A taste of summer

So yesterday, in an attempt to not only have a virtual life but a real one, your local harlot packed herself off to Bloor West village. I walked. I walked because it was 19 degrees. That’s 66 F. 66, in Toronto in January. It’s an all time high for not only that date in January…but any date in January. Creeped out yet? Yesterday you couldn’t skate in Moscow. It was too warm. The warmest ever. I have one thing to say.

Get out of your car. Go get your bike, or get on the bus. Take the one tonne challenge and put down the aerosol can. Thank you. Just to freak everybody a little more and make it just like The Day After Tomorrow where the vortex of cold comes down out of the sky all of a sudden and turns those people into ice sculptures?… Today is -14 with the windchill. I repeat. Get out of your car.

So I walked to the village, and went to a local coffee shop and I took out my knitting and waited for my lunch date. When she walked in, I knew that we were going to have a wonderful time. We matched. We were both wearing the Toronto birth attendant uniform of Blundstones, handknit socks, random no-logo tee shirt and black cardie, with a coat from MEC. We had the same hair going on, and both carried backpacks. Having recognized each other, we assumed the position.


It’s Alison of the comments! (Psst, Norma? Jealous?) We spent way too long drinking coffee, way too long talking about knitting, and Alison has accepted the blame for depriving you of a blog yesterday. (It’s not really her fault…but she’s nice enough to suck it up.) She’s also nice enough to contribute this to the draw.


Somebody can kiss their life goodbye when they get that. Don’t even try to care about anything else when the Latvian Mittens come into your life. You will care nothing for your other knitting. You may dabble in other things…but you will always come back to the mittens. Proof?


The MSF mittens and I found it impossible to go on without each other. I relented and gave it a thumb.

In other news, this roving


became these singles,


which became this yarn


which became this “taste of summer” hat for this girl who is definitely pretty in pink.


I’m working toward letting go of my pink bias. I planted the snapdragons in the garden that match this hat, and I didn’t think they were too girlie did I? No, I did not. Therefore, in an attempt to trick myself into not experiencing any sort of negative reaction to the girlie pinkness of the hat, we shall refer to it as “the snapdragon hat”.

(note: No pattern, just a head measurement, my gauge and my basic hat rules)

Finally, a thank you for my buddy Sinead. You don’t know her…but you should. I’m up against a deadline that is giving me the willies, and last night when I complained about the difficulty of the deadline, Sinead brought this;


Red wine, free trade coffee and chocolate truffles. I don’t know what it says about me that I think any project that would take more comfort and fortitude than this trio provides is a crisis simply too horrible to think about.

55 thoughts on “A taste of summer

  1. “Red wine, free trade coffee and chocolate truffles.” As if anyone would need anything further to cope with crisis. Well, okay, wool, drop spindle and at least a pair of chopsticks would be cool too…

  2. I don’t have a driver’s licences, never had one and don’t know how to drive a car. I don’t do aerosol either. So there. It’s not me.

  3. Hey! You two met for lunch without either of you telling me about it and I have to read it HERE? Cheap trick. Very cheap trick to get me to read your damn blog. I’m not amused.

  4. Oddly, the birth attendant uniform sounds suspiciously like the uniform of an AP playgroup as well. Coincidence?
    I signed up for the 1 tonne challenge last week. being that I don’t drive, don’t use areosol etc it was a bit of a challenge. So far, all I have done is dropped the thermostat down a degree, and ordered organic veggies delivered from a locaql grower, rather than buy trucked-in veggies from the grocery store.

  5. Glad to see you back, glad you had a good time, yadda yadda yadda…
    Please update the total! It’s become a necessary fix for my Harlot addiction.

  6. Ok, just to provide a bit of relief, I ride public transportation on most days, and the part of my commute by car is in a very HIGH-occupancy car. We carry around 2 (sometimes 3) kids in a saturn, even when we drove from DC to Michigan (700+ miles), so the baby could meet his grandma. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Also, my hubby’s really a bike lover, so he used to bike commute 20 miles a day on a bike. Now if I could just get into that!

