A stomp in the park

I am a little angry. I came to this realization this morning as I shut the front door behind me (very firmly) and stomped (or maybe trudged viciously…it can be hard to tell the difference) down the street on a self imposed walk to High Park to burn off some fury.

I didn’t stop muttering (things like “furthermore” and “another thing” under my breath until I had speed walked 20 minutes. )

I was too angry to knit, and that’s saying something, especially since I’m back at the Tinks sweaters…and if itty bitty fair isle can’t get your mind off your whimsical temper, what can?


When I calmed myself down a bit, I made a list. I am a big fan of lists and find them clarifying and emotionally gratifying. There’s something about the numbering and naming of your problems that both makes them real enough to deal with, and simultaneously reassures you that they don’t number in the thousands.

(We can discuss another time the absolutely tragic fact that I’m making all the same complaints my mother did, which speaks to a poignant lack of progress.)

List of reasons I was mad enough to spit. (but didn’t. That’s gross.)

Laundry, my relationship to it, and the absolutely unending, perennial nature of same. (Also, the way no matter what you have washed, you have not washed the right things. Eg: I have washed every single pair of pants, but there are inexplicably, no towels.)

Housework. See above complaint and factor in the apparent learning disability everyone in the house seems to have when I use the phrase “We all mess it up, we all clean it up.” You should see their eyes glaze over. They might do what I ask then, but their teenaged brains seem to be completely unable to take that message to the next level and do it again the next time they see some dirt without the application of speech 3b. (“This is not a hotel and I do not work here. I live here. Like you do, only with less help.”)

The injustice of the world at large. I realize there is precious little people can do about this in the immediate future (like the next 14 seconds) but I am pissed none the less.

Cats. Specifically mine, and the way that she has taken to sleeping on my head. Sadly, I have not taken to her sleeping on my head, and each and every night has turned into a repeated and monotonous cycle of me taking her off my head, me falling asleep, her getting on my head, me waking up and taking her off my head.

Repeat until you threaten to smack your insensitive lout of a husband for daring to find a shred of humour in your sleepless plight and ability to string together filthy expletives related to aforementioned *&^%$!!!! cat.


Cat seen here looking innocent. She is not. (Suggestions for ending this problem before I die from sleep deprivation gleefully accepted. I love my cat, but I am not interested in taking her crap as long as I pay for her kibble.)

Work. This is really the big one. For various reasons, Children, holidays, husbands, houseguests, family, school boards and so forth….I have not had a single day of uninterrupted work in 21 days.

What would happen if you didn’t go to work for 21 days? Can you imagine? My inbox is overwhelmed, things unwritten, phone calls unreturned….a plethora of problems screech into my lap every day and I am helpless to correct them because there are PEOPLE IN MY OFFICE. People with goals that are different from mine. People who want their blue pants, to have help with a problem of their own, want a meal, want a conversation, want to sleep on my head or talk while I write. People who will actually stack orange peels on the living room coffee table and then stand there and have a screeching argument about who it was who left them there and who should pick them up. (Hint: If, even while you are screaming about the injustice of the world, even if you claim that your sisters are treated better than you, if you swear that you have never, ever even touched a single orange in this house….Even if you have made all of those points? I am still going to think you should pick up the orange peels if your breath of fury reeks of guilty Citrus.)

21 days. That’s why, when one of the girls told me this morning that they were too ill to go to school (again) I went for a long walk…and realized this:

I would like to formally and publicly apologize to my mother for not fully grasping the injustice of her life during my growing up years, and take back all of the stuff I muttered about her sanity all those times she was out for a walk. Sorry Mum.

Pass the confetti

I’m almost afraid to say it, lest I be punished for being encouraged,

but things are looking up.


Buttons are found.


I’m completely charmed by this wee sweater. I’m also pretty impressed with how much good buttons can make a piece. (The stars also have the advantage of being a little “grippy” to keep the buttons from sliding back through my slightly shoddy buttonholes.) With ordinary buttons this sweater would be cute, but with the little stars it impresses me.

The Whisper scarf is done. The magic of blocking is never going to get old. I can tell.






After..oh, after.




I love this. There were some questions in the comments yesterday about the Cherry Tree Hill Suri Lace. Some knitters had found that the colour was somewhat fugitive, bleeding into the blocking water and onto needles and such. I had my suspicions about it, since when I was winding the yarn I noticed a blue dye stain on my fingers, but there was no dye transfer during the knitting, and the water was completely clear during blocking. (I even used warm water to encourage any unfixed dye to bleed.) Nothing. This yarn seems completely fast to me and I’d use it again. I don’t know that I’d use it for a really big project, since it costs the earth and it’s still against the law to sell one of your kids for yarn money, but for small projects…you can sign me up. I did one extra repeat on the scarf and still had tons left over, easily enough to make it even longer than it is. (It’s 49 X 14 inches.) I even got over my issues with variegated lace, since I think that this yarn is so subtle it doesn’t obscure the lace work. Overall, I’m thrilled, and floating it around the house like fragile wings is a darned good time.

