Back in the Saddle

Who am I kidding.  Not only am I not back in the saddle, I am unclear on where the horse I am supposed to put the saddle on might have got to.  I try really hard not to be the kind of person who wallows, who feels bad for too long, who gets in the deep end and swims loads of laps in the self-pity pool. While I’m not sure that I’m super successful at it every time,  I try hard to be someone who only sits on the edge of that thing and swishes my feet around for a bit, and then towels off and goes to work, so a few days ago I dried some of my tears, put on clothes slightly less stretchy than the ones I’ve been wearing (I almost put on a bra but that seemed like overkill, considering our positions) and I thought “Right Stephanie, let’s get to work.”

That’s about how far I got – see above comment re: missing horse. In my life, like in a lot of yours, a whole bunch of stuff disappeared at the same time. I admit, the grandchild was a a very big deal and really what I had intended to keep me busy in the next little bit (along with being Elliot’s best friend so he wouldn’t mind the presence of the usurper) but besides that all the work I had booked for the next bit (read – this whole year until June) also evaporated, leaving me wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do with myself.  I’ve only been unemployed once before (ironically, it was the last time there was a pandemic) and it is possible that I’m terrible at it. I love to be busy and have a lot on the go, so usually if I find myself in a lull for work I throw that time into the family – but I can’t be with them either, and similarly it’s not like I can go find a friend to amuse myself with.  No, it’s me and Joe – here in the house 23.5/7 and amidst my grief and anxiety over all that’s going on, I have made rather unending attempts to be… busy.

My house has never been cleaner – the drawers more organized, the laundry more up to date… and I even lost my *&$%#$%ing mind and bought shelf paper on Amazon.  I’m not even totally sure what the hell I’m supposed to do with it, but in the moment it seemed important and like it was going to be helpful.  I have been cleaning like mad, and if you are right now feeling bad that you haven’t been tidying your way through quarantine and feeling like maybe you should be, rest assured… it’s not nearly as satisfying as I’d hoped and I can wholeheartedly assure you that you shouldn’t bother unless you’re absolutely possessed of an urge to do so. I did repaint the kitchen door that’s been a mess for 17 years, and that felt pretty good but only took two hours. I’ve also been meal planning and cooking a lot- and that’s at least managed to keep us out of the grocery store except for the once a week per family we’re to keep to, so there’s that. (I admit that I’m finding it a little challenging to plan a week or ten days of meals based on how long salad lasts but I’m getting the hang now.  One word. Slaw.)

In the end though, as my ability to manage comes creeping back, as I get some footing on all that’s happened, It is my same old friend that’s here for me. The one that’s always there no matter what.

When my mum died, my urge to knit went with her, and so it was with Charlotte as well.  I think now as I did then, that for me knitting is so positive, so constructive, such a powerful way to move onward that it is a terrible match for my first intense wave of grief. For days Meg and I both held our knitting, moved it from room to room, looked at it and thought about it, but very little knitting happened.  Then all of a sudden as the fog started to lift, as we started to feel the possibility that the world was going to keep on turning, both of us picked up steam and now we’re unstoppable. (Joe had to drop off more yarn when he took Meg and Alex their groceries, so she’s making great time.) I knit a sweater for Elliot over the last 10 days of so – I’ll show it to you tomorrow I think, but now I’m onto a proper full-size man sweater for Ken, and it’s all I can think about.  (Not totally true, still trying to figure out the shelf paper thing.)

It’s Rift, which has lots of plain knitting but just enough details to amuse a knitter, and begins with a fabulous tubular cast on that’s just the bees knees.

I’ve spent ages patting it and stretching it and admiring it, and I’m pretty sure that Joe’s tired of talking about it. (While he feigns knitting interest pretty well, his ability apparently falls off sharply when I ask him to enjoy cast-on minutia.)

Thank goodness then that in all that it feels like I’ve lost over that last few weeks, I’ve still got you, my blog – and I can ask you and know that you’re there to answer with honesty and sincerity…

Isn’t that a really great cast on?

(PS there is also a sock.)

251 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle

  1. I just love this blog. I visited Martha Stewart’s blog today, and read about all the things she’s been doing around the house during this time, and how I should do them too, and just ended up feeling totally inadequate.

    I like it here better. Putting in shelf paper is just a waste of good knitting time.

    The cast on is totally badass.

    • Exactly…. I like it here as well and the paper on shelves – looks nice for a bit – but hey…..why!!!
      Cast on = stunning !!!!!
      Off to google how to do that….

    • Shelf paper is good for exactly one thing: kitchen shelves with things that have the tendency to drip/gloop. Molasses bottles! Syrup bottles! Some peoples’ vanilla! No more trying to clean out a cupboard shelf that is at an awkward angle and also not totally even and a bit splintery – just take the shelf paper out and, if it’s the plastic kind, rinse the whole mess off in the sink, let dry, and replace, or if it’s the disposable kind, then throw the whole mess away! And put new shelf paper down so that the *next* time someone puts the molasses back without noticing a dribble down the side of the jar, you will not need to also reach for the profanity to clean it all up…

  2. It’s a treasure to get to visit with you and share your sorrow and your wit. Now that we’re all stuck in isolation, such visits are more important to me than ever. I have a love/hate relationship with my phone. Before retiring, I worked in a job that required lots of phone calls. Being an introvert it became my least way of connecting with people, but now I’ve been calling friends & family every day. While we’re all stuck in this pandemic together, we’re all experiencing it a bit differently. Bless you. Thank you.

  3. Well that is exactly a wonderful cast-on!! I’m sure the horse will show up soon. It looks as though you are in the right corral.
    Steady as you go, my dear.

