Out with the old

I’m alone in the house. I haven’t been alone in the house for about 2 weeks now, and I’m grateful beyond all measure for a few moments of peace. The last few days I’ve had a house-full…which is good for happiness and family unity…but poor for blogging. The tail end of the year upon me, I’m ready for a rest. The last couple of days have run along this theme.


Big parties, big fun, all the time. Wayne and Garth would be proud. The Harlot family and it’s associates are a dancing kind of family. Really, unless you are a dancing kind of family, what this does to festive gatherings is difficult to explain. The expression of joy and togetherness through movement and rock classics is a McPhee family tradition, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it. It turns out that there are two kinds of visitors to the McPhee clan… those who immediately understand this


and those who think that maybe we’re a little off. One guest was heard to remark this year, as a member of the Clan sailed past them, that they wondered if the family didn’t suffer from “a pathologic level of happiness”.


Personally, I think they are happy because of the knitted presents. See what my Mum got?


A Sophie bag, with beautiful glass bead handles made to match by the talented Kim.

Erin got this one…


The handles Kim made for me are so beautiful that I had trouble giving them away. She chose the loveliest beads to match the yarn. I’m thinking about making a thousand more purses just so I can see what beads Kim sends.


and Tupp? Tupper was this years knitting victim, receiving only a single mitten.


He took it well, even working out a solution in short order.


I’m working on the second one.


The very idea that when this mitten is done I’ll be able to embark on some sort of new knitting adventure that has no festive deadline is so exciting. I believe (however delusionally) that Monday I’ll be done Tupper’s mitten. What should I knit next? The world of possibility overwhelms me. (Seriously, if you have an idea, toss it in the comments. More mittens? Lace? Lace mittens?)

Happy New Year all. I’m going tobogganing by moonlight…

70 thoughts on “Out with the old

  1. Oh OH!!!! A new project. Indeed mind boggling. Hmmmm… Well, it’s winter and you haven’t knit a scarf in a while, but that might be boring. I would suggest a hat but we all know how you feel about those. Maybe a nice afghan in a lacey kinda stitch? No? I know! Mittens! Of course. πŸ˜‰

  2. What gorgeous handles for those bags! VERY nice indeed. Almost enough to make me indulge in felting… πŸ™‚
    Happy New Year! May your tobaggan run straight and swift. And may there be moonlight!

  3. I’d like to see you do something really wild and creative.
    Step 1. Go to the stash and find the yarn that feels right. Maybe it’s color or maybe it’s texture that speaks to you, but choose the yarn that exalts your heart.
    Step 2. Get out your needles and swatch. Remember what happened to the laceweight swatch that turned out to be a shawl? Good times…

  4. Stephanie Stephanie Stephanie….do not ask us our opinion, it only brings you grief. We are a masocistic bunch many of whom merely check in with you to see what contortions you are putting yourself through to please us. Please, as one of the group who truly adores you (okay, we all adore you, but I should be your favorite, right after Norma) and wishes you peace and a little more zen, please, knit something for yourself that will make you happy. Be selfish. Be really selfish. You know: a little more like me.

  5. I would happily and readily give up certain parts of my anatomy to belong to a clan with the strain of “pathology of happiness” running through it.
    Happy New Year!
    PS Next project: Latvian Mitts of Lust. I’m just sayin’…

  6. Have you done any spinning lately? How about spinning up a pound of roving and making a sweater?
    You know, you’ll be starting your book tour soon, wouldn’t it be great to have a handspun project with you while you’re away from home?

  7. I got nervous when I saw Uncle Tupper with that poor mitten stretched out so far. Tell us it’s still OK. As for your next project, you should indulge yourself and make something FOR yourself, something in suri alpaca (that’s what I’m doing now – a flower lace shawl). Maybe a pretty lace pillow cover in softest cashmere so you have a little wooby to take with you on your book tour (you ARE coming to Tucson, aren’t you?). Happy New Year, Stephanie.

