Just stay off your feet.

Once upon a time there was a knitter in Toronto. She had a friend who used a wheelchair who had an obsession with Tiger stuff. (The knitter, who has no such quirk , tries not to think this an odd thing for a grown woman with a really respectable education and intelligence to be concerned with). The friend loved Tiger prints, Tiger stories…tiger everything.

The knitter often thought of knitting something sort of “Tigerish” for her friend, but all she could ever find was sweaters with intarsia tigers on the front, and frankly, no matter how decent a tiger pattern that is (and it seems to be pretty good) and no matter how much her friend would just plotz if she opened up a box with that in it, there is, quite frankly, a much better chance that the knitter will take up the science of “Yak husbandry” before lunchtime than that she will haul off and knit that bit of business.

Now, because the friend uses a wheelchair the knitter makes her a lot of socks. (There is much gratification in knitting a beautiful pair of socks for someone who will not only handwash and love them deeply, but will never, ever take a single step in them. They last forever.) Considering the knitters obsession with sock yarn and the non-walking friends obsession with tigers, it was really only a matter of time until destiny revealed the existence of “Opal Tiger” sock yarn.

This sock yarn is discontinued. This sock yarn is a legend. This sock yarn is just the ticket.

The knitter began a search.

She tried yarn shops. (This was sheer folly. I don’t know what I was thinking there, maybe that the whole world could want this yarn, hunt it like a band of demons but that somehow the moment I wanted it I would find a ball of it 50% off sitting right in Romni wool. Yeah. I crack me up.) She hunted the stash, thinking that perhaps she had bought it and forgotten about it. (I didn’t, but how funny would that be after I’d scoured North America?) She even tried dyeing some plain yarn to make her own Tiger yarn, but that was a disaster of such epic hideousness that it shall not be spoken of. She tried Ebay…but either none was for sale or the price was so incredibly ridiculous ($50 skein) that even if the knitter were absolutely made of money, even if money fell of her while she walked she could never bring her frugal little soul to spend that much on a single ball of sock yarn…even if it is rare and even if she does normally stash yarn in a manner that would at least suggest that she thought it “collectable”.

For years the knitter travelled Canada and the US and everywhere she went she looked for the tiger yarn. She saw some very nice yarns, (and she brought many of them home to live with her) and she even found the fabled “Opal” yarn, but it only made things worse. Now that she knew the joys of the beautiful Opal yarn, she only wanted the Tiger yarn more.

One day, when the knitter was (rather co-incidentally, actually) rooting through her stash of sock yarns looking for something to make her friend for Christmas (or shortly thereafter, since the friend understands about Christmas, knitting and the sort of conflicts that the Knitter endures that time of year) she heard the letter carrier come.

Thinking that it would be the gas bill for sure, the knitter reluctantly kicked a path to her front door (her house is a little untidy) to get the mail.

Imagine the joy the knitter felt when she found a package from Elizabeth! (Elizabeth had previously sent the knitter some knitting needles, proving that she knows our knitter very well indeed, since this knitter is the only knitter she knows who adores those shiny thin metal needles that come in colours). The knitter knew that what was inside would be very good.

When she opened the package her heart skipped a beat. Not only was there the yummy Opal yarn that the knitter covets…there was a ball of the Tiger yarn. Now this desire for the Tiger yarn to please her friend was a secret wish, and the knitter had never revealed it to anyone, so the arrival of Elizabeth’s Tiger Opal was happy kismet, and pretty much required that the knitter have a little lie down for the rest of the day.

When her joy had abated enough to let her stand, she immediately cast on the Tiger socks and knit them with great speed and happiness. (Until she got really bored midway through the second one, but that’s really quite normal and doesn’t make for a good story.)

Then she gave them to her friend who totally did plotz, (although I hope she isn’t pissy about not getting the sweater) and even took this picture when the knitter forgot to photograph them before sending them over.


Lene would like to thank Elizabeth for whatever sort of crazy-voodoo-hidden-camera-ESP thingie she has going on. Good call.

Late Breaking News:

(added at 3:30pm)

Megan from Lettuce Knit has just called to tell me that the book is in stock. This is an enormous relief, since it was starting to appear that the city in which the book was written was going to be the last place to get it, just to thwart my desire to spot one in the wild.

I will be going to the Stitch and Bitch tonight to visit the book in it’s natural habitat. Don’t mock me if I buy one.

85 thoughts on “Just stay off your feet.