  4. I think that is going to be a beautiful sweater, and I’m glad to hear your knitting mojo is returning. Looking forward to seeing Elliot’s sweater and the sock. Virtual hugs from Nebraska

    • The ray of sunshine that I needed this morning – your blog. Thanks!

      I have a multitude of things to be thankful for, but in the last 2 days I think that things were finally starting to get to me.

  5. That is definitely an awesome cast on! I am often reminded that somewhere, sometime you noted that many knitters know only one cast on and one bind off. I’m so glad you opened my mind to the many alternatives. It sometimes seems a small detail, but makes such a big difference. Thank you for that.

  6. Great cast on, I love it, too. I’m very glad to hear from you. I, too, have turned to cabbage instead of spinach to stock my refrigerator. It’s stalwart.

    Charlotte has been in my thoughts a lot over recent days, and I continue to hold you all in my heart.

    • “Stalwart”. I love that word!
      1 strongly built, sturdy
      2 courageous, resolute, determined

      I’m making stalwart my go-to word for the duration.

  7. That is, indeed, a superb cast-on. 🙂 I’m glad you have your knitting and The Blog to turn to when you need. I think the horse will wander back to you eventually. You really can’t force horses to appear on demand, although I hear that carrots help. Take time, dear Harlot.

  8. I am in awe of your knitterly cast-on skills. I really should be inspired to expand my repertoire. Sending you love and hugs from Utah. I am grateful we have this wonderful connection to share the good, the bad and the ugly. We have got you.

  9. It is beautiful. Keep it up. And if you need more projects, do that thing where you throw paint down the stairs. That was a good project!

  10. Oh that looks totally tubular. (A little late to the party so I am second on that. ). If I were a sweater knitter I would totally learn that. Hmmm perhaps I should try a toddler sweater for the little great grand.

    When it comes to horses my best advice is this. Don’t look for or at the horse, much as with other animals that is a sign of your dominance and they will back away. If, however, you turn your back and leave out a carrot or an apple or a sugar cube or two, you might be surprised how many horses show up. (Another circumstance where you should perhaps be careful what you wish for. )

    I am glad you are feeling the need for a horse. Sure never thought I would say that to the Yarn Harlot. Kinda weird.

    Blessings and light to your family as you move slowly forward.
    Chris S in Canada

    Ps – I could tell you about shelf paper. Just ask.

      • Shelf paper can be tricksy. If you get good stuff it will stay flat and last forever. I like that non-slip rubbery stuff that looks sort of lacy. Cut to size it keeps things from slipping and keeps air flowing into those upside down slightly damp glasses and mugs. Should you do such a thing as spring clean you can even take it out and rinse it. But my favourite thing is odd rolls of wallpaper. They are usually heavy enough to stay flat and can often be quite cheap in the “ends” bin.

        • I have yet to find that it works as reliably for a lighter day as it does for a horse. Although when I keep my head down and stay busy often the lighter day shows up when least expected. So – maybe it does work and I just didn’t think of it that way.
          Chris S

  11. That cast on is magical. My knitting mojo left me when the virus showed up, but now I’m starting to think about going forward. Absolutely no urge to clean.

  12. It’s beautiful! You are amazing. It’s ok to lose the horse for a while, too. We are all thinking of you and your precious family

  13. Lovely cast on. And I don’t think grieving a grandchild for a few weeks can count as wallowing in it. I’m not sure that it could ever count, but certainly not anytime soon.

  14. I agree with Julia. Grieve as you need and know that no one would ever think you are wallowing.

    That is the coolest cast on!

  15. It is rather beautiful. I was devastated by your sad news, you and your family are in my thoughts and thank you for sharing your knitting adventures with us. ( and yes, I do feel bad having done next to no cleaning.)

  16. God, I love that cast on! I did that for my first big sweater – a Michelle Wang pattern with about 19,000 cables. The sweater turned out beautifully (I must say) (except for the part where it was too big, but it fit my best friend and I happily gifted it to her), and when it was done and everyone oohed and ahhed over the cables, I was like – but look at the cast on! (Insert blank stare here.) So you’ve definitely come to the right crowd to marvel over the cast on. (-:

    Hang in there – thoughts and prayers.

  17. When you first told us about Charlotte, I remembered other times you’d said it helped to know that The Blog was out here and holding you and your family in our thoughts, and I hoped that would help you and Joe and Meg and Alex this time as well.
    It’s a crazy mad world just now, so having knitting to take the edge off is a good thing. That is a lovely cast on; others beat me to the ‘totally tubular’!
    PS: if Meg feels like showing off knitting, too, I’m sure there’s enough Blog love to go around.

  18. Glad you and Meg are starting to recover from Charlotte’s passing. The cast-on looks great, and the pattern looks very intriguing. Can’t wait to see Elliot’s sweater. However, there’s a problem. Just A sock??!!?? Not a sock for the car, one for upstairs, one for downstairs, another for the basement, one for the backyard, etc.??? Are you running out of sock yarn???

  19. Honestly, if you need to talk about how magical the tubular cast or the sewn tubular bind off make you life, I’m here for you.

  20. I love that you live in this same world that I do. Thank you for sharing your life virtually with so many. xoxoxoxoxo.
    That IS a gorgeous cast on. And a giant man-sized sweater is just the sort of project that evidences the existence of hope for the future–gentle, step by step, growing hope in a slightly cautious, comforting color. You and your knitting are very wise.
    (I’m lucky: hubby likes math, so I can often get him interested in the little bits of impressive knitting engineering. Plus, I listen to ALOT of his thoughts about computers, so we’re pretty even.)

  21. That is an enviable cast-on. I wish I could squish it a little. And of course there’s a sock. There should always be a sock on backup. Two, ideally. But as long as you’re knitting, the actual number of socks you make is incidental.

