Hunker Down Now

This post comes to you from O’Hare airport in Chicago – I’m on a longish stop, waiting for my flight to Kansas City for Knitting in the Heartland. and I thought I would be crabby about the travel, so many flights and airports and hotels lately, but it turns out I’m entirely content. (That’s not totally true, going to this event means I’ll miss one of my favourites, the DFW Fiber Fest. Have a good time my little petals, I wish I was there.) It’s yucky outside, but I’m inside knitting (and answering email and writing to you) and the weekend will be a busy one, but I find myself really liking the idea of (mostly) having one task.

For the next several days (with the exception of a few responsibilities to the Bike Rally) this weekend I am just a knitter, and I am just going to a convention, and I don’t have anything to juggle or a thousand things competing for my attention. I am going to knit, and teach knitting and give a keynote and a lecture and in the evening I am going to sit in my hotel room, with the lights dim, and an audiobook on, and I am going to knit.  Hell, I might even watch a Craftsy class. (In my head Craftsy is TKC. The Knitting Channel. I’ve only bought a few of them but I watch them over and over. I find them really calming.) I’ve brought three projects with me. The Agatha Socks, which are my current on-the-go knitting, though in a perfect world I’d have something plainer for walking around.  It’s hard to check a chart, knit and juggle the universe at the same time. I figure I’ll have it memorized right about the time I’m done the socks.

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(A word about the yarn – it’s West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply in “Cardamom” and I pretty much adore it.  I’m pretty sure I bought it in Calgary when I was at Pudding Yarn last year, but can’t be sure now.  So much of my yarn shopping is a blur. I had money. Then I had yarn. Don’t really remember what happened in between.)

I’ve also got Magmatic Boom, which I’m knitting out of Jill Drapers Rifton.

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It’s a second go around for this one – I got about this far in last time before I decided I was unhappy with the gauge and ripped the lot of it back and gave it another go  I’m happier now, though only now getting into virgin, unknit yarn.

I’ve also brought the Habu Sea Tangles with me, though we are not currently on speaking terms.  I’m going to have a visit with it later, and see if we can get over it if we spend a little time together. For now, my flight’s delayed in Chicago, it’s prime knitting time, and there’s even another yarn person in the lounge so I don’t look weird.  I’m all over this.

Captain Adventure

I was going to start this post by telling you that I’m not a very adventurous person, and then I took a look at my life lately and wondered if I was wrong about that and I deleted it. The Bike Rally, travel, everything that happened this weekend… maybe, I thought, maybe I am becoming a brave and fierce adventurer as I get older. I thought about that while I packed up our things, tucked two kinds of knitting in my bag,  and I realized that I am pretty much the same. I am simply easily led, and have friends who adore escapade and fear nothing, and (in particular) a husband to match. Let me tell you about our weekend.

Joe is part of the team working on the National Music Centre in Calgary. He’s been flying back and forth every so often to work here a little, and he had to work here this past week. He looked at my schedule, and remembered that at some point in the year gone by, I’d said that I might maybe, possibly, consider giving skiing a go.  It has always felt very unpatriotic that I can’t, and Joe can, and as the kids leave us behind, we’re looking for things that we can do together – things that can replace the excitement of a houseful of teenagers. Now, to be fair, I thought that when I mentioned the skiing thing, that we might bounce off to Blue Mountain (a small place here in Ontario) or maybe go nuts and try Mont Tremblant. I forgot who I was married to though, and the next thing I knew, Joe had put together that he had to be in Calgary, that I had a free weekend, and decided that since he had to come west anyway, that it would be very economical and clever indeed, for me to learn to ski in the CANADIAN ROCKIES. For the record, I do not recall specifically consenting to this, I was just suddenly on another Joe ride.

