Yarn Harlot

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Doubling up

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 13:47

Off I go this morning, the first of two flights, making my way from cold and snowy Toronto to what I hear is a decidedly more spring-like Seattle.  It’s the time of the year that I get to go to Madrona, and I’m excited and happy to be on my way, despite the 5am wake-up call. It’s early morning in the Air Canada Lounge at YYZ, and I’m here with my fellow travellers, watching Olympic curling on TV and knitting.  Well, we’re all watching curling (it is Canada, after all, and the sport is a bit of a national obsession here) but I think I’m the only one knitting. I’m certainly the only one posing yarn with curling. (Hold on… yes. It’s just me.)

As I was getting my projects together for this trip, I realized that for the first time maybe ever, everything I’m knitting is something I’ve made before. I’ve got the second go at Elliot’s sweater in my bag (because you guys are right and it makes more sense to knit it all over again than it does to rip it back – I’d only be able to keep a bit of it, and I’m pretty sure I have enough yarn) and those two balls of yarn are destined to be another Bonfire – this time in Freia Handpaints Vitamin C and Driftwood, a combination that’s a little more 1970’s kitchen than the one before.  I loved knitting that last cowl, and I’ve been dreaming of a do-over since the minute I finished it… The way I remember it, every single moment of it was a pleasure. Then just now I started the two-colour Italian cast-on this sucker begins with, and all of a sudden I don’t know what I was thinking. Last time it all seemed so fast, so easy, so entertaining, and that must be true, if I forgot about this part.  Second verse, same as the first.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

In a drawer

Sun, 02/11/2018 - 22:19

We’ve been going through my Mum’s things. It’s time to empty her house and sell it, and unbelievably, months of wishing the house would sort itself without us hasn’t really done anything. Erin and I are not really terrific at this, we’ve both got a low threshold, and I think we both feel like the house is full of emotional bombs.  You’re going along fine, sorting something, and then run into something that’s just so… Mum, that it hits you like a sledgehammer. Nothing is safe. Even trying to get rid of stuff from the freezer was hard – Erin pulled out the little jar of frozen lemon curd I’d made mum at Christmas, and I came undone, two minutes later we’re laughing and crying because we’ve pulled something out with a best before date of some time in 2014.  Mum didn’t really believe in best before dates. She thought they were a scam. (She once ate an 14 month old yogurt by accident and didn’t die. This cemented her philosophy.)

I knit a lot of things for my mum over the years, and I’ve been stunned to discover that she kept them all. Every bit of it (with the exception of slippers that wore out) are still in her closets and drawers. She’s got a fantastic sock collection, and hats, sweaters and tops. Erin took a few of the sweaters, and the silk tee that I knit her, and I think I’ll take the socks back – I’m not sure yet. Socks are such an intimate thing, I don’t know if I can bear to let them go, or bear to have them here.  There’s a lot to figure out and I hadn’t expected it to come down to weeping into old socks, but there you have it.  In her cupboard of sweaters, I found an old one.

This was the first sweater I knit my mother, and frankly, it doesn’t have much to recommend it. For a while with my mum, there was a sheep thing. It’s hard to explain, but she ended up with a lot of sheep stuff, and at the beginning of all of it, I knit her a sweater that was supposed to be reminiscent of her grandfathers sheep farm in BC. It was 1990, and at the time I was very young and broke, and Amanda was six months old, and the outlay of cash for the yarn was a big deal, even though it’s absolutely acrylic. (Canadiana, ordered from Mary Maxim. I remember it coming in the mail.)  I designed it myself, such as it is, a little square, drop-sleeve sweater, and charted the intarsia sheep and hills and clouds, and embroidered on the little bunches of flowers and the legs and noses of the sheep.

I remember making it. I remember hoping she liked it, and I remember being worried because the clouds didn’t look quite right, and the seams aren’t perfect, and the green wasn’t quite the green I thought it would be.  All those things are still true. It’s not the most expertly executed knitwear, my skills are very different now, that’s for sure. I remember her opening it, and I remember her saying that she loved it. I don’t know if she really did. I mean, now that I’m a mother I see that she certainly did love it, but we’ll never know if she loved it because of what it was, or because I made it for her.  The stuff your kids make is like that, and I suspect it doesn’t change because they grow up. She wore that sweater for years. Years and years.

(That’s her and Meg. The sweater’s already three years old by then.) I felt a little twinge of shame every time I saw that sweater in the last 10 years or so.  Wishing, now that I am older and wiser and have more skills and money that I’d made it better. I thought a few times about re-knitting it, this time in wool, with the green I’d always meant it to be, and with shoulder seams that were a bit tidier.  My intarsia isn’t much better, but I could have tried. I never did though, and now there it was, on a shelf in a cupboard in her room, carefully folded, with a bar of soap in-between it and the sweater under it. (My mother has a bar of soap in every possible spot of her closets and drawers. We can’t explain it, but there’s got to be fifty of them.)

It smells like her (and like soap) and right now it’s in my living room, and I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, and I can’t even explain my feelings toward it, but I knew it couldn’t go to Goodwill.  I now own a pretty crappy acrylic sweater, one that I’m super attached to, and rather ironically, it was knit by me.  Couldn’t have predicted that.

Life is surprises.

By the way, we’ve opened our April Retreat up for Registration, there’s some info here if you would care to join us.  Who knows. Maybe I’ll wear the sweater.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A River in Egypt

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 18:46

This June I will be fifty years old.  When I am fifty, I will have been knitting for forty-six years, and I have just done a classic dumb-knitter thing, and I want you to know that if you were hoping that sometime soon you would stop doing the same thing, you should probably give up.

I just finished the sweetest little sweater for Elliot.  It’s the Elwood sweater – re-jigged colour-wise to match all the hats I knit this Christmas.  Looks great, right?

Wrong. It does not fit him, it is too small. I have to pull the whole thing out. I think I can just go back as far as the divide for the sleeves, work some more increases and carry on, but I have to pull out the sleeves, the collar and button band, the body from the divide… and here is the worst part.

It is my fault. It is completely my fault. It is entirely, 100% totally my fault in about ten ways, which I have listed below, so that the record is complete.

1. I didn’t do a swatch.  I can’t explain why not, I just let it go, like a passing and irrelevant thought.  A bubble I let float away on a breeze.

2. Once I decided not to do a gauge swatch, I also decided that even though the gauge for this sweater is 18 stitches to 10cm, and even though I have never, ever gotten that gauge with this yarn and a size 4mm needle – that this was indeed the needle I should use.

3. I made that decision, knowing that it would result in a fabric that I liked, but not a gauge that would work, and started knitting anyway – believing that it might still work, even though I absolutely knew it would not. I did not suspect it wouldn’t work. I knew it wouldn’t, and yet I hoped that this was the time that everything would change, for no reason what so ever, even though the world never, ever works that way.

