Baby Steps

Yesterday, while Joe and I were outside throwing $50 bills into the hole every 15 minutes (we’ve decided that’s the fastest, least expensive way to fix it) my next door neighbours did the craziest thing.  They walked up the lane between our homes with a huge Fraser Fir Tree, and after greeting us warmly, they took it in their house.  Joe and I stood there stunned – and then I said something like "a little early isn’t it?" and Joe mumbled a phrase along the lines of "bloody keeners" and then it hit us. 

There are really, actually only 17 days until Christmas,  it is really December 8th, and the world didn’t get our memo about how we were really just too swamped to do it this month and would need to defer until late January. (February at the absolute latest.)  In short, we’re screwed.   The shopping,  buying, wrapping, baking, knitting, decorating, tree,  stockings, cleaning, visiting… it’s all ahead of us, and you would think that would send us scurrying for a tree, but nope. There’s still a great big hole, and for reasons that I can’t really explain to you (lets call it a cascade of crap) because I have a new furnace I don’t have an office, and that can’t change until the 23rd of December, which leaves me in this horrible limbo place.  When things are good Christmas leaves me with a twitch over one eye, what with the stress, money and time… and this year we’re coming into it with crazy, crazy amounts of stress, no money and no time, and that – That is making both Joe and I crazy enough that when we see someone taking a tree into their house all we can think of doing to cope with that is to begin taking turns burying each other in the construction waste that fills the backyard.   

Since burying Joe would only dirty his clothes and deprive me of the only person in this house who is trying to fill the hole, I have resorted to drinking obscene quantities of coffee and knitting.  Beyond it’s usual effect on my mental health (which is to say that as long as I keep knitting I don’t yell things at my neighbours – things like "QUIT FLAUNTING YOUR TREE AT ME YOU  HOSERS") the knitting is having the side effect of helping me get ready for Christmas, which is awesome, since I’ve got nothing else. 

Finished item #1, Swirl Shawl (Scarf Version) 2 balls plus 11.4m,  Jojoland Superwash Melody, colour #MS 18, lot number unknown.

4mm needles, lots of ends woven in, completely worth it, a really neat looking knit that looks way harder than it was. 
(Running out of yarn notwithstanding.)

Finished item #2, Escher Socks from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn

Yarn is the very nice Claudia Hand Painted Yarns fingering weight in "Navy Olive"  (Lot number 007, according to the new system). 

They’re a mens medium and took almost all the yarn, but worth every metre. 

I love them- and they put me one step closer to whatever it is that we’re calling Christmas in these parts.

Gifts for knitters

Day 4: The Knit Kit. A really nifty little set that includes scissors, thread cutters, stitch counter, crochet hook and a couple of other handy things all in a little case that is apparently (and this is really neat) TSA approved.  That means that at least within Canada and the USA, you’re going to be able to take it on a plane. Darn handy.

Day 5: A really beautiful holder for your knitters interchangeable needle set from Della Q. Slots and zip pockets to hold it all, in several pretty colours.  Way nicer than the boxes they usually come in, and you can choose between metric and US labeling, which is a pretty great thing.

Day 6: Also from Della Q, the straight needle version, holds up to 60 pairs (which would put a dent in most collections)  also in your knitters favourite colours, also with metric or US labels.

Day 7: The Swift Knitting bag from Tom Bihn.  I’ve got about 10 knitting bags, and this is a favourite for going out into the world.  It’s seriously durable and has lots of neat accessories, and even comes with one of those yarn stuff sacs with the clear bottoms. Nifty.

Day 8: 14k Gold Needle Gauge pendant from Debra’s Garden.  I don’t know a single knitter who wouldn’t like this, it’s pretty and useful, and I like the way it looks like regular jewelry.  It’s like a secret handshake.  Regular people think it looks like a seashell pendant, but any other knitter you meet will know it straightaway for what it is, and smile.

172 thoughts on “Baby Steps

  1. I agree with you – (but for reasons other than, and less drastic as the hole in the basement) Christmas in February sounds fairly do-able.

  2. I was way ahead on my Christmas knitting and somehow, I am now suddenly way behind. At least I don’t have a hole to deal with! And hopefully, I’ll finish my sister’s sweater from last Christmas before this one arrives.

  3. Oh, I totally like the idea of xmas in February. Here in the US, xmas comes on the heels of Thanksgiving, and once the Super Bowl is over, it’s a long wait until spring. xmas in Feb would fill that void nicely. BTW, love the scarf and socks!

  4. Preaching to the choir here. I started school full time this fall, it’s been so crazy I didn’t even cook Thanksgiving dinner. We have no tree, no cards sent, and I haven’t a clue what to start shopping for. Finals today and tomorrow, then maybe I can find my holiday spirit.

  5. Have you considered celebrating Ukrainian Christmas (Jan. 7th) instead? It would offer you two extra weeks to get it all together… Just a thought.

  6. I’m sending all the “hole filling” vibes I can muster. As you said, in a good year, Christmas is barely doable. When there’s extra stress added, copious amounts of coffee and knitting are the only solution.
    By the way, didn’t you just start those Navy Olive socks about 11 minutes ago?

  7. I’d come over and help fill in the hole if I could. (I wrote “help shovel” at first, but that had a whiff of unseamliness to it, and count me among knitters who don’t like seams.)

  8. I know how you feel about Christmas, and my house is free of yawning holes. Just try to remember that _you_ make Christmas – not homemade cookies, not presents, not trees. You, family, and friends make the season, and none of them will give a stuff about turkey and handknitted gifts if you’re stressed.
    I know you still will be stressed! But I hope you can avoid finding your breaking point – I send good vibes…

  9. There’s no law that says you HAVE to do all the ‘shopping, buying, wrapping, baking, knitting, decorating, tree, stockings, cleaning’ this year.
    I skipped it all one year, and guess what? The world kept right on turning.
    Seeing as how you’re a writer and all, you might just pen a note to the special people in your life telling them why they’re so special.

  10. I know! It’s going to be a Yarn Harlot xmas knitting deadline for me this year. Too many projects and not enough time to knit.
    Denny should offer online consulting using her incredible scheduling prowess skills.

  11. (I’ll just hang out over here out of the way, waiting for Rams to call you a slacker.)

  12. Somebody may be getting a half-finished sock and a quick look at the yarn for the rest of the pair. It seems like I should be able to knit them quicker than this. And why won’t the cookies just make themselves? There is simply not enough time. Christmas in Feb would be great. We could still have a party on New Years, and break up that long gray stretch until spring. Let’s start lobbying.

  13. Wow – you still have a hole? That must be some kind of record, and not the good kind. Although I cannot claim that travesty, I do now share the “joy” of having my husband work at home. This is compounded by his need for an office for all of his s**t, so my knitting/computer room has been downsized to a corner of the bedroom. I’m keeping a brave face, but I must say, there will be no (or very, very little) Christmas knitting going on here this year. With everything topsy-turvy I’m lucky if I can find a needle sizer (is that an excuse for the $500 one?).