  22. I’m sewing masks. In the basement, away from the Husband, the news and his knowledge of statistics and epidemics.
    Bought yarn for a bright and cheery thing – right after I finish the last 8 rows of a shawl and prep for a week of matzoh crumbs.
    Knit on! We are all here, together.

  23. Yes indeed these are mighty weird times.
    Knitting is very important! An adult sweater seems like a great idea, especially with a good cast on. I am glad you have already completed knitting one for Elliott first.

    I am really enjoying how women heads of public health – Canada, BC, Toronto – have become key public figures these days.
    Also impressed by PM Trudeau’s ability to answer reporters’ questions in whichever official language and then repeat his answer in the other language, even though the broadcast has official simultaneous translation.
    Keep well!

  24. I’ve done that cast on (or one very similar)! It’s fabulous. In fact, I knit 23 hats in December which is how I found that cast on and at least half of them included said awesome cast on, even if the pattern didn’t originally call for it.

    Also, Jared Flood is one of my very favorite designers and that sweater is amazing. The lovely gray color will look very handsome on your sweetie.

    I’m glad you and Meg rediscovered your knitting. I hope it takes care of you both during this crazy/sad time.

  25. I also lose my desire to knit when I grieve. Knitting is so happy for me that it feels incompatible with sadness somehow. I know it probably sounds cheap since I don’t know you in person, but I can’t stop thinking of you and your family and of how beautiful the pictures of Charlotte’s birth were. So I was very happy to see this post and I am so thankful that you are knitting again; I know for me it is always a good sign when knitting mojo comes back.

  26. These last 5 months have really kicked my butt. The only thing I have going for me right now is making things. Like quilts. Like socks. Like tiny unicorns wearing dresses. You have saved my sanity more than once, and I will forever drop whatever I am doing and look at your cast on and exult in its beauty.

  27. So glad you’re trying to find the horse (so you can get back in the saddle). It’s a strange time we’re living in right now, and my heart aches that you guys can’t cosy together as a clan to grieve. It’s rather a shame you can’t travel, my desire to clean is nil and it sounds like your house is now immaculate. Would be my pleasure to offer the distraction of the disaster zone I call home. May the knitting goddess smile upon your sweater (and that cast on is amazing)

  28. That is, indeed, a superb cast on. Sweet, sweet woman, I’ve been reading your blog for 14 years and have just been bowled over by the very, tough last several, for you. Glad to hear Meg is knitting, glad to see you are. And although I know it’s not quite Spring there, it will be very soon, and instead of lining shelves you can sink your hands into the good dark earth. And trowel up a worm, and hear birdsong, and think of your mum, and sweet Charlotte, and know that we’re all pulling for you. Like we’re pulling for humanity just now. Peace.

  29. Bless you Steph. Good to see that your knitting mojo has returned to bring you comfort. Keep safe. Much love to you all from Oz

  30. It’s been quite a while since you wrote a book and you’ve learned a lot about life, and doubtless about knitting, since then. You have a good bit of time in front of you, so what about it? Also, please don’t answer if it would hurt too much but I’ve been worried about little Elliot, who was clearly madly in love with his baby sister. I can’t imagine how you would explain something like this to such a little boy, but I know it was done with love.

  31. It looks like a really great cast on! I have not been tempted to clean so all is normal here in that respect. However, we have been exercising and now I’m gardening. Just a little bit of normal in what is anything but a normal time. Be gentle with yourself.

  32. Beautiful cast on, beautiful yarn!

    If you figure out the shelf paper, tell me about it, though?

    What with one thing and another and Passover… I seem to be in the kitchen most of the time. Hey, anyone here a Tolkien fan?

    Making matzah balls, I squeaked out a 14th matzah ball because, though I AM NOT SUPERSTITIOUS, I’m also no fool and (gestures at world around us right now) no way was I having a company of 13 matzah balls, you know?

    So my husband named the 14th matzah ball “Bilbo.”

    LOVE THAT.

  33. Slick cast-on!

    I have managed to screw up every single piece of knitting I have picked for the last year at least. I went from being Actually Pretty Good to Holy Cow What Happened in nothing flat, simple projects or complex, so it’s probably better that I take a page from your book and clean my house.

  34. That tubular cast-on is the bomb! I loves it. Now if someone could just explain the hump in the middle of a supposedly straight edged crescent shawl, I’d be appreciative. And may I just also say that you and your family are so very brave, so throroughly resilient, and so absolutely loving that despite everything you are going through you still manage to inspire the rest of us.

  35. It is super cool…. but I’m not entirely sure I caught what happened…. I’ll go back for another (squinchy-faced) peak…. Love the yarn, too

  36. I just bemoaned to my husband, “where am I supposed to get shelf paper? That’s the first thing I do when we move into a new house.” Of course we have no furniture or anything else. This month is a s***show of the highest order.

    • I have twice been consciously grateful I’m not moving right now (we just did last Dec and this past Sept, so I’m caught up ; )

      • we’re right in the middle of our (I swear to GOD) last move. And I need shelf paper….I’ve never used it in my life but I bought an antique repurposed chest of drawers for my yarn room and I just don’t want to put my nice yarn on wood I’m not sure about (provenance wise). So I’m off to shop on line for some. Thanks YH for the reminder.

        • Look for heavy wallpaper that is “last of the line”. Works great and you can get much prettier stuff

  37. Yes, indeed, that is a FABULOUS cast on. It’s so good that I was mesmerized by the pictures until I actually read what you wrote than had an aha minute when I remember trying to do that cast on & failed but it looks so good in your pictures, I might have to give it another go. It’s good to have knitting around in times of trouble.