4. I began knitting, and knew the gauge was wrong, and the sweater would be too small, but thought I might just do a few extra increases to make it work.

5. Then I didn’t do them. I didn’t forget either. I just decided to skip it because #3.

6. I had a feeling again, once I divided for the sleeves and body, that it wasn’t working out. As a matter of fact, I applied forty-six years of experience and knew it wasn’t working out, but I decided to ignore that feeling in the hopes that magic dust would settle on the sweater and a unicorn would spit on it and a knitting miracle that has never before happened to me would finally occur.

7. It did not, and despite that, I decided to knit the button band and the collar before the sleeves, just to make it harder to rip it out if the unicorn thing didn’t happen.

8. As I was knitting the first sleeve I knew it was too skinny. I knew my gauge was wrong. I knew all of those things and I felt pretty bad about knitting the sleeve, but I told myself that all of these problems were probably going to block right out, so I knit the second tiny stupid too small sleeve.

9. Then I wove in all the ends.

10. Then I blocked it, and it didn’t block out.You know why? Because nothing ever blocks out. Nothing ever has. The first time you think “oh dear… well, that will probably block right out” you should immediately rip back, because that isn’t a thing. That’s not what blocking does, and I know that, and I teach that, and I have written that down and I literally have a tee-shirt emphasizing this and I honestly can’t tell you what the hell was wrong with me from the word go on this sweater because despite points 1-10 this morning I texted Megan and asked her to give me Elliot’s measurements because you know… BABIES SHRINK ALL THE TIME, and when he was as big or bigger than he was the last time I asked I actually got upset and shocked that this sweater is too small.

The only redeeming thing I can possibly say about this episode is that at least I didn’t sew the buttons on. I hate me.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Hip to be square

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 18:51

I finished that gorgeous hat over the weekend – Hallstatt is off the needles, and isn’t it pretty?

Yarn is Sublime Baby Cashmerino DK – and I knit the pattern almost as written – the recipient would be opposed to something tight around their head, so I knit the whole thing on the larger needles, rather than knitting the ribbing on smaller ones. It’s more of a head topper than a head hugger now, and should suit.

When I was done, I knit on the emergency sock I keep in my purse for waiting times – and I thought about what to make next. I’ve been carrying around more Freia Handpaints to make another Bonfire (knits so nice I’ll make it twice) but I’ve also been thinking about a sweater for me – something simple and wearable, like Vintersol or Humulus.  I know – I’ve said before that yoked sweaters aren’t really my thing – but that’s not entirely true.  I love them and think they’re so very pretty on other people (and I’ve knit a couple I couldn’t resist)  but I have broad, square shoulders and a generous rack, and my mother always said that sweaters like that make me look like an advancing tank.  She stressed the role that v-necks should play in my life, and she’s not wrong. They’re flattering for me.

The thing is – It turns out that maybe I don’t give a crap. I mean, maybe it’s okay if I look like an advancing tank, and maybe nobody cares. It’s taken me getting this old to suspect that when I leave a room, people do not discuss my neckline choices in a way that’s going to have any actual impact on my life.  As a matter of fact, I suspect that nobody is discussing my necklines at all. (If this is not true, and it is all you discussed with your friends on the way home from a book signing or workshop, say nothing now.)  It is possible that I’ve spent years trying to avoid criticism that is definitely not forthcoming, and that much like my mother’s warnings about the lengths of my skirts (I have always worn them too long for a woman my height) and the fact that I don’t wear lipstick (just to brighten me) or that I love neutral colours (despite the fact that I would look so much better with a little colour by my face)  the round neck/yoke thing might be true, but unimportant.   Maybe, I think to myself, maybe I should just wear whatever sweaters I like.

This is bold thinking for a woman who has worried about her square shoulders her whole life, so it didn’t quite take hold. I’ll continue to contemplate this, as I knit another sweater for Elliot.

Elwood, in yarn leftover from All. Those. Hats.

Elliot has no position on necklines yet.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Sure another hat

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 01:40

Oh guys, thanks so much.  Without wanting to be a buzz-kill of any kind, this week is a wee bit dreary, and as always, there you were to lift me up, and make me feel less alone. Thanks for your thoughts, your comments, and especially your donations. I know it’s sappy, but I really feel like the universe wants some balance, like water seeking level – and that if my family has to have a hard time right now, that maybe that will be balanced by your donations making things better for another family.  Actually, I know that’s true. I’ve taken a larger leadership role with the Rally this year, and it takes me into PWA several days out of a month (week, actually) and I can tell you for an absolute fact that the money you donate changes lives absolutely. I have met the clients, and the money you give touches their lives in practical and real ways. You are a force, never doubt it, and it does my heart a world of good.

After driving home on Sunday from up North, then driving here to Ottawa rather unexpectedly on Monday, I feel like I’m really scrambled with my knitting projects.  I have a sock humming along in the background, but mostly I’m trying to finish another hat.

I KNOW. I said never to another hat, but you had to know I didn’t really mean it, and besides, what’s a chemo cap without a proper “formal” hat for when you’re out in public.

I’ve chosen a lovely hat that turned up in an exhaustive Ravelry search for just the right thing.  It’s the Hallstatt hat, and the yarn I’ve got is Sublime: Baby cashmere merino silk DK.  (There is nothing more to say about that combination, it’s magic. Everything delicious for a sore head.) Hat is pictured here in my hotel room on the window ledge at dawn, where there is little to work with.

I’ve been plowing along on it for a few days, and I’m remembering this feeling from when my mum was in hospital.  I thought there would be so much knitting, that all that sitting would mean knitting, but when someone is so ill, it turns out that when they speak, you want to put your work down, and turn your full self towards them, and as a result, it’s slow going.

Things are rather unbelievably and fortunately stable here, so tomorrow I’ll make the 5 hour drive back to Toronto, and home and the other part of my family, and finish this hat. It won’t be long before I’m back, and I’ll bring it with me.

And now…. Gratuitous grandson photo.


Home and to him, tomorrow. Peace out.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Fourteen

Wed, 01/24/2018 - 02:05

This is not the way I expected it to be.

I feel like this is pretty much what should be written on the tee shirt I’ve been wearing for the last while.  Finding a way to restructure the family, figuring out a new way to get the hang of all the changes, trying to let go, to move forward.  I keep discovering myself standing in the middle of a something I’ve never lived before, usually with a trashed kitchen and a lot of laundry, one or more people in the family crying or laughing either literally or figuratively, and thinking “this is not the way I expected it to be.”

