Monthly Archives: October 2007

Clinging to October

Thank you all for your comments on my randomness in the last post. They were great to read.

It can’t really be the end of October, can it? Lalalalala, I can’t heeeeeaaar youuuu….Because if it is November then it is the month I have to hand in my draft and finally schedule my first defense date and…and…and….eeeeaaaaaaalllgllglgjgjgjjgjjghhhhhhhrrrrgggllllleeee….. :::gasps and pulls hair::

Today I have officially procrastinated all I can possibly procrastinate on, short of actually putting knitting needles and yarn in my hands. (Ok, not quite all. I haven’t done laundry yet.) I have to get writing because I am so close to finishing and I am the only thing standing in my way, and yet all I want to do is hide under the covers and go lalalallalalala, I can’t heeeearrr youuuu….

Sadly doing that does not make the thesis finish itself. Nor does reading the blogs, although Martha has a great post up today about knitterly things.

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But since today is Halloween and I do have a resident black cat to snuggle with (she is on orders to stay inside today, lest she encounter Overly Superstitious People Up To No Good On Halloween), so I’d best get a move on something before the day is out.

::cling::

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Filed under real life miscellaney

8 Steps of Random

Julie tagged me on a meme last week, and the rules are these: Give 8 random facts about yourself, then tag 8 more people to do the same thing. Here we go!

1. A while back I cleaned out an aged Altoids tin and started carrying it around in my purse as a knitting notions kit – it holds tapestry needles, stitch holders, cable needles, even a tape measure. But now that I do more bussing and cycling, I divide my travel knitting between a couple of different bags/backpacks, so I am on the hunt for more such things. For some reason Altoids and their ilk are more readily available in the U.S., so I went on the hunt for similar items while in New York last week. (Below: Hershey mini “truffle” chocolates; and Altoids gum)

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2. I have an inexplicable fascination and fondness for the W newtork show Rescue Mediums, and was totally miffed when they moved it to Fridays at 11pm instead of Fridays at 8pm or whenever it was. I have absolutely no desire to debate over whether the show is real or not, I just think it’s fun and I like the happy endings with the homeowners. Also, they film in Ontario and often hit small towns that I’m familiar with.

3. Even though I like clothes and like looking slightly dressed up, I am not a very good shopper and have gotten into a possibly-too-comfortable graduate student routine of wearing jeans and sweaters most days. Also, I have size 11 feet and shoe shopping is never, ever, EVER a fun experience. Most of the time size 11 doesn’t even exist in the styles that I want and I get exhausted and frustrated just thinking about it.

4. In my fantasy life in my head, I write mystery novels and knit and own a yarn shop.

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(This is the current progress on my Log Cabin blanket. I’m finally on to the 8th panel and then will begin the loooooonnnnnnggg 2-colour 9th panel that turns the whole thing into a rectangle.)

5. I can speak German fluently, or at least I could – 10 years ago I lived in Freiburg, Germany, on a study abroad year and could speak well enough that no one assumed I was Canadian. I’d like to go back some time.

6. I am chronically single.

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(I know the truth. Beatrice just wants me for my warm spot.)

7. If it wasn’t for knitting podcasts, I probably wouldn’t get out for jogging/exercising. In fact, I got behind on Stash and Burn episodes earlier this month because I was a lazy slacker and didn’t go running for 2 weeks. I need more podcasts.

8. I stash chocolate. This is nowhere near a rival for my yarn stash, of course, but I always like to have some around, preferably something dark. If there is a room that I spend time in on a daily basis, there is probably some chocolate in it. In fact, there is some in my purse right now. Whenever I’m in the U.S. I look for things like Special Dark Hershey’s Kisses, or dark chocolate M&Ms, or Trader Joe’s chocolate, that we can’t get up here. I particularly like the Hershey’s Kisses because you can just have two or three. I don’t need a whole chocolate bar every day, just a wee bit of chocolatey goodness with my tea :)

Ta-da! I hope that was suitably random and interesting at the same time.

To pay this forward as I am meant to do, I tag Elinor, Susan, Risa, Em, Martha, Pam, Petra, and Liz.

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Filed under meme

Monday who?

I’m having the sort of morning where I feel like pouting under the covers and watching DVDs, just to spite the world. (I won’t, but I can keep the fantasy alive.) It’s not that I’m sick, or feeling particularly knitterly or particularly tired. Monday just came too soon this week. Also, I put too much pepper on my boiled egg and now I keep sneezing.

