Home home home.

I love it here. Except for the mess, and the way that the laundry is really, really bad. That said – and the mess is really incredible, the kitchen floor’s clean and the kids are alive, so how badly can it have gone? (Please don’t answer that. I don’t want to know.)

I got in last night at 2am…and Joe and I are going out the door in 10 minutes to go to a studio together. Intrigued? You should be. Even if you don’t care what the project is, Joe and I usually don’t work together business-wise very well. (If you hear a smallish explosion coming from the East end of Toronto this week you know we have failed again. That other noise is the sound of everyone who actually knows us cracking up at the thought of Joe and I doing this.) The last incident was attempting to lay a hardwood floor together (I do not have “no plan”. I’m an organic thinker) and before that there was the afternoon that I went with Joe to the studio to help him out with some phone calls and was asked to provide him with a copy of what I was going to say on the phone. (I’d accuse him of being a micromanaging lunatic, but the hypocrisy would certainly strike me dead.) We’ve got the team thing figured out within these walls, but it’s a whole different matter at work. I’m taking this…


but I’m not exactly sure what it’s going to be. We shall see.

I wonder where the whales are now

All week long I keep meaning to write about the day before, but the internet here is patchy, you can only use it in the lobby of the hotel or the teaching space, and I keep being really busy as I pass through those spaces. If I wrote about everything we’d done here, I wouldn’t ever be done, and I’m busy today helping the Blue Moon Ladies tear down, and gathering my stuff from teaching (which was fabulous) and still trying to arrange a little time to sit quietly, knit and appreciate the place I’m in, it’s so beautiful here. Aside from classes with me, Cat, Nathania, Cookie A., Tina and the Sockateers, Sock Camp has other events. We went on a boat cruise…. Remember snakes on a plane? This is Knitters on a Boat. Very rare. Doesn’t happen much in the real world at all.


An entire whale watching trip with just knitters.


I think the Captain liked us a lot. The whales choose not to join us that day, and I feel pretty fine about that. I’m of the opinion that as long as an animal can totally take down a boat, they should have complete free will. We saw other stuff though. Bald eagles and Gazelle (Yes. Gazelle. There’s this one island where this big game hunter imported all of these African animals and populated his island with them and they all just live there. It’s not a hunting place anymore, so all of these trippy horned animals from the wrong continent are just wandering around one of the San Juan Islands. Freakish.) We saw Sea Lions on their way to Alaska…


They are 2000 pounds each. (That’s 900kg for the rest of us.) All you really need to know is that they are big. Really big. Huge.

We had underwater knitting olympics where a bunch of us (the true, the brave) put on our bathing suits and knit underwater with nylon ribbon that looked like jellyfish when you got it wet…


Seriously. Did you think you were getting a picture of that? We all agreed that we wouldn’t even do it if we so much as saw a camera near our bathing suits. Stephen taught us a synchronized swimming routine (very short. We all sink when we do “flamingo”) and a seriously good time was had by all…with the possible exception of the chick responsible for keeping everyone from making too much noise in the pool. Her afternoon was rough.

Cookie and Nathania taught everyone how to knit four to a blanket…


Thats me, Cookie, Tina and Nathania knitting around on a blanket for charity with four balls of yarn and four circulars…we go round and round in a stacked spiral.

There were other contests…tons of other contests, one in which Cat Bordhi and I tried to settle (for once and for all) which was faster…DPNS or Two Circulars. ( I won.) and and unspeakably beautiful contest in which two knitters knit one item…one hand each. Cat and I were team-mates (I was the right hand – she was the left….we lost.) and it was fascinating. It ended up being really beautiful to watch. (Nathania has awesome photos of both of the contests. Go bug her.) We closed with a banquet…


and a fashion show…


and singing…


and Nathania….


well. I don’t know what she’s doing. Looks pretty while she does it though. I think she looks like the front of a ship.

Am I knitting? Yup.


I leave for home in the morning. I’ve had a wonderful time… but dudes. I . Can’t. Wait.

It had to get weird.

If there was any doubt, even for a minute that a chicken themed sock camp on Orcas Island would get weird at some point, it’s been exploded by the last couple of days. Monday morning I left my house and made an uneventful flight to Vancouver, then Seattle, where Cat met me and we started to head back to her house. Cat Bordhi and I are both Staff at this camp (hosted by the clearly lunatic Blue Moon Crew) and all campers (staff included) had been mailed some “chicken scraps” (oddments of yarn- you could use them or not.) and the instruction to arrive with a chicken made of fibre.

