I had planned to spend all of today working. I flew into Minneapolis yesterday, and then took a bus to Menomonie, Wisconsin, and the whole way here I was planning how today I’d do nothing but catch up on paperwork.

planesock 2015-09-25

When I’m teaching/travelling this much things get hairy in my inbox. There’s just a finite number of hours in the day. I’m pretty good at bending those hours to my will, but every once in a while the whole thing gets away from me, the to-do list stretches to two large post-it notes, and I start to feel nervously doomed,  and that’s where I am now. I don’t have to lecture until this evening, so I figured I’d get up early, find coffee, and just be dedicated to this laptop.  I’d answer email, do the work, get on top of everything that’s gearing up for the Bike Rally. (I know. It’s 43 weeks away, but the Steering Committee is already working and planning.)  I wasn’t happy about this plan, but I did like the idea of being (sort of) caught up.  I arrived here at the Retreat last night in the dark, made a few calls to get caught up on a few things, and then curled up, accepting that my fate for today was sealed.  When I woke up this morning I got myself organized, found some coffee, staggered back to my room for the day of work and threw open the curtains in my room to let in the light and get started.

window 2015-09-25

This was my view. Those are woods and trails and it is a very, very beautiful day in Wisconsin, as much as I tried to resist, I couldn’t. After a few hours I snapped, I took my sock with me, and knit while I had a good long hike.

trailsockbetter 2015-09-25

When I came back, I felt a little guilty, and sat down with my laptop, and told myself that I’m probably going to get way more done because I took that break, and I sincerely hope that’s true, because it’s still really lovely out and I might have to go again.

PS. The astute among you will see that the sock jag has persisted.  It’s a good one. All socks, all the time, but I just looked at the calendar and realized that it’s almost Rhinebeck sweater time (if by almost, you understand that I mean I should have started weeks ago.) I have no idea what I’m going to make, but I know I’ll have to start it the minute I get home. Ideas?

And So On

1. I got back from Calgary yesterday afternoon.

2. I’m writing this to you from the airport because I’m leaving again.

3. I’m pretty tired, but I think I’m going to make it.

4. I had a totally fantastic time in Calgary at Pudding Yarn. They were celebrating their 10th year in business, and I can totally see why they’ve been successful so long. Great shop, great staff, great yarn. You should go.

5. I suffered a wicked case of camnesia, and forgot to take any pictures at all with my proper camera.

6. Except I took one or two with my phone. The toilet in my hotel room was heated, and lit up.

toilet 2015-09-24

7. I was not a fan. The heating thing just makes it seem like someone just got up before you, but the way it’s lit up?  I guess it’s so you can find the thing in the dark, but I, well.  I think I can live without this particular technological advance. Some things don’t need direct lighting.  This has just got to be one of them.

8. That will be all.


I spent the weekend in Lethbridge, Alberta – I was in town for their Word on The Street Festival, and it was great. They did me the honour of asking me to be a featured writer, and I was in really, really excellent company.  I was nervous about this. When I say that mostly, I write knitting humour, usually the other authors have their eyes roll right back in their heads.  They are polite, of course, but I can always tell that any conversation we might have had about writing, or being a writer stopped right there, before it started.  I put the “K” word out there, and it cancels anything else. This time though, things were different.  Turns out that this event was filthy with knitters.  The evening before there was a reception, and look at this. That’s Kim Thúy, Elisabeth (the Library honcho who got this gig together) and me.  Knitters.

threeknitters 2015-09-21

It didn’t stop there. Maureen Jennings dropped by my reading (she’s the Murdoch Mysteries writer) and turns out, she’s a knitter.

maureen 2015-09-21

The library has a huge knitting group, and they yarnbombed the daylights out of the Lethbridge Library…

yarnbombing3 2015-09-21

and overall,

yarnbombing2 2015-09-21

I felt very much at home.

yarnbombing1 2015-09-21

The knitters in Lethbridge, they are everywhere.   Last night I took a bus from Lethbridge to Calgary, and that’s where I am now – getting ready to teach at Pudding Yarn. I’ll slip off there shortly, but look what I’ve got.

godotsocks 2015-09-21

godotsocks2 2015-09-21

Another finished pair of socks.  (That bus ride is almost three hours. I had time.)

legsmirror 2015-09-21

Also, ever wonder how you take a sock picture if you’re alone in a hotel room?

hotelmirror 2015-09-21

Mirrors.  See you tomorrow.