Can I have the parade now?

What kind of parade is that?

I was figuring that today I would impress you with any number of finished things. It was going to be a virtual parade of wonderful item after item…lovely thing upon thing, beautiful finished knitting flowing freely through the blog. Clearly, I forgot who I am.

I was going to show you a finished baby sweater:


but I lost the buttons I was supposed to sew on.

I was going to show you a finished scarf:


but there’s a mistake and I have to rip it back. See it? No, of course you don’t. That’s what happened to me. You can’t spot the misplaced stitches while lace is shriveled like that. It’s infuriating.

(Before you all ask again, it’s whisper scarf #1, in Cherry tree hill Suri lace, in colourway “Green mountain madness”. ) This pattern is not difficult, though there is no going nighty-night while you do it. Each row needs your attention. I made the mistake of attempting to watch “The Cave” while I was knitting it. (The first mistake was picking that movie. Not so much with the intrigue, that one.) Looking up to see who was getting eaten by what (in a predictable way, naturally) has left me with a misplaced series of yarn overs and a desire to gnaw this Orenburg style lacework into little ramen bits with my pointy teeth. On the upside… you can see in that picture that the spinning wheel is back in it’s spot. Tree out, wheel in. Peace restored.

The worst though, the biggest hit was finishing this:


Teva Durhams leaf lace sweater. A good, easy, quick knit.

No problem, as long as you have a pretty good idea about the size you are.


Which I do not. Apparently I have shoulders where this sweater does not.

Let’s try the parade again tomorrow, Shall we?

Finally, a nice thing. Apparently (I have got to get around the blogs a little more when the kids are home.) I have won in “The Knibbies” hosted by Queerjoe.

Many thanks to those who nominated and voted for me. Very flattering. Best New blog went to See Eunny Knit (which is a very good new blog), and best tech blog (how disturbing, considering the above entry, would it have been if I won that one?) went to the incomparable Jaywalking Queen Grumperina. She deserves it just for that. I’m probably the only blogger who hasn’t Jaywalked. I’m starting to feel it.

This is your brain on Cat Bordhi

A while back, my Mother-in-law ran into Cat Bordhi while she was at Mecca Baadeck Yarns. Cat was very, very charming to Carol, took time off from the retreat she was teaching and gave Carol a signed book to bring home to me and all in all seemed like a very nice, normal person. Carol’s experience isn’t the only one either. I’ve met a whole bunch of people that have met or spoken to Cat Bordhi, and not one of them was lead to believe that the woman was a danger to herself or others, and no one has suggested that she is the adult child of an alien experiment, no one used the phrase “one skein short of a sweater” and nobody even vaguely suggested that we should form a petition to take her pointy sticks from her.

That’s why, having started Cat’s thrummed mobius Wednesday night, I am surprised to discover that Cat is absolutely out of her ever-loving mind. Brilliant, clever, genius likely….but make no mistake. That woman does not think like an ordinary person. I think she melted a small part of my brain with her pattern. Check this.


This is how you cast on…(well, this is sort of how you cast on, I mean, I’m not going to show you the whole thing because that would be really mean to Cat. Buy her books or the pattern if you want details.) you aren’t getting the full effect here without the sound of me whining about “not getting it”, the stunned look on my face as I tried to figure it out, and the garrulous cackle of glee when I finally got it and danced about the yarn shop.

No sooner did I have that figured out than I was stumped again trying to figure out how to knit the first round. Denny helped me

(she’s knit two of these)


Note the triumphant “I’m smarter than you today” look on Denny’s face. I persevered (my apologies to all at Lettuce Knit for the unladylike language that was necessary to accomplish that first round) and got this.


Dude. That’s messed up. That’s like that time in University when the guy didn’t tell me what was in the orange juice. That’s like some kind of psychedelic sixties freak out knitting. That’s….that’s…

I’m getting a grip. I followed the pattern for a while (up to the point where I need to start increasing and decreasing and I got that feeling that part of my brain was liquifying again) and I got this.


This is so wild and crazy that I can scarcely breathe. If looking at this doesn’t give you a little hiccough of knitterly butterflies and a sense of the expanding wild universe, then maybe you need me to diagram it. (If you already feel dizzy, then you totally get it and should skip this next part.)


The red line traces the path of the needle and the yellow dot marks the tail…the place where I began.

I tell you this. I don’t know a thing about Cat Bordhi’s personal life. Not one thing, but I promise you this. She has time to think. She probably gets to take baths without interruption and in all likelyhood, lives in seclusion with nothing but mountains of wool and nests of circular needles around her. Cat Bordhi should be working for the UN, securing world peace and figuring out renewable energy sources and why we have three kinds of screwdrivers.

