What is possible

It is with enormous pride (and recognition that the suspense of what happened with S.Kate’s knitting adventure has probably been killing some of you, sorry about that) that I tell you that blogging was missed yesterday to prepare for the grade six graduation of Samantha, the youngest of my daughters. The dress was altered, her hair was done and undone (french braids did not go over as well as expected) and the child in question was delivered on time to her school where she shone like a star.


I have a hard time singing my own praises, or noting my own accomplishments, but it turns out that when it comes to my children, I don’t even flinch. Samantha won a sportsmanship award, the French award and was the Valedictorian of her grade.


This wonderful turn of events follows a year in which Sam was really challenged to get the hang of the cliquey nature of grade six girls, and suffered some consequences as a result of her complete failure to learn to compromise her kindness, common sense and ethics in order to fit in with the other girls. I couldn’t be prouder that Sam found a way to really succeed in the school and win the affection of her peers and the respect of her teachers without losing any of her fair and genuine nature. (I’m also really proud of this families ability to adopt a “loose” relationship with the Toronto Public School Board. Sam has been home when she needed to be this second half of the year, something that was a real logistical challenge some days. We’re all really pleased that this solution worked so well for us.)

Sam’s speech was incredible, and she’s just lovely…inside and out.

Last evening marked the first time in more than a decade that one of my kids hasn’t been in this awesome little school. I’m surprised to discover that as much as I thought I was going to really be happy about them all moving on out of elementary school, I’m actually going to miss it.

Now, S.Kate. Firstly, She’s fine, and so is the shawl.

The shawl in question was Hyrna Herborgar (From Three Cornered and Long Shawls, a really wonderful import book from Schoolhouse Press). Why, some of you asked, did she not just rip back the 16 rows in question? Because:

a) she had already ripped back once (a horrible incident I can hardly stand to think of involving a spider masquerading cruelly as a shetland nep that involved tragic stitch consequences) and there’s only so many times a knitter can reknit something before she weeps openly and feels the cruel breeze of defeat.

b) S.Kate is an intrepid knitter, interesting in learning new things and

c) that’s THOUSANDS of stitches and hours of knitting that we’re talking about ripping out.

S.Kate took the high road. She is intrepid and clever, she remembered that all of knitting is only knit and purl, no matter how challenging it is at times, and she knows way, way more about knitting now. Three cheers for S.Kate!

She sent this update:

The patient lived. However I am still in recovery.


Carpet had been viciously vacuumed. Wine as well as chocolate figured heavily. Attention seeking felines were banished from the area.


…there was color coded swatching to unravel the secrets of a double YO…


Any tool that gets the job done…


Main goal was to correct my blobby mess that sat right before the shawl center “spine” split to three columns of YOs. (Didn’t think to take a before photo.)

Blue lines show visual flow through openwork. Not-quite-right areas circled in yellow figure to be “doctored” to look better at blocking stage.


Preparing for the final stitch-by-stitch crawl…


Adjusting tension across a row so there’s enough yarn for all stitches.


And the knit goes on…

I’m happy with it. As you have shown us, there are dark arts to visually correct the, um, attention lapses in our knitting. But short of breaking the yarn or taking scissors to the offending area, I could see no way of getting nicely aligned yarnovers without total ripback of the 16 rows or as I chose, selective surgery. If the problem was not along the central axis of the shawl it would have been less noticeable and wouldn’t have bugged me like this did.

Don’t tell a person they can’t do something, stand back and see what they CAN do without the mental impediment.

S. Kate

I say we force Kate to send us a picture of the finished shawl. You know, when she feels ready to get up off the carpet.

201 thoughts on “What is possible

  1. S. Kate is a champion! And congrats to Samantha on her accomplishments this year. My Hannah graduated from 8th grade last week and we’re done with middle school and off to high school. I don’t know how she has gotten older when I clearly have not.

  2. I’m awed and relieved to learn of S. Kate’s miracle-making. Quick, call the Pope and get her nominated for sainthood!

  3. OH MY!!!!! Amazing… and here I couldn’t figure out how to correct one stitch 40 rows back in linen stitch. I just ripped back. I feel like such an idiot now.

  4. Oof, sixth grade is a tough place to be (for us teachers and the students:) Congrats to Samantha for making it through without compromise!

  5. Congratulations Samantha!
    As for the shawl – I really don’t think I could (or would) attempt a surgery like that. My brain hurts just thinking about it. I’m in the beginning stages of the Leaf Lace Shawl from Fiber Trends and it’s getting a lifeline every ten rows!!

  6. Agreed. The fix looks soo much better then my attempts at ‘selective surgery’. Probobly because of the cleaver use of the floor and t-pins. Wish I’d thought of that…

  7. I was all proud/distressed about the 6th grade thing too this year. Now I have 4 children, in four different schools, with conferences for all on the same 2 days. And did I mention they are all unscheduled? For each individual class? I need chocolate…

  8. Thanks for the update! I’ve been on T-pins and circular needles all weekend, waiting to hear the prognosis. I’m so glad to hear the surgery was successful.

  9. Yay Samantha! Congratulations on what looks to have been a remarkable year.
    I’m with you on getting S.Kate to send a pic of the shawl. And a count of the total number of needles and tools used to accomplish the fix.
    S.Kate, you are obviously a woman of extreme patience and remarkable calm. I bow to you.

  10. Congratulations to Samantha. I am so impressed (and, having just received my adolescent son’s report card, must admit to a bit of envy). This seems like a good moment to put something in your suggestion box, Stephanie. If you ever tire of writing about knitting or want to reach for a bigger audience, I think you have the great good sense and humor to write a swell book about about the joys and frustrations of being the parent of adolescent kids.
    Deborah K.

