A big nog scented loop

Christmas around here goes on forever. I’m not complaining, since I’m the biggest fan of the holiday that there is, and if any of you are having half the good time I am, you’re a very lucky person, but I’ve got to tell you, it takes a little out of a knitter. Today is a designated day of rest, and I’m thrilled about it. We enjoyed Christmas Eve with Joe’s family, then Christmas Day was with them as well. Yesterday we had our own Christmas at home (quickly) and then went out to my Great Aunt Helen and Uncle Don’s house (as I have done every single boxing day of my life.) Don and Helen remain the worlds oldest people (you think I’m kidding, but I’m not) and the proud owners of Cricket, the perpetual dog.


(Have I ever told you about that? I think I said I would and didn’t. Never mind. Today is not the day.) After that command performance, we went back to my mums, Christmassed is all up again with my family and then retreated to our home, which we lost control of several days ago when I declared the dining room “Wrap Central” to try and keep there from being bows and paper everywhere and somehow there ended up being bows and ribbon everywhere anyway. This place is trashed. Totally trashed – and one of the gifts I got from someone is a cold- so today I shall spend the whole day drinking warm drinks, picking tape off of the floors, recycling wrapping paper and asking people to put away their new underwear. (Note to self – put away own new underwear first so as to be able to lecture from a place of moral superiority.) Maybe I’ll make soup. For sure, I’ll knit, since I missed the deadline on one present, and need to bust a move to keep it from spreading. There are two more gift giving occasions, and I am going to be done. Mark my words, I’m on a roll.

Finished on time: The community scarf for my Mum.


I knit the two bobbley ends, and everybody else took turns churning out the rows of garter in between. Random rows of double-wrapped drop stitches break up the monotony.


I spun the yarn (Roving from Steam Valley Fiber Farm – procured at Rhinebeck and called “Copper Penny”) then started the scarf and left it out. In the end it was knit by my daughters, Amanda, Megan and Sam, My friend Ken, my sister in law Kelly, my mother in law Carol and …..I’m not sure who else. It made the rounds at a party we threw. (Honourable mention goes to Ken, Kelly and Meg, who all poured on the burn in the last few days before delivery.)

Finished on time: The Great Big Secret Thing.


Which turns out to be Ken’s Christmas present, The Cobblestone pullover, by Jared Flood from Interweave Knits Fall 2007.

Please forgive all of these photos, our day was so rushed yesterday that all I could manage was to follow Ken around and take pictures of the sweater during festivities at my mum’s. The light was bad. We’ll have a photoshoot another time.


(Yes. We all wear the cracker hats at dinner.)

In some bizarre turn of events, stash diving for this project I turned up exactly the yarn called for, in exactly the colour. (That means you can click on Interweaves much better pictures or Jared’s much, much better pictures to get an accurate look.) It’s the discontinued Classic Elite Skye Tweed, #1272 (Upland Green) which, I admit I like the looks of more than I enjoyed the feel of the stuff. It washed up very, very nice, but while knitting I found it rather rough and really dry and inelastic in my hands. (One person asked if it was cotton.) I knew Ken would adore it when it was done, and I also knew it would be fine after it was washed since I had washed and dried a swatch thoroughly when I first felt these concerns. Still, knitting takes a long time, and generally speaking I’m not going to spend that sort of time with a yarn that isn’t pleasant to work with…..I only broke the rule this time because…well. It was so darned pretty.


I’m very glad I persevered. The sweater fits Ken brilliantly…which is another lucky thing. The pattern didn’t have a size small enough to fit Ken the way he likes, so I adjusted the width just a bit, taking out about 4 cm (1.5 inches) of stitches and adjusting things accordingly. This decision probably also saved my arse, yarn wise.

The pattern called for 11 balls for the smallest size….I had 10 and Christmas Eve I finished the sweater with about 15 meters left. Very scary.


I think he likes it, and here’s hoping your holidays are going brilliantly well. More tomorrow, when I resume the war of the argyles and show what an afterthought heel is good for.

PS. This was the joke in Megan’s Christmas cracker.


– if you can’t read it, it says –

Patricia: Savais-tu que ca prend 3 moutons pour faire un cardigan?

ร‰milie: Je ne savais mรชme pas qu’ils pouvaient tricoter.

Translated (should your french be rusty) it reads (roughly, since my french is not much better)

Patricia: Did you know it takes three sheep to make a cardigan?

ร‰milie: I didn’t even know sheep could knit!

146 thoughts on “A big nog scented loop

  1. Merry Christmas! We wear the silly hats out of the Christmas crackers, too – and put new ones on on New Year’s day. ๐Ÿ™‚
    You did a fabulous job on that beautiful sweater for Ken. I really like the community scarf idea, but so far, I haven’t had any luck teaching the dogs to knit.
    Thank you for all your interesting posts – I look forward to reading your blog everytime I see a new one.

  2. Is the afterthought heel on the argyles? That could be interesting. I’m glad you had a merry Christmas, now back to work on the gansey!

