Away with me

Ah, Friday, where the heck did you come from? This week sped by, as I tried to get caught up, and was thwarted at a few turns. Most notably, I smashed the everloving daylights out of my phone on Wednesday evening. (A stumble in the dark, and I prevented a fall with an outstretched phone, which in retrospect was pretty stupid. I heal and have health care. My phone, not so much.) The day dissolved into a journey to the Apple Store, which turned into a wait at the Apple Store while they repaired the phone, and a period of three hours in which I had no phone, which was odder than I’d imagined. It reminded me of my mother in a power outage. She’s the smartest person I know, but outages are her kryptonite. She goes from activity to activity – “Balls, the power is out and I can’t put the TV on. Never mind, I’ll listen to the radio. Dammit, the power is out, the radio doesn’t work. I’ll do a little ironing. Son of a gun, that won’t work either. Never mind pets, let’s plug in the kettle and have tea….” You see how it goes, and that was me with no phone. I decided I’d listen to podcasts while I waited, remembered I had no phone, decided to listen to an audiobook, remembered I had no phone, decided to check my email instead…. I was the living embodiment of my mother in the dark. At one point I realized that without a phone I didn’t even have a clock, and approached a stranger. “Excuse me, do you have the time?” She was holding her phone, and looked at me like I’d just asked her if she could help me shear an alpaca, right there in the Eaton’s Centre. “The time?” She goggled, and I had to tell her that Apple was holding my phone hostage, and I don’t wear a watch because, you know. I use my phone for that. She checked her phone, told me the time, and then asked me when I was getting my phone back. Her response was a bizarre mix of incredulity and sympathy, and I could tell, as she clutched her phone a little more tightly, that she was imagining what it would be like. “Wow” she said, when I told her it would be a few more hours. “I know” I sighed. “It’s a difficult time.”

A cleverer knitter would have seen the phone thing coming, and perhaps taken a sock or  printed out a nice reliable paper pattern to take with her, but as it stood, I’d handed the PDF version of my pattern over to the Apple people, and couldn’t even knit. I did try for a while, using previous repeats as a guide, but it was slow and silly. In the end I bought a dress with birds on it, and then a book – since I’d given my current book to the Apple people in the form of my phone.  It all ended well (except that I sat in something yucky on the subway, then I stepped in gum, and a bird crapped on me and some dude with a questionable grasp on reality yelled at me on the sidewalk) and I got home, and decided to essentially end it all nicely with a glass of wine (2) and a nice long knit. That knit (now that I had my pattern/phone) back again, finished the Ghazal Cowl

thecowlalmost 2016-08-19

Well, it’s almost finished, I’ve pulled out the provisional cast-on I did at the beginning, and I just have to graft the two halves together, but I yesterday must have been some sort of sacrifice to whatever force of destiny decides how my days go, because when I’d done all the repeats I could, and ended on the right row, this is how much yarn I had left.

whatsleft 2016-08-19

That there is a winning game of Yarn Chicken, and a perfect ending to a knit using handspun. When I’m done the graft I bet there will be less than 10cm of remaining, and that was worth stepping in gum for. (I am less sure about the phone.)  Tonight I’ll graft, and then block, and then I guess I have to make another decision. I’m off on Sunday with the indomitable Jen and her two girls, to whom I am an honourary Auntie, and we’re headed far, far up north for some Canadian fun and games. Tents, canoes, camping and hunting for fireflies. A Thelma and Louise roadtrip – if you add in two little kids. There should be tons of knitting time (the drive is 8 hours, for starters) and I’ll be packing along lots of wool. We are going far enough North that summer is already gasping her last there, so it will be all fires, and sweaters, and hunts for fairy houses through the woods.

Now, a few Karmic Balancing gifts, just to make sure my luck holds? You bet.

(PS. I’ve added a teaching gig in Calgary at Pudding Yarn the weekend of September 18th to the roster. There’s spots, if you’d like to join us.)

First up, Terri Major (friend of the show, lovely lady) has free patterns for three of you. Any three patterns for three knitters, your choice from her shop. Pictured is the lovely Rose Arbour Baby Blanket, and I’d get that for sure, but Krystal L, Kristin and Lee T will somehow choose.

terrisblanket 2016-08-19

Next, a trio of beautiful cases from Grace at the aptly named “Grace’s Cases“.  I love her stuff, and these cases are so pretty – of the first, Grace says “This new Basic “Anything Goes” Spillproof Needle Case has just two pages and is perfect as an expansion case or a starter case.  It is Multi-purpose in that you can store a wide variety of items.  Page 1 has 7 snap pockets that can hold either fixed circulars or lots and lots of cables
Page 2 has 13 graduated slots that can hold dpns sizes 0-9, regular or interchangeable hooks up to 6″ in length, or interchangeable tips sizes 2-15. Generous notions pocket included in cover.”  Better than that, it’s bike themed.  I hope that Kelly M loves it.

