That thing is springing eternal

I’m still behind, and thanks to the schedule, I know exactly by how much – and that’s about 3 knitting hours. Three knitting hours ago I should have finished the Madeleinetosh Earl Greys, and I haven’t.


Three hours is about what I lost with assorted disaster, upset and distractions, and I find it sort of encouraging that there’s really no more than three hours of knitting left to do on that pair, which means that I’m behind in a realistic way that can be accounted for, instead of that horrible way that that has to do with having crazed expectations that can’t be met at all – schedule or not. (By the way, Lene’s posted about what it’s like to make my schedule on her blog here) I did finish the hat that was supposed to be done yesterday, and I even finished it yesterday, bang on time.


Unoriginal Hat, Blue Moon Fiber Arts “Leticia” in Farmhouse. (I think maybe that’s a discontinued yarn, being modelled here by a 17 year old who doesn’t want to show her face today. )

I’ve decided that it’s appropriate to have hope that I can get back on the train, especially since a reprieve of sorts has come from an unexpected place. About 12 years ago, I knit someone I love a pair of very warm socks for snowmobiling out of a yarn called Patons Diva. It’s discontinued now (though I bet it lives in many stashes – immortalized for all time) and it was a chunky weight acrylic/mohair sort of thing. Super soft. Most of you know that I am not the biggest fan of acrylic that there is, but at the time I was so broke that a yarn that retailed for $1.99 was a pretty superior thing as far as I was concerned, and I remember being thrilled, thrilled I tell you, that a whole pair of socks (and therefore a Christmas present) could be had for $4.50, tax included. I knit them up, gave them away, and little did I know that these socks have apparently gone on to lead very cherished lives. So cherished, that this year when they have finally worn out (Twelve. Years.) a replacement pair has been requested.


I don’t have anymore Patons Diva (and if you told me last week that I would be absolutely disappointed that a stash dive didn’t turn up chunky mauve acrylic I would have laughed) so I bought the best replacement I could come up with. Misti Alpaca Chunky two ply, and I’m going to knock off a quick pair of socks to thrill her to death. (I hope.) The best part? What I was making her took up 16 knitting hours, and these will only take 4. Crazy.

I might make it yet.

(PS. Even though the old thing was 16 knitting hours, and the new thing is 4 knitting hours and the sock only needs 3 knitting hours – and my math is good enough that I notice that I now had an extra 9 knitting hours, I’m resisting the urge to add something to the list or declare myself ahead. I think I’m getting smarter.)

114 thoughts on “That thing is springing eternal

  1. Alpaca felts, doesn’t it? You’d may need to warn her that the new socks may need to be washed more carefully than the old ones.

  2. Go, Steph, go!! And your insight amazes me — I’d totally be looking for another project. Like the lace scarf I want to knit for my son’s girlfriend!

  3. Only three hours behind. That’s pretty impressive. Love the socks and hat. Wish I had a young girl to make that hat for. It won’t cut it for an 8 year old boy.
    Knit on!!!

  4. Go, Steph, go! Everything looks fabulous! I gave up deadline knitting and am much calmer. Now, friends and family get surprise gifts when they are least expecting it.

  5. I’m sure she will love the new alpaca socks even more than the acrylic ones. Alpaca is so soft and warm! 12 years is hard to beat, though.

  6. Yes, ignore the surplus time that has appeared and knit on! Good luck with it all and thanks for the link to Lene’s post. I enjoyed reading it.

  7. Yea! You can do it! But maybe you should resist the urge to add something to the list…Murphy’s Law and all. You can always stick an unplanned thing at the end, as long as it’s unplanned so no knitting gods or whatever can trip you up with it. I have another cheap yarn experience – WoolEase. I have heard so much criticism of that cheap bargain yarn, but sweaters that I knit with it ten or more years ago still look like new – and they get worn a lot. I love the hat (and the shy model) and the socks look great! I’m looking forward to seeing all of your other finished projects…

  8. That nine hours you’re ahead? That’s a full night’s sleep, followed by a leisurely cup of coffee.
    Congrats on the chunky sock substitution! I’d adore a pair of thick alpaca socks, but the felting is a real consideration.
    I felted my husband’s best sweater (I didn’t mean to!) this morning, and don’t have time to knit him a replacement before Christmas. Whimper.