  3. Merry continued Christmas!
    Yes, we too wear the hats — but only some of us. It’s quite a tradition as to who does or doesn’t.
    Ken’s sweater is beautiful. I love the texture around the yoke. The sizing decision was perfect.
    Best wishes on getting rid of the cold. Yarn fumes have been rumoured to be beneficial.

  4. Brilliant sweater! I hope I can still scrounge that magazine somewhere.
    Merry Christmas, one and all!

  5. We wear the hats, too. Have worn them every year since I can remember.
    Our Christmas was as fun as yours seemed to be – I love it when that happens – all the best, Steph.

  6. Ken’s sweater looks fantastic! I too got a cold for Christmas!! I spent most of my holiday blowing my nose and doped up on cold meds…the most depressing part was that I couldn’t taste my MIL’s Yorkshire Pudding (she only makes it once a year). Here’s hoping 2008 is healthier for us all!

  7. I LOVE your holidays, love the pictures, love the descriptions. The Perpetual Dog is adorable! And that sweater? Really brilliant, and it looks like maybe I could try it…but probably not this year. I didn’t knit anything for Christmas (good thing too, I don’t know as I’ve knit a whole row since December 20). Much as I love all the foofaraw, I think about Christmas and grandchildren about the same: met with huge delight, enjoyed to the endth degree…and seen out the door with relief and enjoyment. The days ‘after’ are like that delicious cigarette, in the old days, after a….well, you know. Happy New Year! (Oh, and I’m SO keeping that little French joke.)

  8. Emailed, but don’t know it you received it. You DID know that you were prominently mentioned in last Sunday’s New York Times Week in Review?

  9. Happy holidays, Steph & Co. Sounds lovely!
    Mine have involved small family gatherings with home-brew and feasting, and (heads up, anyone in MA area!) a trip to WEBS yesterday for the first day of their end-of-year sale. This morning is icy with more precip predicted, and I needn’t go anywhere at all today – what could be better on the day after a yarn sale?? I’ve got a baby Haiku on the needles and a tidy blaze in the woodstove. Later, there will be wine.
    Onward through the Ten More days!

  10. The merriest of Christmasses to you and your family, Steph!
    I am compelled to tell you that I finished the grey cabled cardi for my husband…before Christmas. Not only that, but I steeked for the first time and survived the experience.
    This is not bragging, truly it isn’t. It’s more like sharing my own personal shock. Every time I look at the thing I get a little woozy.

  11. It is nice to know that occasionally the knitting gods smile and give you a break on Christmas knitting. The right yarn in the stash in just the right amount! It sounds as though you had a lovely Christmas loop full of friends, family, love, and laughter. What more could you want? (I mean, other than more wool. ^_^) Maybe a mention in the NY Times as the inventor of a new word? Oh…you got that too. I hope the cold doesn’t keep you down for long.

  12. I’m not sure if it is a great feeling to be able to stash dive and find a called for yarn or an indication to the muggles that the stash is too big. It’s great to be able to make something just the way it was intended every once in a while. Great sweater!

  13. Stephanie:
    A very Merry Christmas to all of you (and a big hug for Hank). One thing I have been meaning to ask you- who is Ken? I know he knits and helps you with your computer malfunctions, but I think he is also family??? Thanks

  14. I’m making a Cobblestone for a special friend, too. It’s not a Christmas gift, so I have a few more days’ of work to do on it. It’s a beautiful pattern and I very much like seeing your version. Happy 2008!

  15. Merry Christmas.
    Love the Cobblestone sweater. I knit it for my son in October. I didn’t like how loosely it hung around the waist and the wrists, so I pulled that part in and used smaller needles. Used Plymouth Encore worsted so that my son could throw it in the washer and dryer. It’s a great sweater. Hope Ken enjoys it.

  16. Holy cow. Never been in the first 20 comments. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Ken’s sweater is gorgeous.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you and yours!

  17. Steph–Merry Christmas, happy Boxing Day, and happy New Year! I wish we had crackers with hats in them!! It always sounded like a fun tradition. MY family just puts spoons on their noses. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I remember you talking about Cricket and your aunt & uncle before–waaaaay back when the blog was new. Maybe it’s time to tell the tale again? ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. Happy holidays to you and your family and Ken, and I’m glad you’re having so much fun (and sorry you’ve got the holiday cold, it’s going round here in Philly as well).
    No, we don’t do funny hats here, but we do celebrate by having the annual ‘my college football team will be better than yours next year’ family argument — ah, discussion. Followed by lots of traditional ‘bad-for-you’ foods, and the viewing of the world’s worst holiday movies.
    I’m wondering how many of us are still knitting for the holiday gift giving. I’ve still got the mohair scarf from hell to finish, as well as C’s Highlander sweater, which is down to one sleeve to finish.

  19. Well— that first effort at a comment sort of made the entire computer do a triple hiccup. Ack.
    Go forth and enjoy this special time after Christmas doing the knitterly jammie wallow! No such better happiness exists on the planet!
    Great secret sweater! Lucky fella!

