Knitting Feeds

Completely Ordinary

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 09/08/2022 - 20:41

I have no idea what happened there. One day I was packing my stuff for The Rally and having a minor anxiety attack and then a lot of things happened really quickly and I just kept packing and unpacking until just now when I was I was sitting down to do the meal plan for the week and thinking “someone should really clean this pit of a house” and I wrote the date at the top and was stunned. September? How is it September? Can anyone tell me what the H E double hockey sticks happened to half of August? I remember dashing from one thing to the next, I remember being happy… and the house is thoroughly trashed with a camp stove in the kitchen, and if I flip through the photos on my phone I think I can piece it all together- but before I tell you anything else, I want to tell you the story of the Rally.

Leading up to the thing I was a ball of anxiety, but I was playing it cool. (Here, if the blog had volume you’d be able to hear my friends and family laughing uproariously at the idea that I’ve ever been able to mask even three seconds of anxiety but it doesn’t so whatever.) Setting aside concerns about a surge or a variant making it hard to hold the event at all, the realities of the Rally taking place during the seventh wave of this thing made everything a little harder. I was anxious about training, anxious about fundraising, and it wasn’t just me. As a group, Team Knit was, as I said last time I posted, undertrained, underprepared, and kinda freaked out. The first Rally back in three years and while we were all looking forward to being together, to seeing people we hadn’t seen in years, to shaking off a little of the inertia that’s been over all of us like a blanket, complexity was everywhere and I know we were all hoping the pandemic would be a little more over before we gave it a go. Our gallop towards a glorious return was more like a limp.

Then, seven weeks before the Rally, Cam got Covid. At first it seemed like it might just interrupt his training (or delay starting it, more like) but Cam’s a strong healthy guy (also vaxxed to the maxx) who rides his bike most days. He could squeak by. I’ll spare you any details of his illness – all you need to know is that he was still feeling horrible at the five week mark, and when it came to riding, he simply could not. Two weeks before the rally a 20 minute bike ride left him flattened and feeling like he might perish entirely. A week before every time he tried the same thing happened and I suppose that’s when we all started wondering if he’d be able to do it at all. If you can’t make it to the corner, can you make it to Montreal? He mentioned switching to crew – and then we talked about not trying anymore. Giving up on training. Almost no training can happen in a week, we hypothesized, but a lot of healing could, if he really leaned into resting. (Like me, resting is not Cameron’s best thing, but he did have viral help.) When the day of the Rally came, he’d get on his bike and… try? Fake it till you make it, we said. Cam rested. We all crossed fingers and toes and knitting needles.

At departure nobody said anything about it. We hugged and were all so glad to see each other and we were so thrilled to be able to see people we hadn’t seen in years, and even though Ken had only been gone a little over a week I was so delighted to see him, and I was proud of Pato for committing to turning up at all. (Pato remains young, and has super limited time off work, he was able to join us for the first day only.) We got on our bikes and rode. It was hot.

No – wait. That’s an understatement. It was unbelievably hot. It was so hot that I ran out of words to describe the heat and resorted to simple swearing. There was a humidex of 42 degrees (that’s 107F for our American friends) and I don’t think I’ve ever come closer to melting. There were moments that I really wasn’t sure any of us would make it – never mind Cam, but every time I looked around – all of Team Knit was still present and accounted for.

We made it into camp- a meadow atop a cliff overlooking the lake, and (after getting cleaned up) we took this picture and suddenly I felt the anxiety begin to wash away. Cam was fine. Well, he was stupid tired but he was there and mostly upright – and I started to think he might make it through the next day, and Pato and Ken were fine and somehow I was fine and for a little while, just a few minutes, it felt like the before times. It felt like the rally.

The next day definitely felt like the rally. It was the longest day of riding and helplessly and as per tradition, I had a bit of a weep at lunch. That day is exhausting. It’s 125km (that’s about 78 miles) and if any part of it is a long, dark, tea-time of the soul for me it is that day. I find Day Two so hard that when I am finished it I feel like the rally is “mostly done” even though there’s four days of hard riding ahead. Through the middle part of the day I’m always suffering enough that it takes some strategies to get through. After a few years of less than joyful Day Two’s – I’ve convinced myself it is a good time to purposefully practice gratitude and reflect on my good luck. (I used to practice foul language and reflect on how much my arse hurts but it’s much better this way.) I think on the privilege of being able to raise money this way, on being lucky enough to have a network of knitters who care to help me change things that need changing and help people who need helping. I take good looks at the people around me and consider how wonderful the world is that there are this many people in it who just want to make things better and are willing to sweat for it. I listen for dings on my phone and think about how much I think you are all spectacular people. I stop at every break. I tell my friends I love them and I think they’re great. I try to tell some strangers too.

For the life of me I don’t know why I’m laughing here, but it’s a better day two picture than me crying in the port-o-let.

It takes the edge off. (Also it was hot that day too.)