  7. Sorry, but I won’t be giving up my van…I love it. Having said that though, I really don’t go much of anywhere-and if it is in walking distance, I walk. Don’t use aeorsol either. It hit 57 degrees here in Michigan on Wednesday….very creepy indeed. Of course it is 12 F today. Oh well, 51 more days and I am in sunny Florida for eight days!! So cool you got to meet up with Alison…and how cute you were twins. Sorry Norma. And who could argue agaisnt pink when it is atop such a beautiful, smiling face? Not me, I won’t even go there.

  8. You have no idea how much I worried about you yesterday. I had visions of … well … let’s just not go there. It was awful. Horrible. Unspeakable.
    Glad the MSF mitts got a thumb. Looks wonderful. So does the hat. The snapdragons will too.
    I haven’t signed up for the challenge, but in my everyday life, I strive diligently to be kind to the environment in every way possible.

  9. Love the hat, I even love the pink (shocking!). You can’t beat Red wine and coffee, and chocolate, don’t forget the chocolate. As for weather. We hit -7 IN VANCOUVER! Vancouver for heavens sake… we should be out biking and walking and wearing light fleece with the snowdrops showing up and laughing at Eastern Canada…. which is everything East of the Rockies to BCers (in case you were wondering). But true to Canadian spirit we are all still biking, walking and drinking coffee as usual. At least its not raining….

  10. Hmm. red wine? check. chocolate? check. guilt-free yummy coffee? check.
    Nope. There is little in life that is not improved by those three things… (ask me how I know?) ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Never bothered to get my licence and so absolutely do not drive. Here in Minneapolis it is 4 below zero and the windchill is like 15 or 15 below, and that is the high. Lows for today were like negative 25 to 30ish with a windchill of 40 to 50 below.
    seriously public transport and yer own two legs are the way to go.

  12. It’s between 40-45 below zero here in Duluth today and I wore my “40 Below Hat” that I spun and knitted, beaded yarn on the outside, mohair locks on the inside, and it’s so dense I can’t even hear when I wear it. My kids have begun to wonder why I wear it around the house on these cold days when school is called off…ohhh…it’s oh so quiet!

  13. You met Alison for lunch? I *am* jealous! No doubt you matched- I seem to remember a certain similarity of look at the sew up party… Glad you had a great time!
    Great perch for the Snapdragon hat. The smiling face looks perfect beneath it. ๐Ÿ™‚ And the pink? For some reason I love it! I’ve never been one for pink either…
    I heard on the CBC last night that there was almost 60๏ฟฝ difference between the coldest and warmest points in Canada yesterday. If that doesn’t creep people out I’m not sure what will.

  14. I am loving the pinkness! I just got an Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel for Christmas, I put it together last week and I am going to have a go at it this weekend. The pink yarn is inspirational! I want to spin and be good right away!

  15. Glad yesterday’s awob didn’t involve more syrup. ๐Ÿ™‚ We probably drive more than we should (it’s hard to put hockey bags or a week’s worth of groceries for a family of 6+ on the back of a bike, ‘tho I did it when we lived in less mountainous terrirory) but I try to make up for it by being an over-zealous recycler. My teens’ friends all cringe when they get caught and hear “did you just throw that in the TRASH?!”.

  16. Sadly it was -11 F this morning when I came to work… And this doesn’t include any nasty windchill factor. And I’m sorry to say that since I’m in Iowa and therefore West of most of you, it’s coming your way. BRRR
    I looked like quite the arse having to climb into my car through the back door as the locks on both front doors were frozen (hey better than having to climb through the hatch, I’ve done that too).
    I sadly am unable to walk or ride my bike to work (I might be able to bike the length but I would probably get killed by a motorist) BUT I drive a fuel efficient diesel car that I fill with a Bio-diesel blend (I live in Iowa we do LOTS with soy beans out here… corn too)
    Harlot, those mittens are wonderful as is the snapdragon hat in the color of which I don’t speak ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Holy Toledo Stephanie,
    Sinead didn’t just “bring a bottle of wine,” she brought Yellow Tail Shiraz. Yum. Skip the deadline. Invite me over.
    Love the pink hat on the very pretty girl.