  38. Do what you need to do and when you want to do it. We’ll be here when you want to share. You, Meg, Alex, Joe and the rest of your family are sent wishes for comfort and peace. Take care of yourselves and do as you wish.

  39. That there is an awesome, very handsome, and very satisfying cast on!

    Right now I’m all about clearing the knitting decks. Sweater that toddler giftee outgrew before I finished the second sleeve a year ago? Done. Hat that I wore for 2 winters without weaving in ends? Woven. Sweater that I ripped out in a fit of pique because it was ugly and ill fitting but the yarn is awesome Peace Fleece and that I endeavoured to re-knit into a properly fitted cardi with busy darts that was more or less self designed? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves now…

    Glad to hear you’re back at the needles. 🙂

  40. ‘Way back my kids gave me a boost by papering one wall of my bedroom with the most beautiful wallpaper that was ever created. Life moves forward and I will be moving from here to an apartment where I will need to be getting some shelf paper to cover some rough cabinet shelves. Cleaning out, preparing to move, I found a partial leftover role of that that glorious wallpaper — why have I kept it all these years? Let’s see, it can line that cabinet shelf and keep alive for me the memory of something I am reluctantly giving up.

    • That is lovely – and your children will be so touched that it means so much to you.

      I just wish I hadn’t read it in case it makes throwing things away even harder!!

  41. Sending so much love to you & your family right now. That is a skookum cast on – deeply satisfying looking. Knitting is keeping many of us from going a bit bonkers these days, I suspect. ❤️

  42. Just when you think things can’t get worse they do.
    Thank you for coming back. It helps us. It also helps you know what a fabulous cast on that is.
    Stay home and safe.

  43. The only thing I love more than a tubular cast-on (I use them on all my sweaters, it’s totally bad-ass and wonderfully stretchy when needed, and it just looks so finished even if it is the start) is a well-done mattress stitch seam. Love love love a seam that you can’t even see is there, and a cast-on you can’t even recognize as a cast-on.

    I might be a bit obsessed…

    All my sympathies to everyone, I don’t know what it must feel like but my heart hurts so much for all of you.

    And you know what? Horses are over-rated.

  44. Of course there’s a sock! I love the cast on, very neat! Hugs lovely. I would have been able to virtually wave at you on Friday, except for the c virus, but now I’m still in Australia, sending you healing vibes (you Meg, and all the family).

  45. Now is the time to grow your own salad! If you sow lettuce seeds now you can be picking leaves from the outside of the lettuce in a very short time. Also micro greens, fresh alfalfa sprouts in about a week! The range of seeds you can sprout is massive. Bonus you can sit and knit once you have spent just a few minutes setting it all up.

  46. Absolutely beautiful, so neat. I’m not any where near your state of mind thank goodness and once again send my love, but to get me through this lock down, ( which in all honesty I’m not minding so much), I’ve got a shawl KAL on the needles, a hot for the homeless, a crochet blanket and. cross stitch plus a Lee Child book on the go. I feel the urge to go knit now as I’ve just ventured to our local supermarket for elderly relatives who are 87 and 90 and still in their own home. They just don’t seem to grasp the idea that I can get them what they’ve asked for but not necessarily the same brand. Never mind as long as they stay well.

  47. I read knitting described as prayer (in a book I can’t remember the title of) and think it is a true and love-ly thought

  48. If you are knitting, then we know you are okay — not great, but okay. Though we’re not all dealing with the grief that you are, it’s a tough time, so remember to be gentle with yourself. Use the good yarn.

  49. Knitting is my sisters talent, wish I had it. I can do the simplest of stitching and so I can at least appreciate how fine your is and admire the beauty. A pleasure to read this post!

  50. Guess how I am amusing myself during this isolation? I am re-reading all of your books! And lots of other books. And knitting. And sewing lots of masks. And making cute wall hangings and doll clothes. Thank you for your part in making this isolation quite enjoyable. No shelf paper here.

  51. Oh my gosh, I, too, just learned tubular cast on. Tho I spent two days watching YouTube videos and knitting/frogging/knitting to finally get it right. As a sixty five year old who has only been knitting ten years, I’m impressed with myself. And you!!

  52. I am so glad that you both can return to your knitting and that this is something that holds you and works as a safety net. I saw Meg’s post about donating her breast milk, and this is such a powerful, beautiful things to do.

    The sweater looks awesome (Jared Flood has great designs) and the Cast on is dope!

  53. Awesome cast on. Jared Flood’s patterns always have such thoughtful and cool details. I love knitting his stuff.
    I’m glad you’ve picked up your needles again. Those times in my life where knitting hasn’t helped have felt doubly dark.
    As a very wise woman once said, “Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises”
    And though separate we are together

  54. Yes, the cast on is a thing of beauty! It’s the little things like a perfect cast on that make the sweater more lovely and that rarely get the glory they deserve.

    I cannot start another sweater until I finish few of the over 20 items I’ve uncovered as I clean my “knitting nest” area of the room. They’ve been hiding in various places and now are back in the light. Wonderful projects, just a little neglected.

    Still sending much love to you and yours.

  55. Someday, I’ll be a “big” enough knitter to try things like tubular cast-ons. The bravest I’ve been so far is a folded over very low turtleneck type thing.

    It is a thing of beauty and I’m sure Ken will find it a joy forever.

    PS — I’ve been spending my evenings alternately working on some socks and reading your blog from the beginning. It’s amazing how long the little voice that tells you something isn’t *quite* right has been there!

  56. Very nice cast on. Remember our lovely knitting goddess, Elizabeth Zimmermann, knitting soothes the troubled soul and doesn’t hurt the untroubled soul either (or something close). Nice color yarn.

