My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Move over Hygge and make some room for Lagom: The Scandi concept of balance and moderation. 44 quick tips to become the most productive person you know. Indie yarn businesses and yarn store owners, take note- A look at the hot trends and the future of knitting for
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Tomorrow’s a day I’ve been thinking about for a while. A month ago I got a summons to appear for Jury Duty selection. My first thought was that it was sort of cool – it’s my first time and I sort of like the idea of doing my civic duty. My second thought was that it was going to be a pain in the arse, but it is for everyone, so I let that go. My third thought was the one that we concern ourselves with here today.
There are no knitting needles allowed in the courthouse.
Well, let me clarify, there are no knitting needles allowed past security, and I admit that I’m not sure if this first part, the choosing of jurors, is past security or not, but I have a very bad feeling that it does. I went to court for a traffic ticket I got on my bike (don’t ask, it got thrown out) and when I arrived there, the very nice people at security told me that my sock in progress couldn’t accompany me. I must have looked stricken, because one of them offered to hold it for me and return it at the end of my visit, and she said it was a very nice sock, but I wasn’t there long, and the other agent didn’t like it much, so I get the feeling that relying on finding a knitting sympathizer on the other side of the desk isn’t my best bet.
I’ve been thinking it over, because a whole day without knitting, especially a day without knitting that involves mostly waiting, and an hour each way on the bus and subway isn’t something that I think is going to bring out the best in me. The idea of it actually gives me a cramp in the pit of my stomach – though I’m sure I can do it if I have to. A friend suggested that I bring a book, and of course I will, but she’s forgotten that I knit while I read. I’ll tuck a paperback in my bag as insurance, but I’m not totally ready to give up on the knitting thing. The way I see it, there’s a few ways that tomorrow could go down.
My knitting isn’t allowed in, because it looks dangerous, and they’re sticklers for the rules.
This is the worst case scenario, because it means that I’ll lose my knitting – there’s nowhere to put it if it’s declared a danger to the masses. If I were driving I could run out and put it in the car, but that’s not an option with a subway arrival. If worse comes to worse I’ll leave it under a bush outside and hope that it’s there when I come out, but really I think that my best bet is to take yarn and needles that I won’t cry over – should we be parted forever. So, that means my current project is out, because I love it and it was expensive and in the name of all that is woollen and good I will not be parted from it, and cannot predict my behaviour should that be the case. I don’t think the needles look particularly dangerous – they’re blunt and 5mm, and… well, sometimes we knitters are misunderstood as artists, so I’m not counting on common sense to prevail.
It turns out they are slaves to their metal detector.
That means my current sock project is right out. I love both the yarn and the needles and even I (sporting several 2.25mm puncture scars on my body) can agree that they pose a tiny risk, should I turn out to be some sort of maniac.
That means that whatever I choose should be on wooden needles, something that won’t upset anyone, something breakable, blunt, and benign looking. Maybe wooden circulars? 8mm? I’m thinking that a ball of yarn and two pencils might not be the worst thing I could tuck in the bottom of my bag.* Part of me wants to educate, to try and tell them that knitters are so much more dangerous without this stuff than we are with it, but I have a feeling that won’t work.
What’s the most innocent looking knitting you can think of?
*As a public service, I can point out here that a standard pencil is about 7.5mm, as are chopsticks.
(PS. I just tried to sharpen said pencils, and discovered that the family pencil sharpener is full of what I am pretty sure is black eyeliner. Thanks Sam.)
Pattern: Bunny Hat and Cowl Gigi Needles: 2.5 mm (US 1.5) Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll in Dove Heather, and Elann Super Kydd Mohair (discontinued) You first met this bunny hat last month in this post, when I was having a tough time deciding which pom pom to go with it! I opted for the natural cream
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Thirteen years ago, I sat down at an enormous computer in our dining room (we kept it there so we could supervise the kids internet access) with an HTML cheat sheet ( <oldschool>) and sat there for hours trying to figure out how to get a blog post up. Ken had set the whole thing up as a gift, and I was determined to get the hang of it. It took hours. Hours and hours, and there wasn’t even a picture.
