Randomly on Halloween

 1. Thanks for the patience you guys have shown over the last few days as the blog went up and down and up and down and commenting was shut off and came on and shut off and came on.

2. We think it should be more stable now (by we, I mean the amazing Ken.)

3. Although you can’t tell, it’s been upgraded to the most current version of Moveable Type.

4. This might make it possible for me to figure out a way to block the fantastic amount of content spam the blog has been targeted by.  (By fantastic, I mean incredible. 90 000 comments in the last few weeks.) As fast as I ban the offenders IP, another springs up. We (and again, that we is the amazing Ken) are looking at options that would help a lot – like a captcha or something like it. We’re hoping there’s one that’s fun and easy for you guys. (I’m highly motivated here, because I can never read those things.)

5. I’ve been knitting Joe socks for a while.

Two skeins of Huntington doesn’t quite make a pair of socks for my big footed husband, so I’d stretched it by adding stripes.  Three at the cuff, three at the toe.

6. Now it’s time to do the three stripes at the toe and I have apparently lost the little ball of leftovers I was using for the stripes.

7. Joe is pretty much a super conservative dresser, and so this is a bit of a thing.
Would you:

a) Get more Huntington in grey, and have a plain sock.
b) Have a hunt around the house and see if I can find something that’s sort of like the stripey stuff.
c) Go nuts.  Screaming pink stripes, or yellow, or something contrasting, because if it can’t match, what the hell.
d) Something really smart that you have thought of that I didn’t yet.

8. I am going to give a good talk in Rockland, Maine at Over the Rainbow Yarn on Saturday night.  I’m pretty sure there are still spots.  I’d love to see you. It’s super interesting and pretty fun.

9.  In our house, Halloween is known as "Joe’s Birthday Eve."

10. I will be handing out candy anyway.

11. Lou is dressing like a racoon.

She Won’t Get Lost In the Snow

Oh. Look.  I got home last night, and so happy to be here, despite the chaos and the way the cups are all the wrong way in the cupboard. (The mature part of me is just happy they put them all away clean. The immature part of me switched them all round this morning.)
The flight home yesterday was really nice, and I can’t say that about many flights, but the seat next to me was empty, and it changes everything.  I knit (and watched season three of Game of Thrones- don’t worry about spoilers, I’ve read the books) and finished the beautiful Spectral Cowl that I was working on.

Pattern: Spectral Cowl. Yarn: Fiber Optics Paintbox in Foot Notes Colourway: Tangerine to Turquoise. (bought at Rhinebeck.)

I blocked it last night, and this afternoon it was ready for its photoshoot.

Sam loved modeling this, begged to keep it, and when I refused, offered to BUY IT.

A teenager and  her money are not soon parted, so I know she must really, really love it.

I didn’t let her buy it, but you can bet it will be under the tree at Christmas, with her name on it. 

PS. I’m thinking about making another out of Kauni.

PPS. Clara Parkes is coming to town tonight, and I’ll be there.  Will you? Lets show her how Toronto feels about The Knitting. She’ll be at A Good Read tonight at 7pm. Let’s make her welcome. 

PPPS. There’s a good pub down the street.

Vancouver, it’s been a pleasure

 You know, when I travel all the time like this, it’s all based on work, and it’s hard to justify too much fun, beyond the fun that it is to actually have this job, which is so much better than working as a Diet Coke sample girl in the supermarket (and yeah, I had that job and you bet I had to wear a pinafore.) There’s not any time to sightsee, and if I wanted to have a little fun I’d have to stay an extra day, and spending money to earn money sort of negates the purpose of the latter, so… I go. I work (at my pretty fun job) and then I come back home, and then people really think I’ve been to these places, and I haven’t. Not really.

This trip was a little different.  I was in town for Knit City, and let me tell you, that was pretty amazing fun all by itself.  I love the Canadian events with an unholy passion, and it was clear from the attendance and enthusiasm that Fiona and Amanda have got their feet nicely under them, and Knit City is really going to be a thing.  Great classes – nice vibe – and an amazing, amazing marketplace full of amazing, amazing Canadian yarn and other stuff knitters like. The list of Vendors read like a Canadian dream team.

It was so awesome it smacked me into camnesia, and I only have about 4 pictures of the whole event – and one of them is a selfie of me, Amanda and Fiona that is so incredibly bad that I feel like publishing it here would terminally influence our relationship, and I would really like to come back to Knit City again. 

