A Change…

is as good as a rest. Isn’t that the saying? I woke up yesterday morning, made coffee and realized (with that first sip of coffee kind of clarity) that I hated everything that I was knitting with an unholy stinking passion. I loathed it. The new stripy socks? Lame. The blue socks that disappointed me with their variegated randomness? (I still think that yarn looks like it would stripe.) The Morehouse Merino that disappointed me with it’s lack of variegated randomness? Gone, gone, gone.

(By the way? I know. I said that I was pissy with the Morehouse for not being random then I trashed the blue socks for being random. I’m a complex knitter. It is best not to think about these things too much. Personally, I try not to cloud the issues with facts and logic).

I can’t even tell you what went wrong. I can tell you that I have knitting needs and my project load wasn’t cutting it. I’ve had some stress this last week. I’ve been ill, work would have reduced a lesser woman to gibbering idiot status and just for good measure: Have you SEEN the back of my house?

For those of you still wondering, hope was renewed in my heart last night, when some supplies were procured for the room. Encouraging, isn’t it?


(Please do not dash this hope. Supplies are a good sign and my heart is full. I am fragile and my happiness is dependent on carefully constructed delusions.)

So yesterday I took all of this anxiety, stress and knitterly dissatisfaction and I did the only thing that a reasonable knitter would do. I shoved all my current projects into the back of the linen closet and I went to the yarn shop.


Good thinking. Yes? This pile of yarn is destined to become Christmas things and is part of a larger plan. The larger plan looks like this.


I feel better. I have decided that stress demands a return to the most under-realized anti-anxiety project known to knit-kind.

The Latvian Mitten. That’s right. I know that its complex patterning and evil little braids would make it seem as though it cannot help, that it would only promote further anxiety cursing and deterioration, but it does not. You see, the Latvian mitten is all consuming. One cannot think while knitting the mitten. You cannot worry while knitting the mitten. You must be one with the mitten, see only the mitten and sink deeply into the mitten or you cannot knit it. It demands focus. It demands single mindedness. The mitten is a respite from the world. I will knit the mittens, and I will know peace.

Having realized this, I took all of my mitten yarn, all of my patterns and my new-found Zen mitten realization and I cast on…..


Something else. A thousand curses.

It’s a disease.

49 thoughts on “A Change…

  1. Here I was, berating myself for having bought some lovely purple cashmere yarn for some mittens, and yet another pair of black walnut needles while having 3 other projects on needles…and then I read that the Yarn Harlot actually does this too!!!
    You’re right, it is an addiction, is it not?

  2. Well, at least the “Something Else” looks like it may require some of the necessary knitterly focus you so desperately require…I think I’m with you on the need for complexity to banish all other thoughts and frustrations. Looks like someone will be getting Latvian mittens from me for Christmas!
    Hooray for Supplies! Good first step. Nice door, too.

  3. New doors good!! I remember when I was 16 & my Dad re-did the kitchen… It kind of looked like your mud room for the summer…
    Those mittens scare me!! I am so not qualified to do those yet. *shudders*

  4. Oh Harlot … supplies mean that some day (possibly in the **FAR** distant future) the project will be completed. I feel your pain.
    I am currently living with supplies for a wood canoe (7+ years old), wood for a new deck (2 years old), wood flooring for the dining area (2 years old), siding for the house (2 years old), finish trim for the bedroom (6 months old), window for the as yet unplanned shed (7 years old) … Personally, I’d say this calls for another trip to the yarn store. Possibly a weekend there …
    Whatever you have cast on and shown a picture of, is absolutely beautiful.

  5. As someone who is currently undergoing an eternal bathroom renovation, I’ll be the last one to burst your bubble.

  6. Stephanie,
    You’re killing me! I’m cracking up here. I’m stuck in neutral on my projects right now myself. I finally broke down and started knitting a cozy for DSO just so I wouldnt whinge any longer about being afraid to knit my second entrelac sock. The knitting is fine-I’m worried the red will run in the LL Liberty colourway.
    Here’s to diversionary tactics!

  7. Supplies are a good sign. Now you have to keep your eyes peeled for that next important sign: men, with tools, who have that “I need to bang on something” look in their eyes…
    As far as sterting your new mittens: you go girl! Sometimes you’ve just got to shake things up a bit! I am contemplating a similar move, but have yet to find the courage…

  8. “Having realized this, I took all of my mitten yarn, all of my patterns and my new-found Zen mitten realization and I cast on….. Something else.”
    It would seem your tone indicates that this was some kind of evil episode only to be managed through with gritted teeth, barrels of Screech and one eye closed.
    It’s a way of life, darling Harlot and furthermore, it’s an admirable lifestyle! You know your needs, wants and desires… and no one gets hurt (well, not intentionally) as you fulfill them. And I believe there have been many grateful recipients of your FOs, yes?
    Curse away!