  8. Buy yourself a set of those beaded handles and some extravagant feltedable yarn and make yourself a gorgeous bag. Come ON, you know ya wanna! Why should all the good stuff always be given away?

  9. I second Julia!
    Happy New Year! May 2005 bring you and yours much joy, love, wonderful adventures and peace.

  10. The obvious choice for your next project is a cardigan with an intarsia groundhog on the back, to be finished before February 2nd. That is, if Canadians have Groundhog Day. For all I know, you guys use a salmon and have it on May 25th.
    After all, you guys seem to think that Christmas parties are supposed to be fun, and without fighting or crabbiness or crappy presents. Ha! πŸ˜›

  11. I’m officially appropriating the word Tupper and placing it in my knitting vocabulary.
    Tupper – n. 1) A knitted or quilted object that is not completed in time for the intended date of gifting, but is promised for a later date. 2) The failure of completing an object by its intended gifting date.
    I finished the Tupper for my brother six months after his birthday.
    I pulled a Tupper on my mum’s shawl.
    v. Failing to complete a knitted or quilted object in time for the intended date of gifting.
    I Tuppered my sister’s quilt.
    Can’t wait to see what the New Year brings for my favorite Harlot.

  12. Happy New Year Steph! Looks like your fambly and mine would “understand” each other. You should see us cut a rug! πŸ™‚
    Glad that Uncle Tupp was in good spirits about being the one victim of the TBF gift. (To Be Finished…)He looks like a good sport. The mitten *was* ok after the great stretching, right??
    The Sophie bags are beautiful!
    I hope you have a wonderful New Year, full of health, happiness, and a great new project that is all for you!

  13. Nono, the fish holiday is Trout Thursday.
    Defined as the Thursday before Groundhog’s Day, Trout Thursday is a completely open holiday. There’s no religious origins, there’s no official ceremony, there’s no preconceived notion of what you’re supposed to do, feel, be, or say. The only rule is, you have to eat trout. After that, it’s up to you.

  14. What is the name of the Pablo Neruda Socks in the pattern? Where did the pattern come from? I absolutely love them, and Pablo Neruda, and think they would make a great gift.

  15. Um. . . . I really hate to bring this up. . . but, whatever happened to Joe’s gansey? Happy ’05 to you, Steph!

  16. Oh! Can I come tobogganing? Puhlease?? Okay, in spirit.
    Uncle Tup looks happy. As does the rest of the Harlots.
    Happy New Year! Here’s to many more!

  17. Lace! Definitely lace, and write the pattern down as you go, and make it into a tidy pdf file and post it on your blog, and have this done by next Thursday…

  18. I say you should make yourself something that you made as a gift and almost couldn’t give away. Make one of those beautiful Sophies with the beautiful handles.

  19. I vote for another shawl… I’ve seen so many pretty ones in books lately and your snowdrops was beautiful!

  20. I am so glad your family suffers from happiness and not whatever the hell it is my family suffers from-I am at least happy to say I would fit in better with yours. Happy New Year Stephanie-I am sure it will be even better then last (bookbookbook) ;+)
    PARTY ON!!!

  21. I am so glad your family suffers from happiness and not whatever the hell it is my family suffers from-I am at least happy to say I would fit in better with yours. Happy New Year Stephanie-I am sure it will be even better then this one.
    PARTY ON!!!

  22. Yay! New projects…. Why not try a psychedlic squares afghan/throw, but with wool instead of cotton? I am considering starting one myself.
    My family likes to drink and sing. Not just on holidays.

  23. Joe’s gansey.
    I just don’t think lace mittens suit him very well.
    Is tobogganing by moonlight something Newfoundlandish?
    Happy New Year!