A chicken? Cat and I had both decided to blow this off.

We were not going to knit a chicken. We argued that there was nothing they could do to us if we came with no chicken. We’re teaching two of the classes. We were untouchable….chicken punishment wise. We pondered this while Cat took me to the Skacel Warehouse for a look around. This place is wild. Totally wild.

This is the “needle room”. (I got an Addi lace needle I’ll be checking out over the next little bit)


There is a warehouse full of sock yarn. Full. Colourways and kinds I’ve never seen. Ever. Check this…


Bamboo trekking. (I haven’t tried it yet…but is it possible for it to suck? I don’t think so.) This distracted us nicely from the chicken issue. As we drove onward to Cat’s house, we started to talk about what other people might do about the chicken knitting. We talked a little about what we might do if we were to make a chicken. We talked about perhaps doing a chicken together. Then we stopped at a grocery store to get dinner, and the whole thing came together. Cat Bordhi and I would do a joint chicken. A chicken of wonder. A chicken of glory. A chicken for Blue Moon Tina…who totally deserves one. We came up with the idea of a fabulous knitted chicken, sitting atop a big felted egg…and inside the egg would be tons of wee chickens. It was a terrific idea…and Cat and I didn’t let the realities of how much time was left to us stop us at all. We began to hunt the grocery store for something that would work. We considered a watermelon (too big) an eggplant (oddly, not egg shaped enough) other melons (too fragile for the felting process) a pineapple (we would have to duct tape down the pointy bits) and then finally….in a master stroke of genius…


A Nappa Cabbage. It would be perfect. I knit chicken babies while Cat drove, we talked chicken technique…we discussed colourways and dug around in our bags of chicken scraps…in essence, we were no longer chicken resisters. We were the leading edge of the chicken obsessed. I started to knit chicken babies while cat drove. We both knit chicken babies on the ferry.


Back at the house we duct-taped up the cabbage (we needed to tape it so it wouldn’t come apart in the felting.


Wrapped it in targee roving, then panty hose, then popped it into the washing machine with a bunch of tennis balls….and began knitting chicken parts while we crossed our fingers. As the house filled with the smell of wet wool and cooking cabbage… It occured to us that we hadn’t quite figured out how we would get the cabbage OUT of our felted egg. Turned out to be a bit of a production.


(There was way, way more to getting it out, but I’m due on a boat in 10 minutes and need to hustle.)

We continued knitting chicken parts…


and we finished. A knitted chicken, atop a felted egg filled with chicken babies. I think Tina liked it.


There was competition though… I leave you now with this.

A parade of knitted chickens.








(I told you. It had to get weird.)


I’m not sure when this all came of the rails, organizationally speaking, but I’m writing about Denver as I’m on a plane to Vancouver, then to Seattle where Cat Bordhi and I are having a bit of a summit before going on to Sock Camp together. (This cracks me up. I love dpns, Cat hates them. I hate knitting socks on two circs, Cat wrote the book. Thank heaven we’re both so mild mannered. Har-dee har har.)

I’m sure it will be fine. Now, when I was in Denver…


I wandered around looking for sock pictures. (In between work appointments. You wouldn’t believe how much sock picture time gets taken up by actually working for a living.) I found these guys…


I think maybe they are sheep, but they are some sort of vague little mammal in any case. (Unless they are buffalo…I don’t think their heads are big enough for Buffalo.) I contemplated the beasties for some time, because you could stand outside in Denver,


since I found spring there too. You could have knocked me over with a feather. (Well. That may have been the altitude. Denver is like Salt Lake City, its got NO AIR. Very distressing. I kept thinking that the stress was getting to me and I was having a panic attack or something but nope. Just a general lack of oxygen causing all the symptoms. If you breathe more it sorts out.) When the appointed time came, I staggered down to the Tattered Cover, gasping though the door and saw something that took more air away. Knitters


Many, many knitters.


The place was filthy with them, and the Tattered Cover handled it beautifully. (They officially became the first bookstore with enough chairs on this tour.) Charles, the events guy, was top notch. (Charles arranged the Clinton signing at Tattered cover. If he can handle 3000 Clinton fans, a couple of hundred charming knitters should be a walk in the park…and it was. I maintain that several hundred knitters have a higher freak out value though. I suspect Charles would agree.)

