May 30, 2008

A Very Big Day

Before I rush off to do the signings and publishing shmoozefest that is my day (I'm at BEA. It's the Booksellers annual convention, and not open to the public, just the book industry. If you're a book person/knitter, I'd love to see you. Be sure and stop by and talk to me about yarn. It's a nice counterbalance. I'll have the handspun scarf in my bag.) I need to take a moment and acknowledge the very special nature of today.

It is my daughter Amanda's 19th birthday, which makes her of a legal age to do anything she'd care to do in Canada. She's 100% adult. Happy Birthday sweetheart, I'm sorry I'm not there. Get Joe to buy you a beer.
(One.)

I love you.

Posted by Stephanie at 11:17 AM

May 29, 2008

If you give a moose a muffin

I packed all three yarns in my suitcase and left this morning, at what can only be described as too damn early (or that hour of the day I like to refer to as "not-enough-coffee-in-the-world-o'clock") and I started the bleeding heart yarn ends of the stole on the plane...

Bhystar2905

Pretty, pretty, pretty. I'm not usually a pink sort of gal, in fact, normally if you asked me what sort of colours I prefer, I'd be slamming the sorts right there down on a table as perfect evidence of what I don't care for, but this has me charmed. Utterly charmed. I got to the hotel and my room wasn't ready yet, so I went and stomped around downtown LA waiting for it to be time. I bought a shirt, I got lost, I got rescued by a very nice cab driver and I saw the rather unbelievable sight of an OUTDOOR ESCALATOR.

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I took a picture so there would be proof. Seriously. An outdoor escalator. I stood there and tried to understand how it could exist. (It wasn't the only one either. They're all over.) I couldn't figure out what was so boggling about it until I realized that it was a Canadian moment. I was standing there all confounded, and I realized that what I was thinking was that this escalator was going to be a disaster when the snow came. (Tip: If you are standing in the shade of a palm tree while you are thinking that? The snow isn't coming.) Back in the room I fought a battle to achieve internet access (turns out that you have to stand just outside the door of my room to get it) and standing there in the hall, laptop held aloft, gleaning what little signal there was to be had from the air.... I downloaded your 1200 comments about what yarn I should use... then I laughed. Laughed and laughed. Right there in the hall in a hotel bathrobe (Key in the pocket, I can be taught) I laughed till tears ran down my face.
You knitters are an opinionated bunch!

Since I'm the only one who's ever going to read 1200 comments, I thought I would pull out a couple that were representative.

Sarah's comment makes me want to look in her underwear drawer:

I'm a sucker for the whore's panties. C all the way.

Several people voted for an option "D". (You people write stuff in the margins on tests too, don't you?)
Rams said:

Mixing handspun and machinespun? Grain and grape.
And you know what that leads to.
(Do the ends on the trip, come home and spin a complementary middle. You know I'm right. And back.)

Gillian said:
I looked at the stole. I don't think that two colors will work unless you do a neutral cream. The pattern flows and is drapey and two distinctly different colors will look, in my opinion, just plain odd and maybe even bad. I also agree about mixing hand and mill spun, creates texture issues. Back to the wheel.

Even Denny had another idea... (but I did give her that alpaca)

I know you have white lace wight in alpaca, or did you give that to me??? So I say "D". I know, I know. There was no "D". O.K. then "A".

Finally, Carolyn in NH summed the whole thing up.

"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is
no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell (British author,
mathematician, & philosopher, 1872-1970). There's apparently a corollary
for blog comments.

She's exactly right.

(PS. Cat Bordhi said to use A. What with the way I'm continuing to disappoint her with my persistent belief that double pointed needles are the one true path.... I think I have to throw her a bone.)

(PPS. I'm going to go stand in the hall to post this.)

Posted by Stephanie at 12:28 AM

May 28, 2008

Stash Diving for a Solution

Here's an idea.

(Can I just take a moment to tell you all how blogging just never gets old? I mean, here I am in my kitchen, getting ready to shift off to LA and anxious to take this project with me, and I can have the opinion of all you interested knitters in minutes? That's really something. That seriously beats the pants off of following Joe around the house saying "pink or green? Joe? Joe..... is the green too subtle? The pink too bold? Honey? JOE. LOOK AT MY YARN." For the record, this technique has never been satisfactory. Joe usually just gives up and says he likes the green, and then I accuse him of not even looking at the green and just saying green to get out of talking about yarn and then Joe looks at me like "Yeah. That's right." The blog is better.)

The Bleeding Heart Stole is knit from the ends in two pieces, and grafted in the middle. I'm thinking that I should divide the bleeding heart yarn in two equal portions, knit the border end pieces out of my beloved, then switch to a complimentary colour for the middle. (I wonder what the designer would do?) The question is, which colour? I went diving in the stash (much easier since the big toss and reorganize) and came up with a wool/bamboo/nylon yarn from Jennifer. The weight and lustre is same, and I think they could work. Which one? I dunno.

A) Pale pink in almost exactly the same shade as the background pink in my bleeding heart yarn, but is either too woosie-pants washed out or beautifully subtle. I can't decide which.

Choiceapin2805

B) Green is sort of good. Kind of like the leafy part of a bleeding heart, could be an organic outgrowth of the colorway or way too unrelated to work.

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C) Deep pink, sort of like the darker parts of the bleeding hearts, and is either elegantly rich or one step away from being a pair of whore's panties.

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A, B, or C. You pick. I can't tell, and frankly, neither can Joe.

Abcyarnchoicebhy2805

Posted by Stephanie at 10:15 PM

Should have considered that

Yesterday when I was taking knitting pictures in the garden (what?) I held the wool/seacell roving up to a plant to snap a picture, and this is what I saw.

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From the second I drew the connection, that became bleeding heart roving, and I was entirely besotted. (I know. Yesterday I was besotted with beads and waves. I still am. I'm a fickle, fickle knitter. Harlot - remember?) I came in, sat at the wheel and was absolutely diligent, until I had this.

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Still good. I plied.

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Oh, yes. It's perfect. Perfectly perfect. It's not quite as intense as the original colours of the flowers, which is good, because I human interpretations of natures intensity often come off as tacky or garish.

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Nature is a hussy, and only she can get away with the purple pink combo and still have it be delicate. I love this yarn. It's a little heavier than a true lace weight, sort of halfway between fingering and lace, and I knew the whole time I was making it exactly what I would do. Exactly.

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See that? Kismet. Sure, that pattern calls for about 1100 metres of yarn and I was going to have nowhere near as much as that, but dudes, that was going to be fine, because I don't really like stoles anyway. I was going to do fewer repeats in all directions, and make it less wide and less long and turn the whole thing into a delicate little scarf. if I made it half as wide and half as long then I would only need 1/4 of the yarn, and that was only 275m. Ha- ha! This 60g (2oz) had to have made that much. I heaved sighs of contentment just thinking of if. After I steamed the yarn, I sat down to wind it into a ball so I could start. It wound up really quickly. Too quickly. So quickly that I felt a funny little feeling that I have learned is the smart part of my brain trying to get my attention. The smart part of my brain was saying "You really need to measure this yarn." I didn't argue. I went and got my yarn meter and ran the yarn through.