  24. I just got back from camping outside Grand Bend this past week, now catching up. Moonlight ‘bogganin’ is awesome. Moonlight firepits rock too.
    Glad to hear you made it to this side as sane as … well … glad you’re here.
    My humble suggestion for a next project might combine two of your super strengths: concoct a pair of First Nations moc soles with latvian-like patterned uppers and legs! Kinda like mittens meet clogs. Happy deadline-free dreaming, whatever comes of it.

  25. Your purses are fabulous. I love the beaded handles. I think I’m going to have to make one for moi!
    Have a very Happy New Year!!!

  26. Oooo… I vote for something lace. After knitting my sister’s lace shawl for the last 3 months I just can’t bring myself to think of doing lace again just yet… but I’d have no problem watching someone else do it.

  27. What a fun, fun family! Tonight most of the Russell Ranch will will play games and eat inordinately large amounts of junk food(not Twinkies, but Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes), and playing games and watching cheesy sci-fi (yeah Buckaroo Banzai!)
    No tobagganing here, it was 62 in the Land of Lincoln. Very weird.
    Stephanie, how about Latvian Legwarmers of Love?
    Sara* the sock pattern is named Pearls of Wisdom and it’s from the book Socks, Socks, Socks, by XRX(Knitters’s).
    PS If any of you have ever read any of Asimov’s robot stories or novels, skip the movie I Robot. It’s a painful experience.

  28. Wow, those beaded handles are stunning! What a neat idea. I wouldn’t have thought of that.
    I say, knit something for YOU!
    Also, I’d like to offer congrats being in a family like that. I married into one of those, and will never look back. Isn’t it great?

  29. Be selfish! Knit a slightly larger Sophie bag that you could carry a little knitting project in (and wallet and keys) with a beautiful handle in a terribly bright Harlot-y color. (Not blue) Like Lime or a wonderful varigated rainbow-y something. Oh, and when you are done with the selfish project (which you ablsolutely deserve) how about an update on Joe’s Gansey?
    Whatever you decide to do, we will enjoy hearing your tales of it. Have a Blessed Year!

  30. Have a very Happy New Year! It sounds like you have the best plan.
    If the poem socks are as addicting as you say I might have to wait until Lotus is done to knit them up. But, I’m so tempted to start!
    The best in 2005, Steph.

  31. well, i tuppered everyone! i spent the weekend before christmas knitting like crazy only going out in the bitter cold ONCE on sunday to get MORE YARN and then monday WHAM the flu descended… the rest of last week and the christmas weekend is a blur ….
    no one got presents yet. so dont feel too bad, stephanie, you did great in my book!
    happy new year and happy blogging!

  32. Tupper? Where? HA! I just kill me sometimes.
    The purses turned out SO nice! Thanks for showing them off, and for saying such nice things. I’m really glad you like them. πŸ™‚
    Happy New Year, eh(?) Hope you dance the night away!

  33. The party pictures are great; I hope you all keep dancing (and showing us, your readers, the smile-bringing photographic evidence of it). Happy New Year to you! πŸ™‚

  34. Stephanie, Merry Christmas (we’re still celebrating Christmas for another week) and Happy New Year! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog so much, and am reading past months as I try to finish as many projects as I can before the New Year–which I wish I wouldn’t do, but I’m compelled to shorten my list.
    My best ideas for gifts and projects seem to come about two weeks before Christmas. Did you have any great ideas that you couldn’t follow up on at the time?
    One more thought about Christmas–I’ve had way too much coffee–there’s a Swedish tradition I’ve done a few times that is great–it’s called St. Thomas Day, I think Dec. 21, and all work stops then–the next few days are for visiting, eating, going to church, and starting the cycle over again. I’ve done it twice, and it made for a wonderful Christmas, and each time I had to stop before finishing something, but it was kind of liberating.

  35. I’m so jealous. So, so jealous of your clan party. I wish all of us suffered from a pathological level of happiness.
    Happy New Year!

  36. Hope your New Year is as wonderful as your party looks. I love the phrase “pathological level of happiness”… that’s one for the quote book, isn’t it?

