Happy, Happy Birthday

Please join me in welcoming, with all of the joy and happiness that this community is capable of:


the much awaited twins. Both are healthy and beautiful, as is their mother, who did womankind proud today, as she brought them into the world with strength, grace and exactly the sort of fortitude it’s going to take to be a wonderful parent to them. (Their dad rocked it pretty hard too.)


Parker, the eldest and most laid back of the two, weighing in at an extraordinarily healthy 6lbs 4oz


and his sister Lily, 5lbs 14oz, and a clearly inquisitive being.

These two are destined for greatness, as they share this birthday with my darling Amanda, who did me the honour of making me a mother on this day 17 years ago.

It’s an auspicious beginning.

(PS, did I cut it close on those sweaters or what?)

It’s not a race

But if it was? I would win. (Not that I would be competing against unborn infants. That would be wrong.) The twins sweaters are finished, and the twins aren’t here. (I shall advise her today that she may fire when ready. )

The sweater for the girl half of the set.


This is Rutelilje, from this book in the 0-3 month size. Yarn is baby Ull and Lanett superwash. (I often combine these two to get a broader range of colours. They are not identical, but they are close enough for company work.) I love everything about this sweater. The picot neck, the little blooms around the yoke. The sixty million miles of seed stitch which turned out to be totally worth it….


Modifications? Er. Always. I made the sleeves a little shorter than they asked for, and I put three buttons at the top instead of five running the length of the front.

The sweater for the boy half of the set.


Erle, from the same book as the sweater above. (This book is fast becoming one of my favourites, I heard a rumour it was discontinued…can anyone confirm or deny?) Yarn is Baby Ull, and after an enormous debate in the button store (White buttons would *too* have made it Christmassy) Meg chose the buttons.


Modifications include altering the pattern for five buttons instead of six (I like odd numbers), lengthening the body by an inch (as per a helpful comment from Mary) and shortening the sleeves, just as I did with the sweater above.

If I’m going to make a sweater for someone younger than six months (and why wouldn’t you? They are so conveniently small.) I almost always shorten the sleeves by a bit. I’ve been trying to figure out for years why it is that infant patterns pretty much uniformly have them too long. After long consideration (and no, I don’t think that thinking about baby sleeves is a waste of my time) I’ve decided that it must be that pattern makers measure baby arms the same way as adult arms. (Thanks to Sam for letting me boost the Bitty Baby out of her room for these pictures.)


To measure an adults arm, the arm is extended straight and measured along its length. This works pretty well, since (you can feel free to check this) when your arms hang by your sides they are more or less straight. Same length as they were when they were extended.

Trouble with baby arms is that if you pull them straight to measure them you’re going to have sleeves too long, since once you let go of their arm, it’s going to flex.


Until babies sit, crawl or walk, they hold their arms (and their legs, now that I think about it) in pleasant curves. In a sweater sleeve, especially one that’s a little roomy, the arm curves within the sleeve and suddenly you have all of this extra length. Cuffs fall annoyingly over tiny fists, babies suck and chew on your perfect ribbing and every-time you see the sweater on the kid, the mum has rolled up your beautiful cuffs. I shorten them, which makes them fit better, albeit for less time. I don’t mind.


For my American friends, Happy Memorial Day (is that supposed to be happy? I looked it up and it seems like a sombre day.) and for my Toronto friends, hang tough. Try to think of the TTC Strike as a great start to Bike Week. (Note to self: must watch more news, didn’t see this coming.) Funny how having to ride your bike from one end of the city to another always seems to coincide with the heat eh? I’m betting that the 31 degrees with a humidex of 39 (that’s 102 for you Fahrenheit users) will be enough to wipe the Bike Week enthusiasm right off my face round about the time I’m hauling my bike and arse up that huge hill on St Clair. Drink your water Toronto, and don’t forget to buy an extra one to give to a street person you pass today. The 12 weeks of heat in Toronto kill more people than the 22 weeks of cold. Go knit under a tree.

Added later: I know it’s wrong to obsess about these things and that it really doesn’t help, but the humidex temperature outside is now 42 (That’s 107 Fahrenheit ) and I’m thinking about painting the side of my house with a sign that reads “Climate change is real”. Rant over. I shall resume melting quietly by myself.

