July 30, 2007

Hay, sun, etc

The girls and Joe are out today, so I'm working hard to take advantage of the opportunity. (It's amazing how soon after having a meltdown where you did your best impression of the kid in the exorcist these opportunities arise. I'm sure it's unrelated.) I've got no time to be anything but random.

1. Thank you for your support. The only reason I didn't leave for Aruba was because there were so many comments from other parents that I realized that I don't have the worst kids in the world and therefore am not morally able to run away forever. Very reassuring.

2. A reminder that I am at the Borders in Burlington MA on Thursday at 7:00pm, apparently you can email or call to reserve a seat. Details HERE. (That reminds me. I totally need a haircut.)

3. The next day I am at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison CT. Amy called to get a spot and was told that everyone planning to attend should register. I'm not sure if that's totally accurate, and I'm positive they will just let you in if you come, but since the very nice lady behind the counter told Amy that only 30 people had signed up (probably because we didn't know we should register) and she "didn't expect it to be busy", if you're planning on coming, could you give them a heads up so we don't have the chair thing again?

To reserve seats, call 203.245.3959 or 800.74.READS, or email books@rjjulia.com.

4. I could use knitters to take responsibility taking any hats we collect to a shelter when I am in both places. Any volunteers?

5. The details for Halifax are in! (I am unreasonably excited about Halifax. I'm really grateful to the Canadian Distributor of the books for finally getting me out that way.) August 7, 2007, Time: 6:00 pm, Lord Nelson Hotel, (SERIOUSLY! Sorry. All caps was un-called for, and the exclamation point was right out of hand. It is the Lord Nelson though...c'mon.) Regency Ballroom, 1515 South Park Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Loop Craft Cafe is in on it, and they can help you with any other details you might wonder about. I'll get it all up on the Tour Page ASAP.

6. I am still entering the emails for the Knitters Without Borders database loss. I have done hundreds, but there's a lot to go. If you have already resent, but didn't hear from me yet, please be patient. I confuse very easily, so if you resend twice in a week it makes it hard for me to keep track of you. I'm sending everybody a quick email when I get them entered so that they know that they are "in" and when I think I have everybody I'll let you know. If you still think you're missing, you can resend then...okay?

7. No sooner do I explain my love for the firm, smooth pointiness that is the Knit Picks dpns and claim that I care nothing for wooden ones than I am forced to declare an exception. I DO use wooden dpns for the sort of colourwork that is the Kauni Cardigan, in fact the whole cardi has been knit on wooden needles, and am very much enjoying these ones.

Gfneedles3007

The new Grafton Fibers Darn Pretty dpns. Which are smooth and firm and pointy, but still have some of the "drag" that's so helpful for colourwork. Love them, and they are indeed fine needles, and (as the name promises) Darned Pretty....

Darnedprettydphs3007

which is awesome, because I really like the people who run this business and would hate to have to figure out what to say the next time I saw them if they were crappy needles.

8. I finished the first sleeve of the Kauni Cardigan, and decided that I am exactly the sort of obsessive compulsive knitter who cannot possibly tolerate it if the two sleeves don't match. I tried to relax into it, I really did. I know other knitters can let it go and just let patterned yarns do their thing, and I applaud them and even think that their sweaters look great. I just. Can't. Do. It. Turns out it was pretty easy to get it all matchy- matchy....

Windingrb3007

All I did was use the ball winder to wind off the colours I didn't want, stopping when I had the blue matching the start of the first sleeve, then winding off the other ball until it was matching the green.

Allwoundupkcy3007

Then I set aside those wound off sections, I'll use them for button bands or something, and I'll begin knitting with the two balls rigged to start at the right spot.

Matchy3007

See? Obsession made easy.

For now, it's back to the salt mines, making hay while the sun shines....all that.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:56 PM

July 27, 2007

I'm only taking a laptop

I am running away from home. I do not know where I am going, or when I will be back, but the combination of Joe out of town for a week, the children all in the house and the work deadlines have finally taken their toll. I am getting on my bike and riding to somewhere where I can plug in a laptop and NOT BE SPOKEN TO. This may be Aruba. Someone should totally stop by and feed my cat. I am not taking her either.

Deskon2707

There is every chance that I will not come back until my daughters are all old enough to make a connection between interrupting my work and all of us going TO LIVE IN A BOX.

This is a struggle I go through every summer, when all of these people come and try to live in my office, aka, our house, and I know that this year it is compounded by the fact that Joe suddenly found himself "pursuing other opportunities" in September and has been around the house a whole lot more than ever. In addition, even though all the girls have summer jobs and Joe is freelancing, they appear to have finally perfected the ability to tag team me, so that just as someone is going out the door, someone else is arriving so that they have complete coverage.

Sometimes I read about "sleep deficits", where people are chronically exhausted because night after night they fall short of their sleep needs, and I feel like that's what's happening here...not with sleep, but with alone time -the time that I use to reflect so that writing is possible and I can be at all sane. I know that parents everywhere are reading this and thinking "Holy cow lady, I haven't been alone in seven years, that's just what it takes to be a parent"...and I really agree with them. I think that it's the added pressure of being a parent and working from home that's got me. It means that I can't really just take off everyday and go work at the library or something, because I am also a parent, and that means that I have to be dialled into what my kids are doing. (I happen to believe that teenagers need more supervision than 10 year olds. The stakes are higher.) If I just had to parent, or just had to work from home it would be fine. (Well. Mostly. Neither of those things is particularly easy, especially the parenting.)

A friend suggested this morning that I stop trying to tell these people my children "If you don't go for a walk and let me think for ten minutes we will all starve to death because I pay the bills", because they don't believe me. They don't believe me because it's a lie. They all know that somehow I will pull it together and everything will be all right because I am the mother and I love them and would never let them starve.

She suggested that instead I relate it to what's in in for them....Like saying "If you all leave me alone for "x" amount of time each day, then you will have a happier life, since you won't have to live with a shrill, crazy harpy-lady who keeps yelling, crying and adding up the cost of the avocados you just ate."

I think she's right. I think she's brilliant actually, and I'm going to try it, and any other suggestions you've got....because there have got to be parents out there who work from home, or maybe even parents out there who have creative jobs that take a lot of alone time to pull off, and some of you have to be making it work...right? I'll try anything.

The minute I get back from Aruba.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:27 PM

July 25, 2007

Low Content

Stealth knitting and a ton of work continue to make poor blog fodder. Last night I knit a round or two on the Kauni Cardigan and just could not believe how long this is taking to knit. I mean, it's a reasonable gauge, a simple pattern and it really, really should be finished. (I would like to overlook the fact that I've knit the first sleeve twice due to operator error, since it means that I would be a lot closer to done if I hadn't gone nighty-night on the pattern instructions.) it's demoralizing to have it moving so slowly. This should be one that's just whipping along. Jeanie is even knitting it in another pattern and still making good time. Susan is charging along (and I like her edge better) Cindy is completely finished. There are tons of others too...all going forward. My slow progess on this is unreasonable.

I'm not into a race, I don't care how quickly I finish, not really...but it's been on needles forever and I just can't imagine what the hold up is.

