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Postcards

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 01:17

A few weeks ago, friends of ours (we’re having them sainted later this week) offered us use of their cottage up North. We’re not idiots, so we jumped at the chance, and started organizing the family.  It took a lot of doing, but on Friday we caravaned up here in two cars, with Amanda, Sam, Meg (and her sidekick Elliot) and stuffed Penny the dog in for good measure.

We proceeded to have three glorious days with all three of our girls, and we had the best time. Swimming, sunning on the deck, canoeing, playing hours and hours of boardgames and stargazing at night.  (Sam and I saw a meteor that she called “life changing.”) They did each others hair like they were wee again, and took turns setting the table and serving.

It was nothing short of delicious and completely charming.  On Monday afternoon, Sam and Amanda had to go, but we’ve stayed on with Meg and Elliot, revelling in the luxury of being full time grandparents, and (hopefully) giving Meg a vacation of her own.

We’ve had friends to dinner, I accidentally dropped a ball of yarn in the lake (it dried, it was fine) and a huge thunderstorm missed us by an inch. We’ve eaten corn on the cob and we all saw a fox, and Amanda actually spontaneously uttered those epic Canadian words “hold my beer, and watch this.”

I couldn’t ask for anything more, except for longer days, and some extra of them before we need to go home. (Also, if Elliot wasn’t so obsessed with eating books, that would be cool too.)

PS. Happy Birthday, sweet Meggie.  We’ll do it all together when we’re home again.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Getting Lucky

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 23:58

I’m home again, and for the first time since I got here – it’s a day without a deluge. It’s been raining. Not just raining, but pouring – almost since I arrived back, it’s been tipping great gouts of water from the sky. Lashes of rain, flooding, spectacular curtains of water heaping down on the city, and all I’ve been able to think of is how different the Rally would have been if it were this week and not last. It really gives me the willies.

What a different sort of Rally we had this year.  Every year I feel like there’s a theme that develops over the course of the ride. It has been bravery, it has been endurance, it has been loneliness or difficulty, it has been friendship, and even love. It’s become so predictable, this idea that a theme will emerge, that I’ve started to look for it. This year, with my job on the Rally being what it was, I expected that the theme might be responsibility, or care-taking. I thought maybe it would be sacrifice – our time and work for someone else’s need, or good time – sort of like being the host of a really big week long party, metaphorically filling the bowls of chips and worrying about running out of ice.

There was some of that too. Every time I saw an ambulance I worried it was a rider, every time the weather threatened to be too hot or too cold or too wet, I worried it would be crappy for the riders and crew. I was very, very, very worried that something terrible would happen on my watch. There were meetings morning and night, and lots of extra work to be sure, but in the end, I didn’t see the theme coming, and it emerged just the same. It was luck.

I have spent so much of this last year feeling unlucky.  Unlucky that my Mum died the way she did, unlucky that Susan followed her so quickly. Unlucky about the stupid shingles and the way my hair always does that thing. Fill in the blank, and I’ve been feeling unlucky about it.

I have spent great gobs of time reflecting over the last year on the ways that I’ve been lucky too, trying not to sink under the sadness or feelings of poor fortune.  I’ve reminded myself that I have a wonderful family left, that Elliot came at exactly the right time for me to have something joyful to hold on to, that I am beyond blessed to have such good friends, and people around me who care, and that I’ve got friends who might let me sit at the edge of the self-pity pool and dabble my feet for a bit, but won’t let me jump in and swim. I know we are not supposed to talk about this sort of thing, but I have truly struggled for my happiness this last year. Genuine joy, however small, has been fleeting, and difficult to grasp – but this last week I found it again. Every time it didn’t rain. Every time someone wept from happy pride that they were accomplishing all this. Every time we met another fundraising goal, every time someone spoke about the work that PWA does and will do with the money and time we all gave them, every time we reflected on the privilege we have that gives us the time and energy to do something like this… every time we weren’t lost, or poor, or hungry, or sick, I thought “There it is. We are so lucky.”

It was there the very first day, when as we cycled across beautiful Ontario, in the bright sunshine, and I turned to my friends and said “look how lucky we are.” When that night, even though it called for thunderstorms, it just sprinkled, and then there was a rainbow – actually, scratch that. There was a double rainbow.

It rained a little in the night I think, but the tents weren’t even wet in the morning.  One of the days – who knows which one, they’re all a blur – we arrived in camp, Cameron showed me the weather forecast – and it was dire.  Rain, rain, rain – with little respite all night, and even more dumping on us the next day as we rode.  At the time I told him that I was opting out of believing it, that maybe it wouldn’t rain, and he cocked an eyebrow, continued putting a tarp over his stuff, and shook his head a little at my delusion. I knew it was crazy, but I’d long taken things I couldn’t control off my worry list, and the weather was right up there. Ten minutes later it sprinkled again, not even enough to bug anybody, and then cleared right up beautifully.

 

There were no ambulances. Nobody got badly hurt. We met a fundraising goal and didn’t raise it, feeling bad about moving the goalposts, and then were staggered when we surpassed it, and then surpassed what we’d secretly hoped for, and then surpassed that again. The fancy message from the Prime Minister we didn’t think would arrive in time did.  I felt great on my bike, strong and fast. The generator broke one night, but it was fixed really quickly. People got along- they made friends, I didn’t have to work so hard that I didn’t have time for some fun, and on the last night in spider camp, there was only two spiders on my tent and that is a freakin’ miracle.  It was warm, but just a little overcast so that nobody got too hot, and three days there was a wind at our backs, speeding us along. I have never been more grateful. Almost everything worked, even the things that I didn’t think were going to.  One night, as we slept, the worst part of one of the bike paths we had to ride was freshly paved – we didn’t even have to deal with the construction crew.

I am not going to pretend that there weren’t challenges. The whole thing is a challenge, that’s the point. I’m not going to say I didn’t cry on my bike a few times (the hills, holy wing of moth) or that there wasn’t a morning when we all ate ibuprofen like they were tictacs. I won’t tell you it wasn’t hard, or that there weren’t things that went wrong – and I’m also not going to fail to mention that a lot of what seemed like “good luck” was the result of a lot of people who worked really, really hard in the year leading up to the Rally to make it a great place for good luck to land – but overall, the fates smiled. (I still slept for about three days straight when it was over – and I’m not the only one. Ken was still sitting gingerly at dinner last night.) I am not going to tell you that this fixes everything- that joy and unfettered happiness are back in my life without restraint, but oh, it felt so good to have a success – to see everyone succeed, to see them so moved by it all.

When we arrived in Montreal, I stood up in front of all the riders and I told them the truth. In your life, if you are very lucky, you will get one hundred summers, and I cannot believe that they chose to spend one of them on this. I am so proud of them, of the riders, of the crew, of the committees who worked so hard. I am so proud of every single one of you too – Team Knit collectively raised $105,326.49 this year, and the Rally itself a record $1.73 million.  I have said it a thousand times, riding my bike to Montreal does nothing without you.  It wouldn’t make a single bit of difference without the donations and momentum you all put behind us.  The ride is just a metaphor – a symbol of our commitment, and without your actual commitment, we’re just some really sweaty people on bikes. You, my petals, are the thing that made it matter, and I am so lucky to have you.

When I asked for your help, you said yes, and helped as best you could, and now,  each one of those yeses, is going to turn into something amazing over the next year. They’re going to turn into times when someone enduring real bad luck walks into PWA and asks for help, and whoever is sitting at the front desk can say Yes, this is your lucky day.

Thank you.

(I’m going to knit something now.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

It’s Probably in a Bin

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 11:05

It is very early in the morning, and I’m sitting here, drinking coffee, watching the day start – with the sun coming up, and Team Knit stirring as we get up and get going in four separate spots all over the city.  Funny to think that after this, we’ll travel together every day for a week.

(Yes. I am drinking coffee in the bath to save time. It’s efficient.)

I’m nervous.  I know I say that every year, and I know that people shrug it off – you’ve done it before, they say. You’ll be OK, they say.  The truth is that it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it, it just isn’t easy to ride your bike 660km.  (For my American Friends, that’s 410miles.) This year I compounded the difficulty by not training much.  There were so many times when I could do a job that would benefit the whole Rally, or just me (the training) and I opted for the former. I’ve spoken with lots of the former Co-Chairs, and they all say the same thing. They years that they embraced leadership were the years that they trained the least.  There just isn’t time, and opting for the Rally in general has absolutely seemed more responsible, right up until this minute when I’m thinking about putting my untrained arse on a bike and riding out of here.

There will be many times over the course of the next week when everyone on Team Knit steps up to a Leadership role, and each of us has our own reasons for doing so.  I won’t speak to the rest of Team Knit, but I can tell you that the things my mother taught me have been figuring largely in my reasons for riding my bike this year. My mum believed, wholeheartedly, that the world was  a different place for women than it is for men.  When I was a younger woman I thought that she was a tad extreme in these beliefs, but the older I get, the more that I see that it’s true. I feel now the way my mum did, that there is absolutely no reason to be bitter about this, but she was rather firm that you couldn’t just… ignore it.

So, when my mum died, I thought about giving up the Co-Chair gig. (Don’t tell that to Ted – the other half of Co-Chair equation) I thought that it wasn’t going to be my best self, and that someone else would be better at it, and I thought a lot about quitting, and then something started to happen.  I started going down to PWA. I started doing the work. I started looking around and listening and realizing that there was something going on, and that thing was that when I went to PWA? The place is full of women and children.

