June 30, 2008

Like a rear view mirror

This knitted object is larger than it appears.


I know it looks like I've just two little sleeves done, and even less of the front than I had last time, but I swear it's way more than that. For starters, that's actually three sleeves (one reknit of one sleeve) and that back is actually about 3 backs. I reknit the first 10 cm of it about 7 times, and then yesterday when I had just about the whole back knit I realized that I'm a total idiot, (Well, technically that was something I already knew. It was just showing again.) because I had knit just about the entire thing to perfection, with the exception of one small detail.... which was that I had more stitches on one side of the panel than the other. Two, to be exact.


I'm as flexible as the next knitter, and there's tons I can overlook in a sweater, but that's too big for me. Way too big. A mistake like that is the kind that gives me the creeping heebies, and I know exactly what happens if I ignore it. I'd tell myself I didn't care while I knit the right front. I'd look at it a lot while I knit the left front. I'd show it to other knitters and ask them if they could tell and you know how knitters are... they would all say they couldn't, but I wouldn't believe them. (Mostly because about half of them would be dying to rip it out themselves.)

I would block it maybe, and remeasure. "It's only two stitches" I would tell myself, and I would think about ripping it back and then I would manage to convince myself not to be so much of a perfectionist, and start talking about my awesome ability to let things like this go. Then I would block it again, remeasure it again, maybe even start sewing the sweater up. I'd tell myself that I was learning to relax. I'd even tell other people that I had learned to relax. (Then Joe and the girls all my friends would lie on the floor and laugh until they wept and gasped for air.)
I would tell myself about the galloping horse rule (If you can't see it from the back of a galloping horse, then it doesn't matter) or I would remind myself that a small human is likely going to puke on this, and that it's still going to be a beautiful sweater even with two few stitches on one side. (I would ignore the twitch that always turns up over my right eye when I try too hard to buck my true nature too hard.)


Finally, I would lie the thing down, smooth my hand over it see that those two stitches were all I could see, and something would snap. Totally snap, and I'd rip it back and re-knit it, because dammit, knitting is one of the only times in your life you can make something perfect, make it the way you want it and totally be the boss of the whole thing. If a two stitch difference bugs the snot out of me, then hell.... I can fix it. I don't have to live with imperfection in knitting the way that I do with the rest of the world and anybody who thinks that's nuts, well fantastic, because knitting is just so awesome that if you leave a two stitch difference that doesn't bother you at all, then you get a sweater that will be loved to shreds the same as mine.

The whole thing can be tailored for your personal brand and level of obsession, and me, I ripped back that bad boy so fast it would make your head spin around, and I even congratulated myself for not angsting about it or pretending that it wasn't making me totally nuts for a week first.
It's personal growth.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:06 PM

June 29, 2008

Happy Pride

It's Pride Week here in Toronto, and it all culminates today in a huge parade downtown. The Toronto Pride Parade is massive, and there's no fun like it anywhere. Where else can you see the Mayor, the Chief of Police and Politicians from all Political parties walking side by side with GLBT&Q folk of all ages and stripes? It's a living expression of the ethic once stated by one of our Prime Ministers, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who famously said "the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." I go to pride most every year and I think you can get rainbow everything there (and I mean *everthing*) with the exception of yarn.

If you're feeling a little pride today, and you'd like to express it in a woolly way, I've done some homework for you.

Regia Nation colour 5399 - Carodan farms has it here.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Pride"

"Rainbow Earth" from the Yarn Cafe.

Lorna's Laces "Rainbow"

Painted Tiger superwash worsted "Rainbow"

Trekking #52

Kauni EQ (of course)

Knitivity's rainbow Pride packs.

Knitspirations "Pride"

It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain.
~Francis Maude

I'm a supporter of gay rights. And not a closet supporter either. From the time I was a kid, I have never been able to understand attacks upon the gay community. There are so many qualities that make up a human being... by the time I get through with all the things that I really admire about people, what they do with their private parts is probably so low on the list that it is irrelevant.
~Paul Newman

As long as society is anti-gay, then it will seem like being gay is anti-social.
~Joseph Francis

For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.”
~ Ivan Panin

Posted by Stephanie at 1:47 PM

June 27, 2008

Better late than never

That's what I'm telling myself as I realize that Claudia's ride for MS is upon us, I just looked at the date and did a big (*&^%$!!. I've failed to both donate a prize, (though I did help Rachel) and to send her my donation... and I didn't remind you to send yours if you haven't yet. Claudia does this every year, and last year she raised so much money that this year, she and her husband were going to wear the #1 in the race. Then, in the week that Joe broke his foot (he's back down to just a brace now... very good) Claudia's husband smashed the daylights out of his, taking him out of the race. All appeared to be lost, until knitter Michele stepped up to the rescue and team knits-a-lot surged forward.

Knitters Against MS

This year they have so many prizes in the raffle that I can't hardly even tell you about it. (Go look here, it's incredible what's going on.) and if you donate, you get a shot at winning some fantastic stuff for every $10 you put in (although I'm sure that you would donate even if you didn't get a prize. Knitters are like that.) I'm going to email Claudia my donation and the stuff about my prizes (which is three copies of my page a day calendar, which is so new that hardly nobody should have it, and a whack of yarn.)

It's a really great cause, really great knitters changing the world, and it would be really awesome if you donated and blew their goal entirely out of the water. (Like, right away, on account of the ride is in the morning, but you can still donate until Sunday morning. Better hustle.) A thousand thanks for even considering helping them.

Posted by Stephanie at 4:59 PM

June 26, 2008

Step One

I have been working on the first of the two sweaters for Megan's baby for two days, and I am here to tell you that this design gig is harder than it looks. I'm not a designer, nor do I play one on tv, but I've been watching the way that they work for a while now, and I thought I had the hang. I thought about the way that my friend Fiona does stuff, and I figured that if I did it like her, I might have the highest chance of success. Fiona has several steps.

1. Draw a sketch. This is harder than it sounds, because the idea has to come before the sketch.

2. Knit a swatch. Ok. Not a problem. I don't really care for swatching, but it has its uses, and this is definitely one of them, so I'm on board.

3. Do the math.

4. Write the pattern.

5. Knit the thing.

I have followed those steps, my friends, and I have to tell you.... it's not working. My process so far seems to be more like this:

1. Draw a sketch.
2. Realize sketch is total crap.
3. Draw new sketch.
4. Admire sketch, realize that sweater in picture is not achievable by way of knitting, no matter what.
5. Draw new sketch.


6. Knit a swatch.
7. Realize swatch is at wrong gauge and resulting fabric is flimsy and a smaller needle will be needed.
8. Realize design is total crap.
9. Knit new swatch at better gauge.


10. Feel that new gauge is better, but design elements are still crap.
11. Reject idea to phone Fiona and grovel for help as possibly humiliating, and likely, premature.
12. Knit new swatch.


13. Feel better. Gauge good, design elements good.
14. Decide that decision to not call Fiona was good.
15. Do math, based on new good gauge and design elements.
16. Realize that working knowledge of size of baby would be good.
17. Do vast amount of research on chest sizes of babies while drinking red wine.
18. Do math, based on research.
19. Realize that math and wine are running counter to each other, and that my math skills are so tenuous that there may be no amount of alcohol that can be consumed during math process.
20. Go to bed.
21. Do math under influence of coffee. Feel pleased with result.
22. Write pattern.
23. Write pattern again.
24. Write pattern that more closely reflects actual human anatomy.
25. Write pattern that could possibly result in sweater.


