Maybe I evened out

Point: Last night I got my knitting together for this trip. I’m starting a new shawl with the Catterpillargreen yarn (or rather, some of it) that I got on my last trip.  It’s the shawl striping in “Olive Branch” (the XL hank) and I’m going to make Cladonia.  (I saw a sample and it was so pretty I couldn’t stand it. I snapped like a little twig. I think it made a noise.)

catterpillargreenstart 2015-04-24

Point: I got the yarn out, and then the needle the pattern suggested, then heard the voice of experience in my head and saw that the combination of that needle, that yarn and me was going to make a fabric I didn’t care for, and went back and got a more appropriately sized needle.

Demerit: The voice of experience turns out to be a lying weaselface, because ten minutes after lift-off on my plane to Minneapolis this morning, I realized that I had misjudged the size of the needle I needed.

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Demerit: I only brought the one needle. Like a rookie.

Point: I actually realized it was wrong, and stopped knitting, instead of wasting my time beavering away on a doomed project thinking things are going to get better any minute. They’re not. They never do.

Point: I took out my back-up knitting, which I actually had with me, exactly like NOT A ROOKIE.

backupknitting 2015-04-24

Demerit: Upon landing in Minneapolis I had to go directly to StevenBe and what I needed so that I can work on this- even though I have a million knitting needles at home.

Point: I actually got two, in case I’m still wrong about the needle sizes. That way I don’t have to go back again later today, on account of people saw me there and I would start to look dim.

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Demerit: I had to buy two that are totally and completely in my stash right now, and I could have brought with me if I hadn’t believed the voice of experience.

Point: I won’t believe the voice of experience again. It’s cocky.

No, I won’t make you a pair for $10

I’ve taken the clothes out of my suitcase, washed them, and put them back in, and I’m almost ready to go back out the door tomorrow. I’m starting to feel wildly spoiled, like I’ve pulled off the most amazing trick, and now I get to live in a world that contains knitters alone, punctuated by these weird intervals where regular people exist and don’t have yarn in their purse.  I always start to wonder about that world when I travel this much for knitting I’m about halfway through a sprint where out of 28 days, 22 of them will be spent knitting while I travel to be with knitters, or hanging out with knitters, talking about knitting. Right now, my world consists almost entirely of people who think knitting is incredibly important, and the people who don’t think about it at all are a weak and tiny minority.

finishedrainbow4 2015-04-23

Usually, when I take my knitting from my bag, strangers say “Do you knit?” (to which I have always wanted to reply “No, I just find it nice to have around.”) but this month, all the strangers around me take theirs out too, and nobody tries to turn the lights down, or asks me if I’m going to do that “the whole time.”  It’s like living in a magic, magic land where knitters are the norm, and people who don’t know how to make any of their own clothes are the lunatics.

finishedrainbow3 2015-04-23

In this land, nobody, when I show them my fabulous finished socks, ask me why I bother, when they’re just $1 a pair at Walmart – and should I choose to reveal what a pair of socks costs the way I make them (yarn expense, plus minimum wage for the hours it takes to make them) will goggle at me like I’ve taken all leave of my senses.

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Nope, that’s not where I’m living. I’m living in a place where I can show you my finished socks, and every person around me smiles, asks me what form of short rows I used for the heel (classic) and wistfully considers making some just the same -because it totally makes sense to them – and they would, but they’re making a sweater right now.

finishedrainbow 2015-04-23

Re-entry in twelve days is going to be hard.

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(PS. These finished socks, besides being the cutest things ever, are not for me. They’re for one of you. They’re the Dark Side of the Moon socks that Commander Hadfield held, and for a while, I thought about giving them to him – but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted them to end up somewhere they were really wanted, not as a random weird gift for someone they may or may not fit, or who may or may not really, really love them.  (While I have no doubt that Chris Hadfield is s great guy, that inexplicably doesn’t assure us all that he wants a pair of hand knit socks.)  So, I decided to use them to kick off my fundraising for the Bike Rally this year. I’m hoping to raise more than we ever have (which is a lofty goal- considering that you guys blow me away every time) and while I’ll start doing Karmic Balancing Gifts soon, I’m starting with this. These socks go to whomsoever offers the biggest donation to the Rally, and will love them to death. If you’re someone who’d like to make an exchange like that – a donation for a pair of hand knit socks, then shoot me an email.  ( I’ll check those emails, figure out what the best one for the rally is, and I’ll let you know if you’re the one. If you are, you’ll make the donation, and I’ll pop them in the mail.)