Chris was first in line.


She was there when Charles arrived in the morning at 8:30, patiently waiting. (Never try to outlast a waiting knitter. They are infinite – or at least until they run out of yarn.) This is Imbrium!


This is Morwyn and Anna-Liza, showing of the first sock mojo.


Here’s Carol….quite prepared to hear that I didn’t get my luggage.


(Good thinking Carol, much appreciated. Not needed, but appreciated.)

Jacob’s wearing a shirt to turn knitters on…


I asked him if he had worn it to school and he confided that this was the first time he’d worn it. I told him girls would love it.

Here’s Sylvia our hat lady…


and here’s her charming wee knitter, Jojo.


I almost died when I saw this knitter


Deb Robson. (Be still my heart. She so-wrote this beautifully useful and clever book, which is so popular that mine is out on constant loan.) When it was all over, some of the Interweave people and I went out for pizza and beer and I collapsed in a heap…then headed happily for home. I had two days there, ate some chocolate, dyed some eggs, hug out with all the extended family, ate birthday cake with Hank and went back out the door again. This moment I am happily esconced in Cat Bordhi’s house, drinking coffee and getting ready to make for the ferry to sock camp. We are so ready.

There’s a story in our readiness…but we are sworn to secrecy…temporarily. More tomorrow.

Not caught up.

This post is going to be seriously long…but the important thing is that at the end of it I’ll be all mostly caught up, which is awesome, because I’m leaving in the morning again. (I feel like I just had a 48 hour layover with my family. Bizarre.)

After trying so hard for so long to get out of Chicago, it was with a great and burning fear that I went to the Detroit Airport the evening after Ann Arbor to make my way back to O’Hare. I tried not to flinch when I saw the customer service desks that had caused me so much pain the day before. This time it was uneventful, and I fell into my bed ASAP, which is awesome, since I had to be up at 3:30 to take the sock to a news thing at 5:00AM. I think that was the most difficult thing of this tour…the sleep deprivation and early mornings. (Actually, lets not kid ourselves. 3:30 isn’t morning. That’s night.) I am the exact opposite of a morning person, and being up at 7AM makes me feel like I’ve been mistreated. I went down to the studio as presentable as possible, but this whole thing must be getting to me because they kept saying “Are you camera ready?” sort of like maybe they thought I wasn’t….

I don’t remember what I said during the tv thing, all I know is that I staggered back to the hotel after, encounted the civil defence sirens and was totally awake after that. Awake enough that I should call Franklin and get on with my day. If you are ever in Chigago, I highly recommend asking Franklin to show you around. He’s very good at it.


We went to the bean. I Love the bean. The bean fills me with a singular joy.



We looked at the totally trippy way that the trains run.


With the tracks above ground so that all the streets have trains for lids. (We did some other stuff too, things Franklin and I both enjoy. Any rumours you may have heard about Franklin and I in the American Girl store looking at dollies is grossly exaggerated. We were only there for a moment. We mistook it for…um…a yarn shop. Yeah. As soon as we had a good look around realized our error, we were right out of there. The very idea that Franklin and I would consider having lunch at the American Girl Cafe is laughable. No matter what he says.) Onward to the mighty Chicago knit huddle.

Yo. Knitters of Chicago!




Good looking bunch. There was Megan.


See that little scrap of knitting in her hand? That’s her first knitting. First ever. Learned to knit while I was talking. I was so impressed.

There were 1st socks from Leslie,




and Nancy ,


There was Kris with a great shirt (Knit on: It’s a lifestyle)


There were the Children of the corn. (You had to be there.)


And Ariel, from the Knitting club at U of I.



It’s Jan with an Illinois dishcloth…


I met and thanked Chicago’s hat lady, Mandy.


Johnathan and Meg. Repeat offenders (and the cutest knitting pairs team ever.)


and with that I went back to the hotel and put my head straight on a pillow…which was really the only think I could do, since I had to get up at 3:30 to catch a flight to..

Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Guess who was born in Minneapolis and grew up in St. Paul?

