The only thing broken is my spirit

We’re home again, after travelling westward from Quebec in a snowstorm yesterday, and I think that the whole adventure was a grand success, if you use that metric that I do, which is to say that my legs are not broken, some knitting was accomplished, and I didn’t meet anyone on the ski patrol in a formal sense.


I skied, and this time there were a few moments that approached graceful, a few stretches where the skiing was easier than it has been in the past, and some periods of time where the panic I usually feel was downgraded to mild concern. The thing about being a new skier is that everything I do is the first time I’ve done it, and that means there’s a lot of empirical learning. I’d be headed down a run, thinking about how well it was going,  and there would be a flash of a wee dark thing in my way, and before I could make up my mind about anything, I’d be face down in a snowbank, with Joe standing over me saying “Honey, you should really go around rocks.”  (It is a credit to the sort of person I am that I did not once reply to this the way I wanted to, which was to say something like “YA THINK”, but instead murmured “Good tip” into the snow.) The truth is that I still lack the skill to make a whole lot of choices while I’m on skis, and I live in fear of one of the toddlers that skis faster than me getting in my way because I’ve really got no guaranteed way of going around them if they fall. (Luckily, it turns out that most or them ski better than I do – though this time there was a particularly inept six year old who struggled to keep up with me.)


My biggest claims to fame this time around were that I didn’t fall off the lift even once (big improvement, I believe last time there was only once I didn’t fall off the lift) and that I can now proudly state that I can turn to my right at will – approximately 95% of the time. (That remaining 5% remains troublesome, unpredictable, and usually results in me sliding backwards down the mountain while smiling at the six year old like I planned it and it’s all part of my “style”.)


I remain, as I was the first time, particularly good at Apres-ski. and much knitting was accomplished – leaving me only mostly behind on the Christmas knitting, not totally behind, as I’d feared.  I finished the Tool Box Cowl


I freely admit that it was so cold while we were skiing that pretty much the minute I finished it, I wore it.  I know that’s not standard operating orders for a Christmas Gift, but I was really cold, and I’m sure the recipient won’t mind that I tested it. (For the record, it is cozy. I had my cashmere Pretty Thing on first, and that over top.  It was almost enough against the -20.)

I also finished two pairs of socks –


Almost. One pair’s a secret, I’ll show you later, and that pair above was almost finished on the way home, I’ll make short work of it this evening. (Anybody who guessed the colourway was MustStash R2D2 from the series “These are the droids you are seeking” nailed it.)

Joe and I are still on track to finish getting ready by Friday, if the next few days are magical. I ran an errand or two on the way home from the dentist this morning… and now there’s a little wrapping and baking, and a few things on Joe’s list that I’m trying not to worry about, because it’s Joe’s list.  I’m focusing my concern on the fact that my yarn isn’t here yet, but hold out hope for tomorrow.  Cross your needles, I’ll be ready for it then.

Shall I get start getting caught up again?

Gifts for Knitters: Day 9

Looking for something fun for your knitter’s stocking? Good for you. Lots of knitters have knitting tattoos, but if your knitter isn’t the sort to commit, how about some temporary ones, just for fun? There’s these ones from Ragline Knits, and these ones from Soak, and these ones for the multicraftual, and then these bad boys from Tilly Flop. (I can quietly admit here that I think these are my favourites. Your knitter may vary.) There’s also knit related nail wraps here and here and here. (If you don’t know what a nail wrap is, your knitter might not be into that.)

Gifts for knitters Day 10

Look, I know we’re all having a good time here, and I don’t want to harsh on anyone’s mellow or bring up upsetting things, but the truth is that your knitter has a mortal enemy or two, and helping to defend against their dark arts would make you a hero on the side of light. I speak here, of Moths.  There’s lots of stuff to help. You can consider some of the natural deterrents out there like traps, or some natural deterrents, like this moth chaser, or this repellent, or this one, or cedar stuff. These blocks are a charming weapon, or you can buy bulk. If you know your enemy already dwells too close, think about this. I don’t know if it works of not, but as a knitter, I really dig the phrase “no survivors.”

34 thoughts on “The only thing broken is my spirit

  1. Minus 20C? It’s not been all that cold here on Lake Ontario. You are much braver than I to 1) learn to ski in middle age, and 2) drive home (presumably on the 401) in a snowstorm. On the subject of moth chasers, for someone in a crafty mood, Custom Woolen Mills in Alberta has instructions on how to make your own sachets, complete with a couple of great recipes for the filling. Highly recommended.

  2. That cowl is stunning, and I’m sure the recipient will be appreciative knowing it’s already been rigorously tested for them.

    Congrats on figuring out skiing too. I bet that toddler thinks you’re the coolest thing on skis.

  3. Somehow, I don’t think stories of your skiing prowess and the phrase “no survivors” belong in the same blog post…;-)!

  4. Hi Stephanie,

    A little PSA on cloth/wool moths: [My street cred: urban and structural entomology at the U of Minnesota is how I now make my living]. The pheromone traps like those you suggest are for detecting/trapping the adult stages (which do not actually eat the wool). By the time you see flying adults, there may already be an infestation of the larvae that will happily feast on fiber of all kinds. Local university extension services will have information on how to control infestations, with or without use of pesticides. A general rule of thumb is freezing at 0 °F (-18 °C) for 7 days will kill adults, eggs, and larvae. After that, keeping things tightly sealed should prevent re-infestation. Any new fiber/fleece that is suspect can be frozen to prevent an outbreak.

