Yesterday was one of those days that just evaporates into a haze of comings and goings. The girls are wrapping up school and their schedules are madness. Exams, plays, musicals –


(This was the grade 7/8 production of Aladdin. Use your imagination in a big way. I knit my way through. One woman walking by me at intermission saw me knitting and said “Wow. I bet that takes the edge off.” She is correct.)


This time of year is notoriously unsettled for us. The kids are transitioning into summer, starting jobs, finishing school, starting summer jobs and I’m trying to learn how to cope with three (or four – since Joe remains “unsettled” for the time being) people drifting in and out of my office while I try to earn us all a living. This morning I had to negotiate for 30 minutes of familial silence so I could do an interview thing where the background noise wasn’t two teenaged girls having a meltdown over who took who’s straight leg jeans with the red line on the pocket and whether or not that breaks down the chain of possession enough that now Megan’s coveted blue shirt is now open season for Samantha. (I bet anyone with a sister just had a flashback.) I am doing what I always do with things are unsettled.

I am knitting.


I finished the body of the Kauni sweater (Turns out that Brenda is hosting a knit-a-long for this sweater here) and the thing looked pretty weird.


That’s the neck steeks (back and front) pulling in at the top and making it look odd.

I cast off for the bottom of the neck, then cast back on stitches to “fill” in that spot so I could keep knitting in the round. (This is all in the patten.) That’s the whole purpose of a steek. It’s a span of knitting that joins two parts of knitting that wouldn’t normally be joined. Steeks let you knit in the round when you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to, then you cut the steek open later to give you back the gap. This sweater has five steeks. One that joins the two fronts so the body can be knit in the round even though it’s a cardigan. (You can see that in the first picture. It’s the dashed lines that are out of pattern in the front.)

Two for each armhole, so that you can just cut holes for the arms later.


Then there’s the one each at the front and back neck, so that you don’t have to work back and forth while you do the neck shaping.

Steeks are cool, if terrifying in the beginning. The first one I cut had me pretty worried. (That is an understatement) Sure, the instructions say to…sure it’s how fair isle sweaters have been done forever, but taking a pair of sharp scissors to something you knit just isn’t natural at first. You know how this thing went together. You know how easy it is for it to come apart. Seems risky to just start hacking up the knitwear. What if you cut the wrong place? What if the sweater doesn’t fit right? There’s no coming back from a cut….Until you actually do it it’s pretty hard to believe that this is a good idea.


Here’s the neck steek, before the snip. (You can see that I have run a little hand stitching along the edge of the steek. This is because I am not a very trusting person. This yarn is sticky and shouldn’t need to be sewn to keep from unravelling along the steek after it’s cut, but I’ve been on the losing end of a sweater game enough times to trust yarn the same way I trust 16 year old boys near my daughters.) The orange line is where the eventual neckline will be (where I’ll pick up stitches), and the yellow is where I’m going to cut.


One smallish belt of Glenlivet later (I no longer require the scotch for bravery, I just like it as a ritual) the steek(s) – I did the back too.. are cut open. Make sense now? The curve of the neckline is accomplished by working decreases along the edge of the neck.


While I was hacking things up, cut open the sleeve steeks, you can see that I needn’t have worried about it unravelling…


It’s going nowhere, and after a little washing and handling it will felt slightly to itself and be even more steadfast. (Still I hand stitch. Trust issues, clearly.) I picked up stitches, and I’m carrying on for the first sleeve.


I want to thank you all for the wonderful comments on the post from the other day. Especially from those of you who understood that I wasn’t advocating being nice all the time, nor avoiding difficult topics or honest criticism. Nor, actually was I saying that you shouldn’t say nasty things on your blog or in the comments. I really loved that so many of you got that I was visiting the point that if you makes statements you wouldn’t your target (or boss, or mum) to know you said, you better fear the google-fu, ’cause you might be asked to own what you say.

Housekeeping: So many people have emailed me about a bunch of stuff that I’m going to whack it up here for everyone.

1. Yes. The audiobooks of Casts-off and Meditations are out. Yes, I think I sound like a hampster on meth, but I have been advised by people who hear my voice all the time that it’s really just fine. (Apparently I sound like that all the time and I just didn’t know.) You can get a hard copy (actual cds) from a bookstore. (I’m just linking to Amazon as an example, please consider using your local independent.) or as a download from Audible. (While you’re there? Get this. (Or anything else in that series, though that’s the first one.) FANTASTIC. Only book I ever liked better on audio than in my head, and that includes mine.)

Sorry guys, some of you are telling me that link to Audible doesn’t work for all of you. It’s pointing to “Crocodile on the Sandbank” , first in the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters, as read by Barbara Rosenblat.

2. Yes. Knitty Gritty is replaying my episode June 29th at 2pm.

3. Yes. I know I’m nominated for a Bloggers Choice award (or three) I’m very, very proud, but I feel sort of weird talking about it. At the urging of several private emails and my mother, I’m only telling you about it because there are other fine blogs there (Including Wendy and Crazy Aunt Purl) and because you can vote for whomever you like. I’m nominated for best craft blog, best blog design (which is totally pushing it) and best blog ever, which, while it is an honour of devastating proportions, is an award that even my mother and I wouldn’t advocate for me in. (Just don’t let Neil Gaiman beat me. I like him, but It’s an author thing.)