  18. I have to ask (cuz I’ve only been around since just before US Thanksgiving) who is the pretty girl in the beautiful snapdragon hat?
    The mittens are gorgeous! I live in awe of how prolific a knitter you are!

  19. The mitten lived!! Whooooooooo Hoooooooo!
    You’re right she does look pretty in pink.:)
    (goes back to watching to see who wins the magical mittens.)

  20. Well, there’s not much public transportation around here, but most of my car time these days is spent in a Prius hybrid, carpooling, so that’s a bit better, at least.
    Has my Latvian mitten-in-progress run off to your house? It has run away. I am very sad.

  21. Oh, man, it’s so totally our fault, right here. Not me, I take the subway and when I rent a car, its a hybrid, but here in NYC, where a car is never, ever, ever, ever a necessary object, people are buying those evil Hummers and then having the gall to slap those “Support the Troops” magnets on the back. We’re having creepy weather too…scary.

  22. Okay, so the mitten book has put me over the top. When did you say that the drawing was?
    THAT Laurie — who is a teacher and department co-chair in her real life and only spins for fun and excellent causes. In consequence her multi-color yarn in NOT available via any website. But if you learn to comb and spin and navajo-ply and dye, I will gladly share how to get the roving to makes its gradual way from one color to the next.

  23. Great hat! I love the progression from roving to finished object. Pink is a beautiful color if treated right; an excess of, or garish tones, or even the texture of a yarn, will affect pink or any other color.

  24. Laurie!
    Would Steph let you do a guest-posting on this? I have about four pounds of Tunis roving, and have been thinking about a variation on that sock yarn. [My great-aunt-in-law used to dye wool fabric to make braided rugs whose color changes went across, not around, the color wheel. Very cool.] I can spin, dye and ply, and maybe we can get around the combing. Four pounds will make a lot of beautiful sox. Love to all. And thanx.

  25. Beautiful beautiful hat!
    I think wine, coffee and chocolate are the Holy Trinity, are they not?!

  26. ok, I swear I’m not stalking you. My DH and I are serious wine lovers (have a friend who runs a shop and it’s his fault). Said friend turned us on to the following wine:
    “2003 Tait Barossa Valley The Ballbuster Red Proprietary Blend (#2161) $15.99
    Here’s a “big wow” red every bit as ballsy and attention-getting as its name implies. A luscious blend of 60% Shiraz and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this saucy Aussie delivers sweet blackberry, currant, licorice, smoke and bacon-like flavors, with a gorgeous texture and a long, heady finish ๏ฟฝ a great in-your-face taste at a price that won’t kick you in the you-know-whats. Allison R.”
    If you love the Yellow Tail Shiraz, you gotta grab a bottle of this if you ever see it! Crawling back in to my blog-reading hole.

  27. Alison got to have lunch with the Yarn Harlot? I’m so jealous! Though I’m afraid I wouldn’t dare show my inferior knitting in your presence. (Knitting a pair of simple thumbless baby mittens right now.) And, of course, being on the other side of the Atlantic does make the chances of a lunch date somewhat slimmer. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Also, I want friends who bring me coffee, red wine and truffles! I’m struggling with an article deadline too, why can’t I get treats? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. The birth attendant uniform may be transformed into the stagehand uniform by the addition of one small, subtle but uber-cool accessoire of your choice. Docs are an acceptable substitute for the Blunnies, but only if #ofholes and ageofboot >=8.
    Don’t you have something *else* to tell us, laydee? I mean, all the way out to the village without passing through the myseteriously-always-locked door of Village Yarns? Hmmmm?
    You’re saving blog-worthy information just in case there’s no weather on Monday, aren’t ya?

