Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pride and Emotion

I have so much to tell you about my boxing day extravaganza, but that will wait... go to the Harlot's blog and read THIS POST.

I am filled with pride, and emotion at what kind of fantastic humans knitters are. I mean, I knew it already, but this is remarkable. It took us just over 3 days to raise $120,000 for MSF. And the money keeps rolling.

You are beautiful people, and you make me believe that people are still good. Thanks.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

What on earth is she doing now???

‘Twas the night before Christmas, the tree lights were glowing,
And up in the kitchen, a knitter was sewing…

She sewed for her friends, to make gifts that are swell,
She sewed not with pattern, but high hopes it’d go well…

Her family relaxed, stretching out on the couches,
While drinking and sweating, miss ewe made…


Forgive the hideous poetry. There may have been a bit too much wine tonight!

Yep, I’m giving some of my knitty friends the gift of knit pouches. I probably shouldn’t be blogging it, but I’m not sure that anyone getting one will read this before they are received, so what the heck. I borrowed (and somewhat modified) the design from the origami bags at Lettuce Knit. The construction leaves you with a couple of pockets on the outside for notions, and a nice big space inside for your project. (especially good for socks or Fetching, or something small-ish, otherwise it’s good for feeding a ball to a larger project). And the long cords mean you can loop it through a belt loop or something if you want to subway-surf-knit, or knit while standing in a line (both of which I like to do). I’m pretty pleased with how they came out!!!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Clarity and a Thank You

I made my donation to MSF yesterday. Go make yours too. I’ll wait.

When I woke up this morning (at my mom’s place, all set for 25), I was thinking about the Christmas spirit I’m lacking, and then I remembered the last time I felt it. Back in July. I woke up feeling like Christmas then, with that crazy, childlike, excited, happy, awareness of the day. Complete with that something-good-is-happening tingle of anticipation. It lasted all summer. Then (back to this morning) I got to wondering if you only get one helping of Christmas spirit per year, and if I’d already used mine up. Maybe that’s it. Christmas has always been my favourite holiday – a chance to give from your heart to all the people you love, and it’s tough to feel like I'm going through the motions this year.

I also wanted to clarify my posting from a few days ago. The one about the boyfriend money (which was donated to MSF), because I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea.

I’m not one of those simpering, needy, whiny girls who cannot be without a guy. Really, I’m not. I hate them. Neither can I stand the ones who, when involved with someone, cannot manage to participate in anything without their significant other tagging along. Hate it.

I’m actually fiercely independent (sometimes I think that’s one of the reasons these things never seem to work out), . But even independent creatures want some company sometimes, and sometimes the girl off alone in the corner is the one with the most love to give. And just because you don’t need something doesn’t mean it’s not something you want. And just because everyone thinks you’re supposed to just get over it and feel fine doesn’t mean that you do.

I like to think I’m a good person with some decent qualities, and the fact that my heart is alone, especially at Christmas time, makes me sad. And I’m done apologizing for it.

What I do want to say is thank you. Thanks to all the knitters who read and comment and make this blogging thing so much fun. Thanks to my knitty-girls in Kingston (especially Jen, Emma), who meet up to drink coffee and knit and share stories and techniques and a little bit of themselves every week. Thanks to Heather, my forever secret pal from the summer, for writing and caring, for being a generally lovely human being, and (wow!) for the Christmas surprise that landed in my inbox yesterday (folks… this girl sent me a GC for Red Bird Knits). And to Canknitian for the hilarious Christmas e-card. And Renee, for making me feel welcome in blogdom from the beginning (and for having such beautiful little girls who make me smile every time I read her!). And Stephanie, for turning us all into a community. And everyone else, for laughs, for inspiration, for tips, for encouragement, for ideas, and just for including me.

It’s been a rough couple of months, but I look around and I have a big pile of beautiful knitted things that make me feel clever and talented and proud. I have a whole whack of beautiful yarn waiting to be knit into more beautiful things to make me feel cleverER and talentedER and proudER. And best of all, I have a huge community of friends (online and in person) who share this joy of knitting (okay, some of us are less joyous right now – deadline! Knit now, read later…).

A sense of belonging is very important. And as the Harlot said a few days ago (and suggested for T-shirts!):

I’m a knitter and I’m on a very big team.

Whatever you are, have been, or will be celebrating, Merry Happy Festive.

