The heart finds its morning

Dear Bike Rally,

I’ve started and deleted this post about 16 times. The problem isn’t that I don’t know what to say, but instead that I can’t seem to say it without reducing myself to tears within two sentences. I’m hoping that the Bike Rally didn’t actually break me, and that this is just some sort of bizarre state brought about by intensity and exhaustion.

Have I ever told you that the Bike Rally scares the snot out of me? I love it, but so many parts of it are frightening. The fundraising – well – let’s be honest. I am surrounded by knitters, arguably the best fundraisers in the world. There’s none that can compete with the way they give, and other than the fear that we won’t be able to raise what PWA needs, the money part is the only part that doesn’t leave me with a nervous tummy.  (It does contribute to the crying though. Did you guys see what you did? There’s no words for that. Just no words. I’ll try again tomorrow to thank everyone for that, because short of posting a video of me snivelling at my desk, I’m just not going to be able to do it. Let me get through one emotional thing at a time.)  Aside from that part, there’s nothing I’m comfortable with. I am afraid to be alone, I am afraid to be with strangers, I am afraid I will fall off my bike or get hurt, I’m afraid someone else will get hurt, I’m afraid… well. You get the drift. The Bike Rally pushes all my buttons, and this year, it was worse.

I guess I didn’t talk about it much, because I didn’t want to make any of it real. I didn’t want to acknowledge the things I was really worried about, because I thought it would either be a lousy thing to be caught thinking, or because I’ve really always believed that you get more of what you pay attention to, and I didn’t want to create anything lousy – to bring the things I was afraid of into being by thinking about them too much.  I can tell you now though, because it’s over, and I lived.

I joined the Steering Committee for the Rally this year. It was a lot of work, and I loved it, and I loved the people I got to work with, and it brought people into my life that I wouldn’t have ever met otherwise. It was good work – and it felt valuable, and important, and… risky.  The Bike Rally makes its own magic every year. Something happens, everyone comes together, and the thing is greater than the sum of its parts, and you spend the week boggling that such a thing could exist in the world.  I was worried, very deeply worried, actually, about spoiling that. I worried that the work I was doing would be like seeing the man behind the curtain, finding out how an illusion actually works, or giving into the urge to unwrap a present while your parents aren’t looking and ruining your own birthday. I comforted myself by thinking that there was sure to be joy in making the magic for everyone else, even if it couldn’t happen for me this year, but I was still afraid that the loss of the magic wouldn’t be enough to get me through the hard parts.

Then, Jen had to withdraw. That was the second thing. I didn’t want to say much, because I knew that she already felt like complete crap about it, and I didn’t want to make her feel any worse. She was right to do what she did, and I knew that, but in the smaller, darker corners of my heart I felt a little abandoned, and scared about being alone, and between that and the Steering Committee, by the time it was departure day, I was already pretty upset. I said brave things.  I reassured lots of people. I did my best to look like someone who was brushing it off, soldiering on and being good with change. I wasn’t actually doing any of those things.

luishelps 2015-08-03

Carlos and Luis drove me over in the morning (Joe had gone to Edmonton for work) and it was a good distraction. Luis helped us all pump our tires, and my sister came down, and we took photos all together and I signed in and we got all organized, and I went to the bathroom for the sixty-ninth time (I have a nervous bladder) and it was almost time to go, and it was rally time, but there was no Rally Magic, and then something happened.  I looked up, and Jen was there. She’d texted saying she was coming, and then just “Have a great ride” which was totally her saying that she couldn’t face it, and I knew that and had already forgiven her, and then there she was. She was dressed in cycling gear, and she was crying, and then I was too – and then we hugged and said we were sorry.   I don’t even know for what, because we’re both just doing what we had to do, but we were sorry anyway, and it was the way things are with friends, when things are right… you know?  It was time to go a few minutes later, and the whole Rally got on their bikes and started to ring their bells and Jen hopped on her bike and rode with us as far as she could, then peeled off and was gone, and suddenly, something shifted.

jenwithme 2015-08-03

Every year, the Rally has a theme. Not officially, but it’s something I always discover. I never know what it is until I’m there, but at some point I always see it. Last year it was challenge. Rising above great difficulty, being stronger than I thought I could be. In a previous year it was generosity – I was asked to give more of myself than I expected, and meet more people with kindness and patience than I am usually good at. This year, as I hugged Jen, and then she left, and the Rally started to fall in around me, it was revealed. This year the theme was friendship, in all its exquisite forms, and with all its edges and soft places, and that profound force worked its way into every moment of the Rally, and the magic arrived.

