April 30, 2004

Am I blue?

I bought this yesterday.


I may be going through a blue phase. I tell you, scoring the teeny tiny (2mm) blue dpns was the highlight of my week, I have no idea why I love them so much. The fact that I was so incredibly thrilled to get them probably means that I need to get out more.
While I was in the store I was shocked to discover that they also had 2.25mm needles in the same blue. It turns out that what I thought was an extremely cool colour coded needle size system is...well, not. I'm thinking about writing a letter to Boye explaining that they are making a big mistake. I want them to understand how cool it would be for me to dig through my dpn bin knowing that if I want 3mm I need the orange, or that 2mm is blue. I want to tell them that making the colours random isn't helpful. That they could save me all kinds of time that I'm going to spend first looking for one of my needle gauges (where do they go? I bet when I find them that all my stinking tape measures are there too) and then using the needle gauge on all the blue needles to work out which ones I want. I thought about writing a letter, then I remembered that my campaign to only have one kind of screwdriver wasn't really taken very seriously. When I run the world, things will be different, let me tell you.

The dark periwinkle blue is a bit of a mystery. The sign said "Cotton Twist , 51% cotton 49% acrylic, worsted weight, 100g". Now, the only "Cotton Twist" I've every heard of (although we have already worked out that I should get out more) is the Berroco one, and this clearly isn't that. It was disturbingly cheap ($4) so I suppose that if it's junk I won't cry a river, but could be a cute little tank top lurking in there.

The other stuff was even cheaper at $2 a ball, and it's Bernat Miami. This purchase was entirely predictable. I will purchase any yarn if you discount it deeply enough. I am helpless in the face of any yarn discount greater than 50%. I have an entire section of my stash dedicated to sale yarn that I bought only because I got a little bit light headed when I saw that it was as cheap as sin. Despite this being sort of an "accidental" yarn buy, I'm looking forward to giving it a try, doesn't it seem funny to knit something from a yarn that's flat? . I've never knit with this kind of ribbon yarn before, and it could be that I will absolutely adore 100% acrylic, novelty ribbon yarn in a pastel colour. Seems unlikely, but what the heck, it's only costing $12 to find out.

I'm turning the heel on Sam's second sock.


I use the flap heel, always, every time. I think it's pretty clever, I like that I can reinforce the flap where the back of the shoe rubs and I like picking up stitches for the gussets. I lied. I Love picking up stitches for the gussets. I like that, at least in my mind, when I turn the heel, I am halfway. Gloriously halfway.

I would like to take a moment to point out that the socks match exactly. The only reason that I'm denying the urge to run around the living room screaming things like "Yeah baby!" is because the windows are open, the neighbours saw Joe leave for work and for his sake I don't want the Harlot thing taken really literally. I'll do it later.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:46 AM

April 29, 2004

Here's a thought

I'm late, so you get a short blog. (Hey, guess where I'm going? To buy yarn with Jacqui, you remember Jacqui, Experiment 47A (April 2nd) She's come over to the dark side in a big way. Big. This trip wasn't even my idea. Nope, Jacqui called me up and said "Hey, wanna go buy yarn?". Incredible. Incredible both that Jacqui wants to go shop for yarn and incredible that after she asked me that, she waited for an answer. The mind reels.)

Here's what I'm thinking. I've been pondering what to do with the wool/silk, and here's my idea. Mock me at will.
First, the 105 metres is not enough to make anything good (here we are using the term "good" to mean "anything I want to make") so I went digging through the handspun stash and came up with two yarns I feel good about putting with the silk.


From the top, the wool/silk broken blue from the other day, some wool that was the result of discovering that I could "break" dye, and some plain white that is the same as the wool, only not dyed.

Question #1
Do these go together?

Next, trot yourself over and take a look at this scarf. (The one on the bottom) It's at Fiddlesticks Knitting, where I have spent lots of money and would happily urge you to do the same. Great patterns. Now, despite the greatness of the patterns I'm not talking about using one, but merely one "in the style" of the one that you are looking at, or...did look at when you clicked on the link.
What if, (Warning... this is a new idea for me. Thousands of people may have thought of it before me, but to me...this is radical.) what if I knit a scarf like that but I used those three colours that I just showed you? Yes, three colours, in lace, at once.

Question #2
Is this idea dumbass?

I would do the "body" of the scarf in a vertical lace pattern,in the white; a horizontal lace pattern in the lighter blue, and finally a deep lace edging in the darker blue silk.
I suppose I could knit the main part in two pieces and graft the centre so that the two ends would be identical. How hard could it be? (Yes, I'm aware that I just ruined my chances for making this an easy project by asking that question. Yes, I understand that now it will be hard, and that I have tempted the knitting fates to vex me over and over again.)

Question #3
Generally speaking...Go ahead, or do you all want to talk about the plan a little more?
Concerns, warnings and cautionary tales all accepted.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:31 AM

April 28, 2004

A perfect example.

Good Morning class, and welcome to today's critique of Stephanie's knitting last night. I'm afraid that we have some real issues here, so lets get started. First, our subject worked on the Eeyore blanket. (1 point given for stick-to-it-iveness) Some of you have had some concerns about the reverse side of this blanket, and given that the subject has in the past simply stuffed a finished item into the back of her closet and pretended that she never knit it rather than deal with the ends, I agree that we should see how it's going. Sharolene requested a view of the back and wondered if there was any way around the hanging end business.


We all wish there was some way around it Sharolene, but sadly, there is no way to do this without ends decorating the inside like shag carpet. Fortunately The Harlot seems to have learned from the last time that she did intarsia, when she left all of the ends until she was finished (expecting that perhaps the little elves would come and save her?) then, overwhelmed with the sheer mass of ends, suffered a fit of apoplexy and denied all knowledge of the sweater. This time it looks like she is weaving the ends in as she goes. Well, perhaps there is hope for her after all. (2 points granted for not repeating past mistakes)

After working on the blanket for a reasonable length of time, The Harlot decided to move on to socks. This was an excellent choice as she was going to watch A Shot In The Dark and visual comedy and intarsia do not mix. Here again, we see real growth as a knitter. (1 point for appropriate project selection) Having finished the first sock of Samantha's pair, she cast on for the second. (1 point for avoiding second sock syndrome) As The Harlot is a little obsessive about having socks that match, she carefully found the proper spot in the repeat and began. (1 point for fussiness)
It did not take long for her to realize that something was amiss. (Good catch there...2 points for paying attention). It appeared that she had made an error in selecting the appropriate start point in the yarn. The Harlot promptly frogged the sock, double checked the correct spot, and began again. (Damn. 2 point deduction for starting again without changing anything. When will she learn that doing the same thing over again will not give you different results?) She was surprised to discover several rows later that the same problem was re-occurring. (1 point deduction for not seeing it coming.)

