Aptly Named

Every once in a very long while, as I’m spelling my blog name or handing out a business card or signing books, someone very young will ask me what a Harlot is.  I answer as honestly as I can while not mentioning anything their parents might mind me talking about, and say "a Harlot is a woman who has trouble making decisions about what she would like to have.  I’m the yarn kind."

It would seem that it doesn’t stop being true either, because no sooner had I decided that I was really enjoying the Embossed leaves socks, and really was committed to finishing that tank top, I got struck straight though the heart, smitten with another project.   This time it’s all Laura Nelkin’s fault. (She’s going to try and deny it, but don’t listen.  The woman could sell a furnace in Hades. I didn’t stand a chance.)

It’s the Eventide scarf (yarn’s Schaefer Audrey in Almond) and the beads are #8 Japanese seed beads scored (among many, many others) from Arton Beads here in Toronto.  (I love that store.  It seems like you can have so much for so little. All the beads for this scarf were like… $2.)

This scarf is addictive. Completely addictive. Crossing those elongated stitches is a bit of a pain in the arse, but then you do it and whammo. In one slightly fiddly row the whole scarf is the equivalent of three rows longer.  It moves in leaps and bounds, and when none knitters see it they’re enchanted.  Even some knitters are enchanted.  How did the beads go on? How do the stitches weave through each other?  The whole thing is a big wad of yarny, beady fun and  I can’t put it down. 

I can’t stop thinking about it, it’s into my head so deeply that  last night I dreamed that I had figured out how to get beads onto yarn without even really having to do it, and then had come up with the perfect way to cross those stitches really efficiently and quickly and knit the whole scarf in a day.

I admit, I tried what I dreamed when I woke up and it didn’t work.  I don’t know what my subconscious was thinking. Damned useless dream – just got my hopes up for nothing.  Anyway, gotta go.   Knitting beads.  Crossing stitches. 
(Slightly obsessed.)

112 thoughts on “Aptly Named

  1. As one who is constantly distracted by bright and shiny objects (beads, glass, yarn, projects, etc.), I think your “fickleness” to a project is a wonderful quality for a harlot to have! Just means you have varied interests…
    Hope 42 is a wonderful you for you. Arthur Dent would be so proud.

  2. You can start as many projects as you want around your birthday. It’s a free pass (not to be confused with all of the other free passes during the year).
    And hey! It’s not green.

  3. Knitting dreams are the best, aren’t they? I haven’t been knitting due to some major stress, and the other night I dreamt about garter stitch. So of course I have a garter stitch shawl on the needles by my recliner now. So glad to get the groove back.

  4. Is there a male equivalent of a Harlot?
    I am having a serious case of “startitis” lately. And, despite an aggressive push at destashing I seem to be accumulating more yarn.
    I blame the interwebs.

  5. That’s why you’re the Harlot, darlin’. And that’s why we love you. Fickle, yes, but never boring!
    (And Steve @3:32? The word you’re looking for is “gigolo.” The Garter-Stitch Gigolo? It has possibilities.)

  6. I’ve seen that pattern before and never really liked it. But with the needs it seems okay.

  7. I love it! I love knitting with beads, too. I have a feeling I have a yarn in my stash that’s just clamoring to be made up in this pattern… *drool*

  8. That’s a gorgeous scarf, and the beads are the frosting on the cake. Happy Birthday a day late.
    Steve @3:32, I’ve been trying to knit with stash all year and was doing fairly well but then I fell spectacularly off the wagon last Saturday when I bought a sweater’s worth of chunky red yarn for a hoodie. I NEED a red hoodie, and the yarn was ON SALE. 25% off! I couldn’t help myself, I’m a victim of circumstance–and bad companions.

  9. Beautiful scarf!At first glance, I thought there were ants on it until I scrolled down and saw the whole picture!I have a major case of startitis as well-two tank tops, one full sleeve sweater,one pair of socks and a minor fall down the rabbit hole at my LYS all within one week.Not to mention everything else I want to start RIGHT NOW!!!

  10. I love the scarf! I hate those dreams that should be true when they aren’t—like the time I was 8 1/2 months pregnant and dreamed the entire labor and delivery in great detail….and woke up still pregnant. But at least knitting a scarf is more fun that childbirth.

  11. Beads just add a bit of elegance to ordinary pieces so they are really the wonderful accessories to your beautiful stitches! I bet it took longer to string the beads than to do the piece. Just beautiful and thanks for sharing.