116 thoughts on “Onward

  1. Thank you for showing the steek process step-by-step, in living colo(u)r as it were! As you in the past, I too have found it incomprehensible to deliberately maim one’s kmitting but am reassured that it is not only OK but desireable.
    The colors are awesome and the neck shaping ingenious!
    Sympathy for the end o’school thing — been there, done that, but with only two (and I assume three CUBES the drama, not just adds!)

  2. I don’t know that I will ever be accomplished enough to tackle a sweater like that, but my god is it beautiful!
    Good luck on the blog awards!

  3. Thanks for the reminder! I’m taking my knitting to Grade 8 Graduation, tonight (augh – in an hour!!).

  4. Neil Gaiman! He even gets to publish his laundry lists. I swear, it’s law that no one can publish a fantasy anthology without including Neil Gaiman. Leave some publishing opportunities for the rest of us!
    See? You’re not the only one who noticed.
    Gorgeous sweater. Maybe in another 30 years I’ll be able to tackle something that ambitious.

  5. I totally understand what steeks are about, and it makes perfect sense. I would never do one. Certainly not without machine stitching. And rum. (I don’t like scotch.)
    I didn’t say so, but I totally get the constructive-criticism thing. The hard bit, as was demonstrated again recently, is that all of us have trouble taking criticism, no matter how kindly given, and we tend to get defensive. But the one time I had a bit of comment controversy was a major eye-opening experience for me, once I got over the defensive part. (I don’t tend to get much criticism because I mostly keep things fairly fluffy, but I’m trying to be a bit more interesting, without ever being unkind.)

  6. You knit, you’re funny, you’re a great mother(girls shush, stop that giggling) and you like Amelia Peabody. Girl you so rock.

  7. What is the “Get this” item? Clicking on “Get this” brought me to a log-in page for Audible. Could be I’m simply inept at clicking?

  8. Oooh I love Neil Gaiman. He is just dreamy. I have been reading his stuff since Sandman came out. If you have not seen him in person, it is a must do because he is too cute.

  9. But… but… 16 year old boys are FUN! I mean… well… that’s not true. 16 year old boys don’t know the game, go upwards, so more like… 19? Then if they touch your daughter, you can prosecute! But that would be mean… XD
    I can’t steek. It really can’t be done. I had ONE massive unraveling sweater and I’m never trying again. I was devastated. It wasn’t fun at all. I nearly quit knitting, but I learned and learned to quit steeks. Never again… never again.

  10. Hmmmmm, Steeks…..still feels like bungee jumping to me. Thanks for the look-see! Maybe I’ll try them first, lol.
    Bravo on the noms! Well done!

  11. Fabulous sweater. And yay for the mention of the Amelia Peabody audiobooks! Barbara Rosenblat is a brilliant reader… Our local library has all of them, in theory, but you have to reserve them – they’re permanently on loan and deservedly so…

  12. List of stressors: long. Comfort of knitting: Priceless. The sweater looks really fabulous. Thanks for the process pics, I’d have never gotten it any other way.

  13. Cool! Amelia Peabody! I haven’t read those in ages, which seems like a sin. I’ll have to dig them out this summer. Love the steek shots. One of these days, I’ll try that on something bigger than a mini fair-isle sampler sweater.

  14. “hamster on meth…” *snarf*
    And, funny, I’ve always said I sound like a congested muppet.
    Ah, the universal dislike of hearing one’s own voice in recording.

  15. Ohhh, I love this sweater…. I had the fortune of meeting someone knitting on one at my LYS recently, We got to admire the cleverness of the yarn and the whole shebang, she even offered to let me knit a few stitches (I believe it takes a very brave woman to offer her knitting to a stranger) Anyway every day since then I find myself in the shadow of this sweater and I am so close to dropping the credit card!!
    Thanks for pictures πŸ™‚ Especially the steeking, makes a beginner like me feel ….adventuresome…

  16. thanks for showing the steak – I’m about to steak into a sweater i’m working on, and I’m scared SO MUCH. but your blog is helping me get through it…

  17. I didn’t comment yesterday because I would have said things that would have defeated the purpose of commenting…I’m sure you get the idea. But today I wish I had just roamed the blogs leaving this:
    (And Neil Gaiman? Check out “The Wolves In The Walls” — it’s the children’s book I most often give as a gift.)

  18. Oh YES! My inlaws gave me an audible gift certificate last year for my (27th?) birthday and I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. I can read hardbacks and knit. But now, now I know. You don’t sound like a hamster. Mine [hamster] doesn’t make *any* noise unless I squeeze her middle by mistake in the cage door and trust me, you don’t sound like that! I hate the sound of my voice. It sounds soo much better in the head.
    I love the sweater. One day I’ll knit up enough of the current stash to get a wheel and then have space for sweater yarn. πŸ™‚
    I wish I could have knit during those jr high school concerts. But one cannot knit and play bassoon or flute and being short I would’ve been in the front of the choir… Jr high music was torture.