Cat Bordhi is a smart cookie.

Should you decide to knit this, (and I think you should, if only for the utter delight and breathtaking depth of personal triumph when you figure it out.) I offer the following tips.

1. Go to your happy place. I recommend a yarn shop where you can be surrounded by other knitters who will support you and share your crushing defeats and eventual thrilling success. If you have no such yarn shop, then my second choice would be for you to lock yourself in the bathroom with a couple of candles and a towel stuffed under the door to reduce distractions.

2. Don’t think too much. It doesn’t help. Become one with the knitting and simply do as you are told. Don’t try to understand what’s going on, just let it flow over you. Become one with the knitting.

3. Get a drink. Maybe three. Anything that will let you let go and stop trying to grasp the process. Vague drunkenness will help you trust that all will become clear with the fullness of time.

It’s been a long time since something kicked my arse and challenged the part of my knitting brain that thinks it knows it all.

All hail Cat Bordhi, genius knitter and alien queen. Pass the screech. I’m going to go knit Orenburg lace to give my brain a rest.

Pine fresh

All Christmas long I’ve been trying to figure out why it is that I can’t seem to keep our tree stand full of water. Last night, as I sat knitting lace by the tree


(I know it looks bad. It’s lace. It will look better later.)

I heard a funny noise. A lapping noise. I peered under the tree and the mystery was solved.

The cat is drinking the tree water.

She has fresher, nicer water in her bowl and yet, she is drinking the tree water. It’s really time to take this thing down. I’ll be checking the cat’s breath later.

I’m so finished over here. The ladies are having endless fights over the bathroom and the phone. Who needs it, who’s got it, who had it last, who’s life is being ruined because they haven’t got it, who has to have it before something happens that will make them friendless and outcast. These arguments are interspersed with Joe walking around talking about how “something needs to be done” and how he should be able to use the phone/bathroom sometime soon and how maybe we should move. (I don’t know if he’s thinking that just he and I should move, or if he means we should all move together. I’m afraid to ask.

I’m going to sit under the dining room table with a bottle of wine for comfort and a tablecloth for camouflage and finish a sweater. (Don’t tell me you haven’t thought of that.) Five sleeps until school starts again.

Service disruption

I’m completely at the end of it. There was an explosion on our social calendar this year (I assure you, that would be Joe, not me. If these were my parties there would be more knitters.) I’ve eaten so much cheese (you can’t have a party without a cheese tray.) that it makes me a little queasy if you say “brie” within my hearing range.

I’m done. I’m ready to sit in my house with Mr. Washie (how I’ve missed him) get the gingerbread icing off the underside of the kitchen cupboards (young person with a piping bag and too much enthusiasm.) drink the coffee Lu sent me (thanks Lu!) and throw myself onto the chesterfield with some knitting and pretend I am alone in the universe so that I stop answering questions with tears. So far, since the girls are off school until the 10th (sorry…did anybody else feel dizzy there?) I’m having a hard time getting that restorative alone time. I’m thinking about putting this sign on my forehead:

Your mother needs a break. We estimate that this service disruption will take only 2-3 hours. Before you interrupt your mothers attempt to restore her sanity and will to interact, please ask yourself the questions below.

1. Are you about to make a request that your mother has said No to nine hundred times before? If so, you may assume that the answer is still no and be on your way.

2. Have you asked another parent and been told no? If so, please assume this parents answer will be the same.

3. Are you bleeding or on fire? Is your sister? If you cannot produce a flaming/bleeding self or sibling, please go play Cranium until Mummy speaks to you.

4. Are you here not to ask a question, but to report an offense by another child, parent or pet? This is not urgent. I am absolutely certain that your sister will still be bugging you, Joe will be misunderstanding you, and that your lip gloss will still be the wrong shade of pink in two hours. Please wait.

Thank you for your concern. This service disruption should be brief.

I have bribed the girls by finishing their Christmas stuff (which means that it is all fininished a record nine days after the date)

Meg’s mitts and hat….


Done. (Fleece Artist Favourite mittens kit, my own pattern.)

Sam’s hat and scarf


Random stuff from the stash, including Colinette skye that Margaret R. gave to me ages ago, Patons classic merino and Galway. The scarf was 240 stitches knit side to side, leaving ends hanging for fringe. (I’ll have to get a picture on Sam)

The shawl is finished too…


but you’ll have to wait for a picture of the whole thing. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for the recipient. I’ll post the pattern then too. (I cannot wait to get that huge tree out of my living room. It’s in my wheel’s spot. I can’t wait to get to the wheel. Wait until you see what That Laurie sent me. I love her.)

For now, I’ve dug this out of the stash,


and I’m getting a pattern, a cup of coffee, printing the sign out and embarking on the first project of 2006. Service should resume shortly. Keep your expectations low.