The end is not near

Have you ever thought about how being the parent of a teenager or two is a little bit like tweezing your eyebrows? Painful, difficult to get right and devastating to your self esteem if you make the slightest mistake? (It is worth noting that I have only once in my life made an attempt to tweeze my eyebrows.) I’ve been trying this thing with the kids, a sort of Oka-style standoff in the upstairs hall. ….Oh, sorry. Did you come for the fibre stuff?

Here you go. Erle blocking.


Fleece artist spinning.



Right. Back to the standoff in the upstairs hall. The ladies throw their clothes there. (They throw them everywhere actually, this is just the place that bugs the crap out of me.) Right outside the bathroom door there is always this pile of things that they have cast off themselves on the way to the bath. (Or a pile of things that they rejected while changing clothes during the morning assessment in the mirror. Same diff. ) I tried asking them to clean it up. I tried explaining that it annoyed me. Then, I tried bribery. I bought a hamper and put it right where they throw the clothes, and I told them that even though they are largely responsible for their own laundry these days, I would wash anything in that hamper. Good deal eh? Wouldn’t you think? Wouldn’t you?


Look at this. Blatant hamper ignoring. Blatant, obstreperous, boldfaced hamper ostracism. Daughters, hear me now. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated. Picking up your clothes cuts into the time I have to do other things. Things like knitting, or spinning, or earning the money that I use to buy you food. It takes my attention away from other things that I do that you like. Things like cooking, grocery shopping…or talking Joe out of screaming “I know what you’re thinking!” at all of those boys who keep ringing the doorbell.

I will not budge from this position. The clothes go IN the hamper. Not BY the hamper, not CLOSE to the hamper, not NEAR the hamper… IN the hamper.

If you put things IN the hamper, the laundry fairy comes sometimes. Not often, and not reliably, but she does show up when the mood strikes her. The laundry fairy is mercurial but there are moments, in every laundry fairy’s day, where if she sees some laundry in a hamper, she’s been known to pitch it into Mr. Washie. Maybe even follow it through to the dryer. No way to tell. The laundry fairy’s generosity is a strange, strange thing. If things are NEAR the hamper, the laundry fairy keeps right on going.

With my wool as my witness. I will not touch anything that is not IN the hamper. Not when you are out of pants. Not when you really, really need your lucky blue shirt or must have a white shirt for the concert even though you will fail music if it is not clean and on your body. I shall not be moved by tears, eyelash fluttering or quiet pouting. (Loud pouting shall be similarly received.) I do not care if we all eventually cannot get into the room that lies beyond the wall of clothes NEAR the hamper.

Put. The. Clothes. In.

So sayeth your mother. Move on. Improve yourselves.

A pile of dirt

I’m copping out today and not fighting for charming insight or brilliant knitting or spinning. This is largely because my big plan to show you the finished fronts of the Erle sweater have been dashed by knitter error. I got up this morning and trooped the wee sweater out to the garden for it’s photo shoot and discovered that I had artfully executed the neck hole over the armhole. Since I’m really hoping that this is not the configuration of the baby that this is intended for, I’m re-doing it.

In the meantime I shall distract you from my sucky knitting with mirth and questions from the comments yesterday.

Luna wrote:

Am I the only one who counted 12 skeins in the photo? Don’t count yourself short! and, I have to add: if you missed that, might it make your total amount of yarn “mileage” different?

No, no you weren’t the only one who noticed that. Many, many of you wrote to tell me I had miscounted. (I shall not digress into commentary on what it implies that you all are wasting knitting time on skein counting accuracy and simply be glad that you whack of obsessive compulsive fibre manics are on my side.) It was an intellectual error. Two of the skeins, these two…


are half sized. Therefore, even though there are technically 12 skeins, they really only add up to 11. Pity though. My heart soared for a moment. (Actually, it didn’t. When I got to thinking about it, I would have been really pissed if the last great ply-fest resulted in a total amount of yarn that was only one skein short of a sweater.)

Katy wrote:

You know, the whole gansey thing would be much simpler if you had just fallen in love with a smaller man.

I’m just saying.

This advice falls right in there with what my mother always said about spouse selection. “Honey, it’s just as easy to love a rich man as a poor one.” It’s something a knitter should take into consideration when deciding a spouse is attractive. Single knitters take note, no matter what gossip you hear about the advantages of a mate with large hands or feet (and you all know what I mean) don’t forget that you will at some point in your relationship be called upon to express your love in wool. It can’t be worth it.

