Monday, April 27, 2015


Moving day has come and gone, and so have quite a lot of boxes and bags and furniture wrap, leaving room for the important things:


Before I talk Yarn though: can I revisit the boxes?  Omigosh, the BOXES.  There were THIRTY... just for books!  And about twice as many for everything else, most of them very very large.  To paint the picture for you, our enormous living/dining room was about 85% stacked boxes when our (wonderful) movers left us, plus narrow channels for weaving between them.

It wasn't fun filling those boxes, and it hasn't been fun emptying them, but I will say that it is much easier - if much less practical - to decide what to keep and what to give away when surrounded by the consequences of acquisition in an otherwise fresh clean space.  Pete has already taken five boxes of books to Goodwill and there is another box waiting to go.

I stopped unpacking long enough to grab about five hours' sleep that night before I was up again to get on the subway to catch a bus to meet Trish who drove us, after a quick stop at Starbucks for caffeine, to this year's Knitter's Frolic.  Trish had kindly offered to shop for me but I said No Way, because the Frolic was the carrot that got me through it all.

Zoom for emphasis:

While we were there we ran into somebody, I forget who because Sleep Deprivation, and as we were showing off our finds she said Hey! When I was at the Stoddart booth they said somebody had just bought twelve skeins.  Was that you?

(guilty as charged, folks.)

We had to leave the Frolic about 11:30 so Trish could drop me at a fancy celebratory luncheon for the sister of one of my neighbours, who had an adorable new baby boy about a month ago.   It was super nice of her to invite me - she also asked three other neighbour ladies on our block, and as I've been stuck inside packing on the days we've been at home I haven't seen any of them in ages. 

But when we got there?  and everybody was all dressed up with heels and jewelry?  and my neighbours took all my shopper bags to the table they'd chosen for us?  WOW.  Beyond nice.  We sat at the end window of a room with windows on three sides overlooking the grounds of the historic property, essentially in a pool of sunshine.  We ate real food of the healthy, time-consuming-to-make variety which included a deep green salad.  We chatted, with each other and with the friendly and interesting cousins of our hostess.  There was no dust, there were no boxes, there was no requirement to get up from our chairs, and briefly, there was even a baby to admire!

It was so. so. relaxing.

Then I went home and it was back to furniture moving and box identification and heavy lifting and no sleep and the taxes, due on Thursday at midnight, looming over me... but guess what?

I have twelve skeins of favourite yarn for my new carrot.  Bliss.

I'll show you all the yarn next week... I am still up to my eyebrows in busy, because after we do the taxes and clear away the initial arrivals, we have to empty the rest of the house and bring more stuff to the condo.  Ray is starting demo next Tuesday and whatever doesn't make it out before then ain't gonna make it farther than a Dumpster.

Have a great week in the meantime and I will see you soon!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Socks and a car full of yarn

While Pete loaded up the back of his car with my yarn stash on the weekend, I photographed my newly finished colourblock socks in a sun patch on the porch:

The socks are the result of my learning to move slowly and build in relaxation time between bouts of box-filling.  I knew this whole project would be a big job when Pete first told me he was ready to put on a second floor around this time last year, and I tried to be prepared for it, but OMIgosh, there is no such thing as prepared.  It's so hard to leave home, I am clinging to the gratitude born of knowing we aren't selling the house - that we're coming back to it.

(at the same time, I am really getting into the whole 'living downtown' thing, and feeling like I don't want to leave the condo either.  greedy, greedy girl.)

Anyhow, because I was feeling more relaxed than panic-stricken while I photographed the socks, I also photographed the novelty of my entire stash filling the back of Pete's car, with the third row of seating folded down no less.

Then he came outside again with a suitcase I recognized as containing more stash.

After the third time, I thought it was better to stop taking pictures.

(there's more in the back seat.  Apparently I need never buy yarn again.)

Back to the socks.  I did something weird with the heel flap - I made it longer, but forgot to pick up enough stitches along the sides with the first one and then had to do the same with the second, such that there is some puckering along the heel:

I left the row-counter safety pins in to save time for photography.  painful looking, aren't they?

and whether it's for that reason or just the added length in that area, these are the most comfortable socks I've knit yet.  The heel cup is like a little hug for my foot.  So who cares if I totally messed up the green block of colour unadorned with any contrast colour?

