Judge Not

This post comes to you from another airport lounge, as I get ready to fly out for the weekend. Joe’s working out west today, and I’ve got some work to do there Monday, so it made sense for me to join him today and maybe sneak in a little skiing over the weekend. (The skiing has stuck, it would appear. Joe remains more enthusiastic about it than I am, but I’m coming to like it better as the terror fades. Toddlers still ski faster than I do, though.)  I have this whole theory about how travel this much without being crazy or mean, and it’s all about organization, so yesterday I packed everything I wanted to take with me.   I laid it all out, tidy and organized, and wrote myself little lists, and thought carefully about the knitting I wanted to take with me, and I got that into project bags, and lined it up on the table. About two minutes after that, I glanced at the clock, realized I had to be downtown for a meeting in an hour, surveyed everything that I’d pulled together gave myself a nice little pat on the back for having it so together, grabbed my bag and headed for the bus. The bus came, I had to run – you don’t care about that part, the important thing is that as I settled myself on the bus for the short ride to the subway, I reached into my bag to get my knitting, and before my hand was even all the way in there, I knew it. No knitting. None. In my organizational zeal I’d taken it from my regular bag and put in by my travel bag and then instead of doing what I usually do (which is go to the airport with the travel bag) I’d left with my regular bag and … and it’s hard to describe the sense of panic I had. Organization might be how I travel without being crazy and mean, but knitting is how I exist without being crazy or mean and without it I really wasn’t really sure what was going to happen. I thought about it – it was going to be about three hours without knitting.

I reasoned with myself. really, I’d be taking notes part of the time, I’d be eating part of the time, I’d be talking part of the time…I could do three hours without knitting if I was going to be busy, right?

36 minutes later I was in the door of the yarn shop closest to the meeting, and 4 minutes after that I was back out the door with a ball of red Galway, a pack of DPNs and the knowledge that I can knit a pair of mittens without a pattern, and 6 minutes after that I was at the meeting looking for all the world like a normal (if slightly sweaty and rushed) human being. *

supernormal 2017-01-20

Having started, it only makes sense to finish them I guess, though I had no intention of knitting mittens at all, but emergencies are emergencies.

*PS “normal human being” isn’t exactly how people look at you if you take a picture of your half knit mitten on your hand in the airport lounge, but whatever.


146 thoughts on “Judge Not

  1. I really hate it when ‘cleaning up’ or ‘getting organized’ makes me lose or forget something… Have a fun trip!

  2. Well, you are knitting! What do you expect?

    I knit at the car repair place in a little secluded place off the sales floor (shhh! very few people know about it but I do not have to listen to FOX or CNN while I knit). I actually do not mind sitting there for 2 hours if I have my knitting. If the repair lasts longer I get a ride home.

    • I was offered a bag while there last time because the fellow’s Grandmother knits and likes bags…too funny. Of course I took one. Thank you very much!

    • Hah! I could have written this.. I do the same thing at our Subaru dealer. However, one time I came pretty darn close to coming home with a new car too…

  3. Been there, done that. In my case I had a one hour train trip, a book I was enjoying and a complete case of I can’t live that long without access to needles and yarn. Train I was supposed to be on left without me…and I have another pair of fingerless mitts.

  4. This was the knitting gods’ way of helping you get started on next year’s Christmas box! Of course, maybe there’s someone who will need them yet this year. It’s not spring yet, I fear.

  5. It’s amazing how fast one can get in and out of a yarn shop when you’re truly motivated. Enjoy skiing, I made it onto a mountain exactly once since moving to Alberta 7 years ago, turns out it hard to ski when you’re stiff as a board with terror. I plan to take lessons with my twins when they are toddlers/little boys. I bet they will be twice as fearless as me.

    PS. I’ve decided to go back to the beginning and read your blog. I’ve made it to Oct 2004 this week.

    Happy knitting and safe travels.

    • When I taught my kindergarten-aged son to ski, he was fearless. His plan was to ski as far as he could in one direction, and then fall down. My job was to pull up next to him, grab his parka and put him upright again in the indicated direction, and then let go. It worked brilliantly.

