Deer don’t talk back

Joe came and fetched me yesterday (which answers the question of how I got where I was, drop off, and pick up. No car while I was there.) and brought me home ahead of another nasty storm. It was the day I was supposed to come home anyway, and though I had actually entertained the idea of staying for a few more days, with the way the weather was looking, if I didn’t get out yesterday, it might have been Monday before I could bust a move out of there, and I absolutely had to be home for Friday. (Turns out, when I did get home last night, ahead of the storm, that the reason I absolutely had to be home on Friday got rescheduled to Monday. (When I run the world, things will be more reliable.)

A big storm did indeed arrive, and is still arriving as I type and I am so glad to be home. I missed everybody so much, even my little cat, and I am not the sort of woman who normally thinks very much about her cat. It’s a testament to how very alone I was up there, that one dwells on the creature comforts of home, and the creatures that go with it. (Until, at least, the creatures remind me why it was I left in the first place.) For now, it is very true that absence has made my heart grow fonder, and I’m enjoying the family’s comings and goings. Compared to listening to the roof bury me in the woods, the sound of Joe shovelling us out today is a pleasure. (Especially since the former means I shall be shovelling, and the later clearly does not.) I cleaned up the kitchen last night and (somebody note the date and time, this shall likely never occur again) I enjoyed it. Laundry? Just hand it to me. I’d be happy to put it in for you. As challenging as the last 6 days were, as lonely as I was and as skittish, I surprised myself by feeling rather winsome yesterday when we left, and feeling positive about the idea of doing it again. There’s something about being in charge of your whole self and it’s survival, with no help from anyone, that feels a little (dare I say it?) brave.

I was in the woods in the easiest possible way, with a bathroom and a stove and frozen pizza, and it still made me feel like a strong and competent woman. (When I wasn’t scared stupid.) It also made me talk to deer for company after only 6 days, so I don’t know what the long term effects on my psyche would be.

What did I knit? Surprisingly little. Like I said, knitting and typing aren’t very compatible, and neither are cooking or stomping in the woods, and I did a lot of all of them. Still, I managed a bit.


One pair finished socks, STR mediumweight, in a colourway that’s a one of a kind “rare gem”.


My own pattern (such as it is) invented on the fly. The 2×2 rib grows into two rows of twisted stitches along the fronts of the legs, which then become plain rib again on the feet. Grafton Fibers needles, 2.75mm.

I started another pair of socks in STR Lightweight (Ravenscroft), but you should ignore them because I screwed them up bigtime and I’ve already frogged them. Forget they were ever here.


Last, but certainly not least, The Urban Aran (Cardiganized.) Two sleeves.


Want a good laugh? I thought this (and the black socks above) would be finished by Sunday. Seriously. I took three more skeins of sock yarn away with me so that when I just whipped through the sweater and socks (You know, knitting at 15 times my normal pace, just because I’m not home) I would need at least three more pairs of socks on top of finishing the socks above, plus the sweater, plus the black socks. (IN SIX DAYS.)

I crack me up too.

164 thoughts on “Deer don’t talk back

  1. I always tell Noah that one of the best parts of trips is the coming home. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. There is something about being alone that makes you think you’ll get more done. For me the opposite seems to happen. =-)

  3. It is good to feel strong and brave. I had that experience when working on a Habitat for Humanity house and wielding hammers, drills, etc. No stopping us when we allow ourselves to shine! Great socks!

  4. Isn’t it hilarious how when you’re going to make a trip somewhere that’s supposed to be “relaxing” you bring like…half your stash? I do that every time. I bring like…3 balls of yarn for a weekend. It’s ridiculous.
    Your cardigan is looking beautiful! I just love the color choice. I look forward to seeing the finished product. Those socks are great, too! I have a hard time sometimes with really brightly colored socks, but this are just right. Combined with your design, I think they’re just perfect. Love them!

  5. Long-time lurker, but I was growing concerned when you did not post yesterday. As I live in a remote area, I know how things can happen…fallen through frozen river, dropped down into deep drift of snow, impaled by icicle (one of James Bond movies). Anyway, thank God, you are home. Looking forward to your visit to Salt Lake City.

  6. The worst possible thing is to run out of projects before running out of trip. I always end up with 2 or 3 extra sock projects but what a disaster it would be to be away from home with NO KNITTING. Though it is a good way to explore the local consulates (yarn shop discovery is a great travel adventure, unlikely to be possible up in the woods of Ontario!)

  7. What beautiful Rare Gem Socks as memory of the week in the woods. I’m glad you were whisked away ahead of the storm, even with the Friday/Monday reschedule. Happy homecoming.

  8. Happy you weren’t eaten by some rabid animal. That would make me sad. All of your projects are really pretty. I wish i was talented.

  9. Welcome home! Here I am in the city fantasizing about getting up to my cabin with all the snow….not going to happen for a few weeks.

  10. That’s ALL the knitting you got done? While, oh I don’t know, typing, and eating, and hiking through the great white north? And you’re complaining you aren’t fast enough?
    Lol, yeah you crack me up.

  11. I always bring an optimistic (to put it mildly) number of projects when I go away, too, even more optimistic because I’m going away with a husband and two young children, and we all know that sort of “vacation” is more work than staying home. But it’s like a binky, the yarn. It makes me anxious to think of running out of it while away.
    Glad you’re home safely and the week was so productive, both for typing and for feeling strong.

  12. Glad you’re home, safe and sound. Take a minute tonight, once everything is quiet, and remember the terror of the first night. That will help you remember how good it is to be home before everything breaks loose tomorrow!
    Enjoy every minute while you can!