Grief, grandmotherhood, parenthood, taking down wallpaper – honestly, almost nothing is the way I expected it to be, for better or worse, and I am just so glad that at some point in my life I decided that flexibility (both physical and spiritual) was something I should try to cultivate, and I both went to yoga and tried to get down with new points of view.  I admit, this has had limited success. I accept now that flexibility isn’t going to be the whole secret to happiness (although I swear it helps) and I am now convinced that the rest of it lies in what you choose to say right after you think “This is not the way I expected it to be.”

I’ve been trying really hard to be someone who sort of good naturedly looks at getting a surprise like that and thinks “Good golly I wonder what magic will happen next! Maybe we’re all getting lollipops!” but it turns out that the best I can do might be to surrender all hope of knowing what’s going on, all sense of being invested in my own expectations, and trying for a weakly uttered “Ok then. If someone will bring me a scotch while I take a bath, I think I can re-orient.”

Take today, for instance.  Today is my fourteenth blogiversary.  I have been sitting down at my computer/laptop/macbook for fourteen years, as of today, and writing to you about my knitting and my life and my everything, as often as I have been able.  I am pretty proud of this. I love this relationship between us enough that in the days leading up to this blogiversary, I kept thinking about what I would do to celebrate. A big post. Maybe show you some beautiful pictures, maybe a long letter to you, telling you about the amazing impact you’ve had on my life, and what it means to all of us that you’re here. (I try to do this every year, because it’s a really hard thing to explain.) Then things changed, and plans got altered, and my sister and I played a game of WWMD (What Would Mum Do) and voila.

This blog post comes to you from a hotel room, where I’m by myself, having trouble connecting to the wifi, hotspotting from my phone at a cost of wool knows what, after a drive to Ottawa that should have  been a simple mission, but wound up being a two day affair involving an ice storm, all so that I can be nearby and present for someone in hospital, only to end up sitting here, more or less quietly,  realizing that the universe isn’t done with the edit to my family and that things are pretty hard here, and that I don’t mean to be vague, just to protect the privacy of someone else and it’s all really sad and ending up with… this is not the way I expected it to be.

I thought that my blogiversary would be different, but as I got to working up a good head of self pity, I realized that it’s actually sort of good, because Blog… when I thought of having a blog, this is not the way I expected it to be.  I thought I would write, you would read and I don’t know what I thought would happen after that, but not this.

I never ever would have expected that after fourteen years, I would sit in a room by myself, a little bit lonely, trying to figure out my next move, realizing that there is no next move, just a simple endurance game, and the magic of showing up, and that what I really need is patience and strength and to hold right on tight and maybe to knit a bit… and to talk to my blog and realize in that moment that you, my blog, you make me less lonely, and one of you is always up, and you always know what to say when things are down, and wing of moth you are so funny, and…

This isn’t what I expected it to be.

Thank you for fourteen years of making this wild ride better. I love you, and I can’t tell you what it means that you’re there.

Now take a gratuitous picture of my grandson while I get on with  it.  See you tomorrow.

(PS. If you are feeling traditional, this is the day that donations to my bike ride in the amount of 14 dollars (or a multiple thereof) freaks the daylights right out of PWA.  If I’ve entertained you $14 worth over the last fourteen years, let it rip.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

W is for Winter and Wool

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 16:32

Yesterday, before I drove home from up north, Jen and I drank a pot of coffee while conducting surveillance for the wild turkeys we were lucky enough to see one morning, and congratulated ourselves on a near perfect weekend. In fact, the only reason we are not calling it absolutely perfect is because we don’t want to make you too jealous. We hiked, we wished for snowshoes,

we skated on the forest trail at Arrowhead, lit by torches.

We knit, we cooked, we ate, we walked by Georgian Bay, frozen and perfect, and saw what passes for a sunset on the beach. (We admit, you may need a bold Canadian heart to find the romance in a winter beach sunset. There are waves. They’re just frozen instead of lapping.)

We talked, we laughed. Jen tried to teach me how to stop on skates. (Skating is not a strong suit of mine. I like it, but I’m not great, and my entire deceleration technique involves snowbanks.)

After some careful coaching by Jen, my technique still involves snowbanks. We also knit, and knit, and knit. Everywhere.

Jen agreed to model the fabulous cowl I just finished, and we were able to expose a whole new region of Ontario to the mystic practice of hanging knitwear in trees for photos.

Pattern: Bonfire. Yarn: Freia Fine Handpaints, Sport weight, in Flare and Charcoal.

I love this project.  It was grand fun to knit, and the finished thing is so nice that I can’t stop snuggling it, and every time Jen saw it in the cabin she said “Oh that’s so beautiful.”

I did not give it to her.

The astute among you noticed that there was what appeared to be a hat in the last post, even though I distinctly said a few posts ago that I was never knitting another hat.

It was a hat, or more properly, a chemo cap. Life happens, people need things, knitting is still a good way to store and transport love, and it turns out there can’t be rules about hats.  This particular love container is 100% Cashmere, and if that and the care I put in every stitch doesn’t help, I don’t know what will. (Chemo excepted.)

How’s your winter?

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Runaway

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 19:39

Well before Christmas, Jen and I were on the phone, and we were talking about Jen’s latest placement. She’s in her third year midwifery, and one of her student placements is up north. (Not that far north, the Near North. That’s actually the name of the region, to tell it from the Far North or the Arctic, which of course would be the North North.  This is Canada. We’re almost entirely made up of North – we’ve got a lot of ways to describe it.) She asked if I would come visit during the month that she lived up there, and I said that I would, but I wasn’t sure if I would. I mean, I thought I would like to, but she hadn’t come up here yet and she didn’t know what it would be like yet or if she would be busy or if the little cabin she rented would have two coffee cups or… You know. It seemed to me like there needed to be details.

Well, fast forward to last week and Jen’s been two weeks living by herself in a little cabin in the woods with a hot plate and no bathtub,  studying at a midwifery practice and keeping weird hours, and she was starting to sound a little bit weird.  When the internet crapped out and she lost that lifeline to the outside world, I firmed up my plans.

Yesterday I packed up heaps of knitting, pulled together a menu I think I can serve off of a hot plate, and headed out the door. I arrived yesterday, and while Jen’s on call and so we can’t stray far, we we’ve set ourselves an ambitious agenda of hiking, eating, knitting and tea drinking.

The weather is perfect, cold, but not too cold, wintry but not vicious, and we are made for adventure.

Also, it turns out that this midwifery clinic has a great yarn bowl.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A wolf in the hand

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:46

Just a quickie from me today – I’ve got a little free time here at the end of the day, and in this ocean of a busy week, tonight’s got knitting written all over it – I’m on a roll – there’s so much knitting going on.  Heaps of it, things falling off the needles – that magnificent cowl is finished (I’ll show ya later) and that sweet pair of Wild Wolves, knit for Meg.

