Day 5

I swear to all things holy that if I don’t get five minutes by myself really, really soon that I am going to run screaming into the street.
Yesterday while I was in the bath all four members of my immediate family came and spoke to me through the crack of the bathroom door. When I ignored them, one of my children stuffed a note under the door. I really don’t know if I’m going to make it until Monday.
The swatch marches on, and thanks to the advice in yesterdays comments (which I really appreciate…) I decided to take at least most of it off the needles and block it a bit, just to get an idea of size.
We are cruising a glorious 125cm (50 inches) across the top, give or take. I figure the (completely un-designed and wholly imaginary) edging will be another 20cm (8 inches). Since I’m aiming for at least a 150cm (60 inch) shawl swatch, it should be another 3 or four repeats of the lace. I may go a little more to give me time to think about the edging, and the fact that I have absolutely no idea how to chart it. None.
Yesterday while wandering around Downtown (with every member of my family), I knit this…
It’s sort of the Boob Tube thing, excepting of course that I have an almost pathologic inability to follow a pattern. I changed the gauge, and therefore how many to cast on, changed the depth, I added the frill at the bottom and I think I might do ribbing at the top. In fact, now that I’m just about done with it I realized that It’s really more of an “inspired by” sort of project. My hair chic is gonna love it. I knit at the ROM yesterday, at Indigo, on the subway and in the College Park shops. I can never believe that I am the only one knitting. I’m absolutely stunned that with all the knitting I do all over Toronto that I never see anybody else knitting….Doesn’t anyone else knit in public here? There has to be thousands of knitters here in TO, the latest statistics I saw said that there are 40 million knitters in North America. Where are you guys?


I had to keep working on the swatch for the snowdrop shawl because I decided to put a triangle of stockinette into the centre. I’m going to take the snowdrops out at the same rate that I put them in on the edges. I had no idea if that would work out, so I decided that I had better play it safe and swatch that part too.
The swatch is looking good all over.
This brings me to two questions for today. ( I actually have way more than two, like why is coffee as expensive as it is? Why isn’t there a line at coffee shops for people who just want a plain old cup of coffee…strictly for survival purposes? Why isn’t cake more nutritious? We can put a man on the moon but we can’t make cake good for you?) Question one: How big do you think this shawl should be? Got a shawl that’s a good width across the shoulders? How big is that? I wonder how big this will be after it’s blocked…(If one of you says “do a swatch” I’m going to kill myself laughing) Maybe I could block the bottom part while it’s on the needles to give me an idea?
Question two: How come I feel like the only person faithful to straight needles? (Except Ken…I know you’re with me buddy) Is there no one left who loves them as I do? I see the advantage for big stuff where using a circular lets you fit more stitches on. I’m totally onside with the fair isle thing too. For the purposes of this discussion I’m talking about knitting the back of a sweater, or something flat. What’s with the circular? What’s the huge honking advantage? I’m a fan of straights. I think they are faster, and with lace in particular I feel like the stitches stay “nicer” on the needles when the are not moving from the thicker needle to the skinnier cable and back. (I can hear you….don’t call me that…) I like that I can tell beginners to use two different sizes for knit rows and purl rows to help them sort gauge while they are learning. I like how they look. I like how they feel and I’m not going quietly. Honk if you love straight needles.

Day 3

Things are not good here. You would think they were, the children have been busily occupied, reading, sewing, knitting and spinning. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve even thought that I might survive March Break without becoming a gibbering idiot. Yesterday it got bitter cold out, the snow started, Joe came home late from work so I couldn’t go to spinning and be freed from my prison for the first time in days …and I really felt like it was the beginning of the end. Much to my surprise, the little lovie girls sat quietly with scissors and needles and thread, peacefully working.
This morning, I found what they were making.
Do you see what these are? Do you? These are freakin’ voodoo dolls and I think one of them looks like me. Somebody has to come get me out of here. All this time they are sewing and smiling at me and they even cleaned their rooms….lulling me into a false sense of security…all the while making voodoo dolls. There are five days left. Keep me in your thoughts.
In other news…
Does anybody recognize this yarn?
I think it’s lovely, it’s a garage sale find and has no labels. I’m virtually certain that it’s 100% wool…anybody have any idea about a brand name? I’m wondering if there is enough of it to make this. Not for me (how stupid would that look with a pair of yoga pants and a tee-shirt from 1987) but for my uber-hip hair lady. I knit, she cuts and styles. The barter system at it’s best. I’ve got to knit something for her soon or I won’t be able to take this hair out in public.
Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Slippery Slope