Note: I wrote all of that, then moved the mystery stole to put my coffee down, shifted the socks in progress, moved the stealth knitting to my office so I could knit it while I read email and sort of got it. The Kauni Cardigan is taking a log time because I AM NOT KNITTING IT.

Never mind.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:54 PM

July 24, 2007

Tuesday Q&A

I've made little progress on socks, sweaters or sundry, and I'm hoping to distract you from the pathetic lack of progress by confessing that I have an unblog-able secret project on the go, and I'm working a whole lot of hours with writing stuff (which really just looks like me hunched over my desk with my head in my hands...but is work nonetheless.)

Shall we do Q&A? It's been a while.

Mary asks:

I am curious as to the needles you use for your socks. Are
they knit picks? I bought some and tried them a week or so ago and found them incredibly heavy, they were #1 (US).

They are indeed Knit Picks needles, of which I am a pretty big fan. I almost always knit socks on metal dpns, I find them fast and sturdy, and for my particular tension and style of knitting I like a really rigid needle. Wooden needles at the finer gauges drive me insane because of their flexibility, that little bit of "give" sometimes makes it harder for me to knit. (There are exceptions, of course.) Naturally, there are many knitters who find the exact opposite is true, it all depends on your personal bent. These needles are nickel plated like the Addi Turbos, and have much in common.

As for the weight, there are a couple of issues. Knit Picks makes two sizes of US #1s, so that the full metric range is represented. You can see in this kit (which I just bought and really love) that the sizes are:

2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, 3, 3.25.....all standard Metric.

BUT in US sizes, because the system isn't set up for that much differentiation, the sizes in the same kit are:

0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3.

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to note the difference between the two ones and the two twos (maybe I call them US number one ones and number two ones and US number one twos and number two twos? 1a? 2b?) but for the purposes of the rest of this bit, let's assume that I am comparing the first US #1's (2.25mm.)

(Kindly insert here my standard rant on the difficulties of the US needle sizing system, why I don't like it and why I don't use it. I think that there are two ones and two twos and that you need metric to explain the difference totally illustrates my point.)

In any case, according to my handy little scale, (and Grumperina's, since she weighed some a while ago too) my rosewood DPNs in 2.25 mm (US size one ones) weigh 1.6g. My Susan Bates cheap aluminum ones (the ones that were my favourites before the Knit Picks ones came along) weigh 7g, and the Knit Picks are 11.3.
That means there's a difference of 4.3g between the two metal brands I compared - and that's about the weight of two pennies.

Twocents2407

For me, that tiny little bit of extra weight is nothing and doesn't bother me at all, I don't even register it. I think if I were a wooden needle user I might notice the difference more. Clearly, if I were concerned about weight, I would be using the rosewood, which are very much lighter. As it is two pennies worth of extra weight seems so completely inconsequential to me that it won't hold me back in the slightest, and as a matter of fact, I find that wee bit of extra weight sort of comfortable and sturdy. What will bug the snot out of me is broken needles (because I carry my knitting everywhere I am death unto wooden needles for socks) bent needles (the cheaper aluminum ones don't really stand up well to my sock lifestyle either, although until now they were they best I could do) and needles that aren't sharp enough to make light work of stitch manipulation with cables and such.

Everybody else is going to have their own set of priorities. It could be that flexibility is really important to you, in which case you're really going to hate the Knit Picks needles and would enjoy plastic. If you knit very loosely and find that your needles slide out of your work easily, these are going to make you nuttier than Peter Pan at a retirement home and you're going to love bamboo. If you love smooth, fast, sharp needles, these are your babies.

There are no "bad" needles out there, just needles you or I don't like. I could pull what I thought was the worst needle out of my bag tomorrow and someone here would defend it to her death as the best needle ever. There's simply too much personality in knitting for us to ever be able declare a universal best choice. (We can have the Circular VS Straight argument tomorrow if you like.) For now, I'm really enjoying the Nickel Plated, and there's only one way that Susan Bates has got them beat....

Colourneed2407

You can't match the Knitpicks to your yarn. Bummer.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:36 PM

July 23, 2007

Quickie

For various reasons (have you met my new stove and seen the tour schedule?) we found ourselves too short of time and money to do a whole lot, vacation- wise this summer. We decided to do a quickie when we heard about the bike train. We have cycled to Niagara before, we did it as a family when the girls were 8, 10 and 13... it's not at all hard and is only 200km away, but that's a three day ride each way... and that was too long for us. (Not distance wise, we've done 400km on family trips before, it was too long a time to take off work.) We could do what we have done in the past, box up the bikes and ship them on the train, but to be entirely frank, it's a huge pain in the arse. You have to take of the pedals and turn your handlebars and tape the boxes and pay the money for the shipping and wait for them to be loaded and unloaded as oversize baggage, and if you're travelling with a whole family, the time that takes really sucks...but we've done it.

Gettingonbt

The bike train solves all this. You ride over to Union Station, hand them the bike right there, they put it in a bike rack on the baggage car and hand it right back to you at the end of the ride. It's spectacular. Ken and I knit the whole way.

Kenandiknit2307

Joe did whatever it is that non-knitters do with a train ride.

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Once there, we got our bikes back and took off on a ride. We decided to go from the Niagara train station to Niagara On The Lake, then cycle back and check into our hotel. The next day we would cycle south toward Fort Erie, then whip back before getting on the train to go home to Toronto. Only Sam was with us this year, since her older sisters have jobs that mean they can't take weekends off, so Sam was queen for the trip and set much of the agenda. The coolest thing on her list was the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum. (Naturally, and I'm sure all the Canadians will be having flashbacks to 7th grade history class, this is located in the historic home of William Lyon Mackenzie, rebel publisher and instigator of the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837.)

Samprints2107

They had all sorts of printing presses, including one that is the eighth oldest printing press in the world, and with the exception of that very old one, the rest are hands on. We all got to take turns pulling handles and levers and printing our own bookmarks, and Sam set her name in type ("Samantha" instead of "Sam". More fun that way). Very, very good fun.

Printingmch2107

(Bloggers should be interested to know that this, these letters that one moves around to set the type for printing is an invention called "Movable type" Sound familiar?)

They had a linotype press too...it was absolutely fascinating, and considering how time consuming it is, it's pretty fantastical to know that there are still plenty of newspapers all over the place who still use the technology, and that a realistic alternative only came along in the 70's. The New York Times used Linotype until 1975.

We Cycled along the Niagara River for the rest of our day.

Greatgorge2107

We saw orchards with almost ready peaches, and acres and acres of vineyards as we cycled along the "wine route".

Grapesso2207

Vineyardsst2207

At the printing press we met a man named Roy Charles Asplin, who is a very charming old man and a neat guy, and he told us that he had made a statue of Lord Simcoe the stood in Simcoe Park in Niagara On The Lake.

Statue2107

We found it...and with little thought, the next picture was obvious.

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The sock went to the Butterfly Conservatory,

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which is really a fantastic and magical place.

Butterfliesmos2207

Butterflies everywhere, even one to match my knitting.