 HIV/AIDS is now regarded mostly as a chronic disease that largely has to do with gay men, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  While it’s true that we’ve got treatment now for a great many people who have HIV/AIDS, the regime is expensive, difficult to comply with, and hard to access for many people who are living complicated lives – the primary risk factors for HIV/AIDS are now poverty and lack of power.  (Here’s a great example, in Saskatchewan (that’s a province in the middle-ish of Canada) 79% of the new cases of HIV are in indigenous people.) We see this in the shifting client base at PWA. These days almost 30% of PWA’s clients are women and their children. The truth is that if one of the main risk factors for HIV/AIDS is poverty and a lack of power, than it is only going to continue to disproportionately affect poor and dis-empowered women since we haven’t solved that whole equality problem yet. I could (and have) go on forever about this topic, about how robust the solution to this problem needs to be – how diverse we have to think, and when I think that? I hear my mum. I hear her problem solving, her ideas, her knowledge that communities fix things, and investing in communities is always helpful, and her belief that if you have some money or power (or both) you have a responsibility to get firmly on the side of people who do not. My Mum wouldn’t have wanted me to quit being Co-Chair because she got sick and died. So, this morning will be the first time that my Mum hasn’t been with me for departure. Last night was the first time she didn’t call to see if I was ready, or text this morning to ask (for the 387time what time departure is. (Geez Mum it’s 9am the same every year.)  I’m going to go invest in this community, and I’m going to trust that investment to carry me.  I’m going to put my love and care in Team Knit, in Ken, and Cameron and Pato, and believe that they’re going to do the same thing, that we’ll get through it together, if we stick together. I love those guys, and they love me. Team Knit wants to thank you too for all of this.  Each of us is at our (public) goal, though each of us has hopes and dreams and a private goal we haven’t disclosed, and we’re still hoping to reach.  We have you to thank for it. We put our energy, time and money towards this problem, ad you did too – and we can’t thank you enough. You are the only reason Team Knit makes a difference, and we’re so, so grateful. We love you. Thank you. If you find an extra fiver hanging around this week, or you decide that something in your life can be rearranged a little bit to redistribute some power and luck in the world, Team Knit remains: Me                         Ken Cameron                Pato (PS. Kim at Indigodragonfly summed all of this up so well, when her fundraising colourways for the Bike Rally this year were to honour her mother, and mine.  Kim knows a ton about redistributing luck and power. She’s awesome.) (PPS. I don’t think I can blog over the next week, but follow me on instagram and I’ll try to show you everything. I’m @yarnharlot.)
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Almost the End/Beginning

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 00:47

I’ve lost all perspective on the world.  The world is the Rally.  The Rally is the world, or something like that.  This week, hours and hours and hours went to keeping the Rally on the rails, and trying to make it be all it can be. I hope I’ve done okay – it’s all just anxiety right now.  Today’s the last day before we leave. We all went to packing day, and… wait, have I told you how this works?  The riders are supported on this odyssey by the crew. Food crew, Wellness crew, Road Support and (most important for this story) The Rustlers.

Every rider gets two rubbermaid bins – not super big ones. You put everything in them that you’ll need for the week – your clothes, tent, chair, spare inner tubes, purse, yarn… and they move it from city to city.  Every morning we load our two bins up and take them to the trucks, and the rustlers drive them to the next city, and decant all the bins onto the campground. We pick up our bins, go set up our tents, do whatever, and then in the morning we pack it all back into the bins, trot (drag, limp) the bins back over to the trucks – repeat. The thing is that we can’t do this the morning of departure.  It’s way too complicated to check everyone in, assign them bins… we’d have to get there before dawn. (Remember, there’s 300 cyclists.) So the day before departure is packing day. You show up, check in, get your jerseys for the day or the week, depending on how long you’re riding, and you get bins and put all your stuff in, and put it on a truck and then…

Then the Rustlers have your stuff, and you don’t. I find it really stressful.  I can’t give them my knitting because then I can’t knit, but I can’t keep my knitting unless I can carry it on my bike the next day, because I won’t have access to those bins until I arrive in Port Hope tomorrow night. (Apparently that I am Co-Chair means very little in terms of bin access. The Rustlers are fierce. Some of them are even knitters and I still couldn’t budge anyone, though I didn’t try that hard. They’ve got a system.) Essentially, you can only keep the things that you can fit in your jersey pockets. (I kept more knitting than I should have. I’m stressed. Yarn makes me feel better. I’ll figure it out tomorrow.)

I came home and finished a pair of socks –

Pattern forthcoming, when I have time to do it… yarn is Ridley Sock Yarn from Sea Turtle Fiber Arts (I think the colourway was called “Imagine”) I said it when I started knitting with this yarn, and I’ll say it again, I love this sock yarn.  Durable, soft, super cozy.  I’m a fan.  I started a new pair of socks this week too – these ones to accompany me on my trip, since I knew the other ones would be finished soon. (No point in knitting taking up room if it won’t last the trip.)

This one is Electron Sock (80% merino/ 20% nylon) from Elemental Fiberworks in “Ring Nebula” (I think it looks rainbowish.)  I also freaked out and put an extra skein in my packing, because I got nervous that I’d (like always) suddenly churn out much more knitting than usual, and be underyarned in a campground somewhere.  The truth is that it’s not really likely, considering that it’s hours and hours a day on my bike (and I feel like if I instagrammed a yarn emergency one of you would help me) but you can’t be too careful.

I’m off to bed soon, because how much sleep you need to do this can’t be understated, but I thought I’d do as many Karmic Balancing gifts as I could before running out of time.  I won’t get through them all, some will have to wait until we’re back, but here goes!

Caitlin wrote the sweetest note about finally being in a position to give, and give she did, three lovely offerings from her stash and hands. Handspun SweetGeorgia Yarns BFL/silk (January 2014 club colorway ‘Night Owl’). Semi-woolen spun, 4 oz/about 200 yards, that will be going to live with Jess D.

Three skeins of Imperial Yarn Erin, one each of the Natural, Pearl Grey, and Quail colorways, Caitlin will send that to Heather B.

And last, but certainly not least two skeins of handspun natural fiber; lighter grey is Jacob, and darker is Corriedale. 4 oz/about 200 yards each for Diana Z, who is not a spinner, and I’m glad, because this one of the only ways she’ll get to enjoy how lovely it is to knit with handspun.

Robin Hunter, charmer that she is, has donated a free pattern for TEN knitters.

I have no idea how on earth they are going to choose from the lovelies in her shop, but good luck to Margaret G, Sarah M, Marcie R, Camb F, Miriam F, Beth D. Harriet B, Cheryl R, Kate D, Angela D and Beth D.

Gina has three beautiful things to share, and writes about her luck, and how she’d like to pass the love on. Isager Strik Spinni (Wool 1): 2 skeins, lace weight, 100% wool, colorway Gray 2S that she’ll be sending to Sarah J.

Twisted Fiber Art Opulent Striping: 2 skeins, DK weight, 50/50 silk/merino, colorway Mirage (caked up, no longer in skein) for Kathleen W.

Twisted Fiber Art Catnip Evolution: 1 skein, Aran weight, 50/50 silk/merino, colorway Boreal that’s going to live with Andrea L. Finally, and there’s so much more, but I have got to go to bed… Signature Needle Arts got in on the game again this year – and they’ve got not one, but two gift certificates for $50, one each for Lenny B, and Sarah S.  Lucky Ducks.  (I mean that, I do love a Signature Needle.  Like driving a Ferrari.) Good night petals, and I’ll try to touch in in the morning before I ride out of here, and try to catch up with my bins.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Only the lonely

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 22:30

Note: I started writing this on Sunday and things went completely sideways after that.  For the record, this Co-Chair job is only picking up speed over the last week to departure, and the workload, while manageable, is constant. I’m so looking forward to riding my bike 100km a day AS A BREAK, and how crazy is that? It took until today to finish and post. Bear with me, my lovelies. Things are pretty wild over here. (PS Joe is not back yet.)

Joe’s away this weekend, attending a music festival out west – and it has left me happily and completely alone. Not to say that I don’t miss him (I do) and not to say that I’m not lonely (I am) but it’s left me able to focus almost completely on catching up on a million things.  I have a long to-do list, but wing of moth and tie of skein, I am actually getting it done.  I am mere hours away from being caught up on the housework – so close in fact that if someone were to ring my doorbell right now I’d almost consider opening it.  (Almost. I have to resolve the risk that they’d get stuck down to the kitchen floor first.)  The Bike Rally Co-Chair inbox is a single screen’s worth of panic, rather than pages and pages. I haven’t even opened my personal inbox, but tomorrow’s another day.

Yesterday I got up early, scraped a layer off the kitchen, poured a coffee, and sat down at my desk and worked on the Bike Rally stuff for five hours. After that amount of time I still had buckets to do and was feeling sort of defeated, looking wistfully out the window at a world where it seemed that everyone except for me was having a good time, and right on cue, I got a text.  It was Cameron, suggesting an afternoon at the beach with a few friends, and in a wave of maturity I can only describe as heroic, I declined the invitation. He pressed a little, and to be truthful, that was all the resistance I had in me. I folded faster than a laundry and an hour after that I was on a water taxi, headed across the harbour to the island. The weather wasn’t that great – the water was choppy and the sky grey, and a few times I thought about how stupid it was that I’d chosen to ditch work for a not-great reward.  I was wrong. By the time I’d walked to the beach on the other side, things were much better. Warm, and sunny (from time to time) and the water was glorious and the wind out on the lake had brought up big waves to play in (not ocean big, but still fun) and we played frisbee for a while (I retain my perfect record of never catching a single throw) and I knit.

