Please join me in welcoming Sam, son of Jacqui and Dan, and little brother to the charming Max.


Sam (after running about a week late) decided to make up for his reluctance to join us by breaking a landspeed record for labour, making the trip from first contraction to his mum’s arms in 49 minutes flat, despite weighing in at a very respectable 9lbs, 3oz. A moment of awe for his mother is appropriate.

As promised….

Sam’s Blanket.

Materials: I used 4 skeins of Patons Berber Cotton, a discontinued light worsted weight 100% cotton with 210 metres per skein. I used every last inch, so you can expect to need about 840 metres.

I used 4mm needles, but you should use whatever will get you a

gauge of 20 stitches to 10cm.

This blanket uses a very popular stitch pattern, found in virtually all of my stitch dictionaries, with different names in each one. There’s a lesson in that. You can pick any stitch you like from a dictionary and alternate it with the stockinette squares, altering the size of the stockinette square to match the stitch count of your lace square.


Cast on 176 stitches and knit 9 rows, then knit 1 row, increasing 5 stitches evenly across. (181 stitches)

Begin pattern:

Row 1. K15 *(yo, K2tog) 4 times, K10. Repeat from * across row until 4 stitches remain. K4

Row 2 (AND ALL WRONG SIDE ROWS) K5, Purl to last 5, K5

Row 3 K14 * (SSK, YO) 4 times, K10. Repeat from * across row to last 5 stitches, K5

Row 5 as row 1

Row 7 as row 3

Row 9 as row 1

Row 11 as row 3

Row 13 (This row begins the blocks in the alternate space)

K6 *(YO, K2tog) 4 times, K10. Repeat from * til 13 stitches remain. (YO, K2tog) 4 times, K5

Row 15 K5, *(SSK, YO) 4 times K10. repeat from * until 14 sts remain. (SSK, YO) 4 times, K6

Row 17 – as row 13

Row 19 – as row 15

Row 21 – as row 13

Row 23 – as row 15

Row 24 – as all wrong side rows.

Repeat rows 1- 24 until you are sick to death of it, the baby arrives or you start to run out of yarn. (All of these things happened at the same time for me, and the blanket was roughly square, 90cm X 90cm) When you’ve had it, end on a row 12 or 24.

Knit one row, decreasing 5 stitches evenly across.

Knit 9 rows….cast off. Wrap around the nearest baby.

Sam also got himself a pair of bee shoes, but even at 9lbs, he’s not big enough to fill them out.


In other news…this one’s for my Mum, who chewed me out last night because some friends in BC didn’t know I was coming there on the tour. This perplexed me, since I know the friends in question read the blog (Hi Diane! Hi Barb!). I said to my Mum “Don’t they read the blog Mum?” and my mother replied “Well of course they do dear, but they just read it. They aren’t going to do all of that ridiculous clicking around”. Apparently clicking on the tour page is “ridiculous clicking around” and completely gratuitous. A waste of effort. A very big deal. My mother (who is a Westerner, born in BC and lived in Calgary) claims that I must post where I will be right on this page of the blog.

Therefore…in order to avoid forcing anyone to do any of that “clicking around”, and to pacify my mum, the dates and locations I will be in Western Canada:

August 6th – Vancouver, 32 Books (3185 Edgemont Blvd) 2:30 PM

(Whoops! That event is sponsored by 32 Books, but I’ll do it at the Capilano Library. Mea Culpa.)

August 8th – Edmonton, 7:30pm Audrey’s Books (10702 Jasper Ave.)

August 9th – Calgary, 7:00pm McNally Robinson Books (120 8th Ave SW).

August 10 – Winnipeg, 7:00pm McNally Robinson Books (1120 Grant Ave. #4000)

At all of these I’ll be doing a talk and then a signing. (Happy Mum? No clicking around.) I am, by the way, completely terrified that I will be absolutely alone at the Canadian events. I worry simply because of the difference in population…1 Canadian to every 10 Americans, but also there exists a phenomenon in here in my beloved home that some call “Canadian Reticence”. I don’t like that term, since I think it implies some sort of uncaring or lack of feeling, and I don’t know many Canadians who fit that description.

Instead, I think that the effect is caused by the Canadian celebration of “Reason over passion” as a national ideal.

“Reason over passion” is why celebrities like Brad Pitt can shop for Cheese in Toronto without anyone speaking to them. It’s why Rex Murphy can pick up his passport and we will all pretend we don’t know him. It’s why cheerleading wasn’t invented in this country and frankly….why the Canadian Distributor was reluctant to book a tour for me in Canada at all. Canadians are infinitely reasonable, polite and practical. (Also funny. Man, Canadians are funny.) This makes them way less likely to attend…well. Anything. They will read the book, love the book and then, when an author comes to town…they will mow the lawn. It’s not a lack of love or enthusiasm, it’s simply Reason over passion. The lawn needs mowing, and you wouldn’t want to intrude on an authors signing. Wouldn’t want to bother them.

I told the Distributor that knitters were different, that knitters had a sense of community and that they would take any chance to hang out and talk about knitting, (especially if it gets them out of mowing the lawn.) and they took me at my word. Now I feel worried.

I don’t know many folks in the west, and the Distributor isn’t quite as hooked into the knitting scene (though they are hardworking) as Sarah-the-wonder publicist, and the stuff is all booked and I’m going somewhere where I don’t know anybody and I’m completely unescorted and I’m really starting to be freaked out when I imagine the sound of my own voice echoing nauseatingly through an empty bookstore.

Do me a favour will ya? If you live in the West and you’re coming out, drop me a line….though if you have to mow the lawn, I totally get it.