  1. They lived on my feet for 6 days, before I – very reluctantly – changed into something lighter. It’s Spring. Things are getting warm. My feet were boiling (and it was worth it).
    I love Elizabeth, I love the Harlot, I love my socks.
    (and really… the obsession isn’t *that* bad. Not quite, anyway)

  2. Cuzzin Tom spoke just the other day of the way the world unfolds around us in ways that we know not of. Great Karma.
    Also, great karmawise, I got THE BOOK from Amazon yesterday. I had ordered it when first I heard the glad tidings of its availability and the whole rest of the order came without it, and no word, and I wasn’t sure what to do, and then, yesterday, there it was (with my new Denise kit – an excellent mail day). It’s terrific, even my husband and son enjoy it.

  3. p.s. I’d like to point out that a) I do shower every day, so the 6-day stint wasn’t that…. er… malodourous; and b) at this time, the only tiger print in my home is the socks (although in the interest of honesty, I do have *some* other tiger-related things).
    It’s futile, innit? Might as well just cop to being a little odd…. 😉

  4. Great socks — now on to what I want propose to my fellow commenters. Actually someone started this idea on the last blog comments, but I am stealing it and changing it.
    A lot of us have the bookbookbook now. Let’s share our favorite Stephanie-meditations, but give only the page numbers in order NOT to give away the precious contents of At Knit’s End.
    I will start — page 268-69 had me laughing so hard I had to sit down. I am also VERY fond of page 41.
    I hope I got the page numbers right; I did not bring the book to work out of sheer self-preservation!

  5. So you’re saying that if we think of something and wish for it in our most secret of inner selves, the blogiverse will provide it? I’m having trouble with the whole concept here, although I suspect it only works if you want it for someone else rather than a selfish desire…
    Favorite page (currently) is 189.

  6. ooh! I love serendipity. and lene.. while I am sure youa re very happy with your package (and most likely did veryw ell plotz) my first thought was Tony the Tiger! very lovely.
    I like page 107 this morning. of course I’ve been chuckling almost every page.

  7. What can you say good things happen to good people. I am new here – what book? what book? – I will rush out and buy it

  8. Darn it, Harlot. You can’t go making me cry right before I have a meeting with the Elsebeth Lavold rep. It weakens my resolve not to spend any more money on yarn for the store. Oh, you and your feel good, happy ending stories. Pass me that box of Kleenex, would you?

  9. Isn’t is just amazing when something like that happens. I’m the soft-hearted type and that just brings a little tear to my eye, really. I’d be interested to know what made Elizabeth send you tiger print sock yarn out of all the yarn in the universe?

  10. Hooray! Couldnt’ have happened to one more deserving! I for one am waiting for the story about the intarsia tiger. You know you wanna!

  11. Great story, lucky friend! (Did you see the gloves in the Opal sock photos? Bet Lene would love a pair to match her socks…) I know, I’m evil.

  12. Amazing story, amazing socks, amazing friends. It is so cool, whenever everything in the universe just clicks-even if it is just for a moment.

  13. Well yesterday was my “hunt for The Book” day! I had not pre-ordered, so when I heard of sightings at B&N in Richmond, VA I went directly there after my doctor’s appointment. No luck at the first B&N, made a second stop at a LYS, still no book, finally had success at B&N on Huguenot Road. Very lucky find too – just happened to glance down at the end table near the craft section and there was ONE copy left! Checked the craft section – no more.. The first B&N told me the back is on backorder. Stephanie, you a SUCCESS! Thanks for a great little book :>

  14. So is Elizabeth kicking herself at giving away yarn she could have sold for $50 on ebay? I guess she couldn’t have regrets, after that lovely story. Now ELIZABETH has a karmic debt owed to her.

  15. It’s like a fairy tale…
    I picked up the book last night at B&N in Alexandria, VA. My favorite so far is page 101. I’d often wondered how the Harlot and others read email and blogs and knit at the same time…

  16. Wow. Wow. Yay!!! Go all of you!
    And watch out for those goats on pg 98 (my copy arrived yesterday and I laughed all evening and read favorite snippets out loud to my DH and son.)

  17. Stephanie, I just wanted to let you know I just was able to go get your book on my lunch break. Powell’s has it for anyone in the Portland area or http://www.powells.com for anyone who isn’t. It is wonderful even my husband was laughing. 🙂 Your socks are beautiful.

  18. Great socks! I just thought I’d let you know that although my independent book store was sold out (and I know who bought the two copies they had stocked — hoarder!) I had them order in a copy so I could be all good and harlot-y and not have to resort to amazon. I can’t wait until it comes in!