PPS. They fit a friend with ladies size 9 feet really well, if you’re wondering about size.



The Number is Ten

It was Sunday night when I remembered.  That was my 11th night away from home, and I was sitting in a hotel room feeling unloved and lost for absolutely no good reason when it came over me in a wave.  The number is ten. That’s the number of days I can be away from home for work before it messes me up. Some switch inside me flips, and I start to be melancholic and dejected, and then I remember. Ten. After ten days I need my people, my home, my tea and my bathtub, and it doesn’t matter where I am, or what I’m doing, or what my reason for being there is.  It’s amazingly predictable, and still takes me by surprise every time.  This time, if it were possible to avoid the tenth day snap, I would have. As a matter of fact, I think how amazingly fantastic my previous days were are the only reason that it was the 11th night (and the night before I flew home, which was lucky and lovely) before I met the void of homesickness, because pets, that last trip was epic.

appetizer 2015-04-22

(That was the appetizer on our last night there. Big love to Splityarn and WEBS for the treats.)

We had a fabulous Strung Along retreat at Port Ludlow (and the next one is coming up fast- have I mentioned that we’re accepting registrations as of a few days ago?)  I keep thinking that these retreats can’t get any better, but this time Clara Parkes and Kate Atherley hit it out of the park, and the weather was fabulous, and the retreaters were the grooviest bunch yet – and I’m not just saying that to be nice. They were a remarkable group, right down to the one that made off with one of the yarnbombings, and promptly got it an instagram account.  We don’t know who it was, but Debbi and I can take some responsibility for the two sibling accounts that cropped up shortly thereafter.  It was a wonderful immersion in all things knitterly, and I can’t believe my luck, because my next gig was just as terrific.

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I  trucked out of Port Ludlow and headed for Vancouver, and from there to a retreat with Knit Social on Galiano Island.

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It was very different, and very wonderful, and delightful to tramp around the Island, enjoying beautiful views and great food, only stopping long enough to teach about knitting, talk about knitting, and when we weren’t in class, hang out with knitters and knit.


The retreat was small, and intimate, and Fiona and Amanda do a wonderful job of making it a perfect universe for a few days. I wish they were in charge of more. It was brilliant.

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Now I’m home, if only for three days, before I head out to Yarnover, and FiberFest. (Yarnover and one of the FiberFest classes are all sold out, but there’s still room in my lecture style class on Colour Theory for Textile Artists. I love teaching this kind of class. Without putting too fine a point on it, knitters are artists, and I think we need the vocabulary and training that other artists get to be really good at it.)  Last night the kids all came home for dinner, and tonight we’re seeing friends, and tomorrow I’ll get a fix of Luis, and then it’s back on a plane.

colourclassbetter 2015-04-22

I’ve finished a shawl, a sweater, a pair of socks and made a good size dent in a few other things, but lets talk about that tomorrow, shall we?  I’ve got to wash my clothes and put them back in my suitcase, while reflecting that the ten day limit aside? This is pretty much the best job ever.

Yarn, and how we love it

A drive by from me – getting ready to go from Port Ludlow to Galiano Island for the Knit Social Retreat. (Then it’s home for a few days, then onto Minneapolis for Yarnover, and to teach at Fiber Fest. There’s room in those classes by the way – Yarnover is full, but the crew at StevenBe has room in the Knitting for Speed and Efficiency class, and in the Colour Theory class – they’re both fun.) In the meantime, allow me to entertain you with the amazing yarnbombings at the Resort this go around. The retreaters went above and beyond – and they’re totally charming.  Enjoy.

morecorkguys 2015-04-15 morecorks 2015-04-15 corksagain 2015-04-15 spoonguys 2015-04-15 geesebetter 2015-04-15 fireex3 2015-04-15 fruit 2015-04-15 sail 2015-04-15 caphats 2015-04-15 sheep1 2015-04-15 fireex2 2015-04-15 fireex 2015-04-15 shipinabottle 2015-04-15 fishlap 2015-04-15 kittens 2015-04-15 Statue2 2015-04-15storkthing 2015-04-15

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All the kinds of done

The April Retreat is done, and it was beautiful, and fabulous, and we so enjoyed having Clara and Kate with us, and I think I do no wrong when I say that this might have been one of the best ever.  (I will show you more pictures tomorrow. The yarnbombings this time were of a spectacular quality.)

