December 30, 2005

You can't always get what you want...

My porch is covered in recycling. Covered. An ocean of cardboard boxes, egg nog containers, wrapping paper... all the the flotsam and jetsam a holiday leaves in it's wake and it's going to get worse before it gets better because at some point in the fast-paced celebrate-o-rama whirlwhind we've been on over here, both Joe and I lost all touch with reality, and missed recycle pick up day.

Actually, we didn't "miss" it as much as we had absolutely no idea what day of the week it was. That's how it gets around here at the holidays. Somewhere in between Christmas eve with Joe's family, Christmas with my family, Boxing day with my Great Aunt and Uncle, houseguests from out of town, herds of small children all over the place, Holiday parties, concerts, services and cookies, meals, candles, dinners, brunches and deadline knitting,

Yvwraps1

(this is the shawl that needed to be done yesterday. It isn't.)
not to mention that much of this is accompanied by bottles and bottles and bottles of wine (and even if you don't drink them and other people do it still can lead to a lack of clarity that's disorganizing) and suddenly you've got two adults who have no hope of pinning down the fact that it's actually Tuesday and are now stuck with a double dose of recycling that they can't get rid of. Brilliant move.

The highlight of all of this cardboard/empty bottle/wrapping paper generating season is always my mums party. She hosts an epic scene each year between Christmas and New Years, and it's a party in fine McPhee style. People come from far and wide, many of them people we see only once a year, and we eat, and we drink and we rock babies, and we tell stories and (as I have explained previously) we dance. (I'm not going to try to explain being a dancing family. Either you are are you aren't. We really are.)

The highlight of this big to-do was always Janine. Nobody danced more, laughed more, listened more, talked more (and occasionally, drank more) than Janine, and I have to admit that as we crept up to the date of the party I worried. Most years, Janine was the heart of the party. I worried that without her this year we would miss her too much to have fun. I worried that people would cry at the party and make the other guests uncomfortable, (I worried that person would be me.) I worried about her husband Stephen and how he would face one of Janine's favourite days. I worried that we wouldn't be able to have mimosas without the whole party dissolving into something that took several boxes of kleenex to pull together....and because I am largely a coward, I didn't want to go.

Yesterday I got up, I made a hundred million little tart things, forced my three daughters to put on an outfit that didn't include jeans ripped in the arse and went. I know that all of you are more mature and worldly than me, so I know that I'm the going to be the only one who is totally suprised by this, but it was fine. Better than fine.
Everybody coped, everyone went on. Stephen danced with Tupper and my mum and all of us,

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and when it got late, really late...and when I'd taken a deep breath and looked around at my whole family still going on, we all realized something incredible. We'd done it. We'd done the party without Janine and everyone had gotten through. We were sad and we missed her very, very much, but nobody sobbed the whole evening. There was Joy in much of it. Joy watching Janine's niece and nephew take a bubble bath with my nephew, a whole next generation of little kids repeating infamous bathtimes Julie, Janine and I remembered vividly together from our childhood. Joy sharing another Christmas and realizing that as much as this hurts, it hurts less than it did and that things do get better. They really do. Janine would have loved it.
So we got it together. Stephen took the lead and we put Janine's favourite dancing song on, we turned it up loud, we poured the drinks that Janine loved at Christmas and we held our mimosas up and stuck together, and toasted her. Then we tore it up to the chorus of the Stones song that Neen always sang at the top of her lungs,

Stickstands

You can't always get what you want,
but if you try sometimes, you just might find,

You get what you need.

Happy New Year all. Stick together with the people you got.
See you in 2006.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:50 PM

December 27, 2005

Gen the Genius

I am not the only knitter in my family. I know that seems incredible, considering how much of the knitter mojo landed on me, you would think it unlikely that there would be two of us in a family, and indeed...one had to marry in.

Mlfsa1

Here's my brother Ian and his lovely bride Alison, enthusiastically modeling their presents from Alison's mother, Genevieve. (Hi Gen!) Check it out my friends, what you have here are absolutely classic Canadian works of art, fresh off the knitters needles and born straight out of that infamous purveyor of all Canadian craftiness, Mary Maxim.

The astute among you will note that Ian's sweater sports the logo for the Toronto Maple Leafs, his team of choice. (The astute will also notice that he's also gripping a bottle of Canadian. It was a moment of national pride.) Perhaps you are thinking that this is a pretty good fan sweater. (If you are also thinking that my brother will likely wear this sweater every single day of his life until he dies and then asks to be buried in in you would also be right, but I digress.) If you were thinking that this was a good fan sweater, or even an excellent fan sweater, you would be a wrong.

This is the best fan sweater of all time. Why? What has Gen done to propel this sweater above all the other Hockey Logo sweaters knit in all of Canada? (I assure you that it is competing in a broad field. Hockey logo sweaters of all types enjoy a position of esteem that really isn't proportionately related to the population of this country. I can't explain it. Ask around, it'll freak you out. ) Gen the Genius has done this.

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Dude. Logos in armpits for cheering. I tell you. Ian is never taking this off.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:34 PM

December 24, 2005

The trumpet thing

Yesterday evening Joe and I were scheduled to go down to the 'Shoe, because Christmas in Toronto (for us) wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't go to the Skydiggers Christmas party. Still, last night I was hard pressed to get myself out of the house. I had knitting, I was thinking I wasn't going to finish on time, somebody has to wrap all this, maybe there be one more batch of cookies? Could I really take the time off to go to a concert? I was torn, until one thing made up my mind.

The front man for the Skydiggers happens to be our friend Andy Maize. Andy is, like all the guys in the band, consistently a fine example of humanity, but that isn't what prompted me to go.
What it is, is that Andy plays the trumpet sometimes, and it fills me with this incredible, impossible joy that almost moves me to tears.

It isn't that it's so beautiful...not in the traditional way, because frankly, Andy's trumpet playing is, well...one of the guys in the band last night called it "spontaneous". Andy isn't a trumpet player, he's a guy who plays a little trumpet, the same way that I play a little piano and maybe you can play a few chords on the guitar. It is not the quality of the music he makes that moves me. Frankly, it's that Andy isn't that great, he knows he isn't that great, and in the face of all of that, he gets up and plays the thing every Christmas in front of a whole bunch of people, throws his whole being into doing it and just being himself...and he does it loudly, fully...with risk and love and chances and honesty and ....and everyone loves it best.

It's hard to figure why. I mean, this audience is looking for excellence. The Skydiggers are fine, fine, well practiced musicians. A ticket to see the Christmas Concert ain't cheap, and not one of them would normally be content with having a member of the band play something that was anything less than perfect. They have an incredible lead guitar, a fabulous drummer, an untouchable bassist and Andy, who sings so well that other people dream of being him. Then they have the trumpet.

