Our roaming correspondent.

Happy Hallowe’en! This years award for “Best knitted part of a costume, knit up in a pinch that actually turned out pretty good despite a loose plan and will totally end up in the dress-up box for years to come” goes to Julia. (I just made that award up. That’s why you don’t remember it from last year. I was just looking for a reason to show you her knitting). Speaking of last year, if you are hard up for a costume, revisit last years comments for ideas. A lot of them could be put together quick. Me? I don’t need a costume. I’ll be knitting the edge on the snowflake shawl,


hoping for a little more time (my inner voice keeps screaming “KNIT FASTER”, it’s very relaxing) and eating myself sick on the candy I’m supposed to be shelling out. (I’m also quite busy hoping that blocking fixes this shawl. It looks a little ratty, doesn’t it?)

In the meantime, I should hope that no-one has forgotten our roaming TSF correspondent, my brother-in-law…Ben. (Ben doubles as Director for human resources for MSF Canada, but really, he’s travelling the world pretending to work for MSF while he clearly works for TSF/ Knitters without borders.)

The other day, Ben turns up at my door and gives me this.


It’s a nice big ball of goat roving from KAZAKSTAN, and it smells like, well. I don’t know. Probably a Kazakstan goat, which is sort of interesting.


I’ve coerced Ben into doing a guest blog about getting it, and I’ve updated the TSF total in honour of his visit.

Be gentle with him. He’s a rookie.

Hi Steph,

As promised, Some photos from the wool market in Nalchik

where I bought you goat wool from Kazakstan. In fact, this photo


is the crazy old woman I bought it from, weighing it for the sale.

I was in Nalchik training management staff from MSF programmes in neighbouring Caucasus states of

Ingushetia and Chechnya. Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria is a back up base because it is considered safe. We do not have international workers based in the other places due to insecurity – especially fears of kidnapping.

The city is stunning and the people were very warm to us. On October 9th, we walked to this huge wool market on the other side of the city.


The market was filled with women at stalls selling wool and knitted goods.


The sound of knitting needles clattered everywhere as women not selling were knitting more wares.


The prices were absurdly low and I bought fancy wool socks for 35 rubles or slightly more than a Canadian dollar. You and all of your knitting friends would have been in heaven here!

Unfortunately, four days later, all hell broke loose in

Nalchik. It was certainly scary for a few hours as we could hear machine gun fire and explosions coming from all around our office – all starting during morning rush hour. The residents and national staff were in panic trying to locate their loved ones on the over-burdened cellular phone system. Of particular concern were their children in the schools, given that we were only 100 km from Beslan where the horrible school tragedy occurred last year. As things settled, it was sad to see the realization of our staff that their peaceful city was getting dragged into the broader Caucasus conflict.

Perhaps due to the global war on terror, the problems in Chechnya seem largely forgotten or ignored by the world media. But the people still suffer and many have been living for years in cramped temporary accommodation centres as much of the city of Grozny still lies in rubble. As one of our Chechen mental health workers told me, “we have a Beslan every day here.”



Note from Steph: S. Kate and I are still working on a viable plan for the pins. In the meantime, because the total is higher and giving stuff away is fun…

Pins go to Sandra D and Nicole L. (I’ve emailed you both) and this beautiful roving from Jen at Sprit Trail Fiberworks


goes to Barb B. (Aren’t you a spinner Barb? Lucky break that. I emailed you.) Singlesspirittrail

And this beautiful hand spun singles from the same roving

goes to Rossana L. (I emailed you too.)

Happy Hallowe’en.