The third day I reflected on how I’m pretty sure Brandon and Barrett just like taking this picture so they feel tall.

Yes, I am standing. I look more normal sized in this one. I should stand on more tables.

The fourth day Team Knit proudly wore their Top Fundraiser jerseys and we loved the daylights out of all of you. Evey person who helped us stand there – we don’t feel like we raise money at all, but that we’re just lucky that knitters are such powerhouses. (We also enjoy the look on other riders faces when we tell them that knitting is our secret weapon, and knitters our force.) The astute among you will notice that Cam is still upright and even looks pretty good, Long-ish-Covid be damned.

The fifth day I took almost no pictures, except for this terrible picture of a very happy Cameron.

He is happy because this day, he was first into camp. Every year on day five, Cam goes flat out, a little test of his riding daring-do. I had no idea if he’d manage this year or even try but he did, and was first and was so delighted with himself that it was almost obnoxious. (To protect himself from any feelings anyone might have about this prowess Cam set up everyone’s tent before we got there. The whole team. Sixteen tents. He’s got great instincts.)

Day six – the last day, Day six we rode into Montréal, and I cried.

I cried because I was glad it was over and exhausted. I cried out of relief that I was done, but mostly I cried because the whole time I’d been waiting for the other shoe to drop and it turned out somehow that there wasn’t another shoe at all.

Usually I tell you what theme revealed itself to me during the ride. There always is one. Some years it’s about friendship, or finding strength you didn’t know you had, or learning how to rely on myself a little more, or the satisfaction of accomplishing something so enormous… for the last two years it’s had a lot to do with compromise, of doing the best you can despite things not working out, learning somehow to (somewhat) cheerfully make the most of a crappy situation over and over and over again. This years theme was more subtle, but I’ve found it to be achingly beautiful in the context of what we’ve all been through and I know I talked a lot about Cam, but that’s because he was a metaphor for the whole amazing realization:

Sometimes things work out, and maybe things are getting better.

There is no doubt we’re still in a pandemic, there was evidence of that throughout – people who missed the ride because they didn’t get better and still had long covid, some people caught covid right before and couldn’t come, and there were vulnerable people who couldn’t take the risk of coming at all, and I know that they probably aren’t feeling as reassured as I am that things are getting better. I know that there are still thousands of people dying of covid in the world every day… I know that 400 Americans died today – and yesterday, and every day of the Rally and I am quite sure their families don’t feel my renewed sense of optimism, and I’m so sorry for them. I’m not saying this is over, or that I won’t keep doing my best not to get covid so I can’t give it, but I am saying that for six days we rode our bikes, we funded PWA for another year with our efforts and your amazing donations, and despite its best efforts, covid didn’t stop us.

After two and half years of cancellations and sadness and grief and disappointment and worrying about what might happen to the clients at PWA if we couldn’t find a way through all this… it worked out, and things were better, and that was our amazing theme.

From the bottom of all our hearts, thank you for helping us hold on. Cam would set up your tent if he was there.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 09/02/2022 - 11:02

My Favourite Articles This Week I loved this deeper read on the current trend of rejecting conventional ambition. Very thought-provoking. They actually did a recent study on how to reduce extreme partisan feelings and the current trend towards anti-democracy, and it’s pretty interesting. A look at how climate change is already changing the wine industry.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 08/19/2022 - 17:07

I’ve got a couple of special things coming up, and I’d love for you to consider them! I’m teaching an online workshop on September 9th on how to embroider your knits- it starts from the very beginning, and no embroidery experience is necessary. It’s online, too! Knitted swatches are great for practicing on, by the

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Embroider Your Jacket (or Sweater!) with Wildflowers

Knitted Bliss - Tue, 08/16/2022 - 22:55

This summer, I worked on a secret project (one of …3?), and it’s time to show you the results! One of my best and oldest (25 years of friendship!) friends asked me to embroider a jacket for her daughter, and I rushed to agree – you know that lifelong friend you have, that has always

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 08/12/2022 - 15:39

My Favourite Articles This Week I found this interesting- the pandemic purchases we grew to hate. Not everyone loves their pandemic air fryer or bike. You know how sometimes you walk into a  room and instantly forget why you went there? It’s called the doorway effect, and this is why it happens. Seriously, what are

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Rally Time

Yarn Harlot - Sun, 08/07/2022 - 03:09

It’s late and I’m so tired, and tomorrow morning we leave on the Rally and even though I’ve been in bed early for months now, suddenly tonight when it would really help to get a big sleep, I’m not tired at all. What I am is anxious. Super anxious. I’m still going to make this short I think because I think the best thing I can do is lie in bed and try to sleep.