  14. You could always celebrate Nerdigras instead. My geeky husband shared this with me from somewhere on the Internet:
    Chris Wilson notices a mathematical-calendrical quirk: if March 5th is 35, then 35×35 = 1225 means that March 5th squared is December 25th, so March 5th is the square root of Christmas! Pair this with Pi Day (3/14), and you get a nerd celebration:
    I hereby declare that:
    * March 5th shall be known as the Square Root of Christmas and
    * The 10-day interval between the Square Root of Christmas and Pi Day shall be known as Nerdigras

  15. Just remember that knit gifts for everyone on the list is not a necessity. Neither is a tree, cookies, fancy wrapping, or anything else. Throw some lights on a tree outside, buy everyone gift certificates, buy the cookies at the store, and call it Christmas. My mother-in-law calls fixes like that “outsourcing”. It works great when there are more important things to do in your life, like fixing the holes in your house.
    That scarf is beautiful, btw. I may break my habit of not buying knitting patterns just for that one.

  16. Life’s too short to sweat it. Skip the stuff that doesn’t fit into your life in a pleasant way. A couple of extra candles to flicker and cast pretty shadows in the evenings. A cluster of pine boughs on the door and/or table. Still with the music and friends and dancing and family. The people who matter will still love you every bit as much and possibly then realize that they don’t have to overdo it next year either. Hey, maybe it’ll start a revolution. (That’s what I’m hoping here, since we proposed no gifts among the adults, as we all have too much of everything anyway. Proposal enthusiastically accepted all ’round!) Less stuff; more fun!

  17. Hey, let’s institute Knitter’s Christmas in February! We can finish up all our projects, give presents to the knitters in our lives, and have a holiday with no stress involved!

  18. I agree with above comments. No-one saying you *can’t* move Christmas – especially since the kids are grown-up and you’ve got a good excuse! We kind of split it last year, as my sister was out in South America during the actual holiday season. A bit on Christmas proper, and a bit in February when she was back. Just take a deep breath and think about what’s actually doable and necessary to be festive and not over-stressed!

  19. While I am a firm believer in the power of blocking, I was surprised at how much blocking “helped” that scarf. I wasn’t on board until I saw the finished product.
    Deep, stress relieving breaths here.

  20. I recently got the Knit Kit…and I agree, it would make any knitter a great little treat. Now when I go some place with my knitting…as long as I remember the kit…I don’t find myself wishing I would brought my scissors/a hook/a tape measure/a…
    So sorry for your stress. The holidays are a stressful time for me to…for complicated emotional reasons…and I know how much extra stress on top of that can turn what should be a festive time of year into a real bitch. I’m wishing for your house a speedy recovery and for you, a little taste of holiday cheer.

  21. Wonderful socks! I was just wondering what socks would be next. Very helpful. And Thank You!
    Does that hole go all the way to China? It seems huge and never ending, but I really shouldn’t point that out because you most certainly already know that.

  22. That is the best blocking job I’ve ever seen on a swirl shawl. The socks are also great.
    I really, really need a swift bag, preferably with every possible optional accessory… but it costs way more than my family agreed to spend on each other this year. So I can either 1) see if I can get everyone in my family to chip in for one, which presupposes that no one has gotten me anything yet, 2) ditto my SIL’s family, or 3) just buy myself one. I think 3) is the way to go.

  23. All those years of conditioning and programming that “Mom makes Christmas happen” still causes me to feel guilty and inadequate when I can’t live up to the ideal, even though I’m over 50 and have eased up on many of my self imposed rules. I bought only one Christmas present this year: a new puppy. Other than that, I haven’t done a thing: no gift shopping, card mailing or cookie baking. Not even cleaning (other than what’s necessary to keep the county health dept. away). If the rest of the family wants a tree and all that, they’ll have to make it happen. I’m too busy trying to house train the little guy and avoid stepping on him because he’s very tiny! It’s still going to be Christmas though, and we will have and do the things we enjoy, even though I haven’t figured out the “how” quite yet. That much I’m sure of. I think.

  24. I think that we all tend to forget this little fact: the tree and the decorations and the big meal might be nice, but the time with family, the reflection on the things that matter to us, and the spirit of giving and kindness are really what matter the most during the holidays.

  25. I just wanted to let you know that I hear you, I understand, and you have my continued sympathies.
    I was supposed to be in my new house for Xmas (ha!) I might get to start painting next week, but no moving, especially since I have no idea where the plumber went 2 weeks ago… my dear husband is *FINALLY* off unemployment after 1 year, but now he works nights so I only see him for about an hour a day total. Also, he’s making less with the 2 new jobs than he was on unemployment (but he’s off! yay!) I also found out today that we’re buying a new well pump – kaching. Did I mention that the furnace we bought for the house is the wrong one, and we now need to buy ANOTHER one? My coworker left for maternity leave (hurray hurray for her! yay!) but now I’m doing 2 people’s jobs and it’s not easy. Nope.
    The universe is throwing us similar things — but it will get better. Perhaps I’ll buy a tree or twigs or lord-knows-what and have my own Christmas in February. I always thought it came too close to Thanksgiving anyway…
    Hang in there, dear Harlot. I’m hoping the best for you!

  26. BEWARE – the last time I went through Canadian airport security (in Vancouver) they took away my scissors that were EXACTLY like those ones. Apparently scissors are still on the naughty list in Canada but not in the US (or so I was told…)

  27. Christmas is what you make of it. This year you are making a small Christmas. Nothing wrong with that. The important thing is that no one dies. If you can accomplish that, call it a success.

  28. Why not simplify Christmas this year? Not everyone needs a present – kids need presents; adults value your visit and your love more than the stuff. You don’t need to do all the baking. The chaos at your house gives you a perfect excuse not to clean. You could even skip the tree.
    Decide which pieces of the holiday whirlwind are most important and most satisfying TO YOU, and concentrate on those, letting go of everyone else’s expectations and your own picture of the way it’s “supposed” to be. Give people for whom you would like to knit, a gift certificate, to be redeemed for a knit present some time during 2010. Then, if you’d like, you could collaborate with people on what they would like to receive, which offers a different satisfaction to both giftor and giftee than a surprise does.
    Make this the year you ENJOY Christmas, instead of feeling run by it.

  29. Move Christmas if you like. Do the Spanish thing and have it on Epiphany (Jan 6) instead. Or…make a list of things that have to be done. Food, people would be my priorities and a list of things that it would be nice to have done(like tree, gifts: we went without a tree for one year and it was no biggie). Throw second list out. Only do the things that have to be done. Anybody complains (including you),go look at the hole in your house(drape some tinsel across it if you really want to be festive:)).
    And this too shall pass. I spent last Christmas with very little stone in the back wall of my house and not a lot of roof.We still had a good time.

  30. I don’t know if you’ve flown with the KnitKit or not and if you have, you can ignore me 🙂 but I believe scissors are still a big BANNED at Canadian airports (though not US ones interestingly) so I’m not sure the scissors in the KnitKit would get through. I know I had some tiny scissors confiscated at Vancouver International on my way to Portland.