The photos are courtesy of Meg, as you can tell by the photo assistant.  (Meg said he wanted them so badly – as soon as she put them on he was all over it.) I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but Meg’s married family name is “Wolf” and so technically our little Elliot is being raised by Wolves (though he’s one too, so one assumes he’s fine with it.)

This was a super fun knit, and very quick, just an evening for each of the pair, if that, and I made only one change to the pattern.  There’s two rounds on the foreheads of the wolves that have three colours per round, and I gave that a resounding nope.  I used the two colours (background and light grey) for those rounds, and then began using background and dark grey when it was those two colours per round, leaving a long tail both when I started the dark grey, and when I ended it.  When I was all done I went back and used the tails to duplicate stitch on the few stitches in the rounds prior that needed to be that colour. Easier for sure.

I really love them, but for one little thing, which is that the pattern has you go in and embroider the nose and eyes of the wolves after the fact, and the eyes are french knots. That was easy enough, but I can see from the pictures Meg took that the knots (one in particular, if you spot the squinty wolf on the right) aren’t all staying on the right side of the work. I forget what you’re supposed to do to make them stay put (a piece of felt on the rear? Splitting the plies of the fabric?) but the wolf with the missing eye looks a little dodgy to me.  I’ll see if I can fix it.  Do any of you know the magic trick for making them stay on the right side?*

*Really, I can look it up, but what’s the point of having the blog in my life if you aren’t one enormous brain trust.

PS. The mittens aren’t just good looking, they are Elliot Verified Delicious.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Keep the Rabbit out of this

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 16:54

When Luis was born, Joe’s mum Carol lost her mind in the most charming way, and showed pictures of that kid to every single person who lived on earth.  We called it the Nana-cam, and she whipped out snaps of her darling boy at every possible opportunity. On the bus, in restaurants, in the queue at the bank, attending an exercise class… no person and no situation was a grandson free zone. I remember thinking it was lovely that she was so proud and so delighted, but also heaving a sigh of relief that I would never be swept up like that.  I am not that sort of person, I thought, smiling as she whipped out her phone again.

Yeah. Well… wasn’t I cute, because this morning as I started getting this post together I reflected for a moment that maybe you guys wouldn’t want an Elliot post two in a row. I thought maybe I should write about something else, like maybe cables or how to count rows,  and that maybe I should get a grip on myself when it came to the grandson thing and then honest to goodness I swear to the lot of you, I realized that I could not imagine that even one of you did not want to see pictures of him in his new sweater, and as I thought that – I had another thought simultaneously, and it was “Oh no I am the Nana-cam”.

So I guess I am, and look! Elliot has a new sweater!

This is Flax Light, knit in the fabulous new sweater striping yarn from Gauge Dye Works. It’s a thing now.  They made some, it sold out, but they’re making more, because it’s pretty much the coolest ever.

It is definitely cooler than Elliot’s rabbit, which is not living up to expectations. (I am unclear on how the rabbit is disappointing him, but I think we can all agree that his position is clear.)

I’m loving this little sweater, and Megan and Alex are too – it’s soft, thin, wearable as clothes rather than a layer, and looks great on him.  If I can get that yarn in another colourway, I’ll make him another one. Something’s got to make up for the rabbit.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Team

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 21:06

I’m ready to talk about the hats.

A few weeks before Christmas, I noticed that the Tiny Lumberjack hat that I’d knit for Elliot was too small. (He’s really a rather petit little fellow, but growing like a weed.) Meg had it on him with the brim folded down and well… it triggered some grandmother knitting.

I decided he should have a new, bigger one for Christmas.  Easy enough.  I mucked around with the pattern, changed it to worsted weight, and made it big enough to last him a good long time. One evening while I was knitting it, Joe looked over and complimented the hat and said he’d really like one just like it. Then Pato said the same thing, and then I started thinking about how much Sam loves it when people have matching clothes, and an idea was born.  It was a crazy idea – I see that now. I decided I would pound out eight of those hats, one for everyone* knit in time for Christmas.  This idea, as mad as it was, had a lot going for it.

a) this is a very cute hat.

b) who doesn’t need a hat, also they are faster to knit than socks.

c) Sam loves matching things so much that I imagined that when she figured out we all had matching hats, she would probably go bananas.

I started. I bought the yarn (then I bought more yarn, seeing immediately that I didn’t have enough**) and then I just kept knitting them.  At every occasion I pulled out a grey cabled hat with a red and white striped brim, and nobody said anything.

Nobody in the family caught on that there were multiples of this hat…

and as the hats waxed and waned across my instagram feed,  progress gained, lost, then gained again… not a single person left a comment that said anything like “Wing of moth, how long is it going to take you to knit that hat”

or “Did you have to rip back? Were you not almost done that beast?”

or “Is this all you knit now?” (Which would have at least been accurate. It was all I knit. Me. That hat.  Morning. Night. By the fire. By the tree. On buses. On airplanes. Everywhere. That hat. All the time.

By Christmas morning I had (almost) all the hats knit. I wrapped them all up, with a label that read “For Joe (and Sam)” “For Meg (and Sam)” “For Alex (and Sam)” and I handed them all out at once. Sam was enchanted and excited….

It was as awesome as I thought it might be, and everyone was so happy, so delighted to be like each other – it got me thinking about teams and uniforms and that maybe Sam is onto something with the matching stuff – maybe it’s comforting to know who’s on your side at a glance.

This was confirmed for me the other night, at our regular dinner with Elliot (and it’s nice to see Meg and Alex too) when Joe wore his hat, and then Ken arrived wearing his, and Elliot looked up at the two of them and you could just see his little mind processing the fact that they had the same hat on, his eyes flicking from pom pom to pom pom.   Ken noticed him looking and leaned in. “That’s right” he said. “It’s the same hat….”

“It’s how you can spot your people.”

*I look pretty phallic in most hats, and this one is no exception. I skipped the one for me.

**Wrong again. I have heaps of leftovers. Yarn insecurity is a terrible thing.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Not a hat

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 21:28

In the last weeks before Christmas (and before New Years, I was running late) I knit eight hats, and the hats were all I knit. Morning, noon, night, hats, hats, hats. I’ll show you pictures another day when I can stand to look at them, but the important thing to know about that little streak is that now I am so tired of hats that I’m feeling the occasional urge to slap them off the heads of strangers.