  11. Wow, Sam and S.Kate both really rock. I hope I can be half as accomplished when I grow up. Congrats to both of them! 🙂

  12. Wow!!! Child accomplishments and Kniting miracles! Is the sixth grade graduation a Toronto thing? This is the first time I’ve heard of it. Here in WI, there is (sometimes) and eighth grade graduation. If Sam was able to negotiate girls now, she has a good starting point for Jr. High and High School. Those girls can be “something” (read: vicious, fierce, shallow) I know–I’m a teacher. Girls who can separate themselves from “all that” are usually much, MUCH happier and more interesting in general.

  13. Congratulations to Sam! Sixth grade for me was…well, least said, soonest mended, eh?
    As for S.Kate…my God, woman. Brava, and you’re crazy. I would have ripped back.
    (Okay, I would have stuffed it in a Ziploc bag and tossed it in the stash bin. But that’s neither here nor there.)

  14. Congratulations to Samantha. Isn’t it nice to see them growing up? Of course, I only know that by implication, because my children are alone in staying little forever.
    And, S. Kate has my complete awestruck worship. I can do this with cables, but not lace. I can’t do lace at all, in fact. Inspired color swatching!

  15. Congratulations to Samantha. What a wonderful young woman you are becoming. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
    S.Kate, I still don’t get it, but I appreciate you trying to educate the nubie knitting masses. You are amazing.

  16. Wow! I’ve been really looking forward to seeing how it went with the shawl and I’m so impressed!
    Congratulations to Samantha on finishing elementary school without letting the other kids deciding on who and what she should be!

  17. Way to go, S.Kate…I was on T-pins and needles waiting for your update! You rock!!!!
    And big CONGRATULATIONS to Samantha as well! What an accomplished, lovely, young lady she is on the road to becoming. I know these things. I am a junior high school counselor. (EEEEEK!)

  18. Hearty congratulations to Samantha! Interesting to hear the personality changes occur at that age, even in elementary school (our district breaks to middle school, I thought the changes were due to being “bigger, older, cooler” kids, so I guess it must just be the age).
    S. Kate – I am *so* impressed with your bravery and fortitude! You’ve shown us all that anything is possible. Congrats on a successful surgery.

  19. Wow! I’ve been really looking forward to seeing how it went with the shawl and I’m so impressed!
    Congratulations to Samantha on finishing elementary school without letting the other kids deciding on who and what she should be!

  20. Wow! I’ve been really looking forward to seeing how it went with the shawl and I’m so impressed!
    Congratulations to Samantha on finishing elementary school without letting the other kids deciding on who and what she should be!

  21. Congrats on Sam’s graduation. Sixth grade really is a turning point in the emotional development of girls, isn’t it? It’s so hard to navigate the complexities of the social order of pre-adolescent girls, so bravo to Sam for managing it all so deftly. I found the transition to middle school to be quite jarring (and I remember all the details all these years later — yikes). I don’t look forward to my daughter having to deal with all this stuff, so i’m glad we have some time before we have to.
    As to Kate and the surgery on the shawl, I am just filled with awe.

  22. Congratulations to Samantha! Any girl who can complete 6th grade without turning into one of “those” girls is a phenomenom! And to add her other accomplishments, WELL! She musta had some good raising.

  23. Congratulations, Sam! 6th grade is definitely one of those tough ones (speaking from my own experience and my daughter’s). You not only survived it, but won!

  24. Color coded swatch. Freakin’ awesome! Adding that to the T-pins in my surgincal arsenal.
    Mega cognrats to Samantha! Way to go, girl! Much as I love sheep, you don’t want to be one! Staying true to yourself, and not just following the crowd, is the way to happiness and to becoming an interesting, alive, and lovely adult.
    You rock!

  25. I am duly impressed by both your daughter’s accomplishments and the repair of the shawl. Looking at the shawl repair pictures has left me rather exhausted though. lol

  26. Congratulations to Samantha. And, congratulations to her parents who have done such an excellent job. Isn’t it amazing, I cannot remember missing my elementary school, but I can clearly remember the last day my DD spent in her’s.
    The shawl repair was incredible. I think I would have hurled . . . the whole thing . . . after all that is what back yards are for!

  27. Wow, S.Kate, just wow! My current main project is a shawl and I’ve just been sure that something awful will happen eventually. So far there haven’t been any oops’ that I couldn’t handle. However, I have a shopping list that now includes a raft-load of t-pins (just in case). Again, well done and thanks for the lesson!

  28. Way to go Sam! Your family, school and all of the Harlot enthusiasts are so proud and pleased! How nice to have a long list of accomplisments at the end of only grade six! S.Kate, It would have, indeed, been too noticable if not corrected. I ,for one, have been waiting with baited breath to see how it went. Looking at it now it’s really lovely, with a nice rhythm. ( You know, instead of bending over the carpet you could make a padded board of cork wall tiles and fabric covering, but then after all the time spent putting it together you would probably have very few incidents of need for it-not a bad outcome, I’d say. )

  29. Congratulations to Samantha and her mommy 🙂 Good job ladies! I remember when my daughter got an award in elementary school for being “the most considerate”. That meant way more to me than “most popular”, “cutest” or anything else. Samantha obviously has her priorities in order.
    About the knitting, you and S. Kate should write a book called Knitting Surgery. It would be a big seller.

  30. Well, you know what they say about the apple and the tree…I heartily agree that the girls who can avoid the nonsense of 6th grade, or rise above it, as my mother used to say, are more interesting and in general, way ahead of the “others”. Way to go Sam and Stephanie.
    As for the shawl and S. Kate. hoo boy, it boggles my mind.

  31. Congrats on graduating from elementary school! Sad I know, I too said farewell to same this year. And look what you’ve done….you created a bunch of fearless knitters!

