July 30, 2004

The speed of four

I've got nothing. I've been sitting here trying and trying to think of something exciting to tell you, some place the Dublin Bay sock has been, or some new project that will scintillate and thrill you all.
I've got nothing.

The truth is that the 24 hours since I've been with you last have been pretty ordinary, except that I got to spend some of them with my four year old nephew, and the object of frequent knitterly atterntion, Hank.
Hank is a pretty fun guy, in a four year old way, and I had thoroughly forgotten the speed and sensibilities that the world moves to when you are four.

My sister was out of town, so I agreed (in exchange for her car, which is darned fun to drive - despite her insistence that If I am going to drive it, I call it "The Shite-mobile") that I would pick up Hank from daycare, keep him for a while, then take him to the airport to meet my sister. No problem. I am the stunning and agreeable mother of three. I have experience, I have skills. Here's how it went.

- While I was knitting the Cherry Aran, Hank insisted that I put it down, for three very reasonable and intelligent reasons. 1. The needles are very pointy and dangerous to little kids, like him, for example. 2. The Aran is not for him so why bother? 3. I can't play lego and knit at the same time.


While making my arguments (I lost) I managed to finish the neck band and one of the button bands. You will notice that I have obviously had some rather serious button band issues. This is the inevitable cosmic punishment for mouthing off yesterday about picking up stitches. The killer is that as I was distracted by my attempts to play lego and knit at the same time, I decided to pick up the number of stitches listed in the pattern so I wouldn't have to do button hole placement math. The pattern is clearly incorrect. (We will not discuss how it is that a knitter of my experience could make it all the way to the cast off edge without noticing that it was magnificently screwed up. All I can say is that Hank is probably very right about multitasking.)
I will refrain from using foul language, but will say that the pattern is (and I quote Hank) "a lying bad liar guy".

- I took him to a department store to buy a big plastic storage bin. Hank insisted that he be placed in the bin, the lid replaced and the bin carried around the store with him inside it. The ultimate plan of course, was that eventually the bin would be placed on the cashiers counter and Hank would jump out, and yell "Surprise Lady!". While I did carry him around for a while in the bin (Don't look at me like that. He wasn't running around the store trying to push other peoples carts while he was in the bin. He couldn't see "Dora the Explorer" colouring books while he was in the bin, he couldn't try on high heel shoes while he was in the bin. The bin is not all bad.) I managed to convince him that the yelling surprise part was pretty immature and maybe (just maybe) a little "too surprising". His compliance cost me a pack of sugarless gum.

-Feeling a little twitchy, but having returned to the "Shitemobile" with my nephew, my bin and my sanity, we headed for home. Sadly, I had forgotten that all car trips with a four year old must take routes which avoid these attractions: McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins and Pet Stores, as four year olds cannot willingly pass these locales without attempting to make you stop the car. Volume and kicking the seat are the weapons of choice.

-Luckily for me, after screwing up by passing not one, but TWO of the taboo locations above, I managed to remember that the antidote is a Fire Station, and changed direction enough to go by one.

-Back in the car after a snack (Yeah...I screwed up there too. I forgot to dry the raw green beans. I must have been out of my mind) we left to go to the airport. In an attempt to distract Hank from the tedium of an hour in the car I brought Sam with me to entertain the troops. Sam taught Hank how to play "eye spy", " 'A' my name is Annie", "Going on a bear hunt" and other all time hits. The high point of the car ride however...the all time high point, the point at which I remembered everything about being the mother of a four year old and was sincerely, truly glad that I have done my time, was when Sam taught Hank how to play "Simon Says", and Hank said to me ( as I wind my way through the insane maze that is the Pearson Internation Airport with an exhausted car bound four year old who has wet green beans, misses his mother and has run out of gum)

Auntie Stephie....Simon Says, *drive like an apple*

You know the rest.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:14 PM

July 29, 2004

The Spirit of the Law

My name is Stephanie and I can't do as I'm told.

Well, that's not entirely true. It is simply that I am far more interested in The Spirit of the Law, rather than the Letter of the Law.

This concept (one of which I have been fond for some time) is well illustrated by the difference between a Saturday night in Toronto, and a Saturday night in a very small town. Let's say that a guy is walking down Queen Street in Toronto. It's a busy street, there's tons of people, it's a hot night and dude's walking home from the beer store. Suddenly, he gets an idea, reaches into his bag and cracks himself a cold one. Buddy is walking down Queen Street, drinking a beer, completely sober, hurting nobody. I promise you, if a cop sees that beer open on Queen Street, our friend is going to the Don Jail til Monday morning. The law says no drinking alcohol in public spaces, and that's what the cop is going to enforce. Toronto's a big city. The cop doesn't have time to work out that buddy is sober and harmless. The cop is enforcing the "Letter of the Law".

Now, switch over to a small town. Same guy, same Saturday night, same beer. Dude's walking down the street, drinking a beer in public...which is absolutely still against the law. Luckily, this is the only crime being committed in the small town this evening and when the cop sees him, he has time to figure out what's going on. He talks to the dude for a bit and finds out that he is sober and harmless. Since the "no drinking in public law" is really there to keep harmful drunks off the street, and this guy isn't a harmful drunk, the cop reminds our friend that he shouldn't be drinking on the street and suggests he pour out the beer and get along home before he opens another. This is "The Spirit of the Law" in action.

Here's today's example as it applies to knitting. The Cherry Aran pieces are all knit and now all it needs is a neckband and button bands. Excellent. I glance at my pattern book and see that the sweater does indeed have a neckband, that it is knit in 1x1 rib and that you pick up and knit some stitches after joining both shoulder seams. There's some other information there, like how many to pick up, what side they think I should pick them up from, and how many rows of 1x1 rib they think the neckband should have. Those instructions represent the "letter of the law". The "Spirit of the law" is basically saying that you should end up with a neckband done in 1x1 rib, not that I should sit here for 17 hours tinking and picking up stitches along the neckline to get the exact number in the pattern making myself crazy until I'm mean to my husband and hate the stupid little sweater.


I didn't even read how many they thought I should pick up.
It's not that I don't have any respect for what they are telling me. I understand the law. I understand that someone went to a lot of trouble to work that out for me, and darn it...I appreciate it. Considering though that I am familiar with the law and what it is intended to do, I don't believe that they intended for me to throw my common sense out the window and give myself new wrinkles trying to pick up 46 instead of 44 stitches or disregarding the experience I have gained knitting neckbands in the past, or that they want for me not to think about what kind of neckband I would like. Therefore, I will pick up as many stitches as seems right, and if it looks right, I'm just going to follow the rest of the instructions which specified a 1x1 rib for ...well, as far as I like it. I am absolutely confident that knitting is something where the spirit of the law matters more than the letter.

I'm not drinking a beer on Queen St. though. The Don Jail sucks.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:39 AM

July 28, 2004

Things I learned at the Prince Concert

1. It is probably not going to happen between me and Prince.
I understand that now. There was a moment when he looked right at me and it was so moving. I can tell that he feels the pull that I do, and there was no mistaking that we both have regrets about the last 20 years and a real sense of nostalgia for the good times that we've shared, but we both have other commitments now. He has his career, his music, his art...his responsibility to his fans and me, well....I have like, at least 7 loads of laundry.


