March 31, 2004

Victory is mine.

Despite Laurie's very clever guess that I am being punished by the knitting goddess, (which I must admit is really my gut feeling as well, but I am the suspicious type) I persevered and finished the hat without any further mishap.

ghat

No locusts, lightning strikes, floods or famines. I did take out a new project and put the yarn right in the living room to threaten the hat, and that seemed to take the edge off. I quite like the hat, and I'm especially loving the top.

ghattop

The hat does measure 23" around, leading us to Joe's head size. Yesterday when I got the first comment saying that I may have mis-measured Joe's head, since someone with a head 25 inches would be a genetic anomaly, I approached him subtly and re-measured. When Joe asked me what I was doing, I had to think quickly and come up with a clever response. I settled on "Nothing", followed quickly by "What are you doing?" This distracted him, and I was able to confirm the 25" hat size. I decided to disregard Aubergine of the comments, and contemplate the possibility that Aubergine has a very small head, and small headed friends. (Not that there's anything wrong with that)

When Anne and Melissa also commented that 25" seemed large, I couldn't ignore the trend and decided to re-measure Joe again. Since I am not a raving incompetent who can't measure a head, I decided that the fault must lie with my blue tape measure. I went and got the yellow one and approached Joe again. "It's still going to be the same size Steph" he said, before I even got close. "I just want to check one more thing" I say. He resisted me for a few more minutes and it started looking like I might have to take my top off if I wanted to get my way, but at the last minute the phone rang and I got my chance while he was talking.
25" , even with the yellow tape measure. I start thinking about getting on the internet to research head sizes, just to find out how big a freak my husband is. (I also spent some time wondering if this freakishly large head could explain any of the odd behaviour that he exhibits from time to time, or how it is that you can live with someone for this long and not know this about their head...but lets not focus on that.)

Then, a comment from Emma, who I think we can all agree appears to be normal in all the important ways and clever enough to knit lovely things...and yet claims to have a 24" head. This is significant news.

I knit on the lovely hat for a while, and stop looking sideways at Joe to see if his head looks big. All goes well until Joe reads the blog comments later that evening. Now he's muttering to himself as he works around the house. Things like: "Nothing wrong with a big head" and the very clever "I bet lots of people have big heads". I've finally reassured him by convincing him that I "like" big headed men, and that it's an enormous reason why I love him, and that I will point out to the blog readers that he's a big guy, not some tiny little pencil with an enormous head stuck on top. I've also suggested that should I find myself with the opportunity, I could imply (in a very tasteful way) that he is a very manly big all over. That shut him up.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:32 AM

March 30, 2004

I'm going to post this,

I'm going to post this, then I'm going back to bed. Its not going very well for me. Wanna see the hat?

hatstart

Disappointed? Me too. Here's what happened. In a fit of absolute brilliance and foresight, I gave the hat some thought before I cast it on. That's not something I usually do, I'm more of a seat-of-my-pants kinda gal. I like to live on the edge, if I make a hat that isn't the predicted size, that's usually ok with me. It's gonna fit somebody. This time though, I wanted a hat that would fit the gardener, who is a pretty big guy. I've got a limited amount of wool, and only have time for one kick at the can. Fine. I'll do the responsible knitter thing and I'll give this some thought.

hatswatch

Well look at that. It's a swatch. It's a little known fact that swatches are actually magic charms woven by knitters to invoke proper knitting. If you knit one, a magical net is cast about your knitting and many good things happen. If you don't ....knitting apocalypse. I'm sure you are familiar with this theory, or have at least suffered the wrath of a skipped swatch. Risky business.
So I knit the darned swatch. I did more than that, I actually measured the swatch and worked out how many stitches to the inch I was getting. I didn't screw around either, I didn't ignore 1/8th stitches, or stretch it a little bit or squash it. Nope, an honest to goodness non-fudged stitch count. Then, (If you can even believe that I took this much care) I measured Joe's head, which I figure is about what I'm aiming for. Then I did the math, then I subtracted one inches worth (because you want a hat to fit closely) and cast on the resulting number of stitches. Check me on this....

5 stitches to the inch
Head measurement = 25 inches
5 X 25 = 125 - 5 = 120

Because I failed grade 10 math 4 times, I double checked this theory with Joe (who won prizes for mathematics) and he agreed that this was right. Excellent, I cast on 120 stitches and work merrily around the hat. I'm liking the hat, I'm feeling good about the world, I've got some really good looking hat happening...when I sort of notice that the hat looks a little big. Screw it, think I. I don't have to worry about that. I get to ignore niggling little feelings like that because I am a knitter who knit a good honest swatch. I carry on.
I carry on until the feeling cannot be ignored. I decide to reassure myself by slipping the hat off of the needle (which is clearly distorting the thing somehow) so that I can see with my own eyes that the hat is 24 inches around. I know that the hat is 24 inches around because

120 divided by 5 = 24 (I double checked with a calculator...just in case Joe's slipping)

Imagine my shock when I measure the hat and it is 28 inches around. Does somebody want to take a minute to explain that to me? Same yarn, same needles, same knitting method, I even knitted the swatch in fair isle. I used a calculator. I give up. I yanked it out. I went back to the swatch. It's still 5 stitches to the inch. (Lying piece of junk) I've cast on 110. Screw swatches.

What's wrong with this picture?

onetiger

There's only one tiger bootee, that's what. Somewhere in between when I handed the person (who is a very lovely individual with a spotless record, who we are definitely not blaming for this catastrophic event) two bootees to transport to the baby's mother and when they arrived, one of the bootees disappeared. Gone. Evaporated. Absolutely does not exist any longer. I have to knit another one. I am confident that as soon as I knit the replacement, the one that is without at doubt lost forever will reappear.

I see no reason to continue with this morning. I'm going to have a little lie down now.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:40 PM

March 29, 2004

Secret Identity stuff.

This morning when I got up I came downstairs, made coffee (it's the first thing I do...we'll discuss my rather intense dependance on the glorious brown elixir of life another day) and started to make the school lunches. As I did so, I noticed an odd little package sitting on the counter. I opened it, and this was inside.

hatwool

It's the hand spun, nature dyed wool that my spinning class and I made. The gardener at the farm where we meet collected all the plants for us, and we thought that it would be nice to thank him by knitting him a hat out of the yarn that we made. In some insipid moment of generosity I offered to knit it. I don't know why I did that. In fact, I believe that I mouthed off about how it would be "no big deal" and that it would take so little of my time that it would "fall off me while I was walking". It's sort of a knitters version of your eyes being bigger than your stomach. In any case, I've been avoiding it. I thought that I had hidden this wool rather well...but here it is.