It. Was. Perfect.  I was home before dark, finishing my sock on the streetcar, and got home in time to put the news on the radio and do about 87 more tasks before making myself toast for dinner and falling into bed.  At the time, I felt like I was shirking my responsibilities, but today there’s (another) Bike Rally function, and that rest yesterday did me so much good that I’m really looking forward to going to it. The idea of tomorrow’s meeting no longer makes me want to hide in a darkened room and knit garter stitch, and the level of hysteria I feel when I realize we leave in a week is almost manageable.

Seven Five more days, and while Team Knit haven’t yet met our (public) fundraising goals (we all have private ones as well) we’re still hoping to get there. I’ve got a while before I leave the house (again, even though it is now Tuesday) so let’s see how many Karmic Balancing Gifts I can get through.  If you’re just catching up with what’s up, you can read the post about how this works here, and because somebody always asks, here’s our fundraising links. Team Knit is:

Me                                    Ken

Pato                                 Cameron

(For the record, and in case I haven’t mentioned it, almost all of Team Knit is fulfilling Leadership Roles this year.  I’m Co-Chair, Ken is a Team Lead, Cameron is Co-Lead of Rider Team Leads, and Pato – he’s resting from being Recruitment Co-Lead last year. We’re really trying to make a difference, and we’re putting our time and energy where our mouths are.)

Onward!

Julie has a lovely 280-yard hank of worsted weight yarn from Spittin’ Creek Farm (www.spittincreek.com) in Xenia, Ohio. It’s an alpaca/merino/tussah silk blend, and the color is Bright Jade. Julie’s generous enough that she’s sending this along to live with Megan M.

Next up, a gorgeous handpainted double sock blank (462 yards, 100g, fingering weight, merino/nylon) from Anne, at the Twisted Fleece. The colourway is “Sittin’ on the Dock” and it’s part of her Summer Love series.

It’s so very pretty, like sunshine sparkles on water, and it will be winging it’s way to Robyn R.  Anne’s not done though!

That’s 1 skein of speckle dyed 70%baby alpaca, 30%silk, 875 yards (about 807 m), 190 grams. This is a fine laceweight.  Colorway: “Celebration” in honor of Team Knit and all those riding in and supporting the PWA Bike Rally. The Twisted Fleece (that’s Anne) will be sending that along to Stirling.

Amy is parting with this lovely book – Victorian Lace Today.  (I own this book, and I absolutely love it.)

She’s somehow going to imagine a life without it, and send it to Olivia P.

Here’s a big one – a tremendously generous gift from Tanja Luescher

She’s giving away not five, not ten, but TWENTY EBOOKS.  Recipeints can choose between Stories of Inspiration,

Selfstriping!

Hubby Needs Socks,

The Cat Collection,

or they can make their own e-book of any 7 of her patterns – excluding Daddy’s Prayer Shawl. (Tanja is ridiculously kind, and that one is dedicated to another cause.) The lucky knitters are: Elizabeth H, Jen G, Debra L, Lisa B, Erica TC, Lucy N, Dianne G, Lori B, Danielle D, Karen F, Sue, Sara D, Lynda K, Ruth Ann H, Annette A, Bridget K, Barb, Linda W, Chelsy J, Elizabeth L, and Brenda C. (Whew.)

Anik has 2 skeins of Cherry Hill Yarn Supersock Select (right from her cozy little stash)

It’s 840 yds (768.1 m) of fingering yarn in Riverbank, and it will be soon on it’s way to MIchelle R.  Thank you Anik!

Kate is somehow (I cannot imagine how she’s doing it) has FOUR gifts to give away.

1. Yarn Chef 75/25 BFL/silk, 4 oz- She’ll send that along to Kate F.

2. Becoming Art BFL in Dread Pirate Roberts, 4 oz for Raven J.

3. Mudpunch Slash Self-Striping Sock in Ten Percenter, a spectacular gift for Rachel M. 4. Stitch Together Stitch Skinny in Melted Peeps to knock the (future) socks off of Meagan. Next up, and as a writer, I love this one – Elizabeth Hall (who is an actual, honest to gosh writer – and a knitter) has donated a copy of her book The Music of the Deep. I have provided you there with a link to buy it, because it sounds terrific.  Beth says “It is set on a fictional island in Washington, and includes a group of spinners and knitters who welcome Alexandra Turner, after she leaves her abusive husband. It also includes the stories of the Southern Resident Killer Whales (orcas) in this area.” Good, right?  I do love me a novel with some knitting content. Elizabeth will be signing that for Linda L. Jessie McKitrick is a designer, and she’s donating a copy of her Chesterfield Slippers pattern (a Chesterfield is a couch, here in Canada) and she’s throwing in a skein of Lagoon DK (in the colour of the recipients choice.) That recipient is Annie S, and she’ll be picking not just the colour, but an extra pattern from Jessie’s shop as well. Thanks to both of you! That is, my little butterflies, more than thirty gifts, and a lot of emails.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be back tomorrow, I’ve got “a day off.” which we use here to mean that I don’t have to go to a meeting, just sit at my desk and try desperately to catch up. I think I can do it. I’ll try to post. I’ll drink extra coffee. Thanks for everything.

 

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Slow Going

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 22:05

It’s been a big week. So much to do, and so much of it a challenge.  For starters, last week I did my back-to-backs. 90km one day, and 100km the next, and I pretty much felt like a hero.  A very, very tired, sort of old hero that gets things done, really, really slowly, but a hero. The rest of the week was full of meetings – the closer we get to the Rally, the more time it takes to be Co-Chair, It’s cut into the time I would spend knitting or cycling, but frankly, I don’t think anybody looks back on their life and thinks “Wow. I really wish I’d spent less time helping out.” (If that’s true, don’t tell me now.)

So, there were meetings, and Joe and I tried to manage the family, and oh, after much planning and dreaming,  we put in a backyard pool for Elliot.

Finally found one within our budget range. We are living the dream, people. Midweek, and completely out of necessity because we were out of time,  my siblings and I put on a mad push, and emptied our mother’s house.  Ian, Erin and I were there, and my brother Jamie called, and it was as close as we could come to being together.

Erin and I stayed late, ordered pizza, had some wine, and as a parting shot, we put on the family theme song (“You can’t always get what you want”) and we made our way through the house, dancing in every room, thinking of all the times we’ve danced up a storm in that house.  At one point, Erin said to me, exactly as I was thinking it, that it felt like we were letting go of so much with that house.  “It’s all of them” she said, and I know just what she meant. It was a goodbye to Janine, to Tupp, to Mum, to Susan… with the sale of the house we felt a little untethered from the lot of them. When Erin and I left the house after midnight (with a big bag of rocks and a few odds and ends) we closed the door behind us on the way our family used to be.

This might be okay. I mean, I guess it has to be okay, because that’s the way it is whether we like it or not, but maybe now that the house is gone, we’ll stop trying to hold things the way they were. Who knows, because if there’s one thing that I’ve figured out over the last bit, it’s that I have no idea what’s going on most of the time, and that doesn’t matter, because I’m not actually in charge of much of it. (I can tell, because if I were in charge, all of the people listed above would have come quite a bit closer to the average Canadian lifespan, and there would be a lot less left to do for the Rally.)

My house still looks like a thrift shop, and I continue to have no plan at all for two china cabinets, but at least I’m relaxing into it.

I put yarn in one of them.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Things I am not doing

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 13:12

Today, I am not sitting in my living room in the absolutely blissful air conditioning, working on the little sweater I chose. Thanks to Sue H for reminding me in the comments that I designed one I love.  Nouveau-né!

I am not in the back bedroom, looking at the furniture I have jammed in there, and trying really hard to figure out where I’m going to put it all. (A plan that should have worked didn’t, when we realized that we can’t just get rid of Sam’s old dresser, put Joe’s in there, and then put my mother’s where Joe’s was. Turns out Sam had a dresser much smaller than either of them, and the new, larger dressers invoke classic small home problems, like doors that then won’t open all the way, or windows windows covered with great hulks of furniture.

I am not in my mother’s basement with my sister, loading the leftovers of my mother’s life into a van so we can take it to a thrift shop. (That will have to be later, though we’re really running out of time.)

I am not helping Joe bring two more cabinets, a desk and a smallish table into our home because we all agree they can’t go to the thrift shop.

I am not upstairs, standing in the stash room, wondering if I should really be reorganizing some of the stuff up there so that I could put a cabinet in. (The cabinet is really not going to hold that much yarn. This idea is not going to work. I need only full duty furniture up there.)

I am not in the garden, even though I really need to clean it up a bit so that things don’t get out of hand, and to make room for a few of the plants I want to move from my mother’s garden to mine.

(I know. It really is starting to look like we can’t let go of things, but I swear it’s necessary. I’m just taking a Hosta and some Solomon’s Seal. Maybe a Euphorbia, and a Lady’s Mantle.  That’s it. Except for the streaky grass my mum moved from her mother’s garden. That’s really it. Probably. She has a nice lily.)

I am not spinning – even though I totally am going to try to spin every day of the Tour de Fleece.

I am not on the sailboat with Joe – even though today is a gorgeous day for it.

