Analepsis Is Not a Disease

Here I am, sitting at my desk, about to go properly deep into my inboxes. While I worked a little bit every day that we were away in Lake Louise it wasn’t enough to stop the inbox glacier from creeping ever larger, and today I’ve made coffee, set everything to “ignore” (including the house, which looks like a stampede of bison went through) and put my phone in a drawer.  Me and this inbox are going to tango till one of us drops, and it’s not going to be me. Before that particular dance starts though, a quick waltz with you lot. I keep saying to myself that I’ll blog as soon as I’m done with (insert absolutely unfinishable task here) so today I’m reversing it. You first, then once more into the breach, dear friends.

When last we saw our heroine, she was sitting in a hotel room, tapping out a blog post surrounded by skis and mohair, a combination that isn’t nearly as odd as it sounds, despite the infrequency of the mix.

My complete inability to demonstrate any sort of monogamy to a knitting project continues unabated, and so I’d taken five (5) projects with us for a seven (7) day holiday. Just think about that for a minute.  That means I thought I’d finish almost a project a day, while skiing six hours a day. I took two pairs of socks, a sweater (adult, only half way through the front) a cowl and a shawl. (The shawl and sweater never even made it out of the suitcase.) Both pairs of socks saw active duty (still in progress please stand by) and the cowl sort of turned into two cowls and I finished one on the flight on the way there, and almost the other.

Yarn: Canon Hand Dyes, Ombre Cowl Kit in Agatha Lace (70% mohair, 30% silk) Pattern, Ombre Cowl Hood.

Other than the part where I left a muppet’s worth of mohair fuzz everywhere I went, I loved making that cowl so much that the minute I finished (and despite having another two projects with me on the plane) I started another smaller one with the leftovers from the first one. It won’t be as big as the first, but still a proper cowl, I think.

It was bliss. Plain knitting, round and round, no pattern no fuss, 2 strands held together… It was knitting as comforting and cozy as a cup of hot soup.  I breezed through it completely, and it turns out it was perfect ski knitting.  The needles were big and blunt, and the yarn light as a cloud, so I felt fine about asking Joe to carry it in his pocket so that I had it to knit during skiing.  I worked on it at lunch, on the gondola, the lifts (if it was warm enough to take my hands out of my mittens.)

Upon reflection, it was this knitting/skiing combination that made it possible for me to finish any knitting at all, and I feel sure that if I cared less about the well-being of my husband, and worried less about the catastrophic consequences of him taking a spill down a mountain with Signature stiletto needles in his pocket, I probably could have finished the socks too.

Feel the love, Joe.

Where to?

Whoosh, I’m back on other side of the continent, for the third time in four weeks though I didn’t make it as far as I have the other two times.  First there was Madrona in Seattle, and then I was back for the Strung Along Retreat and now – hold on. Let’s back up. I’ve known for a while that if I’m not careful to keep a firm grip on my schedule these few weeks it will all turn into a nightmare rather than an intense phase, so let me try to keep it all in order, and let’s do it on the basis of what I was knitting when.  We’re all really knit-centric anyway, it probably matters more than location.

So, first I was knitting gnome socks – that was Madrona, and I was knitting them because it was Cameron’s birthday, and he’d been gone for several months, working far away. He got this idea to combine his birthday with a homecoming party, and somewhere along there it became a Gnomecoming party (don’t ask, the man appreciates a pun more than I do, and that’s saying something.) The minute I heard Gnome I was on it, thanks to this pattern.

Well, you’ll notice that mine is quite different than that one, so maybe it’s more like thanks to the inspiration of that pattern.  It comes in a women’s medium, and Cam’s a men’s large, so there was some upsizing involved. Also (and here’s sentence I never thought I would type) there was a few too many gnomes on those other socks for my liking, so I reduced the gnome intensity. Also, Cam likes stripes.

The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply (a favourite of mine, especially for nice solids.) Most impressive about these socks is that not only did I trot them all over Madrona -but I managed to finish them before the party, and I had a few minutes to make appropriate wrapping arrangements. (Full disclosure. I finished at 1am the night before, which is technically the day of, but I don’t think so because then I went to bed.)

It turns out gnome wrapping paper to put your gnome socks in is harder than you think, so I drew some.  I feel like leaping on a theme is always best – and these count as my February socks, so I’m two months into my own little sock club, and doing fine.

