January 31, 2007

The thing about Madrona

The thing about Madrona, is that even though it is supremely organized, cheerfully run and as easy for the teachers/speakers to navigate as possible, something about it kicks my ass and leaves me for dead. I think it starts with the time change. I was tired when I arrived that night, woke up earlier than I meant to, then stayed up later than I should have. It is so much fun, and there are such wonderful people and so many of them that I end up trying not to waste time sleeping. Avoiding sleep is a decision that totally comes back to bite you on the arse later, as there was one evening where I was forced to go to bed when I didn't want to, since the risk of falling over in public seemed more plausible by the moment. There is SO MUCH rammed into every second that you are at the retreat that....well. Between the wool fumes, the knitters I wanted to meet and the ones who wanted to meet me and the lack of sleep I was on the edge of complete collapse before I left Tacoma and the hotel on Monday morning at 6:30am and arrived home about 6pm. (Hence no blog that day.) Yesterday I tried to blog but the needs of my corporeal self and those of my family won out...as it should be. I put the whole day down, stayed in my jammies and did only what I had to. Feeling much better today. It would take forever to tell you everything so I'm just hitting the high points.


Mount Rainier from my hotel room window. Nice eh? Also cool was this crazy fog in the morning. I would wake up and look out the window and it would be like the world was gone. Totally slipped into a void. We don't get a lot of fog here in Toronto, so I found it fascinating. (Fog is something about warm air plus cold air plus moisture. We don't have that. We have cold wet air, and warm wet air, not usually at the same time. We are a city of extremes.) I thought about taking a picture of the fog and the way it looked like nothing, and then realized I was on the brink of taking a picture of nothing and thought maybe I didn't want my standards to slip that low.

Knitters. I got to see most of my FT friends again (though I slept through one of the meet-ups by accident.) Saw many, many wonderful people. Big shout out to Erica. (She was one of my favourites.)

Anita Luvera Mayer on women's transitions. Sincerely. If you were there for her talk, I'm sure that you will agree with me that this was seriously a high point of not just Madrona, but your life. Discuss.

The Mittens of Rovaniemi class with Susanna Hansson. This was a super challenging class to learn how to make these.


I've got to catch a bus so I'll tell you more about that tomorrow. Stunning crazy knitting. Crazy.

Discovering that Fiona Ellis and I were on the same plane home and bargaining for window time for days. Fiona slighted me on Saturday (not really) and I took a demerit of 15 minutes of window which she earned back by doing my homework (for her class) on Sunday. We went back and forth the whole weekend long, 15 more minutes window time for her, then a 15 minute demerit for me...on and on and on, only to discover when we got on the plane:


No window.
(Maybe you had to be there and/or sleep deprived for 5 days, but we could hardly get a hold of ourselves. Dudes, it was really funny. )

Posted by Stephanie at 3:03 PM

January 25, 2007

Madrona: Day one

Ten things to make note of:

1. Dude, if we are on a plane together and you hit on me for five solid hours and each time you try (although, really congratulations on your tenacious nature. It's really a gift for you) I say things like "Thank you, my husband thinks so too" or vaguely wave you away for my movie or put on my headphones or stare really intently at my knitting, the answer is still no. Thanks anyway.

2. Pilot? If you remind people to check for the exits closest to them when you begin your descent? That makes us think we are going to need the exits.

3. If anybody tells you that you are crazy for taking more than one knitting project on a plane, then laugh them off. I finished Joe's socks with 20 minutes left and (perish the thought) no knitting. Luckily, that left me free to defend myself from my neighbours advances and check my exits. I am taking way, way more knitting on the flight home.


Joe's socks, my basic sock pattern, upsized to 72 stitches around and knit in ...oh nuts. The ball band is at home. Any guesses?

4. I am signing books here at Madrona Fiber Arts on Saturday from 5-6. There is no reason you are not welcome, even if you aren't signed up for the retreat. Furthermore, there is nothing stopping you from shopping at the market. I am going to try not to, so it is very important that you all buy a lot so I can live vicariously through you.

5. There is a three hour time change. It is kicking my arse. I couldn't stay awake last night (I had big plans to seek out social knitters, but had to settle for meeting Teyani in the lobby. It was lovely.) and this morning I am awake at, by Tacoma time, at a horrendously early hour.

6. I have no plain socks to knit. I may drop by the Blue Moon booth. If you see me with more than one skein, please take me down with a sedative blowdart like in Wild Kingdom. (Am I the only one who thought that Jim had a really hard go on that show? I mean, it was always "As we can see from the safety of the jeep, Jim has attracted some unwelcome attention from a pride of hungry lions. )

7. Tonight I am giving a talk about Knitters Without Borders. I am going to try not to suck. It's at 7:30, and you could come. If you do, then you get a double treat. Not only do you get to see me song and dance, but you can listen to Diane Formoso talk about Caring for Kids.

8. Someone sent a bottle of Plum Mead to my hotel room. I don't know who you are, but it is very yummy, and I love you.

9. Amanda, if you don't clean your hampster's cage before I get back I will not speak to you until you do. In some countries, you would be old enough to have 3 children, four goats and be scrubbing your husbands laundry on a rock in the local river. There is no reason for that aroma to be wafting delicately out of your pit room.

10. I forget what 10 was, but I've got to fly. I'm taking a class on The mittens of Rovaniemi in an hour. Susanna says it's advanced and to bring patience. I'm unreasonably excited about this.

Ps. There is a big mountain right outside my window.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:25 AM

January 24, 2007

In lieu of

I am not packed. This is a problem, considering that my flight leaves in a few hours. (I had to go into the stash for some yarn for a class...I thought it would only take a minute, but...well. I had to go deep.) In lieu of a blog today, I give you a podcast.

When I was at SOAR at the beginning of November, I recorded this very giggly interview with Amy Clarke Moore. (It is very giggly. In our defence, it was the last night and we were both a little overcome by fun and wool fumes.)

The interview is here. Enjoy, and remember that you don't need an ipod to listen to podcasts. It will play right on your computer. When you get done listening to me, there's one with Amy Singer here.

I'm going to go pack. I've made the very virtuous decision to only take unfinished objects with me. Maybe if I have nothing else to knit I'll make some progress.

See you at Madrona!

Posted by Stephanie at 2:15 PM

January 23, 2007

Good news, bad news

Good news: My laptop is fixed and will be ready for me to take with me tomorrow. This a big relief and really quite grand.

Bad news: Level one data recovery from the busted hard drive has failed, meaning that the laptop, while it is working and back, is an empty shell of its former self. A shallow husk of electronic dissapointment. Joe and I are discussing level 2 data recovery, which is expensive. The pondering of possibilities will continue, though at the moment I'm quite crushed.