150m.

Just over half of what I need. Smack me with wet merino and call me stupid. Clearly, the smart part of my brain needs to learn to speak up a little sooner before I get myself all worked up.
There has to be a way that this can still work...

Posted by Stephanie at 1:56 PM

May 27, 2008

Habit forming

There is so much that I'd planned on doing with my life today, and now it's all over. Shattered. I was going to spin this pretty merino/seacell roving

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and I was going to try and get part of the garden in...

Anntogoing2704

(just the annuals. I'll do the perennials in a week or two when they go on sale because I am very cheap.)
I was also thinking that I might clean out another closet (I'm doing very well on the de-cluttering) and sweep the back patio and maybe even write a little something and deal with some paperwork, or maybe even pack for the weekend away... and what am I doing?

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Yup. Can't stop. Can't put it down. The colour is most accurate in this picture below.

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I have to keep moving little beads along and putting them on yarn overs and I just keep doing one more repeat. Just a little more. A few more rows, a few more beads.

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I'm enchanted by the swoopiness of it, the whole pattern reminds me of calligraphy and serifs and any number of graceful things.

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Maybe I'll just finish this repeat.

Posted by Stephanie at 6:49 PM

May 26, 2008

Random Monday

1. When I started the stash toss, I was looking for one skein. One. In February, before going to Madrona, I had dug out this skein, wound it and put it in a ziplock (yes. Knitters use more ziplocks than anyone else in the world) together with the pattern, the beads and the needles. I even put in the stuff I needed to thread beads on the yarn. Then I tossed it in my suitcase and was promptly overwhelmed by other projects and that was the last I saw of it. Since my stash has archaeological layers, I knew that if I could find the strata of yarn that represented February '08, I would likely find the skein. No dice. I searched the surrounding area, thinking if it wasn't in there it must be near there...nope. No matter how much of the stash I ripped up and organized, it totally wasn't there. On Sunday, when I had ripped up not just the yarn stash, but the spinning stash, and the only place I hadn't looked was the "sweater stash" (where there is only sweater yarn and nothing else) I had to admit defeat. The stash was cleaner, better organized and smaller ... (there's tons of stuff that I pulled out as giveaways for all of you on the 14th) but I still didn't have the skein. I went to bed, lay there for a while thinking. C'mon. It was in the suitcase. That's the last place I saw it. Then I came home and unpacked the suitcase and put away the yarn. I know I did that because the other yarn is put away, and because the suitcase is empty. I know the suitcase is empty because I put it away, and I wouldn't put it away until it was empty. I didn't take it to the cabin, I didn't leave it somewhere because I didn't take it somewhere. It wasn't in a knitting bag (I checked all of them) and I didn't put it on a table or in a box (because I checked all the spots I put things.) I had just about given up hope, decided to accept that maybe I left it in my hotel room in Madrona, when I had a thought. Got up, walked to the closet, unzipped the pocket on the front of the suitcase where I NEVER put things, and lo.

Shcae2605

I'm really not as smart as we had all hoped. Seriously. How many days of my life and it was right there?

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Dumbass. On the upside, the stash is tidy. (This is Schaefer Heather in "Gertrude Ederle" and it is going to be #334H "Undulating Waves Scarf". Ravelry link here. Mine came from Schaefer, but there's a kit at Earthfaire.)

2. On Saturday I (well, Rachel H drove) went to Kitchener to adjudicate the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters' Guild annual show. I walked away believing that judging knitting is one of the hardest things I've ever done. It's so subjective. I spent a lot of time trying not to bring my personal taste into it, and judge each piece based on the skill of the knitter and how well it fit the category it was presented in. Overall, the quality of the knitting was really, really high (if a few of the knitters had sucked it would have helped a lot in narrowing things down) and some of the pieces were so incredible, the workmanship so high... You'd have to see them, and actually, you can.

The Adjudicated Fashion Show & Awards Ceremony (where everything is modelled) and I give "colour commentary" and explain why I did what I did is June 10th, at 7:00, and all are welcome, even if you're not member of the guild. I'm thinking it's going to be interesting and fun.

3. I'm getting ready to leave again, this weekend to LA for BEA (Book Expo America) where I'm signing all over the place, (this book, and this book and a sneak preview of essays from this book) then to Kingston on the 4th June, then to Columbus for TNNA, then the show in Kitchener the 10th, then Franklin arrives for the Birthday/WWKIP/1000 Knitters party on the 14th, then the calendar comes out the 15th, but I don't think I have to do anything about hat except worry about it, then BEC (Book Expo Canada) here in Toronto on the 16th, then Chicago on June 20th, and then I'm going to have a lie down and celebrate the official end of the tour and my survival of same.

4. 4...I forget what 4 was for. (Just totally flashed on the Violent Femmes there, oh, except that was eight, wasn't it? )

5. I remember now. I plied the spinning from last week, and made this yarn.

Greenyarndone2605

The green is a very neon green, and I was a little flummoxed by what to do with it, right up until Samantha saw it, and she went batty for it but had no idea what she wanted it to be, just that it should be hers. There's not a lot of yardage, it's 100g, probably about 250- 300m (but I'm guessing) and it's about a dk weight (in most places).... any ideas?

Posted by Stephanie at 12:03 PM

May 23, 2008

Stash Toss

Twice a year (spring and fall, as time permits, those are pretty loose parameters) I do a "stash toss". A quiet, undisturbed stash is a grand home for all sorts of beasties, so I try and shake it up a couple times a year just to keep an eye out for problems. This bi-annual tossing of the stash also lets me visit with things I've forgotten I had, allows me to take the vaguest possible shot at organization (coughHOPELESScough), allows me to pull out things that are no longer to my taste and pass them on to someone else, and generally gives me the worse possible case of start-itis ever imagined on this earth.

I am, at this very moment, knee deep. This springs stash tossing was, ironically, sparked by the desire to find one particular skein, which, even though I have ripped up the better part of a small semi-detached home, eludes me yet. (Here's betting that I spend eight hours today pulling stuff out, organizing it by weight and brand and putting it back, only to discover said skein sitting by the front door in a cloth bag...entirely divorced from the stash. (I actually checked all of the spaces that I put "transient stash" and didn't find it, but you know how these things go.)

I've found some Briar Rose that I meant to make into a sweater immediately after last years Rhinebeck, and a couple (ok. Twenty) really, really juicy sock yarns that I can't believe sunk to the bottom, and even some silk I was going to spin the second I bought it. Spinning stash in with knitting stash is actually a major offence in my rather loose stash management system. Usually they are separated, and the fact that fibre is in with yarn is a clear signal that sometime in the mad dash that has been the last six months, I have totally lost it in terms of organization. (Not that I had much, but what I did have was vital.)

Sorting through all of this has me thinking three things.