  32. Congrats to Samantha! The whole S. Kate thing makes me want to drink heavily. To scary!
    I heard you were coming to Austin in July! Are you into punishment or what? It’s hotter than hell down here! Bless your heart you’re a brave little soul. (I mean “bless your heart” in the most sincere way. Not like “Bless her heart her fly is open an she didn’t even notice.”)
    Glad you’re headed our way and can’t wait to say “Hi!”.

  33. Congrats to Sam!
    As for the lace recovry: You are a brave and amazing woman. Reminds me to use a life line in the tiny little lace edging I am making (over 31 sts) until I get the hang of those pesky double yarn overs.

  34. Congratulations to both of these amazing ladies! The shawl repair was intrepid and daring and success well deserved.
    As for Samantha … anyone who can get out of 6th grade with their sense of self intact deserves a standing ovation (and a very large ice cream sundae). My son graduated 6th grade this year, and I’ll just say that I was glad he’s a boy … the girl stuff was UNbelievable. I am shuddering in anticipation of my daughter’s having to navigate of those shores in two years’ time.

  35. Samantha should be fetched chocolates and favorite books immediately, and be excused from chores for at least three days.
    As a mom of a just-graduated 8th grader who had that critical meltdown with her “friends” several times this year and has remained still gracious, I understand.
    As a teacher for that age bracket, I understand and applaud.
    And as a knitter, I’m speechless.

  36. I am also completely AWED by S. Kate’s fortitude and skill. Thank you for showing us!
    I am also awed by Sam’s own fortitude. To remain true to yourself while your school world is filled with cruelty and intense pressure to conform is an outstanding accomplishment! And to have earned awards while doing so is…awesome!
    Congrats Sam! And you too, Steph!

  37. Congratulations to Sam on your graduation. Congrats to S. Kate on a brilliant rescue. Also to Charity for cleverness: “I’ve been on T-pins and circular needles all weekend” (Cute!)
    Congratulations and best wishes to Samantha on a brilliant finish in elementary school. Stay as sweet as you are!
    Most of the public schools in our area are K-5 elementary, 6-8 middle school and 9-12 high school. At least one suburban district has a “6th grade center”. That’s right, just 6th graders all in one building. It’s an age that’s pretty…um…*special*…

  38. Yay Sam. No doubt the murky waters of adolescent girldom are difficult to wade. I’m glad she rose above them. In later years she will be very glad too.
    And yay for Kate. Courage is rewarded by the knitting spirits.

  39. Congratulations…to both ladies. Well done indeed.
    S. Kate, the not-quite-right areas should respond quite well to blocking. Any extra space between stitches even after the blocking can be fixed by pulling the excesses to the back and anchoring these loops down fairly invisibly with some clever sewing using the same yarn. Hint: block it right-side *down* so you can do the fix from the wrong side while the thing is still pinned out tautly. HTH!

  40. I still have vivid memories of sixth grade that no amount of therapy can erase. I can’t find words to tell you how great Sam’s triumph is.
    S. Kate’s triumph is also remarkable. Here’s to a knitter who refused to accept “it can’t be done.” S. Kate, you are an inspiration to us all.

  41. Congratulations to Samantha on finding a way to be so outstandingly successful in school both academically & socially without compromising her kindness, common sense and ethics in order to fit in with the other girls. As the mother of 2 grown daughters, I remember how treacherous middle school can be & her feat is really something to marvel at. And so is S. Kate’s in another realm.

  42. first — congrats to samantha!
    second — congrats to s.kate!
    third — spider?!! wtf?!! as a serious arachnophobe, my brain cannot even begin to travel in the direction of a situation where a spider impinges in any way on my knitting. i would need copious amounts of alcohol to get over the smallest spider/fiber overlap.

  43. Firstly -Congratulations to Sam for not only maintaining her personal integrity throughout a difficult year but also for excelling in that difficult year. I taught 7th grade up until last week so know from whence I speak. VBG
    Congratulations to her parents for being there for her and for instilling such wonderful qualities in their child.
    And Congratulations to S Kate for being a leader, an intrepid explorer of new territory and living to tell about it.

  44. Firstly -Congratulations to Sam for not only maintaining her personal integrity throughout a difficult year but also for excelling in that difficult year. I taught 7th grade up until last week so know from whence I speak. VBG
    Secondly -Congratulations to her parents for being there for her and for instilling such wonderful qualities in their child.
    Thirdly -And Congratulations to S Kate for being a leader, an intrepid explorer of new territory and living to tell about it.

  45. COngrats to Sam for her graduation of the sixth grade. And to S Kate for the successful surgery… I don’t think I could have done that. She is a brave brave soul.

  46. congrats on the graduation, and congrats to S.Kate on the repair – amazing.
    All this reknitting without ripping inspired me to do the same with a blanket I’m working on. It’s a basketweave stitch, and I messed up several rows back, and instead of ripping back the whole thing or just leaving it, I ripped back just those stitches and then fixed it and knitted and purled it back up – so much easier!!!!!! Thanks for inspiring me for this so much simpler than yours or S.Kate’s repairs.

  47. My head hurts, maybe I need to lay down! But WOO HOO for S. Kate. Proud of you!! Proud of Samantha to, what a great way to end your elementary career!!

  48. Give your beautiful daughter my congradulations. YOu raise such lovely girls. Also, S. Kate needs a knitterly medal of bravery in the face of the perilous YO.

  49. Congratulations to Samantha and S.Kate!
    Both accomplished amazing feats of mental and emotional fortitude and it’s just great to see them succeed!
    I’m truly amazed at Samantha’s ability to be so mature when being in 6th grade is probably one of the hardest grades to get thru. Those mid-grades are the toughest and it sounds like she’s going to do great!
    S.Kate’s shawl should eventually be bronzed and told as an inspiring Olympic story to share at the next knitting Olympics–an inspiration to knitters everywhere!

