In the woods

Use what talents you possess–for the woods would be silent if no birds sang but the best.

-Henry Jackson van Dyke.


I think that we, as knitters (and often as women, but that’s a long and more complex thing) often diminish our skills. You make something beautiful, you sweat, you curse, you use a calculator and maim reams of graph paper, you rip, you redo, you cultivate a skill…you hang tough and you churn out something remarkable. Something that is the end result of hours and hours of your life and effort, and you feel pretty darned proud of yourself. Then someone walks up to you and says “Wow! Did you make that? That’s fantastic/complex/clever” or “You are very talented” and then we as knitters turn to them, look them dead in the eye and say “No, no…it was easy” or “I just followed a pattern” or “It’s not that hard…you could do it.”


This is an interesting thing to do, considering that we so often complain that we aren’t taken seriously as artists or skilled people, and that knitting remains largely undervalued. (We’re back to the excellent larger question about women in general again, but I’m resisting.) This desire to make everything we do seem easy, our uncomfortableness with the recognition of our talents, it’s a unique approach. Do you think this is something other people do with their skills? Do lawyers say “It was nothing”? Nope. They say “That’s $250 an hour. It took me a long time to learn how to do this.” How about National League Hockey players? No way. They cop to working out and practicing hours and hours a day. Artists don’t say “It was easy.” they tell you how they got there, and then because they have respect for their efforts…so do we.


Screw it. Knitting is a skill and some of the stuff we make is a huge reflection of the time we put into developing our skills and from now on I’m going to try and hold myself to a higher standard. I’m going to cop to it being hard when it is. I’m not going to pretend a fancy lace shawl of my own reckoning just fell off my needles the way that sweat falls off wrestlers and just blush myself off demurely into a corner.


The next time someone comes up to me and tells me they think my knitting is awesome, I’m going to do my level best to look them in the eye and say tell them the truth. I’m going to say “Thank you. It was a challenge, but I did it.”


My wedding shawl (a little late for the wedding) photographed in Washington State Park on my way home to Toronto yesterday.

Approx. 2000m Habu Textiles Shropshire laceweight on 3mm needles. Top portion inspired by a Tablecloth pattern I adapted, found in The First Book of Modern Lace Knitting, The border adapted from Mediterranean Lace found in A Gathering of Lace, and the two patterns were joined together by me in a wave of hard work, sheer luck and wizardry involving some manner of increasing and integration I shall surely never be able to repeat….

…and I am proud.

675 thoughts on “In the woods

  1. Well done Stephanie, I’m incredibly proud of you too, and you’re right; we often diminish our efforts and in so doing diminish ourselves….go girl!

  2. Gorgeous words to follow absolutely stunning work. Thank you for your artistry and for your wisdom!
    I am inspired by your talent and skill. They help to keep me honing my skills, and your honesty about the challenge is a real gift.

  3. You are absolutely right — about women, about knitting, and about owning what you have done!!!
    Congratulations on creating — and on owning the creation of — that gorgeous shawl!

  4. This shawl is so beautiful and stunning…while it may have been a few days late for your wedding, it’s years early for the weddings of the women in your family where I hope it makes appearances time and again. Well done Stephanie, you inspire us all!

  5. Laurie, I read your page every day and I always enjoy it. Today, I was moved almost to tears by how beautiful the shawl is and how amazing it is to have completed it. Thank you for reminding us that what we do is special.

  6. Beautiful… Fabulous… Awesome… Inspirational… That desribes how I feel about both your most wonderful shawl, and your post. Thank you for rallying us (knitters and non-knitters alike) to stand up and take the credit we deserve for our hard work and accomplishments! Hoorah!!

  7. And proud you should be. It is just beautiful and I was hoping I could get the pattern. Your thoughts really struck a chord with me today. You see I am a lawyer and I don’t think that is easy. Yet I often tell people something I knit was easy. Now that I am teaching knitting, I am beginning to realize how hard it is for some people. I’m going to join you and make the effort to be really proud of what I do. Thanks Betsy in Sacramento

  8. Kudos Stephanie, and thanks for giving us the words to value our work. I am surrounded by sisters and nieces who do not value my weaving or knitting as it is not from the mall and “it is homemade”
    Your paragraph about denying the work that goes into such a piece reminded me of how we also forget what we have put into pregnancy, childbirth and nurturing our kids!!!

  9. …and you should be! We passed by each other at Rhinebeck and even my husband saw your shawl and said “Wow, she really MADE that?! That’s crazy!” (which, from him, is a tremendous compliment)

  10. It’s a bona fide ‘magnum opus’, Stephanie. You’re right, just owning our talents can be an incredibly fraught thing for a woman; why I don’t know. I personally hate myself when I hear those annoying self-deprecating words come out of my mouth (why? and where do they come from??). Thanks for the reminder.
    And, “Wow.”

  11. Your wedding shawl is simply breathtaking. You should be extremely proud for making something so beautiful and the love that you have for Joe certainly came through your shawl. I hope that each of your daughters will proudly wear your shawl on their wedding days when they come when they can be wrapped in the love of their parents! πŸ™‚

  12. I think that’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. A living heirloom, if you will. It’s beautiful, and I’m glad you’re not going to downplay all the HARD WORK and TALENT and CREATIVITY that you put into it. It is gorgeous, and you deserve a standing ovation!
    *clap clap clap woo hoo!*

  13. you should be proud. it is amazing and gorgeous. accept the praise, relish it. take pride in your skill and the contribution you’ve made to the world by inspiring us with a thing of beauty to enrich the lives of all who see it.

  14. amen sister! you did a beathtaking job on that shawl. and i can i tell you how much i love habu textiles. business trip to nyc in january, already working on my knitting budget…

  15. So you should be proud – the shawl is fabulous, and there’s NO WAY that should be downplayed. Well done, you super talented knitter you!

  16. And so you should be! It’s absolutely beautiful and something you should be tremendously proud of. You really are an inspiration πŸ™‚

  17. There are usually so many comments here that I just don’t feel that mine would make any sort of difference. But I have to say this:
    That shawl is a stunningly beautiful work of art! You should crow with pride everytime you wear it.

  18. Stephanie – This is one of my all time favorite blog posts. Thank you. And somehow, I think it’s all the more fitting that it’s a wedding shawl, as I think relationships are also things that people try to make look easy, but often aren’t.
    Congrats on both. πŸ™‚

  19. I too am proud of you and your beautiful wedding shawl!
    Hope to have my own piece of lacey proud someday too. Currently very proud of my socks.

  20. This is one of those posts that I think will make you gasp for the number of comments you’re going to get. I bet 800, maybe more, all agreeing with you because you are so right, and bye, is that a pretty ting.

  21. Stunning, just stunning. Oh yeah, and hard as he|| too! I’m impressed with your perseverance and insane number crunching to make the border and body work together! Huzzah to you Sister!

  22. Well said. I think that “women’s work” in general is undervalued – I for one have put in effort and thought into being able to run a household well (in addition to my paid work), so that we no not run out of TP or soap, meals arrive on time, budgets are met, stains do not linger, and our surroundings are attractive and orderly. None of these things appear by magic or luck and we should not pretend that they do. Especially not while we inwardly seethe that our work is not appreciated. Since I’ve passed 50 I’ve dropped all pretense of “nice”. Life is too short. By the way, the last picture is charming. My favorite of you ever.

  23. You made me cry (in a good way). Kudos to you for not only leading the charge to make knitting a household word, but to making it a revered household word.

  24. That last picture of you is perfect. The shawl is spectacular and you are so right to be proud of it.
    It was so good to see you this weekend. It was all I could do not to look you dead in the eye and say as sincerely as possible that you need to move to New England. hee hee…

  25. *sits in stunned silence at the absolute beauty that is the final picture in this post*
    damn right it was hard work.
    and steph? your spinning is pretty good, too. kellee spent sunday morning using some pretty inventive curse words to describe how lovely your spindle spinning was. teehee.

  26. Having just started my very first lace project- and learning that P3tog is a total b*tch- I applaud you on sticking to it and creating a beautiful piece of art that you should be EXTREMELY proud of!!!

  27. Stephanie, that shawl is absolutely gorgeous and I’m so glad I got to see it in person, even if for too short a time. You should definitely be proud of it.
    You do bring up a good point though about selling ourselves short with what we produce. I have to admit that I downplay it when complimented on something I knit that “I was just following a pattern” and “you can do it too”. I think a reevaluation is definitely necessary, not to mention the ability to take a compliment.
    Glad to see you made it home safe and sound.

  28. So well said! I think being honest about our abilities is also a wee bit of an age issue. Women of a “certain age”–those of us who grew up on the cusp of women’s rights (at least in the US) were taught as girls to be accommodating and demure (and wives) and then….then somewhere in high school and college the rules changed. Then we were supposed to eschew the roles & abilities of our mothers–to have–not jobs–but CAREERS. And in the process, many of the domestic skills so valued by our mothers and grandmothers became not representations of competence & expertise, but symbols of women in a lesser role. So now as those domestic activities–like knitting–that require genuine skill re-enter the public sphere, we are almost afraid to admit the work it takes to complete a magnificent project. (or give credit to women–or men–who choose to stay home and manage a household…certainly a major project management task if I ever heard of one!) I think we are still learning that it is !!OK!! to toot our own horns. (Boy, I could go on and on but I bet I sound preachy enough already πŸ˜‰

  29. Oh, wow – that is so true. I taught someone to knit for the first time recently, and it brought home to me all of the years I have spent, the hours I’ve pored over patterns, the minutes ticking by as I stare at a row I know contains an error, but where?…
    Perhaps because we enjoy doing it, it seems to be too much. I remember practicing the piano, getting frustrated, sounding terrible, and finally glad that I was able to turn hard work into music that people would want to listen to (and perhaps compliment). It was very zero-sum: the frustration was payment for the kudo. But I enjoy knitting, even when I am doing something that is something of a stepping-stone to a future project (e.g. my current project: Cari’s “Traveling Vines” scarf in order to get some lace practice before trying a bigger shawl). The lace I’m doing at the moment might be “practice,” but it’s also product (and it’s fun). So getting compliments seems like… I don’t know, getting paid for having fun. It’s too much.
    And yet it’s not too much. Thanks for reminding me that not everything is a zero-sum game.

  30. And rightly so. If I wore a hat, (which I don’t because of soul crushing hat head experiences that should never be mentioned again) I would be tipping it to you right now.

  31. And when we’re impressed, we other knitters of lace, it must be a really wonderful accomplishment. I’m proud of you.

  32. My, that is such a thing of beauty. Congratulations! You’ve inspired me to find some beautiful yarn that I could, likewise, display my works of art with such dignity. (I want to make a shawl for myself!)

  33. It is AWESOME and lovely and delightful and I wonder if you could find some way to get paid $250/hour for doing it…
    …’cause it’s surely, truly, worth it.

  34. I never got a chance to tell you – it really is quite exquisite.
    And every time someone told me they liked the shawl I was wearing, I made sure as hell to tell them I not only knit it, I spun the freaking yarn as well. HUMILITY BE DAMNED!

  35. Your shawl is magnificent! It will be a wonderful family heirloom. I am about to embark on my first lace shawl and I have no intention of telling anyone that “it was easy”! I always used to say that too, and have realized that it makes people think that no effort or skill goes into the item. I am trying to learn to say “thank you. I am very pleased with it” and not make light of my work when I make something….not as easy as it sounds!

  36. add me to the list of the teary. Wonderfully stated, and true of women who do so many other things with their hands.
    The shawl is beyond beautiful, and to be honest, I don’t know that I can put words to what I’m trying to say… so I’m stopping now.

  37. You should be proud — that shawl is simply spectacular! The knitting of it alone is one accomplishment, but the fact that you designed it and knit it and did all of the math involved — I’m simply without words.

  38. First of all, I *heart* the shawl – it’s so lovely, and I am very proud of you. People will beg, but never make or give away the pattern; it’s worth having this all to yourself. There are paragraphs to be written about whether or not women claim the space that’s rightfully theirs in life, but I’m not doing a very good job formulating even one of those. I think women back away from power and ownership all over the place, and it perplexes me. Minimizing your own work or choosing not to speak up for yourself is not all about “subverting the dominant paradigm” and finding your own way to communicate – sometimes it’s just a mistake. Then again, the time and energy to formulate your own point of view and share it with others often belongs to people with money and power already. So maybe small steps, wherever you can, whoever you are is the answer. For now.

  39. First off, THANK GOD you posted when you did… I was getting a bit twitchy checking all 5 e-mail accounts and bloglines in rapid succession wondering if there was going to be any contact with the outside world today.
    Secondly, this is one of the hardest things I have had to learn to do. I had to recognize that I am GOOD at designing shawls and that not everyone has this talent. I had to stop saying “Oh, it’s not that hard” or “Anybody could do it”, or “No, really… I’m not special or anything” and just learn to say “Thank You, I spent a lot of time on it”. I struggle on a daily basis with depression and negative thoughts about myself (as evidenced by the fact that no new e-mail has made me VERY sad today), and I realized that when I made self-depricating comments about myself or my talent when people commented on it, I felt worse and was more easily depressed. After all, if I can make little of something I am so deeply proud of, then why shouldn’t I make little of myself. But when I stop myself from saying those things and just say “Thank you! I appreciate that! And it takes a lot of tenacity” then I feel proud in my accomplishments and find myself happier than I would have been.
    Sorry for the novel in your comments πŸ™‚ Hope you like the jam!

  40. Even more gorgeous than the other pics. You should be proud & we’re proud of you. The value some people place on hand made items is very low while others value hand made very highly. It is hard but given sufficient determination and imagination we can all do amazing things.

  41. Outstanding and beautiful.
    For the record, I have yet to go near a piece of graph paper, or to do lace, for that matter. Sheesh. πŸ™‚

  42. The shawl is awesome. Thank you for sharing it with us. I hope one day that I’m able to create something half as beautiful.

  43. “Like sweat off a wrestler” is exactly how a lace project like that *does* come off the needles, actually–as a product of hard work, physical and mental effort, and sustained training.

  44. You combined the patterns well and executed it beautifully. Wedding lace always rocks the knitting world.
    Now… why not rant about the larger issue of women (and, presumably, our social conditioning)?

  45. As well you should be. That is a masterful (mistressful?) piece of work.
    I was so worried that it would get dirty at Rhinebeck – some knitter who’d been fondling a dirty fleece would touch it, or a little kid with truffly fingers, or a hungry goat… But no, it appears to be one of those holy things. Dirt of this world cannot touch it.
    That last photo reminds me of a little girl running along with her favorite blanket. That’s really when we were last able to admit that we were good at something, so it’s apt.

  46. and well you SHOULD be proud. it’s phenomenal. i am making my first lace right now, and i am in utter awe of your skill and bravery. that shawl is a work of art.
    as with any craft, i believe that there is a point at which the line between craft and art is crossed. for example, there’s a simple and functional 9-patch quilt, and then, there’s this: there’s a simple one piece top down raglan sweater, and then, there’s your shawl.

  47. Just Stunning! Beautiful combination of Kinzel and the border pattern on the Knitter’s pattern.

  48. Just had to tell you that I finished the “Branching out” scarf from knitty because of you . A lady said ohhh did you make that and I replied , yes i sure did and I didn’t ever think I’d knit something as nice as this . Be proud of that gorgeous creation Steph and all knitters should be likewise of their hard work and passion

  49. The shawl is absolutely, exquisitely beautiful, and you deserve every compliment you get for it! Proud, you should be.