Nope.  I am sitting on my porch. Getting ready to strap on my cycling shoes, and ride 90km. That’s my minimum today. I went to bed early last night to be ready for it, and Team Knit is all on their bikes today – the guys are doing the regular training ride, but it’s “tent and truck day” for the Bike Rally Rustlers (that’s the volunteers who tote around all the riders stuff for a whole week, loading and unloading our bins onto trucks, and driving them to the next place we camp. It’s a crazy thing they do.) Since I’m Co-Chair this year, I’m turning up for that, so it’s the lonely training road for me.

Tomorrow we’ll do it all again – another 100km, assuming we all live through today. Think strong, cool thoughts for all of us, and maybe knit a few rows on our behalves. Our hands are busy.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Almost empty

Fri, 07/06/2018 - 21:38

I’m writing this to you from the kitchen at my Mum’s house.  I’m here waiting for someone to pick some stuff up, the house is all but empty now, and it won’t be my mum’s house after next week.  I can’t help but think, as I sit here, writing to you, of how many times I’ve done this over the years. I finished books in this house, I’ve written countless blog posts here, doing just as I am now, except usually I sat at her kitchen table – gone now.  One of the fantastic things about working from home when the kids were small was that I was there for them, but it also meant there was often no quiet space when I had a deadline.  My office was the kitchen, and it was all full of kids.  When pressed, I would come here.  Erin too, I think, and Ian.  It’s just one of the thousand small ways that my Mum made things better for us, her influence being felt in our everyday lives.  We were so lucky to have her.

You know what else I feel lucky for? You guys.  Team Knit is edging towards our fundraising goals, and it’s all because you guys are awesome, we are so grateful.

Me                            Ken

Pato                         Cameron

Let’s spread the love around, shall we? Here’s a great place to start, Michelle, from Hagstone Publishing, is offering a copy of their great True Heart pattern, that she’ll be sending to Jennifer C. (Michelle sent a really sweet note explaining that this pattern was a labour of love between two friends, and I love that. She’s right, it’s very appropriate.)

Susan B went into her stash and found this gorgeous Abbey Yarns kit for Darlarna Snowflake twined mitts.  (What a great kit, Susan, I don’t know how you’re giving that away.)  I hope that Carrie J loves them!

Delores has the most beautiful skein to send along, 1 skein of Fleece Artist National Parks Collection in the Forillon, QC colours (grey cliffs of Mont-Saint-Alban and meadows of fireweed).  Collection was created for the 150 birthday of Canada and was a special issue yarn.  It’s going to go live with Kathleen R.  (It makes me pretty happy that the random selection was another Canadian.)

Kate has two beautiful things to re-home.  Three skeins of Malabrigo Bay Silkpaca in Archangel,  those are going to fulfill their destiny with Lies S.

and one spectacular skein of Lotus Cashmere Fingering Weight in the most lovely sunshine yellow in the world.

(If that can’t fix your life on a cold and dreary day, I don’t know what it would take.) Pomme make something special, will ya?

The lovely Jill has two very nice gifts,  she’d like to send this bag and it’s matching yarn to Nancy R.

and this beauty to Laura P.  Three cheers for Jill!

Jasmine, from the delightfully nerdy Etsy shop Tesla Knits (go look. I’ll wait.) has this gorgeous Great Wave project bag, with a companion tape measure (also nerdy) and fantastic stitch markers, to go off to (hopefully nerdy) Jamie R.

Julia, Robynn and Emily would like to donate a copy of their amazing pattern collection – Lost in the Woods, to Mary Jo M.  (I hope she loves it, I just spent 10 minutes looking at it, it’s gorgeous. Totally worth a poke through.)

Lily, who appears to have excellent taste in yarn, has two skeins of West Yorkshire Spinners 100% Wensleydale yarn that she’ll be mailing off to Rebecca S.

Look at this bit of loveliness!  Anne, talented as she is generous, has four beautiful handmade (by her!) project bags and stitchmarker sets.  I think they’re so pretty.  This beautiful one is for Marji.

This one is for Stephanie E. (Not me, sadly, it’s so good.)

Anne E is I hope, going to really love this one.

And Susan G should enjoy this beauty.

Diane went into the stash, and when she came out, she inexplicably thought this great yarn should go to a new home.

2 skeins Audine Wools 100% Superwash Merino DK weight in Naturelle, will be going to live with Judith F.  Thanks Diane!

Finally, you guys know I love TillyFlop Designs, (If you don’t know who they are, click and meet the genius that is Julie.) Julie’s sprung for a gift again this year, and it’s a charmer.

Her Stocking Stitch wrapping paper, some of her notecards and (I love this so much) a Stocking Stitch tea towel, will all be going to live with Lisa RR, who I think we shall all agree, is a properly lucky duck.

Ok! That’s it, I’m off.  This weekend is a training deadline for us – all of Team Knit has to complete their back-to-backs before Monday, which means riding at least 90km both days. It’s cooled off a little, thank goodness, but it’s still going to be a ridiculous challenge.  (I think everyone but Ken is a little behind on training. Ken got his back-to-backs done last weekend, sweeping rides as a Team Lead.)

I’ll try and instagram so you can tell if I make it.

PS. The Cozyknitter, purveyor of fine self striping sock yarns, has, once again, a Bike Rally colourway.  A portion of the proceeds go to Team Knit, and her yarn is great.

 

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Randomly on a Wednesday

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 18:46

1. Happy Canada Day! (Ok. I’m a little late. I actually wrote a post that day, but my computer crashed and I lost it, and didn’t have the time to write it again. It was an homage to the Canadian health care system, and how grateful I am for it. A few years ago I read something somewhere (probably my own comments section- or maybe Ravelry?) where someone said that they thought that I wouldn’t be such a fan if I’d had occasion to really use our system. That clearly nothing had ever happened in my family where good health care mattered – or I’d understand the flaws with the way we do it here.  At the time, I remembered thinking that this was a bold position to take, considering that the writer would know so little about how much or how little healthcare my family has used. These days, I think everyone would have to admit that between Tupper, my Mum, Susan and Joe’s Mum’s recent stroke, that we’re pretty much freakin’ experts on the system around here, and we’ve never been more grateful. Joe’s mother was in the hospital for almost two months, and the biggest expense to bear was parking. That’s all I’m going to say about it, besides that it makes me (and about 86% of the population) proud to be Canadian.

2. Happy 4th of July to my American Friends! So many amazing things about your home – Personally, I’m grateful to you for your amazing National Parks (what a thing!) and how so very many of you, while so often being very different from me, are just the best kind of people. The best thing about America remains Americans.

3. I finished that hemp sweater and I love it, but I didn’t take pictures yet. Please keep waiting.

4. It is really, really hot here. (It’s cooler than the last several days today, only a high of 31, and that’s not including the humidity either, which takes it up closer to 40. (For my American friends, that means it’s about 104F.) It’s hot enough to generate spontaneous swearing every time I step into the sunshine, and I like the heat.

5. A few snaps from my garden, taken this morning before the heat got too bad.  It’s so pretty this year I just have to share. (The lilies are particularly gorgeous, despite some complete arse stealing every bloom off two plants. Snapped it off mid stalk.  Jerk. I hope they get fleas.)

I promised myself I was going to take extra care with my garden this year, because my Mum’s not here to do it for me. It’s paying off.  (Yes. Fine. I was a 49 year old woman having her garden weeded by her mother. I was spoiled and you should be so lucky.)

6.  I did finish that darling vintage baby sweater – the pattern’s from the 1950s, and I’ve knit it so many times, it’s a well used pattern around here, and sweet as pie.

The yarn’s from my bitty stash of classic Italian baby yarn.  I’m wild about the stuff, 100% merino, soft as a little cloud, and lightly spun for the light duty it will see. This will probably fit the baby for just the first few weeks, so it can be delicate.

This is a special baby, so the sweater got a little extra touch, four tiny buttons from my Mum’s button bin. I’m the only sewer/knitter in the family, so I have both her’s and my grandmother’s, I’ve kept them separate, for reasons I’m not sure of, but it feels important. I haven’t mixed them with each other’s and certainly not in with mine. I like knowing who’s are who’s.

6b. What baby? Savannah‘s baby! My niece and her charming husband Kosti are expecting a baby, and since they were swinging through town, her mum Kelly (still here helping my Mother-in-law, thank goodness for her) threw her a baby shower.  I warned Sav when I gave the the sweater, that she should consider this a warning shot across the bow. This baby is due in the fall, and it’s been a while since I had a winter baby to dress. It’s more than exciting. (I am restraining myself only because Kelly will be the Grammy, and she’s a fine knitter, as is Savannah herself, and her sister Kamilah isn’t bad either. With this many invested knitters on deck, we’ll have to be careful that the kid doesn’t wind up with so many woolies that she or he only has time to wear them once.)

7. Yes. Kelly and I should be consulting in order to avoid duplication.

8. I rode my bike pretty far this last weekend with Ken and did hill repeats (with Pato, poor guy) a few days before that. It still isn’t enough training, and I am freaking out. All the way out. I’m having a hard time finding room, between work and family and being Co-Chair. I’ve asked around and lots of other people who were Co-Chair before me said it was hard for them too – it’s like all your Rally time is already spoken for. I’m going to try and ride three days in a row this weekend. I really hope what doesn’t kill me makes me a lot stronger. Quickly.

