That is how it’s done

I have virtually no words (and almost no pictures) for how tremendously well the whole birthday/1000 Knitters/ WWKIP day thing went. Knitters came, knitters knit, knitters had their pictures taken, we drew for prizes (from my stash and Franklin’s) every hour on the hour…there were cupcakes, there was cake, there were burritos, there was DRY ICE smuggled across the border by Americans with a seriously good plan, (I swear, Cat Bordhi may have created a monster) there were surprises that were truly wonderful (like our lady Rams of the comments turning up – that was exceptional) there were more cupcakes and the whole thing came off without a hitch. (Mostly. At one point Rachel H and I took the advice of many a knitter or two and tried to relax a little, and learned in a heartbeat that the only thing keeping an event with that many knitters all over the place from coming off the rails was totally the fact that we were micromanaging it. Once again, both of our vaguely obsessive personalities paid off.) While I suffered a case of mild camnesia, other knitters did a grand job.


(That’s Megan, gracious owner of Lettuce Knit with the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten. I can’t believe all she did to make the day great, and how lovely she is about me taking over her shop every time I get an idea.)

Juno has some pictures I hope she’ll send to me, Glenna has some great pictures (and makes a mean cupcake). Dr. Steph did a great job of being prize mistress and taking pictures, Kim backed her up nicely (Thanks Kim!) Sarah got a ton of beautiful shots, and the fab Patrick did a hell of a job (practically a photojournalist) of getting almost all the weirdness captured. After all our weather fears, the day was brilliantly sunny and beautiful – and was only made more fantastic by the fact that it poured epic rain all night on Friday (Rachel and I were nauseous) and has continued to pour virtually every moment since.

Ken played host to Franklin (though he said he’s a very easy guest to have) and chauffeured him here and there.


Rachel, more competent and clever than ever (and that’s saying something) managed front of house, checking people in, getting the waivers signed, sending people back to Franklin, and I managed back of house…moving people along and back to Franklin, making sure that he had everything he needed, grabbing the reflector when the wind went after it…although I’ve got to tell you, the man is pretty low maintenance. Easy going, funny, amiable and hard working beyond all expectations.


(The inestimable Denny. Immortalized as I’ve always thought she should be.)

The day was a ton of work, especially for Franklin, and he was a trouper. There were many moments I wouldn’t trade for anything,


(My daughter Sam)

many things that resonated for me in an unexpected way.


(My daughter Meg)

This is more than just 1000 portraits of knitters that Franklin’s making. It’s a way of expressing outwardly the significance of how it feels. There is something that knitters feel on the inside of them when they are making something….something more than just wool and needles, something more than the joy of creation. Those of us who knit passionately, those of us who call ourselves Knitters as part of our identities feel that there is more going on here than just making a hat, or socks or a sweater, and we live in a culture that can’t seem to respect that the way it does other creative or artistic endeavours without trying to make it cute, or ironically feminine, or a sweet little way we’ve found to occupy our idle hours, and I don’t know why. I had a great talk with Franklin, Rachel, Denny and Juno about it. This day was a celebration of all we feel on the inside, and showing that on the outside. It was a way of validating what this whole thing means to us, of saying “this is important in our lives no matter what the rest of the world thinks” and it was magic. Huge magic. The magic was so big, so significant to me, that when the time came to have my picture taken, I balked. Not because I don’t like myself in pictures, not because I’m shy (although both of those things are true) but because it felt like enough to have had the opportunity to see this in my community. I owe Franklin a huge debt of thanks… and one to Rach and Juno, who convinced me that I should sit down for my turn. I’m glad I did.

The night wound up with a fantastic party rigged by my fabulously generous sister Erin, to celebrate all the McPhee birthdays (My mum, who turned 65, my brother, who turned 37 and me…ringing in at 40.) It was family, and friends from near and far, and a grand way to thank a few of the knitters who helped make it such a day, and proving that they fit right in without a hitch, I looked up mid evening to find Rachel H and Franklin cutting a rug with the best of them.


We are, after all, a dancing family. If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing.

(PS. So many people were so generous that I feel I should mention the icing on the cake. Not only were Rachel and I able to cover Franklin’s plane ticket, but we were able to send him home with the balance of the donations gathered that day. It wasn’t much money, but it was another small validation of what the day meant to people. We are very grateful. Thanks to everyone who made that possible.)

176 thoughts on “That is how it’s done

  1. Here! here! to micromanaging! But especially Here! Here! to turning 40 (from one who’s ONLY turning 39!) Congratulations on a wonderful event.

  2. Wow! I’m 1st (maybe!) Looks like your 40th was spectacular! I can’t wait to see the pictures franklin took!

  3. I’m so glad to see that Rachel got to relax at the end of it all once she was separated from the Clipboard of Power.
    Thanks to all for the fun time!

