Gearing Up

Every year I make the same mistake.  I start working on Christmas stuff early enough for it to count.  I make a spreadsheet, I organize all my stuff, and I start putting pairs of socks and little bits of things away far enough from the holiday that I don’t have to worry so much. I make a spreadsheet, and I start working the system.
Sounds perfect, right?  Wrong. Here’s the mistake.  I stop worrying.  I relax.  I relax right into how amazingly awesome my holiday plan is, and I relax right into the comfort the spreadsheet gives me, and I relax enough that I start making other things.

See that? It’s another tulip baby sweater.  (We’ve discussed before that I might have a little addiction to these. Which reminds me, my supply of the kits is running low.  I have to re-order. I don’t want to live in a world that doesn’t have this sweater kit in it.)

This little sweater just about fell off the needles last week while I was in Washington, and I finished it up on the plane on the way home, which sounds like I was so totally together, which is also wrong, because on todays to-do list is mailing it back to Washington, since it’s a gift for someone at Port Ludlow.   (Whoops. For all my planning, my timing still sucks too.) Then I worked on my grey scarf for a while – which is, by the way, also NOT a Christmas gift, because you know. I have a spreadsheet, and a plan and so much time.

I relaxed.  I relaxed enough that I thought that taking several days to knit a little sweater wouldn’t be a big deal, and I relaxed enough that it wasn’t until I picked up a little sweater I’m making my niece for Christmas that the wave of reality smacked me in the face.

I have a friend who always says "Don’t panic early."
No worries. As usual, I’m starting a little late.

PS. Because the tour page is still not updated (technical issue. I’m working on it.) I’m listing where I’ll be over the next little bit here.

This coming weekend I’ll be at Simply Socks in Fort Wayne Indiana. There’s a lecture and some classes (and I wish that there was another way to say "Lecture" or "talk" because it doesn’t make it sound like what it is – which is more fun than I lecture I think.)

Next weekend (Friday, December 6th through Sunday, December 8th.) I’ll be in Chapel Hill and Raleigh, North Carolina.  I’m pretty excited about that one because I think (don’t burst my bubble) that there will be no snow. I’ll be visiting Yarns Etc. and there will be a talk (there’s that boring word) and classes too. 

92 thoughts on “Gearing Up

  1. How about “chat” or “visit”? Less formal, more intimate than “talk” or “speech” or “lecture.” And I think “visit” is particularly Southern when it means “chat” rather that “paying a call on.”

  2. Sorry to burst your bubble about snow in the South, but we’re supposed to get some type of flurry thing here In Atlanta on Wednesday. And NC is north of us, so who knows. The good news is that I get to wear my 100% wool sweaters early this year!

  3. Maybe you can call it a “routine” as in comedy, or that “you’ll be entertaining at such and such.” I hear you’re a delight when others have attended, I sadly still have not had the opportunity to find out for myself 🙁

  4. The Holidays confound us all…I start in September and think I’m well away by October, in fact almost done, when I remember 3 or 4 more people I need gifts for. Arg! At least you have a spreadsheet…I need to start doing one of those. The baby sweater is delightful – great colors. The other photo didn’t load; I assume it was of the scarf?

  5. Ooh, I have connections in Raleigh! Unfortunately I don’t also live there. Perhaps someday one of your visits will coincide with one of mine.
    I took a look at the title of this post and then at the date and only then, despite writing the date several times today, did I realize that Christmas is One Month Away. And for the first time I’m handmaking three gifts and I’m…not that fast. Eeep.

  6. still catching up on the archives…just finished reading about the olympics in 2006. i’m caught in the mitten vortex. i had to knit a pair of mittens for my granddaughter, someone saw me doing that and asked for a pair. someone else asked for a pair. i have finished three pairs in the past week and am halfway through the fourth. i still have two more pairs to go. the bonus is when i finish pair four, i can get my gloves back. one of the kids i drive to the bus stop didn’t have gloves last week, so i lent him mine. not sure what kind of schedule our yarn harlot has, so if she doesn’t post between now and thursday, to any americans, happy thanksgiving!

