For the record

Someday a bunch of knitters are going to be sitting around, and they’re going to have a conversation that goes like this.

"Hey, remember Stephanie Pearl-McPhee? What was her blog… Yarn Whore?"

"Yarn Harlot.  Sure, I remember her."

"What ever happened to her?"

"Dude,  you don’t know? She disappeared."

"Really? Like actually?"

"Totally. Her family get’s postcards from Belize or something.  It was that Christmas, the one where she tried felting like… five pairs of slippers or something, and she had this flipped out idea where she would do it in a bathtub with a plunger or something.  It was even like, a mini plunger – it was totally stupid.  Anyway, it turned out that the felting didn’t go that badly really, or it was really stupid, but she switched to a bucket or something and that was easier… the police report wasn’t that clear.  Anyway, the pairs all had to be done separately because they were linting on each other, or at least they think that was the problem.  Her neighbours heard someone screaming "%^&*(&^%$ING LINT" at the top of their lungs.  Assumed it was her.

"Well, I always thought she was kind of like that anyway."

"Exactly.  So she’s felting with this plunger in the bucket in the bathtub and it’s going pretty well, but she has to do one pair at a time right? So it’s … it’s hours of pounding these slippers in the bathtub, and finally, the whole thing gives her this spasm right between the shoulderblades, just from the plunging, and then I heard that she tried to finish them in the front loader… but something went wrong, I don’t know what. Neighbours report hearing something about "overflowing suds" and something else about a "Sir Washie"  whatever that was.

"So, what, then nobody ever heard from her again?"

"No, no.  She was totally fine after that – or at least as fine as any knitter/mother of three is in the days before Christmas, you know?"

"Totally.  Last year I was nuts. Cookie incident. You never know what’ll take you down."

"Exactly.  So then everything is pretty good and she’s working on some kind of plan and I think she thought she needed different soap or something? I dunno. Really fuzzy details.  All anyone knows is that somebody asked her if she was doing meringues this year, and then I think they were out of beer, and she still had the felting injury between the shoulderblades, and maybe there was even something about a carpenter coming the morning of the 22nd?  By all reports she totally had it together until there was just too much and then she wigged out and took off."

"What was the last straw?"

"Apparently four days before Christmas she couldn’t find her clog pattern."

"That would do it."

"I know."

266 thoughts on “For the record

  1. “It’ll be fine. It’s just an experiment.”
    An experiment on how quickly you could lose your sanity? You hadn’t pushed the limits of this in previous years?
    You can come hide out with my SnB here in I-O-W-A…we have beer.

  2. I still say felting is no place for anyone with control issues. I gots me one pair of French Press and am now switching back to something easy and soothing, like cobweb lace.

  3. dear stephanie —
    next time, bring your felting projects to indy. we’ll throw ’em in my daughter’s 20-lb top-loader while she’s asleep or at her boyfriend’s, and when they’re done, we’ll go to a place that has wonderful micro-brews and fabulous fries with your choice of a dozen sauces to celebrate. (it’s even knitter-friendly.)
    and if it’s any comfort, dd’s tote/purse, made in indy colts blue to match her scrubs for work, still has no handle cuz i can’t figure out what will work best. i need to just DECIDE already and DO IT!
    merry christmas and a yarny new year!

  4. Too funny! Can I come, too? Thanks for helping me to remember to laugh this time of year–which, as you can imagine, with 3 kids, Christmas AND 2 birthdays this week is sometimes difficult.

  5. I hear it’s lovely in Belize this time of year (but the beer? a bit sketchy!)
    If you have a tennis ball handy – and in your house, I suppose anything is possible – I find that placing the ball on the floor and then lying down on it with the sore spot and moving v-e-r-y s-l-o-o-o-o-l-y to massage the muscles will sometimes help ease a spasming felting injury. And a good long soak, after removing the &*$%& lint of course, with a beer and perhaps a bar of lovely handmade soap?
    A very merry solstice, Christmas, or Festivus to you and yours! And I appreciate the mid-day posting which means I might be in the first 20 or so comments, too.

  6. If you can’t afford the airfare to Belize you can always stay in Delaware rent-free. Sometimes a mom just has to get away. Happy Solstice!

  7. Since when is Christmas on Friday? I’ve been under the delusion that it was Saturday….. Thank goodness I stopped myself from making six pairs of French Press slippers. Seriously – no one will know what you meant to do, take a deep breath, a nice long beer, and hope that Christmas is on Saturday…..

  8. I suddenly have this mental image of you in Belize, nursing snapped knitters back to health on the beach with beer and banana fiber.

  9. What happened to the “if it’s not working out at the 20 minute mark, I’ll stop”….? And I echo the sentiment about the tennis ball on the floor – just go gentle at first.

  10. Oh, Stephanie. Poor dear. I would think that a beer or two would help to somewhat relieve the pain of the felting incident, both physically and mentally. Throw in a shot of tequila for good measure.
    Belize is quite an awesome place to escape to. And inexpensive too, so we wouldn’t have to spend too much yarn money on food and a room. I’ll get working on acquiring a passport so I can join you.

  11. just call all the wrong colored lint “tweed flecks” and you’re good to go!
    yeah, i know, i’m also too much of a control freak for that to fly…

  12. Come to my house! I have a top-loader and my son arrives from Montana on Wednesday; he’s a brewer at Big Sky Brewing in Missoula. He. Makes. Beer. Every. Day.
    And I have hot buttered rum mix in the fridge for days just like yours. I think that’s what Mama’s having for Christmas Eve lunch and maybe supper too. I might just go on an all-Hot Buttered Rum diet. That’ll go well with my Christmas cookie and Chex mix diet, right? Right now I don’t care that it’s taken me seven months to whittle off nearly 40 lbs. I bet I can put most of it back on by next weekend. And I like the sound of Belize–I can be packed in an hour.

  13. Stephanie, I’ve been worried about you. . . here’s something to make you feel better. Imagine 23 inches of snow, 100 miles south of New York City, where no one has snow tires or knows how to drive. See? Could be worse! I think. This year I assigned myself no Christmas knitting. It feels. . . wrong. But wonderful! I think knitting is what birthdays are for. I notice a sorry lack of photos of finished slippers. Significant?