  50. OMG, that it beautiful. You designed and created art. Your blood, sweat and tears were totally worth the reward of this beauty. You’ve created an heirloom for your girls.
    I’m working on the Fir Cone Square Shawl from Folk Shawls (lace weight on #3s) and you have inspired me to keep going even though it is getting challenging.
    I can’t say enough to demonstrate how gorgeous your hard work turned out. :)K

  51. Holy crap – you didn’t just knit that beautiful thing, you DESIGNED it?! I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy! If you were EVER to pish-tosh and say, “Oh, this old thing?” regarding this shawl, that would just be So Wrong. As in, causing rips in the Space-Time continuum wrong. Huge props to you, Stephanie – I’m now in the mood to re-tackle some lace, in the form of my stalled Pacific Northwest Shawl.

  52. Now, if we could just get you to leave out the parts about “luck” and “never be able to repeat”–because it was your talents and gifts and hard work (not luck) and you will always have those things. I have no doubt that you will continue to create wonderful works of art, and I am proud of you, too.

  53. phew. that is the most beautiful piece of knitting.
    now. where are the promised wedding pix?

  54. Damn right you should be proud! How long was that last row? FOREVER and a half, I believe? It’s absolutely beautiful and deserves all the praise bestowed upon it. You go, girl!

  55. Your words are real food for thought, in many ways. Thank you for that. But, the shawl (and the pictures)…just breathtaking. Each one more beautiful, and the last one. Probably the most beautiful photo of knitting I’ve seen yet. You should be proud!

  56. My friend Marie brought me to knitting about 5 years ago. I’ve always been jealous of the fact that she had met her knitting hero, Elizabeth Zimmerman. It’s always “EZ this” and “Elizabeth that” – Why didn’t I have a knitting hero?
    Well, now I have one. I was one of the probably hundreds of people who came up to you at Rhinebeck on Saturday to say hello, to gawk at the shawl, to reach out tentatively to touch it. Thanks for your humor, your grace, for reminding us that knitting IS TOO an art, and your fan-freaking-tastic knitting skills! We’re proud, too.

  57. I can’t imagine a better way to be…
    accepting that you did an awesome job and admitting it to yourself is the first step. I must remember it’s okay to do this!!
    The shawl is beautiful…and what a beautiful celebration of a lovely union between to wonderful people…
    Great Job!

  58. congrats!
    it is, indeed, gorgeous. fantabulous!
    take the compliments! especially from other knitters… πŸ™‚
    similarly (? i dunno, i associate them in the same vein) i get rather perturbed when random people (strangers or familiars) make some sort of “do you sell?/why don’t you sell?/you could *totally* get $20/$30/$50 for that!”
    and i calmly, and patiently say, “well, i probably could, but since my materials cost me $50/$75/$100, and i put 10/50/100 hours into it, i probably wouldn’t want to”
    which, of course, is responded to with disbelief and an “i had no idea it would take that much money/time. why would anyone knit?!”

    that’s the point that i usually lose my patience and either stop talking, or change the subject.
    p.s. good to see you for a few minutes on sunday! i’m glad that we could entertain deb/stitchy for a minute with a smarties song and dance. πŸ™‚

  59. Good for you! I’m often shoving my knitting at people saying, “look what I did! Isn’t it awesome!” It feels good and you should do it often!!

  60. Wenders said exactly what I was thinking, about relationships and creating something beautiful being equally hard as well as deeply rewarding. Both take enormous sticktoitiveness and guts, and a lot of love for what matters.
    I’m proud of you for creating beauty in both realms.

  61. Stephanie,
    i think you’ve made a very beautifull shawl and you must wear it with pride. I think it deserves it doesn’t it?
    I look at it and am stunned about the nice work and beautifull lace.
    Thinking, could i ever do that??? Sure i can when my name is yarn harlot πŸ˜‰
    Well good on you by saying you’ll change the way off your answers to people who ask you did you make it yourself??
    I’ve learned myself to say when somebody gives me a compliment. Thank you.
    Nothing more then that.
    Just thank you and wear it.
    let them guess a little no worrie about that..
    I only tell people who ask more how i made it and how much effort it costed.
    Wish you much joy by wearing this beautifull shawl and hope it keeps you warm.

  62. Stephanie,
    I hope you remember how you did it! I’ve been watching you knit it in the blog and waiting for the day you publish the pattern! It’s very beautiful.
    Congratulations on your vision and the skill to make it happen…

  63. And you should be proud. It’s breathtaking and completely yours. I have always admired that Mediteranean Lace Shawl and you have put it all together in such a stunning way.

  64. it really is absolutely breath-taking… I’m glad you’re going to admit this one was a challenge too – if you told me “you could do it” I would laugh. loudly. possibly to the point of tears.

  65. Proud and *wise*! That’s the loveliest shawl ever knat. You make me feel proud to call myself a knitter, and thankful that we have the internet – I feel lucky to have you in my kitchen every morning.

  66. Stephanie, thank you for your inspiring work and words.
    My daughter is adopted from Vietnam and has very striking features. When people comment that she is beautiful, I used to demure saying I had nothing to do with it, since she doesn’t bear my genes. But after thinking more about this, I realized I can truly say “thank you.” I didn’t give her her black hair, but I do make sure it’s washed, brushed and shiny. I didn’t give her a creamy complexion, but I do make sure I fill her with as much good food as possible and help her wash her face afterwards. I didn’t give her brown eyes, but I hope that in the past eight years I have contributed to their sparkle with my love and care for her. So yes, I can take some credit, instead of diminishing my role in the process.
    Thank you for letting me work this out!

  67. You have put your passion into the correct perspective. You are an accomplished knitter because you gave it your best efforts. No one who hasn’t tried their best ever gets to see the view from the mountaintop that you do. Revel in it, baby.

  68. THANK YOU. When I had a mini piano recital once and someone complimented me on my performance, I started saying things like “oh, but I made so many mistakes…i really should have played the bridge more quietly…”. My piano teacher leaned over and whispered “say thank you”. Best advice ever.
    And although it’s been said by many already, that shawl is really, truly beautiful. The knitting of it is quite a feat, and the designing of it is, to me, even more impressive. Congratulations!

  69. I’ve been thinking lately about knitting and about how people sometimes consider it almost a tribute to the oppression of women. Of course, I believe quite differently. Women’s tasks have been undervalued throughout history, even though they were quite important. I won’t go further down that path, either. But one of the beauties of knitting/spinning is that it is a way to HONOR these skills that have been undervalued. A way to say that the efforts and skills and minds of women have ALWAYS been valuable, no matter whether the craftwomen could vote at the time, or own property, or divorce an abusive spouse. All that stuff aside, they STILL made beautiful and/or useful items. I knit mostly because I like it, but a part of why I like it is this connection with the women of the past.
    Your shawl is beautiful and certainly gets my respect.

  70. We say, Oh no, it’s not hard–it’s easy” not so much out of self deprication but out of a desire to “con” the unknowing into the joyous sisterhood of the knitter. Soon enough they will realize as do we all just how difficult a lace shawl truly is. And then it will already be too late. Knitters…conquering the world one naive knitter at a time.
    So yes, nod and say,” Thank you” when someone stands slack-jawed in awe of your amazing talant and skill. But remember, we are on a crusade Woman!
    The Wedding Shawl and you are glorious! Knit on.

  71. I think one of the hard lessons we as women need to learn is how to accept compliments. Have you ever noticed that when a woman receives a compliment on a garment she has made (knitted or sewed) that her first reaction is to point out the “mistakes” that she has made to the complimentor. It took me years to learn to simply smile and say “thank you” without further embelishments.

  72. You should be proud – that is practically an engineering marvel, the way the string and sticks come together into something that gorgeous and delicate.
    Wave that shawl high, sister πŸ™‚

  73. Stunning. I really love the shot of you with it, as if you could take off in flight through sheer joy at your accomplishment.

  74. The wedding shawl takes my breath away. Of course you should be proud!
    And think ahead to your beaming face when you see that work of art gracing the shoulders of each of your daughters on their wedding days. And then their daughters…
    A beautiful, incredible heirloom.

  75. Oh, Stephanie, it is so beyond gorgeous, and as I read and scrolled, it kept being more and more and more so, and then–that final picture! I was wiping tears. Wow. Thank you for letting us in to see that. Wow. (And I want me some good old East Coast fall leaves to go with the pinfeather-weight shawl I now want to go cast on Right Now.)
    For me, personally, when I say something wasn’t so hard, it’s a way of trying to reach out to the other person, a way of saying, You could do it too! Honest! Of trying to tell *them* not to sell themselves short, they really could do it.
    Not telling them what it’ll take them to get to that point of accomplishment, though, that part’s kind of underhanded, you know?

  76. And proud you should be. To do what you did to make that shawl is nothing less than stellar. Good Job!!! And brag for all you’re worth! I’m still left speechless by the beauty of it.

  77. Your post did your wedding shawl proud, in prose and in pictures. I love the way the motifs come together in the middle and then segue into the border. Brilliant!
    As a knitter, woman, wife, veterinarian, mother, I would do well to remember what you wrote. Thank you.

  78. So well said, Stephanie, and I agree completely.
    Your shawl is stunningly beautiful and you should just bask in every compliment you receive!

  79. As you should be. We’re all proud of you for creating it, and for sticking with it even after the “deadline” came too early! An amazing work. You are to be congratulated!

  80. Thank you for saying that and reminding me to not always be so humble. The shawl, wow, gorgeous!

  81. That is sooo beautiful. Absolute take credit for the hard work and definitely wear it! Don’t let something that pretty sit in the closet like all my lace.

  82. And you should be proud … you definately have the bragging rights … your shawl is so dreamy and beautiful and inspiring.

  83. Bravo and well said! Not only is your shawl beautiful and inspirational, but so are your words. It never can be said enough that need to appreciate the work we do as women and as artists.

  84. I think it’s wonderful that you’ve made this beautiful shawl to commemorate your wedding – making a home/family/relationship work is a little like making your shawl. You do know that there’s a certain amount of luck or grace involved, but there’s also hard work, some calculation, and love for what you’re doing, or at least how you hope it’ll turn out.
    It’s really beautiful and you should be proud!

  85. You should be proud! It’s breathtaking! And what a beautiful heirloom you’ve created for your daughters – it may not have been done in time for your wedding, but may it grace the shoulders of your beautiful daughters if they choose to walk down the aisle!
    So, pattern forthcoming? (Sorry, I had to ask!)

  86. Wow… Just, wow…
    As I prepare for NaNoWriMo, I find your words especially meaningful. Since the days when I first read your posts on the Yahoo knitting group, you’ve always impressed me with both your knitting and writing. That admiration has only increased with each book and each knitting wonder you create.
    I mean this with all sincerity, Stephanie – I want to be *you* when I grow up!

  87. You know what? Somehow hearing you say that it was hard work and took reams of paper made me feel more empowered myself. Yes, that shawl looks extremely challenging, and knowing that you sweated a bit makes me feel like I can face my next challenge. It’s really a special piece, and I am impressed and inspired. Great job!

  88. Steph…I usually lurk your site nearly everyday and think wow. You were actually my inspiration to start knitting after I sat on the floor in barnes and noble and read your first book. I thought something that you could make that funny I need to be in on it.
    (Imagine my standing ovation here woman.)
    Your shawl is gorgeous. Now I am gonna go and look at my Icarus that is still on the needles.

  89. Your wedding shawl is truly awesome – and inspired! You have every right to be proud. Thank you for reminding all of us that what we do, albeit for our own pleasure and entertainment, is something of which we can be proud. May we remember, next time we get a compiment, to reply – “oh it was eas….ily one of the most challenging designs I have ever knit. Thank you!”

  90. You should be proud! It’s gorgeous and took many hours of your life–even pinning it out took hours! Not only do I often pshaw compliments on my knitting, I usually proceed to talk about the tiny little details that I got wrong or don’t like. I’m by far my own worst critic.

  91. That is so beautiful, and like the best marriages all the better for the work that went into it. One day I’ll try lace…maybe.

  92. You should be proud. That shawl is ecstatically beautiful. Don’t call it the Wedding Shawl–call it the Marriage Shawl, and aim for ecstatically beautiful.

  93. Stephanie:
    That is a stunning work of art. I love that the shawl is more rounded than a purely triangular shawl.
    Are you going to write up a pattern? Or was that joining “that you might not be able to repeat” beyond writing up? Or is it just going to be yours–a one of a kind?
    I can understand if it is. But man, I sure would love to make one.

  94. Stephanie – I’m with you all the way there. You finished this magnificent, heirloom shawl– over a mile(by my terrible math figuring)of yarn on small needles. Close to creating cold fusion on a table top, as far as I’m concerned. There is no amount of money that can pay for that genius. Period.

  95. If ever there was a flag to which women could rally, this is it.
    Brava for your art! Brava for your craft! Brava for knowing they are the same thing!

  96. Stephanie,
    Your shawl is beautiful. I am in awe of your talent. Congrats on finishing it.

  97. Amen, sister. That shawl is (I said it before, and I’m saying it again, and I’ll continue saying it at any opportunity) far and away the most beautiful thing I saw at Rhinebeck, or anywhere else, for that matter, in quite a while. It inspired me to buy 2000+ yards of Icelandic laceweight in the hope that I might come up with something 1/100 as awesome.

  98. Stephanie, it really is an extraordinarily lovely thing. Congratulations! I don’t “should” people lightly, but you should be very proud and I’m glad to read you are!

  99. It’s so great that you discussed this today. Just last night I was considering commenting to ask you to discuss your family’s take on your knitting. (Not quite the I-undervalue-me topic, but definitely a they-undervalue-me tangent.) While I am trying to raise our sons to appreciate crafting and art of all types, my husband sees no need to make anything you can buy in a store. I’ve tried to explain the theory of appreciating a handmade item for the love and dedication that went into it, but … Fortunately, so far, our sons seem to be on my side on this one. But while I’ve almost (not quite) given up on ever converting my husband to my point of view, I’ll be crushed if my children switch their loyalties with age. (I know I’d have them in my arts/crafting corner for sure if I could just master the art of handmade video game cartridges! Anyone have a pattern?!)

  100. As you should be. It’s heart-stoppingly beautiful and a tribute to your efforts.
    Now let’s see that gansey, oh miracle knittress.

  101. Own it. You deserve it. As we all do, as knitters and humans putting forth efforts to make this world better with every stitch and every kind effort.
    The shawl truly is breathtaking.

  102. Lovely photos of a magnificent shawl and the magnificent woman who has rallied the knitting world like no other this century!

  103. It and you are beautiful. Take all the praise and credit due. I wish I had seen you on Sat. Keep up the good work. I’m planning a simple lace shawl to start and may work up to more complicated shawls as time goes on.
    Blessings to you and yours
    Judy of western Mass.

  104. Your wedding shawl is an incredible work of life. It brings tears to my eyes just for the pure pleasure of looking at it. Well done!

  105. dear harlot, this is a truly magnificent work of art and testament to your talent. i think that even by your standards, it can be described as a heirloom! congratulations: this accomplishment deserves a vocal recognition!

  106. Huzzah to you and your shawl! You SHOULD be proud.
    And thanks for bringing some (in)sanity to my world through your writing.

