Not falling for it

I’m just going to ask once. Please, back off. Everybody with the blogs and the nice new wool and the projects that are better than mine (because they are not mittens) …just back off. Clapotis is bugging me. I don’t care how many times you show me Clapotis, I’m not ripping this back and turning it into one until the mitten is knit.


The fact that this yarn has somehow made it’s way from the upstairs UFO containment zone onto the top of the piano is completely unrelated to the level of my resolve. I was just looking at it, that’s all.

Just so that you all understand…here are some strategies that are not going to work.

I will remain unmoved even if you write poetry about it.

I will not knit it even if you knit it in Toronto out of Fleece Artist.

I will not knit it even if it is recommended to me by the Editor of Knitty. She, like Clapotis itself, is biased.

I will not knit it even if you call it “The Clapper” , thus making it sound like it is even more fun and funky that it already did. (As well as rather vaguely like a venereal disease..) as well as knitting it in the yarn (Morehouse Merino Laceweight) that just happens to be on the top of the piano.

Putting it in my favourite colours is just mean.

Knitting it in my other favourite colours and then blogging about it in French to make it even more magnifique, and even going so far as to tell me that “C’est très plaisant” is tricky, charming and Not. Going. To. Work.

I will not knit it, even if in the picture on your blog you look really, really great wearing it and I start thinking that I might look that good if I was wearing a Clapotis, especially since we both have curly hair and that makes is seem so possible.

Finally, even if you write about it charmingly, and make it sound as though the inner peace and zen I so desperately seek this month will be found along the running, elegant dropped stitches of Clapotis, I will resist you.

In fact, you should all just abandon the stinking idea that I can be corrupted at all. I am resolute in my intention to finish the mitten, even though it got pretty stinking old about a half a mitten ago. I’m not ripping back the shawl and starting Clapotis. The needles just sort of ….fell out.


I will remain faithful to the mitten.



Speak now or forever hold your peace. I mean it. This is the one chance to tell me that the thumb is in the wrong place or that the braids aren’t right or that I screwed the pattern. I will take this minute to point out that all of you watched me knit the two right mittens and not one of you said a word. Not one of you. You’re all just sitting there drinking your juice/coffee/tea/vodka, and I post pictures of me (sort of) clearly knitting two right mittens and not one of you says “Whoa…hold up there” and scrolls down the screen a little to the previous mitten and saves me. Not that I’m holding you accountable, I’m just saying that now might be a really good time to pay a little attention. (Do not point out to me that I never showed you a picture of the palm of the second mitten. I’m busy deferring blame and now is not the time to cloud the issue with facts and logic. Besides, you should have expected that there would be something wrong with the knitting. )

I have not yet run out of the grey…I don’t know how it’s possible, but I seem to be knitting without using any of it up. I’m starting to think that it’s a mitten miracle. You know…there’s only enough Kroy to last for ten rows but somehow it lasts for 70?

I’ll be conducting a search for more, and continuing on the mitten as soon as blog consensus and approval is reached.

More gifts?

Janet has a copy of Weekend Knitting that the very lucky Sue M. is going to be pouring over.

Mary-Heather will be sending “For the Love of Knitting” to Lisa D. who I hope will let me know how it is, since it looks brilliant.

How about these?


Kim made these beautiful felted mittens with an electric sander. Go read about it, especially if you are Kristen W.

Finally for today, Grace J. won this (well, not this one but one just like it)


from Erin. It is worth noting that that Erin donated this, then won yesterday. This is proof that Karma is occasionally obvious.

77 thoughts on “Not falling for it

  1. OOoh, am I the first? It’s worth mentioning that I’ve already knitted a Clapotis and am trying desperately to resist the allure of a second!

  2. Psst! Harlot! Guess what I just noticed (and why I didn’t notice this in any of the previous 38.5 years I can’t imagine)…
    …I’ve got Latvian blood! Apparently, one of my great grandmothers (1/8 of my heritage) is Latvian.
    Does that mean I have to knit mittens like you do? DH didn’t seem to expect any on the wedding day… neither did his brothers or his cousins (numbered by the dozens, yes). Hmmm….