  9. You can knit a pair of socks in 4 hours? As in TWO socks? I mean, I know it’s chunky yarn and all, but that is amazing. Two hours per sock?!?
    If you weren’t my hero before, you are now…
    A whole pair of socks in one evening? Are you sure? Sorry, I just can’t get over it. Usually it takes me that long just to pet the yarn, do a swatch, screw up the cast on…

  10. Yeah, you’re going to want to leave that space open so you can get to the Glory In Accomplishment and Knit What You Want parts quicker.

  11. I agree..gotta watch out for the knitting fate…just when you think your ahead…I love the idea of knitting a pair of socks in 4 hours..not that I could but I love the idea.

  12. so, wait – these aren’t already in addition to what you had planned to knit her?

  13. you can make a pair of socks in 4 knitting hours?! very impressive even in chunky weight. i’m sure she’ll be delighted. Misti Alpaca is a huge upgrade from acrylic/alpaca blend.
    our ravelry group (san francisco one-sock-a-month) just finished a KAL of your earl greys. super fun to see you making another as well.

    SHHHH don’t tell her it is an evil plan to lure her into a false sense of security.

  15. My dear Stephanie, you are learning and teaching US as well! When I realized I had to cross Mom off my list (I know it’s my Mom, but I had to listen to your rule #2- and if the only thing she’s going to ever wear that I made her is that damn fun fur scarf I made 5 years ago that I’m embarrassed about, and won’t upgrade to the beautiful ruffle, alpaca, lace or cable numbers I’ve reclaimed after giving her- then so be it, she gets nothing knitted anymore…woe is me) and that freed up 6 knitting hours, I WILL NOT ADD another project- really! Although I feel that there are some notions of taking breaks moving in on my psyche that I didn’t invite in! Shoot!

  16. Love the hat and the yarn it is knit up with, just my luck it is discontinued. Know of anything that might come close??

  17. Ahhh…I wish I had the time (and yarn) to knit something for all my family and friends…and willing recipients. Sadly, final exams are coming up. I love the hat, and the nine hours should definitely be set aside. Your kids will need attention, the cat will want to be petted, you will have realized that the gauge on the first pair of socks you got done was wrong…or something.

  18. Do you think it is unrealistic to plan to knit a whole pair of socks for my husband’s birthday which is Sunday (ie one day & a late night away)?
    I cast on today, 3 times, & couldn’t manage counting to seven any of those 3 times. Sigh. Maybe I will just buy chocolate. Or powertools. Or both.

  19. Do warn her about alpaca felting. I recently knit myself a pair of worsted weight alpaca socks, and then they accidentally ended up in the washer. I managed to get them stretched on blockers and then on my feet so that they do fit (although they’re a bit hard to get on now, being felt and all), and they are *insanely* warm, but they’re also about six inches shorter than they started. And, of course, are felt, not quite the lovely stretchy socks they started out as. Not that there’s anything wrong with, effectively, felt booties, but they’re not socks!
    So make sure the “handwash ONLY” instruction is front and center!

    Seriously, I was tempted to add something to my list, and I did succumb to that temptation and now I am ridiculously behind. Don’t do it!

  21. Stephanie, I have several balls of Diva in my stash – aqua, that pinky-purple stuff, some white and, I believe, some yellow. I never liked the grey stuff so none of that.

  22. I know I have that yarn in my stash (purchased at a yard sale – maybe 2.5 skeins – in mauve….you’re right, for acrylic, it has its charms. I’d offer it to you, but with mailing times, etc., any benefit would be lost.

