One point in the crazy column

This was a birthday weekend. My sister Erin, my comrade Ken and my daughter Sam (who turned 14 and is probably the only one of them who wants their age mentioned) celebrated their family birthdays together at my mum’s house. McPhee’s are a frugal people and we have a tendency to lump birthdays together. Everybody gets together, we sing the birthday song with three names in it. (“Happy Birthday, dear ErinKenandSammy” or “IanStephanieandBonnie” – except we never agree on an order ahead of time so that part is always a mess.)


(Note my mum carefully supervising Hanks carrying of the flaming cake.)


(Note Hank’s expression. It clearly says “I can’t believe this isn’t my cake.” )

Everyone had a great time, but I blew it with my sisters gift. She was supposed to be getting the Urban Aran that I’ve been working on, and I didn’t finish. It wasn’t even a near miss either, All I have is two sleeves and a half of the back. There was a huge storm here this weekend, where it snowed for about 36 hours, and Joe and I rented a bunch of movies and when I wasn’t writing (that is still killing me) I knit. That means that I had more time than I was expecting to have and I still didn’t make it.


Araucania Nature Wool Chunky (In some navy blue colour. Cannot locate ball band because I am under the impression my whole life is falling apart because I am 20 days from a deadline. I got it at The Purple Purl. I wonder if they remember?)

I feel really bad about it for some reason. I was thinking of Erin as this years “big winner”. I don’t knit a lot of sweaters for people (too big, too expensive, too much of a chance that I’ll do all that knitting and spend all that money and they won’t get it or love it.) and here I am, with this really fantastic gift for her and I miss the deadline and she gets sweater pieces, (which I then took back) it was sort of anti-climactic. Really anti-climactic. Like, it felt like a crappy present (to me, I’m hoping not to her, or I’ll be really miserable.) I’ve given stuff on the needles before. A lot, actually, but this one feels like a real bummer.

I’ve been thinking about what’s different. How come I can usually hand someone a half knit hat and take it back and not feel at all bad but this one feels awful? Are the stakes higher with a sweater? Is this a case of “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” so of course a sweater hurts more than a hat? Is it because I know that non-knitters don’t see the potential in wool the way we do, so I know that giving them a present that’s half wool might disappoint them, even if the eventual sweater will delight them?

I’m wondering if it’s because I really, honestly thought (because I am clearly mad) that I would finish it? I really did. On Brooklyntweed’s blog he says that it took him 17 days to knit this and so I thought (because there is REALLY SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY MIND) that 11 days was almost the same as 17 days, and that 11 days is especially almost the same as 17 days if you are focussed hard on a book deadline, knitting other stuff for other birthdays and generally running sort of short on time in general. (Have I mentioned it’s the March Break and the kids are home for 9 days?

In retrospect, I’m not surprised I didn’t make it, I’m absolutely shocked though, that I thought I would.

212 thoughts on “One point in the crazy column

  1. After several decades of knitting (and quite quickly, too) I have come to the realization that no matter what I am knitting, there is always someone who has knit it faster/better/with nicer yarn, and I just dont’ care any more. I agree, though, that sweaters are more of a gift commitment, and I can certainly understand your disappointment that the space-time continuum didn’t cooperate to let you finish on time. Or maybe you’re like Gandalf- “a wizard is never late or early- she finished precisely when she intends to finish.” or something like that. The peices look pretty nice; I’ve ordered the booklet from my LYS, hoping to knit that exact sweater (but slower than you).

  2. Wool fumes. And not just the fumes from your sweater, but being shut in with your stash? It’s surprising that you function as well as you do! πŸ™‚

  3. Wow. I thought I was the only person in the world to give presents on the needles. I’m feeling better. Mom saw the Urban Aran and I am trying to get hers done before her birthday in April. Argh!! Dont feel bed that you didnt finish it. She has something to look forward to. Another present on the way. I think that actually makes the birthday fun last longer (sounds feeble eh? yeah I thought so too. LOL)

  4. I’ve seen the video of you speed sock knitting. 17 days for a sweater might be reasonable. Me on the other hand, I’d have to budget out 3 months!

  5. I think we all go through similar delusions at some point. I can especially see it when you are using chunky yarn. I love your wool choice though.

  6. I think it is the thought that counts.
    She most likely knows you well enough to know that you don’t make big gifts so the gift was special and that you are under a big deadline that is chewing up your time.
    Don’t be so hard on yourself, I bet she was thrilled with what she saw and is waiting patiently (knowing it is calling for snow again) to wear it this spring.

  7. 11 days to knit a sweater? I have been working on the Kauni rainbow for more than two months and still am not done and I finally sent a pair of socks to my brother that I started last April. Cut yourself some slack and go back to enjoying every minute of your knitting. Take your mind back into the woods for the peace it gave you.

  8. As we say in our family- Ease up turbo- you are after all mortal. We’ve all done it- you just skipped the part where your brain finally comes to the party and says “um, excuse me, but I really don’t think we are going to make it this time” and allows the rest of you to accept the inevitable before the reality.
    Plus you were stuck at work-with the book and all, and who can get much knitting done at work?

  9. Awwwww— you’re more disappointed than she is— she’s probably all the more excited- having had a peek and now waiting for the finished sweater;)
    Plus- pieces or whole- it’s really gorgeous!!!!
    Again- you are such an optimistic knitter;)

  10. I am sure she loves you and loves that you always thinking of something wonderful to knit for her.
    Geez, if I had your schedule, I’d be holding the yarn, pattern and needles and thinking, “Maybe a gift card…”

  11. I know I feel disappointment more acutely when I am under a lot of stress. If you did not have the deadline, did not have the kids at home, and felt otherwise like your life was NOT falling apart, perhaps you wouldn’t see this unfinished present as a failure, either. Because it’s not! Feel better soon!

  12. Well, Stephanie, I know that I’d be thrilled to get pieces of a sweater intended for me! And there’d be no disappointment for me at all, just excited anticipation for having the finished sweater, specially one as gorgeously blue as the one you are knitting for Erin. :O) I’ve had to give partially completed projects too, and then worked like mad to finish them in a timely fashion, not dump them into oblivion for a few months. I know that you will finish this gift soon, and that Erin will give you a big hug and love the sweater. Besides, I’m still on row five of the Must Have, because I’m knitting other things to avoid it. That’s worse than estimating eleven days for a sweater that took seventeen for another knitterly human, IMHO. If Erin gets angry and gives you back the sweater, could I maybe have it??? Blue is my favorite.. :O)

  13. I think it might be #103 blues of the nearly solid multi chunky, but I am surprised by the gray tones I see. That is the beauty of hand dye. You get beautiful surprises. It is gorgeous and I think it is amazing that you would start doing a sweater with a book deadline. Good luck with all the upcoming juggling. Every woman with kids on spring break is rooting for you.

  14. I can so sympathize with the deadline thing. But think how great it will be when you finish it and can give it to her.
    Pay careful attention to your skeins with the yarn. I *love* the stuff, but even the same dye lots can have pretty marked differences in color. It’s one of those hand dyed yarns I’ve learned the hard way to alternate rows with.

  15. Don’t feel bad at all! I am not a knitter but I know (and admire) lots of them, and have been the recipient of many half-done gifts. When that happens, I’m very impressed that they *didn’t* cop out and give me a gift card or something, and that they are sticking it out with a lot of effort and love (which is what a hand-knitted item is. Wooly love).

  16. it looks gorgeous, and will be– I agree with KellyD: you’re making her birthday last longer! πŸ™‚
    Rock on– you’re doing too much as it is! Be nice to yourself.

  17. Thinking you would finish that sweater in such a short time just proves you are an optimist by nature. The wool is beautiful. I’m sure the finished sweater will have been worth the wait. She’ll love and wear it for years and years.

  18. “Hope springs eternal,” may be a cliche, but cliches become cliches because of the huge germ of truth they hold. It’s not you, it’s the human condition (augmented by a really exceptional capacity for self-delusion). We love you as you are, you know. πŸ˜‰

  19. I have a rule that I never, ever knit to a deadline. It takes all the fun out of it. My preference is to make things for gifts on my own timetable (i.e. in the summer for xmas presents) and squirrel them away until the event. By the way, if I am taking the train to Toronto from Ottawa on the 26th to visit my son at U. of T., what yarn store(s) can I easily visit in that part of the city?