I do wonder who might have snuck into my home, rooted through the interim stash section of the linen closet, found this wool and put it here on the counter. I lifted up the first ball of brown, and discover a small engraved box with a combination lock on it. I suddenly realize that this is no ordinary knitting project.... I look around to make sure that no member of my family has wandered in, take my Code ID from under the laundry basket (nobody would touch the laundry, it's where I hide all my secret identity stuff) and enter my code. The box springs open and displays this message.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to design and knit a fair isle hat prior to tomorrows spinning class. Completed, this hat will encourage further co-operation from the engineer of agriculture, currently using the code name "gardener" and ensure that further fibre transactions between our two agencies are successful. Without this hat, there will be no wool in shades other than cream and brown, an obvious breach of cover. Even more significant than limiting the agencies colour palette, should you fail to complete this hat on time, you will be mocked and belittled by the other agents at "spinning class", who will reveal you as a knitter who is "all talk and no walk", and give you a really hard time about it for an undetermined period.
This message will self-destruct with a smallish explosion in 10 seconds. (Don't throw it in the garbage like you did last time. It was a stupid amateurish mistake)

I'll be busy for the rest of the day I suppose. This will be my first shot at designing Fair Isle, I guess we'll know by this time tomorrow if I'm any good. Don't tell anybody about the secret identity thing eh?

Happy Birthday to Hank (my nephew) and Kamilah (my niece) Here's the Hank man (remember the pink dragon mittens?) enjoying a pick dragon cake that I made for him yesterday. He's wearing a dragon sweater that I knit him, though I broke out of the pink box for that. (He accepted that...I don't think he was thrilled. He didn't buy the "burgundy is just really dark pink" argument). The more clever among you will have begun to sense the dragon theme.

hank-bday

Posted by Stephanie at 11:09 AM

March 27, 2004

I admit it.

Ok, It's not a swatch.

snowdropshawl

It is, without a doubt, a full fledged Snowdrop Shawl, finished just in time for the snowdrops to bloom here in Toronto. It turns out that the mohair thing was a one night stand, sort of like going out dancing, but still coming home to make pancakes in the morning. I finished last night, and had the infinite pleasure of blocking lace.

snowdropblock

I am, for the record, a "soaker" and a "pinner". For me, there is no greater knitterly magic trick than taking a grotty, tangled wet knot of yarn and gently bending it to your will, pin by pin, moment by moment...while delicate gossamer lace emerges. I know there are varying schools of thought on this, and I know that somebody is going to tell me about blocking wires. I know of blocking wires, and I swing wildly between desperately coveting them, and frowning in their general direction. I am now, and will forevermore be a "soaker", and there is no point in trying to convince me that I should dampen or mist things during the blocking process. I believe in the full immersion method, I have come to believe that it more deeply convinces the fibre of my intentions. I think that being a soaker might mean that I frown on blocking wires, since I imagine that threading the wires through a wet shawl might be as much fun as licking cactus. Since I don't own blocking wires...the point is moot.

Laura A. asked in the comments how I'm going to wear this. Well...I'm not. It's a gift for a friend. Almost three years ago I had the honour of being the first person to touch her son, and sometime in the next few weeks she is going to deliver a daughter into my hands. Since this daughter is going to be born with the blooming of the snowdrops, I thought that the shawl would be a good way to commemorate her birth. I'll wrap her in the shawl on the day of her birth, and I'm actually romantic enough to have a whole fantasy worked up about this daughter wearing it for her wedding, or wrapping her own baby in it. It's enough to tear me up a little, I imagine this sweet wee babe, born on a day the snowdrops are blooming, wrapped in this fine lace....Unless, my friend delivers late. Then the snowdrops are gone and the plan is dumbass.

Finally, I leave you with the picture of innocence.

millieshawl

I'm sure you believe, as I do...that there is absolutely zero chance that this Black cat is not going to lie on this White shawl the moment I leave the room.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:00 PM

March 26, 2004

So close, and yet so far...

I am boring the living daylights out of myself with the shawatch.

shawatchalmost

Now that I have mere inches to go, my Harlot nature is showing. It's always like this. I like a challenge, and the minute that my knitting nature works out that I've won, my interest wanes and I'm starting to think about other yarns. I'm trying to stay focussed on the shawatch, I really am, but now that it's not playing hard to get ...

I'm trying not to repeat history. I love the shawatch, and hours have been spent coercing it. I've built our alliance with hard work, determination and gentle entreaties. I've adored the fine nature of her fibres, the delicate halo of the yarn. How best to coax it into a delicate shawl, what border? How to attach it? Do I honour her with I-cord? I've given her all of the offerings a knitter can give a yarn, just to glean her favour and persuade her to be the best darn shawl shawatch she can be. Finally, after so many hours together, so much graph paper, so many memories....the shawatch has finally relented and loves me as much as I love her. The moment that I realized that she was mine, that she would resist me no longer, that all I needed was to knit to her gracefully (already designed) corner and we could be together forever...

3mstart

Forgive me.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:34 AM

March 25, 2004

Driving me round the bend

I've been doing this blog for 62 days, and last night was the first time that I have ever been sorry.

The point of the shawatch (Jon named it that in the comments yesterday...I like it because it sounds like "sasquatch ") has been knit and tinked back more times than I can possibly tell you. I have:
-knit beyond the point and put the shaping off to the left.
-fallen short of the point and and put the shaping of to the right
-misidentified the centre stitch several times, thus putting the centre shaping in mindbogglingly odd places.
-generally screwed up in ways that are too stupid to admit in a public forum.

As I sat last night, practically weeping with the frustration of it all, Joe said several things that made me think.
I don't know why you think you like knitting. I just looked at him. I love knitting. I don't know what could have possibly led him to think that I'm not enjoying myself. The cursing? The crying? The 14 sheets of shredded graph paper?
Maybe you are tired, why don't you give up, and try again tomorrow ? Straight off....Give up? Your local Yarn harlot does not give up. Never say die. Especially, do not say die if you are going to have to admit it to your blog readers in the morning. What would I post? I can't face everybody and tell you all of my abject failure to count. No way. I'm accountable to the blog.

I stayed up, I fought on.

roundthebend

Score...Shawatch 0. Stephanie 1.
Take that.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:01 PM

March 24, 2004

Depends on how you look at it.

Well there's good news and bad news today. I'm either a triumphant, victorious knitter, deserving of praise and the spoils of war...or...really someone that's going to be the butt of obtuse knitting jokes. Be kind.

pointplanAfter much trial and error, comments reading and swatching for the swatch (I wish that weren't true....) I worked out how to handle the corner. I tried working the uber-point but it was going to be too pointy (Claudia...I know you think there is no such thing as too pointy, give it up) After experimenting with short rows that maintained the integrity of the lace, and then deciding that it was really a better idea to impale myself on my DPN collection, I opted for a fairly straightforward sort of gathered-attachement plan to ease me around the point. It wasn't easy, it wasn't pretty and I'm not proud of how long it took. It was way into the night by the time I had it figured...and I went to sleep feeling like the queen of the world.