  31. Stephanie, yesterday I received some items from Cafe Press that were not what I ordered. One of the items I received is a refrigerator magnet that says, “Your Next Crisis Will Begin Shortly — Please Stand By.” I immediately thought of you. (In fact, if you want to e-mail me your address, or your publisher’s address, or whatever address you’re willing to disclose where you can receive snail mail, I’ll be happy to send it to you!)

  32. Christmas can happen without all the stuff and worry. Scale it way back. Keep it simple. There was the year when my hubby slipped on the stairs and broke his hip the first week of December. The kids were 7 and 4. We got a tiny little tree with tiny little ornaments. Gifts were simple. Food was even simpler. We were just grateful to have him home and healing.

  33. Nice list, I’ll have to borrow some of those ideas for my list. I especially like the Della Q iCase.
    Happy & Healthy Wishes to you and your family.

  34. I hear ya on the Christmas in February. We’re hosting 22+ people for christmas dinner, and I’m not at all sure how we’re going to do it.
    No tree yet, the house isn’t cleaned (well… really, it never is) and I haven’t even STARTED baking yet. DH is working 55+ hours a week, and I have two children under 5.
    Christmas can wait until February. Actually, August. August is a good month for christmas. The kids are bored, nobody wants to do anything and there’s lots of daylight hours. August sounds about right for me.

  35. you know what’s crazy? it’s so cold here I mentally SKIPPED christmas. The lawn was crispy this morning. There was ice on my windshield. In my brain it’s January.

  36. I feel your pain. Last Christmas we had a hole – only it was in the ceiling of the room where the tree goes. Not only a hole (and no small one at that), but scaffolding, plastic sheeting, and big work lights.
    This year fate dealt us a flood in the basement (which houses my yarn shop) and we’ve had to move EVERYTHING out so reconstruction can get underway sometime this century.
    Just remember… this too shall pass. And then something will come up! Hang in there!!

  37. That needle gauge is gorgeous, but the price is a little rich for my blood. I’d better settle for the silver one you pointed to the other day.
    I feel for you, on the construction-over-the-holidays thing. I had construction going from Halloween to mid-January a few years ago, which totally destroyed Christmas that year. I heard afterward that people were wondering whether we were mad at them, because we hadn’t invited them to our usual big party. No, we hadn’t had a party that year because half the living room was cut off by sheets of plywood, and the back yard was filled with debris to a depth of four feet.
    I wish I could give you an extra two or three weeks between now and Christmas, but that’s above my pay grade. Suffice it to say that your friends and family will totally understand why Christmas celebrations have to be scaled back, delayed, or relocated. If you’d like to get away for a few days in California, give me 3 days notice, so I can clean out the guest room.

  38. It is perfectly acceptable to photocopy a pattern and staple a sample of yarn to it to enclose in a card. It is not even necessary to add the yarn if you don’t have it yet. Suggest a mutual shopping trip to pick the color(s), followed by a cup of tea or a beer, depending on the recipient. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

  39. For years my extended family did a Kris Kringle — everybody picks a name (keep it secret, keep it safe), handles getting that person a gift, and then when everyone gathers you have to guess who got your gift. Kris Kringle leads to plotting, elfing, jolly secrets, and lots of laughing while people puzzle out where their gifts came from. (“Well, this wrapping paper matches the wrapping paper Jane got, and Jane’s present came from Nicky so my present is probably from someone else in Nicky’s house…”) People who do not guess are suitably mocked as only family can. People who do guess are suitably mocked as only family can. There were a few years where I distinctly recall laughing until I cried.
    I don’t know if it’s too late in the season to arrange that, but it might help with some of the pressure — and it puts the focus on the most important part (at least, I think so): having a good time with the important people in your life.
    Either that, or tell your neighbors they can have knitted socks in February if they’ll bake cookies for you all now.

  40. That scarf is so pretty all blocked and finished. I’m a not-very-accomplished knitter who has just graduated to knitting with real natural fibers, i.e., no more acrylic. Blocking IS really all it’s cracked up to be. I enjoy your blog.

  41. It will still be Christmas whether you are ready or not, it will still be Christmas even without a tree. This could be the year when you pare it right down to basics and find out what you have to have to make it feel like Christmas.

  42. Oh, Steph – when I first read that first paragraph, I thought you wrote that they brought the tree into YOUR house. I thought they were extremely considerate, kind and caring neighbors, who saw what hell you’ve been going through, and thought they’d make life a little easier for you. I’m sorry to read that they did not. If I lived anywhere near Toronto, I’d bring you a tree, but alas, I do not. Maybe this is the year to forget presents and just enjoy time with your wonderful family. I hope it winds up being a joyous holiday.

  43. I think you should decorate the whole with beautiful lights and dangly things. If you can’t beat the ordeal, incorporate it and lighten the mood. Much easier said than done, I know.
    Knitting is BEAUTIFUL!

  44. Steph…… let it go. We aren’t super human and it is what it is. Put up some mistletoe, give your husband and daughters a kiss, give thanks for everyone’s health and let it go! If you tell people what you’ve been doing and the stress you’ve been under, they WILL understand. Anyone who doesn’t isn’t worth their weight in sock yarn!

  45. If I promise to bake cookies every day from now until Christmas, can we skip everything else?
    We already have wreaths, TWO of them!
    Isn’t that enough?

  46. It is really and truly OK to ignore all the extraneous Christmas stuff and do only what you are up to doing. No one will arrest you or confiscate your yarn if you don’t put up a tree!! I promise!! The only important part is to be with the people you love – the decorations don’t matter – not at all – not one tiny little bit!

  47. It is really and truly OK to ignore all the extraneous Christmas stuff and do only what you are up to doing. No one will arrest you or confiscate your yarn if you don’t put up a tree!! I promise!! The only important part is to be with the people you love – the decorations don’t matter – not at all – not one tiny little bit!

  48. I say let it go, too. Have a decent dinner on the 25th, give everyone a hug and tell them your sanity (for not trying to do Christmas) is their present this year. I would do the same only I’ve got 8 young grandchildren — and have I mentioned that I hate Christmas? Bah, humbug.
    But that has nothing to do with the fact that you just displayed the most awesome scarf and gorgeous socks. It would take me, well, many times as long as it take you to knit those. Lovely things.

  49. While you were knitting the swirl shawl/scarf I didn’t really “get it.” I’m not personally a big “scarf” person myself and I didn’t see what you thought was so wonderful about it.
    Today I stopped in for a quick blog-fix and was amazed! Let’s hear it for blocking! Stunningly beautiful. Well done. The socks are nice, too, but the scarf, oh my.

  50. I have to give you a ton of credit. If it were me, I’d say screw the coffee, to hell with the knitting and just hit the tequila.
    At the very least, I’d have hit bottom on a bottle of cheap chardonnay and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, likely in the same sitting.
    And who says you can’t postpone Christmas a bit? You deserve a little break this year.

