The Point of Balance

The point of balance is exactly what I’ve been seeking the last three weeks, trying to balance out all the time that I’ve been away from the family by having tons of time with them, and trying to seek that point of balance before (rather frankly) I leave them again. Between the cabin in the woods and the tours and the wool events and a thousand other things, I have found that being a writer- and the huge amounts of privacy needed to be a writer (combined with the public stuff) is not exactly conducive to family life, being that families thrive on the opposite.

Finding that balance has been challenging for all parties. Joe had been asking me to make the family a priority for a couple of weeks for a while – to not share me for a while, and though it was hard for me to see through the neverending haze of the work that is supporting this family, I started to understand that no matter how much everybody needed me to work, they also needed me, and it was never going to balance itself out if we didn’t take the time to balance it on purpose, and this last little while, that’s exactly what we did.

As I’m sure you noticed, towards the end there I didn’t even blog – although the last couple of days were due to the fact that I got a humdinger of a cold as soon as we got back. (All that vacation can wear you out. Joe’s got it too now. The girls don’t. There’s a lesson in that.) We had a blast. Whole days without either Joe or I worrying about work or doing work, whole days without conversations being interrupted by anything other than the kids… whole conversations and days with the kids…. and the knitting? True vacations are wicked good for the knitting. Socks got knit in the car on the way to Massachusetts, socks got knit in Boston while we saw the sights and visited with Joe’s Aunt, Uncle and cousins (they were wonderful hosts) and socks got knit on a very fun day in Provincetown.


I may even have found some sock friendly Carnival Revellers to hold a sock.


(The beard and moustache with the sparkly gown is hysterical to me, as is the willingness of just about everyone to hold a sock without any sort of an explanation. ) We went for a fabulous ride on the Cape Cod Rail Trail.


We stopped and played at the beach a little.



(The truth is out now. I have Fred Flintstones feet. Short and wide.) We rode and rode, the whole lot of us.



And we ended the day the way we know how. Joe’s Stella, Ken’s Bass Ale and sweater in progress.. my sock and Sam Adams Summer ale. (When in Rome…) I finished that sock in the car…


But here’s a better picture.


It’s a pattern of my own devising, and I’m going to knit the other one after I write down what I did so I can do it again. (Yarn is Sanguine Gryphon’s little traveller, which seemed really appropriate.)


The blue trekking ones were finished too…


Trekking 108, my plain vanilla sock pattern.


and I even started a new project, even though I promised myself that I would absolutely finish the other socks first.


I am worthless and weak. That’s the Josephine Top from Interweave Knits Summer 2007, done in a yarn I’ve been wanting to use for a while. It’s the SWTC Pure 100% soysilk, and as someone who eats a lot of soy, I was really curious about knitting with it. It’s soft and reminiscent of cotton, in the way that it’s a limp fibre, almost flaccid. It’s a tiny bit splitty on the needles, but I think that I could get around that if I used a slightly sharper needle, which I totally can’t be bothered to do, so how splitty can it be, really. It’s got gorgeous stitch definition and I think the lack of body is going to work for this project.

It’s going really fast, which means that I’m not really cheating on the socks. I’m just… on a break. Yeah. That’s it. Besides, I can’t really knit the other socks until I finish the pattern, which I didn’t so I can’t. Besides it was a vacation and you can knit what you want on a vacation… and besides, now that I’ve started I should finish or now it’ll just be another UFO (Un Finished Object) lying around the house and trying to avoid that was the whole idea anyway, so If I put this down then I’m just being hypocritical. For sure. I have to knit this. It’s morally important.

(Ps. A whole bunch of you asked, so in the interest of not replying to you all individually, which I’m sorry for, but a couple of weeks off makes the inbox a place crazier than a kindergarten yard growing candy trees… No, the Baby Yours and Baby Mine patterns are not going to be made available in the future… they are available now. Here, and Here. Sorry. Forgot to mention. Also, Yes. Really. The first and second sizes of each of them can be made with one skein of STR medium weight, should it reside in your stash… and Sorry, No, those are vintage buttons from my bin and I can’t tell you where to get them. In addition, Yes, Baby Mine does have the same lace as my Lenore sock pattern, and yes, that sock pattern will be available from Blue Moon soon, it was a sock club pattern so it has to do its time as an exclusive before it can be released to the general public. Yes, that will be in October, which is soon. Did I miss anything?)