  19. Lovely socks, and a lovely story!
    I DON’T have the bookbookbook. Amazon still says it will ship in May…wonder how much it’s going for on ebay??
    This story also proves incontrovertibly that you should buy every hank of yarn you desire; it might go “out of print” someday.

  20. Bah, no discussing the book till it reaches the UK. No spoilers!!!
    Anyone likes pics of cute puppies take a peek at my blog and see what I got for Easter.

  21. My favorite part of the story was the admission of boredom that comes on halfway through the last little bit. The Harlot is human! 😉 I also suffer from that complaint – as I suspect many, many knitters do. But it takes courage to admit to it publicly. Three cheers for Stephanie!

  22. You’re not the only one to love multi-coloured knitting needles. I scour Britains (well local area) charity shops in the hope of these lovely colourful beauties. I really hate dull grey knitting needles from new shops that cost a whopping �3.00 a pair when i can get them for 30p. Yay!!!
    The socks are incredibly wonderful!!!! I love the way the world works.

  23. Couldn’t be happier than if the universe had offered you up a non-imaginary crockpot. Belated congrats on the book.

  24. Well, I have about 1/3 or so of a skein left of that fabled tiger stuff (yes-the true Opal) If you are thinking of oh-wrist warmers for said tiger friend, email me, and I will send this little bit to you. Cheers (And I am a fellow Canadian!)

  25. Here I was, going to offer you my tiger yarn, when I read the next bit about the happy ending. Beautiful socks. BTW, Opal tiger looks like its coming back as well as zebra, flamingo, etc. Here’s the link to pictures at ptyarn with previews of upcoming attractions.

  26. Such a sweet story!
    I have several straights in colored aluminum. It’s a long story, but I haven’t wanted to get rid of them or keep them. If you want them, I’d love to pass them on.

  27. Love the tiger socks! And an intarsia tiger? No wonder you searched far and wide for that tiger sock yarn instead!
    As for the book, I’m a bit put out, as I preordered it on Amazon and no sign of it yet. I’ve been watching the mail ever since reading that the book is out! Any idea when Amazon will have it? I checked the site today and it still listed the book as “not yet available.”
    It was supposed to be a birthday gift to myself, but my big day has come and gone and still no book…..

  28. If $60K to MSF cannot make you dance naked in the streets, perhaps the arrival of the secretly-desired Opal Tiger yarn will? It’s nearly Spring, afterall.

  29. Tee hee. You have no idea how appallingly entertaining I find the notion that I got a copy of your book out here in Podunk-Waterloo before you spied one in the Big Smoke!! (Ssssh. I know the universe will smite me for such spiteful thoughts – the moment of shadenfroid was worth the kharmic dues.)
    Will you be attending the Knitter’s Frolic, Lday Harlot??

  30. in regards top Amazon and the book. I also had pre-ordered it and never saw it and so i complained and they said that they had it on backorder(i think that was the term) and basically that they underestimated the amount of books they needed.

  31. B&N in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has your book. It was somewhat obscured by a stack of larger books, so I took the liberty of moving it slightly for better display.
    And I’m carrying it around to read bits aloud to my family.

  32. I had pre-ordered mine from Powells (a very large independent book seller) and it has been “in process” for ever! I finally emailed them to ask them what was up and magically, a few hours later, I received an email telling me it had shipped that day.
    I think they were trying to keep them all to themselves!

  33. Still no bookbookbook at Coles. Since I have all sorts of stuff I have to do tomorrow (and none take me near a bookstore) it looks like I won’t be to Lettuce Knit until Friday. 🙁
    To any Harlotless UK knitters: I’ll be in London at the end of April. email me if you’d like me to bring the bookbookbook over for you.

  34. I also pre-ordered from Amazon, and they had mine on backorder. When I read that the book had been released, I e-mailed them to see what the status was. They apologized and about two days later I got the notice that it has been shipped. I expect I will get it in the next day or so. The moral of the story may be that anyone who ordered from Amazon might want to make a pest of themselves!

  35. I was supposed to pick my copy of the bookbookbook up on Friday, but when I called the bookstore, it had not arrived yet. They said it would be arriving in the 5:00 p.m. shipment. So, ok, I could wait another several hours…then it wasn’t in the 5:00 shipment! I’ve been waiting and calling the bookstore every day asking about my book only to be told it was on back order. Just a few minutes ago, as I was reading the comments, the book store called to say that I had called just a little bit too early today. Their shipment just arrived and when they opened the box, my copy of the bookbookbook was on top!!!! I’m on the way out the door to pick up my copy. Will comment later on favorite page(s)……..Great idea!
    Oh and Stephanie, the socks are absolutely beautiful! I’m sure Lene is as happy with her socks as I am about my book finally arriving at the book store!!