We flew to Calgary – Joe did what he had to do – I went along for a site visit, man, the new National Music Centre is going to be something…

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and then we got in the car and I drove us (poor start, Joe forgot his drivers license so I lost a ton of knitting time chauffeuring) up to Lake Louise, and we had a good sleep, and then the next morning, bright and early, we toddled off to the ski hill.  Joe had decided, for the sake of our marriage, that this adventure should start with skiing lessons – proper ones, from an instructor.  We rented our skis and reported to Club Ski – where in an incredible stroke of good fortune, and even though we’d only paid for group lessons, I was the only beginner in the class, and me and my new best friend Brett “hit the slopes”. By this, I mean we went to the bunny hill where I learned how to put on skis, and we spent the rest of the day there, with me learning (more slowly than I can tell you) how to stand up, how to move forward, how to snowplow (it’s a way of stopping -vital information, I tell you.)  At 10:30am Brett was skiing backwards in front of me while I clung to his hands like he was the last life raft on the Titanic, and by lunch, I could slowly cruise down the “carpet” (that’s what they call the bunny hill to make it sound less babyish – it doesn’t work) doing the slowest linked turns you have ever seen in your entire life, while swearing involuntarily (and a little hysterically) the whole time.   Joe’s got a video of this – I thought I was going so fast that I could scarcely breath – in the film, you can see that toddlers walk faster.

I practiced the rest of that day, and things got a little better. The next day we went to Sunshine, and things got a little better again.  I got off the bunny hill and on my first ski lift with the fabulous Brett. (Joe was off skiing off cliffs and skiing down sheer faces while leaping rocks and doing moguls.)

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(This picture was taken before I tried to get off the ski lift, and invented several ways to do it, all various forms of horizontal. I fell getting off the lift five times in total, and at the end of one particularly catastrophic attempt I only had one ski.) I skied my first green run – top to bottom, all standing, and then my second green run, mostly on my bum – with a return to near tears, swearing, and one particularly low moment in which I referred to Brett (openly, and with real feeling) as a lunatic.  Then we came back to the lodge and it turned out a lady in the other group had gotten hurt and I excused myself very civilly and cried in the bathroom for about 5 minutes.   Joe was in another group than I was and he was such a good skier. I was… not.  I sat there in the loo and I realized I had a choice. I could give in to every instinct I had and go out there and tell Joe and Brett that I was too scared and I couldn’t do it, or I could make the most of it and hope that I wouldn’t break an arm. (I felt like I could cope with a broken leg. Preferably the left one.)    I went out and I told Brett I was ready to ski, and you know what? I did.

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I skied a green run successfully three times that afternoon, and the next day we went way up high at Lake Louise, and I got on and off the ski lift without falling every time, and I skied a really long run, all the way from the top of the mountain down, and I even skied a run that was way, way too hard for me by accident (Brett was really sorry – apparently you don’t know what the groomers or ice have done to a run until you get up there – and then there’s only one way down, dammit) I wasn’t able to ski it without a return to language unbecoming  a knitter, and I sat down (quickly and in the snow) to save my own life twice, but the important thing is that I skied it.

I skied it all, and with a little gracefulness, and no more tears, and when it was over, Brett said that I was a going to be a good skier, and that if I could ski greens in the Rockies I could probably ski greens anywhere, and I didn’t totally believe him.  Brett’s a great guy, and all of that, but we did give him money to spend time with us, and so I felt like I couldn’t entirely trust his position, so last night I checked in with with Joe.  I asked him what I was supposed to say now if someone asked me if I could ski. “Should I say that I can sort of ski? Do I say I can ski, but badly?”

“Steph” Joe said, “You can just say you can ski.”

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So hey.

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I’m a skier now.

And it was like this

When I travel, I always have my eye out for other knitters. I bet you do too. (Cat Bordhi once confessed to me that the advent of tiny headphones has been hard for her. Watching people pull them from their bags, for one wonderful second she always thinks “Yarn!” and is then a little crushed when it’s just headphones again. It happens to me too. Over and over.)

