december twenty-third

It’s snowing a tiny bit and the sun is out so it looks like glitter is falling from the sky.

Throughout the day, as I wrap gifts for Nicholas and clean the house, I’ve stopped by the laptop to check my favourite boards on Ravelry. Something I love about the folks I hang out with online is how much they really think about things, and how well they express themselves.

Christmas Rule #264: Someone must get down on hands and knees and crawl around under the tree in an awkward fashion.

A thread which started out just chatting about everyone’s holiday plans turned into a discussion of what it meant to celebrate a holiday, and what sorts of activities, foods, thoughts, preparations, and attitudes make a day a holiday (as opposed to it just being a date on a calendar). Reading so many different experiences, so many different viewpoints, from so many good-hearted intelligent folks all across the globe…what a wonderful, amazing gift Ravelry has been to the yarn community. (Thank you Casey and Jess and Mary Heather and Sarah for making it happen for us.)

Keena Started It

Yesterday, one of the comments was from my old friend Keena…and I whooped with joy when I read it, because I didn’t know she was reading this blog!

Your loom!! I remember that loom! I remember when you bought it, and figuring out how to get it into you car at the CNCH hotel in San Mateo! Good times.

Oh. My. Goodness. That was back when I lived in Redwood City, California; I was in the middle of a seriously messy relationship with A Boy and Keena let me cry on her shoulder. Then, she let me come stay with her on weekends down in her apartment in Santa Cruz, where she taught me about looms and spinning wheels and Interweave magazines like Handwoven and Spin-Off.

She also took my to buy my first two looms, and then showed me what to do with them. The very first loom I bought was an Ashford rigid heddle; the second was my beloved Norwood 4-harness. I had a tiny two-door Toyota; we did have quite a time getting the Norwood into the back seat.

So, really, Sara Lamb and my friend Lynn are only re-booting what Keena got started all those years ago. Keena’s really the one to blame for my weaving and spinning addictions. YAY KEENA!!! (Oh, and by introducing me to Handwoven and Spin-Off, Keena is also responsible for my current career. Funny how a friendship can change one’s life…funny in a very good way.)

I’ll never forget those amazing weekends, Keena. Your funky vintage-decorated apartment, our walks around Santa Cruz, the first time you took me into the spinning shop there, and the times we spent with loom and spinning wheel. You gave me peace and silly and fun and friendship and weaving and spinning at a time in my life when I desperately needed all of that. (hugs and thank you)

Want to know something, Ms. Keena? Remember this photo from yesterday’s blog?

See the label on the bin? See where it says “QUILL”?

That’s YOUR quill. I must have borrowed it or something, and it got packed when I moved, and it’s up here in Canada. (I would totally ship it back if you PM me your address. OK, a bit late, but hey. Life’s complicated.)

When the knitting started

There was a second part to Keena’s comment yesterday:

I would like to point out that you started all this fiber-y goodness as a weaver, and only succumbed to the advances of knitting later in life. I know the truth. You are, deep down, a weaver. That’s a good thing.

Well, actually, I have a cardigan that says knitting came first:

I knit that when I was ten years old. It’s acrylic, and I picked the colour because it reminded me of redwood trees, which I have been obsessed with since the first time I put my hand on that furry bark and inhaled that amazing scent. I spent ages looking for just the right wooden–NOT plastic, I had to have wood!–buttons, because I was ten, and it was the early seventies, and I wanted it to be “natural.”

Obviously, no one had told me that acrylic doesn’t grow on trees.

I’ve been crafting with yarn ever since I can remember. I embroidered Winnie-the-Pooh designs from kits to hang in my bedroom; I crocheted endless afghan squares back when it was super-cool to have granny squares all over the place.


My cat is trying to crawl behind my laptop screen because it’s warm back there. Just thought I’d add that bit of real-life detail.

A writer’s life is hard, mostly because one must compete with the cats over the Real True Purpose of the Laptop: Cat warming bed or work implement?


