Eye of the Storm

It is very quiet in the house. Too quiet. If you were here, it would totally flip you out.

I know better than to think that this is the relaxing end to the holidays. No, no…we are in the exact centre. The quiet lull in the eye of the storm. The one where everyone thinks that the hurricane has gone over their house so they come out of the basement and WHAMMO. The other half of the storm whacks them. Except me, I’m staying in the basement, I’m not getting tricked this year. Besides, I’m still knitting.

I need this…


To be a pair of mittens by tomorrow when the second wave of Holiday merriment will sweep over us in a bewildering daze of relatives, presents and rich food. Two more gatherings to go. Then a dinner party, then new years. All that and a mitten by tomorrow. Yeah. I know. It’ll be a miracle. All this deadline knitting has me a little defeated. I’m completely fixated on the fact that when I finish these mittens I am released. I can knit whatever I want. I wonder how I’ll feel when I discover that what I really want to do is cast on a pair of mittens?

Since I really can’t come out of the basement, I’ll give you highlights.


Hank thought his mittens were exactly spiderman mittens. (You will note that his is also wearing spiderman slippers. He is smiling, which was not the case when he discovered that you cannot wear your spiderman slippers when you want to put on your spiderman roller skates.)

Speaking of slippers…


Superbrother Ian and his charming wife Ali have warm feet. (And a new spraying watering can. Yes, Ian is going to squirt Ali with it.)

The girls gave me fleece artist roving and a brilliant little Elegant Knitter gauge.


This one goes to 1.25mm, and none of my others do. (Remember Spinal Tap? “This one goes to eleven….”)

I gave Ken his Pablo Neruda Poem socks…


These are based on the poem “An Ode to my Socks”

and the writing on the socks reads, (In spanish)

beauty is beauty

twice over

and good things are doubly


when you’re talking about a pair of wool


in the dead of winter.

The top of the feet indicate the right and left feet (in spanish) so that Ken will always put the poem on in order.

I know…I know. What could a friend do to deserve these socks? My present from Ken was this.


Ken really, really deserves the socks.

34 thoughts on “Eye of the Storm

  1. Wow! It looks like a great holiday there in the Harlot Clan!
    One little pair of mittens in the next day, no problem. You are an amazing knitter. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

  2. I’m glad someone so worthy received the beautiful socks. (I think you owe him some homespun goodness for that) You haven’t mentioned any fallout from the exhaustive knitting/merriment. I suppose it hasn’t really hit you yet, what with the mittens still to go. This holiday just keeps on going, doesn’t it?

  3. Merry Christmas!
    I LOVE the socks for Ken. Neruda has always been one of my favorite poems. That and my family is from Chile so thus, they are extra awesome!

  4. You’ve survived so far, although as my designated holiday berserker, I was expecting, I don’t know, maybe a bit more flash to the ending?
    Wow! Ken so deserves those socks!

  5. I remain in awe of your generosity: that you can knit such masterly things and then bring yourself to let them go. Even to loved ones. I am a selfish knitter. I clearly have much to learn from you, sensei.

  6. So THAT’s why you’re refusing to come out of the basement — it’s where you’ve set up that marvellous drum carder. I am going to be sooooo interested in following this plot line; will you be willing to switch over to drumcarding The Gansey Which Dare Not Speak Its Name with a couple of skeins already hand carded? Or were they just to sample producing three-ply and can be turned into a matching hat? As a card-carrying slob, I do adore watching perfectionists faced with a choice of equally desirable alternatives. Maybe we should all adopt Spinning Tuesday as a practice?

  7. Your socks look amazing on the amazing Ken. I don’t spin, but holy crap that looks like an amazing gift. I’m glad that your epic knitting frenzy (the yearly epic knitting frenzy) was successful. Cheers!

  8. I should add – BEAUTIFUL gifts going both directions! Your daughters have great taste, the socks are SO cool, the look on Hank’s face with those mittens pretty much says more than I can say about it… ain’t Christmas grand???

  9. I finished my holiday knitting on Thursday and I haven’t been able to start anything new since then. I am literally seized up by all the possibilities occasioned by my “release” from knitting for others.

  10. That is my drum carder. It is good. However, I have one warning for you, my obsessive little friend.
    Excessive cranking = tennis elbow.
    Ask me how I know this.

  11. Nice carder! Now you’ll have sundays for dying, mondays for carding, tuesdays for spinning, the rest of the week to knit and all the in between time for Mr. Washie! Hahaha. The socks are a wonderful ode to one of the best knitted items there is. Beautiful job. Also, I have faith in your mitten ability and no doubts that the time-space-continuum may be warped just once more – with the aid of coffee, I’m sure 😉

  12. WOW- Those socks on actual feet are even more amazing than I could have imagined. Hank is adorable, the roving from the girls is lovely. That carder looks so… official, and will be way too much fun. Hooray!

