Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yarny McSwatchy

On Black Friday, McSwatchy and Knittah's mom (and Auntie L) went to Uniquities in Virginia.

There were knitted objects aplenty . . .

. . . lots of yummy yarny goodness . . .

. . . and buttons too:

McSwatchy got to meet the staff:

And a very nice lady in line, too:

Knittah's Mom says that Uniquities had a lot of yarn crammed into its tiny space, and did some stash enhancement for herself. She bought some Schaefer Anne and Blue Sky Organic Cotton to make a Baby Bobbi Bear. And like the wonderful Mom she is, she brought Knittah some Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Sock.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

From Swatchy

New York Sunrise

Dear Nori,

There was a beautiful sunrise in New York the day we left. I think the sun has risen in Winnipeg now, but it's snowy and not very bright out. Noricum plans to go out and shovel snow, then has a doctor appointment. I'm thinking of staying in bed and catching up with all of my correspondance from last week. However, I still need some help from Noricum to use the computer, so maybe that'll have to wait until she's done with some of her stuff today. Perhaps she'll help me while she reformats her old laptop for her cousin.


Snowy Morning in Winnipeg

Monday, November 27, 2006

McSwatchy Thanksgiving

Knittah could not go to Thanksgiving with her family, so Swatchy McSwatchypants went in her place. Knittah's mom took good care of McSwatchy but did not want to write these posts. Knittah is adding the commentary to her mom's great photos. First, McSwatchy was introduced to Knittah's Auntie L, and Mom's dog Sasha:
mcswatchyaunt sashamcswatchy

McSwatchy started eating right away: an appetizer of M&Ms and pie for breakfast!
mcswatchymms mcswatchybreakfast

Knittah's family is very bookish, so McSwatchy got in on the act:

Then it was on to the very serious business of Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, the picture of McSwatchy with the gorgeous turkey came out very blurry. Here are some others, though:
That's Knittah's Mom and Eliza, who will be posting about travelling with Swatchy C very soon.

Finally, McSwatchy was stuffed. "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"

So time for another Thanksgiving tradition: the NAP!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Dear Nori

Noricum and I are sorry you didn't get to try any of the Thanksgiving dinner. If it makes you feel better, I kinda hid out during Thanksgiving too... it was Noricum's first Thanksgiving with J and his family, and she wasn't sure if she was allowed to bring guests. I came too, but hid out in her sock bag, and watched from there. Noricum only got to eat a fraction of the food due to allergies (she's allergic to the soup, stuffing, gravy and several of the desserts that J's mom made), but she has a good time anyway. J's mom was really nice and did her smoking outside. (Again, Noricum's allergies.) We had Thanksgiving at J's grandma's house, since she's a non-smoker and doesn't have cats.

Anyway, today I'm writing to tell you about the fun bike trip I went on with J and Noricum! We biked down 9th Street to Broadway, then over the Brooklyn Bridge to DUMBO. I keep thinking of that Disney elephant, but here DUMBO means "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass". Our destination? Jacques Torres Chocolate shop!!!
Jacques Torres
Ohhhhhh! The hot chocolate was heavenly! Wicked! We had the hot pepper spiced variety. Mmmmmm!!!!! It *totally* made up for not getting to eat everything at Thanksgiving!

Afterwards we biked down to a local park on the river front. I thought this view of the Brooklyn Bridge looked neat:
Brooklyn Bridge
And wow! What a big barge:
It's being pushed by a tugboat. (So that's why they have the tire-bumpers on the front!)

I got to take it easy, and ride in Noricum's backpack. Noricum, however, had a bit of problems with the cold air and her lungs. Her legs were fine, but her lungs felt like they were on fire. :( I'm sure glad I don't have asthma. I would have taken a turn pedalling the bike, but it's really too big for me, and my feet don't reach.

At least with asthma and allergies, unlike CFIDS, Noricum is able to get out of the house. I'm sorry to hear Knittah is having such a rough time after her trip to Washington. :( I hope you're being good and helping with stuff around the house, or at least keeping her company. (Especially Monday! Wow... that must have been scary!)

Boy, I sure do have lots to write you after the past few days, but I'll break it up into several posts.