  4. No WAY I’m the first to tell you what a fabulous time it seems y’all had! I SO wish I had been able to come!

  5. Beautiful – thank you so much for sharing your day with all of us!

  6. It really was a great day. Your weather witchery was amazing! Given the fun I’ve had turning up at events like this, I think I will make more of a habit of it. So. What’s next? 😉

  7. Happy Birthday Steph! I am so glad that it all went well and I am glad you had such a good time. Your daughters look so beautiful.. and so grown up!
    I hope that your next birthday is just as great!

  8. I really wish I’d been there! I don’t suppose Franklin could stretch to 2,000 knitters, could he?
    Happy Birthday, again. And aren’t your daughters gorgeous!

  9. Just to let you know, there were two of us ceelbrating your birthday & WWKIP at the Kootenay Library Federation Conference held at St Eugene Resort this past weekend.

  10. This post brought tears to my eyes! I first teared up when I saw your daughters knitting and it got worse when you expressed how important knitting is to us and should be to everyone else. What a wonderful day you had.
    I’m so glad everything went well and Happy Birthday!!

  11. I’ve been waiting to see this post, wondering how you would put it in words (pictures are just icing) and you did what I thought you would. You took a wonderful, fun-filled day and turned part of it back “in” so that we have another chance to reflect on what knitting means to us – individually and as a group. Thank you!
    And on a personal note – a huge thank you to Megan, Rachel H, yourself, Franklin and everyone else for giving me the gift of time to do something for myself (instead of always doing for others) with enough time left to get home for another (sad) committment. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I wish I had been able to stay for the rest of the festivities, but perhaps another time. Thank you again.
    It was great to be able to share your birthday! Many more to come!

  12. Looks like you did it up in 100% GLAMOUR! The only way one should celebrate the 40th year. I’m glad it turned out so lovely. 🙂

  13. Happy birthday to you!!! May it be the start of your best year yet!
    I understand what you mean about knitting not being respected the way it should be. It does work magic–all the needle arts do–and yet, people dismiss it as if it were of no consequence. Maybe the needle arts got more respect when they were the ONLY way people got clothing?
    I think that somehow, once something gets mechanized and industrialized, the origins get dismissed as quaint and archaic… so now anytime someone knits, spins, quilts, crochets, weaves, embroiders, etc, it is “merely” a “hobby” and given no significance by the Muggle population at large. One has to DO it, and put in a significant amount of time DOING it, so that one can allow the body and mind to work together in creating “something” from “nothing”… I suspect that once a person gets past the intense concentration of learning and relaxes enough to get lost in the act of doing, the magic comes through and then that person can understand what non-doers cannot.
    Congrats to you for all the success of the events, and thank you so very much for letting those of us who cannot travel be a part of it–and of the knitting community!–through your blog. I feel a kindred spirit with everyone who turns “fibers and strings” into magic.
    ps–your girls are lovely! And they look so grown-up now!!

  14. A belated happy birthday to you, Bonnie, and Ian! And kudos to Franklin, and Rachel, and you again. And thanks for the great description of the event! Vicarious living is almost like being there.
    And you know that thing I have about its/it’s? You are hereby given a free pass for the rest of your days, for you are the only person on this continent who can spell “trouper.”

  15. Whooo whoooo almost first! Yesterday was my son’s 18th birthday. Did I mention I love Geminii a lot?

  16. oh what a lovely day!! I knew it would all turn out, and it looks just fantastic. I love that your girls got to be photographed too – it just seems so a propos. I wish Franklin would come to the west coast. We need to get him to Portland!

  17. Truly wonderful–and even (surprise!) touching and cheering and (just a little) *sniffle*ing. Happy Birthday, Steph, and let’s hear it for human magic.

  18. What a day! Congratulations on your many successes!
    P.S. Having to live with dull American spellings, I am always thrilled by words like “trouper” and “grey”

  19. What a lyrical and lovely account…I so wish I could have been a fly on the wall, but thank you for offering the next best thing.
    Happy Birthday and Congratulations. 🙂

  20. Glad you had a great party – sounds like the hard work paid off.
    Like a great writer or actor, I feel like, along with my children, my knitting leaves my karma-free mark on the world. It IS important to me.
    Happy Birthday!

  21. I can’t believe that’s Sam – wasn’t she ten years old just, like, yesterday?
    And best wishes for a very happy 40th year – I have no doubt you’ll fill it up with knitting, food, friends, knitting, beer, writing, publishing, knitting, family, spinning (dare I say… for the gansey?), blogging, and knitting. Yup. That sounds like a very good year. Enjoy!