  23. I have seen the Light! I mean, the list! Or at least, I have seen Lene the Goddess’s sneak peeks of the List, and I noticed that the last day says “Knit what you want!” Don’t give in to the temptation to add another project ’cause on the last day, you can do whatever you want to!
    You can beat IT. Just don’t add anything to the List.
    And we should invade Canada and steal Lene. The lumbering behomoth that is Congress could so use Lene!

  24. Awesome. I’m on track, too! I did start a couple of new projects (socks for the baby to which soles I will add an eyelet pattern as she’s on the verge of crawling, and a “one hour” lace scarf). I believe the scarf may not be done in time. Y’see, no one told me that knitting with string on US size ten needles is a pain in the behind if the needles are not-that-sharp bamboo. Yes, it’s my first lace project. Maybe for my sister’s birthday?

  25. Hmm.. just think what you could make in 9 hours! Or 9 hours could be enough time for a little browsing in a yarn store! Ü

  26. Dawn at 4:39 (sounds all to real, except it was pm),
    that hat will work for an 8-yo boy if it’s in black with an orange stripe, or whatever his favorite plain colors are.
    Tedge at 5:42 – Give the man a gift certificate from a power tool store.
    Stephanie: you rock! But do tie a large tag onto the socks that says HAND WASH ONLY, HANG TO DRY.

  27. Yay for the reprieve! Definitely don’t add anything. That time is money in the bank–save it for the next crisis. In the unlikely event that there isn’t one, kick back on Christmas Eve with a glass of wine, put your feet up, and do what you like best!
    Wait, did I just tell you to refrain from knitting more so that you’ll have time to knit later? I think I did! *lol*

  28. You’re hilarious. I sang Eye of the Tiger for you last night, did you hear me all the way from Kansas? Yeah, thought so. That’s why you’re ahead now.
    You’re welcome.
    Send some of that good knitting mojo my way please, when you’re done with it. We’ve got an unplanned 2 day drive to FL now, and I have to drive. That’s 2 days I won’t have to knit and/or bake cookies. I think I’ll be ok though. I think so. Don’t burst my bubble.

  29. And that would be Messing with the Sanctity of the Schedule and therefore Forbidden.
    Besides, the Schedule is wild magic. Don’t go there if you’re not trained.

  30. That 9 hours is a buffer against more unexpected instances. Use it wisely. I suggest eggnog.

  31. Are you sure it wasn’t Patons Divine? Ravelry has no Diva (current or discontinued), nor does Yarndex … or for that matter the Patons site.
    But there’s a Divine that’s 76.5% Acrylic, 10.5% Wool, 10.5% Mohair, 2.5% Polyester – and it’s still in production.
    Just FYI. 🙂

  32. In spite of your love for all things wool, a lot of people prefer the washability of acrylic. She may not thank you for using the lovely alpaca that can’t be thrown in the wash like the rest of the laundry. I know I wouldn’t. I have a lot of nice things in my closet that I never wear because I’d have to be careful washing them. The stuff I can throw in the machine gets worn all the time.

  33. I sort of have a confession to make.
    I now read Lene’s blog before yours. While over there, I appplied for a Schedule for myself for next year. Or rather, I asked how much she would charge…
    But seriously, the best thing about this whole thing is the friendship you two have going. Beautiful.

  34. My humble opinion is that you should stick to your original schedule and after you’ve finished everything on your list,then you can add another project with your nine extra knitting hours.Although I’m easily distracted and I’d probably start a new project too!

  35. So I totally don’t think that adding another project right now would be a good idea… totally asking fate to smack you around little… but maybe if you add it to the end of the schedule? If you are ahead of the schedule, it’s probably a better idea to knit further along in the schedule, then add a project. But that’s just me and I’m in awe of Lene’s amazing schedule making skills.

  36. Oh I’m knitting your Earl Grey socks too, but smaller, for me. And I’m using Colinette Jitterbug yarn in Sea Breeze.
    It’s knitting up beautifully.

  37. I have a bunch of Diva in my stash. What do you treat it like, chunky or worsted? I want to make socks of it, but I’m not sure what pattern to use. Love your blog, by the way, and I voted for you.

