Seventeen

The blog is seventeen today.  If this blog was a person it would be in their room blasting obnoxious music and angrily texting all its friends about how horrible I am for not letting it go out during a pandemic and see everyone. (I can sort of relate.)

Last year, I wrote about how much things had changed – how much I’ve changed.  I re-read that this morning while I was thinking about this post, and laughed at how wild it is to look back and think that last year I believed that grief and loss had changed me a bit. I had no idea what was headed our way, none at all.

There is no doubt, my dear blog, that this year I have had trouble coming here to write to you.  I have felt as I did right after my mum died, that I don’t have very good walls up – that at any moment a dam could burst inside of me and I will just type “CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THIS SHIT” over and over again while weeping and laughing hysterically and honestly, I can’t imagine you want to hear it. (Yes. I swore. I know, I know. I try not to here, so as not to offend any tender sensibilities but I honestly don’t know how to put a cherry on the crap sundae that has been this year of blogging without at least one. There may be another. I don’t know.)

I was so hopeful this time last year – so reconciled to the changes that had happened in my life and I even felt really good about change. I really did – and then Charlotte died, and I don’t have the words (or want to type them) about what it is like to lose a grandchild, or what it is like to watch your child suffer the loss of a child, and then to have the fear, loneliness and separation of a pandemic heaped on top of it. See what I mean? Aren’t we having fun now? I cannot imagine any of you would enjoy a(nother) post even remotely like that. Even if I leave all that out and just keep it light, well you might have noticed that the world is a little pear shaped right now, and besides all that…. I put on proper pants just twice this week – and the only person I really see in a day is Joe and Blog, I feel like the material just isn’t there. It is like we are all in suspended animation, waiting for life to start properly again, and honestly the most interesting thing that happened all week is that I realized that I didn’t order enough yarn for this baby blanket I’m knitting (the west coast branch is adding a member) and I know I’ve written that post before.

For the first time ever my blog, I don’t want to tell you how I’m feeling, not because I don’t want to share, but because I feel like either you feel as I do – that you’re lonely and your life is small (and if it isn’t could you please change that so that we all get our lives back sooner) or that my life will be sad, or simply won’t be entertaining.  I have always come here to tell you what’s going on, and my blog, this year there is just… nothing going on, except for what it’s like to try to buy pants online and I’ve given up.  I was terrible at buying pants even when you could try them on, and now it’s hopeless. I am on the brink of adopting leggings and I hate leggings. Worse than that, I feel like if I do want to ditch all of real life and tell you simply about how I feel about the Channel Island cast on (hint: we are in love) then given that the world is on fire, it will seem callous or insensitive in the face of it all.

Long story short, i know I keep promising that I’ll be better about coming here, and I mean it. The blog has been such a big part of my life for the last seventeen years, and it has always given me the most terrific comfort to write to you, and to read your comments – but this just feels unending and terrible and even when things happen that are really nice and make me happy – they make for boring blog posts because the bar is so low over here. Like yesterday? My bread really came out nicely.

See that? That’s all I’ve got for yesterday – except for the blanket thing, which like I said… it would be a more interesting blog post if I didn’t run out of yarn. That would be the shocker.

I am dreaming, blog, of what things may be like when I write to you on this day next year, when this thing is 18 and legally an adult. Will the pandemic be over? Will the border be open? Will our families be the same size and shape? I know that this has been a year of loss and fear for almost all of us, and I know that things are hard all over, and it’s because I understand this that I find it almost impossible to come here and talk about our family’s suffering – it is no more than yours, and I don’t want to make you look at it while you struggle yourself.  (Especially if you are having the trouble with pants that I am. It is a bridge too far.)

For now, know that I am here as much as I am able – that I love you all and am grateful as ever- that this space is still my online living room, and I’ve got no intention of leaving it, but I’m also having trouble inviting company over while things are so strange. I’m working on getting some better walls up.  Thank you for being there for me, even when I am not there for you.

(PS. It is tradition, though I know this year is different, to kick off my fundraising for the Bike Rally today – in years past we have amused them mightily by donating a dollar for each year of blogging, a load of donations all the same amount (or a multiple) has always weirded the staff out over there, and I like that. That said – two things are true this year – first, while I’m signed up for the Rally I don’t know if there will be one – there’s no way to know now if it will be safe or possible, and second, I know that for many of us things are tight financially – so if either of those things are a deal breaker for you, I get it. If those things are cool for you- that’s awesome. PWA has stayed open during the pandemic as an essential service – even when nothing else was open – they were still running the foodbank for clients, and as you can imagine, there’s more help needed than ever. If you’re feeling it, a $17 donation here will be as weird as ever.)