  37. Happy New Year, Yarn Harlot! I agree that your next project should be something for yourself… I’d love to see more lace!
    I tuppered my dad this year. (Ever notice how the first project started is the last one finished?)
    It sounds kindof fun to have a dancing family. Mine is a karaoke kindof gang. (but not GOOD karaoke. BAD karaoke. in Tagolog. which I don’t understand.)

  38. Wow. Sounds like a wonderful family. Glad to see that Uncle Tupp didn’t mind *terribly* suffering the “not quite finished” project.
    If you’d care to adopt a sister, I’m so far from home that seeing family over the holidays is nearly impossible. I promise that I certainly understand and enjoy a family that “suffers” like yours. I’d even understand the knitting frenzy. πŸ™‚
    Heck — I’d even volunteer to be the older sister!

  39. Happy New Year! i just wanted to jump in and say hey, I’ve been reading for about a month and I think you’re stinkin hilarious. Some others may say crazy, “a little off,” not-all-there, “different,” but I’ll stick with stinkin hilarious. I know I hate it when people give me “that look” and say one of the above.
    Angie, in Memphis

  40. LOVE the dancing pics, and the Sophie bags are just gorgeous! As is, of course, Tupper’s mitten. Your family seems just as fun-loving and crazy and happy as you are — happy New Year to all of you!

  41. Must have another year of Harlot Blog –
    So glad I found you – Happiest of holidays to you and yours –

  42. Thanks a lot… my mother thinks poem socks all around for the family for next Christmas would be nice. Even if I start now I’d probably not get one pair done. But thanks for the fantasy anyway….

  43. Stephanie, what about knitting a pair of Latvian Mittens and auctioning them off to us much less talented readers, then sending the profit to Doctors Without Borders?

  44. Thank you so much for doing this blog! Not only is it a wonderful resource for a new knitter, it’s hilarious and has inspired me and a friend of mine to create our own blog. You rock. Thank you and I can’t wait to read your next post!

  45. Happy Harlotty New Year! I understand the dancing family – last year there were 10 of us doing the lawnmower around the kitchen table while trying to make something resembling holiday dinner. The meal was mediocre but the photos are priceless.
    Michelene – what a great idea! I wonder if there is a way more of us could get involved? I’m happy to report that my friends who live in Aceh, Indonesia survived the disaster and are in the process of rebuilding things and helping other survivors.

  46. Oh, those bags are gorgeous! Did you use the felting process to get them to look so soft? (I apologize if I completely flubbed the description of the process. I’ve only recently started knitting, and am just getting familiar with the terminology).

  47. Hello,
    I’ve just read your blog for the first time and i want to give you my compliments on your beautiful knitting.
    I wish you all the best for 2005!!
    Greetings Ada, NL

  48. What should the Harlot do next? No QUESTION — she must play with her new toy (the drum carder) or spin the yummy Fleece Artist roving given by loving daughters…

  49. The next thing should definitely be something just for yourself. Every knitter needs to stop and remember themselves )once in awhile, anyway).

  50. My daughter-in-law forwarded your newsletter about wonderful amount raised for MSF. I belong to Amnesty Int and knew what Ben was talking about but was so glad that news went out to so many of your fans who might not know about the Ivory Coast,the Congo etc. I’ve already sent my donation to MSF saying “Use it anywhere”. My other daughter-in-law gave money to MSF in ;ieu pf a personal gift for me. I was delighted to get such a present.You can see I have special D-in-laws.
    Have your knitters heard of Teddy Bears for Tragedies? These little bears use up oddments of wool. Last I heard was a Lillian Toth in Toronto at 416-789-9341 had patterns and info. The idea of bears started, I believe, inEngland by the MSF there but postage and handling all the bears got too much so another org.took it on.
    Awful confession:I don’t knit but my D-in-laws do
    Jessie Kaye, Hamilton. Ont. dkaye@hwcn.org

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