Yup. I got this shot as I rode towards the Yarnery for the event, chauffeured by MaryLou (a nicer drive was never had by two knitters.) I swear, there is something different about the stuff run by Yarn shops VS bookstores. Some of the bookstores do fantastic jobs, and there is something really, really fun about watching a couple of hundred knitters mess with their reality, but the yarn shops do it in a way that seems…I don’t know. More knitterly? Yarn shops always do it in a way that makes the whole thing seem like a National Holiday in Knitting. The Yarnery had more than 400 knitters to manage, but when I got there, they seemed calm, co-ordinated and wonderfully cheerful. They had it well in hand. Jayme-the-wonder-publicist had sent out postcards for them with a typo on them…..They had referred to “The singing” instead of “The signing” and they fine ladies of the Yarnery had decided not to take any chances regarding truth in advertising, and therefore:


There was singing. (O Canada, both National Languages. Very moving for the Canadians in the room – I think there were six of us.) Hard act to follow, but follow I did. For better or for worse…



Holy knitters batman. Tons eh?

Here’s Lisa…ready to produce another nice knitter to join our ranks.


Nice knitters everywhere: Flan and Kathleen, Kathleen’s from Alabama.


this is Eileen and her Koigu and KSH blanket.


The young man is her son Brennan, who is so proud of his mum and her knitting that he insisted on showing me the blanket while his lovely mum blushed away. Took her a year to knit, and it’s beautiful work. Brennan’s right to be proud.

This is Chris!


(Don’t tell me you never wondered what she looked like.) Chris has done an excellent job of doing the link-o-rama that I should have done and would have done if only I weren’t home for so short a time and determined to spend at least some of it with the kids and Joe. Follow her links will ya? Awesome.

Here’s Majka and Philip. See how happy they look?


Got nothing to do with me. They are on their honeymoon…married five days. Totally Charming. Gretchen with a North Dakota washcloth…


Remember Shelly? I challenged you to bury her in leftover sock yarn?


Thank you very much. The blanket is really, really beautiful,


and since I know that 500 of you are going to ask more about it, Shelly has a tutorial on her blog, and if you look at her sidebar you’ll see it.

Susan was there in her beautiful Bohus. ( I don’t know whether I was more star-struck by her – I read The Rainey sisters all the time, or her wild apples sweater. ) – but I was too stunned to meet her to get her picture. The evening wound on and on…the knitters kept coming and coming and the whole thing took on a surreal feeling of really only living in a world of knitters and knitting. Brilliant.

When it was over, I grabbed this shot of the brilliant Yarnery ladies who pulled it all together.


And went back to my hotel room, drank two beers, ate two cheese strings (thanks Cathy/cate room service was closed when I got back) and went to sleep, ready to get up at 6am (which totally felt like a treat after all the 3 and 4 Ams) to fly to Denver.

Which is what I will write about next, after Easter dinner with my family. (Assuming they recognize me.)

The Road to Ann Arbor

Humour is tragedy plus time.

Mark Twain.

The Plan

3:00AM Wake up using patented Yarn Harlot triple alarm system (wake up call, cell phone alarm, clock radio) with the addition of a phone call from Joe who had stayed awake for this purpose. Skip shower and coffee to save time (I would live to regret that).

3:50 AM – Proceed with luggage to the lobby to stagger into a pre-arranged (and triple checked) taxi, proceed to Cleveland airport.

4:30 AM – Check in with United for a 6:00 AM flight to Chicago.

6:25 AM – (There’s a one hour time difference) Arrive Chicago, elegantly drift through Chicago airport with coffee in hand to make connecting flight to Detroit.

7:30 AM – Board flight to Detroit. Knit. Drink coffee.

9:40 AM Arrive in Detroit (there’s that time change again) and pick up luggage, slide into waiting car, be driven to Ann Arbor where I could nap until 12:30 to make up for getting up at 3:00.

1:00 – Proceed to Ann Arbor library in plenty of time for the knitters.

Well. You know what they say about the best laid plans. What actually happened?

3:00AM. I did wake up using patented Yarn Harlot triple alarm system (wake up call, cell phone alarm, clock radio) with the addition of a phone call from Joe who had stayed awake for this purpose. I did skip shower to save time, but changed my mind and hunted around the lobby of the hotel for coffee that was not there.

4:00 I proceeded, coffeeless, to the front door where the cab would be waiting for me. It was not. I did not instantly panic, because there is little difference between 4:05 and 4:00, and it is this writers observation that this little difference is seldom noted by cab drivers.