  13. I am still hoping to get the pattern from your entry on Dec. 22. They are beautiful and I haven’t been able to find a good mitten pattern that I like. could you share with me stephanie?

  14. Holy *bleep*! A drum carder! Can Ken come out and play? 😀 I’m still astonished by the amount of knitting you can produce in such a short time frame. That’s pretty amazing. I can’t wait for the updates on your continued adventures in spinning. Tomorrow is Tuesday, right?

  15. I just got that carder for moi! I love it! Being Hindu, I can avoid the Xmas craziness. Hubby and I just get things for ourselves when we want them all year long! It is a never ending shopping spree ;-). I got myself an adopted sheep (thanks to you) and a drum carder.
    My husband thinks you’re a machine! I just can’t imagine knitting as fast as you do. I only wish!

  16. Yay for Ken! I got a drum carder too, yay for my mom and dad (and Shelia, who sold them her sweetly-used one)
    I thought for sure once I finished my holiday knitting I’d want a breather and would only spin for a few days. Truth is, I was picking up wool for a shawl on Christmas day when I had 10 minutes between gatherings… Wool sickness… it’s a beautiful thing…

  17. WOW! I would just kill for a drum carder – Ken must really be the BEST of friends. I think I might start lobbying for a drum carder for next Christmas. Also – thank you for the kind comment you left in reference to my recent troubles. Your words were very much appreciated. Merry Christmas!

  18. Sounds like you had a merry (if exhausting) Christmas! Good luck for your festivities in the next few days!

  19. Wow, am I in good company. That’s my drumcarder too! Bought mine used from a friend who didn’t want to move it cross-country two weeks ago–besides, she wanted me to have it anyway. Yay!
    Hank is, as always, stealing the show here. He is SO cute. And hey, Ian–my DH can tell you about the time he sneaked a hose onto the roof of his dorm and, in hot weather, cooled down the unsuspecting freshman walking around below him and his buddies. Now wasn’t that nice of them?

  20. Hi there – Merry Christmas! One of my gifts this year was a copy of Latvian Mittens, by Lizbeth Upitis (my brother’s girlfriend’s mother!) – signed, no less! I’ve read about you making a bunch of these mittens and I was wondering what yarn you’d recommend – or just what you’ve used. Looks like you had a lovely holiday – Happy New Year!

  21. Dang! That is one good friend. Even my husband wouldn’t buy that for me. He is a complete cheapskate, however, so that’s not saying much.
    I’m back to knitting socks. For ME. Hurray!

  22. I hope your Christmas bash part 2 is wonderful! Your family are lucky people indeed. I’m trying not to be the jealous type. Really, I am! But I just can’t help being a bit envious of people who receive such lovely gifts from your hands. I hope they take care of them and lovingly wear them or I will be forced to spring a pox on them. I have never ever even thought of putting a pox on anyone and quite frankly, I wouldn’t know where to begin. But I bet I could read up on it on the internet. 🙂
    And…..FYI, I got the little sheepy gauge too. Coincidence? I think not!
    Merry Christmas, number 2!

  23. Stephanie, what incredibly lucky well-loved person got the green and white mittens with the red and black border? I’m starting to dream about them. . . the Latvian mitten book is on its way here.
    Elizabeth in PA

  24. Wow, those socks are great! And the mittens…sigh…the MITTENS…all of them, perfect! I’m glad your Christmas was survivable 🙂 I am sure that this tail end will be handled in like fashion! I too managed to finish all knitted projects in the nick of time, and since Christmas eve have cast on for Faina’s scarf for myself as well as 1/2 sock in a very Tori-like orange/pink/cream/green colorway of Sheepjes Wolle…I am using the Dublin Bay sock pattern minus the lovely eyelets, because ‘if you put even one tiny little pattern in them I will never wear them!’ ungrateful beast. Happy New Year, Harlot! I can only imagine the heights to which you will rise in 2005…bookbookbook!

  25. You are *so* going to love your carder! I’m on a quest for a picker I an afford so that I will use my carder more often. (it’s in the basement, and picking by hand takes too long.) Just think, hand spun latvian mittens. It doesn’t get any better.

  26. It’s all so lovely. You’ll love your drumcarder, I’m sure. I adore my Patrick Green one, though it’s hard to use now as it lives in the basement. Hope yours lives somewhere more accessible and less frigid.

  27. Those Neruda socks, Harlot, you have outdone yourself. I’m sure Ken will love them.
    Great pics of the fam. I’m sure those spiderman mitts will be worn to bed, to dinner, outside, inside…

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