 

 

260 thoughts on “Seventeen

  1. Stephanie, you know that the depth of pain is not a contest, and that you have as much right to express your pain as much as anyone else. Thank you for sharing your pain so honestly. It’s true that we miss you when you are away, but we also understand that sometimes there’s just too much or too little to say. I also have been silent to people to whom I should reach out, but there’s nothing to say. Sending you a big virtual hug, and wishes for a much better 2021 than 2020 was.

  2. Stephanie, you’ve said all the words in the right order, and that’s all you had to do, today or ever. You come to the mat with whatever you have, is something Adrienne, of yoga fame, says a lot in her videos. We’re where you are, you’re meeting us where we are, and yeah, the pants thing is super annoying.
    A solution I found is a small company called Pact – they make not-skin-tight leggings (their shape is more like Eileen Fisher) in flattering and forgiving sizes, from organic cotton. Heaven shipping to Canada is probably obscene, but worth a shot.
    Incredible bread, btw!

  3. Congratulations on 17 years of the blog! And thanks for sharing with us, as much as you can. We understand. You really captured what we’re all going through with this unending pandemic. It sucks. And we’re all just doing the best that we can. May this year be better for you and your family and I look forward to reading whatever you post whenever you write. Good luck with the blanket and the pants.

  4. Thank you for putting into words what I (and probably many others) am feeling right now. You always have been able to capture the mood and put down the words to express it.

    Now I’m heading over to the PWA site to make my donation in honor of the blogiversary.

    PS: If you decide to do some karmic balancing, I have three skeins of a lovely Baby Twist from Alpaca With a Twist to contribute.

    • Exactly! Just like your last post, this one suddenly gave language to my complicated sentiments that I hadn’t even realized I was missing. Thank you!

  5. Because things are so weird, I have taken to asking co-workers what has gone well for them today in our phone calls. It helps to refocus away from the negative. I have taken to celebrating my own small victories. Some how it helps with coping. Celebrate the bread. I would.

  6. Happy Blogversary!

    In the US, Covid-19 has sent over 400,000 to an early grave (and then there are the usual average that die from other causes). It has also devastated the economy for many and put them on the brink of financial catastrophe.

    It has been a good year to practice the Serenity Prayer (paraphrasing): Change the things you can; accept the things you can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    The hygeine, masks, isolation we are practicing has greatly reduced the flu this year (out of half million tests in US, positivity rate of approximately 0.4%).

    We have the time at home to do all those things that we never have time to do (okay, so I haven’t cleaned out my closet.i have finished a few knitting projects that were in time out).

    Part of life is perspective. Not the past year I would have chosen, but I am trying to find the positive aspects. I am tired of the collective hand wringing about how bad things are when we have so many advantages over our ancestors (read a few histories about historical pandemics…or just about polio). Who knows…maybe even clean my closet (don’t get to excited about that possibility).

  7. The only way out of this is through it. When one day at a time is too much then take it by the hour or in five minute chunks.

    I’m stopping complaining about my boring life because I had an exciting week and it wasn’t anything at all like fun. I’d rather go back to being bored than shaking with fear and wanting to vomit. I would be happy to see the rest of this through without an adrenaline rush.

  8. We, The Blog Readers, are here for all your stories. They don’t need to be positive, they don’t need to be completely different from before, they don’t need to be anything but your news. And tell us about the hard times that you’re going through if that will help you. Come on, we’ve known each other a long time now.

    The highlight for me was seeing you talk at an event in London. (An event! In a hall! With so many people!) I queued for a couple of hours so I could be in the front row, which I had never done for anybody else. You were gracious and kind and spoke to everybody who queued for your book signing, despite neither eating nor getting bathroom breaks. I’m assuming Canadians are made of tougher stuff and have bladders of steel.

    Please think of all the people you’ve helped and all the lives you’ve touched. And remember that we all love a good game of yarn chicken. Especially if we’re not the ones playing it.

    Happy blogoversary Steph! You’re one of the good ones.

      • I second that emotion! Or third it, I guess. You are a blessing, Stephanie. I’m reading “The amazing thing about the way it goes.” What a gift you have and how well you give it. Even now when there’s not much you want to say. Thank you.