  38. Never mind about the question, I reread your post and realized you answered right there! Duh, I’m a dolt! Thanks steff!

  39. Now why can’t I manage to find an extra nine hours? I need Lene to make a schedule for me so I’ll finish my Christmas knitting.
    And maybe an internet outage cause I seem to knit a lot more when we have no internet.

  40. Don’t mess with the Muse — or with Lene’s schedule. I vote for banking the ‘extra’ time, and when you finish the schedule, she says you can knit “whatever you want.” Or you could sleep, relax or have an extra glass of Screech and meet the big day with a well-deserved sense of serenity. Have a wonderful holiday!

  41. knitknitknit .
    And omg there is that old blankie I made for you like 1 million years ago. It’s still around. Wow.
    Knit knit knit My arms are sore. Quit your whining.

  42. Do be sure to mention that felting thing. I gave VERY clear instructions on washing (used your recipe, wash them on your feet in the shower, fold in towel, stomp, hang on towel rack) to my sister for a pair of lovely pink alpaca socks, and just let me say my sister is now OFF my knitting list because she felted the alpaca socks I spents oh-so-many-hours knitting for her….well, truth is I was trying to knit the @#*&% things for myself, lets just say gauge is a filthy liar…and she has bigger feet that me. But hey, I still spent all those hours, and she put them in the DRYER!!! No more knitty things for her.

  43. I am not smarter. I have added things to the list, am behind schedule, and what the heck was I thinking to invite a bunch of people over for a cookie exchange party?
    That takes away precious knitting time that could be better spent…finishing up the scarf for nephew.

  44. You’re very lucky! My mass christmas knitting got smaller as an ice storm knocked out our electricity and made me loose 24 hours of knitting time!

  45. Wow, everything looks just awesome! I’m so jealous. I have to ask though, as much as I do LOVE alpaca (and I do, I’d easily kill for it… better than cashmere in my opinion!) won’t chunky 2-ply alpaca socks wear out just by looking at them? I’d imagine if one of the things your friend loved about the old socks was the 12-year life span that socks that last the walk from the christmas tree to the kitchen might be a bit upsetting…. or ARE you planning on making them bigger and felting them anyway? (now, i might be completely off track here but I was always told alpaca is bad for socks…. if i’m wrong i’d love to know….)

  46. yay for smarter! i’m not gift knitting this year. too much stress going on without adding that. of course, i’ve already planned for next year’s, lol (sweaters for hubbie and boy #1. not knitting sweaters for boy #2 til he stops growing so much! (he’s 14, lol))

  47. mmmmm…. Misti Alpaca Chunky… mmmmm…. sorry–I was having a Homer Simpson reaction to that yarn… good squashy yarn crack there… you’re a good friend!

  48. Way to go Steph! I can’t believe that you can knit a pair of socks in 4 hours. Honestly, 4 hours!!! I would be the happiest knitter on the planet if I could knit a pair of socks in 4 hours. Yes I know it’s chunky weight yarn and all but still…Holy Crap! You go girl! I think it’s really nifty that you get to give your friend what she wants for Christmas and you actually get to reduce your knitting time. How cool is that! Me, I’m halfway done with the 2nd of three Noro Yarn Crack scarves, I have to finish my brothers hat, and I’ve already told my son that the hat he wants will be knit after Christmas. So, maybe, if I can avoid any more puppy emergencies, I can finish on time. For the record, new puppies are very distracting and bring chaos to the knitting schedule, and mine really likes yarn!

  49. Not the right blogpost to stick this comment in really – but we had an interview on our National Radio this morning (more correctly Radio New Zealand National)about the Canadian Political situation and I thought you might be interested. Or that may just be me being a political animal – I always find it interesting to hear how NZ politics is viewed / interpreted overseas *g*.
    Either way the item is under 15min long – details and link below (links only last a couple of weeks I think):
    Hilary Pearse: Canada’s constitutional crisis Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Victoria University [NB: that’s in Wellington, NZ], who has spent the last five years in Canada.
    PS: Happy Christmas – I’m avoiding the Christmas knitting completely this year.