  22. It sounds like everything the day was supposed to be, on a personal and a broader knitterly level. What a great tribute to you and to our art! (I’m hoping that there was a beer in there for you somewhere…)

  23. So glad you all survived such an organized and fun birthday party. You could have bought yourself a new camera for your birthday. When I had two dogs I always got gifts from them–they just seemed to KNOW exactly what I wanted.. You have a cat and cats give presents too don’t you know . You probably didn’t have time to take any pictures anyway and the others did a good job of covering the event. Loverly. Thanks so much for sharing .

  24. Happy Birthday !! “those of us who call ourselves knitters as part of our identities…” so well said and hard to understand if you don’t knit. All in all got a little teary eyed and had goosebumps after reading this post.

  25. Following the events on your blog and Franklins blog I feel as if I’d been there in a way. I am so glad that we knitters are as we are. It does bring together so many people that would never meet otherwise or even think of becoming friends.
    Oh, and of course Happy Birthday!

  26. Thank you so much for sharing the day and its many layers of meaning so that those of us who weren’t there can share a tiny bit of it. You and Franklin have done such a good job of expressing the deeper meanings behind the representing and the KIP-ing. The combination of your post and Franklin’s has me choked up with gratitude and respect for all the knitters and spinners who make what they want, the way they want, where they want, when they want and draw joy from the process and the product. Congratulations on a great success!

  27. i had a fantastic time- it was beautiful and overwhelming. Stephanie and Rachel H., when you put your minds to something, you really can pull off the incredible. Great job!

  28. Thank you so much for such an eloquent account of the festivities, made me a little teary. I so enjoyed every word, and am so proud to be a knitter.
    Congrats for pulling this event off.Lorraine.

  29. Wow, I guess I did not realize the knitters would be photographed individually – I kind of thought is would be one of those big group photos (like the guy who takes the pictures of the crowds of naked people).
    As I was reading thru the archives, I discovered that today marks another important day… I would like to take a moment and congratulate Stephanie and Joe’s Gansey on a wonderful 4 years together. Happy Anniversary, Happy Birthday – and remember – Tuesdays are for spinning.
    Also, you really do have the most beautiful girls. I enjoy reading about them. And as a mom of a 4 year old boy, I especially love those posts when the adorable Hank makes an appearance.

  30. SO much fun. The funnest time ever. I can still feel the sun on my face and the relaxation.
    I think it’s not only great that Megan supports your ideas, but that you have the ideas in the first place. (Also that Franklin has ideas.)
    Happy Birthday once again!

  31. And a photo of the fabulously dressed Rachel H to top it all off…perfect.

  32. Thanks, Stephanie. Happy birthday and all that.
    Between the two blogs today, you and Franklin had me in tears today. And that’s a good thing!

  33. sounds like you had a fabulous wwkipd (and birthday!). too bad my bday can never fall on wwkipd, unless they move it to august! thanks for putting into words the way i feel about knitting…

  34. Hermit that I am, you have almost put me in tears wishing I could have been there. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to notice me, of course, but just to have been there to witness all you described would have made me happy. Well, that and the wool fumes. I’m so glad to hear that everyone had such a good time, and that there was enough generosity to more than cover Franklin’s costs. From what I hear, he’s a great man, and no doubt deserves all the praises sung to him.
    In honor of your b-day, I worked on a sock, sitting in my garden cart, in my front driveway, watching my boys play on their bikes/scooters and draw with chalk. Oh, and there was a beer. For you. I drank it.

  35. Congratulations on a wonderful birthday celebration. I had the opportunity to knit for Franklin in Minnesota. The way he talks to each knitter as if they were the only knitter in the world and as if knitting was one of the most important things in the world was so touching. I felt so honored. It was so wonderful that you brought the same opportunity to so many other knitters.

  36. Wonderful event on Saturday! I was a bit star-struck, what with all the big “names” there. It was fun being in the company of so many knitters, just hanging out and knitting (and causing all those curious stares from passersby). Rachel H, with her clipboard, was super efficient. And Franklin — well, how charming can one man possibly be?? (Only bad thing? I missed seeing Rams.)

  37. Holy crap, Sam looks like an adult or something. NOT OK. I’ve gotten used to Meg looking like an adult, but surely it’s not Sam’s turn yet? They both look lovely. Happy Birthday!

  38. what an amazing and wonderful day! I’m very glad that all of you had that experience; it sounds truly fabulous. I teared up reading about it and couldn’t read it out loud. And the girls are gorgeous and so self-posessed looking. The last picture I saw of Sam, she looked like a child… what happened????

  39. You are amazing Stephanie and your daughters are so lovely. Happy happy birthday

  40. Ok, for those of us, green-green-green with envy,who were not there, please please include the carrot cake recipe. You CANNOT say it was the best ever without giving us at least that virtual slice!

  41. I was so excited to see you at BEC, and so taken with how pretty your hair is, I forgot, when I got up to the front of the line, to also say happy birthday. So also, happy birthday. And thank you for signing my book.