Next, I was off to the retreat and so I wound some…

Actually – I can’t tell you that now.  Joe and I are on holiday in Lake Louise, and I just bugged him to get ready to go ski, and now he’s ready and I’m typing, and that doesn’t seem totally fair – so off we go. We had such a gorgeous day yesterday, and today we’re both pretty excited to get to the mountains.  Stand by.

(Or sit by, it’s easier to knit that way.)

 

Randomly on a Tuesday

1. I have no idea what happened to the last 2 weeks.

2. That’s a lie. There’s just been so much that I find myself ready to quote Inigo Montoya. “Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

3. I have been to Seattle and back for the last Madrona, and I did it all in snowstorms everywhere I went.  (It was appropriate somehow that the weather was so dramatic, I felt like there should be some reflection of how significant it was to me that the event was ending after 20 years.)  I’ve been lucky enough to be going to that for 15 years or so, and I owe Suzanne more than I can say. She was my role model for how I’ve run my business for years, and I’m so grateful we’re friends so that even though Madrona’s over, my relationship with Suzanne isn’t.

3. Usually at Madrona, I organize and MC the Teacher Talent Show but this year I also took part and that’s enough said about that, except anyone who was there should be able to tell you A) that it was absolutely epic. B) That I am never, ever doing anything like that again. C) That what happens at Madrona stays at Madrona and there’s a media ban, so you’ll just have to wonder forever now.

4. I finished the Jacob project, and I love it desperately. Let’s recap, shall we? I started with a little Jacob fleece that Judith gave me, and sorted it into it’s component colours.

Then I carded those on my little carder, making batts that fit into my plan of a gradient.

Then I spun them up into  2-ply yarns, a tiny bit heavier than lacewight.

Mission accomplished, I chose a pattern that would let me use every inch – in this case, working from the top-down, with a variable number of repeats so I could adjust to the yarn amount, and even a border pattern that I thought would look just fine with a few more or less rows.  Dover Castle.

I can’t tell you how well it came together -and how quickly, and how much I nailed the landing.  I finished with about 30cm of yarn left.

It was like a poem.  I love it when a project goes to plan, and this one did, from beginning to end.  Here’s the shawl – finished, but pre-block.

Then, having arrived at Madrona, I blocked it on my hotel room bed (slept in the other half, I’m not very big and I’m an edge sleeper) and voila!

I was so delighted with it.  As a few of you predicted, it was Judith’s birthday present – and such a lovely circular gift.  She gave me the fleece, I gave her the shawl, and we both got what we wanted in the end, I had such a good time playing with that fleece – it made me want another one.

5. I am not sure why I don’t feel bad about giving her the shawl.  I love that thing, but was quite content to see it on her shoulders.

6. Maybe I am a better person than I thought.

7. Wouldn’t that be nice.

8. I finished two other projects but I’ll show you later. I don’t want to upstage the shawl. (I also did a whole lot of other stuff. You’ll see.)

9. I leave for Port Ludlow in the morning – and we’ve got one spot left at the Spring Retreat. (Technically we were full, but then there was a cancellation and now we’ve got one spot again.) If you are a last minute type, here’s your big chance.

10. There’s also a spot at the Learn to Spin Workshop on Friday. You can sign up just for that if you like – and we can loan you a wheel. It’s at Port Ludlow from 9-4, we provide lunch, and Judith will teach you to spin. (I think Judith could teach a porpoise to spin in a 6 hour class, you’ll do really well.)

11. Probably not a porpoise.

12. Maybe a porcupine.

Fate, Tempted

You know, it is hard to know how to blog a project when it’s all going really well.  I mean, could there possibly be anything more boring to read about than a piece of knitting that has no problems? Such is the case with the Dover Castle Shawl.

