Thursday, February 15, 2007


The deed is done. I just about expired with anxiety during the import / export process, but it's all there now - I will be at from now on. The feeds are processed and available, Bloglines and other aggregators appear to be picking it up just fine.

I am very excited about the new possibilities - such as hosting my free pattern pdf's right on the blog, etc. etc.

See ya there!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine Date

Today being one of the two days of the week on which both kids are elsewhere occupied for a few hours, Rob and I played hooky from all the stuff we could and should have been doing, and went on a date.

We began with a little trip to the top, where it was simultaneously snowing, densely foggy, and brilliantly sunny.

sunny clouds

The falling snow muffled all sound, making for an eerily magical atmosphere.

big tree in fog

mist and blue sky

Since we couldn't see where we were going, Rob felt it would be an excellent time to introduce me to my first black diamond run, which admittedly, didn't look all that bad down the initially visible five or six feet. It got different in a hurry. I'm proud to say, I only fell down once, and none of my gear came off. Truth be told, a modest interlude of stark terror was an effective antidote to the chronic worry that's been niggling around my psyche for the last few days - sort of clears the pipes, if you will.

The medicinal effect was undeniably heightened by knitting and beer, though.
ski out red arrow

knitting at the gate

(Yes, I forgot my sunglasses.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

This weekend was.... not like last weekend. So I knitted. A lot. All the way to the underarm division point.I joined the second ball at what I though was the second purple stripe, and it was actually the first, which means the sequence is no longer precisely regular. I think it looks just fine, and I am going to call it a design feature. Organic. Artistically asymmetric. Shunning the ploddingly predictable. I will, however, try to make the sleeves match one another.

I love these colours - I can't believe I am just now "discovering" Noro.

As for the weekend.... this is a fickle sort of business. My response is to analyze the events in detail, sort the data, and formulate a plan. I divide things up roughly as follows: First: factors beyond my control - concurrent events, weather, dumb luck. Not much to do there but bring plenty of yarn. Second: things I could do differently, in order to be more attractive to potential customers. This requires some thought to distinguish between genuinely useful improvements and wise business choices, and the fact that one simply can't (and shouldn't) be all things to all people.

And there is always another day,

another magical country to be explored.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I Do Still Knit....

Thank-you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who commented so kindly and thoughtfully yesterday. It helped a great deal to see the issue with fresh eyes. My initial misgivings centred around the belief that giving is best done with "no strings attached." (That and the whole discomfort with money thing - I suspect that women's relationship with money and (under)valuing their work would be great material for a blog essay.... but I digress).

I can however, wrap my mind around the concept of story. It seems to have considerable commonality with blogging - putting oneself out there in narrative form - saying, "this is me - read me.... or not". Blogging too, must strike that delicate balance between authenticity and TMI. And as Rachel said so eloquently, a small business has a story, which is an integral part of the product, and if told with authenticity and integrity, need not be manipulative.

Now for a bit of knitting. My knitting mojo has been discombobulated this week. The Silk Garden Clapotis is halfway through the second ball, waiting for the third to arrive in the mail, in case the colours at the transition are too wildly contrasting and require creative splicing.
(The yarn does splice beautifully, and I can see it would be fabulous for felting - I have to pry the dropped stitches apart to get them to unravel.)

The mohair/silk scarf is pretty, but definitely a product, rather than a process knit. (I bet it would be a lovely process knit in the recommended Icelandic wool, though.) I have set myself the task of finishing one repeat a day in order to stifle the urge to chuck it to the bottom of the WIP pile. (There are 37 repeats, not counting the borders, so the idea of wearing it to a show this month is pretty much out.)

The grey sweater with the mathematical sleeves has stalled at the 2/3 point in the face of a recent epiphany: I hardly ever wear wool pullovers. Indoors, I invariably grab a cardigan for warmth - because I like to take it on and off throughout the day - I get a little chilled sitting still at the bench or the computer, and then when I hustle around cooking or chasing kids, I get too warm.... And an outerwear pullover needs to be a bit on the roomy side for layering. Therefore, I am debating whether it is remotely possible to reinforce and cut a hemmed border. Would the added bulk of picking up stitches along the double thickness be unsightly? I suppose I may have to knit a little test hem and try it.