4:10. I went back to the lobby and enquired as to the location of my cab. (I had triple checked that the cab had been arranged the day before.) The desk staff checks the computer, notes that indeed…a cab SHOULD have been called, but has not been.

4:12. Remembering the cardinal rule of travellers in distress, that one should never shriek at the people who are in a position to help you, insist in firm but polite voice that a cab must arrive in the next six minutes or I will miss my flight. Smile.

4:15. Desk staff advise me that since we are in the suburbs, the cab will arrive in 20-30 minutes. They apologize. I excuse myself and go stand in the rain with my suitcase, hoping that the water falling on my head will defuse the urge to nix cardinal rule #1. It does not, so I stay outside.

4:48. The cab arrives. I fall into it and explain, in polite, but firm tones, that it is imperitive that I reach the airport before 5:15, or I will not be able to board the flight. The cab driver advises me that this is impossible. I advise him that I have faith in his abilities and resist the urge to scream “DRIVE TAXI MAN, JUST DRIVE!”

All the way to the airport I hope fervently that the flight has been delayed. This will later turn out to be a sparkling example of irony.

5:14 We arrive at the airport and I resist the urge to open mouth kiss the cabbie who clearly attending the James Bond school of driving.

5:15 I present myself at the check in counter where the nice young man tells me that if I had been even 30 seconds later, he wouldn’t have been able to put me on the plane. I don’t kiss him either.

5:30 I am on the plane.

6:25 Arrive at Chicago. Delay at the gate and wonder how gracefully I am actually going to be able to connect to my next flight.

6:50 Discover that the flight I need to connect to is in another terminal and that it is too early for the shuttle bus to be running. I run instead.

7:00 Board flight, sweaty, flushed and vaguely hostile with a stitch in my side and hair that looks like I style it with a cuisinart hand blender.

7:30 – 9:20 (Remember that time change) sit on the flight while an extraordinarily unfortunate wee lamb of an eight year old barfs prolifically and profoundly in the seat behind me All. The. Way. There.

9:20 The flight begins to descend into Detroit. As the plane sinks, my spirits rise. Almost there! The wheels come down, we sight the runway through the fog and ….

9:25, the plane veers back up into the sky and we don’t land.

9:30 The pilot expains that he doesn’t have the visibilty to land. I start to feel nauseous….though it’s hard to tell if this is the effect of the pilots announcement or the effect of the eight year old behind me. Perhaps both. He says we’re going to circle for 10 minutes, then try again, and that if we can’t land this time, we’ll have to go back to Chicago. The plane collectively holds it’s breath and tries to clear fog with the power of it’s mind.

9:40 We fail. The plane goes back up again and the planeload of people explode in a common outburst of frustration. Nobody wants to die in a fiery runway crash, but there is the general feeling that if WE were flying the plane, we could have done better. When the pilot announces that we are going back to Chicago, the eight year old becomes hysterical.

9:15 (Remember the time change) we are back in Chicago, and the airline announces that they are not going to try again, but instead are going to try and fit us onto other flights to Detroit. For the first time, I start to actively worry that I am about to really screw over a bunch of knitters.

9:20 I am third in line at the customer service desk to get another flight. I am proud of this, and also that I am in the 50% of the people waiting there who are not crying in public.

10:20 They tell me there’s another flight. They book it. I run. When I arrive at the gate they tell me I’m “standby” and that I’m not getting on. I wait hopefully, but I don’t get on. As I run full tilt back to the customer service desk I place the first of a series of semi-hysterical calls to Jayme-the-wonder-publicist, who is enjoying pancakes and a latte at her home. I hold this against her very firmly.

10:50 There is a flight boarding at 10:54. I run. I do not get on.

The second phone call is made to Jayme.

11:15 75% of the people in the line are crying. I, for the time being, am not. I explain (in not so mild tones) that they need to FIX THIS and FIND A PLANE because THE KNITTERS ARE WAITING FOR ME. This, inexplicably, does not go over well. The agent tells me that she can book me on a flight with another airline if I will “voluntarily separate” from my luggage, which they will still try to get to Detroit on another United Flight. I do three things.

1. Briefly define the word “voluntary” for them.

2. Do it.

3. Emotionally acknowledge that since I am in a different city for each of the next four days, that I my luggage will never catch up with me again and I am going to be wearing the same underpants and outfit for the duration of this tour. For the first time, I come to understand the deep significance of my decision to delay my bath that morning.