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There was so much information, and so much fun, and some really, really intense learning, and even though all those things were more than amazing, let me tell you the best part.

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I finished my socks,

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and I am almost finished my sweater,

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which is awesome, because when I got here I unpacked my suitcase, I was staggered to discover that while I was sure I had a sweater with me, there wasn’t one in my bag.   It turns out I was counting the unfinished beast in my bag.  That, my friends, is a really, really knitterly mindset.

All Good Things

Well, here I am, at the end of my little vacation by myself, and it’s been lovely. Busier than I imagined it would be, but all the little things on my list are checked off, and the house is (almost) tidy, and ready for me to leave it tomorrow.  First thing in the morning I’ll head for the airport, and thus beginneth a wickedly busy month of travel.  I’ve almost got my bags packed, and my classes ready, and the only thing left to really organize is what knitting I’ll take with me when I go.  I’ve got a nice chunk of time designated for puttering around the stash this afternoon figuring it out.  I’ll need something fussy for the plane(s) and something simple for when I’m talking and walking, and something in the middle for when the going is easy.  No ideas yet – for sure the Dark Side of the Moon socks will be going with me.

Speaking of knitting, I finally managed to get some pictures of Lou wearing his birthday sweater – although it wasn’t easy.  The gentleman in question isn’t very interested in having his picture taken these days, as you can plainly see from the attempt his father made.

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I didn’t have awesome luck either, most of my pictures ended up a lot like this one – and were accompanied by loud admonishments of “NO PICTURES.”

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The best snaps I got where when he was busy hunting for eggs – with chocolate smeared on his face, distracted by the work at hand.

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Pattern: Wyatt.  Yarn: Galway Worsted in Indigo.

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I loved this pattern, although as written, the arms seem a little long.  If I were to do it again, I’d shorten them up a little.  The whole sweater is big on him, I intentionally knit him a size 4, even though he’s decidedly the size of a three year old. (Which he is.)  I’m hoping it will fit him this spring with the sleeves rolled up, and then in the fall with them uncuffed.

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He seems quite comfy in it, despite the lack of co-operation in modelling. He’s so wonderfully three right now, and my agenda and his are absolutely not one and the same. (I’d hazard a guess that Katie and Carlos would say the same thing.) Perhaps I’ll send Sam over to speak a little with him about the emotional rewards of knitwear modelling.

Lousweater 2015-04-08

Now, I’m off to make a cup of tea, and set off to rootle through the stash, and see what I can come up with. Wickedly exciting times my friends, wickedly exciting. (All suggestions for what to knit next will be read and considered. Go nuts.)


After the Bunny

Oh, what a weekend my pets, what a weekend.  I’ve been on a flat out tear for a few days, and almost all of it was great fun.  I say almost all of it was fun, because on Saturday I did the first official training ride for the Bike Rally, and I can honestly tell you that it wasn’t really super fun.  I had good company, and I don’t usually mind riding, even far (it was 40km) and fast (which I wasn’t) but holy cats, was it cold.  I think that’s the coldest I’ve ever been on my bike, and that’s saying something. How cold was it? Ice crunched under my feet as I walked to my bike. That’s how cold it was. It snowed later. That’s how cold it was.

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I got it done though, and after a hot bath I almost forgave myself. Then there were the family gatherings, and the Easter and Birthday celebrations. (Hank is 15. Just putting that out there.  Fifteen.)

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Mostly, the delicious solitude I was looking to savour was shot all weekend. (Not totally true, because I was alone on my bike, but are you really alone if you have your rage with you?)

The best part of the weekend for me though, was finishing Easter slippers for Lou and Myrie.  Last year they got bunnies, and this year?

littleshoesor1 2015-04-06


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Pattern: Lamb Shoes. Yarn: Cascade Eco Wool. Modifications: I didn’t do the sole inserts.

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Lou seemed to mostly think they were puppets, which is just fine with me, because really, knitting stuff like this is for grownups, and we all loved them.

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Lamb shoes.  Shut the front door. So cute it hurts. See you tomorrow. The house is empty, and I’ve got a book to read.