  3. the mittens are magnificent. Stop tempting us with pictures of “The Clapper.” Or my bank account will be the one making That Noise.

  4. I want to make Clapotis too, I just haven’t found the right yarn yet…that and the three or four unfinished projects I should definitely finish (or at least show significant progress) first.
    The thumb placement seems correct and nothing else seems out of place, btw, since you asked.
    Oh, and your soon-to-be-Clapotis yarn is lovely.

  5. I too, tried to resist the lure of The Clapper, but finally gave in last weekend.
    “I will not knit it in a house.
    I will not knit it with a mouse.
    I will not knit it, Sam I Am.
    I would rather eat Green Eggs and Ham.”
    The MSF, part trois, looks perfect.

  6. I love that karma is occasionally obvious… It gives me hope for the world… And it doesn’t hurt that Erin is my best friend and therefore I get to have a bit of a say in what her prize will become and then occasionally pet it once (and heck even before) it becomes something.

  7. I will not knit it in a box, I will not knit it with a fox…
    (The mittens look good to me)

  8. Oh, for the skill to knit the unfortunately-named Clapotis. That looks like something that I can wear every day during the winter, with anything, to keep me warm and stylish. Sigh. Please…send…yarn…my…way. Until I pay of some bills and get through with the endless round of doctors I’ve been seeing since December, there will be no Clapotis for me!

  9. just a tiny little warning about Clapotis: in mine the variegated yarn is pooling, zapping, zig-zagging like nobody’s business. It does not bother me, but I seem to remember that you dislike those effects. Just thought you wanted to know, it might be useful as a deterrent.

  10. I am obviosly both a doofus and not a close reader. I remember you showing the pictures of the mittens, and being distraught that something was wrong. I looked closely, and figured that maybe you messed up the fair isle pattern somewhere, and that I was detail oriented enough to see it, even after staring for a long time.
    Never did I notice that you knit two right mittens. I actually had to go back into your archives and check, and then I finally saw it.
    Heaven help me, I will be starting mittens soon.

  11. I agree with Benedetta. Variegated yarn, lacy look and a biased pattern could be trouble right now. Refer to 11/15/04.

  12. i don’t know what to think of the clapper. guess it’s just not my thing. I hope Grace J love this knit gauge as much as I love mine. yay! Karma works for me for a change!

  13. Um, Stephanie? It may be just the picture. . . but could you check the position of the white stripe just below the thumb? I think it may be off by one row (sorry). The black crosses just seem to leap out in that stripe.
    Elizabeth, crouching and running in a zigzag pattern. . .

  14. I have only one warning about Clapotis, it is amazingly addictive. I have touched nothing else since I started. Mindy over at Gidget Casts On feels that it should be named “Crackotis”. I agree.
    Be warned.
    By the way I put your book on order for myself here at work. So now people can actually go the NYU Bookstores website and search for At Knit’s End and find the listing. It’s gonna be huge!

  15. I too am in the Clapper. I just dropped my second stitch and joined in the praises of Amen, when forced to put the project down for Fixin’ For February. I fear that by the time I am done all my fixins, the clap phase will be as passe as last year’s Charlotte’s Web binge. All the other knit bloggers will be whispering behind my back “oh, that is so last season, doesn’t she know everyone’s moved on knit g-strings?”

  16. The mittens look great. The thumb placement looks perfect. And then I read the comments and go back. It does look like the white started a little high (or maybe a little low, I am bad with these things) starting with the second white stripe. If you don’t need to be a complete match-a-holic, then I would leave them as they are, but if not…

  17. Crack-otis–what a great name.
    I’d tell you that you’d hate making it, but I would be lying. I hope you’re stronger than me, because I succumbed a few days ago.
    Soon there will be a Cult of the Clapotis, and we can all bow down to Kate The Creator.

  18. (To be read with haughty Parisian French outrage)
    You defy Clapotis?
    What makes you think you can walk away from ze Clapotis?
    Ze Clapotis walks away from you!
    You anglophony!
    You knitter!
    (does reverse psychology work on you?)
    Kate will be thrilled when you cast on. I promise.