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I have been released by the Borg Clogs and they are finished. I’m not sure if I assimilated them, or they assimilated me, but the point is that they are finished. Meet second, third and fourth of four.
The bad news is that my eldest daughter has said something horrible. So horrible in fact that I fear for her future. If you are standing up, please sit down. Take a deep breath. Yesterday, as I was trying desperately to occupy the children I pulled out the “kids knitting box”. The little two picked projects, and when I asked the eldest what she would like to knit she looked me in the eye and said….“Mom, I don’t want to knit. It’s boring”
Pardon me? I can scarcely believe this has happened. I really felt that simply by carrying my DNA she would knit. All my daughters knit. This must be some form of teenaged rebellion right? Boring? Knitting isn’t boring. Knitting is very interesting (I told her), knitting is good for your mind. Knitting restores order to a troubled psyche. She’s a teenager, that’s got to be helpful, right? Knitting is absolutely gripping, at its worst knitting is ….medatative, but not boring. Ok, well maybe sometimes the plain bits can wear on you. I admit that the second sock of a pair can take a little inner fortitude. I could also admit that on the really big stuff….like blankets, or sweaters for enormous men that it can seem a little monotonous. That’s not what’s happening here. We are talking about the entire experience of knitting, even the act of contemplating or casting on a project being called “boring”. All I can do is stare at her.
I fear for her future. If knitting is “boring” then what’s it going to take to hold her interest? Hitchhiking? Joining a militia? Dropping acid? (Do kids still drop acid? That’s something I should probably find out) It’s a slippery slope I tell you. First you are telling your mother that knitting is “boring” and next something horrible has happened….like …..drug addiction, not folding your laundry or …voting conservative.

March break

Day one.
Despite how it ended last year. Even though I have collected a reasonable amount of proof that March Break is some kind of hazing ritual where children try to “break” their mothers. Even though, when you really think about it, don’t you think that sending the children home for a week in the winter when you can’t even really play outside, must be some sort of tactic designed by the schools to keep parents grateful? Even though there is all that, I’ve decided that this year is going to be different. We are going to go to the museum, and to the movies, tidy the basement and work on little knitting projects. I’m not going to lose my cool this year. Just because it’s me and the girls for a week straight.. 24 hours a day…with no break from each other…is no reason to think that it’s going to go badly. A good attitude is half the battle. This year we are going to have a lovely time together.
I continued checking the swatch, and so far, my chart is error free.
I’m going to keep going, just because I really want to make sure that the edging is ok too. Speaking of an edging, what say you all? Does it need one? What kind? Pointy, rounded , diagonal….ideas? I’m thinking that it should have a really deep edging, but I can be talked out of it. Since I am obsessed with “Wedding ring” shawls, I cannot knit a shawl without checking. So far the shawl swatch passes through my wedding ring, or what passes for one in the godless heathen union that Joe and I have.
I’m thinking that even though it goes through now…once I get the edging on it likely won’t go through my ring anymore. I’m wondering (in my obsessive little way) if I’m being hampered by my tiny ring size. “Passes through a wedding ring”, well, I ask you…who’s ring? Joe’s ring is twice the size of mine. Does it have to be the knitters ring? Can I pick some enormous handed person I see walking down the street? What exactly are the rules here?

