Pretty darn good

You know what? London (Ontario) was pretty darn good. I worry about these things. (You may or may not have noticed, it’s a really subtle thing) but I tend to worry. A lot. Even though this is about the 25th shop I’ve been to in 4 months, and about the 20th talk I’ve given about knitting, and even though I have met about 2000 knitters while I’m doing this, and it’s always been fine, I worry.

I don’t know what I think is going to happen, but I imagine all sorts of problems. As we were driving to London, I imagined a knitter who heckles me. A knitter who thinks I’m all wrong, a knitter who seriously takes knitting seriously and thinks I’m being seriously disrespectful. I imagine they take me on about this. I imagine power-blackouts, stalkers (Sort of a Kathy Bates “wronged by knitting type” who has been driven insane by an attempt to get gauge on a Starmore and somehow holds me responsible) or a dude who has problems, highspeed access and completely disgusting -if inventive, urges toward my fleece stash. I imagine traffic jams that make me late, that I’ll forget my notes…that I’ll throw up, get lost, say something horrible, swear…forget the name of the shop owner who’s busting themselves for me.(Ellen. Ellen. Ellen.) or forget how to knit. That last one may not be so far out there.

On the way to the shop I was knitting along, looked down and saw this:


See that? Where I’ve managed to upset myself so badly that I have somehow, somehow forgotten, even though this blanket is immense, unending and perpetual, even though I’ve knit about four MILLION of these little lace blocks and they are simple as pie….even though I was sitting in a car, looking right at the knitting….I have apparently forgotten how to knit a square.

This does nothing to increase my confidence. I’m on my way to face up to all these knitters (who are insane. By now I am sure they are insane) and I can’t knit a square. They are going to beat me to death with my own book.

I started trying to fix it (You know. Before I get to London and my cover is blown.) but I ran out of time. We got there, I got in front of everybody, and I took a picture of all the lovely London Knitters.

This is them.



They look normal enough, don’t they? I talked, I didn’t throw up, then we went next door to the yarn shop and did my favourite part. The knitters. I signed books, I talked with knitters, I got to see everyones knitting….I confessed about the baby blanket. (The knitters said the baby won’t care. I think this particular baby is worth the trouble though…so I’m going to fix it.) It was lovely.

I met Dianne, and saw Aara again. (She had come to the Afghanalong party) I met Carolyn (who has a picture on her blog), and Cara


and Brainylady.


and I am obsessive and worried for nothing because they are all charming and clever and funny and decent and not trying to steal my yarn at all. (Much. That Brainylady is pretty tricky though. Fast too.)

The sock met all of these charming knitters and many more and was happy, though feels sad that it did not yet have an opportunity to do anything that would qualify it for this challenge. Extreme knitting? I’m so your knitter. (I can’t be the only person who thinks that Teri is a genius and this is going to be way fun….right? Don’t hurt yourselves trying.)

Finally, as I wander off to place my knitting in harms way (or possibly make a tiny little parachute and some sort of sock harness….)

Happy Birthday Norma!

Do me a favour and hop over and wish our Norma a happy day, will ya? Nothing says Happy Birthday like having your comments explode.

43 thoughts on “Pretty darn good

  1. We are insane…just a little! I am so going to be an extreme knitter! This really does sound fun…now what to do…

  2. So……Can’t I just sulk anonymously for one day? KIDDING! Thank you. All of a sudden, people are bursting through my door wishing me happy birthday, and I’m like WHA…? Then someone said YOU said it was my birthday, and I came to check, and they LIED. Because there wasn’t even a NEW POST UP….at least according to MY browser. And already people were reading it and saying happy birthday. So I went to another browser, and damn, there you are. Wow, what a miracle. This is way better than cake – and no calories! (but I might have cake later, too.)

  3. That sounds so interesting. So I am thinking…If I knit in the shower, will my yarn felt before I can finish it? Maybe someone can use this idea for a pic. I don’t like my picture being taken and I definitely won’t let it be taken with me soaking wet. But I am sure there is someone out there who would.
    I don’t know why you ever are nervous about meeting the knitters. You know we all love you and would forgive you of anything. After all you are human, and a great one at that.

  4. In the picture above, the smiling woman is holding a corkscrew shaped object. Do you know what it is? Do you know who she is? Do you think she’ll share the pattern?
    I am very curious. And I hope you’re well.

  5. This probably wouldn’t be a good time to remind you about the time you did your talk and later you realized you had a hole in your pants, so I’ll just let it slide. Stop worrying, you’ll be fine.
    About this traveling sock — is it always the same sock, or is it a different sock than early on in your tour?

  6. Yarn Harlot + Extreme Knitting challenge. Hm. I think I’m a bit scared for the sock.

  7. Norma’s in serious trouble if she thinks comments are better than birthday cake cuz birthday cake rocks. Thanks for the heads up on Norma’s special day, Steph. You rock, too. But not like birthday cake.