  19. The Clapper is pretty and I may become a joiner, but everyone is doing it…thus it is not so special. You, Stephanie Pearl McPhee are. You dazzle us everyday with your brilliant sense of humor and your amazing knitting talent. You have persuaded people to donate almost $60 to MSF, this does not happen everyday. Scarves, with names that sound strangely like vd, no matter how pretty, have become a dime a dozen, stunning latvian mittens, even two right ones are not.

  20. Ahh…the lure of the clap…otis…My dear departed sister use to have a saying…doesn’t matter where you get your appetite as long as you eat at home. Now, I believe she wasn’t speaking of culinary delights, nor was she necessarily chatting about yarn. That said, this saying can certainly be twisted..ah, utilized to it’s fullest advantage for this problem.
    Ya see, you’ve been working so very hard on the mittens. And, it seems..might just be my screen, but there is a bit of negative aura coming from your blog, which I can only connect to your mitten frustration. If, however, you knit a row, or 48 of Clapotis, relax a bit, feel the whisper of the Morehouse Farms..(went to the store…amazing and wonderful) laceweight on your hands, perhaps the mittens will be even more joyful to knit. After all, it’s not as though you’d be giving them up…just..ah…recharging a bit……
    come on…you know you want to…..wait..hear that??? It’s the call of the clap….otis…..stephanie…..oh stephanie….knit me……….

  21. oh…did I mention I am on my second one? The first was Koigu kppm…wonderful…this one is a warm brown alpaca…sinful. and all mine…the first thing I’ve knit for myself…

  22. No, don’t go to my blog and look at my Clapotis. Just don’t. It isn’t worth the time and energy, Steph. Disappointment will abound, you’ll want to stick those needles back in the loops and finish that project.
    I mean, why knit something that is practical, you can dress up and dress down, as well as look more fantastic than usual when at parties with Joe?
    Really. The kids will just steal it.

  23. oh…did I mention I am on my second one? The first was Koigu kppm…wonderful…this one is a warm brown alpaca…sinful. and all mine…the first thing I’ve knit for myself…

  24. Please do not hit me, but I fear they are right. The second white stripe looks off.
    That said, I am a firm believer in not-quite-matching mittens and gloves, and I think the mittens are lovely.

  25. Are you sure that’s the right side and you didn’t turn it inside out just to make the thumb placement look right? Are you sure the mitten-winner doesn’t have two left hands as well as two left feet?? Looks good to me!
    I made my clapotis half as wide and half as long as Kate’s pattern, out of fine rayon flake that I dyed blue/green/purple many years ago, and it makes a fine front door window curtain.

  26. Thank goodness you don’t want to and aren’t going to knit that Clappy thing… Me neither.
    I’d love to see the hit count on knitty right now.

  27. Darn.. I think your fierce resolve, depicted in so many determined and arrogant ways, has totally weakened mine! Today I am wearing a red stole I finished just a few weeks ago, but am not happy with how loose the weave turned out, and had been mulling over how the base yarn (Mountain Colors wool/alpaca worsted weight) would be shown off much better in Clapotis! I have a piano I can set it on for a few days…

  28. The flashing and pooling will make you nuts. Don’t do it. At least, not in that yarn…
    (As for me … it’s a nifty scarf, but I can’t get past the name.)

  29. I too have tried to resist adding one more thing to my wip’s..however, mom called last night..a dear life long friend of mine from back home just lost her husband after a 20+ year fight with MS. Having some very very tight money issues right now, I went to the yarn at hand, and decided to use some Lion Brand Wool-ease, in Pines, a pretty dark green/navy varigated. As much as I would love to buy the fancy schmancy stuff…right now, time is what’s important to send 3,000 miles back home…a pretty hug from me while she starts this new chapter in her life and her daughter. I can’t get there to hug her, so the Clapotis will have to do it for me. Sorry if this adds to the list of reasons, but for a dear friend, I can always add one more project…