  107. I totally agree. I recently started spinning on a spindle, and people keep telling me how great my spinning looks for a beginner. At first I was all humble about it, but now I say ‘heck yeah, I think I’m pretty good at it for a beginner too!” πŸ™‚ I think there is nothing wrong with being proud of what you can do that other’s may not be able to. Whether it is that they don’t have the talent or patience, or interest etc. doesn’t really matter. The point is that if we are not proud of our own work, then how can we expect other people to value it.

  108. You should be proud dammit! Its a beautiful piece of work that looks just as hard if not harder than it was to do. You will have years of enjoyment with it and the man who was the reason you knit it. BE VERY, VERY PROUD.

  109. This is one of the most beautiful things you’ve written…and one of the most beautiful knitted pieces I’ve ever seen.
    Be proud, lady. That looks like a lot of hard work and good old fashioned skill to me.
    And thank you a hundred thousand times for posting the pictures. I was STARVING to see it “all the way”. πŸ™‚

  110. Well stated! We do have a hard time taking credit for our accomplishments, don’t we? Humility has its place, but so does acknowledging the fruits of our considerable labor. I loved seeing the shawl in person, which is just breathtaking. Wear it in good health.

  111. That shawl is one stunning opus of a finely honed knitter athlete. As Knitters, we understand. We appreciate. We luxuriate that a Knitter could actually use her talent (it surely requires inherent talent) and through lots of hard work, some luck, and plentiful caffeine, design and knit a lace shawl that will be counted as one of the greats. We see. We understand. We say “If you want to become a Knitter, it takes a lot of hard work and may not be cut out for you. You may want to start with some lessons”.
    I raise my morning tea to your coffee and toast you. Congratulations on a knit beautifully designed and executed. Surely worthy of marking the beginning of your legal union.

  112. Taking a compliment with finesse is a skill that we all need to work on. The shawl is stunning. I’m thrilled to have seen it in person.

  113. I hear what you’re saying about valuing our own skills, and you’re totally right about that.
    I think, though, that the reason we often tell people that knitting is easy and that they can do it, is because we’re always hoping for more knit buddies to play with and (maybe without even thinking about it) more knit consumers to keep the yarn and pattern companies churning stuff out for us, rather than trying to devalue our work.
    I think the other big thing, as you alluded to, is our nature as women. And you’re right… there’s more there than could be adequately covered in a blog post… at least one where you’re trying to showcase something else and make another valid point.

  114. Beautiful! Absolutely a work of art. I can only hope? dream? I might be able to create something so gorgeous. I certainly hope it is treasured for generations.
    You make an interesting point about valuing and owning our own work, as knitters and as women. As a young woman who has grown up in a time and environment where woman are capable and encouraged to do anything, I still find myself shy about my own accomplishments. Some voice from my childhood says “it’s not nice to brag”. Something stops me from acknowledging that yes, I’ve done well, I work hard and I’m good at what I do.
    Working in a male dominated field, I’ve come to see having a bit of an ego as a necessary “skill”… one I’ve had to learn, so that when someone comes up to me and says “great talk, beautiful work” at a conference, I can respond “thanks, did you have any questions?” instead of going into this thing that didn’t work out, or that I thought I presented the talk to fast, or worse just blushing and trying to back out of the conversation all-together.
    So, bravo on the wedding shawl, bravo for owning it, and BRAVO for writing so elequantly on the topic of coming to own your accomplishments.

  115. Ah, hiding our light under a bushel basket, eh?
    I used to hide and shy away from praise (still do to some degree on the broader women in general theme use chose not to go to above!). I am talented and, while choosing (mostly) not to brag, if someone notices, I have learned to say “thank you. It is something I really love to do” or “Thank you, I am so glad you liked it.” I don’t get into the difficulties, unless asked, but I learned not to diminish the work by saying it was easy either! πŸ™‚ It was a long lesson, but I may have finally gotten there!
    Thank you for the beautiful post, for sharing your beautiful shawl and for acknowledging your talent in presenting it to us!

  116. Stand tall, Dude. (or as tall as you can when you just brush 5 ft…)
    That is one amazing feat of designing and knitting, and the amount of love that is knit into it, well, that’s somewhat overwhelming.
    Be proud of your accomplishments (your marriage and relationship, your daughters, your writing, your ability to create timeless art in the form of knitting.
    Stand Tall.

  117. I am gobsmacked – this is gorgeous! Thanks for giving us the specs – you knew we were going to ask. Please bring the shawl to Ottawa when you come (whenever that may be), so we can see it in all its glory!

  118. You didn’t walk to Toronto, did you? πŸ˜‰
    Thank you for sharing the journey of your wedding shawl. I get emotional every time I ready your posts. I just have to be a wisearse though, I know you of all people appreciate a smile.

  119. I don’t blame you one bit for your pride. I agree that we do minimize our skills and we shouldn’t be doing it. Knitting is, as you say, easier than reading but doing it well is a talent – I’m sure of it.

  120. And proud you should be… as a teacher I work hard to help my students take credit for both the successes and their mistakes. Nice reminder that I need to do that as well!

  121. Kudos to you once again! That was the perfect moment to reflect on the way so many of us feel uncomfortable with compliments and recognition. I know I do. Every time I say “Oh, it’s nothing,” in response to a compliment it’s like saying “Oh, I’m not worth much” and that’s the just message people get.
    Great writing and fabulous knitting too!

  122. Breathtakingly beautiful. God gave you great talent and you have used it in a spectacular way.

  123. That is the most beautiful piece of knitting I’ve ever seen. I think you win the “Worldwide Knitter’s Lifetime Achievement Award”.

  124. I’m so glad to ‘hear’ you ‘say’ all of that, that you are proud and will stand up for your design, spinning, knitting skills.
    The shawl is stunning, elegant, take my breath away beautiful, magical and a touch of whimsical and I love the photos, especially the last one. Hell, I’m proud of you.

  125. NO, she’s not going to publish the pattern, dudes. Did Michaelangelo sell stencils of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling? Did Leonardo make paint-by-numbers of the Mona Lisa? It’s her absolutely unique wedding/marriage shawl. She might as well run off copies of Joe. (Wait. Let me think about that one for a minute…)
    What I would like to buy, though, would be that last shot as a poster. No words, no quotations, just that picture, two feet by three. Send the money to MSF. Ken, is this doable?
    Okay, enough inspiration. Now we want the loot, the goodies, the swag, the booty, the haul. Show us the Rhinebeck!

  126. Amen.
    It is a learned skill to be able to take a compliment with grace and ease. It is challenging to be able to speak up and say, “Thank you. I’m proud of having made it.”
    In addition, there is a special glow to having designed it, too. To me, there is the air of the miraculous when a design comes to me. And I do think of it in those terms. It comes to me. And with it is a profound joy that bubbles up and almost makes me want to sing. Designing things is a miracle of happiness, no matter how hard it was sweating the math to make it work. To me, the math is part of the magic and I deeply love it. It’s almost embarrassing to admit these things about designing. Others might not understand. But there it is. And I delight in knowing that you must feel that, too. To have designed that great work of beauty and awe is to have touched the stars and brought some starlight back with you.
    Bless you.

  127. Thank you for your wise words about valuing our own work as it so deserves. Your shawl is fabulous and so are my vanilla socks.

  128. Yay you.
    I was at an amazing panel last night about women and balance and success. Someone said “claim your moments.” Just like that.

  129. You take my breathe away … your talent, both writing and knitting, is phenomenal! Sometimes you make me laugh so hard, other times like today, you bring tears to my eyes with your wise words. If all Canadians are as cool as you, I’m moving North!!

  130. You should be PROUD! No matter when it was finished, it’s gorgeous. Stand tall and tell everyone that you worked hard to do it. BTW – Does the new book have a title yet?

  131. You should be PROUD! No matter when it was finished, it’s gorgeous. Stand tall and tell everyone that you worked hard to do it. BTW – Does the new book have a title yet?

  132. Yes, lovely. I especially like the very edge, the way it appears extra “lacey” as if it’s dissolving into the background. Gorgeous and definitely something to be proud of!

  133. Truly Amazing & A Work Of Art. The photo of you and the shawl would make a beautiful book cover :o) Ya make us proud Sista and SuperDuper proud that you’re a Canadian Sista :o) thanks for all you do for the knitting world – bowing to my Queen Of Knitting…

  134. I didn’t just tear up – I’m full-on leaking! The shawl is crazy beautiful – as is the writing. This is exactly how I feel, and I’m slowly learning that it’s OK to tell people how much effort something took when they compliment me on it.
    I gasped all over again when I saw these pictures. You deserve every single compliment you receive.

  135. And proud you should be – your shawl is spectacular – and you (we) are very talented – you (we) have developed a skill that is worthy of note. And it was hard work!
    You Rock!!

  136. Thanks for telling us how you made it. You should be proud . Since not ony did you spend all that time knitting you designed the shawl as well. It is truely the most breathtaking most beautiful shawl I have seen

  137. There is a hush in blogland as we all stare speechless at the wonder of your wedding shawl.
    Now, we stand, applaud and yell Brava Stephanie, Brava! If I could throw flowers at your feet, I would.
    Gorgeous Dahling, simply fabulous!

  138. Brava, Stephanie – You damn well SHOULD be proud – it’s a Beautiful testament to your dedication to your craft, and your love of the yarn itself. πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing this with us!

  139. It is truly a work of art and inspiration. Stephanie, you are amazing with sticks’n’string and words and people.
    In the last picture in the series, it looks like the shawl is really wings and you are about to take flight. What an image!
    Thank you so much for the beauty and laughter you so graciously share.

  140. And you should be proud. It is stunning, special and totally one of a kind.
    My boy told me that I’m a better knitter than his mother and I had no idea what to say. I do more kinds of knitting than she does… I think that was his point, but I’m a girl. Raised to be meek and modest. Although, I did a little dance later once no one could see me.

  141. I think that’s the most beautiful shawl I’ve ever seen, and I really know how much skill it took – Super Gold Star for you!!

  142. Such a gorgeous shawl… and I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that I am not the only person to say thanks for being so calm and kind when I got very excited to see you at Rhinebeck (Sunday morning, Brooks Farm booth, with my Canadian friend Elizabeth) – I’m a Florida knitter, so the combination of my first Rhinebeck and seeing you within minutes of arriving was, well, great. I worked in the music industry and never got silly around famous musicians like I did with you – thanks again!

  143. It’s official. I am in love with you.
    One…that shawl is fantastic. It makes me want to toss all of my Christmas knitting and work on the Charlottes Web shawl that I have been fighting with for a YEAR now. It would be my first shawl and first lace….I getta get it together.
    Two…You are totally right. I always say it was easy or I just followed a pattern. I should also, from now on, add in the knitting meltdowns and temper tantrums.

  144. You have EVERY reason to be proud – it was hard work, it was sweat and tears, and it is a wonderful piece of artistry. It’s BEAUTIFUL. Congrats! πŸ™‚

  145. WOW. I am in awe. All of that with sticks and string…
    My first feelings on seeing that were of intimidation and inadequacy- I could never do that- or any type of lace. I read your post and thought about my knitting progress over the last couple of years, and there’s hope… thank you.

  146. You SHOULD be proud…that shawl had me goggling at the computer screen. Just from the sheer intricate beauty of it! I like your comment about how you’ll accept compliments in the future too!

  147. And well you should be proud, Stephanie. That is just one of very many beautiful and not-so-easy accomplishments in your life. That new attitude should slip right into your book writing, mothering, wifing, etc… “it was a challenge, but I did it.”

  148. And so you should be. Beautiful shawl. And good job sticking to that one point when a seriously book-length essay on femininity and putting ourselves down was banging on the door. Not sure I could have done that, either.

  149. As a first time lace knitter, it’s become very evident to me that lace is not easy!! It’s great to hear someone that I admire so much both acknowledging the effort and work that goes into so much beauty but also taking pride in its creation.
    Great job!

  150. Beautiful. I didn’t realise you blended two patterns; they came together wonderfully.
    And I’m reading the phrase “try my level best” after so long! It’s a standard Indian-English term, but for some reason it was also frowned upon. Not sure why.
    Well, I continue to use it, and I’m going to try my level best to finish my damn Shaped-triangle-turned-Swallowtail shawl asap.

  151. YES!
    And we really shouldn’t go “there” with the devaluation of women and the work they do, be it art or science, b/c this is a knitting blog?? pshaw..
    That shawl IS a work of art.
    You are one amazing woman – who also is a tremendous knitter! (And isn’t that what we all aspire to?)

  152. As well you should be, Steph. It’s gorgeous!
    I find myself doing the same thing. I was knitting some socks for my doctor during physical therapy yesterday, and someone said, “I don’t know how you can do that! I never could”, and I said “Sure you can, it’s easy. I learned from a book. Anyone can do it”. But the first time, it wasn’t easy. You’re right, we need to give ourselves more credit for a job well done.

  153. Well spoken!
    It’s fantastic and gorgeous and lovely. Really those words nearly belittle it. I’m reduced to gestures.

  154. That shawl is a beautiful, beautiful piece of knitting.
    I don’t know why being proud of what you have made is so hard (or sometimes, just being proud of what you do), I just know that excessive modesty is a bloody hard habit to break. But if *you* don’t value your work, time, and skill then nobody else will either because they (the nebulous they) take their cues from how *we* act and describe our efforts.
    Why isn’t there a knitterly version of He-Man’s “By the Power of Grey Skull” schtick for when you’ve pulled off something exceptionally impressive? Like, for example, your shawl?

  155. That’s an incredible shawl. I love it. And your description of blocking it is a tutorial which I’m referring to when partnering with a friend who has several shawls to block. The wedding shawl may have been a little late for the wedding, but just in time for the marriage.
    Best wishes and congratulations on a great job. Be proud!!
    Marlyce in Windsor, Ontario

  156. If I were in that same park, and it was filled with the most beautiful colors of fall foliage in the world – I’d only be staring at that gorgeous shawl!
    I bow to the Master Knitter!

  157. I’m with Rams – let’s get us a poster of that last shot…I’d gladly send a donation anywhere for it. Then, everytime I looked at it in my knitting cubbyhole, I’d think back to the joy, awe, tears and choked up feeling I got when first I read this one and looked at the finished, wedding, shawl…woman, you are one freakin’ amazing Knitter. You make me proud to be one, too. Wallow in the success.

  158. It is one of the most awesome pieces of art I have seen in a very long time. Congrats on finishing it, and on having the courage to wear it at Rhinebeck – I brought my simple Forest Canopy Shawl to Rhinebeck but left it in my bag most of the time because I was afraid it would be ruined. Guess I should have taken a leaf out of your journal and worn it. – Sharon –

  159. More than it being a breathtakingly beautiful piece, this shawl speaks as a symbol of your ascension to another level in your relationship with knitting. That’s pretty amazing.

  160. Having seen and touched it in person at Rhinebeck, I can attest to its beauty. Wear it proudly! Great photo shoot btw.

  161. Three daughters–one incredibly beautiful work of art made by their mother–my two daughters would already be quibbling about who will get ownership of the shawl someday. Kaye

  162. It is definitely a master work. I can only hope to come close to that kind of perfection one day!
    You rock!
    I think you should shout it from the rooftops! (or maybe from the top of your cherry tree?)
    “I finished my wedding shawl and it’s damn good!”