Last night, when they finally played "Good King Wenceslas" and Andy reached for the trumpet, I sort of wondered what I was doing. I had so much left to do. I had so much knitting to finish, there were pressures and there was things undone and here I was hanging it all out there, wasting time to hear my buddy Andy play mediocre trumpet and somehow, despite having half knit socks, a trashed house, unwrapped gifts and a million things to do, suddenly I was really, really not wishing I was anywhere else, and I figured it out.

By the way, If you want to hear a little trumpet, spread a little joy and do some good in the world all at the same time, the Good King Wenceslas song that makes my Christmas is available for download here. It only costs 50 cents Canadian, and all profits go to the world famous Hospital For Sick Children.

As the room roared around Andy and he threw his heart and soul into quite possibly one of the only three songs he knows how to play on the thing...I got it. Why I love it, why it works, why every time Andy plays the trumpet I get that tight crazy feeling in my chest that I feel whenever something is so beautiful that it fills your soul entirely.

I poke a lot of fun at deadline knitting. There's the hotline (877-SOS-KNIT) There's the "IT" stories I've written...there is, quite frankly how demented I've been the last few weeks as I try to show everyone I love how much I love them by wrapping them in my wool and my time, and then there is today. There's Andy playing the trumpet, doing his best, making a joyful noise...reaching for the good in everything, even a trumpet. Today, even though I've been maniacal and desperate and rushing...today I'm taking a deep breath, I'm listening to Andy step up to the mike, stand in front of hundreds of people and do the best he can with his big heart...
and I'm letting go.

Now is the time. I'm knitting now for my heart and hands. I'm going to read a story to my kids. Look out the window, check the sky for stars and snow, light a candle for those you love and miss who cannot be with you now. Don't spoil a minute of it worrying about unfinished presents, less than perfect wrapping jobs, immolated meringues and what the right greeting for this time of year is.
Take a little time, do your best and spread some joy. Reach out, love fully and completely, and take a risk. Play the trumpet as loudly as you can.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons greetings and Peace from the Harlot house to yours.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:33 PM

December 22, 2005

Easy as 1,2,4.

This year my good buddy Lene gave me one of her standard gifts.
It's a schedule. A pre-Christmas run-up organizational schedule. (This is one of the ways that we have discovered that Lene's natural and incredible proclivity for running other peoples lives can be used for good.) Everyone has a talent, and Lene's may be that she can, given a spread sheet, 15 minutes and a list of your commitments, whip up a schedule that will tell you, down to the very minute what you should be doing in order to have complete success (If not free will). This would normally bug the snot out of me. I would resist the schedule. I would lose it, or cram it in my purse or wander around making changes to it with a black pen while muttering almost unintelligibly, "Nobody tells me what to do. I do what I want." Not this time of year. This time of year I find it extraordinarily comforting to have it all arranged. I don't have to wonder how I will finish on time...I just look at my list.

Wrap 30 minutes. Cookies 1 hour. Knit sock 1.5 hours.

Lene is so gifted at this that if I follow the schedule she makes for me, if I suspend all independent thought, if I simply do as I am told unquestioningly and without suspicion....I will finish everything. It will all be done. This makes me mighty fond of the schedule.

This years schedule is a little tight though, and Lene? I'm going to need to make a few changes to it to make it work.

1. I started socks C (I noticed there was no time for winding yarn on the schedule, so I did that instead of wrapping gifts. The children can wrap the presents with tin foil in two seconds. It'll be festive.) but I had a bit of a gauge accident on the bus and had to pull back the whole sock the size of the Hindenburg's obese older brother and start again.

Socksc5

(Somebody will ask. Two Sheep Yarns. Yum.)
I'm only just noticing that there is no room for knitterly error on the schedule. It only works if I make absolutely no mistakes. This may be some pressure, but I'm sure I can adapt.

2. Clearly, responding to the pressure I have lost my ability to count. (This could have been what went wrong with the sock.) Lucky for me, the people who read this blog are smarter than I am and Edith caught my mistake in the hat pattern from yesterday. The cast on is 86 stitches, not the 88 that I carefully counted (twice) noted and wrote down so that other people close to the edge could start to knit a hat this close to Christmas only to discover that the Yarn Harlot has led them down the path to disaster. (I imagine the mail I got on that one wouldn't be too friendly either...) Lene? I went back and fixed it on yesterday's entry but that took an extra five minutes that was supposed to be for shopping...so then I missed the bus and that took 30 minutes more. I've changed knitting Socks A to knitting Socks C because my hands were to cold from being outside for that long to knit tiny needles on the bus. This change should still work, since I'll swap Socks A for an hour of mittens on Friday.

3. There may have been a minor Christmas cookie incident. I was making meringues. That went fine, and according to schedule I baked them, turned off the oven and left them in there to dry. (There is really very little victory in life that I enjoy more than being on schedule.) I worked on Socks A,

Socksa8

just like the schedule said. Then I worked on some wrapping and the cleaning and put in a load of laundry and turned on the oven to preheat it for the gingerbread and knit on Socks B before realizing I was ahead for a minute or two and deciding that there was enough room in the schedule to break loose and call my mother. It took me a little longer than usual to find the phone because of all the smoke...so I wasn't sure that I would...be....going to.....Smoke?

Damn. For the love of O(*&*^%$!@!!! just whack me with a metal spatula until this is over.

Meringueinferno1

Immolated. A fiery meringue inferno of festive disaster. (Seen here in the backyard in the snow, melted in their tragic blackness to the parchment they were so tenderly placed on. Throwing them in the snow was the fastest way I could think of to get the smoke to stop.) I forgot they were still in the oven.
When I opened the oven the smoke was released so quickly that all of the smoke detectors went off and I had to go off schedule for another 15 minutes to run between all of the detectors in the house fanning them with a hand towel with a snowman on it to get them to stop.

After carefully assessing the time lost, I have decided in my infinite wisdom, on the best and perhaps only way to deal with the problem. I sorted out how to replace the meringues, move the knitting time the meringues take to replace by giving up an hour of sleep and moving the shopping for wrapping paper over to the evening when Joe can do it if I change his time to help me wrap until the morning and get the kids to decorate cookies tomorrow instead of tonight when the cookies are in the oven and switch mitten knitting for sock knitting so that we can still go to the Christmas party tomorrow night and I was starting to feel better...and then Lene? Then it came to me....

*&^%$# the stinking meringues.

I think I'm adapting to the changes in the schedule pretty well.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:21 PM

December 21, 2005

The longest night

Today marks the winter solstice, the first day of winter, the longest, darkest night of the year, the shortest day. Cate wrote beautifully about it here. We'll mark the occasion at the Kensington Market Festival of Lights which is a beautiful explosion of all winter festivals.

Today, the glorious high of finishing the blankets has worn off and I'm feeling the first real pangs of concern. (If here we understand "concern" to be an enormous tight feeling in my chest). There are four days...and here's where I am.