  6. Great story and an important reminder to cherish our LYS – can’t get online yarn and supplies in such emergency circumstances! 😉 And, thanks for a smile and laugh on a day that is desperately in need of distraction and something to smile about.

  7. While traveling, I finished the project I had brought along and my DH pulled into the next town and searched until he found a craft store so that I wouldn’t have to go further without a project. Another good example of why we’ve been together for 40 years…..and why I now pack at least 4 projects when I travel…. 😉

    • My husband would do this for me. Almost 48 years together and it gets better with retirement.
      I would be buying sock yarn as that pattern is in my head.

  8. Look at it this way:

    Even if no one needs mittens this year (which, let’s be honest, you’re going skiing! Where’s the harm in an extra layer?)…

    You have a head start on your gifts for Christmas for next year…..

  9. Then I’m sure you all could feel the panic I felt when I couldn’t find my needle case after my family moved into our house this last week. The box was marked NEEDLECASE…I torn through boxes looking for that one box…only to find the case safely tucked away on a shelf….whew…it had ALL my cirs and a few DPNs. Not knowing where my equipment is just gives me the willies! Not to worry as to the yarn. All 35 tubs are accounted for.

      • All yarn is in moderately sized tubs…even if they’re. 4 feet on a side, because yarn quantities are reasonable no matter how large. ;-))

        • My (at least) 35 tubs are mostly in 2’x3′ tubs and a few larger ones. I’m 100 miles from the closest LYS and have to live on my stash a lot. It circulates. I need to get it organized by weight so it’s easier to find what I have. At least 3 tubs have bagged projects – yarn and pattern together – just waiting for me to get to them.

    • I’ve never lost any yarn while moving, but 9 years ago, a box full of knitting books and magazines, Rowan no less, completely disappeared! I’m still mourning…

    • Same thing happened to me when we moved in july. my large ziplok of ALL my needles except for the one project in my pack were missing. I had to buy a couple of emergency circular needles. I didn’t find my needles for several weeks, I was so relieved when I did 🙂

  10. I was just wondering if a pair of worsted-weight mittens was enough knitting to last your meeting! And BTW, my normal involves taking a knitting bag with me everywhere – just in case.

  11. I have often thought that there should be knitting vending machines in airports and hospitals. Unexpected delay? Need to burn off some nervous energy? Here – have a little kit to make a preemie hat for the NICU.

    • I love this idea – and place a donation bin next to it for the finished items. You could include scarfs, hats and mittens for shelters too.

    • Yes!!!!

      Though a few years back before I was addicted to knitting again (I have always known the basics, just didn’t enjoy it til now), I was in a waiting room in a hospital waiting for my dad to have surgery. There was a basket of knitting to “help your self” to- a bunch of partial worsted balls and some needles, with instructions to knit a square. The volunteers then knit them all together, and gave them away as lap blankets to patients…

  12. THAT, right there, is the worst feeling. The blood pressure immediately spikes and the mind races. Where can I find some yarn, string, thread, pencils, toothpicks, anything? Pacing begins, but until knitting can be found there is no bringing that blood pressure down to normal.

  13. I started back to work this week (university teaching) and am in a new work space which means new routine which means…I left the cord for my computer at work yesterday. So I’m off today but have to go back and get it, and I have to finish this before the battery dies….

    • I thought you were going to talk about someone who complained when you knit in a meeting. I used to knit through university seminars all the time. It was when I was working for a tech based company with a supervisor who was – let’s just say a non-knitter – that I was asked to sit in on a meeting in case I knew something from the past that those who were really there for the meeting didn’t know. Took my knitting, and took grief for it.

      • Occasionally I knit at book club. One woman complains every time and says that I could not listen to her while I was knitting. I told her I could better pay attention. I have not let her attitude affect me — — not true, now I want to knit every time,

        • There is a local college here that actually encourages their students to knit during lectures. They say it helps the students focus on the lecture – that their minds don’t wander as much!

      • I once got asked in a university tutorial to put my knitting away. I did, but I never warmed to the tutor…
        Incidentally, the New Zealand Parliament has a Speaker’s Ruling which says “Knitting is permitted in the Chamber except by a Minister in charge of a bill in committee.”