To resist would be …

I am a determined knitter, and I really want to finish the clogs so that my existence on this planet may be rich and full again, instead of continuing to live only in the the wasteland of knitting borg clogs. When I got the urge to start the snowdrop shawl yesterday I looked the other way. I knitted hard on the clogs, and I refused to acknowledge the laceweight calling to me from the cupboard. I’ve been through this before, so I slammed the cupboard shut and hardened my heart. I tell myself that it’s not worth it, that getting distracted by another project is only going to prolong the agony of the clogs. That when I finish the clogs I can throw myself into the shawl pattern without reservation. I will be one with the shawl and nothing will keep us from each other. Knit the clogs if you want the shawl. By evening, the snow had begun to fall again, and I couldn’t keep my mind from the snowdrops in the garden. I decided to compromise. I wouldn’t knit the snowdrop shawl, I would just begin to chart it.
Oh dear, what’s that bit of knitting by the chart? That’s not a shawl is it? No way man, it’s a ….swatch. A really big swatch, that just happens to be sort of shawl shaped. I’m not experienced at charting. I wasn’t knitting the shawl, I was er…checking my chart. That’s just good sense. The swatch looks pretty good eh?
I believe that I may continue checking the chart today, I need to make sure that nothing bad happens when you incorporate more snowdrops. Might not work. No way to tell for sure. Just checking the chart. It would be irresponsible not to, what kind of person do you think I am? Some kind of slacker? Not me, I’m dedicated. It’s practically essential for me to keep checking the chart. I’m pretty thorough that way.


It’s snowing and cold.
I know it’s only March 12th, and that living in Toronto I have no right to be offended about it being cold and snowing at this point, but I’m offended anyway. The weather has been warm (well…warmer than this) and there are snowdrops in the garden down the street. I’ve been waiting for it to get warm enough to run outside instead of having to do battle with the treadmill (my arch-enemy) and last night I went for a run outside. I ran from here to High Park (which is absolutely irrelevant to you, unless you care that my goal is to run *around* the park by the end of the year. I thought it was a pretty good goal until yesterday when I was practically crawling back to my house) and all I wore was a tee shirt and fleece. Then this morning…it’s all right back in the dumper. I cannot bear the thought that the little snowdrops are covered in this offending crap. (Now would not be the best time to tell me that this may be why they are called snowdrops, okay?) I may start the Snowdrop shawl (which I am yet to write the pattern for) in their honour. Remember the swatch?
In other news. I am knitting clogs. Probably until I die.
What book did I get? This one. Am I going to be sorry? What I really wanted was this one. Just kidding. I crack myself up.

Quick – what’s it going to be?

First – lets just get this out of the way.
Meet second of four. Loving the yarn, which is a super cool lopi ( grey multi). Much less boring than first of four. I really find that yarn that is heathered, or variegated or anything like that moves the work along. It’s almost embarrassing to admit that I can be entertained by little flecks of colour in wool. I wonder where the next fleck will land, what colour it will be? Will it land on the right side? Will it be near other flecks? Will this stretch of blue go past the red from the last row? I hope the yellow goes over there…. Gripping really. I’d be actually embarrassed to admit that I care this much, instead of almost embarrassed, except I know that you care too.
Yesterday Joe was ordering a book online, (probably something like this) and he said “Hey Steph, want a book?”. I wander over, knowing that I want a book, and actually knowing that I want so many books that I’m getting paralysing “choice anxiety” all the way there. I need a couple of minutes to make up my mind. I need to wander through the website, picking books, contemplating projects. (Sorry….you figured it had to be knitting book…right?) There will be none of this. Joe has his finger hovering over the “enter” key and I can tell that I only have moments to make up my mind or he is going to yell “TOO SLOW!” just like a nine year old, and I will not get a book. (At least not a book he’s paying for.) If I want a book that he’s paying for I’ve got to be quick, I’ve got to think of a knitting book that I really, really want, that I don’t have already, that doesn’t cost the earth, that isn’t full of lame, dumbass projects that I’d never make, and I’ve got thirty seconds to do it. I did think of one, and I don’t think I regret it. (Though I’m probably going to after I do this….I’ll tell you what I picked tomorrow.) Quick…you have thirty seconds to pick a knitting book. What’s it going to be?