Friday, November 24, 2006


Dear Noricum,

Knittah, DM and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Knittah says it's the first Thanksgiving she and DM spent alone, instead of with lots of family. I got to help with the turkey breast:

But I didn't get to sample any of the dinner:
or the pie:

Knittah says real whipped cream is the best, but I have to take her word for it. She also said that before she got CFIDS, she used to make Thanksgiving dinners more like this one, but now she goes for simpler stuff (at least when she has to do the cooking). Oh, and it sounds like Swatchy McSwatchypants had a great Thanksgiving with Knittah's family, and pictures should be coming soon.

Love, Nori

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Warning: This is not a light hearted post about knitting. It is, however, an honest post about life with CFIDS.

CFIDS is a cruel mistress. She is a self-absorbed, controlling bitch who leaves no part of my life untouched.

On Monday, my husband went from his office to the emergency room with heart palpitations. DM works downtown, and he begged me not to come to the hospital. I understand why; he was in no danger and he knows what sitting in a hospital does to me physically. So my father eventually took my place; he sat with DM while they waited for a doctor to tell them that everything was fine. DM is having palpitations from a combination of stress, caffeine and medication. Everything can be tweaked and managed.

I spent the intervening nine hours in a state of tortuous panic. My husband needed me, and any normal wife would have gone to the hospital. My mother offered to take me downtown, or go in my place. The only reason I did not go to the hospital was because I knew DM would be more worried if I was there. So I sat, in this prison I call my home, and waited and worried.

Since coming home from Washington, DC on November 5th, I have been out of my house for a total of 2 1/2 hours. My symptoms have not yet returned to baseline, and neither has my activity level. Adrenalin and stress are very hard on the CFIDS body, and so the last two days have brought renewed symptom exacerbation as part of the fallout from Monday's scare. To say I am under "house arrest" does not begin to describe this experience.

But I am blessed, and I force myself to remember this. My beloved husband is fine. I am surrounded with loving family and friends, any of whom would have dropped everything to help me on Monday. I must maintain this frame of mind. If I don't, the anger I feel towards CFIDS will turn me into a bitter, raging shell of a woman. I refuse to go through my life, such as it is, in this way. I will not let CFIDS have what she wants: my spirit.

I fight a strange battle each and every day, a battle to be happy and content while I strive to heal. But deep in my heart, I feel a seething hatred. I hate CFIDS more than I have ever hated anyone or anything. I wish I could wrap my hands around CFIDS' neck and choke the life from her. The best I can do is defend the battlements around my spirit, and refuse to surrender.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Dear Swatchy,

I don't know the first think about spinning and hand spindles. But Swatchy, I don't think you can spin something that is bigger than you!

Noricum seems to be showing remarkable restraint in her buying, or not-buying as the case may be. I have never heard of guanacos either, but I would have fondled every bit of fiber within reach if it had been me! I am so glad Noricum takes you to such lovely places!

Tell Noricum I said "Happy Thanksgiving." I bet she and J will let you have a little turkey if you ask very nicely.

Love, Knittah

The Yarn Tree

Dear Knittah,

Last night Noricum and I went to The Yarn Tree over in Brooklyn. Noricum was still feeling a bit skittish about Knit New York, and also thought you might like to see someplace new. Someone over at Poly had described The Yarn Tree as the only yarns store that, as a man, he really felt comfortable in. We thought this was a pretty nice endorsement, and also it is open late.

The Yarn Tree
The first room has a lovely selection of yarns. Not a huge selection, but certainly a nice one. They even have that pretty colour-grown organic cotton! Noricum wanted to buy some, but also doesn't want to buy yarn without a project in mind. She decided to just remember where it is, and come back when she has an idea.

Noricum did select some lovely roving to purchase:
Preparation for Spinning
She said this could be my roving to learn on, but I was a bit intimidated by the size of the spindle! However, isn't the stuff she made pretty? We decided that perhaps I could spin the spindle while she drafted.

But back to The Yarn Tree! After buying the fiber, Noricum sat and knit with the employee who was giving a lesson to a student, but didn't mind that she wanted to join them for some company. Very nice people. :) The student was knitting the most *adorable* elephant scarf, and several baby booties for friends.

