Random Monday

Today I’m starting to get a hold of everything that I lost control of over the last 26 days when I was working or out of town, and the last 7 days where I just laid down and coughed. Today I am dealing with the wild roaming dust buffalo, the inbox full of email (there are thousands. I wouldn’t look for that to be wrapped up today) the laundry, so that Joe and I can stop wearing clothes that don’t match…and a possible trip to the grocery store so that dinner tonight doesn’t consist of a strange combination of foods from the back of the freezer. (I hate it when it gets weird like that. I can’t be the only one…) Therefore, a list of Random Things.

( I don’t know about you…but I think we knit-bloggers really owe MamaCate for coming up with this random thing. It’s pretty darn handy.)

Things I bought at the Frolic

Gifts for Denny purchased and dropped off at her abode. I will not reveal the contents of said “Frolic in a bag”, since I do not yet have confirmation that Denny got it….so you will have to use your imagination and know that Rachel and I are very gifted. I had planned to buy nothing for myself, but that fell straight out the window within seconds of my arrival. Ironically, my biggest purchase was at the Lettuce Knit booth where I discovered a yarn that was dyed just for me. It’s Dream in Color yarn (worsted) and it’s a beautiful rusty lime green that is so me that I literally gasped when I saw it.

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See? (Ok. It’s better than the picture. By a lot. Subtle, gorgeous…Megan had all the colours packed up in bunches to make the wrap cardigan #263. (Scroll down.) I bought the pattern too.) I also got some beautiful Canadian sock yarn from Red Bird Knits. Ontario Romney sheep, Ontario Mill…Halifax dye job (from the Fleece Artist). I got the red wine colourway. C’est magnifique.

That’s it. (Oh. And a good bar of hand made soap. I love hand made soap, but everybody needs soap. That doesn’t count.)

Something I didn’t buy at the Frolic and regret now.

These knitting lady lamps that were at the Main St. Yarns booth.

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They are paper shades with a bulb inside and I thought they were so beautiful that I have no explanation at all for why I didn’t buy one. (Except that they were a little pricey) I can only say that I was practising restraint and got carried away.

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What I knit all weekend

The big pink thing.

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It is bigger. It is still pink. I still can’t tell you what it is. There is not much time left to finish it. All will be revealed in the fullness of time.

(Secret projects suck for blogging.)

What I knit when I sort of wigged out from knitting the big pink thing.

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This scarf. Dudes, it was so much fun. Stupid big fun. The whole thing took about 2 hours…maybe less and it was as much fun as watching your daughter dump a jerk. (I’m imagining on that one.) It’s this crazy yarn that’s a wide knit ribbon, and you knit it just by picking up one side and giving it lots of room to ruffle.

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I gave the yarn (if you can call it yarn – it’s Online “Linie 194 Solo”) a twist at the end of every row so that one side would be one colour,

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and the other would be reversed. I am almost ashamed of how much fun it was. I got the yarn and pattern by CarlaK when I was at Knit One in Pittsburgh. They have more.

The real challenge of knitting a scarf like that

Is not the knitting. That was fast, easy and fun. (Did I mention the fun?) but the challenge of not beating to death all of the non-knitters who are going to go absolutely bonkers over it at Christmas, even though it only took two hours and little skill to knit it, and even though they are holding a pair of hand knit socks (or a lace scarf, or something else that took me twenty hours and tremendous skill to knit for them) right in their hot little hands. It’s always like that.

Lace shawl = polite thank you and appreciation

Novelty yarn scarf = the crowd goes wild.

Sigh.

Did I mention

That today is The Knitters Frolic? I am so out of here. I’m taking the Subway to Rachel H’s house and we are going to carry our little selves there as fast as we can. I’m not taking any workshops this year, since this was originally planned as a birthday jaunt for my darling friend Denny. Sadly, Denny is having both a very bad day and a birthday today, and she can’t go, so Rachel H. and I have accepted the task of being her proxy shoppers.