11something:00 (it was getting blurry) Arrive at the gate for the other flight and learn that it is delayed. Wait. Wait more. Call Jayme.

Call her again. Wait. Start thinking that I am in really, really big do-do.

11:30. They announce that the flight has been cancelled due to “mechanical problems”. Once again, decide that I am sort of glad that I have not died in a fiery crash, but deflate emotionally in the worst kind of way as I run – flat out, back across two terminals (Ihatethechicagoairport) to the customer service desk while calling Jayme and really, really begin to panic.

11:45. 95% of the people at the desk are crying. I am almost one of them. I feel sort of dizzy and there’s a terrible catch in my throat as I realize that I’m probably falling apart due to not having eaten or had any coffee yet. Emotionally acknowledge that if I take care of either of those things, I will loose my place in line and also, likely, the last chance I have of making it to Ann Arbor. I call Jayme, and she very sensibly suggests that maybe if I’m not going to be able to get out of Chicago in time for the event, that maybe I should stop trying, especially since I need to go back to Chicago the next day. Sadly (for Jayme) this suggestion was met with some rather loud resistance on my part.

12:20 Still in line, my cell phone rings. I think it is Jayme, and answer the phone while saying to the desk agent “No….I really have to go to Detroit right now…” It isn’t Jayme, but is Rachel H. who has driven to Ann Arbor for the event and is waiting for me…at the library wtih Our Lady Rams of the comments. Rachel asks me where I am and I reply (*&^%$!!!!ing CHICAGO. Rachel sounds the alarm to the library and the assembled knitters begin to send airplane vibes my way. The woman at the desk tells me there is another flight I can’t make.

12:25. My cell phone dies. My charger is in my voluntarily separate luggage.

12:26 I get a flight! I am booked (standby) on the 1:10 to Detroit and bolt for the gate. I arrive with a little time to call Jayme and Rachel and tell them that my plane will land at 3:30, but my cellphone is dead. I remember that I have a Vonage phone on the laptop and I use that, laptop held to my face as I sit at the gate looking like a maniac yelling into the screen that I am going to come and what about a car and how will I get to Ann Arbour and I can’t hear Jayme and it keeps cutting out and they are calling standby names and I can’t hear mine and I think I’m really going to loose it because theeventstartsat2andIamnotgoingtobethereuntil4


and the man sitting next to me says.

“I’ll drive you.”

I blink at him. “What?”

“I’ll drive you.” he says again. “I live nearby, My car is at the airport, you can grab our luggage while I grab the car and I’ll get you there really fast. I’ll help you.” He looks at me seriously. “I can do this” he says.

Now, I’ve been shuttling back and forth from flight to flight and line to line with this guy for a while, but all I know about him is that his name is Brad. Taking the ride would solve a huge problem, but it also breaks about 76 safety rules. I try to figure out if I’m willing to risk getting in the car of a potential axe murderer so as to not disappoint knitters. I write a few headlines in my mind (Knitter found dead due to stupid mistake involving undercaffeination) “Brad” I say, “You’re very kind and generous, but I can’t get in your car. I don’t even know your last name.”

Brad whips out his passport and shows it to me.

“Tell Jayme my last name and address he says. Keep my I.D.”

I look at Brad. I look at his passport, and I suddenly decide that something has gone wrong with the world when one decent human being can’t help another human being who could really use because we have all gotten so paranoid that we can scarcely be a civilasation together, and I look Brad in the eye and I decide to trust him. I decide he’s a good guy. I shake hands with him, tell Jayme his name and address (because I am an optimist, not a moron) and Brad and I agree that when we land (if we land, Brad was on the flight that merely “grazed” Detroit earlier that morning…that I will get his suitcase, he will fetch his car and we will streak toward Ann Arbor.

I do get on the flight, and on the way there I finally have time to think about my situation. I have been up since 3am. I have not had any coffee or food. A couple of hundred knitters that I am responsible for sticking in the Ann Arbor library have either left, since I am going to be two hours late, or they are there….and angry. I don’t know what I could have done differently, but I feel horribly responsible and guilty. I knit and fuss all the way there. I don’t know what I’m going to say when I get there. Sorry? I anticipated three pissed off knitters waiting for me. I imagined buying them dinner so that I could redeem myself somehow. I couldn’t imagine that the knitters were waiting for this long, never mind nicely. Boy. Little did I know that this is what was happening while I was redefining my personal baseline for Hell.