  8. I notice you use DPs to knit socks. I am a two circular girl. Would you consider me a sock heratic?? Still looking forward to the 4th in Seattle.

  9. The corkscrew-shaped object is one of the scarves from “Scarf Style” – cannot remember the name, but it’s pretty simple (even I can do it!)
    As for the baby blanket – I don’t understand what the error is…but then again, I’m a little slow on Monday mornings 🙂
    I’ll be there in Seattle too!

  10. Hehehe…Steph – you shouldn’t ever be nervous! Look how happy all those knitters are to see you! You could probably sit there and knit a garter-stitch scarf in acrylic yarn while mumbling obscenities incoherently and we would still be content to have met you and heard to talk!

  11. Extreme knitting? My life is so not that exciting, but I’ll have to ponder on that. It is comforting to me to know that even you make mistakes and have to tink back to fix it and I think the baby blanket is quite lovely. I do believe that the slight insanity in knitters is what makes us such a fun group. Glad London went well. Will you stop worrying now? I didn’t think so. 🙂

  12. First, I was mortified by my HUGE smile in that photo. Then I’m referred to as “the smiling woman” in the comments! Yikes. Anyway, Sarah, it is the Ruffles scarf from the Pam Allen book Scarf Style. (And I swear I was only smiling that hard because it was Stephanie taking my picture, and as soon as the flash went off I looked normal again.)

  13. Well, lucky thing the book isn’t the size of a chemistry text book and is more somewhere between a Zagat Guide and Jane’s Tank Recogntion Guide in size. You’ll be down in San Diego at the end of the month, and I guarantee you we will all be nice and happy (you can’t be anything but nice and happy at The Grove, it just isn’t possible between Susan and the beautiful space she’s created). It’s going to be a great time.
    Thanks for the Extreme Knitting link, I hadn’t seen it, and there’s lots of fun possibilities there.

  14. I guess knitting while standing up on a a crowded new york city subway doesn’t exactly qualify as extreme knitting, but still…
    great pics from london! looks like a terrific event. love brainylady’s scarf.

  15. For all you “one sock” knitters out there. Don’t dispair! Knit big Christmas stockings — you only knit one at a time and who wants identical Christmas stockings anyway?
    Has anyone figured out how to translate the pattern for knitting two mittens simultaneously(one inside the other)into a sock pattern that knits them also simultaneously, a pattern that isn’t for tube socks???

  16. I have the same question as Sarah,
    “the smiling woman is holding a corkscrew shaped object. Do you know what it is? Do you know who she is? Do you think she’ll share the pattern?”
    Thanks, Charlotte

  17. For all you “one sock” knitters out there. Don’t dispair! Knit big Christmas stockings — you only knit one at a time and who wants identical Christmas stockings anyway?
    Has anyone figured out how to translate the pattern for knitting two mittens simultaneously(one inside the other)into a sock pattern that knits them also simultaneously, a pattern that isn’t for tube socks???

  18. Oh, I am going right now to put Dear Norma’s birthday in my date book. I did not remember.
    The pressure of being me.
    ~still chuckling over the knitting heckler!

  19. How much longer til the blankie is done? I agree, fix the error and give it with a clear conscious. As for extreme knitting, how about while skating… oh, no – you’ve already tried that (ha-ha)! And now, for a little tip: lion brand cotton-ease has been discontinued… it is great worsted weight yarn, and I’m not a big LB fan… get it while you can. Ebay is a good source. (I’ve already ordered mine!)

  20. Sorry to comment twice –
    I _think_ the corkscrew-shaped object is a Ruffles scarf from Scarf Style. (its one of the 2 reasons I bought the book)

  21. OK, at the risk of sounding really, really, *****really***** dumb, where/what is the mistake?

  22. For selfish personal reasons (not entirely selfish, really), I’m GLAD you forgot how to knit for a bit. I’m teaching a class of 13 girls how to knit. They are 11 to 15 year olds. They go along purling nicely and then they get those brain twitches and sudden start doing it wrong. I collect examples of how adults do this all the time, show them pictures of adult projects that were obviously bad to begin with before the knitter got the hang of it, etc. I even show them their own knitting – look how much you learned! (I love this class) Tomorrow I will tell them that a really famous knitter, who has even written a book(bookbook), still fucks up. Well, I won’t use the f word, but, you know. So they can chill some more. So. Thanks. 🙂

  23. Wow, my first comment, can you beleive it? BTW, LOVE the book!!
    I have a picture that was taken as I went down some class 2 rapids in my kayak, knitting (the Wool Peddler’s shawl from _Folk Shawls_ if anyone is curious), think that would qualify?

  24. I HAVE been driven insane trying to gauge on Starmore, but I seriously do not hold you responsible. In fact, thank you for understanding. I plan on seeing you in Seattle and I promise to be well-behaved!

  25. There’s a mistake in your knitting? See, I would have never noticed it. I tend to think anything that anyone knits is perfect, unless it’s a three armed sweater or something. I’m afraid I judge knitted items by the love and effort put into them, so to me they are all pretty much fabulous!