  14. HA!
    So my question is…how are you supposed to make these things as gifts when you pretty much need the feet of the intended recipient in order to make them the right size? I thought about using my wife’s feet while she was asleep, but in the end I gave up and spilled the beans, making her promise to forget she ever saw them between now and Christmas. I’m working on a pair for my daughter now. My plan is to tell her they’re for her great grandma, who (unbeknownst to her or anyone else) has extremely small feet for a grownup, and would she please help out by letting me fit them to her feet.
    Incidentally, I used the plunger-and-bucket method on the first pair and it worked brilliantly. I’m not sure what the tennis balls are for, since they float and the knitting sinks, and so they don’t come into contact very often, even when I’m vigorously plunging away.
    Great pattern, great project, and a really nice finished product. Thanks for the idea. I bet the designer got a nice Christmas gift in the form of a bajillion pattern downloads. Well deserved.

  15. I wonder if the girls could be convinced that you need gift certificates to a massage therapist for Christmas….

  16. I had a panic moment this morning when I couldn’t find my clog pattern either. Luckily it was just under another pile of yarn. All is well. Keep breathing!

  17. Maybe it’s time to lower your standards and buy everyone a gift card? That always works for me, and it lowers the blood pressure very quickly…
    that or beer…

  18. Laughing….I can’t help but laugh…sorry. I have washed clothes in the bathtub before. No machine and too broke for the laundromat. With a canoe paddle. I was wondering how the slippers turned out and was worried when the blog didn’t change for a few days.
    My solution? Send Joe out for more beer and drink more.

  19. Best. Post. Ever.
    “You never know what will take you down.” Meringues? Slippers? Some other similarly lethal adversary?
    The delayed report on your experiment suggested to me that you had been felted into some vast project and that indeed you are even now valiantly fighting to escape. I picture the struggle to free yourself from the compressive force of some slowly shrinking yarn. Fight Stephanie. We need you.

  20. Tell everybody that they’ll get their slippers sometime before Easter. Or maybe give them as presents for Valentine’s Day?
    January 6 is 12th Night, traditionally the night that the 3 kings reached Bethlehem and gave their gifts. So that gives you 12 extra days.

  21. You have totally captured the “week before Christmas anxiety” with this post. Every year it is something, but Christmas arrives right on time regardless.

  22. Do you really need the pattern? Really? After all the clogs already made? Just askin’.
    We had the old concrete laundry sink with metal legs collapse while the washer was emptying into it and flood the basement with scuzzy water on Saturday, so know that you’re not alone in holiday stress! Everything will work out, I promise! Breathe!

  23. “Yarn whore”, “felting injury”, HA! Brilliant, as always. Hope Belize does you good 🙂

  24. Sounds like if it had been a different sort of liquid you’d have churned butter for the whole city by this point….

  25. Good luck with the clog pattern…lord knows those have to be easier (and less precise) to merit such agony.

  26. So, um, this may be a stupid question, but why not take all your to be felted stuff to a laundromat?
    I’m feeling the pinch too. I have only ONE more skein to knit into an afghan. Funny that this one skein happens to be a NEVER ENDING skein. I should have started with this one – it would have made weaving in ends SO much easier… :)K

  27. Yes, a nice vacation, you need one. I contemplated planning one for myself last night, you could join me on the beaches of Spain, or somesuch hot, sunny locale. I found my son had taken up knitting on his own Christmas afghan last night, and decided a vacation can only help.

  28. Laughing, reading all the comments and still laughing. Thinking of a plunger in a bucket in the bathtub, still laughing.
    Thank you and have a very Merry Christmas!!!
    PS Feel Better

  29. So funny and familiar, too. Socks are unfinished here, the dishwasher overfilled and the construction crew just drove up…in the snow…to demolish my deck and ramp and build a new one, uh, before Christmas? Storm coming in tomorrow….Iiiiiiii. Belize sound good. When do we leave?

  30. Oh nooo! Hahahaa! I’m going to get fired if I keep reading you at work. People are staring at the laughing crazy lady in Room 122. Its nice to know I’m not alone…

  31. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Thank you so much for making me laugh today. You are a great humourist-so fun to read and follow. Good luck with future felting endeavors!

  32. *sits back with a beer* would this be a bad time to mention that my christmas knitting is done, and has been so for the last week? am I gloating, me? never! 🙂 I wish you the best of luck in the pre-xmas knitting scrabble. I’m going to go hide from the pitchforks now!

  33. Hang in there! Have a beer, or eat some christmas cookies. It’s going to be ok. Your family would rather have you in one piece, sans presents, than presents sans harlot.

  34. Oh Steph! Beer. Drink beer and knit.
    Maybe hold off on a bath right now. Bad associations.
    I second the vote for a gift certificate for a massage this Christmas! Best wishes for a *calm* moment this Christmas season. You deserve it!

  35. I lost my little Christmas tree. I have torn the house apart looking for it. My husband has offer the two following comments.
    You’ll find it the week after Xmas.
    If it is your yarn room, you’ll never find it.
    yes I have a yarn room.
    Good luck with the clogs and slippers. A tall glass of your favorite liquor should help.

  36. Ouch! Gotta agree with KarenK (although I never done felting-good thing). The laundomat idea would have taken way less time and pain. Though much less fun for the blog… the picture in the mind of the bucket, the plunging of the slippers in the tub with much swearing involved-and horrors(!) no beer in the house.
    Hopefully by now there is beer, and a heating pad may help the pain. Hope you make it through the next of the week….or that you are enjoying Belize. 🙂

  37. Erm… About those French Press slippers………
    90 minutes? It took me probably a whole day of knitting/assembly spread over 3 days, due to my apparent inability to sew the bits together right way around. Not a knitting goddess, obviously! However, they did felt down and look approximately like they are supposed to. I used homespun shetland, and of course did not check gauge, so they started out about 2″ longer than they should have been. Fortunately, I have a top loader. 😉 Moral of the story. Don’t believe everything the Yarn Harlot promises about how long things will take, if you are a mere mortal, LOL.

  38. When they write on my tombstone -a crazy knitter mom from MI dies from laughing at the yarn harlot’s blog about felting with a plunger- we know that we have all lost it this holiday season

  39. Today I am thankful I am allergic to wool. Used to feel sort of ripped off that I couldn’t felt, now I don’t feel so bad about it. Feel better!