basicbikecase 2016-08-19 basicbikecase1 2016-08-19

Second “The Petite Lovely Tote. A great size to use as a project bag / bucket, or perfect for shopping at your local yarn store.  We kept it simple and clean on the inside and out. No pockets, no padding, nothing to catch on things – the space is all yours!  Measures 10” tall, 10” wide, 5” deep at base – Perfect for knit night projects!!” and also bike themed! I bet Ruth D has somewhere to take it.
totbaggrace 2016-08-19

Last, but certainly not least “Cupcake Bags are divided project bags specifically designed for color work or TAAT projects. The lower portion of the bag is divided into two sections to keep your cakes from tangling and the upper portion has room for project storage.  Roll the top down to form a divided yarn bowl! Or attach a carabiner or clip to the included loop to hang it anywhere. Dual drawstring top closure.” and that’s going to Sarah E.
cupcakebag2 2016-08-19 cupcakebag 2016-08-19

If you’d like your own, Grace’s shop is here.

 From The Mountain would like to donate 1 skein of worsted weight yarn in a natural colour, and several one-skein pattern options.  Their yarn is 100% cashmere and is hand spun in Afghanistan by women who are earning a fair wage for their work.  After over a decade of conflict, many women in Afghanistan have been left as heads of household, but with very few safe income opportunities.  Spinning for From the Mountain offers them a way to earn income and be home with their families at the same time.  I hope that Chris A loves it, and where it comes from.

cashmere 2016-08-19
Amy has a pretty gift, bless her generous heart, a kit for Mrs. Beaton’s Wrist Warmers. She’ll happily mail that sweet little package off to Emily W.

beatonwrist 2016-08-19

Brenda, another pretty awesome knitter, went into her stash and came up with two skeins of IndigoDragonfly merino-silk 4-ply sock in “Partying is Hafla Fun.” She’ll be mailing that off to Julie B, and I know they’ll love it.

indigodfly 2016-08-19

Jan has an adorable bag that she’ll be sending off to Muriel T.  It’s a “Tour de Forest” bag (how appropriate!) If you can’t live without one of your own, her shop is here. (I might not be able to live without one.)

jansbag 2016-08-19

Phew! I’ve emailed all the lucky knitters concerned, and I’ll try to get another batch up tomorrow. While I decide what knitting comes camping. Maybe something brown. That’s always a good camping colour.


60 thoughts on “Away with me

  1. That is the most lovely fabric ever. I wish I had ALL THE BAGS, so I am off to shop before your other readers get to the store.

  2. That Grace, she makes some rather smart looking cases! Hope you’ve got all the yips out of you now so camping in the great north is only eventful in a good way.

  3. Yarn chicken. A phrase so perfect you will never get credit for having synthesized it. Like that law that states that no principle is ever named after the person who identified it… Genius, though.

  4. Hmmm, what to knit, what to know — I know! Aren’t you going to need a new sweater for a trip to some festival in New York in, oh, about — 55 days?
    Of course, that is a very long time and it isn’t like you are going to need to do anything else between now and then. . . .

  5. When I was a kid there was a huge storm where many trees fell and there was power out all over town, including our house. After several days, late one evening the guys from the power company, who had been working pretty much 24/7 made it to our house to take care of the neighbor’s tree that fell on the power lines between our backyards. It was dark, the driveways were narrow and they were having trouble getting the trucks set up so that the lights were in the right place. Without thinking, my Mom offered to turn on our back spotlights, which were used when my brother & friends wanted to play basketball in the back yard. The head of the work crew looked at my Mom and said “Lady, if you can do that, I’m going home” and then chuckled. Sounds like our Mom’s would have gotten along

  6. Can you share the pattern for the cowl, or is it elsewhere on your blog? I took to following your blog a few months ago, and I’m, hooked! Started out with the one row handspun scarf, which of course I did NOT spin, and I have made at least 50 of these scarves. Super easy and a no brainer when I am running on fumes. Love your stories and your life so far removed from mine in Iowa.
    Thanks Stephanie!

  7. Phones can be fixed or replaced and sometimes healing doesn’t come so easily. I think you made the right choice in that tumble.

    Awesome on that Yarn Chicken win! And I love all the Karmic Balancing Gifts.

  8. I think the campfires are going to depend on whether there’s still a fire ban in whichever northern community you are headed for, but add in the endless sky of stars, and orange harvest moons, and you’ll have an amazing adventure.