2. I was glad that Prince searched for me in the crowd so we could communicate our feelings for each other. If he hadn't done that I would have had to use "plan B" to get his attention. Since it didn't come to that, and I'd like to walk away from this with my pride I will not disclose "plan B", except to say that it involved the fact that I wore my "good bra" to the concert.

3. Prince is still a god walking the earth as man. Dude played for almost 3 hours (which is really a long time, I saw U2 last year and Bono totally crapped out before the 2 hour mark). He did all the classics, tons of new stuff and the new band is beyond anything you could believe. There is (for anyone who cares about the music and not what it meant to the desperate yearnings of a beleagured heart) a review here.)

4. Despite the fact that Prince and I recognize that our life paths are taking us in different directions, and that I love my seriously sexy husband very, very much, it turns out that I would still sleep with Prince if he asked me. This is somewhat disappointing on an ethical level, but there you have it.

5. I was, (as nearly as I could tell...there was 17 000 people there) the only one knitting. I knit while we waited for Prince to come on. I didn't knit while he performed. I couldn't remember how.

6. Even though the ticket said "Wear something purple" on it, I am really, really glad that I didn't. Just a little too 1984, ya know?

7. They are very serious about the "no cameras" rule. Convinced by my pals that there was no way I was getting in with my digital camera, I was comforted by my buddy Nick who has a cellphone/camera thingie. He pointed out that they wouldn't take his phone and that we would still manage to secure a picture of the Dublin Bay socks at the concert. During the concert however, as we joyously held the sock aloft and aimed the cellphone/camera thingie at it, we were warned by a largish thick-necked security dude that we should cease and desist from this activity if we wanted to continue to enjoy Prince's company. I did point out to him that technically, we were taking a picture of a sock, not Prince, and that cell phone picture quality was really so crappy that it hardly even counted as taking a picture. I told him people were counting on me. He was unmoved.
(I resisted the urge to point out that he was leaning over a girl smoking a joint to tell me and Nick to put down the phone, it seemed petty.)

8. Item #4 on my "Clear indications that Prince must love me the way that I love him" list (a compelling work that I have been compiling since 1984) has always been "Prince is only 5'2", which is only an inch taller than me". While I have always believed that this was a very, very clear indication of compatibility between us, as an adult I know see the deeper meaning...that Prince would be really easy to knit for.

9. While Prince would almost fit into the Cherry Aran,


Jodi (from the comments) is right. Even though Prince lives here in Toronto, I can't really see him wearing a gansey. This is probably the most compelling evidence that our lives have wound their ways apart and that we wouldn't find true, long, meaningful love together. (This does not, for the record, have anything to do with the cosmic rightness of a meaningless wanton one (or three) night stand).

10. While I accept all of this, I am still a little sad. Even though my heart has been wrung out by the king of all things seriously funky, even though it's important that both of us grow and mature, even though I understand that Prince and I had a moment, let it go, and moved onward with closure and dignity....even though when he sang "Come on and touch the place in me, that's calling out your name..." it took all my strength as a woman to walk away from that very clear invitation...

it turns out that casting on a new project can always make me feel better.
Meet my new poncho.


and Prince? I think it's better we take some time apart to get used to our new arrangement. I'll call you.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:09 PM

July 27, 2004

20 years later

December 2nd 1984. I was sixteen years old, and for the very first time my mother was going to release me from my mundane suburban prison and let me and my friend Sue K take the bus from Bramalea to the epicentre of civilization, Toronto.

My mother let me go to Toronto, because if she didn't I would die.
There was The Prince Concert at Maple Leaf Gardens. It was the Purple Rain Tour, and to me, Prince was a genius, who was also godlike in his beauty.


I spent hours analyzing his poetry, I knew he was talking to me....well, fine, not me...I mean he had never met me, but it was clear that he was searching for someone like me, and that the only reason that he didn't love me was because he hadn't met me. I believed that really, the only thing that was standing in the way of our simple, perfect love was lack of opportunity.

I would go to the concert, and there would be a moment where he would look into the crowd and our gaze would meet and in that one perfect second he would see the truth inside me and know that I was the only girl woman that would ever really see what he meant when he said "I only wanted 2 see u laughing in the purple rain". What incredible poignancy.

I spent hours getting ready. It was the 80's, so my hair took a long time, and just getting my jeans zippered up took both me and Sue. Sue was my best friend and that day, was the first time that I noticed she was really beautiful. I realized in an abstract sort of way that if you are going to a Prince Concert, and this is the one incredible chance that you will have to catch his eye, then maybe you shouldn't stand beside some hot chick who's going to screw it up for you. Then I realized that Prince wouldn't care. We were meant to be. Sue had a letter that she wanted me to give him. The letter had all the songs she had written in it. Sue didn't love Prince the way that I did, but she really respected him as an artist, and knew that if he read the songs that she was writing he would want her to work with him on his next album.

When he swept me out of the audience and into his life, I just had to remember to give him the envelope from Sue. We had it worked out, this night would change our lives.

I swear that it had never occurred to me that this wouldn't work. I swear that I was shocked to discover that the concert was not intimate, that there were many thousands of other girls women, none of whom shared my destiny and conviction, all vying for space at the concert. I swear that all I felt as Sue and I walked to our seats, the seats that had taken all of our babysitting money, the seats that we had taken our mothers on for the right to take the bus to....the seats that were the gateway to the most significant, meaningful, defining moment in our lives..... that all I felt as I walked to those seats was a horrible, nauseating swirl of a nightmare.

The seats were so far back that Prince was an ant. He would never be able to look into my eyes, I was a 85 pound, 5' tall sixteen year old in a seat that was hundreds of feet from the stage. Miles away...there was a pole in front of one of the seats, but Sue took that one. There was no way that Prince would see me. There was no way we could even throw Sue's letter. All was lost.

I have always wondered why Prince and I didn't meet that night. I can only imagine that there were forces that placed the thousands of thronging, maniacal girls, (none of whom loved him the way that I did, their love was shallow, superficial...immature) between us. Maybe Prince wasn't ready for me to come into his life. Maybe destiny meant for me to have my wonderful husband and delightful children. Who knows the answers to these questions.

All I know for sure...is that tonight, I am going here, and this time I'll be in the 17th row, and I'll have the Dublin Bay Sock. Let Destiny do what she will.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:20 PM

July 26, 2004

I am a knitter

As we all know by now, your local Yarn Harlot is, to the general public anyway, Nobody. I go nowhere good, I don't travel in celebrity circles and I don't get invited to the kinds of places that you all hope for. My life is miraculously, quietly boring, and it is staggering to me that you come here every day. My Darling Joe, on the other hand, is wildly interesting. He knows people. He goes places, and he mucks about in the wilds of the Canadian music business like it's the grocery store, largely unaware that he is So. Freakin. Cool. My favourite illustrative points about how Joe is unaware of his own coolness, is the year he won a Juno, he didn't even watch it on TV. He didn't know he'd been nominated (and lost...but he lost to "Snatch") for a Golden Reel award until he discovered it while working on his resume.

