Category Archives: knitting in public

TTC Knitalong: 2009

I was going to post today about another FO I managed to reel in this week (long-forgotten Sanqhuar gloves, anyone), but that will have to wait. It is far more important to announce the return of a fantastic Toronto knitting event – the TTC Knitalong! Registration is now open, so visit the TTC Knitalong blog for details. This will take place on Saturday, June 6th, now less than a month away!

The purpose of the event is simple: to gather as knitters, make our craft more visible, and have a great day while doing it. And, oh yes – to buy yarn! There will be 3 ‘teams’, in the West, North, and East, and all participants must register with a specific team. There will be limits on team size (sadly there is a maximum of how many knitters can cram into a single wee yarn shop – or streetcar – at once), so register early to select your team and avoid disappointment. If necessary, teams may be split into smaller, staggered groups to accommodate more participants.

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The cost of the event is $10, which includes access to a few discounts available from the yarn shops participating in the Knitalong, a chance to win prizes throughout the day, as well as a donation to Sistering which is the charity of choice for this event.

I will be volunteering for this event on (I think) the East Team, but all 3 Teams will take you to a variety of yarn shops and include plenty of friendly knitters from across the Toronto area. If you’ve never done a ‘yarn crawl’ before, this is definitely a good way to do it! If you’re from the Toronto area or are considering visiting for a day to schedule in some yarn time, definitely consider registering for the TTC Knitalong. Fun times are sure to be had.

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See you on June 6th!

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A Toronto sort of afternoon

Yesterday I made the bold move of actually going out into the outside world for the majority of my day, although don’t get me wrong the hibernation way of life is starting to become very easy to keep up. A little too easy, one might say. That is the point when you re-emerge and start with familiar and comforting things. So naturally, I met up with Kim and we went off in search of cupcakes and yarn shops.

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We first made the streetcar trek all the way to the eastern end of Queen St, in search of the bakery Life is Sweet. I’d done some reading up and discovered this cafe has the biggest cupcake raves in the city, and Kim confirmed that review. And let me just say it was worth every minute of the trip. These cupcakes are fantastic. I bought a chocolate-chocolate and an earl grey-orange.

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We took our cupcakes down the street to the Naked Sheep, where I picked up the new Spring Interweave Knits. (I’ve decided if there are at least 3 items in an issue I could see making, I will buy it lest I be stuck without the chance later on, and this issue passes that test!) I ate my chocolate cupcake one then, and feel no shame in admitting I ate the earl grey orange one later on in the evening after I got back.

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I regret nothing.

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We stopped briefly at the Purple Purl where I snagged more of the Alpaca With A Twist from its spot on the sale rack (I mean how could you not), and then chit-chatted the ride down Queen St. with the Lettuce Knit stitch night as final stop. Kim was wearing a beautiful ‘Elsewhere’ cardigan and working on a Liesel which, in her head at least, she is totally going to have finished by Saturday. (It can be done, Kim! Keep hope alive!)

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I made some more progress on my 2nd Gentleman’s sock which has seen too infrequent work the last couple of weeks. And when I came back the cats were happy to harass me for one last evening.

Thanks for the fun hibernation/non-hibernation this week, TO, let’s do it again sometime.

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The trouble with Monday

…is that it is not the weekend. Knitting-wise, I had a pretty decent Sunday. I went into Toronto with Martha and met up with Lisa, Martina, and her friend Nichole for high tea at the Knit Cafe. We compared our current knitting, fantasy knitting (in my head I will have 3 shawls and 4 socks knitted by Tuesday…danged reality of the space-time continuum), and ate a series of small tasty treats. It was delicious.

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I think I will have to go again. Mmmm.

My current knitting that has been on the go for a week now is the Oyster Bay shawl (also available as a Ravelry download). Kate has knitted two of these now and makes it seem as easy as getting out of bed, and it’s lace which uses fingering weight which I like, so I decided to just go for it.

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Last August when I was in Halifax I picked up 3 skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight (which I am now pleased to report is available in Toronto as well) in the stubbornly bright ‘royal flush’ colourway, intending to do a shawl with it eventually, and lo and behold eventually has arrived. The pattern is going along quite smoothly so far, though I had quite a hiccup in the beginning which turned out to be related to the fact that the nice neat little “pattern repeat” box was not at all visible on my printed black & white copy. Check your colour PDFs, my friends. Hours of teeth-gnashing might be saved.

