Monthly Archives: January 2010


I am pleased to announce that thanks to your energetic response to my call a couple of weeks ago, I will be sending a big fat donation to Doctors Without Borders / Medecins Sans Frontieres, in the amount of…


That is definitely a lot (like, a LOT a lot) more than the pattern sales I generally collect in the span of a couple of weeks…hell, in the span of a few months…and the vast majority of that chunk of change is from you folks. (I’m eating the Paypal fees here out of my own pocket, because let’s face it, DWB/MSF is going to do more with it than me.)

Thank you for all your pattern support in the last two weeks – and I hope that you’ll enjoy knitting the patterns as well. It gives me great pleasure to know that there is more of them out in the world, almost as much pleasure as giving away a pile of money.

Thanks, knitters. You rule.


Filed under Uncategorized


While the internet is all a-flutter over the iPad this week (which, seriously, Apple? The iPad? Hire a few women and see if your naming skills improve, there), I am just as a-flutter over a new gadget which cost me a darned sight less and will be no less cool from a knitting perspective.

One of my favourite knitting tools I already own is a digital kitchen scale. It is fantastic. I use it as often as I use my ball-winder and swift. (Seen below, to the left, with wee little leftover Lorna’s Laces balls for comparison/decoration.) It helps me tell how much yarn I have left in a ball, or if I want to split a skein exactly in half, I can do that by weighing it as I wind. I mean, I know I’m supposed to be using things like this in, well, the kitchen, but come ON. Priorities, people.

Competing Digital Scales.

But that’s not the real shining star, here. Last weekend when I was at the Purple Purl, the ladies there were talking about a new discovery that someone had brought in to knit night – and I didn’t even catch the name of the woman who made this discovery in the group, because I would totally love to give her credit here as I am really just jumping on her bandwagon – that revolutionizes the whole “knitting scale” to a whole new level.

Teeny tiny scale

What’s that to the right of the mama-sized scale? It’s a wee little baby-sized one. Yes, that’s right. An object with a footprint just slightly bigger than an Altoids tin that does all the same functions as the big not-at-all-portable scale. I had to have one, and I went right over to the Lee Valley Tools website and got one.

Teeny tiny scale for teeny tiny purposes.

This tiny little thing will measure your yarn or whatever, down to the fraction of a gram or ounce. Sign me up. (Those are my leftovers from the Tibetan Dreams stole, taking the demo in stride.)

Yes, this now lives in my handbag. Yes, I want to be that knitter who can pull a mini digital scale out of their handbag and not just a spare stitch marker or tape measure.

Move on, Apple, no iPad purchasing over here. This is my kind of gadgetry.

PS – I’m loving the comments on yesterday’s post. KIP stories are the best kind!

PPS – One more day until I add up the final tally for pattern sales that will go into a bit fat donation to Doctors Without Borders. Will be sure to report back on Sunday with the final number!


Filed under coveting, knitting addiction

As if they could keep the knitters inside anyway

I am having one of those weeks where even though it doesn’t seem like I am doing anything terribly hectic, the knitting is slow to progress. I put in some knitting time every day, but still, it’s one of those weeks.

Transit Knitting FTW

Some days, if I didn’t have a transit project with me, I don’t think I’d knit at all. That morning bus ride is always good for a few rounds on the sock if nothing else. Thanks, sock knitting, for being so portable. (Aside: I think there may be a transit-cabled-aran-knitter inside me screaming to get out. Watch this space for further bulletins as events occur.)

Where’s the last place you knitted, that wasn’t inside your own house? Tell me your stories, knitters. It’s Thursday.

Happy knitting, wherever you do it today.


Filed under knitting in public, socks

Such a charade

So, a while back (well, OK, December), I got a lovely and generous gift from Tanis. She’s started to break out into variegated colourways and asked me if I’d like to try out one of these new sock skeins. I got it in the mail while in the middle of gift-sock knitting before Christmas and had to hold myself back from casting on right away, it was so darned pretty looking.


I’ve been knitting it during stints of transit-knitting into a pair of Charades (Ravelry pattern link – can’t find the original web link, has it gone the way of the wind?). Last winter I knitted myself a pair of Charades with some nice colourful yarn, and then I washed them in the wash as I do with all my socks, and the darned things shrunk on me.

Well, not this time, SUCKERS. These socks will not shrink, I am determined. Also, this ‘Rhythm’ colourway is turning out sort of dressy looking, which helps me in the “get more grown-up-looking hand knit socks” quest. Still, she’s got plenty of crazy fun multi-colours in there, so maybe I’ll have to branch out.

So much yarn, so little time.


Filed under socks

Knitting Detritus

A while back – I mean, four or five years ago – I remember reading about how if you save all of your yarn labels you could do super fun things with them like collages or decoupaged dress forms or various paper crafts. And I like stuff, and I like saving things that could potentially be useful (hello, yarn stash, nice to see you), so I just started shoving my yarn labels into a bag whenever I started a new project.