Because Joe is so cool, I sometimes get to go to places where they don't let ordinary people like me in. (Once, while at the opening party for Festival Express, I passed Sylvia Tyson toilet paper.) Since this sort of excitement only happens occasionally, there is always a wardrobe crisis of epic proportions when I am called upon to accompany my cool mate to the cool places. This time however, I was ready. When we got the invitation to Jose and Lily's wedding, I knew that I had this.


We mixed, we mingled, we danced (well, I danced, it is better if Joe doesn't) we ate little tiny foods, I dangled my drink and stood beside Joe as he talked to fancy people. It was terrifying. (It is a little known fact that I am shy. Horribly, terribly, shy. I manage to fake outgoing and confident rather well, but inside...I am quaking)
Ryan, the Dublin Bay socks came with us, and had a spectacular time, fearlessly hanging out with Canadian Rock Stars and dazzling locals. The Bride and Groom even took a moment to thank the sock-in-progress for coming.


Most awkward moment award: (and oddly, no..it wasn't getting the Bride and Groom to pose with a sock in progress at their wedding, somehow that felt natural.) We were standing next to a Manager and Publicist, who were introducing us all around. Joe gets the big long introduction, that he's a producer, that he owns a big studio, that he is formally "cool". Then she turns to introduce me. Now at these events I'm really lucky if I maintain my name. Generally speaking, I walk through the door and I am suddenly no longer Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, fine and interesting person in her own right but merely the ornamental "Joe's wife". (I have leaned that it is counterproductive to fight this at the moment that I am being introduced. All attempts to maintain my independent role in the universe have resulted in episodes that end with me being more likely to be introduced as "Joe's insane wife" at the next event.) This time however it appeared that the sweetie of a publicist was going to give me an actual identity....I was staggered, and shocked, and I waited to see which of my life roles I would be assigned today. Would she say I was a Doula? Childbirth Educator? An IBCLC? Perhaps in this crowd she would go with "Freelance Writer"? Or maybe she'll mention how I worked for a Native Health Centre for a few years, how exciting! Perhaps after I was introduced with a job and a life I would be able to talk to someone instead of just standing next to Joe. The suspense is killing me when she leans forward out of the din of the band and says:

"This is Stephanie....she....is a knitter."

The little hub of cool people stare at me, then look back at the publicist. Perhaps they heard her wrong? Knitter? Seriously? Like, with yarn? All day? They glance at Joe, perhaps hoping that he will explain what someone with his level of cool factor is doing with a "knitter", or that perhaps that they had misheard, and I'm a "fitter" or "neurosurgeon". Joe is not correcting them though, he is grinning like an idiot, nodding agreement with the publicist. Knitter it is. I decide that there's nothing for it. If I try to tell them that I am more than a knitter, or that knitting is fascinating, or that it's not like I "only" knit...for crying out loud, I'm going to look desperate. (Which I am, but I really thought it was better to play that at little closer to the vest).
The cool people wander off and I stand there, thinking that I might have been slightly better off when I was "Joe's wife".
It was right then that I decided to take the Dublin Bay socks out of my purse. What the hell, I had nothing to lose, I am a knitter.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:04 PM

July 23, 2004

and she's back...

Apologies for the lack of a blog yesterday, I'm fine (thanks for asking/emailing), I went to a birth, so now I am gloriously, fabulously, incredibly "off call" for the rest of the summer. I put my pager in a drawer. It felt good.

Number of consecutive hours awake : 31
Number of cups of coffee needed to do this : 5
Number of cups of coffee that I actually had because the hospital does not have adequate provision of coffee services: 1
The number of times I complained about this to hospital staff: 7, plus I wrote a letter when I got home.
Type of baby: Boy, very cute, and I'm not just saying that, because we all know that there are a lot of babies out there who look like Winston Churchill at first. This one really was cute.
Weight of baby: 9lb 13oz.
Number of times I told the mother she was impressing the hell out of me: too many to count.
Amount knit at the birth: almost one repeat of the Cherry Aran.


Sticking with the Cherry Aran is going to be a difficult thing, since I may have lost control of myself at a S&B at Lettuce Knit on Wednesday evening. I had the best time, and did two of my favourite things.

First, I corrupted another knitter/blogger, Marmalade blogs about it here. (If you are a Canadian, and feel the love that I do for Canadian spellings, check out the "letter zed" button she made. I'll be ripping that off shortly") I don't feel bad about the corruption I wrought either. She's a really neat person and a terrific knitter who just needed an enthusiastic session of enabling to...er... come over to the dark side of renegade 'you can do it' knitting. She's now going to try converting a sock pattern to "toe-ups", and she's knitting a Fiddlesticks knitting "Rippling waters" scarf, and I did sort of encourage her to buy some laceweight yarn. Yes, I'm aware that there is a fine line between "enabler" and "pusher". No, I do not think I crossed that line. Yes, I will help her if she gets stuck on the lace knitting, and Yes, I do think that she still likes me.

Second, I bought some yarn. Luckily for Kelly (Marmalade) and my bank account, I was paged to the birth before I did any real damage to either of us. The poncho fixation culminated in the purchase of some Mission Falls 1824 wool


enough for a shortish poncho which I am quite certain I am not starting until the Cherry Aran is done. I usually shun superwash, on account of the slipperiness doesn't agree with me. This time though, I'm sort of looking for slippery. I got the new Interweave knits, and a new circular, and this...


This is Blue Heron handpainted cotton laceweight. There are 1050 yards in this bad boy, more than enough to make a version of a totally funky poncho I saw at Lettuce knit. Laceweight yarn knit on 9mm needles. I'm flipped out about it. Completely flipped out. I have no idea how I'm going to keep myself from abandoning the 49 other works in progress and dedicating every single waking moment of my life working on it.


This is a better representation of the colours. Don't you want it? Don't you love it? How can you go on living without it? You should have it. You will be happier and more fulfilled if you have it. Did you hear me say it was more that a thousand yards? That's a lot of yarn. The sun will shine a little brighter. You know, even if you don't like cotton, this is cotton on big needles, it's different. You can do it. It's going to be fun, we can do it together! C'mon. I'll meet you at Lettuce knit next week and I'll admire it and everyone will want to be us.

Now you have a better idea of what happened to Kelly/Marmalade, only she could touch the yarn, thus increasing my cosmic sphere of influence.

I hope she's ok.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:12 PM

July 21, 2004

Boleros and ponchos

Bolero -
1. A very short jacket, usually open in the front.
2. A Spanish dance in triple meter
3. The music for this dance.


The little bolero from yesterday is finished, and I was right, my life does actually feel more complete and rich, even though this pattern departs from the usual "open in the front" bolero rules. What the hell, I mean...once you've lawlessly stopped in the middle of a row, rules are nothing to you. Nothing.

Laura asked for the pattern source (she also asked what a Bolero was..but I already answered her), and I'm destined to disappoint. Not only is the pattern from a weird little Patons book from the 50's, I changed it. The original was done in a two stitch basket weave, so I changed it to a ribbed slip stitch, from 365 Knitting Stitches A Year (Which I love, even though the considerable errata is here) and I made the cross over front slope a little less slopey. The main issue was the basket weave. I hate basketweave stitch, I hate it enough that I have never really even tried to get over it. I know I'm being unfair, I'm ok with that. I believe that basketweave stitch, and all of its incarnations are "puffy" and that this puffiness, when used in a garment that goes anywhere near a person who is not a truly unhealthy kind of skinny will transfer it's qualities of puffiness to said wearer, thus making them look puffy.
I won't even stand near somebody wearing basketweave.