  19. Thank you SO much for making your book available on Audible!! I just re-subscribed and I looked for your stuff first. There’s a couple other series I was disappointed they didn’t have, like the Harry Potter books and the Lord of the Rings books….but hopefully they will be available soon! I get a free book each month (i’m too cheap to buy them at the store), so I hope you’ll continue to add your wonderful works πŸ™‚

  20. Okay, so I started loving the colourways of the sweater.
    Then, I loved the ritual of the Glenlevit.
    Then you mentioned Crocodile on the Sandbank.
    It’s all sort of a synchronicity thing but so cool. All favourites! [Though I have yet to make steeks but this is a great incentive….]
    Thanks for letting us know about the blog nominations. Good for you. [I’ll be voting!]

  21. Haha! I love the line about 16-year-old boys and daughters. (Ack! I just remembered that my 16-year-old daughter is going to the prom with a boy in 7 days!)
    Thanks so much for the steeking photos. I keep wondering if I could/should try it … perhaps I should just live vicariously through you?

  22. I meant I’m too cheap to buy audio books…they are so expensive! I have all your books that are in print. I’m not good enough to knit and read at the same time so audio books are my friend πŸ™‚

  23. I’ve got a very pretty fair isle shawl that I knit some time ago folded up in a closet still in tube form because I’m absolutely terrified to cut into it. You say Glenlivet helps?

  24. Yes! Someone else who loves the Elizabeth Peters books! And Barbara Rosenblat is a *great* narrator!!!! πŸ™‚
    And I love that sweater. Hmmm. πŸ™‚

  25. I recently went to an elementary school musical that lasted OVER 90 minutes. Thank god I had my knitting with me. THANK GOD.
    I know you posted a pic of your wrap sweater knit in Dream in Color, but it was hard to see the detail… Just in case you feel like posting extra FO pics, be assured at least one person out there wouldn’t mind seeing them!

  26. The sister flashback rang true. I’m the oldest of 3 girls. Yikes. During our teenage years, it just wasn’t Sunday morning until one of us was crying in the car on the way to church.
    As for the sweater. I have my yarn and I have the pattern. I’m very close to starting the sweater, but I gotta tell you that the steeks have me spooked. Kinda feels like running off the high diving board for the first time…I’m gettin’ there, really. Thanks for the photos!

  27. Thanks for the update on the audio. I’m downloading Meditations as we speak (write). Now I have something to keep me entertained while I work on the border of my shawl 50 rows @ 1532 sts per row (more every 4th row due to shaping) I refuse to do the math. A good book is needed!

  28. Out here in the 905 we did a little bit of group enabling and three of us will all be Kauni-ing before long. I usually don’t do what all the other bloggers are doing but there are gorgeous photos of the thing all over the internet. I’m a sucker for colour. I will admit that I skimmed the steeking instructions (for now) in an attempt not to scare the bejesus out of myself. I’m telling myself that the knitting will be so entertaining that it will make up for the angst that comes with taking scissors to hours or work. I may be living in the land of make believe.

  29. I will totally NEVER steek. I cannot imagine cutting into where the sleeve will end up and trusting that it will all work. I’m a pretty decent knitter, but I will not be a steeker. So chicken of me.

  30. eeee!! I’m such a goober, and I see that several other people have mentioned it, but it tickles me to no end that you enjoy listening to Amelia Peabody while knitting just like I do. We even get her from the same place.
    And I’m bookmarking this entry because if I ever get up the nerve to start a project with steeks, it would be this sweater and I know I would need your pictures (and ravelling-assurance) when it comes time to cut.

  31. I recently went to an elementary school musical that lasted OVER 90 minutes. Thank god I had my knitting with me. THANK GOD.
    I know you posted a pic of your wrap sweater knit in Dream in Color, but it was hard to see the detail… Just in case you feel like posting extra FO pics, be assured at least one person out there wouldn’t mind seeing them!

  32. I refuse to vote (that’s the first and last time I’ll ever say that). How can I choose between my favorite knitting muse and the diversion that is Neil Gaiman’s fiction (have you read the Sandman? Marvel 1602? Stardust? Or perhaps the writer’s hes inspired, like Susanna Clarke?). But, well, now that I think on it, I’ll go vote for you. I read Gaiman weekly, but I click on your site daily. Maybe one day you, too will have a comic book (or a movie!). πŸ˜‰

  33. Sister flashback. Scene: backseat of a ’79 VW Rabbit. No air conditioning.
    “Mom, she’s looking out MY WINDOW!”

  34. Ok, here’s what I need to know. Would love to vote for you for the best blog ever, etc., but at this time can not look through 157+ pages to find you. Do you know any way to find you without going page by page. You know that if you help us find you just this once, then we will always be able to find you becuse you’ll be at the top of page 1!!!
    Love Ya’

  35. OH MY GOSH –I’m going to cry.
    MY daughters have been put of school for an entire freaking month!
    I’m ready to… I don’t know, decapitate a Polly Pocket or something. But no matter how violent my impulses at the moment, I am in touch with the fact that I can never steek. Never. I’d have to hire someone if I ever made it that far.

