I was almost there

After the Big White (details forthcoming, when Meg gets her pictures from the photographer) I felt a sort of knitting ennui. It’s not that I didn’t want to knit, it was more that I had a kind of knitting hangover. Simple things called to me. Things with no charts, no beads, things with yarn thicker than dental floss…  I plowed through a pair of socks that have been kicking around my knitting basket forever –

donesocks 2016-06-28

I know the yarn is Regia, but once again, the colourway escapes me. I always take a picture of the ball band to try and avoid just this moment, but these ones have been around for so long that it’s hopeless.

donesocksheel 2016-06-28

That felt pretty good, so I started another pair…

newsocks 2016-06-28

I’ve got the ball band for these ones, Lang Super Soxx, Cashmere Color 4-ply, colour fetchingly named 904.0010. (There. Now I can lose it.)  I knit along on those for a while, but it didn’t scratch the itch. It didn’t feel like knitting really, just something to do, and this morning the feeling is still there. I picked up my knitting and realized that I’m starting to get over the Big White. The urge to have something a little more fussy is upon me, and I found myself browsing patterns, looking through ideas, re-reading notes that I left myself about things I wanted to knit, back when the Big White was all I was allowed to knit. I thought about starting a bit more lace, perhaps a few cables. Maybe something else beaded, now, while I know where my tiny crochet hook is?

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(Upstream Alpacas hand painted combed top, 100% baby alpaca, in “Cappuccino”.) 

Then I went upstairs and got myself something to spin.  Clearly, I’m not totally over it. Maybe tomorrow.

*PS. The hill repeats were a bust yesterday. My cough is better, apparently better enough to let me ride, but not to let me ride hills.  I did three loops through the park to warm up, then made one ascent, tried to hack up the lower lobe of my left lung at the top, and limped home. I suppose one is better than none, but it was pretty demoralizing. Today’s a new day. I’ll try again.

I’m going to Rally

Well, after that mild panic session on Friday, I got it together – or at least I started to.  I Saturday I took myself for a training ride. I planned at least 90km, but it ended up being a few longer than that, 96km.  (That’s just about 60 miles, for my American friends.)

You know, it wasn’t that bad.  I got my hacking, wheezing self out and onto the road, and though I needed a few breaks to blow my nose, I did better than I thought. I was prepared to take it really slowly, as slowly as I needed to to get it done, but despite my cold and the incredibly oppressive heat and humidity, I was both pretty fast and pretty happy. (I wouldn’t say I was exactly chipper on the bike, but there’s only so much you can hope for, and by fast I mean fast for me. Not actually fast.  Other cyclists were blowing by me like I was a toddler on a tricycle, but I try not to compare myself to them too much. I was fast compared to me.)  I wound up the day by riding my bike to the marina, where Joe and I went for the first sail of the year. (We’re running behind. We’ve been busy – but I did practice being helmswoman this time, so Joe got to be a passenger.)

joeboat 2016-06-27

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Sunday was a Rally day too – Cameron is my Co-lead this year, both for our team and for the Steering Committee, and it was our turn to “sweep” a ride.  There’s two ways to sweep – there’s a set of Team Leads on bikes, they ride at the end, slower than the slowest rider, to make sure nobody gets left behind, and then there’s the “car sweeps” and that’s who we were.  Our job is to drive back and forth along the length of the cohort, answering the emergency phone, picking up riders who have trouble, and on super hot days like yesterday, set up little stations to refill water bottles and hand out ice. (We had oranges too, we like to overachieve.)

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It takes hours and hours – and it’s a lot of time in the car, and usually that would just scream “knitting time” to me, but yesterday, in a wave of generosity…

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Cameron got the knitting time.  He’s working on his second project – and it’s a doozy, though he doesn’t know it.  He did so well with his first project that I decided he could handle something really good, so he’s working on a Baby Surprise Jacket – and he’s almost done. A few rows away from the buttonholes, and he’s learned how to increase, decrease, follow his markers, read his knitting, knit into the back of a stitch, pick up a dropped stitch, and cast on and off.  (I find the secret with clever beginners is not to tell them when they’re doing something hard.) It was hard to give up the knitting time, but pretty satisfying to see Cameron churn along.