Actually, let me be clear. It’s not just that this thing has no problems – It’s that it is all going so swimmingly that I cannot even dream up a bit of dramatic interest. Nothing, except for yesterday I sneezed and dropped a stitch, and then I picked it back up again.  It’s hardly the plot for a blog post. Not only is it all going beautifully, but since this shawl starts small and gets bigger, I didn’t see the reason for a swatch. The shawl can be the swatch, I reckoned, and I’m not shirking.  I know that if you’ve ever been in a class with me I’ve likely told you that there’s not very many times when I don’t consider skipping the swatch a dereliction of knitterly duty, but here, we have one of them.  I could just start, I figured, and rip it out if the gauge wasn’t right, when the shawl was swatch-sized, and I’m happy to block things on the needles, so I knew I wouldn’t get a surprise there – and since I made the yarn myself, I know there can’t be a surprise. I’d normally warn you here -that the swatch is as much a talent show, or an interview as it is a gauge test – there’s many ways a yarn can be wrong for a project that go far, far beyond the number of stitches per 10cm, let me tell you that. Here it was designed by me to be perfect for this purpose, and since I washed it after spinning and before knitting, I know that it won’t bloom or change with washing after, like a lot of commercial yarns can. The point is, I blew off the gauge swatch, and then the gauge was as perfect as a poem.

Even better, I was hoping I’d be able to make this a little bigger than the pattern calls for – it suggests seven repeats of the main chart before moving to the edging, and I just finished number eight – and haven’t even moved onto another colour yet. Really, short of the thing spontaneously bursting into flames (unlikely, since wool is flame retardant and self-extinguishing) I really can’t see anything going wrong at all…

There. I said it.

PS. If anybody is on the fence, a few spots for our Spring Retreat remain. Send me an email if you’ve got questions. We’d love to have you. (InfoATstrungalongDOTca)

Well There Now

I know, I know. I absolutely remember what I said about knitting with grey this time of year just a few days ago, but surely, the rule (that I made) can be broken by me at any moment I see fit, and surely, surely, it was not intended for spectacularly perfect little skeins of yarn like this.

That’s the little Jacob from two posts ago – spun up in entirety, into five gorgeous little skeins that are exactly as I imagined them. (If a little plumper than I intended, after their baths.) Each is a two ply, somewhere between a laceweight and a fingering, and since they’re all from the same sheep, they make a lovely gradient, of sorts.

The big skein of cream is about 180m, and each of the smaller greys are about 70m, near as I can figure it. That gives me a little less yarn to work with than I had planned, just 480m (that fleece was really tiny) and means my original plan isn’t going to work. I’ve tried about a hundred times to convince myself that 480 and 530 are just about the same in terms of meterage,  but they’re not and it won’t work, and that’s okay, because they’re so lovely it was easy to come up with another plan. (I use the word “easy” here to mean that it was a two hour Ravelry search and involved the wits, skills and experience of six or seven knitters dedicated to the hunt to work it out, which is pretty easy considering how picky I was. Shawl hunts can be epic.)

This afternoon, after I finish all my work (or as much as seems reasonable, considering the unending nature of it all) I’m giving up on cleaning the kitchen, casting on for Dover Castle, in sublime grey, and suddenly, it seems like the most perfect colour. Just look at those skeins.

 

Under the Wire

With my plan for the Self-Imposed Sock Club in place for this year, at the beginning of January I dutifully went to the downstairs Stash Cupboard, and pulled a bag. That’s how it works, the Sock Club, I’ve got everything all sorted into bags, ready to go, and on the first of every month I am reaching in, pulling a bag, and whatever that is, that’s what I’m going to knit. No swapsies, no takebacks, no do-overs. The rules are the rules. I meant it too, except for one thing. I went to the cupboard, reached in, and pulled out this.

Never mind what the pattern was, it doesn’t matter. I looked at that grey, I looked outside at the grey, I thought about the long dark tea-time of the soul that is January, and I thought about my friend Denny, who always says not to knit too much grey in the Winter because it’s just too hard on your heart, and knitters…. I swapped it. I took that bag and I shoved it bag in the cupboard and I pulled another one, and then put that back and then I kept going until I got something that made me want to live a little.

Spring Forward is the pattern, an oldie but a goodie (11 years!) it never stops pleasing me, this one. Looks fancy but is easy to memorize, and travels well as a result. It went most places with me this January.

The yarn is Valley Yarns Charlemont, a standby sock favourite of mine. Wool and silk make it warm and soft, and the silk and nylon mean it wears well.   This one’s the hand-dyed variety – a long defunct colourway, sadly.  It reminds me of tulips and pink hyacinths and other promises the spring holds, once we trudge through January. (And February, and March, and probably April.)