  20. After all this time, you still think you can warp the time-space continuum when it comes to knitting. I can’t wait to see the expression on your face when you actually do it…

  21. In my family, we call this a “Stump Gift”. Stump is my maiden name, and we are a family of crafters. Until recently, my mom, aunts, and cousins were all cross stitchers. Trust me, a pile of Aida cloth and DMC thread looks much more pitiful than sweater pieces.
    I hope you’ll cut yourself some slack. I’m sure your sister appreciates the huge gesture that is a sweater.

  22. I’m there with you. My mom’s birthday was yesterday, and despite it happening on the same freakin’ day every gosh-darned year (much like Christmas), I’m caught unawares every. stinkin’. year. (Again, much like Christmas.) So, I emailed her a picture of the WIP so she’d know something was in the works.
    I hope you don’t stress too much over your sister’s sweater – I’m sure she loves you very much and she understands all that you have going on in your life. Knitting a beautiful sweater in 17 (much less, 11) days is madness in my world. You’re to be commended for trying, but there’s no shame in not finishing. Please don’t be so hard on yourself.
    Best wishes to you on the book, the kids’ spring break, and finishing the sweater.

  23. I just sent my two nieces their “Christmas Socks,” and they were just as happy to get them now as at Christmas. Erin will love that sweater when it is finished. She loves it now and is just thinking about how she will look in it once she gets it. Don’t worry. That’s your sister. She totally gets the half-wool thing.

  24. Hah I just convinced myself that I could start a pair of socks for a friend as soon as she’s back from vacation when I have two other pairs -on the needle- right now.
    I delude myself all the time. It’s the only way I buy new yarn for the stash.
    It’s a lovely sweater, she’ll love it.

  25. Isn’t it sad no matter how talented we are its never enough. We always set the bar higher for ourselves than anyone else. Knitting for me is relaxing, mellowing out. If my brain is not ready to be mellow, nothing gets knit. [Its been a while for me, Sigh]. Probably you had enough to deal with over the 11 days and knitting was where you wanted to be, but reality placed you were you had to be.

  26. Chances are very good that if the sweater had been done, Hank would have been begging to try it on, followed by an accidental cake smear, and it would have come back to you for cleaning and blocking anyway. A half-baked sweater was really the right way to go!

  27. I’m nowhere near a fast knitter, but my intentions are good. I gave my man skeins of yarn and a pattern for Christmas! At least you gave Erin pieces!! I agree… it’s the thought that counts, it will extend her birthday even longer, and it’s better than a gift card!! You go girl!! πŸ˜‰

  28. There never is enough time. Cut yourself some slack and realize that every completed project is a miracle. Stop clouding up the joy of knitting by putting time pressure on yourself. There are lots of people around that will attempt to do that for you.

  29. I’d be thrilled to receive a sweater still in pieces with a stitch pattern as lovely as this. It’s ok to cut yourself a little slack. I’m sure your sister would want you to as well.

  30. You always make me smile. In this case, because not only am I juggling a couple of birthday gifts, I haven’t finished all of the Christmas presents yet! Repeat after me: “I am not behind. I am helping them to understand the beauty of delayed gratification.”

  31. It may be because both numbers (11 and 17) are in the “teens”. Or because they almost look alike. I think they are very much the same and it was a valiant attempt!

  32. I think the longer I knit the more likely I am to think I can finish something in a shorter amount of time. While I do knit a bit faster than when I started, it doesn’t necessarily translate into finished objects at a faster rate of speed.
    Of course, this is why I don’t tell people that I’m making something for them. The likelihood that it will be done within a year of the presumed due date is low.

  33. Reality really messes with our belief in our ability to warp the time/space continuum,eh? Love Fran’s “Ease up, turbo”. Will be having that tattooed inside my eyelids!

  34. Really, don’t be so hard on yourself. Those pieces are absolutely beautiful and I am sure your sister totally understands that sometimes we just can’t make those deadlines that seem to come up so quickly. You will finish it and it will be lovely. I don’t set deadlines anymore. I try to give myself enough time between full time teaching, being a wife and mom (okay, the girls are 20 and 23, but they still need mom!) to get my knitting projects done. Life is too short to get all stressed out. Take care.

  35. 11 days? Seriously, that is a cry for help. I knit a lot of sweaters, and they usually take me between three and five weeks. Now I know that you have a bit more knitting time in your day than most, and I hear that you knit really quickly, but seriously? 11?
    What you have done looks lovely though.

  36. I think when your sister opens the finished product she will love it and not even remember that it wasn’t finished on her birthday. I can imagine it is still stressful for you. I would be upset if I didn’t finish my brother’s brithday gift in time because we are so close and it would feel like I let down one of my best friends. Thankfully, he’d understand and I’m sure your sister will too and love it just as much as if it had arrived on time.

  37. This entry brought up a memory I have been working to repress for years. At least thirty years ago, when latch hook was in fashion, I started a rug for my best friend for Christmas. (I don’t know when I started it, but it was probably October.) I didn’t finish, so I took it and the hook and the yarn back. I still have never finished it, can’t even find it, and my dear friend Sondra died several years ago–rugless. Now see, you aren’t so bad.

  38. I’m sure you’re harder on yourself than anyone else is, and that she loves the gift (I won’t bother with the thought that counts thing). When I was a kid I got a picture of a waterbed for my birthday. It was on layaway. Unwrapped that box and found a picture. Not even a picture of the actual bed I was getting. At the age of 13, I didn’t really believe I was really going to get it, that it was just a cruel joke. At least you didn’t give your sister a picture of a sweater you one day planned on making, but in a different pattern, color, and yarn than shown!
    and by the way, that is one long straight needle ya got there. If it were me, I’d have invented new cuss words for each time I got the non-business end of it stuck somewhere and accidentally ripped all of the knitting off of it. Now see how far ahead you are?

  39. Maybe when it’s all done, you give it to her all wrapped up and with a cupcake with a lighted candle and you get to re-do the entire experience. She’ll be elated at receiving a gorgeous sweater. And *that’s* the memory you’ll keep in your head and your heart.

  40. I love that it’s called “March Break” and not “Spring Break” as it normally is in the States.. because there, it’s nowhere near Spring yet.
    Sorry, just rubbing it in. I won’t mention what lovely Southern California city I live in, where the weather has been in the 70sF all week. πŸ™‚

  41. I’m sure your sister understands….besides, I’d be thrilled to know something that lovely was coming my way, no matter how long it took! And just to make you feel better, I found the perfect Christmas gift for a friend out in Oregon – before Christmas, even! – but it’s still sitting in my bedroom. You’d think I have some sort of phobia about the post office. I told her I’m just extending the joy of the holiday. So see? You’re not alone.

  42. You know, you’ve always said you aren’t strong on math; so this just proves it. 17 does happen to be greater than 11, by about 50 percent. Which amount does matter when you are knitting something.
    I’m good at math – you should check with me, next time.

  43. breath in pink………….
    exhale blue…………… sweater.

  44. Love. That. Color!!! And the pattern on the completed pieces makes me think of cathedral windows or architecture, for some reason. I think your sister must be impressed that you have accomplished so much on her sweater while still dealing with all the other claims on your time.

  45. But you must remember that you are here to give hope to all the rest of us who knit way slower and who need to see you deal well with both triumph and disaster in the world of knitting. You make amazing things like Vintage Socks and then ordinary knitted socks that I could totally do, and I’m inspired. You churn out some absolutely gorgeous sweaters, but sometimes you miss a deadline? Hey, that makes me feel better about how I’m doing with the things on my needles right now.
    You’re just modelling the entire range of the knitting experience for the readers of your blog. You HAVE to miss some deadlines; you owe it to us.

  46. I currently have THREE sweaters on the needles….and I have the body temperature of satan, so what am I thinking?? Although, one is the ribs and lace tank from IW Spring 2007, the other two are real sweaters with sleeves. As slowly as I knit, I must be out of my mind.
    I think your sister will be fine with the delayed gratification and you shouldn’t feel bad at all. You are making her a beautiful gift that she will always treasure.