The day before the Rally is “Packing Day”. You gather up everything you need for the six days of the Rally (including a tent and a sleeping bag and a chair and a plate and your knitting and clothes) and you take it down to the appointed packing place, and you get two bins, and you put all the worldly goods you will possess for the next week into them, and then you put them on a truck, and then they close the truck. Tomorrow, while all the cyclists make their way to the end of “Day One” the trucks will drive our stuff to that stopping place, and that’s where you’re reunited. It’s a weird day – so many things I always have with me (my bag, my favourite shoes, my sock knitting, my real toothbrush) are all on the truck, and it feels weird to not have them. It’s a ton of pressure too, All I will have for the next week is in those two bins and the only things I can bring tomorrow are what will fit in my pockets.

Still, Team Knit showed up and we put our stuff in the bins and we all took deep breaths and we tried not to think about the challenge ahead. In one way it’s so good to be together and see each other and have things be “normal”, and in the other, nothing is normal, we’re all under some sort of strain and not a single one of us feels ready, or confident, or prepared for this challenge. Today as I put my stuff in my bins and looked around me at what we’re about to undertake I’ve never felt less ready. As a group, we are undertrained, underprepared, and more than a little freaked out. This Rally feels less like the before-times than we were hoping so far, but it does feel like hope.

I don’t know what else to tell you about what it feels like to be on the cusp of this thing again after so long a break. I can tell you that I am definitely afraid. We’re about to do something really, really hard, and I am absolutely scared – but I tell you something that I realized tonight in conversation with a dear friend – it also feels pretty amazing.

I have – like almost all of us, spent the last few years watching terrible things happen to people and feeling impotent to change anything, to make anything better, to make tragedy stop unfolding, to staunch to hard times for fellow humans, but the Rally changes that and fundraising for this ride has been a wonderful outlet and relief.

The funds raised by this ride go to making a direct and fundamental changes in the lives of people with AIDS. It is help for mothers, food for children, rides to the doctor, someone who cares if they are lonely, support, love, care, haircuts, pet food, hospital visits, childcare… Every dollar you donate makes a real, tangible and important change in the life of another human, and that… Well I guess that I can get on a bike for that.

Team Knit is off – and we are so grateful for every donation, every dollar that you send to support our ride. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, us riding to Montreal makes no change in the world. It is your donations that give meaning to what we do. I’m going to slide our links in here again because we’re not quite at our goals –





And I want you to know that if you’re able to donate or help in any way – passing this post on to another person, helping spread the word on social media, talking about PWA to anyone, that this action, this thing makes you so important. It means that you as a person chose to change the life of another person, and in a time when we all have so little control, doesn’t that feel amazing?

Thank you. We think you’re important.

PS: I have never figured out how to blog from afar- the best place to follow the ride this week is on Instagram.

PPS: I didn’t even finish the poncho can you believe it.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

It’s the rule

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 08/03/2022 - 12:23

I don’t know how you handle it, but when I feel things start to speed up I like to sit down with a cup of coffee, make some lists and try to pull things together in a concrete way. That’s what I’m doing this morning as the reality of what I’m doing this week sinks in. Today I have Elliot, the house, laundry and Patreon prep to manage, tomorrow I have to pack, pick up my bike from the shop and film, and Saturday I have to drop off all my stuff for the Rally at packing day and edit the video from the day before, and Sunday we leave. That means I have FOUR DAYS and every time I think about it I get a slightly hysterical feeling in my stomach that I am fixing the way I always have, and that is with yarn. Sure, you might think that packing and organizing and actually doing some of the things on my list would help, but I am taking the edge off of this thing by ignoring it all and knitting on a hemp poncho.

I know, that’s an unlikely sentence but it’s working for me. Every time I think about how much needs doing between now and Sunday, I just knit another repeat. (Pattern is River Ripples, and the yarn is Tokeland Hemp – Rain Shadow Farm. I got mine from The Artful Ewe.) I remember seeing this pattern knit in that yarn as a sample and really loving how it looked – part of that whole “post apocalyptic my clothes are all rags but I look fabulous anyway matrix-ish” vibe that I always aspire to but somehow always ends up making me look rather scruffy instead of chic. I keep trying though and this week I’m plowing away on it like it will be the perfect thing to wear on a week long charity ride. Should I be out riding hill repeats? Yes. (Actually I did that yesterday.) Should I be finding and packing my camping stuff? Absolutely. Should I be organizing the family for my absence? That would be best, yes. Should I be working so that I can ride for a week without the pressure and guilt of abandoning the only thing paying the bills? If I was clever, yes. Should I be doing something about the way the whole house is slightly sticky?


The poncho is here pictured yesterday at the park, where Ellie and I have been hanging at the wading pool. Today is predicted to be ridiculously hot so after talking it through, we’re going back to the “big pool”. We have decided to return despite injustices perpetrated upon Elliot’s person last week when it turned out that you have to be six years old to go on the water slide, not five- and when we were told that I have to be an arms length away from him until he reaches that magic age as well. Elliot feels (and I think the kid has a point) that pool independence should be based on swimming ability, not age. Last week Elliot made his case to the lifeguard quite passionately, pointing out that letting a non-swimming six year old go on the slide but relegating a swimming five year old to the shallow end seems quite unreasonable and not based in any sort of logical system but the lifeguard was completely unmoved, shrugged, and said “You have to be six, kid.”