And now it is Monday, and I am trying very hard not to switch out “grade stack of papers” for “swatch for new sweater”. We’ll see how that goes.

Keep the knitting close by!

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Sigh

Previously, I had thought that the worst knitterly circumstances one could get into would be to be without knitting altogether. I no longer believe this to be true.

The most unfortunate thing for a knitter, is when you settle in for your 45+ minute bus ride at the beginning of your day, remove your knitting pouch from your bag, pull out the sock…and discover it holds only 3 DPNs, not 4. The thing worse than having no knitting with you at all, I am here to say…

…Is having your knitting with you, and being completely unable to knit it. How much longer until I get to go home at the end of the day?

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What’s in your Altoids tin?

I know that I am not the only knitter who carries a mini knitting kit inside an empty Altoids tin. How do I know this? Because there is an entire discussion thread on Ravelry and now – wait for it – a Ravelry group dedicated to this pursuit. I don’t think knitting minutiae gets more awesome than that, people.

I know that it’s possible to get Altoids here in Canada but for some reason they are just so much easier to come by in the United States. (This probably has something to do with the company being owned by Wrigley’s since the 1990s, as I have now learned). In the States, drugstore candy shelves are always lined with several varieties, and I always come back with another tin in some form – dudes, there are Altoids mints, sours, “smalls”, gum…it goes on and on. Each one comes in its own tin of varying size, but so far I do have to give my props to the standard, rectangular, mints tin. It holds a lot.

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My main tin is several years old and I don’t exactly remember when or where I purchased it, but it was surely somewhere in the U.S. I use mine as a travel knitting kit, which means I need it to be a) above suspicion at the aiport, and b) able to fit into a pocket of my handbag. So essentially, this means no scissors, no extremely heavy or bulky things, I can’t stuff too much in there and yet I need it to include all the essentials of what I would need while knitting on the go. It’s a work in progress, but I think I’ve got it fine tuned to a good set of items.

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Inside, we have:

*Tape measure (for obvious reasons)

*A needle gauge pendant (I only just remembered I had this – an extra from a few gift items purchased last winter from Robyn – it’s meant to be worn as jewelry but since I hadn’t integrated it into my everyday jewelery for some reason, I decided it would probably get more work inside my knitting kit, so here it resides now)

*Safety pins (I’d actually forgotten I had a few in there. Good to know)

*Travel size dental floss (for the cutter – can’t bring scissors on flights)

*Stitch markers (mostly hand made, and more numerous than what I really need, but I like the variety of colour and style)

*Point protectors (I rarely use them…but when you need them you reaaaaaaalllly need them)

*Small cable needle (most useful for sock cabling – and I do often knit socks on flights

*Darning needles

*Waste yarn

It makes me inexplicably happy and prepared and DIY knowing I can cart all this around in a tiny little 3×2″ tin. I haven’t yet figured out how this method is going to help knitters to take over the world…but I’m sure it’s there somewhere.

So…what’s in your Altoids tin?
Happy Friday!

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Dee Cee: The Second Part

I’m back again in the land north of the longest unconflicted border in the world, to discover that a) it is snowing, b) apparently the house next door has now had the same water problems as we did a few days ago and our little street is going to go down like dominoes, and c) I have entirely forgotten what day it is and what I am supposed to be doing with myself. But I also have d) awesome new socks on the needles, e) a 100% vacation-knitted FO (!), and f) lots to tell.

I have once again discovered confirmation that if you are a knitter in an unfamiliar city, this is what you do:

Step One: Find some knitters. (There is no Step Two).

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Liz graciously hosted me, and on Monday night we met up with Elspeth and Jessie, and had one of those sorts of dinners that goes on forever and yet too quickly, we talked about possibly every single thing in the universe, stuffed ourselves too much, and sadly had not a lot of time to do the actual knitting part of the knitting meetup, but that just means that we all clearly must do this again. (Also I am left with a vague inclination to refashion my life in their collective image.)

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We ate at a tapas restaurant featuring a ‘Restaurant Week’ prix fixe menu, which has left me re-thinking not only my relationship with tapas recipies but also the exact degree of “full” it is possible to leave a restaurant which features everything in small itty bitty plates. I think my stomach is still recovering.