  42. Wow! I can’t wait to see everyone’s pictures. Wonderful. Also, I must say, Samantha has really grown up! I remember when she was baking cookies…..

  43. Sounds AWESOME. I wish I could’ve been there, but alas…Vancouver needs to squish over to Ontario a bit first.
    The knitting club I started in my school had 6 10 year old boys at Pizza Hut knitting in public on Saturday. I love it. 😀

  44. I truly wanted to be in T.O. to join the fun, but ended up having my birthday and KIP day fun anyway! I met people from Ravelry and other knitters from our area. It was relaxed and fun and I can’t wait for next year! Next year I won’t be working at the event, but more able to sit with friends and knit. It was amazing to have people who love what I love, all in one place, sharing and teaching and laughing.

  45. Your birthday was also my FIL’s birthday. If he were still alive he would’ve turned 94 on Saturday. It’s also the “birthday” of he US Army, or the anniversary of the day the Continental Army was formed back in the 1700 and something. (bad army wife, don’t remember)
    I’m glad you had a good day on your birthday, you add to our lives with your blogs and your books. It’s always nice to see good things happen to people that do nice things.
    So belatedly, Happy Birthday. May you have many happy returns.

  46. Congrats on a rocking 40th birthday — I’ve found the 40s to be far superior to the 30s so far… hope you do, too! By the way, your girls look so grown up it’s freaking me out just a little… when did all this growing and maturing take place?!

  47. Happy birthday, and I’m sorry I missed the party! My daughter’s end-of-school party did have a bubble machine, but no knitters.

  48. You’re girls are gorgeous! When did they become women?! Doesn’t it just kill you – I know when I look at my girls, 25 & 24 it blows me away.
    Congratulations on a great turnout & event.

  49. I agree with Laura Hontz – when did those girls of yours grow up to be such lovely women? And (in true Long Island fashion), “I tell you, you could be their sister.” (add NY accent). Also, I’m guessing Megan is due sometime soon… think she’ll get any knitted gifts?:D

  50. Dearest Steph-
    Happy Happy Birthday to you. I am certain that your party was BEYOND. With all my heart I wish I could have been there. Angus sends his birthday wishes also.
    And I am quick on your heels to 40- mine is August 22.

  51. What an awesome day! I wish I could have been there. Isn’t turning 40 amazing? I did it a couple of years ago. I have to admit that I’m starting to feel a bit “grown up” finally.

  52. Only in this forum can I say the following and not sound totally ridiculous:
    That post made me cry. Your daughters, the picture of Franklin & Rachel dancing. I’ve got tears.
    I’m overcome with the love, and I wasn’t even there.

  53. Is it your 4324th “happy birthday” wish? Well, I hope it is because it is my random number generator (read head)´s number and you really deserve it to be.
    I´m sad I´m too far but glad I can read about the event and I wish all the McPhees a very good next year. To Franklin, wow, the project is great.And to everyone else involved: wow, I envy you, guys! 🙂

  54. It brought tears to my eyes to see your knitting girls, wish I could have brought my knitting boys.

  55. Joy. We were talking about you and your birthday celebration at our KIP Day at River Colors Studio in Lakewood, Ohio.
    Mwah, darling. 40 looks fantastic on you.

  56. How wonderful that your Birthday went so well.
    I really loved what you said about people who are Knitters. When I first met one of my dear friends and discovered our mutual love of knitting, she leaned back and looked at me and said “So you’re a knitter Knitter.”. Not something trivial or superfluous, but part of my very fiber.
    Happy 40!!

  57. Wonderful post – after reading yours and Franklin’s, I’m all teary. So maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention but when did your daughters grow up and go from cute to beautiful?

  58. “Those of us who knit passionately, those of us who call ourselves Knitters as part of our identities feel that there is more going on here than just making a hat, or socks or a sweater, and we live in a culture that can’t seem to respect that the way it does other creative or artistic endeavours”
    Such a eloquent post. Thank you for this and Happy Fortieth Birthday. If you are worried about that number, don’t be. Like fine wine, we tend to get better with age.

  59. today we lost a knitter.. and i’m feeling emotional; that is true. but that picture of denny.. it was the one i was hoping to see. what a fabulous thing you did stephanie.. a joint effort i know.. but the things that you create are amazing. simply amazing.

  60. LOVE (1 gazillion)
    Sounds like it was just that kind of fabulous day that you richly deserve!

  61. Sounds like an awesomely good time was had by all! Congratulations!!
    Now I’ll run and peek at all the links.
    And yes it’s true Sam and Megan and beautiful.
    So are you.

  62. I SO wish I could have been there to join in the fabulous festivities. Even though I couldn’t be with you in body, I was in spirit and it makes me infinitely happy just to know that such a lovely, meaningful time was had by so many fellow Knitters. What a wonderful way to spend a birthday (Happy Birthday, Stephanie)!