  12. Ooooo…lovely! I think that it could look really smashing in some soft handspun singles too. Beads, though, hmm? I’ve not gotten the nerve up to try knitting with beads yet, despite that beauty that they can bring to a project. Do be sure to let us know if you *do* dream up how to get them onto the yarn more easily 😉

  13. Do you have a bead spinner to put the beads on your yarn? I’d never heard of one before until I got in a group doing a KAL for the Shipwreck Shawl (which takes like 5,000 beads) and that little gizmo is a definitely necessity. If you don’t have one, maybe Joe or one of the girls needs to get you a belated birthday gift?

  14. Hey, Steve, look what I found! You too can be a harlot–based on the old definition of harlot.
    Word History : The word harlot nowadays refers to a particular kind of woman, but interestingly it used to refer to a particular kind of man. The word is first recorded in English in a work written around the beginning of the 13th century, meaning “a man of no fixed occupation, vagabond, beggar,” and soon afterwards meant “male lecher.” Already in the 14th century it appears as a deprecatory word for a woman, though exactly how this meaning developed from the male sense is not clear. For a time the word could also refer to a juggler or jester of either sex, but by the close of the 17th century its usage referring to males had disappeared.
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

  15. For what it’s worth: I find the best way to get beads onto yarn is nail polish. Dip the yarn in the polish … take it out, twist it if needed, and let it dry … repeat till desired stiffness is achieved. Once beads are strung, snip off polished portion of yarn.

  16. Funny how the word “harlot” now refers to a certain kind of woman, but it used to refer to a certain kind of man! Women are taking over in all areas. Happy birthday and best wishes.

  17. I have been doing very good at not knitting scarves for the last year. I have knit a blanket and chokers and lace and SHAWLS and STOLES and now I want to put everything down, go get some nice soft fuzzy yarn and – in the middle of June – knit a scarf?!
    Stephanie, you are a terrible influence on me. I shouldn’t read about your WIPs because I just end up with new and terrifying ideas for projects.

  18. Oh fine! I had to download the pattern for myself and will need to drop by my local bead store over the weekend. See what you’ve done!

  19. oh my gosh, am I *ever* glad to hear that I am not the only one who dreams of what they’re working on, comes up with an idea, and then realizes when they try to do it while awake, that…. oh, wait, that’s not going to work now, is it? yay!

  20. Georgeous scarf! I must have the beautiful beaded scarf as well!! Dude I think I am in a scarf phase, everything I have knit even patternsthat I have looked at have been scarves…Is something wrong with me??

  21. Funny how dreams are. I had a dream about a fiddly project and dreamt that I knew to knit backwards (I wanted to avoid purling with two-colors). Lo and behold, the next day, I tried out what I did in my dream, and it worked. Now I can knit backwards, and with two-colors! 😀

  22. Smitten! Yes, me too. I love the not-knitted look of all the crossed stitches. Plus beads…. way to much to resist. Can’t… Resist….. looking for yarn and pattern.

  23. That first picture with the flowers? I was sure your knitting had an ant infestation. Subsequent pictures proved it was a beauty infestation. Time to get the glasses checked, I think.

  24. wow, I love that. It looks more like a craft project then a knitting pattern but I might have to give it a shot.

  25. Don’t you ever wonder why there’s not a good name for a guy who’s a harlot? Why?
    Love those beads. I’ve been on a bit of a bead bender myself lately — they’re a Good Thing.

  26. fun! seriously, I need to make one now, might be a good Xmas gift choice for the 16 yr old girl that seems suddenly to be here all the time

  27. I LOVE it. And I’d just committed to no craft supply purchases for a month (unless needed to complete a WIP: I’m not crazy!). The pattern will still exist in July…. No need to panic….

  28. I don’t normally disagree with you, but…
    I think a harlot knows what she wants. And you know exactly what you want too… Yarn! All different kinds. Different styles. Different skills. Different costs.
    And lots of it. 🙂

  29. Aw man, just when I’d almost come to terms with my “project in/project out” mandate! It’s amazing what a difference colorway can make, too — I’d totally dismissed this one on Rav when I saw it, but the neutral color with the black beads… *bliss*
    Does that make you a Yarn Pimp as well? That’d be harder to explain to kiddies with a straight face 😀

  30. That’s great, except I can imagine those kids going to school and using their new word in a sentence…

  31. OMG that is beautiful!!! Even without the beads I think it would be gorgeous!!!

  32. Oooh, I love that! I knit a headscarf like that a few years ago after seeing Scout (of Scout’s Swag) wearing one on Knitty Gritty. The twisting takes on a rhythm of its own after awhile, and I imagine it’s made more fun with the addition of pretty, shiny beads!
    No, no, I will not start buying beads. No, no, I will not…

  33. Oh my…so lovely. Why am I so very afraid of using beads? I totally avoid them, but your scarf is certainly making a pretty good case for giving beading a try.