1. How many pairs of socks is it wrong to cast on in 24 hours? (Clearly I am done with being sick of socks)

2. This is a lot of yarn. I bet I have a smaller stash than a lot of you, and I don't think of it as too much, not if you consider that I'll be knitting for a lifetime (everyone is supposed to save for their retirement, and I don't have more than a lifetimes yarn yet) and certainly not if you think of it as a collection of excellent inspiration and resources, but in terms of wanting to knit everything at once, it is a little frustrating. When I go through it like this, I find so much that I want to knit now. Right now. So many wonderful, wonderful things that I am overwhelmed. I keep thinking how everything in here was, when it came into my possession, something that was so brilliant that it was going to be next. I think I'll knit from stash for a while after this, not because I think it is too much yarn, but because I want to play with what I've got. How do you prioritize stuff in your stash, be it big or little?

3. There has got to be a better way to store all of this. Right now the stash is ziplocked (allegedly by fibre weight, eg: bag of laceweight, bag of sock yarn, bag of worsted, and by project - a sweaters worth of yarn or three shades of a yarn that were to make a colourwork project are together.) Then I stack the bags flat in a closet, in a rubbermaid bin in the bottom of the closet, or on an old set of shelves that is dedicated to the purpose. Toronto is moth/mouse/carpet beetle central, and I live in a home that is over a hundred years old. (That means I'm extra vulnerable.) There is no chance that my stash will be wandering around without protection, so the ziplocks stay, but given those limits, can you think of a better way? How do you store your stash?

Posted by Stephanie at 4:17 PM

May 22, 2008

Once more with feeling

Blogging from the dentist office, where Meg is having her post-braces dental appointment.

Megssmile2105

See how nice her teeth look? We're both thrilled to bits that her braces are finally off. I remember when I got mine off. I showed everybody.

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I'm waiting in reception where I've finally found a way to get promoted from "that odd patient who knits all the time" to "that odd patient who knits all the time and was taking pictures of her knitting in here this morning"

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(That's Dr. Yim. Best dentist in Toronto - also, good sport.) I also taught the receptionist to knit. She'll have a sweater by next week. The gleam in her eye was very indicative. She's hooked.

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This here is the second go around on the Flow tank, the first attempt having been summarily frogged for a row gauge problem. I find row gauge to be a big honking pig-dog. Given a choice between getting row gauge and stitch gauge I always choose stitch gauge, and that's what I did with this tank. Actually, to be completely honest it is as you are suspecting now. I did not count row gauge. In a moment of uncharacteristic diligence. I knit a swatch. A proper swatch. A swatch that I then washed and everything.

Swatchforflow2105

I had stitch gauge and so I just went ahead. My reasoning was that once you've cast on and begun, there is little you can do to control the width of a thing. That's going to be stitch gauge and there's nothing you can do while you're knitting to make the width change except for some uncalled for increases or decreases (those don't always end well) or the sacrificial burning of some of your best merino in a small birch wood fire at midnight under a full moon. Row gauge though, row gauge isn't a problem. (Usually.) Usually there's a lot you can do if you're not getting row gauge. You can knit a few more rows or a few less rows, and then the thing will be longer or shorter. Most patterns say things like "knit 14 cm", and you can do that whether you got row gauge or not...so I just started knitting.

That was a mistake. I didn't read the pattern carefully enough before I started and it turns out that there are 18 rows of decreases that are supposed to add up to less than 3", and mine didn't and it's all my fault and now I am to be punished and the only thing I can do at all is to accept it gracefully. Which I am, no matter what anyone told you about how much swearing there was last night. I'm reknitting. Smaller needles, achieving (something closer to) row gauge and hopefully (I think) still getting stitch gauge.

Someday someone is going to figure out why it is so hard to have both row and stitch gauge at the same time, and they are going to come up with a strategy. Something that actually works to fix the problem. Some simple set of directions that will tell you how you can have both, and when they share that with the world, they are going to be hailed as a genius and a hero. It will be like the knitters version of the typhoid vaccine.

Other business (that has nothing to do with row gauge)

1. There are still a few spots for the June 14 fun. People will likely drop on and off of the list as time goes along, so don't not call because you think that there's no hope. There is. 120 spots is a lot of spots, and the list will stay fluid up until photo day. To that end, if you took a spot but you find out sometime between now and then that you can't make it...can you call Lettuce Knit and take yourself off the list so that someone else can get on?

2. WHOOPS. I just got an email from the publicist, they gave me the wrong store and address. It's Chapters, at 2376 Princess Street, not the Indigo. I just confirmed an event at the Indigo in Kingston, Ontario for June 4th at 6:00. I'll speak and then sign, as usual. They're having a store celebration with live music later in the evening and stuff like that. C'mon down. It's going to be fun. (I know. It's always fun when there are way, way more knitters in a store than the store thinks there will be. Surprising bookstores never gets old.)

3. I was decluttering and organizing a knitting basket (a big one) and found this shawl that I was working on way back when.

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I hauled it out and took it with me to Philadelphia, and now it's just 12 rows from the end. This decluttering thing might pay off. A shawl. Just like that. (I have suffered a minor setback by leaving the pattern on Juno's couch, but she took pictures of the chart and emailed them to me so I can finish until it comes in the mail.)

4. Spotted on the menu in the Philadelphia Airport.

Rawfoodnot1508

Bad sign...right?

Posted by Stephanie at 12:16 PM

May 20, 2008

In which Rachel H and I hatch a plan

I don't know if you are going to find this as remarkable a coincidence as I do...but this year my birthday falls on World Wide Knit in Public Day. Seriously. This year June the 14th is not just that day when knitters world wide host events, go out in public and represent knitters everywhere they go, but it is also my birthday, and not just any birthday, but my 40th birthday. I hear what you're saying, and I agree. This spells party. Big party.

Now Rachel H and I, we are the Queens of Knit Party. If you want to have a knitting party then you should call me and Rachel because we know what a knitting party needs. Music, yarn, (free yarn), fibre, (free fibre) beer (not free beer. We don't know any beer people. Just yarn people) cake, sunshine, knitters everywhere and all kinds of stuff, and if it can possibly be arranged, then you should have it in a yarn shop. (This has turned out to be the most difficult part, because Rachel and I do not own a yarn shop and are therefore reduced to invading, stealing and otherwise procuring the yarn shops of others. This can be tricky.)

When Rachel and I realized it was my 40th Birthday, (which is harder than you think, since I was convinced for a while that it was going to be my 39th) we thought yarn party. When we realized it was WWKIP day? We realized we needed a really, really good party. Great in fact. We tried to think about what we, knitters of modest resources could possibly do to show the knitters of Toronto a good time on this auspicious day, and after a couple of days, a couple of phone calls, another planned invasion of a yarn shop we don't own, we made a decision to take a calculated risk, we drank the better part of a good bottle of red wine and we did something crazy.

We bought Franklin and his camera a plane ticket to Toronto for that day.