Me, probably.  I may do some duplicate stitch fanciness later.

In other news: some very nice movers are coming over at the end of the week, and after that we have about another week to tidy out anything we don't need because Ray wants to come and start the demo.

I am, frankly, scared.  Scared I won't get it all packed, scared to say goodbye to my beautiful shabby house, scared to spend a year in a place less bathed in light though still quite sunny, scared because this whole thing is crazy expensive and getting more so all the time.

But I do have a pair of socks done.

So that's something.

(also: birds.  but I'll tell you about those next week, after the dust starts to settle.)

Have a great week and I'll see you as soon as I'm able to clear a little time and space!

Monday, April 13, 2015

An organizer bag for portable knits

A portable knitting basket is a must for me these days, and thanks to the miracle of Packing, I found the perfect solution in this Cherry Bag Organizer.

I've been so busy, I haven't even taken time to clip the tag off! yeesh.

There are other bag organizers out there - the idea is to load them up, then slip them into and out of whichever bag you want to use or just used - but this is what I bought to try about five years ago but didn't, because I forgot I mostly carry a narrow messenger bag.  I then promptly forgot about the organizer until I found it in the back of a closet during the aforementioned Packing episode, and a lightbulb went off.

It turns out, what it's particularly great for is knitting gear!  There are tons of pockets all along the inside and the outside.  Lots of dedicated space for pens and pencils and index cards for making notes,

and a camera and camera charger and earbuds, for those times when my audiobook is likely to annoy somebody else (or when somebody else's activities are something I'd like to tune out),

and scissors and crochet hooks and - of course - knitting needles.

Plus, my bag is so sturdy, I can fit my knitting bowl in it, as you can see.  This isn't a proper yarn bowl with a gap in the side for running yarn through, but it's deep enough to hold a cake of yarn and a sock in progress, not to mention the lovely pattern it's got on the side, so it's perfect for me.

I can fit three or four small projects in my Cherry bag, and a few more in the tote bag I slip the Cherry into.  And then I carry the lot to wherever I'm knitting.  Because the tools and note-taking bits are stored vertically, it's much easier to find everything quickly than with my previous solutions (a basket full of loose bits, a tray full of loose bits, a solitary knitting bag that never includes scissors or a ruler.)

Much as I love the Cherry solution and can highly recommend it, I have fond memories of my stationary organizer... I wrote about it some time ago but I can't seem to find the post, now. It's a basket that tucks into the bottom shelf of my coffee table, next to my seat on the sofa.  I took a picture of it for Hugs, full of ready-to-go project bags all neatly lined up like addresses in an index box.  Time was, I'd sit down to watch a movie, pull the basket out like a drawer, pick up whichever project bag was filed in front, and get to work.  Oh, were those the days.

Now, of course, I'm lucky to carve out a couple of hours to knit once a week.  If I'd known this is what renovating would come to, I'm not sure I would have taken it all on.  I might just have run screaming (with my knitting in tow.)  But the good thing about renovation is that you ease into it with lots of planning, so that when you get to the really crazy part we're in now, you hardly notice the difference.


Seriously though, I think we might have turned the corner.  The condo is done except for two small nonessential bathroom things for which we need parts.  The house plans are very close to done, and I've almost run out of big things to panic about and ask to change (like a couple of weeks ago when we decided to switch over the entire heating system to something else, which affected everything) and smaller things to add (bigger windows here and there) and tiny things to tweak (medicine cabinet vs wall mirror.)

Also the movers are coming in less than two weeks.  True, I will be a headless chicken trying to pack it all up in anticipation of this event, but when that part's over, we will be living in just one place again.  With, hopefully, a lot less stuff between me and my knitting chair.

Speaking of knitting chairs:

I have ordered slipcovers.  It occurred to me that the furniture we had already is not going to play nicely with the new stuff at the condo, and I'm more likely to see a fresh start to life if the ink stains on the cushions are hidden.  So: yay?  I'll keep you posted.

I'm not even going to pretend to myself that I'll make it back in here this week - it's serious crunch time on the packing front, especially since I lost five days last week to a cold and then vertigo.  I did actually get the migraine this time, too.  Bonus!