  7. Don’t panic…. yup. that’s why I decided that this year I’m not knitting any Christmas gifts. It’s too much all at once. I knit for birthdays, mother’s day, ‘just because’, but I can’t take the pressure of all that knitting with the same deadline.
    of course, since deciding that I’ve made 2 hats and a cowl which are going to be under various trees. But they were knit because I felt like it, not because I had to, and that makes it a lot more fun.

  8. I’m still really addicted to Tulip also. I’m running out of babies to make it for so people really need to step it up!
    I’m afraid I’m doing the same thing with Thanksgiving. I’m hosting and I made a great spreadsheet but I’m not feeling any stress about the whole thing which seems kind of wrong. Surely I’ve forgotten some huge detail and it will smack me in the face later, right?

  9. I just got off the phone with my best friend because I needed her to talk me back from the Crafter’s Ledge of Guilt. I just want to shower everyone with so much crafty love, but I’m constantly restrained by the limits of time, energy, and resources.
    (And all those side projects that happened to jump into the queue…my crafting heart is fickle. But also pretty happy right now.)

  10. You might give a declamation to large gatherings.
    I just finished my brother’s Thanksgiving birthday socks. Now I can think about Christmas.

  11. You have no idea how happy you are coming to Raleigh and Chapel Hill! I’m really hoping to win a lottery seat in one of your classes, and my knitting enabling husband and I already have tickets to your…ummmm…presentation.
    I understand you have a class scheuled at Great Yarns in Raleigh; you’ll, I hope, be pleased to know that just a few steps from Great Yarns is a Whole Foods with a hot bar and a salad bar, plus a deli–lots and lots of vegetarian dishes and sandwiches available there!

  12. Why did you have to bring up the tulip cardigan again? I have so many things that have to have been done yesterday, and now…? I have two kits in my closet. I hid them. But I know where they are. Maybe a better tactic would be to have my husband hide them.
    So, what you’re saying is that your brainwave of October 2006 (Order of Operations: Conceive-PLAN-Execute) doesn’t work. You could go back to Conceive-Execute. You could submit to needing a little bit of panic to kick you into gear.
    Or you could just acknowledge that Presbytera rules your life and has arranged In Excelsis for a permanent Christmas panic for her personal entertainment. Am I right, Presbytera?

  13. Such a pretty sweater! Thank you for the inspiration–I need to get cracking on grandkid sweaters for my own Christmas-knitting-ohmygoodnesswheredidthetimego frenzy.

  14. We’re very excited to see you here in Chapel Hill next weekend! And the weather should be fine – it’s the forecast for this week where they’ve mentioned the S word…

  15. Stephanie, you are as entertaining when you speak as whan you write, so I don’t think it is possible for you to gove a boring talk. I attended one of your all-day classes last year, and time just flew! I hope I will have the opportunity to do so again in the future. In the meantime, you are not the onky one whose Christmas knitting list takes on a life of its own……

  16. I was a good girl this year, just finished up my Christmas knitting this morning and did a happy dance. But, the universe will probably come along and smack me square in the nose with some forgotten gift to knit, at the very last possible minute. Any update on your ceiling?

  17. Yarns Etc. is where I learned to knit! If only I still lived in North Carolina. Make sure to book at least two hours (and a lunch break) to spend at Southern Season.

  18. You could bring a little snow to the Triangle area. We haven’t had enough in recent years. Looking forward to the gathering in Chapel Hill next week.

  19. I have a suggestion that would fix two things: the first is the moment when you forgot to plan for knitting when you go out of town, and the second is Christmas knitting. Make your kits at the beginning of the year (Jan), hang a shoe organizer on the back of your front door. Fill it with Christmas kits. Everytime you leave town, and realized you didn’t plan for knitting, grab one of those kits. Time saved, Christmas knitting saved.

  20. Stephanie, are you going to do the Christmas gift suggestions again this year? I love when you do that and have bought some of the things.

  21. Happy Birthday to meeeeee! You just announced, on my Birthday, the thing I have been wishing for as long as I have been reading this blog! You are coming within 50 miles of my house and I don’t have other plans!!!!! YAY! to the nth power! (oh, wait, you don’t like math….)
    Chapel Hill – see you there!

  22. Would you ever mind sharing this spreadsheet or letting us know how many to-be-knits are currently on it? I did the whole start early, make the spreadsheet routine and I’m still feeling mildly panicked even though one of the biggest items is nearly done.

