It is a good day

The weather sucks today, I have a ton of work to do, the house is trashed, I’m behind on the laundry, the kitchen floor is so bad that I think the cat is in danger of getting stuck down to it, and poppets…I’m in a great mood.

I finished rebuilding the Database!

That’s right, thousands and thousands of emails later, yours truly has the Knitters Without Borders database back up and running (and backed up. You have no idea how many ways this is backed up. Never. Again.) and the KWB inbox on my desktop, the one that has been glaring at me and refusing to empty no matter how many names I entered….that one? It’s EMPTY. This is such a relief to me that I sort of want to take the rest of the day off, or lie on the kitchen floor drinking scotch or something like that. According to the grand and funky spreadsheet of all knowing…Knitters have given

$434 439.41

to the good guys at Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders, who have used it to save lives and change the world. I’m so proud of all you knitters that I could just about bust. That’s yarn money up there, and there’s just nothing more touching that watching knitters give up yarn money. It’s spectacular.

Wanna Celebrate? I thought so. Let’s have a round of Karmic balancing gifts…shall we? Using a random number generator and the database list, I’ve let the fates choose some knitters. (If you think you see your name and you’re wondering if you’re the knitter I’m talking about? Never fear. I’ve emailed the lucky ones. Go check your inbox)

How about a Rockin’ Sock Club membership from Blue Moon Fiber Arts? Harriet O, it’s yours!

Barb has donated two things, a 1200 yard skein of Black Shetland Laceweight that now belongs to Margaret H.

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and a 400 yd skein of 10% silk/50% alpaca/30% mohair/10% merino sock yarn in dark steel grey,

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that destiny has decided should live with Sivia H.

Aubrey at Goodies Unlimited, has very generously offered FIVE $25 gift certificates, and those are going to Monika M, Cheryl C, Laura F, Lynne B. and MamaCate. (Aubrey also donates a portion of her profits, and I myself am a seriously big fan of her everything balm.)

Beth at Lorna’s Laces has offered one of their “little cans of paint” .

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There’s two skeins of yarn and a pattern in there (but maybe not that colour), and it’s going to live with Linda S.

Caroline would like to give this away (although I cannot imagine why. She must be a very good person.)

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6 50g/163yd hanks of Art Yarns 100% handpainted silk in a beautiful orange colour with one matching

multi hank. , and Caroline and I hope that Holly M. likes it.

Cadi makes beautiful salves,

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and will be sending one to Colleen C.

Sharon has four skeins of Misti Alpaca lace,

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and two each are going to live with Constantina M. and Lois M.

Susan M, a woman possessing a kind and generous heart, has donated 13oz of moorit lamb and silk roving (she says it’s mostly brown, with some reds and purples) from Autumn House Farm, that’s going to Anji (who I really hope has some spinning aspirations.)

Merry Karma will be sending a pair of Lantern moon needles to Sbacon. (I know that’s a weird name, but I only had an email address to work from on that one…)

and last, but not least for today, Lisa at White Birch Fiber Arts has beautiful sock yarn to give. She’s a one-woman dyeing operation, and each skein is aprox. four ounces, about 440 yards of 100% machine washable wool.

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This skein of “Confetti” is for Cathy B.

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“In the weeds” is for Sarah B.

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“Sea beast” is for Michelle S.

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“Wild Woman” is going to live with Jane B.

Whew! There’s more, much more, coming tomorrow and in the days to come, and all of this is just from the last round. I’m spending a little time thinking about what our new goal should be. What do you think?

In which I disappoint even myself

I am going to distract you today, because I woke up this morning and had the lucky and incredible insight that the thrilling thing that I was planning to write about today was not actually thrilling. Then I lay there in bed realizing that the fact that Joe and I were so entirely delighted by this thing was a bad, bad sign and that we really need to get out more or something.

We got a new toilet seat.

See? I have no idea what came over me. (I’m so ashamed. Gads we are boring.) The truth is that we have this freaky European toilet (you push a button to flush it) with a shaped seat (we didn’t buy it. It was here when we bought the house) and the seat had a big crack in it and was threatening to break at any moment and so Joe and I very responsibly went to the plumbing place and tried to buy a new seat. (Joe and I would both like some credit for that. It is very unlike us to notice a problem is developing and deal with it. We are more the “Oh no, the only toilet in the house is broken – quick, somebody do something” types. We’re proud of our maturity this time.)