Careful examination of the yarn revealed that although she had knit the first sock drawing from the centre of the ball, and she had begun the second sock drawing from the centre of the ball...the colours were inexplicably appearing in a different order. After ruling out differing dye lot, the Harlot worked out that in fact the yarn was exactly the same but was wound into balls at the factory in a different order. (1 point granted for coming up with the answer, sadly, 2 points deducted for calling it sabotage and talking about conspiracy)

Stephanie then decided that what needed to be done here, was either to knit from the outside of the ball, which would be inconvenient to her...as much of the centre of the ball had been displaced. (1 point deducted for using the phrase "stupid pain in the arse") or the ball rewound into the correct self-patterning order. The Harlot retrieved her very fun ball winder, clamped it to the table and smiled a little smile for figuring out such a good solution (1 point granted for figuring out a good solution, 2 deducted for not remembering that Pride Goeth Before A Fall) She rewound it at great speed, chuckling to herself at the joy of ball winders. (We're letting this one go, ball winders are really fun)

When she had rewound it, her Harlotness located the correct spot to begin her socks and then noted that she had not solved her problem, the yarn remained wound in the wrong order. (2 points deducted for foul language) Class...can anyone tell us where Stephanie went wrong? Yes? You in the back....Yes that's right. If one takes the centre of a centrepull ball, and puts that into the slot on a ballwinder (hereafter referred to as the CENTRE of the ball winder) and winds then you still have the former centre as the current centre. Good for you for figuring it out on the first go. (3 points deducted for Stephanie thinking that rewinding it again centre to centre would fix this problem, and another 1 point for foul language, as well as an additional point for what she almost said to Joe when he asked her what the hell she was doing)

Eventually, it occurred to Stephanie that if she wanted the inside of the current ball to be on the outside of next ball that she would have to do something other than rewinding the yarn perpetually from centre to centre, and she had a major breakthrough, (2 points for finally figuring it out but 1 point deducted for being, you know..."slow") and rewound it from the outside to the inside. This final action meant that after a prolonged period of winding she finally was ready to begin her sock.


(1 final point deducted for casting on the wrong number of stitches, however, 2 points granted for not setting fire to the entire thing when she realized it)

Final score: -3 out of a possible 14

Posted by Stephanie at 11:44 AM

April 27, 2004

This almost never happens

Something I wasn't expecting has happened. In absolute contrast to everything else I have ever set out to spin (or, you know...anything else in my life at all) I have made exactly what I set out to make. No surprises..no happy accidents..no "well, that's just as good as what I had planned". Everything worked exactly the way I intended it to. (I'm typing quickly, as I expect to be hit by lightning in the immediate future).

Yesterday, when I announced my intention to combine wool and silk for spinning and to be promptly unhappy thereafter...Laurie sent me this link to The Silk Worker. Which I think helped a lot. (Ok, fine, it completely changed the way I will handle silk forever)

First, I changed the way I carded the silk. The genius behind this site suggests not making a wool-silk-wool sandwich, (mistake #1) and once I did that.....brilliance.
I spun it up, using her suggestion to keep my hands dry (mistake #2, my sweaty little death grip wasn't working for me) and my singles looked pretty darned good.
I made a two ply, taking her advice that "trying to ply silk from a centerpull ball, even if the silk is not very tightly spun, will put you in the nuthouse." (mistake #3, I always use a centrepull ball.) When I was done...


Nothing wrong with that. I confirmed Joe's suspicions about me by doing a little dance with it. That's the best result I've had with silk ever. As a general rule, my silk attempts end up looking so rough that if somebody happens to see it before I can throw it away I tell them that my ten year old did it.
This was worth keeping. This was worth A Next Step.

The next step was a trip to the dye pot. I have had trouble before with the dye "breaking" (see January 27), and I've pretty much figured out what I'm doing that makes it break. So...this time I wanted the dye to break, hoping that I would get a subtle variegated look, so I screwed everything up. I made every mistake in the book. I didn't soak the yarn, I started with cold water, I added vinegar, I put in a few drops of food colouring, I didn't ever stir. I asked for disaster. It worked perfectly. (It worked so well in fact, that I'm thinking about applying this idea to more areas of my life. Strive for perfection...get disaster, strive for disaster....hmmm) I let the yarn sit in the hot dyebath for 3 hours, waiting for the dye to be exhausted. In the end, I became exhausted before the dye was and I fished it out, rinsed it off and was awestruck. Beautiful no? The photo doesn't even begin to do it justice, the yarn has more royal blue and some pink in real life.


I feel like I just came in first in a marathon. Any suggestions about what to do with 105 m
of really cool fingering weight wool/silk?

In other news, Eeyore (no, it's not a smurf...do I look like the kind of blogger who would be knitting a smurf? Don't answer that.) proceeds apace. I'm almost ashamed by how fond I am becoming of him. I am on the brink of referring to him as "cute".


I hope I finish him before ...I don't know....I want to buy a kitten or something.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:02 PM

April 26, 2004

Some Saturday nights...

It's been a long and perilous weekend in Harlotville. The children were away for the weekend and after I did something to deserve this...(what I did is a secret, of course)


I decided to cut loose. Sadly, since it has been quite some time since I tried to do this, I failed miserably. It turns out that my "party animal" reflex is dead in the water, since the best thing I could think of to do was....(I'm so ashamed) paint the stair baseboards. I came to my senses halfway down the stairs (which will probably remain half painted now until my next weekend off...) called up a couple of people and made a break for it.

My sister came to pick me up, and we grabbed some people and headed for a place she said was fabulous. (Note: my sister and I are very different people.) An hour later I find myself in a piano bar eating gnocchi and trying to shake the feeling that I might have been better off painting the stairs. The other people in the bar include:
-a sixty year old woman with hair that would have been considered small in the eighties, she is wearing a silver catsuit and a belt with a buckle bigger than my head.
-a man with no teeth. Not one.
-an entire table of 50 year old white men accompanied by 20 year old Thai women. I tried not to figure out if they were prostitutes or mail order brides.
- a man who took my picture, called me "little girl" and asked me if I was going home alone. I have been trying very hard not to imagine what he wanted my picture for. I assure you I know what the possibilities are...and I don't want to think about it.
-an incredibly elegant gentleman and lady in their 80's who walzed around the 6 x 6 dance floor like a dream. During "Lady in Red" he kissed her.
-a waitress who spilled nine drinks, not at the same time.
-I will go to my grave saying that Eugene Levy was the performer. He was going by another name (I'm sure it was to keep crowds down) but I swear it was him. I especially loved it when he played "Sweet Caroline".

Today, in an attempt to disassociate myself from the leather padded piano bar, I'm going to do a little spinning. It is a well known fact that sitting at a spinning wheel is the cosmic opposite of being serenaded by Eugene Levy. I'm just seeking a little balance.


Now, I am not Sheila (who even looks like someone who could spin silk) who spins silk like this. I am a woman who barely escaped with her virtue from a piano bar, my results may vary. I'm going to card together the wool and silk and see if I have better luck than with pure silk, which makes me want to spin a noose. Silk is not my best thing, (fine...I suck at it) and I know that I'm pushing my luck trying something challenging so soon after the "Entre-lack" epsisode. If the silk proves embarrassing, I'm going to return to my spinning project in progress, which I will dazzle you with tomorrow in an attempt to erase your memory of not one, but two failed projects.

Finally, if you live in the Toronto area I would like to personally apologize for the weather this weekend. It was my fault, I got a little excited and optimistic about the sunshine and the warmness on Friday and I ....(I'm so sorry about this) I turned off my furnace.
I know that it was this action which caused the rain and plummeting temperatures, and I apologize. Rest assured that I will not attempt to turn my heat off again until June.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:25 AM

April 23, 2004

I don't know where the sock is.