S.Kate wrote:

Um. Small detail, but, have you designed the gansey yet?

No. I was going to start knitting anyway. (Insert hysterical laughter/ foreboding music here) What can go wrong?

Stephanie wrote:

Wonderful raised bed.

Why thank you. Unfortunately for me, I have committed the raised bed equivalent of putting the neck over the armhole. The old raised beds were made out of 2X4’s and plywood. (Total width of bed wall – 4 inches.) I have replaced them with very sturdy beds made out of stacked 4X4’s. (Total width of bed wall – 8 inches.) The new beds cover the same area as the old ones, but our critical planning error was discovered when Ian was done putting the soil that came out of the old beds back into the new ones.


They do not have the same volume. By several cubic metres actually. Having already distributed as much of it as I can on my own property, I have spent the last two days stalking around the neighbourhood with shovelfuls of soil offering to fill in low spots in other peoples gardens. Lucky for me, my neighbours already think I’m a complete lunatic (- it may have been photographing yarn in the bushes almost everyday for the last two years that did it.) and nobody has said a word to me except for “No thank you.” (I think they are whispering about me.) I’m contemplating distributing it under cover of darkness or stuffing it down the sewer grate one handful per day for the next year. I’m open to other ideas.

Almost finished…

5. The spinning for Joe’s gansey. (Where’s Rams? Somebody get Rams!)


4. The plying for Joe’s gansey. (See Rams? See?)


11 skeins, 1650 metres, 200 hours of my time and….

not enough. By my reckoning, I need about 1800-2000 metres of Sport weight yarn (which I’m hoping this is) to cover a tall man with a 48″ chest. Since my reckoning is, even on the best of days, pretty spotty, I’m contemplating beginning the knitting. There’s the advantage of having my actual gauge, a real idea of how the yarn is working up, the incentive of seeing an actual sweater come into being, the fact that That Laurie thinks it’s a good idea (which means it IS a good idea)…


Plus I really don’t think I can spin another single inch of this without losing my mind. We’ve gone way past meditative and all of the way into the spiritual equivalent of sucking quicksand.

If I don’t start knitting, or at least swatching, I’m likely to become somewhat unreasonable. (You there, shut up. I am so reasonable most of the time.)

3. The raised bed project in the backyard.


All that remains is the clean-up. I looked at the big pile of dirt all day, but nothing happened. It would appear that I still cannot move things with the power of my mind.

2. The sweaters for the twins.


If all goes as planned, we will soon be having a button buying day.

We are having a button buying day because my fury at discovering that I had neglected to knit buttonholes incensed me so completely and immediately that I ripped it back before I read the brilliant alternatives in the comments yesterday. ( A zipper. Of course? Why didn’t I think of a zipper? Why have a blog if I’m not going to use it’s powers for good? )

It’s a very good thing that the twins sweaters are almost done, since #1 on the list of things that are almost finished is…..

1. Twins.


Any minute.

Got a two-four?

I’m here, I’m here. Besides making the trip to BEA and going to a part of a wedding, it was also Victoria Day weekend in Canada, so yesterday was a holiday. Victoria day, is, I admit, somewhat difficult to explain to people who do not live in this country. May 24th is the Queen’s official birthday in Canada (even though her birthday is April 21st and her name is Elizabeth.) We celebrate it on the Monday closest to May 24. (So we can have a long weekend. Canadians are a practical people.) Even though that won’t always be May 24th, we will always call it May 24th, and this is further complicated by the Canadian habit of referring to it as the May “two-four weekend” even if it is actually May 18th. (A “two-four” is a case of beer, giving you a hint about the intentions of many Canadians for this weekend.) Victoria Day (or the May two-four weekend) is also the spiritual beginning of the Canadian summer, and in many parts of Canada, coincides closely with the safe planting date. This can be confusing because many years, like this one, it certainly doesn’t seem like the beginning of summer. (Is anyone else thinking about turning their heat back on?) Traditional activities for the May-two four weekend include:

(Canadians…feel free to add to this list that we may enlighten our friends to the south.)

– Gardening. Victoria Day weekend is the biggest gardening weekend of the year. Even where grocery stores are closed for the holiday, garden centres are open.

