Monthly Archives: May 2010

Hear Ye, Toronto Knitters

For knitters in the Toronto area inclined to:
a) knit in public in a group
b) travel to a bunch of yarn shops
c) experience what essentially amounts to day camp for grownups

The TTC Knitalong is back in action this year on Saturday, July 10th, and registration is now open. I’ll be tagging along as a helper/captain once again, though I don’t yet know which team.

69TTC Knitalong 100

There will be 3 teams this year once again, in the North, Central, and East parts of the city. There is a cost of $10 (plus your own transit costs – i.e. TTC day pass purchase), and all participants receive their own TTC knitalong bag and the chance to win fabulous prizes, generously donated by the participating shops. Many of the shops will also be offering a discount to particpants! All remaining TTC Knitalong funds leftover after cost recovery will be donated to charity. Last year, Sistering was the recipient.

When you sign up, please choose a second preference as well as a first preference for the team you would like to be a part of. (a third choice would not be out of the question either.) There are limits to how many people we can reasonably fit into one yarn shop at once (especially with a few of the shops in particular), and if your first route choice has filled up quickly, you may be placed with your second choice. Keep in mind – there is a LOT of awesome yarn to be found on all of these routes! And lots of awesome company, naturally.

And if you can’t come on July 10th, you can always do your own self-planned TTC knitalong when you’re in the city with some friends. Not that I’d know anything about that, of course. Heh.


Filed under knitting in public, knitting tourism

Ticky Boxes

Thank you all very much for your comments on my last post, I appreciate them bunches. In the short term I know rationally that nothing is really that terribly dire, even if the part of my brain that would like there to be a firm and predictable long term is gurgling in self-doubt. I will spend a bit of time trying to come up with some next steps and I at least have lots of knitting to keep busy with. And I can use the rest of my time to work on a bit of writing. And blogging. And designing things. And training to run a half-marathon in September. Or, possibly trying to learn the choreography to Beyonce’s All the Single Ladies video. You know, whichever.


But since there is thankfully still knitting to be done, and human beings to interact with in the outside world, I met up yesterday with a few of the lovely ladies from Canadian Living, as I have been working on another project with them for an upcoming issue. One of the ladies in the group, Tina, has a system to keep track of instructions in knitting patterns whereby, if the pattern reads “Do this step 8 times”, or whatever it is, she then writes 8 little blank ticky-boxes on the pattern instructions sheet and ticks them off every time she does the step. It is so brilliant I am starting to think of other ways to apply this to my general existence.

It also reminded me of the fact that everyone, probably you included, has their own system to manage this sort of thing. After I designed Ivy I had a lot of people (still do occasionally) emailing me to ask me to explain the “at the same time” instruction: the instruction that indicates that, while you work the side shaping and then later the armhole shaping on one edge of the front piece, on the other edge of the piece you are working neckline shaping “at the same time.” It took me a while before I started to clue in that what some people were truly asking me was for me to tell them what system they were supposed to use to track this. After that I started suggesting things – check marks on the pattern page, stitch markers on the WIP itself. You could line up sets of jelly beans in different colours and eat them as you go, it really doesn’t matter. You can find your own system that works and still get the intended result.

So, I will now go off in search of my own life-organization version of ticky boxes. This should be interesting.

Happy knitting!


Filed under fearless knitting, real life miscellaney

Ok go

Having a bit of a down week this week, my internet friends. My current job contract is ending and is not being renewed, I was not selected for the other job I applied for on the same campus, and I am in general feeling a lack of awesome.

Just to kick me when I’m down, I’m having trouble discovering my next knitting direction and new project inspiration is taking a bit longer to find me than usual. I’ll get there.

In the mean time, I will keep knitting this garter stitch lace weight, and eventually the garter stitch lace weight will be finished, and then I will knit something else.

I hope things are well in your corners of the world, dear knitters. Squeeze a skein or two of yarn for me.


Filed under real life miscellaney

The Easy Nemesis

It’s been a pretty busy few months behind the scenes here at Knitting to Stay Sane, no secret about that – and I’m loving the design projects that I’ve completed so far this year, just as much as I’m looking forward to working on more. But damn if it doesn’t leave a knitter a bit fatigued after a while. To wit, a couple of weeks ago, after the Knitter’s Frolic, I started working on something I’d been saving for just such a moment. A moment that required just the right kind of brain activity. The sort of brain activity that leaves you in a place where only the most simple of stitches will do. Garter stitch.

Of course, I’m not sure what it says about me that I picked garter stitch on lace weight for my rebound-recovery project, but no matter. This is the start of a Bridgewater shawl, (pattern by Jared Flood in the Made in Brooklyn booklet), on lace-weight wool-mohair yarn from Wellington Fibres. I purchased one skein of this yarn at last year’s Knitter’s Frolic, and rounded out the yardage on a visit to their farm last August.


As yarns go, this does not suck. It is smooth and beautiful. And as I have personally met some of the angora goats who contributed to this yarn, I knew it had a limited shelf life in the stash before I had to take it out and get knitting. Make no mistake, it’s a beautiful pattern as well, and I am definitely hankering after a gorgeous Finished Object at the end.

However, let’s not overlook that the combination of garter stitch on lace-weight with a relatively smooth yarn is making the pace a bit slow. Garter stitch is so very…garter-stitch-y. I’m almost half-way through the garter stitch section – a square, around which one then picks up stitches at the edge to work a lace pattern. I am very much looking forward to that moment. I think by the time I get there my brain will be well and truly re-habilitated and looking for some complexity again.