150 thoughts on “The Point of Balance

  1. Knitting AND Cape Cod … sounds like heaven!
    My husband and I like to spend our anniversary down there, but it’s not going to happen this year. ๐Ÿ™ I’m trying to figure out which beach that is, though, because I’m pretty sure I’ve been on it! Where is it?

  2. Glad you’ve taken time to right the balance. We all love you, but not as much as your family does!

  3. So glad that you had the time with your family, your other two daughters will also be grown and gone before you know it. Looking forward to reading your blog(s) from London next month.

  4. “Kindergarten yard growing candy trees…” Steph, you do have a way with words.
    Love the pink-y sock.
    Your feet look perfectly pretty and graceful, in socks. Is that your secret, to live in a climate where you’re not frequently called upon to go barefoot?

  5. Good for you–it’s important to keep that balance! What a fantastic getaway. Thanks for the baby sweater patterns, they are lovely. I thought that new project looked familiar! I made the Josephine top in lime green bamboo and I wear it a lot! I didn’t do the cord under the bust though–I should have made that part a wee bit longer in order to do that. It’s in Ravelry (I’m farflegirl)if you want to see it.

  6. The time comes when we have realize that family is more important. It’s hard. You have a wonderful family to deal with your public life. Unfortunately, children become teens then become young adults and move on to lives of their own. Cherish it. The blogging will still be there.

  7. Writing a blog while on vacation is somewhat counter to the whole “vacation” concept. It’s harder than one images; good for you on spending time with the family.

  8. Welcome back! I am glad that you were able to spend time with your family. No matter how much we need money – and we do, even if only for boring things like mortgages and groceries and university tuition – there comes a time when we have to let go and do other things. Families don’t realize that money doesn’t grow on trees, and by the time they do, they are grown up and gone, and likely making the same mistakes we did. Enjoy the kids while you have them. Too soon they will be on their own. (I know that it doesn’t seem like it right now, but trust me, it DOES happen!)

  9. I really like your trekking socks. While I appreciate the skill and beauty in cables and lace, I tend to favor less fussy designs that are kept from blandness by a really stunning yarn or fabric. Those socks fit that description wonderfully. (And a simple pattern that makes a stunning sock serves as encouragement to those of us who still need their knitting projects relatively uncomplicated!)

  10. The socks are beautiful, especially the ones with the leaves.
    The balancing act – writing, raising a family, working, that sounds all to familiar.

  11. Glad you got a break with your family- when mine were younger a friend once gave me a set of juggling balls as a gift- she figured I would be a pro at it in no time! (she also said I had “more balls than most…!”) and three cheers for finished socks!

  12. Balancing is very important and sometimes no matter how much you love what you do you have to stop and spend time with the loved ones (despite people’s complains that you do not update your blog)
    The new socks are beautiful! And hope you are feeling better!

  13. As another WAHM, I too am constantly seeking that balance. Since I’ve been working at home x 20 yrs and financially supporting our family x 5 yrs, I feel like I’m getting pretty good at the juggling act. Right now is especially glorious because I’m in the midst of having the house ALL TO MYSELF for a few days(!) and then will head from home in CT to join the family on Cape Cod. No laptop and no phone calls, just good memories in the making…ahhh.
    I knit Josephine for my dau., Leah, earlier this summer. She’s wearing it in the yo-yo competition pics on the front page of my blog. Quite an enjoyable pattern, I thought. Enjoy!

  14. So glad to have you back. Family always comes first, but you do need to be able to feed and house them – as well as feed your own spirit with the things you love to do. Balance is just the ability to cover all the important things and let the others go.

  15. Looks like a great trip. Glad you got a chance to spend time with your family, too! Sounds like they really missed you. ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. Fabulous everything! We missed you, especially knowing you were within 50 miles of me. Then again, the vacation should be all about you, and your family, not us, so I’m glad you had a great rest!

  17. I’m glad you’re getting to spend time with your family. That’s so important, especially w/ teenagers. I’m glad you enjoyed your Massachusetts vacation; I live on the North Shore (north of Boston). Sorry to say, Sam Adams is actually brewed in Ohio – they just like to pretend it’s a true Boston beer. There are lots of great local breweries, like one in Ipswich ( and one in Gloucester ( Maybe next time you’re here…

  18. You are so right that balancing has to be consciously done. And from your consistency in blogging and writing your books, in your stories you tell about your life with your family, and the incredible amount of knitting that you get done, it seems that you are wisely, productively and beautifully balanced.