Yesterday Laurie wrote: (sorry, hold on a minute, yesterday I got some of the funniest, cleverest comments, simply a parade of entertainment. If you didn't read them...go back now. I'll wait for you)

"By my count, you are ahead in the positive column by one -- wine and chocolate. And you DID abandon the Dublin Bay when it prove unattractive to you, now didn't you? So you are willing, for aesthetic reasons, to abandon a pattern you LIKED, but you are unwilling to abandon a pattern you seem to find (ahem) frustating in the extreme? Does this mean that you LIKE the way these socks look? 'Fess up. "

Fine. It's like this, I've discovered that I don't like entrelac. Well, that's not entirely fair. I don't like it in this application, this is the only entrelac I've done, could be that it's more fun than sliding around naked in skeins of Koigu (not that I would know) if you have the right project. It's not that I don't think entrelac is worth it. It's not even that it's too hard. (Nothing is too hard for the Harlot, sorry...third person bravado again) it's like this....
I'm not sure it's worth it. I've got no problem with hard. No problem at all, but if I'm going to spend a lot of time on something, I want the darned payoff. These socks should be incredible. They are fussy and clever and they should look like a million bucks. For the amount of time that they are taking, they should be so breathtaking that people consider dedicating their lives to the pursuit of poetry and the spell of a really, really good sock when they see them.
Instead I've been reduced to the knitters version of the horrible bar game that sweaty men play...."Drink until she gets pretty".

This is not me. So....No, I don't know where the sock is. Couldn't tell ya. May have been stolen out of the back of my car.

In the meantime. I was in desperate need of a little glorious victory, so I finished Joe's socks.


A big thank you goes out to Joe for agreeing to put his legs and feet on the blog. The man was pretty co-operative this morning, which makes me wonder if the twitch over my eye from the entrelac is more obvious than I think. The pattern is from here


but just to give it a little harlotty (is that a word? Is now.) edge, I reversed the pattern and knit it toe up, to make the most of the yarn (#1319) which is darned nice indeed.

I'm going out in the sunshine now, and don't be looking around here for that sock while I'm gone. I told you, I don't know where it is.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:54 AM

April 22, 2004

The morning after.


That didn't make the socks any funnier. (I'm considering whether I had enough chocolate and wine...perhaps moderation was my mistake) Today, since the socks have all but sucked the very will to live from my body, today we answer comments.
(Before I answer comments, I just want to say this: Ken, I noticed that you didn't comment. I actually noticed that you haven't been around here much since you started this whole entrelac thing. Don't think that you can get me into this and then just wander off. I have not forgotten that the socks were your idea buddy...you aren't just going to walk away from that. No sir. I don't care if you fear my wrath, stand up and take it like a man. I have linked to you so that my readers may take this issue up with you on your own blog. Stop that laughing.)

Dear Commenters:

-Thank you for the wine tips. I am going to the liquor store today to see if "better wine" (and not just "more wine") will improve my attitude toward the socks. I personally am not holding out much hope, but a decent wine never hurt.

-Thank you (I think) for the voyeuristic interest in me knitting these socks. I appreciate your thoughts (like "better you than me") and the way that you are popping by the blog to see how I'm doing much like you would slow down to look at an accident.

-Thank you for contacting my Nana.

-Thank you for giving me permission to abandon the socks if it comes to that. At present I am still walking around referring to myself in the third person and being all brave. I'm saying stuff like "The Harlot does not quit", "The Harlot cannot be defeated". It helps, the third person always does. Try it. "(Insert Your Name Here) cannot be silenced." See?

-Thank you for telling me that your Lornas Laces is doing the same thing. (Thanks for telling me that *now* especially. Not, you know, when I showed you the yarn or anything.

-Thank you for suggesting that I cast on the second one right now. Good thinking. Darned good thinking. I think I'll wait though, I never implied that I was going to knit both did I?

-Thank you (to Aubergine especially) for asking me about the heel and gussets. The impending horrors sent fresh waves of nausea through me, and re-doubled my efforts to have some kind of *accident* with the yarn. What was it you suggested? Having it stolen? I'l consider the possibility of taking a hit out on my knitting if the heel is half as bad as you infer.

-Thank you for calling me "inspirational". It's so wonderful to know that long after the (*&^%$!!! Entrelac socks have killed me/driven me mad I'll be remembered fondly.

Speak well of me....

Posted by Stephanie at 9:51 AM

April 21, 2004

This blog is starting to pay off.

Not that I ever expected that when I write "send chocolate" (meaning of course the metaphoric chocolate that can be sent with good wishes via the comments) that some incredibly generous soul would haul themselves out to the chocolate shop, stand in line (right before Easter ) score some very good chocolate, scurry to the post office and mail it to Canada.


Many, many thanks to Alison, who definitely won today's "Stephanie's favourite person" Award. I'm going to use the chocolate as comfort/crutch to get me through todays Entrelac issues.

I'm starting to understand why so many of you (I wasn't going to name names but ...Alison, Kat and Sylvia, I'm looking right at you) were looking for a guinea pig for these socks.

I, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, do solemnly swear that I have, for the first time in my whole life, had my arse kicked by a pattern. Last night I took the socks with me to spinning class, and I ...(oh I never thought it would come to this) I...asked for help.
Dianne bailed me out and made helpful suggestions. Like, say...maybe from now on I might want to knit the rectangles some sort of consistent size?

My paternal grandmother is dead, and has been for quite some time. Now, this is significant today because if she were not dead...I would be calling her and letting her know about something she was wrong about. She was a professional knitter, and taught me when I was 4. When I was 6, I spent an afternoon in the back of her garden with my needles, Patons yarn, and what I thought was a darned good idea. It occurred to me that I could save myself all kinds of time while knitting if I didn't have to turn my work at the end of each row. I sat there for hours, working out my little plan. When I had it completely figured, I traipsed up to the house, found my Nana and showed her my incredible invention, destined to revolutionize knitting as we know it, Backwards Knitting. (You can see from this link that in the intervening 29 years this has apparently occurred to someone else as well)

My Nana (who was really not your "milk and cookies" kind of grandmother, if you catch my meaning) , trashed me. This was a dumb idea. This was "not how it was done". This was "silly". I pointed out that I could just be the first brilliant person to think of it. My Nana countered with the argument that if it was such a good idea...then how come somebody didn't think of it before me...(a mere child) and furthermore...how come everybody wasn't doing it? Properly chastised, I returned to conventional frontwards knitting, and it wasn't until last night when I was working on these entrelac socks with the little five stitch squares that I thought about this.

If I could call my Nana, I would say three things.
-Entrelac. Ever hear of it? Practically impossible without backwards knitting.
-If you hadn't stunted my thrilling growth as a knitter, do you have any idea how good I would be at backwards knitting by now?
-I never liked Coronation Street. I was faking.

If anybody has any sort of link to the spiritworld, would you let her know? I'm off to knit backwards, have chocolate for lunch and curse entrelac.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:46 AM

April 20, 2004

Dear Vickie


Dear Vickie Starbuck,

I'd like to apologize for all the things that I said about you last night. I was upset about frogging the Dublin Bay socks, and I may have misdirected my anger. I know that there is no way that you heard what I said about you, but trust me....I owe you an apology.

When I cast on your Entrelac socks (From the nifty Socks Socks Socks book) I may not have had the best attitude. I'm sorry that I called the start to your sock "dumbass". It was really just that I thought that starting a sock with that little square and picking up stitches around it so that I get a round toe, was...well I guess I owe you for the "colossal waste of time" crack too. I deeply regret that I did not trust that you might have a reason for making a toe that way. Now that I've knit a little ways on the entrelac part I see where you were going with that particular technique. It turns out that you aren't "out of your freaking mind" and I guess I deserve the trouble I'm going to get when I've got to work out how to position the heel. I guess you really did think it through. Sorry for doubting you.

After I so carelessly abandoned your toe structure for my own and got to the part where you knit the cute little triangles for the foundation of the entrelac, I'm afraid that I must confess that I was perhaps a little rash when I said that you were "a few jalapenos short of a zippy salsa." It turns out that I misinterpreted an instruction that actually was very clear in my haste to condemn you. Mea culpa.