  36. Saw bookbookbook in the latest (April 2005) issue of the Knit Picks catalog, which I received in the mail yesterday. That’s still the closest I’ve come to it.

  37. Just wanted to let you know that the book has been sighted in the Borders in downtown Boston — woo hoo! (Though I ordered mine from Amazon.)

  38. i got the book from my local bookstore (in Northwest Washintgon state) 2 days ago. Their first order had sold out. my plan was to read a page a day, you know like the normal meditation books…i’m on p. 209 and it’s very hard to put down.
    it makes me smile. good work.

  39. I went out on my lunch break today to hunt for your book, and when I checked out, the woman next to me was purchasing it as well! Apparently she had gone through the entire knitting section earlier . . . book by book . . . trying to find it and it wasn’t there. Someone came along and tidied the shelves and like a beacon in the dark there they were. All rejoiced.

  40. Got your book today from B&N.com! I had to force myself to put it down and not read it all immediately. It’s a great book. Followed my husband around reading out loud. I hope you’re planning another one.

  41. Hooray! I hope you don’t get too dizzy or experience too many palpitations at the sight of the book on a shelf!! In real live person! Of course that book has kept me from knitting on a deadline sweater. Shame on you! I am thinking that I can knit and have someone in the house read aloud to me. The little bit I haven’t read yet. BTW-did you get my email with the pics from my local bookseller? Have a great night! And for pity’s sake, only buy one, k?

  42. Wonderful story–I wish I could remember who said, “Coincidence is the handiwork of God,” which is what some of y’all have said in different ways.

  43. MY local Barnes & Noble said it would not arrive until the 28th. I’ve given them enough time to get their act together and will make my suburan foray tomorrow!
    Do not disparage the Women of the Tiger. I selected a totem several years ago and, yup, picked the TIGER. They are sexy, smart, strong and slinky. (Nothing hippo like, nothing forlorn. Aloof, maybe, but never lonely. Suited how I wanted my totem to be. To a T. I never recognized that it was also at the top of its food chain! Until I selected polar bears as totem alternates. Big. Strong. Good with their cubs. No natural enemies! Whoo hoo. Love those Tigers and Polar Bears.

  44. My book arrived today! I can’t wait to sit and read it! I had to tell my Canadian hubby that the book by the Canadian knitting blogger had arrived. He flipped though it and burst out laughing, because I personify the knitting obsessed. I choose exercise that can be done while knitting. (Drives him nuts. “You’re not really going to take that with you on our walk are you???”)

  45. Where are the batteries on those sox? I thought they were bigger than that? And weren’t there more than two? I can’t find the “no peeking, Lene” picture in the archives, but these look kinda familiar.

  46. All this talk about your book has given me an idea!
    I read for a local PBS station’s broadcast for the “print-impaired” (those who can’t read due to blindness or physical impairment, or who have limitations to their literacy). One of the services the station provides is readings from “Great Books” in hour-long segments over several days.
    The criteria for a “Great Book” just happens to be “whatever the reader wants to read and record” on a volunteer basis.
    Guess which book will be next on my list to record for “Great Books”?

  47. Got bookbookbook this afternoon and am in lovelovelove! Page 317 resonated particularly, though I laughed out loud many times (yes, I’ve read it through already).
    The tiger socks are lovely, as is the accompanying story.

  48. I have the bookbookbook in my hands! (okay, so I’m using my hands to type. The important thing is, I have the book.) I looked for it at the Barnes & Noble in Tacoma, WA (a little south of Seattle) a couple of days ago, and the only one in the store was reserved! I put my name down, and they called last night. So, this evening will be spent reading my bookbookbook. 🙂

  49. Steph, my son is in a wheelchair. You can’t imagine how I smiled reading this post (beyond the usual smiles about the knitting karma), because he adores tigers. (And penguins, but that is another topic.)
    And yes, I had yarn custom dyed for some distinctly tigerish knitting for him. (Although, ahem, I am not a good enough mother to have actually started that one yet. But I will. And there exists an adult-sized version of the pattern that I suspect your friend would really, really approve of.) Also have a very special wheelchair knitting project in the works. Let me know if you want a tiger-on-wheels knit-along!