  57. You are an inspiration – I need to endeavor not wallow as much in the deep end of things! I’m proud of you (I know I’m a stranger, but the pride is there in my heart).

    I’ve turned my attentions to knitting as well and it is balm to the soul – to be creative and make useful things:]

  58. Your blog is one I enjoy reading, you have a quirky take on life that I like, and a similar attitude to housework! I have not been doing much cleaning, working from home, which is not as much fun as I thought it would be, a lot more cooking than normal, and knitting. I have just finished knitting myself a yoke cardigan. I have started socks for my sister’s birthday at the end of this month, then I promised myself I would make a lace cardigan for my mother’s birthday in July. I think I may have enough time for that. Best wishes to you and your family.j

  59. I have also found my desire (ability?) to knit left with a death in the family, and I can think of at least one other person who said so, as well. Strange. Best wishes for healing and health for you and your family.

  60. It’s an exceptional cast-on…and you’ve motivated me to get my arse in gear and actually learn a tubular cast-on.

  61. That is an amazingly beautiful cast-on.

    I’ve been thinking of you and Meg and the rest of your family a lot. Sending love. So glad the knitting came back for you.

  62. Perfect cast-on! Glad you are able to knit a little. We need diversions in these uncertain times. Keeping all of you in my prayers. I watch my 8 month old grandson, Elliott, and he keeps me grounded and sane. I primarily quilt and that desire has taken a back seat during these times. We’ll get through this together. Thanks!!

  63. Since this IS a knitting blog, I’ll mention something for which you can be grateful. This is just a bit of wry humor. My new(ish) kitty decided to snack on my yarn during the night….like spaghetti. Many, many, MANY thousands of dollars later, I’m keeping my projects under lock and key. The surgeon said she ingested a “lime-sized” amount of yarn. Be glad you can leave all of your projects out in the open. And no, I can’t be bothered to clean. I suppose since it’s not Spring here yet (as it is snowing…). Beautiful Tubular. I’m always impressed when they come out looking so ‘clean’.

  64. That is a fantastic cast on. I’ve never learned how to do it and now I think I might need to. Alas, I might have all of the wallowing ability for two people (maybe I took yours?) because I am mostly doing nothing in a pandemic induced sense of dread and ennui. Although I do have some knitting I do while I play table top rpg’s via discord on Friday nights.

    Love to you and yours <3

  65. It is one of my favorite cast ons. I had contemplayed doing it on the sweater I am currently knitting my 6’6″ very large Sweish husband, but the sweater is knit in one piece and I thought I might drive myself a bit boners doing a cable knit cast on in 2 x 2 ribbing. I was successful Stay safe.

  66. I should damn well hop there’s a sock. Not all the laws of physics have been suspended. I do confess, what with spring and despite UFOs enough to fill Roswell, that my startitis is looking hard at The Road Trip Shawl (to be worn as a scarf, though I don’t manage scarves much better than shawls.

    Good to have you back, lamb.

  67. If there’s one sock, there had better be a second coming… {{{hugs}}} to you and the family, since my hugs have always been virtual, and it seems like we could all use a few of those.

    And, yes, that cast on is beautiful.

  68. Stephanie you are amazing! You will find your horse in due time – grieving is an important process – lost a baby 34 years ago and my family pretty much pretended it never happened and so I’ve never recovered from my loss. So embrace the stages of the process, embrace your beautiful memories of your sweet granddaughter and continue to talk about her with your precious daughter.

  69. Your blog and books have been my safety net and touch stone for years. I trust that your community near and far will hold you and your family close while you go through a time of grieving and emerge with a sense of life’s precarious and precious nature.

  70. The cast on is marvelous, stupendous, colossal. I love the sweater, too, I love most all of Flood’s work. Ken is going to absolutely adore it.

    Nice to hear from you, especially now that we’re all in isolation. I plan to knit as much as possible today. : )
    Take care…

  71. That’s what I love about knitting and, I guess, life. Just when you think you’ve seen it all and you’re proficient some new thing comes along and blows you right out of the water. I knit my first bobble last night and the joy it brought me is absurd. Well done, nifty tubular cast on!! You’re delightful!

  72. Beautiful cast on – any knitter in their right mind would be proud of that work.

    Hugs to you and the family. As you are well aware moving on takes time and love and patience. We all know that and wish you well. I am pleased you could take the small step and the time to let us know you you are staying healthy during this time.

  73. Stephanie, you write very well, and have very thoughtful things to say about important things. Maybe you could start another book, about coping, life events and moving forward in a world sorta gone mad? I have learned a great deal from you over the years, far beyond knitting. The post about Charlotte’s perfect birth, was… absolutely perfect.

  74. THE totally perfect cast on!
    The spaces between wallowing and getting on with the new normal get smaller. You’re doing great! Shelf paper purchase notwithstanding. 😉

  75. It looks fiddly AF… but the finish is gorgeous. Can’t wait to see the sweater!
    Sending lots of germ-free hugs your way.

  76. I, too, have fallen into the shelf paper trap in the past- when I was renting (it was like a barrier between me and whoever had their stuff on those shelves prior to me) and when we first moved into the house we bought (for the same reason as above).It would, however, be excellent busy work for these weird times we are living in. That cast on is absolutely stunning – and the best part about knitting is that it will wait for your grief to stop overwhelming you. It doesn’t tap it’s foot and give you the side-eye – it just waits for when you are ready. I couldn’t knit after my dad died, but my project waited quietly until I was ready again. Much love to you and your family –

  77. SHELF PAPER. I put it down when we move into a new house and then don’t do anything more until we move and I remove it– years later. However, I once had a neighbor that came from a Pennsylvania Dutch background. She was 8 1/2 month pregnant, standing on a chair, changing the shelf paper on the top shelf. When I asked “WHY???” She said that her mother was coming out for the birth and she didn’t want her mom to know that it had been more than 6 MONTHS since she’d changed the shelf paper. An old saying: An immaculate house is the sign of a misspent life (or a dull woman). God bless you and yours. Nice to have you back in our lives again.

