March Break in Waterloo

Well it’s time to tell you about our adventures in Waterloo.  By “we”, I of course mean me and the squirrels. (Tangent: what is it with that crazy law about squirrels not being able to driver’s licenses in Ontario???)

I spent Thursday night hanging out with the Uptown Knit Mob.  Otherwise known as the seedy underbelly of the Waterloo knit world.  OK, maybe only in our house.  And maybe only because we like saying “underbelly”.  The Mob hangs out in parks, restaurants and bars in downtown Waterloo on Thursday nights. I’ve been told many times of their existence, but had pretty much decided that they were, collectively, the Loch Ness Monster of Waterloo.

I can now confirm they do exist. However I believe it’s safer for all of us if I don’t post photos of the sighting. (It’s also entirely possible I was in a driving-coma and may have forgotten to take photos…)

One thing I love about travelling to Waterloo, is that instead of a hotel, they put me up in the guest suite at a downtown condo.  So I have my own little apartment for the week.

This means the Squirrels can make me breakfast every morning:

CCMZSoD make breakfastBut, um, I think this would be a mistake for our fluffy tailed friends...I told them they had to have fruit for breakfast (I told them we needed fruit)

(Anyone want to be the one to tell them it’s full of soap?)

There was teaching at Shall We Knit.  Lots of teaching of lots of wonderful knitters. On Saturday, we played with ALL the colours, trying different combinations and mixing formal colour theory with instinct and inspiration.

(note the unicorn tattoo on Cari. Um. There were many more.)

You know how to scare a really thoughtful knitter? Ask her to choose 10 colour combos in 3 minutes and would she like the duck or the crickets alarm? 😉

Sunday was all about the Cliffs of Insanity scarf. We had lots of small samples of yarns to swatch and play with. Even though I’ve written the pattern for Merino Silk Lace and Habu Silk Stainless Steel, the class is about trying the concepts with different yarns to find the combination of yarn, colour, gauge and stitch patterns that make you fall in love with your knitting:


Karen described this as “going offroading” with your knitting. That’s a great description. Making creative decisions as you go based on what your eye likes. Knowing that there’s no strict pattern that’s “right” is something I love. It’s all about you. Your taste. Your preference.

And then on Tuesday, there was my talk for the KW Knitters Guild. On Knitting Sarcasm. (I’m sorry, I truly don’t understand why the rest of you aren’t as surprised at that request as I am.)

Heather would like you to know that this is what I looked like while speaking:
Minion Kim

She would also like you to know that the podium is not to scale. It was taller than me.

I would like Heather to stuff a sock in it.

Admittedly I set myself up at the podium and Angela, the lovely Guild program coordinator had to gently let me know that perhaps the podium wasn’t such a great idea. You know. Due to the fact I couldn’t see over it.

Also: I may have mentioned to the audience that the last time I spoke at a Guild meeting, I was greeted with “I thought you’d be taller.” We have to excuse them. They were Potters.

This is what I actually looked like:

indigodragonfly at kwkg 6

The Guild members were a lovely and suitably behaved audience and laughed in all the right places. It was my first stab at a humorous talk (stop laughing! There are people out there who think I’m very important and serious)

(For photos of the talk, please refer to the KW Knitters Guild Flickr page)

And then swarmed the yarn table:
indigodragonfly at kwkg 9

Thank you to Shall We Knit for having me come and teach, and to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters Guild for inviting me to speak. Thank you also to Anne for use of the last 2 photos in this post.


Knit Night at Needles in the Hay

For months now, I’ve been trying to get down to Needles in the Hay for their Tuesday knit night. And since, well, MAY! Every Tuesday has conspired to bring a meeting or workshop or fierce deadline that has made it impossible.

Then there was the email requesting “ALL the yarn…I need ALLLLLLL the yarn…”

So I scooped up Lili and Carly (who you might remember from this post), 2 of my students from last winter at the Haliburton School of the Arts Visual Arts Program and headed to Peterborough last Tuesday night. Clearly they understand that traveling with me means that at some point they will be photographed for the blog, and took it very well.