Ojsocknd1
Socks A. First sock done, second sock, heel just turned. These will be finished.

Trekndbn1
Socks B. First sock done, second sock heel turned. This too is in the realm of possibility. (Really, four days for two half socks is not even special knitting.)

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Socks C. I'm sure the problem here is obvious. This one is what may catapult me into Olympic level knitting.

Carnage65
A pom-pom trimming event finished the hat,

Sshatdone2
and the scarf is...well. The scarf is that yarn under the hat. This may be a little dodgy, but I'm going to distract you with the patten for this very quick hat, good for leftovers. Maybe it will get one of you out of trouble.

Estimated time: 4 hours. (Maybe less. I didn't time it, but it was fast.)

4.5mm needles and worsted weight yarn (gauge largely irrelevant thanks to the elastic nature of ribbing) fits most average heads.

Cast on 86 stitches and working back and forth, striping as the spirit moves you (or not at all) work 2X2 ribbing:
Row 1: *K2, P2 repeat from * to end, K2.
Row 2: *P2, K2, repeat from * to end, P2.

Repeat these two rows until you have 20cm of knitting. (If you found yourself with an extra hour, you could totally make that 28cm and have a fold up brim, IF you had an extra hour.) End ready to begin a "Row 1"
Decrease as follows:
1st row: K2 *P2, Knit 2 together, repeat from * across to last 4 stitches, P2, K2.
Second row: work all stitches as they appear (Knit knits and purl purls.)
Third row: Knit 2 *Purl 2 together, knit 1, repeat to the last 4 stitches, purl 2 together, knit 2.
4th row: work all stitches as they appear
5th row, Knit 2, knit 2 together across the row, K2.
6th row: Purl
7th row, Knit 2 together across the row, then break yarn and thread through remaining stitches and pull up into a circle. Then use this yarn to sew your seam, and weave in any ends from the striping.
Make a big honking pom-pom and whack it on the top. Wrap.

300
This is the mittens and hat. (Yes. I know. I know...I know. This is a bit of a long shot, but I really think that if I pull it together I can make it. It's just not going to be easy. )

Besides all this...there's a wrap to finish, which, when I am done will be 80 inches, but is currently 12 inches. I have sunk low enough to think that this is completely possible because it's not due until the 29th. (I can start to feel the crazy around the edges of that one.)

I have obtained a knitting schedule, and am ready to begin the marathon. I have chocolate, screech, nog and a pretty decent grip on the sort of commitment it's going to take. I would like no mention of how I am really only getting down to brass tacks on the 21st. I prefer (even though there is clearly more than 4 days of knitting in the pictures above) not to think of my self as deeply deluded, but rather...enterprising.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:55 AM

December 20, 2005

All things are possible

You know how sometimes, especially in the run up to a big deadline, you knit and knit and knit and you get nowhere? There's all of these pressures and projects and you look at the whole thing and you think "There's just no way I'm going to make it." Then you knit around and around and maybe have an eggnog or seven and when you wake up there's still no end in sight?

So then you calculate your row gauge, because there's just no way that if there is 5 rows to an inch and you have knit 34 rows that whatever you are knitting can possibly be no bigger at all? You know that one?

I don't. Not today. Today, I have victory.

Tblanks1

That's right, knitters of my heart, the baby blankies are done. Done. Finished. Completed, out of the way. They are moving on and I am released from their lacy worsted blankiness and must knit on them no longer. They go from my needles to wrap the Tinks in warm knitterly love.

Tblanks2

Lene calls these "The love blankets" and it's a pretty good name. Not only are they gifts for the wee babes this family is looking out for, they are a group project. Lene bought the wool, Ken knit the garter middles (note for next time. Garter middles should be bigger to split workload more evenly) and I knit and knit the outsides.
I think they look smashing, and they have a pretty good vibe.

Specs for those who will ask: Misson Falls 1824 wool (recently re-continued) in teal and raspberry. 12 balls (and a little ) of each.
The centres were garter stitch (4 balls), knit on the bias, then stitches were picked up all round and knit out until the yarn was gone. The teal blankets edge is "faggoted rib" and the raspberry is "little arrowhead" both from here, worked in the round with a double increase at each corner (every other row) to make the mitres.

I am so happy that the two half socks, the full pair of socks, the scarf, the mitten and hat set (oh..I forgot to tell you I added those) and the shawl that I need to finish in mere days all seem like nothing. Blips. No wool of consequence. I have knit two blankets and I am a mighty knitter. I'm all hopped up on the smell of wet wool blocking and I feel like I could knit four sweaters by Saturday. Bring it on. Now if you don't mind. I have some wrapping to do.
Pass the egg-nog tape.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:38 PM

December 19, 2005

Diversity

Ironically, while I am enjoying diversity in my community, it is driving me batty in my knitting.

Ktsdmsd

Several failed attempts to make these match perfectly have been abandoned as absolutely impossible. (This may be the only flaw I can think of with the Trekking XXL yarn. It seems to make fraternal rather than identical socks.) When I couldn't take it anymore, I started the second sock of this pair.

Jdsdm

Sigh. Let this be a lesson to us all.

I've been swinging back and forth about whether or not I should address the explosion in the comments the other day. (Who knew that suggesting we be all equal in the eyes of the public school board would inspire debate?) I decided to let go of the comments. We're all (mostly) entitled to our opinions, assuming that they are expressed with respect, so I'm going to leave them as an illustration of the different viewpoints possible among equals. (I'd like to remind you that the comments are my virtual living room, and that you should speak there the way that you would in my home, but most of you get that already.)

I am however, going to address another issue. Some people felt it necessary to send me private email. To those of you who sent thoughtful, intelligent email that respected me as a person (even while disagreeing with me) Thank you. To those of you who sent me the mail that was cruel, hurtful and unkind to me and my family, I'd like to say this. (By the way, I think some of you should look up the word "secular" in the dictionary before you continue. Note especially that nowhere does it say "evil, evil, evil")

1. I still believe that it is ok for our secular school to have a secular concert, and that there really is something wrong with believing that songs from around the world don't belong in a concert called "Songs from around the world".

2. You are not entitled to your opinion if that opinion is a hate crime. (Hint: telling people they are bad, trying to send them away from your community, or praying that God will defend you by harming them because they are not the same as you would fall into this category)
I've thought about it, and I don't mind being told that I am being intolerant of bigots. (In case it comes up later, I'm also ok with being accused of intolerance towards racists.)

3. Death threats make the baby Jesus cry. Ho ho ho!

Posted by Stephanie at 7:58 PM

December 16, 2005

The Sammy Show

Last night, me, Joe and sock B (now at the toe, thanks for asking) took ourselves (and two crabby teenaged sisters) down to Sam's school for the "Songs from Around the World" concert.