  13. After living in Minnesota’s boundary waters for nine days and trying to clean off bacon grease with cold water (hint: you get sludge, I’ve never touched bacon again for thinking that the goo might lodge in my arteries) I took a new appreciation to doing dishes that has yet to wear off (eight years later).
    Welcome home.

  14. Taking more knitting than you could possibly accomplish? No, that’s completely normal. I used to take almost an entire library shelf of books with me on vacation, out of fear lest I somehow be left without reading for five minutes before we got home. Same principle, only with books instead of yarn. Completely sane.

  15. I always joke that a personal vacation would be a studio apartment and bologna sandwiches. I think a cabin in the winter woods would be the ticket. After reading your experience, maybe not. I am planning a trip away just for me. I think I won’t go to someplace as remote but definately off the beaten track. With half my stash at least, 1 lb of bologna, wheat bread and mustard. Cheers! (oh yeah…some brandy to keep me warm!!!!)

  16. 15 times you’re normal speed— because you’re not at home….
    I don’t think it was funny at all… I think it was quite optimistic, that’s all..
    And prepared… you may very well have been trapped up there in the snow—and been forced to cannibalize the socks you were wearing for knitting….better over prepared than a sock wrecking cannibal, I always say.

  17. Welcome back to your life, Stephanie! It’s amazing how a little time away makes it seem more attractive upon return. :O) I hope the feeling lasts a long while for you! I think you are not at all unusual for taking along piles of yarn. I know I always take huge quantities whenever we travel, because being without something to knit would be unthinkable!!! Yesterday we went “over the river” and I threw two more balls of yarn in case I finished the afghan square I was starting to knit and needed to do more. It takes about twenty minutes for us to get to Niagara Falls N.Y., and then twenty back. And there was no waiting at the border at all, so forty minutes of knitting time means I might do three squares, right??? Not at the speed I knit. But I felt more secure, you know? :O) (as if I couldn’t have bought yarn and needles at JoAnns if I ran out…..)

  18. Welcome back. I can relate to the experience of being away from home for awhile making you miss all the little things – even cleaning and laundry. Unfortunately, that feeling never seems to last.
    Your socks look very cozy. I’ve yet to knit my first pair. I’m a little afraid – I hear they’re like crack.

  19. Welcome home, Steph! I know I speak for thousands when I say we’re all glad to know you arrived safely back in the busy bosom of your family. As for the Ravenscroft toe-up sock, back to work! What you apparently frogged looks most intriguing.

  20. Well, isn’t that always the way? I always pack six projects and maybe get to one. I’m feeling the ‘welcome home’ part…but I’m still jealous of your alone time. I’m so glad it refreshed you.

  21. The idea of having 6 days to myself is …unfathomable. Really. It sounds so wonderful and yet I know I would spend most of my time wondering if hubby and the kids were still alive without me there to take care of them, LOL.
    I love the Urban Aran. I put it on my list of things to knit for myself when I get done with all my current projects- which should be sometime next year!

  22. I’m a slow knitter – only been at it for two years, and I still take 3-4 projects with me. For a weekend trip. I think I like having OPTIONS, if I get sick of this set of socks, I’ll start the next ones…or something.
    Sounds like the time in the woods was exactly what you needed, welcome home!

  23. So… we’re also supposed to forget that you started those non-existent black socks toe-up, are we? from a toe-tip cast-on, I believe? like maybe perhaps possibly even a Turkish one? All this we’re supposed to treat as if it had never happened? That’s a pretty tall order, ma’am.
    And I assume we’re also supposed to make like we didn’t ever see the beginnings of intriguing little twisty-cables on these socks-that-didn’t-happen, hmmmmm? Uh-huh.
    Welcome home, Wilderness Woman.

  24. You only need worry when the deer DO start talking back to you.
    Glad to have you back. Although, I did really enjoy the snowy nature shots! I’d read your blog without yarn (you so remind me of my family), so when there is yarn its a total bonus!

  25. Well, the alternative would be to run out of yarn, and that wouldn’t be good.
    I assume that because you’re on the sleeves that the fronts and back are already done – geesh! I’m still on the back, near the armholes. Can’t wait to see the finished product, and I’m wondering if you knit the front as two halves or if you plan to steek!? I’m leaning toward the steeking myself.
    Welcome back to civilization!

  26. I am right there with you with regard to yarn packing. My husband and I are leaving for Spain tomorrow and I am planning to start an Icarus shawl on the plane (since I can use small bamboo needles and not scare the TSA), but I am also planning on brining a cardigan I am trying to finish for a May graduation and at least one pair of socks — for all that down time when we are not hiking and eating and touring the Andalusia countryside. Not to mention I have already googled for LYSs and I have a tip on where to go in Granada…

  27. The last couple of times I went away, I piled up the books and knitting I wanted to bring along then took half of it. I still had too much.

  28. Congratulations on being home Steph and not a moment too soon with all the snow and ice eh? ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have a feeling, once you get settled, you’re going to miss that little place up north. I’d love to know if you accomplished as much writing as you wanted to.
    The sun started shining a little bit, so I’m off to do the shovelling here in Toronto. All morning I’ve been telling myself, just one more blog reading and I’ll get out there to try to make a dent in it.

  29. Ah, but the alternative (no knitting) would have been unconscionable.
    Love the new socks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. No knitter should ever be without just in case yarn. It is the knitter’s equivalent to the extra underwear everyone’s mother made them pack for any trip as a child.

  31. I think I’d be tempted to fake a little amnesia and try and stay out in the woods a bit longer. who are you? You came to pick me up and take me where? Home? Must. Knit. Longer.

  32. Only another knitter would understand how critical it is to take the right projects on a trip. I’m going to check to see if Ravelry has a group for knitters on the go.