Then I get up this morning and two things happened. Firstly, after having spent a hugely unreasonable amount of time working this out, I discovered that Lori had very nicely sent me a comment suggesting (with nice little directions) exactly how to do what I had spent hours working out. In fact, her comment landed in my inbox while I wasn't reading comments because I was busy trying to choke myself to death with a pad of graph paper and the corner of a laceweight swatch. (I, Stephanie, do hereby swear that after I ask my readers for help I will wait a reasonable amount of time for them to weigh in with clever and timesaving ideas. I will not charge ahead, doing things the hard way, frothing around the living room in the dead of night, whacked out on cold medication and giving my spouse another thing to write on the "Ways I can Prove My Wife is Insane In a Court Of Law" list.) Thank you Lori. Your attempt to save me from myself is duly noted.

Secondly, after I had recovered from the shock of realizing that if I only had checked my email I'd have three hours of my life back, I put the plan into motion. I nimbly knit to the critical starting point for the stunning Point Plan, and launched. The joy, the relief, the thrilling climactic ....oh.....

screwthepoint

Crap. Do you think that the "Point Plan" should take place somewhere even close to the point of the swatch? Do you? For crying out loud would somebody just kill me. I cannot believe that after this much freakin work on this shawl swatch that I would notice that I shouldn't be PAST the point when I begin the Point Plan! Who doesn't notice that! Who? Public mocking is too good for me. Today's knitting segment will feature Stephanie tinking back edging, screwing with the number of stitches before the point and stringing together expletives in new and creative ways.

In other news, these are quite possibly the cutest bootees in the history of the universe.

tigerbootees

If they would fit me, I would keep them. For anybody who was asking...the pattern is from 50 Baby bootees to knit, by Zoe Mellor.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:50 AM

March 23, 2004

What's your point?

When I knit 3 more points of edging on the swatch I will come to the bottom point of the shawl. I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do when I get there. None, nada, zip. Clearly, since I have a 90 degree corner to turn, I'm going to have to do something, I mean, you can't just ignore it. Can you?

pointswatch

Choice A.
Work some kind of mitred clever point thing. Sort of like the point on the Butterfly Shawl. Advantages....well, I think the math is doable. Even for a numerically challenged person like me. I think the pointy pattern could be made to come to an Uber-point without too much screwing around. (Note to self: every time you say that something shouldn't be to hard the project immediately sucks you to the very gates of Hades, don't smart-ass about how you think you can do it "without too much screwing around". You will be punished) Disadvantages: I don't think it would look as good as choice B.

Choice B.
Work some kind of short row magic and mystically get the points to continue around the 90 degree turn uninterrupted. Like the point on "Concert in the park". (Which is one of the most stunning things in the world. I swear in the name of all things wooly that this shawl will be mine...I want it in the colourway "forest floor". Be still my heart.)
Advantages: pretty, pretty, pretty. Clever too, and I think that it would fit in better with the overall look of the swatch. Disadvantages: I have no idea how to do that. I can short row, that's not too hard, but how on earth do you short row pointy lace and still have pointy lace at the end of it?

Choice C.
Screw it and knit tiger bootees.

tigerstart

Posted by Stephanie at 11:26 AM

March 22, 2004

Born Free

It's freezing cold outside, I have a terrible cold, I am up to my armpits in work, laundry and dust bunnies, and I really couldn't be happier. I am filled with the simple pure joy of a mother who has survived March Break. The children went to school today, Joe will go to work eventually and then I will be alone. Gloriously, stunningly alone. I'm going to go to the bathroom by myself. I'm going to drink a whole cup of coffee without it going cold, I'm going to write my column without screaming "Stop looking at your Sister...you know she hates it!" and I'm going to have at least one uninterrupted phone call. I feel like dancing.

The swatch is still getting an edging. It has fallen into the black hole of knitting. You know the black hole don't you? Its where you knit and knit, then measure and check, then knit and knit, then check again only to discover that even though you have worked on the thing for hours it is miraculously the exact same size.

moreswatchedge

It could be that the swatch is actually trying to help me, since as I was knitting the edging last night it occurred to me that I wasn't exactly careful about how many stitches I picked up along the sides. I just sort of went with it. My thinking was that as long as it looked right...it was right. It wasn't until last night when I was absently wondering how it was that I could have knit 4 points of the edging and be no closer to the centre point that it occurred to me that I might want to have the same number of stitches on each side...so that I would have the same number of points on each side. I'm going to think about possible fixes while I am here in the black hole.

Wool Pig.

Claudia asks if there are qualifications to brand oneself "Wool-Pig". Number or bins of yarn, poundage or yardage amounts that need to be met...etc. It is this writers opinion that "Wool-Pig" is more of an attitude towards ones yarn...rather than the amount of yarn. (It is assumed that you have lots of yarn) I'm sure that you guys will come up with more but here are my ways of telling.

You might be a Wool-Pig if....
...you have ever bought new yarn rather than use well established stash yarn.
...you are teaching someone to knit and you generously give them a ball from your own stash (after selecting one you think is sub-standard, or lying to them about the qualities of the yarn they chose "no, no...that merino is way to scratchy for a hat")
...you have knit, and will keep forever things that you will never...ever wear, just because you liked the wool.
...you have ever bought yarn only because you heard a rumour it was going to be discontinued.
...you have ever bought yarn only because another knitter was looking at it and there was only 10 skeins left and you didn't want her to have it.
...you have yarn that is sitting in the stash waiting for a project that is "worthy" of it.
...you have lied about yarn possession.
...you find it difficult, impossible or painful to give away yarn.

Finally, In the spirit of the Anti-Wool-Pig (because we all want to be better people) I'm going to draw your attention to this. It's an Afghanalong for Afghans. All you need to do to score some good karma is knit an 8 inch square and send it to Kay and Ann at Mason-Dixon Knitting, and they will sew'em up into blankies for people who need them. If your inner Wool-pig doesn't want you to give Kay and Ann any good yarn...tell it about the prize. (Hint: the prize is wool)
Here's my first one. C'mon, just knit one, it's good for you.

squaresample

Posted by Stephanie at 10:13 AM

March 21, 2004

On the edge

In more ways than one. The children return to school in 22 hours. I have become so completely deranged by the constant presence of this many people in the house that three things have happened.
1. I have begun to feed and house random children from the neighbourhood. Yesterday there were 4 children at dinner, this morning there are four children at breakfast. I have three children. That means that one of these is not mine. I have not investigated this further because whoever the extra kid is....I think they put their plate in the dishwasher. You don't just walk away from that.
2. I have actually contracted some kind of dread disease ( probably from one of the "free range" neighbourhood children streaming in and out of my home, eating all the food, messing up the kitchen and spreading pestilence). I believe that it may be the common cold. I find it bitterly ironic that I have been stricken in this way the day before I have a reason to live.
3. I have decided that since I feel really, truly crappy, and since Joe does not have a twitch over one eye and a March Break related affliction that I will sit on the couch drinking tea and ignoring the children while swatching the edging for the snowdrop shawl. I'm imagining that it is going to do me a lot of good to watch him suck up his share of "family time".