New business:
I have, in the last 12 hours developed an obsession with ponchos. I have looked at ponches before and almost knit Steph's pretty clever ponchoification of Charlotte. I decided against it. (I have reservations about Charlotte. We'll talk about that another time).
In the end, I wondered why I'd want to make a poncho at all. Big, easy, shapeless...not usually what I'm into at all. Then, I saw Aven's poncho here, and something snapped. I am obsessed. I can't explain it. I have spent several hours over the last 12 cruising poncho's on the blogs, looking at patterns, folding up napkins in attempts to design a poncho, ripping yarn out of the stash to see if it's poncho material....I can't explain myself.
Why do I care?

Then I was talking with my mom. I mentioned the poncho obsession, and she said "Christ. Not this again." Turns out that that when I was 7 I wanted a poncho very, very badly. I begged, I pleaded, I folded tablecloths into artful and wearable poncho shapes and I was denied. My mother thought that ponchos are stupid, so now, it turns out that once again ....I'm scarred for life.
I'm going to have to knit a dumb poncho. (Now that I think about it, this could explain the odd attraction I have to fringe too...)

Posted by Stephanie at 1:30 PM

July 20, 2004

Sure, mid row.

So, I'm reading this book and knitting on this little pink baby bolero.


Yeah, that's right, a bolero. You got a problem with that? Haven't you ever just sat around looking at the little Aran you are knitting and thought, "Holy crap! I could be knitting a pink bolero with a cross over front! What am I doing with my life! It's all wrong....I've got to get it together." Then thrown down the Aran and seized a sweet pink wool with these little slubs in it and immediately cast on a damned Bolero? I thought so. These problems are far more common than most people would expect. It's not just me.

A quick note about the Cherry Aran: Mary and Chelsea ask "What Aran?" and wonder if this is the handspun sweater for Joe, and Julia thinks maybe she recognises the "Must Have Cardi". All wrong, rest assured that when I begin Joe's sweater with the handspun, no one will miss it. There will be a parade and a party, and cats carrying little trays of watercress sandwiches, and a bevy of trumpets playing a joyous song while the sun shines down on the belly dancers and the release of a thousand white miniature sheep all wearing little gold necklaces, as I dance in the street because I have finally, finally finished the thousands and thousands of yards of freakin' spinning for the sweater.

Don't worry, you won't miss it.

It's not the Must have Cardi either, though I forgot how much I like that sweater....(focus...don't lose your focus...) The Cherry Aran is just the wool re-incarnation of the bungled cotton baby sweater from last week. Nothing new, nothing fancy, It isn't even my pattern since I found the perfect pattern in this book.

Back to my point. So I was reading the "Tips and Tricks" book, when I read this...

"We have all been told never to stop in the middle of a row of knitting...."

It goes on to describe the various ways in which one may avoid doing this.
I'm a little freaked out here. "We have all been told"? "never"? Or what? What happens if somehow you get to be someone who has been knitting for 31 years and you have never, ever heard of this and to make things worse, much, much worse, you have in fact taught many, many people to knit, including innocent children for crying out loud...innocent children, and you never told them this at all. Why, in the name of all things wooly, why do you never stop in the middle of a row? Locusts? Bad Karma? Tornados? What about circular knitting, how do you avoid it, it's all one long row isn't it? What, once you start a circular sweater you have to finish? No eating, no sleeping, for the love of sheep....just. keep. knitting.

I've stopped in the middle of a row a thousand times. Sometimes, I even stop not in the middle, but towards one side - why, I've been completely random with it, never knowing that there was yet another knitting rule that I had smashed to smithereens. What will become of me? What have I been risking? It's gotta be something bad or the book wouldn't say that, but it can't be anything to do with knitting or I would have noticed. Listen, I'm really just mentioning it here as a public service. I'm gonna stop. You better stop too.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:44 PM

July 19, 2004

Life's a bowl of cherries

No kidding. I am being haunted by these cherries. They are in my house, near my house, on the sidewalk in front of my house, being tracked into the house, being pilfered and thrown by neighbourhood children and stolen by little old men and women with bowls under cover of darkness. (Not that I mind...they can have as many of the little red orbs from hell as they want, but if you want to steal cherries, and you come at night so that I won't know you are there, try not to have a loud argument in Ukrainian two feet from my window, it blows your cover )

The cherry situation resolved a little when I discovered that I can pit cherries with a 2mm needle. I believe that this act tricked the most basic, instinctive parts of my brain into thinking that I was doing something to do with knitting, thereby making the pitting process at least only mind-numbingly stupid, not torturous.


Cherries pitted, there only remained the problem of what to do with several pounds of pitted cherries. Answer?


Mmmm....the first aran sleeve and Cherry Upside-Down Cake. This yarn and the cake are both heartily recommended, enough so, that the burning pain of pitting a thousand cherries sort of started to seem like maybe it was worth it. Sure, that twitch over my eye is back again, but now I've got nice knitting and good cake. This combination restores my spirit and I wander back into the kitchen and attack the remaining pounds of cherries. (I am troubled briefly by the fact that there doesn't seem to be less cherries, I mean I was just in here, I took a whole whack of them out of the bowl...shouldn't there be fewer cherries?) I make...


The second Aran sleeve and Cherry Bars. These are good, but not as good as the cake. Actually, that's not fair. It could be, that if I had tried the cherry bars before gorging on several pieces of Upside down cake, and pitting all those cherries and sweeping the suicidal ones off of the sidewalk, and generally wishing for sweet release from the cherry nightmare that has conumed my life, that I might have had a more positive attitude toward the Cherry bars and cherries in general. I admit that at this point I have inexplicably begun to call this little sweater the "Cherry Aran", even though it is not cherry coloured, or has cherry motifs or even bobbles or something you could interpret as cherry-inspired. No, no, it is guilty by association. When the cherry bars were baked (and not eaten) I went back into the kitchen to try to deal with the remaining pitted and waiting cherries. I will confess at this point that I suspect Joe of picking and pitting cherries secretly to replace the ones that I used up in these marathon baking sessions. The other alternative is that the bowl of cherries is bottomless, which is too horrible to even contemplate.
I decide to switch tactics.


What cherries?
Damn straight. I've begun the back of the Cherry aran, and heartlessly thrust the remaining pitted cherries into ziplocks (in amount appropriate for upside-down cake) and shoved them into the freezer. I'm sure that when the memory of cherry overload fades I'll feel like eating them again. Seriously, I picked several pounds and gave them away, then I picked several pounds and baked and froze them, plus I was ripped of my neighbours, not to mention the tons that have been eaten by local wildlife, including the kid down the street who has been using them for "ammo" for several days. You would think that the end would be in sight.


Not even close. Here's Sam as of 10am this morning. I'm going to look away, I'm going to avert my eyes. I'm going to sit down with the little Cherry Aran and not speak of this for some time. What's wrong with a little good old fashioned repression? What?