  36. Well,well,well…..Amelia Peabody…as I live and breathe. Oh how I DO love those books. The steeks look like less fun, no matter how useful they might be.

  37. Can I just say a quick “Thank You” for being an advocate for independent book shops. As a recently unemployed indie-bookstore manager (my company folded about two weeks ago), I know first-hand how important the fight against the big boxes is… and knowing the number of people that read you daily, I just have to say thank you Thank You THANK YOU!!! (You’re the best!)

  38. Dude! Neil Gaiman has a blog?! I mean, err, of course you will so kick his sorry English butt. Yup. Ummm…
    On steeking, I have become a sudden and devoted hand-stitcher after my fifty bagillionth steek decided to unravel in very swift order, despite being very sticky wool (with mohair), causing a mild panic attack and words a sailor would be ashamed of.

  39. Camp, it’s called camp. Where all children should go in the summer for a period of time. Older children can be counselors, younger children can be campers. Of course, if you have multiple children, finding a week or two when ALL can be gone at once is good. On the other hand, my daughter is at camp this week, comes home for two days, then goes to another camp for 2 weeks. I miss her!!!! Week #1 is Engineering Camp; weeks 2 and 3 are Spanish camp.

  40. I love Amelia Peabody!!!! Also, could we have a stash weasel update? I must have one!

  41. I hate to tell you this but the bickering over clothes does not stop once adolescence has passed. My sisters and I are 30 (me), 26, and 24. The arguments over clothes and other things continues much to our mother’s chagrin.

  42. Congrats on getting nominated for three Blooger’s Choice awards! I read your blog religiously and I always appreciate your reflections on knitting.

  43. Congrats on getting nominated for three Blooger’s Choice awards! I read your blog religiously and I always appreciate your reflections on knitting.

  44. Hi, I’ve been lurking and just wanted to say, your books are so funny and encouraging that my non-knitter fiance snitches them off my shelf to read! He hasn’t discovered the Peabody books yet, but I love ’em to death. πŸ™‚ You actually inspired him to ask for yarn, needles & a knitting lesson!

  45. I am always amazed when I see somebody actually take scissors to their knitting on purpose! Bravo on the sweater…it is looking great!

  46. Congrats on the nominations.
    I want me one of those jumpers. I’ll even try steeks for the first time! Without alcohol to fortify me – I can’t drink booze of any form. Sniffle.

  47. While I see it, and admire the heck out of your ability, I cannot see myself steeking anytime in the near future. I won’t let this get me down, though. Plenty of other stuff to knit out there. (Yes, I’m chicken, and I know it. Oh well.)

  48. I’m the third of four girls in our family. Flashbacked, definitely. That gorgeous sweater makes it easier, though, doesn’t it?

  49. Beautiful sweater! I have to admit that I’m one of those people who are, as of yet, afraid to steek.
    Just read your post of the 19th and I had to say that I agree completely with you and not just about comments about people. One thing I hate to see is a post written by someone who doesn’t understand that there’s a difference between saying that a type of kniiting is just not their thing and saying that it’s the dumbest thing they’ve ever seen and anyone who happens to like it must be tacky, a granny, an old hippy, someone without any personality or any other generality they can think of. How rude!
    I must say, too, that I’ve always admired you for always finding nice things to say about everywhere you go on your book tours. Too many people only critisize the places they visit.

  50. These blog vote people need to have more categories. I was a blog-hater until I came across yours. My DH reads tons of them, although, oddly, no knitting ones to my knowledge. I was always putting him down, asking how he could spend valuable time reading opinions of all these different people that he didn’t even know. Then I found your Yarn Meditations book. Wow. I thought that we might have been long-lost cousins or something. You put into words what I had been thinking for so long. Then I found your blog. I almost peed myself several times. See, I couldn’t just read it, in order to get the whole story, I had to go back to the beginning. So, over the next 3 weeks or so, I did just that. No, it’s not obsessive, it’s highly pre-occupied. And, since my pages loaded with the last post of the month first and the first post of the month last, I had to page down and page down until I got to the beginning of the first one, read that one, then page up until the start of the next one, then kept paging up and paging up. I had to get them in order, and no, that’s not anally retentive, it’s…well, ok,…it is.
    But, Stephanie, from your blog, I found out that we’re not long-lost cousins, we’re long lost sisters. Yarn sisters. And I found from your blog that there are more of us. So, after explaining to my DH what I was doing up until 1 in the morning on the computer (trying to catch up) and laughing and crying and adding to my internet bookmarks, I went in and apologized to him. Now I get it. As much of a loner as I am, it’s so nice to know that help is just a key-stroke away.
    Now, you all have given me the bug. I’m thinking of starting my own blog, if only to keep track of stuff I’ve made and who I made it for and the like. I’ve got 3 sons and 4 nieces (how come they get all the girls?) and it’s already hard for me to remember.
    So, back to the blog vote thing…You get mine for first blog EVER read, blog that most changed your life (I knit socks! I’m so cool now.), blog that most inspired you, blog that most made you laugh, blog that brought you closer to your spouse (yes, I now go to him and make him read parts. He laughs at the right places.), most encouraging blog, oh, there’s more, but I’m afraid I’m getting mushy now.
    And, Stephanie, if you ever do make it down to Kansas City, or anywhere close, I’ll be the one in the back, knitting, and probably too shy to come up and say anything.