  50. S. Kate is now not only the reason that I have my antique wheel with me, but she is also my knitting hero. WOW.

  51. Holy twisted stiches Batman! That was close! I think that’s what I wound up having nightmares about last night. (shudder)
    Good job S. Kate!

  52. Hooray for the next generation and the positive examples they hold for the world to model!
    And hooray for S.Kate, I am indeed impressed (and it looks like a spot-on repair to me. I love the color coded swatch, very smart.)

  53. Sam rocks! Congratulations, Sam, not only on your scholastic achievements but also for not falling into the dark trap set for teenage girls, that trap being the social expectation that you concentrate on being fashionable and popular to the exclusion of scholarship and personal integrity.
    Of course, the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.
    As for S. Kate … I knew you could do it. The color-coded swatch is truly inspired. But I knew it could be done. This does not mean that you don’t deserve a few jolts of Screech. it only means that I had confidence in you.
    Amazing cowgirls, both of you.

  54. Congratulations on Samantha’s graduation! I only hope my daughter will be as successful as yours with the kindness and ethics retention. I find I am surrounded by parents who say, “They just have to learn to deal with” bullying and cliqueishness and cruelty around them. Maybe they do, but do they have to tolerate it? I sincerely hope not.
    And wow on the lace repair! I would have thrown up my hands and my knitting in despair!!

  55. Very good doctoring. I’ve never ripped back that much that far but approve in principle.
    And good for Sam and for you. The ‘loose’ relationship with the school board sounds like a good thing. If it stops working and you find yourself seriously considering homeschooling, give me a call 🙂

  56. Yay, Samantha! Félicitations!
    And talk about an accomplishment. Had it been me with that shawl, I don’t think I’d be able to do it. (Mostly because of the A.D.H.D., but also because me and patience have been archnemeses for the past ten years.)

  57. Wow, this was a great column today!!! I am sure you are so proud of your Samantha, as I was my daughter who in grade 6 underwent the same sort of torture by cliques your daughter may have gone through.

  58. S. Kate, you’re absolutely certifiable in my book – and that’s a compliment… Congrats on such excellent repair work!

  59. Huge congrats to Samantha! Chocolate hugs to S. Kate! I’m right with ya grrls — somebody tells me I can’t do something, that’s exactly, repeat exactly, when not only can I do it, but do it par excellance! (first example of that was learning to ride a bicyle, no training wheels, just a 26″ bike after a tricycle!)And to Mom Stephanie — you are just terrific. Samantha is who she is thanks in great part to You!

  60. As my kids sprint towards those really difficult years, it is very encouraging to see one making it through happy and accomplished. I’m hoping that a background of knitting, vegetarian food and lots of love will give my kids some of that fortitude your kids show.
    Congratulations Sam.
    Kudos to S. Kate for trying and succeeding (where I would not have even thought (until now) to try)!

  61. Oh my back!
    I bid a tearful good-bye to the kindergarten teacher who had all 3 girls – after that it’s a muddle of science fair projects, early morning bus pick-ups and constant vigilance of the attendance of adults when more than 2 are gathered. D#1 and D#2 have graduated hs and D#3 has 3 years to go (and then we will miss it all).

  62. The same thing I said the first time (only with a different meaning)

  63. I feel faint.
    I would have put it in the blender.
    Congrats Sam!!
    and to her mom for a darn fine job in mothering her!

  64. The same thing I said the first time (only with a different meaning)

  65. Thanks to S. Kate, I may have the inspiration to mend the errors in my recently finished Diamond Fantasy Shawl (1 breakage problem, 1 knitterly error).

  66. ’tis a lovely thing…being brave and courageous to staying true to your own sweet, kind and fair nature, congratulations Samantha on a fabulous year,you are quite the radiant young woman. A sincere expression of gratitude to Stephanie and Joe for encouraging these qualities in all their daughters,(like they would do otherwise?!?!?!?of course not). S. Kate, well done, I had the feeling from the first photos, all those t-pins and lines of yarn, so organized, that one way or another you would figure it out, had complete faith in you, and I will always believe in fairies.

  67. Samantha is a lovely role model for my girls, and you can say nice things about her all you like. 🙂
    Congratulations Samantha!

  68. >
    Now that’s the kind of failure one can be proud of!
    If my son does half as well as Sam, I’ll be happy.
    As for S.Kate, I bow to her. I would not have had the patience. At least now I know where to send my screw-ups for fixing…

  69. Oh, geez. I have some nerve bitching about my teensy Orangina errors after seeing S. kate’s monument to fearless knitting. Color me inspired.

  70. Ohmigod. I think I need to take a little break from doing nothing after seeing those pictures. I can’t imagine even thinking to attempt knitting surgery on such a massive scale.
    Congrats to Samantha for getting through the first six years of school so well! I hope the next years go as splendiferously.

  71. Congratulatins Sam! My kids had to deal with moves to new schools where all the cliques were already established and that wasn’t easy. I’m proud that you held to your true self and didn’t give in to peer pressure. Go Girl.
    S. Katy’s adventure was just plain scarry but I’m proud of her too. My mood has always determined whether I would painstakingly rip something out to repair the mistake or just pitch it/unravel to save the yarn/whatever. I guess time would be a big factor too. Please send a picture of the finished project!!

  72. Samantha – you are a star! And as for the lace repair, well, words fail me. I am in awe.

  73. Sam – for graduating from elementary school, and especially for surviving 6th grade you deserve congratulations. I work with girls your age, and the workload on top of the social drama is just killer. For your mom still being not only willing to admit to you, but proud of who you are, you deserve every recognition you got and more. Brava!
    S. Kate – It’s a real shame that your incredible feat is overlapping with Sam, because that is impressive. Hopefully your recovery from that goes well, and hopefully I know better than to try to emulate you in that.