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This whole day took about 60km of cycling, and took us back to downtown Niagara Falls, where we started looking for the hotel. We cycled around Clifton Hill (an insult of incline after 60 k of cycling) we looked up and down the street, but try as we might, we couldn't find our hotel. Ken finally asked me for the confirmation email so he could take it into another hotel and ask where it was, and I handed it to him...telling him the address, and he started to walk away.
Then he stopped dead, turned slowly and said "We have a big problem." He pointed at the address. I looked where he was pointing. 433 Main Street, Niagara Falls. "What problem?" I said.
"Keep reading Steph." I looked at the paper. 433 Main Street, Niagara Falls, USA.

Hotelonmars2207

Damn. Double Damn. There it was, across the river with that big huge BORDER in between us and it. Might have well been on Mars for how attainable it was. We hadn't planned on a jaunt to another freaking country, so while we all had passports, we certainly didn't have them with us, and nobody was carrying any proof of citizenship. (Except Sam. That kid was prepared for anything.) We did some fancy dancing, made a bunch of phone calls and found what we were told was the last available hotel room on our side of the border. Stupid, stupid, stupid. (I am back to self blame for the bonehead move on that one, although when we couldn't find a hotel room I did have a rather good head of steam worked up about the stupidity of having two cities with the same name right next to each other.)

The next day we visited the falls,

Sockatfalls2207

contemplated a daring photo, but realized the risk to the sock was too great,

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cycled south from the falls,

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had a nice lunch, rode and rode and rode, and then turned up at the train station, boarded our bikes and headed for home.

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It was a really good time, although if your view for a whole weekend is like this,

Ridingon2207

Then this is all the knitting you get done.

Alligotdone22071

We'd do the bike train again in a heartbeat, even though today, I am- despite owning a great seat for my bike....acutely aware of my own seat.

Posted by Stephanie at 4:19 PM

July 20, 2007

Good company

You all may have noticed that I rack up the frequent flyer miles pretty good. The upside of this is that I have friends all over. The downside of this is that my friends are all over. Rachel H. and I have both been privileged to enjoy a lovely (mostly) cyber friendship with Rachel's fellow professional commenters, Rams and Presbytera, and we missed them. Presbytera's very nice husband suggested she grab Rams and make a run for the border, and Wednesday morning bright and early they did just that. They made record time from Michigan and by dinner time, it was me, Denny, Rachel H, Rams and Presbytera drinking and eating in Kensington Market.

Knittersrpdhm1907

I can't tell you what a lovely time we've had, despite me needing to pull back the kauni cardigan (again) by 7-8cms.

Rippingwithlb1907

Note: The beers in that picture are not all mine. Admittedly, some of that beer is mine, but certainly not enough of it to justify the bone-head mistake I made in the sleeve. I plead distraction by my fine company.

Rachel, Denny and I tried to show them the best possible knitterly version of Toronto. We took them to the Lettuce Knit Knit Night.

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We took them to the Romni sale. We got Rams a plate of poutine, we drank local beer.

We went to the bead stores on Queen West and picked beads to go with our new yarn....

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Presbytera1907

(All of us. It's was like a lemming convention.)

Rachelh1907

We went BACK to Lettuce Knit, we took streetcars and subways and city buses. (Knittiing the whole way.) We had a very decadent dinner in my backyard, where I made a plain pasta dish and a very boring salad, and Presbytera made spanakopita and baclava and Rams made a pie and WE ATE IT ALL. We drank wine and knit under the backyard twinkle lights.

Twinkleback1907

(I have no idea why in this picture for this moment they are not laughing. I swear we were having buckets of fun, but I have failed to capture the moment. )
We got up and went to St. Lawrence Market. We ate lunch at a pub.
We went to St. James Cathedral and we took sock pictures under the web of some enormous urban art spider.

Underwebs1907-1

Then we bought them butter tarts and sent them on their way.

Stepsal1907-1

I miss them already. May I suggest, if you don't have some already, that you immediately cultivate some knitting friends? Friends who want to go to yarn stores? Friends who want to sit and knit and see your patterns? Friends who just move the yarn in the freezer to put in the spanakopita like it's perfectly reasonable? It's simply, fantastically, the best.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

-C.S. Lewis.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:54 PM

July 18, 2007

Time Flies

I was going to write this great big post about the Mystery Shawl and how I finished clue three and I think maybe I'm addicted and I can't stop but I have to because clue four doesn't come out until Friday morning...

Ms331807

but it turns out that my big super-exciting knitting company from Michigan is making much better time on the highway than I thought and I haven't vacuumed and my hair is bad and I don't have clean pants and I didn't get to the grocery store yet and it's all because I sat and knit lace. The only reason I'm even writing this is because I ran out of chart.

I gotta go. You know, if you looked up the exact opposite of "time management? It would be me.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:28 PM

July 17, 2007

Update-o-rama

1. The Knitters Without Borders total is rising again, see in the sidebar? I've still got about 800 emails to deal with, but I'm getting through them pretty quickly. When I do yours I send a quick note just to let you know that you're on the list and I've "gotcha". If you have no idea what I'm talking about and have ever sent me an email about Knitters Without Borders, please read this, and help me spread the word to anyone who might need to know. When I've got everything tallied I'll start up again with the gifts. There are tons to give away.

2. Jayme-the-wonder-publicist is at it again. Update to the tour schedule here. There's Burlington MA, Madison, CT and Halifax, Nova Scotia in August, and Seattle, LA, Wichita Kansas, Houston Texas, Atlanta Georgia and Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia in September. I would not be surprised if she didn't put another one or two on there either, but I am not in charge of the woman.

3. I've been plugging away on my Mystery Stole, halfway through "clue 3" (Ok. Fine. Not quite halfway. Picky, picky.) There are 50 rows in each instalment of the pattern and they arrive each Friday morning.

Ms331707

I'm trying to stay on track and not fall behind. I wondered how I would feel about not knowing what I was knitting, and it turns out that I love it. I think it's tons of fun to watch the pattern develop. I suppose that it would be less fun if Melanie hadn't designed a stole that happens to be right exactly what I would design if I were as smart as her and had thought of it first... but that's not the way it's going. I think it's very, very beautiful.

Ms3Detyarn1707

The yarn is Lane Borgosesia Baruffa Cashwool, which makes it sound like it has cashmere, but it doesn't. It's a very nice solid coloured merino laceweight with one hundred million metres to the skein. (I'm lying, but it's still a whole lot...1350m.) I chose it for this project because it is very cheap, and I didn't want to spend any more than $14 to knit a mystery. (I'm so sorry I doubted you Melanie, I bow at your feet in penitent shame. ) Now the thrifty knitter in me is thinking that since this was the only skein I had I should have more of this yarn in the stash.

4. Luckily, I have the new stove gleaming in the kitchen to remind me that no matter how cheap the yarn is, buying yarn doesn't save money. Not buying yarn saves money. I have a new stove. I will be strong.

5. Yes. Watching other people buy yarn is the next best thing to buying it yourself...why do you ask?

6. No, that's not enabling. That's helping.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:25 PM

July 16, 2007

I don't care about other mothers

Ripped.

Ripkcs1607

Fixed.

Pickingupskcs1607

Re-knitting.