  51. Barbara Rosenblat is my favorite reader for audiobooks. My mom and I used to listen to Mrs. Pollifax mysteries on road trips. I’ll have to go check out her other stuff. :o)

  52. Who’s Neil Gaiman?
    I listened to your SOAR interview online and you have a lovely voice. Husky, like a jazz singer.
    On tape I sound like a twelve year old.

  53. If the clips from Audible are any indication, you sound nothing like a hamster on meth. Then again, I distinctly remember thinking I myself sounded like a fuzzy woodland creature the first time I heard my voice on tape. But I was a sixteen-year-old soprano with a heavy New York accent. (You never do get used to it!)

  54. I can hardly wait for my yearn to arrive!! The colors are so fantastic it blows me away everytime I seem them. Thanks for the steeks play by play. I look forward to the Glenlivet that must accompany the procedure.
    Uta is very lovely and helpful, though is in Germany not Denmark.

  55. Oh my goodness that sweater is absolutley breath taking BUT not as breath taking as cutting holes in it if it were mine . This will NEVER happen in this abode. I’m just getting too old to handle stress like that haha good luck with all the comings and goings at your house. I do hope you have a chance to have some real R&R of your own one of these days Thank you again for all you wonderful posts ,I read them every day. I would vote for you for sure but I don’t know where

  56. re: Barbara Rosenblat and the Amelia Peabody series — if anyone is intrigued, be aware that there is another set of recordings with a different narrator. Barbara Rosenblat is so good that I’ve occasionally borrowed audiobooks from the library just because she is the narrator. At the end of one of the books there is an interview with Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Rosenblat in which we find out that Elizabeth Peters (pen name of a person who also writes as Barbara Michaels) is a huge fan of the narration as well.

  57. Oh, yes! The first Amelia Peabody is the best!
    I also liked listening to Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood on cd. It is read by the author, Rebecca Wells, and she is fabulous to listen to. But then I’m a sucker for an accent.
    I love my two sisters, but I am very glad I had a girl and a boy. They fight, too, but it’s not the same as sisters fighting.

  58. Beautiful sweater, Steph! I still require the scotch for courage, and am very impressed that you’ve gotten beyond such things, while still respecting the ritual of it all.
    On another note, entirely…you coming to Hawaii? I heard a rumor…we have knitters, they would come out for you. I promise.

  59. My fave audio book – Enchanted April (at Audible.com) – narrator, Nadia May. Really. Amazing. Don’t miss it.

  60. Steeking still scares the hell out of me. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it. I have a meltdown just seeing other people do it. Well post about doing it. I don’t have the privaledge of actually seeing other people knit.
    Your sweater is beautiful! Your balls of yarn must be HUGE.

  61. Steeks- You are oh so very brave in my book. One of these days I will have to courage to do something so much like surgery.
    Your nominations- HOORAY! CONGRATS! MAZEL TOV! I am rooting for you!
    Your Knitty Gritty episode- Gonna try to fight for the tv around that time.
    Sibling rivalry- How well I remember those days! My sis and I are 4 years apart. Thank goodness I now have one boy and one girl. I am hoping that their fights will be very different from 2 sisters.
    Your voice- I am sure you don’t sound like a hamster on meth. Everyone sounds different from what they think they sound like.

  62. That DID bring back old school memories; my mom sat out front at school concerts and gave notes, “sit up straight’, ‘don’t take your eyes off of the conductor’, ‘keep your feet still’, ‘don’t talk’; I wasn’t in a play, rather a musical presentation.
    I am a long way from steeking…the idea of scissor blades ‘scriching’ through knit articles gives me goose-bumps. I’ll get there though. Thank you so much for the stepped photos of the process.
    Last night I finished ‘Cast Off’; I read just little bits every day to make it last. Just loved it. I want to live in that world.

  63. Sorry Steph already voted for Neil, he’s a fav of mine since The Sandman days, I bought a graphic novel of his at The Siver Snail last time I was in Toronto just for old times sake. I did vote for you in the craft category. Steeks are on the to do list, but I’m wery, wery, afwaid.

  64. Kauni Sweater divine! Steeking terrifying, no matter what you say or show. Glenlivet duly noted (can I have Absolut?)! By the way, at Sock Camp I thought your voice was great, deeper than expected from such a bit of a girl, and you use your diaphragm as in opera training. I can’t even imagine you sounding like a gerbil on meth, or was that a hampster, and was that meth or helium?

  65. Thanks for the pictures of the steeks. It never made sense in my head reading it, but the visual helps. Maybe one day I’ll get adventurous enough to try it!

  66. LOL- I had no idea comments sections could even handle 555+ comments (on the last post). Right on!
    The Kauni is lookin good!