  74. We just had a 6th-grade graduation here too (but not as formal). Congrats to Samantha. When does the puppy arrive?
    Another vote for a new book: either Knitting Surgery or Fearless Knitting!

  75. Quite the impressive post today.
    Congrats to Sam! (My own sixth grade year is a chunk of my memory I’m looking into having erased.)
    …and lots of slack-jawed staring for S.Kate…

  76. I hope examples like that lace will encourage other knitters to stop cringing and realize that they can be the master of their own knitting, even when something goes wrong. All too often, I see knitters panicking in online forums due to a mistake two rows back in stockinnette or garter. We know it can be done, even in cables and lace, and have pictures to prove it!

  77. Way to go, Kate! We knew you could do it! And to Samantha, well done, sweetie. I don’t know many adults that could accomplish what you did in school this year. Getting the job done, doing it well, AND, most importantly, staying true to yourself. You give this mama enormous hope as I fret and worry and stew about my own kind-hearted, compassionate, gentle-souled 5 year-old being “eaten alive” at the public kidergarten next fall. Clearly, I need to go back through and read some more of your mum’s blog to see how she helped you through this last year. Or maybe you could start your own??? Hmmm……

  78. I really thought it was impossible. I could never have done that. The cable one yes, but not that lace. Amazing!

  79. WARNING: Sappy post ahead
    Wow! When I saw the victory all that came to my mind was the Late Sir George Harrison singing, “I’ve got my mind Set On you”
    It just seems appropriate for this moment to sing, “It’s gonna take time…A whole lot of precious time…It’s gonna take patience and time…To do it right child.” Humming along with the tune in my head, “I got my mind set on you.
    and of course…
    The cheering for S. Kate as the finished fix, “I know if I put my mind to it…I know that I really can do it!”

  80. Oh my.. S.Kate! Are we long lost twins?? I looked at you in the photo and thought I was looking at a picture of myself down to the glasses!
    Now you give me the courage to go and fix my own.. much simpler.. oops!

  81. WARNING: Sappy post ahead
    Wow! When I saw the victory all that came to my mind was the Late Sir George Harrison singing, “I’ve got my mind Set On you”
    It just seems appropriate for this moment to sing, “It’s gonna take time…A whole lot of precious time…It’s gonna take patience and time…To do it right child.” Humming along with the tune in my head, “I got my mind set on you.
    and of course…
    The cheering for S. Kate as the finished fix, “I know if I put my mind to it…I know that I really can do it!”
    Come to think of it… it applies to Samantha as well!

  82. S. Kate truly amazing. Hand clapping and lots of cheering for you for fixing this.
    Sam congrats and regular to Jr. High or Middle School.

  83. Congrats to the little one. My two are now safely out of the entire school system, and our goal of; graduate from high school and have no contact with police involving jail got acheived. Major accomplishment there, many parents don’t get off so easy as we did. Now comes secondary school, which stinks. There just is no good thing to say about it besides the fact that eventually it is over and high school will begin.
    S Kate, I bow deeply in your direction. That was a masterpiece.

  84. Sam, way to go!! I taught middle school for years. If you stay to true to yourself, it all works out in the end.
    S.Kate is a miracle worker of the nth degree! I couldn’t believe what a mess that was last week, and how beautiful it is now!

  85. Congratulations to Samantha! A job obviously very well done. It’s nice to see a decent human being winding up on top of the pile and not at the bottom.
    S. Kate, I am in awe!

  86. Woooo! Congratulations to Sam! Congrats for not only making it through the year (ugh, 6th grade, bleh) but excelling as well!
    S. Kate, the T-pins are a great idea. I marvel at your fortitude. I just did a surgical knitting procedure, but it was only 6 stitches, 4 rows down, and nothing like a double yarnover, and that was enough to drive me to the chocolate. 16 rows! arggh!

  87. Congrats to Sam! Grade 6 is not an easy one to say the very least. And that she has come out the other side with her integrity is nothing less the miraculous!
    Now for Kate . . . I am speechless. Guild meets tonight, after some serious knitting, after we move on to the Margarita portion of the evening, I will inform the others. They will be awed also.

  88. Wow! I am so impressed, both with S. Kate and Samantha.
    One of my sister’s favorite explitives is “shit on a stick!”, which seems especially approriate for yesterday’s picture!

  89. I bow to you, S.Kate, for your huge accomplishment. You could have done what I did on the weekend – ripped out an entire sock (glasses of wine didn’t figure in it, BOTTLES did) for a wee error about 3 rows back. When I woke up in the morning and saw the neatly-wound ball on the counter, it all came back to me.
    Huge congrats also to Stephanie and to Sam for the big day. I can’t even imagine how proud you must be of her.

  90. Here’s to the Outstanding Unique Individual Scholastic Award for both Daughter and Knitter.
    I need a vacation after reading both of their accomplishments.

  91. OMG. To the shawl, to S.Kate and most of all, Sam.
    Anyone who can learn a little bit more about who they are, not change, and still succeed before they can even drive flat out flabbergast me!
    (Is flabbergast a verb?).

  92. Big congrats to Sam – I remember all too well what cliquey-6th-grade-girls were like. I also remember my guidance counselor telling my mother “Well, Julie sure does march to the beat of her own drummer…”
    And S. Kate, the brilliance of color swatching is going to stick with me for a very long while. And possibly help me get over the snag I’m at with my no-longer-Olympic-except-perhaps-in-terms-of-effort-put-into-it Shawl.

  93. Congratulations, Samantha, on achieving the finale of Grade 6. I commend you on your abilities and perseverance.
    S.Kate — congratulations on the masterful technique. I am impressed with your nerve and perseverance.
    Stephanie — thank you so much for widening my horizens.