Yesterday I looked at my schedule for the next few weeks, and I laid it all out, and made it tidy, making itineraries, and printing schedules, and I made sure everything I need is (more or less) orderly and organized, and then I made a momentous and fantastic decision to be quiet.

I love my job, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to love the way the next few weeks rolls out, but as someone who hates rushing and loves quiet time to think and write, I decided to take a day or two to fill my cup.  Sort of an introverts version of putting on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else with theirs.  I’ve spent all of yesterday and today reading, writing, touching base with my people, and quietly knitting socks.

socksplain 2015-09-18

(Because someone will ask, the yarn is 716 sock, in “The Girl Makes Godot Look Punctual, from Knit Buffalo)

If I don’t snap over the next few weeks, I will owe it all to this idea. I feel pretty darned clever right now. For you, I’m sorry for the quiet.  For me? The best ever.


Randomly, on a Wednesday

1. I left on Thursday and went to Boston. I came back on Sunday.

2. Joe left on Sunday and went to Newfoundland, and comes back today.

3. I leave Saturday, and come back at just about the time that Joe splits to go somewhere else.

4. I will see him again in October, I think.

5. We have got to plan this stuff better.

6. I had a pretty amazing time in Boston. I got to see some friends, teach at The Stitch House Dorchester (You should go. They’re awesome) and the whole weekend went by really quickly, and I kept going to bed really early because I was super tired by the end of the day, and I really love teaching you guys, but man. It’s hard to get a lot of knitting done.

7. I’m sort of on a sock jag.

socksonaplane 2015-09-16

I didn’t mean to be, but when I was leaving I’d just finished that little dress (thanks for loving it, I’m so proud) and I didn’t really have time to get another project going, so I grabbed two skeins of sock yarn and got out of Dodge.

socksonaplane2 2015-09-16

It was a good decision I think, I mean, Winter Is Coming and so is Christmas and The Long-Range Planning box is looking a little lean, so the next few heavy travel weeks are a great time to pound out a bunch of pairs.

socksonaplanewhole 2015-09-16

I finished these the last day or two (lost the lable. Sorry.) and there’s another pair on the needles, and I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to have a project that’s done in just a few days.

socksonaplanedone 2015-09-16

8. I think I have to start my Rhinebeck sweater.

9. On Sunday, I finished teaching at Stitch House midday (waves wildly to everyone I met there) and went straight to the airport. My flight wasn’t until 5:30, but I was done, I had no hotel room anymore, and what the heck. I’m a knitter. I’m pretty good at waiting.  My 5:30 flight went from Boston to Montreal, and then had a layover, and then Montreal to Toronto, and the whole thing had me coming home about 11pm, if you count the taxi, and you better believe I do.  I went up to the desk and gave the guy my passport, and sort of leaned on the counter a little.  (I was pretty tired.) He searched for my booking, didn’t find it, probably because he was thinking I was catching a flight that was soonish – rather than hours and hours away, and when I realized what was happening, I sort of weakly said “5:30 Dude. Connecting through Montreal” and he looked at me like I was insane, and I mumbled a few things about being a knitter and being done work and how it was all cool, and he looked right at me and said “Do you just want to go home?”  I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but yeah. I did. I did just want to go home. I’d had a good time, and it was a great job, but there’s no place like home, and knowing I was 9 hours away was crushing me a little, though I hadn’t thought it through. As he said it, I looked him right in the eyes and said “Oh. Yes.”

I don’t know what he saw there, but he looked away quickly, tapped madly on the keys, and then said “There.  I’ve re-booked you on a flight that leaves in about 40 minutes. It’s a direct. I’ve waived the change fee because of the “weather”.  (He actually did air-quotes there.) You’ll be home before you were even supposed to leave.”  I looked outside to see if anything had changed, and it hadn’t. The weather was just fine.