Sorthw

So brilliant, so tremendously talented, so incredible is my youngest child that out of fourteen songs performed last night, my stellar, incomparable daughter figured in eight of them. (This means that we had such a good time last night that Joe didn't even engage in his annual concert pastime of mentally figuring out A) how long the concert will go on, or B) how many more concerts we have to get through before our children all graduate, although...for the sake of anyone wondering, the answer is 19.)

Sam played Spanish songs on the french horn:

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Sam performed native dance and song:

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Sam expertly executed a Maori Stick game:

Mukuwaymaori

Sam sang Allunde in a quartet (accompanied by the choir. Very slick):

Allunde1

Sam was in the front row for the "Hymn to Freedom" ...signing and singing her little heart out:

Hymntof1

(Note for the folks who always wonder if my ability to focus when my children perform is completely absent. I deliberately blur the pictures, since I think the decision to post pictures of your kid on the net is a personal one. I don't have the permission of all of those kids, so I blur 'em.)

It was a sparkling evening, and did confirm that while other peoples children seem very nice, my child is the best one. (Just sayin')

Other children's parents however, left a little to be desired. The parents sitting directly behind us while we watched our darling daughter not only talked through all of the performances, they said the most incredible things. A few gems.

Them: This isn't Christmassy! Why are there no Christmas songs?
What I didn't say so I don't wreck my kids night: Read the program. Seriously. What about "Songs from around the world" read as "Christian celebration of Christ"? Just because something happens in December doesn't mean it's about Christmas. (My own life and decent into Christmas knitting notwithstanding.) This is the Toronto Public School Board, not a private Christian school, and the last time I checked this country had a very clear separation of Church and State.
I know that this will come as a shock to you, but your child attends school with some kids who are not Catholic like you, and your government has a responsibility to not play favourites with religion, or to give the Hindu kid your son plays tag with at lunch the impression that his school doesn't think he's not spiritually correct. If you want a Christmas show, I would direct you to the very nice church down the street, suggest you go to the mall, turn on the TV or sing carols with your family. There's lots of Christmas to be had, I promise your kid won't miss it because they didn't make the end of term concert about the holiday.

Them: I don't believe this. Native songs? Japanese songs? Great. This ones African. What does this have to do with Christmas? Why don't these people get their own show?
WIDSSIDWMKN: "These people"? THESE PEOPLE? For starters Dude, those people outnumber you. Watch your step, your racism is showing. In this school of 300 students there are 23 languages spoken. In your kids class there are 13 languages, kids of every possible colour and race and buddy, bad news... they are Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Muslim and a few more that I don't know about. These People? One in five people on the planet is a Muslim, your kid is one of six white children in his class, and I don't think that your religion serves up such an enormous trump card that all of "those people" should have to suck it up at their own child's concert. For a good chunk of the world, my friend, December 25th is 'nuthin but another day of the year, so maybe you aught to pull yourself together, remember you're not the most important guy on the planet, and if it's really important to you that your kid gets to celebrate your religious holiday at school...get him to the Catholic school next door. It's free too.

Them: It's like they don't know the meaning of Christmas!

WIDSSIDWMKN: Are you sure it's them? Last time I checked there was something in the bible about loving everybody the way they are, and all people being equal. You live in a multicultural neighbourhood in a multi-cultural city, and this is the way it works when no one portion of humankind is more valid than the other. I'm not Christian (though I do like your holiday) so I could be wrong about this, but I really think that you might want to think a little about the love, peace and goodwill to all men that's in those songs you want to hear.

Peace out.

Posted by Stephanie at 5:30 PM

December 15, 2005

Don't even try.

I'm copping out of the blog today. Instead I will distract you with pictures of cookies.

Yarnpartyw2

Photo taken at the Lettuce Knit Christmas party last night, (last night after most folks had gone home and only the leftovers were there) where I escaped an incident with the Fleece Artist thrum mitten kits by the skin of my teeth. (Chant it with me. We do not buy ourselves many presents at Christmas.) I managed to get home having only bought present yarn. (That is yarn to be knit into presents and yarn that will be presents all by itself.)

Denmegthingies

Denny (right) gave Megan (left) a seriously cool mobius capelet thingie with little felted guys around the bottom. It's designed by Cat Bordhi for Fleece Artist as another thing to do with the thrummed mitten kits (See? I should have bought it.) Though Denny made these out of her handspun. I liked it, which surprised me, since I'm usually a pretty traditional knitter. I think it's the thingies that got me. It's like mutant fringe.

I was stunned to discover that not only was I fixing to buy yarn last night (it was the wine. Having liquor at a yarn shop is pretty smart. Everybody gets all loose with the credit card.) but I was fixing to buy lots of yarn to knit into stuff before Christmas. I'm serious. Socks, hats, strangely compelling mobius things.....
I've got to get a grip.

Blanket Race

Days: 16
Balls of yarn knit up: 16 (I caught up. I am so pleased with myself that I feel immodest.)
Balls of yarn left to go: 3 (THREE)
Babies weights: I dunno, but they are seriously cute. Who cares how big they are when they are that good looking?
Mood: It's moments like this that make me think that I should really have bought all that stuff at Lettuce Knit last night . Clearly I can knit as fast as I need to. (This is a dangerous delusion, and one I suffer from frequently.)

Since this is going so well, we shall come clean about what exactly I think I'm knitting before the 25th.

Two baby blankets.
(I'm so close I can smell victory. Shouldn't even be on the list.)

Three pairs of socks.
A. First sock of the pair at the heel
B. First sock or the pair at the toe
C. First sock of the pair...um, ...Still yarn, as is the second sock of the pair. (In case you were feeling like a smartass)

One hat and scarf set.
A. Hat...um...Yarn
B. Scarf...still yarn.
(I have to admit that this is worse than it sounds. I haven't even chosen the yarn yet. I like to think I'm "processing the decision".)

One 80 inch long rectangular shawl
(technically needs to be done the 28th)

Shawlnb1

8 inches knit.
(Please. The 28th? That's like...so far away. It's fine. No problem.)

Warning: do not attempt this at home without the support of nog, cookies and a poor grip on reality. Other items may be added to this list without warning, and others buried in the backyard and all knowledge of their existence denied. (All blog entries pertaining to these items will be deleted.)

What are you trying to finish? Is there anyone else in this much trouble with as positive an attitude? Come clean.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:57 AM

December 14, 2005

Are you sure...