  9. 8 hours…. EIGHT HOURS NORTH OF THE CITY?! I get nervous travelling anywhere beyond Muskoka! Courage to you, brave women. I know it will be beautiful and wild and wonderful, the type of memories the children will cherish a lifetime. Godspeed, friend!

  10. I know how you feel about the phone. Toward the end of last school year, I pulled my phone out of my pocket on my way to pick up Little Man from school, and my phone slipped right out of my hand, landed flat onto the road, and shattered the screen. ::sigh:: It took a couple hours to get it fixed, I was a bit at a loss…I could still *use* my phone but it had to be in a plastic bag so I didn’t wind up with glass shards in my fingers.

    Luckily, I was able to get it fixed within a reasonable timeframe. They wanted me to come in three days later for an appointment. I took my chances and did a walk-in, wherein it was fixed that day.

    It still sucked.

  11. I’ve seen photos of you with a tablet (iPad?) at airports and on planes, so you needn’t have been sans clock, pattern or reading material while your phone was at Apple’s hospital.

    Batteries save the day during power outages. Perhaps your mum could get a transistor radio (yes, they do still exist) to help her through the next one, and reading a hardcopy book can be done using a flashlight/torch. Live like a pioneer!

    I bet you’ll survive just fine without an internet connection on your Thelma and Louise trip up north. It’s good to disconnect now and then.

  12. I am so glad the phone got the fall. The broken wrist I got in similar circumstances (2013) is called a FOOSH—
    Fall On Out Stretched Hand. It meant no knitting for a long time and even now I can only knit for short periods. The Apple repair is much quicker and easier on the spirit!
    Glad you’re okay!

    • My mum broke her wrist three times like that. Eventually she learnt not to try and save herself and to use her walking frame all the time. Not that I’m suggesting you need a walking frame dearest Ms YarnHarlot, but I have learnt from my own experience not to try use my hands to stop a fall. I get vertigo and have the odd fall myself

  13. I live in Sault Ste Marie ( which is about 8 hours from Toronto, depending on how you drive!) I hope you’re in the area for Monday, not just Saturday and Sunday, cause I don’t think you’ll like the weather we’re having right now. But it will definitely be cooler than Toronto.

  14. I completely understand the feeling of being without a phone. About two weeks ago, I spilled my tea on my laptop (both horrible for the laptop and a horrible waste of my tea). I was without a computer for a week. When you have most of your life on your computer, you feel like you’re missing a limb without it.

    I suppose your incident is a good reason why a knitter should never be without yarn and needles for a pair of vanilla socks!

  15. As if other people’s Ravellenic projects haven’t been bad enough for my queue/stash, you had to post this. Just bought the pattern, but, miracle!, I do know I have exactly the right yarn in my stash. That never happens.

    The last time I lost my cable connection during a storm (no TV, no Internet), I called one of my sisters to wail, “It”s Little House on the Prairie here!”

  16. I almost died laughing when you wrote about your mother and power failures. I do the same thing in almost that exact same order and it is so ridiculous. Thank you for the memory!

    • Me too!! And I’m always instantly, repeatedly amazed that I can’t seem to deeply “get” that there really is NO electricity, not for any of my normal activities, including those I generally avoid (like ironing)!! That’s when I know I’m really a modern child at heart, no matter what my super-tech-savvy friends might think! =)

  17. I second the idea that your mom get a battery-operated radio — they’re harder to find than they used to be, but they’re still out there. Some even have a crank to wind, which charges the battery! (And you could knit a case for the radio — one more X-mas gift out of the way…)

  18. I have bought and knit with 2 skeins of From the Mountain and Chris A is very lucky! Every knitter should experience this yarn at least once in their life!

    • My son was deployed 3 times to Afghanistan. I told him his knitting mom would enjoy some cashmere from that location. Granted he had other things on his mind, but he couldn’t find any yarn in the marketplace. He did tell me that they did have some very fine string, but no yarn.

  19. Giggle. Okay; I want to feel sorry for you re: your phone. I don’t want to be smug. I don’t own/carry a cell phone; I wear an analogue watch (i.e., one with hands and numbers, for those who only know the digital kind). But even if I didn’t wear a watch and *did* rely on my phone for the time and the location of my patterns…well…in my tote *at all times*? (i.e., my “purse” that’s a knitting bag with a wallet) Three words: Plain. Vanilla. Sock. Pretty yarn; no pattern required. Turns line-ups and long waits into gifts. Literally. 😀

    Have fun camping!

        • In the right-hand sidebar, above “I’m Twittering” and below “Click here to see all tour dates”, you’ll see “Subscribe:” followed by 2 tiny icons. Click on one of those icons, depending on how (through which means) you want to subscribe to this blog.

  20. Clearly, the phone sacrificed itself for your welfare. I applaud its valor and I’m glad it lived to communicate another day!