  40. this is why i throw it in a pillow case and launder with everything else… i usually have to do it at least 2-3 times, but no shoulder pain, no insane (unless i forgot to run the washer and hub ran it another time and didn’t warn me and i didn’t block it wet… oye vey)…

  41. Is it any comfort that your blogging about these slippers saved my Christmas knitting? Because, they’re wonderful. And you’re welcome to use my top-loading washer any time. 😀

  42. My new washer won’t work for felting, but old wringer washer works better than anything else I have tried.

  43. If you’re escaping & have your iPhone in hand, don’t forget that “Mobile Me” accounts work with the phone’s GPS on a “find my phone” feature… while it’s a dead useful feature when you’ve actually misplaced your phone, it could give you away if the family uses it when they go looking for the meringue-maker & beer-buyer. Good luck hiding out!

  44. ooh, my sympathies. for everything. hope the spasm goes away and that you find the pattern. and relax….
    a big hug!

  45. We drive ourselves crazy… and it’s a shorter trip at this time of year. Merry Christmas, and I’m glad you’ve kept your sense of perspective. After all, the hole in the house is fixed!

  46. Am I the only one that is thinking, bucket, plunger, three pillow cases, and a few locking diaper pins..two batches in the bucket is better than 6 and the pillow case will hold all the lint in!

  47. So you’re one of the knitters in Franklin’s post Saturday night. It’ll be over soon. Have another beer or some Screech wasn’t it.

  48. I felted three pairs this morning…each in a separate, zippered pillow cover. You should’ve come over. We’ve always got beer.
    In fact, I’d have felted all of your slippers AND my slippers if you had just knit and sewed all of them. It took me five days to do two pairs, working off and on, and then I spent all of yesterday knitting/sewing the third pair.

  49. Hey, Christmas in Belize can’t be too bad~!!! Hope yours is terrific…wherever you are!!

  50. Belize, you say …?
    Good idea, many people still speak English there, the food is not bad and I could get there in 15 hours by bus and bring you good Mexican beer ( the beer in Belize is not worth putting on ice ) and a bit of yarn . Of course I imagine that at least one of your getaway suitcases is full of yarn…:o).
    You could have chosen a worse place……
    Seasons’ greetings from 39F Mexico City…..
    I know, I begged Santa for Christmas weather and it looks like he listened…lol.

  51. Hi Stephanie
    Oh I’m so glad you posted. I had images of you having inadvertently felted the slippers onto the end of your sleeves which were more than likely constantly falling into the water and getting tangled up in the plunger. Can you imagine lifting a beer with 5 pairs of slippers attached in a line on the end of your arm. I suppose you could have called them Tibetan prayer flag slippers and claimed them as a new invention.
    Well, now I can rest easy knowing you will be drinking your beer(s) without trailing footwear behind you.
    Have a great 2010 when you have finally done with all the Xmas deadlines!
    Moi x

  52. I KNEW there was a reason to be scared. I can absolutely, totally picture the entire event, the innocent request that took you down, and while I cannot ever imagine felting with a toilet plunger, I know with absolute certainty that I have done and will do Things That Seem(ed) A Good Idea At The Time.
    Merry Christmas Stephanie!

  53. We know when Christmas is every year right? Still, I am going crazy doing all sorts of Christmas crazy that is the bare minimum. Except I will be casting on a pair of slippers tonight. I may see you in Belize. . .

  54. I always knew why I bought and read your books and blog but this is above everything. You are funny and wonderful. Thanks for sharing with all us readers!

  55. And, before the air became blue, how many times did the family interrupt this episode?
    Sometimes, the best ideas really go awry in practice…but they make for great reading. By next year, think what a great story this will make when you and your knitting buddies are gathered!
    Hugs and a virtual massage (or may a geisha walk on your back!),

  56. Love the blog post. I think you summed up the stress we knitters feel as the deadline of Christmas approaches. Hope you have a restful Christmas. Merry Christmas!

  57. Please don’t disappear. We *need* writing like this in the world. (If only you didn’t have to suffer for it to be…) Have a beer or nine and try to relax, cookie. Felted items v. sane Stephanie–an easy choice.

  58. Dear Steph,
    You can always send your stuff to me to be felted! How much is return postage from Belize? You always have the best way of making “us” feel normal!

  59. Somehow, I just don’t think a beer or several is really going to do it. Try something stronger!
    This is why I only knit for birthdays now. Way less pressure.

  60. Ha! Thanks so much for the laughs! Wishing you a Merry Christmas with a little stree-free stitching!

  61. Some projects need beer, while others need something a little stronger. You may need to switch to whiskey. 🙂

  62. Lost a pattern? Download another one from Ravelry. Much faster than searching for the missing item. Deep breath!!! It’s almost here. Enjoy it. Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  63. Anybody know if it would be feasible to replace that bucket and plunger with a stand mixer on low speed?

  64. Gee, I thought that bucket thing sounded like a good idea. We’re going to Greece with the daughter and her newborn son to join her husband who plays basketball there. We leave tomorrow (because we don’t have enough stress during this holiday). My plan was to make her some slippers and felt them at HER house. At least I’m warned that it’s not so easy. Have several more beers and practice mindful breathing…. Then more beer or whatever….
    Merry Christmas

  65. It’s so difficult working in a cubicle with 4 other people (all male, all non-knitters) and trying to hide my laugh-till-I-cry, can’t-get-a-breath, shoulder-shaking. But that’s OK! I needed that laugh. Have a mellow Christmas and New Years. Thanks for your blog.

  66. Oh dear, I hope you retain/regain your sanity in time for Christmas! I’m sure it’ll all work out, somehow.
    I wanted to commiserate though. I, too, have lost my clog pattern four days before Christmas, with only one of my grandmother’s clogs finished…..
    Here’s hoping we both find the elusive patterns!

  67. I feel your pain…thorazine…that will keep those around you nicely sedate so you can watch tv and drink beer and not have to hear “only an experiment”.
    May the knitting elves come to finish your felting! Merry Christmas!

  68. I would so happliy throw them in my old top loader but there is always a problem with customs at the border. Surely you know someone with an old washer who is willing to help?
    I hope you recover enough so I can see the pictures.(I know, it’s always about me. Sorry.)