During the last of the hats, I comforted myself by lining up two projects I was going to start the minute it was all over, and when I say that I lined them up, I don’t mean that I sort of thought about what it was going to be and kept them in my mind.  I mean that I took the yarns out of the cupboard, got the needles, organized the patterns and put it all right next to me so that it was literally lined up. I’d knit a hat for a bit, then reach over and pat the reward yarns, quietly mumbling eloquent things like “^%$#%ing hats.”

I started too look forward to the reward knits so much that I worried that maybe I was making too much of it. I wasn’t.  I started both of them, and I love them – Wild Wolves –  I had a kit that I bought at Knit East. It’s entirely charming, knitting up quickly and delightfully not hatlike at all.

Also not a hat?  Bonfire.  I’ve been dreaming of this one for a while – I ordered the yarn ahead so that I’d have it, and I’m so smitten.  It’s Freia Fine Handpaints in Flare, and a solid to go with.

It’s not often that I use the yarn a pattern calls for – I’ve got a big stash and I like to use it, but this yarn is so perfect for this pattern that I couldn’t imagine anything else. My hat free life is so perfect.

I am never knitting another hat.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

As you mean to go on

Mon, 01/01/2018 - 20:20

As I was getting ready for the new year yesterday, I was writing a blog post in my head.  I started to write it down too, and then realized that I was totally on the wrong track and deleted the whole thing.  I was writing about how sad it was, caught up in the idea that this would be the first year of my life that I didn’t speak with my mother at midnight, that 2018 would be the first year that she wasn’t alive at all.  I was writing about how this year had been our “annus horribilis” – the worst year of my life,  and as I typed the words, they began to lose traction. That wasn’t all this year was. For sure, this is the first year I won’t talk to my mother – but this year will be the first of many years that I have my grandson. I went back and looked at the pictures I took this year for a little perspective.

(January)

(February)

(March)

When I was growing up, my mum had tons of traditions – for everything. Things you had to do or say or wear at certain times of year, on special days. When I was younger I thought they were dumb, but when I became a mother, when I started to be responsible for creating a sense of family, a team that was going to pull together, I saw the cleverness of it. These little things, these small structures – they give a family its backbone, its character, the ways that they are special to each other, and an enduring feeling of connection. “This is the way we do it… this is who we are… ” It’s strengthening. I’ve clung to those things over the last few weeks, trusting that our traditions would help me feel less lost, and it’s mostly worked. Yesterday was no different, and neither is today.

(April)

(May)

(June)

Yesterday I cleaned the house, did laundry, emptied a drawer, straightened a closet, urged us all to be in good shape as we began a new year.  “End as you mean to go on.” I could year my mum saying it to me – reminding me that the place I was in as the New Year struck would set the tone for the year to follow.  I swept the floor, taking care to throw the contents of the dustpan out the back door – mum says that makes sure you sweep the old years troubles out the door too. We paid our bills, put coins in the backyard for the light of the old moon and the new moon to shine on so we’ll have enough money this year – mum was always very clear on that one.  I shared a beautiful dinner with people I love, and I made sure that the first person across my threshold after midnight was a dark haired man. (As usual, Joe was sent out, only to be admitted back in – though he is getting so grey haired that I wasn’t sure that it would take, so later Sam’s boyfriend Mike came in ahead of her, just to be sure. The concept of a First Footer is vague on the details, as was my mother.)

(July)

(August)

(September)

(October)

(November)

Today I’m doing all the things my mum said were important.  I’m hosting a levee, I won’t wash anything today, to make sure no one in the family is washed away this year. I’ll do a bit of work, to make sure that my work is successful for the next year, I’ll take a moment to tell the people that I love that they’re important to me, keeping them bound to me for the next year. I’ll put the coins from the new moon in my purse, and I’ll drink a toast to the people I wish were here. My grandparents, Janine, Tupper, Mum… I’ll look back, and then I’ll look ahead.

(December)

I’ll begin as I mean to go on.

Happy New Year, blog.

(*PS I totally just cast on something new too.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

What I have

Sat, 12/23/2017 - 23:14

I have been trying very hard these last days, as we draw ever closer to Christmas, to focus on what I have.  I can feel myself tempted to lean into what I do not have, what’s missing, what I think I need…It’s a feeling I fight every year. This tendency to feel like it’s not enough – that I haven’t done enough, that I haven’t done well enough, or cooked enough or bought enough… I always have to remember to not measure the holiday in random stuff.

This year the feeling is one I can’t shake, probably because I haven’t done as much as I usually do, and definitely because I miss my mother – her absence is keen for me right now. Sometimes it’s a dull ache, like a broken bone slowly healing, and sometimes it’s like a sharp rending – like this afternoon, when I was wrapping a few gifts (finally)  and I pulled out a box from last year (as a knitter I tend to be a rather weird box hoarder) and a tag tumbled out “For Mum, much love, Steph.”  In that moment, my feeling was not just that I didn’t have enough, but that I had nothing. That nothing was right, that nothing ever would be.

This is not even remotely accurate. Not even close. I have so much, and yesterday and today as we celebrated the solstice, I tried hard to remember the light is coming back, and every day there will be a little more, and things will be a little better, and other than the rather gutting and horrific death of my mother, things are actually pretty firmly good. (It does not help, by the way, that one of the things I have is a really bad cold, but I’m trying to look past it.)  I have a lot.  I have most of the gifts bought or made (one big knitting sprint underway but trying to believe it can work.)

I have a loving family-in-law that has taken the time to think of my mother, and include her memory in their celebrations, though it makes us all cry, it’s a comfort to know they all miss her.

I have so many friends, who all turned up to decorate gingerbread and fill my house to the brim in a way that left no room for anything but happiness and love and some gingerbread seahorses that are pretty fabulous.

I have the cookies baked. Not as many as in past years, but that doesn’t matter. I have just enough of the few favourites that matter to us.

I have a husband who was smart enough to know that I would struggle with all of this, and planned a little ski trip away with Katie, Carlos, Lou and Frankie, and we skied and ate and made tire sur la neige and (I totally got this cold from Frank) and Joe was right.  It got me though the worst of it. New traditions taking the place of old ones.

I have beautiful children and a wonderful grandson and I know for a fact that none of them are going to be cold or hungry or lonely or cast out on this holiday, as the snow flies and it gets colder and colder.  It’s why this is always the time of year that I give what I can to charities – This year I gave a little extra to the Bike Rally, because many of their clients won’t have what I do this winter, and because I have to be my mum, and it’s what she would have done.

I have a big hole where my mum should be, sure –  and I’m taking from the emails and notes I have from all of you, that I won’t even have that forever, and I can see how it’s true. This is a hard spot, but I have so very, very much to try and fill it with.