swatchedge

What say we all? I did an applied I-cord edge to the top, then (brace yourself) picked up stitches all the way along the two long edges of the swatch. (Not as bad as I thought....about 400) I knit a little bit on those stitches, then settled on an edging. I took a pretty simple eyelet pattern (It had to be simple if I was going to work it out) and combined it with the column pattern from the snowdrop lace. I love knitting lace. I love the way it looks like a puddle of crap until you block it,

whatsleft

and I love how far laceweight yarn goes. That ball there, my little kittens is the first ball. That's right, I've knit this absolutely huge swatch, a whack of I-cord and a whole ton of edge-swatch and I've not yet run out. I've got nine more balls! I'm the queen of the world! I could make like.....7 shawls or maybe 25 scarves, or a christening dress and 6 shawls or.....One really, really big swatch.

Abby has made me some Buttons. Despite having suffered a tragic sock frogging incident this week, she thought of others. What a nice lady. Steal at will. I'll put them in the sidebar as soon as I figure out how. I'm especially fond of the Wool-pig, which is obviously not a Harlot specific button.

yarnharlotwoolpig

Posted by Stephanie at 10:27 AM

March 19, 2004

Day 5

I swear to all things holy that if I don't get five minutes by myself really, really soon that I am going to run screaming into the street.

Yesterday while I was in the bath all four members of my immediate family came and spoke to me through the crack of the bathroom door. When I ignored them, one of my children stuffed a note under the door. I really don't know if I'm going to make it until Monday.

The swatch marches on, and thanks to the advice in yesterdays comments (which I really appreciate...) I decided to take at least most of it off the needles and block it a bit, just to get an idea of size.

snowswatchalmost

We are cruising a glorious 125cm (50 inches) across the top, give or take. I figure the (completely un-designed and wholly imaginary) edging will be another 20cm (8 inches). Since I'm aiming for at least a 150cm (60 inch) shawl swatch, it should be another 3 or four repeats of the lace. I may go a little more to give me time to think about the edging, and the fact that I have absolutely no idea how to chart it. None.

Yesterday while wandering around Downtown (with every member of my family), I knit this...

boobtubenear

It's sort of the Boob Tube thing, excepting of course that I have an almost pathologic inability to follow a pattern. I changed the gauge, and therefore how many to cast on, changed the depth, I added the frill at the bottom and I think I might do ribbing at the top. In fact, now that I'm just about done with it I realized that It's really more of an "inspired by" sort of project. My hair chic is gonna love it. I knit at the ROM yesterday, at Indigo, on the subway and in the College Park shops. I can never believe that I am the only one knitting. I'm absolutely stunned that with all the knitting I do all over Toronto that I never see anybody else knitting....Doesn't anyone else knit in public here? There has to be thousands of knitters here in TO, the latest statistics I saw said that there are 40 million knitters in North America. Where are you guys?

Posted by Stephanie at 11:37 AM

March 18, 2004

Overcautious

I had to keep working on the swatch for the snowdrop shawl because I decided to put a triangle of stockinette into the centre. I'm going to take the snowdrops out at the same rate that I put them in on the edges. I had no idea if that would work out, so I decided that I had better play it safe and swatch that part too.

snowdropswatchcentre

The swatch is looking good all over.

stillswatchingsnow

This brings me to two questions for today. ( I actually have way more than two, like why is coffee as expensive as it is? Why isn't there a line at coffee shops for people who just want a plain old cup of coffee...strictly for survival purposes? Why isn't cake more nutritious? We can put a man on the moon but we can't make cake good for you?) Question one: How big do you think this shawl should be? Got a shawl that's a good width across the shoulders? How big is that? I wonder how big this will be after it's blocked...(If one of you says "do a swatch" I'm going to kill myself laughing) Maybe I could block the bottom part while it's on the needles to give me an idea?
Question two: How come I feel like the only person faithful to straight needles? (Except Ken...I know you're with me buddy) Is there no one left who loves them as I do? I see the advantage for big stuff where using a circular lets you fit more stitches on. I'm totally onside with the fair isle thing too. For the purposes of this discussion I'm talking about knitting the back of a sweater, or something flat. What's with the circular? What's the huge honking advantage? I'm a fan of straights. I think they are faster, and with lace in particular I feel like the stitches stay "nicer" on the needles when the are not moving from the thicker needle to the skinnier cable and back. (I can hear you....don't call me that...) I like that I can tell beginners to use two different sizes for knit rows and purl rows to help them sort gauge while they are learning. I like how they look. I like how they feel and I'm not going quietly. Honk if you love straight needles.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:01 AM

March 17, 2004

Day 3

Things are not good here. You would think they were, the children have been busily occupied, reading, sewing, knitting and spinning. I've been pleasantly surprised. I've even thought that I might survive March Break without becoming a gibbering idiot. Yesterday it got bitter cold out, the snow started, Joe came home late from work so I couldn't go to spinning and be freed from my prison for the first time in days ...and I really felt like it was the beginning of the end. Much to my surprise, the little lovie girls sat quietly with scissors and needles and thread, peacefully working.
This morning, I found what they were making.

voodoo

Do you see what these are? Do you? These are freakin' voodoo dolls and I think one of them looks like me. Somebody has to come get me out of here. All this time they are sewing and smiling at me and they even cleaned their rooms....lulling me into a false sense of security...all the while making voodoo dolls. There are five days left. Keep me in your thoughts.

In other news...

Does anybody recognize this yarn?

thickand-thinwhat

I think it's lovely, it's a garage sale find and has no labels. I'm virtually certain that it's 100% wool...anybody have any idea about a brand name? I'm wondering if there is enough of it to make this. Not for me (how stupid would that look with a pair of yoga pants and a tee-shirt from 1987) but for my uber-hip hair lady. I knit, she cuts and styles. The barter system at it's best. I've got to knit something for her soon or I won't be able to take this hair out in public.