  33. The spare yarn was a necessity, just in case you got snowed in for an extra week. Take a dog next time. You won’t have the fear factor issue, where every little noise makes you jump.

  34. The number of knitted items I have started on a trip, and only realized after I got home that they were in no way worth finishing (“craptastic” is a good descriptor) staggers the imagination. Got questioned in Burbank airport about why I had all that yarn in my suitcase, too. Some sort of travel phenomenon is all I can guess. Welcome home!

  35. I think we’re all guilty of that. When I go home to visit my parents, I’ve been known to take my entire knitting basket with me. This includes all active projects plus several not even started yet. AND every knitting book and magazine I own.
    And I am not a fast knitter. Who am I kidding?

  36. Still wrapping my mind around deer that were friendly enough to be talked to. It’s when you think they’re talking back that we’d worry. The extra yarn for all those supposed projects? Yarn keeps us company too. It’s part of its job, to comfort.

  37. Welcome back! Everything you are working on/just finished looks so beautiful! I love the color of the Urban Aran and who knew that plain black socks could be so much more than plain or black! I can’t wait to see the outcome of everything.

  38. Glad to hear you are home safe and sound and enjoying the stuff you actually escaped from.:o)
    LOVE the STR Rare Gem socks! I do the same thing — my brain overestimates my knitting speed and competancy so I end up bringing way more yarn and projects with me when I go on vacation or a retreat. God forbid I run out of what I am working with or finish something without another one to work on right behind it!!

  39. Cute socks.
    The weather here is perfect– 70*F and sunny. I’d trade it for a working toilet. I’ll have to either buy a camp toilet or book a motel for the night, as the plumber can’t fix the thing until tomorrow.

  40. I would have been lobbying for a delay in someone coming to get me, but I’m weird that way. Really enjoyed the backcountry blogs.
    Wish we had a huge storm here. Just more of the tiny, powdery flakes that mean one lives somewhere, really, really cold. I miss big wads of snow falling from the sky and having thunder and lightning at the same time, if we were lucky.
    And I’ll 2nd the vote for the sock pattern. ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. Overpacking yarn (and underpacking the required clothes) seems to be a common theme for us knitters. Like Jen above, I took a lot of yarn with me to Amsterdam last year, convinced I was going to spend all my downtime in the hotel knitting. I got no downtime at all — and only got one-half a scarf done on the plan to and from there. Unlike her, I wasn’t smart enough to google for LYS there, and ended up with no purchases!
    Glad you’re home! And safe, with beautiful socks.

  42. You are funny! I, too, suffer from the “eyes are bigger than my stomach” school of knitting vs. actual time available to knit. But, a person can dream, right?

  43. Am I the only one who feels better about herself as a knitter knowing that Stephanie screws up and frogs socks? Especially considering she wrote The Sock Recipe.
    Glad you enjoyed your time away, and that you’re enjoying being back. Ice Storm Cometh.

  44. I’ve taken yarn, books and beads on trips. Hell, I even bring yarn and beads with me to work — crochet on the bus, look at the beads at lunch and think about what to make. Crocheting on the bus actually happens; looking at beads at lunch, not so much. (I end up using lunch time to read blogs (LOL).) I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a tote bag with projects or reading material with me almost all the time.
    Glad you got home, Stephanie, before another storm hit; I loved all the nature pictures.

  45. I’m so glad you made it back ok! I know you’re incredibly busy, but could you talk about “pooling” at some point in your blog? You’ve gotten me hooked on these lovely hand-painted yarns and I’m knitting loads of socks but I can’t seem to figure out how to avoid pooling. Just wondering if you worry about it at all or the knitting fates just haven’t bonked you with this particular problem yet.

  46. Those Urban Aran cardi sleeves look beautiful! I, too, am wondering whether you’ll knit the fronts separately or steek them. Or have you already finished them?

  47. Glad you are home safe and sound but selfishly, I think I’m going to miss your survival posts. They were enchanting. Nice socks. Will you be posting the pattern?

  48. I always “optimistically” pack knitting that way as well. A weekend at the cottage? 3 socks. a lace project, and maybe one or two others. Just in case. One never knows…

  49. Ah you’re back, glad you’re home safe. I suffer from the same delusion of knitting speed (which explains why both my stash and ravelry queue are so large).
    I loved your idyll in the woods.

  50. Being away makes it nice to come home. Glad Joe whisked you away before all the snow fell.
    We have a balmy 42f here today and sunshine. I love the sunshine even if there is still more snow than ground available.
    I packed three knitting projects on my last trip managed to frog back the only thing I worked on. I can’t knit and kyak it seems.

  51. Haha, at least you were prepared! After years of overpacking yarn, I finally tried to make a good estimate of how much I would actually knit on a trip over the Christmas break. Well wouldn’t you know it, I ran out of yarn! Luckily, I was in civilization and could pop over the LYS, which I happened to know right where it was because I was a city in which I used to live. And the owner still remembered me. But yeah. Running out of yarn in the woods would be traumatic! =)

  52. I think those needles gave me a bit of a woody. OK, I can’t have one, but if I could, that’s what would do it.

  53. I lived alone on my ten acres on the prairie, taking care of the farm and working, and never really thought about myself as being strong, competent or brave. It was just my life, you know? So you’ve done wonders for my self-esteem! Or I’m just a freak, I can’t decide which.