  47. That is one fabulous sweater though! And if it makes you feel any better, I’m going to prove I have learned from your lesson! I will now go start my daughter’s birthday gift, a backless sleeveless (and possibly frontless? no, that’s carrying a theme too far) tank top, in a very large gauge! Hmmm…a rectangle with straps! Wish me luck! (And by the way, her birthday is in June!)

  48. If I unwrapped a birthday gift box to find those sweater pieces, and knew someone knit them for me even with a book deadline, I would be ecstatic! And so touched. Your sister will understand. And hey, at least she knows you’ve been working on it. I am pleased to report that one sleeve of the perpetual Manos now goes from the cuff to above the elbow from about 3″ above the cuff a week ago. Onward and upward!

  49. My birthday’s not til November.
    I don’t mind waiting for the sweater. TONS of time between now and November.

  50. Of course you thought you could finish it in 11 days. It’s big needles and big wool and since time is speeding up in your house you should be able to knit a whole sweater in 11 days with a washing, blocking and zipper, because that makes perfectly logical sense.
    Now, to make your brain explode from the cuteness go to Jenla’s blog and look at all the brand new baby lambs. By the way, it takes them way longer than 11 days to make the wool for that sweater you’re knitting.

  51. Happy Birthday, Sam!
    Happy Birthday, Ken!
    Happy Birthday, Erin! (whom I don’t know but wish I did…)

  52. Oh, Stephanie. I understand you are not surprised that you thought you would make it. I am also not surprised that you are surprised that you thought that you would. You always are surprised after you think something a little outlandish….that is part of your charm πŸ˜‰

  53. OK, I”m selfishly pleased to see that even though you’ve finished the arms, the back is still half finished. You started your’s after mine and you’re still ahead! I’m only up to the armholes on the back- and no sleeves yet! You’ll get there, and it will be beautiful. Love the color!

  54. You know, you have enough deadlines and committments in your life, it would seem (bookbook x however many more would be added at this point), plus a blog, plus family, plus…well, with you, I’ll bet there are a lot of pluses!
    Myself, I think you needed that time with Joe and the movies (though you probably sneaked in some knitting there too).
    I’m also someone who takes her knitting everywhere she goes (though not knitting of the same complexity, lol), and would go nuts without knitting as many days in row as is humanly possible, but still, it’s ok to take some time to slow down life every once in a while. Slow time is highly underrated in our world.
    Besides, your family knows you well, I’m sure, and definitely knows of all the committments you have. Like everyone else has said, your sister will love it when she gets it. When she saw the gift, she probably didn’t think “Geez, gift not done,” and pouted, she probably thought, “OMGoodness, look at what Steph’s done for me this time. It’s beautiful.”
    Looking at what you’ve done, that’s what *I* would think if I were the on the receiving end anyway!
    (and apols for any and all spelling errors today–my mind’s half on the next round over cover letters; given the number of times it’s been mentioned, maybe we’re in the grips of a spelling pandemic?!?)

  55. If you don’t want the half bottle of wine, send it my way.
    I made my mahm {insert midwest accent} a tiffany lamp for her wedding, and ever anniversary I send her pictures of how far it has been completed. By her 6th anniversary, I am certain she will receive the actual lamp. It is more of a tradition now. Enjoy the time spent on the sweater and don’t beat yourself up for taking time to yourself and spending time with your family at Movie Night. The sweater is gorgeous and she will wear it for years.

  56. My family has about five birthdays in August. When I was about six, someone had to explain to me why they were singing “Happy Birthday, Everybody!” when it wasn’t everybody’s birthday.

  57. But what kind of cake was it?
    (p.s. I believe WEBS has the auracania chunky yarn in their close out section. Color 105 is blue in stock-is it your blue?)

  58. Did you make her feel it? I always make people feel the wool I’m working with. Somehow the beauty sinks in better that way! It is perfectly gorgeous already though.
    In our family it’s more of a ‘birthmonth’ than ‘birthday’ which gives everyone way more flexibility. The kids love it this way – stuff trickles in all month!

  59. For Christmas, I gave my dad a box of Debbie Bliss Rialto and a picture of a sweater with the words “Coming Soon” written on it. I have 3 inches knit. Sweaters are the devil.

  60. I agree with Petoskey Turtle – gotta be the wool fmes that makes one thin one can do the impossible.

  61. Don’t be so hard on yourself, I mean really, if you didn’t think you could do it, would you have started it in the first place?

  62. I’m in the ‘making the birthday last longer camp’. I try to make mine stretch for at least a fortnight, so by that token the longer you take the longer it’s her birthday, and the more she’ll thank you πŸ™‚
    I think you may just be a tad beset by deadlines right now.
    Just think about it – we’re all sending you nice thoughts. Feel the love!

  63. Since it would probably take longer than 17 days for me to shop for a birthday gift, I think most people, including me, would say you’re in the clear. I think this frustration is just the book deadline talking – it will be over soon, and your sister will get a new sweater too. It all works out in the end, plus, you’ve made me re-evaluate my “not really interested” position on Nature Wool.

  64. The yarn is gorgeous and the pattern is gorgeous.
    I’m sitting here thinking, let’s see (having three sisters), if it was my sister Marian I didn’t finish in time for, that’d be okay, Anne, almost okay, Carolyn, I’d about die at not being able to impress her more with the whole glorious thing because she needs impressing somehow in my mind more than the other two. The one who isn’t into the creativity thing so much is the one this creative type works hardest at trying to get her to get it.

  65. Pieces of sweater are great. Think of Erin’s heightened anticipation for the completed sweater!

  66. First of all, I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who’s caught Aurucania fever–I ADORE their color gradations…
    Secondly? Maybe it’s because the sweater is working up to be stunning? I mean, I can tell from the picture (and because I”m a knitter) that it’s going to be awesome. You wanted to give her that vision. And maybe it’s also because you have your own deadline pending…the big ‘book’ deadline, and you wanted to reach this deadline, so you felt like you could make that other one.
    And stress could just be warping your perspective–I know mine is showing the world in hyperbolic angles right now.

  67. A half-finished hat doesn’t hurt as bad because you know it won’t take long to finish it. A half- (or less-than-half-) finished sweater will take you a lot longer to actually get finished and give back to her. But it will be so much more gorgeous than a hat!!!

  68. Well happy birthday anyway, you guilt addled gal! You’re knitting a sweater for your sister, a beautiful sweater, that she’ll love and appreciate in that crazy arctic Canada. My advice is to eat more cake and drink more wine. Happy birthday.

  69. This past year, I let my sister pick out yarn for a pair of mittens – the first I ever knit. That was in May… plenty of time for her birthday in November. Not only am I a slow knitter, but I’m one of those people who always either misses a birthday entirely or has a gift and doesn’t get it out in time. And guess what? I DID get them done in plenty of time! And then I lost them! I finally just found them and shipped them out, in MARCH. You can see them in my Ravelry projects (I’m xinanorway). You just have to comfort yourself with the fact that the longer it takes you to get it done, the more days you’ve actually thought of that person’s birthday. Whereas others just ran by Target on their way to her house and thought of her birthday for a total of about 2.5 hours. Plus you can tell your sister she isn’t officially a year older until the sweater is done! That will make her love your slow knitterly ways.

  70. I sensed more sadness or regret in this post than you should put on yourself. I think you just wanted to mke your sister a sweater and have her love it. We enjoy giving handknits as much as we do making them. I’m sure she’ll totally appreciate it when she gets it. I think it’ll be fine.
    Plus it looks AWESOME! I gotta get that pattern & finally just make it.

  71. Are you kidding?!?!? Getting a half made hand knit present just creates anticipation for the actual product. It’s like finding the present you really want for your birthday before your birthday. And then you get to smile and laugh because you are so excited even though you don’t actually have the present yet. Don’t feel bad, I bet the recipient is even now lying awake in bed excited and anxious to try it on, because she knows how awesome it is going to be!