  19. Good for you, Steph. Soon your kids will be off living their own lives and you will wish you had more. (Ask me how I know!) I’m knitting with Cascade Pima Tencel right now and, like the soysilk, it has great stitch definition but is rather limp. Smaller needles help.

  20. Yea, you’re back! Glad to hear you had a great vacation. That is something that should never be ignored, the need to have that down-time. I am thinking about starting a consultant business, and one of the women I spoke to, who has been working as a consultant for ten years, said that she is absolutely frazzled – her schedule has become so tight she can never take time off and she desperately needs it. I don’t think she has had a vacation in two years. So: the lesson: always schedule in vacation time! I’m so glad you did, hope you feel all refreshed and restored and ready to face the world. Your kids must have really enjoyed having your undivided attention. And the socks look great!

  21. I’m so glad you had a Summer Ale!! I’m missing out on that this year (and next, and probably the next–nursing goes on for a while ’round here) but I take sniffs of my husband’s. I also sniff his coffee in the morning. Do you think I have a problem?
    Balance is incredibly difficult. I finally gave up all attempts at writing because I couldn’t balance, and I wasn’t a successful writer like you–I was a nobody, trying writer. And I still couldn’t do it. I still don’t know how anyone with children, small or otherwise (they do still seem to need a mom, don’t they?) manages that particular career.

  22. I’ve always referred to my feet as Fred Flintstone feet, too! I love the socks, they’re beautiful.

  23. Balancing is tough, but oh so necessary. My husband did ask what you had been up to as I hadn’t mentioned anything lately. I am envious of your trip to Cambridge as my older son works there and I haven’ made the trip yet. I am excited that the baby sweaters are available onlien as I seem to have many babies to knit for at the moment. Friends’ babies, not my or my kids’ (not yet, not any time soon, please) babies.

  24. Hi Steph. Feel better soon, and do take time to smell the roses with your family. That’s the best way of maintaining balance in a crazy world. I have a question for you. I ordered that beautiful rose colored wool that was with the pattern that was being given to those who donated for breast cancer research. I did the donation, and bought the pink yarn, but I can’t figure out how to get the sock pattern to go with the pink yarn that you were working on a couple of weeks ago….if you know, would you or someone let me know how I lay my hands on that sock pattern? The baby patterns are darling. I am such a sucker for starting new projects all the time. Holy cow. And tomorrow we are getting a new puppy called Remy, a little Cavalier Spaniel! Our love, Ollie, a corgi of 14 years, passed in May, and tomorrow a new little friend comes to our house! Love, Kathleen

  25. Glad you enjoyed your holiday! I think the trick inlife is not so much to try to balance but to enjoy the thing that you’re doing, so when you’re with the family that’s what you do, walk, cycle drink beer knit socks etc. It’s a very male thing I think, and multitasking is overrated to my mind!

  26. Wait-wait-wait. What was that, like all of THREE WHOLE days off? I was actually kind of psyched, thinkin’, hey that Harlot who makes us all look bad because even when she has a million other things to do still manages to post almost daily, apparently needs time off, too! But to hear I’ve missed stalking you (not that I would have really, I would have been too shy, but I would have at least fallen off my bicycle in shock and it would have been a good post) at all my favorite Cape haunts just kills me.

  27. Sorry you have a cold. I think we need vacations to recover from vacations. Also, yes, there is one thing you missed – sorry to keep bugging you, but how did the norah gaughan sweater turn out? Would love to see it on someone. Penny

  28. You know, it’s a good thing you don’t tell us where you’re going on vacation, or else you might be fending off the “Oh, Steph, see my sock? It’s my first!” and the “Stephanie, you are such a good writer, I just love your blog! Oh, what are you knitting there? Ooo, that’s beautiful! Let me show you my knitting…” etc., etc., sorts of conversations, while Joe and the girls stand around looking politely bored and pained. My aunt, who is a retired pediatric cardiologist, used to have to go on vacation to an island in the middle of a good-sized Ontario lake, with no electricity or phone or road, to get away from worried parents. If you get any more famous, and knitting takes over the world even more, you may need to do the same.

  29. How great that you got to spend time like that with your family. I know I couldn’t do it….thanks for the pictures and including us. Also Yahoooo…thanks for the sweater patterns…we are having three new babies where I work…one is another grandchild for me…I can’t wait to start knitting these beautiful sweaters. Thanks for making them available….