I was looking for knitting in Mexico, but I didn’t find it. (I did find one knitter – although technically she found me. As Joe and I were walking down the street, a very nice knitter approached us, and introduced herself, and she was a cyclist, and a knitter, and she was also American, not Mexican, there on a visit herself. Being me, I was confident I would remember her name – and being me I’ve forgotten it, but not her.  Hi there! Lovely to meet you!)  As we travelled around, there was lots of evidence of the textile arts, but no evidence of knitting – this makes sense, there’s no traditional knitting of Mexico – it’s not like they had Aran sweaters like Ireland, or mittens like Latvia.  Knitting came to Mexico by way of immigrants coming from other parts of the world, much like the rest of North America. (Surprise, there’s no knitting tradition in Canada or the United States either, not until immigrants brought it from Europe. The indigenous people here didn’t know how.  I know someone just flipped out and is about to leave me a comment about the Cowichan people and their sweaters. I know, I know, but the Coast Salish peoples didn’t knit until about 1850 – when a Scottish settler taught them.)

Mexico then, doesn’t have a knitting tradition – the Spanish knew how to knit by the time they colonized the place, but knitting was an art that wasn’t known by a lot of regular people and it looks like they brought farming techniques, floor looms, sugar cane, horses, sheep and small pox, rather than knitting.  Instead, what knitting exists there now was probably brought by missionaries later on.  That said, the indigenous people of what’s now Mexico were making textiles for a long time before they were colonized. Spinning, weaving and beading were well known to the Mayans, using cotton, backstrap looms and drop spindles were commonplace, and figure largely in their art and artifacts.

Those are primarily the traditions that have carried on. I saw absolutely buckets of weaving in Ajijic, Guadalajara and Mexico City. It was everywhere. There was handwoven textiles in just about every shop, and every restaurant boasted some handwoven napkins, or a tablecloth.

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Beaded bookmarks, necklaces… you name it. If you can bead it, it was beaded. At this booth, a guy sat in the back, beading a neckpiece so fast that I worried he’d bead me if I stood still too long. (No picture. He didn’t want me to take one.)

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At the Museum of Archeology, there was a recreation of a 16th Century room from Tlaxcala – and there were a lot of items in there we’d find pretty familiar.  Hand cards, a wheel not too different from one of my own, a skein winder, and a pretty modern looking floor loom and bobbins.

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There was a frame loom,

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and a back strap loom – the use of both of which almost certainly pre-date the floor loom.

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There was beautiful embroidery everywhere, and tiny hand made needles from (crap. I forgot to write it down – they’re pretty stinking old. Maybe one of you knows?)

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One lady even showed us the first needle and thread –

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The tip of an agave leaf, with the fibres that run down the plant still attached. Voila. It was really, really sharp, and you could see how well it would have worked.

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I even saw a weaver, working away at her loom – outside a shop full of the things she’d made. (I tried to tell her I was a weaver too, but I didn’t know the words and it didn’t go very well.)

In Guadalajara I turned a corner and suddenly found myself in front of three yarn shops, all in a row – Well, they were shops that had yarn, but they were really different from what I’d call a yarn shop here. For starters, in not a one of them could you touch the yarn.

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It was in cases that opened to the back, so only the staff could touch them, or it was up on shelves behind a counter – running back into the shop.  Near as I could tell, the customers did a lot of pointing and shouting, and the people who worked there went back and forth with sticks, ladders and other implements, fetching the yarn that the patron fancied, and running it to the front, where it was examined, and then rejected or accepted.

There was little or no supply of knitting patterns that I could see, and the notions section (including needles) was very, very meagre, and also behind the counter. Now, what was really interesting, was that it seemed to me that all of this was for crochet. All the samples were crochet, there was lots of crochet hooks, and the few magazines of patterns I could see at all, they were crochet too.

This all sort of fit, I think – because the only person I saw using that yarn the whole time I was in Mexico?