26. Cast on for sweater using pattern.
27. Write pattern, fixing error found during cast on.
28. Rip out.
29. Cast on.
20. Realize that sweater, despite swatch, math and pattern will be very much too small.
21. Rip out.
22. Write pattern, offering up a thousand curses to the skies that gauge has lied again.
23. Realize that I measured wrong swatch.
34. Write pattern.
35. Cast on.
36. Realize that swatch was right, and pattern is now wrong.
37. Dial half of Fiona's number, hang up.
38. Write pattern.
39. Cast on.
40. Knit beginning of pattern, feeling very pleased.
41. Realize that cables are pulling in sweater and cast on is wrong.
42. Rip out.
43. Write pattern changing cast on.
44. Cast on with new border.
45. Knit first 10 cm of sweater.

41. Realize that cables are pulling in sweater and cast on is wrong.
42. Rip out.
43. Write pattern changing cast on.
44. Cast on with new border.
45. Knit first 10 cm of sweater.
46. Realize that cables are pulling in sweater and cast on is wrong.
47. Rip out.
48. Write pattern changing cast on.
49. Cast on with new border.
50. Knit first 10 cm of sweater.
51. Realize that cables are pulling in sweater and cast on is wrong.
52. Rip out.
53. Write pattern changing cast on.
54. Cast on with new border.
55. Knit first 10 cm of sweater while wondering if perfectionist tendencies are really all that healthy.

56. Regret decision not to drink wine as it doesn't seem to matter.
57. Drink wine.
58. Rip out.
59. Sit quietly in the dark resisting urge to eat sweater, just to feel it between my teeth.

60. Fortify self.
61. Meditate, chanting "I am smart enough for this"
63. Locate will to go on.
64. Cast on.
65. Knit first 10 cm.


Post to blog, while gloating despite clear indication that this is a simple sweater and my difficulties with it reflect something rather disappointing about my skills. Wonder if edge is still not right.

67. Remember that Fiona has a first step that I missed: Go to design school.

Posted by Stephanie at 4:24 PM

June 25, 2008

Baby Mine and Hers

Last night we went to the elementary school for the last event ever and watched Samantha slide from the playgrounds and recesses of her childhood school up to the grand and glorious adventure that is High School.


This got me waxing pretty sentimental about years gone by. To think that now all of my lovelies are in High School or College, to know that our elementary school days are behind us? I was both proud and a little sad. I loved having little children.


(This is a totally gratuitous shot of two of my three daughters being nice to each other.)

It is no grand secret that I am partial to babies, and I think it should be no surprise that I am especially besotted by the girl babies. When my friends are expecting, I am always and forever hoping it will be a girl. I think this stems from having had only girls myself, it's like I can't properly imagine that they come in the boy flavour. Adoring my daughters as I do (and especially as I did when they were so wee) I feel that a daughter is the best one can hope for, and this leaves me wishing through all my friends and families pregnancies that they will deliver up girlchildren.
(I recognize that it is a good thing for the earth's gender balance that I am not in charge of this, and that girls and boys keep getting born in almost equal proportions.) When a boy is born, I'm always a little bit surprised (why, I can't tell you) and then even more surprised that despite my clear bias, I love them to bits nonetheless.

A baby is, as we speak, almost finished over at Lettuce Knit. Darling Megan is expecting her third, and although nobody knows for sure what is in there (other than a human child, one hopes) Megan has been confident that it is a boy, and naturally, I am opposed. From the word go, she's said she thinks she's making a boy, and I've maintained that I would prefer that she make me a girl. (This has fallen on deaf ears. Mostly because I think that Megan isn't actually procreating just to please me.) These last several months I have been trying to bribe her with feminine little sweaters, darling hats with flowers, itty-bitty bits of lace....hundreds of promises of knits to come if only she will make me a girl. Megan has made no promises in return. Finally, accepting my lack of control over the situation, I contacted my friend Tina at Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and dragged her into it.

I explained how I felt, and I asked for two new colours, invented to commemorate the birth of....well, whomever is in there, of either gender. One should be for a girl, I told her, something for if this is "baby mine", and something for if it is a charming little boy...." Baby yours" is how I think of it. They should be nearly solids, I said, having in mind a project or two. Tina, being entirely in love with Megan (as all folks of good sense are) agreed to do it. Imagine my surprise when the queen of colour mailed me these.


I love them, they are exactly perfect, and Tina and I had a wonderful time naming them.


The sky blue is Nyame, the Ashanti god of the sky. (I like him too because one website said he was an "emergency substitute god" that an Ashanti could pray to if they didn't know who to pray to. Considering the worlds general confusion, I like that a lot.) Story tells that every soul is taken to Nyame before being born, and he gives them their destiny and puts a drop of the water of life in their mouth.


The pink is Quilla. Named for the moon goddess Mama Quilla of Inca lore. She is the ruler of the moon and lunar calendar (that puts her in charge of menstruation as well) and strong protector of women. When she cries, it is drops of silver.

I think they are good and fitting starts for a very welcome new baby and two sweaters..."Baby Mine" and "Baby Yours" that I have in the works. Boy or girl, this child will be clad in wool and my stitches.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:46 PM

June 24, 2008

Looking up and down

The weather here has been dismal. Huge thunderstorms ripping through every day, or twice or three times a day, dreadfully depressing for those of us who walk or ride our bikes everywhere. I feel like I've been trapped in the house by the misery that's been the weather, and I'm falling behind on errands and shopping. The weather has been so crappy, that Rachel H and I remain entirely gobsmacked that the only nice day there has been was the Saturday we did the 1000 knitters shoot. The Toronto summer is so short that being deprived of any one warm and glorious day makes the natives restless, and missing out on a whole week of patios, sundresses and walking in the sun makes us downright irate. Lene wrote about it, and Ken called me yesterday to lodge a formal complaint about the weather. (Why he felt that I would be able to help him, I cannot say. I hate rain so much that if there were anything I could do about it, I certainly would have.) There are few upsides...but I'm trying to notice them. For starters, the whole city is green. Green, lush, hugely overgrown and everyone I talk to comments on the roses. The city is covered in them. Everyone's rosebushes are putting on a show like we haven't seen for years, and it's breathtakingly beautiful...in between the thunderstorms that try to smash all the petals of them. The thunderstorms we've been having are oddly beautiful too... (If you can overlook the flooding here and there) very extreme and loud and so much water comes so fast that you can see people standing in doorways and on porches, just awestruck at the intensity. They are the kind of storms where I keep hearing people say "I haven't seen a storm like this since...." and then they trail off, because the answer is "yesterday" or "earlier today". Storms like this happen here, for sure, but to have so many of them so quickly in a row is fearsome and bizarre. The sun will be shining, everything will be beautiful, and so you get on your bike and go somewhere, and then a huge storm blows up out of nowhere, really nowhere, and whammo, you're scrambling for cover from the lightning and the rain or a couple of times, crazy huge hail.
Then it blows off...and the sun comes out again, until two hours later when the glorious blue sky has lulled you into leaving again, only to drench you three blocks from home. (Mother nature has a sense of humour with all the sophistication of a three year old who's gotten hold a garden hose.)
All of this adds up to some of the most beautiful skies I've ever seen. Swirling grey and black on blue, huge and defined white cumulous mountains and crazy yellowey-purple- greenish skies that invoke thoughts of bruises. Last night I was so awestruck that I went out with my camera.