-opening the cottage, if you have one.

-helping your buddy open the cottage (to secure future invites) if he has one.

-plugging in the beer fridge out back.

– drinking beer.

– setting off fireworks in fields, backyards or parks near your house if you live in the city, and possible bonfires if you are rural or at the cottage.

-barbecue and eat outside. (Regardless of temperature.)

-Drive from Oliphant to Wiarton in a Pinto with a boy named Shawn and a bunch of your friends, sunburned, eating Timbits, wondering if you have enough money for a poverty pack and singing “Take On Me” at the top of your lungs. (That one may just be me. Best Victoria day ever though.)

While I wasn’t bemoaning the lack of warm sunny weather (lack of a two-four too, now that I think of it.) I was all over the place. We shall do it quickly, in pictures…before I bore someone half to death.

4:00pm Friday, Flying into Dulles, the sock spots Air Force One.


(Trust me. That’s it. I was a little slow with the camera.) I was surprised to see it there, just like it was a regular plane, but the guy sitting next to me said it was because Andrews Air Force base was having an Air show. I have no idea why I thought this was so cool.

(Harrison Ford association, likely.)

5:30 Friday, The sock is impressed by the Washington Monument.


(Did you know that it has an elevator and you can go up and look out those little wee windows at the top? Me neither.)

7:00pm Friday. In my never ending attempts to amuse the sock, I point out that the dinner we are at…


the yarn centerpieces match the guacamole.

10:00pm Friday. While we are chatting in the lobby of our hotel, Margaret Atwood walks by. The Canadian rules of engagement prevent me from approaching her. I curse them, but am ethically unable to pursue her.

7:00am Saturday. I may or may not speak coherently at a breakfast meeting. No way to know.

9:00. The sock unsuccessfully stalks Stitchy McYarnpants.

12:00 While looking for Stitchy, I find Michael!


(Let this be a lesson to you. Bloggers are everywhere.)

2:30, I speak on a panel with Deb Stoller, Candi “Slick” Jensen and Rachel Ray. (Not that one.)


3:45 Stitchy! Stitchy and an advance copy of her book!


(Her badge actually read “Stitchy McYarnpants”. I can’t tell you how much I love that. Her book is a wonderful kind of funny.)

4:00pm Saturday


Pam from Storey Publishing holds the sock aloft. It is a complete coincidence that Rush Limbaugh is behind her. Odd, that.

(Stop the presses. My sources tell me that it is possible that this is actually Newt Gingrich and I am stupid. No way to tell about the former, the latter is certainly possible.)

11:30pm Saturday. The sock (having being transported back to Canada) goes straight from the airport to Jody and Jeanette’s Wedding.


It couldn’t happen to nicer folks.

11:40, The sock finds the handsomest man at the party.


Dado, Jodi’s dad. (It is worth noting that the sock has achieved such fame and station that the Bride and Groom were looking forward to their “sock picture” and when I started to explain to Dado about the sock, he took it from me gently and said “I know what the sock is.” I’m starting to think this is the strangest tradition ever.)

Now home, I have returned to my regular activities. Making stupid knitting mistakes and avoiding the laundry. Seen here, the two fronts of the Erle sweater….


right before I realize that one of those two sides should have buttonholes.

Miss me?

Sparkle queen

Yesterday, despite all of the dry thoughts that you all sent my way, things went from bad to worse. The sketchy drizzle of the day broke loose into a downpour of biblical proportions, complete with raging hail, seen here defiling my new porch.


I resumed my position at the back door waiting for the water to rise enough to spill in (I’m not sure what good I think watching it will do – scare it off?) and sure enough, soon I heard the sound of indoor running water. I looked down at my feet, expecting to see the river of water that I could hear, and was stunned to see nothing. Odd that. I went to the front door. (Which is actually much higher than the back door, I don’t know why I even considered it) and found it relatively dry.


Still I could hear running water, then it hit me.

Basement. Thus began several hours of weeping in the basement, using buckets, towels and a wet-dry vacuum on high, trying to stem the tide. Lucky for me the basement slopes to one side, so there was a place to shift stuff too, and also lucky for me, only one wall of the basement (sadly, the leaking one) is dirt, so the water was only as filthy as that chick in 8th grade and not a total quagmire of murky swill. Eventually, the water, both indoor and out slowed to a drizzle, the leak stopped and I came upstairs and recalled Rachel H.’s comment from the other day.