  30. Oh Steph. Clapotis is *so* last Knitty. You should be considering a version of the Bob + Weave instead:
    You can still drop stitches, but you can also do a beautiful ribbon weaving — combining weaving and knitting (but NOT crochet). Does it get anymore delicious than that? I think not.
    As for not running out of yarn. That’s great! You know that you’re going to run out about twelve rows away from the tip of the thumb though, right? Kroy is lulling you into a false sense of security. It is *mocking* you, Steph. And you are *falling* for it. In fact Kroy and The Clap. are in on it together.
    And as a little “by the way” as soon as you finish your opposable thumb on MSF, Kroy plans to flip your mugs up-side-down and The Clap. is planning on pooling. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you!

  31. I have to agree with you, Steph. I’m starting to feel a tug in the direction of Clapotis, as well. But I must resist! Too many WIPs!

  32. Alright. It’s entirely my fault that you knit two mittens the same. I’m fessing up. Therefore, I feel I must also tell you, that until you are sure you have more than the 600 yards necessary to knit Clapotis, don’t do it. I’ve started two, ran out of yarn, ripped two and now I am waiting for 1200 yards of yarn. I’m not taking any chances. I will not succumb to another ripotis! May the force be with you…

  33. The thumb placement looks perfect. However, and I really, really hate to say this, and I hope my eyes are just going bad, but I think the second white stripe on the body of the mitten came a little too early. I actually printed out the photo enlarged to check. It appears that the white stripe on the new mitten falls *on* the 6th row of dark crosses, but the white stripe on the older mitten falls *between* the 6th and 7th rows of crosses. I’m really hoping this is a wonky photo thing. I’ll go crawl back under a rock now…

  34. I was going to comment on the white stripe, but I see you have got several comments already. I just can’t seem to find out how you got it wrong, because it seems to be on the right row on the front??

  35. I think you need to have a nice donut. Maybe two. One could be a nice cake donut with chocolate frosting. The other, perhaps a glazed donut, all light and fluffy and sugary.
    A little coffee wouldn’t hurt you either.

  36. Idle mittens are the devils tool. Finish that baby up, once and for all. If you don’t take care of this now, knitted thongs in bright orange acrylic are going to start looking good to you. And the mitten looks right(left)-I am straining to see the white stripe thing. In fact all this talk of white stripes is making me sing “White Stripes” songs to myself…
    Rock on.

  37. Who cares about the stinking white stripe? It looks fine to me. Just finish the MSF and the Tupper mitten!! Be strong, and you will soon be knitting the Clap without guilt.

  38. For the love of GOD, please do not make Stephanie rip out the mitten. I’m ready to go bezerk just watching her labor over this intense project.
    Labor is probably an apt term here.
    It’s an invisible thing. Leave it. Please.

  39. Everybody with the blogs and the nice new wool and the projects that are better than mine (because they are not mittens).
    I don’t know what you’re talking about. There is no way my pseudo-beginner projects are better than those gorgeous mittens. I only wish I could knit those.
    And I’m with you on the Clapotis . . . I too will do one, but right now I will not be tempted. No matter how much the pattern calls my name . . .

  40. You know, I’m a linguistics major, I’ve studied french, ubt I can’t ever say clapotis the proper way. It’s forever clap otis to me.
    The shawl yarn is really pretty… if Clapotis is not worthy of it, you could just do what I do–leave it in a ball and use it as a pillow on a way too long airplane flight.

  41. Knit the damn mitten. Knit it badly. Make it go away. Whoever gets it will know that in receiving it they have given you back your life. And that will be enough.

  42. Do. NOT. rip. that. mitten. The white stripe is fine. Please for the love of Pete, do not rip it. I fear it will be the end of you!
    You’re right, though, to put the blame on us for the thumb mishap. WHY didn’t you think of this before!? It is *clearly* our fault. We take full responsibility.

  43. I am so glad Seanna Lea said it first; all the wrath can fall on her. I too think that the second white stripe is a little different – the fleur-de-lis things seem centered in it rather than just the tips protruding. You won’t notice it when they’re being worn though, I doubt. They look great!!! And sending you vibes from the yarn fairy that your gray will hold out.

