Thirty-Six Approaching

One thing I love about knitting is that it gives me concrete ways to think about numbers. In a couple of weeks I’ll be turning thirty-six, which is a pleasing, versatile square number with lots of useful divisors. I’m thinking about doing a small series of designs that explore this number in different ways, as a way to think about the coming year and what I want to do with it.

In short: I am a nerd.

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Northern Voice and Social Anxiety


I’m attending (and speaking at!) Northern Voice this weekend. Today I went to a great session about dealing with social anxiety, by Kimli Welsh. I think I generally deal pretty well with my social anxiety these days, but it’s still a constant in my life.

Here’s one of my little mantras for dealing with my social anxiety, I wish I could remember where I first heard it: “People are usually too busy worrying about what they’re saying themselves, to be as critical as you are about what you’re saying.” I’m sure it’s not always true, but thinking it helps me be much bolder than I’d ever thought I could be.

Also. Years ago, after thinking about how much of a lift I get whenever I receive a compliment from a stranger, I decided to just start complimenting strangers more often. Usually I’ll just say “I love your haircut!” or “What a fabulous jacket!”; sometimes I’m brave enough to say “You look amazing!” (A woman said that to me once, at more length and with great and charming sincerity, on a day 7 or 8 years ago when I really needed it. It still makes me happy to think of it.)

Sometimes after paying a compliment I feel like a fool, sometimes the recipient seems to feel uncertain of my motives, but most often their surprised smiles and thanks really brighten my day…. and I like to think I’ve brightened theirs. Even better, sometimes a compliment will result in a fun conversation that makes us both feel good! Having a successful conversation with a stranger is still a big win in my book, and it keeps getting easier the more I practice.

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Stevie Fingerless Gloves

Here are my Little Sister Stevie and I, when she came to Vancouver for a visit a couple of summers ago. (I have more current photos, I just love this one!)


She is clearly a young lady of taste and refinement, yes?

Accordingly, I designed a pair of tasteful and refined fingerless gloves for her for Christmas last year.

Stevie Fingerless Gloves

Thank you to my friend Susie, whose lovely hands you see modeling the gloves.

I visited Stevie in Calgary about a month after sending her the gloves, and was pleased to see that they were already faded, worn and slightly pilled from constant use. I think I should knit her another pair. Here’s what they looked like when they were still pristine:

Stevie Fingerless Gloves

To see more photos (or to buy a copy of the pattern), please check them out on Etsy or Ravelry.

In conclusion: an exciting, crafty action shot!

Stevie Fingerless Gloves

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Yarn Bombing Book Launch

Last week Leanne and I did a live interview on a TV talk show, then a brief radio interview on CBC radio. Thursday evening, we had our book launch party (YouTube link) at Three Bags Full, which was terrific!! I don’t even know how many people showed up, but the shop was packed; it was pretty overwhelming. Everyone was really enthusiastic and nice, and we sold (and signed) many, many books. My folks visited over the weekend so they could be there for the launch, and a lot of our friends showed up, too.

I am really grateful for the terrific response the book is getting, and for all the media coverage! After the launch party, though, I was completely burned out. I’m not a natural extrovert, and I find talking to a lot of people to be really draining; I was kind of a mess by the end of last week. Thankfully, I was able to rest a lot over the weekend, and I’m finally starting to feel human again.

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I have a new sweater pattern available, in the gorgeous new fall issue of Knitty! I named it for my wonderful friend Bel.

Bel Cardigan

Some thanks are in order: Thank you to my excellent friend Travis, for taking hundreds of beautiful photos on two occasions, to produce the few we ended up using.

Bel Cardigan

And thank you to our friend and stellar roommate Casi for modeling, even though the shots of her weren’t the ones we ended up using for Knitty.

I’ll write more about the design in another post.

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Courier Cover Story

(I should really get better at writing about the events and interviews Leanne and I do to promote the book, shouldn’t I?)

Recently, Leanne and I were interviewed for the cover story for last week’s Vancouver Courier. It’s the most in-depth article written about our book and yarn graffiti that I’ve seen yet! Janaya Fuller-Evans, who interviewed us and wrote the story, did a terrific job.

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CBC Interview

Last month Leanne and I did a fun and silly interview with Bob Nixon from CBC TV. It was a blast! Check us out:
Yarn Bombing on CBC TV

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Coincidence Hat Pattern

Coincidence Hat

Check it out! The pattern I thought I would not release, is now available in my Etsy shop. My lovely friend Susie modeled it for me this weekend.

Coincidence Hat

But wait! Before you buy it, check out Wendy‘s pattern; she and I have coordinated the release of our strikingly similar hat patterns. There are a few differences between her design and mine:
- My hat is a beanie with a slight peak, topped with a button. Wendy’s is a beret, with a smoothly rounded top.
- My hat is worked entirely in stockinette stitch, with the tiniest of rolled brims. Wendy’s hat has garter stitch bands between the ruched sections, and a garter stitch brim.
- Wendy’s pattern is written for both sock yarn and worsted weight yarn while mine is written only for sock yarn.

Heck, maybe you’ll want to buy them both.

Coincidence Hat

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What Happened After My Last Post

So after I wrote my last post, I left Wendy a comment to let her know about it. We had an email conversation about the coincidence, and came up with the idea of a coordinated pattern release: we’ll release our patterns on the same day, and link to each other’s patterns. I love this solution!

I have seen posts on blogs and forums which accuse designers of ripping each other off, sometimes when designs are very similar, but sometimes just when a design bears a vague resemblance to another design. While it’s undeniable that plagiarism does happen, I think that much more often designers just have similar ideas. When you consider that we’re often responding to trends, it is not surprising that more than one person would be inspired to design something in a particular new shape, with a characteristic detail, or in a stitch pattern that seems relevant and interesting.

When I wrote my last blog post, I had intended not to publish my pattern, because I hated the idea of knitters accusing me of ripping off Wendy. I was so happy when Wendy wrote with a friendly and cooperative solution. And really, this has been pretty representative of my experiences with many designers: they have been helpful and generous, willing to share experience, knowledge and opportunities.

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I knit this hat in June, for submission to a magazine. It wasn’t accepted, but I thought it was a strong design and decided to self-publish the pattern. I planned to publish it at the end of this month, closer to fall, when people would be thinking about hats. I wrote the pattern up and filed it away, feeling all pleased with myself for having a plan and being prepared.

Then on Sunday night I stopped by Knit and Tonic, and saw this.

Well, shit.

My hat is different from Wendy’s in a few ways – mine is a beanie instead of a beret, it is all worked in stockinette stitch instead of alternating stockinette with garter stitch – but I figure the few differences can’t be enough to make mine not look like a rip-off of hers. We even used the same weight of yarn. I hate it when this happens… and I know it happens fairly frequently. When Amy Swenson and I both lived in Calgary and used to exhaustively review the new knitting magazines together, I can’t tell you how many times one of us would exclaim “What!! I’ve been working on exactly that idea!”

Oh well. If you like my hat, go buy’s Wendy’s pattern (when she releases it). I must say her top shaping is more graceful than mine.


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