Oh, and did I mention The Yarn Tree has a dog? Nothing like some good doggy-love! (Noricum didn't even think to take photos of both the cute scarf and the dog. She's falling down on the job a bit, but is trying hard.)

After a bit, Noricum realized that perhaps she was allowed in the second room that looked kind of warehouseish. She asked, and indeed it was also open to the public. It's the same size as the first room, but this room is dedicated to spinning, felting, and dyeing. Wow, did they ever have fiber! There was a big selection of coloured roving, plus a *gazillion* different kinds of animal fibers. They even have guanaco... Noricum didn't know what they were, but they're expensive! Guanacos are related to llamas and alpacas, have even finer hair, and are not domesticated. Since Noricum had already made a purchase, she didn't let herself touch any of these... she didn't want to be tempted. ;)

Oh... and one more thing... *don't* let Noricum into the fiber just before bedtime! She had us spinning until 2am! Boy, was I ever exhausted.


PS: Noricum promises to mail that package today.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Meet McSwatchy

Introducing: Swatchy McSwatchypants (McSwatchy for short)

McSwatchy measures 4 3/4 inches tall and 7 inches wide (including his legs). He is knit in stockinette from Black Bunny Fibers in Spice Cabinet, leftover from my first pair of socks. His body was knit with US 2 needles and his limbs with US 0 needles.

This design presented an interesting challenge. That challenge being the outcome of having one's husband design something when he does not know how knitted fabric works. And you (meaning me) do not know enough about knitting to figure out the right course of action from the outset. Bottom line - Swatchy McSwatchypants required a lot of knitting, ripping back, knitting, short rows, ripping back and knitting before he was finished.

Swatchy McSwatchypants will be travelling with my Mother. Mom does not want to create a Blogger identity, so I will be posting pictures and notes on her behalf. McSwatchy will be going to my family's Thanksgiving dinner (because I cannot) and to Costa Rica. He should have fun!


Coming Soon

Yesterday as we passed Union Square Park on the way to pick up Mini, we noticed a bunch of red and white tents set up. I did some detective work on Google, and it looks like starting Friday there'll be a Holiday Market there. Swatchy and I hope to give you a tour. :) (And hopefully I'll get some Christmas shopping done... I basically haven't started yet.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Today Swatchy and I went out to lunch with a friend of mine:
CS Friend

On the way back, I stopped in at a really fun toy store on 9th Street: Dinosaur Hill.
Dinosaur Hill
Dinosaur Hill
They have a really adorable wooden toy, and let me take a video of it in action. It's a wolf knitting a sock:

(Sorry it's kind of blurry... my camera doesn't take the best videos.)

J has a similar toy, chickens pecking:

Knittah Sighs

(*sniiiiiiiifffffff*) Mmmmmm, yarn fumes!

I first heard about Webs from the Yarn Harlot. She gave them such a glowing review, and said they were good people. So I checked out the website and have ordered from them. But to see your pictures and hear how nice they are there? It makes me swoon. I think you are right: it would take days to squoosh all the yarn they have. I can't believe you didn't buy anything though!

And Northampton Wools looks like my kind of shop. Cozy and friendly and lots of yarn. The pictures actually remind me of one of my personal favorite shops. I dream of being able to spend a day knitting and chatting in a warm shop like that.

Thanks for taking Swatchy to such wonderful places! And a new Swatchy will be joining the family soon. . . .

Edit: I just found out that the It's a Purl, Man podcast will be interviewing folks from both Webs and Northampton Wools in an upcoming episode.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Dear Knittah,

Wow... wow. And wow. Did I remember to say wow?

Um, let's start off with Webs.

First off, there's the fabulous employees.
Webs Employee
I, uh, either forgot to ask her name, or forgot her name. (Once again, I blame yarn fumes.) She was awesome, and loved Swatchy! She took Swatchy behind the scenes for some up-to-the-minute yarn action... yarn that just arrived, and isn't in the books yet! Swatchy won't spill the beans, but gave me a clue about a "new twist on a great merino". I can't wait! (My bank account, however, probably can. ;) )

Here I am looking stunned:
Webs Warehouse
Did you know that just anyone can wander back into the warehouse?

