Warning: The sentimental ramblings of a sleep deprived mother lie ahead. (I’m not joking, sleep deprivation is not pretty. I cried about eggs this morning) The knitting content follows. Scroll down if you hate this stuff.
amandaYesterday, my charming and accomplished daughter Amanda celebrated her 15th birthday. She had cake, and presents and the adoring throngs. Or I think she did, I was at a birth. I am beside myself about missing her birthday, but if it is any consolation to her…I thought about her all day.
As my client M. became a mother, I remembered becoming a mother myself. I remember being so tired, and so happy…and so completely freaking terrified that it’s a wonder I was capable of being anything at all. My client had a baby boy, and I told her about nursing, diapers, crying (hers and his) and swaddling.
When M. had a little cry over it all, I almost told her this is only the beginning, she is going to cry about colic, and diaper rash and first smiles and big messes. That she will dissolve over laundry, and dinner and why toddlers only eat yellow beans and toast fingers for weeks at at time. She will weep for lost teeth, the first day of school, chicken pox and that kid who isn’t nice. There will be rivers wept for walking alone to school, getting phone calls from boys, failing math and the first time this kid says “No thanks Mom, I don’t need any help”.
I told M. that now she was a mother. That now things would be different.
I didn’t tell her:
That now…now everything she ever thought she cared about, her job, her garden, her knitting? All that is nothing.
That the whole world just shrunk down to the size of about seven pounds, fifteen ounces.
That this is going to be so hard.
That Motherhood is the end of quitting when it isn’t fun.
That there are no words for how much you will love this person.
That someday…oh someday so soon, this tiny baby with the damp curls will be the most incredible almost grown up person…
Happy birthday Manda.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting blog…
When last we saw our adventurous Harlot, she was boarding the subway to journey downtown and meet Laurie (of the comments) who was visiting from Maine.
I adore her. We had an awesome lunch and embarked on a yarn crawl. There was much shopping, and talking and the exchange of gifts. (I totally scored here…I’m not even going to show you everything that Laurie gave me. I’m afraid that the envy would corrupt you all if I don’t pace it.) For today we will only admire the extremely cool sock yarn that Laurie dyes and spins.
Pretty yarn…yes? HA! You like it already and you don’t even know what it does. Note: I am not at all ashamed to admit that I got home from meeting Laurie and within about..say, 9 seconds, had cast on this sock. Tank? Dublin Bay socks? What was that? Cast aside like rags, and you know what? Didn’t even flinch. Not a second thought, not a moment of regret. I don’t even hear their little woolly voices calling out to me.
(You can’t see me…but I am dancing. I am wearing a ratty orange tee-shirt, plaid pants and that sock) I love it. Love, love, love. Laurie dyes the the roving, then spins it up, (Her spinning is perfection by the way. So perfect that if you hadn’t had lunch with her and found out that she is so nice that you couldn’t hate her for it, you probably would) then she navajo plies it so that she can have a three ply without disturbing the colours.
Laurie explained all of this to me, and as a spinner I understand what she’s telling me, I mean, I speak English…I heard the words, I understand the concepts individually but somehow, doesn’t this yarn seem like only a very cool magic trick could conjure it up?
There are so many variables that I just don’t get. How much roving? When to change colours? I’d think that Laurie just got lucky but she was wearing a pair in another colourway, so she’s pulled this off at least twice.
With my wool as my witness, I will learn how to make this.

31 thoughts on “Birthdays

  1. the fact that you can do a sock in one day both terrifies and impresses me. it’s just gorgeous…and that yarn. drool. i need to finish my 2nd sock but right now i’m being faithful to charlotte. i think she’s the only project i’ve ever not cheated on. weird.