  14. I generally default to socks or hats when similar emergencies strike, but given the sheer quantity of 2.5mm dpns and 4mm 40cm circulars in my collection these days, maybe I should do mittens next time…

  15. “Ooops” said Alice as she fell down the rabbit hole….If you take knitting out of your regular bag, you need to put other knitting into it! Maybe you should put together a kit for such “other” knitting, say, needles and yarn for a scarf or pair of socks. The “other” knitting should not have a deadline or an intended recipient — just something to be added to the pile of emergency X-mas gifts.

    I’ve got to “touch” the airplane! An omen? Dunno — but have a safe and fun trip!

  16. Bon Voyage! Stir up some snow, get some fresh air. Nice mittens! I don’t usually carry my knitting to work, as my hands will be busy enough. This morning I took an extraordinary step, transferring just the minimal basics from the big shopper purse to a tiny cross-body bag, and felt so free! Until I needed my book of passwords, which didn’t make the cut.

  17. I’ve totally done that, except socks. Because you always need some more #1 dpn’s, and I’m not sure I’m still capable of sitting nicely without anything to knit.

  18. I am sitting in my grown-up office at work, being very grown-up and worky and yet still finding a few minutes to read your blog, and when I got to the park about reaching into your bag I swear I heard that music from Jaws and I actually GASPED, loudly, and had a visceral gut-clench reaction. NO KNITTING. 3 HOURS. Ermagerd. I would have made the junkie-run to the LYS too!

  19. Until those looky-loos have spent 3 hours without whatever their ‘pacifier’ is (be it caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) I don’t think their opinion matters. Knit your whatever, take pictures of same, dance in the aisles, as long as you’re not yelling fire where there is none or waving some kind of weapon what they think doesn’t matter!

  20. a small ball of cotton yarn and a pair of size 7 needles are always in my bag – never removed, ever. A washcloth is mindless, quick, can be picked up or dropped at a moments notice and adds very little weight to my bag. The only time I run into trouble is when I finish the yarn while out and buy more – sometimes I wind up with pretty expensive washcloths.

    • last time i was in a canoe, about three or four years ago, i was in the middle, a non-paddling position. we hit a rock, overturned and i lost the washcloth i was knitting. i just wish i could have been there when the local scout troop had river clean-up day and found my knitting washed up on shore.

  21. Some years ago I ended up suddenly taking a plane with my toddler daughter to a family funeral – hubby was already there. You guessed it – in the haste to get stuff together and on the plane, no knitting. It wasn’t until I’d arrived and things calmed down a bit that I realized it. In my case it was a trip to get Sugar ‘n Cream and needles at some big box store, and I’m not sure how many washcloths I knit that week.

  22. I understand completely. You’re lucky you live in a place with yarn shops. I’ve ended up with red heart yarn from the 70s and old aluminum needles from a thrift shop.

    Yup. I’m an addict.

  23. My purse is large enough to hold a cosmetic bag. In it is a set of needles and 2 or 3 little leftover balls of sock yarn. Voila…instant preemie hats. Never leave home without it.

  24. You are lucky that there was a yarn store close by! I think if I’d had to sit through a three-hour meeting without knitting (or something else to keep my hands busy), I’d end up getting all twitchy and annoying the heck out of anyone sitting near me.

    (By the way — those skiing toddlers? They have a much lower center of gravity and completely lack any sense of self-preservation.)

  25. I would have totally done the same thing! I have my knitting with me all the time. People are always amazed…”You’re knitting?” they say. Um…..yeah.

  26. I totally understand. I did the same thing last Monday, except I bought yarn and dpns and started socks. There can never be too many socks, right?

  27. Yep. I totally understand. But the having a yarn store so close? That would not be something that would come my way as….I control NO money in my household {sigh}. I had better remember to take knitting with me!!!!

    I’m with Kathy C. There can NEVER be too many socks!


    • Does your husband/partner control the money? This is a bad sign. If you are an at-home wife/mommy you should have funds available to you without having to ask “permission”. Take in day care, get a job, discuss with your partner a more equitable system that recognizes your contribution to the household. Don’t be a chattel. Slavery is illegal.