  20. I know what you mean about the Classic Elite Skye Tweed, #1272 (Upland Green). It’s gorgeous! I’m knitting Arrian with it right now. It’s tough on the hands – but it sure looks great after a little soak in soak!
    Glad to hear the oldest people alive are still throwing their annual boxing day party!

  21. The best of Christmases to you and yours. It sounds like a fine one was had by the Pearl-McPhee clan.
    When my daughter was born, we decided to celebrate Christmas in an older way, with gifts at Christmas *and* at Twelfth Night. It has turned out to be a great thing. It spreads the holiday out, diminishes the angst and shopping-crazies, calms things down and brings back a sense that Christmas is really a religious holiday. So I still have 10 days of Christmas to celebrate and knit in! And so do you, if you want it!
    Ken’s sweater is fantastic, and what fortuitous “planning” – to have the right yarn in the right amount, just!
    Blessings, peace and joy to you, and a happy 2008!
    PS: We wear the hats, too. Here’s to Christmas crackers!

  22. I’ve always wondered about those cool crinkly crowns! Now I know where to get one (or knit one, I think Leigh Radford has a pattern for them in Alterknit).
    What is it about the Skye Tweed that makes it dry, I totally agree with you there. It’s like all life has been stripped out of the yarn, too, it’s very limp. Maybe Clara Parkes could puzzle this one out for us.

  23. What a wonderful celebration! Relax and regenerate as you enjoy this third day of Christmas. This may be a good time to pick out the easiest of your remaining Christmas knitting for recuperative purposes.
    Loved the sheep joke. I may have to tell that to one of my friends who collects this sort of stuff.
    Merry Christmas!

  24. Love the cracker joke and loved being able to make out the French–it has been many centuries since I studied French!

  25. We’ve taken to making the poor dog wear a cracker hat too. She wears them around her neck and is actually pretty patient about it once it’s in place.

  26. Three sheep to make one cardigan? That’s either three very small lambs or one very big cardigan.

  27. As my kiddos would say, “I don’t like that joke…I LOVE it!”. Good thing I didn’t have coffee in my mouth at the time!

  28. Congratulations on the cobblestone–it is GORGEOUS. Mine isn’t done yet but all the small items did get finished in time, hurray. And my c’stone recipient conveniently has a birthday in Feb so that’s okay. If one of the sheep is Dolores I bet the cardigan isn’t getting done any time soon…

  29. Merry Christmas to all the Blog and especially to Stephanie and her (large, extended) family! I learned how to knit socks this year and made my grandsons (11 and 12) each a pair–and they love them! How rewarding is that?!
    Thank you all for your faithful posting and commenting and wonderful knitting, it’s so encouraging and such fun.

  30. The wig form in my studio (which I acquired by mysterious means many years ago, and now keep around because it might be “useful”) wears a collection of paper cracker crowns from Chrismas’ past. This year’s paper crown was lovely and silvery.
    You can’t keep teasing us with hints about the perpetual dog, can you? You’ll tell us the story someday, right? Is he a clone? Or resurrected from the dead? Have you been watching “Pushing Daisies”? Anybody in Aunt Helen or Uncle Don’s circle that won’t pet the dog? Maybe if you leave your knitting home next year, you can observe very closely, and catch them at not petting the dog! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  31. Looks like a great Christmas in spite of any knitting schedule issues! Just saw new book listed on Amazon too…can’t wait for another book that makes me laugh out loud on NYC subways.

  32. Love the cracker joke (and even had made myself translate it before I noticed you did it for us; time for coffee…)! Merry Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who is not done with the Christmas knitting…
    Nice sweater! Ken looks awesome in it.

  34. The sweater looks great on Ken. And the community scarf is lovely. I wonder if one left out such things in January, how many scarves could be accumulated by the next Christmas?
    Can someone share just what the New York Times said about you?
    Merry Christmas!

  35. Best thing for a cold-tea, knitting, and movies you have already seen so you don’t have to pay too much attention (how I spent last Sunday). Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    btw-best gift I got this year was a “12 days of Christmas” book made by my 7 yo son, in which he put for the 3rd day “3 yarns for knitting”!

  36. Just get a great model — the whole trick, right there.
    But do not, under any circumstances read “The Deacon’s Wonderful One Horse Shay.” I mean it.

  37. Wow! Great sweater! It would be a good one for my husband. Hope you enjoy your well-earned day of R&R. For the cold try cocoa with Amaretto in it or hot tea with honey & Scotch. If they don’t help, at least you won’t care as much.
    I’m not “exactly” done with Christmas presents. Spent the weekend at my MIL & sewed the afghan & matching corn bag for her “Main Squeeze” (he’s 82!). While there I also finished knitting the house slippers for my sister who is due back in town today. Last night I sewed the corn bags to be given to our best friends & child tonight. Tonight my best friend will also receive a package containing a swatch of screaming yellow yarn (her fav) & my tape measure so I can get her foot measurements & make her house slippers. This was a totally last minute decision, since she admired mine so much. I could have at least started them earlier, but didn’t know her measurements & didn’t find the yarn until yesterday.
    I didn’t have a schedule this year so much as a line of dominoes!