The event was great, and I had a wonderful time, especially since some of my favourite Ontarians were my fellow teachers (Hi Kate! Hi Fiona! Hi Kim!) We had time for some meals together and we had a grand time in general, and I really can’t say enough nice things about my clever and welcoming students, but here was the best part.

I had one afternoon off. I finished teaching at noon, and I didn’t have to speak until the evening,  and the sun was shining and (together with a friend) I rented a bike and went for  ride on the seawall all the way around Stanley Park.  It was amazing. 

I really got to enjoy the park.  On my way to the park my cab driver asked me what I was doing.  I said I was going to Stanley Park.

"This is a very good idea." he said.  Then I told him I was going to rent a bike, and ride the seawall. 

"This.." he said, "Is the ideal."

He was totally right.  Thanks Knit City, and thanks Vancouver. You’re all awesome.
I’m on my way home. 

PS I took the Skytrain to the airport and it was very cool.

PPS: Hey Toronto, Clara’s coming tomorrow night.  Anybody fancy a bit of a yarn party?

Randomly, on a Friday

1. I am writing this post from 35 000 ft above the earth, as I fly from Toronto to Vancouver for Knit City.

2. I have taken hundreds and hundreds of planes and I still think it is amazing that I can cross such a huge chunk of Canada in only 5 hours. 

3. Some planes even have wi-fi on them, but this one doesn’t. I’ll post this when I get to the hotel. 

4. While I was at Rhinebeck, I fell down hard in the Fiber Optic booth. Worst of all, on my way to the ground I accidentally swiped my credit card, and a whole bunch of her gradient series things ended up in my bag. I got roving, and I got 3 (three) of her paintbox gradients that are already yarn.  If I had a bigger yarn budget, I would have got more because holy cow were they captivating.

5. I love this one:

Tangerine to Turquoise, in her sock yarn.

6. I think part of the problem with the gradient kits was that I knew about this pattern. Spectral.

7. I’m having a really, really fun time knitting this, and Kimber (she’s the Fiber Optic lady) told me about this way of knotting your knitting so there aren’t any ends to weave in,  even though there’s 15 mini skeins in a colourway. Check out this video.

8. She said it worked great, and I thought she was full of it, but I watched the video, I tried it, and she wasn’t lying.  It’s amazing. You can’t see the knot at all – you can feel it, so I’d never do this for socks, and I think that it might show up if you were doing smooth stockinette, but in anything with texture? AMAZING.

9. No. I don’t think it’s going to come apart – I really, really tested it, and why would I do it if I thought it was going to come apart?

10. I sort of had a little bit of a spasm and knit Myrie a little hat.  I had the leftovers from Windward still kicking around, and that yarn is so soft and she’s a baby born on the eve of the Canadian winter. She’s going to need hats.

Pattern: Bouncing Baby Set, from Homespun, Handknit. Yarn: Madeleinetosh Tosh Merino Light.

11. So I made bootees too.

Cutest Bootees – no pom poms.

12. Did you hear about this? Meg Swanson over at Schoolhouse Press has co-ordinated an auction of Barbara Walkers knitting. Actual things actually knit by Barbara Walker. She’s selling them off, and you can own a piece of history if you want. There’s going to be three groupings, but flip through and have a look.  There’s some amazing things there.
13. I am in Vancouver now and holy cow with the fog. One of the craziest landings of my life. 

14. Also, I lied.  I said I would post this from the the hotel, and I’m posting it from the cab, because we live in the future, and everything is a miracle.

Ok. I’m up.

Yikes.  Here I am, late to the blog and missing several days and I’d be sorry about that, but I don’t have the energy.  I came back from Rhinebeck with a little yarn and a little wool and a lot of virus, and the cold that was just starting to make itself felt while I wandered the fairgrounds blossomed into a spectacularly hideous thing on Monday as I travelled home.

I was all about the tissues, handwashing and sanitizer as I went, but I still felt exactly like patient zero in a plague movie while I was on the flight. I’m sure the guy next to me felt the same way. I apologized profusely, and kept to myself, and when I got home I went to bed and stayed there until this morning, when I felt a ton better, and got up and started playing catchup with my desk.

Pretty much the only thing I managed to accomplish Tuesday and Wednesday was drinking a lake of tea and casting on incorrectly for a cowl. (More about that tomorrow. It’s a very nice cowl.)