Today I’m trying to find it in me to get on my bike and go do hill repeats. (They’re exactly what they sound like. Ride to the top of a hill, ride down, repeat.) It’s about a thousand degrees in the shade though, and I’ve decided to wait until this evening when it’s not ridiculous out there. It reduces the amount of swearing I do on the bike tremendously. (Note that I’ve said “reduce”.  A nice knitter on instagram said she passed me cycling on the trail on Saturday, and I’ve been worried the whole time that I was cursing when she saw me.) Let’s do Karmic Balancing Gifts until I can motivate myself to get out there, shall we? To recap: You donate (or tweet, or facebook, or tell a friend) to a member of Team Knit (that’s me, Pato, Ken and Cameron) and send me and email with the subject line “I helped” (send it to stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca – changing the AT and DOT to the appropriate symbols, and noting the .ca) and then as often as I can, I spread the Karma around.

Tanja Luescher is a prolific designer over at Knitted in Switzerland who helps us out every year,  and once again she has a terrifically generous gift.  She’s got 10 (count ’em TEN) copies of her great ebook Stories of Inspiration to give away.  (And if that ebook isn’t quite the recipients cup of tea, she’s willing to let them make their own ebooks up out of her collection. Sweet as pie, that Tanja.)

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Fiona W, Liz R, Deborah D, Bonnie J, Janis M, Lindsey T, Erin R, Barbara S, Pferdina and Natalie R will all be enjoying her generosity.   As if that wasn’t enough, 10 knitters can pick three patterns each from her store. (With the exception of Daddy’s prayer shawl, because Tanja’s already generously donating the proceeds from that one elsewhere.) There’s lots of pretty things to choose from. Those are for Suzyn J, Kim C, Ruth H, Irina N, Kathryn K, Amanda G, Leanne D, Dawn S, Sarah L, and Kate E.

Here’s a beautiful hand quilted bag by Kristy, from her very pretty shop Eleven Stiches on Etsy.  She’ll be sending that out (it’s perfect for big knitting projects) to Sarah K.

kristybag 2016-06-27

Jean C made some gorgeous purchases before realizing that she wasn’t a lace knitter (happens to the best of us) and she’s ready to release her lace stash into the wild.  It’s two skeins of Knit Picks Shadow, and one of Jojoland Harmony. (I love that variegated lace stuff.) It will be winging it’s way to Sarah H. (Lot’s of Sarah’s today.)

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Kris has two amazing gifts from her stash to yours. (The Karma is strong with this one.)  First 7 skeins of Malabrigo Rueca handspun superwash DK (well kind of thick-thin really) merino 285 yds “teal feather”colour, that will be going to Shanna H.

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The second is 4 skeins of Madelinetosh Vintage superwash worsted merino 200 yds in Oak (Oh, so pretty) for Jade O.

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Thanks Kris!

Finally (for today – there’s so much more) Jeanne went stash diving, and came up with four beautiful gifts for all of you. Of her first gift she writes “I would like to donate a bag from Erin Lane Bags and a 300 yd skein of Knit Circus Greatest of Ease (80% merino/20% nylon) in the color “Meet me at the Fair”. Simply a lovely little kit I received, but unfortunately they are not my colors.  I know someone else will give this the love it deserves.”  I hope that’s true of Sharon C because that’s where it’s headed.
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“Two skeins of Huckleberry Knits (80% BFL/20% nylon, 420 yards) in the colors “WineSap” and “Rock Candy”.  Hoping whoever receives this can enjoy a nice glass of wine while knitting up something lovely!”  I bet that’s exactly what Josiane R plans.

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3 skeins of Shibui (100% Superwash Merino, 525 total yards) in the color “50’s Kitchen”. (That’s so perfectly named) for Tia D.

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“2 skeins of Plymouth Happy Feet (90% merino, 10% nylon, 384 yards each) in the colors “Tuscan Spice” and “Purple Iris” plus a cute bag from Erin Lane Bags to carry a fun project around!”  And that’s going out to Joy C.

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Well, there you go.  28 gifts, all done and dusted, and the hill beckons. (Actually, my knitting beckons. I thought I might get a few rows in before I ride.)  If you think your name is listed here, check your inbox.  I’ve emailed all the lucky ducks.


I wouldn’t exactly say it was a mistake

There is nothing that I regret about the last few weeks of my life.  That my time went to my girl and her wedding, that my energy went in that direction? A good choice, my knitters. A good choice. The shawl, the arrangements…it was all fine, but the whole time there was a twitchy little voice in the back of my head … a voice that said “What about the Rally?” and in true Stephanie form, I replied that I would worry about that later.