  69. I bought a house two years ago and we got a new washer after the old one started walking.
    Anyway, petrified of hurting it, I felt in zippered pillowcases. This could keep the different slippers from contaminating each other.
    It doesn’t solve the departure of Sir Washie, however. May the force be with you.

  70. Steph: Everyday, DH asks me: What’s up with the Yarn Tart? I don’t correct him anymore. Also, what’s the point of having children if you can’t have them take a turn at the plunger and go on a beer run? Geez, just because they’re older doesn’t mean Christmas bribery (naughty/nice) wouldn’t work. Best wishes and a Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  71. Hey, I am just wondering, can you felt in a hot tub? Has anyone tried it? Will my husband get mad?
    For those of us with front loaders, there is a definite need for a felting alternative.

  72. Lord that post made me laugh, and its so good to know that I’m not alone in having christms totally get the better of me. four days to go, I’m swamped with present buying, wrapping,and gift knitting,and I’ve just run out of yarn for my husbands jumper with only the stinking neck to do!!!!!!! So I did the only reasonable thing. I ran a bath, poured a BIG glass of wine, and cast on a super soft, super chunkey jumper for me. It might not solve any of my problems, but I gotta tell you, it sure made me feel better.

  73. I am so relieved to read a different blog entry! Was afraid you had gone down the drain or the slippers had clogged the drain and you had taken apart the plumbing to rescue them and the cold wintery weather had slowed the process. . .

  74. Poor Steph– here you thought the slippers would be so quick and easy.
    It’s not too late to buy candy for everyone, in lieu of knitted gifts. Everybody likes candy.
    I was stressed that I still had to knit a tea cozy for a close friend I hadn’t bought anything for, but this morning while looking for something else I found that I *did* buy something for her, something very nice, so I don’t have to worry about showing up at her house empty-handed on Christmas, even if I don’t get around to the tea cozy she wants. I’m sure to have time to do it by the time her birthday rolls around in March. Or is it February? I’d better check.
    As we say in our household, Murray Christmas. (My husband likes the name “Murray,” and uses it as often as he can)

  75. I think its too warm to knit in Belize! I also tried the plunger routine, it was not fun!

  76. Funny how “Yarn Whore” makes me think of you + all of us in a completely different way…

  77. Gah! Note to self: never drink tea while reading Yarn Harlot. I did a spit take of tea halfway across the room. The funniest entry yet. You are indeed priceless.

  78. You are one of a kind….
    I’ve thoughtlessly added this little acronym to texts and emails many times, but this post had me officially and heartily LOL!!! Merry Christmas Lady 🙂

  79. You know, I’ll bet you know lots of people with top loaders. Just put out the call! Probably too late…
    I’ve had friends come over to use mine. I don’t ever want to get rid of it.
    Merry Christmas!

  80. So, can you make meringues with beer?
    One of the things I love about your blog is the hanging my head and shaking my head half-way through. What I don’t like about your blogs is not being to laugh out loud while I’m here at work reading them.
    Now, excuse me while I run down the hall to the restroom so I can laugh uncontrollably.

  81. Ah hahahahahah! Very funny. Thanks for this.
    Have you ever felted anything in beer? Maybe it will fizz on its own. I’m so lazy, maybe I’ll try it.

  82. The same thing happened to me!! Except I had relative success in the front loader. Knit on!

  83. I seriously laughed out loud. i mean bigger than just an LOL can accomodate. thanks as always!
    ps i think it might have been the squirrels. the squirrels have taken your pattern.

  84. Sounds like you need something strong. Beer, margarita… you name it, you got it. Hope you’re still able to enjoy the holiday despite your felting injury. 😉

  85. Thank God! I live either five or six time zones earlier than you and I’ve been checking for your next blog for the last three days now at all hours! I’m happy to know you didn’t get “plunged” down the drain or attacked by ravening slippers. I’ve been worried. I need your blog. Can you become a “Yarn Harlot ” junkie?
    It appears that our Christmas Fun this year will be connecting the plumber to the fouled up septic system (yes it’s been emptied and I’m still mopping up the floor and spraying with Oust at least once a day – the number of times I’ve tried to connect with the plumber is far higher!) I think just maybe I’d rather be felting, not that I’ve ever done it before, mind you, but this mop and spray thing is geting old and I love those slippers (Thank you Melynda).
    Thank you so much for making me laugh even on the bad days. A toast to you. Happy Holidays to you and yours! 🙂

  86. Hope the pain goes away. B6 might help. I didn’t knit for about 6 weeks after Rhinebeck, and when I started back, it aggravated my old rotator cuff inury, so now I’ still knitting like a mad thing, but can’t lift my left arm over my head without the assistance of my right . This, too, shall pass.
    By the way, your darn Pretty Thing is what created the havoc.

  87. Okay, it’s too late, but here’s the plan– give people the slippers in their un-felted state, with directions on how to felt them. Tell them to stretch them on their feet as soon as they come out of the machine, and, like magic, they’ll have slippers that fit like a second skin.
    Or buy them candy. That’s the ticket.

  88. Teenage son and I just figured out today that we have 4 days to Christmas. Went shopping in pouring rain for exactly what we knew we wanted two months ago. I let the kid drive. Not a good idea. This and plumbing are why there are drugs for anxiety attacks. Or Belieze.

  89. Oh my goodness. You poor thing. Everyone will live w/alittle imperfection; its character building. Remember, NORMAN ROCKWELL was a guy…no real sense of what it takes to put together a major holiday! So glad I didn’t buy into the 90 minute slipper sale. Many blessings that we all survive our fun!

  90. really, you have only yourself to blame. You *did* mock the likelihood of a clog-related emergency right before this happened. Now you get to test whether you really do have the pattern committed to memory.
    I think the cookies will be my undoing this year. They have to be gluten,soy,dairy,nut,legume,and egg-free. Furthermore, they must be delicious and suitable for a fancy-pants Christmas Eve cocktail party.

  91. Hi
    Sorry you didn’t know this earlier, but the Andean Indians, you know, the llama and alpaca ranchers in the Andes mountains, full (felt) with their feet. Put down a layer of plastic or tarp, lay out your individual items, put hot water and soap, then another layer of a meshy fabric and have a dance. We used to do it outside the fiber department on the sidewalk. I know it is cold there but you could set it all up in your bathtub, and enlist some of your three younguns. The weight of bodies and feet (and I am NOT saying anything about your weight) are perfect fulling (sorry, I’m a purist) tools. Merry Christmas!