9. My arse is still sore from Monday.

10. I have another baby thing to knit (different baby.) I want it to be special, and lovely and I haven’t chosen the yarn yet so it could be any pattern… What are your favourites? (PS. The blog innards will block your comment if you put more than a link or two. It doesn’t understand knitter behaviour very well at all.)

11. Karmic Balancing Gifts tomorrow.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Let me get you a chair

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 20:55

I know exactly when I lost control of this house, and I am sure that it was an item of my mother’s that put it over the top.  Things have always been sort of touch and go with this place – it’s a tiny house, only about 1100 square feet, and when the girls were living here things had to be carefully reined in all the time. Five people in a three bedroom, one bathroom house? I had to care how many shirts people had, and an extra box of cereal in the kitchen could be the thing that threw everything off, beginning a cascade of chaos that would rip through the house trashing the place as it went. It was in these tender years that I learned to get a grip on the stash, and I assure you, it is tidy, pruned and restrained as we speak.  (Please note that I did not use words like “small” or “modest” nor did I claim it doesn’t take up much room. The stash is a beast. It takes up the space allotted to it though, and nothing more. Mostly.)

This system has relaxed since the girls left.  No longer have I been fixated on the amount of stuff we have. I kinda figured that if it was just Joe and I, we wouldn’t have to worry so much.  Right? Oh, so, so wrong.  Joe is nothing if not thing of nature, and nature abhors a vacuum.  With every item that left with a child, another moved in to take it’s place, along with the idea that there should be room to have it here.  Files for the business? Sure. We should be able to keep those here. Three kids left.  Thing is, they left some of their stuff – Sam in particular maintains a fully functioning bedroom and a turtle here.  (Franklin the red eared slider. We’re not sure how we ended up with him, but he and Joe are close.) Still, Joe and I had this place mostly in hand, and then my mother died.   (I know – I know, another blog post where I mention the dead mother – I’m sorry.  I swear it’s just a part of this story, not me weeping on again.)

Mum had a lot of stuff. She’d done a ton of culling over the last few years, and we’re super grateful for that. Still, she had a large home, and lots of beautiful things, and we’ve been reluctant to let things we associate with her go elsewhere – problem is that my siblings have tiny homes too, and like mine,  are already fully furnished.  Unfortunately, my sister and I have not let that stop us, and yesterday I moved an unholy amount of stuff into my home from my mothers, and the place hasn’t reacted like a tardis at all.  We have no idea where to go from here, but I can tell you that from where I sit this exact moment, it looks like we live in a furniture store. An untidy furniture store.  A furniture store run by a cranky lady who doesn’t want anyone to touch her stuff, and doesn’t really have any plans to sell anything, she’s just calling it a furniture store so that people get off her back about the three dressers, nine lamps, eight throw pillows and the fantastic number of chairs.

Sitting here typing,  I can see sixteen chairs, seventeen if we count Elliot’s high chair.  I have no idea what my plan is, but it involves owning a lot less over the next little bit.  Some hard decisions will need to be made about our things, I’m still not ready to let go of much of Mum’s – also, her stuff is mostly better than mine.  (I think. Maybe I just think that because she’s my mum.) Today, it’s just overwhelming to have a dresser in the living room, a writing desk in the kitchen and my Great Aunt Naomi’s tray table in the entry. (Maybe the landing at the top of the stairs?) This place needs change. Big change.  The sort of change that is uncomfortable and awkward and asks deep questions like what’s really important to us as a family, what are our priorities… and how many tablecloths you never use do you need to keep in a cupboard forever, and does anyone really use napkin rings?

It’s all a long way around saying that this place is a mess, I have no idea what my next steps are, I am super overwhelmed, and I made my back garden an office today.

Seemed reasonable, there’s only a little extra furniture out there. (Mum had a patio.) That little bit of knitting is something I think is going to be a baby sweater by Saturday, although really, can a woman with seventeen chairs in her living room prioritize a baby sweater?

Don’t answer that.  Of course I can, and I have.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Karma, we’re spreading it around

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 15:50

I’m sitting here knitting and listening to it rain. Well, technically I’m writing this blog post and listening to it rain, but I was knitting up until a minute ago. I’m desperately hoping it will stop, today’s the Pride Parade here in Toronto, and Team Knit will be donning our jerseys and grabbing our bikes, and heading downtown to march/ride. This year is the Bike Rally’s 20th anniversary, and we’ve got a rider for each year, and a float that the fantastic volunteers made (I’ll show it to you later it is very cool) and we’ve got other Rally People to dance, and…. it’s raining.  Pretty hard, actually – which is so totally demoralizing. I really feel good about the work that I do for PWA, but there are moments when I really do wonder why so much of it has to be in the rain.  (I just right this minute sent a text asking one of the people putting the float together and asked them what our glitter status is. I have visions of every bit of it washing off the thing. They’re under tarps, it turns out, so for now, Trevor reports “minimal glitter loss”.)  The forecast calls for things to improve a bit later – but if you’re sitting in sunshine right now, try to send a little of it Team Knit’s way.  We’re going to be very soggy on our bikes if this keeps up. If that inspires you to donate to us, that would be a pretty good pick-me-up. Team Knit remains: MeKenPato and Cameron.

In the meantime, I’m going to try and make a little sunshine this way – Karmic Balancing Gifts! We’ll see how many I can get up here before I have to get on my bike and ride to the Parade.  Maybe the rain will stop while I work on it.

First up, an amazing gift from Kate, 8 balls of Valley Yarns: Amherst, in Cayenne.  (I love this stuff, and that colour, actually.) Kate will be mailing that to Lizz, and I hope it makes her day.

Kristen, at Rosetwist LLC has two beautiful gifts from her shop, a pair of sterling silver earrings for a knitter – that knitter would be  Samantha.

and a charming pair of sterling silver earrings for a spinner (especially charming because she made them from charms) that Kristen will mail to Pelly.

Mary from Kino Knits has a great gift – I love the idea behind this pattern collection.  The Tolstoy Collection is a group of three patterns, a one colour, a two colour, and a three colour… all designed for yardage flexibility.  (That’s a neat trick.)

She’ll be sending out FIVE digital copies of that – to Jeannie, Wendy, Lara, Maida and Betsie.  I hope they love them.

Ursula, all the way in Vienna, has a beautiful present she’ll be sending to Bettina.

It’s 300g of a merino/yak/silk blend, and so lovely.

That’s it for today – though there’s much, much more to come.  It looks a little brighter outside too, so maybe Karma’s working.  Have a great Sunday everyone, and Happy Pride!

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Fifty

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 23:48

Here I am, out the other side – I’m fifty now.

My birthday came and went on the 14th, and I had mixed feelings about it.  I think some of my friends and family interpreted my reluctance to have a birthday as a reluctance to turn fifty… wondering if I minded the age, didn’t like getting older… something like that. It wasn’t that at all – I don’t mind  a bit. So far, my experience is that being thirty was better than being twenty, that being forty was better than being thirty, and I expect that fifty is going to be pretty good too. (Exception noted for some of my body parts, which I rather suspect enjoyed the earlier phases more. I’m talking to you, left knee. Get it together.)

When Tupper died five years ago – five years ago yesterday, to be precise, Mum didn’t want to celebrate her birthday anymore. It was like she didn’t have enough happy in her for celebrations, and she said that if he couldn’t have any more birthdays, she didn’t want one either.  At the time, her choice upset me. It upset all of us, I think. It was plain to me that something had changed in my Mum with Tupp’s death. I worried that she was never, ever going to be as happy as she had been before- that his death had been too hard, too traumatic, too shocking and too sad.  To be entirely frank, I worried she was a tiny bit broken, just in the happiness department.  Not wanting to celebrate birthdays was a symptom of that, and it made me sad too. Mum didn’t survive her brother by long enough for me to know if that was really true.  She remained my funny Mum, my essentially happy Mum, with a little bruised piece that hadn’t had time to heal, if it was going to.

When Mum died, after Tupper, and before Susan, I thought about my birthday and I got it. All of a sudden I got the whole thing. If they couldn’t come to my party I didn’t want a party. If I couldn’t blow out candles with Mum I didn’t want candles. After Mum, it was totally and completely clear to me why she wanted to cancel birthdays after Tupp and I decided to do the same, and felt such a clear understanding of my mother in that moment.

As time went on, and we got closer and closer to My Birthday (close enough that I started thinking of it with capital letters) I started thinking about it more, and I remembered how I felt as her child, seeing my Mum so sad. I remembered worrying about her and wishing she would let us celebrate her.  “But you’re still here… ” I would think, every time she said that Tupper was not, and that parties were cancelled for the indefinite future.  I especially thought about it every time that one of my daughters mentioned a party to me, and I remembered in the hospital, shortly before Susan’s death, her having a bit of a cry, and telling me that she was so sorry that the person who cared most about me turning 50 was gone.  She talked about my mum’s plan for that day, how much my mother would regret not being there… she said she was sorry that she couldn’t make up for Mum, but that she thought she wasn’t going to make it either.  She was right about that, of course, but she was wrong about people not caring. My girls, I realized, as I thought about it, were feeling as I had. I suddenly saw it in their gentleness with me, their new tenderness, their careful questions and sweet little attentions.

I was scaring them. They thought I might be broken too. The pain I had felt watching my mother grieve I now saw in them, and I resolved immediately to show them to that my ability to be happy wasn’t gone… or at least not permanently.  That I had a chance to reassure them here – and as hard as it was, I said yes, to it all.