  72. The sweater seems to be coming well given everything that is going in your life. I’m sure Erin was thrilled to see it in progress. Now she knows what she is looking forward too. I wasn’t able to finish my father-in-laws Christmas present on time to mail it to him. I sent half finished pictures and told him he’d fallen victim to the curse of the knitter. Of course the scarf has been finished for two months and is still on my coffee table. Mailing things hasn’t been my strong suit this last year or so. At least Erin won’t have this problem. Also I’m sure she would rather have her sweater than anything else. On a different note, I have a question. What did Meagan make while she was gone over the weekend? Did she need the emergency yarn you gave her? Can’t wait to see the new book, and I’m hoping to see you in Nashville since you aren’t currently coming to Alabama.

  73. Wow. And I thought I was the only one to give presents attached to pointy sticks, as a friend’s daughter observed one year. I think knitters, as a whole, are prone to floating on the river of denial — we think our skills are better than they are, that projects take shorter periods of time and that there’s always room for more yarn.
    That said, my impression is that you’ve made many more deadlines than you missed, you multi-task in a way that puts entire law firms to shame, so I wouldn’t feel so bad that you didn’t quite finish.
    Besides, the way this winter is going, she’ll need that sweater into June.

  74. First I agree with everyone else who said you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. I personally would be excited if someone said they were just thinking of knitting that sweater for me, let alone starting it.
    But I was also wondering, if the sweater not getting done was harder on you because you are swimming in a sea of deadlines lately? Maybe, you thought you had more control over the knitting so that is how you came up with 17days=11 days? I just know that when life is swirling around me (kids, husband, work, etc.) I feel like my knitting is one thing I can do and it stays done and I have some control in the matter.
    Just a Thought:-)

  75. I literally just have the sewn bind off to do on a pair of socks that my sister-in-law was expecting for her birthday last November – and because it’s something new that I’ve not done before, I’m nervous and rather than just getting down to it, I’ve started a whole other pair of socks for me! I’m sure that your sister will be delighted with the finished sweater, whenever that may be, the yarn you chose is just beautiful and she should be impressed with what looks like a very complex pattern. I just got the pattern book yesterday – ordered it online from Jo-Ann’s, the DHL shipping and handling cost more than the pattern, but probably less than the gasoline I would have used trailing round the local stores trying to find it.

  76. When we got married, my husband’s very talented woodworking brothers gave us 1) a hand-made wooden clock and 2) a hand-built dining table.
    Neither of these awesome gifts ever materialized past “see these boards? They’re part of your wedding gift!”
    At least it was very clear who would “get” the pile of lumber in the divorce agreement.
    I’m sorry…what were we talking about?

  77. Steph, Love, the sweater is going to be breathtaking. I’ve used Araucania before, and you should enjoy the process, not beat yourself up. She’ll love it, not least because you made it yourself. That’s what you’d tell any of us, isn’t it? Be as kind to yourself as you would be to us.
    In my family, at one time, there were 5 birthdays in one weekend. We had one big party, but we had five cakes, and sang “Happy Birthday” five times.

  78. It’s a known fact that knitters woefully underestimate how long it can take to knit an item. (Geez, I wonder who said that???) Given that, like you, I still KNOW that I can make it and am in denial up until that very last second. However, I had never thought of giving an item while on the needles and then taking it back to finish it. Thank you, my dear, for now I will no longer have to have an excuse at the ready as to why I can’t be at yet another family party!

  79. Off topic– I thought I was managing my stash well, since it was stacked neatly in matching plastic bins, rather than stuffed into drawers and cupboards all over the house. Nope– my husband came to me in tears this morning. The bins were stacked so high, in the spare room he uses as an office, on the days he doesn’t have to go in to the corporate office across town, that he couldn’t get to his desk.

  80. If it makes you feel better, it’s not just knitters this happens to. My aunt gave my mother quilt pieces for Christmas, and then my mother didn’t see the quilted wall hanging (which came out wonderfully) until around May.
    And a couple years ago, my mom gave me a wonderful afghan… with all the threads hanging out, because she hates to sew them in. She made me do it. πŸ˜€ I’m sure your sister will be thrilled that it’s coming. Anticipation never hurt anyone!

  81. At least you didn’t give her a sheet of paper with “IOU” written on it. She knows you started it…. She’ll love it all the more when it’s finished!

  82. Sometimes when life is full of UFO’s (not just the knitting stuff) just getting one thing done makes all the difference. I guess that one thing for you was the sweater. Today mine is the tax stuff done before the accountant gets here. We have 400 people coming to our place on Saturday, am I starting to panic…..
    Here’s hoping the UFO pile clears up a little!

  83. Have you ever given someone yarn? I mean someone who’s not a knitter, in token of the fact that you were supposed to have at least partly transformed the yarn into an actual garment before the due date? I did it to my sister’s boyfriend. His face was quite a sight. They are no longer together.

  84. Hey Girl, send me a sweater knitted by you but still in pieces and I will melt into a puddle! I’m sure she understands-since like the rest of the world she realizes that 17 days is not enough time to knit a sweater in most realities.
    If you really feel guilty(which you shouldn’t) when you send the completed sweater include a pair of your homemade socks or mittens.
    Oh, and if you need my address so you know where to send the incomplete sweater,just e-mail me!

  85. I think that the sweater is fantastically beautiful. I think that your sister realizes this, too. I think that she is completely thrilled with the idea that you are doing something that takes up so much of your time – all just for her. πŸ™‚

  86. Stephanie, one of the biggest reasons that I love your blog and you is that you are the eternal optimist–never once doubting that you do, in fact, have the wherewithall to bend the time-space continium (or however that’s spelled!). And being surprised, shocked and amazed every time you fall a wee bit short. My lovely hubby and I celebrated the blizzard weekend with a nice ski at Ganaraska Forest and — yup, you guessed it — some nice knitting as well. Cheers! It’ll all work out.

  87. I’m pretty sure the colour# is 118–I checked with Miko @ the Purple Purl and she was very helpful!
    As for Erin’s sweater–you’re not alone sister–I still have fingerless mitts for neices’ and nephews’ Christmas presents still to get out!! And let’s not talk about the decoupaged trays for brothers and sisters that still need that one last coat of varnish…from 5 years ago!!
    Just don’t forget to post pictures of the FO in your haste to get it to Erin.
    Cheers, Barbie O.

  88. You’d worry the tits off of a boar hog. I’m sure your sister knows your not going to let that sweater sit in a pile of pieces. Hank is so cute.

  89. Stephanie: Don’t be hard on yourself- your sister will love the sweater. You have a deadline with your book and there is only so much you can do in one day! On another note- I was so happy to see that little Hank again. He is a peach!!

  90. well, this way her birthday will last for longer, which we are big fans of in our house.
    also, you are under the pressure for a deadline, which makes people crazy.
    i am under no such pressure and just knit my friend one sock in michigan state colors, took it back and explained about the second sock thing. then i ran out of yarn halfway through the second sock, went back to the yarn store to get more and found yarn i really liked much better (in the same colors), so i got that instead and started over. she says she understands, but i think what she really understands is the depth of my obsessive-compulsive disorder πŸ™‚

  91. I am not at all shocked that you thought you’d make it. You may not have succeded in warping the time space continuum to meet your knitting deadlines, petal, but you’ve mastered the art of stretching the distance between time and reality for them.
    Dude, Erin’s been your sister for all of her *mumble mumble* years. She may not be able to see yet how funky and cool that sweater is, but I bet she totally understands the love in the stitches that are already there. Give yourself a break on this one.

  92. Whenever I come away depressed like that, I always look for the trigger moment. Maybe she was not as excited about the future prospect of receiving one of your sweaters as you hoped she would be, and you sensed some kind of disappointment. Maybe someone said something derogatory about your lack of gift. Maybe it’s just overwork on your part and it is only your disappointment in yourself. I find that isolating it makes it much it easier to deal with.
    On another front, I have a sister who would wait YEARS for me to get my act together and be excited to receive my gift no matter when I got it to her. I have another who would write off the gift before it even appeared, and when it did would be annoyed that she couldn’t return it to the store. I would only knit for that very special person who is more like Sister #1. Sister #2 can buy her own sweaters.