It was a pleasure knitting them – so much so, that this morning, it being the first of February I marched gleefully to the cupboard, pulled a bag, looked at what was inside, looked at what was outside (which is another unbelievably cold day, even for here) and tossed it back again. There will be February Sock Club Socks, and they’ll be worth braving the cold for,  but it’s my club, and I make the rules. I’m off to the yarn store.

PS. Because one of you will ask, the tea towel in the pictures (I’m using it as a spinning cloth at present, so it was handy for the pictures) is from Tilly Flop.  I found two of them in my stocking this year, courtesy of Ken Santa Claus. I love them.

What the heart wants

I am sure that this has happened to you with yarn, and maybe (whether you are a spinner or not) maybe this has happened to you with a fleece. You are minding your own business, living the cheery life of a textile artist, surrounded with all the yarn (and maybe fiber) that you could ever want (or more) and one day, there it is. Yarn, or fleece or fiber or whatever it is, leaps into your life and proclaims a destiny mingled with your own.

This happened to me a while back, at a retreat at Port Ludlow, when I was helping Judith to spread about thirty (30) fleeces out onto tables, so that she could acquaint some knitters and spinners (and proto-spinners) with various different kinds of beast – so they could learn the differences between them, tell which kinds were good, and generally huff a some wool fumes. I was taking the fleeces from the bags, and Judith was directing me. “That one’s a long wool” she said, waving a hand at the fleece in my hands “put it with the Leicester.” I did that, and then reached into the bag for the next one.

That’s when it happened. I pulled out the next fleece, and it was a little one (I like the wee ones, for starters) and I think that as I lifted it from the bag, I knew.  I might have even made a little noise. A sort of involuntary “Oh…” and Judith looked over to see what I’d found, and she smiled.  “Isn’t that a perfect little Jacob?” she said, and I mumbled something like “Oh yes it is perfect…” and then somehow, I put it down on the table and went back to my work.  It was too late though.  The heart wants what the heart wants, and I wanted that. Never mind that it was not mine. Never mind that it was not for sale. Never mind that it belonged to Judith and that she loved it too. I wanted it with a burning passion, and in my mind I knew what it could be. I could see it, entire. In the two seconds that I’d had that fleece in my hands, I had already fully realized it’s destiny, and it was with me.

I have a weakness for Jacob fleeces.  Not all of them, but… most, to be fair.  I find the idea of one sheep with several colours on them really fetching, and the wee spotty sheep with their charming horns are right up my alley. They look wild and a little sketchy, and I love that too. I thought about all of that, and I thought about how to get that fleece from Judith, but I didn’t.  It was hers, not mine, and I even helped her bundle it up neatly at the end of the evening, though not before a bit of a cuddle.

Fast forward to the next retreat, when Judith arrived and began unpacking a thousand things from her car,  and she thrust a soft package, neatly wrapped with gold paper into my hands.  My heart skipped a beat as I hefted it. I peeked in the corner, and lo – it was the Jacob. Freshly washed – because Judith knows you’re not supposed to take raw fleece across the border.  She said she could see from the look on my face when I first spotted it that it was an accident of fate that it was in her stash and not mine. I think I kissed her.

I brought that little fleece home, and it and I spent some time in the backyard. It took the better part of an afternoon, but I sorted it – lock by lock, into all of its individual colours. Locks that were white, ones that were darkest brown, and then the ones that were grey, or a mix.

Then into the house – and over the course of several days (in which I had the entire dining room jacob-ified) I ran all of it through my little drum carder, and made batts.

When I was done, I had five shades of Jacob – ranging from cream to chocolate, and I started getting organized to spin them all up. Then The Rally happened, and then after that I broke my wrist, and then Christmas and I didn’t exactly forget that I had the Jacob, but I didn’t move it to the top of the pile either. Last week I was tidying the stash (I watched that Marie Kondo show and the reverberations were felt all through the house) and there it was. All the Jacob, in sweet little batts, and my heart skipped a beat, and I moved it back to the dining room. (The astute among you will note that this action thoroughly undid any impact Marie Kondo had on that room, because I’ve watched that whole series, and she never has an allowance for fleece in the dining room, carded or not.)

The largest grouping, the cream (there were four batts of that, and only two of the four other shades) is now all spun up.

And I plied it, and it’s now about 180m of a really lovely laceweight.