  163. Well said. I am guilty of doing that exact thing–even to other knitters, who know that the item in question took a lot of time and hard work. The Icarus fiasco, for example, was like giving birth: it was painful, seemingly endless, and before it was over I was screaming for drugs. But when it went on display at the shop and all the knitters who came in cooed over it, it seems all I could say was, “thanks, but it really wasn’t that hard.” WHAA?

  164. The shawl is magnificent. You are correct to be proud of your accomplishment. It would take me 30 years to develop that level of skill.

  165. And well you should be proud. It took me money and therapy to get where you are now, but when someone compliments me on my knitting, I say “Thank you. It was difficult, but well worth it to me.”
    What kills me though is when they think something I hand knit is machine made. I don’t know if it’s a compliment or an insult. Yes, my stitching is neat, but can’t they see the soul of artistry that is in my work?!

  166. BEEEEUTIFUL Stephanie!
    We are all darned proud of you. And not just because we know how much work went into it. I do believe I’ll follow your lead and graciously take compliments from now on. πŸ™‚

  167. Absolutely gorgeous! Breathtaking, even. I can only hope that someday I can work my butt off and come out with as amazing a pattern as that! (And then, y’know, actually knit it. :p)

  168. May your marriage be as beautiful as the shawl… there are no words, or rather, it is beyond my ability to describe it.

  169. My sister, who is a singer, used to depreciate herself and enumerate her mistakes when people came congratulating her at the end of the concert.
    I have always felt that she’ld better say: “Thank you. I am glad you liked it. It was a joy for me (or I partitularly like this or that…)”. Just share with her public the joy, love of music during AND after the concert. and accept the compliments as their way of participating and giving back the love and beauty to her.
    Don’t hesitate to share more pictures. I am enamoured with your shawl.
    (great blocking job, by the way. This is a skill I’ld better improove soon if I want to give my soon-to-be finished sshawl the love it merits)

  170. The shawl is breathtaking. You should be proud. I’m even more impressed by the fact that you designed it yourself. Wow.

  171. I was very insprired by both your words and the shawl. Thank you – I am proud of you, and I have never even met you! Could I ask you a favor? If you ever come back to the Bay Area, could you wear that shawl so we could see it too? I would love to see it up close.
    I saw an older lady in a waiting room wearing a knitted purple hat with orange trim – it was very nicely made. I went up to her and told her I liked it. She said, “Thank you, I made it with my scraps.” We both smiled at each other – total strangers but bonded by yarn and needles. It felt good to both of us that she took credit for all those stitches.

  172. You should be proud. It is absolutely breath taking. To top it off, the photos you took of it are enspiring as well.

  173. Perfect! Your knitting and your writing are a constant inspiration. They both move me beyond words. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

  174. The shawl is a fabulous piece of art. kudos. I paint and knit and it always bothers me that people take my paintings more seriously than my knitting. I spend a lot of time and effort on both! What a great, thoughtful post.

  175. Perfectly timed words of inspiration!
    I have ripped out my first sock about 8 times, but by golly, I am going to stick with it and finish it and its mate, too. Then I am going to pin them to my shirt–why hide them under my trouser legs?
    And the socks will be a tribute to you. I never would have tried to knit socks without your example.

  176. You are amazing. We are amazing. We do so much and we do it DAMN WELL!! And that shawl is beautiful. Way to go!

  177. Whoops! I forgot to tell you how unbelievably awesome your shawl is. And I love the photo of you in the park–I hope you skipped all the way down the path.

  178. Dang straight! It was a lot of hard work (yea you loved it, but still it was a major undertaking from start to finish) and your skill, expertice and amazing vision CREATED it! Good job on giving it the value it deserves…and yea…I do believe it is to a major part a woman’s thang (the de-valueing)
    Ya Rock Steph!

  179. As I said before – that is the most jaw-dropping piece of knitting I have ever seen, bar none. You absolutely SHOULD be proud!

  180. To the comment above about this being a “mistressful” piece of work:
    When I was, oh, ten or so, I remember learning some new skill and joking around about having mastered, or rather “mistressed” it. I was just playing with words, and probably playing with my understanding of gender identity and gender in language.
    My father, the fierce feminist, verbally swatted me for it. He said (to paraphrase), “That would imply that the accomplishment is somehow different according to the gender of the person who did it. You’ve mastered it; it has nothing to do with your gender or anyone else’s, and don’t you forget it.” That was an important thing for me to learn.
    Beautiful work.

  181. You’re absolutely right. You should accept and admit that something was difficult or a challenge, but you did it. I suffer from doing that too. I often have trouble accepting a compliment and I think a lot of women do. It is a gorgeous shawl and a work of mastery. No matter how you did it and even if you think you’ll never do it again, it is absolutely amazing. Great job you!

  182. It is a stunning knitting achievement. And what Wenders said. Excellent metaphor.
    “What size needle did you use for this? Really? Then you knit forever on this one.” Duh-uh.

  183. Beautifully expressed and so true. My textile design professor in college many moons ago always jumped on us when we were describing our work by saying, “It was JUST a little double-weave pattern” or “It’s JUST a quick sketch I threw together.” He pointed out how we describe our work to others can really undermine it. I try to be conscious of that. The shawl is stunning – an heirloom.

  184. I’d say it’s “Magical” except I know it took two “magic” wands and several “fits”- oops, I mean spells. It truly looks like it could be sprinkled with fairy dust.
    I read over 200 comments, printed the whole thing in an ostentatious misuse of company resources and then confessed my addiction to your writing (and knitting & yarn in general) to many of my co-workers. I went from desk to desk showing off your masterpiece!
    The consensus in my corner of Alabama is “Gorgeous & Beautiful”.
    Those who don’t knit cannot fathom the time, commitment, effort & mathmatics that went into this masterpiece. Those of us who do are moved to tears & comment.
    The LYS is still open today. I wonder if I could sneak downtown and buy approximately 2000m of lace weight? Oh, and a bottle or two of the talent you have… I have the 3mm needles already…

  185. And, well you should be proud! Very, very proud! This achievement is way beyond beautiful! It is a truly magnificent, awe-inspiring piece of work. Lots of work. Kudos to you! Ruth in NJ

  186. And for gad’s sake you should be!
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say again, absolutely amazing.
    I bow down to you…

  187. Stwpanie,
    First of all, your wedding shawl is simple gorgeous.
    Secondly, thank you for reminding me that the work I do on my knitting and even my quilting is valuable…thanks for the lesson in letting my self say so and not under estimating my talent.

  188. I just got back from a luncheon honoring all the women philanthropists and nonprofit agencies that help women and girls in our metro area. Every single one of them (us) have worked hard for what we have achieved. And it was so touching to be in a room with 1,800 other women (and some men) to honor and acknowledge that.
    This is why I read your blog. Your knitting amazing, your humor is great, and your feminism is affirming.

  189. I think many things can be utility, craft,or art, or some combination of those. As a musician, when I am complimented on a performance, I never say “oh, it was easy-you could do it, too”, because I did indeed give up my childhood and countless hours of practice and study as an adult to learn to do what I do. On the other hand, a fair amount of what I do to keep body and soul together doesn’t feel very artistic-someone else is usually making the artistic decisions, and on a good day it might be someone whose judgement I trust…then I am a cog in some larger piece of machinery, and I remind myself that there’s a certain pride in that, too. Also that I will be able to pay the bills. That is more like craft-or utility-than art, and I’m OK with that. Knitting is similar-I know the basics, and am capable(on a good day) of following a pattern and making something wearable, warm, even pretty, but damn, girl, that shawl is art, pure and simple! It’s just knitting and purling like the Beethoven Violin Concerto is just D Major scales and arpeggios. And no, not everyone can do that. Rock on, Beethoven.

  190. I have never agreed more. We, as knitters and crocheters, often give ourselves way less credit than we deserve. Hooray to you for pointing this out!

  191. Well said, Stephanie! Shawls definitely don’t just fall off the needles (well, not intentionally). I think we knitters say that knitting isn’t hard as a way to encourage others to learn, but maybe that’s just me.
    Beautiful shawl–it is truly stunning.

  192. As I said on Saturday, you have every right to be proud, and even smug. That is one gorgeous shawl! And thanks for the reminder to own up to it when I’ve put a lot of work into a thing.

  193. Ohh – I feel the makin’ of another book! The shawl is lovely. What a wonderful thought from another post – that your daughters may wear it on their wedding day! So true about the value of our time, efforts and love. Non-knitters/handcrafters do not understand the way of the string. We should pity them. I too will take the pledge to be honest about the time, effort & skill when a handknit is commented on. Bless you Harlot, bless you!!

  194. It’s beautiful. Just absolutely beautiful. Who cares if you had it for the wedding or not — you’ve got it for the rest of your life now.
    I’m making an effort to be honest about my knits (“Why thanks,” I’ll say, prancing around in complicated socks, “I had to start over millions of times but I’m pleased with the result.”), but I have yet to come up with a comeback for the “You must have a lot of free time” or the worse “You have too much free time.”
    But screw ’em. We’ve got pretty things we made ourselves.

  195. The shawl is gorgeous, and you do have every right to be insanely proud of it.
    And I totally agree with you, because I have a tendency to downplay my knitting work, when I am in fact very proud of the things that I’ve made with my own two hands.

  196. The shawl is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Even more important are your words about accepting compliments, and not putting down the results of our time, skills, talents and love.

  197. A friend directed me to this site just for your editorial and stunning photos, and was she ever right! Loved your comments, and everyone else’s comments. But especially how, even when trying NOT to be self-deprecating, someone makes a comment such as “a simply one piece top down raglan sweater” (which might as well be Sanskrit to me).. beautifully ironic! For those of us who do not knit, that sweater would be pure magic, just as my indigo pots might amaze someone who crochets or knits artistically. I agree with another commenter: HUMILITY BE DAMNED! Rock on, ladies! — Bjo Trimble

  198. it is breathtakingly, stunningly, insanely gorgeous, and you should be proud and maybe just a bit smug, because the way those leaves look…it’s like a painting, with depth and shadows and everything, knitted right in.

  199. As well you should be! Now – off to the Gansey – and then some bang up pictures!!
    The shawl is out of this world. Have you thought that your girls may want to wear it for their weddings? An heirloom for sure!
    Of course – they all might want one of their own!

  200. Magnificent, as I said when we had the first shots of it. I love the earlier comment about your girls wearing it, but if they follow your lead, it could be a long while…. πŸ˜‰
    It needs to be hung in a museum case with a dark royal blue background behind it, so we can admire the work. And I’d love to have a high res shot of it for desktop wallpaper…..

  201. You must have that last photograph enlarged, and framed for your home. It captures it all.

  202. A fabulous post about a fabulous shawl. I would have loved to see it at Rhinebeck, but my schedule just wouldn’t permit travel from MD last weekend. Although it’s a gorgeous thing that I’d love to make, I think it needs to be YOUR shawl, that no one else has.
    Hmm, Habu is going to be at Stitches East…..

  203. I am with you, Steph. You point out a very common thing that women do….and things that we would do well to teach our daughters. Thank you…..for saying it. I will remember not to say oh, it’s nothing, when people compliment me.

  204. Thank you for that wonderful post. Your inspirational words and that last picture of you with the shawl moved me to tears!

  205. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: the shawl is beautiful. Beautiful! A marvel of modern knitting engineering.
    And yes, of course, we shouldn’t undervalue ourselves.

  206. I lurked through your wedding….through the finishing of the shawl…..and now where I see you got the inspiration for the pattern, I am thrilled. I ordered those two books yesterday. I CAN make one of my very own (really, my own pattern and not a copy).
    Hopefully by the time you make it to NC I will have a bit to show you

  207. it’s beautiful, a one-of-kind, and I’m in awe. May you admire/fondle/hold/touch/show-it-off for many happy years to come.

  208. Thank you for such an inspirational post. I’ve been slogging through the edging for a shawl and this is just what I needed to hear. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Shawl Knitters Unite!

  209. It is an astonishing accomplishment – a thing of magnificent beauty! And YOU DESIGNED IT TOO! Even if you were silly enough to say it was easy, there is not a soul in blogland who would believe it.
    You are an amazing woman with great talent (G*d given or innate – you choose), enormous skill (hard earned with hours and hours of practice) and fierce perseverance (notice I didn’t say stubborness?) and we are all in absolute awe. Any more adjectives and I’ll have to dig out my thesauraus.
    You know, I hadn’t knit for years until your Knitting Olympics. I didn’t have the confidence to actually join, but I did spin and knit a mobius, and I’ve been spinning and knitting and reading blogs daily since then. Who knows how many lives you’ve changed? Certainly mine.
    Blessings upon you and yours.

  210. It is absolutely beautiful. It looks like a ton of work to me. There is no way in hell that I could ever have done that, too, even if I were a decent knitter, which I’m not.
    You are brilliant and hardworking, as well as ridiculously skilled (which is what you get when you’re brilliant and hardworking), and everyone who comes here knows this. I’m so glad you’ve decided to own up to it.
    And you know, the whole project seems like kind of a nice metaphor for your marriage.

  211. There’s no word in the dictionary to suit that shawl. Your comments were right on, though. I’m so totally in awe!!!

  212. Ditto the AMEN. But is it still okay if I still believe the Neurosurgeon could do it if she wanted to . . .

  213. I’ve been reading your blog for months and had never commented before. Today I feel compelled to comment and say thank you. Thank you for reminding us that we should not diminish our efforts and abilities, but should take pride in them. And thank you for inspiring us with your absolutely magnificent creation of a shawl. You should be proud.

  214. Lots of good words here about not hiding our lights under bushels as we were trained to do. It reminds me of the line from Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged, about being so good at math β€” to the effect that math was important, and how wonderful that she was so good at it. (Has anyone written a book called Math for Knitters?)
    Perhaps, since it’s coming up to the end of this year and the beginning of the next, we should make some personal resolutions:
    1. I will proudly wear my handknits.
    2. I will not devalue my knitting or myself.
    3. I will teach someone else how to knit so she (or he!) can also know the joy of accomplishment.
    4. I will take my knitting one step forward out of my comfort zone.

  215. The finished shawl is no less than perfect.
    Today’s entry should be the introduction to your next book

  216. Absolutely fabulous!!!!!!! You need to figure out which daughter will get it someday so there will be no blood-letting…………or maybe a first grand-daughter…….
    I am taking my first class in chart reading in two weeks. Now I am terrified.

  217. You should be proud; it’s gorgeous. And so’s your spirit. You have an excellent point, even when you’re holding back what you’d really like to tear into. ^_~

  218. The shawl itself is utterly magnificent but what makes it so sublime is not merely its exquisite complexity but the endearingly human process we observed during its creation.
    And in case you are having an attack of the blushes and “little old me”s after all these compliments (old habits are hard to break)I’d like to point out the reason we are all admiring you personally is because you are exactly like us. You juggle kids, work, family, laundry and your knitting – and you have shown us what you AND WE are capable of.
    I’m with Rams on this. Don’t ever publish this pattern- not only is this your personal masterpiece but it should be regarded as a triumphant demonstration of what we can all do. We can make our own Perfect Shawls, we know this because you showed us.
    I love the thought of knitters all around the planet pulling their creations out of the cupboard and standing taller today.
    I’m wearing my new socks. I thank you for showing me how. They are fabulous. *I* am fabulous.
    We are all fabulous!