  21. Phones are more easily replaced than body parts so I think you made the right choice. That cupcake bag is brilliant since I do socks two at a time on two circulars.
    I am glad you won yarn chicken! I just lost on Saturday. Three very short rows and a bind off left. Expensive yarn. Lace pattern so I had to do the full repeat or it would look seriously odd. Heavy sigh. I am now doing a sheep toy with a plentiful supply of super cheap worsted. Sometimes you need to not worry about running out, like right after you lose the yarn chicken game!

    • Go to Ravelry and search for that yarn in people’s stashes. I lost at yarn chicken last month; a Raveler had it listed in her stash and happened to have, in addition to some full skeins, just enough left from an earlier project so that I could finish my shawl. I hope you have such luck.

  22. Envy is here – one of the joys of heading north at this time of year is picking wild blueberries beside the highway. Yum!

  23. I have finally gotten caught up on the Blog (AKA the part of your life you share with us.) I haven’t had a chance to read in a few months because, well, Life and stuff. All I could think was “Meg can’t get married! She is still a young teenager.” (Or maybe not but in my mind? Yes. She is.) Then I read Hank is a teenager. I am sure you have mentioned it before but after reading Meg got married, this particular piece of information FLOORED ME! How dare he be a teenager! He is only 5! (Again, only in my mind, I know.) I cried while reading, as I occasionally do. When I read about Erin, my heart bled a little. It hits close to home in a multitude of ways. I can’t imagine taking the ride that you do for a worthy cause. It is amazing and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing your life and talent. I love the humor that you add. I mean, who hasn’t played yarn chicken and lost? Who hasn’t talked themselves out of a knitting issue, KNOWING it really wasn’t going to work out but yet, still somehow managing to convince themselves it would? I appreciate how human you are. You are an experienced knitter (to say the least) and teach those of us that are just trying to figure it out how to do it and you mess up. It makes me feel more confident in my knitting. Thank you for being you; for blessing us with your talent and humor and giving us a glimpse of your life. Some days it gives us a reason to remember no one has a perfect life. We are all human.

  24. I am with your mum completely. I do it everytime! Oh the power is out so I can’t work (I do computer work from home).I should vacuum, no can’t do house work either. Oh well what a great excuse to sit down with my knitting and catch up on those shows I have been wanting to watch – Doh!!

  25. Yours is the first knitting blog I’ve read, and I have to say I really enjoyed this post. So sorry about the phone episode, but I can relate. It’s amazing how much that one device is integrated into our lives and suddenly we can’t get along without it for any length of time! I love your knitting project, the colors are fabulous. I will definitely be doing more exploring of your blog. I have knit for years but am very much a novice – something I would love to remedy!

  26. I had someone actually ask me the time recently, to my surprise. It’s been a long time since that happened to me. I still wear a watch, even with a smart phone, and left it on while at the water park where I got the inquiry.

  27. > (A stumble in the dark, and I prevented a fall with an outstretched phone, which in retrospect was pretty stupid. I heal and have health care. My phone, not so much.)

    Are you crazy?!? Ok, so it’s inconvenient going without a phone. At least you can wipe yourself in the bathroom, and get a cup of tea. These things might not be a given if you fall on your hand.

    Even … you might have a functioning phone but be unable to use it because you broke your hand/wrist/elbow/whatever. Ugh.

    I hope you change your priorities and favour your hand over your phone again next time.

    And one of the other commenters brought up something I had not thought of, but would be dangerous for your family and neighbours: you might not be able to knit. For … months … even over a year. If unlucky, maybe … for ever. (Dangerous for family and neighbours because … Steph … not able to knit == dangerous beast.)

    Stay well.

  28. Power outages, yeah. I’m looking forward to the next major power outage, I got myself a treadle sewing machine. I guess you are well prepared for a power outage, with all your spinning stuff.

    I just have to learn to wake up at dawn (yikes) and go to bed a sunset … normally I’m more of a night owl.

    Yes, I have that hand-cranked radio … it’s all right. Try to get an easier to operate one … maybe one that cranks by a pedal or something. Maybe I should get my friend to add an attachment to my treadle sewing machine that can keep my xxx-cranked radio operating : -) I read a while ago about a better generator for third-world countries, it doesn’t require two hands and is very power-efficient. Those ones that you turn in a circle with one hand while holding the radio with the other hand 1) require two hands and 2) are not that power-efficient.

  29. Hi there


    Please yarn harlot can we have some more of your humerous and beautifully written books narrated into audible.

    I have ADD dyspraxia and dyslexia l can’t knit in silence. And TV is too distracting, reading well… Men can’t multi task anyway so trying to knit and ready with my conditions is impossible.
    Please narrate more. Kind regards. Nick

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