  94. Hooray for goddess S. Kate and goddess-in-the-making Samantha!
    I think I feel a book project lurking around the edges here–knitting fixes for the intrepid? voodoo knitting? you too can do surgery on your knitting? hm…

  95. Congrats to Sam! I remember when I graduated from elementary school so many years and years ago. (I’ll not disclose exactly how many.) It was wonderful, but I was far from having the best grade! What an honor. You must be so proud, Stephanie!

  96. Samantha should quick and get published so she can use that fantastic second sentence before it’s old news. Congrats!

  97. Woo! Go S. Kate! Go Sam! I hope she is just as successful in grade seven (and onward)! And I hope S. Kate makes a full recovery.

  98. Reminds me of a poem (by Edgar Guest, I think)
    Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
    But he with a chuckle replied
    Maybe it can’t
    Yet I won’t be one
    To say so without having tried.
    So he jumped right in
    With a trace of a grin
    On his face
    If he worried he hid it
    He started to sing
    As he tackled that thing
    That couldn’t be done
    And he did it.

  99. Oh My! I am in awe of S. Kate. Where does this woman live- I must send a pillow, some wine, chocoalte a crown perhaps. Me- I would have gone with the nasty crying fit followed by about 3 quarts of Ben and Jerry’s and a few Scralett O’Hara’s and an online yarn shopping spree to perk my color up.
    Congratulations to Samantha, My oldest just graduated from 8th grade so I know well the pride and wistfullness(sp?) of being a mom.

  100. >>there was color coded swatching to unravel the secrets of a double YO…<<
    OH! If only I had thought of this when fighting with the mysterious dropped stitches/YOs in my Brioche Bodice at 1 in the morning. I ended up tinking back 5 rows. I’d have much rather knit another swatch.
    Congratulations, Samantha! You’re in for a promising life if you can stand up to a clique of sixth grade girls and retain your personhood. Years hence, you’ll remember that as even more valuable than when Canada was founded and who won the French/Indian War. (Not that those aren’t important.)

  101. Congratulations Samantha. You just keep being YOU and don’t ever compromise your ethics and honesty , and Stepanie you have every right to be very proud of such a lovely young lady.
    Honestly, after seeing S Kate’s shawl I don’t think I’ll tackle one as I KNOW where it would end up if I ever got into this predicament. I guess I just don’t have the patience for this sort of thing anymore. Every day I say “” LORD Give me patience NOW “” for one reason or another , so best I not get entangled in shawls.

  102. MY GOODNESS – She should really enter the Amazing Lace and tell that story – embelleshed with fiction and danger – well… the danger was definitely real… but you get the pic.
    Congrats to Sam! I remember 6th grade being the hardest time, so it’s great that she was able to deal so maturely, you GO girl, keep that level head, it will serve you well in the days to come! =)*)

  103. Samantha, congratulations on two feats — graduating 6th grade (when they first nail you with ‘real’ hard homework) and graduating with grace. It’s so easy to fall in with the cliques, so hard to stand up to them and stay yourself. I think you well deserve the valedictorian award. And a similar one to your parents, for having the wisdom to bring you up right.
    And yes, sainthood for S.Kate. I don’t get it. I’d have still been in the chocolate stash . . .

  104. The work of S. Kate…. I am breathless. And kudos to Sam and her parents. AWESOME

  105. Aw, shucks-I knew S. Kate could do it, I never had a doubt.
    Congrats Sam-keep taking the high road! It may seem rough and at times a little slower, but where it leads you is worth the journey (and of course the journey is pretty cool too).

  106. congratulations to Sam, and for S. Kate?
    That woman deserves a drink. Or two. If only FTP would allow the sending of tequila, I’d send her a few presently.

  107. Congratulations to Samantha! Leaving elementary school is a milestone in the on-going process of growing up. Doing so with honor and grace is a testament to her integrity and to the example and guidence she received from you and Joe. You should all be proud.
    Congratulations also to S. Kate. You fixed the problem beautifully while reminding all of us that an expert knitter is not just someone who can knit a complex item but rather someone who can also repair a mistake on a complex item. This was also a reminder that we shouldn’t be afraid to jump in and try something new even if we’re not sure we can do it.

  108. Goodness’s gracious! She did it?!!! Congrats!
    Thanks for your email. That shawl had been sitting on the my shelf full of UFOs for at least a month now….it’s supposed to be for my mum. But alas, last Thursday I picked up Debbie Stoller’s “Happy Hooker” and taught myself to crochet…now I’m making my mum the Sweet Pea Shawl instead. I’ll rip that other shawl back and start afresh with maybe another pattern. 🙂 But thank you for your encouragement and suggestions!

  109. Congratulations to Samantha on learning to be a REAL girl, and an accomplished student.
    And Kate’s bravery and tenacity have convinced me to try one MORE time to knit a very simple lace scarf that I have frogged and tinked and cut off and thrown away, and restarted with different yarn so many times I lost count. You are my hero!

  110. Congratulations to Samantha, and to you! Tons of hard work went into those awards, and making her the kind of person she is. Kate’s surgery is incredible – now maybe I will attempt to re-knit a hole that developed in one of my shawls (sniff). It was completed ages ago, worn a lot, and a lace motif has given up and raveled…

  111. Congrats to all!
    I’m planning to knit Hyrna Herborgar. I just got the book, I’m waiting on the yarn, so I’m wondering – was this an S. Kate goof? Or was it the pattern itself?

  112. I was just about to say S.Kate is nuts. She just needs a long break, and do the invitable frog/tink/rip.
    Then I thought, I’m just as crazy. I mean hell, look what I went through for Sophia’s blanket.
    She loves it that much. When you love something that much, you do your best. Whatever it is.
    CONGRATS TO SAM! I’m switching careers. Starting late August I’ll be teaching middle school and I am so looking forward to it.