Mostly, I feel that I must apologize for the , er..."episode" that I had when I got to the instruction for the first rectangles. After an hour of trying to follow the directions to knit one stinking little inane rectangle I may have said some things that were unladylike.
(Joe reminds me that the comment about you and the "horse you rode in on" was particularly callused. Sorry about that) I eventually trashed your directions and did some other thing that worked out fine. I looked around for a correction to the instructions but didn't find one. That likely means that it's my fault again, and that the tension headache and throbbing vein in my forehead are only what I deserve and not actually the end result of any substance abuse problem that I may have implied you had.

Thank you, and again, my deepest apologies,


Posted by Stephanie at 11:32 AM

April 19, 2004

Houston, we have a problem.

The Dublin Bay socks are not working out. I'm a little upset.
(Step 1: analyse the problem)


The colours of the exquisite Lorna's Laces sock yarn are neatly dividing themselves straight down the front and back of the sock. (Note: Ryan's pattern itself is great, darned nifty even, and cursing swearing or abandonment of said sock project should not be interpreted as a reflection of Ryan's pattern, but instead a reflection of the knitting disaster which plagues me without mercy) I've tried just continuing on, hoping that as I go the colour will begin to fetchingly swirl around the leg, or divide in some kind of entertaining way. (Step 2. Continue on, patience is a virtue) I've tried screwing with it a little,(Step 3. Mess with the rules) knitting a little tighter for a row or two to try and shift them, knitting a little looser...but the socks are committed to this course of action. I now realize that the yarn has a greater will than my own, and that I am not going to come out on top. I'm stuck. (Step 4. Open a bottle of Merlot) Either I accept that this pattern is the wonder and glory of this yarn, or I begin to poke myself with the 2.25mm knitting needles hoping that the pain of the puncture wounds will eventually outweigh the pain of having the socks come out this way. What now? (Step 5. Ask the blog. The blog knows all). Try again with different gauge? Trash them in disgust?

To ease my pain and to score mommy points I worked on this instead.


Sam has new running shoes. They are clear acrylic. While I cannot see the pure joy in owning shoes that fog up when you wear them, Sam is smitten. Sam feels that if you are going to have clear running shoes, then you should have really good socks. I concur.

I cast on a mystery intarsia-nightmare project.


I know you wish you knew what it was. You don't. All will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Finally, before we get on to the very important business of fixing the subdividing socks, a little clarification on the matter of Boye knitting needles. Several of you made the point that these aren't the best needles around. That they cannot compare to the soft gleam of ebony, the warm feel of wood, the sharpness of Inox points or the smooth connection of an Addi turbo. I agree, but the Boye needles are funky colours. I'm willing to take a lot of crap from a needle if it's a funky colour.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:06 PM

April 17, 2004

The Snowdrop, herself.


Yesterday was a very, very good day.

Good day thing the first.
The snowdrop arrived swiftly and safely, my friend having the decency to deliver her in daylight hours so that I only missed a few hours of sleep. It was with absolutely incredible joy that I wrapped all 8lbs 11oz of her in her shawl, and noted that my friend Teresa's work was infinitely finer than mine. Her name on this earth will be Ella, but she is always going to be snowdrop to me.

Good day thing the second
When I came home from the birth my friend Ken was with the girls making dinner and bearing gifts. (Can we have an aside here? I'd like to take a moment to say that when a woman walks exhausted through the door and finds a man making dinner, caring for the children and offering an inexpensive present... that this creates in a woman so much gratitude and good will that this woman would be receptive to romance. I'm not saying that Ken was making a move...I'm just saying that if there was a straight guy out there looking to get lucky, cooking, caring for the kids and getting her a present has way better odds than lying on the couch watching hockey playoffs. This advice belongs right up there with "No man has ever been shot while washing the dishes".)
The present? Only the best knitting needles in the world.


I have a love for coloured knitting needles that borders on obsession. You can't get them in Toronto very often either. They pop up from time to time at a Walmart, but mostly you just have to wait and hope. Ken scored these on a trip to Kentucky, where apparently, they are plentiful.

Good day thing the third.


I was so hoping this was how it would turn out. Many thanks to Ken for tallying the votes and making the snazzy chart. Everybody got one vote, except Laurie, who Ken and I agreed made an excellent case for getting two votes, so she did. (That's the way it is in Harlotville ladies and gentlemen. We make our own rules here.)
Dublin Bay it is, and I'm pretty darn happy about it. I admit to having dictatorial urges and planning to disregard y'all if it came down to something like entrelac, so I'm pretty glad it didn't come to that.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:49 AM

April 15, 2004

How's this look?

Yesterday afternoon, as I stepped from the bath, I stepped on my glasses. They are not ok. (For the record, despite any intimations that you may hear from my family, I was not reckless with my glasses. I've had the same pair for seven years...their number came up, that's all. No, I don't know why they were on the floor, but if you give me a few minutes to work it out I'm sure I can blame one of the children) I've crushed them. I will spare you the expletives, but you can be assured that any temper tantrum and associated foul language you are imagining is likely falling far short of the mark.

I am now blinded until I can figure out how to get a new pair, and fast. Without my glasses I need my face about 4 inches from the monitor to read and can't tell the children apart until they say something. The girls tortured me last night by "helping" me find things. Example:
Me: Where is my darning needle? I can't see it.
Any one of the girls: Right there.... (imagine annoying giggling here)
Me: Right where? Here?
Girl: On the table. (more giggling...)
Me: What table? This table? (finding table by knocking knee into it)
Girl: Yeah....right there. On the left. (giggling becomes laughing)
Me: This isn't funny (Joe starts to laugh) Give me the needle!
Girl: Sorry Mom, it's not on the left...move your hand to the right. (Annoying laughter becomes louder as I knock something that I can't identify (probably the (*&^%$ needle) to the floor as I sweep my hand across the table.)
Me: This is stupid, I can't see the needle, just pass me the damn thing!
Girl: Mom, calm down...Sorry about that, the needle is on the other table. Take two steps to your left......(Everyone in the room collapses in a fit of hysteria, I contemplate long term complex revenge strategies)

I've got to get a new pair today. This can't go on. Luckily, it turns out that I don't need to see to knit (although the grafting was done pretty close up)


Sam took the picture this morning. I have no idea if it's ok. I guess it will be a little surprise for me when I get the new glasses. These are the Fleece Artist socks, my own plain sock pattern and my feet.


Your choices (with my comments...not that you should care) are:

Waving lace socks from Interweave knits. (scroll down) I like these a lot, but have concerns about the lace pattern being lost in a variegated yarn.

Broadripple socks from Knitty. What's not to like?

Crusoe Socks, also from Knitty. (Nobody suggested those but me...I've always liked them though, so you can suck it up.

Ryan's totally cool Dublin Bay socks. These are my personal favourites so far. Don't let that influence your voting. Go admire them.

Blueberry waffle socks. These are the wrong gauge, but I can work it out. These don't turn my crank so much. I worry about my already wide feet looking decidedly puffy. On the other hand, my feet are already wide, what do I have to lose?

Little Shell Socks. (Chris, I'm bailing on your Domino idea for two reasons. 1. I want to enjoy my life. 2. I don't have a contrasting colour) I like these, but if I'm gonna do to the feather and fan thing then I think I'd rather go big or go home, like Broadripple.

There were other suggestions. Like the colourblock "Strongheel" socks from Knitters. I'm intrigued by them too but I'd rather chew my own arm off then try and figure out how to convert the freaky triangular construction to sock weight yarn. I have to say that I do respect Laurie for owning up to her motivation. She truly embodies the spirit of "You pick it, I knit it". Krista Jo may have made a valiant effort as well, but the world will never know because my house has eaten the issues of IK that she is referring to. I'll keep looking.