Are you sure that the Amazing Race understands Canada? I don't usually speak about my affection for reality tv, and I was just as excited as is possible that The Amazing Race was coming to Canada (did you check them all out complaining that it was going to be cold? In Toronto? In the Summer? I realize that the irony of complaining about the persistent "Brr...Canada" myth is going to lose most of it's impact considering that we've had an extreme cold warning for days, but the point is that it's not summer. In July it is hot, just like in many other countries all around the world...but I digress.) What actually ticked me off, was the "two sports that are popular in Canada". Curling (fair enough) and "log rolling".
Log rolling? Are you messing with me? I'm supposed to be "log rolling"? Not only have I never log rolled, I don't know any log rollers and I've never (until last night) seen log rolling on TV. Popular? You know, I was actually naive enough that I thought that log rolling was a whole other sport. I thought it was birling, done on water, rolling a log...just like in the "Log Drivers Waltz", not rolling a log along a course on land. I mean, I'm sure it's a sport. I really am...but "popular"? Nevermind. Thank goodness that Montreal LUMBERJACK (because you know that world-class urban cities are just chock full of lumberjacks in this country) was there to explain the game. I'm sorry. I won't say anything more. I'll just feed my moose and pout in my igloo.

Are you sure, that I am going to be able to give these socks away?

Trekskilu2

I am so seriously entertained by this yarn that I am wasting valuable knitting time composing love letters to whoever invented it. It's charming. Completely charming. See the way it's changing colour? See it? I love it. I spend lots of time looking at it and looking at the ball and wondering what's going to happen. I spend the rest of my time following people around going "Look! Look at the yarn!" I must have more. I shall prepare an email to my family advising them that I require no other Christmas present than more Trekking XXL sock yarn. If I receive it as a gift I shall lay it on a silver tray on the coffee table and build a wee shrine to it with lesser yarns paying homage all around while candles (a respectful distance away) scented with natural oils burn with a flame that seems dim compared to the glory that is my Trekking XXL sock yarn.

Treksyil1

Are you sure, that I am supposed to be the only one getting ready for Christmas around here? I'm trying to figure out how it is that this family can have two adults, two and a half teenagers and yet still have every single Christmas come down to me weeping at the Shoppers while they stand there saying:
"I'd love to help, but I just don't have any time"
"I'm sorry you're stressed out, by the way...what did you get Bob?"
"Are you going to be making more of those cookies, these are almost gone."
or my favourite...
"Can I get $20 bucks to buy you a present?"

No time? Too busy? Hear me now. MAKE TIME. Bend time, invent time, influence the time-space continuum, stay up all night, give up reading the paper...try harder, water the tree, manage your time, stop eating the cookies, and for the love of all things decent, understand that elves aren't going to the grocery store, (that's me out there in the snow you gaggle of ingrates) and it's not like I don't have anything to do (little Miss "I don't like last years hat") and start doing all of this today people, because darn it, that's what I do. This family needs to stop being a passel of pussies and get some time management skills together pronto because Mama needs another roll of freakin' tape and someone other than me is going out into the snow to get it. Now get out of my way. I'm knitting a sock.

PS. The next person to tell me that they think that Christmas is making me grouchy gets to wrap every single one of the presents.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:53 AM

December 13, 2005

We are a simple people

Yesterday I sat on the couch and knit a scarf. Last night Ken sat on the couch and knit a scarf. Beginning to end, maybe 2 hours apiece. This is mine and not his,

2Hrscarves1

but dude, it was a fast, wickedly quick stocking stuffer. If you're feeling like maybe all this Christmas knitting is getting you down, do one of these. They aren't all that slick, but it gives you a wool buzz that lasts for hours.
Someone will ask me, I know they will (Now, you know that I would usually mock anyone who couldn't figure this out, but I understand that with mere days to go you may be drunk and hostile rushing, and that there is little time for useful thought, so I will forgive you for not taking the time to sort your own garter stitch scarf out. Do not expect this sort of lassitude in June, when if you ask me for the exact same thing I shall laugh and laugh and deny you cake.) so here is the pattern, such as it is.

Bulky wool, about 120 metres, (or a combination of yarns that give you bulky, like 3 strands of worsted held together) size 8mm circular needle. (Get a long one, maybe 80cm.)
Gauge: Seriously? It's a scarf...how will it not fit? What could happen? I mean for the love of.... 8 stitches to 4 inches.

Cast on 120 stitches (loosely) and leave the tail hanging. Knit a row, and when you get to the end, leave a long loop hanging. A loop as long as you would like your fringe to be. Knit 20 rows total, then cast of loosely (I am serious about the looseness) and cut your loops to make fringe, snug up the ends and tie two strands of the hanging ends together in an overhand knot, all the way across.

2Knot2Hr

To make stripes, begin and end new colours at will, leaving the ends hanging as you go.
When you are done, block the whole thing by wetting it and then giving it a nice tug and hanging it to dry. It will likely grow a fair bit at that point. Mine did, coming in at about 170cm (66 inches) excluding fringe when it was dry.
There are better other scarves like this here, here and here. Go nuts. Two hours, one present.

While Ken was knitting his version I kept bugging him. "Isn't it fast? Isn't it funny? Isn't it cracking you up? Ken? Ken?" and Ken (who really loves it when he comes over and I not only force him to knit things but also harass him while he does so) did concede that he was having a pretty good time and that it was holding his interest because (get this) the slight variegation in the yarn made it "interesting to watch".
I agreed (somehow) that it was sort of intriguing to see it change from light blue to dark blue to medium blue to dark again....and that I too had found it gripping.

Varie2Hr

We are a simple people.

Blanket race:
Days: 14
Balls of yarn knit up: 13 (yes. I'm a day behind, but I knit a scarf...)
Balls of yarn left to go: 6
Babies weights: Just a smidge above birth-weight
Mood: Well... did I mention I made a scarf!

Finally, for Carole, Carol, Patti, Tree and Lora all of whom felt it necesarry to point out that they were finished their gift knitting in the comments yesterday.....The rest of us would like your addresses.
We're just going to come over and force you to knit presents for our families until you weep tears and admit that adequate planning, foresight, intelligence and normal human reason just aren't worth it bring you some cookies.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:38 PM

December 12, 2005

A tree in the house

There is a tree in the house (and cookies in the oven.) This can only mean one thing.

PANIC NOW.

Socktreejsr

(Well, apparently it also means that now I may pose knitting among shrubbery without venturing outside, but that's a lesser point. Seen here among the branches is a Christmas sock, not nearly done enough. It's "Lana Grossa Meilenweit Multiringel" for those of you who are about to ask. Colour # 5040.)

The greater point is that NOW is the time. People just don't go and put great big honking needle dropping trees in the middle of their living rooms for no reason at all. It means that Christmas is soon and that you need to move. Wrap something. Bake something. Knit something. Move. Go Now.

Still here? Er, me too...but then again, I like to live on the edge. I like to live so much on the edge, that I spent friday doing a dye job on some old Lion Brand Van Gogh yarn that I had.

Dyejob21

(What? Isn't that what you would do if there was only 14 days until Christmas? Waste a knitting day on dyeing some yarn a better colour? You know you would.) This is one 28g bottle of blue food dye on 400g of wool. (It was an impulse. I was on the phone with That Laurie, complaining about my plain wool. She suggested dying and I said that I didn't have any dye and she said "I bet you do". She was right. Good thing I found the food dye or I have no idea where she would have gone with that. The woman is a force.)