Elliot’s rage was complete, though it is worth noting here he is not yet a proficient swimmer. His current record is swimming about three metres without a life jacket and we have an understanding that it needs to be about ten metres before he gets more independence at the pool, but I think he liked the idea that getting onto the water slide would be more about skills he could work on and attain at any moment, rather than something stupid like the sun needing to rotate more times around the earth, which is hardly a thing he can speed up. Ellie felt this was most unfair and arbitrary, and on the way home he bitterly declared that we were never, ever going back, with exactly a tone of voice that implied that this decision would surely breed deep regret in the heart of the callous lifeguard. We’ve talked about it since then, with me gently suggesting that his boycott is likely not going to change many rules but learning to swim 10 metres will mean that he’s ready when he is six, so we’re going back.

Elliot will have you know though, he is not talking to that lifeguard. I’ll be knitting the poncho.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 07/29/2022 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles This Week I highly recommend this long-read about the ‘Future Library’ in Norway, a huge project that is built on trust for the future. I have been thinking about that article for days now, in the best possible way. The evolution of the dinner party. Why you should randomly reach out to

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Sea Change *

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 07/28/2022 - 22:44

The day after I turned sixteen I took my driving test. I’ve never loved driving and it made me as nervous then as it does now so I was super surprised when I passed. So was my mum – it took her three tries to pass hers as a teen and I think you could have knocked her over with a feather when I walked out of that place a legal driver.

That evening mum loaned me her car so that I could go out. I grew up in Bramalea (it’s a suburb of Toronto that’s called Brampton now but it’s Bramalea in my heart forever) and like all teenagers in the ‘burbs the only place I ever really wanted to go was the city. It was also the only place that mum said I couldn’t drive her car. No highway, no city, no way.

I agreed, and immediately got on the highway and went to the city, straight to Ken’s house. Ken’s a little older than me and had made his break to freedom and lived in an absolutely craptastic and tiny bachelor apartment that I thought was just about the most incredible thing. It was so cool that you had to take the coolest highway in the city to get there, which was to me was the Allen Expressway. Back then it had yellow/orange low sodium lighting – the only route in the city to have it and driving the last leg to his place was like driving through a cellophane world and felt so grown-up. I didn’t stay long because I had a curfew, and I never asked my mum if she knew I’d broken the rules right out of the gate like that. I’ve always thought that she probably knew because she always knew everything, but then again I wasn’t much of a rule breaker so maybe I got away with it. If she did know she never said anything, probably because by then she’d worked out that trying to keep Ken and I apart was pointless. I was a moth to a flame – except that flames are bad for moths and my life has never, ever been anything but better for getting close to Ken.

The rest is history really. Ken and I went right on being “Steph and Ken” or “Ken and Steph” and those few years after he moved away from Bramalea and was 40 minutes from me is the furthest we have ever lived apart. I moved to Toronto a few years later, and then we always had homes close to each other – and for a long time Ken lived downstairs from my mum. Not in 40 years has Ken had a home more than an hour from mine.

Until yesterday. Yesterday was the beginning of a different thing – Ken moved away. Four hours away to Ottawa. When he told me he was going I cried. I tried not to cry much because it is very selfish to want to keep someone who is making a good and right decision with you for no reason other than than that you like your family tidy, but honestly change is not my best thing, and it is so much easier to be close when we are all… close, you know what I mean?

We went to his place all together yesterday (or at least those of us who could get there) to see him off and give him a box of things that come in handy if you are moving (like toilet paper and napkins and snacks for the car and champagne and plastic glasses to celebrate his new home with his partner and a bottle of scotch for just in case, and Elliot wrote a card and Amanda ran around finding all the best things and Meg made him a cross stitch) and we took it over and surprised him on his porch and then we all tried to say goodbye and were predictably terrible at it. As much as I’m used to having him around that’s how much the girls are used to it too, and Elliot I think doesn’t quite get the magnitude of what’s happened, but that’s okay. We’re all going to learn how to do this new thing.

This is another pandemic lesson, for sure. Ken said until the this thing came along he couldn’t imagine moving away from the family, but for much of the pandemic we haven’t been able to gather as we liked despite living close to each other – and now we’ve had some practice finding other ways to connect, other ways to feel close even when we can’t be, so if you’re going to make a bold move, we’re better equipped now.

There is so much about this decision that changes everything. No more last minute meals or walks together, no more popping by to drop things off – no more weeknight suppers on the porch for Ken and Amanda. (They’ve had a weekly outdoor porch dinner together just about the whole pandemic. Even when things were at their worst, you could find Amanda and Ken and outdoor heaters and electric blankets and takeaway on his porch, the snow swirling around them.) No more training rides together, no more quick park trips with Ellie, no more deliveries of warm bread or things from “Elliot’s Bakery.” (If I know Ken, the impact this move would have on his access to fresh bread and baked goods was a factor he considered a great deal before going.)