I don’t know why I had thought for a minute that I would be alone.

teamdinner 2015-08-03

There is an intimacy that happens on the Rally, and it happens right away. There is no way that this many people, all moving toward a common goal, all hurting for the same thing, all in the same place, eating together, riding together, putting up tents together – can avoid feeling a togetherness that’s remarkable. You become each others world very quickly, you’re the only people who really understand what’s happening, and friendship is the thing that makes it so – and friendship in all its forms. The sort that springs up when you brush your teeth with someone you just met, together at 6am, all squeezed into spandex and about to do something epic. Another sort thrives as you see old friends revealed in new ways or discover new depths and build on a friendship you thought was at its fullness.

allofus 2015-08-03

I know this sounds ridiculous. I know it does. It sounds trite and saccharine, and like maybe I spent a little too much time in the sun – and maybe it is, and maybe I did, but I can tell you that everything I was afraid of was exactly wrong. Everything. Seeing the man behind the curtain didn’t ruin the magic, it made it more magic. As I watched the Steering Committee and the Team Leads do what it takes to make this thing work behind the scenes, nothing was spoiled. If anything, it made it more magic. The concern, the caring, the steps taken to make sure that the threads of friendship grew through the whole Rally, the selfless efforts to make a travelling town work the way it did – problems being quietly solved, love extending to people who were overextended – generous offers of help to each other- knowing that those people weren’t just doing the ride, which is bloody hard enough, but that they were using any energy left over to make it easier for others? I’m ashamed I didn’t have enough words to tell them how they made me feel.

mikeme 2015-08-03

Past it all, past the deeply personal friendships, past the friendships driven of respect for the people who choose to be part of building this, past the friendships growing out of shared time, was the real miracle.

The last night, we stayed up late, as a team, and the night grew around us, and the rest of the rally started to quiet down. The conversation turned slowly toward how we’d all found ourselves here. What had motivated these people to do this much work for PWA. Gently, the stories were told. There were stories of fear, of pride, of love, of terrible loss. There were stories of joining up on a fancy, and getting so much more out than they had put in that now, there was no way to stop, no way to imagine a summer without the Rally.  It was a kind of friendship that was a gift. Not to any one person, or bound to any one relationship, but something extended to ones community and world, saying that we’ll build a better thing together, for each other.

I cried in the tent a little that night. I cried every time someone wasn’t looking the whole rally, actually – and that’s not like me at all.  I’m not a hard-hearted person, but I am deeply practical, and horrifically sensible, and crying on my bike because the world is such a beautiful place isn’t something I have a lot of experience with, but there I was.

alltogether 2015-08-03

I got up the next morning, and I looked around at my team. Not just the one I was camping with, but all the riders, all the crew, the Steering Committee, PWA and I was so overwhelmed that I had to go back in my tent. I got a grip on myself, and went out and we all packed up our tents for the last time, and got on our bikes for the last day, and we started the last leg of the epic.  That whole day I had no words. That whole day I laughed, and tried not to cry and finally  just after we arrived in Montreal, I found what I wanted to say.

alldone 2015-08-03

I looked at Ken, who’s been doing this just forever, and is the whole reason that our family is in this deep.  I looked at Pato, only 23 years old, and this is what he’s done with his summers since he was 17.  I looked at the people I know who cycled to Montreal with big burdens that only friendship revealed, and people who were doing it for the very first time, and looked so stunned by what they’d achieved that I laughed out loud, and then I found the words.

I’m so proud of you.

That’s what it was the whole time. Jen, Ken, the Rally, the fundraising, the cycling, the rain, the heat, the personal obstacles, the tremendous efforts, the patience, the hard work, the meetings, the deep breaths, the speadsheets, the tears, the accidents, the laughing, the everything.  Bike Rally, I’m just so proud of you.