  92. I’ve felted in my front loader with great success, maybe yours would work too. I throw in a pair of jeans (no lint) put it on the hot wash cycle with a litte (this is key…little) Euculan and away they go. I’ve been surprised at how quickly things felt in there….I have to be careful or I end up with mini items. Waaay easier than a plunger, not that you probably want to hear that at this point.

  93. My festive trauma is when my beloved promises to buy wrapping paper on December 1st and then, well, just doesn’t and asks me every day from 20th whether I have any. Every year.

  94. …at least you didn’t get the two feet of snow that Virginia and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic states recieved.Well,gotta go.Only three and a half days to finish half of a scarf and a whole lap quilt.Best Christmas Wishes to You!!

  95. I KNEW I should have commented earlier – my washer does NOT felt – way too gentle, sooooo, I felt in the dryer. Just throw the things in with whatever load is in there as many times as necessary, wetting down well in between loads. Took three loads to do my last pair of French Press slippers, then form neatly and allow to dry over the heat vent.

  96. Oh man, I know all about that spasm between the shoulder blades, and it’s not even from plunging to make knitting felt, just life.
    Wish I could ship you my physical therapist, he’s totally magic.

  97. Stephanie,
    You are priceless! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful blog. I have laughed, cried, smiled, sighed, etc… right along with you for ~ 5 years now & I consider you a tremendous gift. I wish you & yours a Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2010. Don’t worry about 12/25; you know you’ll pull it off!

  98. Stephanie, you are more than welcome to come visit me in Philadelphia. It’s lovely and snowy here. I have a wonderful top loader and a fridge full of wine. Maybe one beer. And I have no problem cooking vegetarian. And I live one block away from my LYS.

  99. What a brilliant, witty post! I think there’s a movie script in there somewhere…
    I’m so sorry the felting didn’t go as planned. And now I have guilt for, along with many other readers, nagging you into posting when you’re clearly in trauma.
    In case the trauma doesn’t clear up, have Joe fetch extra beer. Drink it all. You won’t care about the knitting until after Christmas is over. Promise.

  100. Canadian Blog Awards 2009 – you should have let us know about the second round. We would have supported you.

  101. “Well, I always thought she was kind of like that anyway.”
    I think that’s what people say about me.
    You are so funny, and so what I needed today.

  102. Aw nuts! And I was rooting for you,too. I’ve read about felting with a plunger, and it sounds absolutely doable, not at all crazy like some of your other, um….cough. Anyway, I knew the story would be good either way.
    Of course, your most hairbrained idea of all time was the Sock Summit, and look how that turned out. You can’t expect the gods to favor you like that twice in one year.
    So it’s promissory gift cards again this year. It’s a grand tradition.

  103. You continue to crack me up! Thank you for sharing your adventures – good and bad. I love your sense of humor! And I look forward to all of your knitting projects to come next year.

  104. Oh, my. Um, beer, beer, ice and … I guess I won’t ask you why you bought a front-loader in the first place. 🙂

  105. You really don’t know how much I needed your entry today. I laughed so hard, I almost peed my pants. Try getting ready for Christmas, having your office phones and fax go down because of rain, and on top of everything, our fiscal year-end is on the 31st. Who every said that December is the happiest month of the year, should be first drawn and quartered and then shot.

  106. I love to laugh. I needed a good laugh. Thank-you. and –
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  107. My husband just lost his job right before Christmas. I really, really needed a laugh. Thanks, Stephanie. xoxox

  108. Oh god.
    A carpenter coming?
    That does not sound good – although that means a professional will be working, right?
    So better than it could be.
    Oh man. I never thought about the slippers needing to be felted seperately. I would have discovered that for myself halfway through mottled semi-felted slippers.
    Oh Sir Washie. How you are missed.

  109. Thank you so much for letting us all know what happened and in such a creative and funny way…a la Harlot. I too have been checking just about every day for an update.
    Maybe next year, write stories for your friends and families and don’t go so crazy knitting. I mean really, how long did it take to come up with the gem you wrote about the felting gone wrong?

  110. So what you’re saying is that we (your loyal blog readers who would never forget the name of your blog) should not actually try felting 5 pairs of clogs individually with a plunger and a bucket? Oh, darn! ‘Cause I was totally going to try that one! Hope your back gets better soon!

  111. My advice? Forget the ^%%&($$!!! felted slippers, and tell them to go buy their own. 😛 I’ve had enough problems with them myself…I give up.

  112. Stephanie,
    I have been anxiously awaiting this post. I too have been knitting multiple pairs of slippers and I even used the bucket in the bathtub method. My hands HURT and my back is stiff 🙂 I apparently don’t have the physical stamina for this method of felting so I gave in and put the slippers in the front loader. 1 out of 3 slippers turned out well or decent anyway. I just want to have 1 lovely pair to give my mom for Christmas! Thanks for sharing your felting journey with us 🙂 Merry Christmas!!!

  113. I laughed. A lot. I’m sorry you’re having such a rough go…but still, I laughed. A lot.

  114. If it makes you feel better I lost 1 of the flaps in the felting process. I am still under the impression that when I left the washer unattended the dog dared the cat to open the washer and run off with it. I am sure I will find it Dec 27.

  115. Right behind you, it will either be cookies or a tie that takes me down! (don’t ask)
    Happy Christmas!

  116. Stephanie, your blog archives got me all the way through finals, and now it’s three days before Christmas and I’ve just cast on my grandmother’s present (a Springtime Bandit shawl) and I’m all, if the Yarn Harlot can do 11 billion pairs of socks, I can knit my grandmother this ONE THING. You’re an inspiration and a delight. Good luck with the holidays. 🙂

  117. God- you had us hanging a day or two with the hint on twitter about the injured shoulder. I was waiting to see how it all turned out! It is time to put your feet up and have a beer, girl!
    Merry Christmas and a million thanks for allowing us into your life. You are just the best!!! I liked thethe very first comment on today’s blog…. “You are nuts and an absolute pleasure to read!”.YAY!