Rachel and I are taking this seriously. All of a sudden, the years of festivals, fairs and yarn shops make sense. They were about today. Rachel and I were being trained by the universe for this moment. This is the day for which we were born. We want nothing for ourselves, but our friend cannot make the frolic on her birthday but we have assessed the list of vendors, planned a route and will not let our Denny down.

If you see us, feel free to say hi, but …you may do well to not get between us and the wool.

Over and out.

All this sitting down is paying off

Finished last night:

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STR - colourway “henpecked”, one skein, 2.25mm needles. (Size 9 ladies sock shown on a size 5 foot. They aren’t for me and my model stomped off this morning before I could get her to do my bidding.)

Pattern: These socks started out as the “Undulating Rib Socks” from Interweave’s new book Favorite Socks, but then I messed with the pattern. (Sorry Ann. It’s a disease with me.) A word about this book? True, most (19 out of 25) of the patterns are previously published, and if you’re a longtime subscriber of Interweave Knits then you’re going to recognize a lot of them, but I think it’s totally worth it anyway. I appreciate not having to rummage sort through all my back issues trying to remember what issue a pair of socks were in, and this book (it has a hard cover and spiral binding with sturdy pages) is going to hold up better than my precious copies of the magazine, along with being infinitely easier to stuff in a knitting bag. There are socks in there that I forgot IK had done, and that’s worth the price of admission alone, for me anyway. (I also harbour a suspicion that patterns previously published and then reprinted should be…for the most part, error free, the magazine having received feedback on the originals.)

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In any case, I started Ann Budd’s pattern, repeated it a few times, then simply stopped doing the “undulating” part of the rib and carried it down the leg. When I got to the heel I decided to work a garter stitch short row heel (same as here – only garter stitch) because I really liked the pretty spiral the yarn was making and my traditional heel (a flap heel) would have disrupted that.

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Heel completed, I carried the ribbing down the top of the foot and plain stockinette down the bottom of the foot, worked my usual toe and that’s all she wrote. Done like dinner. Finished like Rosie and Donald at an etiquette seminar or Nicole Richie at a dessert buffet. Totally done.

Settled in

I’m still not feeling at all well, but today is the first day since I arrived home that I feel better. The coughing has finally eased up enough that last night I slept in the bed with Joe (Joe’s working this week and there’s absolutely no point in both of us being up all night. I gracefully removed myself from our bed so he could sleep on- thus preserving his strength so he could cook, clean and work. We both thought this was very considerate of me) and the real sleep in a comfy bed did me some good. I’m still so tired that the kitchen seems far away and the coughing has left my neck, back and stomach sore in places I didn’t even know I have places, but none of that matters, since I don’t need any of them at all to knit, which, besides sleeping, is pretty much all that I’ve done. So, while I’m settled in, arse on chesterfield, yarn on lap… perhaps I’ll do an overview of what (besides Juno from yesterday) is on the needles?

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Large men’s socks, STR Medium-weight (I forget the colourway, somebody will know.) in my standard issue sock pattern. Though these are technically off the needles, they just came off this morning, so I say it still counts. These are destined for the long range planning box.

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More socks, this time in STR Lightweight “Henpecked” with a bit of a pattern and en petit peu of a pattern at the tops. Almost done.

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Err…more socks. (I’m starting to look a little fixated, aren’t I?)

These are Jaywalkers in Vesper sock yarn “Tartan”. (If these don’t look quite like your Jaywalkers, don’t worry. I bet you’re right and I’m wrong. I didn’t look at the pattern when I started them, so it’s possible I’ve strayed from the path. They match each other though…

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Damn. Socks again. For crying out loud. Thing is…I’ve been travelling and socks are a small good project and…. These ones are my standard issue socks in … well. It would appear I’ve misplaced the ball band on that. Probably left it in Minnesota or Colorado. Anybody know what yarn that is? It’s wool for sure, maybe German?

This is … more socks. (I fear myself some days.) I promise it didn’t look like this many on the needles when I started…I just hadn’t put them all together in one place like this and…

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These are Cookie A.’s German Stockings. Coming along nicely, though the shaping I’ve done may resemble my legs the way that applesauce resembles an anaconda. I should really put my stitches on a thread and check, but if I’m right I’ll have to rip back pretty much the whole thing and I’ve knit so much that I can’t face it at the moment, especially since there’s no excuse at all. Cookie’s pattern gives so many sizes that the failure is entirely mine. Bummer.