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So, it is a good thing I also walked all over the place. On Monday Liz and I took a tour of the Mall and the Tidal Basin, and I did the knitterly thing and showed my sock the sights. Now when I wear the finished socks I shall think of Lincoln, FDR, Jefferson, the Korean war, and the offerings at the National Gallery. Then on Tuesday Elspeth met me and walked me over all of the rest of downtown, and it was great, though sadly and inexplicably unphotographed. Let’s do it all again sometime.

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Thanks for the visit, DC. I’ll try to come again soon.

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Local habitat

It’s been a full weekend, and it’s hard to believe it’s coming to an end – luckily I still have tomorrow morning to cling to some bit of NYC touristing (goodness knows yet what form that touristing will take), but there have been some good moments. I’ll update more later but for now I give you an image of a local knitter in natural habitat. Here, Rebecca knits standing up while waiting for the subway. Note the (full) Starbucks’ cup clutched skillfully in the crook of her arm, ready to be deployed with the non-sock-holding hand at a moment’s notice.

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This evening while riding the subway on the way back, we were sitting and chatting and knitting away on our socks (her on her 2nd sock of current BMFA Rockin’ Sock Club socks, me on my 1st sock of a new pair of Jaywalkers), and the man next to us piped up after several moments of watching us, wondering “do you ever do that and look down and think, ‘I wonder if I’ll ever finish?'” He asked about how long we’d been knitting, if we’d learned in a class, what sorts of things we knitted. He also said that he learned to knit in junior high school and people made fun of him at the time, but in that same class he also met the girl who later became his wife. Instead of the incredulous surprise that one often recieves while knitting in public, it was spontaneous knitting appreciation. A nice little moment on a Sunday evening.

Tomorrow night I’ll be back home and probably even more zonked, but with more photos and yarn to report on. And looking for more ways to knit in public. Keep the knitting close by!

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Reporting from KIP

Knit-in-Public Day dawned with lingering clouds and rain, but as the day grew so did the sunshine and the size of the knitting crowds. I hopped a bus (with knitting and trusty cupcake carrier in tow) to Toronto and arrived at Lettuce Knit a little after 10 when the activities were just getting going.

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Franklin was there for the ‘1000 Knitters’ photoshoot, and I had a place in the morning shift. (There on the right looking like a regular everyday knitter is Debbie New.) The esteemed Rachel H was doing a great job directing traffic and would pull a few people at a time to go wait for their turn in the photography session, and in the mean time everyone just sat and knitted, chatted, shopped a little, and generally enjoyed the lovely day. For my photo I brought Venezia with me since it’s the piece of knitwear I’m most proud of at the moment. I’m glad I did.

I was a bit nervous when it was my turn but I sat and knitted a couple rows on the scarf, tried to remember to actually look at the camera and not just the knitting, and hoped generally not to come off like a dork. I mentioned my knitterly twin sister who couldn’t come (she had a good excuse though, what with prepping her post-convocation party), and he agreed twin participants would have been darned cool.

I never did double-check to make sure Franklin got a cupcake, though. They went pretty fast.

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There was more intrigue when friends of Stephanie‘s brought her a veritable cooler full of dry ice. (well possibly not the whole cooler, but a large quantity all the same). It provided delight and fascination to adults and children alike.

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I met a few new friends and chatted with ‘old’ ones, swapped yarn colour decision-making suggestions with Kim and Emily, got career encouragment from Dr. Steph, talked steeks and showed off Venezia’s insides, scored some free Soak samples (though sadly no actual door prizes for me), and had a pretty good time overall.

After lunchtime became too great to ignore, and my return to Hamilton called to me, I went for a quick burrito with Em, and then carried on walking back to Union Station. It was a great day. I can still feel the sun I got on my cheeks. And then I got to come home and party with Martha and friends (note to self: attend more parties featuring sangria) and then fall nicely exhausted into bed.

I think I’ll do it all again next year.

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Knitting takes New York

I am working on some book review notes (somehow I have managed to get backed up and have 4 to do -eek! book reviews ahoy in April), so rest assured this week’s blog content will be filled with more than just New York City things…but I couldn’t resist just one more with some pictures from around Manhattan. I took the sock (Jaywalker pattern, in Lorna’s Laces) along wherever we went and finally decided to try my hand at this sock picture business. And truly, it’s a fun challenge!