Sadly, our maturity was not rewarded, and we were told that our toilet seat is discontinued. (See? This is the worst blog topic ever.) No standard seat would fit it, and we went from store to store for like…a month. We checked online, we called strange places that “salvage” old house stuff – (That right there….that should tell you how desperate we were. We thought a USED toiled seat was a good plan.) and there was absolutely none to be found. We even had a conversation in which we entertained the possibility of buying a wooden seat and carving it to fit. (Kill. Me.)

After talking with every toilet seat person in North America and discovering that there are practically support groups for people trying to find this toilet seat…we were forced to just about admit defeat and acknowledge that we were actually going to have to buy a whole new toilet because we couldn’t buy a new seat. This infuriated us enough that we couldn’t hardly bring ourselves to do it. Then the crack in the seat started getting really threatening…..and at the same time the sink in the bathroom was leaking, so Joe went to this extraordinarily fancy-pants plumbing place (because we have freaky European fixtures too) to buy stuff for that.

While there, he decided to take a shot and, gave them the dimensions of the toilet seat to see if they could think of anything that could be done…and this guy walks into the back, grabs a box, comes out and holds up the exact toilet seat we have been seeking…..and angels sing and the sun shines a glorious ray of pure light on it, and Joe falls on his knees and receives the toilet seat and brings it home to me and I am so happy that I actually feel a little weepy with joy.

Then Joe and I install it and it’s so much fun! We’re SO HAPPY about our new toilet seat…so happy that we make the kids and all of their friends come upstairs and see it and I actually take a picture of it with the sock I’m knitting so I can show it to The Blog..

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..and when I go to yoga I tell everyone all about it. Then I phone some friends and tell them. Then Joe and I stand in the bathroom together and we put our arms around each other and we look at it and sigh contentedly. We go to bed with this warm glow of happiness that we thought we would never feel again with this toilet.

Then I woke up this morning and thought …OH. MY. GOD. WE HAVE GOT TO GET A LIFE.

So go listen to this podcast. I swear I don’t mention toilet seats.

This might be a message

My darling Joe, a man of tremendous fortitude and almost impossibly optimistic nature, is having a bad week.

Joe has a terrible old sky blue pickup that he uses to move gear around. The thing can’t be trusted to move people around since it fails frequently, and it is my belief that the whole truck is held together simply by force of habit. (Joe says that’s not true, and duct tape and twist ties need the credit they deserve.) Every couple of months another piece falls off, or Joe discovers that it has an odd new quirk (like you have to keep the clutch in a little bit all the time that you are driving, or that second gear is suddenly not available unless you keep the window rolled down) and long ago it became the sort of car that only he can drive, since the list of work-arounds required to make it go is too complex for anyone else to learn.

On his way home from somewhere a while ago, the brake light came on…and it turned out, as Joe discovered in a fairly traumatic incident that shouldn’t be discussed, that this was because the truck had opted out of having brakes. (Though largely, Joe learns a way to live with the trucks failings….even he agreed that brakes were sort of important.) Joe somehow got it to the garage, convinced a guy there that it could be rehabilitated, and asked them if they would fix the rust (so that pieces stop falling off) and repaint the back of the beast while they were at it.

A few days later, Joe needed to be in Welland (a couple of hours away) and borrowed his dad’s car to make the trip. On the way there, as Joe drove responsibly and legally through a green light, an 18 year old girl in her dads car (bad day for the dads) turned left directly into him at a good clip, and while Joe was fine, his dad’s car was trashed. Now, we don’t have to get into the embarrassment of getting your dad’s car trashed when you are almost 40…but you can assume it’s substantial. Rough day, but Joe laughed it off.

Luckily, the truck was fixed, so Joe went to the bank to withdraw the cash to pay for it. Imagine his shock when he tried to withdraw cash, and was told he didn’t have any. Apparently, sometime while he was driving around with no brakes or being smashed in a car accident, he was the victim of identity theft. (Joe would like to take a moment to point out the irony of having his identity stolen the week that nobody in their right mind would want to be him) and felons unknown had emptied every single dime out of his bank account. Joe, possessing the optimism and good nature mentioned above, called the bank and sorted it out, (the money is back) and spent the rest of the day changing passwords, reopening accounts and generally rewiring his life.