This afternoon, I sat down at a tiny laptop in an airport lounge to write to you for what is the 2337th time (that is the actual number) and it’s taking a long time, but mostly because this day always makes me feel sappy and sentimental and grateful and that’s so much to put into words. A very great deal has changed over the last 13 years – through all of it, no matter how weird it’s gotten, you’ve been a constant. You know that we call you The Blog. I’ve written about that before – how we’ll say “oh, have you told The Blog” or “What did The Blog say?” or even “I can’t wait to tell The Blog about this.” You are a constant presence in our lives, a large and undefined mass that influences and encourages me and this family. When I started doing this, our children were young, young enough that I decided what their internet presence would be, what i would tell you about them, when I would tell it. I sat down at this computer often with a story or an idea in mind, something that had happened inside our family or our home, and I’d type the whole thing up, and then hover my finger over the “post” button as I re-read it, imagining myself as my child, years down the road, reading their follies laid out. Would they want it there? Would they want it shared with the world? I deleted whole entries some days. Ones that were finished with (incriminating) pictures and opinions and maternal grief or strife. Just typed them up, realized that the fight I had with my teenager – or whatever, that while we all fight with our teenagers and it’s normal and lonely and horrible, but didn’t need to be anywhere near the internet, no matter how ridiculous it had been and then posted something about socks instead.
Back then, I was the final arbiter of how much our family’s face was public, and I hope I got it right. I think I did, because there are still conversations about interacting with The Blog, and what we’ll share with The Blog and nobody’s ever demanded that I take down a post. (Not even when they were completely demented teenagers and demanded just about everything else.) Instead, you all remain welcome in our lives and in our family and one of the most lovely conversations I’ve ever had in my life was when Megan professed that she couldn’t wait for The Blog to find out that she was expecting and I was going to be a grandmother. Now that you’ve been around so long, we all think of The Blog.
All of that has been remarkable, and fantastic, and epic – the part of you that is always here, inside what Joe cheerfully refers to as “The Interknit”, but there is another side to The Blog that I don’t know you all realize. The Blog sometimes happens (as my young friend likes to say) IN REAL LIFE. It happened this weekend, as I skiied down the bottom of a mountain in Alberta, and heard my name called from behind, and lo- a friendly knitter bore down on me. (Hi Kim!) It happened last night at a concert in Calgary, when we walked up to someone who worked there, and she was all “Stephanie? Joe?” (Hi Jocelyn!) It has happened in airports, at baseball games, in restaurants, and while it’s occasionally surprising, it’s always amazing.
I hope that you all feel what I do when you come to this page. A sense of camaraderie, of belonging, a sense of community that is reassuring and normalizing, a place where the ethics and values that we hold dear – that making things is important, that creation is human, that love can be contained and transferred in handmade things, that knitting and creating and transforming are important parts of who we are… all those things are vital. I feel them and I feel like you do and I feel less lonely because you are here. I feel better because you are also IN REAL LIFE, and I love it when the things we do and make ripples outside of our little Interknit.
This last weekend, knitting played a very visible role in the March for Women – and someone said to me that it was amazing to see how important knitters were in it. That the hats they knit were visible – obvious. There weren’t three of them, there were hundreds of thousands of hats and they were in every shot and no matter what your political stripe, I find it hard to believe that any knitter can look at those pictures, with all those hats (it was so many) and not feel a pang of knitterly pride. It is our community – it is the thing that we all feel, writ large for the world to see. Someone told me that, and then she added “for once” like it was the first time that our community could make a change like that.
I didn’t say anything, because she was having an awesome moment, but I want you to know that I didn’t believe her for a moment that “for once” applied. She must have not seen what you guys did for Knitters without Borders. She must have not been here to see how amazing that was. She must have not seen what you’ve done for the Bike Rally. Maybe she wasn’t here last year when so many of you donated $12 dollars for my 12th anniversary – a dollar for every year of The Blog. (If you wanted to go for $13 this year, the link is here. It was loads of fun to watch PWA try to figure out the significance of $12 and I think that $13 is even weirder.) I know that the hat thing was big, and it was amazing, and I was impressed but I want you to know that I’ve known this about you for a long time. You’ve shown it to me so many times over the last 13 years.
You are amazing. You matter. You make a difference in my life, and in the world around you. You are an important person, and you are legion.
Thank you for every moment of the last 13 years. Thank you for the comments you leave, thank you for the mail you send me. Thank you for sending me tiny sock garland, or bitty hats knit for my Christmas tree. Thank you for calling out to me on the ski slopes, thank you for greeting me warmly in a city that’s not my own. Thank you for grieving with our family when things have been bad, and for celebrating with us when things are beautiful. Thanks for bringing me an apple or a beer when I’m on the road. Thank you for knowing who Tupper was. Thank you for wanting to show me who your Tupper was. Thanks for wondering if I’ll ever finish the gansey. Thanks for caring about my kids, for saying hi to them in person when you see them. It connects them with a bigger world that we all need reminding is there.
In short, thank you for everything, and I can’t wait for the next thirteen.
I love you Blog. Happy Blogiversary.