  51. We never put up our decorations or tree until the weekend before Christmas day, a longstanding family tradition I remember from my childhood. When I talked to my mother about it I found out that this is because she was so hopelessly disorganized with four small children that she never got around to it earlier! So our Christmas starts a maximum of 6 days before the 25th and we fit all the panic and madness into that time.
    Perhaps it is time to make some new traditions? Like Teenagers Do The Christmas Cleaning with the pursuant Parents Don’t Look Too Closely? Or my preferred present for partners/husbands – the perennial favourite My Gift To You Is Not Making You Buy A Gift For Me.
    We reserve the right to spoil each other arbitrarily sometime during the year instead.
    Occasionally though we just pay the plumber with the Christmas money we would have spent on fripperies. Last year one small hole in the wall escalated into two new bathrooms and some re-roofing. I feel your pain!

  52. OMG Christmas. I still have a sweater to finish (it’s about 1/2 done), 2 pairs of socks (footies for quick knitting – I hope), and a scarf to knit. MRRK. Too bad it’s finals and I’m writing a paper, or I’d hit the tequila right now.
    Oh, and one of my winter break goals is to catalog all the yarn I own. >.<

  53. My father’s family does do Christmas in February on a regular basis. Everyone is so busy with in-laws families that scheduling in December is horrible so they schedule for February.
    I’m having Christmas disbelief this year too. I’m normally done but this year I haven’t done a thing and don’t feel motivated either.

  54. We never put the tree in before the 23rd and never decorate until the 24th (we sometimes put it in on the 23rd so that it can thaw out, having been out in the freezing cold…). I was hoping to have my shopping done before the 1st, but as usual I am far behind. I do have 4 pair of socks knit and a very few gifts purchased. That puts me somewhat ahead of usual, but not very far. I still have knitting left to do, but for some obscure reason I am currently knitting a pair of socks for myself instead of: mittens for my granddaughter (she’s new so wasn’t on the list last year), coffee mug sleeves for my daughter’s in-laws (that may not happen), socks for my nieces (even though one of them seems to have been incommunicado for months),or anything knit for my son (who keeps getting left out in the knitting extravanganza because he’s so picky about colors, fibers, etc). I keep thinking that I’ll knit yet another sweater for the granddaughter (after all it takes less than 2 days if I don’t try to do a baby surprise sweater…). However, I don’t have a hole in my house. I’m not sure whether the hole is an advantage (think of all the knitting gifts you’re cranking out) or simply a terrible stress. I suspect it’s the latter. Give yourself a break and call it a minimalist Christmas. Presents yes, tree probably, but skip the cards, the extra baking, etc. Of course maybe one of the girls could do the Christmas baking this year.
    Keep knitting, it’s a great stress remover. Maybe you should be offering your contractor a knitted gift as soon as he finishes. A genuine Stephanie creation, shouldn’t that motivate him?

  55. Hey, aren’t your s old enough to bake the cookies, purchase and drive home the tree, do lots of cleaning? I no longer live at home, and my mom still expects me to wash the dishes, even if she doesn’t feed me… and my children have chores at grandma’s house, too. There is a lot to do, and you are one person, so if your family wants a big deal, I think they’re obligated to help you make it big. Otherwise, they’re getting a cup of hot coffee and a ball of store bought wool on Christmas morning.

  56. Beautiful scarf and socks…..knitting really does help to maintain sanity, doesn’t it? Sure has been helping me…..

  57. Let me correct- Aren’t your kids old enough… And I love that scarf, so lovely, and lacey!

  58. Ooh, thanks for linking those needle holders. I’d been thinking about making my own, since I dabble in sewing, but something pre-made and pretty is also great. Mine would likely be slightly crooked and not nearly as nice looking. *adds to Wish List*

  59. What I would do…and have done once or twice is just wrap up the balls of wool and a picture of what it should be and then take it back and make it later, one year I knit one sock for everyone and wrapped it up and then finished the other socks later, even put quilt makings in a box and gave it as a gift and then took it back and made it up after Christmas….. I know how you feel…I have not even started on anything yet…well maybe half a sock….better get my act together…you have an excuse of a big hole…I do not have any…all though am trying to use the ” I am a certified card carrying senior” this year. Hoping it will work. Sending you calming vibes.

  60. christmas in Feb.. brilliant! absolutely Brilliant. and that knitting bag.. I think they are going to be swamped with orders, I’m hoping my husband will be one of them 🙂

  61. Who would know with the scarf. Very nice. I love the color of those socks. It’s so hard to find nice, non-stripey colors for socks although I’ve fallen hard for the Berroco Sox colors.
    I know you’re a traditionalist with the whole Christmas thing but maybe it’s time to mix it up and do it simpler. It doesn’t actually seem very enjoyable with everything falling on top of you and no sleep. Probably just me.

  62. This is completely off-topic, but I sincerely hope that in your next Canada Day post, you are proud of the literally hundreds of Royal Canadian Mounted Police who came to Lakewood/Tacoma today for the memorial service for our four slain officers. Watching them march in lock-step, hearing their footfalls, was truly moving.

  63. I love my Knit Kit and wish I could afford the 14k gold needle gauge. That’s the only tool missing from the Kit (I did add my own Chibi needle for working in ends). Maybe you & Joe can celebrate the 12 days of Christmas (Dec 25-Jan 6)? At least that buys you some time since not everything has to happen on/before 12/25. Good luck.

  64. April 6. That’s the day for Christmas. I’m sorry I can’t endorse February, but we have 5 birthdays at our house that month… Although if February works for you, that is fine with me. But April 6 does it nicely.

  65. For years, my immediate family has celebrated the day AFTER Christmas so my kids’ in-laws wouldn’t get all bent out of shape and my grandchildren wouldn’t be all hyped up. My daughter-in-law wept with gratitude when I first suggested it. We eat buffet-style and enjoy each other’s company. Works for us!

  66. I knew Christmas was less than three weeks away but to see it in writing makes me a wee bit nervous.I can get two scarves,a stuffed animal with matching bird ornaments and an entire lap quilt done by then,right?!?And start my other shopping?!?And finish decorating?!? I’m with you now on the whole Christmas in Februry thing…

  67. We’ve had a tree for what feels like forever now (it’s plastic and very low maintenance), but I could easily move Christmas to January. I was suggesting that in the future my husband and I would probably want to celebrate on or near the Coptic Christmas holiday.

  68. I’m rather like you with the run-up to Christmas – I set myself all sorts of home-baked, hand-made targets and then get upset and stressed when I can’t fulfil them all. But I find it such a hard mental leap to make – to accept that Christmas will be fine anyway if I don’t make a million gingerbread cookies and a gingerbread house/three separate puddings for the main meal/finish that quilt/scarf/handmade jewellery. This year, you’re more in need of calm and comfort than normal, because of the Hole. Please, please, try to let it go and accept that it’s just one year, and that next year, things will be different.
    Would more yoga help? 🙂

  69. My Dear Harlot
    3 years ago our house was completely torn up. No kitchen, cupboards in boxes in the living room etc get the picture. Guess what? We all lived with no tree or decorations. Gifts were simple and we relied on the kindness of relatives for our holiday meals.
    Relax and cast on a new project..
    Merry Christmas

  70. You have my sympathies, and once I stop on the way home tonight, you can have some of my beer, too. Tell the girls, your mom, Denny, Rachel, etc., that they are doing Christmas for you this year – and then stand back and let them do it. Seriously. Let go and let Denny, or something like that. Put that Clipboard of Power to work for good, not evil, and tell Rachel I said so.