Dyejbm1

The yarn is very pretty now, and I was really quite pleased with myself until I found that I had only dyed two of the three skeins.
I was going to be upset (this is a sign of maturity in me. See that? I was *going to be* upset) and now I have become very happy with the idea of stripes.
Loving the stripes. (Flexibility is very important with only 13 knitting days until Christmas. See that? More maturity. Don't get used to it.)

I'm being brief today (aforementioned cookies in the oven) but wanted to thank a bunch of you. I got this wonderful surprise in the mail.

Gifthh1

It's a beautiful blanket, the brainchild of Kathy B. (Last name withheld to protect her internet privacy) but knit on by too many to list. I'm not usually sappy and certainly not the type to go weeping over my mail but this blanket was made by these wonderful knitters as an expression of sympathy for the loss of Janine, and it did move me. The blanket came with a wonderful letter bearing an explanation (The grey is for walruses and pussywilows) and so much thought went into it that I am amazed. It is a hard thing, getting ready for Christmas without figuring out what to make Neen and knowing that she won't dance with us this holiday, but this does comfort me. That it is comforting came as the biggest surprise. Grief is so private and intimate that I would have thought that nothing much could help...but it is a warm reassurance in a difficult year to learn that the good wishes and warm thoughts of knitters who are strangers to me could bring a little peace to this Christmas.

Many thanks.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:50 PM

December 8, 2005

Among my people

Last night was wonderful. The launch was great, the people were smashing the knitting was brilliant (Theirs, not mine..) and an all round a good time was had by all, even me...though my standards are low. (I just want to get through the talking without throwing up.)
My most sincere thanks to everyone who came out to show their support. I am very grateful.

For years I've been taking heat from the family (both extended and immediate) about perhaps having a little too much on the go at Christmas time. (This is perhaps an understatement. We shall gloss over it.) Last night I was afforded a rare opportunity for illustration.
I pointed out to the attendees that my entire family was present. Joe, the girls, my mum, Ian, Ali, Erin, the in-laws....and that they think I'm out of my mind. (Again, largely an understatement, again we shall gloss over.) I asked all the knitters in the room to stand. (This alone straightened out some misconceptions.) I asked anyone who was knitting for Christmas to stay standing. Then I asked anyone who was going to be in a bit of a pinch to stay standing....
finally, I asked that anyone who knew that they could never finish what they were already making on time, but had just added another project to the list despite that, to stay standing.

Yopeeps1

Yo. Peeps.
I felt quite vindicated and normalized. Look how many of the knitters are going to experience "IT". Very reassuring. My mum pointed out later that proving that all of your friends are lunatics does not prove that you are not one...but I care nothing for her logic. The point was (and I do have one) that last night, people determined to express their love in wool outnumbered the members of my family who have suggested I am whacked, and I have a photo to prove it.

While I don't ususally do meme's, Scout tagged me with one I quite like and it fits in with what I'll be doing today. Today I have no book to write, no launch to fuss for, no speech to prepare, no interviews to do, no plane to catch...today I am officially on vacation and will be remaining in largely this spot until Christmas.

Bestspot2

I'm so ready.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:35 PM

December 7, 2005

And the goat has it.

That was a complete bust. I don't know what happened to yesterday, but clearly the fumes got to me or something.
I spent the better part of the day alternately spinning, plying and attempting to disperse the olfactory nightmare I was generating at the same time. I decided, in my infinite wisdom (I hate myself) that the smart thing to do would be to do all of the spinning and plying and then wash it all at once. (This conclusion was reached after mightily polluting my home for a second time with the second skein. I swear that it's the fumes. Who does that? ) The smell off of the unwashed skeins and roving last night was enough that we could not eat in the same room with it. ("Mummy? Why does this dinner taste like jet fuel?") and when I finally came to my senses around 10pm, this is what I had.

2Sknsmb

Two skeins, washed but still fetid. I thought yesterday that they were ok, but it turns out that they are only ok by comparison. They smell way, way better than the unwashed skeins, but still appalling compared to, say ....the great dancing monkey king rutting with his armpits full of cheese.

2Bobstg

Two bobbins full of plyed yarn that I cannot bear to touch since it took me about nineteen handwashes to get the smell of me yesterday enough that I could sleep with myself. (Joe, for the record, said nothing. This is because he is smart and perhaps, a little bit afraid.)

Hmleftstg

This much roving, unspun. I don't know what to do.

I think the goat just ripped me off for a day of Christmas knitting. (I cannot believe it. It makes me short of breath to think of it.) Clearly, this roving/yarn/odour from the gates of everlasting fire needs a longer term plan. While I remain confident that one of the de-stinkers from the comments yesterday will work, (the goat will not win) the question remains (and I am really proud of the maturity I am showing here) can it be de-stunk before Christmas, and should I be wasting precious knitting time melting down about it now? I think not. I shall leave it for last, deal with it if there is time and buy the recipient a book if their gift still smells like the six day old crap of wild tree elves a few days before C-day. Let us speak of this no longer. I have already lost an entire day to my own stupidity and I choose to blame the redolent asian goat sent to vex me.

Tonight is the launch, and I have not yet written the speech (Don't look at me like that. I tried, but there was this goat... ) I'm very, very afraid. Very. Luckily, it's two weeks until Christmas (sorry, sorry...didn't mean to freak anybody out. More like three weeks. Definitely.) and that aught to keep the numbers down. There can't be that many knitters who are willing to take time off knitting to put on pants to come to this thing. This means I'm going to be pretty impressed (and grateful) with anyone who comes, understanding of those who don't, and that when I melt down, speechless and smelling ever so slightly of mature goat, I shouldn't be embarrassed in front of very many knitters. (This close to Christmas you have to have to keep your priorities straight. ) I will, by the way...bring some of the pins with me. A donation of $2 or better gets ya one. (Now that the book is done, I'll be getting back on making the pins out to the rest of you.)

Finally, to make you feel like crap inspire you,

Esnowd2

Elizabeth in Callifornia knit my snowdrop shawl pattern. She is sixteen years old.

Esnowd1

Clearly, we are all slackers she is destined for great things. Way to go Elizabeth! We're all really wondering why our own teenagers aren't knitting shawls proud of you.

I'm going to go try to wash the lingering bouquet of goat off me before the launch, write a speech and if I see you tonight, pardon the twitch. There was this goat...