  38. Merry Christmas! You might try Airbourne (sp?) for the cold – I like the zesty orange flavor. So far, no colds this season (of course, now that I say that…).
    I love that sweater – I want to make it, but I can’t find a guy willing to wear it. Hmmph.

  39. While I am still frantically finishing my last knitted gift (hat for grandson, age 3) I must admire your perserverance in finishing your projects. Beautiful sweater for Ken…lovely scarf for Mum. Merry Christmas Steph!

  40. Merry Christmas, sweater is gorgeous. Must have the same crackers as us…we had that joke too ๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy the rest of your holidays…sounds like fin!!

  41. I’m a big fan of the hats from the crackers myself. And of Ken, who looks great in his new sweater. Nicely done.

  42. Sounds like Christmas was fun.
    I can’t find anything in my house. I made the mistake of cleaning said house before 22 people descended upon it on Christmas Eve.
    Now I’m missing my cell phone, keys, my kid’s car seat, and oddly- one knitting needle to the cardigan I was making. Where did these things go??

  43. Funny thing is I’ve been wanting to make the Cobblestone sweater for myself! (bustless boxy shaped wonder that I am) Love how Ken’s came out.

  44. Sounds positively festive! Merry Christmas to all the Pearls and McPhees and a Happy New Year, too!
    PS–> Christmas Crackers ROCK!!
    (Goodness, that’s rather a lot of !!!! Sorry.)

  45. Happy Harlot Holidays to you and your family. Thanks for a wonderful blogging and knitting year.

  46. I made the cobblestone for my boyfriend for Christmas too! I finished it at 3:30 in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, after three nights in a row of staying up till 4:00 in the morning! Yours looks great!
    Merry Christmas!

  47. I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand why or how it is I get SO invested in your Christmas knitting, but I’m relieved to see it mostly got done.
    Yeah. That’s weird.
    Anyway… Merry Christmas and all that.

  48. I got the same joke in my cracker as well. Glad it was a happy Christmas for you and yours!

  49. 1. Ah, Aunt Helen and Uncle Don. How I’ve missed them! Happy New Year to them and Cricket and your family and Joe’s.
    2. The community scarf is wonderful. What a great idea. I’m sure your mum was thrilled.
    3. The cobblestone looks great on Ken! Can’t wait for the full photoshoot. I’ve been in love with that design from the first moment I laid eyes on it. Kudos for finishing it in the midst of the Christmas rush even though knitting with that particular yarn was a less-than-ecstatic experience.
    4. Good heavens, woman, make the kids clean the house and go to bed and sip tea!
    5. Gansey? Did someone say something about a gansey?

  50. Hi, Stephanie,
    Did you know that your coining of the word Kinnear made the New York Times Buzzword list for 2007? Sunday. I didn’t know, but one of my staff members noticed it. http://www.nytimes.com
    Buzzwords 2007
    All We Are Saying

    What follows is by no means a complete list of the words that took our attention this year, but rather a sampling from the thousands that endured long enough to find a place in the national conversation. Although many were not first said or written in 2007, they are nonetheless the tattoos, scars and medals that differentiate this year from any other.
    kinnear v.
    To take a candid photograph surreptitiously, especially by holding the camera low and out of the line of sight. Coined in August by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee of the Yarn Harlot blog when she attempted to take a photograph during an encounter with the actor Greg Kinnear at an airport.

  51. We don’t do Christmas crackers and hats–but everybody has to put a sticky bow on their foreheads. Makes for some really weird Christmas photos!

  52. I’m proud of and awed by your getting all that stuff finished! I’m still knitting. Christmas lasts for twelve days, y’know, and I use every day until January 6th to finish my gifts! My grandchildren and their mom (my daughter) celebrate the Winter Solstice instead of Christmas anyway, but I have yet to get their presents there in time for solstice.
    See you in Tacoma in February!

  53. Cherish the Perpetual Dog Cricket – one day he won’t be there anymore….our Perpetual Dog had his last Christmas this year – and in fact didn’t make it to the end. Please don’t be sad – he is much better off now – but I felt I had to mention it. Maybe Cricket will get a sweater next year?

  54. Merry Christmas!
    I noticed you were very sneaky about not including the garter detail up the sides in your photos of the big project! I did not get mine finished for Sherpa-Doug, but he did get (giant) socks.
    Big hug…

  55. Many congratulations on the completeness of the gifts. I stashed 12 balls of clearence-priced Skye Tweed in a blue to make myself a scoop-necked version of Cobblestone. I may go to the traouble of prewashing the yarn. And plan a tiny bit of shaping. Thanks for the info and ideas.
    We did crackers twice; once on Christmas Eve morning with my family, then Christmas night with Spousal-Unit’s family. I got that joke time 2 and DH got it time 1. Then I got the cold on Boxing Day.
    I’ll also see you at Madrona. I should be well by then. Hope you are, too.