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Posted by Stephanie at 11:07 AM

March 16, 2004

Slippery Slope

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I have been released by the Borg Clogs and they are finished. I'm not sure if I assimilated them, or they assimilated me, but the point is that they are finished. Meet second, third and fourth of four.

borgclogdone

The bad news is that my eldest daughter has said something horrible. So horrible in fact that I fear for her future. If you are standing up, please sit down. Take a deep breath. Yesterday, as I was trying desperately to occupy the children I pulled out the "kids knitting box". The little two picked projects, and when I asked the eldest what she would like to knit she looked me in the eye and said...."Mom, I don't want to knit. It's boring"

Pardon me? I can scarcely believe this has happened. I really felt that simply by carrying my DNA she would knit. All my daughters knit. This must be some form of teenaged rebellion right? Boring? Knitting isn't boring. Knitting is very interesting (I told her), knitting is good for your mind. Knitting restores order to a troubled psyche. She's a teenager, that's got to be helpful, right? Knitting is absolutely gripping, at its worst knitting is ....medatative, but not boring. Ok, well maybe sometimes the plain bits can wear on you. I admit that the second sock of a pair can take a little inner fortitude. I could also admit that on the really big stuff....like blankets, or sweaters for enormous men that it can seem a little monotonous. That's not what's happening here. We are talking about the entire experience of knitting, even the act of contemplating or casting on a project being called "boring". All I can do is stare at her.

I fear for her future. If knitting is "boring" then what's it going to take to hold her interest? Hitchhiking? Joining a militia? Dropping acid? (Do kids still drop acid? That's something I should probably find out) It's a slippery slope I tell you. First you are telling your mother that knitting is "boring" and next something horrible has happened....like .....drug addiction, not folding your laundry or ...voting conservative.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:12 AM

March 15, 2004

March break

Day one.

Despite how it ended last year. Even though I have collected a reasonable amount of proof that March Break is some kind of hazing ritual where children try to "break" their mothers. Even though, when you really think about it, don't you think that sending the children home for a week in the winter when you can't even really play outside, must be some sort of tactic designed by the schools to keep parents grateful? Even though there is all that, I've decided that this year is going to be different. We are going to go to the museum, and to the movies, tidy the basement and work on little knitting projects. I'm not going to lose my cool this year. Just because it's me and the girls for a week straight.. 24 hours a day...with no break from each other...is no reason to think that it's going to go badly. A good attitude is half the battle. This year we are going to have a lovely time together.

I continued checking the swatch, and so far, my chart is error free.

snowflake2

I'm going to keep going, just because I really want to make sure that the edging is ok too. Speaking of an edging, what say you all? Does it need one? What kind? Pointy, rounded , diagonal....ideas? I'm thinking that it should have a really deep edging, but I can be talked out of it. Since I am obsessed with "Wedding ring" shawls, I cannot knit a shawl without checking. So far the shawl swatch passes through my wedding ring, or what passes for one in the godless heathen union that Joe and I have.

snowdropring

I'm thinking that even though it goes through now...once I get the edging on it likely won't go through my ring anymore. I'm wondering (in my obsessive little way) if I'm being hampered by my tiny ring size. "Passes through a wedding ring", well, I ask you...who's ring? Joe's ring is twice the size of mine. Does it have to be the knitters ring? Can I pick some enormous handed person I see walking down the street? What exactly are the rules here?

Posted by Stephanie at 10:48 AM

March 13, 2004

To resist would be ...

Hopeless.
I am a determined knitter, and I really want to finish the clogs so that my existence on this planet may be rich and full again, instead of continuing to live only in the the wasteland of knitting borg clogs. When I got the urge to start the snowdrop shawl yesterday I looked the other way. I knitted hard on the clogs, and I refused to acknowledge the laceweight calling to me from the cupboard. I've been through this before, so I slammed the cupboard shut and hardened my heart. I tell myself that it's not worth it, that getting distracted by another project is only going to prolong the agony of the clogs. That when I finish the clogs I can throw myself into the shawl pattern without reservation. I will be one with the shawl and nothing will keep us from each other. Knit the clogs if you want the shawl. By evening, the snow had begun to fall again, and I couldn't keep my mind from the snowdrops in the garden. I decided to compromise. I wouldn't knit the snowdrop shawl, I would just begin to chart it.

chartinglace

Oh dear, what's that bit of knitting by the chart? That's not a shawl is it? No way man, it's a ....swatch. A really big swatch, that just happens to be sort of shawl shaped. I'm not experienced at charting. I wasn't knitting the shawl, I was er...checking my chart. That's just good sense. The swatch looks pretty good eh?

snowdropshawlstart

I believe that I may continue checking the chart today, I need to make sure that nothing bad happens when you incorporate more snowdrops. Might not work. No way to tell for sure. Just checking the chart. It would be irresponsible not to, what kind of person do you think I am? Some kind of slacker? Not me, I'm dedicated. It's practically essential for me to keep checking the chart. I'm pretty thorough that way.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:24 AM

March 12, 2004

Bummer

It's snowing and cold.
I know it's only March 12th, and that living in Toronto I have no right to be offended about it being cold and snowing at this point, but I'm offended anyway. The weather has been warm (well...warmer than this) and there are snowdrops in the garden down the street. I've been waiting for it to get warm enough to run outside instead of having to do battle with the treadmill (my arch-enemy) and last night I went for a run outside. I ran from here to High Park (which is absolutely irrelevant to you, unless you care that my goal is to run *around* the park by the end of the year. I thought it was a pretty good goal until yesterday when I was practically crawling back to my house) and all I wore was a tee shirt and fleece. Then this morning...it's all right back in the dumper. I cannot bear the thought that the little snowdrops are covered in this offending crap. (Now would not be the best time to tell me that this may be why they are called snowdrops, okay?) I may start the Snowdrop shawl (which I am yet to write the pattern for) in their honour. Remember the swatch?

snowlace

In other news. I am knitting clogs. Probably until I die.

What book did I get? This one. Am I going to be sorry? What I really wanted was this one. Just kidding. I crack myself up.

Posted by Stephanie at 9:55 AM

March 11, 2004

Quick - what's it going to be?

First - lets just get this out of the way.

2ndoffour

Meet second of four. Loving the yarn, which is a super cool lopi ( grey multi). Much less boring than first of four. I really find that yarn that is heathered, or variegated or anything like that moves the work along. It's almost embarrassing to admit that I can be entertained by little flecks of colour in wool. I wonder where the next fleck will land, what colour it will be? Will it land on the right side? Will it be near other flecks? Will this stretch of blue go past the red from the last row? I hope the yellow goes over there.... Gripping really. I'd be actually embarrassed to admit that I care this much, instead of almost embarrassed, except I know that you care too.

Yesterday Joe was ordering a book online, (probably something like this) and he said "Hey Steph, want a book?". I wander over, knowing that I want a book, and actually knowing that I want so many books that I'm getting paralysing "choice anxiety" all the way there. I need a couple of minutes to make up my mind. I need to wander through the website, picking books, contemplating projects. (Sorry....you figured it had to be knitting book...right?) There will be none of this. Joe has his finger hovering over the "enter" key and I can tell that I only have moments to make up my mind or he is going to yell "TOO SLOW!" just like a nine year old, and I will not get a book. (At least not a book he's paying for.) If I want a book that he's paying for I've got to be quick, I've got to think of a knitting book that I really, really want, that I don't have already, that doesn't cost the earth, that isn't full of lame, dumbass projects that I'd never make, and I've got thirty seconds to do it. I did think of one, and I don't think I regret it. (Though I'm probably going to after I do this....I'll tell you what I picked tomorrow.) Quick...you have thirty seconds to pick a knitting book. What's it going to be?