Done this (and rather done himself) he got a buddy to drive him to the garage, where he discovered that for reasons that are as mysterious as the movement of the stars, the rear of the truck, while now rust free…had been painted a different colour than the front. The garage has offered to fix it, so Joe sighed, made a date to get that done, (a day after his dad’s car has been fixed) pulled out of the garage….

and was soundly and firmly rear ended at a stop sign, thus rendering the colour (and existence) of the new paint job completely moot.

He’s fine…but it did finally break him, as he slammed his hands into the steering wheel, cast his eyes heavenward and finally, after failed brakes, two car accidents, identity theft, having all of his money stolen and his truck painted funny, not to mention the indignity of having to tell his dad that his new car’s trashed…he lost it. He finally snapped and freaked the frak out. On the Joe scale- he hit a 10. What did he say? What filth was he moved to? What was the only response possible after this series of troubles and indignities? Imagine how you would behave, and then prepare yourself, because after all of that, after being tested in every possible way and being pushed to his very limit….Joe sat in the smashed truck and said:

“Oh, COME ON.”

I love that guy.

It’s time

There’s no denying it anymore. Now that I’ve finished that big sweater, there’s absolutely no getting away from the Christmas knitting. I’m proud of myself for stepping away from the crazy place twice this year (I was going to start a sweater for my uncle and begin to spin and knit a vest for my brother) when I realized that it just wasn’t possible. There’s challenging, which I enjoy, and then there’s a set up that’s doomed to failure….which I hate.

In years past I would have wildly leapt to the crazy place, and then wondered why it didn’t go well for me, but this year, this year I’ve got it together. This year all I have planned is the following:

One small shawl.

One smallish sweater

One pair adult mittens

Two pairs of children’s mittens

Two hats

Four (or maybe five) pairs of socks

And 32 whole days to do it in.

I am noticing now that I might not be as far away from the crazy place as I had hoped, but I since I do think that list is possible… I’m calling in the reserves. Every year when it degenerates into a terrible mess of knitting and rushing and frantic behaviour, I lose my cool and need a schedule to pull it back together. I call the supreme task-master, the mistress of all things scheduled, Our Lady of Being in Charge…. Lene, and I tell her what I need to do, when it needs to be done by, how long it will take. Lene compares that to things like my need to sleep, eat, work, shop, wrap and clean and prepares a somewhat reality based schedule. Then, all I have to do is follow Lene’s schedule and everything will be ok. Everything will get done. This system has only failed twice. Once when I failed to do as I was told, and once when I refused to accept that there was way, way more on the list than was humanly possible to accomplish. (I should have known that Lene was seriously trying to tell me something when I looked at the schedule and at 5pm on Christmas eve it said “Warp the time space continuum”.)

This year I’m trying a new experiment. I’m going to get Lene to make the schedule BEFORE I start falling apart, and see if the falling apart can be avoided entirely. (This will please Lene a great deal, since MORE CONTROL over the universe is something she enjoys more than is proper for me to say. )

You hear that Lene? I’m putting you in charge of a whole month. Try to control yourself.

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I’m starting this though. (Swallowtail Shawl, Interweave Knits, Fall 2006. Yarn is Misti Alpaca Lace 2ply in “CD43″ and the beads were a find in a bead shop on Queen West.) I’m excited. I feel like the unmatching-yet-matching beads are a bold move.

Mummy’s Little Sweat Shop

I have a rather smashing idea. I’ve got this very nice handspun I made a couple of weeks ago, and from the minute it was bought I’ve known who it was for. Three days ago, with the end of the sweater in sight, I got out all of my stitch dictionaries and started perusing them for possibilities. (It is one of my most favourite things in the world to look at stitch dictionaries in the bath. We have no shower, but we do make up for it by having a large and glorious claw foot tub, and I spend a lot of time in there. Looking at stitch dictionaries. Ok. That’s starting to sound odd, isn’t it? Never mind. Forget I said it. Let’s pretend I read knitting books on the couch like everybody else. Nothing to see here.) I didn’t end up using any of the stitches, but I did have a nice big idea.

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I’ve knit an “end” of a scarf. The rest will be in garter stitch. (Plain, beautiful garter stitch) and we are all going to knit it together. (I have not exactly told them this yet.) Everyone in the house knows how to knit, so there’s no reason why we can’t do a family project. I’ll leave it on the coffee table, and ask everybody to work on it whenever they think of it. Every time I think of it, I’ll add a pattern row or something. When it gets close to the end, I’ll pick it up and knit the other “end” and cast off. Presto Chango…. A scarf knit by all of us, and a really great gift for someone. Good thinking? I thought so.