  30. Glad you took vacation and had a great time, sorry that you have a cold. Take all the time with your family you need, we’ll wait for you!

  31. I’ve always been a little suspicious about soy – soemthing that can be a meat substitute one day, milk the next and yarn the day after that? Just a little weird…
    See you tomorrow!

  32. Sounds like it was a good break. I recognized the State House in Boston right away–I grew up in W. Massachusetts and am often homesick in October, and sometimes in summer for Cape Cod. Thought you’d like to know that I referenced you in the essay section when I took the GRE’s the other day. Can’t tell you what the question was (I had to sign in like three different places swearing I would never ever reveal any of the questions to anyone), but I quoted your thing about how strong women don’t happen by accident. Am hoping at least one of the essay readers is a knitter.

  33. I am glad you had some nice quality family time. It looks like much fun was had.
    And, I was so excited that I got my hands on a Baby Mine pattern while at Stitches Midwest this weekend. Thanks for a great pattern!

  34. Hey, I am wearing my newly finished Josephine top today. Isn’t that a huge coincidence! It fits very nicely, and was very fun to make. I used Classic Elite Soft Linen, which is also a very neat yarn.

  35. I think it’s wonderful that you took time for you and your fam. I’ve often wondered if we’re on the verge of adoring you to death. I certainly hope not, and wish all of us doing a balancing act will strike and hold just the right note for as long as is necessary. ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Those of us who love you want you to be happy and living a wholesome balanced life. So what if we have to wait between posts? Maybe we should be getting on with our own lives. But speaking for myself, I always enjoy your posts so much.

  37. Pretty socks.
    Beer looks good.
    Very pretty morning glory.
    Glad you got time off. In spite of the fact that I miss reading when you’re gone, you should go more often. Absence makes the heart…, and all that.

  38. I love those baby patterns. I guess I’ll have to have another baby so I can make them.

  39. I totally have Fred Flintstone feet too.
    BTW, thanks for posting about your trip to Newfoundland. I’ve been desperately trying to convince my husband to go there for years. Your photos were gorgeous and now I’m *really* looking forward to seeing it myself someday.

  40. I’m so pleased you’ve been able to have this concentrated time with the fam. I have to say I worried a bit about them over this past year. Good for you, too, I’m sure after all the pressures of the year. Glad you had fun (and finished socks)! Loverly jubberly!

  41. I can’t even begin to tell you how glad I am for you, Joe, the girls, and Ken to have had this time together on holiday. No work. Just play. Making Good Times. Engaging in family.
    Balance, what a tricksy thing to pull off and manage in the day to day, I’m forever striving for a better balance. Tricksy, I tell ya.
    Thank you for the wee sweater patterns. Your new sock design is Lovely! The SWTC colour has knocked my lights out, gorgeous!

  42. The ‘Vanilla’ sock pattern knit up in that particular colour is the most BE-AUT-IFUL thing I have ever seen.
    PS – You seem relaxed. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good to hear!

  43. I thought that blunter needles are better (i.e. less splitty) for splitty yarn…but maybe I am crazy? :o) (Probably!)

  44. I’m glad you had some sucessful family time and sorry that you ended it with wretched cold.
    And, just for the record, I think the new sock pattern is fabulous.

  45. Sorry the delay in comment… I had to run over and buy myself the Baby Mine and Baby Yours patterns.
    I was talking to some friends about whether or not I should go to Rhinebeck 8 months pregnant – and they said – won’t Steph be there? She could be your doula if you go into labor! Lol. I’ll be there. And don’t worry – I won’t get you invovled if anything happens!

  46. P-town one of my absolute favoritest places. Did you get to see the Parade on Thursday? And the Hat Sisters? And the Shirley Temple twins? And Drag Bingo? Too much fun.

  47. You deserve some time off and you need to take it before you burn out! And your cold won’t go away if you don’t get some rest.
    Thanks for the patterns. Thanks for blogging through the pain of exhaustion. But mostly, thanks for taking time off to recharge so we can continue to enjoy your company.

  48. I hope you feel refreshed. Vacation is good for the family and the soul. Love, your new sock pattern and would like to knit a pair for myself.

  49. I’m so glad you had a great vacation! I commute to Boston daily, and have been looking for you everywhere. Do the “sockholders” know that you’re famous?

  50. As much as we enjoy your company, your family comes first. I’m glad you had a great vacation!
    Ken’s sweater looks delicious. Any chance of getting some info on it? I love the colour.