  93. aww im sorry. i know what it’s like to not get stuff done on time. and then it’s so blah to work on it…. :/
    that said, i hope that it gets all knitted up soon!! oh, and… if it makes you feel any better the pictures of it look FABULOUS.

  94. I don’t knit presents for deadlines because I hate that feeling. Kudos to you for experiencing it in the past and still be willing to try, particularly when you’re back is against the wall.
    Am I the only one who looked at the sweater back with the stitches so close to the end of the needle and feared they’d jump off?

  95. Hah! No one, absolutely NO ONE has gotten anything I’ve knitted for them since the very first Christmas after I started knitting and that’s because I had no idea of the junk I was giving them. When I tell people I’ll knit them something, they just look at me with that, “I’ll get it – someday!” look. -sigh-

  96. Sounds familiar. My Dad’s birthday was last week and I didnt finish his birthday socks. Good thing he is a patient man with lots of other socks.

  97. Shoot, my mother got her birthday sweater 9 months late. She was happy.. my husband got a Christmas sweater 5 years after I’d gifted it. My daughter got 2 skeins of yarn, some needles and instructions for knitting socks (thus far she’s made scarfs) for her birthday this year (in her favorite color).
    If people don’t appreciate all the time and energy you’ve put into knitting something as intricate as that sweater for them, then they deserve wallyworld sweaters for gifts πŸ™‚ I’m sure your sister doesn’t fall into that catagory… 1 or 2 of mine do, however.

  98. I have this funny feeling that your sister loves you dearly in spite of the fact that the sweater is still in progress. I would feel relieved in this situation if I estimated a date for finishing the sweater and then told the recipient. Then I would feel that the two of us were back on the same page.

  99. You thought 17 and 11 were the same because they are both small prime numbers.
    It will be a beautiful sweater and she will love it, whenever it gets finished.
    After all, life happens.

  100. I think it is the size of the gift. Half a back and two sleeves just looks like a pile of yarn. A hat, even when not finished, looks a lot more like a hat than a half-finished sweater looks like a sweater.
    And the more I see that sweater, the more I realize that the boyfriend would love it. But I refuse to tempt the Sweater Curse Gods, because that’d be worse then tempting the Knitting Goddess, I think.

  101. Well, I’m sure that first response up there made you feel much better! Wow. On another note…for myself, I always feel bad when giving an unfinished gift because the response from my loving, understanding family is – yeah, you’ll never get it done. How nice, an unfinished gift! Etc. (sort of like that first response up there.) However, I don’t see that happening with your friends and family. They seem (from what I have read from your entries, so through your eyes) like nice people, and you do – after all – have a good reputation for knitting. I would imagine that, when opening a gift from you and seeing a work in progress, it would just be exciting – anticipation! Looking forward to the finished product! And taking time on a project is never a bad thing. Maybe you just have too much on your shoulders right now…maybe this too shall pass, things are just out-of-whack right now. I hope you will let it pass and just enjoy creating this beautiful gift for your sister.

  102. Sure, you don’t feel so bad handing someone an unfinished hat since you know it will be finished in a very short time. Unfortunately, with a sweater the actual finish time is kind of uncertain. Since you didn’t make it in 11 days (cmon now) you really can’t pinpoint a completion date. This could drive one up a wall. Stay calm, and knit fast!!!!! What we’ve seen sure looks gorgeous!!! Be sure to show finished pictures…..whenever…..

  103. Ah, Steph – this knitting on deadline is like a disease for us! I’m convinced that there’s an entropy constant that’s built in to every knitting project whereby the number of projects expands to fill the space between deadline and start date – so much so that it’s often impossible to get them done!
    I’m inches away from starting the Yearly Knitting Calendar(tm) that lists all the things I want to knit, puts them on a timeline and then shows me how insane I am. Heck – if you can do it for Christmas knitting, why can’t we do it for everything else?

  104. Don’t feel so bad. Last year, for her birthday, I gave my best friend Sarah… a PRINTOUT of the front cover of your then-latest book from Darn Amazon – it was supposed to ship the previous week!
    The other half of her present was coming to see you talk at Joseph Beth in Cleveland – WONDERFUL!

  105. I admit to being a non-knitting lurker here. My friend sent me the link with your cat in the bathroom and I’ve been reading ever since. I’m a quilter. I substitute “quilt” or “sew” for “knit” and “fabric” for “wool” and I can totally relate. I had to laugh when Stephanie Too said she gave her man skeins and pattern for Christmas. I gave both my mom and my boyfriend fabric for Christmas this year. Mom’s is for placemats, the BF’s is for a quilt. I’m making him help me pick the pattern (he’s picky). Ask me if either project is started yet…..

  106. Your never-empty well of optimism always gives me hope that just once, a knitter will actually get the item done when she thinks she is going to.
    Hmmm, large gray fleece, more than enough for sweater…

  107. I think that we must all have projects like that sweater. Last September I was going to give dear hubby a scarf. I gave him yarn and a promise. The scarf is *mostly* finished. I just have to weave in the ends and block. It’s been in that state for at least a month. Maybe he’ll get it by next winter. Maybe…

  108. You can blame it on Daylight Saving Time. I blamed everything over the weekend and into the week on that. It helps.

  109. Everything can’t be on a deadline, unless those things earn you an income … then you have to seriously consider the consequences of missing a deadline.
    Other than that deadlines, like patterns, are more like GUIDELINES, not rules. As a knitter, my family is used to receiving handknit gifts from me past the (birthday/anniversary/wedding/event). So I ask ’em, you want it right now? – or do you want it right?

  110. That color is just SO gorgeous…I can’t help but think she’s got to be super excited that it will be ALL HERS when you’re done. I know I’d give you all the time you needed (with lots of reminders), as long as it was going to be mine in the end! It’s a beautiful gift. She’s very lucky!

  111. I used to give partially finished gifts to people for their birthdays or Christmas, but I felt awful about it. I decided that if I couldn’t finish a project in time, I would buy something for the person and give them the gift I was making next time. I’m still frustrated with myself for not finishing, but at least the person gets a gift they can use right away!

  112. She is YOUR sister, of course she understands. Anyone who has a serious knitter in the family learns three things:
    1. To expect to receive WIPs as gifts
    2. To learn how to gush and appropriately admire each and everything the knitter makes.
    3. To check all chairs and couches for errant needles prior to sitting down!

  113. Don’t worry. I am still working up the courage to cast on the Kauni Rainbow sweater. I bought the yarn a long long time ago. When I estimate how much time it will take to finish something I have to include a few months for thinking about it and considering it. And then add a few months for working up the courage. After that, it goes quickly. Atleast I am in the final stages and should be casting on any day now. Oh and I also have this whole project monogamy problem where I have to complete any other project I started before I am allowed to start a new one. That’s the one that kills me. Sigh.

  114. My family gave up giving presents years ago. Now we do occasionally give each other something, but it isn’t a requirement. In your case, half a sweater is as good as a signed contract and she knows it.
    Sometimes I give people pictures of what I _didn’t_ get for them, in a “see what I spared you” mode.

  115. I was once invited to a baby shower about a month before the baby was due–I gave the mother-to-be a finished afghan, booties and bonnet, with the sweater still on the needles, with an apology for not having it done. One of the other women there told me not to worry–the baby wasn’t done yet either!
    And my 28-year-old nephew is still waiting for his latch-hook clown wall hanging I started when I learned my sister-in-law was pregnant.
    Why worry?

  116. Nope, none of those reasons for not getting it done.
    It was (Ta dah!) the hour lost to the ‘spring forward’ of Daylight’s saving time. This was obviously crucial in the space time continuum and therefore the sweater incompletion is highly explicable.

  117. Dude, you are being so hard on yourself! You are on deadline for a book — I’m sure your sister understands. Considering that circumstance, it’s amazing you got as much knit as you did. It is gorgeous and though I don’t know your sister, I’m sure if she likes blue and being warm in a handknit sweater, she will be thrilled with the sweater when it is finished!
    That being said, I totally gave my best friend one sock for her birthday. AND I forgot to take it back so I was stalled on knitting it’s mate for over a week because I couldn’t remember how long I had knit the leg!! So who’s lame now??