Family dinner on my birthday? Yes. Big party on the weekend? Yes.

I cried often and mostly alone (I try to be polite) over those few days. At times, I missed my mother in a way that was physically painful – but I took deep breaths. I bought a new dress. (I shopped for it with my girls via text/photo group, and that was really fun.)  I put on a pair of my Mum’s shoes (god she had great shoes) and I went to the parties and I smiled at my girls and I am so pleased to report that they were right, and for the first time in history possibly, taking my Mum’s advice would have been wrong, because man, as painful as it was, there were moments of sweetness and happiness that I’d have been so foolish to miss. The girls were so good, and they worked so hard, and I was so impressed with them, and I think my girls see that I’m not broken, just different, and that’s okay, and that maybe I can put some faith in that too.

I’m fifty.

Cheers.

(PS. I’ll do the first big round of Karmic Balancing gifts this weekend, see previous post, and thanks for everything, you’re awesome.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Disconnect

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 22:22

When I was thirteen, my mother’s mother, my very own Grammy, told me (while she was making lemon meringue pie) that if anything ever happened to her, I should remember to make my mum two lemon meringue pies every year on her birthday.  Reflecting back, I think one of the most charming things about this story so far was that my Grammy said this to me exactly like the risk that she was mortal was remote and unlikely.  My mum loved lemon meringue pie, and Grammy had always made her one for her birthday, and after I was born, she had always made her two.

My mother’s birthday was June the 13th, and because mine is June the 14th, in 1968 she was in labour with me. She didn’t get her pie, and so my Grammy brought it to the hospital right after I was born.  My grandmother held me, and my mum ate the entire thing.  The whole pie. Not another single person got a slice, or asked for one.  From then on, it was tradition… two pies on my mother’s birthday always… one for her, and one for everyone else.

When I was fourteen, my Grammy died very suddenly.  I look back now with so much sympathy for my mum.  I wish I’d had some way to relate to the pain she must have been in.  My Gram was only 59, and as gutted as I am to lose my own mother, she was 74. It was a tiny bit more likely to happen, and I was robbed of less.

When I was fifteen, I made my mother two lemon meringue pies, and have continued to do so every single year, with very few exceptions, for the last 34 years. I’d make my mum’s pies, she’d make my cake, and with our birthdays separated by just a day, it was almost like we had the same birthday, they were so linked to me.

Today my mother would have been 75. I didn’t call her at midnight, and she won’t call me tonight at 12:01 – both of us trying to be the first people to wish each other a happy birthday. I didn’t make two lemon meringue pies.  Nobody wore the meringue noses, and nobody will.

You know, I’ve never liked pie, and I don’t think I’ll make them again.

Happy Birthday Mum.

I miss you.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Antivenom

Sat, 06/09/2018 - 00:51

I know I’ve mentioned this, but this year, I’m one of the two Co-Chairs for PWA’s Friends for Life Bike Rally. It’s a two -year commitment I made last year just before my mum died, in part because I thought she would be proud of me if I did. (She was.)  Ironically, I don’t know if I would have done it if I knew at the time that my mum had just weeks to live – though in a lot of ways it’s been a good distraction from grief, and the other stuff.  Part of the reason I decided to apply for Co-Chair last year was how struck I was by a guy who asked me if AIDS was still a thing.  I was so upset by it – at the time it seemed to me that he was ignorant. How could he not know? I mean, of course HIV/AIDS is still a thing!  (A friend talked me down, told me about how it’s perceived.  He was right. Turns out the guy was more normal than ignorant. I wrote about it here.)

I still worry a lot about the things that I talk about in that post.  Homophobia, discrimination, a lack of empathy, but the other part of the reason I volunteered- the largest part for me, I think, was that I feel like we don’t talk enough about how much of a women’s issue HIV/AIDS is. People who know that this is an important cause for me often don’t know how relevant that is – more than half of the people in the world who have it are women – particularly young women.  Here in Canada (and the States is pretty similar) about a quarter of all incidences are in women.

I care a lot about everyone who this issue matters to – we all have our own reasons, and everyone we know who is  HIV+ has their own stories, but it has always been true that vulnerability increases the risk, and women are particularly vulnerable, mostly because they have less of the things that are statistically protective (money, education, power, sexual freedom, access to healthcare) and more of the things that put you at risk. (Stigma, violence, poverty.) Women are simply less able to protect themselves, and that’s scary. I’ve been going down to PWA every week or so, and the place is full of women (and their kids). About 25% of their clientele, which makes absolute sense.

There’s this one woman – I’ve heard her speak a few times about her story and how she came to be a client of PWA, and that story involves surviving genocide, rape, poverty, and the death of her husband and a great deal of her family, followed by the birth of a child who was the product of that violence, and is also HIV positive. She came to Canada as a refugee, and PWA has been her everything. She credits them with saving her life, and the life of her child. This year, she, and the mother who taught me to care about that, are the reason I’m getting on my bike, even though it will be very hard.

Several of you have suggested (and you are kind and lovely people) that I not ride this year, because it might be too hard. That there have been enough hard things this year (although the shingles is just about all better, thanks for worrying) and that maybe I could sit this one out and support The Rally as part of the Leadership, and as a fundraiser, and you’re right. It has been a difficult year, to say the very least. Likely the most difficult of my life. I’ve struggled for my happiness a lot, had to work at finding the joyful things, and the important things and find a way to think about what is here instead of what is not.  I have had to embrace (or at least stop raging against) change. It’s been really hard – but here’s something I know.

Like can cure like, and doing hard things, meeting challenges, doing more than you think you can, it is like anti-venom to a snakebite. Every time I’ve shied away from that over the last year, it has made things worse.  Going anyway, showing up for the hurt, giving it my all… trying my best, and remaining open to the good surprises that can find me when I do, has been a life raft.  Now is not the time for coddling – nor fear. It is time to make the most of the world I’ve got, and stand up for people who don’t have the things I’ve had to fall back on when disaster struck.  Home, family, safety, food, money, help. Doing the best I’ve can with what I’ve got, with the people I love, has made all the difference. and I see no reason to quit now.

So, we’re on our bikes. We’ll ride from Toronto to Montreal again about 650 kilometres, (that’s about 400 miles, for my American friends) and Team Knit this year is:

Me

Ken

Pato

Cameron

(Jen’s completing her last year of Midwifery, and can’t go. She’s helping other ways.)

Our decision to ride our bikes to Montreal helps nobody, and makes no difference, not without you – as a matter of fact, you’re the important part.  Once again, I’m going to try and raise a ton of money, as Team Knit and like last year, I have a private and deeply personal crazy-pants goal. To this end, I’m going to do things the same way as last year, because knitters, you were amazing.  We’re going to do Karmic Balancing gifts again. As often as I can between now and the Rally, I’ll choose from amongst the people who’ve helped and redirect a knitterly (or spinnerly) gift from someone else who wants to help.*

It’s going to be all about the Karma – just like we try to make it every year. We’re trying to change lives here, make things better for some people, and there’s so much more to that than money, so, here’s the thing. If you donate to anyone on our little family team then please send me an email letting me know you’ve done so. Make the subject line “I helped” and send it to stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca. (Note the .ca it’s a Canada thing.) Include your name, address, and whether or not you spin.  (For the love of all things woolly, please use the subject line. It makes your email go to a specific folder and you have no idea what a difference that makes to my sanity.) You don’t need to say what you gave, or include proof. I know you’ll do your best, whatever that is, and I know you wouldn’t lie. (If you’ve already given this year, obviously you should send an email.)

Now, we know not everyone has money to help with – so we’re taking all kinds of help.  If you can figure out some other way to do that, that counts.  Maybe you can tell a friend. Maybe you can post about it to social media. Maybe you can forward the email to people in your family who will give…  There’s lots and lots of ways to help, and if you can figure out a way? Send that email, letting me know you did. No money needed. (Of course, money is always good too, and even small gifts make a big difference.)

Knitters, lets go big. Let’s fill up the world with amazing, and when everyone at PWA asks who these people are, like they always do?  Ken, Pato, Cameron, and I will smile and say what we always do. “They’re knitters. We keep telling you that they’re awesome.”

*If you want to contribute a gift, I’m trying to make it easier -I have a better shot at getting it all done if you do this: Take a picture of your gift. Email me with the subject line “Karmic Balancing” with the details, picture and a link, if you want me to use one. When one of the helpers is chosen for a gift, I’ll email you the address, and you can ship it right to them. (It’s not a bad idea to let me know if you have shipping restrictions –  I’ll keep track.) I’ll try to get through them all, though it can be overwhelming. Thank you!

(PS. If you donated last year and I didn’t give away your gift because of my mum, please accept my apology, and resend your info if you’re still into the scene. You’re great.) 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Far Above

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:00

This post comes to you from high above the middle of Canada – sort of. I’m way too cheap to pay for the inflight wifi unless something really important is going on so I wrote this at 10000m above the earth and 818km an hour, somewhere over what must be Saskatchewan, but I’m posting it in the lounge in Vancouver, waiting for my flight to Seattle.

I don’t usually work on flights, or write on flights, unless I really want to. I’ve got a rule that when I’m this far off the earth I can’t possibly have a responsibility to it, and so I knit, and watch movies and this time is all my own. I fly a lot, and having this rule has made me feel a lot better about the hours I log on planes. I almost look forward to it now.