Blog.  It is later, and despite the fact that I am in my late forties, for some impossible magic reason I thought that procrastination would work better for me now than it has in the past.  (I suppose I procrastinated on figuring out that procrastination is a bad plan.) Last night I looked at my fundraising (way behind) at my work on the Steering Committee (barely up to date, thanks for covering me  Cam) and then my Blog, I looked at my arse, and I realized that on no level am I ready.

helmet 2016-06-24

Departure is in 4 weeks and 1 day.  This weekend marks the back-to-back deadline. By now, I’m supposed to have ridden two long rides, 90km or more, on two consecutive days.  I haven’t been on my bike in (ahem, I was doing a wedding) more than a week. (It’s longer than that, but there’s only so much panic I can engage in at once.) Last night I made a vow. I looked at the date of the rally, I realized that If I don’t get on my bike in a really, really big way in the next couple of weeks, riding my bike to Montreal is going to hurt like you wouldn’t believe, and I made a commitment to ride every day between now and then.

Then I lay in my bed, cried and coughed, because Blog, I have a terrible cold.  I caught it right before the wedding, and thanks to the miracle of modern medicine and the ancient tactic of whiskey, I made it through the whole thing, but I’m still wheezing and coughing and blowing my nose, and this morning I realized that I’m still too sick to ride, and I felt just horrible. Every minute I am not on my bike fills me with panic, but today I realized that I just wasn’t going to win the day, and I lay down.

Tomorrow I’m going to ride 100km, cold be damned. I might do it slowly, and I will likely be sorry the whole time, but I’m going to ride it. On Sunday I have to sweep a ride in the car with my Co-Lead, and so that day is out.  On Monday though, if I get up and get it together, I can ride another 100km, and on Tuesday, I can do the same thing… and then… If I can somehow repeat that over and over for the next month, there’s a chance that my middle aged self can somehow get myself to Montreal without crying the whole way.

I sometimes forget, because I’ve done it a few times now, that riding your bike 660km is… well, it’s really, really hard.  It’s easy to blow off the preparation, to say “I’ve done it before, I can do it again” but the truth is, I am neither young, nor beautiful, and it is a long way, and I am not ready.  I’ll do Karmic Balancing gifts on Monday.  If you want to encourage me, most of my weekend will be spent serving a cause I think is important, and I’ve set up my phone so that it dings every time I get a donation. It’s motivating.  If you’re thinking about sending a little encouragement my way… this weekend would be a great time.  (Cough.)

May the force be with me.

(PS. You are the force.)





Oh Man, have we been reading this blog for a long time

That was my favourite comment out of all that you left on my last post, and trust me, I loved and read them all. Yes. Man, have you been reading this blog for a long time.  The first time I mentioned wee Meg (properly) was Jan 27th, 2004.  She was 12. The second was May 4th, in a post entirely devoted to her. (In the name of soft warm merino, click on that link.)  That little bundle of knitting energy, of cleverness of… Megan, that teeny girl wed on Monday, and she was not a child.  I had been worried that she would be. That she would still seem too small to me. Too… young. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to see past being the mother of that girl to see the woman she’s so properly become.

Bad news.

I was able to do this, but only on her wedding day, in horrific waves of emotion – which means that for a McPhee woman, I was completely out of control. I was not too bad the evening before.  We went out for a “last supper” just our little family, and her betrothed was noticeably and deliberately absent. We went to a stupid local restaurant we’ve been too a hundred times exactly because of that. We went there, and we ate what we always did, and laughed about what we always do, and then we went home and had champagne in the backyard, and I was fragile, but okay.  I went to bed, and the sisters stayed up and drank bubbly in the backyard and were sweet to each other and I don’t know what they said, and I don’t care.  I fell asleep to their laughter, trickling in my window like bells.