  50. I love that you are sharing with us your quest for finished Christmas presents. But, I have to ask, don’t the recipients of these gifts know about your blog? Have you made them all promise not to look? My family would peak I am sure!

  51. Two days of continuing legal ed this week resulted in a better understanding of covenants not to compete and 12 (count ’em, 12!) more inches done on a shrug that I may actually finish, if I can get all the cookies baked. Never doubt that you’re an inspiration. And not tempting fate is only prudent, after all.

  52. A pair of socks in 4 hours. Stephanie, you are my hero and I prostrate myself at your feet. Your handknit sock-covered feet!

  53. I’d like to see the socks that lived for 12 years. And better yet…how about a pattern for the new ones. Will they be a basic sock? Just in a chunky yarn? My Christmas knitting could use some 4 hour socks.

  54. I have to ask – how long does it take you to knit a sock? Using what size needles? Is there a class for speed knitting??? Sign me up!
    I would love to see an actual copy of your schedule!

  55. You are one knitting machine! I don’t know how on earth you manage to knit things up so quickly.
    I do hope everyone appreciates your gift of talent and time.
    BTW, if you have time (later) could you tell me what the sailor’s rib is.

  56. Oh my. Misti Alpaca on the feet. Swoon. You wouldn’t need to push yourself for any Christmas deadline at all, y’know, I’d…

  57. Since I am procrastinating about starting the things on my schedule this weekend, writing 3 final exams for college classes, grading 2 sets of assignments (they seemed like such a good idea at the beginning of the semester – FOOL!) I decided to read and respond to your blog.
    The ideas of a knitting schedule, someone to make one for you, 7 HOURS A DAY TO KNIT!, and being able to knit anything as fast as you do, almost makes me forget the hope that your blog gives me.
    Most of the people in the knitting magazines make it appear that in order to be a “real” knitter, you at least need a barn, if not a garden, and no “real” job. Although I realize that knitting and designing IS a real job, for someone who makes their living doing it, it is sometimes a bit discouraging to slow, easily confused knitters such as myself.
    The fact that you do not live on a farm, that you do not own, or at least admit to owning a barn, makes me believe that one day, I too, will be able to realistically consider giving knitted Christmas gifts, or even finish the 2 (of different pair) socks that I have on my needles.
    Merry Christmas, peace on earth, blessings, and hope!

  58. Anybody who wants to see how our dear Harlot can knit that fast, do a YouTube search for Irish Cottage Knitting, and watch her hands FLY. I have been trying for the past week to even grasp what she does, let alone emulate it, and I have failed utterly. Her speed is truly breathtaking.

  59. You aren’t adding anything in to replace those hours? Where is the entertainment and challenge in that? I mean, really? Being sensible?
    What does Lena say? I’m impressed, Stephanie, I hope you get it all done!!!!!

  60. Just playing devil’s advocate here, but isn’t alpaca kind of saggy, as well as not being easy care? It might not be the best thing for snowmobiling socks, however luscious it is. How about Wool-Ease chunky or Encore chunky?
    And congrats on being ahead of schedule and being so thoughtful for your friends!

  61. I don’t think anybody could have made believe how @#$%ing long Lucy Neatby’s Mermaid socks take… at least for my enormous feet on “o” needles.
    If it were only three hours, I’d have a centipede’s worth of socks. I should have known: Mermaids don’t NEED socks.

  62. I LOVE Misti Alpaca Chunky – it’s the softest yarn ever. You might want to fun a strand of nylon with that though – ’cause the yarn is not superwash – (it felts very very well)- and is pure alpaca. The strand of nylon will make it last even longer!