10. It is a miracle that I didn’t kiss him on the mouth.

In The Details

Yesterday I tackled the business of attaching all the wee roses to that bitty dress. it took forever. I came up short three roses and had to crochet more.  (I’d have been more annoyed but the pattern did say to make “about” 25 of them. I guess 28 is “about” 25, but it sure doesn’t sound that way while you’re crocheting what feels like extra roses.) It’s at the end of projects like this, ones with tons of finishing (I consider the crochet on this “finishing”) that I have to resist the urge to cheap out and do a rush job. I always want to be done so desperately that I start dreaming of cutting corners.  Not this time. This dress is so darling, and so beautiful that the end was no time to run out of steam. When I crocheted the roses, I wove in two ends on each one, and left two ends long. To attach the roses, all I did was pull the ends through to the back, a few stitches apart, and then tied them securely with a surgeons knot.

roseson 2015-09-09

Now, that’s a pretty good knot, and there’s no doubt in my mind that those babies were going to be stuck on, but I didn’t like two things. All the ends, and how it left the flowers sort of wobbly.  So, I took a deep breath, got a huge cup of tea, and started weaving in all the ends, and using them to sew the flowers down from the inside while I was at it.

endsin 2015-09-09

It took a long time, but I think it looks nice on the inside, and the flowers are really securely on there.  I know it seems silly to care if the inside is tidy, but the whole thing is so close to perfect – I’m actually still not thrilled with how it looks on the inside, and briefly entertained the madness of knitting a little cover for the ends, or maybe sewing down a ribbon over them, but I’ve gotten a grip.  I found three little buttons in my grandmothers button bin that were just about freaking perfect, and sewed those on, and with that, it’s done.

dressdonewhole 2015-09-09

Pattern: Dress 29801 from Dalegarn Baby #298. (Man, I love the romantic names they give their designs.) I knit the 36 month size.

dressdonetopback 2015-09-09

Yarn: Dale Baby Ull, in 3841 Beige Heather, 4217 Desire, 3507 Coral, and 0020 in Natural. It took less than a ball for each of the three accent colours, and 5.5 balls of the Beige (which is totally grey.) I got my kit at StevenBe. (That’s a link to the kit, if you’re looking.)

dressdonebuttons 2015-09-09

Needles: 2.25mm.

dressdoneroses 2015-09-09

I’m completely delighted with it.

dressdonetopdet 2015-09-09

I think it’s going to be an heirloom.

Hooking isn’t so hard

Well, that went pretty well. I don’t mind telling you, mostly because I’ve told you before, but I have a relationship with crochet that’s pretty rocky.  Generally speaking, this is because I don’t care for it, and there’s a fair bit of evidence to support an argument that the feeling is mutual.  (I know, I know. I’ve just publicly said that I don’t like crochet. I know, I know. There’s a tiny segment of you who think that’s heretical, and possibly irresponsible of me to say, but I’m not worried. Crochet’s been around a long time, with many fans, whether I like it or not, and despite worried emails to the contrary, I feel absolutely confident that my choices do not affect the choices of other textile artists, and that they’ll decide for themselves. Neither am I moved by the missives that remind me I am the “Yarn” Harlot, not the Knitting Harlot, and that I have a responsibility to like them both.  I do not. I’m cool with that.  I also dislike a lot of dogs, eggplant and pie. See? Everything  is still fine. I bet that if you loved eggplant before I said that, you haven’t reconsidered your position.)  I went through a big crochet phase in the 80’s and I made a few things and I assure you I’ve given it a fair shake.  It just doesn’t speak to my heart the way that knitting does.

dressdone 2015-09-08

That said, I can be moved to undertake it, and this little dress I’ve been working on did so move me.  I’ve been dreading the crochet part. The dress came out so beautifully, and I didn’t want to wreck it with crappy crochet, which is they type I specialize in. There’s crochet around all the edges of this thing, and then there are about 25 little crochet flowers that adorn the line round the bodice.  That’s a ton of crochet.  I finished the dress, and while it was having a nice bath and a lie down, I decided I’d tackle the flowers first – or at least a few of them.  The first one… The first one was a mutant. It had about a thousand things wrong with it. I did the chain in the middle too tight, I put the hook into the wrong holes, and I had some messed up idea of what a double crochet was that just didn’t look right.  Also, I had the wrong gauge. It’s not like I swatched the little flowers or anything – I could just tell that the one I made was too loose.  I went to the store, bought another hook and gave it a whole other go. (I also did some clever things like look up how to do the things I was wondering about, and read up on crochet techniques so I wasn’t just guessing. Smart, eh?)  The second rose went fine. The third was better so I ripped the second one out, and pretty soon I was on a roll.

afewflowers 2015-09-08

I set the few aside that I’d made, and then I made some more.

afewmoreflowers 2015-09-08

Then I made some more.