Posted by Stephanie at 11:12 AM

December 6, 2005

Odeur De Chèvre

Tuesdays are for spinning are back here chez Harlot, now that the book is finished and the whole world of possibilities leaps in front of me. My time is my own again (well, except for writing a Christmassy speech to give at the Launch tomorrow, the absolutely disgusting condition of the house and the way I have an entire inbox full of email I haven't answered.) and I've plunked myself in front of the wheel to begin the Christmas spinning that is the preamble to Christmas knitting. (Because you know, having 19 days to knit all this stuff somehow feels totally reasonable. Welcome to phase one. We shall be discussing "IT" tomorrow evening at the launch.)

I fetched up today's roving,

Rustrov1

which is the goat from Kazakhstan that Ben brought me back. This goat is what I shall henceforth refer to as "rustic". You can see the guard hairs and if you were here, I assure you that you could smell the rustic. (I'll never wonder again what a central asian goat smells like.) Now, despite being a fan of merino and silk and wonderful soft not-at-all-rustic fibres, I like this roving. It's got character and I like knowing that it was made by a person, not a machine and I don't think that there's anything wrong with that. It does mean though, that trying to spin it like it's a commercial soft fibre is likely a pretty bad idea. I decided that the best thing to do with it was to embrace the rusticness, since goodness knows that the resulting yarn will need to be sort of tough, since it will probably have to be washed 478 times to get the unholy reek of goat off of it.

I chunky singles yarn seemed to be the answer, and I spun me a bobbin full. (If you've been spinning laceweight for a while, this just flies.)

Rustsing1-1

Nice eh? I like it too, though the "odeur de chèvre" was amplified by the act of drafting and spinning. While it was darned nice, it isn't a chunky weight. Maybe a worsted. This messed with my plan a little but I could still make it work. I thought about plying it to make it a chunky, but I thought it would then be too thick. I put it on my niddy noddy,

Rustsingtsk1

and went into the kitchen to steam it to set the twist.
I held it over the steaming kettle and the second that the hot moist air hit it...two things happened pretty much simultaneously. First, the fibre relaxed and became inexplicably thinner...and secondly, the smell that came off the goat just about gassed me into merciful unconsciousness.

I reeled and choked, my hair uncurled while my eyes watered. The cat came rushing in to see what herd of livestock was stampeding through the kitchen and stood there screeching hostile meows as I attempted to stay on my feet holding the singles in the steam. The malodorous funk that came off of the fibre was so potent that I swear to you that it just about had a texture and a colour.

I panicked. I turned around, filled the sink with hot water and lemon dishsoap and tossed the skein in at an arms length. The singles sank below the water emitting a cloud of citrus scented goat stink that will probably linger in the house for months. (Can you imagine? All of my visitors sort of coming in, breathing the air and then frowning a little while wondering what the (*&^! Joe and I do with pet goats in our spare time.) I sat on the floor.
Then I opened a window. Then I opened all of the windows and turned on the stove exhaust fan. Then I left.

When I returned, the water in the sink was the exact colour of tea that you left in the pot for 16 days, complete with an iridescent slick of perplexing and noxious oil floating across the surface. I emptied the sink and washed it again.
Four washes later the cat lost interest and I decided to risk breathing through my nose. It smells better, though still a little whiffy. (I dried it outside, after a friend snatched me back from the edge of disaster. She called as I was about to put it on a heating vent. That would have been something to smell. I bet my neighbours would have called.)

Smellovision

The only issue now is that the yarn was apparently so embedded with dirt that having been washed, what was a worsted weight is now not even sport. It's like it was 50% SMELL by volume. There isn't enough of the roving (I have no idea how I will get through washing the next lot) to just throw this away, so I need a plan to salvage it.
Can I re-spin, add twist and then ply? Can I rent a gas mask?
(Can I really give this to someone for Christmas?)

Blanket Race:

Bb3Be

Days: 7
Balls of yarn knit up: 6.5 (I know. I'm falling behind. I was distracted by the reek of wild goats in my freaking kitchen.)
Balls left to go: 12.5
Babies weights: They have each gained 40g
Mood: Pretty good. You don't think the goat smell got on the blankets do you?

Posted by Stephanie at 1:13 PM

December 5, 2005

Pass the lysol!

I am so happy, so overwhelmed with glee and delight and simple unmitigated joy that I cleaned the kitchen floor. (I know. I'm not sure about my reaction either, I think I was so happy that I wasn't even making sense.)

Happy thing the first:

Montyhat1

Monty is getting bigger and fatter and is a pretty good baby. Monty is seen here wearing the better hat promised to him on the day of his birth and provided generously by Sarah. I think (considering the limited range of purposeful expression that three week old babies have, that he looks delighted.) Sorry for the odd angle, he wasn't really into being laid down for a picture.

Happy thing the second:

Megan knit a hat,

Megkahat1

all by herself, using this book and her wits. It's the first really wearable piece of knitting she's turned out (though she did alter the pattern a bit, which I think may be genetic.) and I'm feeling proud.

Happy thing the third:

Socks That Rock, do.

Strmsfc1-1

I love this yarn. Pattern, the feather and fan socks that Cassie loves, from Socks, Socks, Socks, colourway....forgotten. The only bad news about these socks is that I think I might be addicted to this yarn, and I don't think I can get it in Canada. Brutal. I may need a hook-up.

Strcup1

Happy thing the fourth:

Blanket race
Days: 6
Balls of yarn knit up: 6 (almost. I've got a 1/4 ball left in one but I'm having such a great day I'm going to overlook that.)
Balls left to go: 13
Babies weights: I dunno, but they sure are cute.
Mood: I'm still having a good time, although I did sort of notice how long a ball of yarn was last night. Yarn is, (for those of you who asked) Mission Falls 1824 Wool. (Discontinued...get it while you can.) and the patterns for the blankets are...well. I'll tell you tomorrow when I can look it up. I'm to happy for research.

Happy thing the fifth:

Amanda has a boyfriend. (That really isn't the happy part, though I suppose that at sixteen and a half I had to accept that it was sort of inevitable that she would take up with a boy sooner or later.) The happy part is this...

Atknitst2

Yup. When he duly reported here for reasons of parental examination, Amanda taught him to knit. I don't know why he did it (He's either actually interested or an Eddie Haskall type) but either way I think I speak for mothers of teenaged daughters everywhere when I say that I'm all for anything that keeps his hands busy.

Happy thing the sixth:

Dude. I finished the book. Bookbookbook III is sitting with my editor and I feel so light and happy that I sometimes giggle a little bit when I think of it. I could dance. (I did dance.) It's good that I finished it before the caffeine intake killed me. (Link a generous heads-up from Ilsa, who was clearly concerned I was walking a little close to the edge.) I finished it, hit send, laughed out loud and then thought...

Holy crap. The Christmas knitting.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:46 PM

December 2, 2005

An Invitation.