  118. You saved me from bucket felting/shoulder injury insanity. I saw those slippers on your post and am trying to knit 3 pairs before Christmas- but can’t felt them at home either. The bucket idea sounded promising…

  119. Well, where ever she went, I’ll be there as well. Ready to take off as I struggle to get the cookies baked, gift socks knitted, cleaning and re-cleaning the house to be ready for holiday company – and, then, today, our contractor asked if he can come over on Christmas Eve to work on the bathroom – a “3-4 week” project that is now in its 7th week! Oh, yes, I will be right there with her!

  120. Poor Stephanie. Sounds like you need some deep heat and a good shoulder massage. But what is the status of the slippers?

  121. Some Eastern Orthodox churches (e.g., Serbian, Russian)still observe Christmas on January 7….Could be a sanity saver…Just sayin’….

  122. Dude.. drink some beer, go relax at the laundromat..with the slippers and write us more posts like that one cause you are so damn funny, lol.

  123. I thought I was unlucky when I went to buy the pattern and they were sold out. Maybe the knitting gods were looking out for me. If Stephanie has problems, then I know I’ll need at least 3 months to make one pair. And I was planning on several this season. This blog is the highlight of my day–although it does seem strange to feel empathy for someone while laughing like a jackass at the same time. Hang in Stephanie–there’s a new year just aroung the corner.

  124. (Ha, ha, stop, ha, gasps for breath). I can just see all of us on the beach, having a support group meeting between drinks. “Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I tried to felt with a plunger.” “Hi, my name is Rain, I’m a dyslexic fledgling knitter who really believed she could make a cabled ski hat by knitting on her breaks and lunch 3 days before Christmas.”
    I wonder, if you threw those slippers in just before high tide, and the beach was kind of rocky, and you left a long tail so you could hold on…?
    Knitters never fail, they just have lots of odd-looking wooly cat toys.

  125. Yeah, after my failed 5 washing attempts to knit a pair of slippers for a gift… well, I’ll see you in Belize. Unless you know somone with two toes and a size 17 foot… then I’ll trade you for a clog pattern.

  126. Felt on, fearless leader. We will follow you to Belize or anywhere else. And we want nothing from you but your words and your wisdom.

  127. Long time reader, first time commenter.
    I’d actually planned to send you this long note (after the first of the year, of course, when there was a snowballs chance in hell you might have time) to thank you for posting as often as you do. You brighten my day every time I read about yours. The head of my knit group turned me onto your website through your books and like any anal retentive/OCD (read: normal knitter) person, I had to start from the very beginning.
    I’ve finally caught up to the present and had to stop to offer a hug. It’s the hot season (or dry season rather) in Belize so you might not want the hug but would you, perhaps, like to trade places? I’ve two sets of cabled arm warmers to knit in 4 days… Did I mention that I’ve been knitting for almost a year… and I taught myself on YouTube? So, I’ll beat on your clogs if you’ll cable for me. Deal?

  128. OMG!!!!!!!!! That has to be one of your all time funniest posts!!!! Seriously however, you really need to put a warning in front of posts like that because I almost sprayed coffee all over my computer monitor! Don’t feel bad about the gifts, you’re not alone in your panic. I’ve had so much crap happen this month that’s totally beyond my control, that I have just been blown out of the water as far as Christmas goes. Not even a glimmer of hope that I’ll get everything done. I mean we don’t even have our Christmas tree decorated yet LOL! I don’t even want to talk about my Christmas knitting! I’ve decided that I’m just going to have a good time and what I get done, I’ll get done. There’s not much I can do about it anyways LOL! Thanks for the great laugh this morning!

  129. Sorry to post twice for one blog but the plumber still isn’t here and I’m supposed to be at the grocery store shopping for TWO Christmas dinners instead of waiting for him to show up.
    Real reason for writing: My question is, why, after five years, have people not learned they can not drink coffee and read your blog? Maybe now that I have all the time in the world as I sit here waiting for the man with the wrench, I’ll go back through 5 years of comments and see how many parts of how many computers have been ruined this way! Happy Holidays! And remember, if the beer fails there’s always eggnog.

  130. And I thought I had the most idiotic Xmas injury with pulling a muscle by taking home a Xmas tree on foot. (I usually get a douglas, which couldn’t be found this year and appareantly colorados are much more heavier.)…
    But injury by felting… get some rest. And a massage. (If you ever come to eastern Europe I know the best masseuse guy. Big. bald. And almost blind.)
    My report would sound like this: When she put away the Xmas knitting (Four pairs of sockc, two pair of gloves, three hats and a pair of clogs she was so proud to have Xmas under controll… Until she started the baking. The last they’ve saw her, she was deep in flour, and covered with eggs and poppy seed”

  131. OMG ! You are too funny ! You had me roaring at “…yarn whore “. Thank you ever so much for the chuckle and teh realization that i am not the only one that wigs out at Xmas time ! Have a good one !

  132. Good thing about the Christmas to New Years holiday period.
    The consumption of alcoholic beverages is tolerated more at this time of year.
    Just sayin’.

  133. Poor Stephanie! a couple of Iboprufen should sort out the shoulder, not too sure about the felting. I personally so not wish to discuss my own felting attempts – that’s why I know about the Iboprufen tablets. Seriously – I wish you a much better year in 2010 – you deserve it for making me laugh so much.

  134. Someone on KnitTalk (the yahoogroups one) announced that it counts as a Chanukah gift if you START it during the holiday. So someone else chimed in that it counts for Christmas if you START it during the 12 days of Christmas.
    Friends of mine just point out that since the Three Wise Men (so they say, but WOMEN would have taken useful gifts, cooked some meals, and cleaned up the place instead of just standing around talking) didn’t arrive until January 6th, you’re under no obligation to give gifts until then.

  135. you probably won’t even read this far in the comments, but i just want to thank you for always always ALWAYS helping me keep it in persepctive.

  136. Thank you for the laugh this morning Stephanie! I do hope you’ve found your pattern and your knitting is bringing you joy by now. I just love reading your blog posts — you sound like such a fun gal! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  137. Glad you picked someplace warm like Belize, lol….. if you look for something else the clog pattern will pop up quickly. works for me, I always find what I’m not looking for.