Today though, I’m blogging, and working on Bike Rally stuff and answering email and organizing and trying to land a little more caught up than I have been. It’s probably mostly hopeless, but I would really enjoy the feeling that I tried. (I have a sock in progress on my lap as consolation.) Lately I’ve been particularly delusional about what I can accomplish in a day- like, the other day? I decided I would deal with all my email, and then immediately left for a training ride I was committed to. I have no idea how I thought that I was going to answer all my mail while I was on my bike (or answer all my mail even if I was off my bike) but I knew I was going on that training ride, and I still made my completely unachievable goal to answer email. Why on earth I didn’t make the task for the day something like “ride 80km” as I strapped on my cycling shoes, will remain a mystery forever, or maybe the only way you can continue to disappoint yourself once you’re almost fifty and used to all your regular failings.

I did get a few little things done – the World’s Top Knitwear Model and I were together, and she agreed to model my finished Russell Street. (I think she was feeling the competition from Elliot, who of course, is only not the World’s Top Knitwear Model because he’s not cute on purpose.)

Pattern: Russell Street

Yarn: Autumn Rainbow Kit from Cannon Hand dyes

A nice cozy, generously sized shawl/scarf/wrap thing, finished thankfully just as summer arrived properly and Sam had to wear it in the blazing heat.


(Gratuitous grandson picture, unrelated in every way, but it should make up for the disappointment of this next bit.)

Last week I also turned my attention to that pretty little Jacob fleece. I still don’t know what I want to make – but I now that I want to make the most of the fact that they’re a spotted sheep, and see what interesting thing I can do. I started sorting the fleece… making piles of totally white, totally brown, and then a pile of locks that were mostly white with a little brown, or mostly brown with a little white.

Next I had this big plan that I was going to hand card it all. You know how people are sometimes on about “slow food” or all that stuff about being intentional? I was going to super-intentionally sit down with hand cards and a spinning cloth on my lap, and card out the little bits of VM* and make perfect and beautiful little rolags and line them up in a basket.

Then I saw my drum carder, and I thought about how much I actually want to be spinning and knitting with this, and boom. That wee machine was clamped to the table and I was throwing fleece into it.

 

It still took several hours over a few days – but I ended up with the most charming little row of batts you’ve ever seen. Four white, and then two each of three shades of grey/brown, and two dark batts of brown. (I snipped the little sunburned/bleached tips off of the dark locks, so that they would be even darker.)

They look delicious to me. I imagined bringing them with me to Port Ludlow, sitting in the sunshine and spinning, getting that all spun up so that I could start knitting it right away. I went into the kitchen and got out my travel wheel (what? Where do you keep yours?) and then couldn’t quite find it in myself to slog it all the way here when spinning time at the retreat is likely a total fantasy. Then I imagined I could ask Judith or Debbi to bring me a wheel because they’re driving, but then I thought that maybe that was a lot to ask when the spinning time is the previous mentioned fantasy. It also seemed kinda dumb to give up suitcase room to something you’re probably not going to use (and yes I already reminded myself that fibre can squash down pretty small in a suitcase) but in the end wheels are big and pragmatism won and the orderly rows of batts stayed home, on the dining room table (what? Where do you keep yours?) and I packed off without them, knowing they’ll be a really nice birthday present to myself when I get home next week.

Now I’m on this plane, an unknit sock on my lap, no time to knit it, and one word just occurred to me.

Spindle. *****

*VM is “vegetable matter”. It’s straw and seeds and crap the sheep got into. (It’s also occasionally actual crap, depending on how nicely the fleece was skirted.**)

**Skirting is when you lay out a fleece, usually right after shearing, and take off all the yucky bits around the edges. Short fibres, dirty or matted fibres, actual crap etc.***
*** This fleece was beautifully skirted and also washed so mostly it just has a little straw and grass. A fleece from Judith would never have actual crap after she dealt with it.****

****Maybe before.

*****Because you know, it’s not stupid to bring things you won’t use if they are small.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Uncle

Sat, 06/02/2018 - 00:29

I am never going to finish that sweater – I see that now. I brought it with me on the Bike Rally Road trip, the thing where we’re in the car for 3 days and stop every 45 minutes, trying to figure out every single logistical detail,  and while we were driving I thought “Oh yes, sweater, you’re a done deal.”   Then I realized that I’d left the ball of yarn  I needed to finish on the chesterfield, and knit socks instead.  Sometimes you have to give up, and I did. On the upside, those socks are almost done.

In the meantime, I’ve turned my attention to the fleece that’s been on my desk for a few weeks.  It’s a tiny little Jacob fleece, a weakness of mine (see previous obsessive phase with this sort of wee thing) and I somehow wheedled it out of Judith MacKenzie at a retreat, and through some sort of magic, somehow convinced her to wash it too. ( I swear I did not even mention that part, though should the stars ever align in a way that a spinning ninja like Judith might wash your fleece for you, I suggest you sit quietly in awe. It’s perfect.)  Tonight I’m going to start messing with it a bit, and break out the hand cards.

I love me a sheepie adventure. What should I make?

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

All The Shingle Ladies

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 01:27

This post actually doesn’t have much to do with me having Shingles (I feel like I should capitalize it out of respect, it was so great and hideous) except that for the three weeks since this thing felled me like a tree, That song’s been kicking around in the back of my head as the funniest and most persistent earworm, and I hope to pass it on to you so I can be rid of it. (It hasn’t worked so far.)

I take that back – this post does have something to do with Shingles… it certainly doesn’t have much to do with the sweater I’m knitting that still isn’t finished…though I’m on sleeve island, so not too much longer.

That knitting on this sweater is seen here perched at the top of my knitting bag, where despite going most places with me, it’s still not done.  Mostly, I haven’t been going anywhere except to the hospital to see my Mother-in-Law, and mandatory Bike Rally meetings – oh yes, I can feel your envy from here, so exciting is my life. Here. Look at a flower from my garden.  It will perk things up a bit.

That’s a Snakeshead Fritilaria. It’s the most interesting thing in my garden right now.

What’s more interesting about the last several weeks isn’t what I’ve been doing. It’s what I haven’t been doing – and that’s training for the Rally, fundraising for the Rally, essentially doing anything for the Rally that doesn’t make it amazing for the other cyclists and crew.   (Did I mention that I took an expanded role with the Rally this year? I took all leave of my senses and took on the role of Co-Chair, which is a great honour and a big responsibility and absolutely an indication of how I feel about this cause and the organizing for that has been sort of a lot and I was thinking… wait… What was I saying?) Nevermind. What I’m trying to say is that between all of that and the completed or attempted edits to my family…  No Bike.

Training rides begin at around 30km, and work their way up to 130km.  (That’s about 80 miles, for my American friends.)  One of the most beautiful things about the Rally is that it is totally doable by an ordinary person.  If that person shows up for at least one training ride per weekend (and the occasional two in a row close to departure) then they are going to survive the Rally. It’s a challenge for everyone who does it, but for those of us less gazelle-like than your average long distance cyclist (let’s say you were a slightly dumpy knitter a few weeks shy of her 50th birthday) you have to get married to that training.

Here’s the part where I tell you the scary thing.  The training and I have not been married.  We’ve actually been legally separated, first because I was in Port Ludlow. (Fair. Everyone has a job.) Then I missed one because of Elliot’s first birthday. (Again, legal excuse.) Then I was at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, then the very next day I gave myself a stern talking to about how now that I was done all the travel I had to get really serious, and the very next day Carol had a stroke.  Shortly after that I got the accursed Shingles, and if I were going to be explicit about where I got them and the interaction between Shingles and a pair of bicycle shorts you would totally understand why there was zero chance I could get on a bike, and then just as I have started to feel better, Carol had open heart surgery and (she’s recovering so beautifully, thank you) and now… oh man.  I’m getting so stressed out. Here’s another flower.

(That’s a Trillium under my tree. Do you know I used to think there were white and pink varieties? Turns out they’re the same one. They start white, and change as they age. Who knew?)

Now the training ride lengths are already up to 70km and I am freaking out. It seems like a very difficult place to start – and I haven’t properly started fundraising or doing Karmic Balancing Gifts and there are still some in my inbox from last year when my Mum died and I felt like it was all to much to finish and instead of doing what I have been thinking about doing all day, which is breathe really shallowly while I freak out and wonder if I ever make any good choices… I am going to do something else.

I am going to start fresh. I am just going to start.  On Sunday morning I have to leave for Montreal with my Co-Chair and a few other planners, to make sure the route is good and make some arrangements. That means the Sunday ride is out, and so tomorrow it is. It’s going to be 70km. I am going to ride it, and it is going to be okay.  I don’t think it can kill me. I think the worst thing it can be is really, really hard, and that’s okay.  Considering my life since my Mum died last year, I am absolutely specializing in really hard stuff. We’ll just have to hope I’m getting good at it.  When I come home, I’m going to get a post up about fundraising and Karmic Balancing gifts, and in the meantime, please feel free to give Team Knit a boost. This year our mighty family contingent is:

Me

Ken

Pato

Cameron

The guys aren’t riding tomorrow – I think they’ll all be on their bikes on Sunday, so tomorrow I’m braving it alone.  I’m going to turn the page, start fresh and boldly go. It’s going to be okay. Right?