Okay. Peruse the choices. Think deeply. Remember that the fate of two skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn rest in your hands. Then vote in the comments.
I'm going to go try and buy some new glasses so I can find out what you are all saying.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:37 AM

April 14, 2004

What are you trying to do?

After consultation with you guys, the mother of the child, and the child, embellishment has been accomplished. Snakes.


Slytherin snakes, to be precise. Harry Potter forever. (In case you can't tell, it is also important for me to tell you that these are highly poisonous snakes. Very Dangerous. As you all should know by now, if you are a child the "coolness" factor of an item increases in direct proportion to the perceived hazard of said item. Eg, garter snakes = not cool. Highly poisonous, choking snakes with big fangs and an evil plan = very cool. )

As I was discussing the embellishment of the boring sweater, there were those among you (you know who you are). Who suggested things that are, ahem, Not Cool.
To take the most extreme suggestion "rabbits" (or "bunnies" as the bigger thug child in the schoolyard is going to call them as he stomps on this unfortunate child's new sweater) are not cool. Even if the child that this sweater is for "really likes rabbits", he is not going to like the consequences of wearing a bunny coat. What are you trying to do to the kid? Why not just pin a note to his back that says "Take me out back and rough me up", or "Put my head in the toilet, Please" or "Lock me in my locker" or "Throw the volleyball at my face" or how about "Don't worry, I didn't ever want a girlfriend anyway". There is no way that this boy survives a game of Dodge Ball, or gets the cookies from his lunch or escapes a nickname like "bunny boy". I'm having no part of that.

Today, I'm going to finish the purple socks (yeah, good one eh? I'm laughing too.) and start thinking about what to do with my really good Lornas laces sock yarn.


Remember this? Well I'm sick to death of my standard plain sock pattern, and I want one that makes the most of the yarn, so we're going to try a little something here. Reader directed sock knitting. You guys suggest the patterns, I'll vet them and put the choices up, y'all vote....you pick it, I knit it. Go nuts.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:27 AM

April 13, 2004


The Boring Cardie is done.


You will note that I have given up adding cats, flowers or handcrafted fleece eggs in an attempt to make the boring cardie anything more than what it is. As I looked at it now, I realized what purpose the cardie is here to fulfill. It is The Zen of a sweater. It exists as a sweater in it's pure form, with no distracting colour, style or varied stitch pattern. Just miles and miles of pure, unadulterated, mind-numbing, stocking stitch. The Boring cardie is an expression of the essence of a sweater, without the distracting design elements that stand between the knitter and the perfection of its simple sweaterness.
I gave in to the cardie and it's lesson for me, and became one with the sweater. I was given the opportunity to reflect on my act of knitting and enter a simple meditative state where I was capable of deep inner realization and reflection. In this trancelike state, one can reach deep introspective places, and ask complex questions of your inner self, and find answers that lead you to greater harmony with your spirit and an opportunity to become more fully centred as a human being.
To meet these lofty goals and yield gentle understanding I asked myself questions like this.

What am I, a masochist? What the *&^%$$#! was I thinking when I designed this thing? What's wrong with stripes? Who doesn't like stripes? Who does this to themselves? How long do people read your blog if you knit navy boring cardies? What kind of a knitter am I? Will this sweater ever *&^%$$!!!! end? Will I die before it ends? Will I be glad if I do? Will someone stop me if I ever try to knit another one? Are these arms long enough? Could they be?

As I embraced this opportunity to examine my own sensory and perceptual experiences while knitting the boring cardigan, I reached a level of true knitting and was rewarded with a virtually flawless sweater. (To tell you the truth, if it wasn't just about flawless I'd want to choke myself with dirty alpaca roving, but I'm sure it's all contributed to my personal growth) For those of you who care about these things (like Ken...who has what can only be called an unnatural interest in seams, picking up stitches and the reverse sides of knitting) I give you a detail shot.


This sweater is intended for an eight year old boy. Tomorrow, we embellish in a manner that would be agreeable to an eight year old boy. As the mother of three daughters I'm at a loss. Ideas? (Say "navy" and I find out where you live. Seriously...no more navy)

(And I'm still waiting on the snowdrop baby. While I am a gentle and loving woman who has a great deal of faith in nature's own timing, I'm about 3 days away from shaking the mother until the baby falls out. Sheesh)

Posted by Stephanie at 11:55 AM

April 10, 2004

Happy Fleeceter


See my pretty felted fleece egg? (Thank you Deni, for making it for me) See that it is resting on a finished front with a built in button band? Ha! Despite Aubergines reservations and the fact that I just broke with tradition, threw caution to the wind and boldly knit an attached button band...without even burning a skein of mohair at midnight under the full moon...everything is ok.

No locusts, no plague, no rain of fire or hailstones. In fact, it is a bright and lovely spring day. I'm taking that as a sign. The band is even, lovely and does not flare or pucker. I really think I'm on to something here. This could be goodbye to button bands forever.
I've put pins where I want button holes on the other side, and as long as I can work out a button hole I like, today should be the end of the boring cardie. Anybody know a buttonhole that looks particularly good in twisted rib? I hate button holes in rib. They always look wonky.

You know, for just hauling off and trying something like that without so much as a swatch (hear that? No Swatch. Sends a shiver down the spine of cautious knitters everywhere) that went pretty well. I've done some big frogging in my time, but the Boring Cardie holds a record for the sweater with the most risks taken with fewest consequences. As a general rule I expect to be punished by the Knitting Forces for my lack of respect and cavalier attitude. My list of offences for this particular project include:
-Not swatching.
-Not using a pattern, and not rewriting the notes I made after the cat...er, decorated them, but instead relying on my own memory to replicate the raglan shaping on each piece.
-Not knowing what yarn I have, what the fibre content is or how much of it there is. (I'm going to have more than enough, by the way. Turns out that I'm a neurotic mess. Who knew?)
-Giving the sweater a name I'm sure it finds objectionable.
-Mocking button bands openly, and within hearing of the yarn.
-Saying "this should be quick" out loud.

and yet...nothing. (Hold on, I'm just going to run into the other room to see if my knitting has burst into flames) This time, I'm either going to get away with it, without needing to so much as tink back one row, or I'm going to put my eye out with a darning needle during the making up.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:07 AM

April 9, 2004

Easing in.

It's Good Friday, and although I am a Godless heathen, there are still things tradition says I do today. The girls are home, so they are thrilled with the big plan. Yes darlings...Good Friday is for cleaning. Big Time. Window washing kind of cleaning. "What is that in your closet?" kind of cleaning. Taking things to goodwill, recycling, putting the snow pants in the basement kind of cleaning. Good friday/spring cleaning is an enormous purge. I never know if I'm looking forward to it or not. I mean, I hate cleaning (really Steph? Really?) but I love cleanliness and order. Despite the 43 thousand kilos of crap in my house...I have a minimalist soul. (Note: yarn is not crap, we are discussing others stuff. Mostly stuff that is not mine. Joe's collection of "High Times" magazines from the late seventies are a particular bone of contention)

The boring cardie has a back, two sleeves and a half a front.


Last night, as I was merrily working on the second sleeve, enjoying the meditative thrill of navy yarn in stockinette stitch, I was abruptly jerked from my happy place by the realization that there was only one more ball of yarn after the one I was using. It was enough to stop me mid-stitch. I don't even know what yarn this is...that's a considerable barrier to getting more. I spread out the back, the first sleeve, lay the second sleeve beside it...I'm thinking hard and looking nervous. Joe is a naturally supportive and lovely man, despite being largely fibre ignorant, so he asks what the trouble is. "I think I'm going to run out of yarn" I say, looking concerned. "You always think you are going to run out" Joe observes. "True" I say, (I can acknowledge that I have some neurotic yarn supply concerns from time to time...I'm a big person) "This time," I ponder, "I really can't get more of this navy yarn". Joe looks at me, deadly serious and says...
"Use a different navy yarn...what's the difference".
I'm so misunderstood as an artist.