  138. Oh dear. I’m afraid everyone else was so witty in their comments, but all I have to say is 1. Thanks so much for letting me know I’m not the only crazy one who would pull a stunt like this (totally something I would do) and 2. You’re brilliant. A comic genius. Thanks for the laughs!!

  139. Uh yeah. I thought “90 minutes of knitting to have something so great?” The first pair took me FOUR days to finish. And they aren’t felted yet. After I learned to pay attention and count, the second pair went much faster, but there is no way these things are going to dry in time. Even if the felting goes perfectly. I’ve never felted before, so I’m sure this is going to go well. My only saving grace is that I did think about the lint factor and all the slippers are the same color.

  140. I had everything under control (remember the bin?) and then my daughter says “Mom. My hair is a lot longer and my hat doesn’t fit right. You know that purple and green hat you were knitting? If you want to give it to me, it’s ok.” Well, purple and green hat is sitting in the basket waiting until I feel like knitting on it again because everyone, including you, dear daughter, laughed at the variegated yarn (which I thought was kind of springy).
    Then my son-in-law said “You know, Mom, those socks you knit me last year were really great… warm and fuzzy. I know I have feet like a giant, but if you wanted to make me another pair of those really nice socks, I’d like that a lot.”
    Then my mother said “You know that great hat you knit me? I left it at your sister’s house and I could really use another one anyway because I have this new coat and that lilac hat doesn’t match this red coat.”
    So what am I doing?
    I’m making myself a pair of sock… they’ll get their hats and socks eventually, but YOU CAN’T FREAKING TELL ME 3 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS THAT YOU NEED PROJECTS THAT TAKE at least 10 HOURS EACH (if I had the yarn just hanging around, which I don’t… like alpaca comes into this house and just hangs around… especially RED alpaca, mother). And my feet are cold.
    So yeah, good luck finding your clog pattern. Instead, go make yourself some socks. Don’t you deserve something special? Maybe make yourself some red alpaca socks!

  141. You are the best, helps the rest of us get thru are days…. As for the clog pattern tell yourself you don’t care and look for a different one, that where it will be….

  142. Lady, you are a delight! I have this mental picture of a women with a soggy pair of half-felted slippers in one hand, a plunger in the other, wandering the streets of Toronto muttering to herself 🙂

  143. Ah yes, an Erma Bombeck moment. I can see Joe wrapping you gently in a blanket and prying the plunger out of your clenched hands.
    Wherever you’re holed up, I hope they have good beer.

  144. You might already know, Anne Canadeo’s book, While My Pretty One Knits (first in A Black Sheep Knitting Mystery), mentions you on page 5:
    “Of course, she had to check out her favorite knitting bloggers, like the Yarn Harlot.” I grabbed it off the library’s ‘new books’ display when I realized that my Christmas ‘to do’ list exceeded my time/skill capabilities and I needed to escape into a book. You’re not alone!

  145. I love reading your Christmas exploits. Years ago I made some decisions to make my life easier. I am a tax accountant and December is work crazy never mind all the Christmas stuff. I don’t decorate (no kids so societal pressure is gone). I don’t bake. We are all struggling with our weight anyway. I start knitting in July for gifts. Most have to be shipped off early in December so my deadline is like December 15 not the 25th. This week I am deciding what I want to knit for me over the holdidays.

  146. Merry Christmas to your family!!! And thanks for all the insight and laughs. My day wouldn’t be complete without reading your blog.
    Now I’ve got to get back to 3 hats and 3 pairs of mittens (for 1 toddler). Your ‘multiples’ are rubbing off on me. 🙂

  147. Oh my, good tidings to all! Brilliant and funny. I loved that post – gave me lift in my freezing house, marketing lists, overnight guests coming (argh) et al. Merry Christmas.

  148. I don’t suppose it’s too late to borrow some one else’s top loading washer? I would let you use mine, but it’s down here in Ct.

  149. I have a pain just east of my tailbone that heads north before turning back south to land in my right elbow – oven cleaning last week following tsumani-like overflow episode that prevented all other cooking activity until blackend “spill” was eradicated. Its making everything else I have to do now hatefully uncomfortable – ‘think maybe I’ll just disappear too! Thanks for the inspiration!

  150. You probably don’t want to hear this but I’ve had really good success felting things in the dryer (although you do have to keep a close eye on them).
    Hey, there are 12 days of Christmas so have a drink and relax. Thanks for a year of great blog entries.

  151. Oh dear. I was afraid of that. I DID mean to email and tell you what worked for a friend of mine. Quite by accident, she discovered that throwing one of her daughter’s running shoes in with the wash produced excellent felt. Admittedly, I don’t know whether it was a front-loader, but the bashing around did the job anyway. It’s worth a try, even if you ARE in Belize.

  152. Thanks for the laugh on a day that really needed one! I am still trying to figure out how to push Christmas back by at least a week. Or maybe just let it pass with no one noticing? Belize might work….see you there!

  153. Deep breaths? Count to ten? Out of beer #$#$@&@ that! Switch to gin!!
    As we all hope – it will be alright on the night (or in this case Christmas morning). Bless

  154. May I sugesst a second washer, a top loader just for felting? It could be second hand. Just for your sanity you know…
    merry christmas!

  155. Ha! You show those slippers who is boss!!!! I am so sorry about your shoulder blade injury/incident if I was there I could massage them for you (as i am a massage therapist). Next time you are out of beer go for the hard alcohol (like screech or vodka (insert whatever other hard liquor you like) Hope your holidays get better for you!!! *Hugs*

  156. Poor baby thing. I felted in a bucket with a plunger just one time. And it was a beer coozie! I’ll never try that again. I wish you had called.

  157. Warren, up there at 3:13 somewhere. HUGS for knitting your wife slippers and trying to figure her size out while she slept!! What a good man you are.

  158. I am seriously considering buying a top loading machine that pours gallons of water in and is about as energy efficient as a 1950’s fin mobile just to handle my weaving and knitting and felting projects.
    I still do wonder what happened to the Kazakhstani goat fleece that was spun and fumed up the house a few Christmases ago. Was it burned? Could you stand the stench of that burning anywhere within a 3 mile radius of the house? Did you bury it? Drown it? I have visions of some Rasputin-like attempts to put down the Kazakhstani goat fleece yarn.