  34. That knitting almost looks like macrame (which is a compliment, BTW!), meaning you may have incorporated another craft into the swirl of Harlotry. Knitting, beads, crossing stitches…see?

  35. I love that scarf and since I’ve recently become addicted to all things beady, I have many, many of those little things at my fingertips. I’m going to find that pattern right now!
    Would you please go here: http://tinyurl.com/2a7t46a and vote for Karynne to get a show on Oprah’s new network? She’s a great person and would be have a really worthwhile show! Thanks!

  36. i have to admit… i have NEVER seen any knit item anything remotely like that scarf! i have a feeling it could be examined closely and at great length before a fibre loving person would become tired of it! how hard was it to make?

  37. Happy belated 42nd b-day… awesome! lovely scarf.. You dream about yarn and beads.. what does it say about me that i had a dream my hubby got a tattoo on his calf of a hot dog – complete with those little grill marks?? Don’t even eat hotdogs… hmmmmm.

  38. That looks like a fun knit. I haven’t broken into the bead knitting thing yet. I don’t think I need a new obsession just yet….

  39. My Husband calls me an old crow, due to my sinful lust for anything shiny or sparkly.. inlcuding your new scarf.. its very nice.
    Happy Birthday.

  40. THank you for the definition! As my daughter was readign it alng with me- she caught the joke and asked me “what does a Harlt mean anyways?” I reiterated YOUR definition. lol. Like that scarf as well. Can see why you are smitten.

  41. Wow… I love that scarf. I wonder if I could buy the pattern for my husband for Father’s Day? So what if he doesn’t knit…

  42. Belated Happy B-day! Hope the celebrations continue all week.
    The pattern is pretty, and I know those elongated crossed stitches can be a little challenging until you get the hang of it. BUT you’re knitting with beige yarn now! The green kick was one thing, but to go off it for BEIGE!?!? Someone get Steph a color wheel — or physically drop her in a big bin full of gorgeous jewel-toned yarns in cashmere, silk, angora, alpaca, qiviut, vicuna, etc.

  43. Your birthday and mine appear to be about 6 days apart. I hadn’t realized it in other year. So, late HBD.

  44. Oh! NO! Another thing I HAVE to knit! And all because of you! (again)
    I’ve been merrily going along with only minor inspirations distracting me! I have serious projects with serious deadlines, not to mention things in queue!
    Thanks a lot (with disdain, and excitement)
    …and I might have proper yarn!

  45. That is just a gorgeous scarf. Might have to get that in my queue…actually, definitely have to get that in my queue.

  46. that yarn is stunning, as are the beads and the stitch. delicious and beauuutiful.

  47. I missed your birthday post– happy belated! 42 was a great year for me, and will be for you, too, I’m sure.
    “42” is the answer. The hard part is finding the right question.
    That is a seriously pretty scarf.

  48. I actually started my crafting with beads. I made jewelry before I learned to knit. Then I caught the yarn bug and haven’t looked back at my beads for months. Until I found out I could combine both loves. 🙂 And yes, it is amazing how many beads you can get for so little.
    All of you who are afraid to take the plunge, go ahead! 8/0 seed beads are an awfully cheap crafty treat. Plus, they don’t count if you are on a yarn diet. *evil cackle* 🙂

  49. I feel much better knowing I am not the only one who dreams about knitting… 😉
    Seriously, that is one amazing scarf. I might have to give that a go sometime!

  50. Loverly. Now, if you could just figure out how to KNIT in your sleep (Watch out, Joe, those tips are sharp!)…

  51. I always thought a harlot was on par with a ho, as it were, one willing to sell herself for compensation (yarn?) – I stand corrected…

  52. To Elizabeth @ 6:44: a Yarn Madam, maybe? This is just a gorgeous scarf. I’ll have to check it on Rav this weekend. I had a dream too: one of my coworker’s aunts was sent to the nursing home, and the coworker brought me a huge crate of yarn from Auntie’s closet. At the bottom was a shoebox stuffed with quivut… I wish I had a clue what I was supposed to do with 5 hanks of quivut, but that’s when I woke up. *Sigh* I suppose I would have thought of something I needed in quivut.

  53. Wonder how many people went out & snapped up that pattern after seeing this post? I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’m sure I have something in stash (both beady & wooly) that will work with this pattern. =)

  54. That scarf is absolutely beautiful. I made up a scarf a few years ago that had pearls knit into each end. It was a little traumatizing so I haven’t done it since. But you may have convinced me to give it another try. Just lovely!!!