  50. A copy of the book jumped into my basket at B&N tonight. Imagine my surprise when I got to the counter! I haven’t had time to dig into it yet, but that’s what weekends are for, right?

  51. A few years back a friend actually got her hands on (gasp) 20 balls of this stuff! (50gram balls)! My mother and I bought 2 each, but I still have one left over. Saved, it is 🙂 You know that you can make a pair out of 50 grams (even for bigfoot me, sz. 11 woman shoe US sizes) if you use a contrasting yarn for cuff, heel and toe? I was going to offer you to buy my ball until I read the happy ending 🙂

  52. hi stephanie!
    wow, wow, and wow. my oldest boy (5) is obsessed with felines – and when i saw the Opal tiger link i had a twinge myself. holy cow – that is amazing. great story

  53. Amazing story, and an even more amazing friendship! Good yarn karma indeed, and perhaps a fitting reward for suffering through the wheel and winder disasters. I’m also in agreement with Evelyn — the disability aspect has resonances (I’m a “crippled crocheter” and wear the moniker with pride). I see a pair of “black panther with green eyes and scars like a picket fence” mittens on my needles in the future, in honor of a Cheryl Marie Wade disability pride poem I love.

  54. Mock you if you buy one? HA!! I would have an entire shelf dedicated to my works… (one book = one shelf – seems fair – and 2 books = 2 shelves). After all, you might have to autograph one in your house for a wonderful visitor. Since my DH is back to work, I am going to use a bit of the 1st paycheck for your book. Forgive me if I don’t buy a whole shelf worth – I am also eyeing Grafton Fiber’s crochet hooks and knitting needles. And those tiger socks just might tip me over into the sockmaking world (stranger things have happened)

  55. Okay… so you get like 75 comments for one post, no I’m not jealous, what can I say.
    Just passing by, I like your blog, as many of us do. I rarely comment but this post made me want to.
    Happy knitting (And never ever again forget to take a pic of a FO before sending it away 😉

  56. Those tiger socks are too perfect. When you’re sending so much positive energy into the world, you’re bound to get some good kismet, ya know?
    And I got to look through your book last night at High Energy Jenny’s…I cannot wait to get my own copy. It’s hilarious and wonderful. Congrats!

  57. Steph, I just received an email from my local bookseller that MY copy has arrived and I can pick it up after work this afternoon. If anyone else reading this is in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area, he has one more besides mine and a few more copies coming tomorrow. He is
    Tom Holbrook
    RiverRun Bookstore
    Commercial Alley
    Portsmouth, NH
    Wheeeee !

  58. Why, oh why, have I not received my book yet? I know nothing about the joys of page 101 or page 98’s goats, of which AlisonH speaks. And I’m not quite mature enough to be all happy about it- I want my bookbookbook!!!
    On a less selfish note, those socks are awesome. The tiger sweater was pretty awesome, too, but in an entirely different way!

  59. Now those are some happy feet.
    I preordered the bookbookbook in January, only to get an email B&N the other day, proclaiming that the release date has been pushed back. My friend walked into B&N and bought her copy three days before. I think they are on crack. I want my book.
    Are you going to post Your book tour dates soon?

  60. Hooray for the Tiger socks and Lene! I like’em alot.
    Your bookbookbook arrived yesterday afternoon (HA! now it’s MY bookbookbook!). OK, am I the only one who has to write this: I LOVE *LITTLE* BOOKS! The compact size of a smallish book just does it for me in a big way. Not sure why. Might have something to do with all those cute little Beatrix Potter books I used to borrow from the library when I was 7. I *loved* those books! And now I love yours, Steph. I can’t yet pin down a favorite page…but I’m not done with it yet either. 🙂
    Congrats, Steph!

  61. I arrived home from visiting my 2 year old grand daughter and found a box from Amazon on my doorstep. GUESS WHAT WAS INSIDE??? And guess what I will be reading for the next few days (weeks and months, I’m sure – maybe years) What a great day.

  62. Love the socks! I can only imagine how happy you were to find that yarn, being sent to you even.
    I bought your book yesterday! So far, I adored the story of your mom and the neighbor…LOL

  63. That’s an awesome story of how you got the Opal Tiger sock yarn to make for your friend. I’m so happy she got socks that she loves and that you were so blessed to receive the yarn that made her happy. Fate happens. Wonderful. And that’s so funny that you might buy a copy of your own book! LOL

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