(Technically, Rachel H bought it, since it went on her credit card. I just agreed to split it with her if our plan doesn't work.) Our plan? Glad you asked. Our plan is an all day photo shoot to get a little Canadian representation into Franklin's 1000 knitters portrait project. Franklin (understanding that Canadians can get a little fired up about these things) has said that we can have 120 spots in the project. (Left to our own enthusiastic devices, he knows we would overwhelm the whole thing.) The project is called "1000 knitters" not "way more than 1000 knitters because boy oh boy do the Canadians know how to show up and party." This left Rachel and I needing a plan to come up with those 120 knitters (and no more than 120) and how two ordinary knitters finance bringing a photographer and his equipment to Toronto for our own amusement. We didn't want to be left out, but on the other hand, it's hard to justify to your family that now you don't just have a yarn budget, but a "bringing other knitters to Toronto to play with " budget. This is where we hatched the plan.

If you would like to be a part of Franklin's 1000 knitters project, you can call Lettuce Knit beginning tomorrow (That's May 21st) morning at 11:00am. Lettuce Knit (who are being really awesome about providing staff and space to work this, considering that Rachel H and I just dumped it on them) will record your name and give you either a slot in the first block (10-2) or the second block (2-6). If there is space you can choose, but the whole thing is first come, first served. Then you come on down to Lettuce Knit on the 14th June and hang out, have your picture taken, Knit in public, have fun with the raffle (there's a raffle. Great stuff from Franklin, great stuff from us) drink some beer (it's byob) and party in general. (NOTE: even if you don't get a spot to have your picture taken, or if you don't want your picture taken, you're more than welcome.) There will be a tip jar there, and we'll be accepting donations from those taking part who can contribute. We're suggesting a $5 minimum, and if we got that much from almost each person, then that would cover the plane ticket and Rachel and I would break even. That's really the only expense, since Franklin has very, very graciously agreed not just to be hauled to another country for our amusement, but to stay on a couch instead of a hotel, and to eat home cooked food instead of restaurants.

Naturally, if everyone participating thinks highly enough of Franklin and his endeavour and decides to donate more than we need to cover the ticket, Rachel H and I will pass on the extra to Franklin, who's been hauling arse all over the place giving great days and experiences to knitters, and he's an artist, and art is worth something and so are knitters and he's making history recording us for posterity and...well. I'm giving him more than $5, but that's a personal choice.

So there you have it. A plan. A fun plan. A plan with a trefoil of fun and glory. Another Knitters party, and it is, I think... a very good one. Who's gonna play?

Posted by Stephanie at 1:52 PM

May 19, 2008

Philadelphia and a scarf

I'm Canadian, and I've always lived here, and I'm a product of the Canadian school system. This means that most of the history I learned in school was Canadian history, and there is much that I don't know about American history. (I have forgiven myself for not knowing much American history, because I think that after all this travel I have likely got more American information under my belt than most Americans have Canadian history.) What I do have, or what I did learn, is all of the Big Things. The American Revolution, The Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell, Betsey Ross... and so much of all of that, my tiny vault of American History, is housed in Philadelphia that just being in this city makes me feel like I'm in a really historic and interesting place...which, of course, I am.

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I love city hall. (I especially love the clock tower and the way it looks like the source of the Batsignal.)

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I really, really love the way that every time I say how much I love that bat, that Juno exclaims "IT'S AN EAGLE". (For the record, I know it's an eagle, but you can't deny it's very bat-esque from that angle.) I was in town to go to the Philadelphia Book Fair, and despite the rain (that was a total bummer) and the difficulty getting to the event (a bunch of roads were closed) Philly knitters showed up with glowing enthusiasm.

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It was actually sort of fun to watch, which is always is when knitters mix with the non-knitting in droves. The talk was in this space, but the signing was upstairs in a hall, and as knitters do have a flocking instinct, they gathered en masse. I can't be the only knitter there who loved people wandering by and looking at us and trying to figure out what was going on. Here's what was going on. Knitters filling the lobby, hoisting socks aloft, taking pictures, showing each other sweaters and shawls, publicly squeezing balls and skeins...we were inexplicable in the face of the rest of the book fair. Young knitters, William (11) and Diana, who was double qualifying at 9 years of age by also bringing her first socks, and Brianna, who showed up without her sidekick Leah.

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Knitters with babies, like Stacy with Zane, Amy with Abigail (but that's her daddy) and Katie with wee Aoife.

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There was the first sock brigade: Julie, Laura, Jennifer, Maryanne, Carly and (although I sense a certain shame) Juno.

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Maryanne1Sts1805Carly1Sts1508Juno1Stsock1805

For those who follow her blog, the picture of Juno knitting a sock is going to be particularly vindicating, as she has always claimed not to be a sock knitter. Doesn't enjoy socks, doesn't like knitting on small needles, doesn't think its fun and doesn't want to discuss (again) how it would grow on her to knit something that fussy that you just then shove in your shoes. Ms. Too Much Wool and I have been working on her for some time, and it was indeed Ms. TMW that I emailed on Saturday night with the date and time that our little Juno finally turned her first heel and uttered the words "Okay. I can see why people might enjoy this." Sniff. It was touching. (Note to Ms. TMW. She has been assimilated. Resistance was indeed futile, admittedly took longer than expected, but futile.)

This here is Amy, who popped by to hold the sock and talk knitting before graduating from Penn in the afternoon.

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Sue came. You might remember Sue from last year, when she showed up with her yellow and red striped "sock of shame".... and this year felt compelled to bring me a sock with human dimensions, just to prove she'd gotten the hang.

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It was a glorious day (rain notwithstanding) and I had a wonderful time. Philadelphia is awesome.

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All the time I was there, and for a little while last week, I've been working on a little project to sub in for socks. I needed something easy to carry around, small and simple...something that was as fun to work as a sock without being a sock (since I was sick of socks) and a quick and pretty scarf fit the bill. I wanted to use this gorgeous yarn I got from Posh in Denver, and though the yarn came with a pattern, it wasn't quit what I had in mind.

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This was. This is 180 yards (179, really, since I had about a yard left when I was done) of Ivy silky fingering weight 50/50 wool/silk, from Caya Colour Yarn in Colorado. (I can't find a link for them...anyone?)

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It's a very pretty colour called "sandstone sage" and I worked a really simple feather and fan pattern over it. I was going to write up the pattern, but discovered that except for the addition of three selvedge stitches on each side, I have managed to invent the "Two Weeknights With Warrick" scarf from Karin's blog.

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Pretty, pretty. It's unblocked here, and that's how I'm leaving it. Very nice, and Karin named the pursuit aptly, since it did work up in just a few sessions and a plane ride. I might just make another one.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:10 PM

May 17, 2008

Tickle trunk

The girls and I have been "doing" their room. Doing is the all purpose term I'm bandying about in the place of decluttering or cleaning or some other scary word that could possibly be associated with chores. There is no small power in being vague, and doing makes it sound like it could be a dance or something. "Doing" your room. See? Could be fun, couldn't it? If you were a teenager and your mother said "be sure and come home right after school, we're going to start doing your room" then you might think, for one glorious and gracious moment that doing your room might not actually be cleaning your room and throwing away half of your stuff.