  56. Hi am Glad to see you survived the Christmas partys at least partially intact! A Hot Toddy warm blankies, soft fuzzy kitty cat and knitting ought to do the trick to make you comfy and without any cares. The Cobblestone sweater is beautiful. I am currently taking a break from the post Holiday cleaning…no parties here but…when the housework gets neglected to knit Christmas presents, well, you know what happens!!! I still have 2 pair of socks,and a shawl on the needles 3 pr felted slippers and a pair of boot socks waiting in line for needles so you and many others definitally arent the only only ones still knitting furiously today! WHat about the Gansey…Is there gonna be an update anytime soon???

  57. Hahahhaha that’s a great joke. =) The sweater and scarf are also great. I can’t imagine doing a sweater as a holiday gift. I’m impressed, as usual. Good luck feeling better soon! =)

  58. The cobblestone looks great! I’m doing it as well, but I was not as lucky in the yarn dept. I’m currently waiting for Canada Post to bring the emergency ball of yarn. ๐Ÿ™

  59. The sweater looks great, as does the scarf, but my favorite picture was the cracker hats! This was the first year I can remember that my mum, traditionally the bearer of the crackers, forgot them at home when we went to the SIL’s for dinner. I felt quite naked without my paper hat! Thanks for the cracker fix, complete with joke!

  60. Well, I have the yarn to knit my everlovin’ husband a scarf, that was supposed to be for Hanukkah, but have I cast on yet? No, I have not. He gave me the cold with sore throat that’s going around Philly, too. But he also gave me two skeins of *cashmere* yarn in the most gorgeous shade of aubergine, and a swift … the ball winder is coming … so I guess I can forgive him!

  61. What a beautiful Cobblestone! It looks fab and hey, look at it this way – you don’t have to find a purpose for the leftover yarn!!
    We do the cracker thing too and wear the crowns all meal. Aren’t the jokes the worst?? Someone at our table got a cool rubber band gun this year. I got a super lame puzzle. Ah, well. Better luck next year!

  62. I finished my Christmas knitting on Christmas Eve, and it had to get to Idaho, so I guess I didn’t make it this year. For next Christmas, I will begin holiday knitting in January. Yeah, right.
    Merry Christmas and happy knitting!
    Pam in Denver

  63. We wear the hats here too. Mom found a great source of Christmas crackers… a bunch of them have tape measures in them! (The others have silly things like whistles and keychains and wine glass charms that are actually not that bad as stitch markers.)

  64. I love the idea of having every knitter in the family knit a scarf for someone – unfortunately in my family that would be me! I keep meaning to get the Christmas Crackers. We always had them when I was very little & they were one of my favorite Christmas rituals. I think our family only stopped because they came unavailable in this area (maybe all of the states?). I noticed that they were available in a few online stores a few years ago but keep forgetting to buy them. I’m sure the grands would love them. Ken’s sweater looks great & (IMHO) fits him perfectly. He looks quite pleased with it.

  65. Oh, Stephanie, I forgot to mention – my everlovin’ husband gave me your book Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off! (and last year he gave me Knitting Rules!) What a guy!

  66. Haha. Merry Christmas to you too! My family and I have egnerally given up on christmas and that kinda thing.^^;;
    The sweater looks freaking amazing. ^_^

  67. We wear our cracker crowns here too. It’s fun and my sons hate it (which may be why it is so much fun…they are 20 and 22). This year I burned my thumb on the popper part of the cracker, but fortunately it only hurt for an hour or two. Not too much to hurt the knitting, which might have made me decide that this was the last year of the crackers! Gorgeous sweater…

  68. lovely posting
    florida is warm and dry this merry merry season
    tis the time the weather man and the news papers
    tell us how lucky we are to live here
    i have still my christmas memories
    from up north and my christmas cold
    allgeric as the saying goes
    do you iron your christmas paper
    happy new year to the pooch

  69. No one can diss the paper crowns. Christmas crackers were not a tradition in my family until my sister married a South Londoner who brought himself and the tradition across the ocean to us. You have never seen a happier, or sillier, group of adults than when we pop the crackers, put on the crowns, and tell each other jokes.

  70. I have never heard of Christmas crackers or crowns. Could someone please post details?
    We had a nice relaxing Christmas here with 4 of our kids and 3 of our grandkids. Our other son, his wife and their 3 kids will be here tomorrow. I’m finishing my son’s knit hat right now!
    I’m glad you all had a Merry Christmas, too!

  71. I looked up Christmas crackers on the internet and am amazed that I never heard of them before since I lived in Canada until I was 7. Our family obviously didn’t have that tradition.
    I guess that if I would have read Harry Potter or watched the movies I might have known what they are!

  72. Merry Christmas to your family and you! I like the look of this sweater.
    Your French is awesone ; I’m pretty sure that it is better than my English grammar!