On the other hand, there’s so much about this decision that changes nothing. The phone still works (and Ken and I are old enough that we use it.) We all know how to FaceTime and Zoom now, four hours on the train isn’t that far really, and we will figure out holidays and special things just like we always have, no matter what goes on. It’s funny – I know so many families that are so spread out that I’m sure this doesn’t seem like a big deal to them, but it’s only the last year or two that there is any space between our crew at all, and we’ve got a lot to learn. We’re going to get the hang though. We are. We’ve got this.

In just nine days, Ken will get on the train and come back to Toronto so that Team Knit will still be able to ride together, it’s a big bother and he’s had to leave his bike here so that he’ll have it in the right spot, so no more training for him for now. (I don’t know if I should be jealous or not.) If you’ve been waiting to donate to him then today’s probably a good day to fling a little love his way. (His link is here.)

I’m crazy sad that he’s gone, and super proud that he went. I know it was the right thing, but I also know that didn’t make it easy. I am responding in typical fashion. I’ve started him a pair of socks. There’s just no way it won’t help.

(Photo by Elliot – who had zero enthusiasm for holding my knitting but was quite keen to take the picture. Not bad, either. Yarn is Indigodragonfly’s Bike Rally yarn for this year, and the pattern is Show-off Stranded Socks, with a few changes.)

PS: If you look closely you can see that I finished my new top. I’ll get better pictures later but I love it.

PPS: Look at me! I blogged again!

*I’ve always known the phrase “sea change” – my grandparents used it when talking about big changes in perspective or attitude (especially as it related to us kids and our behaviour) but it wasn’t until I was an adult and saw it in a book that I realized it was “sea” rather than “see”. Up until then I thought it was spelled the way it was used… as in “I’d like to see a change”. Anyway. It’s not.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A little obvious

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 07/26/2022 - 19:07

Yesterday I fell off my bike. (Spoiler: I’m completely fine, nobody panic.)

I’ve been struggling with training, not so much the riding itself, but how alone it is. For a bunch of reasons all related to &^%&ing covid, training has been lonely this year and I get worn down by the idea of hours and hours on the bike alone and it takes a huge leap of will to get me out there. When I first learned this about myself a few years ago I was pretty surprised. For the most part I enjoy time alone and find myself pretty good company, usually that time recharges my batteries and stokes my creative fires. (Why, yes gentle reader, this has been a challenge over the last few years as Joe has worked from home and is able to supervise me all day.) I’d have imagined these long rides, hours and hours on the bike (unsupervised) easy for me. I’d hook up with a good audiobook and fly off, but it turns out that really only works for the first three hours or so and then it’s like the whole thing triggers whatever part of my psyche is responsible for self-esteem to start working against me. (“Alone again eh? Where are your friends? Don’t have any? Shall we spend the next 50km reflecting on the disastrous elements of your personality and past mistakes that have left you here?”) I know it’s a trick of the circumstances and I just have to endure it, but I am truly surprised that I am so bad at being alone on the bike when I am so good at it everywhere else. This realization has made something crystal clear for me -there is only one thing missing when I am on the bike, only one element of who I am as a person that I don’t have with me when I ride, and that is knitting.

It turns out that I am not good at being alone, but rather good at knitting alone, and this means that my best friend is knitting and knitting is what I find to be good company, and I know that this would sound bonkers to any other group in the world, dear Blog, but I’ve known this for a while. I’m a dork who’s best friend is inanimate and rather yarnish – but has always been there for me and never let me down, not in the fifty years we’ve been together, so knitting (and how I wish I could be with it while I ride) was what I was thinking about as I left the house yesterday for a 70km cycle. (That’s about three or four hours on a bike – depending. Can you imagine how many socks I could finish the Rally week if it were possible to knit and cycle?)

In no particular order, I was thinking about:

-How the Team Knit fundraising yarn that Indigodragonfly dyed for us this year had arrived and I need to wind it and start knitting – It’s going to be my Rally knitting this year. (I have four skeins and clearly, high hopes.)

-How happy I am with the Deschain I just finished and I wonder what else I could wear it with besides that black dress although that’s sort of working.

Crouching Knitter Finished Sweater

(Yarn is a fab 100% cotton from Berrocco called Estiva. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would – it’s got a tape/chainette construction so it’s springier and more fun than I usually think cotton will be. It’s also sadly discontinued but maybe you’ll find some around.

I used just 2.5 balls for this wonder.) I made it an extra two repeats longer because absolutely nothing about my body, age, or personality screams with a desire for a crop top. (Since childhood I have considered my belly button mine alone and nothing about middle age has changed this.)