Some times, this comes in darned useful. If you are ever unsure of exactly how many yards were in the skein, or which dye-lot you used, or if that was the Cascade 220 blueish heather or somebody else’s blueish heather, or if you’ve got 34g leftover, how many grams did you use up from the original ball of how many grams did that weigh again?

But years later, I can see that what I have ended up with is, quite simply, a pile of yarn labels.


I can’t help thinking as though this is the moment when a Yarn Archivist should spring out from the next room and say “Aha! This is what it all means.” I can tell the yarns I have used most often, and also which yarns I only used once or twice and then never went back to.

Also, just looking at some of the labels themselves is sort of interesting. Let me tell you, yarn dyers – if you’ve got a label that can stand out in a pile like this, then you’re probably doing something right. Colours, shapes, images, logos, paper quality…they’re not all the same. Sort of neat to look at, in a really geeky way.


I don’t think I want to do any decoupage any time soon. But still…NOW what do I do with them?


Filed under stash

More or Less

Thanks to you fine folks, it looks as though I am going to be sending well over $350 to the even finer folks at Doctors Without Borders. Just as a reminder, 100% of cash from my pattern sales from now until January 30th will go into a donation to MSF/DWB. So that means you get more patterns to knit, I get the fun of knowing that more people are knitting my patterns, and MSF/DWB get a pile of money. I call that a win-win-win.

It is odd, at the same time that harsh reality is so confrontingly harsh in particular parts of the world right now, to be a person contemplating the parts of her own life with so much abundance. Last weekend I took a plunge into better stash organization and did a long-awaited IKEA trek to acquire new shelves for just this such purpose.


Dudes, I have a lot of yarn. Like, a lot. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that my yarn room/office now looks a lot like my own personal yarn shop? It is at the very least, all yarn that I like, and it’s taken several years to get to the stash collection that I have. My stash and me, we’re gonna do fun things.


As, I suppose, many people do from time to time, I have plenty of moments when I wish parts of my life were different. But I do have a lot of yarn, and it is yarn that I like, and it holds creative possibility. And in some ways that is a lot more than I could have.

So, I have decided to be okay with the fact that I have yarn. If it’s the one part of my life where there is too much of a good thing…I can be good with that.

And when I get home I am totally going to give it a hug.


Filed under stash

I can do more than that

I made a moderately sized individual donation yesterday to Doctors Without Borders (in addition to the Knitters Without Borders trend, I’ve been a fan of them pretty much ever since James Orbinski came to speak at my undergraduate University convocation. I think they’re great.) in light of all the need for Haiti relief and support, but I keep reading more about it as news comes in and you know, I can do more than one donation.

From now until January 30th, 100% of all pattern sales from Knitting to Stay Sane (here at my Ravelry store) will go to Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders. If you’ve been waiting to snag yourself a copy of Viper Pilots or 14 Karat or Rendezvous, if you do so now you can know that money is going to be passed right on forward. I’m going to eat the Paypal fees myself. $5 for Viper Pilots is $5 for people who are doing a hell of a lot of important work on the ground.

14 Karat Buy Now:

Viper Pilots Buy Now:

Rendezvous Buy Now:

Will be sure to report back in after the 30th and let you know how it has gone.

Happy knitting, as always!


Filed under Uncategorized

The last of the knits

(At least, the last knit from 2009, that is. Heh.)

Over the holidays I was staying at the House of the Kitty Cats (a short walk away from the homestead), along with my aunt who was visiting as well as my grandfather. The kitties got food and various humans to harass, so it all worked out for all parties concerned. On the knitting front, at the time I was finishing up my lace stole but there was no way I was going to risk bringing it over to a kitty household, on the off chance that a bored and enterprising feline found her way into my knitting bag and decided to play the Let’s Rip Up Glenna’s Knitting game.

Still, I wanted to have something to knit on for a bit in the mornings and evenings while I was there, and I had 2 skeins of Cascade 220 heathers in a lovely cranberry shade, so I decided one of these would be a new winter hat. I trolled around for Beret patterns before reminding myself that I am in fact in possession of the Made In Brooklyn booklet by Jared Flood, and that just because I already made one project from it doesn’t mean I can’t still make OTHER things from it. (Anyone else get that? You knit one thing from the book/magazine and then suddenly it retreats into your blind spot? No? All right then.)

Lo and behold, I present to you the Laurel beret. It’s great. I’m getting compliments on it all over the place.


I’m starting to embrace the knitted beret realm. I like that it lets me still have a ratty head of curls and look okay wearing a hat. The cables give this one a great deal of structure which means it doesn’t slouch nearly as much, and I’m cool with that. This is not the simplest of patterns, to be sure, but it’s worth it. I worked mine 2-3 rows at a sitting, spread out over a week.