Good news: I reknit the delicato mitt on smaller needles and using fewer repeats and it is indeed a lot smaller and fits like a dream.


Bad news: Right after I finished knitting it I reached for the larger one to frog it and start it in the new smaller size, unravelled the thumb and suddenly thought "Well now. It really does look smaller without its thumb" and had a realization.
I had frogged the wrong one. Yessiree, I ripped out a perfectly good thumb.

Good news: This entertained Amanda to no end.


Bad news: I am apparently still striving for perfection as a mother, since her reaction (pictured above) made me want to ground her for a full month (and possibly make her sit in the naughty corner) despite her being almost 18 years of age.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:45 PM

January 22, 2007


1. My youngest, Sam, has safely made it to Mexico on her babysitting/Hank helping gig with my sister. I am worried about this, this, and this. I am trying not to think about it, but I have also considered this and this.

2. I understand that it is a psychosis of motherhood that allows us to believe that our presence makes all situations safe. Intellectually I know that the fact that I am with my child is not enough to guarantee safety, but emotionally? Try me.

3. I have decided that since Erin is there and is responsible for Hank, that likely the same volcano preventing rules will apply. Also, Erin has a perfect parenting safety record.

4. Sam's email said that she "ate at a Mexican restaurant." I laughed for an hour.

5. The Sweet Sheep is selling yarn that has helps make money for Knitters without Borders.

6. In my internet travels this week I have found the cutest baby sweater ever. I understand that this reveals how far behind I am on reading Anny's blog and I am willing to suck it up, so cute is this sweater.

7. Remember these babies? Babies grow.


Their now knitting mother and I (She made a very good hat. I'm so proud.) took them to a new yarn shop in town this weekend. We totally got in the way and ate good cake and squeezed yarns and put babies on their floor and they took it all very well. (That's a sign of a good yarn shop.) My favourite part of the whole thing was Lily's reaction to the whirling swift. (Forgive the bad picture.)


She was beyond enthused. (That's exactly how I feel about my swift.)

8. I tried another fingerless mitt design of my own divining.


and I frogged it, accepted defeat and from among the billions of suggestions you guys gave me, I chose these. Ann's lovely Delicato mitts.

9. I think that all Ann does is sit by her computer waiting to do your bidding. I know this because I paypal-ed her the money for the pattern and it was in my inbox before I had a new cup of coffee. I don't know if you can expect the same service all the time, but I will try buying another pattern at 3am and report back to you how quick she is then.

10. I am pretty darned sure I have the right pattern now, though I might size it down a smidge.


Ann is very clear about the size that the Delicato mitts will turn out. It is me that has body issues and thinks I am much bigger than I am. I have a lot of trouble remembering my actual size. (This happens a lot with pants too. Apparently I'm way off about the size of my hands and completely deranged about my arse.)


11. Amber has done something darned handy and gathered all of the fingerless mitt suggestions in one place. Clever knitter. You can find it Here.

12. If you live in Toronto or the GTA you should get involved with this. It's really cold here, and Streetknit is on the right track.

That will be all. Move along.

Posted by Stephanie at 8:46 PM

January 18, 2007

I love this yarn. (Really.)

This Christmas, after I had taken out the chocolate and socks and new pens from my stocking, I found a single beautiful skein of yarn curled elegantly in the toe.


I love it. (In the interest of accuracy and not screwing over brand new knitters who are going to be left wondering what the difference is between a skein and a ball, and will then send me email saying "If that's a skein, what's a ball?" .. this is not the skein. The skein has been wound into a ball for the purposes of knitting and a photo. ) This is one little skein of Alchemy Alpaca Pure, and for a time it's just hung around. It sits on the desk. I pat it. It's a pet skein.

Now, I don't have any problems with pet skeins. I think they serve a valid and noble purpose just as they are. Not all yarn needs to be knit up to have a reason for existing. I mean, does anyone stand in front of Sonia Delaunay's Tango Bal and say "Yeah...but what's it for? I mean, is it holding up the wall or something?" (I take it back. I know there are those who have no feeling for art, but they are soulless and dead inside and I'm not bringing them into this conversation. You can not like some art, you can even think it's ugly, but pointless? Dead. Inside. That's what those people are. )
Back to the point. This skein has been sitting around, fulfilling its purpose of being beautiful and art, and I've realized that's a mistake. Joe bought that skein for me as a gift, and he doesn't quite yet understand about yarn as art, and I realized that if I didn't knit it into something, he was going to think (was thinking, actually) that I didn't like it or want it. I certainly wasn't doing anything to reinforce his yarn buying. I decided to knit it up. I thought I would love to have some pretty fingerless mitts and I winged it. Behold, not the first, nor the second, nor even the third attempt, but the fourth attempt at a pair of simple, simple fingerless mitts which I am now going to frog because they are ass. Complete ass.


The first ones were too big. The second ones were less big, but still not related to my hand size in any way at all. The third ones were ugly and this time, this time I have outdone myself. These are ugly AND too small.


All of that comes down to me violently ripping alpaca last night, and Joe stating so simply, "I don't know if that yarn makes you happy..."

Obviously, the foul language I am using when I am near this now cursed yarn is not doing anything to help Joe understand that I value it greatly and that I really enjoy his forays into yarn purchasing and would like him to repeat it as frequently as possible.
Anybody got a pattern suggestion? It's a fingering weight alpaca and I'm clearly not cutting it with the "winging".


From the comments: Sonya asks:

Will you do another knitting olympics??

Absolutely. I might do a few things differently next time, (Things like finding a better way to manage the list of names. A way that doesn't include all that crying.) but there's no way that the Winter Olympics could go down in Canada and I couldn't do it. Lucky for me I've got a couple of years to figure it out.

What's that? A few of you saying "But what about the Summer Olympics! The Knitting Olympics can happen every two years, not four!"

I don't think so. When you have an event....a sport, you only get to go to the Olympics every four years. It's part of what makes it epic. Bobsled? Four years. Skiing? Four years. Running? Four years. Knitting? (I'm sure you see where I'm going with this.) I say that the Summer Olympics are for other sports. Maybe the Crocheters should have the Summer Olympics?

Posted by Stephanie at 8:47 PM

January 17, 2007

I'll listen to the radio

My mother is an extremely intelligent and educated woman. Her wit and ability to problem solve are formidable indeed, and seldom have I seen her completely overcome by a situation. (We shall excuse the years that she had four teenagers. Now that I've got three I don't think it's fair to bring it up.) I think that's why I find her reaction to a power outage hysterically funny. She can't quite get that the power is truly gone, all gone, everywhere in the house. Mum just keeps trying everything that plugs in and is disappointed over and over. When the tv goes off, mum says "Never mind, I'll listen to the radio. Oh? Radio's out too? Nevermind, I'll turn on this light and do a little reading. Oh....crap. Well, now's as good a time as any to catch up on the laundry. Damn. Forget that, I'll just get online and do some work while I wait...."
It goes on and on, and up until today, as I entered the first 24 hours of laptop withdrawal, I thought it was really, really funny. Laugh out loud funny.