  9. Ahhh…Zen knitting-there is nothing else like it. Bravo for you putting you first for once (it has to be done sometimes). I remember when we redid the kitchen floor, and for some reason I can no longer remember we only got as far as the sub-floor. I must have walked past those boxes of tiles for months, wondering when and if they would ever get laid down. They eventually did, and now a few years later I wonder why I wasted all that energy on worrying about the unfinished floor. But hell, if all the stress gets you to knit such beautiful mittens and reminds you that there are still things in this world that can bring you total peace, bring it on. You can handle it!

  10. Ignore that sound coming from my direction, it is *not* gales of laughter at seeing the Harlot do what I do on a daily basis.. really. Seriously. But look at it this way… it’s a new project, now isn’t it?

  11. You must have a LOT of knitting needles. I can’t start new things sometimes because my needles are in another project, but you don’t seem to have that issue. And I think it’s fine to trash projects you hate. Life is too short for maddening knitting. In fact, maybe I’ll go trash a few of my projects just for solidarity!

  12. Okay….so maybe I’m being too practical or logical for the situation at hand but if the blue sock yarn was too random and the Morehouse Merino wasn’t random enough why not make the socks using the Morehouse Merino and use the blue sock yarn for the shawl? Just a thought….
    As for your supplies for the back room – well – from experience covering them with some sort of tarp will keep the dust off of them. It will make spring cleaning easier ; )

  13. So work has been crazy, eh? Would that be work on the BookBookBookBook? (See I do NOT let up). My very great sympathies about the building issues — I know about those! Those lativian mittens are SO daunting to me that I can easily understand that they take complete concentration. Enjoy!

  14. Trouble with addictions is that you start building up resistance. Should you feel the itchy edges of that starting, try the looped Lavian fringe (=with= the braids, of course.) Slicker’n deer guts on a doorknob.
    (Does bookbookbook begin to sound like people making “chicken” noises at you? Just asking.)

  15. Harlot, you put the rest of us to shame. I’m glad to see you got your equilibrium back, if only briefly. 🙂 (You should have bought some chocolate along with all that lovely yarn.)

  16. I am now shuffling around on subfloor in my kitchen after six years of staring at the most awful Berber carpeting that was in there. (Yes, someone installed carpeting in a kitchen. No, it wasn’t me.) I am living with the stress of “Have you SEEN my kitchen?” And two Christmas projects cast on and gloves I keep starting and then ripping apart. I think that with all the important floor sanding I have to do this weekend, I will go to a craft fair. Yarn is (usually) cheaper than psychiatry.

  17. Is that your dining room table, underneath your nouveau stash?
    How come it’s NOT O.K. to pile it with electronic thingummies, but yarn is allowed?
    Don’t bother – I have enjoyed your blog long enough to have worked out the answer.

  18. Judith,
    The dining room table answer: because knitting is art, electronics are not 😀
    Dear Harlot,
    I also got out the supplies last night, charted the pattern for the mittens and casted on an entirely different set of mittens this morning. It must be a moon phase, or perhaps the Cask & Creme I put in my coffee.

  19. I am writing this here because I know you’re busy and cause I don’t know the email address of Lene, BEST CANADIAN WOMAN EVER.
    M. Benoit and the Chieftains arrived yesterday, and I am full of joy.
    Wonderful concert, fabulous musiciens invites.
    Thank you both so much.
    What’re Lene’s favorite colors? Does Lene knit?
    Is she a Kaffe fan? What size is she?
    I DO have her MAILING address!

  20. Is that a Latvian hat you’ve got going there? You’ve got the full-blown disease — I’ve only just caught the virus, I think. But it’s getting worse. I did something quite similar this week, and then again today. Argh. Would somebody please tell me I CAN’T?! P.S. Very cool supplies.

  21. Not only have I seen the back of your house, I have seen the kitchen, attic, and study of my house. Hold on to hope! We *finally* move in at the end of November … these things do actually end!
    Meantime, I have learned that knitting while you wait for the paint to be shaken up is only slightly better than knitting while waiting for partner to locate that last little widget/supply needed for the day’s building.

  22. Poor baby.
    You’re better off with the LM Addiction (latvian Mitten) than chocolate, carbs or plain bread and butter. My parents got through THEIR remodeling trauma with martinis and manhattans. Argyles were not on their horizon.
    I agree that your sock yarns “should” have jacquarded or striped or something nifty. However, reality is unrelenting.
    Hope you are feeling better in time for the weekend. Snuggle by the fire and let the wool fly.

  23. Oh i so feel with you. Today was day 17 after I ordered my new yarn and the postman went along without delivering anything to me.
    I so want to start something new. The last sleeve of Rogue has do be done, but its boring. Cozy for my Grandma has to be finished, boring too. No other yarn worth to be knit in a project is around. I was so proud that i finalyy finished the sewing on daughters jacket and her sweater, I was so convinced i earned to get my new yarn but ..nothing.
    So I started a brim roll hat from your pattern matching the jacket, but it was boring too. Had that yarn, didnt want to do ordinary stockinett stuff.
    So waiting what tomorrow brings. I ordered so much wool so I just cant go out to the yarn store by some more. I have to WAIT. I hate that.
    (my fault that I think I have to have canadian and american yarn to knit with).
    So either tomorrow begins a fun knitting weekend or another Cozy boring something.