These skies remind me of the overly dramatic skies in oil paintings... entirely unrealistic.


This morning the sun is shining and it's an entirely beautiful day, but I've been tricked by this weather again and I'm not falling for it. If the planet thinks it can make me walk to the village so it can pelt me with hail again...its got another thing coming. I'm staying right here, though I am taking advantage of the lack of rain to take sock pictures.
These are the finished Phlox socks, June offering from the Robyn's nest sock club.


The pattern's written by Jennifer. (If you look on the left sidebar of her blog there, you can see a "Phlox sock" link. The patterns not available until October, but she'd be happy to take your email addie and let you know when you can get it.)

I love the wee buttons, though I did move their location. Jennifer had the split and the button at the front, and I moved them (because I have a some sort of compulsion to alter patterns) to above the outside ankle.


The yarn was a pleasure, a hand-dyed artisanal one from Biscotte and Cie. It's a thin yarn, a loosely plied two-ply and not one that I would have chosen myself. This, I think, is the great and grand thing about sock clubs. You get what you get, and the colour of the yarn, or in this case, both the colour and the sort of yarn can take you right out of your comfort zone. I would never, ever, in a million years have chosen either this colour or the yarn, and truth be told, I only started knitting it because I have a friend that will adore it. That purple-blue is so intense that I would have admired the skein and left it there, but because it landed on my lap I gave it a whirl, and got a surprise. I love them.


When I was done the socks (Ladies medium) I was really shocked at how much yarn I had left, enough that I think I could even squeak another little pair (maybe without the cuff and a smaller foot) out of it....and that made me really happy...which made me really surprised. There's a lot to be said for stepping out of your box.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:18 PM

June 22, 2008

Chicago redux

I've decided that this was one of the best trips ever. I left Saturday morning, met knitters, had dinner with a Chicago friend, did my thing, met more knitters, drank a frosty beer in a hotel room and was back home by noon the next day. There were thunderstorms before and after all my flights in both cities, but I still got in and out without incident. (Considering my imperfect relationship with O'Hell airport, all I can say to that is a big "neener neener.") I was gone Friday morning and back Saturday morning. Enough time to get my stuff done but not so much that Joe and the girls missed me (or my share of the stuff I do.) Last night Joe and I went out to dinner and a movie, (We saw Get Smart. Very funny) and then I went to bed without setting the alarm. It was a delicious sleep and I feel like a new woman. Today I'm doing Yoga, finishing a pair of socks, scraping whatever that is off the kitchen floor and reading a book. I'm pretty psyched. It's been three or four years since I approached a summer without a deadline, and I'm really ready for it. So, more about Chicago?

I was actually in Oak Lawn, a suburb of Chicago, so I didn't get to visit the bean (my best favourite Chicago thing) but there was other great stuff. I had a visit with Team Nana at Nana's Knitting shop in the afternoon, where I gapped the whole knitting thing and just snuggled babies. There's clearly been some sort of an outbreak, since the place was filthy with them. I was delighted. The younger humans are the better I like them (and the feeling is mutual, I think) and there is nothing on the earth I like more than a really wee one. (Hard to take pictures of you and a baby with an arm full of baby though..


but I managed.) After the gathering at the knit shop, I wandered off to dinner (in the rain) with a Chicago Friend, and learned something that will shock my native Torontonian friends. In Chicago, the bread basket that comes before dinner?


Those are chocolate chip muffins, and their inclusion in a dinner bread basket is apparently not unusual. (Franklin told me he knows where to go to get chocolate cupcakes in the bread basket.) I was so stunned by seeing them there right next to the cheese buns and garlic bread that I could scarcely tear my eyes away. Imagine. Garlic sticks right next to chocolate chip muffins. When I recovered from the culture shock of unexpected baked goods, we went back to the hotel (in the rain) for me to do my thing. I was worried that the rain would keep knitters away, seeing as how last time the knitters gathered the rain became so apocalyptic that my plane couldn't come. I worried that they would take one look at the rain and immediately forget the whole thing.



Wrong. (It was suggested to me that if Chicagoans didn't go out every time the weather was crappy, they would be housebound.) Lots of knitters, and a seriously fun bunch at that. (I'm certain that had nothing to do with the bar that was open.)

There were knitters with washcloths, Denise with a violet one (did you know that Violet is the state flower of Illinois?) and Leslie with washcloths to support the fight against breast cancer.



There were knitters with babies... Tons of extremely well behaved babies, There were Mandy and Alister, Laurel and Margaret, Kathy and Maggie, Rebecca and Miriam... more too, but I was too slow with the camera.


The first sock brigade trouped in. There was Anne, Faith, Susan (1st sock, third baby) Lori, Tonja, Lisa (that's her first second sock, a personal triumph) Charlene and Katie.



I met Erika, who sort of had a bone to pick with me. Turns out that her husband heard me say once that sock knitting is a real expression of love. That since socks wear out and are used up when used, that they are a grand and powerful way to express your undying ardour. Yeah. Well.


Apparently he's got really big feet. Sorry Erika.
I met the youngest knitter and oldest knitters at the event. That's Rowan, age 7, and Mae, aged 96 (and a half.)


There were Canadians all over the place. There was Mary Jane in from Winnipeg, Valerie sporting the flag..


and, in a really bizarre moment, the son of my good friend Nancy, who I'd totally forgotten had moved to Chicago.


That's Jonathan and his lovely wife Heather, and I'll admit that what with him being so far out of context, when he stepped up to the table, I glanced up and thought "That guy looks a lot like Jonathan. How about that." and then he said "will you sign these for Katie, Jessie and Beth" which are totally the names of Jonathan's sisters... I got a little tripped out, just for a second that this guy who totally looked like Jonathan ALSO knew people with the same names as Jonathan's sisters and then I got it. It WAS JONATHAN. (I'm seriously not as smart as we had all hoped some days.) It was fantastic to see him. (Nancy, he looks happy.) To put the icing on the cake, Heather also had...


Her first socks.

Finally, there was Andi and Alex. Alex was a non-knitter when he showed up. He was just coming along to keep Andi company. He wasn't very interested in knitting, but he was going to come along and be a good sport. Well at some point in the evening, something happened, and Alex got the urge to knit.


See that little bit of business there? His first knitting, and it's pretty darn good too. When I asked him what he thought had made him finally feel like knitting, he said he didn't have a clue.

I do. He was overwhelmed by the knitter fumes. All that wool, all that knitting, all that fun. It was a great evening. Really great...and I have Tricia, the gracious, funny and persistent owner of Nana's knitting to thank for it.


(That's her daughter Cory behind her. She's a whole lot of awesome too.) It's a ton of work, an evening like this, and it takes a really terrific person to sign up for a second go round after getting the weather shaft the first time. I think I love her, and not just because she has a lot of yarn.
Thanks to Trica, and everyone else to came out for a whole second kick at the can. It was a great night.