(PS. I signed up for next year you jerks.  I just can’t quit you.)

146 thoughts on “The heart finds its morning

  1. And thanks to a little run-up of ten years blogging, you’re their magnifying glass so the rest of us see them and care. Nice amplification, toots.

  2. Steph, I can’t count the number of times you’ve brought me to tears with your tales. The first was the little blue sock, this is the most recent.

    I am so grateful for your presence on the planet at the same time as me, for the way you share what’s in your heart and ours (but we don’t have your way with words), for the laughter and the tears and the fundraising and the – yes, I’m gonna say it – the nobility of being human that you bring to the interwebs.

    I love you, I thank you, I am happy you are here.

  3. When the zombie apocalypse comes, I want to be on your team. That way, not only will we survive together, we’ll remember to love each other while doing so.

  4. Stephanie, you’ve done it again. I’m tearing up once more. Thank you for being the person you are and for sharing it so beautifully with us. I was so happy to support your team.

  5. Splendid post, thank you for telling us all of this. And so glad the rally worked out so well this year. Did you get little pings on your phone as wee donated during your ride? I waited until after you’d started, then had fun watching your (and the team) total rise as you rode (and didn’t have time to look). You’re so right, knitters are tremendous!

  6. Thank you for reminding us about kindness, the awesome power of people working together for a common purpose and for including us in your journey. Congratulations on a job well done!

  7. Hooray! It sounds like it was a wonderful ride. And thank you again, for doing what some of us aren’t capable of doing.

  8. Awesome post! And a hearty congratulations on another spectacular ride! You are an inspiration, in so many ways.

  9. Glad you came through it all. This is very emotionally stressful for you. It is supposed to be FUN and HEALTHY and a good way to RAISE MONEY. No one should be this intensely upset about it.

    And the good news is that it is now time to RELAX!!

    • I myself find it emotionally stressful and intensely upsetting to think of those who are currently struggling to survive AIDS, not to mention all those souls already lost.

      Stephanie is making a huge, real-world effort to help.

      There’s no way it *couldn’t* be emotional for her.

    • Fun and healthy would be s 5k walk maybe. I get what youre saying-if its not fun and this stressful, is it healthy to keep doing it?
      The hundreds of miles cycled just in preparation, turn this event into a Serious Undertaking. Because it is A Serious Thing.
      And Steph being the amazing, caring person she is ,having experienced this event in front and behind the curtain on the Steering Committee, would experience a greater degree of stress NOT being a part of it in some fashion-because Someone’s Life truly does DEPEND on it.

    • There is stress, which is bad for your health, and there is stress that is good for your health in which you set a goal and completely crush it. It is empowering. If we didn’t challenge ourselves, who would we be? Way to go Steph!

  10. Steph, I can’t say it any better than anyone else, but yes my eyes are moist and yes we are so proud of you too. It’s people like you who bring the beauty to our world.
    P.S. Did anyone else start this post convinced she was all done with the rally only to be completely blown away?

    • Yep. And who could have blamed her, after the amount of time, blood, sweat and tears she has given over the last few years? I’m amazed at the accomplishment, and bawling my eyes out at the post….

  11. Steph, I have never met you, but I am so proud of you and all of the others who gave up a week or weeks of their lives to help out others. You guys are all amazing.
    Thank you for bringing us through this journey with you!!
    P.S But did you knit???? 😉

  12. Yeah! All that! But what I really wanna know is… did we get to your crazy-pants personal goal?? Are we there yet? 8^D

  13. I had just deleted the “STEPH RIDES” tab from my Favorites Bar, only to turn right around and enter Steph Rides in ’16. You are amazing. And I see your 2016 total has already started to rise!
    I’m glad 2015 turned out to be such an amazing ride for you; all of you make us so proud.

  14. Wow. That was awesome!
    Thanks to your example, this frumpy 46 year old got her bike tuned up, and has been riding like the wind again!
    Enjoy the rest of your summer. Knit on, sister!