  219. I, too have down-played my work, “I just followed a pattern..” When people compliment my work, I feel like a fraud to take all the credit. It wasn’t JUST me at work. Something else comes thru me, thru my hands. All art is a collaboration with the Creative Spirit. When you’re really in the zone, you are not alone. Even tho’ you are the one doing all the physical work, the Divine is at work, too. I see The Divine in your shawl, and that is what people sense. That, and all your sweat and tears. It is a miracle of creation, unique and beautiful. Be proud.

  220. OMG!! That is so gorgeous! I’m going to have to buy those books and try one for myself one of these days!

  221. You are my knitting hero…seriously. Thanks for being such an inspiration! And the shawl, I don’t even have words for how amazingly beautiful it is. I never thought I could be awed by a shawl yet here I am and that’s just from seeing pictures! Wonderful!!!

  222. I don’t think i have ever posted a comment, although i read your blog regularly, but today i have to. Your shawl is absolutely stunningly beautiful. There are not enough adjectives to describe it.
    Also, thank you for what you said about the way knitters tend to be somewhat self-depreciating. Next time someone comments positively on my knitting, i will remember to not blow it off, and say it was no biggy. I’m going to put my curly scarf on now, and straighten out the posture. And, i am going to go back and work on those toe-up socks.

  223. Stephanie, your shawl is truly stunning, and I’m so glad you’re proud because you should be. I wish you could look me in the eye and say “thank you”, because that would mean us being in the same room, and I could expound on how awesome I think your knitting is. I’ve read your blog every day for years, and have only commented a couple of times due to the sheer volume of comments you get every day, but I had to de-lurk to congratulate you on both your shawl and your marriage.

  224. Brava. The shawl is wonderful.
    But, I like saying, “Oh, it was nothing,” because I want to convey to the person that I am so frikkin’ talented and clever and smart that I am a force to be reckoned with, I am formidable, I am a goddess.
    (On the down side, dh says I’m a wee bit overwhelming to talk to, and tend to scare people off. I’m learning to live with it, as long as they remember to leave token offerings of chocolate and flowers before they skitter away.)

  225. You’re so right! I’m a teacher and people always say “Wow, how do you do that? It’s so hard!” I always say, “No it’s not.” I need to say, “You’re right, it is hard. But I love that I’m good at what I do!”

  226. You should be proud. The shawl is absolutely gorgeous. And the setting for your pictures is perfect. Beautiful!

  227. Absolutely stunning, both the words and the shawl. When I first started knitting I was told that all I had to do was learn how to knit and purl. You have taken two simple stitches and turned them into a masterpiece. Way to go!

  228. Your shawl is fantastically, wonderfully beautiful. If I complemented you on it and you shrugged it off, I might have to smack you upside the head! πŸ™‚
    Stand tall, be proud, and take a bow!
    Of course, saying that, I’ll have to remember to heed my own scolding next time someone compliments my work. πŸ™‚

  229. To all comments above I can only agree, and nod quietly. That’s nothing short of eye-wateringly beautiful; it’s a privilege to *look* at it. And I add my vote to someone above who asked if that last picture, Steph with the autumn and the leaves – and the shawl – be made available as a picture or a poster? Please, please…..??

  230. Congratulations on your beautiful creation. Are you thinking of publishing the pattern in an upcoming book?It could fit under the category of “inspirational patterns” that keep us knitters coming back for more.
    PS I have now purchased some pink laceweight for a snowdrop shawl for my daughter. she is 18 months old now and loves yarn.

  231. I’m going to reiterate stuff that everyone who posted before me has already said.
    You damn well should be proud of that shawl. It’s effing fabulous! You worked hard and swore often while doing it, but the end results, wow. If I had made that, I would be thinking curses at everyone who passed by without stopping to admire it and my skill. I am Canadian after all and it isn’t polite to shout the curses down the street at some ignorant twit’s back.

  232. And you should be proud. That is one fantastic shawl, and an inspiration. As is the quote; thank you for that!

  233. Stephanie, your shawl is beautiful! Knitting and other skills are only easy if you invest the time and effot to learn them well. Most knitters only follow the patterns created by others, few take the time to learn how to think through the process of designing their own. Your creation is a reflection of the time and effort you’ve put into learning a skill; it is exquisite! Thank you for letting us see how it turned out! What a labor of love that is!

  234. I have been so inspired by watching your lovely shawl progress and also by the Knitpicks catalog that I bought yarn and pattern to give it a go. Unfortunately I can’t even figure out the pattern directions. I think your shawl is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

  235. absolutely the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen! I’d pat you on the back, but I don’t want to rumple the precious!!

  236. Wow. I’ve seen it in the Rhinebeck pictures. I saw it blocking in your previous post.
    But it’s even more stunning framed in the words of your latest post. I hereby declare “In the Woods” to be veritable Ph.D. thesis of knitblogging. It is a magnificent combination of knitting talent & wordsmith ability, all wrapped up into one fabulous post.
    **** Standing Ovation ****
    (P.S. I agree with Rams, both on NOT publishing a pattern for it & on publishing that last picture.)


  238. It is incredibly beautiful!! And an inspiration to all of us to do something challenging.

  239. Holy Freakin’ Shite!
    That’s all I can think to say about that. I’m stunned. Absolutely amazing.

  240. Damn. That’s gorgeous, and you are so right. I resolve to start taking compliments better. And to learn to knit lace.

  241. My Grandmother once told me that I must learn to be able to say “thank you ” to a compliment, without trying to minimize. Very hard lesson for me. Thanks for the post. Beautiful.

  242. APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE!!! GOod for you – Stephanie – take the compliments with grace and be proud of your skills!!! You should be – the shawl is just gorgeous!

  243. It truly is a work of art, and you my dear are an artist.
    It took me close to 20 years of working in my field before I realised that I was good at what I do, and that I did indeed deserve to be called an artist.
    I think women (not all) but most, spend too much time apologizing for their skills, maybe we try too hard not to step on others toes, or don’t want to seem like we’re bragging?
    Thanks for the inspiration you give us everyday.

  244. I’m not much of a shawl girl myself (between cat and dogs, I envision one surviving for about 5 seconds in my house) so I don’t tend to pay much attention to them. But yours is drop.dead.gorgeous!!! So beautiful. You did a wonderful job!

  245. …there are no words that sum up how stunning and lovely and heartfelt and beautiful…I could go on and on. We are lucky to know you and be able to share in your gift. We thank you.

  246. I know I’m the 300-th and something person here, but I just had to put in my two cents and not only compliment you on creating a piece of art, but on presenting it beautifully and with such inspiration. Thank you

  247. I can’t even wrap my brain around a shawl of this size & intricate design! Your work of art is truly amazing!

  248. You should be more that proud, both for your awe-inspiring talent with two sticks and some string and for your talent as a writer. The highest praise to you.

  249. ::THUD::
    It gets more beautiful every time I see another picture. Just. Total. Awe.
    This is why I think we who love to make things should reclaim the word artisans, if we don’t feel quite up to claiming ‘artist’ for ourselves. (Although in cases like this we damned well should!) While craft is an old and honored word, it’s somehow become associated with too many things that are total dreck. At least maybe call ourselves craftswomen instead of crafters, since there still seems to be some respect for craftsmen. Better yet, though, would be for words like ‘crafter’ and ‘knitter’ and ‘seamstress’ and an infinitude of words to take back their own respect. And Steph – your shawl definitely does it for ‘knitting’!
    And rams? YES! Yes, I want a poster of that last pic. Hell, I want computer wallpaper, too!!! That last pic is a glimpse of utter joy, and I want to have it where I can see it all the time! Steph? I’m beggin’ here. [g] Really. It makes me think of fairytales and magic and wonder… Ken? Ken, can we all talk to you? Do you like home-made chocolate brownies? Anything?

  250. you should be proud..if i had made that, i would wear it every single day of my life..the pictures go along with your writing perfectly..amazing and inspiring..thank you!

  251. Right on, sister! Seriously, you are so right about this. I wonder what it is that compels us to downplay our efforts?
    Anyway… beautiful work.

  252. that is so gorgeous! yeah, i know exactly what you mean..when people compliment me and i brush it off…
    i have wondered for quite some time now, why you do not make your pictures clickable to big so we can admire them.

  253. That is probably THE most beautiful shawl I have ever seen. You should be very proud. Lace is, in fact, only knits, purls, yarn overs, and some fancy increases and decreases, but heck, YOU did it with tiny yarn, and over 800 stitches! You are amazing, and your shawl is amazing.

  254. WOW!!!. I am in awe… maybe one day i might try to cast on something along similar lines, similar being a triangle, in a fine yarn; with a few yarn overs, nothing on that scale, I just don’t have the patience… or does it just take guts and determination and maybe a touch of the stubborn?

  255. You should be proud, it’s beautiful, stunning and more hard work than I can contemplate right now. Take a bow, you most certainly deserve it!

  256. i say it again My Friend, you have given me hope. when i get the “forest canopy” finished,when it’s on my daughter’s back as she weds, i’ll be properly proud, of both daughter and shawl.
    your shawl is so beautiful , it makes me want to cry. whew…

  257. Bravissimo!!!!!! It is a joy to behold something so bewitching, stunning and captivating.
    I could admire it everyday. How about writing about it some more. Your blog didn’t discuss it enough. I want to hear every last bit, all the joys and sorrows.
    Really a gift for all of us to admire.
    Thank you.

  258. I’m a long time reader/lurker.
    The reason I’m writing is that my mom has Lymphoma and I’m running a contest on my blog to help get blood donations. She was in dire need of blood and we had to wait DAYS for her blood type to be located and transported. Simply, I need your help to get the word out. Please help.
    BTW that is a beautiful wedding shawl and your entry today was inspiring. Congratulations on the wedding!
    Thank you.

  259. I certainly agree with you, and you could not have put it better! In broad terms, knitting is about growth, and it is only logical that gender issues of pride versus humility should come up. Once again you have blazed a trail, with truely awesome knitting, but also in addressing the politics of success.

  260. *gasp!* Words cannot describe…
    I love what you’ve said about the art of knitting being underappreciated. As a musician, I live that reality every single day. Bravo!

  261. It is absolutley stunning, and Steph, you should be proud of yourself!! Even if knitting is just two stitches, sometimes it is hard, and you did a beautiful job describing what so many of us feel.

  262. Steph,
    And so you should be proud. It is absolutely breathtaking. I can only aspire to be able to someday knit as well.
    Congratulations to You, Joe and the girls for many more happy wonderful years together. And Congratulations to You for such a beautiful piece of work.

  263. It’s completely stunning, a true commitment to a project. You are so right to be proud of this (as with any of your projects). Thanks for your thoughts on well-deserved pride.

  264. You may need to practice at saying thank you. I had a friend who, everytime I would make an offhand comment when someone gave me a compliment, would turn to me, and command me to, ‘Say thank you.’ When I finally said it without her prompting me, she asked, ‘See? That wasn’t hard, was it?’
    Yes, it was.

  265. 1. I agree with rams – that pattern is for harlot only.
    2. I agree with rams – I want a poster of that last shot.
    3. I think this post and its philosophy should be a permanent link in the sidebar so we can access it on those days when we are feeling less than fulfilled, appreciated, or special enough.
    4. I agree with everyone else – you speak volumes that reach out to many of us. Speak on. And knit on.

  266. I couldn’t agree with you more. I know I do the same thing, “Oh, it’s easy anyone can do it.” If it was so easy why does it cause us such grief at times and pure elation more times than not.
    Your shawl is amazing. I’m in utter awe of it!

  267. It is absolutely gorgeous! And the sweater looks good too! Congratulations on finishing them both. That must feel goooood.

  268. You are so right! We are under-appreciated, especially by ourselves. We should all take heed of your wisdom in this matter.

  269. It is a fabulous shawl. The blending of the body design with the border is inspired, and the workmanship is perfectionist! A museum piece.

  270. …As well you should be! Love the shawl!
    And you are right about women….we do undervalue ourselves…but, it’s traditionally men who have FORCED us to undervalue ourselves…we just learned it really, really well! πŸ™‚

  271. Hear, hear!!! Well said. And you deserve hearty congratulations for adapting those patterns into such a beaitiful piece of knitting! I LOL when I read ‘…maim reams of graph paper…’ – too true!

  272. Yup, that about sums it up. We should be proud of our accomplishments and no, not everyone could do what you have done with yarn and two needles. Not everyone is creative, not everyone is patient, not everyone is diligent, and not everyone is smart enough to complete such an amazing project. Be proud and sing your own praises. . . it’s been my experience that there are enough people out there who will try to diminish (or outright ignore) a person’s accomplishments (especially women but I won’t go there either), they don’t have to do it to themselves. Stay strong and be your own best (knitorific) advocate!!!

  273. You are so right, Stephanie! Your shawl is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a work of art and you have every right to be proud – and to say so.
    It was wonderful getting to say “hello” to you at Rhinebeck. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and all your books, too. Thank you for sharing your wit and your thoughts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed while reading your books – and some of those times I really needed something to make me laugh so that I wouldn’t cry. For those times, I thank you, too.
    At this point, I’m blog-less but am tempted to give it a shot. My only fear is that I’ll bore everyone to tears and no one will ever come back to read my posts.
    Please keep writing and congratulations on the wedding and the gorgeous shawl.

  274. I like that you’re not afraid to lay it down on the fallen leaves, or wear it at a crowded fibre festival.

  275. Good for you, Stephanie.
    “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure about you.”
    Nelson Rockefeller
    Your shawl is spectacular!

  276. I want to be just like you when I grow up! Mary age 53! Knitting since I was eight! Thank you for inspiring me on a daily basis, Stephanie. I so missed being at Rhinebeck this past weekend … believe me nothing short of death will keep me from it again … ever! I hope to meet you again on one of your book tours … for this upcoming book!!!

  277. Brava on the shawl! I introduced your blog to my grandmother (an excellent knitter too) on Friday – we just stared in amazement at the shawl, and all the pins for blocking it! You worked damn hard on that shawl, you have every right be immensely proud of it!

  278. Brava. It’s beautiful, and I adore the picture of you running up the path with it.
    I can’t quite get past your “sweat falling off wrestlers” comment, though… πŸ™‚

  279. Excellent point- and it is because we’re women that we say “Oh, it was nothing” – just like everything else we do.
    So – what are the plans for the wedding shawl now that the wedding is over….

  280. I wept when I saw the last photo. Pure joy! Pure pride! Pure beauty! Your artistry takes my breath away. I am proud to say that at the age of 45 I have a hero!
    It takes a long time to knit a pair of socks. They will never be dimished by a self-depricating remark again.
    Cheers! Brava! Huzzah! You rock!

  281. You should be proud.
    You are totally right. Every time anyone compliments me on knitting, I totally brush it off, telling them they can do it to (heck, I practically force the needles in their hands and show them how). And I wonder that no one takes knitting seriously. I also feel uncomfortable taking curtain calls (I just spent the last two hours being someone else for you, now you expect me to stand in fron t of you, as myself, and let you clap for me? AAACK!) but then I get angry that everyone thinks they can be an actor or that acting is easy.
    You are inspiring me to pick up my needles. I just put “mad knitting skills” under special skills on my acting resume.