alltheflowers 2015-09-08

Then I had all of them, and there was no way I could avoid the edging any longer.  I started on an armhole. It went badly.  I pulled it out and tried again (and looked up what a slip stitch was again) and the third time, it looked pretty good – but I was trying for really good, so this is the 4th attempt.

sleeveedge 2015-09-08

Pretty nice, eh? I feet great about it. I did the other little armhole, and that one went fine too.  I had to go slowly, and concentrate, and try really hard, but it went well.  That emboldened me, so I started the edging that goes around the neck and back opening.

badback 2015-09-08

Less well. Too many crochet stitches for the rows of knitting, you can see it rippling when it should lie flat, so out it came.  (I tell you this about crochet, it’s easy to rip it back. Way easier than knitting. You don’t have to capture all the stitches again, just one loop.)  I changed the ratio and tried again, and this time it was a thing of beauty.

neckedge 2015-09-08

All that was left was the long stretch around the bottom hem, and that took a while. I tried one single crochet into each bound off stitch, and that was wrong. So I tried 2 out of every 3, and that was wrong. I tried 3 out of 4 and that was magnificently wrong, so then I let go of everything I knew from knitting (because those ratios are my starting places when I knit) and remembered that crochet is a whole other banana, and ended up with a ratio of 7 out of 8, and that, my friends, was a poem.

crochetegehem 2015-09-08

I love it, and it was worth it, and I think that it was an interesting place to park my brain for a bit – when I’m knitting, it’s easy to feel competent.  I have lots of experience and practice, and the needles feel like extensions of my own hands. I seldom wonder how something works, or have to figure out tension, and almost all my guesses about how to do things work out just fine.  Crochet? I’m clumsy. I’m awkward. I’m almost always wrong, and getting it too look nice is a huge effort. That little bit of crochet was harder than the whole rest of the dress – and it was a nice reminder for a knitting teacher to have.  People new to knitting, or learning a new technique in knitting feel just the same way I did this weekend, and that’s a good thing for me to carry in my heart.

I’ve got a little time left today – so, MORE Karmic Balancing Gifts. (I swear, someday it will end. It wouldn’t go on this long if it wasn’t for how generous you all are.)

Beth and Jill from Two Black sheep Yarn have a great present.  One of their hand dyed Ombres – 486 yards of superwash merino in the colour of Clare L’s choice.  (They’re all gorgeous. Good luck choosing!)

blacksheepombres 2015-09-08

Hope has a lovely present – one blue sock project bag and a skein of Lang Jawoll sock yarn as a karmic balancing gift. She’s amazing, and will be sending that out to her equally amazing fellow knitter Jenny M.

hopesockbag 2015-09-08

Next up is Barbara L, who I have to tell you, is part of the reason this thing keeps going on and on. I open up an email thinking it will have one gift, and blammo! A generosity bomb goes off. The rather amazing Barbara went into her stash, and this is what she’d like to share.

5 100 gram hanks of silk from Nepal for Lynn H

barbaranepalsilk 2015-09-08

4 coordinating skeins of Bonkers Originals Sport Wool for Camy

barbarabonkers 2015-09-08

2 50 g skeins of Alchemy Yarns of Distinction alpaca yarn for Kathleen D.

barbararedalchemy 2015-09-08

3  50 g skeins of Inca Alpaca pure alpaca for Sarah K.

barbararincaalpaca 2015-09-08

3 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd sock yarn and pattern for Very Berry Socks for Cathy S.

barbaraLLberrysocks 2015-09-08

2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepard sock yarn in the Sherbet colorway for Olivia P.

barbaraLLsherbet 2015-09-08

1 skein of Socks That Rock Superwash merino in the Beryl colourway for Merdith.

barbaraSTRberyl 2015-09-08

1 skein of Socks That Rock Superwash merino in the Brick colourway for Caitlin S.

birck 2015-09-08

1 skein of Socks That Rock Superwash merino in the Carbon Dioxide colourway for Corey J.

barbaraSTRcarbon 2015-09-08

2 skeins Lorna’s Laces Shepard sock yarn in Rainbow colourway for Annie R.

barbaraLLrainbow 2015-09-08

Three cheers for Barbara! Thank you!