Also I will miss him

Joe left this morning, out early for a holiday with his mum.  (That’s right, I holiday with my mother, and he holidays with his. That’s because we’re adorable.) I love it when he’s gone.  I know that sounds wrong, but I do. It’s like a little vacation here too.  Joe gets lots of time when he’s home and I’m not, but it hardly ever goes the other way, and it’s hard for me to even articulate what I love about it without making it sound like I don’t like it when he’s here – which I totally do, but being entirely alone in my own home is so novel that I can’t help but gleefully embrace it. I suppose it’s possible that it’s a holdover from the years the girls were little, when I was never, ever alone, or maybe my mum is right, and it’s one of the consequences of being the eldest child, but I can’t tell you of the simple joy of waking up in a house alone, of eating what I want when I want without considering what anyone else would like, of not negotiating for the bathroom, and not having to talk to anyone for a whole day if that’s what I choose.

It’s not like I have big plans for this time – I have lots of work to do, and lots of commitments with the family over Easter, but there’s a few things I’ve been thinking up to do while I was alone.

1. Hang up all the pictures that we took down when the house got painted a while ago.  I’m going to hang them anywhere I want to. It’s not like Joe would stop me, or probably even care where I hang the pictures, but it feels delicious to not even ask.

2. Reorganize Joe’s dresser. Every time he opens one of the drawers and I see that he’s got tee-shirts, shorts, pants, socks and underpants all mixed in together it gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.  He swears that this system is fine, but I think he’s just willing to live with it so he doesn’t have to organize it. With him gone, I can touch all his things and put them proper order.  Joe has no idea how much he’s going to love it.  (Also, by the time he reads this, it will be too late.)

3. Eat things that Joe doesn’t like.  I can’t think right now of what that would be, but as soon as I think of it, I am going to do it.

4. Knit. Okay – I do that anyway, but I am going to do it alone.  Hey, did I mention that I finished that cowl/infinity scarf?

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Pattern: Diamonds Go Around. Yarn: A Bevy of Swans DK in Pompey (that’s the brownish one) and Parted.

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It ended up just long enough to go twice around my neck, which I think makes it a scarf, not a cowl, according to what you all said in the comments.

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I love it a lot, which is a little sad, because it’s a gift for a friend. I am consoled by knowing that I have another two skeins of this yarn to make another one for me. Someday.  First I’m finishing the Phi For You shawl, which is only about 5 long rows from done.

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Can’t wait to show you the whole thing, because it’s totally charming, and also – not for me – and that’s okay, because that particular shade of purple and I have an uneasy relationship.  I’m also pounding out a tiny surprise, but you’ll have to wait to see that.

5. I am going to sleep in the middle of the bed. Or maybe diagonally.

6. With all the covers.

I’m so looking forward to the next several days.*  What do you like to do when you’re alone? Do you like it? What tiny pleasures do you find in solitude?

*with one exception, but I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

This time it’s for real

I am 46 years old, and I think I can tell you that I’m just about over having crushes. The thing with Prince remains eternal, but I’ve accepted in my heart that we could never be together. I’ve believed since I was 15 years old that our heights made us compatible, but the truth is that by all reports, the man’s a (really beautiful) lunatic, and really, I think that would be exhausting to live with. I’ve never been the sort of person to lose my mind over a rock star, I didn’t have a poster of Duran Duran, and I (mostly) don’t feel faint when I run into the occasional famous person.  I’ve just never been the type. Joe and I have had lots of conversations with our kids about whether or not most of the celebrities they have crushes on are really probably all they’re cracked up to be. We talked with them a lot about how being good looking, or really popular, without any sort of evidence that they’re a good person trying to do good things shouldn’t be enough to get you to toss that much emotional energy their way – and a jerk is still a jerk, and being “a personality” isn’t a job, no matter what it pays and no matter how many TV shows you get to be on.