  282. Today was field trip day to the pumpkin patch for my daughter’s kindergarten class. Cold and windy. She insisted on wearing the hat I knitted for her last year. I tried to talk her out of it, your jacket has a hood I said. But she wore the hat and I stood in her classroom, waiting to board the bus, cringing at its imperfection when another mom asked me if I made it, imperfection that only I saw. Thanks for the inspiration. We all need to stand up straighter.

  283. That shawl is an amazing piece of artistry, crafts(wo)manship, design and patiance embodied. It is stunningly beautiful.
    You too are beautiful, even from the back you look full of joy. It’s fabulous. Congratulations

  284. You go,girl! I’m pround just to have briefly met you once! The shawl is beyond beautiful.

  285. I do the same thing not only with my knitting, but also my sewing. I’m making a cloak for a friend of mine and when she saw it unfinished, she almost exploded with excitement – and it wasn’t even finished! I could say “Oh, it was easy” or “It’s no big deal” but it IS a big deal – I’ve worked my butt off, I’ve put hours and hours into it and cussed and cussed and fixed and wheedled the fabric into place and when it’s done, it will be something to be proud of.
    One thing she always says is “Make things, make things and share them!” She’s a musician and weaves music like you knit lace. Even when she’s singing metal she has this grace about her that’s just beyond description.
    You should be proud and I am proud of you, too.
    Make stuff. Make stuff and share it!

  286. Stephanie, the last picture could be a Hallmark Card.
    Like, a Congratulations card, or a Happy Promotion card, or a Best Wishes card.
    My GHU mate said it is the most beautiful shawl he’s every seen.

  287. And so you should be!
    It is a thing of beauty.
    Congratulations on having added it to the world.

  288. The shawl is beautiful and an incredible accomplishment. The last photo in the post says so much: “Look at me” “I can fly” “I can do it”. Sometimes we surprise ourselves in what we can do. When I look at socks my husband is wearing (that came off my needles), I say “Wow, I did that!).
    Thanks for your books, your blog (I read daily). Sorry I missed you in Portland. We are an awesome knitting community.

  289. Your shawl is absolutelty stunning. It makes me smile just looking at it, so wearing it has to produce euphoria. Thank you for sharing the process, the product, and the photos.

  290. Everything you said it that is *so* true, especially the parts about accepting compliments! I am a music major, and whenever people say nice things about my playing, I always highlight the things I missed or did wrong. I will take your advice to heart from now on and say “thank you!” instead πŸ™‚
    Again, absolutely stunning shawl. And when I tell other non-knitters that knitting is easy, it’s usually to get them interested and convert them πŸ˜‰

  291. If that’s not the truth, then I don’t know what is! You are an amazing, talented (not just with the knitting, your writing is mighty fine)woman who should be very proud of herself. You’ve inspired me to take a little more credit the next time that it’s due. You are an inspiration to us all!
    P.S. Please come back to Memphis!!!! The Yarn Studio rocks!

  292. Thank you. The shawl is wonderful. May your daughters, granddaughters, great-granddaughters and all the women who follow you wear it for their weddings and think of the proud woman who used her intelligence, talent and creativity and made something of lasting beauty.

  293. Stephanie… your shawl just took my breath away! As my old mum would say “Your buttons must be popping with pride!” ‘Tis a little late in the day to be responding (after apparently hundreds of others!), 8pm BC time, but the magic you worked on and in that shawl is truly remarkable…. it had to be said.
    Love reading Yarnharlot – you make me laugh out loud some days. What chance of you coming to Vancouver Island I wonder?

  294. That is without a doubt the most beautiful piece of knitting I have ever seen. Forget yarn harlot, you’re a yarn goddess.

  295. Wow! And the words are so true of many of us.
    As to many comments:
    Shouldn’t your daughters get their own wedding shawls? Yes you may share it with them on their special days but I think you should get the opportunity to wear your wedding shawl to weddings, handfastings, GHU’s. As a confirmed goddess among knitters I can’t see you letting your daughters take such a major step (many years down the road) without something amazing handknit by their totally awesome yarn harlot mom.
    I agree with the many that the picture at the end is a fantastic shot. All that’s missing is Joe in his gansey. Definitely a Kodak Moment and Hallmark worthy.

  296. Stephanie, that was a beautiful post, the writing and the pictures fit perfectly together. It is as stunningly beautiful to me as that shawl. Which is stunningly beautiful, the only shawl I have ever coveted.
    The call to arms (it was that to me) was appreciated. You do good work, and I’m not talking about the knitting right now.

  297. I love reading your blog each day. I met you in Mt.Vernon, Ohio. Your wedding shawl is fabulous! Congrats on the wedding and I’m so happy for your kids. You should put your dress back on and take a picture with the shawl on as you would have worn it on your wedding day (if it had been done).

  298. Stephanie you deserve to be proud and so much more! The shawl looks absolutely stunning!
    Perhaps you should get married again so that you can wear it at your wedding!
    Tricia currently in New Zealand

  299. Bravo Stephanie, Bravo. The next time I receive a compliment on my work, I will not downplay how much time and effort I put in on it. Bravo!

  300. I agree with Rams–although is it possible to upload the last photo on your website so that we can download and print it as desired (and as mega-inspiration)?

  301. And proud you should be.
    When asked about my knitting I generally say that it’s just two stiches, but that some of the manipulation of those two stitches is not for the faint of heart. Or beginners.

  302. “IF you done it, it ain’t bragging” is attributed to Will Rogers. I glommed onto that astute comment and used it for the company motto when I was doing PR work. It’s a good thought to carry around in the front of your tongue to thwart disparaging comments on ones work.

  303. Thank you so much for sharing this shawl with us. It’s absolutely one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

  304. Very well spoken. You’re shawl is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and sure looks like hard work! You should be proud.
    I love the quote at the beginning – it is exactly something that I and a colleague have been discussing about lately. I’m glad someone said something poetic about that!

  305. Joining the chorus of applause, here.
    Thank you for the pictures.
    You have created Heirloom Knitting.
    Those decreases on the edging leaves are
    utterly mystifying even in close-up.

  306. Absolutely agree. In fact, most of us are true artists – we sample, we dabble, we change, we adjust, we take our vision and make it a reality, we are creative.
    Stephanie, I have been trying to contact you about coming to teach/impart your wisdom at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair in Chicago next summer – I would love it if you would come just to speak on this subject! What is the best way to get in touch with you? Email isn’t working…
    Thanks! Carol Cassidy-Fayer

  307. The Shawl is spectacular! I want the kids in my charity knitting group to see your shawl to show them the potential of what they can do (once they learn to knit, that is!).

  308. Fabulous. Beautiful. You Rock!!!!
    I often do that too (dismiss my long hard work when someone complements me, not make totally awesome shawls-not yet anyway). Thanks for sharing your thoughts & pics!

  309. Stephanie:
    I read your blog every day and you give me such a lift!!!! This shawl is awesome and yes, the next time I make something I am going to express pride in it instead of saying, “oh it was nothing etc etc etc.” Take care
    Anita Jamieson

  310. Wow! I was so looking forward to seeing the finished shawl in all its glory and it did not disappoint. It is so Beeeeeaaautiful!!!! Definitely a work of art!!!

  311. YES!! You go, Stephanie!! You have every reason and every right to feel insanely pleased with what you’ve accomplished. The shawl is gorgeous – definitely a family heirloom. I agree also, we far too often minimize the accomplishments that mean the most to us. I have finally quit apologizing (even to myself) for showing people my lampwork, because darn it, it is pretty cool, and not everyone can do it! Why shouldn’t we be excited about successfully doing something we love? It has nothing to do with superiority or trying to make others feel smaller – by diminishing the value of our own work, we make ourselves smaller. And that is not what any of us need, the world does enough of that for us. Stand up and let everyone know “I made this!”
    (…climbing off soapbox….)

  312. It’s amazing — thanks for sharing it with us.
    Seems like the wedding needed to be about the wedding and the shawl about the shawl. I wonder if you’d have been in a place to think all these great thoughts (which themselves are part and parcel of your work of art here) had you been done in time for the wedding (which was followed by that monster cold — in two installments, no less, wasn’t it?)
    Thanks so much.

  313. My mother knit, sewed, crocheted, hooked and quilted. I have the poncho she made for me 36 years ago . . . and still wear it. I have her hooked rugs on the backs of my chairs (they DO NOT get walked on). She would buy wool suits, cut it into 1/16″ strips and dye to match her patterns. She made our wedding dresses (five daughters and one daughter-in-law) none of which were made straight off a pattern (that would be too easy).
    But it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized tht she was an artist.
    To be able to do your shawl, our dresses, the rugs and all the other wonderful things we do is incredible and we SHOULD shout from the roof tops . . . “LOOK AT WHAT I DID. I AM SO PROUD and I HAVE EVERY, EVERY RIGHT TO BE PROUD.”
    Good job. You are an artist with skill that is just beyond words.
    Mary Lynn
    p.s. Three months after our wedding, we had to have our formal pics taken (our photographer was a goof). It was a lovely thing to get all dressed up again and have those pics taken . . . I highly recommend it!

  314. You are so right! No more polite “why thank yous” will come from my lips. I will say “thanks, it was difficult, but dang if I didn’t manage to put my talents to use and finish it with two small children in the house!”

  315. That shawl is insanely beautiful! I’m in awe of your talents.
    I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to meet you in Rhinebeck. It was my first year, and all I can do is buy fleece from like…every stand. πŸ™‚
    Take care,

  316. Your wedding shawl may be the most beautiful piece if knitting I’ve ever seen- breathtaking! And you are incredibly brave for draping it over sticks and wood for these photos…oh the possibility for snags!!

  317. you should be proud. yell it off the roof tops proud. that is one awe inspiring shawl and a half πŸ™‚

  318. Great words and shawl. The pictures make me want to see it up close.
    I have been telling my wife Mary to accept compliments on her knitting for years. I also tell her she should answer people who off handly ask her to knit “something” for them that her going rate is something like the amount you suggested. I suggest giving them an estimate of the hours needed to complete the item. Of course Mary still just says thanks, but I only have time to knit for family.
    Sadly a similar wedding shawl she knitted for a DIL was lost to our family after the marriage went sour.
    Mac in Mobile

  319. That shawl is just freaking gorgeous! And I’m bookmarking your comments…I’ve been working on not being self deprecating for a while now.
    You should be proud. Past proud. Obnoxious with it.

  320. Absolutely breath taking!!! Someday I will get the courage to work a lace piece. (baby steps) But I will definately keep your artwork in my mind. I want my girls to always have things I made/make to keep with them when I am not there. Pieces to hand down through the family as a cherished item. Thank you for the inspiration you give to all.

  321. beautifully said. i’ve been writing recently about craft as something to be taken seriously and thinking about these issues… enough participating in our own marginalization, i say.
    and the shawl is stunning. i adore that last picture of you. bravo chica!

  322. That honestly is THE SINGLE MOST GORGEOUS thing I have ever seen. Stunning. Just stunning.
    I LOVE the photo of you holding it up with the trees and such…it looks like a good book cover to me!!! πŸ™‚

  323. Your shawl is truly exquisite; a labour of inspiration, intelligence and love. There are many in awe of your achievement and we are not just knitters!

  324. Let me be part of the 500+ folks to tell you (again). That is one stellar piece of knitting. I noticed several years ago that people don’t always know what to do with us when we just accept the compliment and move on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said something like “Thanks, it was a lot of work,” only to be met with, “Well, it’s really nice…” I suppose they thought they were being charitable, or something. But I have to tell you, you are so right. Whether one “only follows patterns” or steps out off the edge and designs something to make oneself happy, we are artists, too. And we so deserve the recognition!
    As for that photo of you that so many folks are commenting on, it’s nice, but not for the front cover of a book, maybe for the back. I would prefer to see you with that gorgeous shawl looking at me and daring me to assume that it’s “just knitting”. Now that would be a cover photo!

  325. Yes, yes and yes.
    And the more I look at it the more awed I am by the shawl’s utter gorgeousness.
    But someone please shoot me (or refer me to your pre-completion entries) if I ever contemplate such a project myself.

  326. You’re absolutely right, I’m always quick to assure someone that they could make it too, that’s not always encouragement for them, but brushing off praise for me.

  327. You are absolutely right. And this really struck a chord with your readers — as evidenced by the enormous volume of comments! Thank you. Thank you.

  328. A picture truly is worth a thousand words…
    Steph, I’ve never appreciated how beautiful or intricate lacework is…I never stopped to look at the patterns, preferring instead to see the overall look of the item (yarn, drape, color, etc.)
    From here on, however, I am resolved to look closely at the patterns in the lace and appreciate how much work went into it all.
    Nicely done, dearest Yarnharlot!

  329. Testing – I’m not sure this works….anyway, this shawl is the most eye-wateringly beautiful thing I have ever had the privilege of applying my eyes to. Thanks, Steph – for all the reasons my precedssors have named and more.

  330. Magnificent and well spoken. Thank you for the many views of the shawl. Incredible concept/ beautiful execution.

  331. Stunning design and execution. Stunning. You have to write down the pattern. Especially the increasing and integration part – before it’s forgotten. Publishing it would make me forget all about my self-imposed yarn diet. Total and absolute amnesia.

  332. Steph, that is a work of art. You have my absolute respect and admiration as a knitter and fellow citizen of the world.

  333. My mother is an artist and a semstress and is exroridnaraly good at both. (she’s had people come all the way from Ireland for her sewing) Her biggest peve is when people chalk her ability up to being talented. Yes she is talented, but what is talent without the work? She’s worked her ass off to get as good as she is, and its still a learning process today. The woman drafts her own patterns ON THE FLY for heavans sake! That’s brave when you’re cutting up wedding dresses!!
    I’m just as talented as she is, but I’m a lazy ass and my work suffers for it. I’m sure it annoys her no end that I don’t work on my talents prefering to rest on my laurals as it were…(I on the otherhand am much better at knitting than she is hehe)
    So, anyway, thank you for the post. As always your insights ring so true for me and aparantly most of the population. (so why are we still doing it then?)

  334. A couple of comments from my twenty-something sons:
    Whooaaa….so delicate/intricate that you can see through it!
    That shawl is very awesome!
    Normally, they are pretty nonchalent about knitting since they see a lot of it around here. The shawl is simply breathtaking — please make the picture able to be enlarged so that it could be PC wallpaper:). It is so inspiring, and I bet Habu Textiles is going to sell a lot of Shropshire Lace to knitters who dream of making something so beautiful.

  335. This shawl is so light and delicate and airy that it literally looks like if you put it on, you’ll be able to fly away. I have been thinking about it since you posted about blocking, and it’s simply stunning. Projects like these keep me aspiring to better and more complicated knitting, so thank you for showcasing what is possible!

  336. The phrase “better late than never” definitely comes to mind. Congratulations on recognizing your hard work for what it is!

  337. Hi Stephanie,
    hardly to take breat when watching the first pict of your beautiful stunning wedding shwal.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful creation of yours with us. And I abselutly agree with your opinion. When we made something, usually we lower the value, partly being humble or can not see the real beauty of it. Probably we were cursed too much, ripped too many times when making it.
    But in the end, I am agree 100% with you, that we should value our handmade craft.
    On other hand, do you plan to publish the wedding shawl pattern? Really looking forward for it πŸ™‚

  338. YOU designed that???? Absolutely stunning!!!! I’ve never been able to get the hang of knitting, so I’ve always held an appreciation for those who can. But I do tend to brush off compliments on my cross stitch just as you mention.
    Linda (ljivy) makes an excellent point, though… when people become accustomed to seeing us with project in hand, they do tend to become dulled to what we’re doing. I’ll get an occasional “oh is that something new?” comment when I’m working in the lunchroom, but rarely do I hear compliments on a work in progress anymore.