    Also note that these moths will also survive on pet hair that accumulates in out-of-the way places. As a cat owner, this frustrates me to no end.

    • Absolutely, the traps really only give you a bold sense of satisfaction, not actual security – still, helpful to know if they’re there. Is the kit I listed last any use? (Beyond being smug that you’ve at least hampered their way?)

      • Given the description, the kits look like lures/sticky traps. No pesticides are included (or they would have to put that on the label for download). However, we always stress pre- and post-control monitoring, so kits like that would be useful.

  5. Broken spirit calls for a yarn-based splint. Well done you for going prepared!
    Personally, I avoid all pastimes that may result in accidental death. I’m 99% sure they have knitting in heaven, but I’m not in a rush to test the hypothesis just yet…

    • I’m with you. My stash is far too embarrassingly large to die now…I refuse to yield to the notion of SABLE. I’m going to have to live a really long time (and go on a yarn diet)

  6. As a former member of the ski patrol in Wyoming, I chuckled at the phrase ‘not meeting anyone on the ski patrol in a formal sense!’
    Keep at it, each day of skiing will be an improvement, just like learning how to knit was.
    And I hope you know the value of hand warmers in your mittens! Those chemical packages are amazing.

  7. I’m amazed at your skiing, however new it may be. My 3rd or 4th face plant into the snow was enough to decide that skiing and I were not buds. The cowl and socks are lovely….crossing fingers the new yarn arrives soon. Be warm.

  8. Having torn up a knee at Taos on the poma lift of Idiotenhugel (which means what you think it means), I bow to your superior skiing survival skills. As for that cowl, how I wish I were on your Christmas list — it’s very covet-able.
    I’m supposed to touch the tree. I’m very glad you DIDN’T!

  9. I saw pictures of that storm, and remember playing “guess where the road is” myself. Always interesting.

    Congrats to you on the toddler squashing avoidance. It’s always nice to hone such skills 🙂 Looking forward to learning to cross country ski here, where the biggest elevation change will be a mild incline. Kudos to you for hurling yourself down a mountain!!

    Love the cowl. It”s been my favorite colorwise so far! Sadly, flute seems discontinued…

  10. I am glad you made it home safe, especially given the shots of the road you posted on your way home. It would have been a real shame to have made it through skiing with all your limbs intact only to end up in a ditch!

  11. Le Massif? Or Mont Sainte-Anne? My money’s on Le Massif…glorious feeling skiing “into the river”. Glad you made it home safe as it was quite a snowfall we had that day!! As for flashes of wee dark things, I have been skiing for 55 years and *still* run over them and trash the skis or do face plants. The trick is to do them with great flair and have snow flying everywhere!!
    Cheers, Barbie O.

  12. I am so impressed! I speak from experience in saying it is extremely difficult to learn to ski as an adult (or for some 6-year-olds). Plus, you were without a doubt the best accessorized person on the slopes.

    Tool Box is gorgeous.

  13. I’ve just discovered your blog and am busy working my way through all your posts in chronological order (well, sort of. I’m too random to do anything chronologically). Got several of your books out of the library too. This is what happens when a knitter can stop working – time to read and knit, at least in the winter. The garden will fully take over in the summer. The knitting thing is fast becoming my second obsession (er, passion). Just discovered the Woodstock Fleece Festival too. A whole new world is opening up. Too exciting.

  14. I too learned to downhill ski in middle age. I too was a menace to youngsters, a faller-off of lifts, and an unreliable turner in either direction. Face plants, yup. Not as much fun at 45 as they seem to be at 5. Now I stick to the flats, sedately cross-country skiing around the field, and around and around, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling. You are an incredibly good sport, not merely for agreeing to go on this trip but for doing so WITH ONLY A COUPLE OF SHORT WEEKS TO GO BEFORE CHRISTMAS! Outstanding.

  15. I am terrified of skiing. The last time I went I heard a ski instructor reassure a scared 6 year old that “it really isn’t dangerous” JUST before I literally flipped over the toes of my skis and landed on my back. I don’t know how I managed it but all I could do was to think that I’d probably scarred the child for life.

  16. There’s a cute little poem I learned as a kid (I grew up in Colorado, it may have been mandatory to learn how to ski) that always made me feel better when I face planted or fell over my skis. I can’t remember the whole thing, but the first part goes:
    I’m very good at skiing
    I have a kind of knack
    for I can do it sideways
    and also on my back!

    Also, I don’t know if it offers any consolation, but I started skiing at age 3 and I regularly fall down while skiing still. Sometimes you just can’t process the situation fast enough!

  17. I have decided that my idea of a winter sport is a glass of wine by the fire, knitting close at, if not in, hand. this rushing down the hill out of control on ski’s is NOT for me. and now I must stop reading your blog and go finish knitting a giraffe as a gift for a grandson.

  18. Hey Yarn Harlot! Thanks so much for the mention – I really appreciate it. You drove a lot of traffic to my Etsy shop yesterday and I had several sales of my moth blocks. I was delighted! Merry Christmas to you and yours, and thanks again for the support.
    Lyelle Lemonyell

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