Posted by Stephanie at 11:56 AM

July 16, 2004

Poor little socks

I love this yarn.


You know how it is with a yarn that is just so beautiful, every few rows you lay it on your lap and run your hands over it. I pull on the bobbles and lace, and admire the softness. Wonderous good it is, and a pleasure to knit. The two ends are done, and I'll make a decision about what lace to put in the middle sometime after I've triumphantly knit the baby sweater. I have stuffed the cotton into a clear plastic zipper bag prison and sent it to the rear of the stash. It has been replaced by a decent, upstanding, reliable wool purchased from my local this morning.


I may also have come home with a fair bit of baby wool.....


but we shall not speak of this, or how much baby wool this means I have in total. (I love 100% wool for babies. I really do. Discuss)

A while ago Aubergine sent a comment about the Dublin Bay Socks. He wrote:

I can't help but wonder about those dublin bay ones tho- they don't look any longer since any of the other photos. Could it be you're just taking the socks with you and _not_ actually working on them?

Ahem. A careful forensic examination of the photographs will reveal that while progress on the Dublin Bay socks is shamefully slow, they are actually a little bit bigger in each photo. I admit that I'm not making good time, but it's not like I'm not working on them. The problem is that they are my bus knitting. This is a problem because it's summer, and I don't take the bus. I ride my bike. Me and my little harlotites are in training for our annual family vacation which is always an epic bike ride.

This will be our third serious bike trip. The first year (when our youngest was 8) We rode our bikes from Toronto to Niagara falls. (200 km) Last summer we looked for more of a challenge and rode the 400 km from Toronto to Gananoque (The Thousand Islands) and carried our camping gear on our bikes, camping in Provincial Parks all the way there.

This year, after what should be a fabulous trip to Newfoundland to see Joe's family, we will meet Ken in PEI with the bikes and ride our way through the province. (Camping all the way) I know this sounds nuts, but I assure you that it is fun. It is a rather complicated way to wrangle a trip to Fleece Artist, but a Harlot's gotta do what a Harlot's gotta do.

Expect progress on the Dublin Bay socks to be slow as long as we are riding 20-40 km a day to get ready. I've explained all this to the socks, and they are looking forward to the Maritimes.

More details later, but for now....


I've been promised a recipe for cherry cake, and discovered that a 2mm needle makes an excellent cherry pitter.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:47 PM

July 15, 2004

Yeah, well...

I can learn new things, I know this for a fact. Why, just recently I learned a little more html, I learned a new recipe, and I learned to play a new song on the piano. Heck, I learn things every day. I stuff new things into my mind all the time, working toward experiencing new things and growing as a person.

Why then does there appear to be some things that I just can't learn? I mean, I learn them, I even learn them the hard way, in ways that involve pain, frustration and curse words, but then a little while later the memory of having learned that seeps away and I am as an empty vessel....ready to make the same stupid, stupid mistake again.

I started knitting the cardie (from the pattern that took hours to work out) and something started bothering me. A little voice in the back of my head kept saying "Didn't we learn something about this?" Nah, I think. What could there be? I keep knitting but the satisfaction level doesn't pick up. I decide that it must be the stitch I'm using, rip back, alter the pattern and try again. I repeat this several times (over several hours) and finally, I learn something, a flash of knowledge sweeps over me and in that moment of inspiration I realize what the problem is...It's not me, it's not the stitch, it's not the pattern.
It's the yarn. I dislike cotton and I hate cotton for Arans. It doesn't give, it makes lame looking stitches it's heavy and it hurts my hands. I have officially abandoned ship.


I have learned this before. There has been other baby stuff, several tanks, and one nightmarish descent into hades where I knit Lene a cabled berber cotton sweater that I hope she treasures. There was even The Bird Jacket, which was such a powerful teaching tool that I still feel a little queasy when I think of it. Matter of fact, just after I knit that I lost most of the vision in my right eye. I don't think that it damaged my vision, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that the optic nerve in that eye had committed suicide trying to get away from the horror. I'm going to the yarn shop today and I will get myself some lovely soft wool and knit some little hats out of this yarn (or burn it to complete ash under a full moon while dancing a dance to release me from the cycle of perpetual cotton punishment). If y'all see me picking up yarn like this again, for the love of sheep....stop me.

The antidote?


Yum. It's the alpaca from Aubergine, and it's perfect and beautiful and not cotton. It's going to be a scarfy-wrappy sort of elegant thing. I'm going to knit two ends like this, then some sort of centre lace part, then graft them together. It should be fairly straightforward to work out, assuming that there is nothing the planet would like to teach me about alpaca.


This is my front yard tree, anybody want to teach me something about sour cherries? Like, what you do with 10 million of them?

Posted by Stephanie at 11:50 AM

July 14, 2004

I knit, therefore I am

Some designs happen because the creative spirit cannot be denied, because art must be released and the artist is driven to create. Or, somebody decides to invent a dumb little baby sweater because they have thrown hours of their life into an abyss searching for the perfect size 2, aran buttoned cardigan, with a small collar, 4 stitch rope cables, no seed stitch, no ribbing, interesting panels of moving stitches (that are not cables) down the front, and yet exudes only manliness and certainly doesn't have girly bobbles or cables that even vaguely make "heart shapes", all to discover that it doesn't exist.
I have finally decided that if I want this exact sweater that I'm going to have to accept that nobody has thought of this combination before, or if they did, they wimped out and didn't write the thing down. This is always the reason I design something. Frustration.

While I can understand that not everybody thinks they can design, and not everybody wants to, and that some people are never moved to drastic measures by the demented pursuit of the perfect sweater, or sleeves that are less "swooshy", what I can't understand is the hugely frustrated knitter who is afraid to try. The way I think about it, you have nothing to lose. The sweater I tried to knit is dumbass, that's it. I'm at rock bottom. I have no sweater, only a dumbass attempt. What's the worst thing that can happen? I'll have no sweater and a dumbass attempt? That's where I'm at now! Afraid? I'm never afraid to try something with my knitting. I'm afraid of skydiving, and downhill skiing gives me the willies and I'm deeply concerned about war and injustice, but yarn? What could happen? Worst case scenario is you learn a little something about dumbass sweaters. That' s helpful, that's one more mistake I can wipe off the list of stupid knitting mistakes I'm destined to make. (I wonder how long that list is...)


Since I know exactly what I want, the idea is finished, done and ready in my head, and the process of creating the pattern is just working out details like gauge, how many stitches to make the panel that I want, and how exactly to create a stitch that matches the one that I've imagined. That makes it sound easy, and I think that for the most part it is. The only part about doing design that bites hard is that the math is crazy making. (Joe would tell you that it's only simple math skills, but I've never felt there was anything that even remotely resembles "simple math".) My imaginary sweater has a size and a shape, and trying to make the numbers reflect that leaves me feeling like I'm mentally "a few elves short of an effective workshop", if ya catch my meaning.

So, do you design? Do you alter? Why or Why not? What's the reason you design or the reason that you would never?