I know that some of you (coughRAMScough) are going to say that this is not just the good clean fun I’m proposing. Some of you are going to think that instead of a warm fuzzy family project, what I have actually engineered is a way for me to turn my previously useless teenagers into skilled workers churning out Christmas presents. To these accusers I say…..HA! You’re just sorry you didn’t teach your kids to knit so that they could work for you so that you could get more done join in a warm new family tradition like us.

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The more I think about it, the more I think this is brilliant. I’ve been feeding, clothing and housing these people for years and years now, and I don’t even want to discuss the fact that they were all breastfed, and cloth diapered and that I made them homemade playdough for crying out loud. I taught them all sorts of useful good things, and now that they are teenagers and getting ready to move on with their own lives, I’m thinking things over. I’ve invested in these people. I was thinking that I was teaching them skills for adulthood, but now that I think about it, perhaps they could use some practice to make sure they are really good at all of it. Besides… all that effort I’ve put in and they think they are just going to grow up and leave without any sort of redress at all? I don’t think so. This, my friends, is an idea who’s time is come, and it turns out that I didn’t teach them to knit for nothing. It’s payback time. Now don’t get suckered in by their pretty faces, and don’t pay any mind to their whinging about sore hands.

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Christmas is coming, and Mummy wants another 10 rows before daybreak.

(Ps. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. Teach your kids how to cook today. Remember, today’s children learning at your knee are tomorrow’s free labour. Pony up. )

(PPS…Yes. That’s real snow. I took the pictures with my ordinary little digital camera (Ironically, the one that keeps blurring the snot out of sock pictures) set on “macro” and zoomed in. I agree though…it is spectacularly perfect snow. )

This blog writes itself

I don’t mind seaming things up. I think there are tons of knitted items that benefit from the structural integrity of seams, and some things just aren’t possible to knit without doing some sewing. The Sunrise Circle Jacket is like that, on both counts. The yarn is firm and a little heavy and the seams will keep it from drooping at the sides, although it’s not like you could really opt out of them considering the construction. By necessity, there are two raglan seams to sew up, two sleeve seams and two side seams. Then (unless you are the sort who knit up all your hems – which I am not) then you have to sew down the hems at the cuffs and around the entire perimeter of the sweater.

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This sweater has a lot of sewing… and baby that’s saying something because I knit sweaters in that time of fashion emptiness, the eighties. Give just a moments thought to dolman sleeves and oversize sweaters that came down to your knees (over your stirrup pants) and try to recall some of the long, gathered shapes of those enormous sweater coats Kaffe Fassett thought were a good idea back then and I’m telling you, there has to be a lot of sewing before I’m going to think it’s a lot of sewing. Last night I finished the twelve puny rows standing between me and being finished, and then I started the finishing.

I sewed the sleeve and side seams first so that I could try it on. This took a good long time. A whole glass of Shiraz sort of a long time. Babies have been born in the length of time that it took to sew these seams. Treaties have been settled between warring nations in less time. Hell…Politicians have made up their minds in less time than I spent sewing. The sun set. The moon rose. Time passed indeterminably while I plied my needle up those seams. I finished those seams and that glass of wine about the same time, and it was a good thing too, because I discovered that I remain absolutely freakin’ whacked a little bit off base about the real length of my arms and that due to my continuing belief that I am much, much taller than I am, the sleeves were two inches too long, and if I’d have figured that out before I had the glass of wine I would have needed one anyway. (Let this be a lesson to you. Drink early, drink often. Just for the efficiency of it.)

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I took a deep breath, I unpicked my seams, chopped off the excess, picked up the stitches and knit new hems back down. Then I resewed the seams. Then I sewed the cuff hems. Then I tried it on to make sure that I was having a reality based knitting experience (I was.) and decided to forgo the second glass of wine. (One glass fortifies. The second can really begin to effect sewing accuracy.) Then I put on all the taped episodes of The Bionic Woman and started the hems.