  15. I saw this quote yesterday and immediately thought of you: “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” (Thomas A. Edison)
    My next thought was, do I dare imagine what I am capable of doing? Thank you for the inspiration!

  16. Everything everyone else has already written, but I have to add what else I was thinking. If I were on the ride and I saw your amount raised (about 4 1/2 times the most of the next highest riders–no small amounts there!), YOU would scare the snot out of me!

  17. I can see why you couldn’t write this without crying; I bawled (AT WORK!) the entire time reading it!

    I’ve been reading your blog for so many years now (almost since the beginning), and I know you well enough through your own words to know that you are insecure about a lot of things and don’t think you are anything special. I wish I could show you how wrong you are. Your words touch people’s lives. Your actions touch people’s lives. Your words, your commitment to what you care about, your willingness to act way past the point of normal endurance to make the world a better place, all of these things touch lives. The lives of the people with Aids who need these services, and the lives of the knitters who read your blog who are driven by your words to help them.

    You have a gift. You are a truly amazing person. And crying because the world is beautiful is good for the soul and makes the world more beautiful.

    Namaste. Rainyt

  18. Oh I have been waiting with baited breath all week to hear how it went. So happy to hear all was well, albeit a challenge on so many levels. Very heavy stuff. And you already signed up for next year! Good for you. You make knitters everywhere proud.

  19. Thank you, for everything you do, Stephanie! We are proud of you and you’re an inspiration to all of us. 🙂 Wishing you a swift recovery, lots of rest, happiness, and much joy with wool!

    And big shout out to Ken–for the gift of the blog all those years ago and inspiring others to join such a wonderful cause. Thank you, good sir! Thank you for spotlighting a cause so that all of us can do a little piece to make the world better.

    **sniffle, sniffle**

  20. I’m in tears reading this post. So much emotion, authenticity, humility, self-awareness and humor is just overwhelming me. I’ve cried before with bloggers whom I’ve gotten to know over the years by merely being a reader, and to have this privilege is such a blessing and a gift. Thank you for sharing that with me.

    Like you said, what you put out, you tend to get back, and even though you were afraid to show your vulnerability, you overcame your misgivings and were received with unconditional support. I was a lucky recipient enough to receive one of your supporter’s knitting karma gifts. To keep the good vibes flowing, I went through my stash and sent my giver some more yarn as a thank you. That’s what being a part of a community is all about. Giving and receiving without self-consciousness, ego or judgment. We don’t question what is the next right thing to do, we just do it, and we surround ourselves with others who will do the same. That’s how any great human endeavor gets off the ground and succeeds.

    Blessings to you. You’ve earned a good rest, a good cry and a good laugh. You’ve also earned (in my opinion) the right to cash in one of your selfish knitting chips and I hope you will knit yourself something wonderful as you re-enter the world after your great adventure.

  21. You not only DID IT, you wrote a blog entry that matched the nobility and generosity of signing up for this marathon that has me flabbergasted (in the best possible way – it’s just that my personal biking skills are so low that yours fill me with terror as well as admiration). I’m writing from an international interfaith summer school in Cambridge (UK), where I’m on the staff, and I just hope that our students display one tenth of your dedication, determination, endurance, and motivation when they try to take what they’re learning here about dialogue and co-operation back into the big bad world.

    You are an example to us all, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  22. I’m proud of you, Stephanie, and Ken and Pato and Jen and everyone else who rode for such a great cause. You are such a special person, dear Harlot, and we, The Blog, salute you! 🙂 Well done.

  23. Congratulations on completing the Bike Rally challenges, Stephanie. An awesome feat.

    And I love the title of this entry. It’s applicable to so many situations. And gives rise to gratitude because the heart found the morning and not mourning. Food for thought, as so often in your blog. Thank you.

    Hope your heart can also rejoice in lots of knitting for the rest of the summer. And in sailing.

  24. So so proud of you… do for us what we cannot always do but want to – give our all for a great cause. You make the planet better for being you, and I sincerely wish we had more people like you. Thanks is an inadequate word, but thanks!!