  63. I’ve never heard of Paton’s Diva, but I’ve got some Diana (acrylic/fuzzy combination) in one of my stashes that I use for slippers…
    And since I no longer drink I will have my husband hoist a cup of spiked hot chocolate in your honor. As long as he gets to drink it, he’ll be happy.
    (Socks in FOUR hours?!? I’ll be happy to figure out how to use four needles at once without thinking it’s like wrestling an aluminum tarantula…)

  64. Wow. Did you feel that tremor? I believe that was all of the Knitting Fates sitting up to take notice of your impossibly brash boasting. I’m ducking for cover, but crossing my crossables that Lene’s ‘wild magic’ keeps you on track and protected from the wide range of improbable but now almost assured mishaps. Do be careful, dear knitter. Blessed knitting to you. C

  65. I guess you get so much accomplished due to your being so organized. I have enjoyed reading your blog so much that I went in search of your books and found several at Barnes and Noble. I bought the Knitting Rules book and stopped by my Coffee House with it. I laughed while reading (getting a few looks and a request from my friend for an early departure). I love to be entertained while learning. Thank you for all the laughs.

  66. Save that surplus for the next disaster, because… better not tempt the fates. Just save those hours.

  67. I love your blog! And I just wanted to comment that I love the knitting parts as much as the spinning parts, and all the little bits and pieces in between.
    Keep it up!

  68. You can knit socks in 3 hours??? OH MAN! It takes me like 20! For one sock!
    I have 5 of your “unoriginal hats” scheduled for pressies. thanks for the pattern! 🙂

  69. You could just knit socks on bigger needles. Some of us don’t do socks on anything smaller than a 5. They do work up faster you know!
    But, of course, yours are lovely and someone should be very happy to get them.

  70. There are advantages when Smiley’s is your LYS. I bought the last three bags they had years ago.I have Diva in black,white and Lilac. A trade can be arranged.

  71. Congratulations on being Canada’s Best Activity Blog once again! The numbers don’t lie!!
    You give us so much more than knitting info. There is the lessons on government, giggles, hope, and belief that we too can get our Christmas knitting done on time.

  72. After Christmas when everything has been delivered to the rightful proprieters, I would be really really interested in seeing the SCHEDULE. I am very curious to see what kind of super woman you are. It seems like quite a few people get gifted with knitterly goodness.
    Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

  73. I love reading your blog and your books! You are an awesome knitter!! Where is the pattern found for the socks you are making for your husband? They look wonderful! Thanks for all you give to the knitting community.

  74. I keep adding too!!! I finished my last pair of mittens and then decided to make socks to match. Then I “remembered” that I made her mother socks-but no mittens to match. I seem to be on a Merry -Go- Round–help, how do I get off without jumping at full speed??

  75. I have a single skein of that very Patons Diva in the mauve!!! I found it at a thrift shop, and I’ve been waiting for the right pattern to use it for…
    I’d offer it to you, but I only have the one and by the time you got it, you’d be finished with the lovely alpaca anyways…
    Good luck on the schedule! 🙂

  76. Article by T.Cole Rachel from the New York Times, Sunday, December 7th: “Purl of a Girl”
    “Kelley Deal, the lead guitarist and self-proclaimed bad girl of the rock group the Breeders has a new addiction. ‘I kind of do everything obsessively,’ she says. ‘I smoke obsessively, I took drugs obsessively, and now I knit obsessively….Hobbies are so important,’ she says. ‘Knitting kept me distracted from leaving my hotel room in Amsterdam and doing something bad.'”

  77. Holy cow, the color of the Leticia used in your Unoriginal Hat makes my heart go pitty-pat!!! Any chance you remember the color name or number?
    Thanks so much!

  78. Sorry I’m a day late with my comments, but I also have weeks like that – everything just piles up and piles up and piles up.
    Anyhoo, I wanted to let you know that just last month I gave away the last of my Paton’s Diva. I think that it is going to be made into hats, and the lady who took it was thrilled to bits. And I had MAUVE!!!!

  79. dear harlot: i know that you are very busy with your holiday knitting but the suspense is killing me. the blog is very interested in your progress. a very short post would satisfy our curiosity and hopefully not take more than a few knitting minutes. thanks in advance!

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