  63. Thank you for sharing your brainchild of a rocking party, and thank you for being so sweet to my little Rachel. She appreciated the very first cupcake…

  64. I’d say this is a pretty fine example of why it’s good to have a dream, and share it. I did, and look what happened.
    I love you all, and I’m not being glib. I love you all.

  65. Happy Birthday! We were all celebrating with you and knitters in spirit! And KIP-ing!
    And wow, commenting right behind Franklin, whose incredible post I just read (comment readers, go read it, if you haven’t, it’s fantastic!)

  66. What a fabulous time! Your daughters are gorgeous. It sounds like a perfect birthday. Thank you for lending cohesion and validation to knitters worldwide. Without your books, blog and inspiration many of us, myself included, would still be lone knitters. I can’t even begin to tell you how much meeting others who share the same love for knitting (spinning and crocheting too) has meant. Sharing creativity, mistakes, patterns and stories has made the world a much nicer place for those of us lucky enough to fall under your influence. May your next 40 years see even greater things!

  67. So glad your special day went off so well! Knitters ARE special people and it’s great to have such a grand day in celebration of our wonderful “Have To” sport!

  68. Wow, I wish I could have visited your event! At times like this I really miss Toronto. Good to see everyone had so much fun.
    Happy B-day to all again.

  69. it truly was a touching and meaningful event. thanks for thinking of it. i was so glad to take part.

  70. lovely party could hear you all way down
    here in florida – what no cupcake
    the knitting blogs have make me pick up my needles and have fun and be part of this
    great and fun group of hard working people
    i have meet even unseen so many charmers
    i knitted after my breast cancer surgery
    and the broken foot afterwards
    won a blueribbon knitting is my friend
    even when i am so piffed at ripping out
    and its all the fault of that ball of
    and the needles that the fairy folk
    like to sit on and fully expect rum

  71. HB!!! Your mother is the exact same age as my brother in law who turned 65 Saturday. And my son in law turned 33 & my nephew 30 & here in the states it was Flag Day (I’ve never quite understood the purpose of Flag Day but there it is anyway)! I am really looking forward to seeing you Friday. Again I got sick this year but fortunately I’m mostly over my cold now.

  72. Happy happy birthday! It sounds like it was even better than you hoped, and it would have been so much fun to be there and share with everyone!
    My friend Joyce and I KIP on the day, working on our socks in a hotel lobby. A distant second to being at your party, but also fun…

  73. First of all, thank you so much for sharing your knitting life with us.
    Second, such beautiful (and knitting)daughters. We should all be so lucky. You and Joe should be proud!

  74. You’re very welcome! It was an amazing day. The most beautiful and meaningful things in my life are ones made by hand. It’s a value I learned from a very young age and one that I try to pass on whenever I can to whoever is willing. There’s something very powerful about putting your hands on the needles, the wheel, the shuttle…something about building something from the most basic raw materials…it’s transformational.

  75. Holy cow, Stephanie! I mean, not that I don’t have some other emotionally-charged things going on anyway, but reading Franklin’s post and then yours right after brought me to tears!! I’m so glad that you all had a good time. We can’t wait to see you again in Portland.

  76. Your post was wonderful! Thank you for sharing your day with the rest of us who would have loved to be there!

  77. It sounds perfect. You make me feel good, just reading about it. I thought I’d feel pangs of longing to have been there when I read this. Instead I feel content and happy to be part of the big knitting picture that we all were that day… and that you describe so well.
    Yes, it’s about how we feel inside. We did extreme knitting races in Lansing, three-person teams with huge knitting needles, and it was a blast. Only knitters would find it funny that this specific type of knitting required track shoes to do it well.
    And you all knit, and we all knit, and it was perfect. What a wonderful community this is… all over the world. Sigh…

  78. What a way to spend your 40th. Reading it brought tears to my eyes and then…you had to show the pix of your daughters. Sob, sob…Wow!
    Happy though belated, birthday wishes to you and your Mom and brother.
    I have a job now…I love the job, hate that fact I have less time to read your blog AND knit.
    I did compensate by buying a beautiful skein of hand spun hand dyed fiber at the local farmers market this Saturday. Ok, less money for tomatoes but after all, nobody ever got salmonila from hand spun.

  79. Fantastic – it all looks and sounds wonderful.
    Jealous (1000) that I’m across the pond!
    Happy Birthday again – it sure looks like a good one.

  80. Pretty completely off topic:
    When I first started reading your blog Sam and Meg were definitely children. Seeing those photos I am amazed at how fast the time has gone by.
    They have grown into beautiful young women and from everything I read about them they are intelligent, self-assured, strong young women to boot.
    You must be so proud!
    Happy Birthday and Happy 1000 knitters!