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They were a crocheter.  This is Stephanie, your roving correspondent, signing off.

(PS. We’ve had some last minute cancellations for the April Strung Along Retreat, so we’ve got two spots available. We’ll let you know now that June is looking full, and November is full, so if you wanted to launch off for a spectacular treat, this April might be your chance. We’d love to have you. Email Debbi or I at, and we’ll set you right up.)

(PPS. We’re still accepting goodies for our goodie bags – if you’d like to put something in them, that same address works. We tweet, instagram and Facebook all our goodie bag stuff, it’s not a terrible way to show off what you do.)




Let me sum up

Well poppets, a lot has happened since we saw each other last.

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Our lovely visit with Joe’s parents continued, and we did lots of fun things – including a bus trip to Guadalajara (great city) and then on Friday morning we got up really early, and we went to the airport so we could fly to Mexico City and then on to Toronto, and we checked in for our flight, and we went to the gate, and we started to wait. We waited until it was supposed to be time to board. Then we waited a little longer.  After a little while, they announced that they were going to start boarding in a few minutes, and that confused us a little bit, because there was no plane at the gate. Still – we had three hours to make our connection, so we didn’t get sweaty about it.  After about another fifteen minutes, I went over and used my very dodgy Spanish to gently ask how it was going. Did they expect a plane soon? En cuántos minutos?   “Viente” the nice lady said, and that’s twenty, and that seemed fine. We would still make our connection.

Thing was, in twenty minutes the answer was still twenty (and I was wracking my brain to be sure that the word for twenty was what I thought it was) and twenty minutes after that the plane finally arrived, and Joe and I (the two of us had been getting progressively twitchier this whole time) heaved a sigh of relief.  We signed into our Air Canada flight online so that the short time we had to connect would be smoother, we talked about how we’d have to hustle, but it would be just fine… we texted with Joe’s Mum about the most efficient route through the Mexico City airport, and then, hearts light, we boarded.

Then we sat there. We sat there for about 15 minutes, and then the Captain came on, and he said a lot of things very quickly in Spanish, and I thought I understood him, but then I realized that I couldn’t possibly have. I’d caught “tráfico excesivo” which seemed clear, and then I’d heard something about eleven o’clock, but what was happening at eleven seemed wrong. It was ten then, and it’s only an hour long flight – so, was the pilot confirming that we were going to arrive at 11? That would be just fine for us. Our flight out of Mexico City left at 12:45. Joe and I can run any airport distance in an hour.

I thought about what words I know in Spanish, and then I leaned over Joe, and asked the guy next to him what time we were going to leave, and he said eleven. “Dejar a la once?” I asked, and he confirmed. We were going to sit on that plane for an hour before it moved, and that is exactly what we did. We sat there until about 11:10 and Joe and I knew it was over. We were going to miss our connecting flight. Sure enough, we landed at 12:20, we got to the gate at about 12:45, and that was the time that our other flight was taking off. Honestly, we both considered freaking out, but it seemed really counter productive. I mean, what’s the point? We’d catch the midnight flight, or worst case, one the next morning. Whatever. Stay loose, we told each other, as we trotted through the airport to find our bags.

Thus began a day of a pretty seriously craptastic nature.  We collected our bags and went to the airline counter. Nobody was there. We went to another counter and asked around, and they sent us a million miles to the airline office. Nobody was there. We came back down (the Mexico City airport is as big as the city of Chicago) and bought a SIM card so one of our phones would work, then installed ourselves at a restaurant that said they had WiFi so we could start sorting it out. It turns out they didn’t have Wifi – so while Joe went back to the SIM card place to buy us another one, I used our working phone to call Air Canada. I waved Joe off confidently as he left, quite sure that the nice man on the other end of the phone was coming back momentarily with a reservation on a flight in just a few hours.

When Joe came back twenty minutes later I was off the phone and had a largish glass of wine. There were no flights. Not that day, not the next day, not the day after that. “What are you talking about?” Joe said, sliding into his chair with a shocked look on his face.