-That despite wearing my linen Donner almost daily, I still don’t have good pictures of it and I really need to get that done.

-Also when I get home I really have to order my Cozy Knitter advent skein because even though it is freaking scorching out winter is coming.

-Oh, that if I can find a few hours where I don’t have to ride a bike I’ll be finished my Malaquite Tee.

I’ve knit the body and the sleeves and now I’ve just got to sew them together and knit the neckband. So close, so close.

Also I was reflecting that if I could drag myself away from River Ripples I probably would have finished that tee shirt by now and that really my ability to be monogamous to a project hasn’t really changed much over the years, and as a matter of fact, might be worse.

I’m knitting it out of hemp so it looks like trash until it’s washed.

I was thinking about all of this (and a few other knitting related things, as I turned at the bottom of my street and started travelling in the bike lane to the road that takes me down to the Waterfront Trail. (It’s my go-to for riding alone because it’s really long -more than 3600km, but at least in these parts it’s used enough that I feel like there could always be a bit of help if you were in trouble.) So I’m cycling along, and there’s the usual amount of traffic for the city, and I’m mentally winding yarn, trying on sweaters and mucking with mattress stitch while looking ahead (I should order more of that linen from Espace Tricot it was nice) and I see that the light has turned yellow (I’ll block the pieces of that Tee later so it’s easier to seam) so I automatically start to gear down (I wonder if that River Ripples will be much longer after it’s washed) start to slow down (is that swatch still on my desk so I can do the math?) and gracefully come to a complete stop at the light. (I love knit/purl stitch patterns. I should do one on the Rally socks.)

Next thing I know, I am lying splayed in the bike lane, half on the sidewalk, across the curb, utterly flattened, and before I can figure out what happened I hear the cyclist behind me say “wow.” I start to scramble up but I’m still attached to my bike by my shoe clips and so I have to sort of lift the bike so I can swing my ankles to release it all the while saying “I”m fine, I’m fine, go around me, go around me” and wondering (for the 938356th time in my life if you could actually die of embarrassment, because here, darling blog, is what happened.

I came to an efficient, well timed and appropriate stop, and then – because I was thinking about knitting and not bike riding, I just… stopped. I didn’t unclip, I didn’t put my foot down. I didn’t even try to do those things. I simply stopped, and then as I reflected on seed stitch vs moss, on cables with dropped stitches, and on straight and tidy seams and pretty sweaters…

I let gravity take me.

I picked myself up and checked myself over and aside from a wicked bruise or two and a scraped knee I had to soak rather a large amount of gravel out of, I’m fine. As usual the biggest injury is to my pride – and to my bike since I tore my handlebar tape, but that’s pretty fixable I think. I got back on my bike and headed for home, having decided while lying in the dirt that maybe it wasn’t my day, but as I got closer to the house my knee stung a little less and my dignity (having had much practice) sprang back and I took a deep breath, thought about my goals and how close the Rally is and turned myself around again, and went to finish my 70km. I am feeling very good and adult about that.

The fall did – um, let’s call it “refocus” me on what I’m supposed to be doing, if rather painfully. For the next two weeks until the Rally I’ve got a few goals. First, I’m hoping that Team Knit will meet their fundraising goals. We’ve got a long way to go. Here’s our links for fundraising – our goals are on those pages and you can see that like almost everything this year- we’re behind.





Second, to inspire you to help me find ways to meet those goals – I’m going to try and blog as much as I can between now and departure, and I’m hoping we can get into a lovely rhythm. I’m inspired by your giving to write – maybe you’re inspired by the writing to help PWA and maybe we can all see that the people they serve have what they need for the next year. I can’t thank you enough for getting us all as far as you have.

Third I am going to finish that Tee before thinking about it breaks my arm or something.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Lila’s First Knit

Knitted Bliss - Tue, 07/26/2022 - 15:22

A quick post to glow with pride over Lila’s first knit! After we came back from England, Lila said to me ” Can you teach me how to knit?” And then I had to give an Oscar-worthy performance of playing it cool and not freaking out with joy that she asked. So I pulled down

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 07/01/2022 - 18:27

My Favourite Articles This Week These absolutely stunning embroidered pieces tucked into trees just blow my mind. (Thanks Meredith!) What it really means for the US now that Roe vs Wade has been overturned. Great reasons to drink tea– other than it being delicious and somehow the most soothing beverage on the planet. Listen to

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 06/24/2022 - 13:00

My Favourite Articles This Week Love this list of 10 books to take a virtual vacation– I’ve read about half the list and also recommend! As a lifelong Nancy Drew fan, this really hit me- In Praise of Nancy Drew, and the Women of Mystery Who Save Themselves. Things you might say instead. These textile

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 14:26

My Favourite Articles This Week If you are throwing a dinner party any time soon, there’s some great tips here for making it so much easier on yourself. A fascinating and beautiful way to make intersections safer for pedestrians. Go for it, bring an over-the-top dish to a picnic. I love this idea of ‘dopamine