  54. Your devotion to the impossible is ingrained within all of us, Sister Stephanie, since the impossible is an integral part of the foundation of being Woman – and guess what?!?! – Woman generally succeeds at the impossible so much more often than her counterparts.
    One thing – – – will you share the precious deer language with me? We will be needing it at camp. It’s coming soon – cannot wait. Are we all sleeping enough in preparation for the event? Not. We are knitting, of course, or inputting the elements of our stash into Needletrax. I have decided it is so much more rewarding “not to know” and to go digging. The fumes delight.
    So carry on the impossible with great aplomb – such beautiful work.
    Sharon T., Houston Tx

  55. It would not have been pretty if you had run out of yarn. I did two different times a long time ago . . . . it will never happen again.
    Are you sure that 3 more pair of socks would have been enough?

  56. If you hadn’t brought those other skeins, you’d definitely have finished everything on day 2 and you’d have spent the rest of the time wondering what to do with yourself.

  57. Welcome home, I too have made an achievement, coincidentally…I read the WHOLE blog! I started February 4 and finished today. Not bad, all Harlot, all the time. I have been scaring the muggles this past month; I called the Madison Borders where you will be signing in April and laughed out loud when the lady told me about 10-20 people will be coming. Can’t wait to see you then. Thanks for sharing this awesome community.

  58. You’ll be missing the silence of the woods before you know it. . .trust me! I also take lots of knitting projects AND books when I go anywhere, though my sweetie tells me there are probably yarn shops and likely to be book stores within buying distance. I like the choices–what if I not in the mood for the first, or second, or third book or project and it’s the middle of the night? Or there’s a snow storm? Heaven forbid!!

  59. I’ve found even when not living in the woods, miles from the rest of civilisation, you can feel pretty brave. For many years I lived w/ my boyfriend; then we split. Suddenly the things you always took care of (car things, bike things, computer things) I needed to take care of and I did it and always felt really good that I could change the tyre on my bike or add memory to my computer or reformat a hard drive — that I really didn’t need a man to do it for me! So maybe you’ll be able to get some of that bravery in the comforts of your own home without the fear of getting buried in snow or eaten by deer. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Also, I don’t knit even 1/3 as fast as you and when I go away for two days I always have extra yarn JUST IN CASE I suddenly become tremendously fast and finish whatever it is I’m working on. Never happens.

  60. Glad to see you made it home before being totally snow bound or eaten by a wild animal!
    Oh my, I love those finished socks!!!

  61. I always overpack on knitting projects when traveling. Always. I imagine that knitters everywhere would breathe a sign of relief if we found some magical way to transport their entire stash with them at all times. At least then I wouldn’t be plotting out six months’ worth of knitting to take with me on a 10-day trip to London, during which I am highly likely to have much less time to knit than usual. And then there’s the puzzle of fitting it all in my luggage…

  62. *high five* You did it! And you are very brave in my book. Loved reading about it, and fantasizing my own escape “into the wild.”
    keep on purlin’

  63. All the untouched yarn tells me that you made good progress with the writing. A relaxed Harlot is not quite so entertaining as a deadline-crazed one, but that’s ok for once. I’m glad you had such a wonderful opportunity to get away and get it done.

  64. Clearly absence does make the heart grow fonder! I know that I appreciate my little one so much more after a day at work than after a day dealing with her every wish. She’s 2 going on 16 so can be hard work but there is nothing better than her little face lighting up when I pick her up at the end of the day!
    Lovely socks btw!

  65. I always take at least three times as much as I can knit in the time, even if I’m going on a trip full of events and with company.
    I do expect it’ll take a while to process all the effects of your stay. I would have been surprised if you didn’t feel different about yourself and your world.
    If you don’t think much about your cat, you obviously don’t have my cat. Her absence is noticable, as is her presence.

  66. Hey, bringing too much yarn is wayyy better than bringing too little. I turn into a massive, unhappy wreck on flights when I run out of yarn. The urge to knit my hair filter into my mind. That bad. XD

  67. I’m glad you’re home safe. I wasn’t thrilled by the number of people who thought one of the tracks was from a bear. Congratulations on all the knitting, but weren’t you there to write?

  68. When I travel with a non-knitter (aka my husband) I have to pack just the right amount of yarn- enough not to run out of either yarn or options, and not so much that I can’t justify a trip to a lys. When traveling on my own, the latter is irrelevent.
    Glad you’re back safe and aound.

  69. Forget? No no, I do not forget. I remember, and will likely make sure it comes back to haunt you at some point. Coz that’s what I do.

  70. I’m glad you’re back safely. The deer tell me they had nefarious plans, had you stayed any longer.
    Do not speak to me of storms. My co-vendor for this weekend’s fest is snowed in 322 miles away from here and I can’t do this without her.
    I am a little frenzied at the moment.

  71. Okay, so I was a little worried about you yesterday… glad you are safe & sound & surrounded by those who love you(r cooking, cleaning ways). That’s a cute sock pattern. As the “world’s slowest sock knitter” I’m well into Hedgerow sock #1… hopefully #2 will follow during this calendar year –

  72. I, too, always have knitting and reading matter with me. My daughter has picked up the habit, too, which certainly makes for easier waits in line and at airports! When traveling, I take way more yarn and projects than I need. I like to have options. Plus, knitting keeps my hands off the cocktail nibbles.

  73. I was living in fear when we didn’t hear from you for a day.
    I’ve been busy myself with my latest knitted creations, strictly for adults!

  74. Hey, it’s much better to have too much yarn than too little. And you might have changed your mind which sock yarn you wanted to use first! I’d call that “planning” rather than “wishful thinking”.

  75. When you didn’t post yesterday, I had moment of serious concern that the bear had gotten you. So glad you are home safe!

  76. I always bring too much along, too much yarn, too many books and too many clothes. It’s like an illness. But, there have been times where something happened and I used verything that I brought (even if it was to pass something on to teach a new knitter, so I guess sometimes there is a reason.