“March Break in Canada.” I said. “Spring Break in the States, Easter Break here. There are no flights. Not until the 22nd. Five days from now.”  Joe stared at me like I’d lost my mind. “We’ll go to another airport” he said. “We’ll fly to Houston, or Atlanta, or …. ”

“There are no flights.” I said, trying to make him understand. I’d told the Airline representative that we were willing to take any flight – anywhere – any time, even drive somewhere else,  and the answer, after checking everything he could think of, was that there were no flights. Still, we’d only checked one airline, and it seemed to us that there had to be a solution, so- determined to be cheerful – we paid our bill and moved on to another restaurant that claimed to have WiFi but didn’t – and then finally went up to the airport hotel and asked if we could use their WiFi, and 45 pesos later, we were online, and discovering that there really were no flights. Joe dealt with the insurance company, and I continued searching until I found an exorbitantly expensive flight home on the 21st – but that got sold out while I was asking Joe for our credit card. An hour later I had found another one, and booked that instantly.  Shortly after that we managed to find a hotel, and then crossed the airport again to (somehow – turns out I know more Spanish than I thought)  manage to get some paperwork from the airline that had been two hours late and started the mess, and the whole time we took deep breaths, tried to be really nice to each other and reconciled ourselves to the way things were. We were stuck in Mexico City. We were hemorrhaging money. Neither of these things was changeable by us. We decided that it was all going to be about attitude, and that if this was the way things were going to be, and clearly it was, then well, we might as well make the most of it.

So we did. We worked for a few hours ever morning and evening (since we were supposed to be back at work)  and in between, we went everywhere. We climbed the bell towers of the Metropolitan Cathedral, and stood on the roof while the bells were ringing, we walked through cobblestoned streets and found a Mexican Vegetarian place. We drank Mescal. We found out what agave looks like.

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We went to museums and to monuments and lots of churches and climbed two thousand year old pyramids. (We did that along with tens of thousands of people. Who knew that the spring equinox was the most popular day of the year to climb the thing?)

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We saw Our Lady of Guadalupe, we walked and walked, we learned (ok, I learned) that Clara Parkes wasn’t kidding a few weeks ago in Texas when she told me not to touch cactus, even carefully.

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I finished socks.

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ONline Supersocke 4-fach Neon Color #1718, my basic sock pattern.

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I started some other socks (Agatha Socks, and I love them)

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and last night, after making the most of getting stuck, we and our good attitudes finally caught a flight from Mexico City to New York, then New York to Toronto, where we fell into bed.  Tomorrow, we fly again.  There was supposed to be five days in there, rather than one, so excuse me while I unpack,  repack and chat with the worlds top knitwear model.  I’d better find more yarn, too.

We are so good to our parents

Over the last few years, both Joe and I have found ourselves with Snowbird parents, of a sort. My mum is pretty good at it, she rents a place by the ocean in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, for a month each winter. Joe’s parents are really good at it, and they have a place in Ajijic, Mexico where they come for several months a year. For a few years now, I’ve been going to be with my mum for a while every time she goes, and Joe’s been making a point of visiting his mum.  I go to my mum, he goes to his, divide and conquer – it works really well, except that he doesn’t visit my mum, and I don’t visit his, which is a shame because I really like Joe’s parents, and he really likes my mum. Still, we had it all under control.