“Even though it’s not Tuesday, spin something. Treadling will help you work out your frustration. And I’m just not sure today’s a good pointy stick day for you.”

Right she was too, now was not the hour to be armed. I spun some beautiful Spinderella roving that was a gift from Julia.


(Not so much a gift as something that wound up in my suitcase when I came back from her house. I love how that happens when you visit spinners.)

I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I’m not so much of a sparkle girl. (What gave me away?) This roving has a bit of Angelina in it, and I surprised myself by finding it completely entertaining. I don’t like sequins, satin, all the shiny stuff leaves me cold, but this little hint of purple sparkliness in the roving? I was enchanted. I made the whole family watch me spin it. “See the sparkles? There’s another one? Look? See the sparkles?” They loved it. (Well. They loved it more than the topic from the rest of the day. “See the rain? Is it leaking? Is the rain stopping? Is that rain?”)


All three girls expressed polite disinterest, which didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was that the minute it was actual yarn, Amanda and Sam had a huge honking fight debate over who should have a sparkly winter hat.


The fight debate ended instantly when I suggested that the girl who removed the most water from the basement would win.

The silence was deafening.

Tidying up

Random Wednesday. (Idea shamelessly still ripped off of Cate.)

1. The rain has had stopped and I have a porch.


I love the porch. My feelings toward this porch are so fond that I have swept it four times today when it became defiled with the footsteps of my family. Sweeping the porch is so fulfilling that it may be my new hobby. Sadly, this feeling has not translated into sweeping anything anywhere else in my house, but such is the nature of my fickle heart.

Now that the front of the house is not trashed, I can focus on the nightmare of the trashed back of the house. My expectations that I could have the old raised garden beds replaced with new raised garden beds in three short days have been shattered by rain. (Today is day 9) That big blue mountain is a pile of dirt half covered with a tarp. I’ve been watching it melt into a sucking quagmire of filthy mud for days. My backyard (really more of a patio) is paved, so the slurry of soil and water has had nowhere to go. Zero drainage, and the pile of dirt blocks the only direction for the mud to run off. For days I’ve been watching it rain, watching the forecast, and spending my time going to the back door, looking at the level of the mud and water and hoping that the fates will stop the pour before it reached the level of the office door.


Today the sun is shining scratch that, it’s raining again, and Ian’s working as fast as he can drowning. Think dry thoughts.

2. Erle is back.


Two sleeves, one back, one front. Twins still inside their mother, expected date of arrival, May 30. I’d say no problem, but I’ve decided not to tempt the fates.

3. To please Auntie Rams and her band of merry cohorts, Tuesdays are for spinning was a grand success. I spun a whole bobbin and a bit of the corridale for Joe’s Gansey,


and when I ran out I washed more fleece to finish that last bobbin.


When I’ve got this last bit spun I’ll ply the three together and get three skeins (about 500-600m) of yarn. Together with the efforts of the last year two years, it may be enough. I’ll count them and do some math, see if I’m anywhere near finished. (I really hope I’m finished.)

4. Joanne (The Canuck in Colorado) brought these back to my attention. (I’d already bought “Toronto” and “Quebec” ) I’m both charmed and perplexed by them. I wonder where the colourways for the Northwest Territories, The Yukon and Nunavut are? I wonder why some are cities and some are Provinces? I wonder where the Maritimes are? Why Calgary and not Charlottetown? (Maybe it’s the hats, Calgary does have great hats.) It can’t be the cold, I mean if you’re doing it by who needs wool the most, then whack Vancouver off of that list and go whip up a Yellowknife colourway in a big hurry.

5. Speaking of Provinces and Territories, Ryan has a goal. (I love this kind of challenge) She’d like an item for the Dulaan project knit and sent from every Province and Territory in The Great White North. (She’d like all 50 States too, if you think you can help.) She’s short items from Newfoundland and Labrador, The Northwest Territories, Nunavut, PEI and the Yukon. Anybody know anybody?

6. Grenyrn? What’s a Grenyrn? Oh yeah. I think that was stolen out of my car, (Hint: I don’t have a car.) Let’s never speak of this again.