Finally, Two questions.
1. Hypothetically speaking, if I had a sew up party in September for Ann and Kay's afghanalong would anybody come?
2. I heard from some of you that the referrer thingie was screwing up the site. I have moved said thingie to the bottom instead of the side. It looks fine on my screen (and always has, so I can't be trusted) so if the problem still exists after this feeble attempt to fix it, would you let me know?

Posted by Stephanie at 12:09 PM

July 13, 2004

55 days...

until the first day of school. I don't think I've ever been this tired, and I'm a woman who regularly stays up for 24-48 hours straight without even thinking about it. Why if it wasn't for these


I'd be delirious. I can't tell you how much I love these socks. (Two notes about the photo: I need a new porch, and yes, I've been working out, thanks for noticing) These hand-dyed, hand-spun and hand knit beauties are bringing much joy into my beleaguered existence where days are marked out only by the ongoing parade of children's activities, impending work deadlines and impossible amounts of food and laundry. The children have had so much fun in the last few days that I feel like I'm clinging to life with my happy socks clutched in my hands as a talisman for better days. I'm so tired that twice during phone calls in the last 24 hours (and with two different people) they've stopped talking, and asked me if I was still there. Both times I said "Oh yes..." but I was lying. (Sorry Kelly) I just sit there glazed over, staring into space, I can hear the other person talking but I can't seem to remember what I'm supposed to be doing. All am sure I am supposed to be doing is whatever I'm not doing at that moment. For example, I am working at the computer, but sure I should be doing something with the children, so I go do something with the children but feel worried while I'm doing that because I'm not working. To get around this, since I'm a sensible woman who doesn't like feeling bad, I've decided to spend my days caring for the home and family (except for client visits and phone calls), then get up several hours before them in the morning and work then. I think this relieves the conflict, which is good, but it may kill me. I've not decided if that's good or bad. Somehow in the blur of work/kids/summer/laundry I still found the time to nurture my relationship with The Dublin Bay socks, here seen enjoying the view from a paddle boat atop Ken's shoulder.


They enjoyed the paddle boats as much as Ken. (Can we have a little vote here? Are these "Paddle Boats" or "Pedal Boats"?)

In addition, I've made up my mind about something. This is the back of a little Aran Cardie I'm starting. (It's the "baby bobble jacket" from this book, if ya' care, and you should, it's a good book)


I'm going to frog it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she can be taught. This jacket is for a baby boy, and I'm not going to wait until I'm half done to have somebody explain yet another neurotic and weird rule of male dressing to me. I thought I had it licked with the colour, not girlie, and what could be more masculine than cables? If you are attentive, you can catch a whiff of testosterone off them.
Yet, despite all this it is doomed. Why?
Bobbles are girlie. Betcha.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:38 PM

July 9, 2004


Dear Dublin Bay Socks.

I am very sorry for what happened last night. I never meant for you to find out this way. I thought that if I took you to The Dream in The Park,


we could have a beautiful evening together, and forget that we haven't had much time for each other. I realized when I saw your low key colours and unassuming lace pattern that I still love you. You are so good to me and the children love you so,


and I don't think that we would have had such a good time without you there. When I saw you under the stars in High Park, with the trees swaying above us and the stage lights glittering off of your needles, I remembered all the things that I love about you. I know you suspected all along that there was someone else, and I shouldn't have pretended that there wasn't a problem.


I beg your forgiveness then, for accidentally jamming you into the same pocket as Lauries roving socks, I know it was a horrible way for you to have to learn about my vicious deception. I swear that I didn't know they were coming, I wouldn't have shoved them in your face like that, I didn't ever imagine that they would be in the front pocket of my backpack... I'll talk with them. I'll tell them to please stop following me around, It's just a fling, the flashy colours, I swear it. Please....after all we've done together, The water park? The movies? Riverdale Farm? Was all that nothing to you?

It's not you, it's me.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:59 PM

July 8, 2004

Have Mercy

Yesterday, after setting fire to my yarn (which was not, I repeat, NOT the super-cool sock yarn, sorry if I upset anyone anymore than was necessary) I comforted myself by finishing the first of the Laurie-socks. As expected, this bucked me up a fair bit, and hope and happiness were restored.

My happiness was short lived as mere moments later, while attempting to put the sock on to perform a very encouraging "dancing with one sock on victory thing" I discovered that I had cast off too tightly and the sock wouldn't go on.

Since I am (apparently) a knitter of fortitude and resiliance, I did not proceed to sob, set fire to the sock, get some scotch or mutter foul language (good eh?) instead I sat down and invented a very, very stretchy cool sewn cast off.
This made me feel a lot better. I love being brilliant, and brilliant and innovative is even better. I put on the sock and did my victory dance, snapping photos for posterity.


Not even the fact that my ankle seems inexplicabley chunky in this picture can spoil the mood. I decided to write out my instructions for doing the incredibly clever sewn cast off, when it all started to sound a little familiar. I did a quick look about, and lo and behold, I am ripping off Elizabeth Zimmermann. I have invented nothing, merely somehow sucked page 23 into my brain and briefly believed that I was clever. I am not. Hopefully acknowledging this publicly will stave off any punishment that the universe may exact upon me for thinking however briefly that I had come up with something original and coming perilously close to plagiarism. I assure whoever is watching me that I was only a little proud of the cast off, and that I guessed immediately that I was not clever and I didn't tell anyone that I was smart or that the sock cast off was my genius.
Please spare the sock.

Thanks to everyone who was glad that it was the yarn and not my hair in the fire, (I tell you, I'm still recovering from the moment that I thought it was both) but let's get our priorities straight. As Amie said in the comments yesterday "Hair grows back, Spinning is forever".

A special aside to the individual who stole Amanda's bike yesterday....
Seriously dude, from in front of a school? I hope your yarn is on fire.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:38 AM

July 7, 2004


\Pride"ful\, Full of pride; haughty, showing arrogant superiority

I find it incredible that huge crimes against humanity can go unpunished. That people can do terrible things to one another and go without any sort of karmic revenge. No lightning bolt coming down from the sky, no earthquake swallowing them whole, no keening of small children or vicious dogbites, no cloud of blackflies pursuing them down the street.

I find this especially hard to believe considering that the planet, or whatever higher power you think is in charge of this sort of thing, seems very alert to my infractions, no matter how minor. Take today for example.

Your local harlot has (in the last 24 hours or so) perfected the navajo ply. This is a big deal, since I am deeply involved with Laurie's roving and it needs to be navajo plied. I did a nice piece as a sample to show off on the blog, but it was just short of perfect. Do I accept that I am human? Do I reveal my human frailty? Do I demonstrate my low place on the learning curve and allow all others to feel good about thier own undeveloped skills? Do I?


I decide that what I will do is steam the yarn, pulling the little spinning errors out as I go an allow all of you to believe that my spinning is perfect.
Say it with me....Prideful.

I turn on the kettle and loosely skein the yarn, and when the kettle boils I begin to draw the yarn across the jet of steam, focussing intently on the subtle deception I am working. Let's take a moment here to stress that I accept what happened next. I deserve what happened next, and I understand the universe is deeply committed to improving me as a person. I understand that even though murderers run free and racists and bigots run around uncorrected by even one measly little episode of spontaneous combustion, that I am not allowed to pretend that I spin better than I really do. I understand that I am to be brought to personal improvement by drastic and shocking measures at regular freaking intervals. Ok? I get it. I was prideful, I was wrong and I regret trying.