Happy Solstice.  I know I’m late, but it’s what I have.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A new pen wouldn’t hurt either

Mon, 12/11/2017 - 23:32

For years and years, I’ve run a very tight Christmas ship.  Very tight. Spreadsheet kinda tight, and it’s really worked for me. It’s prevented a hysterical sort of feeling in my tummy and made it possible for me to get a lot done during the run up to the holiday.  This year – well this year there was a problem with the spreadsheet.  The appointed day came to open it and start worrying about Christmas, and I opened it, saw my mothers name on it and closed it again.  I’d made notes about what her gift would be, what I had to take to her house for Christmas dinner, what sort of cookies I had to bake in time for her annual Christmas party, and it just stung too much too see how many things we always do that we won’t this year.  I’m not sure what happened after that, but the general sense of dread I’d had about the holiday turned into a more specific one, and I entered a prolonged period of denial.  I just didn’t worry about it.

I didn’t pre-shop, I didn’t worry about presents, I didn’t knit Christmas specific stuff (much) … I didn’t do any of the things I usually do, and for a while that seemed like it was working.  I didn’t have to feel bad that my mum won’t be at Christmas… I think on some level I’d just decided that we wouldn’t have one. It seemed so simple.  There was just one little problem with that.

It’s Elliot’s first Christmas, and this family is so, so good at Christmas – in no small part because my mum was such a wonderful grandmother, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I owe him the same… and not just a token Christmas, a really lovely one. To somehow figure out new traditions – new ways of doing things.

I don’t know what’s going to be possible – I’m not even sure how to handle things. I mean, do I bake meringues if what I did with them was take them to my mother’s party? When do I see the relatives I saw at mum’s? Do they come to my house? What do we do in the afternoon on Christmas day, when usually we would bathe and dress to go to my Mum’s? It seems really complicated to figure out, and I can tell that it’s going to take a lot of energy. I remembered to buy Meg some blank ornaments so she could make them with Elliot’s foot and handprints, and I managed somehow (a little late for me) to put the tree up, and cried sentimentally the whole time I did it, but it’s up there, and it is lovely to have it, and I do love seeing it. It hurt to make it happen, but I see now that it would have hurt more to not put it up. I’m going to keep that in mind as I try to get the rest of this thing going.

This Christmas is going to be about the basics. People. Time. Being together.  There isn’t going to be a mad knitting dash to the end (that’s a lie I have one sort of wild plan) I’m not going to make a million cookies – just the favourites we really love. (I don’t know if that’s meringues.) I’ve come to this a little late to the party – just about two weeks to get it all together, but I’m going to be gentle with myself and my family – we still weather regular storms. Making a Christmas grocery list is a chore that should have taken me ten minutes today, but it came grinding to a halt as I encountered a recipe card in my mum’s handwriting.  I love her handwriting. Reflecting on that and looking for other cards she wrote turned it into a lost half hour.

I was going to knit a ton last night – but a first attempt to make a family plan to deal with mum’s stuff degraded into trying on all her shoes. (They mostly fit Erin and I. It was sad and funny and… not knitting.) I have a feeling a lot of it is going to be like that, and I don’t know how to plan for it, maybe you can’t. Maybe this year just isn’t going to be compatible with a plan, really. Maybe this is the year I just do…. what?

So far, my entire Christmas plan consists of me saying “We are really going to have to do something about Christmas” and so far, that hasn’t worked at all. I’m going to go out now, into the snow and I’m going to try buying a new notebook, and writing  “Christmas” on the front, and seeing if tomorrow I have a realistic plan for getting this thing fixed. It will probably work. Office supplies are definitely a good first step.

Right?

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Just stuff that laundry behind the piano

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 21:05

When I was a young mother, and the girls were all little, I was part of a mothers group. I was a La Leche League Leader back then and a Wednesday morning playgroup sprang out of that. We’d all get together and the kids would play and the mums would talk about parenting and (literally) how to make your own granola. (Yes.) To be completely honest the other kids would play, and the other mums would talk and I would spend the entire time following Amanda around with a baby on my hip, ready to pull her bodily from encounters the minute she started to open her mouth. The kid was a biter. In any case, we moved this little playgroup around, and when it was my turn to host it, I would start getting anxious days before – cleaning and scrubbing and stuffing dirty clothes in closets and hiding dirty dishes in the oven and generally freaking out, so that by the time the other mothers arrived, it looked like I was a pretty perfect mum who could not only juggle three kids (one of whom was a vicious land-shark) but also had a clean house, a freshly baked whole grain cake made with wheat germ (it was the 90s. Anti-oxidants hadn’t been invented yet. We just had to put bran and wheat germ in things) all while knitting the children their own sweaters, cloth diapering, growing my own vegetables, and helping run a charity without even breaking a sweat.

This, of course, was a lie. Like anyone who’s trying to do even a third of those things, the housework was absolutely on the bottom of my list.  In any toss up between littles and babies who need something and washing a floor, the kid won every time. There was always dishes in the sink – the bathroom was right on the edge of a health code violation all the time, and if I did get three minutes when I didn’t have to care for another person you can bet I was knitting, not dusting something that was only going to get dusty again. I mean, I like a tidy house, but let’s get real about what your priorities are like if your day has that much to do with other people’s bodily fluids.  Still, even though every parent on earth knows this, I felt compelled to disguise this reality when those other parents were on their way. It was just what I did. You clean up before company comes over, am I right?

So, one time I’m careening through the house, hiding the mess and trying to get the place ready, and my mum was over, and she was sitting there drinking coffee (I know I’ve told this story before) and she watches this for a while, and then tells me that she thinks I’m being mean. That everything I’m doing isn’t just cleaning up for company, it’s giving the other mothers the impression that I can have three little kids, a leadership role in a charity, bake all my own bread and have it all be no biggie. She wondered aloud if they felt inadequate when I pretended I could do it all, when in reality I’d put a bag of diapers that needed washing in the garbage can in the backyard because I was too far behind.  (I washed them later.)

I think about that often. About how my mum thought that pretending wasn’t kind, and I try to live in a way that’s… kinder. For example, I can tell you that something in my fridge smells funny right now and I don’t know what it is, that this morning I found underpants under a chair in the kitchen, and that I totally screwed up my knitting. I wasn’t going to tell you that last one, because once I saw what I’d done I though I could just fix it and nobody would ever know, but then I thought of my mum, and know that right now there’s one of you who’s sitting there realizing that you knit two left mittens and trying to reconcile that with your self esteem, and well.

This weekend I was away.  I spent the weekend with some friends I don’t see often enough, and we hunkered down and cooked together, and ate together and knit together. We call it Yarnclave, and because we were together so close to Christmas, we called it Yarnclavemas. We made a pie.