Needles in the Hay - Knit Night

(Lili may have been seen fixing her hair right before this photo…I’m expecting complete non-chalance by next time)

We didn’t bring ALL the yarn, but did bring a healthy sized box for Bridget and a small crate of samples of other bases. I should have taken a photo of what happened next. Especially the slightly horrified look on Bridget’s face. Apparently hoards of people descending on the shop and diving into the new box of yarn doesn’t happen every week?

When things settled down, I checked in on Carly’s new scarf:

Needles in the Hay - Knit Night

She’s making it up as she goes along…changing stitches and adding eyelets, and whatever strikes her fancy.

Sasha and her Dr. Who cross stitch project:
Needles in the Hay - Knit Night

All the Doctors will be on her wall. All of them. (No, I still haven’t watched an episode. Mock at will.)

Perpetual motion Bridget:
Knit Night at Needles in the Hay

Um, the camera slipped…and I wasn’t even trying to take a photo…it was actually upside down and sideways. Could have been much worse. And yes. She’s wearing yarn.

And her lovely store and customers:

Needles in the Hay - Knit Night

I need to do this more often.

PS: yes, this means that after the “Great Indigodragonfly Drought of 2011”, Needles in the Hay has more yarn. 🙂

Sock Summit 2011

Portland is a beautiful city, with great neighbourhoods and lots to do and see. We arrived a day before Sock Summit, so spent some time exploring.

We could travel anywhere from our hotel and the convention centre, to downtown without paying a fare!

Portland Day 1

What a way to encourage people to use transit and keep cars off the road.

Bridget told us about the food trucks, but we had no idea how many we’d find! Blocks of them, with every food you can possibly think of.

Portland Day 1

Portland Day 1

And line ups at each one. We had Polish food:

Portland Day 2

The convention centre!

Portland Day 2

Surrounded by Sock Summit banners:

Sock Summit signs

Sock Summit signs

Sock Summit signs

We set up Thursday morning.

Sock Summit Day 1

And practiced our salespitch:

“It’s not just a sock”
Sock Summit Day 1

(Note Janel: our token American, who took the money for us, to keep us within NAFTA regulations. There’s also a performance art piece about shipping according to NAFTA, but you really have to see it in person)

“They smell great!”
Sock Summit Day 1

Sock Summit Day 1

“And hey! You can even golf with them!”
Sock Summit Day 1

And we were ready.
Sock Summit Day 1

Sock Summit Day 1

For the hoards to start bursting in. (I met a woman in line for food at 1:00 pm who was on her way over to get in line. The marketplace opened at 4:30. That’s hardcore dedication.)

Entrance at 4:29:
Sock Summit Day 1

Entrance at 4:30:
Sock Summit Day 1

Yes. They are running.

The Asterisk that launched a thousand Asterisks:
Sock Summit Day 1

Thelma and Louise (um, they are the feet.)
Sock Summit Day 1

VERY friendly instructors:
Oh Deb....

(Actually, Deb and I noticed in line at Starbucks that we had the same glasses…see?)
Oh Deb....

Maria brought us beer and chocolate…for, um, sustainability…
I love Maria.  That is all

Our minion met another minion.

Minion cousins!!!

And some other weird creatures of the knit-travel persuasion:
Minion makes friends

We made friends with the drinkers:
The Drinkers

Laura from California, Amy (Edmonton), Sheila, Lorie and Laurie (both from Edmonton, and apologies if I’ve spelled the names wrong!)

Glenna had a birthday party.
Glenna gets all the love

And I got to meet people in person that I’ve only ever known online, like Shannon:
Shannon is never NOT in action

And Amy, Caro and Stitchy:
Caro, Amy and Stitchy

And, of course, Stephen:
Oh Stephen...

And see friends from Squam, like Jill and Cal:
Cal and Jill

Also: Indigodragonfly is the fastest yarn in Portland!…at Sock Summit…ok, the fastest knitter at Sock Summit knit with our yarn. Turkeys apparently CAN fly. Congrats Deb!

I think people may have liked the yarn. Melissa came back on the last day, after literally scraping together all her pennies to buy one last skein:
"Look!  I saved up my pennies to buy your yarn!"

Indecision 2011: Will it be the red, or the red.
Melissa's portrait of indecision.

Yes, we did accept Canadian Tire money:
We weren't kidding...we can now buy a tank of gas with Can Ti money

(don’t laugh. We made enough for a tank and a half of gas!)