  113. Congratulations, Samantha! Way to go, Girl! You have a great road ahead of you. I wish you the very best. As for S. Kate, well, I’m in awe. What a methodical & logical way of approaching errors in lace knitting. If tinking & re-knitting fails, my inclination is to hurl the project out onto the driveway & run over it several times with the car. (But so far I’ve managed to resist actually following through. . .)

  114. I wouldn’t repeat grade 6 for anything in the world…good on you Sam for a fine finish!
    As far as S Kate’s dare devil knitting, I think loudly repeating your two unsavory words of last week is entirely appropriate.
    And an adult beverage.

  115. I hated sixth grade, and truly congratulate Sam for not only getting through it, but getting through it graciously, it sounds. That’s quite an accomplishment.
    As for S.Kate? Un.Freaking.Believable. I’m still frightened, even though I know it’s coming out okay.

  116. Seeing as how I’m at the same point S. Kate repaired back to, I will be putting in a life line before going any further. I’ve already had to start over once due to a cat getting testy with the circular needles, don’t want to do it again. Don’t want to do surgery even less. 🙂
    Congratulations, Sam!! I think sixth grade is a tough year and it appears you managed it with flying colors! Yay for you!!

  117. Congrats to Sam and S.Kate both have gotten through some very tough times and have come out winners.

  118. Wow Sam, impressive. Good for you, stay that way.
    Now, about S. Kate. That’s mind numbing. I STILL want to vomit. Mainly because I don’t think I’d ever, EVER attempt that myself. Wow. Or oy. I’m not sure.

  119. First of all CONGRATULATIONS to Samantha. What a remarkable achievement. It sounds like it must have been a tough year but you persevered.
    S.Kate omigosh, you’re the bravest person I’ve ever met.

  120. First, Sam, you rock! Write a book! There’re millions of teens that would love to hear about your courage!
    Second, I think S. Kate needs her own pedestal or something. WOW.
    Third, and this is kind of a delayed reaction thing, what the heck is that green garter stitch thing you’re knitting on the cover of book3?? I don’t recall any blogging about any green GARTER stitch thing! Garter stitch? Honestly?!? I thought you break out in hives just at the thought of garter stitch… be that as it may, I did notice in book3, ONCE AGAIN, that yaks have taken some flak. Artistic discretion, yeah, yeah, yeah…

  121. Yay Sam! As a middle school teacher for 7 years, I know what a big deal it is to get through 6th grade, especially to do it so well!
    S Kate: impressive, seriously it blows my mind!
    On the tour update: What happened to Minneapolis/St. Paul? Are you aware of the insane number of yarn stores we have here? We’re talking (okay, let me count)….at least EIGHTEEN in the metro area, and I know there are more I just can’t think of them all now. On second thought, maybe that is why you are staying away. One trip here and you may blow the girls’ college funds 🙂

  122. S. Kate, I bow before your wisdom and patience. You are truly a saint among knitters.
    Stephanie, congratulations on the graduation and her awards!
    What are the typical grade clusters in Canada? Here in Massachusetts, we usually put Kindergarten (age 5) through grade 4 or 5 together, grades 5 or 6 through 8 together and then high school is grades 9 through 12.

  123. Congratulations, Sam. That is no small feat. You have my honor and respect for making it through such a tough year with nothing less that pure perfection. Hats off to Mom and Dad for being there with you through it all.
    Kate! Sainthood isn’t good enough!
    Stephanie: Would a trip to Denver really be so bad???

  124. Congrats to your daughter!!! I have one more left in elementary two in jr. high, well technically one in jr. high and one in (gulp) high school but we have k-6 as elementary, 7-9 as middle and then 10-12 as High School. Works out well this way I can still live in denial for one more year.
    Now if you dare to I have a huge knitting problem and/or question. Sending up an S.O.S.

  125. One – I’m amazed at the repair.
    Two – I’m not sure I’d touch knitting again that had a … spider incident.
    Three – What an awesome child. (Same age as my oldest… 6th grade was challenging around here too)

  126. Dear Stephanie,
    Love your posts! Am feeling extremely sad right now as my oldest child–my first born is leaving for college tomorrow–U.S. Naval Academy. I am having such a hard time with this….please think of me…….

  127. Now talk about edge of your seat knitting! Way to go S. Kate! I’m in awe of you 🙂

  128. Sam is beautiful and I’m practically sitting taller with pride for her academic accomplishments!! WTG both of you!!
    Dark Arts – Sure, after driving us to drink with that shocking “before” picture of course we can’t see any lapses. We’re either all still buzzed, hung over or in denial at the dizzying horror of it all.
    A job well done!!

  129. Your S. Kate is obviously a woman of great fortitude and determination. I marvelled at her tenacity and thanked the goddess that I wasn’t the surgeon!

  130. Hooray, S.Kate!
    Congrats Sam, Harlot post again when you are ready to get up off the carpet! No more kids in elementary school. My oldest turns 11 on Thursday, eeek.

  131. “profmgh,” I join you in despair. In my case, though, the despair is for someone whose pettiness is so great that she can’t resist demeaning the small satisfactions of others in a public forum. Next time they’ll cure AIDS, promise. Reserve your despair for those “over 25” who still haven’t grasped the proper use of commas.

  132. I’m in awe of S. Kate. I would have been cowering in a corner seeing that.
    And Congrats to Sam! That is a big milestone!

  133. It is a fortunate thing in life to be surrounded by such amazing women of all ages! Go Sam! S.Katey just HAS to share a photo, I think I’ll slip into some sort of anticipation coma waiting!

  134. S. Kate is amazing! Way to go on fixing that! I’m not crazy enought to attempt that kind of surgery. I’m so impressed!

  135. Does your child mind that the photo posted for all to see has her standing in front of a sign stating: “ASS of 05-06” ?