Reknittingkcs1607

That's all I have time for today, since I lost huge amounts of my morning to the drama involved in being somewhat embroiled in The TV Fight for the 48679th time in my life and I still have to do today's writing work. (I say somewhat, because I find vague detachment from teenaged ire helpful.) Under my tyrannical rule (unlike, it would appear, the rules of every other mother in the world who are all nicer than and saner than me) it has always been that there is no TV in the summer until after 4 in the afternoon. This is because I think 8 hours of TV is unhealthy, and because I work from home and find the TV distracting and loud. For these reasons, and some others, involving physical fitness and stuff like that, I still think this is an excellent rule and there absolutely zero chance that I am changing it. (This would be the rub of the drama.) I have said this every single day of every summer since the kids began school... and they are apparently the worlds most tenacious kids. Therefore, we have The TV Fight.

There is no school. The sun is shining. If they have a day off work they can go outside. Read a book. Ride their bikes. Go to the park or the pool. Paint. Put away their laundry. Knit. Use their YMCA memberships. They can lie on the floor prostrate with grief and fury or lie on their beds writing emotional dark poetry about how much they hate me... and I can't believe that out of all of those choices they want to have The TV Fight with me. I have never lost The TV Fight, and I am not starting today.

I admit, when they told me that all the other mothers and teenagers think I am crazy and mean as a result of my insane TV rules, I was swayed for a second. I also felt a little bit bad about being "the only mother in the world" with rules about TV watching, and I do feel just sick about demanding a well-rounded lifestyle while everybody else's mother "cares about their kid" and isn't blatantly "trying to ruin their summer". Although I feel a burning heartache over "obviously not caring" if they are unhappy and "being a hippy freak mother"...

I can live with it.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:02 PM

July 13, 2007

I like knitting

I like knitting, I like knitting, I like knitting. I like knitting. I like knitting.

This is all I am muttering, sitting here, gently rocking back and forth, definitively coming to the unavoidable conclusion that I need to rip back the entire sleeve of the Kauni Cardigan and have a complete rip and re knit of said offending portion. I have screwed it up in the following ways:

Needsripkauni1207

1. I have picked up a number of stitches around the sleeve opening that is unrelated to the number of stitches actually available around the sleeve. In fact, not only is the number of stitches unrelated to the opening, it is also apparently unrelated to the number given in the pattern. Clearly I have just picked a number out of the ether. While I'm a big fan of doing what works and not being a slave to patterns, this does not work, and in fact offers a subtle "lamb of mutton" sleeve effect that is doing the opposite of working out.

2. For reasons that I cannot fully explain (and frankly, choose to avoid, since they centre around my lack of intellect) even though I have knit the size small body, this number of sleeve stitches is closer to those suggested for the largest size.

3. I have added insult to injury by refusing to acknowledge, even though I could see it with my own two eyes, that something profound had happened to my gauge when I changed from circulars to DPNs after about 10cm of sleeve. It got looser after the switch and this, while it is offensive alone, is horrific when compounded by the magnificent number of sleeve stitches.

Sleevetruthrip1207

4. Since I went swimming in the river of denial on this one, I actually have pretty much finished the reeking slag heap of a sleeve before I could no longer devise ways to convince myself that the sleeve was "just fine" or would "block out". It has to be ripped back. It has to be knit again. Fortunately for me, I am a knitter, and ripping it out just gives me a wonderful opportunity to enjoy this (*&^%$#@!!!ing sleeve all over again.

I like knitting, I like knitting, I like knitting, I like knitting.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:08 PM

July 12, 2007

Just keep your mouth shut

I sometimes read feminist blogs. (Dr. Steph and I had a conversation at Knit Night last night where we said that we would both read them more except neither of us wants to be angry and exhausted all the time...which is problematic, but true.) I got to feeling sort of guilty on the way home that I wasn't keeping up and so this morning I made a quick tour and read up. One story in particular caught my eye. (Well, it caught my eye after the hysterical blindness caused by learning that women who think this sort of thing is wrong are referred to in some circles as "feminist supremacists" abated.)

Tory Bowen says that she was raped. Actually, Tory Bowen, was pre-law at college when she had a drink at a bar that was the last thing she remembers until she woke up in a strangers bed, with a stranger, who was doing something she hadn't consented to. (That would be the rape.) She went to the emergency room, was treated and had a rape kit done and called the police. The police charged her attacker with 1st degree sexual assault and a trial was set. That's where things got weird.

The judge decided that many words around this issue were too inflammatory. That they made the defendant sound guilty, and that they implied a crime...."Rape" is a legal conclusion- he thought. We cannot call it rape until a jury says it's rape. (Hear that women? You can't know something is rape until there's a vote. I suppose being there doesn't grant you any special insight.) So he banned some words. Nobody in his courtroom may use these words, when it comes to this trial:

Rape.
Sexual Assault.
Victim.
Attacker.
Assailant.
Forced.

No one can say that the hospital did a "Rape Kit" and they can't say that at the hospital she was treated by the "Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner." In fact, inside the courtroom no one can even say that the defendant is charged with 1st Degree Sexual Assault.

So what, if anything, was allowed?

Ms. Bowen is allowed to say that she and the defendant had "sex" or "intercourse", which she complains (and very rightly so) implies the exact opposite to a jury, that the acts were consensual and non-traumatic.

Worse than this...perhaps the worst of all, the jury did not know that the words were banned. The jury was never instructed that the ruling was made at all. Can you imagine being a juror at a trial where a man is accused of not even sexual assault, but just sex?
A trial where the victim (oh, crap. Forgot we can't call her that.) the "complainant" can't say she was forced? A trial where the victim never accuses her attacker of rape?
If you were a juror, how seriously would you take a woman who testified about what happened to her for 13 hours without ever using a single word that implied that she thought what had happened to her was a crime?

Not surprisingly, the first trial resulted in a hung jury. A second trial is about to start and the same ban is still in place. The judges name is Judge Jeffre Cheuvront and he is a judge in Nebraska. There is an interview with Tory Bowen here, on the CBC (it's the first story in Part 1) and it's well worth listening to.

Whether or not you think Ms. Bowen was raped, forced to have sex, was sexually assaulted had sex with her attacker, the defendant is irrelevant. Limiting how rape victims can describe what happens to them is prejudicial to a jury and insulting to the victim. it's also insulting to the jury to not tell them that you've banned language at all. (A friend of mine pointed out that this ban is actually insulting to every single person involved except the defendant.) If this offends you, please consider taking a moment to tell someone how you feel about this. If you live in Nebraska you can find your Senator here. You can file a complaint about an attorney or a judge here. If you don't live in Nebraska, maybe your Senator knows a Nebraska Senator?

Tell them that until the words "victim" "attacked" or "forced" are banned from all trials, until at a robbery trial we say that "the interested party liberated some property and nobody minded" or at a murder trial the only thing that can be said about a serial killer who brutally murdered twenty people is "he may have reduced to zero the life energy of the other concerned parties" - that this is sort of obviously about women and their rights.

(See what I mean about the anger and exhaustion?)

PS. (Added at 3:30, when I still couldn't stop thinking about this)

I've been thinking a lot about the language Ms. Bowen is allowed to use, and trying to think of a sentence using only "sex" or "intercourse" that could possibly stand in for the phrase "he raped me" or any other phrase that makes it sound like something was done "to" her, rather than "with" her. Interestingly, I've discovered that I can't. Every time I use one of her two allowed words, I have to use the word "we" or "with" to make it work (you can't say "he sexed me", you must say "he had sex with me" or "we had intercourse" ) all of which imply she was a partner in the process. Try it.