This is a raglan, so the fronts shouldn't take as much as the sleeves, but that's sort or shallow comfort. I decide that since I've knit the first sleeve, I've got some idea of what a sleeve takes. What I need to know is how much a front takes. I put the second sleeve on a stitch holder and cast on for the left front. This cements the button band plan. there's no way that I'm knitting a whole sweater and then running out during a button band. No freakin' way. Not this knitter. Get yourself another dummy. I will knit the button bands as I go. I'll knit the front, then if it looks like I'm going to get another front out of the yarn then I'll go back and finish the sleeve. The finish the fronts. (Yes...I have a knack for the complex plan.) If the front looks like it will take more than I have then I'll simply....well, the plan isn't perfect.


I'm showing you the wrong side of the front, so that you may fully appreciate the glory of the button band. I decided to take some suggestions (who knew? I can be taught).
I'm knitting the band very firmly. I'm making the stitches as tight as possible on the needle, giving the yarn a good pull with each band stitch with the fond hope that this will make them a little smaller than the front stitches, thusly reducing the tendency to flare. I'm also doing the band in twisted rib to firm it up a little and assuage concerns about durability. I have no way to deal with Aubergine's "bad feelings" about stepping out of the button band box, nor any way to make him more comfortable with behaviour that may be "risky". I suppose that I could work out some kind of wool sacrifice to whatever deity is in charge of this sort of thing, suggestions? Naturally, since Aubergine is the one who is uncomfortable with the risk...we will be using his stash, so go wild.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:21 PM

April 8, 2004

No sudden moves, no loud noises.

This day is giving me a twitch over my right eye. Yesterday was such a good day. I have the back and first sleeve of the boring cardie done, and the second sleeve is underway. I have a plan for the button bands which I will reveal in the fullness of time. I even have crocuses in the garden.

Kathy, j'ai changé en des fleurs juste pour vous. Aucuns chatons aujourd'hui.

Then today began...and it's been, well. Like this.

2:47am. I am still waiting for the snowdrop baby to arrive. The mother of the snowdrop lives about an hour from here, so I've got some concerns about getting there quickly. When my pager goes off at 2:47 I ricochet out of bed, smash my head on the dresser and try to read my pager as I jam my legs into my jeans. I can't read it in the dark, so I don't read it. Only the snowdrop is due, and only my clients use my pager. I don't want to wake Joe, so I ram the pager into my pocket, pull a sweatshirt over my head and leave the bedroom with mismatched socks. I brush my teeth while mentally running through my checklist. Someone to watch the kids, food in the fridge, other commitments to cancel. I run down the stairs to the phone. I note the time. I am a star.
2:51 I can't find the phone. I find my knitting and client file while I am looking, and after several moments of deepening panic (during which it doesn't occur to me to use the other phone) I locate the cordless phone in the basement on top of the dryer. It's battery is dead. (It is worth noting that this is no-ones fault but mine. The fact that it is on the dryer means that it was me...nobody else in this house even knows where the dryer is.)
2:55 I run to the other phone, putting my bag by the door as I go and stringing together expletives. I reach into my pocket, pull out my pager and....

It is a 1-800 number. It is pager spam. I am up at 2:55 in the morning for pager spam.

3:00 Back in bed, delirious and exhausted but too enraged to sleep. I lie there for quite some time imagining revenge fantasies.

5:30 Megan's alarm clock goes off. I stagger into her room to shut it off when she doesn't. Megan offers no explanation, but does ask me why I am sleeping topless in a pair of jeans. I have no answer. On the way out of the room I step in an art project that Sam left on the floor. I hop to the bathroom to wash the wet paint off my foot.

5:40 Sam's alarm goes off. Megan shuts it off. I try to sleep, but am jolted awake by the thought that the children clearly had some kind of activity planned between 5:30 and 5:40 that was important enough to have a double alarm system.

6:15 The cat wakes me up by licking my nose. I lock the cat out of the bedroom. Nose licking will not be tolerated.

6:27 I let the cat in. It turns out that I would rather have nose licking than incessant cat whining. I am feeling increasingly unloved.

7:30 My alarm goes off. I get up (and hit my head on the dresser again...I swear in the name of all things woolly that Joe is moving it while I'm out). I rouse the children and make coffee and lunches. I notice that someone has left the milk out overnight, so I start oatmeal.

7:34 The bread has been gnawed by a mouse. Likely while the cat was licking my nose. I resist the urge to use the bread anyway, and make pita pizzas for the girls. I am thinking about leaving. I don't know where I would go, but I'm thinking about leaving.

7:45 Note to the Toronto Public School Board: I am as big a hockey fan as anybody. It turns my little Canadian crank that our womens hockey team kicked American arse. If, however you decide to have a "Red and White Day" to celebrate, I would like you to send some kind of note home so that I get more than 20 minutes to clothe an enthusiastic 10 year old girl who will not accept compromises (like cream and burgundy) in red and white clothing.

8:01 Locate Sam's red pants in Megans drawer. Spend 5 minutes breaking up the fight that ensues. Deal with Megan's emotional reaction to Sam's accusation of pant theft. Deal with Sam's emotional reaction to Megans denial.

8:11 After defusing the situation decide not to tell the children that it was probably me committing laundry error. Feel briefly guilty for that, but am distracted by the smoke alarm.

8:12 Remove immolated pita pizzas from oven. Curse loudly. Curse violently when I notice that there are pita pizzas on the counter that I made last night. Weep a little.

8:17 Amanda leaves. Note that she forgot lunch, chase her down the street. Return home, note that she forgot her sheet music for orchestra, chase her down the street further.

8:23 Amanda is back. She tells me that it is "Striped Sock Day" at her school. I resist the urge to choke her with a pair of striped socks, and instead hand them to her without comment. Decide that it is cruel to have high schools declare a different spirit day than elementary schools. Make mental note to send viciously worded email to Member of parliament later in the day addressing this very issue.

8:25 In a pre-emptive strike, ask Megan (who goes to middle school) if there is any sort of "Day" that I should know about. Smile to self when Megan replies "Screw it".

8:30 Walk Sam to school. Successfully avoid PTA type who looks like she needs a volunteer...(I actually like this lady, but I'm anti-social before coffee) but accidentally walk into a tree branch while fleeing.

8:40 Return home. Get coffee. Sit to knit, relieved that the worst is over. Reach for my pattern and discover that the cat has exacted her revenge by depositing a hairball on my pattern notes. They are illegible, which is fine, because there is absolutely no way that I am even entertaining a suggestion of how to recover the notes.

I'm spending the rest of the day on the couch. Send chocolate.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:07 PM

April 7, 2004

Button Bands

Are you as excited as I am about today's topic. You know you are. (Stop that complaining, don't we always have a good time? It's not as bad as you think)

Your local yarn harlot is knitting a cardigan. We have another boring picture of the boring raglan cardigan in boring navy blue. This sweater is so boring that I have included my cat for interest. (Yes I know I've mouthed off about the cat pictures before, but that was before I discovered that I was knitting something that had absolutely no blog-merit. I'm hard up for a way to hold your interest) It would be better if the cat would do something besides look bored, but you can't say I didn't try. (She can't even be bothered to look at the sweater. I'm alone in my efforts, I swear it)


This is an ordinary run of the mill cardigan. Stockinette stich, 1x1 ribbing, no cables, no stripes, no reason to live, very little to motivate the knitter. (The urge to knit a single row of yellow into it is nearly overwhelming.) Since clearly, I have very little to think about while knitting this cardie, I have decided to attack the simple button band.