  136. Applause to Samantha! Especially on surviving the year with her integrity intact! Three Cheers!!! Congrats to mom Steph for surviving it with her…
    And S. Kate. I bow to greatness. That is truly amazing work. I shall remain a student to the art of lace for years before I could ever attempt what you did.
    I raise and *clink* my wine glass in salute to both ladies!

  137. Bravo to both valiant women! Sam, you rock it, girl. Keep it up. And S.Kate – whoa. I think I should send you my laceweight as a praise-offering. I don’t care what anyone says, that was some mighty knitting.

  138. S. Kate – QUICK – Stephanie become her agent and Put this woman on TOUR! – first to Israel, Then to Iraq, She who works miracles.
    I KNEW God was a knitter!

  139. Congratulations to Sam 🙂 My daughter must be about the same age (16, nearly 17) She is just about to go into 6th Form college in September to study for her A- Levels. Over the last few months I have seen her transform into a confident young woman. Like your Sam she has chosen to avoid the entaglements of being in one of the cliques and is proud to be known as part of the odd ball crowd ( not affiated to any of the main groups) Sounds like your Sam has mangaged to do the same. Good luck at your next school Sam 🙂

  140. You may think it’s a small thing or intuitively obvious, but the multi-color swatch to help track what’s happening in a double yarn over? As they say on the Mastercard commercial, “PRICELESS.” I had trouble with some early in a shawl but did not want to rip back. Next time I’ll try surgery.

  141. EEEK! A REAL spider?!? Try as I might, they terrify me. amazed at S. Kate’s dedication to solve the problem (memo to self: don’t knit a lace pattern in dark-colored yarn where a spider might hide).
    Sam sounds like an amazing child; no wonder you are full of pride. I too would sing her praises out loud. Of course, she has an amazing mother, so…

  142. That is simply amazing. Would love to see a photo of finished shawl, it looks gorgeous!
    You Women never cease to amaze me with your intelligence, creativity and humor in times of need.

  143. Wow, I am full of awe and admiration. A mess like that would be likely to make me abandon all hope an unravel the whole shawl.

  144. Congratulations Sam – and congratulations to you Steph for doing an awesome job in raising 3 fine girls.

  145. Thanks for the update on the seemingly hopeless jumble of string and pins. S. Kate has my admiration.
    Your pride in your daughter is well deserved. One day she will realize that through your sharing, she has an extended family of loving ‘mothers’ (and fathers) and hopefully will feel that support as she journeys through the seemingly hopeless jumble of decisions of life.

  146. I’d rather do lace shawl surgery than face the 6th grade again. Bravo, Sam!! You’re an inspiration to us all for holding onto your beliefs and values in the face of peer pressure. The world is a better place for having such a fine, upstanding young woman in it. Your mom instilled values into you, but it was ultimately you that stood up for yourself. Major kudos to you, kiddo.
    *Psst* Hey, S.Kate. Dude, you’re nuts! Awesome job.

  147. That looks very much like brain surgery to me…. you are a brave woman S. Kate! Hats off to you! It is amazing to me that such a thing can be done.

  148. As the proud mom of 2 teenagers in high school, I can only say WOOHOO! Samantha! YEA!
    To S Kate I say BRAVO! BRAVO! hand the woman a bottle of her favorite beverage and a boquet of flowers. Wonderful job!

  149. I am so…..RELIEVED. WHEW.
    Congratulations- all around! To miraculous (or crazy) knitters, and to moms of 6 grade girl graduates— an even more daunting task! (yet eerily similar if you ask me!)

  150. Way to go Sam- what a wonderful young lady! And way to go Mom. And way to go S. Kate. Drinks all around!

  151. wow!
    okay, my effort was SO not a challenge compared to this.
    There were YOYOs involved!!!
    I think I would have fainted dead away had I realized this earlier.
    I’m in awe…
    I’m also in awe of the Harlot household generally, and you, dear Harlot, in particular. Child rearing is being particularly challenging here in ShadowLand these days. I’m wondering, will mine MAKE it to sixth grade graduation??

  152. I think S. kate should have given the commencement speech for the 6th graders as Valedictorian.
    No offense to Sam and her wonderfulness, but can she do major surgery on a shawl?
    That is how Hollywood would have ended this nail biter. ( after some kung fu goodness between S. Kate and Sam.)
    I bow to all these ladies greatness.

  153. -I’d rather do lace shawl surgery than face the 6th grade again. –
    I’ll take it a step further, I’d rather have my picture taken while trying on swimsuits (Yeah, my pasty white flobbiness is perfected) than due lace shawl surgery and I would rather do lace shawl surgery than ever be in school again.
    I’m not bitter about those years. Nope. Not at all.

  154. Congratulations! Another milestone achieved by both the kid and the ‘rents. You and Joe must be doing SOMETHING right. Don’t worry about suffering elementary school withdrawal, your two newest angels will be there in a wink – time flies so fast.

  155. Hey, Stephanie, you’re really good at those wholy, lacey patterns. Could you keep us apprised of other similar projects you do (not necessarily right now, if you’re busy, but whenever), please?
    Thanks, gotta go.

  156. Strphanie, First I consider myself a knitter who knows no man made boundaries. I am also an American who appreciates our gentle neighbors to the north. Please look up James Naismish who created basketball while at Kansas University. We living in Kansas know and appreciate he was a Canadian who knew no man made boundries. I hope to visit Canada one day and see the beauty I have only read about!

  157. Stephanie,
    At the expense of seeming an American bore, I respectfully disagree with Santa Claus’ address. My children posted their letters to: Santa Claus 99999 Korvatunturi Finland. The kind soul always responded. I guess Santa does not care where we hail from. Oh if we all could be more like Santa!

  158. A multicoloured swatch? Genius! Thanks for showing us this; it gave me hope – and pride, in my fellow knitters. 🙂
    Sam sounds lovely; a credit to herself, and to you and Joe and her two big sisters.

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