Posted by Stephanie at 4:53 PM

June 20, 2008

Orderly fashion

On my flight from Toronto to Chicago this morning, a guy got on the plane, sat next to me and took out his ipod and started watching a cartoon on it. He watches it while people take their seats and get settled. No problem. Then the announcement to turn off all electronic things comes, and he totally ignores it. I assume he didn't hear, what with the headphones. The flight attendant comes by twice, but somehow misses that he's still watching his video, and we begin to back up from the jetway. Finally, just as I have formulated a plan to snatch it from his hands and smash it into a million bits to save us all if it starts to look like he is going to crash the plane (there has to be some reason we have to turn everything off) the flight attendant sees him, comes over and asks him to take off the headphones and turn it off.
He scowls at her, but turns it off.

The plane taxi's to the runway, and we take off. The instant that the wheels have cleared the ground, dude has it back on again. (I attribute the small amount of turbulence we encountered to this, even though that is unreasonable.) 7 or 8 minutes later, the announcement that electronic devices can be turned back on comes, and I reach down, get my laptop and begin watching SG1 (season 9, and yes, I've started with Atlantis, thank you for asking.) We journey like this until we reach Chicago (hallelujah, I made it) and the announcement comes to please turn off anything that has an on/off switch. I turn off the laptop and my noise dampening headphones. (I fly a lot - it's worth it) and dude does NOTHING. Keeps watching.

I stare. I try to make a big show of putting my things away. He doesn't. I toy with telling him that he has to turn it off. I figure, because this is all I can imagine, that he must not know the rule. That this is his first time on a plane or something, and that he just doesn't know and hasn't heard. Maybe, I figure, maybe he doesn't even speak English or French (which happen to be the two languages that he has had the thing explained to him in.) Exactly when I can't stand it for another second, because the plane is getting lower and lower, the flight attendant comes by to collect trash, and he sees her coming and turns it off.

(For the record, this is the exact moment that I decided that he totally knew the rule.)

She takes our cups and such, and goes to the back of the plane and takes a seat. DUDE TURNS IT BACK ON.
I flip out. Unfortunately, I am not capable of flipping out in a way that he would have noticed, but I flipped out nonetheless. I wait. He doesn't turn it off. We get lower and lower, and he still doesn't turn it off. I am losing it. I am freakin' out. (Again, this would not have been obvious to him, but I assure you that the psychic message I was sending him was pretty loud.) I wonder what happens if he doesn't turn it off. I check for emergency exits. I reacquaint myself with the pictures of the chute that will open after we crash and I open the hatch door. (I am very close to an emergency exit, and planning to take charge.) We get lower. I am alert to danger. I am a nervous flier at the best of times, and this is pushing all of my we-are-all-going-to-die buttons. I think about saying something. I try to say something. I try to say "Buddy, that has to be off for landing" but I can't. (I suspect that the reason I couldn't say anything was that I didn't know what sort of unholy wrath I might unleash on him if he said "So what?" or "What's it to you?" .... but we can examine my other problems another day.)

The plane gets lower and lower, he keeps watching (It was totally "Family Guy", which hardly seems worth dying for) and then we land, and dude watches his stupid show all the way to the gate, then puts it away when we pull into the gate. I was purple with fury.

Now, I know that this is a reasonably small offence I know that in the grand scheme of things, leaving your ipod on for landing and takeoff is hardly a human rights offence or a crime punishable by death... I even know that it's probably not even really dangerous, because if a phone or ipod could take out a plane, then they really really wouldn't let you take them on plane. They just wouldn't. No way. (Also, the fact that nothing bad happened was a bit of a tip off.) I also know, however, that the rule is that you have to turn them off, that there might be some weird thing that we don't understand that demands they be off, that the attendant told him to turn it off, that she caught him with it on and told him the rule, and that dude just didn't give a flying squirrels arse about it, and that drives me nuts. Completely mental.

I've always essentially been a really good girl. I'm not really a rule breaker. I ask permission. I largely (Unless it's really dumb or would hurt me or someone else) do pretty much as I'm asked. I know that that makes me the exact sort of person that this really, really makes crazy. There's nothing that makes a terminally well behaved human go non compos mentis faster than watching a terminally poor behaved human break all the rules and get away with it. I follow the rules because I ...well... I'm not entirely sure, but it has something to do with believing in order and queueing up and taking turns and playing nicely with others when you can and I do think co-operation is important and manners make things nicer and I like CIVILIZED BEHAVIOUR DAMMIT.

I know that it makes me crazier than it should. I know that the world is just full of people who could have let that go, or looked the other way, and that there are even people (my mother is one of them) who would have said "Stephanie, who cares if he's behaving badly as long as you're not. Let it go." There are even other people who would have said "Sir? Can I ask what's so special about you or your electronics that you don't have to turn them off?" or even "Yo? Dude. It's off time." I even toyed with the idea of asking him sincerely why he didn't turn it off, but apparently I'm not the sort of person who would.

I didn't have the nerve to say anything, I didn't have the nerve to tell him off and I wouldn't tattle on him, but apparently I also can't let it go. That leaves me with only one thing to do, and apparently, I am exactly the sort of person who would do it.


I kinneared him, and I'm putting his picture on my knitting blog, and I'm saying this. Dude's a weenie.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:11 PM

June 19, 2008


All I've done in the days since the big deal on the weekend is putter around the house, go to be early... and knit. I'd felt tired in the time leading up to it (actually, I think "exhausted" has been a theme word for about 2 months now) and this fantastic, wonderful event and celebration just about finished me off. If it had, I'd have died happy, that's for sure, but two days of lying here in this tangle of a house and doing only the things my family has needed from me has only begun to put the shine back on. One more good sleep is all it will take I think, to put me back among the land of the living, and that's a good thing, because tomorrow morning I fly to Chicago for the do-over event with Nana's Knitting. Click that if you need details.

I really think that all I would have been able to do if had been booked for Monday, was step up to the microphone wearing a pair of ratty yoga pants and a coffee stained tee shirt and stand there weeping incoherent tears with a sock in my hand. As it stands now, with a little rest in me, I'm really looking forward to it, though I am disturbingly obsessed with the weather. Since it was Chicago's weather that kept me from getting there last time, I'm glued to the weather link for Chicago, and for here. I've clicked them an unreasonable number of times. Unreasonable. While I'm angsting away on all of things I can't control, I've been fussing with a new sock.

I know, I'm fickle. When I was in Kingston, I got to see some very nice knitters, one of whom was Robyn, owner of the aptly named Robyn's nest. Robyn's got herself a slick little sock club, and although I'm not a member (which is starting to look like a big mistake on my part) she brought me one of the sock club kits.

It's very pretty, designed by Jennifer, and knit in a Canadian yarn that I didn't even know about, which is sort of surprising, since I really sort of pride myself on getting out a little more than that. I'm not sure if this qualifies as a spoiler, so I'm only posting a tiny corner of a picture.



Posted by Stephanie at 4:24 PM

June 17, 2008

That is how it's done

I have virtually no words (and almost no pictures) for how tremendously well the whole birthday/1000 Knitters/ WWKIP day thing went. Knitters came, knitters knit, knitters had their pictures taken, we drew for prizes (from my stash and Franklin's) every hour on the hour...there were cupcakes, there was cake, there were burritos, there was DRY ICE smuggled across the border by Americans with a seriously good plan, (I swear, Cat Bordhi may have created a monster) there were surprises that were truly wonderful (like our lady Rams of the comments turning up - that was exceptional) there were more cupcakes and the whole thing came off without a hitch. (Mostly. At one point Rachel H and I took the advice of many a knitter or two and tried to relax a little, and learned in a heartbeat that the only thing keeping an event with that many knitters all over the place from coming off the rails was totally the fact that we were micromanaging it. Once again, both of our vaguely obsessive personalities paid off.) While I suffered a case of mild camnesia, other knitters did a grand job.