  25. Oh, Stephanie, I am so incredibly proud of YOU.
    *sniffling and wiping away tears*
    And I’m so happy that in the midst of your fears and angst, the World reached out to you, opened up and showed you it’s beauty. (Because it knew we all couldn’t be there to hug you through it).
    Thank you for you-amazing, wonderful you.

  26. Congratulations, Steph. I think it is safe to say the entire damn Blog is proud of you — and of Ken and Pato, too!

  27. Exquisitely expressed. So proud of all the money raised, and the people who rode their hearts out, and so happy for the lives it will help and change. Not just monetarily, but because they know people care. Well done, ALL.

  28. Reading through the comments is almost as good as reading your beautiful message. Baraka said it best, and was echoed by so many others. Most times I read the Yarn Harlot because it always ends my day on an “up” note. Then there are the times I read it and become inspired, hopeful and grateful. You make this world a better place because you care. Thank you. You surely know how to walk the walk. (or ride the bike).

  29. Because you care and because you unite people who care.

    All of that and more.

    You are a good girl Stephanie and you help all of us be better.

    It was such a joy to know that we could “ding” all y’all’s phones to maybe help you up a tough hill or whatever. It felt so much more interactive. A very good thing.

  30. And what I really wanted to say was that we have all had our moments of being there. Of not wanting to say anything because saying something might manifest anew level of crapaliciousness. And I think that most of us could read between the lines and also didn’t want to say something I because we didn’t want to cause any manifesting our on selves.

    Be well, schweetie…

  31. Ack, you made me cry too! Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, you’re pretty darn fabulous. I’m going to talk to the husband about us doing the ride with you next year 🙂

  32. Steph, I don’t what else to say but thanks. You made me remember why I went back to ride bike rally for another 2 years. The love the caring and the understanding and the power of the bike rally . It’s hard to describe to people what it’s like but you have hit the nail on the head or knitted a pearl.

    Thanks again


  33. Well god I’m crying too! Congratulations on completing the Rally. We are all so proud of you and are thankful you let us join in the ride!

  34. I’m five tissues in at this point. You are an inspiration in so many ways. Congratulations on all you did this year and good luck with next year.

  35. Pingback: Riding the Friends for Life Bike Rally at a friendly pace | Fit Is a Feminist Issue

  36. Guh! You’re making me cry! Congratulations, thank you and we’re proud of you too! Someday I’ll conquer something like this, and I’m gonna stick a little YH with a yarn ball on my jersey or bike and giggle everytime I come across it.

    Still trying to figure out that lever knitting thing…

  37. Stephanie – I’ve heard so much about you and your blog … from Trevor H, Jordan, and countless other Bike Rally people I encountered over the past week. You are legend 🙂
    Your words really touched me. This was my first year on crew and I too felt a lot of fear going into the week and I could relate to everything you were saying … but the friendships and cameraderie are what I have taken away with me.
    I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet you. Congratulations on another successful Bike Rally. Joanne

  38. Got teary reading this. I’ve felt what you felt racing long (but never that long) and I’ve felt what you’ve felt just living life everyday. Thank you for putting it into words.
    Congratulations on soldiering on and making the finish. It’s the journey, right?

  39. And now I’m crying too! Congratulations to everyone on an amazing accomplishment. This is so inspiring, it almost makes me want to do something similar – or I could just give money to my friends who take on these crazy challenges! Way to go – and way to sign up for next year.

  40. Reading the post and all the comments, everything has been said (and said perfectly), but still the need to weigh in as well. Thank you, Steph, Ken, Jen, Pato, The Rally and The Blog for making such a difference in the world. Such. A. Huge. Difference. And thank you for letting us be a part of it. Feelin’ the love, baby, feelin’ the love.

  41. You are an amazing women. And everyone that participated in this event is amazing also. I extend a deep and grateful curtsy to you all!

  42. Steph, Ken, Pato, Jen, The Rally and the Blog,
    – – – – – I’M PROUD OF YOU! – – – – –
    Each of these pieces make a wonderful puzzle. Keep up the good work.

  43. Hopefully you have rested, knit something to take the edge off and caught your breath. Your words have been and are powerful. Your honesty is breathtaking. All I can say is simply thank you and well done.