Also awesome is Kristi, over at PeetSwea. (Extremely cute shop name.) She’ll be sending this pink and cream needle case with 14 pockets. Two pockets are large to accommodate circular knitting needles (!) over to Ann H.
pinkcase 2015-09-08

and this equally charming case (the same sort, with 14 pockets and two big enough for circulars)  to  Cynthia N.  Thank you Kristi!

purplecase 2015-09-08

Finally, last for today, but certainly not least, the good and lovely folks at Miss Babs wanted to get it in on the action, and they’ve got a $30 gift certificate for Carly K.

missbabs 2015-09-08

I love Miss Babs, so I hope they do too. See you tomorrow.  I have to go sew on a million little roses.

Almost, a few ways

Joe’s been gone six days now. It’s a long time apart for us, and as much as I enjoy time alone, I’m ready for him to come back. There’s a certain luxury and magic in time alone – I eat what I want, do what I want, keep the schedule that suits me, and for the first few days, I revelled in that. The fourth day I started bugging my friends, and by yesterday, the down side of this much time alone started to show up. One of the things I like best about alone time is the chance to think.  It might be the byproduct of all those years as a mum with little kids, with never a single moment to think things through, but I love it.  Too much time alone though? The result is too much thinking. By day six, I’ve become what I think of as “The Queen of What If”.  What if that squirrel comes back and eats another hole in the roof and we need to fix it?  What if I that thing I said to my friend was the wrong thing? What if I made a parenting mistake when Amanda was three?

Now, being the Queen of What If isn’t always a terrible thing. I like how it helps me think of problems before they happen, and how well it lends itself to imagination, but it can also be a sinkhole.  Too much time in that place, and I find myself agonizing all day, and laying awake at night examining every minor and inconsequential problem I’ve ever had in minute detail, and carefully thinking through every mistake I might ever have made, while simultaneously worrying about all the mistakes I’m very likely about to make, while synchronizing that with trying to solve problems like world poverty.

Usually, at some point in that scene, Joe comes home from work, and I tell him about the potential problem with the squirrel who hasn’t arrived yet, and how we’d better begin saving up for the roof, because it’s only one of about twelve situations that we’d going to have to start getting anxious about, and he’ll look at me and say, in the kindest, and most nonchalant way possible “You’re a crazy lady. You know that, right?”

He says that, and that’s it. I’m yanked right back into the real world, and we have dinner, or watch a movie, and he makes a thousand jokes, and I go right back to thinking about things like rogue squirrels the exact amount that a sane person should, and totally leave off with phoning my children and telling them that we should have dinner together because I’ve thought it over and we need to talk about the plan for the whole rest of their lives. (Our daughters will be especially glad of Joe’s return this week.)

Without him, the crazy train rolls into the station, and there’s not a lot to keep me from buying a ticket for a nice long ride, and I know this about myself, so this week I tried to make a few plans, to have some things to do, and to knit LOTS, because there is nothing that beats down the crazy better than a nice long stretch of knitting.  You’ve  heard the expression “I knit so I don’t kill people”? This is more like “I knit so that I don’t worry about things that can’t be helped anyway.”  Behold, the object of my intention:

little dress 2015-09-03

It’s that little dress I mentioned a while back, and despite that long, full, grey skirt being a bit of a long, dark, tea-time of the soul, it’s getting there. Another bit of knitting today and I’ll be at the border of the skirt, and that border is only 28 rounds, and even though the rounds have more than 300 stitches, how long can that take? (I’m me, and I’ve ben alone a lot, so I can actually tell you. It’s about 2.5 hours, if I don’t take any breaks for coffee, instagram, or texting all of my friends to tell them what in their lives I’ve been worried about too.)  When I realized that I was actually that close to the end of the knitting, which meant that I was that close to the start of the crochet, it occurred to me that I might want to get myself together in that department.  Namely, I wondered if A) I know enough about crochet to get that part done, and thought I might want to start looking up techniques and figuring out what exactly the European pattern means when it says Double Crochet – since the answer can vary, and B) I figured I should get a crochet hook.

hooks 2015-09-03

Now, it’s not like a little crochet doesn’t come up here and there in knitting – I hook when I have to, and I use crochet hooks as knitting rescue tools all the time, but because I’m not a crocheter, I don’t have a full company of crochet hooks. As a  matter of fact, all the ones I own are in that picture, and after giving the pattern for the little flowers a go, I was able to figure out three things. A) I did it wrong. B) I have the wrong hook. C) I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I think it would be easier with the right hook.   Off I went to the craft store, where I bought a hook that I think is both better, and the right size, and while I was doing that I think I figured out what the instructions probably mean, and so – I’ll give it another go tomorrow.  I think I got this.

flowerdet 2015-09-03

Now, another round of Karmic Balancing Gifts? (There’s still a lot.)