  71. I’ve got that same twitch over the eye. I was notified yesterday that I’m losing my job on 08 March – knew this was coming, but wasn’t sure exactly when. Consolidation of technology. Have told the (adult) children that if I can’t cook it or knit it, they ain’t getting it this year! Good kids understand. And we raised some good ones, didn’t we?

  72. Maybe you could stick a tree in the hole? Never mind, you really wouldn’t want to deal with the tree roots in the foundation…

  73. But why no Christmas schedule this year? You know, the one that tells you how much to knit, how much to bake, and how much dirt to fill in the hole each day? You always have a schedule ?!?

  74. Another really funny post. December always seems to through funny things at you.
    As I was reading this I thought….I wonder if her neighbours read the blog!!!

  75. We’d like to delay Christmas too. A sick dog. New vet. At least my husband didn’t fall for the “But he’s your dog” line.
    As a kid, we semi-celebrated Ukranian Christmas. Might have to start that up again. Who cares if the kids are only 1/8th Ukranian…

  76. I interned at my LYS, and when the knit kits came in, we all agreed that they looked like contraception containers (Just saying).

  77. I love the scarf and the socks– Well done!
    I know what you mean about the holiday stress. I know plenty of people who are saying things like, “We put a new roof on this year, that was our Christmas.” I think most of us would be happy keeping things simple this year. That won’t stop me from sending my husband to your blog to see your “Gifts for Knitters” list if he asks for gift ideas though! Great choices

  78. It sounds as if it’s almost time to call in Lene for the schedule. Either that or tell everyone that the hole in your house ate Christmas.

  79. 17 days??? Where the hell did the time go?
    I’m quite sure those you normally invite to Christmas will understand that the hole ate your holiday. I understand that convincing yourself to be okay with it is the challenging part, right? If I were in your shoes, I’d bury myself in my stash. Especially if I had your stash.
    Hang in there. It can’t last forever.

  80. Those years when I couldn’t get a tree, I would get some cut boughs and put them into a very heavy vase and hang some ornaments. I also have some ornament stands that I pull out to use on various tables. I really like having a tree but some pine pieces can go some ways to filling the psychic space the tree usually fills.
    The scarf and the socks look great… hoping you have the best holiday season you can.

  81. From the messages above, it seems this is the year to re-think Christmas, perhaps for just this year, or perhaps for the time being. Figure out just a few things everyone in the family wants to happen, and figure out who will do what so the burden is on no one in particular (i.e. MOM). If I were in your family, I’d focus on having three amazing daughters in a family full of love and find ways to celebrate that.
    A friend of mine used to cook for days, invite throngs of family and friends, and do everything herself. Of course, she was ready to pass out from exhaustion when everyone else was giddy from their turkey high. Then she got everyone to bring a dish or dishes (depending how many people were in their group), made the turkey (32 pounds this year), had those who came from a distance and stayed over to help with the cutting and slicing and mashing. Everything was perfect, and she was in great shape, enjoying the day and her loved ones around her. She is talking about simplifying even more from now on. No details yet.

  82. Everyone is entitled to a “Get Out of the Christmas Rush” pass once in a while. This is your year. Your girls are old enough to understand. Take care of Hank and let the rest go. It’s a present for YOU.

  83. HUGZ!!!! Have a Christmas hole filling gathering? Complete w/ yuletide shovels? Or maybe you could talk the squirrels into it if you promise not to buy the squirrel feet earrings!

  84. The “12th Day of Christmas” is January 6 (aka “Twelfth Night” or “Epiphany.”) That gives you an extra 12 days.

  85. I flew just last week (to Toronto to see you, but alas, you were not there – but I do have to say that the Knit Night crowd at Lettuce Knit was great!). I asked at security if I could bring my scissors from my Knit Kit and they said no, they have to be a very rounded tip – not pointy. I stashed my scissors at the airport (friend works there) and brought the kit and used the thread cutter. . . You can bring toenail clippers as long as there is no pointy file part. (and yes, they did let me fly with my 2.5mm Addy Turbos)

  86. I th9ink every family should allowed to postpone Christmas at least once in their lifetime (actually I’d allow for once in a decade but then I am not too concerned about celebrating holidays on the actual date – this started when my girls were in college & were at school & finals were always centered around Mother’s Day.) Great gift suggestions – I am fond of Tom Bihn bags. I have a smallish one I use as an everyday bag, several of their clear plastic fronted ones to organize knitting stuff as well as sudoku books & pencils for when I travel, & their computer knapsack. Their bagsare just about indestructible & I like the fact that they are made in the USA (I do try to buy stuff that is made in the US or Canada as much as I can.)

  87. My sympathies, Stephanie! I’ve learned to detest the holidays for exactly this reason! *except for the hole in the foundation, but you know what I mean.*
    Suggestion? Instead of gifts, donate to charities that match your family/friends’ views and passions.
    My hubby and I aren’t doing gifts at all this year (except for exchanging a few small, handmade stocking stuffers with my folks.) We’re doing the charity thing.
    For my mother in law, we’re donating to the Michael J. Fox foundation, because she has rather advanced Parkinson’s (and tends to fangirl at celebrities). My mom has Crohn’s disease, so I’m donating to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. And my father is a pilot and an advocate for backwater airstrip conservation, so for him I will be donating to the Recreational Aviation Foundation.

  88. Well, is this another one of those something-like-Mercury-in-retrograde things? ‘Cause we haven’t done squat for Christmas yet either, and usually we’re at least on the ball by the end of U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. Everybody in my family will be getting petite (as in inexpensive) Christmas presents from me this year, and most of them won’t be knitted, though I’m still hoping to start and finish a pair of socks for my sweetheart in time. I’m feeling surprisingly calm about the whole thing — no eyes are twitching yet, and coffee consumption is below normal. I think I’ve just finally had it with consumer culture and what it does in North America to this particular holiday. Yup. Quietly had it. We’ll decorate the tree (also petite) when we have time, and that might be the weekend before Christmas, and that’s okay. At least the traditional Christmas waffles don’t require much effort, even though they’re from scratch, and for whatever reason there’s even a brand new unopened bottle of maple syrup in the larder. This means, I think, that we’ve got the important stuff covered. 😉 Hang in there! Those finished objects are gorgeous!!!