So, I’m knitting on Elliot’s sweater at some point, and I’ve finished the body, and cast off, and finished the first sleeve, and I’m picking up the held stitches for the second sleeve, and I’m thinking something positive about how it’s all going so quickly, and there it is.

Way back when I divided for the sleeves and body, I was careless, and I put the sleeve stitches on one thread, and SOME of the other sleeve stitches on another, and then put some of the sleeve stitches on the needle for the body along with the body stitches, and then carried on. Coyotes in the wild have knit better.  The body was therefore too wide, and the one sleeve too small. Unfortunately, the fates had a good giggle about that, and I just so happened to pick the correct sleeve to knit after the body, so got that whole sleeve done before I realized what had happened.  Now, if I’d have happened to notice sooner, I could have just pulled back the body, given the sleeve stitches back to the sleeve and reknit the body, but because I didn’t notice I had to rip back the sleeve, and then the body, because the body won’t unzip all the way because I picked up stitches for the *&^%$E#$ing sleeve from it.

The worst part isn’t just that I had to rip back everything but the yoke and start over, the worst part is that I even took a picture of the sweater while it was dead wrong, posted it on the blog, and didn’t notice – although may moths beset the first one of you who giggles, because it’s not like you noticed either.

So, it’s days later, I’m still knitting the sweater, it’s just a few weeks before Christmas and even thought I am a reasonable, grown-up, middle-aged woman, I just got reminded that haste makes waste, pride goes before a fall, and my mother is always right.

I think I’ll have a lie down, or something, before I get slapped around with any other clichés.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

I’m just that much of a help

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 20:53

A few months ago when I was in Vancouver at Knit Social – I staggered up to the Gauge Dye works booth and gave Catherine all my money. You know. As one does.  As I did so, I remarked that she always gets my sock yarn money and my shawl yarn money (yes I have an itemized yarn budget and you should too) and thank goodness that’s where it stops. Her colourways together with the cleverness of self- striping yarn that works for shawls? It might as well be my personal version of knitter kryptonite. As I walked away, I reflected that it’s a good deal that she doesn’t have sweater yarn or I’d pretty much give her all my yarn money, and then a lightbulb went off, and I just about walked backwards to her booth and then I told her.

“If you think about how a shawl works, and whatever magic you run to make the stripes the same length as the rows grow longer – isn’t that” (I said to her, trying not to look as excited as I felt because it’s slightly uncool, while simultaneously pretending I know what math she does)  “Isn’t that the same math as a top down raglan sweater? If you have self striping sock yarn, and shawl yarn, and sweater yarn…” (here I paused for dramatic effect) “…you’d get all my yarn money.”

Catherine looked at me. I looked at her. Then I saw the tumblers start to turn in her mind, and I knew my work was done.  “Make me that” I said.  “I’ll try” Catherine said. “There’s going to be a problem with sizes.” She said that, and I swear I saw here reach for a mental calculator.  “Give it to me in Whistler.” I said. “We’ll see.” She said.

Now, this isn’t the most positive response I’ve had to a yarn demand.  I felt like probably eventually it might happen, but that I shouldn’t get married to it, so I didn’t.  I thought about how clever an idea it was sometimes, and I felt good about telling a really clever person who could actually make it happen, but since I had no idea what had to happen for this yarn to happen, I just thought about it a little bit, like I do other things that I really like the idea of but never happen, like only having one kind of screwdriver.

I got on with my life – until I was at Catherine’s booth at the event in Whistler, and I was giving her all of my sock and shawl money, and she said WAIT, and with a perfect air of brilliance mingled with appealing confidence, she pulled this skein out from behind the booth.

I started to say something like “Oh isn’t that pretty” or some other standard yarn thing, when I saw her eyes twinkle, and it hit me.

Self striping sweater yarn.  She’d actually done it. Designed to work with Flax Light (though it would work with any sweater with standard top down construction) in the 1-2 size, you can cast on at the neck and have stripes of the same size appear all the way to the divide for the arms and body. The rest of the skein is blue- for the rest of the sweater, with the exception of the last little chunk, which is green, so you can have a little green at the cuffs, or the bottom band, or the button bands, or the (yeah here it comes) baby pockets.  This is the prototype, but she says she can make more – and I feel like she’s going to need to do that.

Soon. So, so smart.  Here. Take my sweater money.

*PS WING OF MOTH IT JUST OCCURRED TO ME THAT SHE COULD DO THIS IN OTHER COLOURS.

*PPS. I’m going to need a small loan.

*PPPS No, it’s cool, I’ll just re-finance the house. Never mind.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Long Haul

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 22:53

The top ten reasons I have deleted blog posts to you in the last 2 weeks – along with random photos of where I have been and things I have been doing.

  1. I have been travelling and working a lot, and by the time I find an internet connection to hit “post” what I wrote seems out date and stupid.

(The Resort at Port Ludlow on the last day of our retreat, when a rainbow broke out of the (unrelenting) rain.)

2. After my last post, someone wrote me an email saying that I should be nicer to autistic people. My response wasn’t generous, and I deleted it. (Everyone should be nice to everyone – which I was, even though the guy was a jerk. I answered all his questions and gave him my hotspot. I am super nice.)

3. One of the posts was about weaving in ends and I almost bored myself to death writing it, never mind posting it.

(mitten knitting on the plane.)

4. At least three of them just said YES YOU CAN KNIT ON A PLANE.

(Finished Cloisonee mittens. That I knit on a plane.)

5. I deleted one by accident and in a fit of rage couldn’t write another.

(Trying to knit a second pair of Cloisonee mittens on the plane when I realized I’d forgotten the white yarn. I had backup yarn for another project but was mightily annoyed.)

6. A few of them were too vulnerable, sad and grief struck. I am generally all of those things right now, but I am trying hard to let those feelings come and go – and writing them down and committing them to the archive felt too much like committing to the dark side. There are times of happiness along with the grief, and because I’ve always believed that you get more of what you pay attention to, I didn’t want to write about grief.

(The backup yarn. Despondent Dyes : Party like you plan to be home at 9:00)

7. Then I decided that it was wrong not to write about grief, because it’s a human thing and it’s what’s happening and it happens to everyone and shouldn’t we talk about it?

(The scene just outside Whistler BC, at the Sea to Sky Retreat by Knit Social.)

8. See #6.

9. Thrown off by #’s 6, 7 and 8, I wrote a really happy one, and then decided (because grief makes you a crazy person) that it was disrespectful to my mother’s memory to be too happy and felt guilty that I wasn’t grieving and deleted it.

(The inestimable Clara Parkes and me. In the snow.)

10. I was knitting.

(Sorta mittens.)