This reminds me, I should give you an idea just how big Webs is. So, my favourite LYS, Ram Wools, is probably 3-6 times the size of your average yarn store. (Yes, I plotzed the first time I went there.) The Webs showroom, however, is at least three times the size of Ram wools! But that's not all... I'd say the warehouse in the back (did I mention anyone can go there?!?) *triples* the size of Webs! Whoa.

I somehow managed to escape without buying anything, but I think that's only because I couldn't make up my mind! There was *so much* I wanted to buy! My big hairy Russian friend, however, left with a crochet stitch pattern book.
Big Hairy Russian
We stayed and fondled yarn right to the bitter end. It was so sad to leave! Swatchy gave our favourite employee one last hug before we left.

If you ever decide to take a vacation to a yarn store, this is where you should go. Plan for several days in order to properly fondle everything!

After all that yarn, it was time for sustenance. We found a Tibetan restaurant:
Tibetan Cafe
where I ate yak dumplings. I had never had Tibetan food (or yak, for that matter) before. Tasty! I couldn't have the salad that would normally come with the dumplings, because it has sesame oil on it. (Note to self: Tibet is beside/in China.)

Smith College has a lovely campus, but I forgot to photograph any of it. I did get two photos inside the greenhouses:
Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens
Yeah, that photo of the mums isnt' too great, but I was fascinated by how tall they were. They were taller than me! I think they were pruned so that all of the energy went into producing a single, massive flower.

Smith is in Northampton, which is filled with lots of quirky little shops. Here's a fun one with funky glass stuff:
Glass Shop

Webs isn't the only yarn shop in town. There's also Northampton Wools:
Northampton Wools
Northampton Wools, too
At first I couldn't figure out how a small yarn shop could survive so close to Webs...

...hey... that looks familiar:
Northampton Wools
I remember reading about that book on Knitter's Review recently!

...then I stepped inside the store:
Northampton Wools
Wow. It's tiny, but I'm in love. I didn't get to spend too much time, because my friends were waiting for me. However, Swatchy did get to meet the owner/author:
Northampton Wools
...and there was no way I could make it out of *two* yarn shops in a row without something!
(That's a spare size E crochet hook, a mini crochet hook for picking up stitches, and some lovely bamboo cable stitch holders.)

Northampton is a lovely, laid back town. I hope you get to enjoy it one day!


M&J Trimming

Okay... time for me to catch up with posting!

M&J Trimming

This shop is in New York's Garment District (which I didn't end up seeing much of). My advice in this shop: sit down and put your head between your knees until the dizziness passes. Repeat as often as necessary.


I saw this article on CBC: Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease: CDC.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mystery Package

Mystery Package

Dear Readers

Do any of you recognize this package, or the name on it? It arrived at J's, but we don't know who Xana Antunes is. However, it's very clearly J's address. There's no return address, but it appears to be from Britain. I think the customs form says "soft doll"... somehow that sounds like something I, or one of you, might be involved in... did one of you get a name and address mixed up? If so, was it supposed to be sent to me, or to someone named Xana?

Note: We'll also check with J's landlord.


Update: mystery solved

Friday, November 10, 2006

Meet Swatchy C

I am pleased to introduce Swatchy C.

Tech Specs:
Knit in the round on US5 double pointed needles
Hair is single crochet chains
Yarn is a mixture of Patons Classic Wool, Cascade 220, Noro Kureyon, Manos del Uruguay and natural wool from Tierra Wools

Swatchy C is going overseas with Knittah's friend Eliza. In designing Swatchy C, Eliza requested a celebration of life and color. She will be visiting a number of countries, including Middle Eastern countries that require women to veil themselves. I drew my inspiration from the story of Tahirih, a 19th century Persian poet who publicly unveiled herself to express her religious beliefs. I wanted Swatchy C to be bold and sexy and brash. Swatchy C is not a shrinking violet; she is empowered and honest. The "C" refers to courage, the quality of Tahirih I find most appealing.

Swatchy C is on her journey already. I sent her off with Eliza, hoping they have grand adventures and return safely. Nori said goodbye to Swatchy C too: