I love it when a plan comes together

Update Sept. 27/19: The pattern–Porcupine Ridge–came out on Ravelry today. Click the link for full pattern details and to buy the pattern.

Three weeks ago I was in Whitehorse, up in the Yukon, visiting my sister. She took me to her local yarn shop, because she knows me. They had qiviut yarn, because it’s the North. My sister saw the way I kept looking at that yarn. She insisted that I take some home. We pooled our funds, and lo, I found myself in possession of 190 yds of gorgeousness from Nunavut Qiviut.* I cast on on the flight back to Calgary.

A round of knitting, just cast on, and an empty coffee cup on an airplane seat back table. A tablet sticks out from the seat back pocket in back of the photo.
It was a very early flight. That was not nearly enough coffee. Which is probably how I ended up picking up that tablet in back there from Air North’s freight office two days later, after it made another trip to Whitehorse and back. Air North, I salute your customer service, and would fly with you again any time.

A cowl. A small cowl. In lace, both to make the most of the yardage, and because (as my sister wisely pointed out) this yarn was going to be stupidly, insanely warm, and putting holes in the fabric would be a good idea.

In Calgary I spent my days helping Dad get ready to move, and my evenings knitting repeat after repeat, throwing in an occasional decrease for shaping.

Lace and cabled qiviut cowl with a couple of inches done, on a project bag that reads, "Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Store".

I reached the bind off on the second last night of my visit, and blocked the cowl when I got home. I loved this little thing before blocking; now I’m a bit obsessed. This coming winter had better include a serious cold snap and/or another visit up north, so I can wear this bit of luxury. And would you look at that: not quite enough left over for one more round.

Qiviut cowl finished and blocked, with a tiny ball of leftover yarn.
They really need to invent touch-o-vision.

There will be a pattern, and I’ll be making another sample—probably in Backyard Fiberworks Prairie—for a different look (and a more affordable yarn alternative). It’s such a quick, addictive little project that I may make a few. At least, that’s the plan.

*The yarn is a merino/Arctic Fox qiviut/silk blend. I know some will question my choice, and I thought a lot about it: Nunavut Qiviut’s yarns support traditional Inuit lifestyles, and I support that goal. It is very much not my place to tell indigenous people how to honour their traditions.

On car horns and clouds and online spaces

selfish knitting on the dock

I ran away to the lake this week, and I did something I haven’t done in years: I went offline. I set up a vacation auto-reply on my business email and resisted the urge to say “I will check my email occasionally, so…” or “I’ll be responding more slowly than usual, but…” With surprising difficulty, I left it at “I will be away and offline until Thursday.” I did use a bird identification app* a few times, which seemed like an okay thing to do as there were so many birds and I wanted to know what they were.

Great Blue Heron flying over the lake Continue reading

Home again, home again


Here we are, back in Birmingham. After a day of sleep and a day of running errands (including replacing my phone, lost, presumed stolen, in the wilds of Toronto), I’m ready to tackle Mount Laundry, put the luggage away, and get back to work. Though I moved away so long ago, Toronto still feels like home to me: my big city face and fast-walking feet snapped into place like they were just waiting to come out and play. Still, it’s nice to be back where things move more slowly, in the place where I keep my tea things and my knitting chair and my cats and my deck full of plants and my own bathroom with a shower that doesn’t require a pilot’s license to operate. (Seriously, y’all should’ve seen the shower at the last place we stayed.)

In between family time and wedding chuppah-holding and birthdaying (the day after one sister’s wedding was the other sister’s birthday) and such, I managed to visit a few yarn shops, exhibiting admirable restraint (in my humble opinion), at least until the end. Unfortunately, that restraint extended to taking photos, for which I’m kicking myself now. However, here’s the rundown, in the order visited: Continue reading

No sooner am I home…

…than I’m off again. It feels like I just got back from DC (wait, I did just get back—I’ve only been home a week), and I’m packing to head up to Toronto. This trip is for fun: my sister, who lives up in the T dot, is getting married to a lovely man, and the clan is gathering for the event. My other sister has rented a cottage, so there will be city time and lake time and family time and time with old friends from the punk rock stompin’ around town years. Many of my internet friends are gathering while we’re there (for another wedding—apparently it’s the thing to do right now), so there will also be time with old friends I’ve never met in real life. And there will be knitting. I got shockingly little knitting done during TNNA, and hooboy, am I going to make up for that in the next couple of weeks. (See above re: lake time: there’s a whole nine glorious days of it.) Of course, most of it will be work knitting, but that’s my favourite kind of work, so I don’t mind one bit.  Continue reading

Fibre in the mountains

Well, SAFF was wonderful. Of course. I only tasted a bit of it, because I didn’t get it together to book classes and my non-fibre-obsessed friend had taken the weekend off for my visit, so I mostly wandered around on Friday and took everything in and got a feel for the thing. The thing, let me tell you, can be pretty overwhelming. A lot of the classes looked amazing, though: the schedule’s gone from the site now, but I remember seeing spinning instructors like Abby Franquemont and Judith MacKenzie, and a colour theory class with Franklin Habit, so that should give you some idea of the lineup. Fortunately, the fleece judging was open to all attendees, so I spent a very happy hour watching Judith MacKenzie walk us through many, many primitive breed fleeces.

Ms. MacKenzie lays down some knowledge about Jacob sheep.
Ms. MacKenzie lays down some knowledge about Jacob sheep.

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Knit fast, die warm

I don’t often get out to local yarn stores. I know, I know: shock, horror, the collapse of the institution, etcetera. The thing is, I live in the ass end of nowhere that is 70s era American suburbia, and I don’t get out much. Instead, I buy online from…wait for it…local yarn stores. They’re just not local to me, except in the more abstract, internet-as-global-community kind of way. When I get the chance, though, I do like to stick my head into an actual bricks-and-mortar store to admire the yarn in person and geek out with fellow knitters using my voice, rather than my keyboard. If such a chance arises while traveling, well, souvenir yarn makes for some good, guilt-free stash enhancement. Continue reading

Great expectations

Tomorrow, we head out on another road trip, this time to visit a good friend in Asheville, NC. I’m excited for all sorts of reasons: I haven’t seen this friend in a couple of years; it’s a chance to see a whole new swathe of the South (anything east of Atlanta on this trip will be new to me); my friend knits, and knows where to go in Asheville for local yarn and fibre (woo!); and the drive is about 6 hours each way. That’s twelve whole hours in the car. That’s some serious knitting time, folks. So right now, my brain looks something like this:

Jumbled and slightly askew.

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