I am sorry because as I was drawing the yarn across the kettle, gently easing the ply into deceitful perfection, I noticed a funny smell, a burny smell. I live with a man who creates electrical fires on a regular basis (small and controlled fires) so the smell of something burning up doesn't instantly register as an issue. Then I notice that it sort of smells like burning hair. Now this registers. My hair is big and wild and in its ongoing attempt to make me look stupid in public it could be on fire. I wouldn't put it past it. I leap back from the kettle to check my hair and that's when I notice that the skein in my hands is on fire.
I fling it onto the stove top, and it goes out immediately ('cause you know, torching the whole kitchen would be overkill).


I, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, do solemnly swear that I will not attempt to put a fast one over on the blog again. I understand that doing so can only end in my punishment, as I am being watched. My apologies to you all.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:23 PM

July 6, 2004

How to knit a hat

I didn't make as much progress as I'd hoped on the sock last night (I want them done now, now, now)


For everybody who asked for details on how I handled the colours, I feel a little guilty, since it's really Laurie who is the smart one. The roving weighed in at about 2oz each, and the colour changes evenly along the length. All I did was pre-draft the roving, leaving the colours in the order that Laurie dyed them. I had been clever enough (yeah...I know, a rare flash of brilliance really) to save a piece of the yarn that Laurie spun, so I knew what I was aiming for. I undid one end of the sample to see what the single was like, then matched it. When the singles were done, I put the bobbin on my lazy kate and did a poor imitation of navajo plying. (Note to self, consider reading the links you provide on the blog...could be helpful) This keeps the colours intact. Simple, yes? The cleverness is all in the dye job.

I also lost knitting time as I was very busy revelling in an incredible knitting birthday present from Chelsea


It's coloured metal needles (oh, how I love thee), very cool little stitch markers, a very beautiful card, some relaxing bath stuff (Why Chelsea, do I seem a little high strung?) a gorgeous beaded bookmark and a letter with a very funny story about why chocolate isn't a summer gift. Made my day yesterday. Thanks Chelsea!

As evening approached and the primo knitting time neared, Meg presented me with a knitting emergency. I responded and now bring you...

How To Make A Hat If You Are 12 And Not Very Careful About Stuff.

Step 1. Do a gauge swatch, then measure your head and do the math. Then have a fight with your mother who has knit like, 10 million hats, about who would know better about how many to cast on. Never...ever admit that your mother may know what is going on, but eventually cast on the number she suggests, but in secret. Do not speak civilly to your mother for some time.

Step 2. Begin knitting circularly, but pause to have a fight with your mother, this time insisting that you are knitting garter stitch, because you are knitting every row (and previously mentioned mother told you that garter stitch was when you are knitting every row), refuse to entertain the suggestion that circular knitting may be different from flat knitting, and again insinuate that your mother knows nothing about knitting. Maintain the fight until the mother looks sort of twitchy.

Step 3. Tell your mother (who is pretty freakin' annoyed at this point, partly because of the repeated inane hat fights, but also because she has not been alone, not even to go to the bathroom, in days and days) that the hat seems "sort of twisty".

Step 4. Even though you have not listened to one word the mother has said to you in days, and even though you have never, ever just accepted something that the mother has said without challenging it and asking for an explanation, even though there is not one molecule in your body that believes that your mother could be right about anything....when the mother tells you that stuff on circulars is like that sometimes until you get a couple of centimetres...
Walk away.

Step 5. Return to the mother the next day. Come to her when she is tired, has a limp from spinning and thinks that you have gone to bed. Come to her when she is weak and her resistance is low. Come hostile, and loud. Show her the hat.


When the mother bursts out laughing, trying to say something about "join, being careful not to twist", darken your expression and scream "This is all your fault" and make all sort of statements that begin with "You Said...."

6. When the mother tells you that there is no way out of this, that it has to be frogged, threaten a meltdown that makes Hiroshima look like a minor problem.

7. Insist that your mother fix it or you will "NEVER KNIT AGAIN".

8. Watch your innovative and clever mother thread the hat onto waste yarn, sew up and down a row of stitches, and cut between the lines.
(Refuse to learn the concept of "steek" if at all possible, even though it is right in your face) IMPORTANT NOTE: even if you think it is a good idea, resist the urge to say so. Try instead to insist that it will never work, even while it is working.


9. Refuse to participate as your mother threads the hat back onto needles.
Briefly smile for the camera, looking for all the world like a happy and content child, but hold the bitterness you feel for the mother deep in your heart.


10. Despite the fact that your mother has rescued you from your knitting disaster, immediately following the picture, begin another fight with her, this time about how you can no longer knit the hat circularly. Mock her during her counter-argument about how you were at the decreases and were going to have to switch to dpns anyway and maintain that as per usual, the mother has sucked the joy out of your life. Stomp away angry. Continue being a normal 12 year old, being sure to leave your mother emotionally tattered.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:29 PM

July 5, 2004

The first step...

...is admitting you have a problem. The events recounted here are as accurate as I am willing to admit to publicly. There may have been a few moment where I sunk lower than this...but it is difficult to live in denial when you've posted it all to the blog.

Friday 11:20 I take pictures of the fibre Laurie sent me, I post those pictures to the blog and I try to forget. I am trying to grow as a person, and this means that I do not dump my current project because something pretty walked by. I am a knitter of conviction.

11:25. The fibre is out of the box. I still have no intention of spinning it though. I've got stuff to do, the Eeyore blanket still needs a border but I'm supposed to fork it over to the recipient in about 24 hours. Clearly there is no time for spinning. Besides, I'm sticking with my plan to finish the tank before I start anything else, I cannot be tempted, besides...I'll enjoy it more if I have to wait for it.

11:30. I'm just going to put the box with the fibre by the wheel. It's important to keep things tidy. Once I've tidied up, then I'll have time for spinning knitting the tank top and finishing Eeyore.

12:30 I have been eating for the last hour, since I cannot eat and spin at the same time. This is similar to when Ken quit smoking and the tip sheet said "try to spend time doing activities that you don't associate with smoking". Ken dejectedly said "Great. I have to live in the shower".

12:35 I am in the shower.

12:40 I have begun a complex period of rationalization. I have decided to pre-draft the fibre, but not spin it. This will leave me enough time to finish the border on the Eeyore blanket, but still give me a taste of the good stuff. It is a good plan, and one I have complete control over.

1:00. I am spinning. This is ok though, because I have figured out how to make it work, I am just going to spin for a little while, just because if I don't start it right away Laurie will think that I don't like it. I don't want her to think that because Laurie's happiness means a great deal to me. I would never be unkind to a friend. Never. I will work on the Eeyore blanket this evening, and it will still be done for tomorrow.

Later, before dinner: I have lost track of time. I am no longer sure of anything except that this fibre is beautiful and perfect and I am not worthy. I am still sure that I can finish the Eeyore blanket, I just need to stay focussed on the spinning so that I don't run out of time. The children say they are hungry, but I remind them that it is "Find your own Food Friday".