Friday, December 22, 2006

a Christmas Miracle

It's a freakin' miracle.
There are cookies (only two batches, but still, be impressed that it happened at all this year).
ETA: there are now also Nanaimo bars. Yum. And now I pack...
And there is a Christmas Cowl.

one day (started Wednesday, finished Thursday) + one skein (Misti Alpaca, worsted) = one cowl
I started out thinking I'd just make a pattern up, but when I was flipping through One Skein last week, I realized the "gaitor" pattern from the cable quartet might just work. A couple of gauge swatches later, and here we are. The baby alpaca is the softest, fuzziest thing I've ever knit, but it's too soft for good stitch definition, and it doesn't do justice to the cables. Still, I love this cowl, and I hope its Christmas recipient does too. (and is hopefully not allergic!)

Once finished, for the briefest flash I thought maybe I'd start on another Christmas present. Then I came to my senses and began Fetching last night. It looks gorgeous in Mission Falls, and I expect they'll get knit up quickly over the holiday at my mom's place.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas or whatever you're celebrating. Best of luck with the last minute knit-bits... you can do it!

I'll be at the Romni boxing day sale... anyone else???

PS: I'm in Grumperina's gallery and Yarnival! How 'bout that?!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Finished the Paris Night collection on Sunday morning. Behold:

There's something nice about a set, and I hope my mom likes it. It's Grumperina's Shifting Sands stitch pattern, but I used Malabrigo worsted (in the Paris Night colourway) and adjusted for that. About 1 1/2 skeins for the scarf, 1/2 skein for the hat. The hat is pretty basic - I just used my wily math skills to work out a cast-on and system of decreasing that accommodated the stitch pattern. Something about the teddy bear photo makes me think paparazzi. As though he went on a mad Christmas candy binge, the stole the hat to try to hide the sugar hangover or something. I may not be getting enough sleep.

The lack of sleep is due to the festive deadline. I knit a swatch Sunday for my last knit-gift, and it was perfect. I left it alone, collected the right supplies and went off to my knit-meet-up last night to start on it. I re-measured the swatch, and it had grown. On its own. Somehow? I have visions of evil-unChristmas-elves coming in the night to pull at the sample and screw with my gauge. I went ahead and cast on the eleventy-million stitches required for this project, but had a moment of clarity this morning as I worked out the math and figured out how much too-big it would be if my gauge were really that off. Rather than find myself in tears on Christmas eve, frantically tearing at the garment, I decided to knit another gauge swatch. Okay. Smaller needles. This looks better. Now before it grows I have to go out and pick up the corresponding circular needle and get started on this. I hope I can finish it. And let's hope the gauge gremlins do not strike again. Wish me luck.

May the force be with us all at this festively frantic knitting time.

PS: Have you seen these? Pattern here. Too flippin' cute. (Thanks for the tip, Allegra!)
I must knit some. I must... finish this gift first!

Friday, December 15, 2006

the boyfriend money

Okay. Stephanie makes a good point today. Without even thinking about it, we all open our hearts and arms and wallets at Christmas time for a new person in our lives (new baby, new in-law, new friendetc), and maybe we could all do the same for a fellow human in need.

Further to my post from yesterday, I'm going to consider this from the other direction. This year, my Christmas giving list has diminished. Subtraction of boyfriend equals money not spent on Christmas giving. So I'll do it... what I would have spent on a present for a special love, I will donate to MSF.

And the rest of you... go read the Harlot. She's a clever, clever woman with good ideas for us all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


EEEK. I have been reading panicked blog entries for days, but it only hit me yesterday.

Christmas is really soon.

That frantic feeling only just began. Somehow I missed it, up until now. I think because I have been away from my apartment for so long (working - and I'm not back yet...) I lost track of the date. Today is the 14th. The FOURTEENTH. That's really just 10 days til Christmas, if you factor in that I cannot reasonably expect to accomplish anything on the 24th. (Reason will depart as the date approaches, but today I'll be reasonable.) There's still the knitting, the baking, and of course, the Christmas spirit, which I am wholly without.

I'm done the Paris Night scarf, except for casting off. I'm saving the cast-off because I am in the middle of a Paris Night hat in the same stitch pattern. If I run out of yarn before the crown, I will rip back a bit of scarf, and if I have lots left, I'll add more length to the scarf, so as not to waste an inch of that beautiful Malabrigo. Can I just tell you? Although I am aware it's incredibly simple, it makes me feel clever and talented to have been able to invent a hat on the fly. I know, simple, no great feat. But still. Pictures coming soon.