      • It is possible we misunderstand-possibly you and your household have an agreed upon goal, but this is otherwise very worrisome. Even with a goal together there should be some independent decisions on spending. Not fair for you to have NO say.

  28. One day, my husband and I were in the car for a one hour trip. (To a wonderful fiber store, in fact!) Ten minutes into the trip, he noticed that my hands were still and asked why I wasn’t knitting. I said that I’d accidentally put the car knitting in the trunk. Bless his heart, he immediately started looking for a place to pull over! He’s definitely a keeper!

  29. “36 minutes later I was in the door of the yarn shop closest to the meeting . . .” What, you have one on every corner or something? My LYS recently closed and I have to go 40 miles to find one. There are advantages to living in a major city, I guess!

  30. Hats! Yes, hats are my go-to-anytime knit project. Don’t need a pattern, just yarn and needles. I can wing it from there, and at the rate my family looses hats, they are always needed.

  31. I am happy you are skiing! I have been skiing 48 years. All phases are fun, so just enjoy where you are in the process. It’s all skiing, and it’s all good! Sound familiar?

    I like your popping into a store to pick up an emergency project. I had to do this recently, in Germany, only it was sock yarn and size 0 needles, and it saved the day. My hands need to be busy…..and running out of yarn on a trip just doesn’t cut it.

  32. Years ago you had a chapter in one of your books (can’t remember which) devoted to appropriate areas/occasions to knit. As the organist of a large Presbyterian church you can imagine my RELIEF when you stated it was okay to knit in church…..and at funerals (if the deceased was a knitter). I will freely admit I honestly don’t check to see if they were….I just happily hide behind the console where no one can see me and knit away. Please don’t tell! I ALWAYS have yarn and needles with me. I might forget my cell phone, watch, keys, grocery list, shoes, (you CAN wear slippers to drive!) water, coffee…BUT NEVER my yarn and needles. What would happen if there was a long red light?
    Additionally, I too am “4” challenged. And, yes, I count EVERYTHING (steps, time spent brushing teeth, breaths, heartbeats…..)except the correct number of stiches I’ve just done or must do. In fact, I get lost in the repeat counting of said stiches….arrgh!

    • Organist2, As an ordained minister I would just like to remind you of the Scripture verse: God loveth a cheerful knitter.

      Or is that giver?


          • i always knit during church, yes, the sermon, too. how else do you expect me to be able to focus on it? the unwritten rule is knitting to give away only. no knit for profit projects.

    • It’s hard to explain what carnage would ensue should I be seen knitting in church…after all, if I can’t give my undivided attention to both God AND my husband, there’s a real problem.

      • Thanks for that- the idea of knitter, quietly and piously knitting while listening to the sermon invoking rage and carnage is hilarious.
        I can’t seem to make the syntax work here but you know what I mean.

  33. I laughed out loud. Thanks I needed that. Now that I have started knitting and crochet I always have a ball of yarn, hook or needles and a notebook with a pen/pencil in my back pack.

  34. Consider yourself lucky to have a knitting shop that you can find in a pinch. That would never happen where I live.
    The mitts are cute. 🙂

  35. Regarding toddlers on skis: 1) Lower center of gravity; 2) they are closer to the ground to begin with and fall down a lot anyway, so they’re used to it; 3) they don’t know enough to be afraid. So, when you think about it, of course they are going to do better than a newbie adult. I wouldn’t worry about this in the least-just go out there and enjoy it!

  36. I knew I had succeeded as a mother when my then-11-year-old daughter checked her stuff for a day away from home and murmured “Book, another book, emergency knitting…”. So yep, I totally get that. I’d panic too!

  37. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve left the house (or car) without my knitting when I was in a rush (touch the clock!). And don’t even get me started on pattern repeats… sometimes the more complicated repeats are easier than counting in 4s or 2×2!

    Enjoy the weekend skiing – the weather out West has been VERY nice this week.

    When are you coming to Edmonton (i.e River City Yarns) to speak to us Westerners?

    Heather in Edmonton, AB area.

    • Ha. I had to talk myself out of an emergency yarn buying session at RCY just this week… I had forgotten my knitting at home, and RCY is five minutes from my workplace. In the end, I sat on my hands… or something. I’ll have to keep a work project in my desk for lunchtime or something. (Another message from Edmonton.)