  9. We, the blog, go through similar life events. You have given us the gift of being able to talk about them. I have lost my first grandchild. Just not this year. While everyone wishes everyone Happy New Year and suggests that we kick 2020’s arse on its way out, I’m thinking, with a diagnosis of cancer in December, maybe what I’m looking forward to is not better than 2020. This week has been one of CT Scans, PET-CT Scan, Ultrasound, bloodwork which came with a standing order (just bring this in every time you come, HUH?) and this morning an MRI. Exhausting. And yet, thousands of dollars worth of scans and diagnostics and not a penny out of my pocket. I am so thankful to be Canadian. I came home from the hospital and made pea-soup and finished the sock for the almost two-year-old grandson, who has proven over the last 3 pairs of socks that he keeps the woolen ones on! I will knit my way through this. And so will you. Brighter days are ahead! Knit on, Stephanie, you are loved!

    • Sending big thoughts of light and peace and a return to health. I think your attitude of steadily knitting through everything that comes your way will make a difference.
      Blessings to you and yours.

    • Sending prayers as you embark on this journey that all will be well.

      The taste for woolen socks at age two is impressive. (As is the mama who will handwash them….)

    • Doreen – sending you healing vibes and hoping that you kick the butt of cancer quickly. All the best from a fellow Canadian.

    • It seems my responses are mixed up and not in the order they should be. Small problem. Just know I appreciate everyone of you and your prayers, good vibes and hope. And sorry to Stephanie for taking up her blog space! Knit on everyone – the world will right itself, eventually!

    • Doreen;
      The year of 2020 did not exist for me. Other people were restricted in their activities, whereas I did nothing – except make sure I knew where that “standing order” was at all time. It allows a person to jump the queue. And as long as you do not have a gleeful look on your face, get no push-back from those you leapfrog. My first surgery was in 2019 [then insert some chemo]. Then my second surgery started off 2020 the way it shold, or shouldn’t. Then insert some radiation just as a lock-down started. And my third surgery was last month. I wish you the best in your journey.

  10. Stephanie,
    I think I speak for most of us when I say that we’re not just here for the knitting. We’ve become friends and family. I for one know that when you’re gone for a while I worry about you. I hope you’re doing well and that you’ll be back soon. I do t say that to pressure you in any way. I know you’ll write when you have the time. But worrying about my friends is sorta my love language.
    Glad to hear that you’re the same level of okay as we all are. There’s happy stuff, like bread that comes out nice and having enough yarn to finish a project (me, I had enough yarn . But only because it was a sweater for my dog and he’s tiny.), and your neighbors to the south (also me) just made a super awesome lady our VP.
    Love you, girl. Chin up. Lean on us.

  11. I hate that you’re so sad, but I’m glad to know it’s not just me, or you, because some days it sure feels like nobody else realizes the world is on fire or that we’re losing so many souls. Unfathomable loss takes so much time, and it never really goes away, especially when the loss takes such a toll on someone you hold so dear. My uncle died in the second tower in NYC on September 11th, and the grief and loss of having him taken so quickly and so unexpectedly never left any of us. We were at least able to gather, and find a way to cope together, and I don’t wish on anyone what you and your family are going through. You bread is beautiful, your blanket is going to be lovely, and maybe soon, we’ll be on the other side of all this. Peace and love to you and ours. Hope you have a drink as old as your blog today.

  12. You really need to give yourself a pat on the back for producing bread that is a work of art. Anyone that can do that is entitled to a few meltdowns too but I’d want to hear about them and to see other amazing things your hands produce. Keep ’em coming.

  13. Seems to me you can take a little comfort in the fact that you have so many online friends who, silently, have somehow figured all that out with love. Whenever it works for you…
    Please forgive me for getting more personal than I’d prefer, but…I lost my first baby girl at birth when I was 19, more than 50 years ago. I now have two spectacularly wonderful daughters and 6 grandchildren. But my first…that loss remains with my every breath. I have thought about your Meg and Alex many times. I rarely thought about how my parents felt…their first grandchild, and their beloved daughter in the darkest hole imaginable. They were always there to love me and my husband, and even if I didn’t recognize it, it made a huge difference in being able to move forward. We survive even when we can’t even imagine doing so, and we go on to love and have more children to love in our lives. The past never quite leaves, but the future is always a possibility.
    You are all in my heart.

  14. Words to encourage you to write even when you feel it is pointless:
    – pictures of knitting and baking never get old for this crowd
    – all our lives are boring too – so even though you might think your article is boring – it will still be entertaining for us
    Thanks for writing and wishing you (and the rest of us) a great year this year

    • Agree! Through the good, the bad, and the ugly knitting, you always make us laugh. We can acknowledge that the world is a sad and scary place, but we can still (and must) walk through it together. Any time one of us can help another one to smile, even through tears, it is a valuable gift.