( A word about the new Bionic Woman? There is no bigger fan of the original Bionic Woman out there than me. I loved that show. Loved. It. I used to play Bionic Woman all the time and if I hadn’t had a brother named Jamie I would have demanded a name change. I equally loved The Six Million Dollar man, though that was just a respect thing. I didn’t think he was hot. That said, and accepting that whoever this new chick is might be doomed in my heart anyway…since I don’t see how anyone could really be Jaime Summers except Lindsay Wagner…that’s bloody clear… I’m having trouble getting into the new series. I mean, have you seen it? We could talk about the plot and the characters and stuff but I’d rather gloss that over and go right to the big issues. Have you seen how they show her going really fast? They make her go REALLY FAST. That’s dumbass. Totally dumbass. I mean, everybody knows that you can tell the bionics are working and they are going really, really fast when they go REALLY REALLY SLOW. This new fast bionic woman just looks like a hamster. I mean seriously. It’s an insult to Bionics. I have to avert my eyes it pains me so. )



Dudes. This is a fair bit of sewing. Quilts have less sewing…No, that’s an understatement.

…CHER has fewer seams on her than this sweater. It is a fantastical amount of fiddly sewing. It goes on and on and on until you beg for mercy. Beg. It went on for so long that when I was finally finished (at 2AM and after a second glass of wine after all because holy cow I practically had to bribe myself to stick to it ) when I finally fell into my bed the sewing had so invaded my brain that there were immediate consequences.

I had a dream that I got a message to go to a coffee shop and sew up a sweater. (I have no idea why I would go to some odd shop to sew up the seams of a strangers sweater, but you know how dreams are. These aren’t things that seem like choices. ) In the dream, when I got to the coffee shop there was this big chesterfield there, and the shop owner was some evil sweater- knitting blogger and she chained me up with these crazy iron i-cords and told me that I had to sew up all of her stuff before I could go. ( As scary as that was, she also gave me coffee…so it wasn’t all bad.)

It was a really traumatic dream, except for that the evil sweater-knitting-blogger type had really good taste, so the sweaters I had to sew up were fantastic… That and she forgot to take away my cell phone, so I could call for help, and somehow, out of all of the people in the world I could call to rescue me, I picked up the phone and called my good buddy Rick Mercer (whom I have never met, in my waking life ) to come to my aid. Rick did come and unchain me, but not before we had brownies and he told me I was stunned as an arse for getting myself locked up to sew sweaters in the first place. Then we blogged it and we left… In a red pick-up. (I have no idea why my inner psyche thinks Rick Mercer drives a red-pickup. Some residual scarring from the Liberal convention perhaps. No way to know. ) Anyway, Rick was really great about it, but he didn’t knit in the dream.

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The seaming might have got to me a little.

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It still needs buttons, and blocking, but it was worth it.

At the speed of mud

I’m posting late because I had this big idea that if I did, then I would have the Sunrise Circle Jacket finished.

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I’m unclear about what I thought was going to change between when I looked at it this morning and when I looked at it now, considering that I haven’t had time to knit on it. Maybe it’s just that I’m so close to done (12 little rows and a few seams) that I thought it might just take that leap itself… who knows. In any event those 12 rows apparently aren’t going to knit themselves.

In an attempt not to be perfectly boring….I give you the following non-boring things.

1. Anny has this grand idea. Go. Read. Love.

2. Remember Jeremy? He had trouble with the sock at his last attempt, but clearly the knitter within him is speaking more clearly, since at his show opening on Saturday night he was a lot less dorky with the sock action.

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See? Much better.

3. I’m almost done with the Knitters without Borders total. See it creeping up in the sidebar? I’ve still got about 280 emails to acknowledge, but I’m getting there. A few more days at most (Maybe Monday?) and I’ll start giving out the latest round of Karmic balancing gifts.

4.I finished one sock.

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It’s not much, but it’s all I’ve got for you. 12 rows and a date with a darning needle await me.

Inevitable

When I got up this morning, it was snowing. I like snow. I dislike winter quite sincerely, mostly because I hate to be cold, but the way I see it, if it’s got to be cold, it might as well be pretty, and snow is pretty.

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It didn’t stick, this first little snow, but it was around long enough to pose with the two finished parts of the Sunrise Circle Jacket. I came back to knitting this last night when I heard the forecast for snow, because as I mentioned, I hate to be cold and you can kid yourself all you want about the impending winter…but once there’s snow, you know it’s inevitable.

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I only have the back left to do on this sweater, and I am loving it fiercely. If it doesn’t fit, I think I shall be bitterly disappointed. I’d love to know what dastardly magic lurks in sweaters that lets you knit a swatch, wash a swatch, measure yourself, knit the pieces, measure the pieces, triumphantly note that you are getting both row and stitch gauge, finish knitting the pieces, measure yourself, note that you are still the size you are knitting, block the pieces, compare them to the schematic, dance with glee because all is well, sew up the pieces, put the buttons on and then…….

have it not fit.

