If a Toronto-wide Sock Scavenger Hunt and Yarn Harlot book launch can’t break me out of my blogging funk, what can?? What can, indeed.

So, yesterday was April Fools’ Day here in Toronto (and, I imagine, in the rest of the world, tho I have only your word on that, Rest Of World). After a brief period of hesitation (“Do I want to run around Toronto taking pictures of socks and generally being ridiculous?”), I decided to finangle the day off and join a few of my fellow Ravellers downtown for Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s book launch and Inexplicable Knitter Behaviour Sock Photo Scavenger Hunt (because I love running around and generally being ridiculous!). Although we didn’t win (or even, to be honest, come close to winning…the first prize winner of the $100 gift certificate got seventysomething points, whereas I think our best team member only got somewhere in the thirties), it was still hella fun. And here are some pictures to prove it!

To start, we have the bonus pic for the GTA Fibrefaces group: The Bemused SO. “You’re spending the day taking pictures of a half-knitted sock with internet strangers?” Note the eyebrow action: it is the essence of bemusity.

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“Heck yes I am! And what’s worse, I’m going to spend all day making stupid faces in pictures. To start, check out mah dollahs! Canadian Tire, yo! East Side represent!” And so on.

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But enough arsing about. Time to get moving! I jumped on the subway at Kennedy where to my surprise and nervous delight, an off-duty TTC driver ambled onto my car! They were worth 2 points, and although I was in the scavenger hunt for the fun and not the prizes, I thought that passing up an opportunity that had fallen into my lap was foolish indeed. So I girded my (shy) loins and went over to explain the (admittedly crazy) concept of the Sock Scavenger Hunt and to ask if he’d hold my sock and pose for a quick picture. Well, you may conclude from the absence of a TTC driver pic in this post that my request was refused, and you’d be right. Apparently, I might be a terrorist if I took a picture, and he might be fired. The first is a bit silly, but the second is fair enough so, blushing a bit, I went back to my seat, plugged in my iPod and waited for Dufferin station.

It’s been cold here for ages (stupid groundhog seeing his stupid shadow grumble etc etc), but despite the wind, it was pretty warm and sunny when I exited the station and hopped on the bus to go south to Queen St and the Visual Arts Ontario Gallery, our meeting spot. In fact, it was so warm that I was a little annoyed; I’d worn my newly-finished Phllyo Yoked Pullover (made from Dream In Colour Classy in ‘Dusky Aurora’), and was starting to get hot! It won’t upload for some (stupid) reason (probably because it’s stupid), but here’s the Rav link to the pictures in my projects. It’s pretty cute, if I do say so myself (and, clearly, I do)!

Anyway, despite the weather, I got down to Queen just fine…but I didn’t go into the gallery right away. See, the VAO was attached to Woolfits, one of my favourite art stores (although, sadly, too far away to visit often). And they might have the articulated wooden artists’ hand model I’ve been searching for over the last few months to make the trophy for our upcoming Rock Paper Scissors trophy! Apparently, these hands have become something of a rarity, at least in Canada (I could order one from the States, but with taxes and shipping and everything, it would be a lot more money and hassle than it was worth, I thought). Cheekily, I ducked into Woolfits and enquired after the long-sought wooden hand…but no. They didn’t have any. Although…the girl behind the counter gave me a wink and dialled the phone. Success! Aboveground Art had one last hand in stock, and would put it aside for me until I could come and get it! Result!

With victory in my step, I entered the VAO Gallery and immediately found my people: they were the ones giggling and snapping pictures (natch)! There weren’t very many of us, but we felt like a big group as we took over the small gallery and bothered the minions. It was okay, though; the boss lady was One Of Us!

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Look at that gorgeous Dream In Colour sweater! It’s a bit hard to see in this picture, but a lovely Saxon Braid (the same one I used to make the brim of my dad’s hat) runs all the way around the front edges (and I think it’s hooded, too…hmm, it’s not listed in her projects, so I can’t check, but anyway, it was gorgeous!) Between us, we sparked the Dream In Colour craze amongst our little group, which later culminated in a trip to Lettuce Knit and me spending $100. But that’s for later.

I did mention bothering the minions, no?

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But, of course, it’s all fun and games until somebody learns to knit!

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It’s no easy task to make your first knit stitches on tiny DPNs with dark-coloured sock yarn. But he did it (even if this picture doesn’t show it very well)!