Stupid Shingles.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Interlude

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 17:49

You know how sometimes, you’ve got these friends, and they totally love that you’re a knitter, and they really think that it’s terrific that you knit, but they’re kinda fuzzy on the details?  This is a story like that.  I know this guy, Barrett, and a while ago (I am unclear how this happened, truth be told) Barrett came into possession of a bag of yarn. He was thrilled. Delighted really, because he knows me, and I know what to do with yarn, and he presented me with this bag of yarn – all smiles, and asked if I would make him a scarf.

For reasons that I can’t even begin to explain, I agreed. (Actually, the way I remember it, I only sorta agreed, but then he agreed to be a Team Lead for the Bike Rally and I said it was for sure then.) The problem, other than that knitting a scarf is actually tons of work, was this.

I don’t know if it’s clear from that picture, but there are two problems.  One is obvious. Those colours don’t really “go”.  The second problem, and I this is the one I think you can’t spot… it’s dishcloth cotton. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how I was going to make Barrett a scarf that was a) remotely good looking b) not so heavy that it didn’t threaten to break his clavicles.  I thought about it for a while, and by a while, I mean months. Maybe a year.  (Okay, it was a year for sure.)

A few weeks ago, I got this idea. I’d pretty much firmly established that I had no interest in knitting this yarn, but I still kept it around in the canopy of the stash, right at the top, where I had to feel guilty about it. I’d told Barrett it would be a scarf and I didn’t want to tell him it wouldn’t be, and frankly, part of me didn’t want to give up. I decided that if I couldn’t/wouldn’t knit it, then maybe there was another way to make it into a scarf?  I started playing around with it, making different piles, wondering how it could go together… then I got my little loom.

I made the yarn into two piles, in the end and did a bit of math to make sure my plan was going to work.

Then I wove,

then I warped it again.

When all was said and done, I felt like I’d done a magic trick.

It has occurred to me, while I think I’ve pulled off quite the charm, that I’ve likely done very little to teach Barrett about good yarn, about what can be a scarf and what can’t be and he remains a person walking the earth thinking that you can just bring a textile person anything and have them turn it into something pretty good.  I wondered, as I handed him the scarves, if I should have said something. Something like “You know, this is actually very impressive” or “You know, this was practically alchemy dude, that was dishcloth cotton”. Instead I just forked them over, and he looked pleased, and said he loved them.

I didn’t say a word, but we’ll all know.  Magic, I tell you.  Magic.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Garden Party

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 16:49

It’s Victoria Day, a holiday in here in Canada.  Victoria was the first Queen of Canada,  and the day was originally to honour her, but over time it’s become the day that Canadians celebrate the current Sovereign’s Birthday – even though the Queen’s birthday is in April. (Don’t look at us like that. The weather in April is dodgy, this makes way more sense, and you can’t have a federal holiday moving around every time you get a new King or Queen. How on earth would you plan anything, and besides, the Brits assigned her a birthday in June. We’re not alone in this.)  Here in Canada we like to further complicate this holiday by referring to it as the weekend of the 24th –  as in “What are you doing for the May 24th weekend?” even though the weekend doesn’t always fall on the 24th.  Technically, it falls on the weekend attached to the Monday before the 24th, and as complicated as that seems when we try to explain it outside of Canada, it makes total sense here.  (As does calling it “the May long” or “May two-four” – to get that last one you need to know that in much of Canada a case of beer has twenty four bottles in it, and thus is called “a two-four”.)  It’s a traditional start to the summer, a day for (most) Canadians to put in the garden, open cottages, crank up the barbecue for the first time of the year – generally enjoy being outside after the long winter.  I say most, because it’s still snowing in Nunavut, and the warmest place in the whole country today is in Grand Rapids, Manitoba where it is only a balmy 20 degrees. (That’s 68F for our American friends.)  In many cities, tonight there will be fireworks.  (Edited to add that the forecast I looked at was clearly wrong! It’s much warmer than that in lots of places, including here.)

Here in Toronto it’s just sixteen degrees (edit: it’s twenty now!)  but that’s not stopping me. I’m feeling a bit better, shingles and all (or maybe I’ve just got better drugs, who knows or cares) and before we visit Joe’s mum in the hospital today, Joe’s headed to the Marina to paint the bottom of the boat (this is, apparently, a yearly thing) and I’m going to our tiny back garden to try and make sense of it.  Last fall my Mum had just died when it was time to prune everything and put the garden to bed, and it didn’t get done at all. That’s a shame, considering how much mum Mum loved to garden. If she were here she’d have had words with me already about the state of the thing, and as a matter of fact, I think this might be the first time I prune the rose in the back myself. My mother’s always done it for me. Lucky for me, it was always accompanied by a lecture, so I feel sure I know how.

Not much is in bloom in the garden just now, a trillium or two are blooming under the tree, the snakeshead fritilaria is finally out (every year it’s late enough that I worry it has died) violets are everywhere, but the real star is the Bleeding Hearts. They love it in my garden, and have spread everywhere, and this week of the spring is the reason I don’t pull any of the volunteers out.

Pictured with the glorious things, a fetching pair of socks. They’re hot off the needles (well, last week) and are a pair for Carol, who was complaining of cold feet in hospital.

Yarn: Paton’s Kroy 4ply sock in Dad’s Jacquard #55714. Pattern: my own plain vanilla pattern from Knitting Rules.

Also on the needles, a spur of the moment sweater. It’s version C from Seasonal Droplets Trio, knit out of Hemp for Knitting’s Allhemp3.  I snagged this at Knit City last year, and while it doesn’t look like much on the needles, the sample had that whole post-apocolyptic-my-clothes-are-all-rags-but-I-look-great Matrix vibe going for it.

I thought it was going to take about 10 minutes to knit, but so far it’s a shocking three days. I sort of regret starting it now, because as delighted as I’ll be to have a summer sweater – there’s a fleece in my office singing my name, and I can’t wait to get to it. (It’s a little Jacob. Very exciting.)  Also on the needles:

More socks – one pair off the needles, one pair on.  I’m loving this yarn, it’s Ridley Sock Yarn from Sea Turtle Fiber Arts (I think the colourway was called “Imagine”) and I thought I liked it, but as I’m knitting with it, I’m coming to love it. It’s a cabled yarn – four plies each made up of a two-ply, and that’s a structure I really love.  Complex constructions like that are such a great way to give yarns made from softer fibres (like merino) more durability.

Rather slow going on these socks at present, just because I’m trying to make good time on the sweater, poor little things have been in the bottom of my bag for a few days. I found out about Sea Turtle Fiber Arts, by the way, because Sarah’s very generously sent along skeins for the Strung Along Retreats a few times.

This upcoming retreat is our Knit, Play, Cook retreat, and if you’ve got a business and would like to get the neat thing you make in front of our retreaters we’d love to talk to you about it.  We do it a little differently than most other retreats, so shoot us an email and we can talk about it.  (Info@strungalong.ca)

PS. We’ve got a single cancellation for the June Retreat – the only one this year that’s for knitters only. (The rest are for knitters who are also spinners.)  There’s some more info here, and you can email if you’d like to talk about that too.  info@Strungalong.ca

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Impeccable Timing

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 19:00

Last Monday, in the middle of all the things going on here, rolling up to a tricky Mother’s Day and with Joe’s mum still in hospital, I started not to feel so well. There was a pain in my leg up at the top, and I iced it, thought that maybe I should be going to yoga and tried to get on with everything I had to do. Tuesday morning, without wanting to be dramatic about the whole thing, the pain had spread from my inner thigh up and around to my back, and I was pretty sure something had gone wrong. It was swollen, it hurt, and at 5am I could no longer tolerate the pain and I was pretty sure I was dying of something, and me – the sort of person who thinks that if you don’t feel well you probably need some kale, a bath and to buck up in general – I went to the ER.  Once I was there they confirmed that it was super inflamed and swollen (got that, hot shots) ran some tests, and said the redness was likely cellulitis. They praised me for coming in and not just having a bath and some kale, and sent me home with some high powered antibiotics. Two days later I was back – telling them that their antibiotics were completely full of it, and that I was worse, not better, and the lot of them did more tests, and sent me home with a prescription anti-inflammatory, urging patience. I limped home, and cried. By Saturday I was a mess. I had a rash, I couldn’t sleep or eat for the pain, I was absolutely unable to say the word “groin” even one more time to anybody, and I managed somehow to stick it out until Monday, when my family Doctor took one look at me and said “No wonder you’re miserable. That’s shingles.”

From there, things got better – appropriate drugs for the pain, some antivirals, and the situation came down to a dull roar. There was the day where I took the suggested dose of the pain stuff and accidentally wound up as high as &#$%&$, but I’ve got a grip on the level now.. enough to keep me moving, but not so much that I don’t dare leave the house. (I gotta tell you though, I see why somebody might abuse this stuff. I felt terrific. Really tall.) I’m still not feeling good, and we’re still at the hospital all the time, but it’s clear I’m going to live, and now I’m leaning on distraction from the discomfort.

Wanna see a sweater? Great.

It’s Elliot’s finished Birthday sweater –

Pattern: Hearst

Yarn: Alpha B Yarn “Kiwi B”, an Australian Polworth that she dyed just for one of the Strung Along retreats a few years ago. The colourway’s named for the co-ordinates of Port Ludlow.

I think it looks great on him, and he seems to love it. We gave it a trial run in the park, over by the cherry blossoms.

It’s a little big, because it’s finally warming up here, and I wanted him to have a sweater he could wear this fall, I love it.

And that’s not just because I’m kinda high.*

*I think

Categories: Knitting Feeds

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