There are a few errata which you’ll want to look up before beginning, but one that seems to have fallen through the cracks is the instructions for the bobbles – a quick check on Ravelry reveals that pretty much everyone who knits this has improvised their own bobbles because the instructions in the pattern do not give you a true bobble; I think a few rows got missed. Other than that, things are cool. I knitted the ribbing for the band on as snug a needle size as I could manage (3.0mm), and it fits me fine, but my guess is that people with smaller heads than me, and possibly fewer curls than me, may wish to eliminate 4-8 sts from the ribbing to achieve a snugger fit, then increase immediately in strategic places before beginning the pattern. (You’d want to make sure the ribbing flows well into the cables, this is the only tricky part of modifying the stitch count in this way.)


So in conclusion, I vote ‘yes’ on cabled berets. And on matching stockinette gloves to match, which I did too, finished while in New York so that I could break these out while wandering the MoMA on New Year’s Day. (Some days it is hard to be me.)

Incidentally, I also vote ‘yes’ on supporting the development and aid organizations currently on the ground in Haiti. I give charitably multiple times a year, but it’s pretty much a no-brainer to give to people like Doctors Without Borders at times like this. 7.0 Magnitude (For comparison, the ‘Great Quake’ of 1906 in San Francisco was 7.8.) quake directly underneath the capital city in a country that already struggles at the best of times? I cannot fathom what it is like on the ground there. I hope relief efforts are swift.

Happy knitting this Thursday, my fine friends.  I think if we’ve got yarn we’re doing pretty well.


Filed under finished object: accessories

Now to find a place to wear it

As it turns out, I finished my Tibetan Dreams stole at the end of December, one of the last finished objects of 2009. And then I realized that a lace stole is probably the least optimal knitted object to finish in the middle of winter, because then you realize you need to photograph it and any outdoor shots of you frolicking with the finished shawl draped elegantly around your shoulders are really really not going to happen in -10C temperatures. So I’ve been waiting for the opportune moment.

Happily, Lisa invited me out to the big city yesterday afternoon, for high tea at the Knit Cafe. (They do this once a month, and it is well worth it. Book in advance.) And after our tea there was a bit of a lull, and their front window was temporarily empty, and I got Lisa to snap a few pictures. (Thankfully, the Knit Cafe people did not seem to mind me draping a shawl all over their empty shop window.) I am extremely grateful. Check it out, man:



Pattern: Tibetan Dreams stole, by Sivia Harding in ‘The Knitter’s Book of Wool.’
Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight, in Deep Sea
Cast on: November 29, 2009
Cast off: December 27, 2009
Needles: 4.0 mm (one size up from the specs – in retrospect I could have probably done fine with the indicated 3.75mm, as the final stole turned out slightly longer than I might have liked. This is when being tall pays off.)
Notes: Can you knit a beaded stole in a month? Answer: yes, but only if you don’t knit much else, and are clinging to the project as a lifeline in the midst of grading hell. I made no modifications whatsoever to the pattern. There are, however, a few minor errata that slipped through the chart publication cracks, so do look those up before you begin this project.



This is certainly a challenging project, well beyond beginner-basic lace, but is also a skills-building project. The lace pattern on the edges is a 20-row repeat, which will definitely ask you to step up your concentration. The central panel (worked first), also asks you to pay attention to your chart-reading skills, but I found it enjoyable to tick off the rounds one at a time as the mandala pattern blooms outwards.

Working with beads is still relatively new for me, but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it – in this case the beads are applied with the use of a (0.60mm) crochet hook, on specific stitches. They are spaced out just far enough to keep a bit of interest while knitting, but not to overwhelm the shawl with a huge amount of weight. The final effect is drapey and elegant, and I’m happy with my selection of beads that are coloured similarly to the yarn.


Allow me to assure you as well, dear blog readers, that just in case you think beauty is the same as perfection, then keep on walkin’. There are a couple of places in the edges in particular where I goofed up big time and just fudged it to make it work, and changed my stitch marker placement so that it didn’t happen again on the next repeat. (I got better). Now, I would probably have to look very very hard to find that same section with the error. I am pretty okay with this. (A good reminder in general, I feel.)



Sivia Harding, if I didn’t know for a fact what an awesomely nice person you are, I would think you were an evil genius. Thanks for the great pattern.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and knit yourself some badass beaded lace. Best time ever.


Filed under beads, fearless knitting, finished object: shawl, lace

Just get back up

If you’re not at all interested in slightly obnoxious yet still awesome earworms last year’s pop music hits, I won’t be offended if you keep on walking and come back tomorrow. This is one of those YouTube selections that I’ve seen so many times now that I can’t help but want to join in the re-posting of it. What can I say, I’m on day 4 of my first 5-day work week back, and I will take absolutely anything toe-tapping if it helps me make it to the weekend.

Also, despite how messed up the music industry is, I sort of love pop earworms. (Headline: no one surprised.)

Happy Thursday, my knitting friends.


Filed under Uncategorized