  67. Its a great source of comfort to me to know that knitting angst exists in so many, that I am not alone. Of course your angst arrises from the very advanced steeks (and deservedly so), and mine from heel turns, increases, decreases, and yarn overs, but no matter.
    Thank you for sending such lovely yarn fumes our way.
    Neil Gaimann who?

  68. 1. Steeks = good.
    2. Steeks with scotch = better. (The colorwork class where I learned about steeking is the only class I’ve ever taken that had alcoholic beverages on the materials list.)
    3. Best. Blog. Ever.

  69. Eerie. I just finished re-reading “The Crocodile on the Sandbank”, and have had to skip ahead to “The Ape Who Guards the Balance” because some of my books are missing and I haven’t had time to get to the library. Love the Amelia Peabody books!
    And now I want to get your audiobooks, too. You are aware that no one likes their own voice, recorded, right? I seriously doubt you really sound like a hamster, chemically enhanced or otherwise. You have a very pleasant speaking voice with a nice, deepish undertone.

  70. Only for you – Good Omens is one of my favorite non-knitting books. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have thought to look for his blog without your link.
    The Kauni is amazing and inspirational.

  71. The Kauni Sweater is beautiful and the colors are just wonderful. It’s going to look really good on you, too. The step-by-step steeking is just fascinating, although I think I’d be flinching too much to actually cut into my knitting.
    I’m not overly fond of Amelia Peabody, but I love Jacqueline Kirby and Vicky Bliss. Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Michaels, actually) is really good. She’s almost as funny as Sharyn McCrumb.

  72. Dude, that sweater is so freakishly beautiful, I can’t get over it. I have to talk to Tove about getting me that yarn (she’s going to Finland this year). It’s not that far from Denmark…
    What’s the name of the yarn?

  73. Love the Kauni and steek photos but still can’t figure out why it doesn’t unravel. Do you pick up the stitches or just don’t touch it? I think I’ll just wait a few more years to try it (10 or 20 perhaps)

  74. After reading for months, I had to leave a comment on the Amelia Peabody front. Those books are fabulous, particularly Crocodile on the Sandbank, and The Last Camel Died at Noon. Excellent audiobooks to knit by, or get that pesky laundry folded by, for that matter. Gotta love that plucky Peabody and hunky Emerson. Lusting after some Kauni, too.

  75. I have never tried steeking, it sounds terrifying. I would have to try it on a swatch first. As for teenagers having clothing meltdowns, I just want to encourage you to remember that the day is coming that your children will be independent, working, and in their own apartments. It kind of creeps up on you, but like me you will suddenly realize–your house is quiet and tidy, and you are working uninterrupted. Even if you have to help them out a bit with rent from time to time–hang in there, the heaven I speak of is just around the corner.

  76. Stephanie,
    I went to audible to listen to a sample of “Cast-Off”. I really like your voice. Narrator’s voices on audio books are very important to me. I can tell immediately if I would want to listen to an entire book by them. And I would want to listen to you anytime (in a hearbeat)!
    Linda in VA

  77. Those last couple of weeks before school is out always make me a little gaspy for air… the concerts, cupcakes and teacher presents, oh my! Would have loved to be knitting through my daughter’s concert (especially the recorder segment – oh my poor ears!) but thought it might seem like I was, well, uninterested. Any tips on KIP-ing?

  78. I love how the sweater looks, but I’m still on the fence about actually CUTTING the yarn – yikes! You make it look easy, but I definitely would need some liquid confidence. Good luck on finding “quiet” time this summer to knit. I finished a small bag using the enterlac stitch that you can see on my blog.

  79. Steph? Glenlivet helps, but generally for steeking I need Laphroaig and it’s definitely just not a ritual. No matter how carefully I mark and pre-stitch I am always terrfied that I have done it wrong, or will somehow cut in a random place for no reason whatsoever, or cut too far … so I have a good jolt, and try it on (or compare to the giftee’s measurements), and then I go have a lay-down.
    Jameson’s is for when I have to rip back an Aran.
    Dudes, when I checked on the blog awards, Steph was easy to find: top of page one.
    I guess I have to wait for the “Easily Led Off-Topic Old Hippie Knitter Blog Awards” for my chance. πŸ™‚

  80. My votes are in!
    So there’s actually a name for this brand of sweater violence? Somehow ‘steek’ doesn’t sound as serious a crime as it looks. I fell in love with this sweater the moment I laid eyes on it, but I couldn’t get over all the cutting involved. It made no sense to me (granted, I’m a sweater virgin). You’ve certainly helped demystify the process, but I don’t think I could ever work up the nerve. And oh, I’m totally with you on the back-up basting stitches. What kind of reckless person would jump right in there and leave this sort of thing up to the fates?? There ought to be laws. Anyway, the process is utterly fascinating. I’ll be watching. (And mentally willing it not to unravel.)