Some are sock pictures, and some are just pictures. Enjoy!

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Also, knitting a blue, green, and purple sock is just the ticket for spring. Colour really is very soothing.
Knit on, my friends!

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Inexplicable, Part 2

You know, even though I got up at 6am to get to the airport in time for my flight, I was totally thinking that I wasn’t really that tired. Sure, I’ve pretty much done nothing but walk around Manhattan for 3 days, but that’s not really that tiring, right? Heh. I got back, unpacked, had a nap, and was having trouble remembering what exactly I was supposed to do next.

[I edited my Venezia FO post to include a couple more photos and full project details, for anybody curious! ]

Next time I’ll have to do a bit better about trying to be in touch with other people for meetups – Risa, I will be more organized for sure and we’ll take some lunch break knitting by storm! As it was, though, it was pretty great to show up and then put myself in the hands of Rebecca and her knitting peeps.

So, here are some pics and brief notes from the yarnish portion of my New York City time. Which, come to think of it, was a large portion of the time there. The whole visit sort of went like this: walk subway walk museum walk walk yarn shop walk walk subway food walk walk yarn shop subway walk walk sock picture walk walk yarn shop walk walk food walk walk sit sit knitting sit sit DVDs sit sit sleep coma sleep repeat next day. That’s good, right? I thought so.

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I arrived 3 hours late (seriously, Newark, a 3-hour delay for freakin’ WIND? Bite me.) but just in time to breeze in to the Borders where the Yarn Harlot was speaking. (Though I did run into her at the airport on Wednesday morning on the Toronto end, which was unassailably cool.) She’d just begun the talk and I snuck in with Rebecca and we stood and knitted and listened and laughed. [Aside: For real, someone out there at one of her next signings coming up has to ask her in the Q & A portion about the comma story. She told it in Toronto in the 'thank you' portion of her launch talk, which probably won't make it in there due to time, but I seriously laughed my ass off. So did Rebecca and Melanie when I re-told it to them.]

Melanie and Holly totally made it onto the Yarn Harlot’s blog post from the New York day’s post, so go them, and it was great to see Catrina and Abbie again too. This is a group of gals who all coalesced around the same knitting group, and they get along and have different interests and pasts and jobs and it’s all great. I will totally hang out with them any day of the week. It was also really awesome to see other knitters while standing in line (dude, the back of the line was so not fun to stand in, that was another 2 hours of standing, and my legs were weak by the end of it….but still OK for the knitting and conversation that passed the time. Knitters are a living breathing example of perseverance.)

The next day, while on the subway on the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rebecca and I encountered Rita, a visiting knitter from (I think) Connecticut (with her parents), who knew about the Yarn Harlot and had her knitting with her, and started talking to us when she saw us knitting on our projects. It was great. Hi, Rita! It was totally great to meet another knitter on the subway, it actually happens to me pretty rarely when I am in Toronto.

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Post-Met, we wandered over to Knitty City. I don’t mind saying that this was my favourite shop of all the ones we went to (I’m totally not biased because of the Fleece Artist and Mission Falls stock…not at all…), and we visited five LYSs. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable, patient, and there was a constant stream of activity in and out of the shop. Would go back again in a heartbeat. I scored some Shi Bui sock yarn and some Lorna’s Laces.

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There was more yarn shop visiting scattered throughout the next couple of days. Downtown Yarns was, for me, a close second to Knitty City, I thought they were a real counterpart to Lettuce Knit in Toronto in terms of atmosphere and neighbourhood and yarn selection. (And also they just happened to have Fleece Artist and Mission Falls). I picked up a braid of fiber.

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We also stopped by Purl (gorgeous), and Seaport Yarns (Awesome Cherry Tree Hill selection, I got some). We happened by Knit New York sort of by accident while on the way for dinner. I must say they have one of the best Noro selections I’ve seen outside of Romni Wools in Toronto. Melanie was with us and despite proclamations of I DON’T DO THIS STASH BULLSHIT got taken down by the Misti Alpaca chunky and left with a skein which she promptly began turning into a hat.

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I will say one thing about New York – if I spent that time every day on the subway, I might have a sweater every two weeks. I started a pair of Jaywalkers on Tuesday and I’m already halfway finished the 2nd sock.

Good times, good times.

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