(That's Megan, gracious owner of Lettuce Knit with the best carrot cake I've ever eaten. I can't believe all she did to make the day great, and how lovely she is about me taking over her shop every time I get an idea.)

Juno has some pictures I hope she'll send to me, Glenna has some great pictures (and makes a mean cupcake). Dr. Steph did a great job of being prize mistress and taking pictures, Kim backed her up nicely (Thanks Kim!) Sarah got a ton of beautiful shots, and the fab Patrick did a hell of a job (practically a photojournalist) of getting almost all the weirdness captured. After all our weather fears, the day was brilliantly sunny and beautiful - and was only made more fantastic by the fact that it poured epic rain all night on Friday (Rachel and I were nauseous) and has continued to pour virtually every moment since.

Ken played host to Franklin (though he said he's a very easy guest to have) and chauffeured him here and there.


Rachel, more competent and clever than ever (and that's saying something) managed front of house, checking people in, getting the waivers signed, sending people back to Franklin, and I managed back of house...moving people along and back to Franklin, making sure that he had everything he needed, grabbing the reflector when the wind went after it...although I've got to tell you, the man is pretty low maintenance. Easy going, funny, amiable and hard working beyond all expectations.


(The inestimable Denny. Immortalized as I've always thought she should be.)

The day was a ton of work, especially for Franklin, and he was a trouper. There were many moments I wouldn't trade for anything,


(My daughter Sam)

many things that resonated for me in an unexpected way.


(My daughter Meg)

This is more than just 1000 portraits of knitters that Franklin's making. It's a way of expressing outwardly the significance of how it feels. There is something that knitters feel on the inside of them when they are making something....something more than just wool and needles, something more than the joy of creation. Those of us who knit passionately, those of us who call ourselves Knitters as part of our identities feel that there is more going on here than just making a hat, or socks or a sweater, and we live in a culture that can't seem to respect that the way it does other creative or artistic endeavours without trying to make it cute, or ironically feminine, or a sweet little way we've found to occupy our idle hours, and I don't know why. I had a great talk with Franklin, Rachel, Denny and Juno about it. This day was a celebration of all we feel on the inside, and showing that on the outside. It was a way of validating what this whole thing means to us, of saying "this is important in our lives no matter what the rest of the world thinks" and it was magic. Huge magic. The magic was so big, so significant to me, that when the time came to have my picture taken, I balked. Not because I don't like myself in pictures, not because I'm shy (although both of those things are true) but because it felt like enough to have had the opportunity to see this in my community. I owe Franklin a huge debt of thanks... and one to Rach and Juno, who convinced me that I should sit down for my turn. I'm glad I did.

The night wound up with a fantastic party rigged by my fabulously generous sister Erin, to celebrate all the McPhee birthdays (My mum, who turned 65, my brother, who turned 37 and me...ringing in at 40.) It was family, and friends from near and far, and a grand way to thank a few of the knitters who helped make it such a day, and proving that they fit right in without a hitch, I looked up mid evening to find Rachel H and Franklin cutting a rug with the best of them.


We are, after all, a dancing family. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't change a thing.

(PS. So many people were so generous that I feel I should mention the icing on the cake. Not only were Rachel and I able to cover Franklin's plane ticket, but we were able to send him home with the balance of the donations gathered that day. It wasn't much money, but it was another small validation of what the day meant to people. We are very grateful. Thanks to everyone who made that possible.)

Posted by Stephanie at 5:04 PM

June 14, 2008

Rather good

I have to tell you, I've only been 40 years old for a few hours and it's very good. The last day of 39 was pretty wicked as well. I spent it puttering around the house with Juno and Joe, and then Rachel H came about lunchtime and we went to the airport to collect up Franklin. His flight was delayed (he was flying from O'Hare, my personal O'Hell, so my expectations were low) but me and Juno and Rach had mad waiting skillz.


See? No troubles. We collected the gentleman in all due time. (Thank goodness. Rachel and I were playing it cool, but dudes, we were sweaty. No Franklin is totally the only thing we can't recover from. We have spreadsheets with names and I bought bottled water and we are trying to control the weather with our minds, but if Franklin didn't get off that plane there would be nothing we could do. It created nausea to even dwell in that special land of disappointment.)

We finally collected him (he cleared customs as well as any man with that much wool can) and we took him down to Lettuce Knit, showed him the lay of the land and he fancied the local welcome...


Then trouped him back to my house for a lovely supper in the garden, which was promptly rained out, which was fine with me and Rachel H. because we figure that the more it rained last night, the less likely it is to rain today.
(I'm actually not sure if the statistics are with me on that one...but I need to believe.) This morning dawned warm and damp, with a few clouds...so we'll see.

I think that today, the first day of the second half of my life... is likely going to be wonderful.

Wherever you are, remember that today is a lofty and noble thing. It's World Wide Knit in Public Day, the day we celebrate knitting's social roots. Get out there and knit something.

(Ps, I finished the scarf but I have to borrow a camera.)

Posted by Stephanie at 8:26 AM

June 12, 2008

Random Thursday

1. I'm knitting that beaded scarf and I have 10 repeats to go and I'm so glad. It doesn't matter how beautiful a project is, at some point in it you just think "Oh, come on." I'm there with this one. Done with it before it's done with me.

2. Juno arrived here yesterday to celebrate my birthday with me, she's come for the whole weekend, for the 1000 knitters shoot and for the and I'm pretty glad about that too. We went to knit night last night and she cracked me up by saying that she thinks it's a real shame that her local knit night is a plane ride away. We ate yam burritos from the Big Fat Burrito, we drank beer on the Lettuce Knit steps. It was totally awesome.

3. I don't have pictures of either one because my camera is broken. Not a long story, but one in which my stupidity figures largely, so we're skipping it. It will be fixed/replaced soon, please bear with what will be spotty pictures until then.

4. We go get Franklin from the airport tomorrow, and both Rachel and I are getting nervous about Saturday. We know that there is little we haven't covered, but we worry anyway. (I am especially worried because all previous attempts to control weather with my mind have failed.) Wish for sun (but not too much) and definitely not rain. Work extra hard on the not rain.

5. If you signed up for a spot on Saturday to have Franklin take your picture, and now you see your real life stretched out before you and you know that you are not going to make it after all...could you please call Lettuce Knit and take your name off the list? There are a limited number of spots and if we know you're not coming then we can give someone else your spot.

6. If you have been hoping for a spot, you can call Lettuce Knit and see if anyone forked one over. There's no waiting list, but you can check.

7. I just arranged a cool thing for my brother for his birthday (which was yesterday, but we're celebrating as a family on the weekend) and I'm really happy about it.

8. I am going on a jag of baby knitting. What's the best baby sweater you've ever seen? Why?

Posted by Stephanie at 12:11 PM

June 10, 2008

Am too, am not

What I am doing: Writing about knitting this scarf.


This is still undulating waves, and it is lying on my beautiful blooming chive plants which were smashed absolutely flat by a huge thunderstorm that passed through here last night.