  44. Ooo ooo oooo…if the grey yarn makes it through the whole mitten, will we get to celebrate a mitten/knitting holiday or something?!? Sounds kinda biblical to me. 😉 (Notice I did not mention the C-word).

  45. Steph,
    Please do NOT rip the mitten. Your intese labor over it, breaking my heart. I am forced to remember (thanks to my SO). That the American Indians PURPOSELY made mistakes in their beading projects so as not to offend the Great Spirit.
    So I beg you, please leave the mitten as is, and do not offend Arachne, Iktomi, Athena,Athene, or any of the other Goddesses of the “Home Arts”
    They will forgive you for this, and allow you to go onto other projects that your yarnophilliac soul needs.

  46. I have a very important question.
    Super mega tres important.
    That you have probably answered before.
    Do you have a coffee grinder?

  47. I’m sorry. I think that all of this Clap-talk is just avoidance of the real issue at hand. Joe’s gansey. Deal with the real issues. Do you plan to spin all the wool before commencing knitting? or is this date in March some kind of promised land when we can expect some news on the gansey?

  48. Keep being crazy, lifes fun that way.You’ve inspired me to start my own blog.
    it’s really new and I havn’t figured out the pic/link/buttons thinggy yet(any advice would be greatly appreicated!!)I kinda like it….
    I don’t think the clapper is quite my thing,but if you like it,go for it!!

  49. You are not at all helping the “I shall not knit Calpotis” cause over at my place. Nor are you helping the “I shall not buy any yarn until June” cause (because, naturally, there is nothing in my immense stash – which I could not knit in 7-9 years even if I bought nothing new in that time – that I could use for this particular project). Nor are you helping the “I shall not have any more than 20 blogs in my bloglines queue at one time” cause (there were at least two additions due to your links). I think the pot is telling the kettle to back off. You are sending me over the Clapotial edge!

  50. Not fair. I protest strongly! Just MEAN!
    *said while laughing, and adding yet another pattern to my “want to make it for me NOW” list*
    It’s proving so dangerous to me to come check out other knitter’s blogs! :o)
    I just love your mittens… and the clapotis.. and… is there any way you can think of to make 24 hours in one day stretch to at least 72, so I can fit in all the knitting I want to do? LOL

  51. Clapotis
    I made one.
    Trying to resist the urges to buy yarn to make one for myself…
    You’re tempting me more!
    PS. The Latvian mittens are spectacular 🙂

  52. Harlot, I’m so proud of you! Don’t give in to temptation, and don’t follow any of those links. Just knit your (third) mitten and dream of future projects. You’ll feel so good to be done with a nagging project before starting the next.
    I have yet to start that scarf myself because I haven’t dyed the wool I want to use yet.

  53. Omigod I just realized I had my first yarn store dream last night. And I was being rushed by my friends because we were late for a movie, but it was all these yarns I’ve never seen, and there was a kit by Smithsonian about knitting science projects that I was THRILLED about.
    Um. I’m going to the LYS today to get yarn for Clapotis. Sorry.

  54. The mittens are just GOR-GEOUS! What is it about the cla-po-tee that attracts us all? it’s in my planned pile as well….

  55. I’m only asking – O.K?
    Is there any possibility that you might be all “Lativian mitted” out? At least temporarily?
    Perhaps March 2nd. will involve a change in your knitting preferences?
    Whatever you decide, we’ll be here to enjoy the results.

  56. Today at a little out of the way YS, I was rooting in the bins of Old Kroy, and telling the owner the “Saga of the Mittens.” She laughed hysterically, which took me aback somewhat until she told me that one of her daughters bought a pair of gorgeous Latvian Mittens at a Christmas craft fair, took them home, and discovered she had TWO RIGHT MITTENS!