  77. Do the owners of said cabin rent it or loan it to blog readers from more southern parts such as the state of NY?

  78. So … now that you’re back … did you finish the book? You didn’t say a word about how much typing you had done. We were too busy trying to keep you distracted about the dark scary silence outside your door. Did we help?

  79. Yes, you can say it. Brave. There, I said it too (for good measure). Pretty socks. And that seems like a lot of knitting to me. And the WORST would be to run out of things to knit while so alone and prone to the need to distract yourself from scary things, so you are excused for the extra sock yarn. In fact, everybody is excused for extra sock yarn for any reason from here on out. There. Doesn’t that feel better? Hm. Think I’ll go shopping.

  80. I’ve actually managed to run out of project while on a trip– twice! Once, I foolishly underestimated the amount of yarn it would take and only brought one ball, the other time, I was in a miss-guided “project monogamy” phase and didn’t want to be tempted. I finished it the day before we left, so there also wasn’t time/logic to go purchase more supplies…

  81. And also, I’m fairly certain my previous comment is absolute proof you need that I am not a deer.

  82. Good thing you got back before the storm. Being without a car in the woods? I love being at my cabin in the woods but not without wheels so I can get out if I need to… love the socks… ciao

  83. Hah, I do that all the time too…I brought three almost-finished projects and three new projects with me on a 72 hour visit with relatives. I did finish the three almost done items (which is good as two were gifts for said relatives) and I got another one halfway done. Glad you enjoyed your time away!

  84. The Urban Aran cardiganized is getting to the top of my projects. I have some yarn that is now well aged (about 15 years) and will work great for this pattern. Would you please tell us about the changes you make for yourself? I’m a bit anxious about the front neck.

  85. A whole pair of socks and two full grown adult size sweater sleeves is a *little* knitting? When my knitting self grows up I wanna be you. I’m lucky if I can get a few inches worth of sweater done, or a few rounds of itty bitty gauge socks in six days. ‘Course, if I was in the woods without my pack of children nipping at my heels maybe I’d get more done as well.
    So glad you enjoyed your wilderness alone time and weren’t swallowed up by snowdrifts!

  86. I completely understand your reaction to being in charge of your whole self, if only for a little while. For 17 years, my husband and I had not been apart. He hated the idea of being alone, even for a few days.
    I, on the other hand, felt totally overwhelmed by day to day life. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle it, I just needed a change. I needed a “spirit break.” Jim didn’t understand at all. Several times, I asked and he was so convinced it meant our marriage was over, that I dropped the idea.
    One day in January, I just picked up in the middle of the day, left him a note, and took off for our condo in Florida. When I left, I didn’t know what would happen.
    It was tough on both of us, at first. By the end of the third day, Jim was comfortable on his own, I was feeling I could go back and “dig in” for a number of more years, and Jim finally understood that being apart could make a huge difference, for the better, for me and for us.
    We tend to forget that, no matter what our living circumstances, we really DO have the power over our lives. Sometimes, we have to remind ourselves and those who love us of that fact.

  87. Sounds like quite a worthwhile trip! I wouldn’t mind a few days out in the woods right about now.
    I am about to start the Urban Aran Cardigan. I ordered the yarn a few days ago- I’m so excited for it1

  88. I’ve got some laundry here in Florida if you’re willing…
    No snow falling off the roof here either.
    We’ve got an 86-acre horse farm so anytime you want to take another break for some knitting, writing, and knitting writing, we’ll put you on the back 20, and you can have at it. No need for a shovel.
    But you’ll have to take the ATV (or a horse) up to the front 20 if you want clean clothes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  89. To Barbara at 5:24pm:
    Good Form = Enjoying Stephanie’s blog as though you were sitting on her chesterfield, drinking her tea, and eating her homemade cookies.
    Bad Form = Correcting your hostess’ grammar.

  90. I usually take at least two knitting projects with me on trips and the book I’m reading plus another book in case I finish the first one. I have had to run out and buy yarn because I didn’t bring a project – thinking I wouldn’t have time to work on anything – and one time, I made two scarves from my daughter-in-law’s stash because I couldn’t stand not having a project to do!

  91. I always take way too much stuff, and ALWAYS the wrong stuff — if I take shorts, it will rain, if I take sweatshirts it will be 50 bazillion degrees.. but knitting… there is no such thing as too much or not the right stuff. I can’t go wrong when packing my knitting projects! glad you’re home safe, I was afraid we’d be reading about you in the newspapers. LOVE that ravencroft sock. will you share the pattern?

  92. It takes me about 20 minutes back in the company of those I left(and love) to realise that they haven’t changed, and my reaction to them hasn’t changed either. Life feels just the same.
    My mother (Dietician-trained, mother of 7 over the decades of 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s)did a lot of cooking (what do you expect). When I was young it was family cooking, when the children had left home the cooking got much more creatively expressive, family party times always meant great food – but I sure don’t remember that the humdrum food of my childhood was that interesting (I seem to remember a lot of mince and cabbage), and she was later quite inventive (she made marscapone once). One of her later topics of conversations was “What food do you think there will be in paradise?” My ideas consisted of quite a bit of bread and rice, but hers was a lot more interesting. When we have the time we will rule the world according to our own designs, otherwise we just have to get through the day and the knitting helps.
    Thank you for your email on pooling sock yarn, the socks are progressing with pooling so far – haven’t got to ripping yet.

  93. Glad you beat the storm out! Particularly since there’s another one right behind it, and you could have been stuck even longer. We’re still digging out here. The pup circuit around the front yard now looks like more of a tunnel. She could be standing right beside Gazoo (and she was) on the other side of the fence, and not even see him. Yeees, Gazoo was named after the Fred Flintstone charater.