  81. Inspiring! And so emotional – it is a strange and wonderful thing to knit, to love to knit, to take fibre and make a single strand, to take those single strands and work them together, stitch by tiny stitch, and to see something grow by these tiny increments into something incredible (a sock, a scarf, a hat, a shawl, a sweater) and to know in the deepest part of yourself that this is truly a piece of art (irrespective of whether or not it is functional or not – for me the art lies in the desire to do it and have the courage and tenacity to make it happen, and then to do it again and again and again….like the artist who has been frogging charity sweaters and re-knitting them into an endless endless swatch, for years now I think. I LOVE THAT. For what it represents, the endless striving of (knitting)humans to create and care about creating enough to keep on making). The art and craft of knitting is a global, border crossing, culture enriching, race blind activity that through people like you (and your wonderful support network of artists, friends and family, and of course the wonder of the internet) recognise this and feel moved to share your passionate belief that this thing matters!

  82. And now, please relax a bit. You’ve been running around all year, chased by deadlines and book tours. Take a vacation before the next deadline hits you. Start on some relaxing Christmas knitting (before you know it, it is december again) or spin a bit and enjoy your family. How is Joe’s broken bone?

  83. PS: and that cake was FANTASTIC!! where did it come from?? can anyone share the recipe?

  84. It sounds as if it was even better than I had hoped for you. Happy day!
    BTW, yesterday was Greg Kinnear’s birthday. I bet there was some Kinnearing going on at the party….

  85. sweet! glad to read about that fantastic day. so, so touching:: the photos of your girls made me well up. xo hope the year ahead is filled with more and more knitterly joy!

  86. Happy Birthday Stephanie! I discovered your blog a few months ago, read it regularly & have nearly read all the archives!! (But first time commenting) Love your humour & all your knitting tales & family stories. Spinning/dying instructions have also been most helpful. You’ve inspired me to pick up my knitting needles again & get my spinning wheel spinning. I’ve got 5 new projects on the go now & many more I am resisting…
    Have a happy day!
    Tedge (in France)

  87. Hey, Happy Birthday. I certainly hope YOU got to be IN the 1000 Knitters shoot as well as your daughters. I cannot think of another knitter who deserves it more. You have always been my inspiration in knitting, and it is because of you and your plain-vanilla sock recipe that I’m well into my 7th and 8th pairs of socks (yes, at the same time–different locations–kitchen and work). Ellanie

  88. Thank you for a delicious re-cap! I’m sure the adoraton and adulation flowing your way (not to mention all of us wishing like MAD we could be there too) added an enhancement to the festivities. As our crowd knitted, we commented about how much fun THAT would be, and how exciting that event must have been. (Isn’t Franklin just the most fun? Have you noticed – kind of a lot of us “come in small packages”?

  89. It was fantastic…one of the best knitting events Toronto has seen. Thanks to everyone who had a hand in it, and to everyone sending their knitting vibes our way. I am quite certain both factors contributed to how the day turned out.

  90. Whoa, what a party! So glad everything went well. Wish I could have been there. Congrats and kudos to everyone involved.
    Oh, and the girls really are looking amazingly grown-up and lovely. Goes fast, doesn’t it?

  91. It IS magic. Thank you for helping us all share it with each other. Happy Birthday (again).

  92. This is a beautiful post! What a great sentiment. I’m glad the weekend was a success!
    And your daughters are gorgeous. Where’s the third? 🙂

  93. I am so making Denny sign that page in that book for me, about 800 times. That page needs to come with a fold-out thingy that explains Denny, except I’m not sure such a thing is possible (explaining Denny, not the foldout page).

  94. Happy 40th Birthday!!! and many many more!
    It looks like it was a FABULOUS day and I am extremely envious that I could not attend!!!!
    Glad that soooooooooo many knitters gathered
    and celebrated their craft!

  95. I had a absolutely wonderful time with you guys on Saturday. Many thanks to you, Rachel, Franklin and everyone else for such a memorable day! Knitters are just the best people in the World!

  96. Congratulations on your enduring 40th celebration, on the 1000 knitters event and a delicious round-up of family and friends. Reading this gave me goose bumps – it felt like history in the making.

  97. Happy Birthday Stephanie!
    If I remember it correctly (and I do), the 40s was a wonderful time. Still young enough to want to do things, and still enough energy to see them through. I’m glad you enjoyed your day!

  98. That was the most beautiful description of what it means to be a knitter. It makes up for all the times people look at me funny knitting on the train, or all the comments from well-meaning friends about how ‘cute’ it is I knit, and all the times my family complained about why was I taking that yarn with me!
    Thank you and happy next 40!

  99. Happy belated birthdays to you, Ian and your Mom! Since I couldn’t make it to TO (mostly due to poor planning on my part), I did my best to will all the rain to my side of the lake. It rained buckets here, so I guess it worked.