  2. and there’s my adult ADD at work – happy birthday to your wonderful daughter. i’m sure you’ll make it up to her for not being there. oh, and thanks for making me cry with that entry. i think you owe me socks now. 😉

  3. and there’s my adult ADD at work – happy birthday to your wonderful daughter. i’m sure you’ll make it up to her for not being there. oh, and thanks for making me cry with that entry. i think you owe me socks now. 😉

  4. I never know, when I click over for my morning harlot, if I will be laughing or crying. Today it was a little bit of both. I am deeply in love with my daughters today. There are days that are horrid and days that are perfect and make all the horrid ones fade away. I got a perfect one.
    Blessings to you, your lovely girl and your gorgeous sock.

  5. Happy Birthday to your Amanda. Your entry was so touching. You forgot to say that it goes by in the blink of an eye and soon your baby is an adult in their own world.
    Your sock (and Laurie’s yarn) is gorgeous. Nice job both of you!

  6. I see my plan to gain a tiny bit of harlot fame has succeeded (imagine a Snidely Whiplash snicker here). Given the contrast cuff, heel and toe (using a different heel, Steph??), the picture also reveals that I did not spin ENOUGH of this yarn. I have to confess that I no sooner dye the stuff than I have to sit down and spin it. No sooner spin it than have to navajo-ply it and no sooner ply and wash it than I HAVE to knit it. Stephanie should be impressed that the yarn made it to Canada, since I could hear it calling to me all through the flight!
    Of course, I had trouble reading the part about all-important moi because I was shamelessly tearing up over as accurate a description of motherhood as I have yet read. All too true. When you turn around, they have headed off to college.
    Now I am going to go back to playing with all the lovely yarn and roving I stuffed into my suitcase, all thanks to Harlot help in the Toronto yarn search. Neither of the yarn stores Stephanie showed me was even listed in the Toronto yellow pages. Travellers, beware! Always as the local knitters where the fiber treasure troves are!!

  7. happy,happy birthday to you Amanda. I love the picture of you and of the sock.
    Steph your blog moved me – it was beautiful – thank you.

  8. Oh, Stephanie, beautiful. Amanda, motherhood, friendship, sharing, the socks. Thank you for sharing from the heart.
    My oldest daughter tried on her wedding dress for me a few days ago; the wedding’s in July. She looked exquisite, and I am still speechless at seeing my 7 lb 11 oz baby looking like that. Wow.

  9. Beautiful words.
    Beautiful daughter.
    Really lovely sock.
    I do enjoy your blog so much,on so many levels.

  10. Stephanie! Stephanie! Over here!
    Yes, we are still here. Weeping, crying, wailing for you. Come back to us….we forgive you the utter abandonment. Our tender psyches will be fine, really.
    /hey tank, she’s still ignoring us…..b*tch…./

  11. I used to think the thing they should tell you after the birth is that you now get to worry for the rest of your life — but a friend at college orientation for her youngest sat with a woman who cheerfully said “You can never be happier than your saddest child.” It’s a miracle the race continues — except who, looking at that face, doesn’t feel her heart lift?
    And amazing socks (you, too, could Navajo ply, I swear — it’s a finger-crocheted chain spun counterclockwise — but learn from me and =don’t= try it from the center of a center-pull ball. Makes one-armed paper hangers look like hula girls.)

  12. What a lovely, lovely sock. It’s like the Charlotte’s Web of socks. The color shifts…just wonderful.
    Your words on mother are both lovely and wonderful too.

  13. Stephanie, that has got to be the most truthful, heartfelt and accurate paean to motherhood i’ve ever read. I’m gonna share it (with full credit to you) with all my momma friends. There are days when we just need to reconnect with it all.
    Happy, Happy to Manda! And to you! (someone was very tired and SORE about now 15 years ago, eh?)
    all the best…

  14. I just recently found out (officially) that I’m pregnant. I’m thrilled and terrified at the same time. Thank you for your words of wisdom. Happy birthday to Amanda! BTW, that yarn and sock are simply gorgeous! Drool!

  15. Oh, Motherhood. You summed it up well, Harlot.
    That yarn. That sock. I have hearts floating around my head, I’m dizzy, it is beyond beautiful. My toes ache….