Let's establish my bias. I hate button bands. I hate them with a purity and faithfulness that I have not felt since a girl named Cindy and her two pigtailed thugs chased me home from the 4th grade almost every day for a month. I hate the ones where you pick up stitches and knit the bands out. They always look like I'm investigating freeform knitting until I've frogged it twelve times. I even committed the rule to memory. Two stitches for every three rows. I'm not reckless, I knit it very carefully, and yet....each and every stinking time there is a band that is flared, concave or convex.

To avoid this test of skill, I have accepted that the vertical button band is my alternative. Sadly, there is nothing to love about the vertical band either. Simple instructions though: Cast on 6 (or 7, or 10 stitches, just enough to inspire you to learn to knit backwards to avoid turning for the 467th time at the end of the annoyingly short row) and knit until the band, "slightly stretched" is the right length. "Slightly stretched" is a particularly maddening instruction isn't it? Isn't that sort of subjective? What if you're kinda high strung? Relaxed? Drunk? It is this writers personal suspicion that the reason that they give this vague instruction is because the exact appropriate length of a button band is a complete mystery to them as well. After much experimentation I have determined my own personal system for determining band length. I knit until I feel like I'm going to scream. Then have a coffee and knit until I feel burning, bitter resentment. Then I measure, have a little cry and knit until I feel the apathy of the doomed. This is usually the right length.

So here's the thought. Why knit button bands? Really, especially vertical ones, why wouldn't you just include the stitches for the band when you knit the fronts? Really...why not? What is there to stop me from adding the 7 stitches for the band to the stitches for the front and keep them in rib while I knit it up? I'll do the front where the buttons go first (Aside: Am I completely alone in absolutely, completely not caring in the very least about the left side, right side, boy/girl button thing? Has there ever been anything that mattered less?) Then I'll mark the rows that should have buttonholes, and knit them as I go on the other side. Bob's yer uncle. In my head, this plan marks the sweet release from vertical button bands forever. I feel an odd lightness....oh wait....IT'S JOY!!!

If anyone has a compelling reason why I should not proceed with this plan, speak now or forever hold your peace. (I've always wanted to say that).

Kathy asked yesterday for a refresher on where to get the shawls. I like Kathy, so:
Get your shawl kits here or from the designer (and my charming lys owner) Margret Haas at the Yarn Boutique, 416-760-9129.
When I bought the green yesterday she was already sold out of the blue. I wonder who got the last one? Could we have a moment of silence for Blue Mexican Wave yarn? It shall not pass this way again.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:30 AM

April 6, 2004

There's got to be a better way.

This morning I was agonizing. I kept thinking "I really need to go to the yarn store, but if I go to the yarn store, then the blog will be late. Should I stay here and blog, or should I go to the yarn shop?" Halfway through my second cup of coffee the caffeine hit a high enough level in my bloodstream and I realized what the hell I was saying and put on my coat. ("Should I go to the yarn store"......who did I think I was for a minute there?)

I got a little sock yarn,


and another shawl kit in green. (Don't start with me. The yarn is discontinued. That means there will be no more. Ever. In the world. Do you understand me? I need to make sure I have enough. No, I don't know how much "enough" is, but apparently I'm not there yet.)

New business.

I've started a new cardigan.


This one's a kids size, and I'm rather ashamed to tell you that I can't name the yarn. For reasons known only to my former self (or whoever keeps breaking into my house and messing with the stash) this yarn was carefully stored in large ziplocks in my "primary stash zone" with the ball bands removed (No....let me just answer here, I don't know why I would remove the ball bands. Your guess is as good as mine), but I did carefully write cotton/acrylic on the bag. There are several possible explanations for this.

- the yarn is cotton. Some other yarn in the bag was acrylic

-the yarn is acrylic. Some other yarn in the bag was cotton.

-the yarn is a cotton/acrylic blend (frankly, this is the one I'm leaning toward. The yarn just feels like a cotton/acrylic blend. Of course, I don't remember buying a yarn that was a cotton/acrylic blend, but that doesn't mean much. I think I have a yarn buying trance state that I enter in situations with extreme yarn conditions. I don't remember buying half of the stash. I don't let it bother me.)

- the yarn is neither cotton, acrylic or a blend, but is instead some yarn of a completely unrelated fibre content that got jammed into a leftover ziplock that I didn't notice had writing on it while I was trying to be a better person who keeps an orderly stash. Naturally, since I am me, all attempts to organize my life or have a labelled stash and things in an orderly fashion are doomed to result in chaos, confusion and the absolute opposite effect that I was aiming for. In fact, instead of being a knitter who has this stash of power that makes total sense and is accessible and inspiring it would turn out that I am actually a knitter who inexplicably removes the ball bands from yarn and jams them into an enormous stash of other yarn that is remarkably similar, none of which I remember buying.

I have to admit that this last one is pretty likely too. It's nice yarn though. Tomorrow, we discuss "button bands - vital and underestimated or a stupid idea that Stephanie should adapt out of the cardigan pattern." Extra points if you can guess which way I'm leaning.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:07 PM

April 5, 2004


I'm always sort of surprised by what I can learn about myself through knitting. For example, I have just had it reinforced that I don't take direction well. I don't like being told what to do, and if coerced (even by myself) into doing something un-Stephanie-like, there will be consequences. During the knitting of the Snowdrop Shawl I was very un-Stephanie-like. You will note that during this time, I was remarkably monogamous with the shawl. I stuck with one project, I swatched, I kept notes...I used graph paper, and most remarkably...I finished the shawl. Most un-harloty.

Today, there are consequences.


This is what I'm working on now. Yesterday I just kept dragging out project after project and couldn't control myself in the slightest. I started 2 new things, plus a square for the Mason-Dixon afghan-along plus hauled out the purple socks that need finishing, plus decided to risk The Claw and get back on the horse that threw me by pulling out Ken's socks. Then I got the new Vogue Knitting and I wanted to make everything.

I take that back. I don't want to make the bikini. Let's not discuss why. The sun is shining, I'm close to being done the laundry, there's every possibility that I'm going to get a nice job today and I'm just not going to wreck it by even starting with the multitude of reasons why me in a crocheted bikini is not a good idea. I think the model wearing it is the one woman in the world who could pull it off, and I dare her to get it wet. (Hell...it's a slow day, I double dog dare her)



is the object of my most intense lust. I labour under the delusion that I would look so slender and chic in it, and we all know how I feel about cardigans, and while the sample is knit in a powder blue, mine would be periwinkle (4179, they call it grape. Who names yarn? I could do a way better job). I was showing this to my mother, who has spent 35 years trying to teach me the rules of fashion. Things like "short women should wear all one colour to emphasize a long line", or "women with small busts should draw attention to their faces" and "The taller you are, the longer you can set your hems". Or the rule that apparently applies here..."If you are not very tall, you shouldn't wear sweaters that come past your hips".

I explained that even though I am not as tall as the woman in the photo, (I'm going to take a moment to give Ken a pre-emptive "shut up" here...since he is going to be compelled to make some kind of smart-ass remark about my height) I do think that sweater would look good on me, and that frankly, I don't buy these rules and that I believe that she is making them up to stand between me and everything I have ever wanted to wear. My mother looked me in the eye and said "Darling...I have always wondered what you think you look like".
Food for thought.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:43 AM

April 4, 2004

An hour lost.