  78. I love a good tubular cast on. I always think it’s too much of a pain in the arse…then I do it and love it. Particularly for hats.

  79. Lovely cast on. Presume if I search “tubular” that might open the door to new possibilities?
    Sending prayers and healing thoughts to you and yours to help each through their process – moment by moment.
    Namaste,

  80. As someone in healthcare, I am plenty busy, but knitting is also getting me through these challenging times. Trying to keep up with the Unique Sheep’s current MKAL is something to look forward to each day. And the project is so pretty that just seeing it brings me a little joy. Knitting is so wonderful!

  81. A few years ago a friend used that cast on (or a very similar one) and my entire knitting group oohed and ahhhed over it all night. It really was fantastic.

    I, too, lose all will to knit when tragedy strikes. My knitting mojo had JUST returned after a long and depressing stretch when this pandemic happened. Thankfully my governor is awesome and kicking pandemic butt (thank you, Governor Newsom). So after a few weeks of sleeping pretty much every moment I could, my knitting is slowly but surely returning.

    I’m also very blessed that I am working from home as I have for years, and my job isn’t going anywhere.

    Stay safe out there.

  82. I was loving the bit of color contrast and then, wait, wait, scissors?… It’s a great cast-on, but it’s also the closest I’ve ever seen to a beginning edge being steeked–a knitting technique I have never yet had the courage to step into. I confess I held my breath a little for a moment there.

    Hugs to your family and you, always and forever.

  83. That is such a great cast on! Although seeing pictures of sharp scissors near knitted fabric makes me nervous. Shelf paper? I’m sure you’ll find something clever to do with it, even if it isn’t lining shelves.

  84. That is a fabulous cast on! I am working from home, which means there is no massive cleaning going on, and the yard taunts me with its green, growing lushness that needs mowing and weeding. Alas, I’m stuck inside peeking out the door and wishing I could just spend all day out there getting caught up. Of course this weekend, rain is predicted…again…sigh.

  85. That is a seriously cool cast on. Tutorial for The Blog to share the ways of its coolness? C’mon, you love teaching cool knitting things and what the heck else are you doing just now?

  86. I can really identify with the loss of knitting mojo in this instance because you had other knits in mind.

    But that is a wonderful cast on and your sweater looks good.

  87. It’s an absolutely fabulous cast on! As for grief, you and Meg will move through it at your own paces and as you’re bleeping good and ready to. I am sure those of us here on the blog (and the Yarn Harlot Fans Ravelry Group) will still be here sending much love and positive energy your way as we have for many years.

    Out of curiosity, how is the sock coming that you had mentioned in either “Casts off” or “at Knit’s End” coming along? You had mentioned back then that he was “complaining bitterly about the heel” while still on the leg 🙂

    Also, will we get to hear more of your works in audio format? I love hearing you read your books. I sit with my cup of tea and my knitting (or while driving down the road, previously with my unruly teenage boys whom are now in their twenties and now ex husband in the car…. she who drives controls the radio! With them saying “that is totally you mom!) laughing through your stories. I wore out my copies of Casts off and At Knit’s End, so i ended up buying the audio books many years ago and long for more.

  88. Tubular cast on is wonderful. So is the cast off especially for button bands. Not as quick but the bands stay where they should.

    Shelf paper. If only. I’m a woman who is contemplating a squash trellis for the garden. Not quite so small.

    Hang in. Thinking of you and yours.

  89. That is a beautiful cast on. Glad you are getting back on the horse.
    I lost my husband 10 days ago and I too am finding it hard to knit or do other things I enjoy. I am so sorry for your loss.

  90. Thanks to your books inspiring me to become a good knitter, when the coronavirus started, I thought – I need yarn! My bucket list has a sweater on it with Icelandic yarn, and my cousin had brought me back 3 balls from a trip to Iceland. So, I bought more in a bunch of colors, and am working my way to keeping my sanity. yeah, when I finish it will probably be too hot to wear it, but I’ll just put it on and go downstairs into the basement. It’s chilly down there. We’ll be here for you, because you’ve always been there for us.

  91. It feels like maybe a great cast-on is a nice metaphor for carrying on with life, after great loss. Thank you for sharing it all with us!

    • Oh you put it so perfectly! Thank you! That’s exactly what I was thinking but I couldn’t figure out how to word it.

      Stephanie that cast on rocks!

  92. Yay! You are at least back! So glad that you are at least this far back. Love the cast on. I’m feeling a little drifty. So much uncertainty is exhausting.

  93. The cast on is fab! And it’s lovely to see you writing, and sharing, and trusting us with your processing during this time in your life. Thank you for that honor. It’s heartening to see you knitting as well, of course, and the pattern is beautiful and so is the yarn.

    But, Stephanie… a man-sized, GREY sweater, in Toronto, at the tail end of winter? Am I the only one who remembers how badly you’ve yearned for color at this time of year in the past? I fear that in a week’s time you may be kicking yourself for not choosing green…

  94. That’s the prettiest cast on I’ve ever seen!
    I use old road maps for lining drawers and shelves! I just like the way it looks.

  95. You’ve done so well to be able to come back to knitting. We had a death in our family almost a year ago and I lost not only the desire to knit but also the ability to concentrate on even the simplest pattern.

    Maybe that beautiful cast on will be my catalyst. Thank you for all you do.