I'm still mad.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:24 PM

July 11, 2007

Surprise

When I first heard about Elizabeth Zimmermann I read some of her stuff, loved it, and thought that she was a very clever lady. Then I knit my first baby surprise jacket and realized that she was not clever, she was a genius. One of those sparklingly stunning quick brains that does things ordinary brains do not. A brain that thought around corners and not in the limiting straight lines that I can't even manage most days. I've knit a multiplicity of these little puzzles over the years, and when I had leftovers from the Dream in Colour fixation a little while ago,I knit one up over the weekend. It only takes a few hours (maybe....six- eight?) and is simple, assuming one can follow directions. This was my personal barrier to success with the Baby Surprise Jacket over the years. I kept trying to "figure it out" instead of just knitting one and letting the logic of it dawn on you. The first one takes blind faith. Just like turning a heel, when you are learning you suspend disbelief and leap. To make a baby surprise jacket, first you knit something that looks like the garter stitch equivalent of a manta ray.

Babysurpriseundone1107

I changed colours when it suited me, and as my leftovers allowed. It took more yarn than I thought it would, so this sweater contains leftovers from both mine and Ken's "Rocketry" sweaters, and some extra from my "green" wrap Cardigan. I weighed the sweater when I was done knitting and it took 151 grams of Dream in Color "Classy" worsted. Odd piece of knitting accomplished, one folds it up like origami, and sews up two seams along the tops of the arms...

Steponebssew1107

Step2Sewbs1107

(Sort of carefully, since these seams are very public)

Makeitsnice1107

When I'm done that the sweater is technically finished, but I don't like the raw looking edge of the neck so...

Imcrocheting1107

A crochet edge.

Edgedonebs1107

I don't crochet, (current evidence notwithstanding) and am badly befuddled by crochet patterns in general. For some reason, the crochet terms have evolved differently in the US than in Canada/Europe and between the inconsistencies and my own inexperience, I can't figure patterns out. I can do my own thing, but the trouble starts with following a pattern. Is it US? UK? I swear, it seems to me that if you wanted to start a barfight in crochetville you could just swagger into the local pub and say "I do believe I have worked me a fine double crochet on this here sweater" and someone would stand up and shout "No you ain't! That's single crochet" and the next thing you know hooks are drawn and the whole thing is a mess. (If you would like to have a version of the same fight in a knitting bar, ask what "moss stitch" is.) For the record, I believe I have worked one row of double crochet.

Finishdicbs1107

Now all the little wonder needs is three buttons (whoops. That's another change. EZ's pattern calls for five buttonholes, but I like it better with just three at the top.)

Bsfinishedic1107

I love this little sweater, it's always a pretty surprise. This pattern was written the same year I was born, but it never gets old for me. It's really a classic.

Elizabeth Zimmermann' s Baby Surprise Jacket, pattern found in The Knitting Workshop, or as a leaflet from Schoolhouse Press, or even as a DVD that walks you through it...but I haven't seen it. There's also an adult version....and an especially pretty example here.

Finishedgbnn1107

Another surprise. I actually finished the yarn from yesterday.

Finisheddbcor1107-1

Pretty eh? I love how you can see the learning curve. (Sort of, I mean I would have loved it more if there was no learning curve and I was just perfect all the time.) If you look at the greyish-pink in the centre of the ball, that's where I was having trouble. The better reddish outsides is where I got it together. You know...in as much as I ever get it together. Still, an excellent effort. Now, I'm off.

Cherrytime1107

It's that time of year, and I've got my work cut out for me.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:39 PM

July 10, 2007

It told me so

For all the talk we do about being the bosses of our fibre, of taking charge, of bending its filaments to your will, there sometimes comes a moment when I remember that fibre has a voice, and that failure to listen can result in disaster - or crappy yarn, depending on your personal definition of disaster. (I only advocate telling other spinners that the fleece was talking to you. You would be surprised how many people are suddenly really busy if you bring up the voices in polite company.)

Gbattcoralpink0406

Such is the case with the fibre I started spinning last week. My intention was to divide the batt in half lengthwise, then spin one half of it up, progressing from one end of the batt to the other, then repeat with the other half onto another bobbin, then ply the two together and hope that the colour change present in the batt would be present in the yarn.

Battspread1007

Too bad the batt didn't give a crap about my plan. (Too bad the colour sucks on these pictures as well...the colour on the right is an intense coral/red/pink. Just plain refuses to photograph without being over-saturated and disco intense. Try to use your imagination. ) Actually, I've got no business accusing the batt of duplicity. I did not properly assess the batt, I disregarded the will of the batt, and the batt behaved as batts will when they have their dignity offended that way...which is to say that the whole thing sucked.

Since I started out deciding what I wanted, I had pretty much decided how I would spin it. Woolen style, forward draw.

"Worsted" and "woollen" when used in spinning, refer to fibre preparation (as in "woollen prep") and the way things are spun. (While worsted is a weight or yarn in knitting, it's not in spinning. A yarn spun "worsted" can be any weight.) To over simplify entirely it goes like this:

Worsted = straight. Fibres are combed in preparation making "top", where the fibres are parallel and close together. Worsted spinning emphasizes using techniques that keeps the fibres straight and parallel and minimizes the amount of air in the resulting yarn. This yarn is very durable and strong.

Woollen = airy. Fibres are prepared on cards, making "roving" where fibres are more jumbled and have more air between fibres than in worsted. Woollen spinning emphasizes keeping this loftiness, using techniques that don't compress the fibres. Yarn spun this way still has the air trapped between the fibres, and is warmer and softer, but not as durable or strong.

Now, you can totally mix and match here. Worsted prep top can be spun using woollen techniques, and the other way around. An example would be spinning a merino top using the long draw technique. I can't do it, but that doesn't mean it can't (or shouldn't) be done. A lot of spinners spin everything the same way, regardless of prep type. Generally speaking, I find it easiest to spin worsted yarns with worsted techniques (merino top, short forward draw) and woollen yarns with woollen techniques. (Grafton batt, long draw.)

See that second example? Yeah. The whole short forward draw on the batt thing that I was planning? Not so much. After spinning a quarter bobbin of yarn that had as much finesse as my birkenstocks at the ballet, I wised up and took a look, and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Shortforward10-7

(Photo courtesy Samantha, a bored 13 year old who will certainly find something else to do tomorrow so she isn't co-opted into taking pictures of her dorky mother doing dorky things.)

As I was holding the fibre in my hand and pulling it out and forward towards the orifice, it was almost seizing. Any little criss-cross of fibres (of which there were many - it's a woollen preparation) weren't pulling out in between my hands but almost tightening and knotting as I tried to force it. It was a frustrating crap scene and I wasn't getting what I wanted, a light-ish very smooth yarn.