"I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves." - Robertson Davies

What he said. Daylight Saving pisses me off. I don't mind it on the "fall back" end, since I find it very difficult to complain about something that gives me an extra hour to knit and makes it easier to put my kids to bed. Spring forward however...is loathsome. I have given it some thought and decided that there is no way that DST was invented by women. (It was actually Ben Franklin, who I think we can all agree never tried to put a whack of kids in bed the day after DST or had to try to get them up in them morning...I swear that if he wasn't dead I'd be sending the girls over to his house to give him a little education.) Apparently we do this to save energy. I'm not falling for it. If it pisses you off go here, and sign the petition. If you are the mother of a toddler...sign twice.

I have been knitting doll clothes, and (I can scarcely believe that I'm going to admit this in public) I've been liking it.


It occurred to me (mostly after reading your comments) that maybe I'm underrating this form of knitting. Many of you have really strong memories of knitted dolly stuff , so it would seem that some of these gifts were favourite toys. I started thinking then about how willing I am to knit baby things, and babies outgrow the stuff in minutes. This dolly stuff will be played with and treasured for years, maybe forever. Screw it, I'm contributing to a childhood and I don't mind. (Except for the part while I'm sewing up tiny little dresses, and fitting in wee little sleeves. That's dumbass.)
Making these little things was fun, though I'm going to make some Sams Bitty Baby for Christmas, and then stop, since I may be getting a little obsessive. The observant among you will note that I short-rowed the back of the dolly pants so that it would fit over the diapers. Yup. Time to stop.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:34 PM

April 2, 2004

Experiment 47A

We always knew that knitting was addictive, but it would appear from experiments conducted by this harlot that it is contagious as well.

Hypothesis: That many people, even those who profess to be immune to the charms of knitting are indeed vulnerable to knitting and wool and can be converted to full-on knitting junkies given enough time and exposure to the process.

Subject: My friend Jacqui. Jacqui was the perfect subject as she has made statements in the not-so-distant past like:
-It's not that I hate knitting...I like yours. I've just got no interest in it.
-There is nothing wrong with knitting Steph...but I'm so not the type.

(This scientist will not allow herself to be distracted by the potential in this statement for an exploration of stereotyping and it's relationship to feminism and knitting. It is clearly a red herring designed to distract her from the experiment.)

Method: To expose the non-knitting subject to knitting in ever increasing dosages over the course of years, and document her reaction, if any.

Results: May 2002. Jacqui's son is born and I make the first exposure to knitting in the form of a knitted duckie blanket. Jacqui responds favourably by admiring the blanket but professing no urge to knit.
July 2002: Jacqui still shows no signs of knitting, however she displays some symptoms of increased knitting cognizance. She gives me a knitting book as a present, a very positive sign that she has early onset "pattern awareness".
December 2002: The subject enjoys and appreciates knitted Christmas gift. Expresses desire for more knitted objects. Laughs at suggestion that she "knit her own". Much work still to be done here.
May 2003: Jacqui receives baby sweater for her son's first birthday. Responds perceptibly by beginning to scour yarn sales and drop off knitting materials (patterns, needles and yarn) at my house. Fails to recognize value of "addi turbo" circular needles and instead of instinctively hoarding them for herself, drops them off at my house with a note reading "hope these are ok". I am beginning to loose hope.
November 2003: After a long period of failure, there is again progress. While the subject has still not voiced an urge to knit, she has absorbed the message that "knitted things are good" and is working to procure knitted objects as Christmas gifts for others. I can only hope that it is only a matter of time until she processes the next step.
January 2004: After Jacqui has failed to make any further knitting growth, I decide to re-evaluate this experiment. If only there were a way to increase the dosage and expose her to knitting, wool and fibre on a daily basis, I think we might have a breakthrough. I have tried calling her to discuss knitting each day, but she resists and wants to talk about other things. I have another idea, but it may be too extreme.
January 23 2004: I begin a blog. While it is an enormous commitment, I really feel that to reach Jacqui I must inundate her with knitting material. I plan to get her to read the blog by occasionally dropping her name into it...and applying guilt that she "doesn't care about my interests". This is a crucial time. If Jacqui realizes my motives now...all will be lost.
February 2004: Jacqui asks me to knit her clogs. I am perplexed that the blog is failing to convert her. It is at this point that Jacqui confesses that she is not actually reading the blog, but only "looking at the pictures". I apply more guilt, and make an attempt to increase the seductive quality of the blog pictures. I further increase the dosage by emailing her links to patterns that she would like.
March 18 2004: Jacqui emails me a link to a pattern that she likes. I resist the urge to be gleeful, but note the progress.
March 19 2004: I am having a perfectly ordinary conversation with Jacqui when she says, "You're not going to believe this...but I think I want to knit something". I am staggered. Finally, progress! Jacqui professes a desire to knit Wendy's cat bed. I say nothing, but give her the address to the yarn store. When I get off the phone, I dance a little bit.
March 20 2004. Jacqui calls me from the yarn store, she is having a good time. Conversion is almost complete. I try not to sound to eager. When she asks for a knitting lesson I put her off. At this point withholding the knitting should increase the desire.
March 24 2004: The subject is becoming obsessed with the urge to knit. She goes to the store and buys cheap needles and yarn and works out how to knit from the internet. She knits a striped scarf. The final phase is near.
March 29 2004: After allowing the urge to build for an appropriate period, I allow Jacqui to come to my home for a knitting lesson. I loan her DPNs and Addi turbos and teach her to knit in the round. Jacqui surprises me by showing a clear affinity for the wool. For one so new she is surprisingly good. I am so close to proving my hypothesis. Jacqui leaves with the cat bed pattern, needles and wool. I wait.
April 1 2004: Jacqui emails me this photo.


Conclusion: Given 23 months, a careful plan, access to the internet, a blog and commitment a knitter can be created from your ordinary friends. Jacqui is showing all indications of being completely converted. She is experiencing an urge to go yarn shops, and will engage in conversation about knitting. There has been mention of her "next project" and experienced no dizziness or nausea when I mentioned the possibility of her knitting a sweater in the round. Given the success of this experiment, I am proceeding with my plan to take over the world.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:16 AM

April 1, 2004

Get over it.

Once you are a knitter, no one ever wants a book for their birthday. My sister-in-law Kelly is in town with the lovely nieces Savannah and Kamilah, both of whom are celebrating birthdays. I asked Kelly what the lovely girlies would want for their birthdays, and it's not a book.


Go ahead. You know you want to. I know. It's no Starmore, it's not complex lace, it isn't going to be fibres to die for. As a matter of fact I accept that you all are going to spend the next few days belittling me deeply. I can take it. I'm doing it for love.

My name is Stephanie and I'm going to knit doll clothes. To quote the ever eloquent Curmudgeon, "Bite me". They are my lovely little nieces and I'm going to knit the stinkin' doll clothes and I'm going to blog about it. The party is Saturday so it's going to be a dollie binge, then it's over. Should you contemplate having a go at me for knitting the stupid little doll clothes please make an attempt to make it witty and entertaining. If you think that this is the worst thing that could happen to a knitter, contemplate this.


Not enough love in the world to get me to knit that one. Damn. Boggles the mind. When Kelly showed me that over coffee this morning, I was so stunned that she had to turn the page to break the spell. There's something about it. Is it the colour? The gauge? The fact that someone spent hours setting up the shot? Somewhere in the world there is a person who's job it was to sprinkle the fake snow (which Kelly believes to be sugar) around the Ken-doll, put the little poles in his hands....get the hat just right. Staggering. Whatever the flack is that I'm going to take over the dollie clothes, it could be worse. That could be my job.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:41 AM