Whoa! Not socks!

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This is a secret project I’m working on that you’ll get to see when it’s off to it’s recipient. It’s working out very, very well and I’m having a wonderful time. If you know what it is…don’t guess out loud. The knitter I’m sending it too could be lurking around here. I’m 1/3 of the way done and it has a deadline of “soon”.

Naturally, The Gansey.

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The Gansey is in temporary time out in a nice bag thinking about what it has done. (I have to fix a little problem.) Lucky for me, spring has come to Toronto (I can say that out loud. There is a daffodil in my garden.)

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Snowdrops make mistakes. Scilla can rush in…but the Daffs, the Daffodils are spring, and since spring lasts about 10 minutes in Toronto before we are blasted with an inferno of a summer….nobody here will be needing a gansey for a bit.

NB: to the list of projects admitted to here today: This is not a complete list. I shall never admit publicly to the full, complete and real list and any references to an project that is on the needles that I am ignoring or have abandoned will be ignored, even if you have photographic proof…even if I provided you with that proof myself through the miracle of blogging. Every knitter has abandonment issues and a rate of disownment. Mine’s not too bad, but I’m still not copping to it. Besides…do you want to discuss what projects you have you stuffed in the back of the linen closet lately?

There are moments…

In every knitters life, there are moments that seize ones being and catalyse an enormous seething reaction where you didn’t even know you needed something…and suddenly you can’t live without it.

This does not happen to me very often. I am a knitter of some experience and immunity, and the longer I knit the less often I am totally possessed by something. Such was the case when I first saw Rowan’s Juno sweater. I liked it, and part of the charm was surely the name (being as fond as I am of the live Juno) …but dudes, the plunging neckline? The off the shoulder “I’m so cool I’m freezing” look? Not so much. Plus, it was knit of Rowan Wool/Cotton held double, and no part of that sounded fun. I let it go. It was almost a perfect sweater, but knitting is way too slow an art to do anything that’s just “almost”.

Then, something happened. Admittedly, when I am weak and run down from the peculiar madness that has become my life, I am strange and vulnerable, but dudes...check this sweater out. That’s Vanessa’s blog, pointed my way in a post by the esteemed Claudia, it’s the same sweater, the same one I wandered right by with an “eh” last fall and now all off a sudden and without a word of a lie, with every fibre of my being…

I knew…I . Must . Have . It .

Vanessa swapped out the wool/cotton for another Rowan yarn, and made the front a little higher so that it wasn’t quite so “come hither” and now it’s perfect. Absolutely perfect. I started hunting the perfect yarn and Sunday at Magpie Yarn, there it was. Rowan’s Scottish Tweed Aran in the incredibly enticing colour of “Storm Grey” (004)

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There are people in the world… Stacy and Clint among them, who would say that a woman possessing the lofty height of 5’1″ (almost) is not deserving (or in a position to be flattered by) a sweater with a large collar, but, my esteemed collegues…I say….

Bite me.

That sweater, (with Vanessa’s modifications) rocks it so simply hard, that I actually am delusional enough to believe that I would look like a million bucks in it, short…or not. I’m knitting it.


In other news, my 15 and 3/4 year old daughter Meg knit socks.

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These are her very first finished pair (there have been some false starts), and I am proud as punch of her. She did it all herself. You may note that Meg’s ends are not woven in and she is wearing them anyway. (This proves that despite her height and gorgeousness, she actually carries my DNA.)

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Yarn: Regia Cotton Color 4079 – pinched from her Mum’s stash

Pattern: Ask Meg. She invented it.


(Styling – and the decision to match rainbow socks with a rainbow dress also Megan’s. Current hair colour change not approved by me, which is probably why it is that colour. )

Pop Quiz

What do you get if you mix a sick knitter who’s been working flat out for 25 days with her home and no commitments?

Apparently, nothing.