  118. Insanity, thy name is Stephanie, eh?
    Seriously, miscalculations are par for the course while knitting, aren’t they?
    I write books, and I know what hell it is having a deadline coming at you. My best wishes to you.

  119. I’m a terribly slow knitter and I delude myself all the time… which is why most family members wind up with gift cards in the end. I will never learn.

  120. I was late getting presents mailed off to my seven-year-old nephew (whose birthday is today), and the only excuse I have is that I didn’t think about it on time. At least you’ve clearly been thinking about your sister, and working toward her present, and putting in time and effort…
    My sister assures me that her son will love getting a second birthday when the presents arrive. I’m sticking with that.

  121. Actually, I think it took him 20 days (according to his blog) to knit that sweater. I would be really excited if someone knit it for me (still on the needles or not).
    Hey, I’m a way slow knitter, which is why I’m already nagging my family to do the xmas name draw NOW so that I have most of the year to knit my xmas present for whomever it turns out to be. πŸ™‚ And I STILL may not make the deadline. πŸ™‚
    Hang in there!

  122. Yey!!!
    I was beginning to worry about Hank! Thought perhaps he’d run away to join the Foreign Legion!!!
    And as for owing family handmade gifts – I still owe my sister at least one blanket…

  123. LOL 11 days. I’m going to make this sweater for my Dad for XMAS. I’m casting on NOW. Of course, he’s a 2XL, so I *need* the time, but yikes.

  124. De-lurking to say how much I understand that big feeling of disappointment in one’s realism / crafting ability / deadline knitting. For my niece’s third birthday, I was working on Cindy from the Rowan Babies book. I love this sweater with it’s crazy loopy edges. I stayed up all night seaming… but then I gave up trying to finish the loops in time for her birthday… because it turns out to be Way Too Hot in Florida to wear this type of sweater. Even in February. So I sadly packed up the seamed, loopless sweater and took it home. It’s one of the biggest disappointments of my knitting life. I love this yarn, I love this pattern, I love this niece… and I blew it.
    Now I’m knitting an open lacy item for the niece for Easter and I can barely make myself do it, even though it’s coming out really cute. I’m in a failure well & I need a rope to climb myself out of it. And really, it’s just the thoughts & feelings about my niece knitting — not the knitting itself. If I can just breathe & knit, I know I can get through it. But if I invest it with meaning… I might just shove it under the sofa cushions & run. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is myself.
    I know your (grown up – aren’t you lucky!) sister will love the beautiful sweater you are knitting her. Just keep at it, between writing sessions. Breathe & knit. Hang in there!!

  125. …then there was the year I gave my grandmother the sleeves for Christmas and the finished sweater for her birthday (a month later). She was a real knitter, so knew better than I did what it meant. My other relatives are begging to get in the queue, but I only knit for those who will understand. (My SIL can ask all she wants but until she decides it’s not that hard to hand wash the one I already made her, she’s not getting another!)
    BTW – how is it that Erin looks exactly like my next door neighbor, whose name, I thought, is Beth?

  126. Today I heard a quote on NPR and thought of you and your impending deadline…
    Douglas Adams, of Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy fame, reportedly once said “I love the sound of a dealine as it goes WHOOSHING by.” Perhaps you need this fatalistic attitude?

  127. I’ve done similar things, and yeah, it just doesn’t feel great.
    So have Erin show up for your birthday celebration with a cake mix in progress so she can take it back and bake it later. (With Hank’s supervision, of course.)

  128. I have been trying to give things other than knitting for gifts lately. Every once in awhile someone I really love gets something knit. I am just too slow for everyone on the list to get socks or sweaters.
    I admire your undying optimism though πŸ˜‰

  129. Sweater looks absolutely delightful and I would be totally thrilled to have someone knit it for me whenever I got it. Your sister knows how very lucky she is having you to do it for her. Also, think how much you give to other people like me that you don’t even know. I so much love knitting socks and have been lolving learning to spin – things I swore never to do, but reading your blog I just got ever so gently drawn in and now I wouldn’t stop! Just think what you would say to your sister if it was reversed and take the pressure off. *_*

  130. I bet that Spring Break doesn’t have the same meaning for Jared. If it did, he’d also get the part about thinking that almost a full week difference is about the same.

  131. I second Fran on the “Ease up, Turbo” maxim. That’s just brilliant! Why don’t we *all* take it for our own? As women, not only do we all go w-a-a-y too hard on ourselves but we also expect w-a-a-y too much (of ourselves, of course). Your sister will get her sweater and it will be go-jeous, the receipt of which will have no bearing on her love for you. And Rams, Joe will get his sweater, too, and it will be sublime (ditto regarding the receipt…) Trust you to remember that it’s Tuesday! LOL!

  132. i have yet to finish a gift to myself
    i have a hard time putting first things
    first some times it all comes together
    at the last moment
    goodness or as mae west would say
    goodness has nothing to do with it
    go to your deadline with a breath
    or two left in you

  133. Heck, I wasn’t even *making* the presents, and during a visit 5 years or so ago, I handed my cyber-sis several packages and said, “Happy Birthday 1998, 99, and 2000!”
    Yes, I’m still backed up to 2001. (Oh, no…wait. I forgot, I got her some birthday books two years ago, so I’m only backed up to 2002. Whew.)
    Erin loves you, and I’m sure she understands; you love Erin; the sweater is going to be fantastic and she’ll look wonderful in it; you – unlike me – *will* get it finished. πŸ˜‰ You’re just in the doldrums with all the deadlines. When you get it finished, take her out for a sisterly lunch or something, just the two of you, and make it a little extra-birthday occasion. Besides, it sounds like you could use a relaxing few hours like that to wind down! Better have some wine during it.

  134. I’m ashamed to admit that it once took me 10 years to knit a sweater (in very chunky yarn). I knit all the pieces then was so sick of it that I didn’t sew it up until 10 years later. On the bright side, I was a much better knitter by the time I was ready to sew it together and realized that I had to re-do the collar (the cast on was so tight, I’d have strangled myself if I managed to get it over my head).
    PS Why do 5 year olds (who’ve been ignoring you for the past hour) suddenly decide they need hugs and cuddles as soon as you log on to the computer or pick up knitting?

  135. Hey! I started a sweater for my daughter–about 4 years ago? still in process…so in my books, you are way ahead!!! (and now my excuse for not finishing her sweater is that she won’t fit into it cuz she’s expecting a baby and growing bigger all the time…hmmm…) so I’m nnow side tracked knitting baby sweaters (they are so quick!)

  136. Stephanie, you have named something that I’ve never been able quite to pin down–being entirely shocked that I actually believed I could get a sweater done in time for a specific day’s celebration! That kind of horror/stupor/shock that creeps up unawares and then hits you like a flash flood–and what’s so unmitigatedly stupid is that I let it happen over and over again! I’m always so surprised, and everybody else just laughs at me and shakes their heads. Oh well. Such is the nature of the fiber beast, I guess.
    Blessings on your new tour, as well as your deadline. You’ll make it, no problem!
    Kathy from Tacoma

  137. or, to quote the fellow who wrote “The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy”–“I love deadlines. I like the sound they make as they go whooshing by.”

  138. I wandered over to Brooklyntweeds blog to drool over the sweater again and although I am lousy at math I noticed that he started the sweater on 4/03/06 and finished it on 4/23/06 – so don’t feel bad, Steph – that’s 20 days.. way more than 17 – heh heh

  139. I don’t think there is anything wrong with your mind. I think it is the same reasoning (or lack thereof) as when we take all that potential knitting on a trip. I don’t really want to know how long I knit on an object. I might freak out and never knit again if I really truly knew just how many hours went into it. So, by that way of thinking, 11 is close enough to 17 and, one needs to remember just how very fast a knitter you are, so 11 is even closer for you. Plus she loves you anyway, no matter what.

