Suddenly, and without the sort or warning that would be useful in this sort of matter, this authors beloved ibook G4 has passed from the earth.

A devoted laptop for more than 15 months, the laptop executed it’s final algorithm sometime late Monday, after it’s warranty expired. (Naturally.) It is suspected that the cause of death was a “cracked logic board” although it was difficult to hear what they were saying over the hysterical keening of an author two weeks from a manuscript deadline who has just discovered that an utterly lifeless brick contains her work.

Thankfully, a backup from a week ago was located and the author decided to take her head out of he oven. We are certain that the ibook will be sadly missed once the fury of abandonment, hysteria and disappointment wears off and a new laptop is up and running.

Eugene and the muses

I have lost all of my grip. This morning I jolted awake in a huge panic. Should I be sleeping? Was I missing a plane? What state was I in? What day was it? (The plane one is particularly troubling. The tour moves so fast that if I miss a plane, I miss an event. There’s no time to make it up or get it together. If I sleep too long or screw up time zones or something, the whole thing tanks.) It took me about five minutes of terrorized lying in the dark to work it all out. I am in Utah. It is Saturday. I am going to California, and it is 6:30am. I am not late.

It’s a wonder it only took me 5 minutes to work it out. The trip is zipping right along, so fast that I am scarcely breathing. Thursday was Eugene, Oregon. Eugene holds the honoured place of being the city that I spent the least amount of time in, only 16 hours. This is a real shame because it’s a pretty town. I comfort myself by knowing that I saw at least one really cool thing – a dust devil, (described to me most charmingly by my cab driver as “a very small storm”), drank an excellent beer…


(Mirror pond, a nice local from Oregon)

and that I got to meet the best of Eugene : the knitters.



(Blurry knitters. I swear I am going to flush this camera.)

Books Without Borders hosted the event, the pizza guy from next door did the sound and it was charming all around. Three cheers for Amelia, who handled the hordes with charm and grace. (As you would imagine, Amelia is a book lady who also knows the ways of yarn. It helps.)


Here’s Jen (check out her shop. Cute, cute, cute. Click it just for the baby pictures. They’re enough to make your ovaries cramp.)


Kim and Bonnie. Bonnie was that Lone member of Team Costa Rica in the knitting olympics. She just happened to be passing by.


Jodie (and her patient and handsome muggle Anthony.)

Jodie is the clever knitter behind the Saturday Market Bag.

Irie was there (but she ducked out before I could meet her. She has a wonderful podcast.) Lori came, the Red Hot Knitters came…


(Oregon is apparently just covered in knitters.) there was Crissy


a massage student who practically made me weep in public by offering me a massage that I didn’t have time to accept. (Seriously. What sort of a taunting is that from the universe?)

Our lady Jae of the comments…


(Kind enough to offer to take me for a beer I didn’t have time to accept. See the theme? It’s killing me.)

Lo! A pack of free range knitbloggers appears before me!


Fyberduck, Ewe Spinster, and Miriam, Fyberduck even gave me a wee duck with a handspun (cashmere) itty-bitty, teeny-tiny, micro snowdrop shawl on. I think it is (despite my usual aversion to stuffed animals) extremely compelling. It has even made me smile four or five times since I got it. I think it’s the knitting.

Next up…


Three small knitters. Well. Two small knitters. Luca and Melissa are full fledged knitters, but Noah is not yet. (He seemed to me to be two or three.) I am absolutely certain that he will be though, since his end of evening meltdown (which followed two hours of really, really good behaviour that kept him up past bedtime) consisted of him crying that he wanted to knit and have yarn. His mum Monique whisked him away (I’m sure he got yarn) but I can’t tell you how much I sympathized with him. At the end of a long hard day where I was very good I often want to cry until someone gives me yarn and lets me knit.

Finally, there’s one in every crowd.


Meet April. Look at circumference of April. Look at the circumference of the beautiful Kaffe inspired bag in front of her.

Know that before the knitting muses directed one of their cruel gauge capers in Aprils direction, that was to be a sweater. For her.

Once the butt of a knitting muses intarsia gauge jokes, there is little room for recovery. April figured it though. Exit sleeves and neck, enter a seam along the bottom and a lining…and whammo. Bag.