  23. Ok, don’t get too excited about no snow in North Carolina. This is shaping up to be a crazy weather year in the Carolinas. But I’ll think “no snow” thoughts for you. Wish you were closer to Charlotte, maybe next time!

  24. Seeing your picture reminded me how much I enjoyed making the Tulip kit the first time around– so I go to the website and ALL THE KITS are out of stock–every colorway, every kit…..sigh….hopefully they’ll get a huge Harlot-inspired surge and make some more kits…now I want one!!

  25. The tulip sweater is adorable. I checked your link – they are sold out of ALL kits. It must be a popular item. Will have to keep a lookout for a restock.

  26. You are going to be in Ft Wayne and I am only finding out today! YAY! I am going to try to make it Sat night. Woohoo! Never thought to hear you in person.

  27. WHAT? You’re coming to my neighborhood (sort of) Raleigh NC and I just this minute (7 p.m. MON 25NOV13) discovered this fabulous news!!! I’m begging Yarns, Etc. — please, please, please Mary — to let me in your classes.
    Almost 10 years I’ve been trying to get to an event or class!!

  28. Looking forward to your visit and time in NC. I’ve got a seat for the “lecture” and can’t wait to hear your “cut and paste” talk.

  29. Looking forward to your visit and time in NC. I’ve got a seat for the “lecture” and can’t wait to hear your “cut and paste” talk. Want me to bring you a beer? You drink the dark stuff, eh?

  30. Didn’t you finish the Christmas knitting early last year? You can do this girl! You’ve done it once before, and you can do it again!

  31. I haz a sad that you finally come back to my state (Indiana) and to a shop I’d love to visit, and there’s NO FREAKIN’ WAY i can get to any of the events.
    But welcome to Indiana anyway. Be sure to try some of our craft beers. If you were gong to be in Indianapolis, I’d invite you to hang out with our Indy Pub Knitters crew. Maybe on the book tour?

  32. You could call the talks your stand-up routine. 🙂
    Good luck with the Christmas knits–I admire your work ethic. It’s OK if it’s motivated by panic. How else would we (or at least I) ever get anything done?

  33. I am coming to the talk in Raleigh!! I can’t wait. Wish I could take a class, but maybe someday. Good luck with your Christmas knitting! I always do a similar thing; I am knitting two blankets for Christmas and slacked off a little bit. Now, I’m a little worried about the Girasole getting done…

  34. I always have the same good intentions when it comes to Christmas knitting but somehow… Anyway, I love the Tulip sweater, but I cheat by using a subtle, self-striping yarn. Now onto the 2nd of a pair of fingerless mitts, followed by a hat, followed by an infinity scarf (infinity!!) and about 7 tiny stocking ornaments.

  35. I have been dying to be at one of your events, and here I find out you’ll be where my grandparents live (Ft. Wayne) the *same* *flipping* *day* I will be visiting them. Alas, I MUST leave town hours before you get there and there’s no possible way to stay later. Any hope for that you will grace the Detroit/Ann Arbor area with your presence once again?

  36. I make the mistake of estimating the next round of knitted gifts for nieces and nephew should take as much time as before. No, it takes longer — because those kids dare to grow. 🙂
    The tulip sweater is beautiful. I can understand why you relaxed into making one.

  37. Here’s wishing you no snow.
    On the positive side of winter, snow and cold weather, I was complimented on my heavy hand knit sweater today (not bad for someone in the throws of hot flashes).

  38. Totally off topic, but when you have time, or maybe you can remember off the top of your head–which vendor at sock summit 2 had those wonderful hammered silver stitch markers? I thought their name had ‘cat’ in it, but I sure can’t find anyone in the catalog who sounds right… They are the best ones I’ve ever used, and I’m down to half of the dozen I bought–little buggers keep disappearing!–but I’d sure love to get some more, if you can figure out who I’m looking for. And second question–will your new book be out for Madrona? Thanks in advance, Best, randmknitter

  39. People are looking forward to your visit here! We most likely will not have snow, but it’s been very cold for us here! Some days it hasn’t been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s cold for the South. Safe travels.