  339. To repeat what I am sure a hundred people have already said, Absolutely gorgeous! I keep looking at lace patterns, but I am seriously intimidated….

  340. It is stunning! I love the picture of you walking away, that would make a great book cover!
    I told someone last night the sweater I made my 2 year old was easy, when in fact it was my first sweater and it wasn’t all that easy. I could do it with ease again, but it is in our nature to make things seem simple. I think it is part of being a mom and a women.

  341. That last pic of you walking down the autumn, leafed-lined road with the shawl is incredible. You should have that framed! Congrats!

  342. Stephanie, you’ve really created an art piece and an heirloom. It’s beautiful and really a master work.
    And you’re right about the demurring on our accomplishments: It’s not only self-denigrating to tell someone “It was nothing” and “you could do it”, it’s deceitful. It was “something” and not everyone has the capability or the patience. Good show!

  343. Good for you! Great pictures.
    A lot of traditionally women’s work is taken for granted because it’s something that we’ve had to do in the past for family survival. Sewing and knitting had to be done and women did it skillfully and beautifully because they wanted to put some creativity into the necessary.
    A lot of women in today’s world stay away from sewing and knitting because they don’t have to do it, but they think that just because our foremothers did it, it must be easy. At the same time, they don’t want to take the time to try it for themselves. I’ve had many women ask me if I sell my work and I reply that I don’t because it would be undervalued for the skill and work that goes into it.

  344. I’m proud of you, too! It’s beautiful and you are amazing for having designed and made it. πŸ™‚
    I think the reason we diminish the difficulty sometimes is partly an attempt to recruit new knitters. People always say “that’s so hard, I could never do that” and we want to convince them that they could, so we say “no, no, it’s quite simple, really”. We’re like a cult that is always trolling for neophytes. πŸ™‚

  345. YES! You are such an inspiration! Thank you…I am dumbfounded by the beauty of your creation…You know, I get some of this as a harpist and painter too…People are always asking me to donate my time–or my creations..(rather than paying the “exorbitant” price).and sometimes their reasoning is that I enjoy what I do so much..well, I think they must enjoy their careers, too..but I bet they don’t donate –or waive their fees because of fact, they never have for me…can you imagine–an accountant saying, “well, I just love to do taxes so much, I’ll just do yours for free.” ya, right…I think this is part of the same question you raise about us undervaluing our skills as knitters–and women.

  346. Your shawl is amazing! I met you briefly at Rhinebeck (me in red fur vest and pink sweater) and it was even more beautiful in person!

  347. Brilliant. The shawl, and the post too. Congratulations on creating such a beautiful shawl to commemorate your marriage. It may not have made it to the wedding, but it is truly an heirloom shawl demonstrating the beauty of a good marriage – a blend of styles and ideas, knit together with creativity and love.

  348. Stunningly, breathtakingly, remarkably incredible. As I’m sure many people have said before now, I’m right there with you on the saying “Thank you,” but that “Yeah, it was actually really complicated, hard, challenging, painstaking, etc.” – that one is a REALLY good one that I shall promptly take up in your honor.

  349. Wow.. I saw this masterpiece on one of the pictures bloggers took of Rhinebeck.. I did follow your process and I am quite curious about how you were able to integrate the border.. Could be a whole blog entry about it.. in the future. You should be proud of yourself and frankly I tend to undermine myself too. Even though my only lace project is Birch.. Maybe one day.. I need to jump into the “creative” bandwagon and trust myself a little more !!!

  350. This shawl is easily one of the top five most beautiful knitted things I’ve ever seen. (Having knitten “Mediteranian Lace” myself, I know what a mind-blower that border is!) Wear it proudly, sister!

  351. You do know how to say things just right! Knitters are always coming to my shop and not giving themselves proper credit! I’ll try even harder now to encourage their sense of self worth and value their own creativity and talent, and hard work! And remind them that while some projects are harder than others, it takes perseverance, intelligence, and desire to work it out. YOU are the perfect model of that, thank you! You are inspiring!
    I will also no longer downplay my hard work in getting my shop to where it is today, I’ve worked hard! I’ve had lots of extra hands and we’ve all given up some good knitting time too! But I am proud of it, and I love that people come to my shop and say wow, what a great place you have, and all this great yarn. I will say thank you, I like it here, and not be humble and shy and brush it off.
    Also, in a non-self-deprecating way, I am sorry I was rather in awe of you and didn’t know what to say at Rhinebeck, I’ll do better next time, I won’t mumble, and won’t be so shy!

  352. Bravissimo!
    It is indeed gorgeous and glorious and you should revel in the absolute sheer beauty and the grand effort you put into the creation of your shawl.

  353. I am not a knitter, but a fabulous knitter and professional mentor of mine sent me the link to your site. What a pleasure it is to read the comments of many women embracing their own powers of creativity. My mother was an artist and a feminist and did many series or works on “women’s work”, celebrating the art in the crafts we pass down through generations. All you latent feminists may recall “The Dinner Party” a travelling installation by Judy Chicago celebrating famous women artists, poets, writers, leaders through elaborate ceramic place-settings. You are all right – own up to your talents! Keep on knitting!

  354. Wowsie Wow Wow! Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I can’t stop looking at the pictures! I am amazed and inspired!

  355. That is the single most beautiful knitted object I have ever seen! A true example of the knitter’s art…just amazing. Thanks for sharing so many gorgeous pictures-you did an fantastic job designing and completing that. Let me add my congratulations to the bunch!!

  356. I agree with Rams – that last shot is definately poster-worthy – much more inspiring than a drenched cat hanging on to a tree branch for dear life. πŸ™‚ I’d totally buy one. Or two. Dozen. To support any cause you name.

  357. I read your blog everyday; I don’t usually comment but I have to tell you how absolutely gorgeous your shawl is and you should be proud and tell everyone!!!!
    You go girl!!

  358. Only thing wrong with it…..IT ISN’T MINE!!!!
    BREATHTAKING…. congrats now go have some chocolate (dark, chilled).

  359. Your shawl is an amazing labor of an incredibly talented woman. Your words come at a time when I (not my DH, thank God) am having a hard time placing the proper value on my time and hard work. Thank you for the words my soul needed to hear.
    Kathy in Montana

  360. Wow, that really is a work of art.
    Inquiring minds want to know: is your wedding shawl a β€œtrue” wedding shawl? Can it fit through your ring (or at least Joe’s)?

  361. Just like the previous poster I read your blog every day, but never posted as not to add to the 100s of posts with nothing interesting to say. Maybe today is my day…..
    I am a psychologist in the field of alternative psychology when I am in Mexico City, but also the Field Supervisor and Coalition person of several large Japanese NGOs and the Guatemalan and Mexican Government.
    I work as a Psychologist and have no reservation to charge the middling rate ( which I think is a fair one )of 500pesos, which is a bit less then 50 dollars and make adjustments for people who can’t quite pay that much.
    I have two Masters Degrees in this field and another Masters in Foreign Studies… , I could say I am educated (as many women are ) and I know my worth.
    However……when it comes to knitting I turn into a blabbering, stammering idiot when it comes to naming my price.
    For the last few years I have told people that I only knit for friends ( for lack of a family ) because no one could pay for what I knit ( 50 years of experience, Master’s Course from the TKGA; my membership number was in the 1100’s….a long time ago, I also had the good fortune to be knitting in 11 countries on three continents while I lived there)…..people find me arrogant, conceited or worse, when I tell them that I don’t knit for strangers.
    Last year someone admired a triangular Frostflower & Leaves that was too big for me.
    When I threw out a ” for the right price it could be yours ” she offered me the equivalent of 50 bucks……..when I told her that I needed at least ten times as much she asked how I could dare to ask such prices, I asked her how she could dare to offer me a fraction of the hourly wage she pays her housecleaner ( the average wage for a maid is around US$ 1.50 )…….and she told me ” but it’s just knitting , surely you don’t earn your living doing THAT “….
    I know this is Mexico, but in my home country Germany things are similar….the masses seem to think that we knit out of boredom, or because we are timid and have nothing more exiting to do with out lives , or because we need to supplement our income. As a post war child in Germany I remember my grandmother knitting to supplement the food that was put on the table…..
    In ( almost ) closing I must say that 250.-$ is much money and maybe exaggerated but anywhere from 50-80 dollars seems fair to me. I also would have to say, that even at fifty dollars an hour I could never buy a hand knit sweater, but appreciate all the work that goes into it……
    In my experience in Rural Development we have a simple rule: material, production cost and fair wages…..and if the market does not bear this, we scrap the project ( and in our case the Chinese do us a lot of harm )….but as long as people complain that North American jobs are out sourced, but are not willing to pay prices , especially for garments that are produced here, at a quality we are used to, at wages that will sustain a textile worker’s family…..things will not get better.
    We can’t have it both ways……and in comming back to knitting I think we both are guilty…….the knitter as well as the knittee…..the knittee in expecting ” chinese ” prices and the knitter in undervaluing their worth.
    Just go to yesterdays ” Felted bag ” group where at least half a dozen knitters proudly proclaim ,that for their bags they only charge the yarn, because fortunately they either don’t need to make a profit or don’t want to , because well……it feels weird…….I know it feels weird, I have felt it too……but it tells people that our crafts is really a worthlkess one…how sad…..
    In The Spririt Of Knitting

  362. Stephanie–I read your posts every day and have always been impressed with your skill at writing–witty, eloquent, intelligent, hilarious, inspired. Your skill at knitting–unmatched. Do not under any circumstances publish that shawl pattern, that is for you and your daughters and granddaughters to cherish. However, I do agree with Crissy in Oregon…that last photo is a moneymaker. Perhaps for Knitters w/o Border’s???

  363. The very things that our hands, hearts, and minds create are sometimes the truest forms of self…When focusing everything that we are into these small tasks and creations, whether it be kids, knitting, cooking , writing, ect. we are sometimes able to just let go and not hold back as we do so often in life. We forget the insecurities and use the strength and determination within us to bring forth these magickal pieces of our very beings. These beautiful reflections that we can show the world. They say this me and this is what I can do and it is so personal that we sometimes shy away from the praise thinking dear god these people can see me. As women I believe that when we pay attention we see through the guise of others and see the souls within. Be proud of who you are and what you create and know that those around you see you for who you are…A wonderful mother and friend, an artist and a bringing of laughter to the hearts of all that you meet. The shawl is beautiful Stephanie as are you…Be Proud!!!

  364. Wow. Just wow. I think I’m inspired to start my first shawl. I bought yarn and a pattern to start one at Stitches Midwest in August, but even though this gorgeous yarn’s been calling to me, a little voice has been telling me to wait until I’ve finished the projects I bought yarn for at last year’s Stitches (still unstarted).

  365. There is nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said…..I, too, wish it was mine… have every right to be proud. It’s absolutly lovely. Oh, and by the way, how about some wedding pics…..thanks for keeping us laughing….I read here every day and have all of your books….can’t wait for the new one.

  366. Now that I Knit myself, I’m in total awe when I see something like your shawl. I’m inspired…it’s beautiful! You should be very proud.
    Don’t forget to use it, not wrap it up & put it away for sometime special. My Grandmother crocheted, tatted & made lace. She put much of it away for later/for special. Never used it herself. Joy is in the journey, but one should enjoy the destination too.

  367. Absolutely gorgeous…… but it goes way beyond words…. My hope is that each and every single stitch brings a full day of health, love and happiness to you and your family.

  368. That is one gorgeous, gorgeous shawl. You are TALENTED! I would love to come even halfway close to your skill level (and speed). You are just bloody fantastic!

  369. That is one gorgeous, gorgeous shawl. You are TALENTED! I would love to come even halfway close to your skill level (and speed).

  370. The shawl is beyond spectacular. I think it’s the most beautiful piece of lace I’ve ever seen. I’ve been watching the project all along, but I had not anticipated how harmonious and perfect the whole would be. Gush, gush, gush.
    The reasons you have outlined above are why I say “$1000 plus the cost of yarn” when someone asks how much I’d charge to knit them a sweater. I haven’t had any takers yet (this was the goal). I value my time and skill.

  371. Wow – that shawl is a work of art and I’m so glad for the close-ups. (And I love the photo of you in the park!)
    500+ comments today. Is it possible to even read that many any more??? πŸ™‚

  372. I know you have almost 600 comments, but I wanted to say that this is one of the best blog entries you’ve ever made. The photos and text work together so very well . . . and it’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking entry. I would love it if this became part of a book . . . absolutely.

  373. It looks like something you would see in heaven!
    Light as a cloud. . . .beautiful in everyway!
    Thanks for sharing

  374. Oh christ… I love it. I LOVE IT. Can I have it? ^_^ jkjk. It’s gorgeous and it’s so wonderful.
    Congrats, honey, congrats.

  375. I just had to be one of your many admirers to say how spectacular YOU are. I didn’t realize that you designed it! OMG! Thank you for spreading the word the KNITTING RULES!!

  376. Oh my goodness – not only is the shawl stunning, clever, and reflective of incredible talent – but I absolutely love the piece you wrote. I think we all do that. I find it almost impossible to look someone in the eye and say anything but, “oh, really – it was nothing – if I can do it, you can – any monkey can do it” or some such annoying comment. But I think I shall see if I can manage otherwise, because I think you’re right!

  377. What a spectacular shawl…truly a work of art. Your talent with the sticks is only exceeded (maybe!) by your talent with the written word.
    “I am not worthy, I am not worthy…”
    The Harlot ROCKS!

  378. If anyone really wants to use that final picture as wallpaper (with Steph’s OK), just right click on the picture, then click “Set as background.” It works, but it’s fuzzy, especially on a larger monitor.

  379. I’m not surprised to see nearly 700 comments. You have every right to be proud of this accomplishment; it is a wonderful thing.

  380. My mother taught me to knit. I have taught my daughter and my daughter-in-law, and recently gave my granddaughter her first lesson. What a joy to join our hands together in the multi-generational craft of knitting; of making special gifts for each other to be lovingly created, cared for and passed on….

  381. I am in awe. You should be so proud ! What an incredible accomplishment. You continue to be such an inspiration in so many ways.

  382. That is, without a doubt, the most beautiful piece of knitting workmanship I’ve ever seen. You have a right to be proud of such a masterpiece. May you, your daughters, your granddaughters, and your great-granddaughters wear it with pride.

  383. Susan: you *are* worthy.
    Stephanie: I was just introduced to this blog by a dear friend, SoCalStitcher Melissa. I’m glad I followed her link.

  384. Damn right that you should be proud of your shawl and all your other knitting accomplishments! That shawl is absolutely stunning! You’re so right that we, as knitters, downplay our talents.

  385. What a thought-provoking post. You’re so right; I’ve spent untold hours experimenting, reading, and knitting to get to the level of ability I now have. How can I possibly have the nerve to tell people it’s easy?!?!

  386. Your shawl is beautiful, your knitting is beyond words!!! Thank you so much for putting into words how we should feel about our hard work and creativity. You are an inspiration to me. I’ll hold my head up high the next time I receive a compliment, say “Thank You” and think of you!