April is not going gently into that good night.

I’m off to California. Utah was beyond wonderful, and will get a whole post of it’s own. I’m a little behind. (I’ve also screwed up my knitting in a fantastic way that is taking whole States to recover from. Lack of sleep and coffee makes you an easy target for the muses.)

Knitters of all sizes

Knitters of Portland. I have to thank you. You freaked the muggles but good last night…but good. As badly as I feel for these poor bookstores, struggling to understand what happens to them, where the knitters come from, why there are so many, what they want, why they are so strange and furthermore, why they are so rowdy…(clearly, we knitters missed the memo on being quiet and sweet, sitting nicely with our knitting.) I have to admit that I find a perverse pleasure in watching them try to cope…with this.



See that?? Hoards of knitters. Scads even. The bookstore had y’all stuffed into the stacks. The bookstore my friends, did not know the ways of the knitter and the bookstore…well. They know now.

Last night rocked my socks. I started out deciding that I should see a little more of Portland.


I went for a walk intending to look around a little bit, then hail a cab (Portland hint #1- it is not a hail a cab sort of city. It is a call a cab sort of city. If you try to hail a cab you will stand in lovely downtown Portland for ages with your arm up in the air for no reason. Eventually you will say “What the (*&^%^?” to a Portland person, and they will explain hint #1)…I would hail a cab, take it over to a yarn shop and loiter there for a bit, then walk from the yarn shop to the bookstore. Mapquest said that this walk would be 1.28 miles. This sounded reasonable to me, despite the fact that I have only metric experience and therefore, no real concept of the distance a mile covers. None. (Before you mock me entirely as a raving moron, remember that the whole world – excepting the US, Liberia and Burma, uses metric. I may be a moron, but I’m not the only one. )

To my credit, before I enacted this plan I did call an American friend and ask them how long it takes to walk a mile. She told me 15-20 minutes. I added a little time for the extra .28 of a mile, decided the exercise of a little stroll would be a pleasant change from siting in cars and on planes and set out. Firstly, I learned a mile is long. Longer than I thought. (Next time, I shall ask an American friend with shorter legs.) Secondly, it is far warmer in Portland this time of year than it is in Toronto, and I was rather overdressed. Thirdly, and this is the big one…Mapquest needs to get a topography thing going on. There is a big difference between a walk of 1.28 miles, and a walk UPHILL of 1.28 miles. By the time I arrived at the store I was hot, sweaty and rather un-composed. (I try hard to be composed. It never goes my way.) Luckily for me, the knitters were charming, and plenty composed for all of us.

Meet Elizabeth.


Elizabeth is four. Her knitting is on the left, my sock is on the right. I love her. I was four when I learned to knit, and aside from being a wee bit cuter, Elizabeth resembles me at that age. That wispy blonde hair, the tiny waiflike thing going on…

Did I mention I love her?

(Feel free to print out the picture of Elizabeth and her knitting to keep beside you while you knit. If that little charmer can knit…you can do anything.)

I met Monica PDX, and saw The Blue Moon Ladies far too briefly. (There is a “Harlotty” socks that rock colourway now, I’ll show you when I can get batteries for the camera, and a felted cowboy hat. I love those guys.) I saw Amanda (Her blog entry about the event is great) and Katrina, Chrissy, Chris, Lori and the fabulous Kathy who makes the best samosas ever. (I have eaten them twice now. They never dissapoint.) This is Sarah,


proud owner of Knot Another Hat. I took her picture because she was charming and owns a yarn shop. I love yarn shop owners. (That’s a very enthusiastic Sabrina next to her.) They came with Jeanine and Vonnie,


who gave me just the most beautiful beaded handspun. Mercy. I am outclassed by her as a spinner.

I passed Ayanna her first needles, assuring her future.


(You will note that she is beaming. This is a very positive reaction to ones first knitting needles and bodes well for the future. There is a slim chance that she is smiling not because I handed her needles, but because I am making a ridiculous face at her, but I prefer to think it a reaction to the wool.)

Finally, Laurie,


Knitting her first lace. I took her picture because one’s first lace is a significant thing, and because having your first lace not look like arse is a significant thing. All hail the new lace knitter.