If you were a teenager and I was your mother, I might even get a couple of hours of labour out of you when you came home from school before you and your sister figured out that "doing" isn't really that much fun and you should start making up reasons why you can't help me, your mother. You might say that you can't help because exams are coming up and you have to read Frankenstein and Brave New World so you can compare them, or you might say that you really, really have to practice guitar, an activity that you ordinarily have to be tied to a kitchen chair to perform. You might in fact, if you were my husband, even break your leg on a canoe trip to get out of it, once you figured out what "doing meant, and once your wife said something like "we're going to be "doing" all the rooms!" and looked suspiciously at the box of old and musty "High Times" magazines in the basement. (Having seen the level of avoidance developing around here, I am beginning to wonder if Joe's injury is a coincidence or if he suddenly thought it might be worth it to fling himself onto a dock with enough force to shatter bone. Anybody's call really. I'm about to begin considering giving myself an injury to avoid cleaning another closet... so who am I to judge.)

In any case, we have been doing the rooms, and two of the girls share a room. I know, I know. It's practically an offence under the Geneva convention, but they share a room anyway. (At our trial for the war crime of forcing prisoners to share a bedroom, their lawyer will also point out that we have one TV and one bathroom that doesn't have a shower. Joe and I are prepared to flee the country.) Once I got them pinned down, the two of them have been incredible. Totally awesome. De-cluttering machines. They each easily filled a big, big bag to go to charity and things are looking way up in there. Floor space has been revealed. Closet space has been regained. Tremendously exciting times, although, there have been a few stumbling blocks. Sam can't part with some of her soft toys and Meg flatly refused to negotiate the Barbies. Now, at 14 and 16, I did not think these were going to be what resonated for them, but this isn't about getting rid of your stuff, it's about freeing up space. I'm not asking them to get rid of anything they love, just to sort out what it is that they love enough to keep... and with this lack of pressure, with knowing that they won't have anything taken from them, they've found it very easy to let go... as have I....
right up until we got to the bins under the bed.

Under their bed are two bins, entirely filled with the dress-up clothes representing the entire childhood of my three girls. If you're Canadian and grew up watching Mr. Dressup, then you will know that this is our Tickle Trunk, even though it is two Ikea underbed storage bins and not a trunk. In the bins are wonderful things. A bridal veil, a peignoir. A vest crocheted out of wire, a santa hat. A dinosaur costume, a ball gown, a chef's hat... you could be anything with what's in there. There are boots and high heels and a devil costume and a pair of wings...

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I sewed things, my mum rustled things up at garage sales, The girls got gifts just to fill the tickle trunk and they played with it all the time. Wee girls trouping all around my house exploring the world of possibility without leaving the house - but it wasn't our house. It was a castle, and a swamp and then an airplane and they were pirates and princess and ladybirds and monsters. They were ladies and faithful servants and mothers and criminals. They ran bakeries, butterfly lemonade stands, did heart transplants and drove pretend jeeps in the desert. They were everything and anything and they played and played and sorted difficulties, ran empires and put on musicals in the living room. (I know this, because I bought a lot of tickets in order to attend.)

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The stuff that was in those boxes was the basis of virtually all play in this house for years and years and years. The ladies were still hauling stuff out of those boxes until they were 12 or so. I don't know if kids still play dress-up, or if these sorts of toys and games have been abandoned in favour of WII and Ipods. I also don't know if there is any difference between kids who grow up with props like this feeding their imaginations and kids who don't, but I do know that when the moment came to pull out those ratty boxes, nobody moved.

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Nothing in there fits my now adult sized children, it won't be used again here. It's taking up space for no reason, and those two boxes should be the first victims when a family is "doing" a room. I know that those boxes of clothes and costumes have outlived their usefulness, were they ever useful, and I know that absolutely nobody is going to want to have a pirate lunch (Joe excepted, but this stuff won't fit him) ever again. This box is full of useless old stuff... We are on a mission to get rid of useless old stuff. That room is so tiny and is shared by two kids and there's nowhere to put anything...so can you tell me why not a single person in this family, not one of us... is willing to take a single item, not even a toddler size mouse costume, out of the tickle trunk?

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I'm leaving it for today, mostly because I'm leaving. I've got a plane to Philadelphia today, and the Philadelphia book fair tomorrow. I'm speaking at 12, inside on the main stage, and signing after. Should be tons of fun, and hey, if you don't want to hear me? Barbara Walters is on the same stage at 5. (You need a free ticket to see her though.) If you're near there, please come and say Hi.

(Ps. Chicago has been rebooked and we're having a do-over. Details here, and on the tour page as soon as I can manage.)

Posted by Stephanie at 10:00 AM

May 16, 2008

Well seriously

Interspersed with fetching and carrying for Joe (still feeling rather rugged, but at least adjusting somewhat to his circumstances) I managed to have a lovely visit with one of my favourite knitters. Much beloved That Laurie made her way to Toronto for a funeral, and while the cirucumstances of her flight northward were unfortuanate, the time together was anything but. I made it my personal mission to make sure she got a good dose of fibre while she was here. I took her to Romni and Lettuce Knit (and the Big Fat Burrito, that Toronto knit night institution) and we drank coffee and had a grand catching up.

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She let me try on a single quviut handwarmer that was the most beautiful thing ever. She had a pair but wisely only let me put on one, suspecting, in her brilliance, that if she let me put on both I would have pilfered them in a heartbeat. (I'd have a picture, but I couldn't work my camera and keep rubbing my hands together.) We had a wonderful, wonderful day, and as always, one of the best parts of being with That Laurie was what she was wearing.

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This time it was the Celtic Lattice Vest (from Cherl Oberle's Folk Vests) which is a total stunner worked in the two colours the pattern calls for..but That Laurie, being the dye and spin brainiac she is was totally over the top. That Laurie dyed the roving in her own fantastical rainbow way (remember - she did some guest posts her on how she does it? Links here, here, here and here.) and then spun it to preserve the changes and worked it in the vest against her own dark brown handspun.

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(There's a ravelry link to her page about this project here.) It's gorgeous. Simply gobsmackingly gorgeous.

Then the wonder dyer/spinner/knitter left me and I returned home to keep working on the Flow tank (Norah Gaughan Berroco book 2) only to reach the armholes and discover that I have made a mistake. A huge mistake. Here the whole thing was, bustling along at a great pace and I got to the armhole shaping and did as Norah said. It is worth noting here, that I did do what Norah said, and that Norah did not make any mistakes. That said.... it didn't work.

The instructions called for a proscribed prescribed (that's a very funny typo) series of decreases, which I worked, and then said to work straight after that until I had 3 inches. When I finished those decreases though, I already had 4 inches, which makes it very hard to work straight to 3, if you know what I mean.

Very maturely, I decided to curse a blue streak and keep knitting, in the fond hopes that the entire problem would go away, which...big surprise, it didn't. Rat Bastard. I have a feeling that there are two words at fault here (Honk if you HATE ROW GAUGE) and that the whole thing is going to need to be reworked, ripped back or snipped into bits and eaten.

When I wake up tomorrow, I want to be That Laurie.

(PS. Romni has lots of copies of Patons Street Smart on the floor in a box at the bottom left of the book wall.)