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Categories: Knitting Feeds


Yarn Harlot - Wed, 06/15/2022 - 19:43

I’m writing to you from an airport. My first plane trip in more than two years- I’m on my way to the first retreat in more than two years, and to see knitters and teach and see Debbi and Judith for the first time in two years and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I’m so happy and nervous and excited and worried that it almost negates the exhaustion I feel from having to get up at 3:30am to come here. I tried to write this post yesterday – because yesterday was my Birthday but it turns out that I am having a weird problem with hope and I spent most of my time yesterday rushing around getting ready to leave because I’d put off packing like some weirdo who can’t read a calendar. It’s a theme right now.

Have I told you Meg is expecting again? I don’t think I have, and that says something, doesn’t it? It isn’t that I am not happy about it – I’m beyond delighted. A new grand baby on the way? The old Steph would have been thrilled, started knitting like mad, ordered a ton of yarn (ok I did do that part) and essentially doubled down on being all in. The new Steph (who is ironically an older Steph) is thrilled but has grown a calm but insistent voice, one that quietly leans over and gently whispers “maybe”. It is the voice of my inner Steph, the one that’s been disappointed so many times over the last while, and now hears about plans and good news and babies and retreats and bike rallies and hedges her bets, qualifies her hopes, keeps dreams a little tethered and makes sure all ideas are properly shored up with that cautious “maybe” to make sure I’m not signing up for any unnecessary heartbreak. I am enjoying the idea of a new grandchild, and whatever time we get to know they exist, but in absolutely no way am I capable of counting any grandchickens before they’ve been hatched for a while.

This “maybe” problem has leaked into a few other things – like the problem with my Birthday yesterday. I didn’t avoid packing because I’m a procrastinator (although I’ve often said that I do work well under pressure, and will often put things off a bit to create that pressure) it was because whether I acknowledged it or not, after so many cancelled retreats and postponed retreats and problems and surprises and really- two years? That “maybe” voice just kept telling me to bide my time. It’s not a pessimistic voice – it’s a realist. “Why” it asks “Why waste your time packing for a trip that’s not a definite thing? Why not wait and see?”

To me that sounds really smart, I mean the voice isn’t wrong, and the whole thing makes loads of sense until suddenly it’s the day I’m leaving and nothing bad has happened and whammo, here I am spending my birthday organizing underwear, pants I haven’t worn in two years, and trying to remember how airports work. (They are almost the same, by the way, in case it comes up.) I busted a move all day still managed to have a short dinner in the back garden with family and friends and Elliot and I made time for the splash pad even, so it’s not like it was a total disaster – but it was instructive. Obviously I’ve done a good job learning the lessons the last few years have offered, whether they’re totally helpful or not.

As I packed, I thought about the Bike Rally. The first year of the pandemic the whole rally was virtual but we had a little family socially distanced really anxious rally, then last year I thought there would be a rally and there was the abbreviated little version instead, and this year – well this year there’s a full rally. Six days of cycling- more than 600km (about 375miles, for my American friends) from Toronto to Montreal in support of PWA (People with Aids Foundation) and two other ASOs. (An ASO is an Aids Service Organization) and I am signed up and so are Cam and Ken and Pato and together we’re this year’s Team Knit. By now we should be doing a lot of two things. Riding, and fundraising.

I’ve neglected both. I’ve been riding my bike a few times each week – between 40 and 60 kilometres each time, but truthfully there’s been more 40s than 60s and I really, really should be heading out to the formal organized rides – but they are hard to get to without the subway and I’ve been trying not to get Covid so I can do this retreat and not give it to Meg and <insert excuse here>. I finally got out for an official training ride the other day and to be completely honest I rode the whole 80km and then cried the last five home because I had my arse so completely handed to me. Even if the Rally is a “maybe” somewhere in my mind it needs to become a “definitely” in terms of training or things are going to be seriously, desperately ugly out there, but at least if I screw up training that only hurts me – the fundraising needs to be where this team gets it together, and soon.

Usually by now Team knit has things well underway, with every member headed for meeting their goals and we’re nowhere near that now and it’s because all of us are a little leery, holding back a little bit, trying to get our heads back in the game, and that’s a jerk move because here we all moving slowly towards getting our scenes together while time is short and the need is great.

I had a whole thing I was going to say here. I was going to talk about how the Covid pandemic has compounded the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but you know that. I was going to talk about how far from over the crisis is, how things got worse, not better over the last two years. About how in 2020 a child was infected with HIV every two minutes, globally. About how all the things that Covid made worse, poverty, inequality, unemployment, fragile employment, food insecurity, access to health care, mental illness…on and on and on- those things all make people vulnerable and make it hard for them to help themselves and make it almost impossible to deliver services when they can’t help themselves and make the need for agencies like PWA greater, and make it harder and more expensive to deliver those services and I was going to tell you a lot of stuff.. but I think you know, and want to do things about and there’s no maybe about that. You, my dear knitters have never been a “maybe” on the Sign-me-up to help list. You are a definitely, you just need to know how to help. So here we are.