  40. I’d sympathize on that time thing, but today, 11/25, I realized that I have only 19 days left until Christmas. That little vacation DH suggested several weeks ago to a warm place, it sounds divine. It also sounds like a huge gaping hole in what was my “I’ve got it under control’ holiday schedule. (sigh)

  41. I don’t knit Christmas gifts because I knit for my crew all year round. What I do get hit with at this time of year, because knitting is my profession and because other people give my handknits as gifts, is a ton of socks and mitts. Unhappily for me, they are mostly for men and usually in rather uninspiring colours like black, navy, or grey. Some are patterned, which makes me a happy camper; and some are not which reduces the production to the level of watching paint dry. This is when I find that I need more movies because I’ve seen all mine eight thousand times each. My current to-do list means I have to knit like a madwoman every single day from now to Christmas Eve – surely people know they are giving handmade gifts earlier than November 22nd? So I still have a last-minute Christmas knitting rush, but it isn’t of my own creation. As a new personal record, this morning I got up at 4:30, whipped out a baby hat in two hours, and sold it at 9:30am to a friend in a nearby town.

  42. Ahhh, yes: The traditional year-end, slow-motion train wreck begins again! Traditions like these make the year-end holidays such fun!
    Obviously, you forgot to make your spreadsheet include known buns in the oven. How can a doula manage to do this???
    Don’t forget: Christmas socks (or kilt hose) for Joe. Something beautiful for your mom. Really cool things for Sam and Hank. Lou needs something he can totally rock. Ken needs something on the order of cashmere undies for keeping this blog going. Your other daughters may be jealous of Sam’s gift, so they need something equally cool. The cat needs some new, hand-knitted, catnip-stuffed toys. And so the X-mas knitting goes. . . .!

  43. Realise I’m a horrible worrier, but not happy with long ties on baby cardigans. Thought this last time I saw this and these ties seem longer. Buttons are safer. Babies are cute, they doesn’t need cute-ing up.

  44. It can be a bit tricky here in NC. In fact, we often cross our fingers for snow … because the other option is —> Freezing Rain, Sleet and !%^&@! ICE. Guess what is going on for the next two days?
    I live down the road from Chapel Hill, if I can find the time/location Lecture/talk/chat/speech 🙂
    M in NC

  45. I hear there is snow in Texas right now… Enough to make toddler sized snowmen… I think anywhere in North America is fair game for snow right now!

  46. I’m so excited about your talk in Fort Wayne-like a kid waiting for Christmas! I’ve been telling everyone that I’m going and I’ve used lecture and then proceeded to tell everyone that you’re way funnier than any lecture they’ve ever attended.

  47. After congratulating myself for getting a lot of my Christmas knitting done early, I relaxed so much that I started taking on painting and knitting commissions that cannot be wrapped up with tubes of paint or on the needles. Now I can worry professionally. If anyone hears me say, “Sure, I can do that”, smack me down and send me back to my studio, won’t you?

  48. I live in NC and will be attending the lecture! I’m so excited! I didn’t win the Class Lottery but I’m happy I still get to hear you speak. Be glad there won’t be snow when you’re here. This is The South where no one knows how to drive in it… and it freaks everyone out. Bread/milk fly off the shelves if there is even a HINT of snow in the forecast…

  49. If you are running out of tulip kits, I bet you could do what you did with socks a few years ago and raid your stash to make up a kit for each month. That would make a dozen babies and their parents very happy. I might do just that myself!

  50. I have two of those kits, still in the bag, that I bought when I attended your 40th Birthday Bash at Lettuce Knit. So, if you’re stuck let me know.
    Elora, Ontario

  51. Lovely little sweater!! Knitting for kids is so much fun but all my adopted ones are grown & theirs are too old now too . . . so I’m stuck with Charity Knitting. Tuques, tuques everywhere! Happy knitting & I think you could make your own ‘kit’ out of the stash!! come on Girl, think of all the sock left-overs.

  52. I am just knitting for myself this year. After last year (when I should have made Franklin Habit’s “Ingrate” sweater), I have decided to finish my own Christmas vest (started two years ago), so I will be ever so festively attired when the holiday arrives. 🙂 (Who am I kidding? There will be mitts, hats & scarves knitted or woven for a select few.)