What I wish I was doing: Actually knitting the undulating waves scarf. It has a deadline and it's fun to knit and although it's slightly slow going messing with all the beads, I sort of like messing with the beads and anyway, it's sparkly. I can't believe what a pain in the arse I will let beads get away with being on account of the sparkliness.


What I am doing: Writing a blog entry really quickly because there is going to be an invasion. Saturday is my 40th Birthday, and WWKIP day, and the day that Franklin comes to Toronto/ Lettuce Knit for the 1000 knitters shoot. (Read about it here if you're just finding out.) That means that there was definitely going to be some company. Add to that the fact that tomorrow is my brother Ian's birthday and Friday is my mother's 65th birthday, and I can promise you that there is going to be major company. Major company I am related to. This means I totally have to clean up the mess that has accumulated in the house since I was last home for long enough to clean, which was quite some time ago. (Also, I hate it.)

All hope has been lost of approaching real tidiness, and now am I am simply trying to get things done like washing the backyard furniture so we can sit outside, washing linens so beds are clean and fresh, moving kids around to free up beds, sorting stash to come up with door prizes for Saturday, grocery shopping/beer shopping so as to feed and water guests.... all of this before I leave at 4 to head to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters Guild to present the results of the adjudicated show. (Who will I see there? All are welcome. Only guild members could enter, but everyone can come to tonight, and it's actually really interesting to see all of the entries. There are some crazy good knitters at that guild, I tell you that for free.)

What I wish I was doing: Sitting here knitting reflecting on how well planning ahead has paid off for me.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:25 PM

June 9, 2008

Once Upon a time

(NOTE: added later. Someone lovely pointed out that one of my links was wrong and when I fixed it something big blew up in Movabletype and whammo...all the comments were gone. Sorry about that, if yours is gone, it's not personal. It consigned a whole lot of them to the MT abyss.)

There was a knitter who lived in Toronto who went far away on an airplane to a magical place called Columbus, Ohio, where there was a gathering of special people called TNNA. The knitter had heard that TNNA was a special thing, but she had only been to TNNA one time before, and it was only for four hours and while the knitter hadn't really disliked the thing, she hadn't had time to understand what was going on either.

This time though, this time the knitter was going to the magic forest TNNA for 60 whole hours, which is almost longer than this knitter has spent in one place in months and months. She was very excited about the idea of sleeping in the same bed for a whole three nights in a row. Anything more than that was just going to be gravy. She arrived in the magic land and right away she got to see some of her special friends that live far away in their own kingdoms.

They went to a feasting place with the best BBQ tofu ever, and the knitter looked at her friends over dinner and realized that something special was happening.


The knitter and her friends (Queen Clara of Knitters Review. and the sorceress Cat Bordhi) were talking about SSKs and no person around was trying to escape their circle of yarn or yawning, or even making jokes about how odd it was that three bright women could care this much about how loops of string looked and behaved. The knitter began to understand the magic of TNNA.

The next morning when the sun dawned over the fortress of light and hope known as the Columbus Convention Centre, the knitter went forth to investigate this place... and this is what she found.




Many, many powerful people known as "Yarn Retailers".

Each of these persons holds stockpiles of magic yarn which they exchange to knitters far and wide in incomprehensibly beautiful and mystic places known as "Yarn Shops". All a knitter must do to procure the magic yarn from these proprietors is give them mere money. TNNA is the place where all of the Retailers can look at all of the magic yarn at one time and decide what sort of enchanted string they would like to have the powerful dispensers of yarn (They have the mysterious name "Exhibitor") have sent by way of fairy cart pulled by virginal dragons (I think that's who ships it) to their shops. The knitter was very nervous, and polite and she thinks that the Retailers liked her. (Which is good, as they are the pathway to yarn.)

When the knitter was done talking to those people, she went and sat down in the lobby and had a powerful concoction of a drink that did wonders to calm and restore her. This was called "beer". While the knitter drank beer, she looked around her at the many other people there, and she began to be impressed. Not just because everyone there had a MacBook Pro (which cannot be coincidence)


but also because there was no one around the knitter (except maybe the bartender) who did not like yarn. No one who thought knitting was silly. No one who did not know that it is a Billion dollar industry. In fact, and here's something else that the knitter found delightful, everyone WANTED to hold a sock. Nobody wondered about the sock, nobody wondered why the knitter would ask them to hold a sock.


She saw Casey and Jess and Mary Heather, who have a mystic company called Ravelry that is so deeply under a spell that even though many, many thousands of people fit in it... no one has ever found where it is. Casey claims that the whole company (even though it has more knitters in it than anywhere else) has been enchanted to miniscule size so that it fits in a "server". He is indeed powerful and strange.


Sandi from Knitting Daily held the sock.


Franklin held the sock


Cookie held the sock


Jillian held the sock (Amy was there too, but we see her on Wednesdays at knit nights, so the sock is sort of over her.)


Norah Gaughan held the sock and the sock just about lost its mind.


Annie held the sock.


Drew held the sock


Anne held the sock


Janel held the sock (and her new book which is very good...would you like a review?)


Abby held the sock


The Knit So Fine ladies held the sock.

More people could have held the sock, but lo the knitter was occupied by her duties and by the very enormous amount of yarn around that distracted and befuddled her. (Seriously, the knitter just about took leave of her senses when she saw the new Louet yarn. The knitter is a yarn person of some immunity. Repeated exposures to yarns of all kinds have left her with the ability to resist it's magical incantations and auras, but this yarn was devastating. There doesn't seem to be a link to it online anywhere, thus confirming that it is of dark origins, but it was some mohair/ bamboo/ bison action that was fuzzy and reflective and shadowy and bright and truly a mystic thing. Many knitters stood in it's thrall. (What the hell was it called?) The TNNA magic went on and on, and the knitter talked to many interesting and powerful yarn people, and she drank more of the magic beer. (Not too much though. It is very important not to be impaired around either knitters with highspeed and cameras, or people who are trying to wholesale mass shipments of yarn. I'm sure you can see the risk of both.)

At TNNA, there is a magic food called Jeni's ice cream. It is legendary, and most of the attendee's stalk it at various intervals in their day so that they may imbibe as much of it as possible before returning to their Jeni-less existence. (There are some knitters who have it shipped to them. It does not ship to the land of Canada. I checked.) While the knitter was there, she tried to try all of them but there are limits. She tried (by both purchasing full servings and stealing from others) Salty Caramel, Gravel Road, Belgian Milk Chocolate and one other one. (Nearing an ice cream coma, her memory fails her.) While the knitter was enjoying some sunshine on Saturday afternoon the sorceress Cat Bordhi revealed that in her opinion, the knitter had not yet eaten the best of Jeni's.

This saddened the knitter deeply, because it was time for her to go to sign some knitting books, and by the time that she was finished, Jeni's would be closed, never to reopen again. (Ok. It was opening again in the morning, but the knitter was getting on a plane before that and doesn't it sound better?) She wept bitter tears that she had missed the alchemy and wonder that was "Cherry Lambic" ice cream, and as she cried, the brilliant sorceress cried "weep not my child, I will go into the land of Jeni's and bring you Cherry Lambic at the end of your signing, but before Jeni's closes."
The knitter stopped crying then, not because she knew she would get Jeni's, but because she was touched that her friend would even try. "You are noble and good" she said to the sorceress, "but all is lost. Although your heart is pure, it is too far from Jeni's to the Convention Centre, especially now that the earth has turned on it's axis and it 33 degrees (92F). The Cherry Lambic will melt and be gross before you can come."
"Trust me" said the sorceress, and off she set.

