Saturday, November 11, 2006


I was overwhelmed by the kind and thoughtful and personal responses to yesterday's post, and I want to say a little more about life and not feeling so alone and all those things.... but today is not the day.

Today is for this. Not for the politicians who play self-indulgent games of Russian roulette with the fate of the world, but for the ordinary men and women who voluntarily face injury and death, compelled by a personal sense of duty, loyalty and community. And because what we forget, we are doomed to repeat.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Midlife muddling

I turn 39 today, which I suppose renders my unsettled sense of self something of a cliche. All I need now is a sports car and a new hair "system" - oh wait, that's men. What exactly is a woman supposed to do when she can no longer ignore the fact that her Successful Career doesn't fit?

It's not that the disquiet happened overnight - more that I finally stopped patching up the cracks, took a deep breath, and let the whole identity thing blow apart to see what would happen. I was rather hoping for an immediate epiphany, but I am still in pieces, and it is darned uncomfortable. It is dreadfully tempting to scoop up the shards and jam them back into the familiar mold, (miserably successful is, at least, safe and stable - not to mention socially acceptable) but I think I am supposed to learn something here in this place of uncertainty.

I hate uncertainty. I am the sort of person who flips ahead in a suspenseful novel because I can't stand Not Knowing for the span of time it would take to read to the end. (Quite possibly, this is a personality trait I need to confront - it certainly bugs the heck out of my father, a published author.) I have very few excuses not to ride out the storm - my husband is astonishingly supportive (I guess miserably successful is not actually that much fun to live with), the kids are thriving with the enhanced maternal attention and energy. All that's really left is my stuff - pride, insecurity, fear, self-doubt. You know - the shame of being The Woman Who Couldn't Take the Heat. The Woman Who Had Babies and Copped Out. Or something.

Here's to an epiphanous '07 !

Meanwhile, in lieu of enlightenment, I received some lovely instant gratification:

A ball winder:

And (once Canada Post brings it), a Mini-Me:

(OK, the torso is exactly the same as Me, but the thighs are a LOT smaller. Which is nice. )

And last, but certainly not least:

Epiphany schmiphany - we live in Whistler, and we have SNOW!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

String Bag No. 3: Streamlined and Simple

This bag knits up very quickly - I have streamlined the construction techniques for speed and simplicity, without sacrificing a tidy, polished appearance. It's perfect for last-minute gift giving – fill it up with homebaked goodies or eco-friendly odds and ends, and after the holidays, the recipient will have an excellent alternative to shopping with plastic.

I have created a PDF of the pattern - it is hosted for the moment at QuickSharing, so you have to put up with a few ads - just click "Download File" and it should come up just fine. Plans are in the works to add a knitting subdomain to my jewellery website, which will allow me to host my design archives in my own space - that probably won't happen until after Christmas, though.

For anyone who prefers to read the pattern straight from the blog, here it is:


Materials: Any sturdy cotton or cotton blend in approximately DK weight will do – I used Aunt Lydia's Denim Quick-Crochet (75% cotton, 25% acrylic). Yardage: around 150 to 300 yds, depending how long you choose to make it.

Needles: I used 16 inch, 4.5 mm (US 7) circulars for the body, and 3.5 mm (US 4) DPNs for the cord.

Gauge: Approx. 4 rounds of the lace pattern to the inch – you really can't go too far wrong with a bag like this, however.


Body: With circular needles, cast on 64 stitches (a cabled cast-on gives a firm and attractive edge) and join in the round.

Rnds 1-3: knit, placing a marker at the beginning of the round.

Openwork pattern:
Rnd 1: *yo twice, k2tog; rep from *
Rnd 2: knit, knitting only once into the double yo – I find it easiest to slip the first loop off the needle and knit into the second.

Repeat these two rounds to desired length: 20 repeats makes a nice gift bag (as pictured), 30 would be a good capacity for a full-sized shopping bag. Hint: this is a very stretchy pattern, so be sure to pull it firmly lengthwise to measure.


Rnd 1: as above
Rnd 2: *k2tog; rep from *

Continue until 8 stitches remain. Leaving a long tail, break the yarn, and run through the remaining stitches, drawing up tightly and knotting securely. Weave in ends.

Using 2 DPNs, CO 3 st, *k3, do not turn. Slide sts to right, pull yarn to tighten. Rep from * until cord length equals the bag circumference plus another couple of inches. Thread through the top row of eyelets, and graft or sew the two ends together securely, weaving the tails inside the cord.

As always, please email me with any questions!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I nearly faltered this week in my resolve to find colour projects in my present natural surroundings. It has been dumping rain for a week now, you can't see past the tops of the trees or across the street, and the foliage is mostly on the ground in sodden heaps. Like this:

Chocolate, lavender, and a touch of cream - who knew soggy decay was so delectable?

And the pattern:

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Knitting Sunshine

Ah, the coast. It's been raining buckets for days, and the news is full of flooding rivers, and slides and evacuations. The sky has been twilight-dark at midday, but The Scarf is bright enough to chase away the gloom:

And, with a weekend's knitting under my belt, it is a little more than half done:

I am a couple of inches into the second half which, when complete, will be grafted to the first. (Assuming my kitchen scale method of halving the yardage was accurate - otherwise there could be some frogging first). Despite the horror of Making The Same Thing Twice, I am thoroughly enjoying the process - it is so lovely to do colourwork with fingering weight instead of worsted, and I have been able to use one of my very few Addi circulars for this project. They really do make an enormous difference.

Tiennie got me thinking about counting stitches with this post - a quick bit of math revealed that the finished scarf will contain around 36,000 stitches! If only a novel were that fast.

Monday, November 06, 2006


It's a condition I have wished for as long as I can remember, deeply envying those cooly gracious folk with hearts tucked safely inside an impeccable, impenetrable exterior. To be able to work daily in a sea of urgent, clutching human need and suffering and emerge serenely whole at the end of the day, flicking the last clinging droplets of pain from my flawless psyche as I drove home - I never did manage it. And truthfully, though I knew every day that it was a flaw and a weakness, I did not try as hard as I might have to overcome the lack, because I feared a loss of acuity - I couldn't bear the thought that I might miss something, trample it by mistake.

As it turned out, force of will and endurance alone cannot create a sustainable kind of living, and as I have been gifted with a child driven to make war with every routine and boundary, I am clearly not off the hook for this lesson.

I know there are ways and systems I ought to resume: meditating and reframing and cognitive restructuring and "not letting", but right now I have this urge to just write the word over and over, push it into metal, say it out loud - perhaps if I keep the idea imminent long enough, I will find my own path to make it real.