      • I’ve been carrying around a shawl project (Light & Up, Ravelry) for the past week or so, JUST IN CASE I have a couple of minutes to whip out a row or two. Panic ensues if I don’t have a project “on the go in my bag…

  38. Yep. I totally felt your panic, and would have (have) done the same. I’ve even gotten halfway down the block, turned around, and run back when I realized my knitting or crocheting was missing. Even if it turns out there’s no time to actually knit, I need it there.

    Does that make me a yarn addict?

  39. Just wondering, Dear Steph, if you and Joe wear the handknit socks when you ski? while I do love my handknit socks, as does DH, but I tend to wear storebought ski socks. They seem to have just the right amount of cushion, warmth, and elasticity for skiing. Perhaps it is my sock-making skill that needs to be perfected.

  40. A knitter’s gotta do what a knitter’s gotta do.
    Just the knitting goddess letting you know you’re going to need mittens for this trip or for your holiday spreadsheet.

  41. Gads..my heart stopped. Happened to me and my husband knew enough to head to a big box everything store. He helped track down the yarn aisle! Washcloths are my speed, practice a stitch and call it a gift. 🙂 The mittens are great.

  42. The dread you felt with no project brought on a hot flash/panic attack. I can’t tell anymore!! I am glad you resolved the problem.

  43. Used to work for a company where the project officer would always knit during meetings. At one meeting, she wasn’t knitting, and someone asked her what was wrong and why she wasn’t knitting -she said she just hadn’t gotten it out of her bag yet 🙂
    Sadly, I was the low level grunt taking minutes during meetings, so I didn’t get to knit, but she set a good example…

  44. Bless you Precious, for pushing the boundary of normal slightly over so the rest of us feel like we aren’t strange when we do the same thing.

    • ‘*PS “normal human being” isn’t exactly how people look at you if you take a picture of your half knit mitten on your hand in the airport lounge, but whatever.’
      well, how else would you know if it’s going to fit or not? my husband doesn’t knit and even he knew that.

  45. Love it. I have many unplanned socks that arose from having to buy a ball of yarn and needles before braving a meeting that I’ve not planned knitting for!

  46. Never mind the rest of the world Steph calm and serene is what you’re aiming for. If the mittens worked mission accomplished.

  47. The quote on my bulletin board says: I was normal once. I didn’t like it. When I knit at the car repair shop I usually encounter knitters (instant rapport) or non-knitters whose questions activate my yarn proselytizing gene! Enjoy the ski trip! Just don’t try downhill knitting, okay?

    • I’ve done that in public. The shocked looks of the people around me were priceless. At least it was summer though, and I didn’t have to remove my shoes, just slip my foot out of a sandal.

  48. I am certainly glad to hear I am normal. I am preparing for a vacation in Mexico. leaving in a week. Already trying to figure out what knitting to take. Only after that will I decide the clothes etc that I want to take.
    I might look for a place to live for four, maybe eight years. As long as I can have yarn shipped to me.

  49. Heh, this definitely resonates with me – I have what’s known as “The Purse Sock” that goes everywhere with me, and gets pulled out whenever I have to wait for a bus (or companions to finish their shopping, etc.).

    When some non-knitter tries to remind me that “You can buy socks at the mall” my reply is “Well. yeah, if you don’t mind putting cheap sleazy mass-produced stuff on your feet.” That usually shuts them up (evil grin)

  50. I am having the urge to run to my LYS every time I read these comments! Must.Not.Go.

    Going to go dig through my yarn to find something appropriate to take with me to knit in emergencies.

    Wish I knew how to knit socks. Maybe a nice striped scarf made with sock yarn OR a heelless sock!!

      • Knit the heels- just follow Stephanie’s recipe. You can do it and you’ll feel like a genius! Seriously, give it a go. I used her pattern for my first socks and I it was an amazing experience of knitting magic.
        Ps- the spam filter asked me to touch the foot- take it as a sign.

  51. I remember years ago – probably during the knitting boom in the mid-80s – seeing little knitting kits for sale in the gift shop at an airport. Right beside the books and magazines. You got a very simple pattern and a ball of yarn and a set of needles.