3:40. The plane does land in Detroit (I was intending to jump if the plane got as close to the ground as it did in the morning) and I grab luggage while Brad runs for his car. We jump in, and Brad drives like a graduate of Nascar High all the way to the library, which he just happens to know the exact location of. (Dude. How much do I respect Brads skill set right then?) Brad parked in a “Staff only” spot (we’llsortthatoutlater) and I bolted..Nay…moved like LIGHTNING trailing my suitcase behind me (only vaguely aware that I was still unfed, still undercaffeinated, badly dressed, dirty and rather sweaty) into the back of the library where Tim (hereafter referred to as Saint Tim – for in all of this it is important to remember that the Ann Arbor Library made not a dime, and only took our knitterly weirdness because they love books and the book loving public) greeted me with “Hurry!” vs the more customary “Hello!” (I love him for that. It’s exactly where my priorities were.) I rushed to the room, ripping my speech notes, camera and sock out of my bag and throwing my coat over my shoulder (where the lovely Rachel H. caught it…) and careened into the room where I was sure that a few hostile but persistent knitters awaited.




Wrong again. I love knitters. I loved them more when I explained about my hero Brad,


and they gave him a standing ovation.


(Brad is the beet red one in the back.) I gave my speech, nobody threw rocks or DPNs and I met knitters. I am going to beg off of my usual link fest here, since this post will never, ever be up if I do. (Plus I’m running on three hours of sleep again today and I swear that linking is too hard for me. Tell your stories in the comments, I love hearing what this day was like from your end.)

Here’s Riin,


The Black Sheep knitters Guild


Part of the Albion knitters guild


Oh, it was grand. A thousand apologies to anyone who wasn’t able to wait, I’m so very sorry it took so long. (I am working on controlling air traffic with the power of my mind, but am proceeding slowly)

I am forever grateful that you guys hung in. I am also grateful to Saint Tim…finest librarian in the world and a friend to knitters everywhere:


and Greg the security guy, who stayed on his own time so that I could sign all the books even though the library was closed.


I am very grateful for his kindness.

In the end, it was the best of times and the worst of times (oh…wait. That’s another book.) and I learned several things. If you are ever at the end of an exceedingly long day and can’t imagine how you will go on, throw yourself into the arms of professional commenters Rams, Rachel H. and Presbytera. The food and beer they found for me at the end of the day tasted better than the muffin I ate after 28 hours of labour – and that is saying something. Never underestimate the ability of knitters to wait nicely. Never underestimate their ability to make friends and a party everywhere they go. Never forget to extend trust to your fellow humans. Remember to accept the kindness of strangers, we are perhaps too cynical and forget that we are all in this together. Don’t forget that knitters excel at building communities and taking care of each other.


Never book an event on April fools day. (The irony was not lost on me all freakin’ day.) and never, ever change planes at O’Hare International airport, if you can possibly avoid it.

For your information

Chicago has a city wide air siren that they test on the first Tuesday of the month at 10:00 for thirty seconds.

For those of you who, like me, do not live in a city that does this, please note that the testing of the siren (which is louder and more terrifying than a subsonic jet fighter passing through your kitchen) is absolutely no reason to leap out of your hotel bed where you were having a much needed nap, run to the window to look for tornados or the horsemen of the apocalypse while trying to figure out how to seek shelter and bursting into hot, frightened tears because you simply cannot believe that after all of this you are going to be killed in Chicago.

That will be all.

Cleveland Rocks

Writing this from the airport in Detroit, though I can hardly tell where I am or what I’m doing anymore. (I’ll probably hit “post” on this badboy when I make my way to a hotel tonight….and boy, do I hope that hotel is in Chicago. (There’s a story in there, about the relationship I’ve had with the city of Chicago and it’s distance from Detroit over the last 24 hours, but it will wait for the next post, I’m trying to stay in order. I’m sure all the Ann Arbour knitters know just what I mean. There’s a huge post coming about it, the experience will take me time to write about. It takes time before some things are funny…if you know what I mean. ) Where was I? Cleveland. Right.

