Monday, May 28, 2007

The Harlotty Hometown Event

Friday night, I joined more than 300 knitters for the Canadian, Toronto launch of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's fourth book, Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting.

It was a hoot. Stephanie was a witty, insightful speaker, and the book looks to be the same. But the real story of the evening was the herd of knitters. I have never seen - and I doubt I will ever see again - the sheer number of knitters crammed into one not-so-small area of a bookstore. I dragged my friend Jen from work, and she joined in with the bookstore staff in goggling at all the excited people gesturing dangerously with their sharp needles.

We arrived about 40 minutes early, which was not nearly early enough to get a chair. But we had a decent view, and got the added bonus of also being near the outside of the group, meaning that we could see the occasional non-knitter wander past with a very confused look on his or her face.

Yarn Harlot at Indigo in Toronto

After Stephanie spoke at length about the culture of knitting, and the ways of knitters, we all lined up to meet the Yarn Harlot. I wasn't too far back in line, but was there for at least an hour, I think. But it wasn't a hardship at all - I got the chance to meet some other knitters, feel some great yarns and talk about sock addiction, which I've been assured will soon take hold, as I am currently on my second sock.

Me with Stephanie

I got my book signed, handed over a few hats, and even got a chance to hold the famous sock. We couldn't migrate with the herd over to the Spotted Dick for the after-party, partly because I didn't want Jen to feel she'd been made to be part of some strange, yarn-based cult, and partly because we hadn't had a chance to eat before all the standing about, and were feeling kind of rickety by this point.

But it was a great night, and it was exciting to feel like a part of the vibrant, active community that is Toronto knitters.

There are lots of great posts about the event, with much better stories and pictures. Including Stephanie's own blog. I can't really pick myself out in the group picture (I know I'm in the second group picture, just to the right of the first pillar, but there are far too many people - in a good way) but I can spot my hats in the big pile that was donated.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Yarn Map

I put together a Google 'My Map' of knitting stores in the GTA.

I'm liking the 'My Maps'. It's especially nice when you're bored at work. Not that that's when I did this.

Enjoy the map! I'll probably keep playing with this, and add more shops as I find out about them, if I've missed any.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Skills Inventory

Chelle posted this list the other day.

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental Knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
American/English Knitting (versus Continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic Knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair (unintentionally only)
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

I liked taking the time to inventory my knitting experience. I've still got a lot to learn. That's very good - I don't have much of an attention span.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Music and Yarn

Saturday was May 5th, the day over 23,000 Flickr members chronicled their day and shared it with the world.

My day was a pretty typical Saturday for me. I got up, read in bed for a while, then got up and dyed my hair. Well, that's not usual.

Most of the day was spent with knitting and playing with the laptop. I finished my sock, finally. Thanks in large part to how easily persuaded I was by a comment to take the more direct route. Thanks, experienced sock knitter, kmkat!

I found that I had a hole at the ankle where I joined the heel back in with the front of the sock (I do not know technical terms) and by happy accident, that very day, Erika posted about the same problem. I commented that I had hit the same problem, and that I was thinking I should rip back and fix it.

Meanwhile, back on Saturday... after I finished sock #1, I got sock #2 started, and headed outside. I figured I needed to make my life at least a little more photogenic for this day. Plus, it was a beautiful day out. I headed first to Second Cup for caffeinated sustenance, and then down to the park, to what I am starting to think of as 'my' bench. While I was there, a little chihuahua came and hung out with me for a bit, sitting at my feet and keeping me company through my short-row toe.

It was an interesting way to spend the day, constantly looking for different ways to look at where I was and what I was doing. My favourite pictures from the day are the ones linked above, and the one I chose as the best, and submitted to the Flickr group was this one, which pretty much sums up most of my weekends.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Life in Pictures

I like taking pictures. I try to take lots of pictures, so that I have lots to play with. I don't do much with them once I have them, though, these days.

Max from the side

I dabbled in scrapbooking (paper and glue and scissors scrapbooking) for about a year, but found that I really was no good at getting things done on my own. If I was with a group of people, I could do lovely things, and get pages done - well, if not 'lickety-split', then at least at a respectable pace. But, left to my lonesome, the scrapbook pages and books and ribbons and stamps and scissors and paper and glue and corners and pictures gathered dust in the spare room. Once I'd done all the shopping, the bloom was off the scrapbooking rose, as it were.


Then I started to get into digital scrapbooking. This was much better suited to the geek side (approx 85%) of my personality. All the baubles and patterns I could desire, and all at the click of a button. And, best of all? Almost all free to be shared, if you know where to look. And fonts are very fun.

The digital scrapping gave me the opportunity to learn more about photo editing and techniques, which lead to a brief affair with Worth1000.

Nowadays, my pictures all hang out on Flickr, or, if they're very lucky, make it over here to the blog. I have a very fancy, bells-and-whistles printer that my brother got for me for Christmas, and the poor thing is yet to print anything other than a knitting pattern.


I joined the Flickr group 24 Hours of Flickr. This is a project for people around the world to document their day in pictures, all on this Saturday, May 5. I'm looking forward to it, but kind of feel pressured to make my life more interesting than usual. I've been reading the comments of other people who've signed up, and they've just all made me feel very boring and inadequate. People are going to the Taj Mahal, participating in sidewalk chalk art demonstrations, travelling to Nepal. Most Saturdays, I'm doing well if I'm dressed before 2 pm.

I could find exciting and interesting things to do - go on a solitary road trip, visit galleries, wander strange streets and have adventures. But I think that what I'd rather do is to find ways to make my own, usual, good Saturday interesting to look back on. I'm not labouring under any kind of delusion that anyone is going to pore fascinatedly through my pictures at the end of the day, but I do want to be able to go back and look at them myself, and know that this was a good day for me.


So my challenge for tomorrow is to keep my camera in hand, and find the beauty in my normal weekend - find beauty in my home, in my chores and duties, and in my neighbourhood. That last one will be the easiest - I do live in Port Credit, after all, and this is the springtime.

I recommend checking out the group after tomorrow night. The pictures from the guy at the Taj Mahal should be great.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Blue Skies Here to Stay

Jen and Winston and the sky, originally uploaded by Vaedri1.

The warm weather finally seems like it's here to stay. We've had a few false starts, but now it looks like we have successfully achieved Spring.

We're in the midst of those perfect, sunny-blue days that make you giddy with the warmth and the sunshine. The days that make you do silly things like lie on your back in the work parking lot to take goofy pictures.

Last night was also a knitting group night. Shaun tagged along, to show off his own sweater.
Shaun at Knitting Group