So this is what we started with on Thursday:
Sock Summit Day 1
(with an additional box of yarn under the table)

And this is what was left at the end of Sunday:
(and half of that is off to Knit 1 Bead 2 in Arizona)

I think it might be OK that I quit my day job…

In Which We Meander to Shall We Knit and Much Fun Ensues

Well!  We’ve been busy!

First a quick trip down to Lettuce Knit on Wednesday night for knit night.  Lettuce is still my LYS, even though it’s a local yarn store 242 km away.

Kim from Ottawa (not to be confused with Kim who is me) happened to be in town and joined us.  Now, Kim is my kind of person.  She planned her Easter weekend trip route from Ottawa to Niagara Falls, via Haliburton so that she could visit our studio.  And totally got that information past her husband.  Brilliant.  My favourite part, was the part where they DROVE PAST OUR HOUSE the night before the visit, to stay in Minden.  Which means they had to backtrack almost 40 minutes.  For yarn.  Kim is my superhero.

However, here are photos of her Oz mitt (rav links) on that vacation.  I would like you to notice that there are no photos of me, the Boy, Otis or our house in those photos.  I mean, HELLO!  You planned your trip around a visit to a yarn studio and there are photos of, you know, wineries and that piddly little falls thing…but not OTIS?  Kim told me she was too shy.

Well we took care of that at Lettuce Knit.

Here’s Kim in the store:

Kim comes to visit

That’s some kind of shawly thing in And Then Buffy Staked Edward.  The End. 

And the peeps of the night:

Kim comes to visit

And a very stoned photo of the two Kims:

Kim comes to visit

I got my hair cut the next day.  It looks MUCH better now.  Well, ok not RIGHT now cause I’m dyeing and it’s hot and steamy in here, but you get the point.

The next day we set off to Waterloo ON, to Shall We Knit for a two day long trunk show and yarntasting event.  Basically we moved in, set up an Indigodragonfly area with lots of yarn and sample garments and testing skeins and planted ourselves there for 2 days.  And people came to see us.

Trunk Show & Yarn Tasting/WWKIP Day 2011

Shall We Knit is a WHOLE HOUSE of yarn store.  There’s a sock room and a luxury room and a book room and and…there are a lot of rooms!

We stayed in a little private apartment about a five minute walk from the store, and even less to downtown Waterloo.  It really couldn’t have been more comfortable.  And they made sure we were very well taken care of:

Trunk Show & Yarn Tasting/WWKIP Day 2011

Friday started with a rush of knitters who had told various people they were going to Zehr’s.  Now I thought Zehr’s was a grocery store…I was wrong.  It is apparently the sock room at Shall We Knit.  Just so you know, for future reference.

The amazing Shall We Knit team:

Trunk Show & Yarn Tasting/WWKIP Day 2011

Lise, Jenn, Karen, Cari and Lynne.  (For months I’ve been picturing Lynne as a gigantic set of teeth with goggley eyes and feet.  I now have photographic proof she is not.) There was also Sue, who I managed to not get a photo of. (Sorry Sue!)

(By the way, Karen, the owner of Shall We Knit, has just been nominated for a RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award!  Congratulations Karen!  Very well deserved.)

And these were our yarn tasting yarns.

Trunk Show & Yarn Tasting/WWKIP Day 2011

You were welcome to sit and knit and try any or all of them out.  So if you’ve ever been curious about how the Merino Silk DK feels to knit, or what Merino Cashmere REALLY feels like, just pick up a squirrel or giraffe and have at it!

Saturday was Worldwide Knit in Public Day.  Jacqueline from Soak joined us and we spilled out front of the shop and onto the front porch…lawn…the driveway…the parking lot…

Trunk Show & Yarn Tasting/WWKIP Day 2011

And over there, under the tree on the left, is Heather Sebastian of Joey’s House. She designs the most amazing monster patterns and um, MINIONS! (rav links) There may be some plotting happening…

Trunk Show & Yarn Tasting/WWKIP Day 2011

Oh right. And Lucy Neatby came by. You know. Cause it’s impossible to have too much fibre fabulousness in one place.  We were very cool.  Kinda.

And then, sadly, there was the packing up and the driving home.