  100. That sounds like a wonderful conversation you had and I’m curious if you came to any conclusions?
    Our guild meeting was Saturday and we had a bring your WIP show-and-tell type of program. One of the members brought all these samples of commercial weaving she’s worked on and towards the end of the meeting, someone else mentioned that commercial weaving cards were the forerunner (the idea behind?) to the first rudimentary computers. Perhaps if more people were aware of the impact fiber arts has and has had on their daily lives, they’d be more accepting and interested. And impressed. Because I think they should be impressed! It is an amazing thing, to take sticks and yarn and create a thing of beauty or function, or both.
    Happy belated birthday!

  101. Wow, wish I could have been a fly on the wall during your conversation with Franklin, Rachel, Denny and Juno! Got a little choked up reading the aftermath both here and at Franklin’s blog!

  102. It looks like a lot of planning, wonderful weather and amazing people made for an unforgettable event. I wish I could have been there! The perfect way for a Knitter to celebrate her 40th. As Patrick said, Stephanie, we NEED people like you in the world, and I’m so happy your in mine.
    And, by the way, your girls are *beautiful*. It’s heartening to see young women survive adolescence with such grace and poise.

  103. I wanted to be a part of WWKIP this year. There was not an event scheduled here in Las Vegas so I went to the one scheduled in Bakersfield. It was a small group but we had such a great time.
    Sounds like your birthday and event went perfectly. Congratulations!

  104. Happy Belated 40! It sounds like a wonderful time and I wish that I could have been there.

  105. Didn’t you start this post by saying you had no words? So what were all those little marks on the page that had us all tearing up? I raise a glass (OK, a coffee mug) to your happy birthday and many more days of “virtually no words.”

  106. My very favourite thing about this post, chosing among a long list, is that I can HEAR that feeling you had, that feeling of being literally awed at having the opportunity to take stock of your life, and have a full and complete awareness of how rich you are in loving and being loved.
    I was very blessed to experience that on my 40th birthday, and I wished exactly that for you. I wish everyone could experience that. What a terrific and empowering thing it is.
    Blessings for the second *third* of your life, lady. 🙂

  107. I don’t usually comment on your posts because, let’s face it, you have enough email to read already. But- how long has it been since we’ve seen Sam on the blog? Please tell her she’s beautiful! I still think of “your girls” as barely teenagers from when the blog started. I can’t believe they’re growing up so fast! [insert sniffles here] Does this mean I’m older too?
    p.s. I tried hard to edit this so it wouldn’t come off creepy!

  108. p.s. Not that the other girls aren’t beautiful too! (I knew I should have edited it more!)
    p.p.s. Happy belated birthday!

  109. It sounds like it was a beautiful day for you. You deserve it. And your daughters are beautiful too.

  110. This is how crazy I am:
    I cried cause I’m so happy the day was great- even if I wasn’t there! Also- HEY! I’ve met most of those wonderful peoples!
    WWKIP Day found me at my local LYS… working to create our own bit of knititng community… it’s not lettuce knit… but since experiencing your lil piece of heaven… I’m on a mission to grow what ever community will take root in Michigan:)
    Also- I cried? Seriously- I better check my calendar… when is my period due? PMS I have it.

  111. This is how crazy I am:
    I cried cause I’m so happy the day was great- even if I wasn’t there! Also- HEY! I’ve met most of those wonderful peoples!
    WWKIP Day found me at my local LYS… working to create our own bit of knitting community… it’s not lettuce knit… but since experiencing your lil piece of heaven… I’m on a mission to grow what ever community will take root in Michigan:)
    Also- I cried? Seriously- I better check my calendar… when is my period due? PMS I have it.

  112. Of all the pictures/comments/emotions, one thing stopped me right in my tracks. Sam. Oh my GOSH. I had to read the caption twice and make sure I wasn’t confusing it with a picture previous or next. When did she turn into the young women you are saying is your Sam and how did I miss the girl-to-young woman transition? Lovely girls both, (well all 3 although I didn’t see your oldest there) and for someone who lives away from her entire family, a tear filled reading of your Birthday gathering and how very lucky you all are all able to be together. Don’t mind me, I’ve been weepy all day. Damn hormones raging….full moon, etc., etc. Sam, you are lovely!!!!!

  113. Thank you, Stephanie, and also Rachel H, Franklin, and everyone else who made this day possible. I was lucky enough to attend, and meet everyone. And I had a wonderful time. I do so appreciate it, so, thanks.
    And thanks, again.

  114. It was really cool! I got a kick out of the people passing by on the sidewalk who just stood there watching, trying to figure out what on earth was going on…great idea, great plan, great carrying-off of plan!