The next morning, it was over. I woke up early and came downstairs and drank coffee, and wrote a post to you, and waited for the girls to wake up, and then they did, and the morning was… perfect.  There was nail polish crisis* and then I tried to make Meg’s bouquet and there wasn’t enough greens and Amanda drove me to get more and… even that was perfect.  We cooked the food for the reception, we tied the bouquet with ribbon. We chimed in on which tie Ken should wear. What lipsticks for the sisters… Right before we left, Megan sat herself down, took a few minutes, and embroidered her wedding date on the hem of the underskirt of her dress.  In blue.

sewing 2016-06-23

I don’t know what it was about that.  It was, so much a lesson of her youth. A lesson about handwork and the value of it and what it means to wield a needle and my wee girl thought that up herself, and sat there in the sunshine, needle in hand, and it felt like something I gave her, but maybe it wasn’t.

shoesjoe 2016-06-23

That morning was a poem. It was everything this family was good at… and then we got in the car and went to my mum’s and kept on rolling. My sister was there and my Mum and my aunt and Joe shined his shoes and everyone got their hair done (even me which is why I look weird but good in all the pictures) and we were tight. We were generous with each other. I love us best when we are like this.  All of us. Our family works beautifully when we are all present.

When we were all ready, I was going to go, to get in a cab and take Joe and Ken and go to the restaurant (did I mention Meg was married in the restaurant my sister owns? Perfect.) and I had a bag and a camera and a thousand details, and then Meg asked me if I would come up, and put her in her dress.  Blog, I swear everything was fine until then. At the risk of being overly intimate, I went upstairs, and my sweet daughter stepped out of her jeans and her tee shirt, and she stood there, naked and perfect, and moved from one space to the other, and I held her wedding dress out, and she stepped into it. I don’t mind telling you, as she stepped in, and I held it up, and it slipped up over her hips and into her form, and as I slid the zipper up over herself… it ended.  I wept. I took the shawl I had made her and placed it round her shoulders, and I kissed her, and fled cowardly to the kitchen.

shawl2 2016-06-23

hem 2016-06-23

Her sisters came up then, and were with her. Joe and Ken and I a lift with Pato, and we went to welcome guests.  We waited there, me being the only one who had seen her, and the text came, saying she was in the cab, on her way. Her bridegroom stood (I told him she was coming) and then I moved to the back, to take her in though the back door.  As I waited, a storm of feelings, my brother stepped up next to me and asked if he could come with. “Oh Please” I said, and we met our girl.

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From there, it is a train wreck.  From there, I wept every minute.  She was, Blog… so beautiful.  She was perfect.  I mean that. She was generous. She was kind. She gave her day to so many people, and I have never been prouder, and I don’t even know why because I think that marriage is optional.

She walked down the aisle with Joe and Ken, and she moved from their arms to his… and somehow, we let go.** Off she drifted. Off she decided. And I wept, just because she was not my baby anymore.

megandalex 2016-06-23

I’d promised Meg that we would make every minute of her wedding special, and we did. The flowers were done by my mum.  Her bouquet was by me. Her venue was my sister (as was hair) Her cake was made by a childhood friend and knitter (Hey Katie it was so beautiful!) We cooked the food ourselves and Blog – you were there. Presbytera, Our Lady of the Comments – sent the most beautiful package of Greek pastries.  (Think about that. she baked them, then mailed them… all so we could have a Canadian version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Meg was so touched, and they were devoured.  (Note to Presbytera: I love you. You’re one of the best things to ever come out of this blog, also Rams.)

The evening went on, and yeah. You’ve already asked, there was a song.  I won’t post the video, I think Joe and Ken would kill me. We practiced and practiced, and everything was beautiful, and Meg loved it. (We are a musical family, and there’s no getting around that. Joe played the guitar, Ken played the drum, Amanda sang and played the violin, Sam was our ringer, playing the ukulele and lead voice, and Pato and I sang too.  (I sing once a decade. Usually at family stuff I knit.)

songpic 2016-06-23

She wed. We welcomed the lad and lo, he is ours.  I cried, somewhat helplessly, throughout my whole toast.  I kept trying to reign it in, but she is mine and I love her, and I didn’t know how to let go of that whole thing.

cake 2016-06-23

My daughter is a married lady.  I am still… overwhelmed by that. I think the thing that is the finish of me is that I cannot make her a baby in my mind any longer.  Sam – Sam still curls into my bed from time to time.  Amanda seeks advice, and is going to school. (Clever, clever girl.) Megan is married, with an unpredictably weeping mother by her side.***

parents 2016-06-23

Oh Meg.

That will be all.

*The nail polish crisis was me. The ladies put it on me, because of some ridiculous Mother of the Bride rule that I think they made up. it was pink.  I wore it until today, when a nice person at a Bike Rally meeting had nail polish remover, and I got it off me.