  159. I have found the best way to survive the stupid season is to only buy for people you really love and adore – the rest get cash or gift vouchers!!!
    No more worrying over what to get people whom you only see once a year when they have their hands out.
    Oh my I do sound like a Captain Cranky Pants but you know I do not care anymore and I am enjoying this Season much more all because of it! Let’s me spend much more time and effort on the people who really count in my life.
    Yarn Harlot? Yarn Whore? Good either way I say. Thank you so much for all the laughs, you have such a way with words. May your Christmas be very Merry and filled with all those you love.
    from Sydney, Australia

  160. Ha ha ha ~ the first time I read this, I thought it said “Someday a bunch of KITTENS are going to be sitting around…” and I thought you surely had gone off your rocker!

  161. We have all been in that space and if we say we haven’t, we are lying to ourselves which is too, too sad.

  162. Well, I just fell out of my chair I laughed so hard. We have a timeshare in belize; lovely place, passable beer, no wool to speak of, nor reason to wear it. If I run into you wandering around down there will report that you’ve been found. Steph, thanks so much — your posts get me through many dark days. Happy Merry to you & yours, and we’ll lift a glass to Sir Washie as well.
    And perhaps embark on those slippers – in ’10.

  163. Oh, I can empathize completely. I’ve been remodeling the kitchen now for about two months. No Christmas decorations are up, no cookies made…. some presents done, but not all. Both kids at their dad’s house….. **Sigh** ….. I’ll have workers at the house on Christmas Eve! But it will be what it is.
    Happy Christmas anyway!!

  164. …I have a clog pattern in the shop…let me know if I should express post it to Belize…!!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours…A. xx

  165. Happy Solstice & Merry Christmas. All the last-minute projects have left the rest of my little universe in chaos. Kids arrive home tonight. Where is the #%*@ scrub brush? Where’s the Tylenol? Gotta go. . .

  166. I went on a jag that involved the other kind of hand felting once. I was obsessively in love with the Crafty Alien felted mini bunny pattern, which has teeny tiny pieces, that have to be felted precisely.
    Soak the pieces, with lots of harsh soap, in water as hot as your hands can stand it. Scrub them between your hands, and attack them with a potato brush. Periodically give them a shock by dunking them into a bowl of very cold water, and check the felting action.
    By the time I came to, my hands were so chapped that they were bleeding in several places.

  167. I feel your hand-felting pain. I made the “Yorick” scarf for a friend, and nothing resists felting more than white wool… I can live a happy and fulfilling life if I never have to stand at the kitchen sink for 45 minutes, thrusting my hands alternately into hot and cold water, rubbing soapy skulls against each other.
    *hands Steph a 6-pack* (if only it were that easy…)

  168. It is 3:02pm on the 23 of December. I don’t have a tree up (have 2 in boxes), no gifts (have no desire to shop), no special meal planned (the freezer is full of food) I just can’t be bothered. A couple of years ago I decided to quit stressing myself. Couple of reasons, no help from the family members (all are old enough) without some serious nagging, and I decided the Who-ville Christmas madness was ridiculous. So I give gifts through-out the year when inspired. Fix luscious meals when I feel like having some company. I shake my head, smile cause I’ve been there and I wish for each and everyone of you peace in your heart.

  169. “And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin
    Steph, leave 2009 behind and may 2010 blossom for you and your family.

  170. Stephanie, Thank you!!!! We are all in this way one way or the other…a perfect family Christmas??? what is that??…One of our family traditions is to watch family vacation each year. It always reminds us that we are not that wacked out…This year was deilightful even with unexpected happenings..the grandchildren are wonderfully parented and handled a huge day with amazing energy for a 5 and 2 year old. I am glad you posted that things were different for you and your family. Different and well not perfect. We are all there with you and tonight I add you to my prayers with a thankful heart that you are so honest. Blessings from Nanci

  171. Start saving your feltables and come stay with me next time. I have a second washer, my old reliable top loader that I couldn’t bear to retire when the new efficient front loader moved in. It works great for dyeing, too. Oh, and my neighbor is a massage therapist. It’ll be fun.

  172. Many thanks for the fun of the 2009 Knitting Calendar. In addition to finding it entertaining, it was very educational for my husband. He thought my knitting pre-occupation was quite unique. Now he knows there are many of us (which scares him a little).

  173. Stephanie,
    I think that the holidays nearly always underscore and bring into vivid focus those dissonant parts of our lives. It isn’t that it’s less difficult to deal with the various problems after the holidays in some respects, it’s that after the holidays you aren’t being expected to go around with a cheerful face all the time.
    We’ve had some degree of dissonance around here as well. One person made another cry on Christmas Day, and another person brought me to tears last night. There’s a lot of disappointment going on, some of it connected to the economy, some of it connected to family that is simply not as close as it was at one time, some of it connected to the particular problems and personalities of several members of the clan. However, I thoroughly understand the need to not share someone else’s story. I also know that sometimes even a humor writer finds it difficult to find humor in some situations. The grueling task of simply dealing with some things doesn’t always give you the perspective or the energy to put a positive spin on it, to say nothing of a funny one.
    Your humor has frequently helped get me through some bad days in the past couple of years. I hope that whatever is going on now will abate enough that your humor can enrich us again, but for now just know that you are in our prayers, and that you’re not alone in dealing with dissonance.

  174. I have to tell you, and this seems the only way to do it: You got me back into knitting.
    Last Christmas, my son’s girlfriend gave me your Never Not Knitting calendar. My son has never known a time when I wasn’t knitting, so when I got the calendar, I made appropriately appreciative noises, not having the heart to tell him that I haven’t really knitted much in the last ten years — I’ve gotten into cross stitch.
    But I kept the calendar, dutifully read every singly entry, laughed my head off at many of them (my favorite was the quote from Albert Schweitzer about every living thing, to which you had added: “Absolutely. Except moths. He doesn’t mean moths…right?”), and along the way — I got interested in knitting again. I’m now plotting out an Aran sweater to replace the one my husband has worn to tatters, and I wouldn’t have had the interest to do this if it weren’t for your calendar.
    My son’s girlfriend broke up with him earlier this year. You better *believe* I made my husband get me another Never Not Knitting calendar for this Christmas. 😉

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