and Julia picks up the tab.  Thanks Julia!

One last one? You bet.  Kat owns The Thankful Ewe yarn shop in Minster, Ohio, and also runs Paper and Yarn, and etsy shop that has some very pretty yarn…

prettyblue 2014-07-04

and some very funny stitch markers.

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Kat’s donating a $25 gift certificate to her etsy shop, and I really hope that Katie V gets those markers.

There! Fourteen gifts, and a happy Independence day to my American friends.

Thank you so very much to everyone who’s helping with this cause.  Knitters are amazing.

Finally, progress.

Yesterday I spent some real time knitting and I am reassured of three things.

1.The only thing keeping me from prison is knitting.

2. The reason I wasn’t making any progress is because I wasn’t knitting anywhere other than in my mind.

3. Progress in my knitting makes me feel like I have progress in all things. This is inaccurate, but lovely.

As soon as I sat down to knit, this literally jumped off the needles.

cowlalone 2014-07-03

It’s my Oatmeal Stout cowl. (The “extra cozy” version)  I designed it, and the mittens and infinity scarf that go with it for Clara Yarns.

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Do you know about that? Clara Parkes, who’s the longtime genius behind Knitter’s Review and The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool, has started making yarn.  With a resume like that, I don’t think anyone thought the yarn would be bad, and it isn’t – it’s actually fantastic, and she’s making it in a really unusual way.  Clara Yarn is born when the lady finds some great wool, a small batch, and has it produced exactly the way she wants it. It’s small amounts, not repeatable, and as each batch has been finished, she puts it up for sale, and when it’s gone, it’s gone, and she sets about making a new kind.  I love the idea – commercial, repeatable yarn is cool, important and I wouldn’t give it up, but this kind of simply curated yarn that’s the fruit of someone’s experience and brain? LOVE IT.  She sent me some of her most recent batch, an outstanding CVM/Romeldale in three natural colours, and I designed this set, and then I launched the pattern and she launched the yarn, and then the yarn was all gone before I could even tell you about it. (When I say small batches, I am not kidding.)

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I know it seems unfair, telling you about the thing when it’s all over but the crying, but you could still knit this if you wanted to – there’s a couple of other yarns I’d suggest if you wanted the same look, like Green Mountain Spinnery’s Weekend Wool  or KnitSpot’s Confection.

cowllook 2014-07-03

There’s others too – what you’re really looking for is a worsted weight yarn that’s soft, deliciously bouncy, and would feel like a million bucks on a blustery cold winter day. Something with lots of air and cush to trap air and insulate you against the forces that conspire to make you cold.

detailthree 2014-07-03

I had three skeins of Clara Yarn, each about 270m per skein, and I was able to make the mittens, the infinity scarf and the cowl – the extra cozy version.  (The cowl and scarf have two versions each.  The cowl shown here is extra cozy, the scarf, regular cozy.)

threesome 2014-07-03

I loved this project, and despite how long it took me to cross the finish line, it’s a very quick knit, and easier than it looks. There’s only one colour used per row, thanks to simple, but fancy looking slipped stitches, one of my favourite tricks for doing colourwork without… well, any real colourwork skills.  There’s no stranding or floats to catch, none of that. It’s simple enough for a beginner, I think.  I like it so much in the natural colours, but I can’t wait until someone (that might be me) does it in some colours. Oh, the possibilities.

The funniest part of this project is that the whole time I was knitting, I thought I was getting ahead on a Christmas present, but now that I”m done?

selfiecowl 2014-07-03

I’m keeping it. (And yeah, that’s a particularly bad selfie.  Sue me.)


PS.  I haven’t forgotten that I promised you prizes today, and I had them all queued up and ready to go when something went very wrong with my mail client.  I’m receiving mail, but can’t send any. Ken’s working on it, and we’ve tried everything, but it remains a hunk of inert crap at the moment, which means gifts have to wait.  Cross your needles for tomorrow.  My apologies.  I assure you, both Ken and I are using enough expletives that it should be fixed soon.

Random Things Post Holiday

1. Back-to-backs are done, and in some sort of amazing miracle,  it didn’t rain on us one little bit. Aside from a quick thunderstorm at the start of the day (we waited it out) the day was sunny. Really sunny – and hot. Like, the surface of Venus kind of hot.  We drank a million, thousand litres of water, and the heat was really a challenge, but we got it done.

beginningofride 2014-07-02

2. I love that picture. If you knew all of us, you would think that was totally us. All of us.  Amanda, smiling and happy, Ken – prepared, cheerful and calm,  Pato- eager and raring to go, Jen – well, she doesn’t usually look that manic, but she’s always up for anything, and that enthusiasm is surely typical, and then me, who looks crazed. As usual. Sam wasn’t feeling great and took the day off. We missed her. We’re not sure she missed us, considering the difficulty factor.

3. Yesterday I got back from the training ride at 7:30pm, threw myself in and out of the bath just long enough to get most of the dirt and sweat off me, got onto my city bike, and headed over to Lou’s house for a Canada Day BBQ.  It was fun, but the whole time I was there I was trying to figure out how I could sleep over at their house so that I didn’t have to ride up the hill to my house at the end.

4. I did ride that hill.  It was hard.  I’ve never felt more 46 years old than I did right then. I think if I have to ride my bike today I am going to cry.

5. I have today divided into 20 minute chunks of productivity, and several of those chunks are for knitting, because if I don’t get some real knitting time soon, I am going to be a danger to myself and others.

6. In particular, I want to finish this:

cowlalmost 2014-07-02

and the infernal socks, which are now weighing as heavily on me as my sore arse.

socksnotdone 2014-07-02

… and yeah.  I know the picture’s sort of blurry. So am I.  Frankly the last few weeks have really knocked the stuffing out of me.

7. Presents tomorrow? You bet.  Bumper crop.

8. I realized what it was I wanted to tell you about Canada on it’s birthday, and then looked around and saw that the rather fabulous Commander Chris Hadfield and his brother had already done it. Here you go.

In Canada


Happy Canada Day!

I’m drinking coffee, knitting a little (very little) on a sock, and watching a storm roll in. The sky is grey, the wind is blowing, and there’s a warning that severe storms are approaching the GTA.  (That’s the Greater Toronto Area.) It’s also incredibly hot. It’s only 8am and it’s already 32 degrees outside with the humidex, and it’s only going to get hotter.  All of this would just be interesting if I wasn’t sitting here knitting a sock and drinking coffee with my riding shoes on, because I’m about to leave on the second 100km ride of my back-to-backs.

Back-to-backs are a training requirement of the rally. Sometime before this Sunday, everyone has to do two 100m rides, on two consecutive days.  This seems reasonable to me, considering that the rally itself is six 100km consecutive rides, and proving you can do two seems totally legitimate – or it least it did until Jen and I realized that due to responsibilities related to being grownups, yesterday and today are the only days that we can do them – and do them we must, regardless of the weather.  (It is taking every shred of maturity I have not to fake appendicitis right now.)  We got it done yesterday, despite a flat, and the fact that it was so hot out that it was like riding through Satan’s armpit for five hours.  If I cop out today then yesterday was for nothing, and by wool, yesterday cannot be for nothing.  It was just too hard not to count.

So, Canada Day on the road it is, and you’ll have to wait for a missive about my lovely country this year, although if you like, you can go back and read what I’ve said in the past.  I swear they’re fun.  2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. 2013.

Wish me luck.