  89. I’ve been cleaning (and painting and organizing) the craft room. Today I cleaned out a bin, I have NO IDEA where it came from. At the bottom of the bin was a crewel picture. I haven’t done crewel since my daughter (the mother of my granddaughter) was small. It needs to be ironed and framed, but I’m giving it to my daughter for the holidays. Also found 4 embroidered pillowcases, hello to gifts for my sister-in-law! The grandchildren are done. Have to pick up a couple of things for my boys and my husband and make my son-in-law a hat and mittens. HA! I’ll be done (except for all the stuff I’ve forgotten).
    And after all of that? Well, I’m buying this for myself. Happy Holiday.

  90. I agree with Elaine @1:54. I totally ignore Christmas and my family has the happiest, most stress-free December of anyone I know. You love your friends & family year-round; why do you need to kill yourself to prove it again on December 25? A fig for what anyone thinks!

  91. You think you’ve got troubles????
    Hanukkah starts Friday. THIS Friday. OMG, stop the world I want to get OFF!
    We don’t go in for anything nearly as elaborate as our gentile friends and neighbors (not even presents) but it’s still a lot to do to make two kids happy for 8 days (when all their friends’ families are going way overboard for Christmas!).
    July sounds good to me . . .

  92. OK, some years ago I and my fellow teachers went on strike right before Christmas. Not quite the same as a hole as in the ground but whacked Xmas just the same. Guess what, whacked or not, I still spent the day with people I love and the sun came up on the 26th.
    Look on the bright side, you’ve an iron clad reason to not be the hostess. Rejoice o lucky one. I’ve got to clean.

  93. Wish I could say something that makes it all right, but that seems to be a bit too much to ask of the situation.
    The best thing I can suggest is to check out Crazy Aunt Purl’s blog for which wine goes best with which knitting project. Whichever wine she recommends, apply liberally!

  94. Oh I feel you. While I was sick with swine flu (I got the bonus pneumonia, too!) a beaver chewed a tree on our house, necessitating a new roof *and* the septic system went belly-up. The roof is half-covered by insurance – they’ll pay to repair the half which is no longer there, but not the other half and well, it’s an old roof. better to just do it now. or will this be like invoking the stomach flu by washing the kids’ sheets for the heck of it?
    Anyway. I’ve decided that pretty well everyone on my list will be getting a small container of brandy butter (aka hard sauce). It’s quick, not too expensive, and honestly, I can think of nothing I want more than to cram as much sugary, alcoholic butter into my gaping maw as possible. And I love to give people gifts I want myself. It’s either that, or give everyone old shingles and roofing nails.

  95. After reading Barbara’s comment above, about some people not being worth their weight in sock yarn, I had to do some simple arithmetic.
    At $22/100 grams, more or less, I would be worth almost $30,000.
    I think, maybe, most of us aren’t worth our weight in sock yarn.

  96. LOVE THE SCARF!! Now, may I refer you to this from the Grinch(3rd last page):
    “It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
    It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
    And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
    Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
    “Maybe Christmas”, he thought, “doesn’t come from a store”.
    “Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
    Enjoy family, warmth, health, and happiness. Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  97. Who remembers the Christmases that came off perfect? The ones that are remembered fondly are the ones that were near disasters. We set around reminiscing about the Christmas we had potato soup. (We all had the stomach flu.) Which lead to someone remembering something else. . .lots of laughing and good times.

  98. For 18 years–since my mom died, in fact–we’ve been trying to keep Christmas as she did. It was her holiday, and she’d be in hock for the rest of the year, but we’d get handknits, and stockings, and we’d make eleventy kinds of cookies, and read “A Christmas Carol” on Christmas Eve, and it was heresy even to think of letting go of any part of it. It would be like losing her, for real and all. But every year it got harder. She wasn’t there, you see. So we’ve finally given up, this year, and my family (my husband and I, and the kids–we’re Jewish, after all [Mom wasn’t]) are going to go away and stay in a hotel for Christmas. No tree, no presents, no ghost of Christmas past. I don’t know how it will be, but we have to make our own holiday, somehow. So in all the hassle and stress, and feeling broke and overwhelmed, I will remind you to be glad that you have the people around you that make you feel like celebrating Christmas at all. I miss my mom.

  99. Yes, I know how you feel. Christmas is coming and you have no money. I’ve decided that people will be getting food at Christmas and the gifts will have to wait. This is what you can do. For those who don’t understand you spent the Christmas money on a furnace, tell them “Well, we could have moved in with you until June. Shut up and eat the gingerbread.”

  100. I could probably do mid January, but mind you, I’m not bragging. I have a new knee (3 mos) that already needed tweaking(back to surgery) and spent 25 days on antibiotic due to a bad tooth(2 stabs at root canal and $1400) (Why didn’t my daughter become or marry an endodontist?) And to make the trifecta (or maybe hat trick) I have a senile cat who isn’t sure where the litter box is, making my house smell bad.
    Hope we all survive until the 26th, at least!!

  101. I *thought* you were being a bit nonchalant about Christmas knitting and your schedule. Sorry you were so rudely awakened.

  102. That scarf is great. I love it!
    Thanks for the gift tips. I ordered the holder for interchangeable needle sets for two of my knitting friends! They are perfect.
    I hope your Christmas is wonderful. I am so sorry for all the extra stress you are having right now! It has got to get better. Good luck has got to come your way! Thanks again for your blog!

  103. Sorry to hear that Christmas hit you so hard, we may be still digging out from the foot of snow we are to get between today and tomorrow evening. Then on top of it all they upgraded our winter storm warning to an all out blizzard warning. Golly gee whiz I know this is Wisconsin and all , no time to knit have to snow blow all night.Sounds like it has begun already, the snow blowing that is. It’s better than shoveling. What a week , best to you now ,must investigate,

  104. Love the awesome socks. Love love love the swirl shawl scarf. (I might do that one myself.)
    So, I have to admit that I was wondering when it would hit you how close Christmas is and the totally funny posts about how you have set yourself a schedule and you will finish everything on time would start. And then the posts about how you are falling behind, but can make it up by sacrificing in small areas like sleep and personal hygene. And then the posts about how you have given up, declared personal insanity and begin asking the universe why it is that you never seem to learn to make a realistic schedule for your Christmas knitting. (I love those posts because they always make me feel so much more normal!) But I see that the insane Christmas knitting is actually the only thing keeping you sane this year.
    Knit on, Dear Harlot, and let the universe take care of itself. Someone else can do the other stuff.

  105. The neighbors on both sides of us have more Christmas lights than the city park. The neighbor up the road plays carols loud enough to echo around the woods. Their SUVs come home laden with stuff.
    I can make things with sticks and string that make people jealous. WIN.
    Stephanie, suckage comes and suckage goes. This too shall pass.
    But I truly believe we should have Knitter’s Christmas on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s birthday.

  106. And also? You were in exactly this pickle five years ago. Go look it up. And yet there was Christmas that year. Clearly, you and Joe should just stop trying to “fix up” the house. Is the rain getting to the stash? Are electrical shorts burning up the stash? If you are properly dressed for a Canadian winter (and I needn’t tell you what that means), can you sit in your living room on a winter’s evening and knit without shivering uncontrollably?
    The answer’s no? To all of them? Good. Stop “fixing” and start knitting. Hank expects manly mittens this year, btw.