Posted by Stephanie at 1:03 PM

May 13, 2008

Things I am trying to get a grip on

(An abbreviated list)

1. Joe. Many thanks for the messages of sympathy, though at this point, I'm not sure which of us is being driven crazier by the state of affairs. He did indeed injure it at the end of his canoe trip, and two trips to the hospital later, we still aren't sure of the degree of injury. There seems to be a vertical break in the shin bone (tibia) but he'll have to have a bone scan on Friday (something about needing to have it start to calcify to see something) to discover the extent. Then he'll go back to the fracture clinic on Tuesday and we'll find out what we're in for. In the meantime, he's awfully swollen, awfully slow on the crutches, and has instructions not to put any weight on it at all - thus making the walking cast sort of a cruel taunt. Cross your fingers for a good answer on Tuesday, and I'll try not to kill him before then. He's actually a pretty good patient, but have you heard that old saying "You can't keep a good man down"? Just know that Joe's a very good man.

2. The house. We keep an untidy house. Every member of this family is either sentimental or frugal, so we save things because we love them (that's mostly the kids) or we worry we might need it someday and won't be able afford another (that's me and Joe). The only one living here with any sort of cleaning up urges is me, and I usually manage to ignore those and knit instead. Having been gone for 5 weeks, the house is in a state that I am loathe to speak of publicly. Joe and I had decided that it was time for a total top-to-bottom declutter, fix and tidy festival, knowing that if we had less stuff it would be easier. and well, now it's just me. I need a plan. Anybody ever do one of these?

3. My sister's sweater. The knitting is just about finished, just a few rows on the collar to go. I blocked the pieces and am now doing all the sewing up, because I feel like that's a better way to handle the zipper thing. I wouldn't want to sew in a zipper and then block it, because things often change when wool hits water (and they did.)

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Now that the sweater is in more or less it's final shape, I can go buy another zipper (the first one is the wrong length due to aforementioned sweater hitting the water type of changes) and sew it in. Zippers come in fixed lengths, so I've left the collar undone so I can knit to fit.

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4. I started a new something. It's very unlike me. When I was at WEBS there was a sample of "Flow" from Norah Gaughan Collection #2 hanging up and I fell for it hard. Totally hard.

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(That's sort of a crappy picture I took of the picture in the Berroco book CLICK if you want to see it bigger.) It's a trapeze sort of top, really sheer, knit out of Berroco Seduce,

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which is exactly the sort of yarn I would never, ever buy. Yet, something about it got me, and the next thing I know I'm handing Steve my credit card and shaking my head. Until I started it, I was worried that it was the colour that got me and I was going to hate knitting with it, but I told myself it was at least a wee little top, and it would be over quickly and I'd have the finished thing, which is totally what I want this time. (Every once in a while I surprise myself by being a product knitter. It's out of character, but there you have it.)

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I'm delighted though, since the knitting is quick and pleasant - or maybe pleasant because it's quick. Whatever the case, I've only been knitting it for a couple of days and it's just about knitting itself.

5. I'm not going to knit though, because (I already did during today's Dr. Appt.) it is Tuesday, and I'm back to Tuesdays are for spinning.

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See? 4.oz of Merino from MaryJane's Attic, bought at the Maker Faire.

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Just my colours.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:28 PM

May 12, 2008

Confounding Variable

Joe just spent five days up in Algonquin, canoeing and hanging out in the woods, and returned last night with...
this.

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Yup. Unbelievably, considering that he dumps canoes, traipses over cliffs and rewires the house without shutting the power off, he's done himself damage jumping off a boat on the way home.
This is going to make life more complex for a little while.

Posted by Stephanie at 4:07 PM

May 9, 2008

Knitting Guilty

Before I left, I had done one of those things knitters do, and had wrapped up the half-finished Urban Aran (cardiganized version) for my sister and given it to her for her birthday. I felt really bad that I hadn't finished, but apparently not badly enough that I was willing to either A) not finish the book I was writing at the time or B) carry a heavy project around with me from city to city for a while to get it done. Yesterday when I was thinking over a sweater and looking at the choices and fondling new yarn while I pondered new books (I am thoroughly besotted with Norah Gaughan's Berroco stuff right now - which isn't surprising, since I have a fetish for this book too) I had a sudden pang of guilt.

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Rather uncharacteristically, since knitting guilt doesn't move me much, feeling as I do - that people who get whole sweaters from knitters are pretty lucky folk... I pulled it out from the basket and took stock. I had knit the back, both sleeves and a front, and all that remains is a single front and the collar, making up and (much dreaded) zipper insertion, I pledged that I would finish this before starting something for myself. That's how much I love my sister. (Kindly overlook the six pairs of socks knit in the meantime.) I'm delaying my own wardrobe and gratification for her. (Again, with the exception of those socks.) With a little luck, I can finish it this weekend, and totally relieve myself of the burden of knowing that I'm slacking on her present, and present her with a chunky wool sweater just in time for the steamy Toronto summer.

I might still feel just a little guilty.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:05 PM

May 8, 2008

Socks Socks Socks

I've spoken (probably a lot) about my strong preference for socks as the ideal travel project, at least for me. They are small, light, easy to keep track of and come in a charming variety of difficulties. There's a seemingly endless parade of sock yarns out there, and at the beginning of April, when I decided to only work on socks while I was on tour for the next 36 days, I relished the opportunity to make it through a bunch of patterns I've been meaning to work on. I thought that considering that there are lace socks, cabled socks, plain socks, large socks, little socks, socks with picots and socks with ribbing... I thought it would be really hard to get sick of them. Wrong. You can stick a fork in me folks because I. Am. Done.

This tour I knit the Rivendell socks out of "I am the Eggpant" Dyed in the Wool Handmade sock yarn.

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I knit a pair of plain vanilla socks from the forthcoming "Sock Ease" from Lion Brand Yarn.

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I knit another plain pair in Blue Moon Heavyweight (forthcoming colour "Grimm's Garden"

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Then I finished a pair I haven't told you about, because I knit them all stealth so Rachel H wouldn't find out, what with them being a birthday present for her. These are the lovely Leyburn pattern, knit up in the new STR colourway "Knitters without Borders". ($3 per skein going to the good guys.)

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I love the stitch pattern on this one. The stranded pattern does very, very interesting things with a handpainted yarn. (They fit Rachel H too...so it was a win-win.)

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Then I finished the Loksins socks, knit from Unwind Yarn Company's superwash merino (colour "Northshore")

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(She's a little handdyer, so remember that as with all works of art there are going to be limited numbers.)

Coming in close to the end of the tour then, I started a pair of Francie socks (I LOVE this pattern. It's wildly interesting without being at all as difficult as it looks like it might be.)

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The yarn there is another one I hadn't used before, Classic Elite's Alpaca Sox (60% Alpaca, 20% Merino Wool, 20% Nylon) in a colour I adore, what with my fetish for 70's appliance colours.

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This is 1843 "Cornsilk"...

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and they fit Ken perfectly, which is awesome, because that was the plan.

Now? Now I think that I might knit a sweater.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:12 PM

May 7, 2008

Salt Lake City

I have flown twice to Salt Lake City, and I don't know why I didn't see it last time. About a half hour before we landed, I stopped the flight attendant as he offered me (and I accepted) another cup of coffee, (You wouldn't believe how much coffee has fuelled this long trip. Outrageous, crazy, hair tingling amounts.) and I asked him what I was seeing below. "Looks like the moon" I said, "Do you know what it is?"