  52. It wasn’t a no-knitting problem, but you reminded me of the time I was getting ready to go from Kansas (home of Knitting in the Heartland, where you were last April) to the big city of Chicago. Everything was packed, and I had to make a last minute run to the store, so I fetched my driver’s license, tucked it in the pocket of a work shirt, got the errand done.
    Next day we were on our way to Chicago by car. Halfway there, for some reason I thought of my driver’s license, which I remembered I had left back home in the pocket of the work shirt.
    Happily, it all worked out, I survived two weeks in Chicago without anyone (especially police) asking for me to show my driver’s license.

  53. As a woman living in the US, I envy you to be able to post something like this on that historic January 20 when so many of us here were gripped by a huge wave of anxiety. I’ve been too upset to knit.

    • KNIT MORE. And maintain civility and tolerance in your own interactions. PLEASE. As a fellow American who is SO sick of all the bipartisan stuff — I don’t care if you agree with me, but please keep this country civil. If anybody can do it, knitters can. Or should. If knitting really encourages civility. Speak kindly and carry a big pointy stick. Isn’t that what Roosevelt said?

  54. I’m an old musician and knit like I count bars- 1, 2, 3, 4…2, 2, 3, 4…. 3, 2, 3, 4 and so on. Sure, people look at me like I’m crazy but that’s their problem!

      • Then you would probably understand, and hopefully excuse, the lady up in the nosebleed section quietly knitting in the ambient lighting during the Symphony concert. I DON’T use a tiny flashlight as even that would distract and I use silencers on my needles…..Ok, not really….but I don’t ever let them click.

  55. you are not alone! A pink-pussy-hats-for-the-woman’s-march knitter, quoted in the Guardian: “For some knitters, it is hard to put the needles down as the deadline nears. “Doing this is taking my mind off things,” said Marina Mont’Ros. “This will be my 35th hat. Every time I think ‘OK, that’s enough. I’ve made enough, I’m going to stop,’ I read something in the news and, ‘give me that yarn! I’m making more.’”

  56. About skiing – little people learn to ski intuitively and fearlessly (if you can get them to try it at the right age). For grownups, it’s a different story. But, from one who learned at age 20, it will be awkward and you’ll fall or hit something endlessly but like learning a bike or learning to knit eventually you’re flying or cha-chaing or floating along the snow and it’s worth it! I learned in icy VT and envy you the Canadian powder (as well as many other Canadian virtues).

  57. The day after the election I spent a 51.27 gift certificate for 51.24 worth of sock yarn. I’ve knit 14 pairs of socks since then–partly based on stash. I may need a more powerful anxiolytic (drug).

      • i have knit six prayer shawls since the election, and this is with arthritis! i don’t know how much i spent on yarn but it was enough that i earned two $10 rewards certificates from ac moore. i keep my prayer shawl stash in my car. if i’m home, the car is in the driveway. if i’m out, i have the car with me.

  58. How could I – I’ve kept knitting a sock I knew to be far far too big because I was on a train and didn’t have the means to get a correct measurement and still half an hour from home!!

  59. My husband would be teasing about now, Y’know, there’s a 12-step program for that, and I’d be teasing right back, You need a lot more than 12 stitches…

    So glad there was a handy yarn store right there!

  60. I considered a kiosk rental at an airport but at $2500/mo or 15% of sales, whichever is greater I got chills. 12 hour days, 7 days a week. I couldn’t afford to hire help. I’d need to make close to 10k a month in sales…

  61. Gosh, 2nd time I am writing here. However, last night, after we left the house and were 2/3’s across the city- my husband said, ‘well, let’s just go out to dinner after the errands’. I paled…NO knitting in my bag. I had just finished two carry-along items, but had NOT prepped the next one(s). It felt as if my balloon had popped.

  62. And now these surprise mittens can be added to the Christmas gift list/box/whatever you have, and you will be that much further ahead of the game. 🙂 My gift spreadsheet was 20 years old last year. It is a lifesaver!

  63. I have done the same thing. Impromptu road trip with my husband when we were only going out for a quick errand prompted a trip to a yarn ship to get yarn and needles so I could knit in the car. Totally with you.

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