All of this is very sensible, and super grown up, and means that I’ve never really had a good grip on what a Kardashian is or why I would care, and so you could have knocked me over with a feather this afternoon when I discovered that during a quick visit with a someone – I was suffering a full on, insane crush. This person walked up, shook my hand, we started to talk, and I wanted to say nothing more than I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. Which is insane. That’s absolutely insane, and thank heaven I managed to keep that from coming out, because of course I don’t love him. I don’t even know him and there’s no way that I could love him but it’s still what I wanted to say.  Instead I asked him to hold my sock for a picture, and said “This is probably the dorkiest thing that anybody’s ever asked you to do….” and he said “that depends on what you’re going to ask me to do…” and then I said “Probably it’s not the dorkiest thing you’ve ever been asked to do because you’re an astronaut and well… that seems like it would have a lot of dorky stuff with it” and then COMMANDER CHRIS HADFIELD smiled, and asked how he should hold the sock.  I told him it was deeply personal, and he should do whatever felt right.*

chrisHstart 2015-03-31

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He did, with all the charm that we’ve come to expect from him – and the whole time we chatted briefly, and spoke a little about book tours, his and mine, and then it was over, and I’m pretty sure that I made sense the whole time, and even said “Thanks Chris.”**

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If there had been time *** or if I hadn’t been so busy being the biggest dork in the world I would have told him that I didn’t really have a crush on him. I would have told him that I was just so impressed with him, not just for what he’s done, but for how he’s done it.   Chris Hadfield lived for six months in space, and that whole time, and ever since he’s been back, he’s done his best to show us all what it was like, and frame it all in a way that we could share in the miracle of the whole thing.  He tweeted from space, he talked to kids who won science challenges and did their experiments for them, he answered questions, (knowing that kids really want to know some gross stuff) he recorded music, he took part in concerts, he’s celebrated being Canadian, and more than anything else, he made it so, so cool to be smart.

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Chris Hadfield is exactly who I want everybody crushing on,  because there are billions of people on earth, and only 216 of them have ever, ever been to the space station, and out of all of those, only 81 people have been there twice, and he’s one of them, and I want so badly to know what he knows, and to feel what he’s felt, and to see what he’s seen, and I’m so grateful to him for making it seem like he takes as much joy in finding ways to tell us about the experience as we take in hearing it.  He’s done such a remarkable thing, and so elegantly, and so creatively, while still making it clear that this all happened because he did his homework, worked hard, and stuck with something he cared about a lot. In a world that frequently debates twerking, and who should be famous for it, I’m getting behind this instead.

chrisH1 2015-03-31

I’m pretty sure that Chris Hadfield is a nice man**** and he was certainly very nice to me, and a the end of the whole thing, He asked me if I’d like a picture, and honestly, I’d seen it in his hand and thought that I would say no thank you, because, as I’ve said, I’m not really the sort of person who had a Duran Duran poster, and I’m not sure I’d start hanging up pictures of celebrities at this age, and I didn’t want him to waste one. In that moment though, I thought about some people I know who have crushes on some people who don’t deserve it, and something came over me, and I said “Yes Please.” For the first time in my life, I’ve got a picture of a celebrity on my fridge, and I’m so cool with the message I’m sending. It’s dorky, but I think today the dorks win.*****

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* I didn’t tell him what I really believe, which is that how someone approaches the odd moment in their life, moments like being asked to hold a sock for no good reason, really says a lot about their character, or lack thereof.  I didn’t want to pressure him.

** I know. I called Commander Hadfield Chris.  I can’t believe it either. He called me Steph. 

***There totally wasn’t.

****Ok. So I don’t know him well enough to know for sure that’s he’s a nice guy, but I find it hard to believe that they’d lock you up in the Space Station twice if you were a huge jerk.

*****Actually, the dorkiest thing about today is that when I realized I was going to meet the man, I started a whole new sock, just so that the one I got him to hold could be knit from yarn called “Dark Side of the Moon.”   I didn’t tell him that part. The dork factor was already super high.

Randomly on what I swear I thought was Wednesday

1. Without a word of a lie, I just about fell off my chair 10 minutes ago (that’s right, at the end of the work day) when I found out it was Thursday. What the hell happened to Wednesday? I demand the return of Wednesday! I know it’s never been my favourite, but I would have made the most of it.

2. Thursday is my favourite day of the week. I wish I’d known it was Thursday so I could enjoy it.

3. My final (and yarn containing) suitcase was returned at 11:10 last night. Me and my unseemly collection of self-striping yarn has been reunited. I was cool with buying new pants, but the yarn?

4. I am knitting a cowl. I know, right? I wonder when the world will get tired of cowls. Probably once I have one to go with every outfit.

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(Diamonds go around, in A Bevy of Swans DK, in the colourways “I forget” and “I lost the ball band.”)

5. I’m stylish like that.

6. Also, it says it’s an infinity scarf, but I think it’s a cowl. I’m not clear on the difference.