  57. Oh, by the way. I looked up “clapotis” on google, and one definition was “standing wave”, the occurence of which is one of the theories as to what made the Edmund Fitzgerald go down, which brings us back to Gordon Lightfoot, which means (all evidence to the contrary) that this is atually a CANADIAN scarf, especially if you could find a colorway (oops, excuse me, colourway) that was called “Maple Leaf”.
    I saw a book today titled, “So you want to be a Canadian”. I didn’t pick it up.

  58. I guess Clapotis has released enough knitters from her clutches that she is out stalking the streets for more. I was unable to resist her wily ways and cast on Wednesday night, weak woman that I am. I hope you can be stronger. Oh heck, not really, I’m enjoying it, and I have to say, I felt an enormous sense of relief when I finally gave in. Warped. But I know you’ll understand.
    Mitten looks perfect. I think the third (extra?) mitten should be framed and auctioned off on ebay with a signed copy of your book as a fundraiser for MSF. Perhaps that might blunt the Kafkaesque feeling of knitting this one? And heck, if you don’t run out of grey, I think we should make it a holiday and eat latkes. I’m all for an excuse to eat fried potatoes with sour cream and applesauce. The miracle of the mittens…

  59. I have ultimately decided that the need to knit clapotis must have something to do with a mutant strain of estrogen or something. Nearly all of the gals that I regularly read were like “Blech! I will not knit Clapotis!” and over the past two months it’s become an insane NEED. Can anyone postulate the reason for this phenomenon?

  60. Could you not have ripped the 2nd Right Thumb, grafted shut the hole and snipped a thread on the other side? Inspired by you, I made one Left Latvian mitten this week. He’s going to remain single for a long time.

  61. I am relieved that someone else made the “Sam I am” connection, because it was killing me that your blog wasn’t written in Seussian rhyme. Seussically speaking (hey, I can make up words, HE did!) you could ryhme “Clapotis” with “screech and tea” or “best of me” or “leave me be” or “judge not me” or “my insanity”… (ok the last one is a stretch, w.r.t. syllables, at least!)

  62. I’m reading a book by Jennifer Weiner and one of the characters is wearing a t-shirt from “Wally’s Wings advising “We Choke Our Own Chickens”.” Before reading your blog I would have thought that this was just a strangely morbid way of advertising the freshness of their wings, but now, thanks to you, I know better. By the way, are you familiar withe the term “nifkin”?

  63. My husband said yesterday, “You should tell the knit person you were telling me about, about the final donation from my company.”
    I mentioned in a comment once before that his petroleum company had decided to donate to Doctor’s Without Borders. They offered to double employee’s contributions up to $50,000. Well on friday they let the company know that they had been able to come up with $47,000 of employee contributions and that because the 800 person company had been able to come up with so much they would go ahead and kick in their entire $50,000. So from his company (including our small addition) MSF has received $97,000. We’re pretty proud of what they were able to do.
    I’m pretty proud of all the knitters too. You’re doing a wonderful thing.

  64. You don’t have to knit a Clapotis, Miz Stephanie, b/c you can knit so many wonderful things that most of the rest of us could only dream of knitting! We are all delighted with Clap b/c it makes us look like awesome knitters. You, on the other hand, are truly an awesome knitter! Me? I’ll just keep on knitting Claps and other things that make me look like I know what I’m doing, haha!

  65. We’re all just lemmings. Clapotis is the undeniable lure that causes us to go crazy, buy yarn and try to knit that damn thing. Needless to say, I can’t wait until mine is done. I’m such a follower.

  66. For me it wasn’t the clap, but the Cozy (also Knitty). I’ve just started it, and am entranced. We will see how I feel on ball 10.

  67. See my previous comment above.
    I have started my mittens. I just finished row 11 of the chart. I moved my handy magnet ruler, and noticed I was supposed to start the thumb gusset on row 7.
    If you think that you’re unobservant for knitting two right mittens, what am I? I almost forgot the thumb completely. I swear that if I hadn’t read your blog, I’d be at row 20 now, with no thumbs in sight.
    I’m so stupid. Stupid stupid stupid. But I thought that with the finger mashing week you’ve been having, my woes might bring you up a bit. 😉

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