  96. The cast on is verrry nice and Ken is going to love that sweater. Losing your Mother, your Grand baby will be with you forever. One day the grief will become an old friend remembered but that will be a long time from now, but it Will happen.Joe is grieving too. The best advice i ever got was to Breath. Just breath deep.

  97. I am very thankful you found that totally cool cast on. Sometimes things like that carry us through a multitude of days. I can’t wait to try it.

  98. Much love and virtual hugs, dear Stephanie, to your entire family. You have inspired and comforted so many of us through the years. I can only hope that knowing that The Blog is holding you close in this time of personal and worldwide sorrow will ease your pain a little.

  99. Your post reminded me of a translation of The Plague by Camus:

    “In the depth of winter I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible summer.” -Albert Camu

    It’s a terrific cast on!

    Thank you for sending up a flare indicating you and your immediate family are surviving. Again, thank you. We worry, you know.

  100. Looks like a type of tubular cast on? I learned that in the last year – and now I do all my hats with a tubular cast on – and I can’t shut up about it either. And almost no one cares. It just makes a hat look amazing. I love yours. Beautiful!

  101. I love the cast on and the sweater pattern. I can’t wait to see Elliot’s new sweater, too.
    I don’t want to bring you down as you try to move forward in this new reality, but just know that I think about Meg and Alex, Elliot, you and Joe and your whole family everyday. My heart is so broken for you all. The anticipation and the promise of a new person is just so MUCH, but your telling of her perfect life will maybe help just a small bit. So much love for you all~

  102. Fantastic cast on. A+, would use again. I’m pretty sure I learned it from you.

    Have you looked for your horse in the “time-out” wip bin? I decided to clean mine out and took great pleasure in completely ripping out a sweater that was knit 10 years ago, all but the seaming. It was like erasing bad stuff from the past. Now I’m re-knitting it with everything I know now that I wish I knew then.

    Several people have mentioned considering a new book. Here are some chapter headings to get you started:
    — Quarantine Knitting
    — The Horse You Rode In On
    — What Can I Make With What’s In My . . . (insert vegetable bin, yarn stash, whatever, here)
    — New Realities
    and of course Amazing Grace, because that is what you and Meg have.

  103. Gorgeous cast on!
    Regarding the horse … do you have a bucket? Having chased my 3 horses around the neighbors pasture in knee deep snow this past winter because I left a gate open for two freakin’ seconds… after 2 laps I finally remembered the bucket trick. A handful of grain in the bucket to make noise, go stand by the gate and rattle the bucket. First horse to come gets a mouthful while the rope slides around their neck. Leader is now caught and will happily follow the bucket. The others follow the leader so… go shake your bucket !

  104. That cast on is magical! Now I will need to go find Rift on Ravelry to check out the rest of it.

    Your horse will come back. They usually do, but sometimes they are spooked enough that they need a little time away before they show back up. A little time to reset and regroup. I’m finding it hard to regroup right now because we aren’t at the end, or even the middle, of this enormous change. And you have three enormous changes all happening right now. We love you, and I think you’re stunningly brave to be so open and vulnerable here.

  105. I didn’t take time to read all the other comments so might be repeating something.
    I know you know this, it’s what you would tell a friend. Grieving is not wallowing. Take the time you need.

  106. You know if you’re really in need of something to take on….the stairs. Wasn’t there talk of priming, sanding, repainting? I’m sure Joe is feeling like he missed out so here’s his turn!
    Interesting cast on! Beautiful yarn n color. I’m sure Ken will look dashing.
    I’m glad your knitting mojo found you. (Smarter than that horse…)

  107. It’s so good to hear your voice coming back, and to know that you have knitting to hang onto.

    I love the cast-on pictures–and I wonder if, since you like talking about it, you would consider talking us through it in some more detail? I did my first tubular cast-on last year (to make Brooklyn Tweed’s Hugo for my son) and it fascinated me but I couldn’t get it perfect. I would love to hear anything and everything you have to say about it, and about Rift generally, which is something I’ve been thinking I should make for the other boy.
    Grief and quarantine together are a terrible combo–my heart hurts for you!

  108. I have to read about that cast on – it looks beautiful. As does the yarn and the pattern. Wow.

    BTW, shelf paper. I have had rolls waiting in the back of the cupboard. I had always known it was there, waiting. A few weeks ago I saw the ANTS, who had noticed the crumbs in the drawers and cupboards. So, now all is cleaned, cloroxed and lined with clear mini-bubble liner. Not sure if it won’t just trap the crumbs under itself – but there we are.

  109. I was suppose to use that CO for the sweater I am working on. I chose not to perform theTtubular CO and instead went with a Knit On CO. I did not feel like messing with it and now I feel like I missed out!

  110. We don’t “get over” our losses, but we do, eventually, get used to them. Sometimes we are engulfed by the sadness. Sometimes we feel it as if from a distance. Sometimes we let it sit along side us for a time. Sometimes we recognize it, feel it briefly then let it pass along.
    It’s a comfort to find peace in everyday life, because it does go on.
    Tubular cast on and bind off are among my favorites. I have not been cleaning (my sweet husband has been doing some of that) but have inexplicably switched from knitting to sewing during this time at home.
    We find peace in our own ways.

  111. It is a completely gorgeous cast on. It looks different than any tubular cast on I’ve tried ( but maybe that because I have muddled them all up and given up). Are the instructions only in the pattern or is it in the public domain?

  112. Such a beautiful cast on! Joe is impressed, even if he doesn’t know it. My heart is with you, as you weather this difficult new path. I know your grief and I offer you my strength. This pandemic is such a strange reality. Hoping we all come through with a better sense of what is truly important. Much love to you and yours. <3

  113. An Asian family we knew lost their young teenage son suddenly due a brain aneurysm. We saw them three months later smiling joyfully as wheeled their year old daughter in her stroller through the neighborhood. They did not seem to appreciate sentiments of condolence. I got the feeling that they had found a way – I know not how – to genuinely move forward with happiness by celebrating and accepting what they could not change. I hope you are able to get there one day too.