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"Salt Flats" is what he said. In the photo above, the white flats are giving way to a mountain,

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but they go on forever and ever. In the summertime, they do speed trials for race cars there, just because it's so flat and big. They are white and weird. In time, the flats start to become the Great Salt Lake, and it is an awesome thing to see from the sky.

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Crazy weird beautiful. I don't know why I didn't see it last time, or why people aren't talking about this all the time.
Dudes, It's one of the most beautiful things ever. I landed, got in a cab and went straight to the hotel, because I only had a few hours before I had to be at the event, and I know that the lack of oxygen in Salt Lake City totally slows me down. Bath, dress, curse internet that won't let me send email, and then walk to the Public Library and see this:

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Tons of knitters, especially for Salt Lake City on a Sunday. There were young knitters, like Piper (7) Maya (almost 9) and bike riding Evelyn. (8)

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There were knitters with babies, like Angela and her sweetie (can't read my handwriting...is it Lira?) and Rachel, who brought pictures of her twin babies. (She pumped for the occasion. I bet that took a little pre-planning.)

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There were first sock knitters, like Emily, Corey and Amanda.

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There were washcloth bringers, like Amber, Karin and Jennifer.

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There were knitters who came a long way, like Casi, Carolyn and Sharon from Boise.

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or Tama (do you read her blog? It's a good one) Who came by herself on a train for 750 miles, just to have an adventure all on her own.

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Marlene brought me a beer to make sure I didn't run into any Beer/Utah/Sunday problems.
(I didn't, but it was very good to have a backup plan.)

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Caitlin brought me a little teapot so I could always get a proper cuppa when I'm on the road,

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and Nancy Bush inspected my knitting,

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teased me about being a needle short (I like a set of four, she prefers five) and she and Vonnie both gave me point protectors off of their own sock knitting, so distressed were they (not really ) about my lack of them.
When the whole thing was over and done, I got to go out with some of my favourite Utah people.

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That's Miriam (Yup. The designer herself) Margene, Shelly, Cheryl, Susan and Chris. We had pizza and hung out and I got to play with Miriam's super-cool camera (now I think mine sucks) and to top it all off?

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Margene had a trunk full of fiber and despite my weakened condition (no oxygen, end of tour) I didn't steal a thing from her. Not a thing.

That's it. All done and accounted for. Tomorrow, three, count 'em, three pairs of socks I've finished since we last really talked about knitting, and maybe some spinning, because I've really missed my wheel.

If you're in the Toronto Area, don't forget that there is a "discussion" that I'm leading at the North York Public Library tonight at 7, it's free (of course) but if you want to come you should call the library at 416-395-5639 to register. I will be shlepping my usual post-tour exhausted and weird look, but Rachel H. is going to wear her big girl boots. She promised.

Posted by Stephanie at 8:40 AM

May 6, 2008

Home and rewinding

So, I'm home. Home, home, home. It's dirty, disorganized, full of people and a cat who resent that I ever left at all, and I have a ton of work to do and an inbox that's so scary that I can't hardly look at it, but I've never, ever been happier to see this little hovel. This morning marks the first morning of the rest of my life, it feels like, with the book tour over, and just a few little stops (The North York Public Library tomorrow, Philadelphia Book Fair, A retry (I hope) of Chicago, BEA, TNNA....) left to go, like there is tons of room in my life, just as soon as I get caught up...which I know is unrealistic, but I could be closer...right? Right. First steps, getting caught up on the blogging. I owe San Francisco a post about the Maker Faire and Salt Lake City a post about how wonderful that was, so I'd better get a move on.

San Francisco. I love that place. It's home to two podcasts I know and love, Stash and burn

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Oh look...It's Nicole and Jenny! We found a quiet corner of the hotel and did a podcast that I think went pretty well. (Neither one of them looked angry when we were done, so I think I did an okay job) both of them are lovely and super nice, and when they were done they handed me off to Stephen and WonderMike from YKnit, and I did another one...which sort of came apart at the seams a few times, but there's only so much I can do in the face of their particular brand of silliness.

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(By the way? We went to dinner after at Millennium. Go there now. After a month of hotel and airport food Stephen and Mike can both verify that I almost wept into my dinner out of sheer relief and joy.)
The next morning I got up and got in a car to go to San Mateo, where the Maker Faire was at. The Faire is a seriouly cool undertaking. It's just a whole fairgrounds of people....making. Making all sorts of stuff. Music, art, tools, sculpture, code, toys.... It was very, very brilliant to see knitting lumped in with that sort of crowd.
I took a bunch of pictures of some of the Makers. You've just got to click to embiggen.

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There was tons of fibre related stuff too. Aside from the free range knitters and spinners who were everywhere, there was this guy who was knitting and drumming at the same time, which was totally cool except he looked miserable.

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There was a lovely booth with Tactile and A Verb for Keeping Warm (which may be the best name ever)

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and I saw Imagiknit and Lion Brand were both there, and I talked to the Yarn Craft blog gals for two minutes... I saw cool knit tats,

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along with Ceallach Dyes, who was out in the sunshine, making what she makes, which is solar dyeing of yarn. (Beautiful yarn.)

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I saw a multitude of knitter/makers. Although they were a little hard to photograph, because there were these lights shining on me that were like looking into the sun.

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They were easier to see afterwards. Knitters came (of course) with babies and little kids, since this was family/kid heaven. Meet Cindy and Zoe (she's wearing a fabulous sweater), Elizabeth and Nathan (Nathan is showing me his monkey that his mama made for him at sock camp. The pattern for the monkey is up and available here.) Michelle and Katherine, Kimber and Sarah, Anabel and Freya. There was a young knitter too, Kelsey, but she was a very pretty 12 years old, and 12 years old isn't old enough to understand bad pictures of yourself on the internet. The photo I took was nowhere near as lovely as she was, so I skipped it.

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Team Unraveled, walking the three day. (That link will take you to a place to pledge them)

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Carrie brought her monkey and her Monkey Kaw Kaw

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Shane came for his wife, Amanda

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and Jessica knit me a beer. (Two of my favourite things in one combo.)

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There was the first sock brigade: Anne, Kelly, Katie and Jan (Katie's the one with the first sock) Yellay, Rhiannon, No-blog Rachel, Julie, Sue, Ruth, Sarah and Jennie.

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and there were even Washcloths (I do love the washcloths) from Lynne, Robin and Madeleine.

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Whew! I'd love to write about what happened next, how I went to Salt Lake City (still has no air there) but I'm two hours gone working on this blog entry now, and frankly, I need to clean the house for at least that long just to get it to it's usual level of squalor. I'll write about SLC tomorrow.

If you'd like to come to see me at the North York Central Library tomorrow, (May 7th) I'm speaking at 7:00 as part of the Uptown Authors series. I'll be doing something a little different for this event, more discussion and interaction with the audience, which I think will be smaller and more intimate than other events. If you've been burning to ask me a question and you live anywhere near Toronto, here's your chance to pester me publicly for an answer. Call 416-395-5639 to register, and I'll see you there.