I’ve started the next shade – and if all goes well, I’ll have it all done by the end of the week. (Or tomorrow. I’m a little obsessed.)

I think I know just what it’s going to be too – and I’ve known since the minute I saw that fleece. The heart wants what the heart wants. I’m so glad Judith knows that.

As an aside (and since it’s those retreats that brought that gorgeous thing into my life) it’s my pleasure (and Debbi’s too) to let you know that the Spring Strung Along Retreat is open for registration.  There’s details here – and we’re doing something a little different this time.  Our June retreat is the only one that doesn’t have spinning, and the November retreat is already full (so’s June, just about) so this one is the only Retreat with room still, but we know that many of you would love to come, but don’t know how to spin, so we’ve got you. The day before the retreat proper begins, Judith will be teaching an optional “learn to spin” workshop. It’s suitable for rank beginners with no idea what they’re doing, and by the end of that day – you’ll have skills enough to take you through the rest of the retreat quite easily.  There’s limited space in that workshop, but if that sounds good to you, give that page a read, and send us an email. We’ll get you all sorted. (There’s room without the workshop if you already sort of know how to spin, of course.)

Now off I go.  It’s a snow day, and my wheel beckons.

Fifteen

Fifteen years ago today, I sat down in my living room on an absolutely enormous family computer, and with Ken’s help, I posted the very first entry ever on this blog, and everything changed. That makes today my Blogiversary, and as is my tradition (you know how I love those) I went back to read my previous Blogiversary posts.  I got as far as last year, and then started to lose my scene, and had to drink coffee and knit for a while to get it together.

(Those are my January Self-Imposed-Sock-Club socks, I’d originally pulled a bag at random and the yarn in it was grey, and I looked outside at the deep dark that is a Toronto winter and thought better of it instantly. I put that bag back, and then next one I pulled was “Spring Forward” in this pretty pink.  Much better.)

I’ve got it back together now,  but I had entirely forgotten that I wrote last year’s post to you from a hotel room near the hospital while Susan was so sick – it makes sense now though, and I’m kinda a moron for not seeing that coming, I know it’s been almost a year since she died, and therefore last year at this time my life was on fire, and truthfully, that’s not what set me off.  It was reading the words “This is not the way I expected it to be.”

That theme last year was so hard for me.  I’m not the best at changing the channel – once I make a plan I really like it to happen the way I’ve decided, and the universe and I having such divergent goals and hopes over the last year and a bit has been… well. In the interest of being a positive and optimistic person, let’s just say it’s had a learning curve.  Almost nothing over the last year has been the way I expected it to be – which is not to say that things are bad, sometimes the way I expected things to be was horrible and what I got was definitely better than that, but it’s always different, like my prediction system is broken, and that makes me kinda nervous a lot of the time. It’s like at this time last year, the Universe took one look at me and said “she thinks she knows what’s going on. Hold my beer and watch this.” Then picked up my world as though it was a giant snow-globe, and giggled maniacally while watching all the bits float down into new and strange places as I scramble around trying to figure out which snowflake went where.

Just as an example, I know that I’ve told you that I’m the Chair of the Bike Rally this year, which isn’t exactly the job I was after there. The way that it works is that each Co-Chair serves a two year term.  One year they’re the incoming, and the next year the outgoing, and it’s staggered, so that there’s always a new one and someone who knows what they’re doing. Last year I was the incoming, and Ted was the outgoing, and Ted’s turn was up in September, and then it would be me as outgoing, and someone new as incoming, except that through a series of events generated by the snow-globe shake, that’s not what happened, and there was no incoming, and now… it’s me. It’s just me. What was already a pretty big commitment to the Rally is now a huge commitment to the Rally.

This is more than I bargained for. I’m not trying to register this as a complaint, I made the commitment and I’m fine with it, but it is a bit of an explanation for how wild things must seem.  People keep asking if I am in over my head, and the answer is yes. Absolutely. Between my work, our family, and this charity work, the water I am in is very deep, and completely, absolutely over my head.  There are even waves. Possibly a rip tide, I’m not sure, I don’t have time to notice. That doesn’t mean I’m drowning, I can promise you that – but it does mean that I have to keep swimming all the time or I will totally sink, and that is really, really tiring, even though I am a strong swimmer and enjoy the water.  It is not what I expected it to be.