  114. Thank you for sharing your grand-daughter with us and allowing us into your grief and your joy. It’s very generous and gives comfort to us, as much as allows us to comfort you and your family. It’s kind. We know you even though you don’t know us, so we all care and feel for you!
    We’re lucky to have our passions to take us into fun and happiness when we’re stressed and sad.

    I’ve been trying to dedicate some isolation mojo to cleaning but can’t get the spirit. I’m just making so much more mess. I intended to finish everything off in the enforced, extended craft-covid-19 time but have embarked instead.

    Glad to see you back, if not in the saddle but at least heading out to the paddock. Xxx

  115. I totally agree. Once you find the tubular cast-on, there’s no going back! (the robot-sorting image for this is a pair of scissors; how appropriate)

  116. The tubular cast on IS the bees knees! Thank you for that tip about running a small needle through the waste yarn before snipping it 🙂 I used a tubular cast on for my current WIP, and have been saving the waste yarn removal for the end; to me, it’s like unwrapping a present 🙂 Will give that method a go, there’s a little too much danger of cutting the working yarn otherwise. Thank you!

  117. The cast-on is beautiful! And I’m so happy to see you blogging. I can’t imagine the loss you all have felt but I can imagine some of it as my niece is 7 months pregnant. It breaks my heart that your family is dealing with this while not being able to hug each other.

    Also, thank you for the slaw suggestion. We were daily shoppers prior to this virus and are struggling with the fresh vegetable part of weekly shopping (I can’t stand frozen veggies). I can see us making more slaw going forward.

  118. I love the cast on! It’s gorgeous and it has a unique function. I wish I knew how to cast it on. I need to learn it. I completely understand your enthusiasm for it. I love your blog! It’s my favorite and I look forward to reading it. Thank you for your blog. It helps so much. I am so deeply sorry for the loss of Charlotte.

  119. Great cast on! I’m still working, possibly harder than I did before I began my boy in the bubble existence.(I am currently doing telehealth.) I am working on an Orenburg scarf (Russian Lily on Ravelry) and a Gibbie shawl (Gladys Amedro). I find lace to be absorbing and aggravating enough to distract me from apocalyptic thoughts. Also working on learning how to play the piano at age 64. And sometimes I feel like I am rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I think about you and your family frequently and pray for your wellbeing.

  120. PS. How about doing some teleknitting classes? I would be happy to subscribe and there are a lot of us who for one reason or another can’t make it to one of your workshops or classes.

  121. It is a beautiful cast on. Right now I think it’s the simpler things that bring the greatest comfort. A perfect cast on, new shelf paper, (installed or not,) the nicest yarn, and I do love that color.
    Peace to you and your family.

  122. I see you your clean house and raise you “washed bathroom walls”!

    p.s. i figured you’d be catching up on socks of the month.

  123. When I read your account of Charlotte’s sudden death I cried as if it had happened to a close friend of mine – because in a weird and wonderful way that is what you have become to me over the years. I cried too with the memory of losing my son and for all the families who have had to bury their children. These are some tough times for the whole world and we all need friends. My advice? Make a handwritten list of all your friends and family and keep a record of when and how you contact them, by phone, by email, by text so they know you care. It makes a big difference.

  124. Welcome back, Stephanie! In this time of great grief, suffering and tragedy, the ability to find joy in knitting is a sure sign of being on the road to recovery. The cast on is quite fabulous and deserves to be used on all sorts of things for people you love. Love and socially distant hugs to you and yours!

  125. That is, indeed, a magnificent cast-on. And lovely yarn – it looks the perfect texture for the chosen project.
    But, lordy, Steph – shelf paper?!

  126. Beautiful cast-on. I can’t wait to look it up and try it. It looks so professional. Keep putting one foot in front of another, you’re doing healing work.

  127. I’ve made tubular cast on for a few projects, and it always seems like a magic trick, & just tickles me no end. Yours is super! I like to show off mine to whomever is available, too.

  128. And here I thought the light yarn was a fun contrast color at the edge… only to see you snip it away. 😉
    Lovely either way.
    May you feel the blessings of Mother Earth as she tries to soothe you during any rough patches. Your blog friends love you! 🙂

  129. I’ve organized and cleaned here as well. My
    Husband wants to put on new shelf paper but as another commenter said that’s just a waste of good knitting time lol. I’ve had castonitis lately and normally this would annoy me but it does give me things to talk about on the podcast and to write about plus I’ll be all squared away for the holidays if I can manage to finish some items. My husband has heard so much about my knitting and crocheting lately too. And that tubular cast on is amazing!

  130. When we began our Stay at Home all I could do was sew masks. Being a knitter it took me a little relearning curve to be sewing again. Now I am waiting for more elastic and interfacing, I’m back on the needles!

    Thanks for the slaw recommendation!!!

  131. It has been a while since I saw shelf paper, but I am pretty sure that at least one side is good for drawing, so you can make enormously long pictures. Recategorize it as art supplies and save it for your boy.

  132. BT patterns are my absolute favorites. Not only are they well edited (I’ve yet to find an error in one), but I Always Learn Something new, or get reminded of somethings that I might have tried before but forgotten about. That is a most beautiful cast on!

  133. Love the tubular cast on! I learned it when I made a Brooklyn Tweed vest for my husband. I loved the way it I gave the vest a really nice finished bottom edge, and I will most definitely use it again. Looking forward to seeing the finished sweater.

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