Rhinebeck was, as always, all the best things about being a knitter, with beautiful weather

boatloads of yarn, sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas, and I loved it.

I didn’t shop as much as I have in the past, but I did see it all – and got a chance to do my favourite thing, which walk among my people. 

For two days the world was exactly as I would have it – sweaters, yarn

friends I only see once a year, and nobody who thinks that knitting is silly.

It was great.

Tomorrow I’m off to Vancouver for Knit City (all the classes are full, but I’m speaking on Saturday evening and there’s a few spots left if you’d like to join me.)

I’ll show you the cowl in the morning. 

Rhinebeck Eve

I’m off to Webs to play with knitters for the morning (can I just say one thing about Webs? They’re terrific, and really, I know that the excellent experience I have there every time is because Steve and Kathy are great, and they treat their staff great and then the staff treat the customers great and… I just love it there. Everything about it. I’m so grateful to know them.) Then it’s into the car, and up the Rhinebeck for my favourite holiday of the year.  My sweater isn’t done but it’s almost done, and it’s even the kind of almost done that means I should take other knitting in the car for the trip. It’s like a Rhinebeck miracle.

I can’t take these – my lost and found socks.  I was going to link to the yarn, but it turns out that the business is finished (for the best of reasons, the owner’s having a baby) and this great  yarn is no more. If you want to hunt it in the wild, it’s DeKay Duet, from A Swell Yarn Shop. 

and maybe someday it will be back, but in the mean time, on this, the eve of a knitters holiday and a big yarn opportunity, let this be a lesson to you. 

This is why we have stash.

See you at Rhinebeck, and if you can’t be there, I’m sorry.  I’ll think of you, and pat a sheep in your name – and you can always watch Gale Zucker’s fabulous Rhinebeck Style video. It just about made me cry, and I have no idea why.

I am not getting cocky though

I’m sitting in a hotel in Northampton, so close to WEBS that it hurts (I’ll be there in just a few hours) and I am seaming  a sweater. 

I have long imagined that Afterlight would be my Rhinebeck Sweater.  I’ll be seeing Amy, and she was a big part of knitting this one. Well, I take that back. She didn’t knit any parts of it – but she still helped a lot.  Afterlight is exactly the sort of sweater that I love.  Seemingly plain and understated, but with a lot of classy details that make it exquisite. Tubular cast-ons, beautifully designed decreases, and because it is Amy Herzog, absolutely fabulous shaping.  I even splurged for some fabulous yarn. ( Ultra MCN from Indigodragonfly, in "Where’s the Regenerate Switch on This Convertible")

This sweater represents the first sincere effort I have made to knit a sweater that fits me the way that other people think clothes should fit me.  Personally, I have a real tendency to knit (and wear) things that are sort of oversized. I don’t like clingy clothes or tight clothes, and it means that sometimes (most of the time) my clothes aren’t as flattering as they could be. So, enter Amy.  She’s got this thing about knits that fit , and she knows how things should go, and so I’m trusting her. When I knit this, I totally put myself in her hands, and she told me what to do, and I did it without adding or changing anything.

I’ve been so anxious about it that I haven’t really tried it on.  I got gauge. Amy is smarter than me. I’m trusting her.  Simple sweaters need really beautiful finishing though, so I’m moving slowly, making my seams so pretty, and there’s only the neckband to go.

I’m almost afraid to say it, but I might not have to rush a Rhinebeck sweater – for once.

It just keeps getting better

Remember when I said that I’d lost a project?  It happened right around when Tupp died and the book was due and I was riding my bike really far and … let’s be clear, my life was sort of scrambled.  Grief and organization are not compatible for me, apparently. I lost a really cute pair of socks in progress and they were going really well too.

(Duet Dee-kay)

They were lost during such a crazy time that when I couldn’t find them, I just decided that the situation had gotten the best of me, and I gave up. Gone. They were gone, and I was a loving and accepting person who was totally the heck over stuff like that, and after I threw the tiniest little fit,  I resigned myself to the loss of the sock, and to the reality that I was now a person who had lost a project.  It had never happened before, and I think I took it pretty gracefully.

Fast forward to this morning when I’m up at 5:30am getting ready to head to Webs for a little fun (I hope to see some of you there, it’s a neat new idea) and then find myself realizing I’m a little short of knitting (I always think that. How can you think that on the way to a REALLY BIG YARN STORE?)  I panicked, grabbed a ball of sock yarn, and then turned to the shelves in my office and grabbed an empty project bag, except guess what?