But in the meanwhile there is much to blog about! Julie tagged me on a meme and I must answer for it with 8 random things about me. I am still thinking about that, though. 8 things is a challenge. (And how will I know if they are random enough? Will someone come along with a Random-O-Meter and test me?) I also have some new books for review, and I want to get to at least one of them this week.

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But first I must report that I went to a totally awesome knitting birthday party yesterday, for Ladylungdoc. She invited pals down to Alterknit knitting cafe for knitting and treats and it was tres fun, particularly since I’d never managed to make it to Alterknit when I was actually a resident of Toronto. Long live the knitting cafe! Sure, we can all go down to our nearest [Insert Coffee & Beverage Chain here] and knit and drink something, but will that place surround you with people who will give you sympathy and knowing glances when you say things like, “yeah, I’ve got this garter stitch blanket that I’m working on but it’s sort of started to eat my soul…”

I worked on my Endpaper Mitts, which are thankfully not eating my soul.

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There was also Sandi, Jacquie, Alison, Michelle, Sophia, Martina, Peggy, Susan (whose blogs I don’t know yet), and I hope I haven’t missed anyone. And there were goodies to munch upon, including the best idea ever – milk and cookie shooters.

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They were delicious.

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Thanks for having a birthday, Lisa!

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Filed under knitting in public, yarn stores

You’re a nummy treat

How could I have left out the important part of Rhinebeck – the purchases? Right you all were to harass me. Well, let me tells ya – after this weekend it’s going to have to be lean times around here at Knitting to Stay Sane, but I have no regrets on my purchases and I can’t wait to start using them.

[Warning! Lots of pictures in this post once again.]

First, the Socks That Rock. I didn’t expect to buy this. In fact, this was the only unexpected purchase of the day. We arrived at around 10:30am, and since the grounds had been open since 9am and I’d heard all these horror stories about the huge lineups for STR and “get there at dawn or you’ll be sorry!”, I fully expected there to be nothing left. But there we were at 10:30am in Building A, and I decided to check it out, and lo and behold there were still plenty of skeins left. I became powerless.

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At first I picked up 4 different single skeins, then went and stood in line. But as I stood there I reasoned with myself that I had plenty of sock yarn at home in regular-sock amounts, although what I didn’t have was sock yarn in knee-sock amounts. So I did some re-thinking, left the line (but the ladies let me come back, I even asked their permission, good Canadian that I am) and started putting a couple of skeins back. What I came back with was 2 skeins each of Jasper and Garnet Dreams, and one of Peacock – possibly the last skein there was. I was pleased to note at 4pm that, while there remained yet a few more skeins of STR on the hooks, none of the remaining colours were ones that I had purchased – but the ones I had put back were indeed still there! I lucked out.

My ‘to buy’ list included a sweater’s worth of something worsted, a drop spindle, and some roving for me to keep practicing with. I found the sweater’s worth of something from Wild Apple Farms, in this cranberry-heather sort of shade:

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It was a freakin’ bargoon, my peeps. $33 for 7 skeins. I hope that I will not regret passing on the 8th skein, but as it is this should be enough for a new Twist cardigan, to replace the dearly departed one of a few posts ago.

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Ta ra, ta ra, an Ashford drop spindle all for meeeeee. Rebecca helped me pick one that wasn’t too heavy, and I look forward to using it. It’s sitting there against a bag of dyed wool (not sure what kind) roving from A Touch of Twist that was too pretty not to buy. And then there was more in the roving area…

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Here we see half a pound of merino/silk dyed roving from Cloverleaf Farms. It was once again, too pretty to pass up. Except then, after I bought it, R had to listen to me whimper things like, “But wait, isn’t merino supposed to be hard? What if should have bought something else? Shouldn’t I be spinning with crud first and then working up to the hard stuff?” So then I ended up with this:

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It is entirely possible that I swung too far in the other direction, but all I know is that it was a half a pound of something woolen for six bucks. It is also entirely possible that this is simply glorified dryer lint (I am not really sure if this drafts or even has a staple length), but hey. At least it’s something that I won’t care deeply enough about if I screw it up, and I can work on it first and practice my technique. And if I have to throw it out the window and disavow all knowledge of it, that wouldn’t be the biggest loss ever. And at least it’s green! Pretty, pretty green!