  140. Here’s what I think about the disappointment…making a hat or a scarf or gloves or other smaller item is exciting and fun and they make great little gifts. But taking on a beautiful sweater, a sweater that is as intricate at the one you are making, a sweater that takes time and counting and concentration to give as a gift, part of the fun is the anticipation of seeing the recipient’s face when handed a beautfifully finished project. So no matter how happy the recipient is of such a lovely, albeit partial gift, you have missed out on the Ta Dah! part of gift giving, cause there’s no Ta Dah! yet…there’s still knitting….and knitting…and knitting! When she receives it, she’ll be happy but the Ta Dah! won’t be as exciting, kwim??? Speaking from someone who loves to gets surprises, but usually ruins them because she can’t stand waiting for them!!!!

  141. Come, now, that yarn is gorgeous, that pattern is wonderful, those sweater pieces are gorgeous, and you can’t tell me that you don’t all wear sweaters in April, May, and even June in your neck of the woods. How could your sister be other than delighted? I’m sure she was. And she couldn’t possibly tease you more than my sibs do when they receive on-the-needles gifts (which they almost always do!) BTW, I *loved* your wilderness posts. It reminded me of a cabin we stayed at in New Hampshire up on the Canadian border. We weren’t snowed in (in July), but the feeling was still often the same–wonder mixed with a feeling of not quite being one with the wilderness.

  142. I would rather be the recipient of an unfinished cabled cardigan (a masterwork, really, involving more time, materials and commitment) than of an unfinished hat (a minor work, truly involving less time, fewer, possibly LEFTOVER materials, even less commitment — that was unfulfilled).
    That you mounted a major project for Erin says important stuff about how you feel about her. That the sweater missed the party says more about your sketchy relationship with the time-knitting continum than it does about your relationship with your sister. Knit on. It’s Canada and she’ll still need it in a couple of weeks.

  143. If my sister were knitting that sweater for me, I know I’d love it just as much as if it were all sewed together. I’m sure that’s how Erin feels,so I wouldn’t worry about that little teeny problem of it not being finished. After all, she surely knows you haven’t exactly been sitting around on your butkus watching tv and eating bonbons. And its a beautiful work-in-progress, by the way. She is really lucky to be the recipient.

  144. 17 months, okay I could do that. 17 days — not in my lifetime! 11 days — I’m not even going to go there! It makes me shudder just to time about it!

  145. It is just beautiful so far and I’m sure she is both excited and delighted at her birthday present. In my many years on this planet I’ve discovered that chocolate, or other candy, can often make up for stretching out an occasion! Congratulations to all of your birthday folks!

  146. We all miscalculate the amount of time it takes to complete a task from time to time. Me, I do it daily – in order to make it to work on time, I actually have to leave the house by a certain time. My sister got only a piece of 3″ piece of yarn in a card for Christmas with the promise that she would love the finished object — eventually. And she does because it is from me, and your sister will feel the same too.

  147. It sounds like you were excited about this gift. Maybe you feel especially bad because you were excited about seeing it done yourself?

  148. Look at it this way–she had to wait a year for her birthday–what’s a couple months for a gift????
    (Just ask my bridesmaids about their gifts for being in my wedding A YEAR AND A HALF AGO….)

  149. I know when I’m under the gun and feel like everything is out of control I want just one thing to work out right. It’s so disappointing when it doesn’t. Sounds like you talked yourself through this in your post and realize that you had a lot, a whole lot, of other things demanding your time. The sweater looks really beautiful.

  150. Yup. I know right where you’re coming from. I don’t know what I was thinking trying to knit Mona Schmidt’s Bells & Whistles socks for my mum in less than 2 weeks using only my commuter knitting time.
    But it’s the end result that’s worth it. No everlasting guilt is necessary. Keep knitting and enjoying what you’re making–your present is going to last a long time so the time invested is worth it.

  151. The only reason there’s shock, guilt, and dismay involved, I would argue, is because it’s your sister’s present you miscalculated.
    (Multiple anecdotes != data) My sis and I have a long history of almost finishing birthday gifts for each other. It’s amazing, how many times we don’t… quite… make… it.
    I suspect that part of it is knowing that a sister (who you’ve known her entire life (if you’re the elder) or you’ve known your entire life (if you’re the younger)) will find a way to love you and forgive you.
    As I do my sis, and she does me.

  152. I just went and read Brooklyntweed’s blog post on this sweater and he said it took him 20 days to knit this sweater, not 17, so really, stop beating yourself up for not finishing in 11 days!

  153. I am shocked and appalled by the first comment. Who among us have not made an error of this type? Staphanie, your work, as always, is lovely and I’m sure your sister will enjoy it.

  154. It’s beautiful! This will just make her birthday last longer. πŸ™‚ [Don’t be so hard on yourselfl. πŸ™‚ If someone showed you a beautiful sweater they were knitting for you, but it wasn’t quite done, wouldn’t you be excited about eventually getting it? ]

  155. Hahaha! I love the part of giving it to her on the needles, and then promptly taking it back. But honestly, I’m sure she understands (she is your sister, so I think she *may* understand you by now) so as long as you get it to her in the next while (maybe once all the stress is over and you have some time to “relax”?) it should all be good. You have good intentions, she at least got to see part of it and feel the yarn if she wanted to (which is maybe more than I would do, I could see me wrapping up a sweater sized box that’s empty except for a note saying “Picture a sweater that’s kind of like ____ but not like ______ in _____” or something) and she will get it eventually.
    So, don’t be so hard on yourself. I think it shows just how much you love having her as your sister because you’re putting so much time and effort into her present.

  156. My daughter-in-law’s simple knitted shoulder wrap has been waiting for three years to be sown up for her birthday (a 20 minute job?). My daughter’s pressie of a gorgeous shopping bag made from Alchemy bamboo has only been waiting two years. Or should I say ‘half-made shopping bag’….

  157. Wow! Those sweater pieces are really lovely! I think you should just let yourself off the hook. There’s nothing you can do to change the reality of that lovely sweater not being finished in time. As the World’s Slowest Knitter, I’ve given people lot’s of gifts on needles,(but never anything that complicated or pretty!) I usually try to make things for people for Christmas (woven towels, knitted items, handmade baskets, baby quilts, soap, etc) so I’m consistently behind the 8 ball. The reaction of getting a present on needles or unfinished is usually one of joy, especially if the recipient doesn’t knit or do other handiwork. They think that someone taking all that time to make something just for them is pretty darn miraculous. A little over a year ago I made a pink sweater for my young niece and she’s now out growing it. No one in our family knits that sort of thing but me, so she’s has now requested a purple sweater. She’s so excited that I’m going to make her another sweater and wants me to show her how to knit. How cool is that! The first sweater was 3 months later that I planned.
    My friends and family have been very happy with all their handmade gifts and they’ve been that way with anything that I was late with (and there’s been quite a few things that I was late with let me tell you LOL!) There’s something really wonderful about getting something that someone made just for you. There’s no other gift that can bring that sort of warm glow. Someone took a chunk of time out of their life and gave it to you. How cool is that! So, let yourself off the hook. You’ll get the sweater done and it won’t be 3 months later and she’ll love it. If she doesn’t, you can make one for me. I’d love it. If you made it for me it wouldn’t take 3 years (because for me that’s a complicated pattern and it would take me 3 years!) because you are our Yarn Harlot, a speedy, accomplished, generous maniac of a knitter. I wouldn’t even mind it if you gave it to me on the needles first!

  158. This past Christmas I raced to finish a sock on Christmas morning and happily did. Only to discover it was one inch shorter than its mate. What to do? I wrapped the single and acted surprised when the gift was opened “Oops, I must have left it at home.” Little did I know that my big brother is a bit anal and took the house apart looking for it in the round-the-tree debris that a household of nine gift-exchangers can create… I had to confess.

  159. The birthday sounds fun! We do the same in my family, a bit anyway. My birthday is the day before my grandfather’s (this weekend, no less!), and we used to celebrate together a lot, particularly when I was younger. This year we are 40 and 80, so it should be a fun one.

  160. I don’t think it’s the idea of the hat vs. sweater argument, but more the battle with time. I am so notorious for setting unrealistic time and knitting goals. I am sure however that your sister will be delighted when the sweater is finally gifted.