  55. Steph: When I first started reading your blog, my DH inadvertently (I think) referred to you as the ‘Yarn Tart’ (“what’s up with the Yarn Tart today?” “Harlot, harlot, not tart,” I’d reply). This has become the running joke at our house. Yarn Tart – what’s the definition of that one?

  56. I think that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen…must queue now…totally enchanted…

  57. so 42 is not the answer to _everything_, except in your dreams. It was a happy dream, so you still win!
    The interplay of yarn and bead is definitely intriguing.

  58. I guess to do anything really great obsession is a necessary ingredient – was Picasso obsessed? Michaelangelo ? you bet! You’re in good company!!! And the scarf is faboolah!! (And don’t forget, the other projects will still be waiting patiently for you when you get done!)

  59. Hmmm…… Now that I see your bead work, I’m thinking I could add beads to the shawl I’ve just started. Fortunately, I’m still on the border and haven’t started the design. Darn you, Harlot!
    Liz L.

  60. Dammit, Harlot, with your husky whiskey and cigarettes voice! I’m already in the middle of a lace project! You can’t distract me! You just can’t! (just bookmarked the designer’s page, though)

  61. LOVE the look of Eventide. Is it easy enough for me ? I”ve discovered that if a pattern and st. isn’t easy enough it gets into the ufo pile.

  62. One of my first few knitting projects was an afghan with a very similar crossed stitch pattern. It looked great for a while, but Lordy, did it pull easily. So watch out.

  63. Ouch – this lends some credibility to the argument that it isn’t yarn overs that make lace, because this definitely does kind of have a lace thing going on ….

  64. NOW you have me wanting to do this in a verdant green (hmmm, maybe the Malabrigo laceweight I have here in the shop )with purply-black beads. It’s making me think of blackberry brambles.

  65. Ooooo, very pretty, Stephanie! And since my co-worker caught me reading your blog just now, she wants one. All I asked her was, “Do you like purple?” I have lots of purple size 8 beads waiting for a job.

  66. Happy birthday, but you are a creep. I had the decks all cleared, no aging projects doing the millstone around the neck routine, and YOU go and post this scarf. Now I HAVE to make one. Thanks a heap. 😉
    Oh, and I’d guess a Yarn Tart is when you wind up one of those very small balls. Not big enough to be a whole yarn cake…

  67. Wow, that is a lot of yarn physics in one scarf! I do love beads and a good challenge, though. Crazy!
    I love the Harlot definition! Appropriate for all ages!

  68. Stephanie, you’re the best… I think you have the right idea of how to spend your birthday. And as we age, we do get better and knowing ourselves and what makes us happy. Why resist? Is there a way to get in touch with you about an idea for a future event in Madison, WI?

  69. My favorite harlot story —-
    My 8 year old niece Rachel heard her mother talk about you so much that one night at dinner she said “What is a harlot?”
    Her father, being a little shy, asked, “Rachel, do you know what a prostitute is?” Rachel answered no. Jeff then asked whether she knew what madam was, or a lady of the night– no success.
    It was then that he turned over the conversation to Rachel’s mom, who explained what a prostitute is in some detail. Rachel’s face lit up, and she exclaimed “Oh, you mean a hooker!!!!”
    Now a classic family story, and you feature in it!

  70. I am in love with alchemy’s straw, too. I cannot wait to get it in the shop. And knitting nature is one of our favorites – we have tons of copies as well – we keep it in stock in hard copy. Its just one of those really thoughtful and beautiful books. Now, how do you get those beads on the the scarf? No, really, how did you? We have beads on hand and are working with a local beadshop to put them online, so we have to get to be an expert. This might even make me learn how to knit a pattern!

  71. Beautiful!!! After taking Laura’s class at SAW I totally want to put beads on everything too.

  72. What a great pattern! I love knitting with beads and the great texture and weight that results. I’ll bet that you’ll love it!

  73. I started this scarf at Squam, started it several times, can’t seem to get the beads to end up in the right place when I put the beads on the cross overs… so I think I need to practice before I cast all of them on again…Sigh – you are so fast.

  74. Well, I think the trick is to use a big safety pin as a cable needle. The double yo’s are too floppy for a regular cable needle. Have you seen it where the yarn changes color every 2 rows? Using 2 balls in different colors I mean Also way cool.

  75. Dear Yarn Harlot, Do you have bumper stickers of the Yarn Harlot logo (girl with string) ?
    I love her.
    Sorry about your tank top and shawl ditching problem, but I have ditched a pair of fingerless gloves, a baby blanket, a winter scarf, two shawls and a pair of gloves for, get this, a cotton washcloth! It’s all I can do right now. I can’t do any more (except nap). Maybe it’s the heat?

  76. I love your photography!! Beautiful! It makes me want to touch your projects.

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