Then there was today. I made coffee and went to check my email to find out what time I had an interview. Damn. Nevermind, I'll just sit here and wait. I'll do a little writing while I just wait for them to call. H. E. Double hockeysticks. Can't do that either. Screw it. I'll write on paper, I'll just print out the outline from the .....Son of a !!!, Chuck this. What time do I have to be at the dentist? I'll open my scheduler and....of for the love of all things holy... FINE. I'll phone the dentist and ...oh yeah. Can't open the address book. Well. I'll just load an audiobook onto my ipod and go for a walk....

You get the idea. Turns out the apple might not fall so far from the tree.

The laptop has gone to the computer doctor and he's pronounced it. Deader than a doornail. Totally bricked. It's still under warranty, so Apple will be sending along a new hard drive but that takes three to five business days. Once the new drive is in they are going to try data recovery from the old drive....and we shall see. I'm pretty worried (if we understand that by worried I mean sort of weepy and fragile) about two things. Firstly, that there will be no data recovered, since - and I'm only going to say this once...I had no backup. (I know. I know. I am being punished. Turns out that I had some pretty strange ideas about computer memory and servers and...well. You don't know what you don't know until you don't know it. I do think that they should come up with another name for all that "memory" you buy for a new computer if it doesn't remember anything....but that's a fight for another day.) Secondly, I'm getting on a plane on Wednesday to go to Madrona Fiber Arts, and if the computer isn't fixed by then I...I....well. I don't know if I can go away without a laptop. No blogging? No surfing? No internet chat with Joe and the kids? Five whole days of writing on....paper? (A friend reminded me today that War And Peace was written on paper. There's a sobering thought, sort of gives me a hand cramp just thinking about it. Can anybody write by hand faster than they type these days?)

I've got my fingers crossed.

In the meantime I'm back on the old eMac, vying for time and space with Joe and the kids, patched together right here in the middle of the main floor. There's (sort of) email capability, though I don't have access to all of the emails I had in my inbox, just brand spanking new ones, I think that I can post to the blog...I guess I'll know in a minute, and



Oh look! I was going to say that I couldn't do pictures but I figured it out. That's the finished yoga bag that I gave my sister-in-law. Nice, eh? (Cat bonus at no additional charge.) Wait....


Yo! A new hat. Noro Silk Garden in colour 84. It bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Steph's hat pattern, and it would bear an exact resemblance except I couldn't look it up on her site because my laptop is a brick applied a little creativity to it. Mine is knit flat, with fewer stitches and different decreases. Totally inspired by Dr. Steph though. Actually, now that I think of it, she designed the yoga mat bag too....All Steph, all the time around here.

Now, if nobody minds, I'm going to go and call the computer store to ask about the data recovery and see where the hard drive is for the 457th time. I'm pretty sure it's helping keep them on track.

PS. If this works I'm totally going to have a celebratory shot of good scotch.

Posted by Stephanie at 8:08 PM

January 16, 2007

What does "Brick" mean to you?

I know I'm going to post this and somebody is going to say that Mercury is in retrograde and that's why this has happened to me, but I'm starting to harbour a secret suspicion that Mercury is in perpetual retrograde.

At Christmastime, Ken and Joe had this software (software that related to a router somehow.) and the it cautioned that one must take this precaution or that one, lest one (I swear it) "brick" ones router. "Brick" as a verb.

"Brick?" I said, rather inquisitively, as computer terms are foreign to me and therefore an endless source of intrigue... "What does that mean?"
"Brick?" said Ken. "You know, brick your router." (I may have looked pretty blank.)
"Brick?" I queried...trying to look informed and clue-less at the same time.
"Yeah" Ken (giving me that look that he gives me when something is obvious and I am dense. ) "Brick. As in 'turn into a...'."

Turn your router into a brick. I get it, I thought. How very descriptive. We all know exactly what that would look and behave like, a "bricked" router. I have told you this story, my lovely knitters, because about 11am this morning, I committed a crime against my computer (we shall never know what exact keystroke did me in) and I have, effectively... "bricked" my laptop.

This afternoon and much of the evening was spent in on the phone with Apple and I have been informed by a very, very nice young man named Adam that I should not be optimistic. It would seem that my new laptop hard drive is toast. In fact, when a diagnostic disk was finally inserted in the laptop, it denied that it even had a hard drive at all... and that's a pretty bad sign. In the morning I shall take deep even breaths while Joe takes it to the computer doctor, but I am emotionally resigned to learning that all is lost. (Ok. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, so maybe I'm not as resigned as I think I am. There's a new book started on that computer. My email is on that. The great picture of Sam on skates... My... everything... is on that. It's all I can do not to lie in the road.)

The only thing comforting me at all is the KWB total. I was adding things up at the moment that that Everything. Went. Wrong... but before I was consigned to the abyss, I knew the total.

$320 093.

Seriously. That is the total up to the end of the 24th December (so there is more to come) and dudes, that means we blew by the goal like Nicole Richie blows by a lunch buffet. We are so far past the goal that even "bricking" a laptop can't be that bad. This is like the hugest afghan that anyone ever knit. $5- $10... $100 at a time, one knitter at a time, we are changing the world.

Now that I think about it? I'm just glad that I live a good enough life that I have a laptop to brick. Yeah man... that's it. I'm grateful for my bricked laptop and I am thrilled that this has happened. Vive le MSF dudes... me and my bricked laptop don't mind at all.

(OK. I'm not quite there yet, but I am really proud of all of you. I'll write later when I find out if I'm totally screwed. Give Ken a round of applause for posting this. He's such a nice boy. )

Posted by Stephanie at 11:53 PM

January 15, 2007

Review and Realization.

I learned something really interesting this weekend.
Lucy Neatby has secret mind powers that she can use to control my knitting through the medium of a DVD. That...or I may lack some focus. One of the two. For a while now I've had the Knitters Companion: Knitting Essentials DVDs that Lucy made and I thought they were pretty darned good. (If you scroll down there's a couple of clips to watch.) I've been knitting fairly adventurously for 34 years. I've read lots of books I've tried lots of patterns, I've investigated interesting techniques...I thought that it was pretty likely that I was going to be entertained by Lucy, but not taught. Not me. Not knitting essentials. If it was "advanced techniques" I would expect to pick up something, for sure. Essentials though? No way.