  51. Ohhhhhhh, I haven’t been to Cape Cod and P-town in over 20 years, but it’s as beautiful as I remembered.
    Good beer choices, all. (Now I’m unreasonably thirsty for a cold frosty one.)
    Love the trekking sock. How do you decide what should be vanilla and what should be patterned? Are you the Yarn Whisperer?

  52. This post makes me glad that I was unable to stay for Stitch & Bitch at Lettuce Knit on your first Wed. home from vacation. Denny (I figured that out way after the fact that it was, in fact, Denny) and Ramona “vetted” me before extending the invite (as well they should have), but there was no way my husband would have been OK with me hanging around for an extra two hours. I figure one of these days, you’ll have a tour stop in a city where I’m currently living and I’ll meet you then (you were in Pittsburgh when I lived in Los Angeles and did an event in LA after I had moved home to PIttsburgh)
    Besides, when a person comes back from vacation, I’m guessing the last thing she wants are strangers at her first Stitch & Bitch back with the regular group. Glad you’ve found a good bit of time with the fam this summer. I seem to have missed summer entirely!

  53. I often listen to you in interviews and such, when you said that you don’t really “do” that much, yadda, yadda, yadda, and I wonder.
    Everybody needs a vacation. Glad you took it! Enjoy!

  54. I’m so glad that you enjoyed your vacation. It’s important for us readers to realize that you have an actual LIFE and, for the most part, it doesn’t always include us. ๐Ÿ™‚ For your family’s sake, I’m glad you had the little break. Welcome back!

  55. OK, now I feel bad that my own Josephine Top has been sitting at the bottom of my knitting basket for over a year.
    Love the term “Fred Flinstone’s feet”, by the way. I instantly flashed back to those little feet pattering away to get the family car running! Good times…

  56. I think Jackson Browne had a song about your dilemma, of which the only lyric I remember is “caught between the love and the struggle for the legal tender.” I don’t know if the song is about balancing work and family exactly, but your post did evoke it (and now I’ll have it in my head for the rest of the day, just that one line over and over).
    If I were wearing a beard and a sequined ball gown, I wouldn’t blanch at being asked to hold a sock, or anything else, within reason.
    I am extremely impressed by your sock sequence: 1) invent pattern on the fly while knitting sock #1, 2) write pattern down, 3) use pattern to knit sock #2. If I don’t do the first two simultaneously, getting OCD meticulous about writing down exactly what I do on every. single. round., as I knit it, there is no way I’ll ever accomplish step 3. This to me is a major reason for knitting two socks simultaneously, although I still have to write the pattern down as I go if I ever want to publish it.

  57. I’m glad that your vacation was a needed respite from the breakneck pace of your everyday life.
    It’s kind of funny seeing areas that are not quite my backyard. Two of the guys your photos remind me of a couple of my coworkers, though unsurprisingly at work they are bald rather than sporting snazzy wigs.

  58. Glad you are back – I missed your blogs. You have FRIENDLY feet – just like mine – that is what my pedicurist calls them!

  59. Glad to see you back. I totally understand about balancing work and everyotherdangthing. Grad school sucks your brain out and it’s hard to get balance between brain-sucking bug butts and family time. A vacation sounds lovely right now. I do get to run off to Peru for a conference. It’s like a vacation, but with more work.
    I do like the little traveler sock(s) very much and I am much tempted by the Baby Mine and Baby Yours sweaters.
    I sent you a link to an NPR story on meditation and blood pressure. If you would like me to re-send the link, I will. I know how an inbox can explode when left alone for any length of time. Long story short, meditation lowers blood pressure. Okay, duh, but I imagine that a similar study with knitters would show similar results. Some very clever biologist should do that.

  60. Good for you for putting family first – that is worth more than anything else. (I like your morning glories by the socks – very pretty)

  61. Knitting on (or near, I guess) the Rail Trail? Sounds divine! I hope you got some Box Lunch while you were in CC!

  62. Good on ya, Harlotta for taking the time! Every family and even more so, every marriage demands it from time to time to continue to thrive. The drake and I have been doing that here and there in smaller spurts (we also do, however, see each other every single flippin’ day…no book touring or cross country fiber events here)

  63. Unless there is a trust fund in the picture, life is always balanced with work (or vice versa).

  64. What’s this? Family time and work time? Balance? HA! Well, maybe I just say that because I’m a college student and there is no life outside of work/study. So maybe I’m just jaded like that.
    Good luck on keeping the family in one piece! ^_^

  65. Next time you come to MA on a vacation, you should time it for an 18th C event weekend. We had one two weeks ago and this past weekend. We can _totally_ dress you up in Colonial clothes, give you period knitting to work on (you wanna do socks on 4-0 needles, 12-18 sts/inch? Or a monmouth cap with bulky yarn?). That would really freak out your girls, wouldn’t it? I know that you take your role as a mother seriously, and give high priority to embarrassing your teenagers. We can probably dress them, too, if they would do it….