  29. Our weather is similar. Scary! This morning it was 60F (15C) and now it’s 32F (oC) and snowing! This morning, we did not need coats and now we need our mittens. Lativian. Or thrummed. No matter which!
    Good luck on your deadline. I have faith in you. Armed with chocolate, coffee and wine, used in the right order, you’ll shine!

  30. Well, it makes me feel better, if only that I’m not neurotically paranoid… well, at least on this one issue… about the weather, which is seriously freaking me out all over the globe… it’s been freakishly warm here, too, although our high for the day today came before sunup, and it’s just been dropping since then. Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides… all over the world… I am officially freaked.

  31. Hey, you both look like someone I know. Nice knowing that there are gals ’round the world knitting, talking, wearing the same stuff. But:
    What’s the deal with birth attendants wearing Blundstones? Distant relatives of Dr. Martens?

  32. I’m drinking the exact same wine right now, those Austrailians make a good wine. Try their Shriz/Cabernet mix.. oh so good. ALMOST as good as your mitten, but not quite.

  33. I agree with Kelly. I’m on Long Island and Supersized SUVs and Hummers are everywhere, all with the stickers. I don’t think they see the irony.
    Love the hat! I finished my pink hat just moments ago and am wearing it as I write. I’m already warmer, so will go turn the heat down a degree or two.
    Now if only I weren’t out of wine… may need a touch of rum to get me thru the night.

  34. I can’t get out of the car because proudly don’t own one!!
    It still amazes me that people don’t seem to understand why Mother Earth is so upset.
    It was 70 degrees F in D.C. yesterday, and I didn’t like it one bit.
    Am very jealous of your spinning! I was given a drop spindle and some roving for Christmas, but I haven’t been able to figure out the direction or find someone locally who can show me.

  35. That hat ain’t no cotton candy. Lady, you done good. The latvian mitten book seems irresistable. I keep scrolling up just to look at the cover. Over and Over.

  36. I have no idea whether or not my rant about colors went through yesterday or not…my connection’s been really touch and not-go lately.
    That 1 ton challenge thing is crazy awesome. I am not really sure how much I can reduce my emissions since I live in a (mostly) unheated house, almost never drive, am crazy about turning off lights etc. Although over-packaged things drive me crazy and we definitely have too much trash, I definitely make a concious effort to eat less things that come in packages and throw as little away as possible (I am the crazy person who asks for paper bags and saves them… My last three grocery sacks are full of, uh, yarn.)
    The cover of Latvian Mittens excites me. This is my tip to anyone trying to ‘convert’ non-knitters: find a painter or a graphic designer and show them some fancy color knitting and you won’t be able to fight them off. Sheesh. I can’t handle how excited I get about color knitting and I’m not even good at it.

  37. Hi, Stephanie,
    This is the second time you’ve apologized for not blogging every day. I know that it was intense when the Mittens Sans Frontiers project started, and Christmas time, too, but I’d hate to think you felt obligated to do it every day. Last year I thought you had a kind of regular pattern of blogging 3 times a week or so, and this was fine. It could turn into a burden if you felt that you had to keep up the Christmas schedule all year. I’m a fan.

  38. I bought myself the Latvian Mittens book as a Christmas present. I planned on spending yesterday (Friday) swatching patterns. I’m quasi-employed as a substitute teacher’s aide, but hadn’t been called for 5 months. Yesterday 3 schools called, me and I wanted to scream “but I’m supposed to learn how to knit Latvian mittens today!” Alas, I needed to work.
    I never realized how much money I spend on Coca-Cola. I’m giving it up and sticking those quarters into a can, I need teeny-weeny needles (the smallest I own are 1’s(US), and skinny minny yarn.

  39. You make me want to spin Hot Pink Yarn!
    My LYS owner keeps trying to get me into Fushia.
    I haven’t bitten yet, but I am working my way through the pink to purple color scheme.
    I am cheering you on to start and finish the 2nd mitten. The first is outstanding in spite of any flaws you may Think there are, I don’t see any.