Then this year my mum rented her place for slightly different dates than she usually does, and that ran into two work things that I had to do – and so my daughters all went down to visit my mum, and Joe planned a trip to his parents, and I… didn’t.  That was until a few weeks ago, when Joe realized that if we tweaked things just a little bit – if he came and went at slightly different times, then I could go with him. It seemed too good to be true, but it was, and on Sunday afternoon (having wrapped up an awesome Birthday Bash for Ken) we got on a plane and flew to Mexico City, and on Monday morning

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we got on another plane and flew to Guadalajara. A short-ish drive from there, and we’re tucked into Joe’s Mum and Dad’s house in Ajijic, and we get to stay until Friday Morning, and we are having a pretty nice time. We are living like retired, snowbird Canadians for five days, and that means that for the last 24 hours we have been the youngest people present just about everywhere we’ve gone. (This is a refreshing thing to try in your late 40s, and I highly recommend the feeling it gives you in a bathing suit.)  Today we went to some hot springs, and last night out to dinner, and right this very minute, things are very tough indeed.

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That’s a finished Capture, hanging on the chair in the background.  (You would not even begin to believe how fast things dry in Mexico.) Two skeins Woolfolk Far, one skein silk cloud, and I’d show you a modelled shot except it’s 28 degrees and nobody here is putting that on their body.  You would not even believe the way that mohair sticks to sweat. (Maybe when we’re back in Toronto I’ll enlist the Worlds Top Knitwear Model.)

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It is soft, and gorgeous and perfect, much like visiting your in-laws is,  in my case.

Mañana, Knitters.

Almost like a Salad

Yesterday our internet was getting fixed, or changed or whatever it is that the guy and Joe were up to (there was much talk of firewalls and routers and I sort of checked out after that) and thus unplugged,  I commenced with the semi-annual Tossing of the Stash.

My stash is not an insignificant beast.  It’s also probably not as big as you imagine it to be, and I used to think that it wasn’t as big as I wanted it to be, but over the years I’ve come to think that it’s just about right.  Most of it is upstairs, in what we affectionately call “The Stashroom.” (The rest is downstairs* we’ll talk about that later.)

The Stashroom is a wee room upstairs at the end of the hall. It’s very small – if it had proper furniture in it, it would hold perhaps a single bed and a little bedside table – with no room left over for a dresser or anything. It’s tiny. It was likely built as a box room in this old house, and a few years ago I took it over for the purposes of containing and supporting the (upstairs) stash. (I took a few pictures of it way back when I first pulled it together.)** All my patterns and books are in there, and all the small quantities of yarn, and the spinning stash.  (Mostly.) It’s pretty orderly, but every time I need something, I go in and stir through the lot of it, and because I am a normal human being, I don’t always tidy up after myself – or I do tidy up after myself, but not very well.  I do things like buy sock yarn and toss it in the stash, not caring what cubby it goes in… or I go through the stash hunting for something and getting things out of order. I use pattern books and don’t put them back in the right place (I have kinda a knitterly version of the Dewey Decimal system going on for my books – and it is so much less neurotic than it sounded right there. I have hundreds of knitting books, magazines and patterns.  There has to be some way of finding things.) Essentially, the highly structured organizational system I have comes undone over the course of a half year, and I go in and put it back together, to try and prevent chaos from taking over the entire thing.

Tossing the Stash has benefits beyond tidying up – because I assure you that while I rather adore being able to go into that room and know exactly, precisely where to put my hand on a half skein of blue DK from seven years ago (which I had to do on Sunday and it only took a minute) that’s not enough to get me to deep clean and organize a room in the house twice a year. (If that were the case, the cupboard under the television certainly would not have any VHS tapes in it, which it totally does.) When I Toss the Stash – I do a whole bunch of stuff. I take everything off the shelves and out of the cubbies, and I give all of those a good wipe. Then I decide if the way I’m organizing things still makes sense, or if I really do need one whole cubby for self-striping yarn