Well, pride goeth before a fall because dudes I learned something HUGE in the first couple of minutes. HUGE. The woman has a cast off on there that I can't even begin to use words for. It's humane. It's life changing. It's one movement instead of two it's ...well. Juno and Cassie have seen it. They know. (Can I get an Amen for the cast off?). The rest of the DVD was clever and helpful, but that Cast Off? Life changing. Worth the price of admission right there. The DVD's are well filmed, of a good quality and Lucy knows her business in these re-windable workshops. There's a list of what appears on the first movie here, and there's a great index at the beginning of the disc so that you just just jump to the Cast-off bit (or the cast-on bit or the thing about decreases) over and over again. It's sort of like having a live knitting book. You can look up what you need to know, watch Lucy imbue it with grace and wisdom and move on. (This might be especially neat for knitters like Wendy who like to see things live and in person to understand them.) Personally, what I liked was that Lucy Neatby will never know the exact number of times I rewound a part to watch it again, where it a classroom my exact mental density would have been revealed to her each time I said "What?" or "Show me again."

When the new ones arrived from Lucy I sat down to watch them. I settled down with some seriously boring knitting


The 75cm (30 inch) strap for the yoga bag. The first 47 cm were intriguing. I'm pretty done with it now. I figured that "Sock Techniques 1" would be a good distraction from the limp to the finish line.

Here's the part where I learn something other than the Latvian Twist Cuff. (Very interesting, by the way.) I had to put down the yoga strap and cast on a garter stitch hat because I cannot listen to Lucy talk about knitting and not do what she tells me.


I'm trying to work linen stitch and Lucy's describing a how to work decreases for a ruffle on the top of your sock and suddenly I've got fewer stitches on my strap. It's like I'm helpless to defy her. I switched to the Scarf Rescue hat (from my book, though if you think about it I bet you could figure it out without buying it.) because it's just straight garter stitch and still...


Lucy spoke. I listened. I'd be chugging along knitting every stitch every row and Lucy would tell me about tubular casting on and I'd nod, listening to her speak, her using every ounce of her teaching experience and me listening carefully because every so often she says something like "snuggle your stitches" and it makes me laugh and I'd look down and Wham. Some monstrosity of knitting happening on the needles because I cannot defy Lucy. I cannot listen to one knitting instruction and execute another. I listen, and my hands obey.


This garter stitch hat has actual mistakes. Knitting 34 years, all I have to do is knit every stitch on every row...there aren't even any decreases, and there are mistakes. I could have sworn that I could work garter stitch in the late phases of labour or while parachuting, but lo' in the face of the dulcet instructive tones of Lucy Neatby I have no control over my hands. Lucy has the Voodoo. I'm going to try stockinette and the second video today.


I am not optimistic. Lucy Neatby is my puppet master.

PS. Lene? Thank you for the snow. It arrived last night.

PPS. New total for Knitters Without Borders coming tomorrow.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:15 PM

January 12, 2007

Ruining a little knitting

I'll admit that I have never fully appreciated the charm of felting (or fulling) knitting. It has always seemed to me that it was an adept and swift way of ruining knitting. All that work to get the stitches just right, being careful to do this carefully, only to toss it in the washer and get something completely indistinguishable from some other fabrics? (Perhaps it is that usually when I take knitting to water I am striving for the opposite, and that's pretty ingrained.)
I didn't get it, and I still don't - most of the time it feels like ruining my knitting. The one exception?
The Fiber Trends Felted Clogs. I love this pattern. I've knit it maybe twenty times, and it never fails to charm me.
This floppy weird knitting...


that is this big...


takes a trip in my faithful washer and becomes these.


Useful, beautiful, clever, durable footwear. Love it. The pattern is fast, easy and interesting. The yarn for this pair is my favourite felting yarn, Patons Classic Merino, (colours 231 Chestnut Brown and 77011 Wedgewood) and my only qualifier for the whole thing is to remember to toss the whole works into one of those zipper washing bags or a tied up pillowcase before you felt it, or it can be a very costly pair of slippers when the washer guy has to replace the wool clogged motor. (Learning this lesson cost me $300. I beg you to heed the warning. Joe still looks a little nervous when I start knitting them.)


to this.



A word today about all the outrage and upset about the STR club woes I wrote about yesterday. Remember that the Blue Moon ladies were smart enough to build the business that got into this mess, they were smart enough to figure out how to fix it, and all of us need to take a deep breath while they do the work they need to do and trust what we know, that they are plenty smart enough to do the right thing (whatever that is) when the air clears and they have met the needs of their customers. Anything more that happens, releasing (or not) the name of the bank, the possible repercussions, the revenge fantasies and the plan for what comes next should all belong to them, since while we are all offended (and clearly creative about the possibilities for said revenge), they are the directly involved party. Knit on.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:49 PM

January 11, 2007

Freakin' muggles

You're probably going to see this all over the knit-blog-o-sphere, and that's exactly the way it should be, so astonishing is this story.

What follows is a copy of a letter that I received from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, home of Socks That Rock, the revered and esteemed handpainted sock yarn of so much acclaim. I got it because I am a member (last year and this year) of the Sock Club, where you send them some money and they send you several fixes kits, with yarn and a pattern to make fantastic socks all through the year.

What has happened, and I confirmed all of this in a phone call with Tina, is unbelievable. Blue Moon needs a bank to accept their credit card orders. (Be warned that when I run the world, banks will be in charge of far less...but I digress.) When Blue Moon started accepting orders for the Sock Club recently, the bank flinched.
They contacted the Blue Moon and questioned the possibility of this being an actual business thing. Blue Moon explained to them the concept of a sock club, and the bank held a meeting.

Now, I was not a fly on the wall at that meeting, but oh, how I wish I had been. Over the course of said meeting, the bank decided, with the business information of Blue Moon in front of them and the concept (and CASH) of a "Sock Club" laid out, that.....and here is the incredible thing... (Perhaps you should take a deep breath or sit down or put down your cup of tea.)

They decided that it was not possible that this many people could be this interested in sock yarn (I know...I know) and that therefore, considering the complete impossibility of this being a legitimate business concept (can't you hear them? "This many people just can't want sock yarn!") that Blue Moon must be running a SCAM, and (holy moths I can scarcely type it) Shut. It. Down.
They rescinded Blue Moon's ability to take credit card money (that's right, a bank turned down money...) and (breath deeply) REFUNDED to customers all of the money that they had received for the Sock Club.

You ok?

I will assume, since I know that you are not stupid, my lovely readers, that I do not have to spell out for you what the emotional and financial consequences of a bank deciding to refund money to your last several hundred customers would mean to a business. Let's just have a moment of respect for the fact that Blue Moon is still coherent at all.