I walked away. I knit. I thought about it. I stewed it over. I went back to the wheel from time to time and tried variations on my plan. I held the fibre more loosely, more tightly. I shortened the drafting zone. I lengthened it. I pre-drafted. I didn't. I refuse to tell you how long I thought about it, because it's a little embarrassing. Finally it hit me. If what I was doing wasn't working....why didn't I try something else!
(I am not as smart as you think.)

Instead of trying to figure out how to do the wrong thing better, why didn't I see if there was a right thing!
(Just pass the Nobel prize right over here.)

Longdrawhand10-7

This would be me, using a long draw to spin a fine single that is looking a whole lot better and is a lot less like trying to nail jello to a tree.

Longdrawshot107

Better? I thought so. Held loosely in my back (for me that's left) hand, with the twist allowed to flow freely up the single as I swing my arm wide, the fibres are untangling and almost flowing.

Gbsinglesld1007

This single is coming up finer than I planned so I bailed on the other part of my idea too. I'm going to spin up the whole batt, one end to the other and chain-ply ( or navajo-ply, depending on who you ask). I should end up with...well. Something a lot like what I was planning on, albeit a 3-ply instead of a 2. It'll still have that colour progression though...I'm just getting there the fibres way instead of mine, since I started listening to the batt and what it had to tell me.

Just don't tell any ordinary people it talks....all right? I'm misunderstood enough.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:40 PM

July 9, 2007

The horse I'm supposed to be on

It has struck me recently, as I finally accept the death of my hard drive and try to move forward, that the reason I have been so devastated (and deeply, deeply in denial) about the death of the drive, is that computers are deeply mysterious to me. I spend a great deal of time working with them. I entrust massive amounts of information and images to them, all of us use them for communication and banking and...I don't know about you, but I have absolutely no idea how it works. My knowledge of my computer - despite it being VITAL to my career and lifestyle - is pretty much driven by what I need to know and what I cobble together and manage to infer from things I read and hear around me. (Note the difference between "things I infer" and "facts".)

The day the laptop Bricked (as in "turned into a" ) I remember looking at Joe and Ken and not being too upset. I mean, there's always something you can do...right? There is some sort of backup (I hear people mention that) and things on computers are "restored" (I hear that all the time too.) one of those things would work for me.
I stood there, not too concerned really...sure, everything on my computer was gone, but I knew where it was. It was on "The Server". One time I asked Ken where all the blog entries were saved. "On the server" he said. (Score one point for the server) then I noticed where my mail was coming from, "the server" (two points) then when I was connecting one Mac to the other in the house...the button you click on your laptop is "connect to server". I took those three pieces of information and concluded (inferred, really) that the server had all my stuff. Knowing this brought me enormous relief as Joe and Ken stood there telling me my drive was dead. I sighed thankfully. It was all on the server.
I'm pretty sure that Ken and Joe flipped for who was going to have to tell me that servers don't work that way. Despite their names, servers actually serve you very little.

I still wasn't upset. When I bought this laptop I got a lot of extra memory. Seemed to me that now that the drive was dead, and the server didn't serve, that it was a darned terrific move on my part, getting all that extra memory. Turns out?

Computer memory doesn't remember anything. Nothing. It forgets it all when you turn it off. Your DRIVE remembers things, your memory FORGETS things. I know this is hard to hear, but if you are, as I was, labouring under the delusion that there was no way that some of the smartest people in the world would design something like computer memory and give it such a misleading name, or put all of the actual memory in the part of the computer that breaks most often...well. If my pain can save just one knitter....

Turns out all of my things...my writing, my photos (I had some of those on cd) the Knitters without Borders Database....all gone. All. Gone. Way Gone. Joe and Ken had though that I was smart enough to be doing a backup (never underestimate my stupidity) and I thought that since they "make blog go" that they must be doing all the vital things with the computer. They are computer GUYS. This seems to be the crux of the problem. They figure that something like backups are computers 101. They can't imagine that everyone doesn't know how to do a backup, or doesn't do one. They don't understand that those of us who came to computers on a "need to know" basis and inferred the rest might have missed the day that they explained that memory forgets things and drives remember things and all of your eggs are in one very breakable basket so you have to store things in another way. (Though it's just so obvious now that I can't believe I didn't know.)

By the way? If anything I'm telling you is at all surprising and you're getting a vulnerable feeling? Here is how to do a backup on a Mac. and here's Windows. I'll wait here. (If you use something else, like Linux it's my understanding that you are either a big enough geek to know how or you live with one. Ask them.)

In any case, the next phase with a bricked drive is to send it to the hospital. My drive went first to the computer emergency room where they confirmed it was bricked and said it wouldn't "mount" or "spin". (Turns out that drives work a lot like record players. The drive spins and some high tech fancy reads the spinning record. ) From there (stopping only while I wrote terrible, terrible letters to Steve Jobs that he didn't answer) it went to the place of it's birth. Incredibly one of my readers is an engineer type at the company that makes that drive and sells them to Apple, and she very generously offered high level attempts to recover things. She sent me emails periodically to tell me how it was going. She coerced other engineers and tech people into helping her. They used robots and sterile labs. They did things I can't even fathom, and after each attempt, I would get an email.
"It didn't work, but don't give up...there is some other insanely clever thing we can try."

It was hopeful and crushing at the same time. Each attempt brought us closer to running out of options, and each attempt could conceivably have worked.

Finally, there was one thing left, and it failed...and there was nothing they could do. Nothing. The truth, after months of denial, effort, trying and superhuman rescue attempts was that not one byte of information had been retrieved, nor would it ever be. My stuff was gone, all gone. It was nowhere. The sick reality finally hit me. It was not going to be ok. I had lost it all.
Sorry. This is upsetting. Here,

Loksinswhole0

I finished the Loksins socks. (Lisa Souza sock yarn in "Turqua")

Loksinsdet007

Aren't they pretty? Feel better? I know I do.

I've spent the time since then trying to pull it together. I've had to rebuild all my addresses, phone numbers, the writing I lost (oh, that still makes me nauseous) and now that I more or less have it all back (or have reconciled myself to the loss) the only thing that's left to rebuild is the Knitters Without Borders database.

What I had before was a list (private) of all the people who had donated, their email addresses and the amount of their donations.
Since I was in the process of tallying more donations when the drive bricked, I also lost all of the emails that were yet to be added on. I want to rebuilt the database so that two things can happen. The tally in the sidebar can be correct and we can know what we accomplished, and to have a complete listing of all the names of the knitters who gave so you can all have an equal chance in the draws for gifts.

I need your help to make it work. If you have ever contributed to Knitters Without Borders please read and sort out which of the two things you should do. (Please read carefully.) The total in the sidebar is accurate up to this last December 26th, plus it has anything really recent (since the crash) on it too.

1. If you donated and sent me an email to tell me about it (probably after December 26th) and I did not acknowledge it - PLEASE RESEND IT. The original is fine, if it's still in your email. Make sure your email has your name, the email to contact you at, the amount of your donation and what currency it's in. I'll send an you acknowledgement as I work through the list and you are added.
The email address just for sorting out this mess is kwbATyarnharlotDOTca

2. If you have EVER donated (from the beginning until now) and I did acknowledge it please resend me just your name. Please put "Name" in the subject line of the email so I can sort things easily. I don't need to know how much you gave because I have already added you to the total, and we're all working together. The email to send your name is the same one, kwbATyarnharlotDOTca.
(Change the bold words to the right symbols, @ and ".")