** This is not even remotely true. I told her husband during my speech that we would not surrender this girl, that at the best, he could share.

*** Joe and Ken you were very strong. My sister and brother cried though.

**** (There is no **** in the post but I wanted to add something) Joe asked the DJ to play “our song” after Megan’s choice at the wedding.  I was incredibly touched by his romanticism… Except for when I had to remind him it was our song, and dance with me. We are old. Our daughter is married.

***** Any rumour suggesting that Joel Plaskett attended Meg’s wedding and sang to her and Alex is totally true.  Also? Alex? Welcome to A REALLY COOL FAMILY. We’re loud and weird, but as long as you’re this good to our Meg, we’re on your side.

The Day Of

I was up early today,  sitting in a quiet house, waiting for the house to explode around me. The ladies all slept here at home last night, and stayed up long after I went to bed, laughing and talking in the backyard, being sisters together.

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I find myself emotional today, though I have a cold, so I look tearier than I feel.  Everything feels like a “last time” to me. The last time we’ll have dinner together, just our little family. The last time that the girls will sleep here, just the three of them. The last time we’ll have breakfast the way we do… after today, everything changes.  After today, one of my daughters is a married person, and her husband will be part of this family, and he will come to dinner and… wait, you don’t suppose he’ll sleep over when the girls do? Best not to worry about that today.

Today is a landmark. My little Meggie.

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I’m going to go make her bouquet.

To-do List 3a

When I wrote “see to-do list 3a” on a spreadsheet this morning, I knew that things were getting intense, wedding wise. We’re just a few days out (I refuse to calculate how many hours away Monday is) and things are hairy over here. Everyone is on their own personal set of missions (Hey, how long does Bleeding Heart foliage stay perky after you pick it?) and jobs. (Where’s that ribbon? Did you have the ribbon? Wasn’t the ribbon on the piano?) We’re slowly getting it together (That is definitely not enough candles) and getting ready for the whole thing. (I really do think I can core 50 roma tomatoes in an hour.)  One thing is (almost holy cow do I ever need a bunch of pins) off the list.

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My little Meggie’s shawl is done… The cast-off took much longer than I thought, which is okay now that it’s over, but was a little bit of a panic last night. (And yesterday, and this morning.)

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Blocking, I am in you. Joe, we might sleep on the chesterfield tonight.


A day off

Today is my birthday,* and I plan to spend it doing things that I like**, with people I love, and as is the sometimes tradition*** around here, someone else wrote the blog for me today.  I found this amazing thing in my inbox this morning – a beautiful birthday present from Ken that made me cry.  He’s been with me for 33 of my 48 birthdays, and this sort of thing is exactly why.  Ken’s wildly overstating some (well, most) of my qualities here, and leaving off the part where I make him and everyone else crazy, but that’s just another reason to love him. ****


Because she doesn’t work on her birthday, I thought I’d share with you what Stephanie looks like in my head:
meyoung 2016-06-14

(Note from Steph: I think I’m about 25 there. This is one of the terrible things about people who’ve known you for years and years. They have all the damn pictures.)

Okay, she looks like this too:

meyoungnot 2016-06-14

But when you’re old like I’m old (I’m much older than Stephanie, so this is in no way to imply that she is old), there’s a multiplex lens on everything, especially people, and you see not just what they are, but what they’ve been to you.

This blog, which I gifted to Stephanie so long ago because she so clearly needed more people to talk to about knitting, is more than simply a blog. It’s a community. The message that Stephanie takes from knitting is that small actions add up to large outcomes, and that is the backbone of this community that collectively has raised (and continues to raise) over a million dollars for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders. It’s a community that has surprised, delighted and flabbergasted the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation’s staff, volunteers and clients, who are all so fortunate to have made your acquaintance. All because Stephanie wanted to do more, and knew that as a community, you could do so.

Stephanie has given me a life I thought I would never have, held to a higher standard, filled with more love and more fun, than I ever would have or could have believed. That’s what she does, really, she gives, more than anyone I’ve known, to a degree that even I, after all this time, find incomprehensible. So much more than just friendship, she has given me my life.

Our relationship remains 999 cranes.

All my love, Stephanie.



* If you wanted to give me a present, a donation to the Rally would be pretty amazing, and the icing on my virtual birthday cake – which would be kinda great because I don’t like actual icing.