We got together yesterday, your little Team Knit, and because it was my birthday we got ourselves a bubbly drink, and we made every effort to move our tired and nervous hearts from Maybe to Definitely so we can get this thing done. Team Knit this year is:





We would really like your help, for all the reasons that you know already, because it’s time to try and have a little hope, and because sometimes you really have to make it yourself. All donations to the cause are welcome, and please remember that fundraising works just like knitting – every stitch is important, every dollar is important and it all works together to make something wonderful- one little bit at a time. If you’d ever wished you could get me a Birthday present? Moving Team Knit to the finish line is all I want.

Finally, as a gift from me to you – Bonus picture with Elliot getting us all to pretend to be dinosaurs. I know that’s really the content you’re here for anyway.

No. We don’t know what kind we are. Cam and Ellie were the only two of us with a really clear vision on this one.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 06/10/2022 - 14:53

I thought for sure I had only skipped one week of Link Love, and then was so embarrassed to see how long it’s been! My apologies, I have lost track of time! I will do better. My Favourite Articles This Week In praise of appreciating the love all around us. If you would like to

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

I can see the ferry at the dock

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 06/07/2022 - 17:56

Greetings from Sleeve Island, where I’m still hanging out with Donner. I’ve been knitting and knitting and knitting I finally find myself here:

About thirty rounds until I’m finished the second sleeve. I can’t believe how long they took – I don’t have very long arms and they’re just 3/4 length sleeve so I feel like they should have whizzed by me so fast they made a breeze but nope. The same dumb slog that sleeves always are. Worse – right before the sleeves I had what felt like a wave of brilliance, and turned out (as usual) to be kinda dumb. I was knitting along on the body and wondering how long I should make it, and wondering how much yarn I would have left after the sleeves and the neckband, and I was properly tired of the sweater and eyeing up the next project and I thought about putting it down, and then it occurred to me that I could just put down the body and move onto the sleeves and it would be so totally great. It would be like a new project, and the sleeves would get done and then I’d know exactly how much yarn I had left for the body and after the sleeves were done I could try it on, and decide how much longer to make the thing. It felt like a genius idea, so I pushed the stitches back on the needle, stuck the ball of yarn on there, and then put on a stopper. (I love this clamp kind called “ewe clips” but near as I can tell they aren’t made anymore, which is a sad thing indeed. Cocoknits sells stoppers here that are pretty handy.)

I knit the neckband, and now the sleeves and let me tell you, this definitely scratched the itch I had to ditch the whole thing. Turns out my mum was right and a change is as good as a rest and I’ve only thought about abandoning this sweater 16 times a day instead of a million. The bummer is that it should be that when you’re finally released from Sleeve Island you pack a sweater out with you, but now It’s back to the body for me, which is a bit of a let down but I suppose it’s the price I pay for my clever evasion earlier. Still, I can’t see this going on much longer no matter how much I stretch it out.

I finished a pair of socks, a friendly rainbow pair to celebrate Pride and in a tremendous show of commitment to the sweater – I didn’t cast on more.

(I did bring down another skein of rainbow sock yarn but that was just a moment of weakness and I didn’t cast it on. I also didn’t put it away again when my strength returned so we’ll see how long this lasts. It’s sitting about a metre away from me practically waggling it’s little label at me.)

These are Must Stash Yarn in Kama Sutra (I think) and I knit a plain tube with cuff and toe and whacked a true afterthought heel in at the end. (I documented it for The Patreon, but that particular post isn’t up yet. Joe’s upstairs tut-tutting over the sound edit as we speak so it won’t be too long. I don’t know exactly what he does to it, but I do know that it sounds better after he’s done so I leave him to his own process.) Joe is still pretty one-armed and working a little slowly- the part of his broken wrist that was fixed with surgery has healed beautifully, but five months later the other broken bone is still…broken. We’re waiting on an MRI and a hand specialist, but the pandemic has everything so backed up that it will be a while. I’ve never before been grateful that Joe doesn’t rely on knitting for all the things that I do. I always thought it would be wonderful to have a knitting spouse (sharing of the stash aside) but if I imagine myself not able to knit for five months I’m not sure our relationship would survive and I’m glad he’s got other outlets. (Like editing sound.)

The next time you see me (I so vow) I will be finished this sweater, and it’s funny you know – even though I’ve done nothing but complain about how slow the linen is?

Linen from Espace Tricot – I’m going to knit the Malaquite Tee

I’ve got another linen top in the queue to be next. (By the way, I’m under the impression that I’m finishing that one by the time I get on a plane next Wednesday. Hilarious, right?)

Categories: Knitting Feeds
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