  107. Dear Stephanie,
    To paraphrase someone not a million miles from where you are standing, “there are no Christmas police”. Make the day what you want. My Christmas decorating consists of putting a wooden elf on my bookshelf. Last year I made biscuits and chocolates for everyone and baked a gluten-free slice for my coeliac friend – she appreciated this very much as she can’t bake to save herself and she misses cakes and things very much. Christmas is a hard time for my sis and I as our mother died at 6 am one Christmas morning. But that Christmas, our Mum gave us the greatest gift she ever could – by spending the day together in our grief, my sister and I have turned a very distant relationship in a very close one. Don’t bother with pressies or just visit the bottlo (oops, sorry, bottlo is OZ for liquour store) and buy everyone a bottle of their favourite tipple – shopping done in 15 mins. For non-drinkers, chocolate truffles. Everyone will understand. The festive season is supposed to be festive not stressful. Take a break. Give everyone you know the gift of a happy and relaxed Stephanie.
    Best wishes for the season
    Alison in Oz

  108. Lynn at 9:24 pm – I think you meant No, No, Yes…
    I’m for Nerdigras, though it’s a bit early for me.
    I once delivered Christmas presents in April.
    Now I don’t bother; if I want to give somebody
    something, I just give it to them at the time.
    Send everybody emails and tell them to look at
    your posts about the cellar. If they want gifts
    after that, they can come help shovel. The gift
    will be their feeling of being useful for once.

  109. Oh Steph. I’m so sorry. Please, I’m sure everyone would understand if Christmas didn’t happen like you planned. I wish I could fly up there and decorate your house for you. It will be okay. Keep knitting. That’s what I Dora on Nemo.. “just keep swimming (knitting), just keep knitting knitting knitting.. :)”

  110. Consider that the giant hole is a sign from the universe that you should do less this Christmas. Your children are teenagers- the blessed age during which it actually means MORE to them to get a gift card than a gift. Your adult relatives are adults, they undoubtedly know that you have a giant hole in the back yard, no office and no income. They will understand that there is no knitting. Plan for a nice meal, seeing all the kids home, a few adult beverages and a very small tree that you send the children out to get and decorate however they choose. Praise them, even if they have it sprayed pink and then dangle their ear rings from it.( When I bought trees, I bought mine on Dec 24, because they were cheaper, and because it seemed fun.) Breathe. In, out. Your loved ones have been blanketed by knitted love for years. They can stand to skip a year. It will increase gratitude next year. This is your chance to do less, worry less, ignore more. Breathe. In, out. Feel free to disregard all advice, including this advice.

  111. Sending positive wishes you’re way. Find peace and remember this is a time to find balance with the rebirth in nature. I’m not sure how the birth of a concrete foundation fits into that, but I know it does some how…

  112. the best christmas we’ve ever had was the one we postponed to March. You can enjoy the good bits- food and people without any of the consumerist panic or stress of work parties and the pressures to have things done in time for the christmas break.

  113. I love, love, love the look of the needle gauge pendant – but my first thought was “Do you know how much yarn you can buy for $500?”. My husband would point out (to me, the nutter that uses up all that yarn so fast) that $500 doesn’t go as far as I think it does.
    Screw the tree, get more yarn.

  114. I remember FOs! I even remember this remarkable thing called knitting – I seem to remember I usually find it very soothing. I even packed that very pattern in my gazillions of cargo boxes…. It looks great! Wish it wasn’t going to be 3 months before I see the pattern again… The socks are pretty darned cool too.
    I hope your house woes do actually finish on time. Ours are about to start 🙂

  115. First – that is a very pretty scarf – well worth the hassle. Second – baking and cleaning – you have teenage daughters, no? That is their gift to Mum sorted! Third – remember – mid-winter is June in the Southern Hemisphere – so pretend that you live in Oz or the Falklands or somewhere, and celebrate in June – another six months knitting time! Seriously, as mny Ancient Parent says – it came to pass, and it will pass.

  116. LOL . I’m done and wrapped and baked and knitted and decorated. I start on boxing day 🙂

  117. I like the “seashell” pendant – but I’d bet most of us are more likely to be on board for the sterling or “lightweight” (aluminum?) versions…

  118. Why not light a candle on the winter solstice and call it good? Saves time, energy, money and way lots of stress. We quit doing Christmas years ago and it is fine, just fine. Feel smug between the 21st and Christmas as you watch everyone else scurry around frantically, while you wonder why they are fussing? and just get back to pouring money in the hole and knitting.
    I know you won’t do it, but do know that we (the unseen vast hordes of fans) are sending thoughts your way of a complete and utterly modern/functional house, basement and heating system, a cozy bank account stuffed with savings, and all the time and good cheer in the world for knitting, beer, coffee and possibly even a small Christmas tree.

  119. DON’T DO IT!!!!
    “Christmas,” that is. Just shut the curtains, tell everyone that due to unforeseen circumstances their “Christmas” won’t look like any other they’ve ever had, and do the absolute bare minimum to keep you from feeling like a scrooge. Seriously, you’d be surprised how far so little can go: throw a string of twinkle-lights on top of a green branch on the mantel, toss some shiny ornaments in a bowl on the table, and put the Christmas music on. That and a hot-cocoa is truly all you really need.
    We’ve been forced to “not do Christmas” like this and I have found it to be such a liberating, joyful experience that that’s how we do it most years now! You really get at the core of what the holiday means for you. PLUS, you’re not exhausted after it’s over.
    DO IT! BOYCOTT “CHRISTMAS!” you won’t be sorry. ;~)
    ~ hb33 ~

  120. Since you were the one who twittered about Christmas last week (shattering all my cozy illusions that I still had plenty of time), I’m a bit surprised you didn’t listen to yourself. 🙂
    Still, what everyone else said- Christmas is whatever *you* choose. Have it, move it, hold it at someone else’s house- whatever- you and your friends and family will figure something out and whatever it is, it will be fine.
    And if another commenter has mentioned it I didn’t see, so I will: One of the great December traditions on the Blog the last few years has been the annual Knitters Without Borders post. Instead of worrying about the hole, why not think about all the people you’ve helped by bringing the MSF to the attention of so many people?
    My own plan- this year I’ve cut way back on shopping, and I intend to find something for an extra donation to MSF- with the economy so bad, I’m sure they’re hurting. Merry Christmas!

  121. “Put it all down” my zen master likes to say. The world will not come crashing down if you can’t do all the Christmas stuff you usually do. And all your friends and family will love you just the same:-)

  122. Have you seen Magpie Girl’s blog on picking 8 things for a peaceful Christmas? It really helped me slow down and enjoy.

  123. Do Canadians really say “hoser”? I know I do, but only because I’ve listened to too much Bob & Doug McKenzie!

  124. Don’t we go through this EVERY year? Make some lists, delegate to the family members, stop at a bakery, and wrap up balls of yarn, with a pictured pattern and a nice love note saying that this is what they’ll be getting from you later (February) when they have the winter blues and Christmas is long forgotten.