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(I do) or if it would make more sense to keep the conservative sock yarn away from the wilder stuff – so that I can see at a glance if it’s possible to make Joe anything. (That makes sense too.) Then I start putting everything back in, culling the herd as I go. That chunky mint-green brushed mohair?  Yeah. I’m not going to use that. Ever. I blame the 80’s for its existence at all. That sock yarn that I bought four skeins of – but then figured out that it’s so splitty that it makes Zsa Zsa Gabor look like she loves commitment? Gone. How about the skein that’s the really weird shade of pink that I would never buy but somehow own? I don’t even wonder how it got in there, I just help it find a forever home. Any particular reason I own three copies of The Knitters Handbook? Heck no. I think I keep rebuying it because I love it so much, but now two friends have copies too.  I’ve even started letting go of some of the magazines. It’s hard for me, because somewhere in the centre of my being is a bit that believes that I am probably the only person in the whole world who has copies of Family Circle Easy Knitting all the way from 2000-2005, but I’ve never used them, they’re taking up a lot of room, and someone else is going to have to have responsibility for curating that particular collection.  They’re out of here.

Everything gets a quick dust off, vacuum and inspection before it goes back in. This is Toronto, the moth capital of the world (I made that up, but for sure there are a lot) and this house is more than 130 years old. That means I have to think about the potential for mice and carpet beetles, both of which can live in the walls – along with moths. (Have I ever told you that many houses here in Toronto have wool as insulation in the walls – or plaster and lathe with horsehair are the walls? DELICIOUS.) All those beasts like privacy – dark, quiet, undisturbed places, and so pulling the stash out and putting it back in again means disturbing those places, and I will at least spot something bad before it’s really bad.  (I also mostly keep my yarn in ziplocks. All those beasts can chew through them, but at least it keeps dust off, and would slow them down.)

At the end of the whole thing, I have a more streamlined stash, and a safer stash, and a tidier stash, and I can find things really easily.  Things are sorted neatly into cubbies, beads are with the bead stash, buttons are in the button stash and I know just where my pincushion is, and there are no T-pins stuck in it. (They are in their proper spot with the blocking stuff.)  I look at that little room in its organized glory, and I love it. It’s not perfect, and it’s not a beautiful studio space with twinkle lights and a good place to keep an ironing board (dare to dream) but it is the corner of this tiny house that holds the yarn, and it will do neatly.

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It’s like having a yarn store that’s open 24 hours a day, is filled with only things I like (or liked at one time – I can’t explain the mint green brushed mohair) where everything is free.  Space was made, spiritually and physically, the yarn and I had a good visit, and it was fun. *** Absolutely the only downside is that having a really good look at all your yarn makes you want to knit it all – and it’s no cure for startitis, I tell you that.

*I keep sweater quantities, “extra” sock yarn (sorted by colour) weaving and spinning tools and basic worsted weight wool in lots of colours downstairs in my office. It’s a pretty big cupboard. I’ll show you sometime.

**Actually, looking back at those pictures, I can see that despite dedicated culling, the stash is larger than it was in 2010. Making a mental note to get a grip.

***Sort of.  It was still cleaning, so… you know.

I’ll put it away later

Good news. Spring is on its way. I know, if you live around here it might be hard to believe, what with the dingy snow malingering in the yard and the safe planting date being two months away, but it is totally coming, and I can prove it.

I have Startitis. I want to knit all the things. All of them. The same thing happens every spring, so I know it must be coming. Right now I have no less than four active projects, and I feel like it is not even remotely enough.  My stash is a beguiling force that keeps calling to me, though it’s hard to hear, what with all the noise that buying new yarn makes. I thought I just wanted to knit a lot right now, but that’s not it. If it were, then I’d be content with the four projects I’ve got rotating through my day, and those, my knitterly friends, are not cutting it. I want to start things. New things. Gorgeous things.

Capture 2016-03-07

This is the latest to hit the needles – Capture, knit with one strand of Woolfolk Får, and another of Shibui Silk Cloud. (It’s taking two skeins of the Får, and one of the Silk Cloud.) I am desperately in love with it – it’s so soft that I’ve forced about eight non-knitters to touch it.