Now, the ladies at Blue Moon (and they are ladies, so my sister Erin, owner of a small business and the lucky recipient of several inexplicable bank decisions herself, would like to take this opportunity to ask you if a bank would have done this to a group of men?) are a clever and tough bunch, and they have already fixed it. They have sent out a letter to all of their customers (and asked bloggers to help spread the word) explaining that they need to make sure that they have received a refund, and sign up again for the Sock Club...with the new bank, which seems to have no issues with accepting money.
That letter is below.

The ladies at Blue Moon also (and this demonstrates to me the depths of their class) have declined my offer to provide each and every one of you with the address of the bank and the Bank managers email address, so that you (ALL of you) could provide him with an expansive email detailing your feelings about sock yarn, his behaviour and the relationship between the two.

I would not have had that amount of class.

Knitters...say it with me. Freakin' muggles. They have no idea who they are messing with.

Please read this for IMPORTANT credit card information.
The sign-up for the Rockin' Sock Club 2007 has been a resounding success. So much so that our bank thinks we are running some type of elaborate yarn scam and is refusing to accept our members' money! So, you know what they are doing? You are not going to believe this. They are sending all of that money back! Unbelievable and astounding!

Here are the details. Within the next ten days, all of you who signed up for the Sock Club by paying either $210.00 (domestic) or $240.00 (international) between December 31 and January 5, will be getting a credit back onto your Mastercard or Visa. It is the Sock Club only, all other yarn orders placed will go through and you will be receiving your yarn soon.

Do not panic!

Everyone affected by this incredible situation is guaranteed their spot through the end of January, including those on the wait list. After you receive your credit, just go to our website and use your same registration number to pay for your Sock Club (yet again). The website is temporarily under construction in order to install the new bank’s (who has guaranteed us they will have no difficulty accepting your money!) system. The site should be back in full swing in the next couple of days. In the meantime, you can view products and place phone orders.

If you have any problems, call or email us and we will gladly help. Keep in mind that there are a lot of you involved! It is going take us some time to sort through the mess the bank has so graciously created for us. Remember, those of you that ordered other products from the Blue Moon website during this period are fine. It does not affect your orders! It is the thought of a Club for knitting socks they cannot get their heads around.

This certainly is NOT how we envisioned starting the New Year, the launch of our website upgrade and the 2007 Rockin' Sock Club! We cannot apologize enough for any inconvenience this causes you. To honor all of your dedication and patience, we are including a coupon in your first shipment to help compensate for this.

So, knitting comrades, we can choose to look at this in many ways (and believe me we have run the gamut on this one). Disbelief, shock, outrage . . . it has been a surreal experience for us. This is not just about us here at Blue Moon. It is about knitters as a group. We are extraordinary people. We have seen our power when rallied . . . large fundraising for great causes, KAL’s across the planet, and standing room only at knitting-related gatherings. Because of this, the Rockin' Sock Club 2007 will prevail! We will have a blast and knit awesome socks that will be the envy of all nonbelievers!

We thank you so very much for your support, and community. There will be more (much more) to say about this saga in the first shipment’s dyer’s notes!

Our socks are still rockin',
Team Blue Moon

email: sockclub@bluemoonfiberarts.com
phone: 1-866-802-9687
web: http://www.bluemoonfiberarts.com

Posted by Stephanie at 11:20 AM

January 10, 2007

There is no joy in Plattsville.

Well. That's not true I'm sure, it looked like a lovely town to Rachel H. and I as we wound up there last night as a direct result of shooting straight past Kitchener-Waterloo (the home of the Kitchener-Waterloo knitting guild) where I was to speak last night.

It would seem (as we found ourselves in Plattsville), that there was certainly no joy in Rachel's car at that exact moment. It turned out that there was a missing link in our instructions, something that would be totally obvious to any other two women in a car in Ontario that inexplicably, despite our age and experience, Rachel and I did not know. (Tip. Conestoga does not run off the 401. Continuing to look for Conestoga despite all hints that you are not going to find it lands you in a snowflurry in Plattsville, a charming hamlet really quite far past Kitchener-Waterloo.) It was at this point that Rachel and I really quite cleverly realized that we were unlikely to find an offramp that led to Kitchener now that we were really quite far past it (and headed in the direction of London....even further from our goal, but a darned nice city as well) and we pulled off in Plattsville and re-organized. (Or, we reorganized as much as two lost knitters in Plattsville nowhere near where they needed to be, hopelessly misguided, mapless and with an eye on the clock can possibly reorganize.) We turned right around and took a second swing at Kitchener-Waterloo and our destination....a restaurant on King Street where we would meet up with the executive of the guild.

Car neatly pointed in the other direction, hopes high, we sped along until we saw a sign for Hwy 8, which I remembered (somehow) turned into King Street. Gloriously we took the turn, happily found ourselves on King Street, just as predicted and noted that we were at 3200 King, a far cry from the 15 King we were looking for, but we didn't let that deflate us. We were in the right city, on the right street, headed (wonder of wonders) in the right direction. We drove on, Rachel watching the snowy road and me gleefully calling out the ever diminishing street numbers.

Our joy was short lived when just as we pulled up to an intersection (King and Weber I believe) and were suddenly no longer on King street. We cursed. We turned around, we tried again, suspiciously discovering King Street in another location and again made a run for #15. We failed. (Near what seemed to us to surely be another, different intersection of King and Weber.) At this point we pulled into a convenience store where my Vietnamese language skills failed me (or so I thought) as the owner pointed us in the direction of Kings Street....opposite where we knew it to lie.

We gave up. We called up the restaurant and asked for directions (and apologized to the starving guild executive) and set off with our new help...which quickly ended in a "no exit" version of ....you guessed it. King Street. Accepting defeat and humiliation, we called the restaurant back and this time, got an assisted landing, as the helpful waitress on the other end of the phone took us turn by turn into the parking lot.

Once seated, a peculiarity of Kitchener-Waterloo was revealed to us. Apparently (and I still don't know how this is possible) King Street runs (I swear that at least 30 people confirmed this) North, South, East AND West, and intersects with Weber no less than four times. (The guild put it in terms we could understand, explaining that King and Weber are, essentially.....cabled.)

Once we were through that, the rest of the evening was delightfully fun. Behold! The directionally brilliant knitters of the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters Guild!



That isn't even all of them. This, my wool-hoarding friends, is a big guild. I gave my talk and then chatted with the knitters. I was standing there, speaking with knitters and feeling like it was a very good day, when lo, I looked up and what knitter stood before me?