I got home on Sunday and stopped, or maybe the world stopped me. I’m not sure. The cold I’d been fighting off for days landed on me foursquare and my wool and I went to bed. Or Chesterfield, or chair or anywhere at all that wasn’t vertical. I’m feeling a little better today, but my expectations of myself are very low. Very. I knit a little bit. Before I went down hard though…I was in Kentucky, but before I tell you anything else, I want to talk about Fifth Third Bank.

I, like everyone else in the world, has had a scam/phishing email from Fifth Third Bank. (Turns out that 98.13% of phishing emails are about it. Who knew?) So I would get these emails, urging me to do do any number of things. Send them my personal information, log onto a website and clear up some misconceptions, respond with my correct credit card number…all that stuff that a bank would never, ever ask you to do online. Every time I got one of them I marvelled at the stupidity of these guys. I mean, if you’re going to try and trick me into giving you my personal information so you can rob me blind…at least come up with a plausible name for a bank!

Fifth Third Bank. C’mon. Seriously. Who’s going to believe that’s really the name of a bank? I chalked it up to someone with a poor grasp of English trying to make it sound official and missing the mark by a whole lot. Fifth Third. No way.

Then I’m walking down the street in Lexington and what do I see?

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Dudes! It’s a real bank! Seriously! I just can’t believe it. Does this simply STUN anyone else? Fifth Third Bank. Unbelievable.

It messed with me the whole time I was there. Every time I saw it I had to boggle. I managed not to boggle at it in front of these guys though. (I think.)

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Since it was a book fair just full of authors, the ladies of Magpie Yarns were able to gather a car-full of knitting book mojo. That’s Susan B. Anderson (Itty Bitty Hats ) in the back with the brown hair. (On the left. On the right is an editor…and not that I don’t love editors, because she was charming, but I don’t recall her name.) Then front left is Ann Hood (The Knitting Circle) and Stefanie Japel (Fitted Knits). All lovely. (Remember folks, I’m just linking through Amazon because it’s fast and easy. Support your local independent bookstore where you can.)

I met knitters en masse…

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and free-range. Here’s Denise and Melanie, come all the way from Georgia.

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(I don’t actually know if that’s far. It sounded really far. It could be that I think it’s far because Georgia is really far from Toronto but not so far from Lexington, Kentucky…they teach us about as much American geography in Canadian schools as they teach you Canadian Geography in American schools, so who knows. Maybe I’ll google it when I don’t have a cold anymore.)

Kelly,

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Ambie, with the most used, stained, mangled copy of Knitting Rules

I have ever seen. It had coffee all over it, the pages were folded down, she had notes in it…

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I was very flattered. It looked like a book that had been useful. (Since I write mostly useless books about knitting, I was quite chuffed.) She got the new one too, I hope it has at least a few crumbs in it by now. I look forward to seeing it similarly abused- though it isn’t a very useful book.

Cami was asked to make socks that don’t match.

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It’s giving her a twitch. She’s a woman after my own heart.

Holly postponed her wedding to hang with knitters.

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(I’d call her crazy but I thought about doing it when I found out that Tracy Ullman was coming to Toronto to talk about her book on my wedding day. Had already sent the invites though.)

Joanne,

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Who I know in from the internet and was trying her best to look like a Canadian (that was the plan…right Joanne?) wearing her very best woolies. Fabulous socks…yes? (It was hot in Kentucky. Joanne looked – besides fantastic, like I always do…warm.)

Finally, Sue,

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with a wee felted beaver (that sounds dirty, I know) that she made me because I’m “a busy beaver”. (Get your minds out of the gutter.)

I went back to the hotel room after all this excitement with many knitters (and after a meal with my stalker Brooke and her team of stalker-ettes) and fell down. Totally. Slept for an ungodly amount of time and then got up and went to two local shops. Rebelle (lovely shop, very funky and has a wonderful mother/baby care shop in the back.) and Magpie Yarn. (No website, so that’s just a map and phone #) The Magpie ladies (Jane and Diane) seen here in their beautiful shop

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…opened the store for me (even though they are closed on Sundays) and let me poke around having a grand time. There may have been a small yarn accident. (Not my fault…it was Rowan Yarns. I am helpless.) More about that later. For now, I’m off to do some recuperating, coughing and sneezing…and

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Knitting. Peace out.