  387. I don’t know why we can’t say a gracious thank you. I find it’s the same with a lot of what I do, (I’m also a quilter), I really downplay the time and effort it took, as if it’s something to be embarassed about, and it’s not!
    Thanks for reminding us to be gracious and honest!

  388. Ditto what rams said, a hundred percent.
    Keep the pattern an unwritten family secret and sell the poster!

  389. Your shawl is absolutely AWEsome (in the true sense of the word). Just BEAUTIFUL.
    And, I totally agree with what you said. Also, I was a lawyer (an illness has stopped that) and I must admit that as a female lawyer I felt the same way about the law as about knitting. A brief – feh! Presentation to Cabinet member – bah! Not that I wasn’t nervous during the process, but I never considered what I did as hard or that I had any special ability to get the job done faster or better.
    HOWEVER, my illness has shown me that in so very ways, that I was quite mistaken. And that, in fact, far fewer than I knew practice law in the way, or (dare I say it?) at the level that I did. (Rampent and outrageous sexism at my office helped obscure this.) I know this now, because my illness has required me to hire lawyers, and even worse to find lawyers I am willing to hire and then unwilling to fire (this seems to be the final snag). So, now I understand why so many people hate lawyers. Since, I find it so difficult to find one possessing basic competence, meaning returning phone calls; doing basic follow-up. You know, all that pesky lawyerly stuff.
    On the other hand, you Stephanie are a Knitting Goddess and I thank you from the bottom of my hear for sharing your talents with us. (Especially, for me these last few years, as I try to figure out how to live with my “new” life.)

  390. This shawl is a thing of absolute beauty! I’ve been lurking around your blog for months and have finally decided to comment. I love that you discuss how often we knitters shrug off our abilities because of discomfort or wanting to seem modest. But sometimes what we do is hard! ANd takes a lot of work and why not stand up and say we’re proud of what we accomplished. I love your blog, thanks for being a highlight in my day! Emma in South Dakota, USA

  391. The world is a better place because you created this in it. This is not ‘one of’. This is Stephanie’s and this is brilliant. A moment to pause, a moment to honor, and a moment to thank you for sharing – the beauty, the work, and the sentiment. Be very, very proud. It was a beautiful symphony, pick up the roses and bow as the applause echoes. Well done Stephanie, well done!

  392. You churned out a book, this shawl, countless other side projects, AND got married all at once. Yeah, I’m sure it was nothing. Nothing short of astounding! Absolutely stunning, Stephanie.

  393. Stephanie, my mother has been trying to teach me to accept praise and compliments graciously for at least thirty years (almost 40 really). I’m still learning. Your shawl is just beautiful and as a knitter I know it was challenging but not an impossible task for those who truly want to do it. Like you. And maybe a few other people.
    Somehow though, I don’t think that if I made that same shawl I would get 609 comments about it on my blog. Maybe I’d have to put in something else about learning to accept praise and compliments with grace. πŸ™‚

  394. Steph, that is without question the most exquisite knitted object I have ever seen in my life.
    Thank you for your words on accepting compliments with grace.
    The photo of you walking down the trail displaying the shawl speaks volumes. It embodies your words in taking pride in what you accomplish. Kudos to the photographer.
    If you can knit it, you can do the pattern. In fact, you could support your family for the rest of your life on the pattern sales.
    Congratulations on a hard job, well done.

  395. OMG! Your shawl is SO GORGEOUS! You should feel so EXTREMELY proud! Is there ANY way you may hint about the pattern in more detail??????
    Also, I agree with you about knitters not putting the appropriate value to our craft/ art/ skill! I remember watching my Granmother knitting socks as a very small child and thinking that she was magickally making the socks! If only we would, as knitters/ artists, crafters, view our work with the same awe as a child seeing a daisy for the first time… only then would we truely se the beauty & value!

  396. Thank you so much for writing that. I have tears in my eyes and it’s, well okay, partly due to PMS, but you’re so right, and you said it so perfectly. I hope to remember it for the rest of my life. I’m now officially linking you on my blog!

  397. I read your text several times, then read it to my husband who applauded. I will print this out and stick it in my YARN HARLOT. Amen and amen.

  398. An utterly amazing creation! I passed by you at Rhinebeck on Saturday and you were swamped by people but I was able to take a peak at your shawl. It was beautiful to say the least.
    Please let us know if you are actually going to be selling posters of the photo of you and your shawl in the park. Its a visual representation of all that you said in your post – and more. I would love to look at it every day for inspiration.

  399. When I graduated high school, we each chose a quote that best represented ourselves and our view of life, to put in the yearbook next to our shining faces, for future boyfriends to laugh at, for all to know our secret burning passions, for posterity, (or one last stab at being a rebel in some cases) and I chose the one you opened your post with. I quote it to myself every so often, when I need a little encouragement, when my attempts aren’t as perfect as I’d hoped, when someone close to me does something better than I, when I don’t excel. I quote it to friends who doubt their abilities in something they’d like to try but are too scared. What you address in your post is exactly one of my biggest flaws. I bitch and moan that no one appreciates how hard I work or struggle for them or for what I create, and then shrug off compliments and say it was nothing. (I get the martyr gene from my mother.) Thank you for reminding me to appreciate myself and my hard work, especially when others are doing so as well. That happy glow can only grow when others share it with us.
    I always love your writing, but this one… this one got me.

  400. It really is stunning!
    Caroline Rhea does a standup line about how women can’t accept compliments, it’s like, “someone says to you, ‘hey, your hair looks great today!’ and we women tend to say, ‘oh this? i haven’t had it cut in 3 months and i didn’t even wash it this morning! i think it looks really dumb, but thanks i guess!’ ”
    I really try to simply smile and say “thank you!” when anyone compliments me, but it’s hard. You should try working in a store full of women all day every day, you wouldn’t believe what I hear. . .

  401. Amazing!!! Thanks for sharing what many of us needed to hear. (from one who is still learning to smile and say thankyou…with no buts lol)

  402. what an absolutely spectacular shawl.
    and what a wizard of a writer you are as well.
    thank you for this well written, beautifully inspired blog entry.
    the last photo is perfect – delight and celebration of an enormous success.

  403. “NO, she’s not going to publish the pattern, dudes. Did Michaelangelo sell stencils of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling? Did Leonardo make paint-by-numbers of the Mona Lisa? It’s her absolutely unique wedding/marriage shawl. She might as well run off copies of Joe. (Wait. Let me think about that one for a minute…)
    What I would like to buy, though, would be that last shot as a poster. No words, no quotations, just that picture, two feet by three. Send the money to MSF. Ken, is this doable?
    Okay, enough inspiration. Now we want the loot, the goodies, the swag, the booty, the haul. Show us the Rhinebeck!
    Posted by: rams at October 24, 2006 02:40 PM”
    who is the “rams” person
    do they have a blog… what interesting, thoughtful thoughts.

  404. Breathtaking! Thank you for SHARING with us, inspiring us & reminding us of the value of our own talents! I too would love to buy a print of that last photo!

  405. Darn Toot’n!!!!!
    That is totally KICKASS and you put a lot into it. You should be proud. πŸ˜€
    It’s really lovely. I can’t even imagine working on something so delicate at this stage of my knitting life. But after years and years of fun and hard work you were able to come up with that. And that’s something and special. Kudos!
    Oh and it so is a woman thing. This post kinda smacked me in the head. I do this all the damn time. I can’t take a compliment and it freaks me out.
    Just last week some women at my knit group were telling me how cool this hank of yarn I dyed/hand painted was and I totally played it down and said it was nothing and that anyone could do it. Truth is it took me 3 or 4 hours from start to finish to make it. I put a lot of effort into it as it’s a special gift for a friend and here I was acting like it was nothing. It was like I could hear my inner voice asking me what the hell I was doing. But I couldn’t stop saying these modest protests. What the hell is wrong with me? o.0 With us as knitters and woman.
    Its okay for us to be proud of the special and unique things we do and create.
    I will try to be more honest with how I feel and just say Thank you.
    It doesn’t seem so hard, yet it’s one of the hardest things. I don’t get it. o.0
    Thanks for this post. Much needed.

  406. You’re a smart and clever knitting who appears to be single handedly proping up our flagging egos. Thanks. And the shawl – wow. I don’t know what else to say about it.

  407. That is absolutely gorgeous – and well-worth feeling proud of. Even accomplished knitters such as yourself should sit back and savour the reward of your efforts!
    You are a knitting icon.

  408. I enjoyed this essay almost as much as the photos of your wedding shawl. You have created a wonderful heirloom…I can only imagine the argument among your daughters over “who gets it” (hehe). Thanks for the photos and all that you do to inspire and enable this knitter ((hugs)).

  409. Steph – your post reminded me of Marianne Williamson.
    β€œOur deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” From “A Return to Love”, although often mis-attributed to Nelson Mandela who quoted her in his inaugural address.
    The shawl is stunning – the photography is stunning, the woods are stunning. But most of all, the shawl; it’s breathtaking, really.

  410. Your shawl is absolutely breathtaking. Thank you for sharing it and so much of your life with us.

  411. that shawl is a thing of such incredible beauty that it makes me feel faint just gazing upon it.

  412. I can assure you than nothing I have done in my 15 years as a lawyer was ever that beautiful. For that matter, nothing I have knit in the past 44 years was ever that beautiful – you are an artist and a genius. I love the leaves …

  413. Amen, sister! I’m a decade or two older than you, and it’s been the work of a lifetime to learn to say, “Thank you. I had enormous fun designing this … yes, thank you, it *is* my own design.”
    I think a major component of creativity is the ability to look at the work of others and say “yes, but” or “yes, and…” and then do something that makes it our own.
    The shawl is gorgeous. The photography is exquisite. And my favorite shot is the one of you fluttering into the woods like a ghostly moth.

  414. How sad is it that I’m nearly the 700th comment? Still have my Rhinebeck/New England hangover and can’t find my way through all that needs to be done…but enough about me.
    The shawl is the most stunning of all knit shawls I have ever seen. You wore it well at Rhinebeck and it stole the show, the only thing that coule steal the show from you. The edging is ingenious. You’ve got quite an accomplished knit on your hands. It was wonderful to chat with you again and to get a Steph hug.

  415. You are so awesome! The shawl is absolutely beautiful and definitely a work of art. I will never reach your level of ‘artist’, but I enjoy the journey there. You make it even more enjoyable.

  416. With a wedding shawl like that, who needs a GOWN?!
    Honestly, it looks as if angels made it — it is so beautiful
    and delicate and priceless. Revel in your artistry — you
    ARE keeping it, aren’t you? If not — big sigh for you…

  417. How beautiful! Even I, a lowly non-knitter, can appreciate it. It’s a shame you didn’t get it done in time for The Wedding but you can wear it when you renew your vows at Christmas or something.
    Me, I’d wear it every day!

  418. You may not have finished that work of art in time for your wedding but I assure you there are 3 young ladies at your home plotting ways to make sure they get the opportunity to be the first wedding wearer of the family heirloom shawl. The one that sneaks it out of its treasured place of honor to elope will use the excuse that ” they need something old and borrowed and were in a hurry and just look at all the time they saved you by not having to make them their own and the big dollars they saved you by eloping”

  419. You gave me goosebumps, Steph. Not only from the beauty of your work and the photos, but also from your rallying-cry to all who diminish their handwork, art, cooking, whatever! You’re so right: it’s time to acknowledge that we all have gifts and strengths, but, sometimes it just takes hard work and persistence to do something you love! Thank you for clarity. . . and the goosebumps.

  420. The photo and the shawl are stunning. I haven’t gotten to lace yet, but I’m inspired and fearless. And happy to be comment #653.

  421. It must be an absolutely amazing feeling to be the architect and carpenter of that work of art. Many congratulations. Wear it with pride and great joy.

  422. That shawl is incredible, absolutely incredible. I often say something is no trouble and get myself in over my head. I think I will try to be more respectful of myself and my work.

  423. “…and I am proud.”
    And so you should be! It is beautiful. The photo of you dancing in the Fall leaves…wonderful.

  424. I have no idea how i surfed in here, but this passage was pretty inspirational. I’m one of those people who mistakes humility for lack of value.
    Thank you.

  425. I don’t think it was “too late for the wedding” – I heard some deeply felt vows and a bonding to a new and powerful way of living!! Congratulations!! And thank you for bringing such beauty into the world – your shawl and your eloquence and your courage in standing up for your talents. Bravo!

  426. yes this is beautiful..
    and yes.. people don’t consider.. handcrafts are a challenge..
    I agree with one of the commenters who said this should be an intoduction to a book..
    I definitly love the way you described the feeling..

  427. Of course, thank you. And the women thing we definitely need to discuss because you are spot on there, too. But one question — have you hired someone to read your comments yet? Y’know, like movie stars hire people to read and respond to fan mail. Inquiring minds and all.

  428. I have no idea how i surfed in here, but this passage was pretty inspirational. I’m one of those people who mistakes humility for lack of value.
    Thank you.

  429. I am late posting to this utterly PROFOUND post as a commenter. The shawl is so breathtakingly beautiful it gives me goosebumps.
    I’ve passed the URL to this day’s blog entry to everyone I know, and have even commented on it on my own blog, because these are words we need to take seriously.
    I couldn’t comment right away because in addition to your beautiful post and picture, which repeatedly choke me up with each subsequent viewing, I’ve been reading, nodding, and saying *aloud* “Yes, that’s what I mean, too!!”
    I often get told “Oh it’s just knitting” or “Oh, it’s just a hobby isn’t it?” or “You enjoy it, right?”. People believe that “A whole $25″(CDN) for a pair of socks will make me rich.
    “You could make an excellent living that way, you know! $25 per pair!” How long do they think it would take me to earn that money? 15 minutes?
    Like Angelika in Mexico commented above, I also get this attitude of “what an arrogant snob” should I express that I don’t sell my knitting (which I only say as an answer when asked).
    Many people don’t think, they really don’t _think_, and overlook the very logical fact that taking some string and a couple of sticks to make an entire pretty piece of cloth takes TIME.
    People don’t understand why I’d knit socks for CIC or some other charity for nothing, yet not sell my socks to strangers. They see it as a contradiction in terms. The difference is I get to choose. I do charity knitting within my own resources and when I have the occasion and means to do so. However, if someone is going to employ me, then regardless of the nature of the job, I should expect to be paid as an employee.
    I mostly knit for love because the items I love to hand knit are those that take the most wear, like socks, etc.
    I cannot express how deeply this KEEPER of a blog entry has touched me to the very core without sounding gushy.
    I too, get guilty of saying, “Oh, that’s easy”, but never again. To compliments I receive, I shall say, “Thank you so much, I enjoyed the hours and the creation of this.”
    Ariannah Armstrong in Nova Scotia

  430. Thank you so much for the inspiration…the inner mousey woman who downplays her own efforts must be the same one that always greets guests at the door with “Please excuse the mess”…even when no dirt or mess can be seen by the naked eye! Our skills and sensitivities are wrongly used to evaluate and judge our efforts IN COMPARISON to others…when the “others” are only in the minds’ eye…or…more likely…magazine photographs! Your effort, however, makes many in magazines pale by comparison! And gives us all an incredibly high standard to shoot for!

  431. Anyone with two eyes (or one, probably) can tell that shawl is a darn masterwork. Glad to hear you say it too. Bravo.
    wonderful post, by the way. Always a pleasure catching up with Yarnharlot after a week or two without the net.

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