  94. Glad you’re home safe and sound — but it’s been a great journey into the woods (and out again) with you. Also, thanks for telling us that middle photo was a sock…It looked like a baby’s um…undies…to me… !! 8-0

  95. Fine, fine, knitting. Socks. Yeah yeah. How many pages did you crank out, lady? Some of us were writing-in-solitude vicariously through you, you know.

  96. Well, it’s always good to have extra yarn when you are all alone in the woods with no way to get to a yarn shop =) The ‘on the fly’ socks are cool.
    (I’ll be glad to miss my kids and house some day, for now I wish I was in the cabin *twitch twitch*

  97. Be grateful you packed all that yarn. I remember when your needles were confiscated at the airport and you tried to knit with pencils and newspapers strips. Would we have been treated to a crazed Stephanie trying to knit with branches and snow? (Just picture what the deer would say about that!)

  98. Stephanie, I just came across your site – you could say I am new to the knitting world (going on 3 years), but wanted to share with you my finished “daisy sweater” project that I made for my niece – I loved the pattern and improvised a little bit. Check it out. I have finally joined your blog, yeah!

  99. I’m a little confused. I’ve been shaking my head (when I’m not glaring at my people) all week. I mean, I like you so I want the best for you but, please, tell me this:
    How is it that you go away in the woods and are totally alone and I live a mile off a public road in the woods and, barring the times that I foam at the mouth and frighten them into going out for a pizza – I am NEVER ALONE. Really – NEVER.
    Maybe the magic lies in the particular woods you found. Tell me where it is! c’mon! you know I’ll keep it a secret!

  100. Barbara at 5:24–One of the most interesting things about the English language is its ability to change. I think we’re seeing it mutating right now, as we speak, since “it’s” and “its” are used so interchangeably. I’m also sort of keeping track of “cannot” and “can not” and where to put the period when the sentence ends with quotation marks. It’s a small hobby but my own….

  101. I spent 30 years of my life in the United States Army Reserves. I had been in for 14 years when I was called up to go to Desert Storm. I spent 5 months in Iraq. Once the Ground War was over we were just doing sick call for the troops that were still in country. (I was a nurse in a MASH unit). I was not prepared to spend that much time away from the things I love to do. I finally told my Husband to call a friend at a local smocking shop to send me something to work on. I savored that little smocked collar project for a whole month. I only allowed myself to work on it in the evenings after shower call so I wouldn’t get it dirty. When the second round in Iraq started I prepared myself for many hours of work. I packed up special projects, made up special tubes of PVC pipe and caps to put them in and packed them up in various boxes for my husband to mail at one month intervals. There’s nothing worse than being away from home with not enough stuff to do with your hands. I was not allowed to go to Iraq the second time. It’s a long story, my Mother was terminally ill. BUT the point was, if I had to go, I could have knitted, quilted and smocked a load of things before I came back home. During the time that my unit was gone without me, I became a Grandmother. The night she was born, I was knitting a sweater for her. I haven’t stopped since. Today the silk dupioni kit came for her Easter dress. I shall start that tomorrow. I don’t work on Wednesdays so I can keep her that one day of the week. Today she looked at me and said, “Nana, you’re gonna need to knit me a white sweater!” I’ll be going to “With Ewe in Mind” tomorrow to find that project. My Grandmother was right, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop!”

  102. Presbyteria, you done good.
    Yes, one should be gracious to the hostess when sitting on her Chesterfield (Did I use that right? I grew up calling them Davenports, and only changed to sofa when people laughed at me.)
    Psst, now that she’s out of the room…So, how much writing did she get done? She’s not saying.

  103. Sigh, I thoroughly enjoyed living the life of a pioneer (with modern amenitities) vicariously through your colourfully descriptive stories. Thank you very much. Now that you’re back in “civilization” I’ll have to invent my own method of escapism.
    p.s. one can NEVER take along too many projects

  104. How many pairs of hand knitted socks do you have? I was wondering how fast you knit?….I saw the ‘You Tube’ video. I don’t think my hand will EVER go that fast!!! I really enjoy your blog and books. You are awesome.

  105. hysterical! I’m headed out of town tomorrow for two days of work (read long, boring conference)and have already planned to take at least FOUR knitting projects – and I’ll be back Friday. What’s up with that?
    i always think I have superhuman knitting abilities when I travel or that I’ll be bored beyond belief and won’t find anything I want to knit in my bag…..
    oh, and even though I’m fasting from buying yarn this year, I know that my conference is two blocks from one of my favorite knit shops!!!

  106. i admire you tremendously! six days alone, in the woods, in winter…very brave!
    lovely socks!
    running out of projects AND falling snow, that would have been too much!
    thanks for the posts.

  107. I loved the travelogue (well — cabinlogue), especially the gorgeous photos.
    “…a bathroom and a stove and frozen pizza…” But has anyone else wondered what you were doing with an internet connection out there in the wilds??

  108. holy crap, you get more done in 6 days than I (a mere mortal) could get done in 6 weeks. and that’s without any writing thrown in for good measure. impressive. and communing with deer on the side. truly impressive.

  109. I’m just in lust with the str yarn you’ve been showing us over the last several months. Steph you are making it very hard for me to resist going on-line and getting some. It’s not like I don’t have the yarn for several pairs of socks as we speak, but it’s so cool. Want! Want! Trying so hard to be a good girl. We will probably have to move this summer and I don’t want to have to listen to comments about the size of my stash.
    On a different note, I want to say thank you to Presbytera for her reminder of the quote-unquote rules of this blog. We should all keep in mind that this is Steph’s virtual living room.
    Welcome back. Hope you got lots done. A small break from one’s family and home can be wonderfully refreshing.