So think good thoughts for me if you have a moment, and I'll be back as soon as I can to show you how the amazing  patchwork socks came out.  They only have about two more hours in them and I really, really love them now, in spite of the green legs.  Mmmm, green legs.

Meanwhile: take care, and I'll see you when I see you.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Patchy knits, in blogging and life

Moving house: not all it's cracked up to be!  There was a time, pre cellphones, when my friend Dave wrote my address in pencil because I moved so much, and if that was still necessary I would probably be in better shape today because most of my stuff would be in boxes perpetually.  Probably I would own less, too.  Thankfully Stoddart yarn is a thing that exists...

... though my stash is dwindling.  I have to do something about this issue, but more on that later.

First: my apologies for my unexpected absence last week, and likely absences for the next two or three.  If you've been reading Hugs for very long you will know how unusual it is for me to skip a post.  Keeping the site in regular production is so much a priority that I will cut back on sleep to make sure I have photographs and text ready for every weekday.

Basically, if I skip a day, you can be sure I am out of control busy.  And if I skip four days?  Omigosh.  I don't mind telling you, the only reason you're reading Hugs today is because a bout of vertigo has forced me to sit down and stay put.

Digression Alert:

Did you know 'silent migraine' is also a thing that exists?  Apparently you can get all sorts of advance warning of an imminent migraine, for days ahead of time - vertigo, visual disturbances, etc. - and then you get the headache.  Except in a silent migraine, where you get the warning and when it passes you can get on with your life.  No headache.

I have had a handful of these things now over the past couple of years and the room-spinning version is the one that makes me extra grateful to be walking distance from where I need to be while the house is renovated.  You can't drive when you're spinny. 

Now, if I'd been taking care of myself the last few weeks instead of putting in 14 hour days on packing, floorplan review, interior fitting selection, and keeping up with the priorities of everyday life, I probably wouldn't be stuck right now. Apparently a good way to avoid this kind of migraine is to get enough sleep and not get too stressed.  I knew this, and I pushed it anyway, because the movers are coming in 18 days and I have packed practically nothing because our condo only recently became ready to receive things.

Here is where Stoddart socks are saving me.  I mean, it's very nice yarn on its own, obviously.  But knit up, it makes a supple and beautiful fabric.  And when that fabric has been washed and worn loads of times in sequence, it's also very soft and incredibly reassuring.

Often over the winter, I'll go to bed with freezing feet and pull on a pair of very thick Stoddart boot socks to combat the problem.  An hour or two later I will wake up and take the socks off and lay them on the edge of the bed next to whatever is passing for my night table (at home it's a desk; at the condo, the arm of the sofa; in the renovated house it will be an actual nightstand and I can hardly wait.)

Recently I've noticed I will wake again a few hours after that, my hand resting on the socks for comfort.  They are that soft.

(And I am that stressed.)

Fortunately, I recognized after something crazy like 10 days of not taking time to knit that you actually make more time when you do knit than when you try to push through.  Knitting gives you energy.  You can just move faster between bookshelf and box if you're not feeling all burdened and stuff.  So I've make good progress on my socks du jour, knit with Stoddart for its loveability and in colourblocks for its pacing, ugliness being a price I am prepared to pay.  If nothing else, the ugly patchy bits will help me remember surviving this exceptionally hectic time in my life.  Assuming I do.

Now to the stash problem.  I have yarn left for one pair of Stoddart socks, after this pair is done.  ONE PAIR.  After that, I will have to face stress with yarns that help, but not as much or as fast.  Clearly I have to refill the Stoddart cupboard, but when?

Silvia does bring yarn to the Wychwood Farmer's Market once a month, but we tried her there a few weeks ago and as she too has been super busy - with lambing, no less - she hadn't had time to restock her own supply.  She will also be at this year's Knitters Frolic.  But not only is that happening the day after we move out of the house (the Frolic being much closer to the house than to the condo) it is also the day I am going to a baby shower.


I have no idea what to do about this.  Apart from asking Pete to be chauffeur for a day, which seems a little unfair since he has just as much going on as I do.

What I do know: I will be so glad when this move is done and I can settle into something like normal life again.

In the meantime, please accept my apologies for the short supply of Hugs.  Stay well and happy and I'll see you again as soon as I can!