  115. Realizing how many comments you receive and not even imagining you can read them all, I do see that you acknowledge those who routinely answer your posts. For those of us who loyally read you but do not, due to shyness, overload, or (unfair) perception that you don’t read comments, I offer the following:
    (1) A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY . . . 40 is possibly the “new 20,” or at least I hope it is in your cae, as I hope to read your blog, which lightens my day to no end, for decades to come; and
    (2) Thanks for your willingness to share so much of your life in knitting with us all, and
    (3) Thank you for dignifying (particularly in this post) the incohate dignity and meaning of knitting, sharing knitting, and loving knitting. I’ve yet to truly figure out what it is about knitting that has grabbed into my soul in my 6th decade of living, but you are helping me at least try to do so.
    Good go, Steph. Happy Birthday.
    Mary Sue (aka NewarkKnitter)

  116. Holy Cow! When did Sam turn into a young lady? She’s changed so much from when you first began the blog (it just occured to me that this might not be a nice thing to remind you of, sorry). Looks like you guys had a blast, almost makes me want to be Canadian (almost, I like warm weather too much)

  117. First and foremost, Happy Birthday!
    Secondly, I want to thank you for this:
    “Those of us who knit passionately, those of us who call ourselves Knitters as part of our identities feel that there is more going on here than just making a hat, or socks or a sweater, and we live in a culture that can’t seem to respect that the way it does other creative or artistic endeavours without trying to make it cute, or ironically feminine, or a sweet little way we’ve found to occupy our idle hours, and I don’t know why.”
    And this is why:
    I took my knitting with me to a seminar for work. There are many 10-15 minute breaks where most of the other participants are taking and making phone calls. I thought it was perfectly reasonable for me to take along my knitting and no one seemed to have a problem with it….that is until I cam home and mentioned that to my boyfriend (hasn’t been a boyfriend for very long). He asked me if I was just trying to get attention. I felt completely disrespected and definitely misunderstood. I just sent the above quote to him because it says what I was feeling when he made that comment to me.
    And so, I thank you, for eloquently putting into words what I seemed to not be able to do. We knitters deserve much more respect than we are given.

  118. Ah yes Happy Birthday To You! or Hippo Birdies Two Ewes! May you reap as you knit the infectious magic that happens in your presence whether in person in print or by blog. Thank you for stating so eloquently on behalf of crafty peoples. You are a gem

  119. Lucky me. I won Franklin’s sketch of Dolores, met the Harlot, and Megan, and Denny and the Harlot again at Book Expo on Monday. You thought I was “stocking” you but remember, you did invite me to the party.

  120. Happy Birthday!
    I’m happy you had a terrific day, all your comments really touched my heart…

  121. What a fabulous way to celebrate both your birthday and the craft that gives so many of us so much joy. Best wishes to you, Harlot dear, and a great whack of happy years to come!

  122. Happy Birthday a day or more belatedly, and yes– welcome to the other side of forty– it just gets better!
    I am going to do something I haven’t done before, which may be more common than I know– I’m going to double-blog! I was just over to the Panopticon, and had to comment on some of the similar sentiments you and F. both came home with. Your musings were what got me thinking, so I wanted to share them here, too. The quotes are to make it clear I already posted this elsewhere– I know, it’s the height of vanity to quote yourself!
    “Franklin, I had so many thoughts about the same things as I read Yarn Harlot’s post about your fine day together. She was contemplating why it is that we attach so much meaning to what we are creating, why it feels so important to us. My thinking is we as a culture/civilization/mob of greedy consumers, having come to the verge of almost abandoning handmade craft and art, are reconnecting with it and finding a link to our deep ancestral stuff (so eloquent, I know!).
    Humans are complex and our evolution at some critical points included learning to make things with our hands, so I think the joy and profound satisfaction as well as the sense that Something Important is Going On When We Knit is connected to that ancient biological and cultural hand work.
    I also think it is because we are not satisfied by consuming, but have an innate need to create (I am glossing over the fact that a large part of the current knitting culture we have created clearly enjoys consuming mass quantities of fiber, aka “the stash”). But then we redeem ourselves by creating something with it! So all rests well, we are fed by our creations with something much more fulfilling than simply buying more crap, it keeps us from madness in this mechanized age of passivity, and that is my micro-theory of knitting in the modern age. You can borrow it if you like.”

  123. Sam has become quite the lovely young woman.
    Was poor Joe sitting at home alone with his injured foot during all this lovely celebrating? I hope somebody brought him cake!

  124. It looks like a fantastic day! Glad you had such a great time and things went so well.
    Also, you and Joe make beautiful kids.

  125. Happy belated birthday! I’ve not been keeping up with the blog lately, largely thanks to work, so I am flabbergasted to return and see that your girls have gotten even more GORGEOUS than they were just a few months ago. Holy cow, Stephanie, you need to invest in some sort of security system to ward off the boys.

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