(PS. Lene wanted a horse picture. This is Calumet farms

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with a horse. It’s hard to see, but it’s there.)

The view from here

Yesterday my throat was really, really hurting me and I kept trying to swallow this lump that was there. I drank litres of juice and water and coffee and tea with lemon and honey and the lump just would not quit. It was about 5:00 when I confessed the lump to Joe, and he told me that I wasn’t going to be able to swallow it…what with it being MY OWN VOCAL CORDS.

This Audiobook business is harder than it looks. (There. I said it. Audiobooks. The publisher sold the audio rights and they chose me to read it and Joe to engineer it and we’re doing it with an audiobook producer from NYC and …lets not talk about it anymore. Something about it is sort of…embarrassing or something. Avert your eyes. Look away. Let’s pretend I haven’t turned into some weirdo reading their own books for a living.) You can’t knit while you do it…you can’t make any noises at all. You have to do as you are told and read the book the way you wrote it…which is sort of a bummer because I thought of some better things to say, and here I’m locked in.

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This morning the voice is still touch and go, so Joe got me a whole bunch of drugs that are supposed to help and I’m not sure if they are working…but I know that the side effects are. (The world is a wee bit fuzzy round the edges.) With all goodness on our side we should finish around lunch time today and I’ll roll back home and pack my bags for tomorrow when I go to Kentucky. I’m really looking forward to this one. Not only is it in the South where it is warm, green and beautiful, but the event sounds like it’s going to be fabulous. They have given the knitters a much bigger room than last time (!) and the lovely ladies of Magpie Yarns are sticking around after and hosting a Sit’ n-knit to knit hats and after I talk… (And sign books, if you want me to.) I will be sitting. I will be knitting. It’s going to be awesome.

(Ps. This is going up later than I thought due to some blog problems. The books are done. There is much (silent) rejoicing!)

Three interesting things.

Two, at least.

1. Today is an exceptionally special day. My darling Juno and the exquisitely blog-free Rachel H. both celebrate their birthdays today. Two of my favourite people both born this one day cannot be a coincidence… I suggest that we all eat cake and party hard. I love these ladies. Both of them had the audacity to come into my life when I believed that I had met most of the friends I needed or was entitled to. They were both a wonderful surprise, and I’m grateful for the shake-up.

2. I have decided what I’m doing with the beautiful Rose Quartz STR, but I’m not going to tell you.

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It does look great though. It’s remarkable that I got this much done, even though it’s pathetically small…I did a job all day that meant I couldn’t (gasp) knit …and I spent my evening standing behind Meg, trying to be sweet to her as she pulled her first all-nighter, due to a horrendous case of procrastination. The end result was this wee bit of knitting and a spectacular “scholarship to Dalhousie is my middle name” essay that Meg wrote all by herself, which is entitled “Did any good come of it? The Positive effects of the Montreal Massacre” and uses the word “thus” and explains that there is a need to have a day of awareness about violence against women so they don’t keep having to get shot before we make any changes. It’s a lovely pro-woman work, from a wee lovely who is barely a woman. (I love it when my kids pull off something like this. It reinforces my choice not to beat them half to death for being completely obnoxious the rest of the time.)

3. My episode of “Knitty Gritty” apparently airs today (a thousand thanks to everyone who gave me a heads up)…and since I just can’t see it on Canadian TV, you all are going to have to just let me know how I do. (I would be hysterical, but I’m too busy to bother wasting the energy on a complete flip out.) They film much more than they need, and I’ve been living in fear that they edit out all the clever and witty things I say about sock knitting (I did say them, I swear it) and just leave the mundane boring bits where I am so lame that you will stare agog at me for wasting 30 whole minutes of your life. Stupid editing. Stupid telly. (I’ll take that back if they edit out all of the stupid parts and only leave in the parts where I am clever and witty. You let me know.)