  73. My husband got the very same cracker joke – he attempted the french very badly (I speak German as a 2nd, he speaks Spanish, neither of us a word of French) – I’m thrilled to learn it was knitting-related, and that so many of us got to share the same joke. ๐Ÿ™‚

  74. Phew, took all of my French major skills to read the joke. haha.
    Glad your Christmas went well! Feel better! My little brother gave my poor mom strep for Christmas.

  75. Ken’s sweater – c’est magnifique! Sorry about the accent, but my keyboard doesn’t speak French any better than I do.
    Congratulations on coming so close to meeting ALL the deadlines, and still managing to have a great Christmas season. I am impressed!
    Oh! Before I forget, Jennifer, who creates all those magnificent yarns for the Tsarina, wishes you to be informed that the black hole has coughed up your tape measure. See

  76. Merry Chrimba to you and yours! Here’s hoping you found some yarn and/or fiber accessories under the tree. Ken looks great in his new sweater too!

  77. Crackers and silly hats all ’round here too. Very, very merry and all the best in 2008.

  78. Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noel!! I always enjoy reading your blog but even more so when it parallels my own life (I don’t knit as well or as fast, but there are parallels nonetheless…for which I am truly sorry for YOU ๐Ÿ˜‰ Wrapping paper, bows, tape, scissors, gift bags in at least three different rooms. Gifts we have yet to give to family and friends – since I too got that same gift you did from my husband or my daughter: The Christmas Cold. We are delaying slightly ‘visits in person’ as all the grandparents are 70+ and we’d like to not give that gift that keeps on giving. The cold is good reason for a hot toddy, my friend. Go forth and hot butter some screech (rum is usual here, but whatever you use in your nog will work). I have put away my own underwear in an effort to keep the rest of the denizens of the Duck Pond from leaving theirs laying around also. I finished my Christmas knitting yesterday (yes, well I cannot see my dad until the coughing is non-contagious so the pressure was off). Our community knitting here will commence in January in our community of two (American males do not have the benefits of their Canadian counterparts…not nearly as many knit so it’s just me and the female duckling). We have two friends expecting in July so we will start their items soon (I have other knitting to do around this…three other baby items)
    Steph, thank you for the present that you give us all almost every day: of your blog, your books and your great good humour. You make us smile if not laugh outright and we all find so much of our own selves here…the good, the bad and the tangled up in a ball.

  79. I’m loving Ken’s sweater — it looks great and he looks fab in it! I’m thinking of knitting this up for my husband, but in a much softer yarn. Don’t know how that will do with so much garter, so a big swatch is in my future, I think. (I should be swatching anyway, because the last sweater I knit for the Man is ginormous.)

  80. Merry Christmas Stephanie. I hope you feel better soon. I admire your ability to let your house “go,” it makes me nervous when my house is a total mess…… I am resting, feeling off from something, don’t know what, this afternoon, but I wanted to say Merry Christmas, and thank you for providing such a great blog. I wish you health and happiness in the new Year. Love, your fellow lactation consultant, and knitter/spinner, and mother of the spinners housecleaning pages…. Kathleen. http://www.kbbspin.org

  81. Best Cracker joke EVER. Fantastic! And yes, wearing the crowns is a must. I hope you get great recovery time and more holiday relaxation. I am so sad it is already th3 27th – where does it all go? Merry Christmas/New Year to you and yours.

  82. Happy holidays to you and yours! I wish I could get one fourth of what you get done! Ken looks great in his new sweater!

  83. Oh, what a cute dog!
    I really like that sweater. I’m spinning variegated red yarn to make a cardigan version of it for myself, because yes, give me a magazine with several women’s sweaters and one men’s sweater, and the only sweater I can conceive of myself wearing is the “men’s” sweater. Um. What’s with all the girly sweaters these last few years? I don’t like the tight fitted stuff. I’m just not girly. Feh. Whatever.
    I think I officially hate christmas now, but that’s a long story and I won’t bore you with it.
    Did I mention the dog is really cute?

  84. Thank you for the translation of the joke. That was the exact one I got in my cracker too and I knew I would have to look it up since “moutons” flummoxed me.

  85. Hey! We wear our cracker hats at dinner too. (at the one and only “grown-up” dinner party I attend each year) They do bad, bad things to hair. ha ha ha. Glad your holidays are going so well.

  86. Love the photos. And the jokes. Wish you a quick adieu to your cold.
    CONGRATULATIONS on having coined a new word of the year. I only read last Sundays New York Times yesterday… and there it was: “kinneared” a la Stephanie Pearl McFee!!! Woot! Woot!

  87. ugh, i got a cold for xmas too. on the upside, i discovered a lovely combination: cold meds and strongbow.