  110. Love love love the str socks, mainly because of the ribbing/cable jazz. It doesn’t hurt that those are my colors, too.

  111. I so totally get the overpacking of yarn and slightly too positive outlook on knitting speed. (Not that I knit fast by anyone’s estimation. Turtles challenge me to knitting contests on a regular basis and they always win!) I have a small backpack that I take with me every time I travel in a car for more than 10 minutes. Sounds extreme and a little nutty but experience has taught me that you need your knitting when you least expect it. My car broke down about 40 minutes from my house one time and I spent my whole day in my husband’s office doing nothing. I didn’t have my knitting, drop spindle, or even a book. I just had to hang out all day and wait for the day to end. If I had my bag with me I would have been much happier and at least I would have felt like the day wasn’t a total waste. So I understand why you brought so much yarn. Plus, you haven’t had that much alone time in forever, so you would have had no idea about how much you could realistically get done. Who knows, if you hadn’t been so creeped out and distracted by your writing maybe you could have gotten all that done. Oh wait, I forgot, you were there to write. Sorry, I got carried away LOL! Glad your safe at home and enjoying all things domestic.

  112. I love the woods and a few years back, before the price of gas went through the ceiling, spent a great deal of time in Baxter State Park. Going to the woods, to me, is like going home. But I had a similar experience to the one you describe when I went to Boston alone for the first time. I was terrified. But I survived it, and when it was over it turned out to not have been that hard. The amount of confidence a person can gain from these sorts of experiences is amazing–not to mention the amount of yarn stash!! But maybe not in the woods, unless one brings a spindle and the deer allow themselves to be shaved…..

  113. I also obessively pack knitting. Even for a day trip I have to pack at least two projects. I’m always thinking you never know. It’s kind of scary:-)

  114. As I tell my husband when I’m putting 8 projects into the camper for a weekend trip… “Better to have too many than not enough.”
    The on time I forgot my knitting project bag in the rush of getting out the door, I nearly went crazy (until we found a grocery store in the middle of nowhere that had 2 skeins of Red Heart yarn and 1 pair of knitting needles). Now he says nothing… he’d rather I knit than be crazy (or smoke, which is another option).
    Hope you got lots done on the book. And had a good working vacation.

  115. LOL – I always do the “I need at least three knitting projects for a weekend away” trick and wonder why I brought so much!
    I loved your stay in the woods, deer, snow and all and admired your braveness from afar. ๐Ÿ™‚

  116. In the time you knit a sweater and a pair of socks I got down the ankle of one sock. I envy the time you had to yourself. I have two little ones, a husband and an amorous cat that can’t stand to be away from me, so my “alone” time constitutes trips to the bathroom. ๐Ÿ™‚

  117. I’m with you, Presbyteria. Well said.
    Amazing too how your mind “sees” what it wants when writing and then later, sees it wrong. I don’t mind so much with writing; absolutely hate it when my mind sees knitting right the first time and wrong many rows later. Hate that.

  118. We knitters are nothing if not ambitious! I almost always overestimate how many projects to bring along on a trip because idle hands can be dangerous. I will not be held responsible for splurge buys when I am under the influence of “decperately-needy-projectitis.”

  119. Welcome home! No matter how much I enjoy vacation, there’s nothing better than my own cats and my own bed.
    Screwed up big time? They look awesome. Except I’d make the cables cross in opposite directions. The tiger socks (yeah, I know everyone’s crazy about Opal tiger, but those are tiger stripes if I ever saw them) and lovely blue cabled sleeves rock also.
    If you’re back home, does this mean the cabin is available?

  120. Missing the cat I understand. My husband misses the cats if we’re just away for an hour. But YOU missed Mr. Washy!! Just hand you the laundry? That’s just sad.
    LOVE the socks, BTW, and the yarn colors are wonderful.

  121. I actually took 2 knitting projects and 5 EXTRA skeins of yarn with me on my HONEYMOON, if you can believe that. Luckily, one of them was a sweater I made for my husband as a souvenir of our trip, but it takes a special brand of knitting delusion to think I was going to need 1000 yards of yarn on my honeymoon….:)

  122. You’d think, after always packing more knitting than clothes on every trip, only to unpack most of it back into the yarn stash upon arriving home that I’d learn. At least I’m not the only one…

  123. Oh – I just read Toni S’s comment above. I too took knitting on the honeymoon – a sweater’s worth each for me and my partner, plus enough for two scarfs and three pair of socks – just in case I ran out…. I had forgotten that (or blocked it out).

  124. Oh, I always have way too much yarn carting around with me. But the other option is that I might run out of knitting while I’m out, and that’s just not a risk I want to take!

  125. Home Sweet Home! At least for a couple of days-then we start remembering why we wanted some time alone. Children bickering, husband whining,animals wanting to be fed,errands to run,etc. But it’s nice to know that when we do get time alone,we miss the chaos known as our lives!

  126. I’m about to cast on for that Urban Aran cardigan! I heard it is a fast knit, but I’m not fooling myself. I’ll probably have it done to wear during a sweltering August…

  127. I love the yarn packing. It reminds me of my surgery. I didn’t know how long I was going to be in recovery, so I brought an entire backpack of books (lots of Japanese manga, so multiples really did make complete sense) discounting the idea that morphine can put an elephant to sleep.
    I think I read 5 pages the entire time I was there.

  128. I always think that when my husband is away on business I’ll get tons done. For some bizarre reason this never happens.