  24. Harlot! Thank the gods in the heavens for you!
    Here I was feeling silly because I teach in five seperate classrooms, and therefore keep a project in each classroom and never seem to finish any of em. So, of course, I have my waiting-in-traffic-or-to-pick-up-spouse-knitting in the car. And my watching-tv-knitting in the living room. Don’t forget the easy-enough-to-do-by-feel project in the bedroom for nights that you can’t sleep but it’s too cold to get out of bed. (Maybe I’ll cave on the heat thing this weekend).
    And suddenly, yesterday, I decided that I was tired of em all, an dcast on a fuzzy blue scarf-thingie.
    I thought I was crazy. I thought I was a twit. Now I realize what I must be. I’m a Harlot in Training!
    (Dear Spouse says no knitting in the freezer. Or the oven. But the bathroom’s still OK. I saw a pattern for a bath scrubbie knit of plastic stuff. Hmmmm….Suppliessuppliessupplies)

  25. I feel the exact same way! I am jealous of your big knitting table though because my infinite projects are just strewn around my little two room apartment. I just got home from the yarn store too, so things will OBVIOUSLY be looking up! All I need now are some shelves for all this knitting gear…

  26. First thing I thought when I saw the cellar doors was “Hey! She has doors in there now!” There’s light at the end of the tunnel (time to build some more tunnel).
    There’s something magical about those Latvian mittens. Could be worse. They could be blue or Latvian ponchos ….
    I’m plugging the Latvian cardigan I found again since you seem to love the challenge.

  27. Harlot, Thank you. You have elevated me in my mother status to heights dizzying to my 4′ 11″ self. Thing 1, home for the weekend, noted that the lid to the blanket box we normally use as a coffee table is no longer at an angle safe for foot resting or tea cup setting. Looking inside, she called me an epithet I can’t repeat containing words like strange and old. “But”, she continued, “at least you’re not as strange as this mom I read about in Chatelaine who stores wool in the freezer.” I owe you one.

  28. Dear Yarn Harlot,
    Our stars must be alligned, because I, too, have been in emotional turmoil this week but for different reasons. My mother broke her hip Thurs night and it was the capper of my troubles. Thankfully, all will be well with her, but in order to calm my nerves and dissatifaction with my own knitting, I, too, visited the yarn shop yesterday and came up with a couple of new projects to make me happy.
    Hope your future is bright…carry on,
    mk (not to be confused with TMK)

  29. Cask and Creme? Oh yes dear harloot, you want some. It closely resembles Bailey’s Irish Creme but IMO it’s betters (and cheaper :D) It is made with brandy, by the brandy folks E&J.

  30. OMG, I really need to proof before I post! Sorry about the Harloot, Harlot (I swear I haven’t had any C&C yet)!

  31. How come your larger plan looks so neat and orderly and my larger plan just looks like a mess. How come somebody else’s mess always look neater than my mess? How come the grass on the other side of the street always looks like Chemlawn is taking care of it, and my grass always looks like I’m taking care of it? Oh well, I’ll just cast on another project and stop worrying about it. If it works for you, it will work for me, right? 🙂

  32. So that’s your answer to a world spinning out of control? Hmmmm To buy more yarn? To make more grandiose plans for Christmas gifts??? Which I seem to recall you won’t have time to complete???? You are a sick woman. Take a TAXI (do not drive yourself!) and check into nearest hospital. SICK. SICK. SICK. Have a nice stay. Don’t let the nurses get nasty with you…

  33. No I am not laughing at, but with you. I am looking at not 1 but three rooms in various stages of remodeling. And instead of knitting on any one of my three current WIP, I made a trip to the LYS and returned with enough yarn for a felted purse, another scarf, and wrist warmers for Christmas presents. It seems the sound of the first Christmas carol sends me into a frenzy of Christmas present project buying. Thanks again for sharing your blog with us-I enjoy it soooooo much.

  34. Ooh, I love what you’re doing with sideways doors! Tres avant garde…
    So you go to the yarn store, me – I go to Macy’s and buy my 12th winter coat for that brisk California winter. Po-ta-to/po-tat-o…Looks like you got good stuff baby.

  35. Hey…whatever we need to do to make ourselves feel better…I say go for it without the guilt!!!
    Your site is the only one that will not remember my personal info. Harlot…are you blocking me out? 🙂

  36. Guilt? Why guilt?? I say whatever you spent on the yarn is a small price to pay for your sanity :-)) My hubby agrees, though at times, he wishes I was quite *so* sane.
    Can’t wait to feast my eyes on the Latvians!

  37. Of course that should have read, he wishes I *wasn’t* quite so sane. … and that I didn’t type so fast.

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