You guessed right. 
I am still not the sort of person who loses a project.  I may be, however, someone who doesn’t know where they are for a while, which is totally different.

(PS. Picture totally taken in the airport in Philadelphia. Almost to WEBS!) 

All Kinds of Miracle

Friday morning I did my level best to convince myself it didn’t matter if the blanket yarn arrived or not.  Friday afternoon I was having a harder time, and when the post didn’t arrive and I had to reconcile myself to the situation, I was pretty upset.  I know that the idea of a baby getting their blanket a few days late seems like a no brainer to a lot of you, but it didn’t seem to me like it was going to be a few days.  The soonest the yarn could arrive was today, and I’m leaving tomorrow (Rhinebeck Ho!) and there wouldn’t be time to both knit it and block it before I left and that would mean that for the new plan to work, the baby had to be ten days late. I was upset, but I was trying to be okay with it. I’m adult that way.

All that exploded when I heard that Robyn’s labour had started.  Any peace I had found with it, any acceptance that I felt in my heart evaporated in an instant.  I snapped. I decided that somewhere close to me there had to be one ball of that yarn, and I started looking.  I tweeted. You guys retweeted. I blogged, I went on Ravelry, I followed up leads and stuck with it until finally I got a tweet near midnight from a knitter named Martha who had a skein of the yarn I needed –

@MJPomilio 11 Oct
@YarnHarlot I can get a skein to you at the Toronto/Buffalo border crossing in 4 hours. Dead serious!

and suddenly Operation Swift Blanket was underway.  "Joe" I said, "We’re going to Buffalo." We all had a sleep, and bright and early the next morning, we were on the road.  Joe and I drove like thunder, thinking the whole time that we couldn’t believe that someone was willing to do this for us. (Let us pause for a minute and also notice that Joe was willing to do this. When I thanked him, he just said "It’s for my niece or nephew too.") All the way to Fort Erie, we talked about how amazing Martha was, and how it was going to be her that made it possible for the new baby to have a blanket on their birthday.  (It was rather clear by now that Saturday would be the baby’s birthday.)  Knitters, meet Martha.

Hours after "meeting" on Twitter, we were in one of the world’s dodgiest Chinese restaurants, buying Martha lunch, throwing presents at her, and none of it was enough.  See, by the time we got to the border, we knew something wonderful.   Our niece had arrived.

The race was on to have a blanket finished by the time we were able to meet her.  Lucky for me, Martha is so smart and kind that she wound the yarn before she brought it, and I was able to join it in the restaurant, and knit all the way home. 

Funny thing about that yarn, just a crazy thing.  Martha had just ordered it.  It had arrived at her house the day before, and she had only ordered one skein – and she couldn’t explain why.  She had no plan for it, it wasn’t enough to do anything with… it had just found her way into her cart on Monday, and shipped to her house just in time for her to see my tweet. More than that? Martha doesn’t do twitter much.  She’s got no explanation for what possessed her to order a skein of white yarn she didn’t need, and then hop onto twitter.

Me? I’ve got a pretty good idea that it was her knitter instincts taking over. Somewhere, somehow, the need for the yarn was so big and so mighty, that Martha heard the call, and responded the way that only a knitter can.  It was a yarn miracle.

I wasn’t able to finish the blanket on the drive home (turns out I might have underestimated the amount of work left by a few hours) but I kept knitting when I got here, and by 8pm it was blocking on our bed upstairs.

(Forgive the crappy picture. It was dark.)
By midnight it wasn’t yet dry, so Joe and I found other beds, and the next morning when it was finished, it was glorious.

Baby blanket, my own pattern, one of a kind. (9 skeins of Loopy Ewe solid series, in white.)  This blanket has pines, for the camping and out of doors Chris and Robyn love so much, and I’m sure they’ll share with their daughter.

Bee stitch, for what a busy little bee the baby was on the inside, rings – for the circle of family and love that surrounds this child-

and waves…

for both of her parents come from islands. 

How did it end up?  Blog, welcome Myrie…

or at least her tiny feetsies, that’s as much of our wee niece her parents are ready to share with you, and they get to choose.  She’s very new, and they’re keeping her lovely, perfect, healthy baby self close – for now.

(PS. Her middle name isn’t Martha, but I think it should be.)