  66. Balance is necessary, but difficult to achieve, even *without* family. Awareness is the first step.
    Loved your made-up sock pattern. It’s kind of medieval looking to me, like the flora you see in Romanesque churches. Really great.
    Here’s a discussion I would like to read/be in someday: “Why ‘classic’ sock architecture?” Is it really better than the alternatives?

  67. So, just how much time do you spend thinking up these long justifications for your fickle – it’s really not my fault – the yarn used some sort of mind control, really – ways?

  68. Yup, seeking the balance is important. Every parent struggles with that, I think, even if they spend every night at home. And it isn’t only women who feel guilty about the time they need to devote to outside the household, although it seems like a particular challenge for a lot of us. When you’re self employed, it must be even harder. I never thought before about the difference paid vacation makes.

  69. I blame you for this: I have enough sock yarn to make eight (8) (!) pairs of socks — and I haven’t even learned to make socks yet!! As soon as I learn, I will be thanking you for this. XO

  70. Not only does the guy wear the sparkly dress with a beard and mustache, but his buddies are colour-coordinated with him and he’s holding matching silver shoes!!! They look like the world’s ugliest bridesmaids!! This might be the most outstanding random stranger with a sock picture ever.

  71. On that splitty yarn thing…you would want to use needles with a DULLER point, not a sharper point…HONEST, it helps!

  72. Dear Harlot,
    Welcome home. Thanks for the present (that guy on the left is really really cute). I think people with big wide feet appreciate hand knit socks even more because they fit so well. I know I do!
    a blog person
    P.S. Balance? Leave that to the Libras. You Geminis are meant to being going in different directions all at once. That’s why there’s two of you.

  73. Congratulations on walking the path of balance… It’s not an easy path to navigate sometimes!

  74. It could be worse, you could have hobbit feet like I do.
    (BTW, my hobbit feet REALLY want a pair of those leafy socks. . . please write down the pattern!)

  75. The Josephine looks kind of like the Manon in colour, and that reminds me—did you finish the Manon? I would love to see it. I’m pretty sure the knitting goddesses were ignoring you because they were at my house, and totally distracted with attempting to mess up my raglan sleeved sweater. I was trying to throw a stitch design into a boring stockinette pattern, and that’s when THEY arrived. It’s working out well now, so I hope they don’t come back to your place. It is difficult to balance work and family life, and I’m pretty sure every mother on earth is familiar with that issue (and the guilt feelings that go along with it.)

  76. Geez … I LOVE P’town in summer … full of free spirits and wonderful costumes ! We moved from southern Massachusetts to California, expecting it to be even more FREE but it isn’t … alas,
    Balance is acheived only in books … magazine articles, etc. Our lives are much more bipolar … work filling it up at times and family at other times … just love where you are.

  77. That is a very lovely Little Traveller sock indeed! BTW, you didn’t forget the colourway name, it’s a one-off and never had a name.

  78. No way! You were on the Cape at the same time we were…we were even at the carnival parade in P-town. I have to admit, it would have totally blown my mind to run into my favorite Canadian blogger and family here in my own Massachusetts. Did you freak out any knit bloggers while on vacation?

  79. It’s a pattern of my own devising, and I’m going to knit the other one after I write down what I did so I can do it again.” Uh. Better not wait too la-on-n-n-g.

  80. LOVE the pattern of your own devising! Will it be written down, with the potential to share?
    And BTW, no one needs to justify family time. Kudos for consciously carving time to love the ones you’re with.

  81. Ditto – Space to be human 1st. Ptown – one of my favorite places. I changed clothes in the middle of the busyness & no one blinked.

  82. I think I just commented on the wrong post. Ah, me.
    I do love the green baby sweater–thank you for sharing that with us, through BMFA. Wonderful!