** That includes knitting on the Great White.  3.5 rows to go, 3 days to deadline. Unless I break my arm in the next ten minutes while sitting quietly at my desk, I think I got this. Actually, let’s not say anything like that.

*** Ken did it last in 2004, then over the years, my Mum, my girls, my sister and Jen all took turns. I must be getting really old to have wound around back to Ken again.

**** There are a lot of reasons to love him. Ken is not just the reason this blog exists, he’s also the way this whole family got into the Rally. This year – despite a fall from his bike that resulted in a separated shoulder, he’s riding again, and Team Leading. If that impresses you, you can say so through his donation link.

In the broadest sense

By now, most of you will have heard about the tragic deaths at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, and by now, most of us have heard that this attack was directed at the GLBTQ community.

Tonight I’ll attend a vigil for the victims here in Toronto and stand with my friends, making the one small gesture I can, a gesture to say that I like them the way they are, that there’s not a single thing wrong with the way they were made, and to say that in the face of an act of hatred and intolerance, I am there to be love and acceptance.

Worldwide, more than 50 000 women are killed each year,  all for nothing more than their gender, and for me, that makes supporting them so easy. They would show up for me, saying that who I am doesn’t make me ever worthy of being hurt… so, there I will be, hoping they hear that message in my presence. Nobody, even people you don’t like, deserves to be killed for it.

If you are so inclined, and while the People With AIDS Foundation certainly serves more than just the GLBTQ community, a very nice way to say that you stand with them in the face of this awfulness would be a small donation. Show them this was what it is – the act of a violent man, desperately alone in the minority. You can direct your love though any member of our team.






Karma and You

The Big White continues apace, and even though this week has been nothing short of a train wreck time wise, I’m still on track, though my ability to stay that way feels fragile. Row 39 accomplished, seven rows (and that long cast off) to go, and seven (or eight) days to go until shawl deadline. One thing I can say with certainty at this point – I’m not going to run out of yarn or beads. There’s tons of both, so there’s one layer of worry I can take off this.

bigwhiteagain 2016-06-10

Row 38 took a long time, with three beads and two nupps in each repeat, but from here -even though the rows are longer, they don’t have as much going on, and that should help. It had better help – progress needs to keep being made. The red-eye was a terrible mistake that turned me into a coffee fueled organism who limped through the next two days, but I was needed at home, and there was a bike rally meeting, and there are wedding plans and I had stuff to do for people important to me and … I don’t want to think about it. Onward. Next steps. Somewhere in all of this I have to do a long training ride this weekend, and stay on track with all things Rally – which brings me to Karmic Balancing Gifts… as many of them as I can get up until I have to go out the door. (I’m going to try and work on the big white at a BBQ for Joe’s work. It’s probably not going to be super productive, but every stitch counts right now.)

If you’ve forgotten how it works, or you’re new, here’s how it goes. You sponsor a member of Team Knit – that’s Me, Ken, Cameron or Pato (with honourable mention to some stray knitters we’ve picked up, Heather and Val) and then send an email to me at stephanieATyarnharlotDOT.ca with the subject line “I helped”. In the email you tell me your address, and if you’re a spinner or not.  Then other knitters send along emails about beautiful things they’d like to share, and I draw names and the Karma gets redistributed. You do something nice, maybe you get something nice. There’s details here.)

Deb has three gorgeous skeins of Rios in Sunset from the Dizzy Sheep, and copies of her three beautiful patterns Mai Sola, Volo and Lenai. (The yarn is enough to make one of the shawls) and I hope that Janet A really loves the combination.

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Your fellow knitter Kerry over at C.S Literary Jewelry (careful with that link Knitters, careful) makes beautiful literary themed jewelry, and she’s offering up one of her charming (get it?) necklaces. They’ve got a teapot, a vial of real tea leaves, a quote, a cup. Devastating.

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Jaclyn A will pick her favourite from the list, and I hope she loves it (or has one of her Christmas presents all sorted out, because man, I’ve got a list that would love this.)

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Karen from Greyston Bakery is giving away a A twelve piece assorted brownie gift box.  Greyston Bakery is an over 30 year old social enterprise in Yonkers, New York focused on creating jobs for individuals with barriers to employment – including homelessness, incarceration, and chronic, generational poverty and providing access to the resources needed to improve their lives, their families lives and the health of their communities. Click on the link. They’re doing amazing things, and Kelly Y is going to get to eat the brownies.