Original Patterns: Inglis Mitts and Knotty Gloves Knitter Extraordinaire: Kat (Ravelry ID, blog) Mods: Starting with the general pattern from the Inglis Mitts, Kat changed out the elaborate cable and switched it for the Celtic-inspired cabled knot work from the Knotty Gloves. She also added a purl row to ensure an easy and consistent fold to
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This post comes to you from another airport lounge, as I get ready to fly out for the weekend. Joe’s working out west today, and I’ve got some work to do there Monday, so it made sense for me to join him today and maybe sneak in a little skiing over the weekend. (The skiing has stuck, it would appear. Joe remains more enthusiastic about it than I am, but I’m coming to like it better as the terror fades. Toddlers still ski faster than I do, though.) I have this whole theory about how travel this much without being crazy or mean, and it’s all about organization, so yesterday I packed everything I wanted to take with me. I laid it all out, tidy and organized, and wrote myself little lists, and thought carefully about the knitting I wanted to take with me, and I got that into project bags, and lined it up on the table. About two minutes after that, I glanced at the clock, realized I had to be downtown for a meeting in an hour, surveyed everything that I’d pulled together gave myself a nice little pat on the back for having it so together, grabbed my bag and headed for the bus. The bus came, I had to run – you don’t care about that part, the important thing is that as I settled myself on the bus for the short ride to the subway, I reached into my bag to get my knitting, and before my hand was even all the way in there, I knew it. No knitting. None. In my organizational zeal I’d taken it from my regular bag and put in by my travel bag and then instead of doing what I usually do (which is go to the airport with the travel bag) I’d left with my regular bag and … and it’s hard to describe the sense of panic I had. Organization might be how I travel without being crazy and mean, but knitting is how I exist without being crazy or mean and without it I really wasn’t really sure what was going to happen. I thought about it – it was going to be about three hours without knitting.
I reasoned with myself. really, I’d be taking notes part of the time, I’d be eating part of the time, I’d be talking part of the time…I could do three hours without knitting if I was going to be busy, right?
36 minutes later I was in the door of the yarn shop closest to the meeting, and 4 minutes after that I was back out the door with a ball of red Galway, a pack of DPNs and the knowledge that I can knit a pair of mittens without a pattern, and 6 minutes after that I was at the meeting looking for all the world like a normal (if slightly sweaty and rushed) human being. *
Having started, it only makes sense to finish them I guess, though I had no intention of knitting mittens at all, but emergencies are emergencies.
*PS “normal human being” isn’t exactly how people look at you if you take a picture of your half knit mitten on your hand in the airport lounge, but whatever.
My Favourite Articles and Links This Week A positive attitude: the world’s most underrated secret to success. This was fascinating: Women spoke only 27% of all the dialogue in 2016’s 10 biggest movies. If you ever feel like your day-to-day is less than extraordinary, remember this. This slow motion video of a hedgehog running is
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Brooklyn Tweed has a brand new capsule collection, designed by Michele Wang. Longtime BT fans will be very familiar with Michelle’s aesthetic, which is full of texture and sumptuous cables, this collection does not disappoint. If you don’t cable, then this might be more on the eye candy spectrum of knitting goals. But if you love
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I was going to post yesterday, but truth be told, I spent most of my blogging time reading comments. You guys really know how to go to town, don’t you? I’ve read all of them now (I think, there are really a lot) and I want to say how much I appreciate that for the very largest part, that there can be respectful disagreement, and that it can be handled decently. You guys are awesome in the kindness department. While I was reading, it turns out that I didn’t really get off the rainbow train, because another wee thing fell off my needles. It doesn’t exactly match the bootees, because it was made from the leftover Dream in Color passed on to me by a generous knitting buddy, but it’s darned nice – it’s a little bigger too, not a newborn size, which is a good thing. Impending Grandson arrives at the tail end of April, and as much as it doesn’t feel like it right now, winter will be over. This one should fit him in the fall – when the winter (sigh) comes back.
Pattern: Tulips (size 6-9m) Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, and I don’t know the colours because the labels are long ago gone. They’re darling though – and yes, I know this is probably the 6th time I’ve knit this sweater, and no, I’m not even a little sick of it.
I cast on some bright socks too, as antidote for the next thing on my needles, which is a big squishy warm and cozy cowl for me, knit out of my new yarn crush, Får, from Woolfolk. (I actually like it so much that I came a hair’s breadth from ordering a sweaters worth ten minutes after I finished my swatch. It’s freakin’ delicious.)
I decided to knit Grus, and I swatched, then merrily cast on for the larger version. 8 (rather long) rounds later, I realized that things weren’t lining up right, thought about tinking back to figure out where it had gone wrong, realized that I’d failed counting to 4 really early on (and more than once) vowed for the 2824745th time in my knitting career not to establish patterns when I wasn’t concentrating (or when I was chatting with Jen and having a glass of wine – rookie move, that)
and ripped it back –
and started again. This time, free of the distractions of anything fun or charming, it turns out that I can count to four as many times as I would like, as long as nobody interrupts, me.