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Ah, West Side. My natural enemy. But there is no time for revenge today. Today is for hunting.

And what things we found! I won’t post all the (sometimes boring) pictures of something-with-a-sock I’ve got, but here are some highlights:

I mostly looked for entries for the Yarn Harlot’s ‘Freestyle’ category (although I don’t think I have any that can compare to Margaret Atwood…there’s also a rumour of a Gord Downie sock picture, but I haven’t seen that one yet). First up, the hair salon next to Romni Wools:

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In that vein, we also passed Stephanie St on the way to Aboveground Art. Harlotastic!

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And one last yarn-related signpost: One of the artists who designed the Kensington Market sign on Spadina is named Yanover. Get it? Yanover? Yarnover? Okay, maybe it’s just me.

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Another something unexpected was this sculpture of a bike…it’s hard to tell if it is a topiary sculpture this time of year because there are no leaves out yet, but it was cool nonetheless. ‘Walk More’, indeed.

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Because of this guy, we decided to walk an extra thousand blocks to find another pub for lunch. Can you see him, behind the reflections in the glass? I’m sure he’s a very nice man, but… πŸ˜›

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After lunch (complete with Canadian beer…two points!) we finally made it to Lettuce Knit to fondle the Dream In Colour (and the Alchemy, and the STR, and the Handmaiden, and the baby alpaca and and and). While we were there, a delivery of lovely knitting bags arrived to much fanfare and excitement! Unfortunately, the delivery guy was camera shy (and possibly at risk of being fired…by terrorism…or whatever):

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By this time it had turned COLD. I was glad not only for my Phyllo, but also for the extra fleece I’d brough. O Spring! Even more my enemy than West Side dwellers! You are a jerk. Meh.

Anyway, by the time we had spent an undeterminable amount of time at Lettuce Knit (the yarn fumes sort of make time irrelevant), it was time to head to the Isabel Bader Theatre to hear Andy Maize and Michael Johnston from the Skydiggers open for Madam Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot herself! The pictures I took at the gig were crap, so I’ll spare you, but it was a fantastic night of music and validation. Of course, she’s preaching to the choir at these things, but it was still pretty magical to be one amongst hundreds of fibre artists of different ages and backgrounds and beliefs and skills and feel that what we did was important and creative and beautiful. I could go on, or I could just advise that you pick up her new book, which is full of pithy and interesting observations like this. So I’ll do that.

Our group (along with many, many others from the gig) descended on the Foxes Den for a drink and something to eat. Although the rumour was that they’d been warned in advance, they were clearly not expecting such a crush on a Tuesday night! I decided to skip the food and go straight to the liquid bread (that’s beer, dudes), since I didn’t know how much time I’d have. My parents were at the Royal Alex for a show and I was planning to grab a ride home with them whenever it was done. But I had a quest: I had boasted to my Selfish Knitters group that I would get a shot of the Yarn Harlot herself for our Travelling Veruca Swap (kind of like a travelling Flat Stanley, but with yarn). My cell phone rang; my parents were pulling out of the parking garage! They were on their way and I hadn’t gotten the picture! Bolstered by my cohorts (and a big slug of beer), I approached Stephanie’s table sheepishly (she’d been up for ages at the back of the pub where most of the knitters had snagged seats and had only recently sat down to her dinner) and, embracing my Inner Dork, explained my predicament to (I think) Joe and Rachel H. Hurrah! Stephanie very graciously hopped up and smiled brightly with Veruca…

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…and then convinced her mum to pose, too, explaining (with a wink and a nod) that I got “double points” if she would consent to be in a picture!

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Double points with knobs!

The yarn I used for my sock, by the way, is my precious single skein of Socks That Rock ‘Dutch Canyon’ which was a colourway for offer quite awhile ago, but had been phased out by the time I discovered the yarn. Before I got my first skein of Wollmeise, I though it was pretty bright stuff:

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The socks are plain vanilla toe-up with a gusset till the ankle, then I switched to garter rib for a bit of visual interest. I’ll post more about them later; I think I’m just about out of words!

Happy Inexplicable Knitter Behaviour, everyone! And thank you to my group of gnomes: Terrie, Cheryl, Nancy, Brooke and our honourary gnome, Kim! You guys made yesterday awesome! Can this be an annual event, please? Kthxbi.

…oh! The wooden hand I got at Aboveground Art? It saw some knitterly action:

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Good times, good times.

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