Posted by Stephanie at 10:29 AM

March 10, 2004

Leftovers

First of four is finished. (I have decided to give the clogs Borg names. It reaffirms my "resistance is futile" outlook)

1of4clogs

When I was done...this is what I had leftover in the grey.

leftovers

I'm of two minds (sorry...three) about this. Mind One reflects the "knitting as an extreme sport" theory

Whoa! Did you see how close that was? There's like, two meters left! When I was knitting along on the last row, I was just flying and when I looked over at the yarn I was like...""Dude, I don't think I'm going to make it." Then, I was like halfway down the row and I thought, "Am I going to make it or am I gonna like...flame out" ya know? So then I thought "just go for it...just try the row man...just try it!". So I just kept knitting and then it was like the end of the last row, and that's how much was left. It was awesome, it was like...so close to the edge. Radical.

Mindset two is a planner and a clear thinker.

Hmm, so when I make the next size up out of the other skein, I'm going to be screwed.

Mindset three is the yarn harlot.

I can't believe I'm not going to throw that away.

It's true. I'm going to save it. I have never thrown away yarn. Can't do it. Some kind of sickness is what it is. I have bags of these little bits and I swear to you that I have no idea why I'm saving them. (Other than the most basic of all philosophies "Yarn good, me keep yarn" ) Once I realized that I am driven to save these oddments of yarn I started trying to fix things by saving patterns for stuff that could use these bits and pieces. Little dolls, stripey things, 63 different things made out of granny squares...coasters. It was when I realized that I don't like, want or need little dolls, stripey things, anything made out of a granny square or coasters that I started thinking about where I'm going with this. What is my plan? Why? Why? Why? So here's today's question. Throw it away? or Save it? What would you do?

Posted by Stephanie at 10:05 AM

March 9, 2004

Clog Blog

Yup. I've put it off as long as I can. It's time for me to replace the clogs that felted into foot -frisbies. Stupid clogs. Here's the first of four pairs. Four pairs...I may die of ennui.

bclogs You know how some knitters have a speciality? Like, some only knit socks, or scarves, or sweaters? Do you think that there is anybody who just knits clogs? Do you think they have to get drunk just to make it a little interesting? Don't get me wrong, I love this pattern but I've made so many pairs that it's starting to make me a little weird. Plus, I can't help but think that I'm being punished by the clogs in some way. The first several pairs I made went really well. I realize now that the clogs were lulling me into a false sense of security, waiting for me to love them and trust them. the minute that I did, it all went badly for me.
I made Ken a pair that didn't felt evenly, and I ended up felting by hand in the bathtub for a good long time. The pair that over-felted, several underfelted ones. Then the catastrophic "foot disk" episode. Big fun. At that point I decided that I must need more information. (Chronic low self esteem...I always think its my fault), so I carefully read this really good article on felting. Reassured, confident and cocky I waltzed into the basement...approached my trusty washer, gave it a pat and pitched the green lopi clogs for Yvonne into the beast. I followed the directions for "free range" felting and after 32 minutes (precisely) I had wicked cool clogs, just like I used to. That's right, the clog curse was lifted. I scooped all the loose green fibre from the washer just like Rob the Felting King directed me to...and carried on gleefully with my life. Since my life is laundry, I was back at the washer shortly.

All seemed well until I returned to the washer an hour later. The load was sitting there...half drained and ignoring all requests to finish draining. Bad. If you have a family of five then you understand that a broken washer is an emergency. Badly rattled, I ran upstairs and called my appliance guy (he's on speed dial) and got him over here. While I waited for him I wondered what it was going to cost this time. I've replaced the belt, the motor, the %^&*(^!! (I think that's what Joe called it) and most recently, the pump. I'd replace the entire washer but we renovated the kitchen after we put the washer downstairs, and in a tragic move, put a cupboard in a place where it prevents the washer from clearing the basement door. So it's me and this washer, until I move or die. I'm a little attached.

Joe and I hovered over the washer guy as he examined the casualty. It was when the guy said that it was the pump, that something clicked. Didn't the article say that if you don't take all the loose fibre out of the water that you could clog the pump? But I did take out all of the loose fibres... I know I did. While the guy disassembles the pump, I swing back and forth between feeling awful that I've killed the pump with the green clogs, and telling myself that I scooped all the fibre out....It can't be me. All along I keep looking at Joe, who is looking at the washer and seeing dollar signs. The only thing that would be worse than me killing the pump with green clogs is finding out that I killed the pump with green clogs in front of Joe. Please...let there be no proof.

The washer guy finally pulls the pump out of the gored washer, and in a horrible, heart-stopping moment, begins to pull what are (very obviously) green lopi washer rats out of the pump, while telling us that it will cost almost $300 to replace the burned out pump. Joe looks at me and says nothing. The look in his eyes says it all. $300 clogs. The clog curse lives on.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:21 AM

March 8, 2004

Back in the Saddle

Goodbye fateful claw of doom, hello sweet knitting needles. That's right, my love and I have been reunited after 3 long, long days apart. How I've missed the long, slender needles, my 100% wool. It's good to be back. I celebrated by finishing these.

mamlukedone

As usual, I am delighted, and Millie the cat cares nothing for my victory.

Who Knew?
This is my sister Erin, cavorting with the Jessica Simpson monstrosity. She loved it. Really. Said it was the best present she got this year.

erin1
erin2
erin3

This is a mystery to me. I can't tell you what it would take to get me to wear that....and she's never going to take it off. Erin is the anti-Steph. I've knit her sweaters, socks, mittens , wraps, a shrug...blankies and countless hats. Never see them on her. Ever. I'd finally realized that she's just one of those people who doesn't like hand knits. (Aren't I clever? That's 8 maybe 9 years of knitting before the light bulb came on for that one.) I'd just made the leap and decided that all of her sweaters should come from the Gap when her friend told me to make this. I patiently explained that I am done knitting for my sister. She doesn't like it. I'm setting myself up. My sister has made it pretty clear that she doesn't enjoy hand knits, and I should stop forcing them on her (along with wasting wool) because I like them. Sure, the gift should reflect the giver, sure...that means that every gift I give is knitted, but she doesn't like it. It's not nice for either of us for me to continue showering her with what she feels is a knitting nightmare. I explained all this to the friend. She explained that this shawl was different. (It turns out that she was right, this shawl is different. This shawl was fast, cheap and easy...compared with the multitude of time-consuming, expensive and elegant knits my sister has rejected in the past.) I spent the three days it took me to make it telling this friend that if she was wrong about the shawl I was going to strangle her with it. She was right. It is apparently glorious, trendy, and to die for. Who knew?