  44. Such a moving post! I will be sniffling all day. You have such a generous heart, not only to do what you do but to share it all with us in such a vulnerable way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  45. I love that you take us, your readers, into the fear and self-doubt, where we can feel exactly the pit in your heart and remember all the times we’ve felt the same. And then you take us to the pinnacle of overcoming it all, in such a huge way as to be constantly overwhelmed by the pure joy of the human spirit.
    It’s a reminder to us all when we are faced with our own fears and self-doubts, to put ourselves out there, and see what we get back. And the return on effort is *always* so much more than we could have imagined.

    Thank you as always, for reminding us what we can find inside ourselves when we open ourselves to something we don’t think we can do!

  46. That’s the thing about giving … it just feels so good after you’ve done it, that you have to do it again. It’s a high unlike any other.
    Your strength and compassion are inspiring to all who have come in contact with you through whatever means and it pushes all of us to try and do more in our own way.
    Thank you for that.

  47. Wow. So proud of you for pushing forward and then finding the real joy. You’re a remarkable person much to be admired. (I find pitching one’s own tent and wearing Spandex to be amazing…let alone the ride itself!). And the money you, Pat and Ken raised! Huzzah!

  48. When you do these things that challenge and scare you, and then write about them in such an wonderful way…I hope you know that it inspires us, your readers, to undertake our own scary, challenging projects. You may never know about each and every one, but they are happening, nonetheless. You are made of awesome, Miz Steph. Not because you happen to be a spectacular knitter, but because you feel flawed and scared and admit to it — and then do the scary things anyway. Lead on!

  49. I’m proud and honored that you share a little bit of this magic with us every year Steph! It tickles me to check your IG or the blog to see how you all are doing on the training and rally days and how generous a bunch of knitters can be! (I feel the need to share the daily stats with my co-workers, I’m sure they think we are crazy, but I bet they are also impressed how much cash a bunch of knitters can raise for a worthy cause!).

  50. I just checked your fundraising page and a Randi just “neatened up the edges a bit” to a total of $72,000. Love it! My heart swells.

  51. Thank you for all the pictures on Ingram while the ride was on. All those happy faces of crazy people biking Toronto to Montreal. Luis face as he helps (above) is pretty great, too.

  52. Well, what we need is a professional fireworks celebration for all you & your team and all the other riders. What I saw in the first picture and the following pictures is how happy your smile and all the rest of yourr face looks. Congratulations!

  53. Sounds like you had an amazing time – lots of hard work, but so much more than that! Congratulations to all of you!

    Makes me wish I could ride a bike (you think you fall off? I probably wouldn’t make it out of the driveway after weeks of practice), and breathe well enough to pedal with you.

    I know how important this cause is, and raise money in Ottawa for Bruce House when I can (a hospice for people with AIDS).

    Thank you for raising money for such a necessary cause, and doing it with so many wonderful people. I’m proud of all of you!

  54. Ya did good, kid, real good. Way to blast through every possible personal comfort zone for the good of the world and your reward is to transcend from the mundane emotional realm into something fantastic. Cry on, bike on, knit on, live on!

  55. Totally crying on the bus, pretending I have very itchy cheeks, nose, eyes…
    We’re so proud of *you* Steph!
    Thank you for letting us be a little part of this amazing thing! xx

  56. Something epic indeed! What a wonderful (entirely non-trite and un-saccharine). You are a class act, lady, and we can all be justly proud of you (and everyone else on the ride, of course). And Jen at home doing what she needed to be doing. I love love love it that she was able to make the first part of the ride, That took some courage and fortitude, for sure.

    Such a beautiful post, and a beautiful way to make the world a better place. Oh, yes, just… yes!

  57. So heartfelt!
    Next year, reread this post…. And remember how you felt during this event…… Too often time changes what we remember…
    Totally amazing and inspiring …..

  58. You have impacted the rally in so many ways, including raising the bar of contributions earned. Impressive and something of which to be very proud. I am not taking anything away from that but feel impelled to give kudos to those who made the ride along with you, aching in the same muscles, sores in the same spots as you – knowing their efforts “only” contributed a thousand, or a few hundred, dollars to the cause you all so fervently believe in. As you’ve taught us, a stitch at a time, things get made.