I staggered out with the Knitpicks ladies for a pint,


and they tried to force the new catalogue on me. (They had read that I may have eaten the last one to prevent future purchases.) I told them to back off. I told them I would eat 10 catalogues because I am not the sort of knitter with no backbone. I told them….

fine. I took it. I took it and I read it. A better strategy may be to eat my credit card.

Defeated, I went back to the hotel and collapsed in a heap. (Sort of. I may have drunk a fabulous bottle of homebrew beer from Tammy and eaten about 14 samosas before falling asleep with crumbs on my knitting. I would rather keep these weak moments in hotel rooms to myself.)

For now I am in Eugene Oregon, having had a fabulous night at Books Without Borders, and I would tell you all about it, but I have to get up at 4am to head for Salt Lake City. I’m really happy about the Salt Lake City part. I’d rather not discuss 4am.

Until tomorrow.

Still Sleepy

Still in Seattle. Actually, I’ll only be in Seattle for about another hour, then it’s off to Portland for me. The only comfort in leaving such a wonderful city is that as much as I love Seattle, I’ve got a serious crush on Portland. Should be awesome. I’m at the Powell’s Home and Garden store tonight…7:30, and I’m looking so forward to messing with the Powells people by bringing the invading hordes of knitters. (They never truly believe you until the knitters come.) Until then, rapid fire from Seattle, or I’ll miss my drive.

1. Oh Susanna!



I had the extraordinary pleasure of a quick lunch with Susanna Hansson. Knitter, teacher and Bohus pusher extraordinaire. We’re cooking up a Knitters Without Borders thing and boy, is it going to be good. It was seriously hard to eat with all that wool there.


I may have ordered something. I can’t remember. I was sleepy and there was a lot of wool, patterns and possibility. I think I said something like “Get me that.” I don’t remember asking what it costs. (True indicators of a yarn seizure.)

2. Bumbershoot.


This is a seriously cool festival. I spoke on a panel with Shoshana Berger and Jenny Hart. I believe I was coherent and reasonably well spoken. No way to know for sure, but I’m glad it’s over. I hate that fly by the seat of your pants stuff. It might be less scary if I knew what was going to come out of my mouth from moment to moment.

I have poor verbal impulse control. The sock saw a little music,

and I found what I believe to be the only yarn at Bumbershoot.


Zoomed right in on it. Huge festival, thousands of tents, me staggering around with a sock sort of stunned and Whammo. I find the Hilltop yarns booth. (A true indicator that even under duress, my inner compass points to yarn.)

3. This guy.


Don’t know what he was doing, but it was cool.

4. Shoshana and I headed back to the hotel together and this nice lady got in the van on her way to the hotel. We exchange first names and shake hands and ask what each other was doing at Bumbershoot, and she says “comedy” and asks me and I say something lame like “knitting” and I say something totally lame like “You look familiar.” She muses and says something like “I get around” and we arrive at the hotel and part ways. I wish her safe journey, she returns the favour and I get out of the van. It is only when I am getting on the elevator that I realize that she was Mary Lynn Rajskub. I’m an idiot. I didn’t even get her to hold the sock. I can’t believe you people let me go into the world alone.

I spent the rest of the evening lying facedown on the bed.

5. The best tour guides in the city of Seattle showed me a good time yesterday before I fulfilled my authorial responsibilities at a dinner last night.


That’s right. Know the glory that is Ryan and The Mysterious K. (I was poised to get the first photograph of TMK when she spotted something. Better luck to me next time.) The combined priorities of this formidable pair -good food, good coffee, good yarn and a large copper pig


spelled out a wonderful afternoon. We took the sock all around the public market


and we got one of those famous guys who throws fish around to hold it.


Yes? You in the back?

Excellent question. Yes…the sock does smell just the tiniest bit of fish now. Yes it does. A small price to pay for just the best trip to Seattle.

Portland…one smelly sock and sleepy knitter headed your way. See you in eight hours. I gotta go catch my ride.

(PS. Yes. I finished Icarus. Yes, I blocked it at home…no. You can’t see it. I’m going to photograph it where it should be done. Later this week with it’s designer in Utah. I bet it’s worth the wait.)