Helle wrote me with two great presents, the first is some Sandy’s Palette Coopworth fleece 4.6oz, a bar of soap from The Felted Soap Lady, and a dragonfly candle holder that she’ll be sending to Joanna S.

helleroving 2015-09-03

The second is for Celeste N and it’s Knitspot Regatta sock pattern and 2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces hand-dyed Shepherd Sock. Thanks Helle!

hellesocks 2015-09-03

From Deike, four amazing gifts! First, for Rhian D, 100 gr tussah silk roving, unbleached. and Deike says it’s amazingly soft.

Deiketussah 2015-09-03

Second, isn’t this pretty?  It’s 100g of wool, dyed with madder that will be going to live with Andrea M.

Deikepinkroving 2015-09-03

Third – some of Dieke’s own beautiful handspun.  Two 2 skeins Wensleydale/Merino wool in rainbow colours. The skeins were spun to roughly match in colour progression, and I’m sure that Cordula B is going to thrilled with that.

Deikehandspun 2015-09-03

Last, but not least, Deike has inexplicably knit herself a Colour Affection shawl that she’s never going to wear. (Why we do these things, I don’t know, but we all do it.)  She’s going to trust Karma to find it a home with someone who loves it more – and behold, I really hope that’s Liz F.

Deikeaffection 2015-09-03

Diane got a Karmic Balancing gift last year, and so this year she’s paying it forward, and this gorgeous skein of Madeleine Tosh Sock in Tart is going home to live with Jamiee A.

Dianetoshsock 2015-09-03

Meredyth went on a stash dive and came up with three skeins of hand painted LaJolla superwash Merino. One Brazilian Emerald for Dee J,

meredythgreen 2015-09-03

My Sweet Valentine for Kate C,

meredythpink 2015-09-03

and Singin’ the Blues for Sylvia S. Thanks so much Meredyth!

meredythblue 2015-09-03

Emily also got a gift last year, and she’d like to pay it forward as well. She has a skein of Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in the Cognac colorway.  That’s for Melissa H and she is welcome to choose one of Emily’s independently sold patterns from her shop on Ravelry as well!
emilyirish 2015-09-03

Jenn and Meghan make  beautiful pottery at their beautiful shop JamPDX, and they’ve got a very charming yarn bowl to send to Beth R. Isn’t it lovely?

yarnbowl 2015-09-03

Cat, from CaterpillarGreen Yarns (you know how I feel about that one) has a generous gift for Diane T.  One large skein self-striping shawl yarn in “Concrete and Tulips”. (She points out that the gift is the skein of yarn, not the shawl beneath it, which is her precious baby.)

concretetulips 2015-09-03

Jane sent along this pretty picture, along with saying “I will send a spinner 6 ounces of roving from  one of my alpacas.  (That’s a link to her shop.) He is gray and I mixed his fleece  60/40 with wool (merino we think but not sure) that had white in it.  I dyed the whole lot in these beautiful colors and the pink is gorgeous, spins up to a lovely heathery pinkish.  I prepped the fiber at a small mill in Michigan where you work along side her.  It’s been picked and carded into roving. ”  I think it’s lovely already, and I hope that Anne M loves it too.
janeroving 2015-09-03

Steph at Three Fates Yarn has a gift of a beautiful gradient kit – It is 400 yards of sock yarn in “Museum of Contemporary Craft/A Very Aqua Fluevog” colourway, and it is going to live with Jerry D, who I bet feels like a pretty lucky duck right now.

threefatesgradient 2015-09-03

Sarah, over at The Martini Knitter, has a very nice present.  2-at-a-time Socks, and yarn to go with it! She’ll be sending that along to Cindy M.

sarahsockbook 2015-09-03

Maggie went for a wander through the stash, and came up with the perfect things.  She’s going to send this skein of Rohrspatz & Wollmeise Twin in  Merlot to Cheryl M. Maggie’s been saving it for something special, and I’m honoured that she thinks the Rally is special enough.