First of four is finished. (I have decided to give the clogs Borg names. It reaffirms my “resistance is futile” outlook)
When I was done…this is what I had leftover in the grey.
I’m of two minds (sorry…three) about this. Mind One reflects the “knitting as an extreme sport” theory
Whoa! Did you see how close that was? There’s like, two meters left! When I was knitting along on the last row, I was just flying and when I looked over at the yarn I was like…””Dude, I don’t think I’m going to make it.” Then, I was like halfway down the row and I thought, “Am I going to make it or am I gonna like…flame out” ya know? So then I thought “just go for it…just try the row man…just try it!”. So I just kept knitting and then it was like the end of the last row, and that’s how much was left. It was awesome, it was like…so close to the edge. Radical.
Mindset two is a planner and a clear thinker.
Hmm, so when I make the next size up out of the other skein, I’m going to be screwed.
Mindset three is the yarn harlot.
I can’t believe I’m not going to throw that away.
It’s true. I’m going to save it. I have never thrown away yarn. Can’t do it. Some kind of sickness is what it is. I have bags of these little bits and I swear to you that I have no idea why I’m saving them. (Other than the most basic of all philosophies “Yarn good, me keep yarn” ) Once I realized that I am driven to save these oddments of yarn I started trying to fix things by saving patterns for stuff that could use these bits and pieces. Little dolls, stripey things, 63 different things made out of granny squares…coasters. It was when I realized that I don’t like, want or need little dolls, stripey things, anything made out of a granny square or coasters that I started thinking about where I’m going with this. What is my plan? Why? Why? Why? So here’s today’s question. Throw it away? or Save it? What would you do?

Clog Blog

Yup. I’ve put it off as long as I can. It’s time for me to replace the clogs that felted into foot -frisbies. Stupid clogs. Here’s the first of four pairs. Four pairs…I may die of ennui.
bclogs You know how some knitters have a speciality? Like, some only knit socks, or scarves, or sweaters? Do you think that there is anybody who just knits clogs? Do you think they have to get drunk just to make it a little interesting? Don’t get me wrong, I love this pattern but I’ve made so many pairs that it’s starting to make me a little weird. Plus, I can’t help but think that I’m being punished by the clogs in some way. The first several pairs I made went really well. I realize now that the clogs were lulling me into a false sense of security, waiting for me to love them and trust them. the minute that I did, it all went badly for me.
I made Ken a pair that didn’t felt evenly, and I ended up felting by hand in the bathtub for a good long time. The pair that over-felted, several underfelted ones. Then the catastrophic “foot disk” episode. Big fun. At that point I decided that I must need more information. (Chronic low self esteem…I always think its my fault), so I carefully read this really good article on felting. Reassured, confident and cocky I waltzed into the basement…approached my trusty washer, gave it a pat and pitched the green lopi clogs for Yvonne into the beast. I followed the directions for “free range” felting and after 32 minutes (precisely) I had wicked cool clogs, just like I used to. That’s right, the clog curse was lifted. I scooped all the loose green fibre from the washer just like Rob the Felting King directed me to…and carried on gleefully with my life. Since my life is laundry, I was back at the washer shortly.
All seemed well until I returned to the washer an hour later. The load was sitting there…half drained and ignoring all requests to finish draining. Bad. If you have a family of five then you understand that a broken washer is an emergency. Badly rattled, I ran upstairs and called my appliance guy (he’s on speed dial) and got him over here. While I waited for him I wondered what it was going to cost this time. I’ve replaced the belt, the motor, the %^&*(^!! (I think that’s what Joe called it) and most recently, the pump. I’d replace the entire washer but we renovated the kitchen after we put the washer downstairs, and in a tragic move, put a cupboard in a place where it prevents the washer from clearing the basement door. So it’s me and this washer, until I move or die. I’m a little attached.
Joe and I hovered over the washer guy as he examined the casualty. It was when the guy said that it was the pump, that something clicked. Didn’t the article say that if you don’t take all the loose fibre out of the water that you could clog the pump? But I did take out all of the loose fibres… I know I did. While the guy disassembles the pump, I swing back and forth between feeling awful that I’ve killed the pump with the green clogs, and telling myself that I scooped all the fibre out….It can’t be me. All along I keep looking at Joe, who is looking at the washer and seeing dollar signs. The only thing that would be worse than me killing the pump with green clogs is finding out that I killed the pump with green clogs in front of Joe. Please…let there be no proof.
The washer guy finally pulls the pump out of the gored washer, and in a horrible, heart-stopping moment, begins to pull what are (very obviously) green lopi washer rats out of the pump, while telling us that it will cost almost $300 to replace the burned out pump. Joe looks at me and says nothing. The look in his eyes says it all. $300 clogs. The clog curse lives on.