  129. Hey, I’ve got some vintage stash yarn – enough for a sweater, and that’s saying something when one wears a 3X – that’s been to Chicago and back. For an 8-day stay. Just in case, y’know, I finished the scarf I was making for a friend and ran out of books to read in between knitting, talking, visiting with friends, and going to see the King Tut exhibit.
    The same yarn is *still* in its zippered plastic prison, glaring sullenly at me as I type, and that trip was almost 3 years ago now. Methinks with this and everyone else’s examples, you’re in good company. (We know you’re definitely not alone now. [g])

  130. Ha! I always do that. Bring one project that I barely look at, and a backup project in case I whip through the first. (For a one-day trip, obviously. Multi-day trips require about a project a day, because I’ll be just that efficient, of course.)

  131. I’m glad tou are back ahead of the storm. I admit I was a little bit worried when you skipped a day posting. It’s your fault. You were the one who posted about the uneven terrain that you were hiking over every day. It’s OK to talk to deer, trees, yarn, the walls, whatever. It’s when they answer back in the language you speak that you have to worry.

  132. What is it about time alone that makes us feel so competent and organized and unstoppable? I just had a similar experience recently when my husband went out of town and left me home. I’m still trying to figure out why I didn’t get more done. My thing was cleaning out a closet. I didn’t do it.

  133. If you knitting wasn’t as accomplished as you thought it was going to be this leads me to beleive one of two conclusion regarding your writing a) that it wasn’t as productive as you thought it was going to be becuase the knitting wasn’t or b) that becuase you didn’t get a lot of knitting done you used that time for writting. Either way I beleive it will be an awsome book. I have them all and love them. I have your essay book by the computer and I have even scene my boyfriend pick it up once. Granted he only did that because I have our internet acount number written in the back of it, but still it was a special tingly moment for me.

  134. Ah, yes. The joys of homecoming…did the cat refuse to “speak” to you??? Mine would. The socks are lovely. I am seriously glad the wolverines were in their dens knitting socks as well…you would be missed by all and sundry. Welcome back.

  135. Hello, thanks for your comment on my blog. I’m so thrilled.
    I get humour, and exaggeration in aid of humour. And I loved The Secret Life of a Knitter (except for the two parts I mentioned). Really.
    Believe it or not, what I said is not criticism of you (maybe your writing, a little bit, but not you). “I cannot imagine a person who would behave as obnoxiously as Ms McPhee cheerfully describes herself behaving in this chapter” can be read in a number of ways. I don’t know what really happened. I have only your “humorous” version — which, as soon as it got into the territory of lying to someone so you could force woollens on them, ceased to be funny — to me.
    I haven’t read every single thing you’ve ever written — yet. (I’m working on it.) All I have to go on regarding your attitude to crochet is what I found in the book The Secret Life of a Knitter. I was fresh from reading Ravelry forums where crocheters bemoan the general bias they encounter in the knitting world, and then I read your chapter saying (meant humorously, no doubt) that knitters would never produce something as awful as a Southern Belle toilet roll cover. Dude! Have you seen some of the stuff that people KNIT in the name of children’s toys? Fair’s fair! (I find it kind of telling that your comment seeks to instill accuracy into my assessment, and here I am trying to instill accuracy into yours. We are on the same page, no?)
    By the way, I loved the chapter where you wrote about your grandmother. And the chapter about your friend Lene was truly masterful. My third favourite was “I Can Do That”, where your description of the contrast in attitudes was spot on. Despite having started knitting only 4 months ago, I already have two of your books in my library. I’ll be buying more, as I find them.
    I get the humour. Really.

  136. I recieved this poem from a friend in Iowa and changed it to Canada, because it made me think of you!
    The new Canadian song:
    It’s winter in Canada
    And the gentle breezes blow
    Seventy miles an hour
    At twenty-five below.
    Oh, how I love Canada
    When the snow’s up to your butt;
    You take a breath of winter
    And your nose gets frozen shut.
    Yes, the weather here is wonderful
    So I guess I’ll hang around,
    I could never leave Canada
    ‘Cause I’m frozen to the ground!!
    I really enjoy your blog. I am looking forward to the new book! I’ve enjoyed all of them. Thanks for the joy of your humor. Carolyn

  137. Even though I read your blog regularly, I was referred to this post by a friend who saw a little too much that hit home. I took a 11 day cruise this holiday season. Even though it was my first time away from my almost 8 month old baby (and I was cold turkey weaning in the process), and even though it was a family trip (19 family members!) I had to bring my knitting. The worst thing I could think of was to be trapped in the middle of the ocean and have run out of yarn…so I might have brought a teensy bit much. I brought enough yarn to knit 15 socks. I managed to knit 1.5 socks (and got stopped at the US customs on my way because my dpns were held in a shiny metal tube holder that looked a lot like a knife on xray).
    You can never have too much yarn with you! I was daydreaming the other day about what it would be like if I was in the Big Brother house and realized that I’d be sneaky and hit the thrift stores before leaving and find some mens’ 3X knit sweaters to put in my luggage, so once I was in the house I could unravel them and have something to knit. I’m still working on what to use as needles since you’re not allowed writing implements. I could probably sneak in some dpsn as hair sticks though, or as shawl pins. I think I’ve been thinking about this too much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  138. Well glad you had a nice respite. And really, I think every knitter over packs. I can’t think of anything worse than finishing a project and not having another one to start, especially being so far away from a yarn shop.

  139. Steph- congrats on your retreat. Did the kind but quiet Buddhists come to mind at any point? Love, Tara

  140. I won’t say you aren’t winsome, but I think you were also wistful.
    I just spent most of a week in a retreat and frogged the same fairisle stripe on a hat four times. I think this time it’ll work. It better. By the way, it’s in the lining and won’t show.

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