Neither is the new shape of our family what I expected it to be, almost a year out from the shocking exits that Tupper, Mum and Susan made, although I think I am getting the hang.  I still miss my mother acutely, especially as I navigate all these surprises. She gave the best advice, and I think I’d be doing a better job of it all if she was here to help me – although her advice usually didn’t include knitting, and frankly I’d be in prison or at least a court mandated anger management program right now if I wasn’t surrounded by yarn all the time.  (I tried to do that Marie Kondo de-cluttering thing where you get rid of anything that doesn’t “Spark Joy.” It resulted in the purchase of MORE YARN. I feel like I understand that woman completely.)

So I sat there this morning, having a bit of a thing, remembering what it felt like this time last year. Sitting alone in that hotel room, wondering if I had what it took to face what I had just realized was happening, and reaching out to The Blog as I did it… and I realized that there has been one thing that was what I expected it to be this  past year. it was you.

I meant what I said on last year’s Blogiversary.  I could never, ever have predicted what this Blog would become. I didn’t see it coming,  but over the last year my darlings, in the force of a storm that I thought would change everything, there you are, every time I manage to stagger back here for a gulp of air… The Blog. You sure weren’t what I expected in the beginning, but now you’re so steadfast, so reliable, you feel like a safe place for me to land over and over, and every time I do land here lately, I can’t remember why I don’t do it more often. (Except for the previously mentioned combination of perfectionism and lack of time, but I’m working on that.) I know that I haven’t been as present here as any of us wish, and I’m so sorry. I am grateful that you’ve stuck with me, even while it’s really hard for me to type and swim at the same time.

I wish there were words better than Thank You. Words that could convey what a tremendous gift you are in my life, and what your presence has meant to me, and as always on this day, it is so hard to convey what this group of people – most of whom I’ve never met, are for me. You are exactly as I expected you to be this last little while, which is, as always, so much more than I deserve.  I love you.

Thank you for fifteen.

(PS. If you are feeling traditional and sentimental, today’s the day that people make donations to my ride (because I’m still also a rider, even though I’m the Chair) in multiples of the number of blog years I’m at.  While I admit random donations of $13 or $14 was more confusing for PWA (and therefore more entertaining for me) multiples of $15 have a lovely solidity to them. If I’ve entertained you $15 worth over the last 15 years, the link for donations is here.)

Oh. I think I get it

I have always suspected that many of you are not standard issue humans.  As a matter of fact, sometimes I wonder if it’s a bit of a prerequisite for a) being a knitter and b) being someone I like, and there are those of you I know definitely have superpowers. There’s one among your number however, who I have secretly believed possessed skills that were possibly useful and potentially terrifying, and after years of keeping my suspicions to myself… I finally have proof.   Our Lady Rams of The Comments is a psychic.

A few days ago, I was sitting right here (well, not right here – where I am right now is sitting in the spare room upstairs while Elliot naps so he doesn’t maybe fall off the bed – my house is still largely childproofed through grandparent supervision) but I was right here in this house, and I was leaning over my laptop, head in hands thinking that I couldn’t write a blog post because I had too much to tell you (rather than not enough) and was feeling like I owed you a really huge post to make up for being away, and I got an email from our Lady Rams.  I opened it up and in the email she essentially said that she bet that I was struggling with feeling the need to write a huge blog post and why didn’t I just stop worrying and post and …. yeah.  Thanks Rams.  You were right, and now I’m here, and by the way, I think that as a civilization we should make sure we keep you on the side of right.

So, some postcards? Just to catch up? For starters, did you know I made Elliot an Advent Calendar this year? I know, I know… I said I was going to wait until he was three, but I suspected that he was more than ready this year, and I was right.  Other than a burning desire to hang all the ornaments each day, he was perfectly enchanted with it. Taking down his ornaments and kissing them, and hanging them up again.

He got a lot of the same ornaments that  Luis and Frankie did, and Myrie and Emmett – like sweaters and acorns and Santa’s and bears… and gnome babies and bells…

but I also added things that I thought were really relevant to Meg, Alex and Elliot’s family.

There was the fox (because Alex’s favourite song is “What does the Fox say” which really, I can neither explain, nor condone, but there you have it.) There was a new snowflake this year – this one from here – though just like in previous years, I had to knit it twice to get the gauge right.