The knitter went to her booksigning then at Unicorn Books (It's actually called that. I didn't just name it that for the story) and she signed books for the retailers for an hour, and at the end of the hour, when it was 4:45 and Jeni's closed at 5:00, the sorceress appeared. "Behold" she said, and she revealed the bright, beautiful and still totally frozen Cherry Lambic.


Why was it still frozen? How had the sorceress kept it cool? What spell keeps ice cream cold in Columbus in June? It was a mystic thing. A magical object procured by the sorceress Bordhi through her incredible powers of persuasion. Somehow, someway, The Bordhi had convinced the ice cream shop to give her a piece of DRY ICE.


(Here The sorceress Bordhi -together with her apprentice Queen Clara of Knitters Review, convince the Unicorn books guy how it's ok that she has dry ice, and especially how she has it in his booth.)

The knitter (and some other people, including the skeptic above) did then eat the magic Cherry Lambic (which was so totally one of the best things in the entire world and if you are reading this and you are still in Columbus then you should go get it right now) and then the Sorceress Bordhi wrapped up the DRY ICE and gave it to the knitter, and departed for parts unknown. The knitter stared at her bag for a while, remembered what the sorceress had said about disposing of it safely (which was precious little) remembered that she was leaving in the morning and totally wasn't going to get dry ice past airport security, and hatched a little plan. She went out to dinner with friends, they drank beer together and then on the way home, as they walked through the magical streets of Columbus, they looked for a good spot. They found an empty parking lot, and they got out the dry ice.


Many other magical items were amassed and put to encircle the thing,


and then the knitters poured water upon it, and all took pictures while ordinary people stopped and watched, trying to imagine exactly what sort of street art was going on.


(Some pictures stolen (with thanks) from Mary and Molly Ann at Ariadne) The knitters were honest.


They did not know what they were creating. They did know, however, that you can only put a piece of dry ice smaller than a golf ball in a toilet, so that idea was shot. When full darkness came, they called the sorceress Bordhi and sang "Smoke on the Knitting" to her, picked up the still-bigger-than-a-golf-ball and returned to the lobby of the hotel, where a bowl was procured, and the magic circle of knitting stuff with dry ice continued.




Finally, as the last dying wisps of dry ice were fading, Steve, Captain of the good ship WEBS, held it's last gasps, on account of it was his 40th Birthday, and it just seemed right.


Then the knitter left the magic land of TNNA and returned home to the place of dirty laundry and a hostile cat... although she does have more yarn now than when she left. Go figure.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:44 PM

June 6, 2008

I can't believe what she was wearing

While I would like to make it clear that under absolutely no circumstances would I ever like to repeat the time yesterday in between leaving a train from Kingston at Union Station and arriving at Pearson International for a plane to Columbus, it is rather gratifying to note that I am still capable of the sort of organization and efficiency that it demanded. I left the house with the leftovers of the squeaky cheese in the fridge (good plan or the cat will eat it), got things more or less moved from one suitcase to another, and even remembered to take my spare laptop battery and tossed a half cup of coffee in the planter on the porch, which I'm going to call "watering" since it was the best I had time to do.

True, upon arrival here in Columbus I did note that in my hurry to throw things into a suitcase I had packed some rather odd things, like plenty of clothes, but ones that somehow add up to only two matching outfits... which is somewhat particularly problematic, since I am here for four days, but since I'm not a very snappy dresser anyway, I suppose that I can live with it. I've always wanted to be someone who dresses well, like my mum or my sister, who are always wearing something that A) fits, B) does not have a coffee stain down the front of it, and C) is not missing a button, but I think that as long as I keep hating clothes shopping and refusing to do it except under the direst of circumstances, I'm probably going to keep falling behind the pack.

I know I'm not the only one who hates shopping. I hear all the time about people who love it, or people who find great things or people who search until the find something great, but I just don't have the stamina for it. I get in there and there's nothing I like, or if I do like it they don't have it in my size, or if I do like it and it is in my size, it crosses my personal threshold for what I can afford - or think it should cost. I have left behind beautiful clothes that fit me beautifully that I could totally afford because I still thought the price was nothing short of highway robbery, and left in a huff.

Then there's the anger. I'm not a weird size. Depending on what kind of store I'm in, I somewhere between a size four and a six, although I do have rather large "accessories" in the front. I'm short, true... but not so freakishly short that it should be a barrier to dressing, but somehow it is. Take Gap pants. The average North American woman is 5 foot 4. I'm 5 foot 1 (and a half. I have good posture) that means, to my way of thinking, that if I go into a store and put on their average length pants, they should be too long for me. I can live with that. What I don't understand is why their "short" length is still a good 5 inches too long. If 5'4" is average, and I'm 5'1", then why the hell would the short length still add up to 5'6"? Why we're at it? What's up with the monkey arms? Why in the name of everything reasonable are the sleeves on all shirts so bloody long? Or why do they think that if you're 5'1" tall, that you must also be unreasonably thin? I'm at a healthy body weight, clothes shouldn't be judging me like that. Also, my arse is normal. I have been looking at the arses of other women (not in a creepy way) and have determined this. So why doesn't my arse go into half of the pants in the world? These questions have never been suitably answered for me, probably because I'm asking them of a sales clerk at the Gap who has no idea, no concern and really wishes I would just buy another 3/4 sleeve shirt and another pair of capri's that I'm gong to wear as full length pants and get out of the store.

All of this is a long way around saying that if you see me this weekend and I'm wearing the same thing twice? Blame the Gap. It was a set up.

Posted by Stephanie at 8:44 AM

June 5, 2008

There's no place like home

Although this time, I mean Canada rather than actual home.


Last night's gig was the 10th Anniversary of a Chapters store in Kingston, and I had a really wonderful, wonderful time, despite the rather magnificent cold that I'm sure was obvious to everyone. To begin with, I had the enormous pleasure of staying with my friend (who's really my mums best friend, but all of us are unreasonably attached to her) Yvonne. There is simply no better hostess alive than Yvonne. Period. Her home is a beautiful historic home in Kingston, her dog is the best behaved dog ever to walk four legs, she knew the best tapas place, the bed was cozy, there was (note past tense) Guinness in the fridge...It was an amazing visit, and I'm so delighted that work could intersect with a visit. The bookstore was great. Pam is this Chapters resident knitter - this is Pam,


and these are her socks (from Socks, Socks, Socks. I asked.)


and she was on the job, doing her level best to pull it together, and she did very well. See?


I love these guys. (Hey, Joanne? Canuk in Colorado? See your mum? She's lovely.)


There was Molly and Oriol.


Cheryl and Rory,


and part of a High School knitting club, Knitters Anonymous, Nicole, Chelsea, Rachel and Charise. (Did I spell that right? I can't read my own handwriting. Probably the cold.)


Oh, didn't want to miss this knitter hanging out on the side so her baby could roam. (He was very well behaved.)


Turns out that was Robyn and Sean. Remember him?


(Click here. the crazy thing about doing this job for this long is that I'm starting to see kids grow up.