Debbie New. (I am not at all surprised that she didn't come out blurry.)
I don't mind telling you, I was breathless. If you don't know who Debbie New is, then you're leading a poorer life for it. Debbie is the author of Unexpected Knitting, the knitter who knit a seaworthy lace coracle (scroll down), a ticking grandfather clock, the swirl socks and So. Much. More. She's some kind of freaking genius and, just to make sure we have you good and impressed, also raised 8 children. (I am not worthy.) It was a complete pleasure meeting her.

Now meet Angela. Angela has won the prize (I nominated and voted on it all by myself last night) for the funniest present ever given a washing machine.


See? Angela has created "Mr. Washie's 2007 Pin-up Calendar, and it's just chock full of all the beefcake washers a tired old washing machine wants to see. Behold.


Sexy young washers posed in exotic locations...not even a towel covering their firm enameled bodies...


December is even a little risque. See?


Her door is open.
Mission accomplished, my face hurting from laughing about appliances and boggling at genius our lady Lynne (Sadly, blogless)rescued Rachel and I, and in exchange for a beer...


(That's Lynne, me, Rachel H.,Julia and Lisa)
made us a map with only one King Street on it so we could get home, since it turns out that Rachel and I are really only good at navigating one thing. Knitting.
Next time Rachel? The bus.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:09 PM

January 9, 2007

Dear Daughters

If we, or rather you, since I am beginning to entertain ideas unbecoming a mother, are to survive this time while the additional parent usually present in the home is absent, (Joe has gone to Newfoundland) then the following rules and regulations are to be observed.

1. The soup is not ready when it explodes. The soup is ready right before it explodes. While I am grateful for the time saved by having daughters old enough to make their own dinner, please be more vigilant in your microwaving habits, since time is not saved by me having to scrub disgusting little flecks of carrot soup of the interior of the thing every time one of you has a bowl.

2. I am not interested in the fight about whether or not your sandwich is "cheesed" to the same level as your sister. Cheese is not a symbol of love and affection, it is a dairy product, nothing more, nothing less. The fact that you have 1.2 grams more cheddar than your sister has nothing, I repeat NOTHING to do with my love for you, or my feelings about cheese. I can't even begin to tell you the ways in which slices of cheese don't freaking matter. Let it go.

3. I know we have been over this before, but clearly it bears repeating. Dishes go IN the dishwasher, not ON the dishwasher.
The only difference between the two choices is that with one, the job is done, and with the other, your disparaged mother has to either move your soup bowl (devoid of exploded soup) into the dishwasher or call you into the kitchen and start that fight again, and with the other, she (and you) can move on.

4. Do. Not. Talk to your mother until she has had at least one cup of coffee in the morning. Feel free to check my cup and divine my progress, or note that if I am ready for communication, I will speak to you.

5. Further to item 4, please note that any attempt to get money/notes for school/ clean laundry/ the cute hairband you have misplaced since last night BEFORE your mother has had that single glorious brown elixir of life will likely be met with a negative response.
If you really want money/notes/laundry/hairbands, you may increase your odds by bringing me coffee or wiping something....hell. Anything, with a damp washrag.

6. Soap dissolves in water. This is why the soap in the tub is always gone. You're smart kids. Put it together.

7. Teenage boys want to have their way with you.

Please do not speak to me of their purity of soul and intent. I am too old and skeptical to believe any other motive. (I am willing to entertain that when they are 35 they may have another goal. Not before.)

7b. This does not mean that I think that boy is a jerk. He seems to be a very good boy, I even like him. Unfortunately, he is also teenaged and that means that even if he is the best boy alive he has suspect motivations, even if he doesn't think so himself.

7c. I know about your motivations too.

8. I pay for the phone. If I want to make a phone call, I'm not mean, insensitive, or calloused to your needs. I am the lady with a JOB. Hand it to me, or I shall devote every single moment of time that I can wrench the phone from your hands to calling boys your age that you think are hot and telling them stories from when you were breastfed and how I made the decision to cloth diaper you. I will not leave out the part about the rash.

9. The internet does not actually supply oxygen. If the router quits again there is absolutely no need for that high pitched keening. Or for you to shriek "Fix it! Fix it! MUM! THE ROUTER!" like it was the life support system of The Starship Enterprise.

10. Since, further to that JOB part up above, I have to go and speak to the KW-Knitters Guild tonight I expect that during the time that the three of you are alone in the house you will not look for ways to make sure I need to go completely bonkers when I get home. This includes, but is not limited to -

-Dying your hair a strange colour. I actually could care less what colour your hair is, since hair colour is not related to goodness as a person. Covering the bathroom in hairdye is, however, related to goodness and how much I of it I believe you to possess.
- Drinking, between the three of you, 4 litres of milk in one evening.
-Using three towels per bath. There are three of you. Either do laundry, bath less or have a load in the washer when I get home. I'd be happy to move it to the dryer for you.
-Creating, through unknown means a "mystery smell" that I will neither be able to identify nor locate.
-Immediately tuning the tv to a banned show like "Next" "Flavor of Love" or any show that has improving women through plastic surgery as a theme, any show that is having a good day when there is a "catfight" between contestants or any show that has women competing for the attention and affection of a single male who is allowed to choose between them for his own purposes. I don't give a crap how trendy a harem is, all the women I know (including you) are worth more than that.

Thank you for your kind attention to these matters. I will be lying on the couch with a cool cloth over my head until the parent that you say is nicer than me and actually claim to like and respect returns in a few days. (Please note that the irony that you will dump all of this crap on him ten seconds after he comes home is not lost on either of us.)

Your mother.

PS. Since a wise mother giving three teenagers nine hours alone provides some measure of supervision, I have arranged for a series of relatives and friends to look in on the three of you tonight. They will arrive at random intervals. I am not going to tell you when, or for how long. Look alert.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:00 AM

January 8, 2007

Here is...

Quickly now, since I've got something to do on a deadline that I forgot all about. I constantly speak to Joe about the advantages of reading the family calendar that hangs in the kitchen so that he can know what's going on around here and damn if I shouldn't have taken my own advice. Especially before the bank guy showed up at my house for an appointment and a rather surprised me had to have a conversation with him in a dirty living room, bra-less and unwashed. Idiot. I'm sure I made a grand impression. (The only good news there is that I only had to move two knitting projects for him to have room to put his papers on the table. Could have been worse.) After he left I checked that calendar and ...well. I've got things to do.

Here is me on the TV yesterday, not looking like too much of an odd duck.


(My hand is up in that twit-like manner because I am knitting, which sort of looks less elegant than I imagined it would.) I managed to be mostly coherent (I stumbled once or twice, which isn't too bad considering the rising gorge of my own terror screaming in my head.) I watched the tivo of it and I seem incredibly dorky to myself, but Joe's mum said I was good and the girls didn't refuse to go to school today, so the dork must be something only I can see.