While I was finishing the shawl I was thinking about crochet. I loved Julie's quote from Spiderman in the comments "with great power comes great responsibility" I think that pretty much sums it up. It's funny to me that the things that I like about crochet, namely how fast and easy it is, are the opposite of what I like about knitting. (It's worth noting that it is exactly those elements that inspire the most abuse of both knitting and crochet, the deadly desire for fast and easy) I like that knitting is slower, and because it has more of my time in it...I feel like it is worth more. It's the old Protestant work ethic, if you didn't suffer, if it wasn't difficult, if you didn't sacrifice something....I'm sure you know what I mean. On the other hand...look at this, that's crochet that would please any Protestant. Crochet as an art form. Maybe that's what The Claw want's to do.

(Added July 15th 2004, I've had so many requests for this shawl pattern that I thought I would add a quick note to let you know that sadly, I don't have one. I invented the pattern on the fly, using the information here: http://www.hassdesign.com/DeltaCrochetTechniques/ as a start. Many apologies)

Posted by Stephanie at 10:44 AM

March 7, 2004

Not Knitting

The claw is much, much better. I never really thought of crochet as a healing force, but it seems to have done the trick. Since knitting is my natural resting state, I keep finding myself trying to sneak a little in. ("C'mon, just a little...I'll just cast on a sock, no?, ok dude...not four needles, just two man, just two.) I'll post a picture of the Jessica Simpson thing later...it's almost done. It has this enormous butt-ugly fringe that I've still got to put on, the one that Aubergine (of the comments) thinks looks like pasta.

Things I have done to avoid knitting.

1. Bugged Joe. Followed him around the house trying to get him to do stuff. Laundry, shopping, add a third floor to the house.
2. Bugged the children. Followed them around the house trying to get them to do stuff. Clean their rooms, put away laundry, I tried to get Sam to play scrabble with me, but she wouldn't. I admit that I can be a little competitive, but it's good for people to be challenged. If I'm a better speller than a 10 year old then maybe she needs to work harder.
3. Drank coffee. You don't want to know how much.
4. Planned knitting. Joe spent a month on tour in China and brought me back this.

chinawool

30 balls of fingering weight wool. Or I believe it's wool. It says 100% on the front of the label, but on the side, something is 10%. Is there anybody out there who this label means anything too?

chinalabel


It's very pretty wool, I think the cream should be a baby layette from a vintage pattern I have upstairs, the green should be a shawl...I'm taking suggestions.... and the blue? The blue looks self-striping doesn't it? That's what I thought. That would be a lot of socks, but what else could you do with 10 balls of striping yarn?

3china

Finally, Bonita asks if crochet is really that bad. Bonita..it's not that crochet is "bad". It is that it has the potential to be used for great evil. If you don't believe me, just think about barbies in big debutante skirts for hiding the toilet paper. (If anyone who happens to be reading this happens to have a barbie in a debutante crochet skirt hiding your very own toilet paper right now...I'm sure that you possess the only elegant one ever created.)

Posted by Stephanie at 11:46 AM

March 5, 2004

Desperate times

Call for desperate measures. After reading the comments yesterday I decided that The Claw and I were going to call it quits on knitting for 24 hours and see. After reading Liz's comment about not being able to knit for six months The Claw and I made a doctors appointment. If I had to give up knitting for six months somebody would have to take me down with a sedative blow-dart like something out of Wild Kingdom.
It turns out that if I didn't knit, I would clean my house more... last night when I ran out of things to vacuum and started prowling around the house contemplating reinstating my pack a day habit and possibly taking up heroin while repeatedly saying "I need something to do with my hands" (and big thanks to my charming husband for his suggestions....) It hit me. Crochet.

I know. I remember that I hate crochet and that I haven't done it in years and that I think it's stupid. I know. I remember that everything I make out of it looks wonky and cheap (and that probably has more to do with my ability to crochet rather than crochet itself) and that I have repeatedly, and in public called it "dumbass". I know. I remember that in the nineties I had some kind of a crochet breakdown and crocheted hundreds of doilies. (I swear it...doilies...how weird is that?) I remember that I swore it off when I gave my mother her 43rd doily and she said "Darling....what the f**k am I going to do with this?" I know.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. My sister's friend swears that for her birthday, my chic little sister would like this. It's some Jessica Simpson fad thing. No, I don't know who Jessica Simpson is, but my sister's friend swears that she is culturally significant and thinks that I should try to pay attention to the world a little more. I don't get it myself, but mine is not to question why, mine is just to give my sister something she will like. So, I raided the stash, found a hook and gave The Claw a crochet test drive. It turns out that The Claw has no problem with crochet (how bitter a twist of fate is that, I swear that you should at least be able to count on your own body parts to back you up) and here we have the beginnings of ...whatever the hell it is.

jessicashawl

You may mock me now.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:20 AM

March 4, 2004

Respect the claw.

These are Ken's birthday present. Yes, it is the day after Ken's Birthday, no they are not done. Yes, that means that Ken got yarn and my best intentions for his birthday. (Again)

shetland34

I got reasons though. Naturally, I'm some kind of moron, who despite having knit a thousand pairs of socks still can't seem to get it through my head how long it takes to knit some. Apparently all I can think when I look at socks is not "Hey, those are 32 stitches to four inches....that would take a while" but instead "Socks are small, that would be quick". Thinking this is not what makes me a moron. Thinking this every single time, over and over is what makes me a moron. Also, these socks are killing me. There is something about the tension, or the yarn or the needles that has turned my formerly effective right hand into a little something I call "The Claw". The Claw does not like it when I knit the shetland socks. The Claw dictates how much I knit, and for how long. The Claw would like it if these socks were the last thing I ever knit. I am trying to learn what angers The Claw. I've never had pain in my hands from knitting before and as an experiment last night I put down Ken's Birthday socks and worked on something else for a little. The Claw was pleased. The Claw wants me to slow down on the Shetland. The Claw does not like typing, the Claw likes coffee, and watching movies and icepacks. Respect The Claw.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:36 AM

March 3, 2004

Happy Birthday to Ken

I was going to write a big long touching thing about who Ken is, why I adore him and why you should all worship him as I do. Since there is no way I could ever hope to write of all the wonders that are Ken and do him real justice, I've decided to leave it at this. Ken is my best friend.

kensteph

That's us (or it's mostly us...I don't know who's nose is on my face). We are wearing matching sweaters, (Alice Starmore, "Little Rivers") that we knit as wedding gifts. Ken learned to knit several years ago...for the singular purpose of knitting me socks. He wanted me to have the pleasure that I'd given him. (I don't worship people for nothing)

Once Ken decided to move on from socks, he showed unusual focus by choosing to specialize almost completely in the "little rivers" pattern. There was the one above, then one for himself, then one for Lene. At this point, subjected to what you can only imagine was merciless teasing from yours truly, he took a brave leap away from knitting "Little Rivers" sweaters and knit this for me...

littleriverswrap

It's Alice Starmore's "Little Rivers" WRAP. He also spent some time trying to work out "Little Rivers" socks. He's knit other patterns since, but I think it's safe to say that he is still quite fond of that pattern. Happy Birthday dear one, and thanks for all the knitted stuff. (Your cake is in the oven)

The Scarf, ratses and other questions...