  16. :::sniffle::: Thank you for expressing the truth in words. Lovely.
    Grand sock! Navaho plying *is* magic. It’s fun, it gives you an amazing degree of control over color shifts, and if you set it up correctly, it’s fast enough to make economic sense when spinning specialty yarns. The classic method to get similar color shifts is to space dye your roving, then rip it in half and spin. You can compensate somewhat when plying by adjusting the length of the overlap.

  17. Beautiful post Stephanie. My husband had to miss our son’s 15th (working near the Arctic Circle) and couldn’t even fax as the satellite was in the wrong place or something. that was almost 9 years ago. What my son remembers is the greeting that got faxed a couple days later, he kept it for years. And he remembers the time his Dad flew from Africa, and came straight to the arena to watch the hockey game. That’s the stuff kid’s remember, the things that count. Motherhood is all you said and more….and even when they’re all grown up that 7 is still there. Like the times they phone at 2 AM to talk just because. Great, beautiful daughter with a great Mom.

  18. I felt the same way when my son recently turned 16. I really think that having a child is like being in a love affair that you know will end — because they have to leave you, if you’ve done your job right. Still, it doesn’t get easier with each kid, and each milestone, does it?

  19. Wow. Cruising the blogs, looking for a little escape this morning and I read exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks for the perspective on motherhood, especially “..end of quitting when it isn’t fun.” My above average 16 year old got his below average report card yesterday. Some days are definitely not fun. Thanks for reminding me of the bigger picture.

  20. Oh, crap. I’ve been trying to ignore the siren song of socks, but now you’ve gone and done it. Do I love those or WHAT? Crap, crap, crap. But happy birthday to Manda. And happy day to you!

  21. Happy birthday, Amanda! I remember when you were… no, let’s not embarass you. 😉 You’re an awesome kid – I just know you’ll be an awesome adult, too.
    The socks are pretty dang nifty, too.

  22. Beautifully stated . I have missed many of my oldest daughters birthdays – well, once she was college age – it happens to fall on a particularly crucial weekend for the current job function. You can’t tell anyone, especially a new mom about what to expect – it defies the imagination until one experiences it.
    When we were expecting our second child (his first), my husband read and heard about all the things they tell you about that you will sacrifice and what you will have to endure; the stinky diapers, the lack of sleep, the non-stop crying, the loss of a social life, etc. What they never tell you is that when it happens, you don’t mind. Yes, it’s so hard, and the harder it is the more important it is.
    That is a gorgeous sock! What wonderful yarn. I have sock envy.

  23. I’m away from blogland for a few days thanks to a profusion of cold germs, then I come back to Yarn Harlot and find so much to comment on!
    1. Not having any children, I can’t relate to your lovely musings on motherhood but I was wondering if it counted that my partner and I had a long argument one night about whether or not our daughter would go to public or private school, quite forgetting that our daughter is, in fact, of the four-legged and furry dog persuasion.
    2. So thrilled to see the finished Variation on Dublin Bay! I definitely like the continuation of the lace down the foot. The nice thing about the lace motif is that it is easy-peasy to make the lace as wide or as narrow as you want.
    3. The pictures of Laurie’s yarn and the sock you knit from it literally made it hard to leave you site and move on to others. Amazing! Beautiful!

  24. Steph, in spite of the lunacy, you’ve managed to create & raise beautiful children. Happy birthday, Amanda. Here’s to wishing you many more.
    Laurie, will you be visiting Jacksonville, FL soon? I’d honored to take you to lunch & show you around our ONE LYS. (…in exchange for a hank of that handspun glory…)

  25. Hi Stephanie –
    I just found your blog and immediately forwarded your latest entry to a dear old friend who will soon be a new mother. Such a touching tribute to motherhood!
    Gorgeous knitting as well – I look forward to catching up on your work.
    Heather in MA

  26. Hi,
    I am looking for a yarn similar to that of “eye lash” but longer. If anyone knows of any places where I can purchase something like this please advise.

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