If I am ever the sort of person who has a gagillion dollars, I am going to fund a study to discover what it is about knitting that destroys an otherwise clever person’s ability to count, while still leaving their other skills intact. Say it with me. 1. 2. 3. 4. Repeat.
Right now, Luis’ favourite book at our house is The Rainbow Bear. My girls loved it too, and I took it out from the book bin just before Christmas because I though that Lou was ready for the sad story of a bear who just wanted to be colourful, and lived out the downside of trying to be something you’re not, learning that each of us is supposed to be exactly as we are for things to work right. Maybe that was in my mind, or maybe it’s the winter grey that’s getting to me, but this weekend I sat myself down, and made my impending grandson a pair of bootees. I’d saved the leftovers from a pair of Rainbow socks a while back, with this exactly in mind. (Well, bootees in mind, but not bootees for my grandson. He was a sparkle in his mother’s eye when I saved it.)
I was totally right about the book. Luis loves it, and I was knitting the bootees on the subway a few days ago, feeling cheerful and happy about the whole thing, when a very nice lady sat down beside me and asked what I was making. I told her my daughter was expecting a baby, and that I was making bootees. “Oh, it’s a girl!” she chirped, and I paused for a second, and then said that it was a boy.
She looked at me for a minute, and I could tell that we were entering a fragile moment, one that we were going to disagree on, and this being Canada we’re good at disagreeing politely in public, and so she said “Goodness. Aren’t those a little… girly, for a boy?”
Now, since we are good at disagreeing in public, I did tell her what I thought, and I was gentle. “No” I said. “I don’t think it matters.” She looked at me for a minute, and she said “You’re right. He’ll be tiny. It won’t matter.” I looked at her for a second, and I said “Oh, I think it’s fine in general” and then she said this. “Of course – though when he’s bigger, you won’t want someone taking him for a girl.”
We didn’t go any further than that, it was the subway, after all. Here’s the thing though – I think what happened there was pretty sexist. Not the overt sort of sexism that’s wound up with women having a significant pay gap, or men still owning most of the property and having most of the money (despite women having most of the education, but that’s a fight for another post.) I mean – and let me be perfectly, absolutely, fantastically clear… I think that if you’re worried about what would happen if a boy is taken for a girl, then you’re sexist. It means that you have a plan – whether you’re aware of it or not. It means that you treat boys one way, and girls another, and that you think you need to know if a baby is a boy or a girl, and that there would be consequences of some kind if you got it wrong.
When someone says “What if they were taken for a girl?” It tells me right that minute that you think that would be a problem. You can say all you like, lady on the subway, that you think boys and girls are equal, but you’ve just revealed that you don’t think the same systems apply – and I’ll ask you this… What if? What if someone took my grandson for a girl? What if they absolutely took a look at this wee human with his gorgeous rainbow feet, and got his gender wrong, and treated him like a girl? What would happen then? What were you planning on doing differently?
If the answer is nothing, my commuting compatriot, then why do you need to know? I understand that there are problems here. That there are things that we think of as manly, and things that are feminine, and that there’s a whole great big system at work and it’s complicated, and hard to buck against, and I’m not saying that there aren’t families and parents where boys have to wear boy clothes, and girls have to wear girl clothes (and live with the fact that there are no goddamn pockets in the garb of the latter) and I am totally copping to the fact that from time to time, I feel the pressures of all of those things, but here we speak of bootees. Tiny socks for a tiny person, and wouldn’t it be so nice if we could just begin their time on this earth truly thinking for one little minute that the sort of socks that they wear won’t have a huge impact on what happens, and how people treat them?
On the other hand, we live in a world where girls make less money (globally, 60-75% less) hold less power, do a disproportionate amount of caregiving, and have a 1 in 4 chance (and that’s in North America) of being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and where someone who is about to be the President of the United States can talk about grabbing women’s privates because he’s powerful – and it will be dismissed by enough people as unimportant (or the way that men talk) that he will still win. So maybe, if I’m being kind… maybe the lady on the subway was just trying to keep our little human safe, because there are very real consequences to being a girl.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting, rather apologetically.
Original Pattern: Element Knitter Extraordinaire: Cassy (Ravelry ID, blog) Mods: Added rainbow stripes at the sleeves, added length, and a three needle bind off at the shoulders. Details can be found on her blog post here, and her Ravelry project page can be found here. What Makes This Awesome: Cassy often make modifications on knits to suit
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