  81. You are far braver than I could ever imagine being! Cutting knitted fabrics? I don’t know that I could ever muster up the courage.
    I need more audio books, simply because I’ve found that until I evolve that extra arm I’ve been wanting, I’m unable to effectively read while knitting. Someone should invent a book holder and page turner. Or I should just buy some audio books for my iPod. Either way, yours might be next on the queue!
    That sweater is gorgeous, by the way. πŸ™‚

  82. I take it that the help desk never actually READ your blog, nor talked to the book store owners who had to madly scramble for more chairs……
    So glad you are back!!

  83. That sweater is beautiful, and your step-by-step pictures of the steeks just may give me the courage to try it someday. I, however, will not be satisfied with handstitching–welding, perhaps?
    I’m a big Amelia Peabody fan, but darn it, I just played catch up at the library with the last few books of the series. I also enjoy almost everything else Peters/Michaels has written.
    For myself, I find that audio novels that are written with first-person narrators are especially good. It seems that it is easy to forget when you are reading that you are hearing the story from the point-of-view of just one character. Hearing the narrator’s voice is a constant reminder of that fact. I listened to The Great Gatsby recently, and I found it to be a vastly different experience from just reading the book.
    As for your books, I’m sure your voice–the literary voice–will come through well in audio. It certainly comes through on the written page.

  84. My mom had me knit her a Philosophers Wool fairisle cardigan a few years ago, it took me a year to knit then it sat, staring at me, until I had the nerve to take the scissors to it. It remains one of the most beautiful items I have ever knit.
    Your pictures of Kauni are making me want/need one.
    Hopefully this will work this time.

  85. I’m listening to Crocodile on the Sandbank right now and really enjoying it. I looked for (and found)you on Audible the other day. Looking forward to hearing you read in your very fine Canadian so not a hampster on meth voice.

  86. Thank you for the wool and knitting pictures inserted into the story, I need those to help keep my sanity at a reasonable level.
    Comment feature was broken earlier. I hope all is fixed now.

  87. Just FYI — I read the boyfriend the story about your two girls and their pants, and he said “My brother used to steal my clothes,” with this deep, abiding hatred that I didn’t know boys could express so well.
    And even if you lose to Neil Gaiman…well, I read his blog when I think of it, and I check yours every other day. We all know who’s best. πŸ™‚

  88. Same thing happened to me three years ago. The host of my website (not my blog, which is new) simply stopped supporting both my e-mail and my website. It was a company that had eaten a smaller company and I guess I was one of the few non-corporate customers and they just… stopped. Without telling anyone. Luckily, my husband is a computer geek by profession and he managed to shift everything over to a new host, while we were out of town on a romantic weekend away (and his mother was flooding our house, not that I’m bitter.) Anyway, he did it and left plenty of time to go out for dinner before we got the call from the disaster recovery people about the flood. Hurrah for Ken for doing the same for you and for no one flooding your house!
    Anyway, sorry to tell that scintillating story here. I’m glad you’re back!

  89. Glad you are back- Your sweater is , of course, beautiful!!
    For years(3 kids worth)I spent untold amount of hours at dance, mathpentathalons, debates, cheerleading,baton competitions,basketball games(both sexes),football games, track and even ran an elementary Christmas program(I locked the principal in her office because she was bombed!seriously!) and I never went without my knitting. Now that all that if past I cherish every moment I spent watching my kids win,lose,learn,and play.
    Now it’s beginning with Grandchildren-thank Gawd for knitting!!!
    I too love Barbara Michaels(Elis. Peters). Try the Charles Todd mysteries. Some are a serial of Inspector Ian Rutledge but one stands alone. The Murder Stone is wonderful with a last page that will blow your handknit socks off-no peeking.

  90. Haven’t done steeks but have known the fear and liberation that comes from taking scissors to knitwear. I knit a sweater (a pullover) where gauge meant nothing and it came out huge. I felted it- -still huge. I put it through again and the body shrank a little more but the neckhole shrank a lot. The sleeves oddly were still Dopey length. I cut it up the middle then whacked off sleeve ends. The Sweater from Hell became a great bolero cardigan. BTW, I just finished my first set of boards for medical school. Once again you were crucial to bringing laughter and fun to the journey. Thanks you! (Sorry for the long post). Catherine

  91. Girls and summer. Not a good thing all the time. My two fight over their bathing suits? What is that all about anyway? They own 2 a piece. Solution? off to work for the eldest while the youngest takes on dog sitting. All the while, I knit and listen to my music. (notice my music)
    Your sweater is gorgeous. I have been looking for my summer sweater project. yeah I know it should be cotton but I wanted a wool project. When I saw this sweater I knew I wanted one. The yarn is on it’s way.

  92. A fellow Peabody fan! While I love all of the Amelia Peabody books (and Emerson with his sapphirine gaze and rippling muscles, hubba!), I think my favorite is still Lion in the Valley, although The Last Camel Died at Dawn is right up there–I love Ramses as a grown-up, but Ramses as a frighteningly advanced child? Sheer genius.
    At one point I did data entry and we’d split up the Amelia Peabody audio books among us, passing the tapes around the room as we finished with them. Sort of fun to know when people had gotten to various parts because of the sudden bursts of laughter…
    Delighted that you’re back and that you’ve found a new host who won’t thwart you. Many congratulations.