  83. Hey, you have my feet!!
    I wear kids shoes because they are wider than womens and don’t hurt my feet.

  84. I am so glad that you got away from everything. No matter what you do, it’s difficult to find balance. I stayed at home with my children when they were young, and I STILL had a hard time with this! Life is frenetic these days…too many things to look at and do.
    I hope you’re feeling better now.

  85. Glad you enjoyed the Cape – I live right by the rail trail – wish I had known you were here! Could have shown you some nice yarn shops, food, beer, etc.. Maybe next time!

  86. Good choice on the time off! While we miss you – a happy, sane you with a loving family is more important. Lovely socks and new project.

  87. Stephanie! You have feet just like mine! I’ve never met anybody in the whole wide world that had feet like mine! Do you think we could be related?

  88. I keep wishing trees would grow vegan oatmeal raisin cookies. Do you think if I planted a cookie and watered it…?

  89. Ptown! My most favoritest place in the whole world. I, too, have knit on that very dock in your picture, and in front of that penny candy store, and all over the town. There’s something about knitting by the water, it’s like a meeting of heaven and earth.
    Glad to see you back again.

  90. Isn’t Provincetown a hoot?! We have vacationed on the Cape for years with our kids and now my husband and I go to there every year for our anniversary (which is the same day as yours). We love bringing back Provincetown stories!
    This year is our 30th and we are renting a house 50 yards from Barnstable Harbor and hoping both our kids can get time off work to join us for a few days.
    Did you make it to any of the great yarn shops while you were there? Ladybug Shop in Dennis, Adventures in Knitting in Harwichport, Yarn Basket in Eastham or Sage in Falmouth? There are probably others but these are the ones I’ve been to.
    I’m glad you and your family took your vacation on the Cape. We have many great memories of our vacations there with our kids.

  91. Ah man, I have logged many happy miles on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Just delightful. As I pedal, I dream of having one of the houses that backs right up to the trail, and never driving my car again. We always stop for fried clams at Cobies: Cape Cod in August is just so salty, nautical, heaven on earth. And Stephanie, take more time off. We’ll check eagerly for your next post, but we’ll survive. –Nancy in NC

  92. I think the only question I had that wasn’t answered was for the details about Meg’s bag the other day.
    That sock is gorgeous, by the way!

  93. Hey man, you’ve got y-o-g-a feet. They are without a doubt the best type of feet to have – striding not tippy-toeing :^)

  94. Oh my goodness!
    I just finished a pair of socks in the same Trekking color! I also used a plain basic sock pattern (I don’t really use a pattern when I do those anymore…But now I feel so hip and with it!
    Now, if I could knit while drinking something stronger than iced tea….

  95. I am soooooo jealous!!! Cape Cod, cold beer and knitting, dont get much better than that!!!

  96. It is vital to have more than one project going at once. By working, er, solely with socks, you run the risk of repetitive stress syndrome. If you switch things up with a sweater or some such, your hands get a break and you’ll make faster and more comfortable progress.
    Yeah. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  97. So happy that you had a break with your family…having a wonderful time with those you love and who love you is the best kind of vacation. However, I’m also happy your back! I look forward to your blog, everyday!

  98. AAAAAHHHHH Cape Cod….my childhood home, and where i learned to knit at age 10. I am from Falmouth, but it looks like you spent more time on the Lower Cape, which is actually more North – I know, right?
    Good for you for listening to Joe, the girls, and more importantly yourself about your need for more time with the real Team Harlot. If more of us did that, well….you know.

  99. Being the primary support of a family is huge, very huge. I understand your stress, being pulled and at times apart in different directions.

  100. Now I know where to take you the next time you are in Seattle! To the WIDE SHOE Store!!! Heaven on earth for those of us with Barney Rubble feet!! Better to “balance” on.

  101. I am very excited to have finally seen a picture of Joe! I take back a prior comment re the gansey and promise never to bug you about it again. Cross my heart.
    Loved the vacation photos! What fun.

  102. I find blunter needles split the yarn less because the point of sharpies catches between the fiber strands more. รœ
    I’m just impressed that you do the whole pattern and THEN write it down for sock number 2. I’d totally have to write down each step as I went. I guess you can look at a row and say, “Oh, well, that’s x, y, z with blah blah blah”. Maybe, one day when I’m a grown-up knitter, I’ll have some of those skills.

  103. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I know you give a lot to us knitters and it is good for you to take time for yourself. I am trying to learn that one. Glad you are back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  104. That was you riding by ๐Ÿ™‚
    Seriously, do you ever freak out any locals in any of your travels?
    I’m visiting my parents this week, and we’re in the same areas (I’ve got a new-to-the-parents fiancee I’m showing around. We’re with a large fuzzy white dog.) I’d move back in a heart beat, if I could just find gainful employment – but it sure is nice to visit.