So all in all a great weekend. The icing on the cake was getting a day and a half tacked on to see a bit of New York City. And a fine, fine city it is.

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Filed under rhinebeck, spinning, stash

Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much…

…let me sum up: YAY RHINEBECK YAY. I’m sure the blogosphere is already flooded with Rhinebeck posts, and um…this is another one. And one from a newbie Rhinebeck-er at that. So this’ll be a post with lots of photos and I may ramble a little bit.

I flew down on Friday and met up with Rebecca, who graciously offered me her sofabed for the weekend. Saturday morning we convened with all of her best knitting buds (Abbie, Catarina, Holly, Lori – a cross-stitcher, but game for the trip nonetheless – Margarita, and Will) from the city, piled into a rented minivan and we were off in time to get to the fair by 10:30.

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This is Margarita with the totally awesome sheep purse, and her husband Will at the wheel. Will is great. He is the model of a supportive and fantastic spouse and drove the minivan both ways even though someone else could have done a leg of it, and even looked forward to visiting the Gem & Mineral show portion of the event.

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When we arrived the ticket lines were quite short, which was great, although I happily admit I was getting a little twitchy and impatient. “OMG I can’t stand it,” I think I said as we pulled into the parking lot. There was a little travelling-zoo thing set up near the entrance gates with kangaroos and wallabies and lemurs, and they were nice and adorable, although I think by this point I was also whimpering “but the yarn is over there…” (I am nothing if not goal-oriented) and we moved towards the many, many buildings filled with vendors and sheep.

I should mention that I did have a defined mental list of things to buy (a sweater’s worth of something worsted, a drop spindle and some roving for me to keep practicing on), and this did not include sock yarn. But then, the first building we went into was the one with The Fold, vendor of Socks That Rock, and I promptly made the personal executive decision on behalf of my credit card (who may not be speaking to me right now) to add some STR to my purchases. For the first time ever, the Canadian dollar is high enough that I can read price tags in the US and not mentally have to add a few bucks to each price, and more than that – by buying at Rhinebeck I could save on shipping! And it was worth it. I got knee-sock amounts of the ‘Garnet Dreams’ and ‘Jasper’ colourways in Mediumweight.

And you know what? Waiting in that line for 15-20 minutes or whatever it was was also totally worth it. In fact, I have become an advocate for finding lines to wait in at Rhinebeck. That’s when you get to talk to people. You’re forced into at least a few minutes of not going anywhere, and it’s good conversation potential. And that’s when I met Faith:

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The conversation went something like this:

Faith: “So, what are you going to make with your Socks that Rock?”
Me: “Oh, I think some socks.”
Faith: ::nods sagely::
Me: ::chuckles::
Faith: “What kind of heel do you prefer?”
Me: “Oh, definitely the heel flap. It’s so comfy.”
Faith: “Totally. I also enjoy the heel flap.”
[pause for waiting, waiting, and more waiting]
Me: “So, do you have a blog?”
Faith: “Why yes, I do. It’s called No More Sweaters.”
Me: “Really? I read that blog! I’m Glenna, I write Knitting to Stay Sane.”
Faith: “Really? I read that blog too! I’d hug you if my arms weren’t full of yarn right now.”

It was too hilarious. There need to be more opportunities for experiences like this out in the world. But anyhoo, I bought my unexpected armload of STR and then re-joined the group only to discover that Rebecca had purchased a spinning wheel. She’d been planning this in the back of her mind pre-Rhinebeck and once she tried the Ashford Kiwi she was lost. We all were very jealous supported her on this.

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We carried on for a bit of browsing and then R patiently went with me at noon to the Blogger meetup, where my Blogger Bingo card finally scored a few more hits, including Lisa, aka the Tsock Tsarina, wearing the kick-ass-ingest shawl ever:

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And this gal who I really enjoyed chatting with and who had the greatest t-shirt, and now I completely blank out on her name. ::sheepish::

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By the end of the day I did pretty well (I think) with the Bingo, finding 13 of the 25 names on my card. Really, you had to either know who you were looking for or be super eagle-eyed and spot the Bingo Logos on people’s buttons and bags and tees. I was fairly pleased with my system, which involved doing the self-laminating on the card and using some scrapbooking sticky buttons obtained from the dollar store. I thought this was all totally normal and then realized no one else did this much over-achieving. ::more sheepish:: Note for next time: pencils and markers are fine.