A few things from the comments yesterday.

Melissa asks where ratses come from, and what I do with them. Rats are the by-product of my own particularly anal retentive form of lock washing. I like to preserve lock structure, and I'm way past anal retentive and into obsessive about having all the locks point in the same direction when I'm carding. Usually I card the rats, but with this lovely shetland I could just flick open the tips and cut end and spin from the lock. For the record (Ken, I'm talking to you) the "tails" are naturally occurring, there's always part of the lock that I don't quite manage to hold onto in the water and that slips down when I lift the rats out of the water. While I really liked being called "tricksy harlot" I don't deserve it this time. I'll try harder.
Julie, you have sharp eyes, part of the scarf is yellow. This was some of the first yarn that I spun and I thought that the yellow colour that was in some parts of the fleece would wash out. Not only did it not wash out, it's never going to. I'm using it for test driving patterns. Speaking of the pattern, does the "lopsided" nature of the bottom lace bother anybody other than Ken? (I can ignore Ken.....)

Posted by Stephanie at 10:42 AM

March 2, 2004

Drowned rats

Yeah, more fleece rats, and these ones aren't even dry....

drownedrats

Those are more shetland fleece rats destined for shetland socks. Why, pray tell are there more fleece rats? Because I ran out of yarn for the socks. Why? Because I'm being punished. I got super cocky about the whole thing, and decided that this time...just this one time I wasn't going to be my own worse enemy. I wasn't going to spin as much as I thought I needed, I was actually going to spin as much as the pattern thought I needed. This approach, while an unusual one for me to take, was designed to prevent the nightmarish cycle of knitting, running out of yarn, spinning more yarn, knitting and running out and spinning more .... While this is how I have knit every handspun project until now, I decided to give it a rest. I carefully spun as much as I was told, (except for the white...that's just for the cuff heel and toe...I don't need to spin as much as the grey for that) and embarked on the knitting of the socks. I enjoyed knowing that I wasn't going to run out. That I had nipped this in the bud and that I was breaking the cycle of knitting/spinning stupidity.

Then the planet heard that I was confident and happy. It decided to punish me for my imperious attitude, and not only have I run out of white (my fault...I estimated. I take the hit on that one) but I have run out of GREY. That's right, I don't have enough grey. Even though I was a good little spinner and I did what I was told and I spun the exact yardage that they told me....I do not have enough. Clearly I'm being punished. Now I'm right back in the knit-run out-spin-knit cycle again. Let this be a lesson to you all. The planet hates a smartass. To make sure that I get the message, it is gently misting/raining in Toronto today, and that particular brand of humidity has given me enormous hair. Country singer hair. It's all part of the plan to make me look stupid, to remind me that I am stupid. I get it. Me and my hair the size of Kentucky are washing the fleece rats, I will not try to escape the planets plan for me again.

New business

lacereject

I can't make up my mind. This is half a scarf I knit out of some handspun, there's no pattern, I just sort of cobbled it together from a couple of stitch patterns. I don't know if it's worth knitting the other half. Do we hates it?

Posted by Stephanie at 11:33 AM

March 1, 2004

The scarf heard round the world

Or at least it felt like it was heard round the world. I find it hard to believe that after the scarf fight last night, I could still be contemplating moving to Belize...but nobody else heard it. This innocent looking scarf started it all.

bluescarf

I finished the scarf last night (Sirdar snowflake magic, pattern here) and chaos ensued. Samantha (10) and Megan (12) both want the scarf. "Want" may be to weak a word, for it turns out that both of their lives will be completely ruined if they do not singularly possess this scarf. It also turns out that they may be willing to kill for it, they are at least willing to scream for it, and as this scarf quickly became a symbol for all that is wrong with the world, and their relationship and me.....I was sorry I ever knit it.

Sam feels that she should have the scarf because she has a blue and white coat that it would match, and she has no scarf. Having this scarf would mean that she could stop mooching my scarf, and she notes that I would like that. Sam also has blue shoes and blue eyes, and this proves the "rightness" of her having the blue scarf.

Megan counters with an argument so solid that Sam can scarcely manage an answer. "I want it".

Samantha responds to this by upping the ante and including not just the reasons why she should get the scarf, but also begins a negative campaign which include things like, Megan has two scarves already, Megan is (get this...only in my house is this a possible insult) "a wool-pig" and just got socks a couple of weeks ago, and besides, Megan is less tidy than Sam and Sam will show the scarf the respect it deserves by always hanging it on her hook, while Megan will never hang the scarf up. (As an aside...while it is not relevant to the story I'd like to point out that I'm the only one who is ever going to hang this scarf up)

Megan still argues only with "I want it" but adds the ever eloquent "Give it to me".

It is at this point, when the children are screaming at each other and I'm starting to think about the sunny beaches of Belize that I make my error. I attempt to help them resolve the situation. I try the following:
1. Why don't you two share the scarf? Big mistake. Clearly I don't love either of them. I hadn't realized that I'm being asked to demonstrate my favouritism.
2. Why don't I knit a second one, exactly the same. Bigger mistake, I am not respecting their uniqueness. (As another aside...They want the exact same scarf. They are fighting over the exact same scarf and I'm going up the river for not respecting their uniqueness. Does somebody want to mail me the handbook for this one?)

Both of these elements only inflame the hell-sent upset children, and serve to bring attention to me as a target. Belize is looking better and better as I realize that I'd really rather put the needles I knit the freakin scarf with into my right ear than try to express my love in wool ever again. Samantha brings to the fight to the next level by arguing that If I am even contemplating giving the scarf to Megan than it is all the illustration that she needs to understand that I love Megan more than I love her. Megan has been clearly showered with knitted love her whole life while Sam has received Nothing. Absolutely Nothing. Rejected by her own mother, abandoned to live a life of lonely, cold, desertion...the least I can do is GIVE HER THE SCARF.

Megan responds to the elevated debate style and the inclusion of Tactic 47b (you love my sister more than you love me) by screaming "It's always like this, it's because I'm the middle child", which of course is Tactic 4c. (My life is being ruined because you gave birth to me second on purpose).

It is at this point that I stuff the scarf into the back of the linen closet and employ Tactic 17a. Pouring a glass of wine, picking up my knitting and turning up Billy Crystal real loud. Anybody want a scarf?

Posted by Stephanie at 10:10 AM