There was a dinosaur, since they are really interesting to Elliot right now –

and there was a little dog, knit to match their family dog, Penny.  (That one was really hard.)

And last but not least, I knit a Santa for the 24th pocket – so that Elliot will always know when Santa’s coming.  All the kids have gotten a Santa, though this one’s a little different. His skin tone is darker, like Elliot’s Daddy. (It seemed best, and helpful likely, should Alex get caught filling a stocking or two.)

Other than that, they were about the same and years gone by, and made me just as crazy.

Now, see, that thing is about to happen. That thing where Elliot is waking up and so I’m running out of time but I haven’t put all the links in, and I’m thinking that maybe I shouldn’t hit post because this post isn’t good enough and that’s really what keeps getting in my way, but nap time really is over and I don’t have more time and…

There you go Rams. Thanks. (Coming Elliot!)

Facing Forward

I wrote a to-do list this morning.  I write them most mornings, to be fair – I’ve always loved a nice clear plan and the feeling of accomplishment as you work your way though the list. I love this enough that on days where I really need a boost, or the list has too many things on it that I know won’t get done, I’ll often list things that I know for sure I’m going to do, just so that I’m guaranteed some sort of success, no matter how contrived.  “Drink coffee” and “take bath” end up listed right beside “do something about email” and “sort desk”.

Usually the list is driven by what needs doing (it is a to-do list, after all) but this one is different. It’s a New Year’s Day list.  We have loads and loads of New Year’s traditions in this family – yesterday for example we cleaned our whole house, we paid all the bills, we caught up on the laundry and took out all the recycling, both of us tried to get to a decent place work-wise (or as decent a place as you can while understanding there’s no finish line there) essentially, we tried to be in as good a place as we could be, so that we could end as we mean to go on. Before midnight we put silver (just nickles, dimes and quarters) out in the back garden so the light of the old year’s moon and the light of the new year’s moon could shine on them. (According to my grandparents, that will make sure we have enough money this year – assuming we spend those coins right away.) I swept the floors and tossed the contents of the dustpan out my back door, the direction all my old troubles should go in, thank you very much – and I made sure that I had a First Footer – the first person to cross my threshold in the new year was a handsome dark haired man bearing salt.  (Thanks Joe.)

Today we won’t wash things or throw them away – that’s an invitation for the universe to wash away someone in our family, we’ll wear something new, and we’ll all execute our New Year’s Day lists. My mum (and her mum, and her mum’s mum) all believed that you should spend New Year’s Day doing at least a little of all the things that you’re hoping to do more of, or have success with in the coming year, and since McPhee’s are like that, it turns into a list. Knit is on mine (to make sure I have lots of time for it in the coming year) and email, and sitting at my desk (I’m there now.) and I organized my top drawer, because it’s perpetually a disaster, and maybe I’m just not sorting it on the right day of the year.  I’m doing some Bike Rally work, because that really needs to work out this year, and doing some organizing for the Retreats that Debbi and I host.

I’m writing a little today too, and coming to the blog to remind myself how much I love, miss and need this community. A few paragraphs on a book, and a chat with Elliot, and texts and emails to a few people I think need proper cementing into this year round out the list.

That should take most of the day, but with what’s left of it after that, I’m going to start to re-institute the Self-Imposed Sock Club. Do you guys remember when I did that? It was eight or nine years ago for sure, so it’s definitely time to re-run that particular stroke of genius, and it would put several pairs of socks in my drawer, and into the long-range-planning-box, and make a bit of a dent in the stash. (Okay.  A very small dent. More of a nick.)

I’ll find twelve patterns, and pair them with 12 skeins of yarn I’ve been wanting to use, and make myself twelve kits. I’m going to wind all the yarn, buy and print (or scan, or download) all the patterns – and get them into 12 large ziplocks, and that way I can pull a kit at random every month of the year. It should be fun to surprise myself a little.  I imagine it will take a little time to get this together, but I’ll start today and if you’d care to join me, I’d love it.

If you don’t want to join me, but you want to suggest a pattern? Have at it. (A little tip, if you put multiple links in your comment, then the blog software will block the comment. If you want to suggest more than one, do them in separate comments.)

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’ve got socks to finish (because that’s definitely something I want to see more of this year) and I am going for a run. It might just be around the block, but I’m going. Happy New Year to all of you. What’s on your list today?