Nobody ever said knitting wasn’t a challenge – what they forget to tell you is sometimes doing the easy job is the challenge.

You and me, garter stitch. Let’s go.


Filed under lace

The Best Kind of Souvenir

How many of you have ever had a friend go off on a trip somewhere and bring you back yarn as a souvenir? If you have, I think this must mean you have reached a particular stage of Knitter-dom, somewhere past the “casually enthusiastic” phase and moving towards the “obsessive level similar to that dude down the street who collects miniature frog sculptures” phase, if people going to foreign countries see yarn and think of you.

Not that there is anything wrong with this, mind you. This is what just scored me a few bits of Lopi, direct from Iceland itself.


My friend Kate who works as a travel agent just got back from a sponsored excursion to Iceland (her flights both narrowly missed airport closure dates – and it sounds like the country in general has a moderate struggle ahead of them as far as generating tourism post-ash cloud), and by all accounts had an awesome time. She also went looking for souvenirs and had a few moments of “Hm, they don’t sell snow globes here. But hey, there’s yarn! I know people who like yarn!” And so she gathered up this handful for me – 3 skeins each of Lopi and Lopi Lite, in beautiful colours.
I have never worked with Lopi before, but clearly I have to find something to make with this. Perhaps even something felted. Or with a few more skeins added in to increase the range. It will ponder in my stash for a bit.

The pattern booklet is wonderful. It is written entirely in Icelandic. So far I have been able to figure the notations for stitch counts, gauge, and needle size pretty easily (they are metric), although anything past that and I may go looking for an Icelandic-to-English dictionary.

What’s the best knitting souvenir someone’s ever gotten for you?


Filed under knitting tourism


Last night I joined in my first “yarn bombing” session (or rather, pre-yarn-bombing), courtesy of an invite from a few of the ladies at Passionknit. They are preparing an installation that will surround a large planter at the Textile Museum, just in time for their annual Yardage Sale at the end of May. (I always forget about this until it is too late to give donations. Next year, I swear!)



I didn’t want to show up without something to contribute, so before hopping on the bus I pulled out my 10mm needles (let me tell you it’s been a while since those saw the light of day…I am actually trying to remember when I even used them at all), and 2 colours of Patons wool, and before too long I had a bit of garter stitch to offer up to the collection. (Note to self: try knitting on needles larger than 2.75mm more often).


It was a sociable time, and we managed to get more than halfway through the assembly. They will need another session to finish putting things together, and then the final step is to attach it, corset-like, to the large planter outside the museum, for all to see. They have already covered a bicycle stand in a smaller fashion, but have been collecting donations for this larger project and have been getting contributions from school groups as well as individual knitters.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been a part of a group-knitting-assembly project like this before. It is fascinating to see it all come together. Multiple smaller pieces are stronger and more interesting than fewer, larger pieces, and everyone’s work is different.


Alisa has been blogging about the project as it comes together. I’m looking forward to seeing it take shape in the final moment. How often DOES one get to cover stuff in the city with knitting, anyhow? I am starting to see the appeal.

Happy knitting this Tuesday!


Filed under knitting in public

Miscellaney on a Thursday

As my brain slowly pieces itself back together this week, I find myself in that messy little in-between phase of tidying up after projects now out the door, reckoning with neglected Works-In-Progress, and moving forward with a few new things. And fleetingly I keep trying to remind myself of other bits and pieces that I have to tell you about. So, let’s have a list, because, as my friend Liz likes to say, I heart lists.

1. I’m on the teaching docket twice more at the Purple Purl this coming June. On June 20th I’ll be running my Steeking class again (1 session, 3 hours, plenty of snip-snip practice – with hand-holding and chocolate as needed). I’ll also be running a Knee Socks class on June 27th, (1 session, 2 hours), for anyone who’d like some tips and guidance on how to cover as much of your leg as possible with knitting. Come on out and we’ll have an awesome time.

2. Speaking of socks, I finished some. I knitted about 2/3 of these during my trip to DC in mid-April, then came home and let the second one sit there, foot-less, until I finally picked them up this week. The sock drawer grows by another pair, I love the colour (a mystery shade of Socks That Rock, plucked from a rack of mill ends at Rhinebeck 2008), and they are comfy and purposeful.


3. Michelle at the Sweet Sheep will be selling the Azalea Mitts by kit and by individual pattern, and I’ll let you know asap as soon as the links for those go up in her shop.

3.b. I still really really love the bobbles and sort of want to make another pair of them right away.

4. I am, at the very least, thinking about doing some spinning. I’m pretty sure this almost qualifies as actually doing some spinning, and am therefore duly congratulating myself.

5. When Rebecca visited me last weekend she brought an awesome little giftie:


5.b. The crafter who made it seems to be sold out of the bags, but I think everyone should go see if she has a waiting list to get on to buy more of them, so that she can make lots of money and that more people can have these bags to carry around.

5.c. I am inexplicably indecisive about what project to carry around in it.

6. I discovered that my town’s art gallery shop sells re-prints of the original “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters, in various colours. I bought one in pink.

7. After starting the week out with some hefty knitting ennui, I think I am about to rebound by starting 3 shawls. This should get interesting.

Further bulletins as events occur.


Filed under finished object: socks