Rebuilding the database is going to be a mammoth undertaking on my end. I don't mind, I'm happy to do it, but as I navigate the thousands of emails, it would really help if you guys tried to stick to the two formats above as much as possible. I'll send you each a note as I work through the emails. Please be patient. When I'm done, we can start with the gifts. (I also lost the emails from anyone who was offering a gift. Feel free to resend those too...) Please spread the word to anyone that you know gave as well.

Got it? Questions? Let 'er Rip.

By the way? I have backups up the whazzo now. Automatic backups, cd backups, keychain drive backups, big drive in the basement backups. Never again my friends. Never again.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:24 PM

July 6, 2007

For tax purposes

I got this in the mail from Cathy in Sarnia (that's here in Ontario, home of the Sarnia Sting) apparently I've been issued a receipt of sorts.

Dear Stephanie,

Squirrels Without Borders would like to thank you for your kind gift of wool. Several sweaters will be donated in your name to the less fortunate city Rat Bastards.

Tree Rat Couture 1

Cathy

Posted by Stephanie at 10:36 AM

July 5, 2007

Warning

The blogger know as Moth Heaven (aka Julia) is a danger to other bloggers and should be approached with caution. Though she writes nicely about a very great many things and certainly seems honest and guided only by the finest of principles and her desire to spread joy and the love of wool where ever she goes, yesterday she tricked me into starting a new project and she could do it to you.

The set up:

I am home alone and defenceless. It is raining, which always lowers my resistance, as my energy drips as low as the water covered peonies. I am reading blogs. Many of them mention MS 3, but I am mostly clueless and unconvinced. I have heard much talk of this enterprise, in which a pattern for a lace stole is received by participants in several chunks, each Friday over the summer. You knit clue one, then clue two...you have no idea what you are making (except that it is a stole) and at the end you have something. I am overlooking these mentions, because I am working on other things and I am not going to do it. Not. I read Julia's blog, in which she mentions falling down the rabbit hole on this one, and shows pictures of the pretty laceweight and beads (beads? It's beaded?).
She has signed up. I leave her a comment to the effect of "I really need for people to stop talking about this stole thing. I am worthless and weak." Thus revealing to Ms Moth Heaven that I am apparently ripe for the picking.

The swing:

At this point, Ms Moth Heaven does not reply to my comment. Not in the traditional email way to which I have some resistance. (Also, insulation. My inbox is such a disaster of Herculean proportions that I would not have seen her email for several days.) Perhaps knowing this, the woman phoned my house (this is not creepy, we know each other in real life.) and left me a message while I was busy working. The message essentially detailed how many people were doing it, shot down a few of my arguments against participating and invited comment, along with the expectation that I would return her call. Tricksy knitter.

The hit.

Now, Julia will tell you that this was an honest phone call - not actually a demand that I knit this thing, or a clear attempt at coersion...and she will likely say in her defence that by the time I returned her call a short time later, I had already signed up for MS 3, which she will tell you is proof that I wanted to do it anyway, and that it is not her fault, and that she did not corrupt me. In my rebuttal, I can claim that I only signed up so that I could tell Julia that I had and we could move onto other topics, and that I had not yet selected yarn or beads (or started the knitting) all of which means that I was clearly uncommitted and had no intentions as yet.

The Home Run.

I accused her of corruption straight off when I phoned. She (feigning innocence) maintained her position, and invited discourse on the topic. Why not ? She queried. I stated my concerns, and the felon Juila answered each of them in turn, pointing out the following, paraphrased here:

1. There are more than 4000 knitters signed up. Signups close Friday at midnight. How are you going to feel when everyone is having fun without you?
(This is dirty pool. Julia knows I hate it especially when people have fun without me.)

2. There are beads. You have beads. You put them on with a crochet hook. It's easy, plus, they are optional.
(Again quite cruel, since she knows I am both consumed with the joy of the bead and frightened by it.)

3. If when you are done, you don't want it for yourself, you will have Christmas present finished.
(Hellion. The vixen knows that the weight of holiday season lies heavy upon me even now in the warm time.)

4. It's is only a little bit of knitting per week. Clue one was only a 1/2 afternoon of knitting.
(Right. Make it sound trivial. The woman knits like the wind.)

5. You have the yarn.
(That's a low blow. She knows I am only knitting from stash because of the stove.)

Ms3Stuff0607

As a final sweeping oppostion, I told her that my knitting time was at too much of a premium to knit something without knowing the outcome, and she reminded me that knitting is fun, that I like knitting and that it is impossible for knitting time to be a waste.

Touché, Ms Moth Heaven. I am yours.

Ms3Kal120507

PS. I know that some of you will believe that I only told you about this because I am as dangerous as Julia and because misery loves company....but really? I'm just warning you so you can see right through it.

PPS. You have to sign up before midnight Friday.

PPPS. Julia might also tell you that the whole time she was "convincing me" I was rooting through the stash, thus making it appear that I was already on board. Lies. I was.....just , um.
Tidying up. Yeah. That's it.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:22 PM

July 4, 2007

Rain, rain go away

I really shouldn't wish it away, since the garden badly needs it, but I had such busy plans for today, and if your bike is your transportation, rain sucks. (It also sucks if you like to photograph your knitwear in the bushes, but I suppose that's not crushing.) I hate rain so much that I really wonder if I was a cat in a previous life.

Rainyflowwer0406

The spots on my glasses, the dampness, my hair frizzing, water running down my arms. The way all the kids stay home on rainy days, bored, arguing and inactive. The way the basement leaks. The way it makes the bottoms of your pants wet so later, when you come in and sit cross legged it makes your arse wet, and how if you are accidentally wearing sandals because you hate rain so much that you can't even acknowledge that it might happen so you just carry on, even though the sky is totally black and yellowish and you know it's going to pour, but instead of putting on closed toe shoes and sucking it up, you just wear your sandals like it's not happening at all in your special land of denial and then you get your shoes full of water?

Hate that. I know that there are people who find rain cozy and pretty and look upon it as an opportunity to take baths and make soup and hunker in a bit...I can feel that way about snow sometimes, but rain has never moved me. I do love thunder and lighting, which at least has some sort of interest going for it, but this sort of rain...where the sky just leaks on your plans all day? Hate that.

In any case, since all my errand running is cancelled (except for groceries. I still have to walk out for groceries in the rain) and the girls will be home all day, so there's no point it trying to work very much, so I may as well do laundry and housework (another big reason to just love rainy days) and maybe finish what I started yesterday...

Which sort of is a reason to give rainy days a little credit.

Coralpinkgbatt0406

(Picture taken yesterday before the accursed rain began to fall.)
It's a beautiful pink/coral/taupe/grey sort of batt from Grafton Fibers, just like the one I used to spin and knit this, and admittedly I didn't get very far on it at all. This time I'm trying to spin it a little more finely to get a smidge more in the yardage department. I'm using my Joy rather than my Traditional, just because I'm going to Navajo (or "Chain" ply) my singles to keep the colour changes consistent, and for me, that sort of plying needs to happen really, really slowly. If things move too fast I can't work the chaining thing and the whole enterprise just implodes. I think I have a little more control over speed with the Joy. (That could just be a delusion, time will tell.)