The only other thing I must knit before Christmas is a cowl, but I'm thinking of changing yarns for something bulkier. Right now I've got Misti Alpaca worsted on deck, but this stuff seems thinner than worsted to me (anyone else?). I think I'll pick up something chunky-ish on the weekend so I can do this a little more efficiently, or else see if I can find another skein of the same and double it.

As for the Christmas spirit, I just can't get it. I do not feel festive this year. I think it's 1 part the weather (not at all wintery), and 7 parts my single status. Christmas is a time for people with love in their lives. Yeah, yeah, there's family and friends and everything, but there's no mistletoe kissing for me, no one to plan a special surprise for, no one to anticipate a special surprise from. On the other side of the coin, I suppose there's no fighting over which meal will be eaten at whose mother's house, and whether or not he was flirting with that girl at the office Christmas party. Still, it's a lonely season when you're a party of one.

I am knitting like a fiend, and I am crafting for the kids I teach, I've given to charity, and I'm almost done Christmas shopping. I even bought a new Christmas CD. It's not working. Any ideas for me?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Not everyone gets a Richard

My father died when I was a kid. About five years later my mom began dating a man named Richard. Fifteen years later, they are still dating (yep, still dating… movies on weekends, dinners out, fun trips here and there), and we are all better for it.

Richard is a great guy: soft-spoken, somewhat gruff, easy-going, animal-loving, able to fix just about anything, make just about anything, and generally knowledgeable in that daddish way. Here he is at the cottage this summer, just about to release the baby duck he rescued. (Ducky’s brothers and sisters were beating him up some; Richard chased them away, then caught the little runt, fed him up and set him free. Yes, seriously. Incidentally, this is not unusual behaviour for Richard).

The best thing about Richard is the relationship we have. He’s not my dad and he’s never tried to be, although I know he loves me like family, and I think he knows I feel the same. But because of this, he’s never treated me like a kid or tried to tell me what to do. I never feel judged or criticized around him. We just have this mutual respect for one another, and it’s really easy to just relax and be myself. We spent a couple of weeks at his cottage together this summer, just co-existing, sharing meals, sharing wine, hanging out.

He’s utterly supportive of me and my whole musician thing, and he’s also pretty encouraging of the knitterly thing. The first year I was a knitter Richard went into the LYS near him and asked what a new knitter my age might be interested in. They found him a kit, and it fell into my stocking that Christmas. Not just any guy would do that…

I knit him a scarf 2 Christmases ago, but didn’t quite make it (ah, the Christmas knitting)… I wrapped up the scarflet, the needles, and the ball of yarn, made him unwrap it, then took it back. He didn’t get it until the following October, but when he did, you’d think I’d made him a GOLDEN scarf. I know he really treasures it, and he only wears it "for good", joking about building it a display case for safe storage…

When I found this swift pattern online, can you guess who I called? I e-mailed the link right away, with a plea for "Santa’s workshop" to have a look and see what he thought. If it wouldn't take too much time, if it wouldn't cost too much... Well, I called the right person.

Lookie lookie at what I have now:

It’s FABULOUS. It’s better than that. I think they call it a swift, because it makes the whole ball-winding job so very much faster. I am saved from future episodes with the not-so-swift! Why didn’t anyone tell me I needed one of these before?!?! It works so well, perfectly balanced, spinning so smoothly. I can’t wait to wind the next ball… and I have Richard to thank.

Just about everybody gets a mom, and most people get a dad, if only just for a while, but not everyone gets a Richard.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

consider this...

Yesterday was World Aids Day. Consider taking action, whether it's making a donation, or simply reading a little about it and thinking some. I know what a powerful force we knitters can be!

In knitting news, I am away from home (and not quite so internet connected!) on a contract. It's musical theatre, and therefore there is much "pit-knitting" going on. That's ORCHESTRA pit. Pit-knitting helps to pass the lengthy dialogue (non-music) scenes where actors attempt to out-do each other while advancing the plot. Since the knitting occurs without much thought on my part (quickly picking up/putting down project to be ready for the next number), it makes Christmas scarves grow magically without much effort! Paris Night should be done in a few more days... then there will be pictures.

Next up, an alpaca Christmas cowl. Still working out a "pattern" in my head...