This is a wide ranging Montréal group, Morga, Jenna, Angela, Robyn and Amy, and they brought me Montréal bagels (the finest bagels in the world) and squeaky cheese! (I'm totally cheesed up, since I found a bag of squeaky cheese from Joan too. I'm typing this on the train, the wonderful Ontario landscape going by, and I'm drinking Tim's coffee and munching on a bagel and some squeaky cheese. It's a good morning, and excellent fortification for what comes next.


It's a race. When my train gets in, I have about an hour to make it from Union Station to my house, (two subways and a bus) whip stuff out of my overnight bag and into my suitcase (pre-packed, I'm not a fool) pick up my suitcase, swallow a staggering amount of decongestants so that my cold doesn't make my head explode on the plane, hit "post" on this entry, and then grab a cab to the airport to leave for TNNA. I don't even know if it's possible. I think I'm going to have to warp the time-space continuum to make it happen, and that's such a pain in the arse. It's going to be a flat out run in spots. Wish me luck.
If I catch this plane, I'm giving a talk on Friday at lunch (I think that you had to sign up for that) and then a signing at the Unicorn booth at 3:45 on Saturday.
Who else is going?

Posted by Stephanie at 9:06 AM

June 4, 2008


Off to the train in a minute, to go to Kingston (Chapters, 2376 Princess Street, for an event at 6:00, please come if you're around). I love the train. Adore it. I think it's the most civilized form of travel around. Even in coach (which is how I am always going) there is space and big windows and you don't have to make other people get up if you have to go to the loo. (I hate that about airplanes.) It's very good knitting time too. I'm still deciding what to take with me for this short hop. I've got the beaded scarf, the Bleeding Hearts stole/scarf....

The only thing I don't have is some idiot knitting. It's the trouble with lace, or at least the lace I'm knitting, is that I need to look at the chart the whole time, thus making it great train knitting, but terrible walking/talking/waiting knitting. You can't just whip it out of your bag and whip off a few stitches right there. I think I need a sock.

In other news, the Adamas Shawl is finally off the blocking wires. (I use these ones, and love them.) It took forever to dry, since it's been so rainy and yucky in Toronto since I got back. It's still crappy out, so the pictures aren't the best. I'll take more when I have time and the sun shines. (Also, it is too windy. Lace is too light to be properly posed in the wind.)


I'm very happy with it, especially the yarn. It's Knitpicks Shadow Lace yarn in a colour called "campfire" (I think. I don't see it there though...I wonder if it's a discontinued colour? If so, there's a shame.) It took about 1.5 skeins, and the pattern was free, so here we have a $6 shawl. That amuses the cheap knitter within me to no end.


Gotta leave for the train. See you in Kingston! (Well maybe not you, but a knitter just like you. You know what I mean.)

Posted by Stephanie at 9:55 AM

June 2, 2008

Done like dinner

Home, home, home. Home for two days until I bolt off Wednesday (June 4th) to Kingston, Ontario (Chapters, 2376 Princess Street, 6:00, big fun) and then off to TNNA, which I'm pretty excited about as well. The house is trashed, I'm super tired, Joe's leg is still broken (he's allowed to put some weight on it now, which is a huge help, the next x-ray in next week, then we'll know how much longer for the cast) every stitch of clothing in the house is dirty and there are no towels... and I just found the scariest thing in the fruit bowl I have ever seen. (I think it used to be a peach. Maybe a mango. The fact that I can't tell is really messing with me.) Clearly today needs to be spent reclaiming this place, doing laundry, buying groceries and trying to get things back to a place where I can walk out again. (Yes, I know that all that means is that when I come home again I'll have to do it again. It's a cycle. They trash it while I'm gone, I come home and clean it up, and then leave so that we can start from the beginning. I think these people must think I find housework fulfilling. No amount of denial seems to shift them.)

That's what I should spent today doing. Instead, I want to spend at least part of today blocking Adamas, which I finished on the plane on my way to LA. It still looks pretty scruffy here, in it's pre-blocked state.


I wanted to block it right away but didn't have blocking wires or pins. I had a brief plan involving many, many, many, tiny little hotel sewing kits...but the plan would have taken a long time and someone would have noticed I was missing from BEA for sure. Besides managing the duet of sock picture dorkiness from yesterday, there was neat stuff everywhere at BEA. I got advance reading copies of the new Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. (Not sock pictures though. Didn't see them.) I met Lynn Johnston - who it turns out is a knitter. (Sweaters. That's her thing.)


I chilled at the Interweave booth for a while. It's nice to find a knitting oasis in the middle of something like BEA.


While I was there I scored blads ("book layout and design") thingies for both Franklin's book and Judith's book. They both look beautiful and I can't wait to get them. Judith's comes in November, Franklin's October. (The blad for Judith's book has only the first page of the introduction in it. It was so "Judith" that I can't believe I have to wait to read the rest. Wicked teaser.)

I saw Crazy Aunt Purl.


She was very funny, but I never did find the "wine booth" she kept talking about.
I found knitters... but I am a terrible person who can't remember their names even though they were just about the high point of my days there.... Emily? Lynn? Son-of a moth where is that piece of paper?


On a rather wild impulse I kinneared Marilu Henner. She's 56 years old and I swear that you could bounce quarters off any part of her. Her stomach is so flat that it makes a pancake look like it has wild topography.


I had a lovely time with Melissa.


I even had a couple of moments with Christopher Paolini and his sister (once I convinced the Random House people that I wasn't actually a crazed stalker and that Chris would really, really want to hold a sock. I admit. The whole sock thing can be hard to get ordinary people down with.)


Chris reads the blog sometimes for the writer stuff (or so he claims... I suspect that he has knitterly urges that he just hasn't entirely given over to yet) and his sister (pictured here being shy) is an avid knitter and fibre artist who knows her stuff. They are both just lovely.

Finally (and I know that this is really what you care about) here's the sum total of the BEA knitting.


Meagre, I know. This is still The bleeding heart stole turned scarf and my handspun has run right out. I went with A in the end, majority rules, and I've feathered it into the handspun so that it isn't a jarring change.

I think it looks awesome. The green, although very, very close, wasn't just right, being too blue a shade in real life and the dark pink....truthfully, I couldn't get the image of the whore's panties out of my mind. Too much contrast for me, and more importantly, for the intended recipient. I'd love to spend another few hours working on it, but for now I've got to go. I've got a shawl in the sink.

Posted by Stephanie at 1:41 PM

June 1, 2008

My work here is done

(Well, my work here is done except for a signing at 9:30) I know that by posting these two pictures as pinnacle moments in my BEA trip this year I am forever marking myself as a dork of epic, epic proportions, but I don't care. (Frankly, I figure I was pretty far gone anyway, so what the hell.)

I give you Leonard Nimoy with my sock,


and William Shatner with my sock,



Seriously. I couldn't get close enough to Leonard Nimoy, other than that sock picture, but I did get right up to William Shatner and got his book signed. I did ask him to actually hold the sock, but his handlers were moving the line at a pace that can only be described as warp speed, and when I said "will you hold my sock?" he said "I can't hold a thought" and I said "no, no, it's a sock, will you hold a sock" and he glanced at a handler, and they looked me up and down and said "No", and moved me off. I stuck out the sock and took that picture anyway, and he looked at me all surprised (I suppose it was a little odd) and said "Thank you."
I left.
It was good for me anyway.
Dudes. Classic double threat.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:22 AM