I haven’t even bothered to put away the yarn that I bought in Texas, and that is because my startitis is a delusion that says that I’m going to use it up so quickly that there’s no point in putting it away. I look at it, I contemplate taking it to the stash room and making it a spot, and then something comes over me, and I think – heck no. I’ll just take a minute and make a shawl/socks/cowl later. No point in carrying it upstairs.

There are five skeins of yarn for a cowl, four skeins of sock yarn, and two balls of laceweight cashmere. I added it up – that’s 2858m of yarn, and I’m not putting it away because I’m going to start it later, and it won’t count because it will be finished quickly.

Oh, Spring. It must be right around the corner.

That flew by

Monday: I flew home from a pretty wonderful retreat in Texas with Hill Country Weavers. It was run by some pretty awesome people, and some of my favourite colleagues were there, and my students were uniformly charming and clever, and I had a super big accident in the marketplace involving Woolfolk and MustStash Yarns. I’m not sorry.  I knit all the way home on the flight, and finished the third of three projects in three days. (They were all small. More about that later.)  I didn’t take very many pictures, but here’s a few snaps to show you what all went on. Rapid fire.

1. Julie Weisenberger, Ann Budd, Clara Parkes and I all showed up to do a podcast with Stacy from MustStash Yarns and Dianne from Suburban Stitcher.

podcast 2016-03-04

Because the four of us rock it a little old school, we didn’t know it was video. This should explain why we’re dressed in the most boring clothes of all time, and my hair is funny. (Well, we can pretend my hair is funny for that reason.)

2. It was hot in Texas, or… I thought it was hot in Texas, but it turns out that it’s all perspective. While Clara (she’s from Maine) and I were the only people at the pool –

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I saw a Texan knitter wearing gloves, and dinner was moved indoors because of the “cold”.  (Every single time someone mentioned how chilly it was I giggled out loud.)

3. I am so charmed by cactus that I can’t even talk about it. It was everywhere. Just… growing. Outside. Like a real plant instead of something you coddle on your desk.

cactus 2016-03-04

4. The marketplace let knitters run a tab.  (Smart, and dangerous.)

tab 2016-03-04

Tuesday:  I thought I was jet-lagged, but it turns out I was just lagging. I tidied up, didn’t unpack, made some attempt to bring order to my universe, and went out to a meeting to plan the training rides for the Bike Rally and get organized for a big meeting the next day. I also fixed my Co-Lead’s knitting – Cameron got a little mixed up with purling, but he’s doing really well – churning out a ribbed toque that he can wear so that he can say “yes” when people ask him if he made it.

cold 2016-03-04

As I walked home I reflected on the actual meaning of the word “cold.”

Wednesday: I looked longingly at my knitting, went back and forth with Cameron about nine-hundred and eighty seven times to come up with a schedule for Team Leads to sweep all the years rides, and went to a big Team Leader meeting. I knit on the streetcar.

Thursday: Ken’s 50th Birthday – and a nod to Samantha’s 22nd. (She was away when it was her day, we’re all playing catch up.)  We had a big family dinner here, and I put 50 candles on Ken’s cake and almost burned the house down. (Not really, but it was totally amazing how much heat that thing put out.)

manycandlesken 2016-03-04 manycandles 2016-03-04 manycandleskenhot 2016-03-04

Sam got a hat I knit her for her birthday (she’s on a roll, having lost two Wurms in a row. This one was a simple slouchy hat to keep her ears warm. No pattern, I just faked it.)

samhat 2016-03-04

While I was on my way home from Texas, I knit a little cowl that was in the gift bags everyone got. A simple, fast knit – done in a day.  Everything Nice by Suzanne Middlebrooks, knit out of two half skeins of Shibui Silk Cloud.

cowldone 2016-03-04

I didn’t know who I’d knit it for, so that evening I put it up for grabs. It was instantly claimed by our young friend Keanu

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after he checked to see how it looked on him.

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Sam made sure he didn’t get carried away. There’s only one top knitwear model in these parts.

Friday: I’m making pizza for Luis.