  125. You’ve got your family, you’ve got your health, you’ve got your knitting. Don’t worry about doing Christmas “right”, I think everyone will understand.

  126. I sure hope you are making out okay at your home with this snow and rain today! I hope that things get sorted soon so that you can have some semblance of your life back.

  127. I’m so sorry that the hole is still causing problems and disruption to your household and budget! About Christmas, maybe you and Joe could hold a family meeting with the teenage daughters and work out a plan. Definitely keep the knitting, but the baking and decorating could be scaled back. If the teens protest too much, they are old enough to bake and decorate, right? You have the two most essential things–love and family. That’s riches.

  128. I nearly spit my coffee out just now. Hosers!!!! Makes me think of that old move, Strange Brew. Great movie.
    I feel your pain, Steph – my situation’s not much different this year – instead of a hole/furnace, it’s cars. I’m raising my coffee to you in a mutual hope for better days ahead!!!

  129. Wait, aren’t you expecting a child around Christmas time? That should be enough celebration for anyone. The rest is all for show.

  130. I am really enjoying reading about other people and all the different ways of “enjoying” Christmas. We are celebrating this weekend, and in a more simplified way. Things do seem to change when the kids grow up and move away. And it is liberating to do it this way. I am loving it. And we’ll be all done. Everyone take care. I love this blog!

  131. Darnnit, I designed those very socks this summer and thought myself SO smart. (Well, mine are blue with green toes, heels, and cuffs, but the stitch pattern is the same).
    Here’s a thought: Christmas is a lot less stressful if you decide not to give gifts. Seriously. Think about it.

  132. String lights around the hole and call it a Santa trap! You need to sell the presents to pay for your renovation.
    If you can knit socks that fast, surely everybody in your immediate family can use a pair a socks. You’ve already got enough sock yarn, I’m sure.
    For your sake, I hope that Flitter is not prescient! (Unless you WANT to increase your family.)

  133. What everyone said. Also, spare a thought for us poor Jewish moms who are trying to knit presents for Hanukkah–which starts Friday.

  134. Just so the rest of the world knows, the word “Hoser” is rarely used in Canadian conversation. Really Stephanie. (frowns)

  135. Ummmm. . . I though everybody was going to get those squirrel foot earrings this year. We’ll be donating to Heifer & Northwest Harvest on behalf of the grownups. The Grandkid will get a little something, but since she never wears anything that I knit, it’ll probably be a check. I am quilting one project which may arrive at its recipient’s by Epiphany, which seems appropriate.
    Hang in there, with that gigantic yard hole. Is the furnace working okay? I hope you’re not freezing to death on top of everything else.

  136. So I’m not the only one behind schedule?
    Stay calm and keep knitting! And if you want to fast-track filling the hole in the basement, you could always sneak over to the neighbors’ while they’re all a-snooze and stuff their giant Fir in there instead ; )

  137. Quite happy to hear I’m not the only one who lost track of December(October, November…). Hope the hole is filled soon (and not just with wads of your hard-earned cash, either).

  138. You are not alone! I, too have lost the entire autumn – have no idea where it went, and still have no idea when the decorations will come out of the attic and fill the home – it will not happen any time soon, I think! good luck on your end, and take care of yourself!

  139. I’m glad you finally noticed. I was really looking forward to the crazed holiday marathon you put yourself through each year. Burned cookies, knitting mistakes, staying up past midnight, coffee meltdowns…..really.
    Except I want you to stay alive for a very long time, so I was hoping this year you were being calm and zen, or seriously purchasing nutria feet accessories, for that memorable jewelry experience that says “I love you like a taxidermist.”
    Here’s a question. Each Christmas, publishing houses put out the book equivalent of sample albums. There will be books of mystery short stories, books of love stories, books of heart-warming chicken soup for the soul stories, books of funny stories, all based around Christmas, with red covers. They have funny cover illustrations, and sparkly mica, or gold-tone-you’ve seen them, right? They’re designed as gift books, I think. Anyway, the set up is usually one big name author, and three or four lesser known writers. Since your December scramble has the full arc of a story- could you talk your editor into looking into this next year? One big story from you, and then three or four other stories from other knitters/bloggers? I’d like to be able to ask for something certain at Christmas, that is very Christmasy. And, frankly, I don’t care that the comely wench serving cranberry grog to the handsome coachman is lonely, and needs a walk to the midnight Christmas eve service, across the spooky covered bridge, and through the menacingly shadowed graveyard.
    just a thought.

  140. My polymer-clay friend and I are doing a craft show at my house this weekend, and the same refrain goes thru my head – what WERE we thinking? And when are we supposed to get the rest of that Christmas stuff done????
    Happily, my teenage son stepped up to the plate last weekend and helped me shop for the tree, set it up, decorate it, keep the kitten away from the ornaments (shiny!!) and tidy his room.
    After this weekend, I’ll shop, wrap and bake.
    No matter what happens in the next 3 weeks, his help and hugs and funny comments will be the biggest Christmas gift I could possibly get.
    Just embrace your family and relax and knit – play with the stash, unearth treasures there, and everyone will probably be happier with those gifts than if you went to the mall!

  141. Your shawl is delicious, socks too. You’re not the only one that hasn’t noticed Christmas creeping up. I think southern Ontario was walking around in a snow-less daze until this morning….
    Also, you said hosers, which totally warms my heart!

  142. I remember an extremely stressful Christmas when I added some white lights to a silk Ficus tree and called it good. I did manage to get some other decoration placed about the house, but the funny thing is that hardly anyone noticed that the “tree” really wasn’t.

  143. You and Joe are doing it all wrong! You’re supposed to paste the $50 bills over the hole.

  144. We are stuffing $50 bills into the holes in our roof….and it’s still raining into our bedroom. Christmas?! pffft we’ll see what gets done about that….at least that’s my attitude today!

  145. I vote we just skip Christmas and New Year’s and head straight for Valentine’s Day! I’m moving
    600 miles away over Christmas. The movers come on the 22nd to get my stuff and deliver me to my new place sometime between the 26th and the 30th. I’m not ready for Christmas. I have nothing made, no time to knit, and no money to spend. I vote we skip it and try again next year! 🙂

  146. These things happened today:
    We got a new hot water heater in advance of the old one exploding in our basement: $$$
    My husband finished his solo album and had it mastered: $$$
    My husband also finished his 13+ year career as a studio engineer and is now looking for work. Despite the challenge that represents, he will now have more time to spend with his family, especially, our 6 month old little boy. I hope our family will understand when all they get for Christmas is bottles of hot water.

  147. Hey, love this blog!!!!!!
    Do you guys just knit… or crochet as well????
    I’m thinking you are all hard-core knitters.
    I’m fickle, I do both, and have lots of patterns in crochet on my site, but a few of knitting.
    I would love it if someone would like to do a
    critique on any of my patterns!!! Anyone up for it?
    Message to steph… visit me at and if you see something you like, email me, and I will send you a free pattern. (You can convo me from my site!)
    Emi from Hectanooga

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