(I feel badly about how out of control my note taking is… Not enough sleep, I think.) I had a drive from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, and arrived to the hotel with just enough time to sigh hopelessly at my hair, gaze fondly at the bathtub and shoot out the door again. I did a quick interview at the bookstore with Northcoast Moms and then tried to gather myself. There was some excited muttering from the staff about “books” and “chairs”….and then I staggered to the mike. Behold. The knitters of Cleveland.




You will note, as the Cleveland knitters predicted, that they are less blurry than Pittsburgh. (Not that I’m keeping track or anything, but I’m sensing a little Cleveland/Pittsburgh rivalry there…) They were and awesome crowd, and even though they were short a few seats for them, they were goodnatured and funny. (I felt badly for the lady from Joseph-Beth. Every time a knitter said “you don’t have enough chairs…she said ” These are ALL OUR CHAIRS!” They were even scrounging chairs from the staff room.)

Meet Rebecca….


and Sara


both contributing “Ohio” washcloths to my “States in the US washcloth collection. (Try explaining that to people. Try explaining that you think it’s hysterically funny…not strange.) Here’s Shannon Okey and Heather Brack.

…both of whom appear dreadfully pained. Sorry about that.

Here’s Lisa…


our sacred and fabulous hat lady for Cleveland…(I still need people to take charge of the hats in other cities…anyone? ) Lisa sent me this picture of the hats Cleveland knitters contributed….


Dudes. You rock. (We knew that. It’s Cleveland.) They are ridiculously beautiful. I love the idea of someone who has nothing else owning something this beautiful. One of the saddest things about being poor is that everything you own (if you own anything) is discarded crap that nobody else wanted. Imagine owning a hat as beautiful as this that someone else made for you? It would feel fantastic, as well as keep you warm. Lisa’s address is on the represent page, and she would be happy to keep accepting hats, should you wish to send them to her.

Here’s Sue


and Elaine brought her powerful first sock mojo.


(What is up with all the fabulous first socks? My fist sock resembled larvae.) Here’s a design hero of mine:


Anne Hanson. (If you don’t know her designs, go look. Everything around her is beautiful. She knits beautifully, she breathes beautifully. When I grow up I want to be Anne.)

Behold the wonder that is Jean and her snowdrop shawl.


It’s a real pity that this picture doesn’t show you how beautiful the yarn is. Jean dyed it herself and it’s just stunning. I’m constantly surprised by the talent of knitters. I can’t believe that we look normal to other people. Don’t you think there should be a faint golden glow around all the best of you? (The Snowdrop shawl is a free pattern in my sidebar. Look on the right of this page.)

I had a wonderful time…and there were tons of bloggers there that lack of sleep won’t let me remember. Shout out in the comments, will you? I can’t do the linking or I won’t be able to get up at 3:30am to do the interview I’ve got. (A moment of silence for what it takes for someone like me to get up at THREE THIRTY AM would be appropriate here. I swear I am not built for this. I am more likely to be up at 3:30am because I have not gone to bed yet than I am to be up because I am…well. UP. )

After the signing I allowed myself to be kidnapped by Shannon. She seemed like she had a good plan….admittedly, I didn’t really ask her what the plan was, I just heard the word “beer” and decided to get in her car. Shannon drove me across town to Cleveland proper, and on the way we picked up Annie Modesitt (!) and Lily Chin (!!) and we headed for dinner. I instructed this coterie of knitters that I needed to be a very good girl, since I had to be up at 3AM the next morning to catch a flight (oh…the humanity) and I didn’t let them corrupt me. On the way to dinner I realized that I didn’t have a great Cleveland sock picture. What could I show the sock? Night was falling…darkness was coming and try as I might to carpe diem and stick the sock out the window of the car…inspiration did not strike. Well. It didn’t strike me. It struck Annie.


Yo. Knitters in the alps of Cleveland. There’s Annie and Shannon, really getting the hang of the gentle art of the sock picture. (It is there…clutched in Annie’s hand.) Annie is yodelling…Shannon is…I suppose she’s frolicking in a Heidi-esque manner…and Lily?


Lily was not playing along. (Lily is a New Yorker. They do not frolic in the mock alps with silly knitters and socks. They certainly don’t let other knitters take pictures of it.) I told her that if she didn’t play along, then this would be the picture. Lily makes her own choices.)


I think we may have scared her.

I had a single beer, was back in the room by 9:30, my head on the pillow by 10:00. Good thing too…since the next day was….

Challenging. Thanks Cleveland!