  161. I also suffer from an unrealistic optimism about the deadlines I create for myself. Even though I know I am slow at everything, I am usually shocked when I fail too meet my overly-ambitious deadlines. I guess there must be an up side to it. Imagining the best is good right? Just think, if you weren’t so optimistic your sister would probably have another hat right now instead of the promise of a “big winner” sweater. I know what i would want.

  162. I can see where the confusion comes in – 11…17…both have 2 digits…both start with a 1…the 7 almost looks like a 2 so in your brain overloaded state, I’m sure you thought it said 12…11..12…very close.

  163. The sweater pieces are so beautiful I’m sure she doesn’t mind waiting. I know I wouldn’t.

  164. At least you were in denial about knitting time instead of…say, the possibility of a polyamorous relationship actually working. Knit on, and it will all be well.

  165. When it comes to birthday cards or presents, a friend of mine once told me “anything within 6 months counts”.

  166. It looks like colour AZ07, but with monitors, who knows?
    As for thinking that you could do in 11 days what someone in the USA did in 17, I think it’s just that your Canadian mind is all fuzzed with exchange rate things and you probably thought that the way things are going, 17 days USA means 11 days Canadian.
    Could be worse. At least you know she won’t outgrow it before it’s done. Hopefully Erin will have the “Wow” when seeing all the odd bits put together properly.

  167. Hey, March 11 is my birthday! there is something about June isn’t there….

  168. I did not get my own birthday cake until I got married and moved to my own house(I was 28!). When you come from a large family (one of seven children) and your birthdays all seem to fall in the same months, you end up sharing your birthdays. It truly sucks!

  169. 17 days sound like not enough time. 11 days sounds like crazy! At least for me. I think my record for a sweater is still something like three months. Urgh.

  170. I delight in your blog. I’ve never been compelled to include a comment but your 3/11 post won’t leave my mind. You use sarcasm in a witting and winning fashion but I suspect it masks an extraordinarily tender heart. Your comments about your Sister’s gift, commingled with the words about the publishing deadline and your inability to find a yarn band reveal that you have a lot on your plate. If you’ll forgive the intrusion by a perfect stranger, please take a deep breath and let Stephanie ‘off the hook.’ You are doing great. Everything will get done. Nobody will be disappointed. You are not letting anyone down, least of all yourself and your loved ones. You are a treat, a treasure and an inspiration. Do yourself a ‘steady’ and be kind, kind, kind to Stephanie until this phase passes and all deadlines are met. Hold steady and much affection to you from afar!

  171. I’m sure Erin was delighted with her present–even though it is still half-baked. The pieces that are already done are exquisite.
    BTW–will there be a summer knitting olympics? I’ll need to start getting in shape and picking a project for it if there is!

  172. If it makes you feel any better, I am still working on a sweater for my dad, that was supposed to be a Christmas present. Granted, I was only given about 15 days warning on it, but I’m still trying to get it done. He doesn’t expect to receive it until fall now. (I live in Phoenix, Arizona…30+ degrees Celsius is just ’round the corner here.)
    I’m sure that your sister will love it anyway. But it is anti-climatic, huh? So far the sweater pieces look beautiful!
    How did Jared knit that sweater in just 17 days??? I know knitting isn’t a speed contest, but I sure wish I could have finished Dad’s sweater in 17 days. πŸ™‚

  173. tis colour 105 of Araucania Nature Wool Chunky according to the ball band (or colour PT 234 if you are looking at the shade card online….dunno!)
    Happy Stitching!

  174. LMAO. This totally reminds me of that time that you jumped up on a chair at a yarn shop (Lettuce Knit?) to grab something or secure something or do SOMETHING and reached your hand up to the ceiling as if you could reach it. And fell, like, 2 feet short of actually hitting your mark. And someone said to you “uh, Steph, exactly HOW tall do you think you are???????”
    In our minds we can all knit a full week faster than anything that Brooklyntweed can churn out. Kids and work and deadlines and shopping and food prep included.
    (Isn’t that why that second or third kid or extra job or ‘nother cast-on project always sounds like SUCH a good idea????)

  175. Absolutely gorgeous sweater!
    I am a mere knitting piker. I returned to knitting 2 years ago. I know it is harder for me to finish a project when the due date is passed. Ego or something. It is way easier for me to knit like mad before the deadline. I have no steam afterwards.
    I planned in September to do Earl Grey Socks for my father for Christmass. I started them 6 times because swatches lie (I knit a full stitch to the inch tighter on DPNs than back and forth), and because I really didn’t know what I was doing. In that process I knit about 3 socks worth of knitting, only to have to rip it ALL out since he has swollen feet. I added another 12 stitches to the girth. They Still are not Flipping Finished. (Do you realize how much more knitting there is when there are 12 stitches more per row?) And they are dark grey. Hard on these eyes of mine.
    So my theory is the dissapointment comes from the loss of steam under the project; that it will be harder to knit after the birthday. That is what it is for me (as well as not doing what I planned to do and being a reliable, responsable person, like in the movies, but lets let that pass).
    A good night’s sleep and the writing deadline over and all will be right as rain.

  176. My SIL gave me a scarf she hadn’t quite finished knitting and wrapped it up for me on the needles. It kinda backfired because I wanted to finish knitting it (I had just gotten into knitting) I was bummed because she went ahead and finished it. Now she knows that if she wants to give me something on the needles. I’m gonna finish it or we’re gonna have a brawl. (hehehe)

  177. I did that with a scarf for my daughter’s birthday. She wasn’t upset at all…got to tell me how long she wanted it, fringe/no fringe and also ordered a beanie to go with it.
    I would not be at all upset if you gifted me that sweater in progress πŸ™‚

  178. Knitting to an unrealistic deadline can completely drain the pleasure out of a project for me. I’ve done this with quilting as well. Anyone who loves you – and is worth knitting a sweater for – would much rather have you inspired by feelings of love than by guilt. I am just learning to “uncomplicate” my feelings about this right now. Give it to her on the needles and she’ll be just as happy!

  179. Fortunately, my mother knits and crochets. So when she gets half a Mother’s Day present in May, she’ll understand.
    In fact, she might even finish it herself.

  180. With all that is going on in your life, your sister should feel very loved that you attempted a sweater for her birthday! I know I would!!!

  181. If it were me, I’d have given Erin a replacement gift (not the sweater pieces), and told her that I hadn’t been able to finish the main gift (the Urban Aran) in time for her birthday. Your book deadline has to take precedence. Your knitting on the sweater is beautiful, and you’ll finish the project quickly enough, once your writing commitment is met. (I know this, because I, too, write for $$.)

  182. I took this whole week of vacation to make my Grandchild’s Silk Dupioni Easter dress. So far….I have 4 rows out of 9 smocked, no sewing. I always manage to get it done but I have this recuring dream that it’s Easter Sunday and I forgot about it and didn’t make any baskets and Walmart is closed. Go figure!

  183. I actually did something similar with the baby surprise I made recently. I wanted to show the person who I was giving it to how it would fold up. After all the giftee is a mathematician. Okay reaction. Much better when she got it all all complete with the buttons and after the little guy was born.
    Go figure.

  184. In college, I had the exact same delusions regarding my senior thesis. I started it (250 pages minimum, plus lesson plans, plus a defense, plus a bunch of other stuff I’ve since blacked out) THE NIGHT BEFORE IT WAS DUE. Serious mental illness that semester. I won’t go into details about how I finally (two years later) cleaned up that mess.

  185. First of all, ‘ouch’ on that first comment. Hmph.
    And 1s and 7s have similar straight lines; easy to mess up. Beautiful sweater, though. I didn’t think variegated yarn would work so well for cables. Nice.
    I am amazed how long it takes me to finish a row on the Must Have Cardigan. It’s been quite a while since I’ve knit an aran, but–where’s the Instant Gratification Love, already?
    Sorry you didn’t make it.

  186. Love your blog I will be watching for updates!!!!!!! I am an complusive spinner and knitter. I also crochet and weave. I drive my husband crazy because I am always working on somthing. Anyway I’ll be reading and checking in.

  187. love your blog!!! I have an obsession with spinning and knitting. I also crochet and weave. I drive my husband crazy,cause I am always working on something. Anyway I will be checking in> keep up the great blog!!!!!!!!!!!!

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