It should be that doing that many careful and accurate things guarantees success, but it doesn’t. I’ve done everything right, and my experience tells me that my odds are no better than if I had just knocked off without so much as a single nod in the direction of gauge. It’s like a random joke the iniquitous knitting muses like to play on us, and after many years as a knitter, one that I know is occasionally inevitable. I’d still like to understand it though, because I really love this sweater, and it to look great on me. I’d like to think I was engaging in something a little more predictable than a yarn based roll of the dice, but I know I’m not. I want this sweater to fit, I’ve done everything I can to make sure it fits, and I still have to face up to that possibility that my straw will be drawn and it’s going to fit as well as that Ramones shirt I’ve had since I was 16. (Which is to say, not at all well….but who gives up on fitting into a Ramones shirt?)

Luckily, the yarn was cheap, and the knitting is fast, and I think that increases my chances. The muses are buddies with Murphy, and the more time and money you spent, the more you attract their decidedly cruel sense of humour. Maybe if I knit faster…they won’t see me go by?

Triumvirate

I’m a homebody, and the busier I get, the more I like to just stay in my house. When I’m writing (which is what I’m doing all the time anyway) I am even more intrigued with the idea of staying home, and if I’m on a deadline (which I am all the time now) the closer I get to the deadline the harder it is to convince me that the outside world is a compelling place to be. If I’m feeling swamped (which I am all the time now) I want my home, my knitting, my laptop and my time, and it has got to be something really compelling to get me to leave. Last night I got two offers I couldn’t refuse.

Jen brought her new baby to Knitnight. This darling little sweetpea completes the triumvirate of babies who will now rule Knitnight with their superpowers of cuteness.

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Jen knows what she’s doing too..since she dressed little lady Fenner in a Debbie Bliss knitted bear suit, and this combination of baby and bearsuit was such an incredible superpower that it was like kryptonite to me and all I could do, me… who is never, ever at a loss for words and even makes my living bandying them about…all I could do was snuggle the wee darling and exclaim “Oh Jen! She’s dressed like widdle BEAR!” I am always helpless in the grip people who weigh less than 10 pounds, but this was embarrassing.

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I had to tear myself away from the dominion of the wee ones, to go meet Joe and continue my mission to confuse as many celebrities as possible by asking them to publicly hold a sock without properly explaining why.

(Explaining ruins at least part of the fun. If they ask “But…why?” too many times I just think it spoils it.)

Over at Hugh’s Room, another Triumvirate had congregated, and since Joe produced their first record, we were on the door. (That album is out of stock there…and everywhere really. It’s that good. You can listen to clips of the tracks here. My favourite is “Precious love” (despite the rather twee name) and I highly recommend this album too. (For Joe’s fans, he also produced an album of Lester’s – listen to clips here. I think that “Broken Heart” is my favourite there, because the production convinced me Joe is a genius, and that’s a good feeling to get now and again when you’re doing a lot of a man’s laundry.)

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The sock and I give you Madagascar Slim, Bill Bourne (who appears to be aging in reverse) and Lester Quitzau, who together are the Juno Award winning trio Tri-Continental. I think they did fine holding the sock. (Lester is wearing a merino hat made by his wife, May Moore, so I think he might have had an advantage. Their album together -which, at the risk of appearing overly smitten, I also recommend, has yarn on the cover. Good sign.) They appear mildly confused, muddled and pleased, which I think speaks well of them. (You know my theory. You can tell a lot about a person by how they react to a handknit sock in progress.)

To round out my evening, I got a piece of very good chocolate cake, on account of it was Linda’s birthday.

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Linda reads the blog, and it was her day, so she’s holding the sock. (There are rules for this.)

The astute among you will not that they are not holding the travelling sock (due to a tactical error on my part, the travelling sock was in my other knitting bag) but my current sock in progress.

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(Feather and Fan sock from Socks,socks,socks, knit in the yarn you were all guessing the other day, which is STR Rocktober) Loving it.

Today, I’m back in the house, and considering that yesterday was about as tempting as you can make a day….babies, good live music and cake…

I think I’m staying in.

PS. I agreed to do a podcast thingie for YarnCraft, and to make it a little more interesting they’ve come up with the idea of you all asking questions that I’ll answer. Details are here…but be warned. I’m ignoring anybody who asks about a gansey.