Corrine, purveyor of fine patterns, has a nice  thing for some knitters.

sweetjenny 2016-06-10

Janet H, Jenny E, Elizabeth M, Linda B and Maggie S can all have their choice of a free pattern from Corrine’s whole list.  I know they’ll find something they love. (The picture is of Socks Called Sweet Jenny.)

Jill, a charming and generous knitter, went into her stash and found two cheerful skeins of yarn that she’s somehow able to part with.

jillsyarn 2016-06-10

She’ll be sending those along to Bonnie, and I’m grateful to them both.

Lisa made a similar dash to the stash, and she came back with three balls of Wool and the Gang Sheepaca, that she says is really nice stuff…
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and my random knitter-picker says it is for Alex E.

Jen at ClimbingTree Woodwork has a beautiful gift, made by her two little hands.  (You should look at her shop, there are lovely things.)

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It’s a handmade drop spindle, nostepinne, buttons and a shawl stick, and the whole shebang will be going to live with Andrea L.

Another one for a spinner, Susan has this lovely braid of 100% Masham wool from Indigo Dragonfly…

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and after consulting with the fates, it’s going to make its merry way to Judy S.

Finally (I’ve got to go put on some matching clothes and get out of here) there’s some lovely gifts from Signature Needle Arts. (I know – such good friends of the show.) They have two lovely things. A DPN Gift Set for Elizabeth L

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and a Signature Gift Set for Ginni G.

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I’m sure both of them just died and went to heaven, along with everyone else who got something lovely today. Thanks for your help everyone.  Think of Team Knit this weekend, will you? It’s calling for rain, and we’ll be on our bikes.  (More gifts next week, there are millions.)

(PS. I’ve emailed all the lucky knitters and spinners mentioned above. If you think it’s you, check your inbox.)

Would you, Could you, on a plane?

Whoosh. I wrote most of this post on Friday – and then I really have absolutely no idea what happened to the weekend. There was a knitting retreat, there were lots of nice people, the days were full and beautiful and long, and at the advent of each of them I thought there would be so much time to finish this post, but then suddenly it would be night time, and I’d be falling over like a tree with another day gone, swearing to make time the next day to have it happen. Then whammo, another wonderful busy train full of knitters would hit me, and now it’s Tuesday. Sorry about that. There was a lot going on.

Thursday the big white and I made the trip from Toronto to Port Ludlow, and I decided to be both bold and fierce and knit the whole way. (I brought a sock just in case – I didn’t want to be knitting project free the whole way if there was turbulence.) It was worth it, and it worked out perfectly.

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I came up with a system pretty quickly. Usually I tip beads into the lid of the container (leaving the container open) and then pick them up as I go. The open container seemed really risky on a plane, so what I’d do was open the thing, dip my hook in until as many beads as it would hold were loaded on it… then snap the lid back on and tuck the beads away.  Then I’d lay the crochet hook on my iPad (which also conveniently had the pattern) and the it would snap to the magnetic cover so it couldn’t roll away.   It worked really, really well. So well in fact, that when I landed, I was on row 32.

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That Thursday night I had 15 rows to go, and 15 days until shawl deadline.  That left one row a day, and I knew that night that a whole row a day was a complete pipe dream while I was teaching and running a retreat… and I was right.  After knitting as much as I could on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and today, I’m on row (drumroll, please….) 34.

That’s it. 34. Now I’ve got 13 rows to go, and 11 days to shawl deadline, and I’d think that I was getting a ton done on the flight home, but I’m needed there, and so I’ve made a crazy decision to fly home tonight on the red eye from Vancouver to Toronto. I swear that when I made that decision I looked at the fact that it left at 10:30 and arrived at 6am, and thought “Well, that’s a seven and a half hour flight I can sleep on” and booked it. I have no explanation for why I thought that. Did I forget the earth was round? Did I forget about time zones? Was it lost on me that Toronto’s three hours ahead of the West Coast? Did I forget that that flight’s been just under 5 hours every other time I’ve done it?

Who the hell knows what came over me, but the upshot is that this little knitter is getting on a plane from Seattle to Vancouver shortly, and a few hours after that I’ll fly to Toronto, and then I’m hitting the ground running with a full and complicated day on what turns out to be four hours sleep, because yeah – the earth is round, I’m an optimist, and that intersection is not awesome.

Wish me luck.