While pondering that dilemma, I did the only sensible thing, and started another cardigan.This is Noro Kureyon, purchased at the same time as the Silk Garden, when Ram Wools had their anniversary sale. I'm not entirely sure how long it's going to be, since I have 1000 yards of Aran weight yarn, and I'm knitting it at a tighter-than-ball-band gauge (inspired by personal experience and the Catherine Lowe philosophy of knitting - tighter gauge really does yield a more shapely result.) It will be a simple stockinette cardigan, with slightly fancy ribbing at the borders. I think I will go with circular raglan shaping, so as to keep the striping consistent across the upper body and shoulders, and then steek down the middle. (The body ribbing is, of course, knit back and forth, since I am actually planning ahead this time).

And a little crochet project from this week, which is coming with me to the Fairmont:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

So I've Been Thinking

I've been thinking for some time about the idea of "giving back". One of my remaining moral misgivings about this big life change is the fact that I have left a fundamentally humanitarian profession (and one within which I invariably gravitated to caring for the neediest and least privileged segments of humanity) for something that consists, on the face of it, of making pretty baubles for folks with a decent disposable income.

In all fairness, the Other profession was also a large bureaucratic machine, in which the opportunities for individual difference-making were far more limited than one might imagine. (Not to mention the fact that it was not-so-slowly destroying my health.) And I have been pleasantly surprised, and at times even astonished, by the degree to which the love and passion and meaning which I pour into the things I make transfers to and affects the people who purchase and receive them. But I also cannot escape the fact that the ability to choose to do something I love, and be paid for that, is a rare privilege, and one that depends on circumstances largely not of my own making.

The majority of the world is concerned with basic survival - finding food and water for themselves and their children, avoiding armed conflict. They can't afford to be choosy about "fulfilling work" - they struggle to find anything at all that will generate enough to barter for their next meal. I think I have learned enough rudimentary economics to let go of the belief that hanging onto my own misery would somehow atone for theirs, but I absolutely cannot accept this happy life as though it were somehow all mine to keep.

So, starting now, 10% of all my net sales profits will go to Medecins Sans Frontieres. (And of course, as a knitter, I will send the numbers to Stephanie for Tricoteuses Sans Frontieres.) I suppose it might be prudent to wait for the end of the year, tot up the numbers, see if my business is in the black overall, etc. etc. but I feel a sense of urgency to just get on with it.

Which brings me to one other small ethical dilemma: should I advertise that fact? I see folks advertising that "a percentage of all.... goes to...... charity" all the time, but to do it myself feels uncomfortably like a marketing ploy. I'm not even sure if it is truely an ethical issue, or perhaps simply reflects my innate discomfort with self-promotion.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Not So Fast

The good news: the pattern (Meg Swansen's Lace Shawl from the Fall 2005 Vogue Knitting - sorry about leaving out the details earlier) is dead easy and this mohair-silk is incomparably lovely stuff.

The bad news: I am finding it mindbogglingly finicky yarn to knit with. Most definitely NOT the "knit without looking" sort of project I had in mind, and unless there is a very steep kinesthetic learning curve, I don't have a snowball's chance in Hades (or right here, for that matter - it's been worryingly warm for the last week) of tossing this oh-so-fetchingly over my shoulders before the end of the month.

This represents an hour's knitting:
Now, I'm no Wendy, but I normally zip along at a pretty respectable pace. Granted, I had to redo the provisional cast-on (my first ever) a couple of times, but still.... Yeesh. It's the k1p1 into the double yarnovers that is getting to me - that second yo loop just glues itself to the following stitch, and the little hairy bits stick together, looking for all the world like a single loop. Thankfully that maneuver only occurs on two of the 8 rows in the pattern repeat.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Weekend Recap

The weekend was a resounding success - so much so that I don't have any knitting to show you! Not only were sales good, but I had some lovely serendipitous conversations that were validating and encouraging in areas where I had harbored deep self-doubt. As for my "high end" worries - the hotel staff could not have been more gracious and welcoming, and I felt completely at home in that environment. Odd in a way, and reassuring - because I have never partaken of social elitism or its trappings - even the forms normally taken for granted in my former profession - and I half feared I would be out of my depth in an environment with such extreme wealth. It appears that professionalism and people skills will carry the day.

I am exhilarated and exhausted, and have a large "to do" list to tackle before next weekend - but there will be knitting. Because hotel lobbies are exceedingly drafty in winter - and an artist who knits really ought to have a selection of stunning cardigans and scarves with which to warm her shivery self.