  105. Oh wow!! There’s the patterns I’ve been waiting for! Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you!!
    And just out of curiosity… how many pairs of hand knit socks are floating around your house?

  106. We missed you. Glad you’re back and that you had such a wonderful time. Happy back to school!

  107. Great pattern for your new sock! Love it. Also, did I miss, or do you still need to finish Manon? Gorgeous sweater and colors!
    Good for you for taking a break to reconnect.

  108. so glad to hear that you actually got vacation time with your family. there’s nothing that can replace that ๐Ÿ™‚

  109. Geez, should I be ashamed that I totally recognized the Harvard Square subway station, but not my own state’s state house?

  110. Missed your writings-but you got it right-family first!! Looks like a great time was had by all in Boston.
    Wound the yarn for the Baby boy sweater last night(went to source for pattern and yarns=STR) and will start it this weekend after I finish the socks from the yarn my 8 year old granddaughter and I dyed together using Wilton Cake Gels. We had a ball. Oh, next weekend-this weekend is spent learning to knit socks from Cat Bordi-she ate lunch with me and friends at Stitches last weekend-I think I may have uttered only one coherant sentence the whole time-when she asked if the seat next to me was taken I may have said”NO, please sit”-or I may have said”DDCSA#$”
    I can’t remember. Nice Woman(as most knitters are).
    How did the Norah G. sweater turn out-need a pic with you wearing it–still trying to get up the nerve to start that pattern.

  111. Yes, it’s a truism; that’s because it is true: you can’t take care of anyone else, unless you take care of you.

  112. I love wiggling my toes in the sand we got to go to the beach for the first time this summer.It looked like you had a great vacation:)Hugs Darcy

  113. I always think of balance like a pendulum, not a scale. Life swings one way and then the other. The trick is to make sure the extremes balance each other out.

  114. P-Town. I was raised on the Cape, I am so very glad you could enjoy the trail with your family.
    We have many interesting folks on the Cape, not all limited to P-Town. I love the socks, and am not a bit suprised that you got folks to hold them without explaination

  115. I won’t say I’m not glad you’re back, but I’ve just started reading all your back posts and I was excited about having a few days extra while you were ‘off’ to catch up. Darlin’, 3 days off isn’t very. Off, that is. But welcome back and my god, woman, you are some fast knitter.
    Kathy in Oregon

  116. Balance is a conscious striving, a process that needs to be re-evaluated constantly (or at least fairly frequently), practiced like yoga. A friend told me her grandmother said we are new people every 10 years. I’m thinking about that more this year my oldest turns 10.
    Hope you’re feeling better!

  117. I totally enjoy all that you do, BUT your priorities are what u would put on your tomb stone. Mine reads –wife and mother —although I taught for 27 yrs. –etc.
    I just retired last year and have time for myself, BUT make time for yourself now –not at 65!! Remember the kids will grow and go –smell the roses now.
    Cape Cod —MANY summers in W. Yarmouth, waitressing, beer parties, etc.
    Enjoy thy family!!!

  118. Stephanie,
    you should never ever have to apologize for needing family time. Or ahving to make time for family.
    You are doing a tremendous job being a writer and a knitter and a mom, but we don’t own you and you don’t really owe us anything.
    We love you because you are you. We read your blog and buy your books because you are smart and funny. You have let us enter your world quite a bit, but I think it is perfectly OK for you to just close the door on us and say “I’ll be back in 2 to 3 weeks”.
    On my blog, I am constantly debating how much I want to share about my family life, and gradually I have been writing about it more and more. But it seems like I decide with each post whether I will or not.
    Thank you for everything you do.

  119. I totally hate to point out that Paul Revere was buried 100 yards from Windsor Button. Those hooks and eyes were sooooo clooooose….

  120. I am all over that pattern. BTW, I entered my lovely Lenores in the Iowa State Fair. They won an Honorable Mention ribbon. Small victories I suppose.

  121. Dude. We are so a Sam Adams beer family, we drive up and take a tour of the brewery every year. At the end – $2 donation = 21 ounces of beer (more if you sit in the right place) + a 7 ounce souvenir tasting glass to take home with you.
    Oh … and Octoberfest should be coming out *very* soon. my favorite.

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