maggiewoolmeise 2015-09-03

That wasn’t enough for Maggie, so she went back into the stash and chose this yarn specially.  A ball of self striping sock yarn and the color is “Best Friend” with 3 rows “Lean on Me”, 3 rows “Bestie”, 3 rows “I’ll be there” all surrounded by 5 rows “BFF. ”  Perfect for a Karmic Balancing gift, and I hope that Penny B feels the love.
maggielollipop 2015-09-03

Finally, though I hate to end this party, but have got to do something else with the remains of the day… Kathleen has this very, very nice hand painted roving that she’ll be sending to Jessica F. Thank you Kathleen, you’re wonderful.

kathleenroving 2015-09-03

That’s it! Whew – that put a bigger dent in the pile… I can almost imagine the end is in sight – though we’re not done yet.  More tomorrow!



roving 2015-09-02

single 2015-09-02

single2 2015-09-02

skein 2015-09-02

ball 2015-09-02

knit 2015-09-02

knit2 2015-09-02

wash 2015-09-02

foldedcowlbywheel 2015-09-02

peekaboo 2015-09-02

samcowldetail 2015-09-02

cowlwholesam 2015-09-02

holdingcowl 2015-09-02

How much fun is that, to see the whole project, start to finish, all in order. Makes me think that knitting blogs are really just stop motion knitting movies, happening really slowly. Roving: Western Sky Knits  Pattern: Hudson Lace Cowl

I’ve got a little more time, so more gifts! (I swear there’s no end in sight. Your generosity is really unbelievable.) I don’t have time to do many, but a few is better than none.

Beth, who owns the beautiful shop Dancing Dog Studio, has this incredible hand made bracelet to give away.  Isn’t it pretty?  I hope that Debbie R thinks so.

beaded bracellet 2015-09-02

Generous knitter Sarah has a lovely gift she’ll be sending to Jyoti P. and not only is she generous, she has great taste. 320 yards of Argosy “Hannah sport” 50/50 merino/silk.

argosy 2015-09-02

The lovely Sally, friend of the show and owner at Rivendale Farms, has  2 skeins of alpaca/bamboo from her beautiful alpaca Teagan, that she’d like to send to Andrea G.
rivendalefarms 2015-09-02

Mia, sweeter than pie, has not eight, not nine, but ten skeins of a beautiful Merino/silk to send to Kristi P.

miasyarn 2015-09-02

That’s all I have time for today, but tomorrow I’m going to try and push through a lot of them. Thanks guys, you’re all amazing


Nothing to see here

This cowl I’m knitting and I, we were nearing the end of the road. I’d powered through what was almost left of the knitting, and I was at that tricky bit at the end of a handspun thing.  I had a little bit left when I finished the repeats of the lace, but I handspun is so precious that I hate to waste any, and this particular skein ended in a bit of brown-ish business that I thought would look nice at the edge.  I decided, likely because Joe is still out of town and that makes me believe I can concentrate on things, to play a little game of yarn chicken.  I measured out what i thought would be a rows worth, tied a little knot in that spot, and started to knit. When I got to the end of the round about 30cm before the knot, I decided that I should use that length to calculate how many rounds I could get out of what was left, and come as close as possible to using it up.

Now, I know this cowl and I have been having a hard time of it, and so far my math (or lack thereof) hasn’t exactly been at a stunning level of calculation.  Still, it seemed to me that if I was generous, and padded the thing with an extra rounds worth or two, then I should be ok. I measured, figured out I had enough left for 12 rounds, and decided to do 10. Then I had a moment of incredible clarity, remembered that binding off takes more yarn than just knitting a round, and decided to do eight. Eight, plus two rounds worth for the cast off, with two lengths as insurance.

At first, it seemed to be going pretty well, but as the rounds advanced – the yarn started to be consumed at an alarming pace.  It still looked like I might make it, so I kept on knitting.  At the end of the thing, with just the bind off left to go, I counted arms lengths of the yarn left.  9. Well, I thought, that’s probably fine.  I’d calculated that I needed about 4 to do a round (although it was starting to look like I’d done that math as well as wet cats express cheerfulness) so 9 should be enough for a cast off.