  40. It may be 66F where you live, but where I live, it’s 18F. I am definitely not getting out of my car. I do like the hat though.

  41. I always hated pink, it went against my feminist leanings, but I’ve come to like it as an adult feminist. Not to wear, but I have some pink things, like my Fuschia espresso maker. Screaming pink. Sometimes pink eye shadow. (some pink Hello Kitty things, shhhh) Marbles.
    I bought that Latvian book recently too, but haven’t had the time (or courage) to take anything up yet.
    What is a birth attendant? Like a midwife? Both my sons were born at home . . .

  42. Love the pink. It’s gorgeous. Pink in no way indicates you’ve sold out your feminist side. If it makes you feel any better, think of it as supporting breast cancer research…

  43. as I found out yesterday at a scrapbooking workshop… “pink is the new baby blue!” Whatever. But the hat is gorgeous! And I agree with Terry- I’m a regular reader, but I don’t mind waiting for it. Don’t feel obligated to blog every day. (Not that we’ll complain if you do)

  44. Your “Toronto birth attendant uniform” sounds suspiciously like the Seattle uniform. Naot boots, Levi’s, no-logo tee, cardigan, REI or Marmot raingear (or ski parka). Oh, wait. That’s just me…
    My darling 4-year old daughter Heather was quickly cured of the “pink” phase. She wanted her 4th birthday party to be a “pink sparkle girlie party” and I agreed to this. Everything was pink, sparkly, featherey, fluffy, ruffley, fingernail-polishy 4-year-old girl feminine foo-foo. At bedtime she asked to go to the toystore to get some new dinosaurs. She still likes pink, but in a much more sophisticated way. My work here is done.

  45. You know, as much as I would love to have that book, I’m afraid to even purchase it. If the mittens really are that demanding, my Ph.D. adviser might get a little peeved when I knit instead of do research.
    Then again, maybe if I make him mittens…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  46. Latvian Mittens Book, oh my…
    The love of a pink hat, a feminist can wear pink. Just remind yourself that pink is an ironic color. That is what I say. And I was/am the pink abused child of my forceful mother.
    What else do you call returning from summer camp at age 10 (smack dab in the midst of your I am a freaking tomboy phase that existed your entire life) to a previously white room with now pink bedding, pink rite dyed curtains, pink painted on the walls, newly installed pink carpet and a mauve ceiling fan- all without asking or warning??
    You avoid the color (and skirts) until you are 21, you rant against the gods when it is a color that looks good on you and you shout that it is an ironic color.
    It works. I just knit a sweater in pink! It is a 12 step recovery process though, and that is about step 7. I’d so wear that hat though, singing about its ironic-ness ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. I tried to be a grownup when I read this post, I really did. But I confess that I whimpered aloud(*whimpered*, I tell you) when I saw what generous Alison had donated to the draw. Why the whimpering, you ask? Because I gave up purchasing my very own copy of Latvian Mittens in order to send the money to MSF. I had the book in my hands at my LYS, and I Put It Back. I tried to assuage my Braid Lust by borrowing a copy from the library (I had to wait two weeks while they fetched it via interlibrary loan), but it has to go back next week. I’ve been trying to absorb the charts and Mitten Secrets through my pores, I’ve stayed up late trying to memorize the braids and the cast-ons. And this morning, I found that somehow a braid or two had snuck its way into a hat I am knitting. I don’t know how it got there, I swear it wasn’t there when I put my knitting down yesterday.
    I know I ought to be a bigger person than this, since I was doing it for orphaned starving children. I know whimpering is contrary to the Spirit of Giving. But every woman has her Whimper Point. I just didn’t know where mine was till this post. I hope y’all don’t think less of me now. (Please be kind. I know I’m weak. I’ll try to be better.)
    The snapdragon hat is tres charming, as is its wearer. And Sinead gets many many Gold Buddy Stars, to send you such an excellently fortifying care package.

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