Besinggbattp0406

(Crappy picture due to lack of light from the accursed rain.)

My startitis has subsided somewhat. This is probably because I took the edge off and made a considered decision, started a bunch of stuff. That is probably because I AM WEAK in the face of wool...oh, and silk. Damn, that soy silk is pretty too....wait, is that mohair? Maybe a rainy day isn't so bad.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:06 AM

July 3, 2007

It must be viral

I have a wicked, unrelenting case of startitis. I spent all weekend pulling out new skeins of yarn and contemplating starting them all. I almost started a summer top (Rosebud - knit without sleeves) a new pair of socks or twelve. A new sweater (this one) a new shawl, and even a baby cardigan or two.

This is unusual for me. Not the startitis, the urge to cast on new things is my constant companion, fed by the blogs and the stuff I see my knitting friends knit, but it's pretty unusual for me to be smitten by so much when I am deleriously happy with what I'm making.
To wit:

I am in the middle of the very beautiful Kauni cardigan, for which I have a big love.

Kaunigoing0307

I am happily knitting Cassie's Loksins socks

Loskinsprog0307

Which are beautiful and perfect and move me to fits of good temper and amusement when I am looking for slightly fussier knitting.

I am knitting a gorgeous pair of very plain socks from Webs "Kangaroo Dyer" sock yarn in "Macaw"

Kangaroodyerst0307

which is so simple and beautiful that it needs be nothing else.

Plus today is Tuesday and I am going to spin something delicious,
So why the rampaging case of startitis?

Ravelry. I got on Ravelry. (Sneak peek here) I fell down and I can't get up. Get yourself on the waiting list to be a beta tester if you aren't there already. (They are adding people in a controlled way to make sure they get the bugs out.) It's like smack. You want to see who's knit a certain pattern and compare all the variations? Click. Click. You want to see everything everybody on there ever made out of Kid Silk Haze? Click. Click. How about see your "neighbours"? Ravelry keeps track of all your projects then shows you who's knitting the stuff you're knitting. Click. Want to see what patterns are the most popular? Click. What if you wanted to look at all the pictures for sport weight ladies cardigans? Click. How about all the hats in Noro? Click. What's in Juno's stash? Click. Hey I like that - what are all the designs from Sivia Harding? Click. Hey, what do people think is a hard pattern? Click. Wow. That is hard. I'm going to put that in my Ravelry queue to look at later. Click. Want to browse the "ugh" files and see other knitters disasters? Click. Click Click.Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

A great honking, community building, idea generating, creativity boosting, knitter organizing, time-suck of happy smack.

Click.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:58 PM

July 1, 2007

Oh Canada

Every year on Canada Day I post about Canada. I'm (naturally) a big fan and to let her Birthday slide by unnoticed? Not this knitter. The first year I did "Things for a knitter to do on Canada Day", the next it was "You know You Are a Canadian Knitter when..." and last year it was "20 Interesting Things about Canada" This year I give you the A-Z of neat stuff about Canada.

A is for Afghanistan. While Canada chose not to take part in the Iraq war, the Canadian forces are present in Afghanistan. While there is a continuing debate about this plan and Canada's role and purpose there, it is worth noting that in keeping with The Ottawa Treaty and the Canadian military's position on landmines, Canadians have helped clear about one third of the 10 to 15 million land mines in that country, which can't be a bad thing.

B is for Briggs and Little. Making and selling yarn Canadian yarn made from Canadian sheep at a Canadian mill in New Brunswick for 150 years.

C is for chips, which in Canada come in flavours like curry, ketchup, Fries and gravy, pizza, roast chicken, smokey bacon and chili garlic.
(We know, but we like it anyway.)

D is for Doughnut shops, most commonly Tims. Canada has more doughnut shops per capita than any other country on earth. We don't know why. (It is worth noting that Krispy Kreme was a pretty big failure here, not enough people thought they were...well, doughnuts.)

E is for Ethnic Diversity. Canada is the most Ethnically diverse country in the world. Other countries may have more foreign born citizens, but Canada has the most variety.

F is for Flickr. Started in Vancouver.

G is for Gun control. The Supreme Court of Canada states "Guns cannot be divided neatly into two categories — those that are dangerous and those that are not dangerous. All guns are capable of being used in crime. All guns are capable of killing and maiming. It follows that all guns pose a threat to public safety. As such, their control falls within the criminal law power."

H is for Hockey. (Duh)

I is for internet. Canadians love it, ranking first for internet reach (70% of households online) and first for time spent per month.
(Apparently my contribution has not gone unnoticed.) There are 650, 000 Torontonians on Facebook and that's more than the combined Facebook users of New York, Boston and Los Angeles.
(Joe wondered if they took that measurement in the winter. Would explain a lot.)

J is for Joints.

K is for Koigu.

L is for Legal to be "top free" for women. Since gender equality is written into the constitution, women are allowed to be bare on top anywhere that men are. This was most famously upheld in Ontario, where the law was tested in court, and hardly anybody took of their top anyway.

M is for maple syrup, Canada produces 80% of the worlds supply. (M is also for Mounties. Arguably the hottest police force in the world.)

N is for Nunavut, a brand new Territory changing Canada's map in 1999.

O is for Oil. Canada has oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia, and is the top provider of oil to the US.

P is for Patons. Seriously. Could it be anything else? (Well. Maybe Peacekeepers.)

Q is for Quarters with poppies on them causing a stir.

R is for resources. Canada leads the world in the production of zinc, uranium, pulp and paper and is a major producer of gold, silver, diamonds and lead.

S is for size, and Canada has tons of it. Second largest country in the world, bowing only to Russia.

T is for Terms. Canada has no term limits, and a Prime Minister can be re-elected forever. On the other side of the coin, while an election has to occur at least every 4 years, one can be called anytime the government loses a vote of confidence. William Lyon Mackenzie King was Prime Minister for 21 years and 4 1/2 months, while Sir Charles Tupper was only in office for 2 months and 7 days.

U is for Universal Health Care.

V is for Vineyard, Canada is a big wine producer, producing many prize winning wines and is the worlds leading producer of Ice Wine.

W is for water. Canada has more fresh water than any other country, more than half of the worlds lakes are within it's borders and it touches three oceans. (Further to that, a Canadian was once famously defined as "someone who knows how to make love in a canoe". Don't laugh. It's harder than you think. Those things are tippy.)

X is for X-files, filmed in Vancouver. (That one was hard. Thanks Lene.)

Y is for Yarn and yarn stuff. (I can't believe how long that took me. Idiot.) There's not just Koigu, Briggs and Little, but Fleece Artist, Handmaiden, Mission Falls, Philosophers wool, Mary Maxim, Treenway Silks, Soak, Oceanwind Knits, Apple Laine, Knitty, Fiddlesticks Knitting, Needle Arts Bookshop, Lana Knits, Lucy Neatby ...the list goes on and on and on.

Z is for Zed. Not Zee.

Your turn! Let's hear your Canadian fun and Facts.

Happy Canada Day, eh?

Posted by Stephanie at 2:56 PM