Posted by Stephanie at 9:27 AM

May 2, 2008

I'll will have to do

41 hours at home. I had this conversation with a musician a while ago, talking about being on tour and leaving for a long time and going through phases when you're not home, and we talked about the phenomena of coming home for just one or two days... and he said he wasn't a fan. "The expectations are too high" he felt. "You walk in the door and everyone wants you to make up for being gone, but you can't make up for it, because you're so tired and empty yourself. You're disappointed that your family turns out to be more people who want you to deliver, and they end up being disappointed because you've come home to rest and they think you've come home to make up for being gone."

It would almost be better, he maintained, to take the two days lying in a hotel room watching tv and getting room service, punctuating your sloth by going for he occasional walk in the park. That, he felt, would be more restorative than running in the door, throwing your stuff (along with their stuff because nobody has done laundry in weeks) into the washing machine, cleaning the kitchen and hitting reset on all of your relationships before going back out the door with clean pants 41 hours later.

Dude has a point, I've discovered, although I think that his warning has served me really well. I don't come home expecting a rest. I come home expecting that there will be people who need things and me, and that I have come home to give them a little bit before I leave again. It has helped enormously to lower my expectations....as it almost always does. Plus, while I am giving them what they need...

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I can knit. Loksins (link to pattern in the right sidebar) sock in the entirely delicious superwash merino from Dana. Every person I show this yarn to has boggled that it's wool. We have even conducted a few experiments to see that it is. (It is.) It's lustrous and a little shiny and bouncy and elastic and I'm a fan. I think these socks are going to be rather hard wearing too. I started another pair too...

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Classic Elite Alpaca Sox in a gorgeous gold, being knit into the charming Francie socks. Should both be excellent entertainment for the plane. I'll be in San Fran by dinner time.

Posted by Stephanie at 9:47 AM

May 1, 2008

Indianapolis

I actually did end up with people explaining where Indianapolis is, well enough anyway. (It's in the middle of Indiana, and if you're Canadian and still confused, Indianapolis is directly south (a ways) of Sault Ste. Marie, below Lakes Michigan and Erie.) It's a nice place. I had no idea it was as big as it is, nor that there's busloads of history there. (I am also ashamed to admit that it took me a pathetically long time to make the link between the "Indy 500" and the Indianapolis 500. Same thing. Very famous. Duh.) Reggie, the most charming car driver in the world, explained all about Indianapolis to me as we drove out to the bookstore. I saw the Governors mansion, the beautiful old buildings, and Reggie told me lots of stuff. (We also had one of the most astute political conversations I have been privy too in a long time.) Then we arrived. I staggered in, I signed books in the back, I drank coffee. I admired the staff at the Barnes and Noble who were truly chipper, enthusiastic and helpful, and then I stepped out and saw this.

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Now, aside from how lovely and funny all those knitters are, there is one knitter in particular that I spotted right away, and my heart flew. Our lady Rams of the Comments is there, in the second picture, right near the front. It was the most wonderful surprise. (Apparently the other thing I didn't know about Indianapolis is that it is close (relatively) to Notre Dame - where Rams is enduring the trials and enlightenment of an MFA.) Very good surprise Lady Rams. Touché.
When I was done talking, I got down to the business of meeting other knitters. As always, a selection follows.

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This is Laura (aka Stashmuffin from the comments) and she's a clever lady. She brought me a really nice little pack of something healthy and vegetarian to eat (along with a beer) and I really appreciated it. Healthy fresh food is hard to find on the road. I'm not sure I'll ever get over the longing I feel now for the pumpkinseed and cheddar cracker things she gave me. They're awesome.
These are knitters in matching tee shirts (always a danger sign for me)

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Cami (owner of Clementines Dry Goods) there all wearing fab tee's that read "It's okay. I'm with the sock." (Snork.)

Mandie is a Neuroscientist with a broken needle.

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This is Cheryl, you'll know her better after you see Interweave Felts.

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Greg came to collect a book for Katie, a knitter well known in these parts.

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The Young Knitters, Seth (son of Judy), Maya and Katherine (I've met Katherine before, she's older and taller than the last time she graced this bandwidth) and Caitlin and Rebecca (with adult chauffeur, Debbie)

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Knitters with wonderful washcloths: Laura, Patti, Rachael (marking where I am in Indiana) Jennifer and Claire (double qualifying with a pair of first socks)

Lauraracinwc2904Patticoltswc2904Rachelwhereiamwc2704Jenniferclaire2904

Beautiful babies:

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Cara and Sabine (check out the contest on her blog) and Jessica's absolutely charming daughter Olivia. (She was captivating. What a lovely little sweet pea.)

Requisite first sock knitters out in force. Mary Ann, Suzy, Jenn, Sherri, Lisa (who instigated "the wave" in the crowd. Just the best sort of troublemaker)Melanie, Lauren, Snarglemom (also with her Olympic piece) Anita (those first socks are 35 years old) Andrea (double qualifying with first knitted socks, and first crocheted socks) and finally Rachel...who's first socks are a reassuring two different sizes.

Maryann1Sts2904Suzy1Sts2904Jenn1Sts2904Sherri1Sts2904Melanie1Stsnoknit2904Lauren1Sts2904
Snarglemomolympic1Sts2904Anita1Stscoks35Yrs2904Andrea1Stsockscrocknit2904Rachel1Stsocks2904

Right after noting all the first sock knitters, I need to show you Leslie, who turned up with her 110th pair of socks.
Dudes. Even knowing what number they are is darned respectable.

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There was my salwart stalker Brooke, who tried to tell me she was the best stalker ever, but frankly, that's her best friend Wendy with her, and the best stalker wouldn't have another friend...would she?

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Here's Laura, who's only up here because she's wearing a crack silk haze top that I want to remember I liked.
(What was the pattern again?)

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Jane and a squirrel of doom, contributing to the strangeness that is my luggage contents.

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Finally, The Arkansas Travellers are a group of knitters led by Nikki the pretty one on the left holding her first sock.

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See that cluster of knitters? Nikkie converted created them all. Nikki is a force to be reckoned with.

After that, decidedly tired and worn out, I staggered out to discover that even though I was way, way late in being done (like more than an hour) Reggie, the worlds most charming driver, was still waiting for me. I've never been more grateful, except when he drove me three minutes out of our way so that I could get a sock picture he felt (and rightly so) was required.

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The dinosaurs at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. Thanks Reggie. You know how to show a sock a good time.

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That was Indianapolis, and I assure you I won't ever not know where it is again. I like it a lot.
I'm home now, having knit my way back to this country yesterday (and promptly had a nap)

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That's a gratuitous sock picture to prove that I do still knit. It's a beautiful yarn gifted to me by hand-dyer Dana when I was in Atlanta, and I really like it- her base yarn is really nice. I'm knitting it up into another pair of Loksins.
Tomorrow morning I'm on a plane again, this time for the Makers Faire in San Francisco on Saturday, and Salt Lake City (Hi Margene!) on Sunday.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:42 PM