      • I’ve tried three times now and still no joy – I get a gateway error and have no clue what that means (is it on my end or the other end??) Hope to remember to try again tomorrow!!

  59. Congratulations and time just flat out got away from me and I just tried to donate (twice!) before I forget (and the other fundraiser with kittens gets my attention, sorry…) but I was unable to complete the donation!!! You ARE accepting donations, aren’t you??? (I know you are, you have already raised a bit.)

    Congratulations again!

  60. You are an inspiration. I follow your challenges and achievements – big and small – all year, but especially enjoy reading about your experience of The Rally. And as proud as you are of everyone, believe me, everyone is just as proud of you. What a woman!

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  62. Stephanie, you are the bravest person I know — and I only “know” you through your blog posts, which I track down weekly. I admire how you set yourself up to do hard things, things that scare you but because you’re able to open your heart, you accomplish your goals with grace, joy, and humor.

  63. Dear Stephanie,
    Do you mind if I call you Stephanie??? I just finished your book ‘All Wound Up’. I’m normal, right? I react the same way you do to so many knitting things, except I”m not as patient as you are. If I had to CO over 300 stitches in lace yarn three times I would have thrown the yarn on the floor and stomped on it while yelling and telling it what I thought of it. Probably would have broken the needles just to feel better and burned the pattern. You are patient.

    Your book made me laugh so many times. The water ballon fight–I’m giggling just thinking about it.

    Or when you’re knitting something difficult and NO ONE better look at you! My dogs hide when this happens because they look at me as the air is turning blue around me.

    Your husband getting stuck in his truck;-) I knew immediately (not bragging here) that HE was stuck too. Wonder why he didn’t just tell you? To embarrassed perhaps. Another peal of laughter.

    I went through a very bad time this year and after the rescue puppies managed to pull down the entire large bookcase with most of my expensive yarn in it, I gave up and gave it away. Probably over $1000. At the time I didn’t care, but I wish now there had been someone to talk me out of it. I could have covered up the yarn that was twisted and mauled and just forgotten about it for a while. Then my A/C (in the wall) leaked all over ALL of my knitting needles. Three sets and many individual needles. My books and magazines too. They weren’t that bad, but I didn’t want to have anything to do with yarn. Ugh.

    Well, it went away and I can’t ask for my yarn back can I? I found three balls of black I meant to make a scarf out of for one of my sons, I’m sure it will never get done. I may be the slowest knitter in the world. Four year olds could beat me. I also found one yellow ball I was going to make the Mrs Truman (President’s wife) baby blanket with, but got bored because there were SO MANY stitches. Yuck. I found some beautiful lace yarn by Caracara–well, one ball. Then I was trying to find something in my big hallway closet (I know what you mean about closets;-)) and notice that the small plastic box with minimal Christmas junk in it looked like it had some wooden sticks at the bottom. Viola!! Yes, there were the first circs I purchased. Cheap, with a large cable, but they work.

    I spent last night trying to decide if I should knit a scarf out of the lace or read your book. The book won.

    Once again, thanks for sharing the ups and downs of knitting. It was beginning to seem that every time I went into a local yarn shop no one showed signs of stress or looked ready to stroke out. (When I tried Continental knitting;-() I don’t think I’ve ever seen or read about or heard anyone say that sometimes knitting drove them mad, so thank you.

    But… knit beautifully and it seems lots of items. As stated previously, I am very very slow. I use the English method, did try the Continental and the Russian, but I really think I would have a stroke, end up falling to the floor and my dogs would eat me before anyone found me.

    How on earth do you knit so much, OK so you knit everywhere (I miss my bus stops when I knit on the bus) and you’re good and fast. But you have a blog and you’ve written one great book and I can’t wait to get the rest. I’m sure you have other articles you write and don’t you have to clean the house sometimes???? I try not to think about doing cleaning, but after the dog fur starts accumulating on my window sills I get the vac out.

    I’m just so impressed and I think you are my hero and I’ve never had a hero before.

    Thank you,

    Maureen Martinek
    San Antonio, TX (my least favorite spot on earth)

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