  53. I saw someone mention that you could bring some snow to the Triangle… please don’t do that, they have no idea how to handle it! Everything shuts down for an hour of flurries that don’t even stick! Luckily/oddly, the first few weeks of December often hit a warm snap, so maybe you’ll be lucky enough to catch that.
    That said, I second the chorus that is so happy you’re coming! Really looking forward to Friday night and your (early) class on Saturday. Somehow I ended up winning the class lottery twice but all the other Triangle knitters will be happy to know I gave up one of them (the fixing mistakes one, I believe).

  54. Completely and totally bummed that you are finally coming to the Raleigh area and I will be in Washington, DC for work!
    I’m starting to panic about Christmas knitting myself. Only thing I really have to get done for Christmas is the sweater for my daughter, but I should have thought about the fact that it’s a cabled cardigan and started a little sooner. Still have time to finish, but it may be close!

  55. Couldn’t help but laugh as soon as I saw that baby sweater photo. Made my afternoon.
    I really hope you’ll be coming to California sometime soon!!! (I live in SoCal but would be willing to drive considerable distances to hear the YarnHarlot speak of sticks and string).

  56. I should have my Christmas knitting finished by the first, though I’m allowing for a few days extra in case I don’t get as much knitting time as I’m expecting over the weekend. This is the easy part — another couple of hats, a small stuffed frog and some even smaller things, like bookmarks.
    The biggest thing is the slippers I make every year for my extended family. Since it somehow keeps expanding, I’m up to three dozen pairs now…once that’s done, the rest feels like a breeze! (Started in the spring this year, with a long break for vacation and the county fair. Next year, I think I’ll start a pair-a-weekend routine in January instead.)

  57. I am SO VERY EXCITED that you’re coming close enough to me that I can come and hear your “talk”! I live about an hour and a half from Chapel Hill, so my friend and I signed up to come to your presentation 🙂 This pretty much makes my whole year 😀

  58. I saw you years ago in Austin, and what you do is closer to stand-up than a lecture. But ‘stand-up’ isn’t quite right either…. Now I’m closer to Ft Wayne than Austin, but not quite close enough to come listen. (Come to Iowa!)

  59. Adorable sweater… I have just re-worked my knitting expectations/plan for Christmas… easier than panicking… 🙂
    Should seriously consider the spreadsheet concept!

  60. You could call it a presentation, a sermon, a lesson, a series of digressions, realizations or aggravations, philosophizing, finding the humor is knitting, finding life lessons in knitting… I’m starting to repeat myself.
    The awesome thing about sermon or lesson though is that at the end you get to say “here endeth the lesson, go forth and knit”
    Just thinking “here endeth the lesson” makes me giggle.

  61. Talk, Speech, Chat, Lecture, Reading, Presentation, Oratory, Knitlosophizing, Knitterly Digressions, Yarn Harlot Knit Theatre, (If you served dinner it could be Steph’s Dinner Theatre) . Harlotation has possibilities. Maybe a little contest to stir the creative juices of the faithful followers?

  62. Well, I think you should have another talk with Madame Bush (I’m sure you can scrounge up a number for her.)and arrange for her to ship you a whole mess of Estonian knitted items. Christmas in Estonia is your theme for this year. Re-write that list, subbing Estonian for Canadian knits wherever possible and the whole thing turns into a wrapping project. Who would not love a pair of those lovely mittens or (swooning a bit) one of those shawls? It’s still a hand knit pressie, doncha know.
    Julie in San Diego

  63. Oh my gosh! I only live 1.5 hr from Chapel Hill. I am so excited!! But, I should warn you, it is flurrying here right now. Can’t predict what 12/6-12/8 will be like, but currently we aren’t living up to your hopes.

  64. You might think so, but I opened the kitchen blinds this morning in beautiful Greenville, SC and it was SNOWING!!!!!!! and 35 degrees outside!!!!!
    Expect the unexpected!
    Just cast on for some mittens. Apparently we are in for a long cold winter. (sigh)

  65. Sorry if this has been said already, but I think you could call it a presentation. Because it has the word “present” in it, and I think we’ll all agree that getting a visit from you is a real gift. <3

  66. Dang it I just bought a Tulip kit from Eat Sleep knit for their Black Friday Sale (I got 10% off). I will blame you when it arrives. Because you know what? That’s how you do it.

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