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Lunchtime was more lines. The hunger made the lines a little more unbearable at this point, but still, there was good chatting. R and I stood behind Chante and her friend Kim, who were spinning away masterfully on their drop spindles. I was mildly awed and have since vowed to learn to spin that finely. (And the chicken pot pies were deeeeeeeelicious.) Chante, incidentally, along with a few other knitters, did the Blogger Bingo method of taking a digital photo of everyone she found on her card. Visual proof, plus a nice documented record of the weekend!

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There were other Torontonians there too, and at various points I saw Jacquie, Laura, Megan, and Emily had newly-1-yr-old Clara on her hip:

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I wish I’d had more time to talk to everyone. It seemed like the day was made up of fleeting conversations, hazy purchases, yarn clutching, and lots of sugar (in the form of maple sugar cotton candy) and energy on the side. Of course, there were also sheep:

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(I like to think that while the sheep are being shorn, baa-ing and being stubborn the whole way, that they are saying things like “perhaps maybe we should DISCUSS THIS FIRST…”)

And there were bunnies:

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…and alpacas:

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And then, of course, there was the yarn. Plenty of it.

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(Best signage ever.)

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There were so many people there – 12,000, according to the New York Times. There were several people from the blogs I wanted to look out for and didn’t see. I am not sharp enough to keep an eye on the yarn and the people all at the same time, I think. ;) I was glad to be there with a small group to anchor me. If I had been alone I might have been either totally overwhelmed, or over-focussed on my list and had all my tasks purchases done in 2 hours and then wandered bewildered from one food stand to the next. Heh. I hear the Ravelry party was quite the shindig on Saturday night. Our merry band headed back to NYC and that was okay, because we were just plain beat I think.

And then we knitted on the subway. Fitting, no?

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Kitty was happy to have me back.

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I realized in all of this that I forgot to do one important thing – photograph the purchases! I will try to rectify this and post again. Perhaps I’ll include a few NYC photos as well – that was the second half of the trip, a day and a half of worth of NYC tacked on to a full knitterly day.

Can I do it all again?

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Filed under knitting in public, knitting tourism, rhinebeck

I can has Rhinebeck

Back.

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I will work up a proper post, hopefully tomorrow, with all the tales and proper photos and assorted revelry. All in all a great trip excepting the stupid delays and more delays coming out of Newark on the way back, but there was great yarn, even greater people, and the customs people did not stop me to ask why my suitcase was full of nothing but yarn and dark chocolate M&Ms.

Knitters rule, yo. (Apparently the New York Times knows so too.) More tomorrow.

::hugs the internet::

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Filed under rhinebeck

Oh noes.

I ordered my Blogger Bingo buttons from Cafe Press over 2 weeks ago and they still haven’t gotten here. Frakkity frak, people, I hop a plane on Friday morning!*

Also, I have the ennui. The knitting ennui. I suppose this is understandable, given that I just finished a sweater. But oh, the knitting ennui is not what I want to have going into a Rhinebeck weekend.

But more sad than all of this…It is entirely possible that I have just ruined a perfectly good sweater.

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I washed my Twist cardi in the machine on delicate cycle, as I often do. In the past, this has worked out just fine. The trick on this occasion in particular is that a) it was a different machine than normal, and b) I used a different soap than I normally do.

Why oh why didn’t I wash it by hand? Why oh why didn’t I make the effort to find wherever the hell I put that bottle of Soak wool wash after the move? Why oh why did I use an oh-so-feltable yarn like Elann Highland Wool for this sweater in the first place? ::sob sob::

I’m attempting an aggressive wet-block, but really…this sweater will never be the same again.

The good news is that Bonne Marie has released an updated version of the pattern (with hood and everything), and that this one has indeed given me 2 years of wear, so if I re-knit it again that wouldn’t be the worst thing ever…But still. Ruining a sweater is not so much with the fun.

So in sum of my knitting life, as evidenced by my recent activity: insecure, lethargic, possibly no longer able to make things that fit, and not to be trusted around washing wool garments. I hope Rhinebeck will make me a smarter knitter again. One can only hope, right?

*And if anyone wanted to think good thoughts for me early Friday morning as I attempt to land in Montreal, go through US customs, and transfer me and my luggage to a different plane to NYC in 55 minutes or less, that’d be super super awesome.

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Filed under knitting gone wrong