  93. Well, I hate to put this out there, but the one and only time I steeked without sewing, the wool did not hold itself together. I has been washed many times, and things are still a little loose around the button band, if you know what I mean. Yes, it was wool, yes it is feltable wool, no, don’t toss the sewing needle.

  94. No steeks never ever.
    I have my rules which say that things are knitted in one piece and the ideal is that they could be ripped into one ball. (or one ball of any colour/yarn used). So, no steeking and everything knitted in one piece without any sewn seams.
    But.. why not, other people have other ways.
    The cardigan however looks yummy even with the cut-out pieces.

  95. Congratulations on your new server, may it be a relationship that lasts (crossing fingers for you!)
    By the by… have you ever considered terming your new “closet” as perhaps a “parlor?” Just like a closet, it has only so many doors, only so many things that will fit inside – but a parlor has chairs to sit in, and is meant as a place to visit. A closet seems, oh, more like we (as your readers) are furtively peeking in on your personal things, rather than sitting down to a nice cup of coffee or tea to chat and catch up – which is more like what I feel like when I stop by your blog. I know that I may never meet you face to face, or even hold an “actual” online conversation with you – and yet it feels like a conversation to me. Like a welcome little place to sit and and take a breath of fresh air, and most importantly, laugh with friends. And I must say that I am so very glad that you are accepting “callers” once again!
    Just a thought πŸ˜€

  96. Awe, come-on. I went to the Bloggers Choice (craft) website, fully intending to vote for you – but then saw Crazy Aunt Pearl was #2. That would be like asking a mom to vote for only ONE of her kids – I couldn’t do it. Sorry πŸ™
    Other blog readers will have to make that “choice.”

  97. “…hamster on meth”
    I remember the first time I had to play a recording of myself in an oral history course. I warned the class that I sounded rather like a squirrel on speed. So, yeah, I can relate.
    I’ve never tried a steek before. I’ll need a whole bottle of scotch, I think.

  98. I’d like to join the Amelia Peabody fan list assembled in these comments – I love the books and I also listened to the Crocodile on the Sandbank in the audio version. Absolutely fantastic … have to dig it out again and listen all over.
    Your photographs on the steek process are interesting but not the least comforting I’m afraid. Still scares the living daylight out of me!

  99. i love the sweater, even though steeking still scares the bejesus out of me.
    and… i think everyone just turned left and started knitting monkey socks.

  100. I just cut my first steeks after having researched it thoroughly. I put it aside because it got here in New York and I started something in cotton. Also, it gives me a chance to take a deep cleansing breath.
    Anyway, I love your description and wished I had seen it first.

  101. Yes! Barbara Rosenblatt is beyond amazing. πŸ™‚ And she’s at her best in the Amelia books. (Go find Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher books if you can. Aussie. Great in print and audio. Second only to Rosenblatt, I’d say.)
    As for your steeks, not only do I bow down, I applaud your method of coping…I mean, ritual. And I adore that colorwork. Wonderful stuff!

  102. Stephanie, we’re glad to see you back. I usually read the blog at work and I couldn’t really call the help desk to ask them why the Yarn Harlot wasn’t working. The weird thing is that I got in on another computer at work. Barbara Rosenblatt is one of the best readers out there. Ah, yes, the summer transition, I only have one back from college (the other graduated from college and four days later got a job offer on the other side of the county – dodged that one coming home to sleep in his old bed) and he takes up space. (Vertical space – 6’5″ (not much space width-wise as he weighs 170) and pyschic space.) But it is rather amazing to see the changes after a year away at college. Rather nice.

  103. trust yarn the same way I trust 16 year old boys near my daughters. What a great line!
    Congratulations on some wonderful steeks.

  104. Stephanie, isn’t Amelia Peabody Emerson a wonder? And Barbarba Rosenblat is the best narrator of recorded books (and Recorded Books) ever, in my not very humble at all opinion. I have listened to the entire series more than once…just finished _He Shall Thunder in the Sky_ yesterday. (Another good series is Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series narrated by C. J. Critt…you might want to give it a try.)
    Thank goodness your blog is back…I was having really withdrawal problems. Hope this server serves you better than the two recent ones!

  105. Stephanie: you’ve inspired me to take a step up in my knitting nerdiness… I joined the KAL.
    It’s my first Knit-A-Long. : )
    I’m nervous.
    Like, first day of seventh grade nervous. You know you’re supposed to be there, and you know you’re good enough, but unsure of how you’ll fit in. : )
    Here goes nothing…

  106. Hi,
    I am working on the tulip baby cardigan and was wondering if I could e-mail you a couple of questions about it?
    kelly (brook)

  107. It was quite interesting to see the steeking in progress…I still hyperventilated a little bit at the thought of the sharp, sharp scissors and the knitted fabric…

  108. Some of the new digital ovens don’t have an OFF button. I moved into an apartment with one and there was no instruction book in sight. It took me two weeks to figure out that you had to hit the CLEAR button when you were done baking.
    Given your current weather, I wouldn’t want you to turn the oven thinking you would just heat something up for 5 minutes and then not be able to turn it back off.

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