Sleepy in Seattle

Here I am, perpetually exhausted in Seattle. I think it’s the time change, since even with a decent sleep under me, once I make the shift to this time zone I’m wiped out all the time. There’s something about travelling against the normal flow of time that just weirds me out. I’ve been here three days and I feel like I’m really late all the time.

Seattle thing the first: Third Place Books hunting for knitters. Boy, did I find knitters. Hundreds of knitters. Seattle is filthy with knitters.



(You can’t really see them, but in the back of this shot are a few random non-knitters who were in the bookstore for other reasons – maybe they have other hobbies. They stood in the back of the store looking at this ocean of people quietly knitting away and you could see them freak out. It was like they couldn’t get a grip. They weren’t interested in knitting but they couldn’t walk away. They stood there the whole time blinking at us all and waiting for some sort of an explanation. i was walking through the store when I overheard a guy say to his buddy “What the $%^is going on? Do you see these people?” and I couldn’t help myself. I leaned over to them and said “Dude, attendance is mandatory. It’s the Sunday before Labour Day.” and I walked away.)

I met fabulous knitters. This is Adrienne, answering the eternal burning question “How big would the snowdrop shawl be in worsted weight yarn?”


That big. (Really big. Super big. I’m not even sure that this picture conveys the bigness. The people in the picture are tall. It’s big.)

There was Terry-Jo, Novelty yarn ho. Never met a novelty yarn she didn’t like. (She is the ying to my yang.) Samantha – she makes the best brownies, Yvonne, Katie


who I am grateful to for getting through the event without giving birth. (Birth really cuts into the knitting time.)

There is an old adage that claims that if an expert knitter places knitting needles in a babys hands, the child will be clever at knitting.


Williams mother flattered me by asking me to do the honours. (Little dude is also going to be a fourth generation knitter. I think he’s set. Forget set, actually. He probably has no choice.)


Sasha brought me a Washington washcloth. I have covered Sasha’s face because she was a very nice person that I liked a lot and no woman who would knit a roaming knitter a Washington washcloth deserves the picture I took of her. Trust me. If I published that picture then the washcloth would spontaneously combust in my suitcase, burn all my wool to bits and I would deserve it.)


Jolie took my book to 10 countries. (Good ones. Far ones.)

Lorette was there!


I guess between the two of us we could have delivered Katie’s baby if need be. Still cuts into the knitting time though. She came with Kris and Dorothy.

Heidi the knitting pirate turned up. (Check out Knit Like a Pirate. )


Annamarie had the best tattoo of the day…


and McKenna, McKenna outdid herself.


She made me a felted stashweasel. Dobby the stashweasel. (For the love of wool. Don’t tell Rams about this. She doesn’t need the encouragement firing her imagination.)

The whole time this parade of knitters trouped through, more than 300 knitters, with babies and needles and Yarn Pirates and tattoos and travelling socks posed on big baby bellies and huge shawls and socks meeting socks and knitters trailing shawls and half knit sweaters and comparing circulars…and touching each others yarn and yelling “hey…touch these balls” (It was a new ball winder. Don’t think that way.) and tiny little stashweasels this whole time that all of this was going on, the muggles in the store just kept staring at us.

I have no idea why.

Seattle things the second and third coming your way tomorrow. I’m too sleepy today.


interminable /ɪnˈtɜrmənəbəl/


1. incapable of being terminated; unending: an interminable job.

2. monotonously or annoyingly protracted or continued; unceasing; incessant: I can’t stand that interminable clatter.

3. having no limits: an interminable desert.


4. the last 5 rows and cast off of Icarus.

I leave for Seattle Sunday morning. I have one more row of Chart 4, the four rows of edging and the cast off yet to do, and at this point there are almost 500 stitches in a row. I don’t know if I can finish it in time. Does anybody think I can block it in a hotel room?

I would suggest that we be collectively skeeved out enough by the idea of putting something damp on a hotel bedcover of dubious adventures, and that we can agree that I need to finish this before I leave. I think hotel sheets are clean. I do not, however, extend the same philosophical courtesy to the coverlet. The mere thought of pinning lace out on it makes me… never mind. I probably watch too much CSI.