6:00 I am forced to stop spinning by the pain in my right leg. A lesser woman would think that the pain was a signal to stop. A lesser woman would be worried about the limp. I am not a lesser woman. I take a tylenol and switch legs. No Problem.

9:00. Victory is mine.


9:02 (pm) As I pull the Eeyore blanket from the bag of denial it's been sitting in, I realize that the universe seeks balance. There are a number of expressions to describe the situation I'm in. "Time to pay the piper" rings true, "Just desserts" is another. "I am so screwed..." is also accurate. The Eeyore border is so big that I need three circulars to go around it. I make coffee and remind myself that I get everything I deserve. It is in these moments that I can see the problems with my overall approach. Luckily, I'm not bright enough to learn from experience.

Saturday, 2:43 am. I fall asleep on the couch, and wake with a start when I impale my inner elbow with a circular point. Eeyore is not finished. I go to bed and set my alarm for 7:30. It will only take two hours to finish Eeyore, but I want to get some spinning in before I start.

7:30: Exhausted, I stagger from bed, wondering briefly if this is all making sense. I mean, I have the fibre and the rest of my life. I could delay gratification, I could grow up a little, I could get some kind of a grip on myself and go back to bed and spin after I finish Eeyore. I could...

7:32: Spinning.

12:00 Eeyore is done.


12:01 Spinnng.

4:30. I briefly contemplate skipping a party that I have promised the children we will go to. Before I manage to yank my will free of the vaccuum of the rainbow roving I am even briefly convinced that I don't like the people at the party. (Note to self: the pull of the roving is harder to resist when weakened by lack of sleep, further note: this is likely the rovings plan)

5:30 I take the whiny Dublin bay socks to the street party. They have a good time. I pretend to love them, but think only of the roving.

12:30 Back home I try to spin but accidentally fall asleep. Luckily the intense cramping in my leg has spread into the right side of my arse, waking me before I fall into the wheel.

10:00 I decide to spend the day with my children, (right after I get a little spinning in).

10:10 The expression "wool widow" is used in the house. I begin to think that Joe and the children may have noticed the wheel attached to my leg. I get up and go out with them. A whole day is wasted on "loving my family" and "spending time with the children".

Sunday morning. 8:30 I attempt to get up before the rest of the family to spin. Joe stops me as I leave our bed, worried that maybe I am getting up to spin. He wonders if maybe the fact that my right leg (or treadle leg, as I have come to think of it) is dragging uselessly behind me means that I may be a little obsessed about the spinning thing. I laugh and gently reassure him that I have no intention of spinning. (With that leg) I'm just going to work for a while. I'm not obsessed.

8:32 I am at the wheel, but when I hear the family coming downstairs and scurry (well, as fast as I can with that gimpy leg) to the computer and feign interest in my job. When Joe asks me if I was spinning I laugh and kiss him to draw his attention away from the still moving wheel. I mumble something about the cat playing with the wheel. I try to look innocent. I don't know if he bought it.
I take another tylenol and wait for these people to clear out. They don't understand anything.

12:30 Victory is mine.


My only regret is that I must wash it to set the twist before I can start the socks.

9:00 Monday morning. The wool is not dry. After a brief period of consideration, I've retrieved the hair dryer, (What? Don't look at me like that. Wool is hair) because nothing can tear me from this project, when the letter carrier comes.
Aubergine and I did a really cool wool trade, and his package for me arrives this morning and has a birthday bonus in it.


Alpaca. I love Alpaca. Maybe a scarf? Oh....gloves, knit sideways? A hat? A wimple? What the heck do I have this hair dryer for?
You know, I should start this right away or Aubergine will think I don't like it.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:53 AM

July 2, 2004

You were saying?

Yesterday proved a smashing success. As far as I can tell, Ryan's Dublin Bay Socks (DBS) had a pretty good time, though they are hard to please. (Lace is like that. All you gotta do is buy a stockinette stitch sock a beer and they're pretty happy, plain garter stitch is thrilled if you stick 'em in the bottom of your purse when you go to the grocery store, but lace...bit of an attitude)
We took them to Ontario Place, and they had a good time on the play structure,


and Ken and Megan took them on the log ride.


They whimpered about getting wet though, but the way I see it, they should be grateful that they are getting to go on rides at all. All the other knitting I know doesn't get to go on a log ride. I threatened them with a ziplock prison and they shut it up pretty quick.

We finished up the evening with fireworks,


and the DBS and I had a little chat. They would like to know why it is that I persist in thinking that I can knit lace in the dark. They took a nasty hit at the movies the other day, and last night may have been the last straw. We are in negotiations.

Meanwhile, I was preparing for another ordinary day, doing ordinary things, like laundry, or trying to cover my breasts with a mango tank top, when I opened the door and found a package from my talented and generous friend Laurie. (You remember Laurie, she made the yarn for these socks. She's a genius.) She sent me an incredible box of birthday treats.

Doesn't it just give you a little hitch in your throat? It's all so beautiful. The white is a romney fleece that Laurie bought and combed into roving. It couldn't be more even and perfect. (Can you tell? When I grow up I want to be Laurie)


This is a little birthday laceweight. I love laceweight, and Laurie knows the way to my heart is through skinny little yarns. This is from "A touch of twist" in New York. It's actually a little darker (and bluer) than the picture suggests. The colour is called "Evening Magic". It's heartbreakingly beautiful. I might swatch the butterfly shawl and make a scarf with it. I might design a whole other scarf. I might just get it a little velvet bag so that I can carry it around with me everywhere I go, you know, like a little fibre pet.

In the box, there was also two of these.


I am not worthy. I can scarcely breathe. If you aren't impressed then you haven't figured out what this is. Never mind...all will become clear in the fullness of time.

Hey...did you hear that noise? That screeching noise? It's the sound of every other project in the queue coming to a halt (along with any personal growth I was making about sticking to one or two projects at a time)
What was I working on? Can't remember.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:20 AM

July 1, 2004

Happy Canada Day.

The Yarn Harlot, being very Canadian, is celebrating today, and the blog will be neglected while she shows the DB socks a good time (Note the presence of the fine Canadian Beer, of which I have a very Canadian two-four.)


Things for a knitter to do on Canada Day instead of read Yarn Harlot.

1. Knit Koigu. Koigu is Canadian, and is in fact part of our plan to take over the world. (Jim Carey is also part of this plan, which does not involve back bacon)
2. Knit Fleece Artist, Briggs and Little or Mission Falls. Canadian all the way, and really a good deal if you happen to be using American Dollars.
3. Go see the new Knitty, which while it embraces knitters around the world is put together right here in Toronto by Amy Singer. A Canadian.
4. Admire the work of Canadians Sally Melville, Lucy Neatby or Debbie New.
5. Drink 5% beer and eat poutine.
6.Knit Patons "Canadiana"
7. Order something from Fiddlesticks Knitting, which wins the official Harlot prize for best charts in a lace pattern. (Again with the exchange rate. Check out the deal you're getting)
8. Listen to a Canadian book on tape while you knit.
9. Rent a movie with a Canadian Actor or Actress. Listen to some Canadian tunes.
10. Take a whirl around the Canadian Fibre Arts ring. (The link is on the right)

Celebrate Canada!

Posted by Stephanie at 1:28 PM