  88. Sounds delightful. Christmas is a whole season for us also. Usually we spend the night Christmas Eve at my sister’s, but we have rather suddenly succeeded in adopting a teenager and so this year we made rounds of her local relations on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day we went to my parents, as did both of my sisters and their families, for breakfast, gift exchange, our traditional treasure hunt for my birth day presents (being that my birthday is on Christmas), a couple of rounds of croquet in the park (being that in Southern California it was sunny and 70ยบF [21ยบC]), Christmas dinner, and slightly early birthday cheescake for my wife and our new teenager (both are on 27Dec; Kristine is 39 and Shawna is 17). Then Dad’s heavily spiked eggnog and hot tub. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Today we’re doing more birthday stuff, as well as upgrading to a family cellphone plan and other necessary adjustments. It’s all good.
    P.S. Hope you have received your belated wedding present.

  89. Well, it looks as though you guys are having a dynamite holiday!! Glad you’re enjoying even with a cold and after all your stressing over finishing stuff. Must tell you that you should be thrilled with Ken’s sweater! It’s absolutely gorgeous & fits so amazingly! And, how about Ms. Famous making the N.Y. Times last Sunday! Wow! Wishing you & yours all good things in the new year, Ruth in NJ

  90. Congratulations on another year’s Christmas knitting accomplished! The Cobblestone looks amazing.
    We do crackers and the hats too but ours have the English on one side and French on the other ๐Ÿ™‚

  91. I think you should call your next sock pattern “Buzzword 2007” – or perhaps, Kinneared! Great looking Cobblestone, by the way!

  92. hmmmmmmmmmm…. a perpetual dog. is that like my grandparents had, where every time their dog died they got a replacement and just gave it the same name? my entire life, that i can recall, they had a dog named Major! ๐Ÿ™‚

  93. We Aussies wear our paper crowns with pride, and it seems Canadian cracker hats are bigger than Aussie ones since my husband nearly got his on his head… Am desperately avoiding my FiL’s cold. Am also enjoying the snow here in Waterloo, Ontario (and visited Lettuce Knit on Sunday! Plus Romni, Purple Purl and Americano)

  94. I am about to embark on my first ever sweater project, and I am cheered to know that even the mighty Yarn Harlot is flushed with pride over a finished sweater. I started to think that other knitters knock them out like, well, like socks, except that socks don’t exactly drip from my needles either.
    I am also jealous of the warmth and camaraderie of your Christmas festivities. As a family of 3 with no family members within 1,000 miles, our holidays are all too quiet. We could create friends to revel with, but we don’t seem to have that knack. Anyhow, I am cheered to picture a Christmas that rolls from home to home for several days.
    Knit on, YH!

  95. Very handsome sweater! Ken is a wonderful model, too. . . wonder if my sons would like that pattern. . . Hmmmmmmm. . . Merry Christmas!

  96. I think I have a guess as to why Cricket the perpetual dog is perpetual…but I’m not going to reveal it in case I spoil the surprise. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sounds like a lovely Christmas, Stephanie, and congrats on finishing Ken’s sweater! (Ken, you look wonderful in it.) The community scarf is beautiful; hurray for everyone really pitching in! Hope you get over the dratted cold soon. I also hope you don’t try every remedy The Blog has suggested over the years, or your local liquor store is going to be seriously understocked come New Year’s Eve. [g]
    And like someone further back, I too have been puzzled – for decades – about what the heck Christmas crackers are. I’ve wondered ever since I first read about them in a children’s book by some British author 40-odd years ago. After this post, I *finally* remembered to go look it up on Wikipedia. Aha! Ok. I had the impression they were some sort of party favor, but no clue re the details. Thanks for the inspiration to get that out of the way!

  97. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!The sweater is beautiful as is the scarf – must now go back over your comments for secret thing as planning to knit a much much bigger edition of Cobblestone for beloved. Feel better!

  98. Where does one get crackers with both French and English jokes? We have had them every year since a friend gave us some in a gift exchange – I think they are just a hoot.
    Lovely sweater, and good job on all the Christmas knitting. I love the community scarf idea, and the execution was just smashing.
    Wish we partied as well and as often as your family – it sounds just wonderful.
    Merry New Year!

  99. Your Christmas sounds fab. Mine was – I got one of your books! And that sweater, in that yarn…. just gorgeous. Happy New Year to you and yours.

  100. Sorry, you’ll never be in a place of moral superiority when it comes to underwear. I’ve read too many posts in which you cannot find your bra!

  101. Because I am tired and middle-aged and probably need new glasses, the first time I saw this post, what with that adorable picture of Cricket up at the top and all, I thought the title was “A big dog scented loop.”
    Tell me that doesn’t work, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Merry merry to you and yours, and happy Christmas Recovery Week.

  102. Stephanie,
    After finishing my Christmas knitting, which really wasn’t that much, I was anxious to start an Unoriginal Hat. I loved the pattern and I had some beautiful hand-spun, hand-dyed local yarn to use that would be perfect. I started Christmas eve, and ripped it out Christmas morning; too small. Then I moved up a needle size, finished it Christmas night, ripped it out the next morning; too small again! (I know you’re wondering why I knit two complete hats that were too small, I relly can’t explain that one.) I checked the pattern again, realized that 7mm needles did NOT mean size 7’s! I amazingly found some size 11 dpns, cast on and never looked back. The hat is beautiful. I love the pattern and now, even after knitting three of them, am anxious to knit even more. The most amazing thing, my 16-year old daughter likes it and she doesn’t like anything, especially something I’ve knit! Happy Holidays, it sounds like you’re busy and happy!