I’m afraid we don’t get much more mature after we leave a place. I’m not sure what our waiter’s name actually was, but when he wrote it on our table, upside down, it kind of looked like “HAM” backwards. Which lead to this exhibit of maturity: 

Trunk Show & Yarn Tasting/WWKIP Day 2011

Thanks Waterloo and Shall We Knit! We’ll definitely be back!

Squam Art Workshops

Available Yarn  ◊  Knitalong Information   

This time last week I was getting ready to wake up early the next morning to travel to Squam Lake in New Hampshire for the Squam Art Workshops. Andrea and Cheryl and I were the flying half of the Canadian contingent. We woke up at OMG-WTF-WERE-WE-THINKING o’clock in the morning to catch the Porter Airlines flight that NO ONE flies. Which got us into Boston and in our rental car shortly after rush hour.

Squam 2011

Quick drive up I-93 and we were registered and lying on the dock with our feet in the water in no time.

Squam 2011
Cheryl, a little excited.
Squam 2011

Andrea's natural state of being

It was an incredible few days. We lived here:

Squam 2011

Jonatha sang.

Squam 2011

(I was way too shy to be all fan-girly and tell her how long I’ve loved her music and how I first heard Bruce Cockburn talk about her on the radio when I lived in New Hampshire, ran out and bought Plumb and have spent the past 16 years stalking the folk section of every record store I go into — while shoving yarn into her hand.  Sigh.)

I learned that I hate to sew.  I love fabric and thread and all things fibre.  I love the finished product.  But the actually sitting down at the machine and sewing?  Not my thing.

Gudrun ensured that I will NEVER have to sew in a sleeve again, and that there is no excuse for me not to have well-fitting sleeve caps or sleeves that are ridiculously long.

Squam 2011

Cat blew my mind open.

Squam 2011

Doesn’t look like much, I know, but there is so much learning and discovery in those little stitches. (Yes Cat, I recorded everything I did!)

There were blurry knitters…

Squam 2011

And not so blurry ones.

Squam 2011

Megan sold yarn at the Marketplace.

Squam 2011

Natalie sold her patterns and some of our yarn…and tried very hard not to notice me taking photos of her booth.

Squam 2011

There was colour inspiration.

Squam 2011

Squam 2011

And then it was time to leave. On our way back, we decided to take a whirlwind side trip to Portsmouth NH, where I lived for 2 years.

Squam 2011

My little town has grown up.

Squam 2011

Nineteen minutes in Portsmouth, and then it was time to hit the airport.

So, you know how you need to be at the airport 2 hours ahead of time for international flights? Well, we fully intended to be. We left Portsmouth a little late, I fully admit. But not that late. And nothing could have prepared us for the perfect storm of a disaster that was graduation weekend in Boston. Combined with lane closures on the highway. Mixed in with regular weekend traffic. But I really think it was the ambulance wailing up behind us and the subsequent harried shuffling of cars that declared we were in big trouble.

We were going to miss our flight.

Seriously. It was a conspiracy. Someone is going to write a sitcom about the rental car shuttle bus. That stopped at EVERY. SINGLE. STOP. whether it needed to or not. And really? We got the TRAINING shuttle? With the trainee driver, who was also learning english.

Head. Desk.

Cue the German mother and son with 10. Yes, you heard that right TEN pieces of luggage. Including hockey sticks. And a saxophone. That explosion you heard round the world? That was Andrea having an aneurysm.

Which explains what happened next. Andrea, running up to the counter frantically waving her arms insisting that she needed to get to BOSTON NOW. Yes. Boston. The city we were currently in. Not Toronto, where our families and lives were waiting for us.

Whatever she said next, worked. The lovely Dionne from Porter Airlines got us on our flight, and seemed slightly confused that we were so happy about it. The Homeland Security guy even laughed as we quickly told him our story on our way through the body scan machines at security. Heck, we even had time to do some last minute souvenir shopping before getting on the plane.

Squam 2011

Also: almost missing your flight means you get your beer first.

Squam 2011

By the way, Cheryl, Andrea and I swore a blood oath not to ever EVER tell you we missed our plane. Taking that secret to the grave.

Not missing our flight, after arriving at the airport 35 minutes before takeoff? No chance in hell we’re keeping THAT a secret!