Here is the almost finished phase of the eggs...


after they have been through all of their dyebaths, including the final black. You can see that they are quite dingy, with all the wax clinging to them.

Here is me melting the wax off the finished eggs.


You hold the egg near (but not in) the flame of a candle long enough for the wax to melt, but not so long that the egg inside begins to cook, since the final step is poking holes in the eggs and blowing out the contents. I have very good evidence that you can practically burst a lung trying to blow cooked egg out of a wee hole. As the wax melts in a little area, you wipe it off. The final sheen of wax is removed with lighter fluid, which...in a miracle of chemistry I don't understand at all, leaves behind the dye, but also removes the original pencil lines UNDER the dye.

Here is the very, very nearly finished eggs...


These have now had the wax and pencil removed and a thin layer of oil based urethane rubbed on. (Tip: you're going to want gloves for that part. Really.) Now all that remains is to poke holes in the tops and bottoms and blow the contents out. (That's a grand opportunity to break them.) When they are dry inside I'll affix a ribbon or some such and the will be personalized ornaments for the tree. (Um. Next years tree. Running a little behind.) Nifty...yes?

Here is the yoga mat bag.


Just a few centimetres to go. It's the one from Knit Wit, and in the original pattern was knit in stripes out a bazillion colours of Mission Falls 1824 cotton. (You can see it on the cover of the book if you click. I had A) no burning desire to knit cotton, it bugs my hands. 2) No burning need to weave in so many ends that you would be ill to think of it. and C) No Mission Falls cotton. My cop-out knock off (adapted to knit flat.) is being knit in Noro Kuryon, to almost the same effect. The straightforward back and forth of stockinette on straight needles is the perfect counterpoint to bugging my eyes out by candlelight working on the eggs.

Here is... Well there's no picture, but here's me whipping off to move my knitting off the dining room table and maximize the professionalism of the next appointment. What the heck, I may even go look for my bra.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:02 PM

January 6, 2007


For anyone interested in hearing me talk about you (I promise I'll only say nice things) the CBC tv interview has been moved from today to tomorrow at about 10:45 - 11:15ish on Newsworld. It's five minutes, it's live...it's scaring the daylights out of me.


Now if you'll pardon me, the eggs are waiting, and I've got a tree to take down. It's the 12th day of Christmas, Epiphany and the end of Christmastide. All the decorations come down today to avoid bad luck...and since I'm doing a live interview tomorrow, I'll be sweeping up the pine needles pronto.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:33 AM

January 5, 2007

Early morning light

I got up really early this morning to do some work and was surprised at two things. Firstly, how much I got done. I worked on the introduction to the new book. (This one. I'm almost sorry to be linking to it, considering my hair and the thousand other terrors that picture of me my unleashes in my soul. That's apparently a temporary cover, which is good, since that photo of me gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies. I can scarcely speak to you of how much I dislike it. Still, authors aren't in charge of things like titles and covers, so cross your fingers that on the next one I get hair that looks like my hair. Actually...on second thought? I wouldn't mind if I had someone else's hair...but it needs to be hair better than mine. Upgrades only.) The new book is another useless book about knitting (no patterns or technique) about the idea of knitting as a destination...a place. I like it, but I didn't like the introduction. It's better now. After I worked on that I bashed out another 400 words for something else, worked on revisions for half an hour, ate a very nutritious breakfast, booked my flight to Madrona Fibre Arts Retreat, arranged a news thing with the CBC for tomorrow (I'll be on the noon news talking about you guys and your incredible powers of fundraising.) tossed a load of laundry in and payed the bills while outlining a new essay. It's been so long since I had a little time to myself that I forgot how effective you can be if nobody speaks to you for four hours.

Secondly, I've been having a vaguely panicky feeling for a few days now that I can't seem to kick. I'd attributed it to falling behind on work during the holidays, but it wasn't until I had some time to myself this morning that I realized that it's not from being behind on my work, it's from a lack of quiet time and privacy and the space to think things out. As Joe is still "between opportunities" and has all of this time at home and the girls have been on vacation for two weeks I think I hadn't really had time to acknowledge that the lack of time in which to work and think is really making me wild with anxiety. I learned a good lesson about myself this morning, and one that I thought I had figured out. Time alone = sanity. People speaking to me through the crack in the bathroom door while I try to hide in the bathtub = nervous twitch over right eye.

The Egg Harlot

Franklin said yesterday in a comment that he hopes I'm not turning into the Egg Harlot, and I assure you, I'm not. The egg thing is temporary, and I hope to finish today or tomorrow. I could never be the Egg harlot. I travel too much to have a fragile and slimy hobby.
For right this moment though, it's all about the eggs.

Once I had penciled the plan onto the eggs, I needed to apply the wax. I'm using the same technique that pysanky does, although I break a lot of the rules. (I know that's such a shocker. Me being me and all.) The tool that you use is a kistka (or stylus) and it's like a little bowl with a hole in the bottom. You heat up the bowl in a candle flame, fill the bowl with beeswax and touch the tip to the egg. The wax flows through the hole and you cover all the areas you want to have stay white.


See? (Please note: the over-consumption of caffeine is not recommended during this phase. You don't want shaky hands.)


The next step is to dye the eggs yellow (traditionally, you move from lightest to darkest in a dye progression) and cover the parts you want to have stay yellow.


There are 12 colours in my palette, and by the time I'm done the eggs will be almost entirely covered in wax. (Then you take the wax off.) It's fiddly, but not difficult. I'll take some more pictures as I go, and it'll be clear what these are for by the time I'm done. The astute among you will notice that yesterday there were 6 eggs I was working on...and today there are only 4.
Another good reason not to be the Egg Harlot. Yarn doesn't break.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:50 PM

January 4, 2007

And the horse it rode in on.

I am not smart at all. I have written books in which I speak of gauge and it's perils. I have experienced gauge issues first hand, I have personally felt the burning, bitter twist of the knitting needle when the cruel mistress that is gauge smacks me down so hard that a cardigan won't zip up over my perfectly reasonably sized breasts....or endured the teachable moment of having the sleeves of a pullover sweep past my hands and brush my so-much-lower kneecaps. I have suffered...I have learned. I have come to place the myth of gauge in a position of respect.

I acknowledge now that the whims of the gauge over-lords are dangerous and I do not taunt them. When I care about the size of a finished object, I knit a swatch. I do not cheat. I do not knit tiny little squares and call them swatches.. .. I even wash the swatches that the water may reveal the true nature of my swatch and not leave my soft knitterly underbelly free to the sharp talons of the gauge beast lurking in the darkness waiting for the moment when I will be vulnerable. I now know that even if you are a careful knitter you can still get totally screwed for reasons you will never truly understand. I know this the way (most days) I know the names of my children. I understand.