  103. Merry Christmas!
    I was tickled to see your Old English Cracker Co. crackers; my dear sister Mary started buying them a few years ago and we always have them at our Christmas Eve dinner (and yes, we all wear the hats – except for teenagers who are too cool for that as you know).
    Happy New Year!

  104. Love the whole idea of a community scarf and also the finished product. Ken looks so comfortable in his new gift and the colour suits him–lovely. Sorry you have the cold but it seems most people have it right now. Get rid of it before New Years. My friend used to eat raw galic & mayo sandwiches to cure his cold. His wife commented that he never got a cold because no one could stand to be too close to him, but it worked . Might be worth a try Good Luck

  105. Merry Christmas! That is one beautiful sweater and it looks perfect on him! I bet your Mom really loved the scarf — the idea of a community knit is just brilliant. I’m going to have to adopt that one next year.

  106. Merry Christmas! At least you got pictures of your knitting being worn… there were over a dozen hats given away that were not unwrapped while I was on site. I can hope that pictures will be sent but it is faint. ๐Ÿ™‚

  107. We, too, wear the cracker hats at Christmas dinner. Except after working in a hot kitchen getting dinner ready, I had a hot flash and my head got a little too damp to wear it – I was afraid of getting red tissue paper dye in my hair!

  108. Wow–looks like your Christmas was fantabulous, and you’re right–that pullover is just so darned pretty! (Our house is mostly a pit of rubble right now–but the, the short people keep breaking out the new Christmas blocks and arsing up any housecleaning I’ve accomplished since an hour ago.)

  109. What a pile of comments you have gotten! The sweater for Ken is perfect. I have been eying that pattern for one of my brothers. He is tall, tall, tall, and broad shouldered, but I think it is a flexible pattern. We have always done poppers, (little, with streamers in them) only recently discovered crackers and the joy of wearing crowns and telling the silly jokes. I am proud of myself this year. I knitted for 13 of 16 family members. No sweaters, though. The ones I didn’t knit for had made specific requests for other gifts, so I feel I went hand-made all the way. Have a Happy New year!!!

  110. We wear our cracker hats at dinner, too!
    I wanted to knit the Cobblestone for my fella, but he didn’t like it. Can you imagine? Yours is lovely, though, and he wears it well.
    Happy holidays!

  111. I got the exact same joke in my cracker! And all of us at Christmas dinner wore our cracker crowns.

  112. Ha!!!! Travis got that EXACT SAME cracker. (I see I’m not the only one, but it still amuses me.) My French is horribly rusty, but I did have fun picking out the words “sheep”, “cardigan” (duh), and “knit”!

  113. Hee – that’s the same cracker my MIL got!
    (Of course, that’s all the French I could scrounge from the depths of my memory as well!) Too funny.

  114. My friend just showed me her finished sweater for her son – – and I immediately told her “Oh that’s the one the Yarn Harlot made for Ken!” Of course, she knew that too. I never would have guessed it was the “Cobblestone Sweater”… but I remembered seeing it on your blog. : )

  115. A low-light crappy picture of my FLAK Aran sweater. (There are other, better photos of it in -progress on the blog). I started it two years ago and had it in deep hibernation until I got cold this fall. What I loved about this project was how much I learned about design and fit. The FLAK (Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong) isn’t a pattern so much as a path to knitting a sweater with a custom fit. Janet Szabo wrote the multi-part instructions over a period of about six or seven months, starting with the swatching and yarn selection, measurements, figuring out ease, etc. She selected the combination of cables for the sweater, which I played with slightly (mirroring the wave cables and flipping the center horseshoe cable). By not having to come up with my own combination of cables, I could concentrate on learning how to include the elements I wanted and to make sure the whole thing was going to fit me. It was knit top down (starting with the shoulder saddles) all in one piece, a technique I had never tried, and which I have ambivalent feelings about. I love the way the inside looks, but the reason the sweater went into hibernation was because it got too big to lug around.
    I really needed that combination of freedom to choose certain components with the structure of *how* to do that in order to transition to the complete design of a successful garment. Those first essential lessons about measuring and fit have given me the confidence to design and knit lots of other garments, including a lace shrug for my daughter, who pointed to two different shrugs at a clothing store and said, “I want one that is shaped like this one, but has a pattern like this other one.”

  116. I love that sweater. Ken could be a Rowan model – the sweater just hangs of his frame brilliantly. Couldn’t you see it, kilted on some foggy heath. Hooray for serendipitous yarn amounts. Merry belated Christmas and have a wonderful, fiber-filled New Year!

  117. This is a great sweater, I am not up for the challenge of a man’s sweater just yet, but I do like this one very much. Great gift.

Comments are closed.