Kindness is a group of knitters in Kitchener-Waterloo who have somehow adopted me, someone they barely know, someone they invited to come speak at their guild a month or so ago. When I was expressing a bit of holiday wistfulness on the blog a few days back, I got emails, messages, and even a blog comment inviting me to their Thursday night knitting group tonight, to hang with them in the spirit of the holidays.

KW-ers, I love you. I didn’t get back to you individually, because I was really so touched that I didn’t know what to say. So I’m saying “thank you” publicly, because your invitation is the very soul of what any winter holiday ought to have: Kindness, friendship, warmth, invitation, open doors, and laughing hearts. Thank you. It’s a bit too much of a drive given my workload today, but I’m sending my thoughts and hugs southwards tonight.

Today’s Random Good

Cherry Pistachio Chocolate Bark

The recipe, fast, easy, just in case you need such a treat this weekend.

My friend Cris has come up with a marvelous idea. I hope she doesn’t mind this short quote from one of her Ravelry posts. (The context: I was feeling as though I hadn’t “done enough to make this Christmas a good one.”) She said:

Why not rest up in December and then do some nice stuff for people in January, when lots of people are just kind of down?

Brilliant. I love it. What an absolutely inspired idea. January, the month of Deep Winter Kindnesses.

Who’s with me on this?

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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11 Responses to december twenty-third

  1. Patricia says:

    What a fabulous idea…Deep Winter Kindnesses! I’m in.

    Sandi, have a lovely, loving, joyous, warm, laugh-filled Christmas with your darling Sir N. I’m working with you in the SweaterWise KAL and love you both…you’ve been a joyous addition to my life and I look forward to continuing the relationship in the new year.

  2. Teresa says:

    We will miss you tonight Sandi but if you ever feel like making the trek on a Thursday you are welcome to come. Given enough notice and we can introduce you to Naniamo bars and other Canadian treets.

  3. molly says:

    oh sandi – i am so in with the deep winter kindness drive! with children (and even without them) december is a mad panic, a lemming rush to one day. one single day! how can there not be a let down afterwards? the week between christmas and new year’s can be slow and kind of pleasant (depending on where you work) but after that – well – yes, the days are getting longer, but soooo slowly; it’s so cold; it’s usually so grey. deep winter indeed. we are fortunate in that we have many birthdays to celebrate in january (an excellent time to present those unfinished christmas presents!). it’s a time for friendship, kindness, fireplaces, all those good things!

  4. Rachel says:

    I love the idea of Deep Winter Kindnesses (and why did I write “winder”? something about all that yarn laying about in skeins)

    seriously though, I like the idea. I try to do “pay it forward’ always but this is deliberate, not from anything anyone did for me in the past. A random act of kindness at a time when spirits are low and the excitement of the holidays has waned. I’m in!

  5. Anne says:

    Hi Sandi — is Milton closer for you – Thursday night is knit night at my LYS!!!

  6. donna lee says:

    I like the idea of Deep Winter Kindness. It’s a good thought to start the new year with.

    Happy Christmas Adam!

  7. Anniebee says:

    Sandi, you were much talked about at the uptownknitmob here in K-W tonight. We discovered that many of us have invited you to various things without realizing that the others have done so too — and we all agreed that we would love to have you join us any time you can. Hanging out via blogs, twitter, and Ravelry is great in the mean time, too. Your spirit and warmth is infectious, and we lurve you!

  8. Catt says:

    Sandi! We would love to have you anytime you can come out. It was awesome having you at guild (I was the one with the green sweater that you used for demo)
    Have a Merry Christmas, hope to see you out one day!

  9. sarah says:

    Me. I do sort of try to get parcels in the post in time to arrive for Christmas Day in Canada, but I’m not upset if they don’t. We’ll be able to say we miss and love our family when we ring them or they ring us (anyone else remember the days when a transatlantic call was so expensive it was for Christmas and deaths in the family?). I like to think of the parcels arriving on bleak dark days in January when the holiday high has disappeared.

  10. Naomi says:

    I hope, for your sake, that Tim doesn’t try to use your laptop. My housemate’s cat often stretches her paw onto the trackpad and/or keyboard, and tries to type.

  11. Sara says:

    Deep Winter Kindness sounds absolutely fabulous. Count me in.

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