Why then, oh why, am I surprised and upset that this yoga bag,


Which I swatched for deeply and honestly,


Will not go around the yoga bag in any way, shape or form and I have to pull the whole thing out? Can you say "slow learner"?
Idiot. What was I thinking? Why didn't I measure it sooner? How come I knit up a whole ball of Noro into that thing before I checked? Have I not been screwed before on this? Seriously. SLOW LEARNER. Right here. Gonna get a tee-shirt. I am not surprised that I was a gauge victim. I happens to the best of us. I am surprised that I fell for it. Screw gauge and the horse it rode in on.

We hates it.

In other news, Eggs do not have gauge, and now they have guidelines and notes penciled on.


Everyone guessing the next stop is wax, is right. Gonna be cool.
(And no. I'm not early for Easter. I'm very late for Christmas.)

Finally, I'll be speaking at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Guild on January 9th (that's next Tuesday) at 7:30. They meet at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, and non-members (like me) can come to the meeting, but they need to bring a toonie. I hope I see you all there.

I think I'll bring the eggs that night. Clearly I can't knit my way out of a paper bag.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:21 PM

January 3, 2007

Surprises today: A list

1. I felt a little better, took a look around and realized that I am way, way behind on errands and laundry and email and phone calls and that there are no groceries. (I have talked Joe into fixing that.) Further to those problems, today was the last possible day I could go to the passport office and still get Sam's passport in time for her trip. (She has a babysitting gig in Mexico. How is it that all of my babysitting gigs were on my block?)

2. All time record line up at the passport office. Just over three hours. Probably has something to do with this, (I'm positive it does, actually.) but still...Dudes. Three whole hours? (I have never resented the "no food or drink" rule in the office more. That is a long coffee/water free period for a knitter recovering from the flu.)


This is three hours of a Jaywalker. (Vesper sock yarn, in Tartan.)

For that matter:
2b. Starting a Jaywalker. That sock pattern has wicked mojo on it or something. The minute your resistance is low...There you are. I shouldn't be surprised that a bout with the flu has resulted in this sock turning up again. I think it's a viral pattern.

3. Bead stores. The new Sivia Harding sock pattern that came with the STR sock club calls for beads. (You can see a wonderful example here, on Pink Tea.) I thought about putting them on there, and then I got a hold of myself. I don't even know where a Toronto bead store is. Answer....Queen Street West. I was taking the streetcar home from the passport place and all of a sudden there were a million beadstores all over the place. I had some sort of involuntary twitch, pulled the bell and the next thing I knew...


Yeah. Whoops.

4. Bead stores are not for the weak, recovering, or anyone with a single magpie gene in their bodies. It was only that I was tuckered out by the Passport office and couldn't stand for very long that I only came home with hundreds and hundreds instead of millions and millions. Bead stores are wonderful little shimmering dens of temptation.

5. Beads are CHEAP.


See that? Less than two dollars, and it's enough to do a pair or two of socks. (Note: There were other beads, beads that were not for knitting. Those beads cost a lot more money. I averted my eyes from the burning glory of the beads that were not for knitting and thanked my lucky stars that I am a knitter and that I don't know what the seven dollar bead was for. If you do not have a one track knitting mind, you should maybe not go to the bead store.)

6. Almost thirteen year old daughters in bead stores is a bad idea. They make that high pitched shriek thing that means they want you to spend all of your money on something shiny. Go alone. Go strong. Go without a credit card. Wear garlic.

7. I asked the lady if these were 8/0 seed beads like the pattern says, and she (without looking at me or the beads) said "Sure. Why not." (Apparently customer service in bead stores is as touch and go as is is everywhere else. I thought the tiny glass art would purify their souls.)

8. I didn't get very far with the eggs.


These have been brought to room temp, washed with water and vinegar and had any little lumps or bumps carefully pared off with an X-acto knife. (Almost. I can see one I missed.) Any idea what comes next?

9. This was less than 1/4 of what I usually get done in a day and I am so absolutely tired I could go cross eyed.

10. This makes me want to figure out how to get beads onto yarn anyway. (Threading it like a needle doesn't work. My yarn is too...flaccid. ) Sivia recommends dental floss threaders, which I don't have, and all reasonable (and unreasonable) attempts to substitute dental tape has failed.

Perhaps I need to cut back on the passport office and the decongestants.

Posted by Stephanie at 5:59 PM

January 2, 2007

Hey that's me!

It turns out that whatever viral bad guy knocked me arse over teakettle last week was just the nucleic acid equivalent of a warning shot over the bow. I was feeling better, I really was. I bucked up, trouped myself over to my Mum's for The Big One....

Wait...hold on. You want pictures from the big one?
The big hit this year was "Photobooth" on my MacBook. A few samples of the big fun...






It would appear that the urge to photograph oneself with a computer camera is overwhelming and spans generations. (Erin really got the hang. There are several shots that I can't show you. We have standards here at Chez Harlot.) The universal reaction to seeing oneself in realtime on a computer screen? "Hey...that's me!"

For Auntie Rams, one of the dancing pictures...


This year we focussed on teaching the next generation of dancers. Get 'em young, that's our motto. A very good time was had by all, yours truly especially. I felt like I had really kicked the virus, was feeling way better and then whammo. Saturday morning woke up and could hardly move. Misery abounded. I remember very little (blissfully) of Saturday and Sunday...and only the vaguest miserable patches of yesterday. Last night I took three extra strength cold/flu pills and lost consciousness, and today I've almost regained the will to go on. (I may not have regained the ability to write coherently or with any real wit, so forgive the lack of entertainment in this post, will ya?)

While I don't remember doing it (bless Neo Citran and it's amnesiac fog of decongestant twilight) it would seem that I finished the Rock and Weave socks. (Yarn: STR Pink Granite mediumweight.)


I've always suspected that knitting was pretty much an automatic function for me, and here we finally have proof. Knitting I don't remember doing.


The tally continues to rise, really slowly...thanks to our good friend Mr. Influenza. (This flu is absolute revenge for the conversation I had with Ken last week where I totally dissed the flu shot. Never let it be said that viruses don't have a sense of humour and a poignant grasp on irony. They totally do. I am weeping, feverish, snotty proof.) I'm almost finished with the emails up to the 19th December. (Sorry, sorry...I suck.) If you haven't had a confirming email from me, then your contribution isn't recorded yet. This means the number is headed for epic, epic things. Be amazed.

Happy New Year. More tomorrow, when I am theoretically less sick, more engaging and playing with eggs. (You'll have to wait and see what that means.)

Posted by Stephanie at 5:12 PM