It is with enormous pride and satisfaction (as well as an impending sense of doom - which I'm learning is normal, at least for me) that I invite anyone who can make their way to Toronto to the Official Launch for Bookboookbook II - Aka: Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter. (Am I the only one who thinks that might be the first time I've typed the real title on this blog? I sometimes think about how twitchy it must make the publisher that we call it Bookbookbook II. How my complete failure to "stay on message" and lack of interest in mentioning the title as often as possible must make them want to lie their heads down on their desks for a little bit.)

Wednesday, December 7th, 6:00pm at the Textile Museum of Canada. Cocktail party, Launch and generally big deal (well, for me) and knitting gala. (I've always wanted to write "Knitting Gala". So it is one, but you can still wear jeans.) Spread the word, bring a friend...bring your knitting.

A couple of notes.
- I know 6 is early. I know about the TTC and the Traffic and the thing with the guy. Do your best...we'll wait for you. (That's a lie. We'll wait for my mother but she isn't off work until 6 so I don't know when we'll start, but unless that's the day my mum learns to teleport...I assure you that we will be shmoozing for at least 15 minutes before I talk. At least. If you feel you will require more time, please contact my mother, I have it on good authority that she can be as late as you need her to be.
- I will talk. I will talk and I will read from the book...or so they tell me. I havn't figured out what I'll say yet, but it will probably have something to do with knitting. I had a dream last night that everyone at the launch was naked and I had to knit you all clothes before I could give the speech. I was crying and knitting and all of the tape measures were gone and they kept yelling "now! now! People are waiting!" and it was awful.
I woke up this morning and realized that I may have some stress about the talking. That's good for people who come to see me...since even if I suck it will be entertaining to see me sob helplessly and get all sweaty.
- The gift shop will have both books and I'll sign both books so if you were trying to think of some sort of Christmas gift for a knitter, one of these books could totally get you out of giving them some yarn.
- I don't know what "Cocktail Party" means...but I think you could get a drink. Pretty sure. Last time people got free wine.
-The Textile museum says that it costs money to get in, but that's a lie. There's no charge to come to the launch since admission is free after 5pm and the launch is at 6. If you show up at noon they're going to charge you, but that seems fair.

Anything else? I hope I see anyone who can make it there. It's a wonderful day for me, and the only day I feel like I'm allowed to be very proud of a book I really like...and I can't wait to share my celebration with you. (I bet there will be an afterparty too. Joe's big on the afterparties.)

The Blanket Race:

Morganb1B1-1

There's my ball of yarn for yesterday. I decided to swap between the two blankets, partly so that they will be done at about the same time (just in case there's any mojo in it.) and partly to attempt to make it a little more interesting in a probably futile an attempt to keep myself focussed on them so I don't wander off. I'm keeping a little scorecard to try and motivate myself. I'm trying to race the babies for home, but they are so healthy that I think they might be allowed to go before they are 5lbs, and that (while their mother would be thrilled) is not helpful to their local knitter. Therefore, I have revised my plan to simply knit the two blankies ASAP and hope they are wrapped in them soon.

Days: 3
Balls of yarn knit up: 3
Balls left to go: 16
Babies weights: Morgan: 4lb and Liam: 4lbs 3oz.

Mood: I can totally do it. This and Christmas knitting too. It's like my hands are a blur. Stand back so you don't get hit with flying lint.
Yee haw.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:08 AM

December 1, 2005

The end of a perfect record.

My dear friend Lene had an incredible day yesterday. In mere minutes she was catapulted into the rich, varied and wonderful class of "eccentric aunt". In fact, because she is Danish - she will be more than any ordinary aunt and will receive the title of "Moster".(I don't know for sure, but I would be willing to bet you a dollar and a bar of organic chocolate that in her secret "english as a second language" heart Lene celebrates how much that sounds like "monster".)

"Moster" means "sister of the mother" and it's very special - anyone can be your aunt (and given the way Lene's mother adopts strays...these children will have many aunties), but they will only have one Moster Lene, and at present she is delirious with joy. She would have been merely thrilled to freakin' death...but she got doubles. Liam and Morgan, a boy and a girl, (born seven weeks early but healthy and strong) arrived yesterday and you can see pictures and send good wishes to all parties concerned at Lene's blog.

Which brings us (naturally) to the knitting for said babies and the fact that it is not finished. At all.

Tinkallst

Whoops. There's two blankets and two dales and ....they are not finished. I've espoused the theory several times that babies do not come until I have finished their knitting, so this is unprecedented, and frankly (since it would appear that I am drunk on my own apparently unproven knitterly power and ability to guide the universe with my knitting) confusing. This is the first time EVER that a baby has beaten me. (Is it wrong that I'm slightly vindicated by thinking that it took premature twins to take me down?)

Morvossst

This is Morgan's Dale. As I mentioned yesterday it's a Dale of Norway, "Voss" from "Soft Treasures for little ones". (Very much a favourite book) knit from Baby Ull (a favourite yarn, superwash but doesn't feel like it - it's not flaccid like superwash so often is.)
Morgan's dale has two sleeves and about 1/2 of the body...which is not bad, especially since Morgan currently weighs 1810 grams (about 4lbs) and is a little ways off of the Dale of Norway sizing chart. Liam's dale is...well.

Liamvossnd

Ok. So I need to get that one going. On the upside, lest ye think that I am not doing something for Liam...this is his baby blanket.

Liambl1

It's a joint project between Ken and I. Ken knit the diagonal garter stitch middles, and I'm bordering them. We have no pattern, we're just faking it. Morgan gets a blanket too...

Morgblnd1

but only Ken's part is done on this one.
I'm trying to figure out what this means to the deadline. Clearly, since my knitting schedule did not divine their birth, what does it divine? (The theory that my knitting does not rule the world and fates in any way has really not occurred to me.) I've decided that the blankets (I can let go of the sweaters...it will be a while before they fit) need to be finished before Liam and Morgan go home, and I'm trying not to believe that perhaps I don't control when babies are born, but when they go home? In any event, there is this much wool to knit up before they will be wrapped in these for their trip..

Uhohwoolies

which should happen when they are about 2250g (5lbs). I've seen this family eat...and I don't think that's going to take very long, so I'm going to haul arse on it. Please. Not one word about what this does to the Christmas knitting schedule. I am fully aware that this is the first of December and that Christmas is the 25th. Also not one word from a smartypants who feels compelled to point out that I'm talking about knitting up 1250 metres of wool faster than a set of twins can gain about a pound apiece. (Let's see...babies doing well can gain between 4-8oz a week...let's say they don't start to gain for a couple of days, then gain at an average rate, 16 ounces to a pound... I've probably got about 2-3 weeks. That means that I have to knit at least a whole ball a day just to beat them home...never mind the sweaters...
Holy crap. I will I'll flip out tomorrow. (Flip out might actually be a minor reaction. This may call for actually blowing a gasket or something.) Today there are twins, and I'll be busy knitting love, welcome and good luck into their blankets. (Quickly.)

Posted by Stephanie at 11:39 AM