PS I almost deleted this because I remembered it was American Thanksgiving and wondered if my post should be about that (even though it is not Thanksgiving here.) I decided not to. Happy Thanksgiving, American friends.  Happy Thursday to everyone else.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Going Going

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 20:54

I got up today (I’d say this morning if I believed for a second that 4:30am was morning) and staggered back to the airport, where I was seated in the chair that they’ve engraved my name in, I’m here so much. (That is totally not true but it’s got to be coming.) I was only been home for a few days this week, just long enough to talk to my family, snuggle a grandson, go to a Bike Rally meeting, nail a deadline and wash my clothes and put them back in my suitcase.  I like travelling, I really do, and for the most part I’m good at it. I sort of like hotels, and airplanes are good for knitting on, and I’ve always liked restaurants. (People bring you food and clean up afterwards. What’s not to like?) I don’t really get all that jet lagged, compared to some people I know, and there are usually interesting people and knitters and yarn when I get where I’m going. I know all this, and I can tell you that I am a professional and tidy traveller,  absolutely who you want to be behind in the security line, and I can make 9/10 border agents smile. I show up to the airport early so I can be the nicest person in the joint, and I amuse myself very well during delays.

Speaking of amusing, other than on instagram have I shown you what I’m knitting? It’s Autumn Lace – by Nancy Marchant, of course – and I’m charmed to no end while knitting it, I tell you that.  Two colours of mohair/silk, the green is my old friend Cracksilk Haze in Jelly, and the other is a Cracksilk Haze substitute, Debbie Bliss’ Angel in some brown colour that today I’m calling “ball label in suitcase”.

I’m having a ton of fun knitting it, and the only thing that I don’t quite love is that every time I get off of a flight I’ve got so much greenish mohair stuck to me I look like I murdered a muppet.  In any case, It’s been me and this fluffy extravaganza on flight after flight after flight, and despite being really good at travel and mostly being cheerful about it, this morning I had another human just about spoil a 5 hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver (one more flight to go, and I’m almost at Port Ludlow) and I have absolutely no recourse but to tell you about it.

I got on my flight, and assembled my knitting, got out my headphones, selected a show, and established my craft zone.™  Everything was fine when buddy comes down the aisle, masquerading as a normal person, and plunks himself in the seat next to mine.  I nod politely, headphones in, and proceed to properly and studiously ignore him. Over the course of the next 5 hours, the following occurs.

  1. Before we take off, dude taps me ON THE LEG and asks me while I have my headphones in, if I have internet (I do) and if I will make a hotspot for him so he can text his sister. I am so stunned by this that I do so. I still can’t explain this.
  2. Dude interrupts me about a billion times (all while I have my headphones in which I thought we had all agreed was the international signal for not going to chat with you) to ask me separately, and always preceded by the tap on the leg –  the following. A) Where do I live?  B) Do I like that place? (This question comes 15 minutes after the first, as a separate interruption. C) Where did I get my glasses? (He has recently learned he needs glasses and is considering Walmart. This is not where mine are from.  D) Do I like the show I am watching? (You may all infer the internal answer.) E) does it bother me that it is a sexy show.  (It is The Handmaid’s Tale. It is not sexy, it is actually sort of the opposite.)  F) Do you have to purchase meals on this flight? G) A thousand other things.
  3. He manspreads his legs so wide that I have little room to exist, even though I am not very big.
  4. He leans towards me, shouldering into my space and forcing me to either cuddle with him or flinch against the plane wall. (Naturally, I choose the latter.)

Finally (although there was so, so much more) he tells me that his mother used to knit, and he thinks he could too, and then (holy cats I swear this is true) he proceeds to explain to me how many things he could make if he knew how to knit, and relates in intricate detail – all absent any actual knitting knowledge, how I could make a sweater if I wanted to. He tells me I would need a front piece, and a back piece, and some sleeve pieces, which I could “sew together” to make a sweater. He draws the shapes of these pieces on his tray table. He says he thinks (like he is probably the first to consider it) that you could likely make many things this way. Making shapes with knitting, and then fastening them together in various ways. He waits, at the end of this speech, for me to thank him (I do not, and it is a little awkward) before he tells me more about his knitting theories, and how many things he knows about it, because it is “common sense” that this is how it would all work.

He stops just short of patting me on the head and says that he could knit if he wanted to, but for (of course) that he has a job to do, and thusly, could not knit on planes, but maybe “some other places” but that most likely he doesn’t have time. You know. I somehow magnificently manage not to point out that he’s done absolutely nothing for the last 5 hours except bother me. Not read a book, not watched a film. Not napped or looked at the inflight magazine for the love of wool. Nothing. NOTHING I almost scream, and then I notice that I’ve been shedding green mohair all over him and for one perfect second, I hope he has an important meeting, and I am quietly happy.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Sock about town

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 11:40

Here I am, in London. (I know. Trust me, I feel really lucky.) Here for a bit of work, a bit of play, and a bit of a family visit – Joe and I are getting really good at combining those and making the most of opportunities like this, and that’s what we did yesterday. Long story short, after stomping all over the city yesterday, including a visit to a yarn shop (Knit with Attitude, lovely spot) while Joe went to the Imperial War Museum (not quite my thing) I found myself with a little time to kill before dinner. I consulted my map, realized that the British Museum was right around the corner, and really, how do you miss an opportunity like that?

The front of that place is fenced off, and you have to pass through security as you enter, and they search your bag. As with most things here, the process is efficient and polite, and in no time at all I was standing in front of the guy, and plunked my largish bag on the table in front of him.  He greeted me nicely, and – waving a hand at a chart of nasty looking things like knives and such, asked me if there was any chance I had “anything like that” in my bag.  I replied that I certainly did not, and he started to poke around in it.  First he moved the two skeins of yarn I’d got at the shop, then pulled aside the scarf I’m knitting, and then the sock that I have for when it’s too dark to work on the scarf, and then said “Yes, looks fine. Just this lot of knitting.”   I smiled, and said “Sorry, yes – it’s quite a lot I know” and knitters, he looked right up, smiled a broad and cheerful grin back at me, and said “Yes, does seem to be a bit more than the national average.”

“I’m Canadian.” I said, not sure why I felt like that explained everything.

“Right.” He replied, and it seemed like he thought that too.

I was emboldened by that, feeling like it was really okay to be a knitter here (even if I’m a little bit more than the National average) and so the next part of my plan was easy. With Canadian grease (that’s “excuse me, so sorry, pardon me, apologies, sorry”) I squeaked my way to the front of an exhibit, whipped out my sock, held it aloft (“sorry, just a moment, thanks so much”) and voila.

A sock and the actual, real Rosetta stone.

I can’t be the first. If you’re in town, do me a favour and nip down there will you? Let’s get that National average up.

Categories: Knitting Feeds