7. The sock is packing again, this time for a quick trip to BEA, in Washington DC.

BEA isn’t open to the general public, but if you are a librarian, a bookseller, a publisher or anyone who has anything to do with books who will be there, or if you know anyone who has anything to do with books who would be there… I’m signing on Saturday from 4-5 at table 20.

I’m out Friday and back late Saturday night, rushing as fast as I can and hoping that the twins can hold off and just not be born the 28 hours that I’m out of the country. I’ll be speaking on a panel about how bookstores can do a better job of catering to knitters. It’s an interesting topic. Is there anything you want me to tell them?

Betrayal of Grenyrn

Screw knitting. It’s a fickle mistress and I’ve freaking had it. I’ve just about finished the Grenyrn sweater, finished enough to baste together the shoulder seams and find out that I’m SCREWED.

The *&^%$ing sweater doesn’t fit. It doesn’t. This time I refuse to accept that it is not personal. I know, I know. I talk all the time about how you can’t let this stuff get to you. That gauge and knitting and patterns and all of that is all just for fun and you have to take your lumps and I’ve even waxed poetic about how knitting is consequence free and how it’s the only time you’ll make mistakes that don’t count and it’s LIES. ALL LIES. Last night when the panoptic nature of the sweaters betrayal was revealed to me I threw a complete hissy fit. This sweater is out to get me and I think the yarn is in on it too.

The bust is too small, even though, in what is possibly a first for me, I have effortlessly achieved both stitch and row gauge to perfection.



Not perfection on some lying stinking swatch, but perfection in the actual knitted garment. Stitch and row gauge. How often does that happen? Wasted. Spectacular gauge accuracy, wasted.

Since my gauge is right but the sweater bust is wrong, I’m willing to consider….


Nope. My bust is the same as it was a week ago. I have not gained several cup sizes in a week.

In addition to the bust being too small, the arms are too short. This really ticks me off. I have shortened the sleeves of every sweater that I have ever knitted. Due to the somewhat petite nature of my arms – (Fine. They are stumpy.) I routinely whack 5-8cm off of my sleeves. All the time. Every sweater. Always. Forever.

This time (perhaps sensing the duplicitous plan of the sweater) I only subtracted about 3cm. It would piss me off royally if the sleeves were now 3cm too short, but it has incensed me to vicious purple wrath that they are actually about 7cm too short. This means that they wouldn’t have worked even if I hadn’t tried to fix them.

In case you were thinking that anything about the sweater was working, the torso is also too short. I suspected this too. I kept holding it up and saying “Hey Joe, doesn’t this look short?” and then Joe would say “Baby, you look short” – and I would keep knitting. Fool.

Trust your instincts, that’s what I always say, and my instincts said “You are getting jerked around by a sweater. Stop now.” but did I stop? No, no. I knit faster, since you know…You can outrun truth.


The whole thing is too small. Way too freaking small. Given the style of construction, there’s absolutely no way to fix this and the only way out is a complete, right back to the beginning, cast on again, not one stitch saved “do-over”. Except there are some things that I haven’t told you. Some things about how I knit this that may have been a little obsessive and weird, and some of those things may make it a little bit hard to yank this out and start over.

It may have been, for example, that I might have duplicate stitched over part of the torso to make the stripes match better. (Yes. I know. I like things to go my way and I’m not afraid of insane measures to get there.) Also, considering that the rows on the arms are three times longer than the torso, I took some measures to see to it that the stripe sequence stayed the same even though the row length had changed. “Some measures” may have included splicing the green sections and striping sections of three balls together to make a “superball” with sections three times longer for rows that are three times longer. There were other things. Worse things. Things that are going to be bad now that I have to yank it out. Very bad.

I’m trying to decide if I’m angry enough to have revenge, determined enough to fix it, stupid enough to try, or smart enough to find a smaller person to give this to. Damn. I can’t believe Grenyrn did this to me. I love this sweater – or at least I think I would. If it loved me back.

Happy Mother’s Day

“God knows that a mother needs fortitude and courage and tolerance and flexibility and patience and firmness and nearly every other brave aspect of the human soul. But because I happen to be a parent of almost fiercely maternal nature, I praise casualness. It seems to me the rarest of virtues. It is useful enough when children are small. It is useful to the point of necessity when they are adolescents.”

— Phyllis McGinley