castoffno 2015-09-01

It wasn’t.  With about 46 left to go, I ran out.  I cursed, and thought about my options. I could pull the work back – taking out the garter stitch edge, and then a few rounds of the lace, then bind off again, that would work, but I was so close to done… the other thing I could do, it occurred to me, was get more of the yarn.  I only needed a metre or less, and while I didn’t have any more of that fibre to spin up, I do have a lot of fibre upstairs, and my little emergency bag of bits and pieces. I felt sure that I’d find something. I headed upstairs, and stood in the stashroom for a minute (It’s more of a stash closet, to tell the truth, but I like the sound of stashroom) and looked around. Most of the yarn is on shelves, like at a shop, but the fibre is in bins on the shelves, and I reached out, and pulled down the one that I thought my bag off oddments was in, and nope – wrong bin.  That was my bin of single balls of fingering weight yarn for colourwork, and I was about to shove it back on the shelf when I had a thought. I gave the bin an experimental stir, and there it was.  A single ball of yarn that looked like it was exactly, precisely, amazingly the right colour.  Not   “it will do in a pinch if nobody looks too closely” not even “only I would be able to tell the difference” I mean – perfect. Absolutely perfect. I pulled off a couple of metres, and just about ran downstairs to check.

matchymatchy 2015-09-01

Look at that. The only thing wrong was that it wasn’t the right weight.  I tried it single, and it was too thin. I tried it doubled, and it was too thick. I needed something right in between, and that’s when it occurred to me that the yarn I was holding was a two ply.  I split it into two plies, added one of the plies to an intact length, and tried that.

matchdone2 2015-09-01

It was amazing. I bound off, wove in my ends, gave the thing a bath (because it was still full of beer) and voila.  The whole problem took about 2 minutes to solve, and I can’t remember the last time I knitting problem got fixed that quickly around here.  I feel as though the whole thing was kismet, or maybe I’d paid my dues on this one, and the knitting fates decided that I’d had enough – whatever the reason, the moment I grabbed the wrong bin, things got way better.  (I’d like to take a moment to point out that if I was super organized, and totally knew where everything was, I’d probably still be spinning. Untidiness has surprising advantages. Stick with it.)

washdone 2015-09-01

It’s drying now, and the world’s top knitwear model is coming over later, so pictures tomorrow. I love how it turned out.  Now, I have an hour before I need to do something – so, Karmic Balancing Gifts it is!  (I’m determined. This long queue of them is going down.)

First up is Katrin,  she specializes in historical textile techniques, and sells materials and tools. (Her shop is very cool. Have a peek.)  She has a medieval style spindle (the whorl is detachable, and the spindle is a very fast one), with spinning instructions (available in German or English) and a bit of wool from three different breeds. Katrin will be sending that along to Shelley C.

medivalspindle 2015-09-01

For Janell H the pattern for “Dread Pirate Roberts‘ Favourite Winter Hat” (I love me a good Princess Bride reference) a hat worked top-down in the round (no swatching needed, because all the pirates she knows hate to swatch), and the three-dimensional skull-and-sabres motif can also be used on any other item knitted in the round. Along with it will come an oil-light wick holder and wicks in a tin, a tealight-sized glass, and a lid to extinguish the flame. It uses vegetable oils as fuel, making it an eco-friendly alternative to regular tealights in their aluminum shell.

pirateroberts 2015-09-01

Jenny has a beautiful shop, full of handmade wooden things (the spoons!) and she’s got a beautiful set of lovely handmade things she’ll be sending to Annestasia G.  Rustic DPNs (I love those) and buttons, and a beautiful nostepinne for the loveliest hand wound balls.

jennywood 2015-09-01

Linda has a present from her stash for Tabitha N. It’s 4 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted in the colorway Lorikeet – saturated primary colors of red yellow and blue.  100% Superwash wool. Total 900 yards.

llindashepherd 2015-09-01

Carol (who says in her email that she’s definitely achieved SABLE -that’s Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) has two very, very nice presents.  The first is 8 balls of Silky Wool for Kacie R.

silkywool 2015-09-01

The second is a very nice set of sock yarns and a set of rosewood needles to knit them with, and she’ll be very generously sending those to Caroline R

cyperfiberset 2015-09-01

Janice D has a very sweet idea for a present.  She’ll be sending a $25 gift certificate for Knit Picks to both Sarah N and Jackie D. (It’s hard to come up with a picture for that one, but I think she’s great.)

Robin Hunter wrote, and she’d like to offer a very grand thing, a pattern for  her beautiful Noreen Elliot shawl,  and a skein of 100% alpaca yarn to knit it with. She’ll be sending it to Marilyn B.

robinshawl2 2015-09-01

Ok, I’m out of time- more tomorrow, and a finished cowl.