  26. I figured out the mistake; now if I could just figure out the pattern! If you would post it, I would surely soon have four projects going at the same time, my deepest plunge into knitting promiscuity. And I owe it all to you!

  27. oooh I am soo happy that you have kindly steered the attention to Norma.. I was fearful that the subject would stick to spinning and my silly mistake would come out!! ehheheehh

  28. Would knitting while you drive be considered “extreme knitting”? Mostly at stop lights and waiting in line while picking up my youngest from school.
    There is a method of knitting two socks at a time on two circular needles. The instructor who I took the class from found the instructions on the internet, so it must be out there.

  29. Hey, I turned 30 today. Does that count for anything? 😀 I’m finishing, washing and blocking my first pair of sock yarn socks today. It must be all the inspiring photos of Harlot Socks on Tour!

  30. well, i think you got your wish, her comments are up to 215, including mine. i’m contemplating a few things for extreme knitting, keep an eye on my blog, lol

  31. Thanks for the “Extreme Knitting” link. I now have an added incentive to finish learning how to unicycle once my sprained ankle gets better. Sprained ankle feeding the dogs, not unicycling, BTW. HMM – need a nice long scarf to knit while idling on a giraffe.
    I can’t see the mistake in the baby blanket – must be my monitor or something.

  32. It’s a shame you’re still getting so nervous Stephanie. I’m glad to hear that the talk and book signing went well.

  33. Seriously, someone please free up all my neurons that are occupied trying to figure this out, else I will never get any work done: where is the mistake?
    (I made a complete idiot of myself at the book-signing too. Perhaps, Steph, you should tote me around with you, your own personal Complete Idiot. You remember me, way back in May: I’m the one whose husband called during your talk to ask if I had fed the dog.)
    (Norma, I don’t know you, but I know you are smarter than I am. Happy birthday!)

  34. I’ve looked and looked and I just can’t see any difference in the supposedly wrong bits of the baby blanket. Guess I’m not a lace connoisseur but maybe the baby will be!
    As for extreme knitting: there used to be a great, sassy woman bus-driver on our local route who always had a WIP in front of her on the bus dashboard. I don’t know if she actually knitted whilst driving the bus but I think she did a few rows at traffic lights, in traffic hold-ups etc. I always wish I’d spoken to her about it – now I probably would! I wonder if she was descended from the Scottish fisher-lassies who always carried their gansy knitting around with them while they worked…
    Honor (in Fife, Scotland,UK.)

  35. Thank you for coming to the little London!
    I haven’t had such a fun Saturday in months. All those cool knitters!

  36. Roberta – has introduced some new sock yarns, and a free downloadable pattern for Toe Up, Two at Once NOT tube socks knit on two circular needles. I just got an email from them about it this morning. I’m definitely intrigued, but I’ll let you try it first…;)

  37. Rachel H — Thank you very much for the URL for sock patterns. But it will have to get cooler before I try the pattern for two in one socks–I don’t have air conditioning and the heat in So. Ontario right now is terrible. I will, however, let you know how it works out in the fall.

  38. Seriously. I brought several of the women in my office (most of whom do not knit) into my office and demanded that they look at the blanket picture to tell me what was wrong.
    They all think that I’m a nutball for spending over 20 minutes trying to figure out the mistake, but none of them could figure it out either. In fact, I had one of them call me last night at 11pm to ask me for your website address so she could look again – she looks a little worn this morning. She said she spent over an hour and called her grandmother to see if she knew.
    I swear, I honestly don’t see anything wrong!! I must, along with the office ladies and one grandmother, be blind or knitting-disabled, or something….

  39. For those of you who can’t wait for Stephanie to post her pattern: the lace pattern for the blanket is in my copy of “The Big Book of Knitting Stich Patterns.” It’s from the Crafters Choice Book Club (I am a sucker for $1 books, no matter how limited the selection. Blame the crack dealers over at Mason-Dixon Knitting.), and I think unavailable as anything but a book club edition. It’s called “Checker Games.” You’d have to modify it slightly to get squares, since 12 rows of 12 stiches do not make a square in stockinette.

  40. D’oh! Its amazing how proper spelling makes everything easier…
    “The Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns”
    ISBN: 1402708300 (Hardcover) or 1402727631 (Paperback next month)

  41. Totally guilty of KWD (Knitting While Driving). Not at red lights. While going 60mph down those ENDLESS country roads that I take to work. (It’s just a circular hat, no big deal…really. And I DO make attempts to hide it while at red lights so nosier than thou pick-up truck drivers don’t get attitudes and blow me in)
    I actually thought about upgrading my (husband’s) cell phone so I could get a pic of myself doing that with the corn fields whizzing by. But then I figured I’d probably drive off INTO said corn fields trying to balance the phone on the seat next to me, while knitting, and driving with my left knee. Ya think?

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