An actual conversation in my house

Every so often, I look at my knitting and think “Well now. I understand all of this. This is proceeding in a really straightforward way. What a relief to know all I need to know about this.” and that usually means that it’s time to knit something that Cat Bordhi designed and give my boring brain a shake.

Cat’s the opposite of straightforward. Cat thinks around corners and in crazy spirals and Cat doesn’t give a crap about how it’s always been done. Cat’s like….my opposite.

I think “There has got to be a simpler way” and Cat thinks “Screw simpler – get curious. There has got to be ANOTHER way.” and then all of these door swing wide open and it turns out that there really are whole new ways to knit stuff that you I thought were pretty firmly established. What I think is most interesting about it, is that it turns out that some of them really are simpler…though I think that Cat would be the first to admit that true beauty and organic knitterly authenticity aren’t always about simple. Doing something in a beguiling or particularly graceful way matters too.

I heard someone say something about Cat that made me laugh….and Cat’s my friend, so I know that she’ll laugh too. They said “It’s like Cat Bordhi looks at knitting and says There has just got to be a harder way to to this.” It made me lie on the floor convulsed with laughter, because they are sort of right. Learning new things is hard for humans. A lot of us hate it. We like knowing what’s going on and having things predictable and although in the end most of us love learning, cracking that door open to a new way of doing something, even if it’s a better or more beautiful way of doing something is sometimes hard for us. We confuse “that’s new” with “that’s harder” because our wee human brains like it better that way. It’s a shame, because what our brains want (same thing all the time no changing anything ever) is actually not what our brains need to stay young, healthy and forming new synapses. Our brains need new ways of thinking about things….and dudes, that’s what this book is for…

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and it’s harshing on my mellow in the biggest and most wonderful way. The whole time I’m reading New Pathways for Sock Knitters I have to keep picking myself up of the virtual knitting room floor because Cat’s thought of some other way to screw with the way I thought everybody knit socks. Cat’s done some squirrel-assed crazy stuff in this book. Crazy. These socks? The Milkmaids Stockings?

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You won’t believe where the gusset increases are. You won’t believe it. (Or maybe you’re a lot more openminded than me and you won’t sit there waiting for plagues and locusts and a lighting strike.) Cat totally thinks outside of the sock, and I am so interested in this that I picked one of the patterns “Ocean Toes” (Sorry Cat. I’m totally ripping another picture out of the book here.)

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and went hunting through the stash for appropriate yarn. This pattern calls for Socks That Rock Mediumweight , and I thought to myself “HA! I have like..a million skeins of STR (Well, not a million, but a lot.) and for once I can use the yarn the pattern calls for and won’t that be good?” Whereupon I proceeded to begin tossing the stash in order to locate my choices. A transcript of what followed is below. (Amanda, Megan and Sam are my daughters. 18, 16 and 13)

Me: (*&^%$#!!!!

Amanda: What’s your trouble?

Me: I can’t find the yarn that I need.

Amanda: Did you check the Back Room stash?

Me: First place I looked. (I’m ripping up the living room stash as we are talking, making a big mess.)

Megan: Did you check the Upstairs Stash?

Me: Of course. Why can’t I find it?

Sam: Did you look in the Bin Stash? Maybe it’s there?

Me: I totally looked in the Bin Stash.

Amanda: What are you looking for? When was the last time you saw it?

Megan: Is it old stash? Maybe it’s at the bottom?

Sam: Is it blue? I saw some blue yarn in Megan’s stash that I think she stole from you.

Me: Megan – are you stealing my yarn again? What have we said about Mummy’s stash, I’m happy to share with you to a point, but you just can’t go off and……

Megan: You’re loosing focus.

Amanda: You were looking for some yarn?

Me: Right. I’m not looking for any specific yarn….I’m looking for my supply of STR medium weight. I found one skein, but I was going to round it all up and see what my choices were.

Samantha: That’s how you should organize it.

Me: Thanks Sam. I’ll keep that in mind. WHY (ripping up kitchen stash) CAN I ONLY FIND ONE SKEIN OF THIS?

Then I stopped. I’d gone through all the stash in the house. The house was trashed, yarn everywhere, I’d made a huge mess and the truth was before me.

Me: Wow. Do you know what this means?

Girls: ??????

Me: I’ve only got one skein of this kind of yarn.

Then we all just sat there, staring around at all that yarn and thinking about ripping it all up again, because, really?

That was totally unbelievable.