  15. You know, Stephanie, that those of us who have been reading for a significant chunk of those 17 years are not reading because we expect you to entertain us, though you often do, but because we have grown to love and care about you and your family. Like my other friends, I care how your bread turned out, I care about your pets, I really care about your family and your grief and loss. I want to know how you are doing, and I want to know even if the answer to that is you’re not doing very well, because I want to be able to do my bit to hold you up – even if that’s not tangible and even if it’s from a long way away from someone you’ve never met. If what you have to write is that you’re hurting and lonely, then that’s what I’m here to read. And in reading it, I can at least feel that in this bizarre cosmos of The Blog, we are all in this together and we will all, somehow, pull each other through. And because of that, even though money is tight and the future is insecure, I’m donating to PWA, because what goes around comes around. Much love to you and yours. <3

  16. Happy Anniversary, Blog!! We just want you to know, we love reading you and hearing all about Stephanie’s life. We know she thinks her life is boring right now, but if it is any consoltation, our life is boring also. I watch my 17 month old grandson, Elliott, and we are not on quarantine here in the states. But out of an abundance of caution, we stick pretty close to home. I am getting much knitting and quilting done, and going through a lot of my stash. I have stopped whining about being housebound, as I rather like it.
    I am praying for peace for you and your family. Baby Charlotte will be there waiting for you one day, and your heart will be restored.
    So keep writing, Stephanie. Many people love you, even if you can’t see us and we need you, and I like to think that may need us a wee bit.

  17. “My bread really came out nicely” – is this some kind of Canadian understatement?? If I produced bread like that (not that I would, my husband’s the baker in this house) I would be heading straight to my blog with Behold My Epic Loaf of Awesomeness!

    It is true that a gawjus loaf of bread is not as big on the good side of the seesaw as a pandemic is on the bad side, but I reckon the best way to move toward a balance is to pile everything we can on the good side, be it just a crumb. Or, you know, The Most Attractive Loaf of 2021.

  18. Steph, hang in there. A boring day right now is actually a good day because nothing crappy happened! Now to address some of your more specific concerns:
    1) Who needs pants right now? (Ask Joe’s opnion.)
    2) Don’t worry about not ordering enough white (or cream or ecru or ivory…) yarn for that baby blanket. Instead, order enough pastel yellow or green to do a nice edging. You won’t have to match the white (or whatever) yarn’s lot number.
    3) The bread is beautiful. I’d be lucky to turn out a scorched saltine.
    4) We’re not expecting posts on a daily basis. Give yourself the time you need. You deserve it.
    5) If things are really getting boring, go adopt some kittens. Or puppies. I guarantee things will be less boring.
    Happy Blogiversary!

  19. Congratulations on the blogiversary! (Auto-“correct” suggested blog ice ready)
    That’s a beautiful loaf of bread.
    Yes I will gladly go donate at PWA.
    Agree with the other commenters – any posts any time are welcome. Please don’t feel pressurized on our account.
    I’m enjoying your instagram photos and menu ideas.

  20. These days my goals are so much simpler and I celebrate the very small accomplishments. Your bread is beautiful. You wrote to the Blog. You knit on a baby blanket. You’re working on the bike rally. Yay! No it doesn’t make up for the challenges we’re all facing, but things like a walk with my dog, noticing the blue sky and sun on my face, mean a lot to me. This has been a time for me of softening, slowing down and appreciating small kindnesses. Pants are over rated anyway, didn’t you write earlier that Joe had given up on them altogether?

  21. As someone who lives with general anxiety disorder as her companion now (and it has been for years, but only formally since Nov 2019), celebrating that loaf of bread would be enough. Seriously. Because that is an accomplishment – and sometimes it’s just that one thing here, or there, that makes a day complete, no matter how small you may think it is.
    But that wasn’t said to admonish you, it was to share where I am. As you are sharing with us, the Blog – where you are, no matter how small the accomplishment or how repetitive the day is. Trust me, we’re all (mostly) in the same boat as you. We can’t do all the things we would want to normally, we can’t hug and comfort our families (today we had a memorial for my father in law who passed on Jan 2), and we’re living mostly in isolation. But we are here for you, as we know you are here for us.

  22. Happy blogversery! Find the joy in each day. How could I say that? That is how we move along. It’s all in how we meet the challenge. You’re in the middle of the Canadian winter-it’s own challenge, you do you, I’ll do me and we’ll get to the spring. I have hope.

  23. I have been thinking of you. You aren’t alone with feelings of loss and thinking that the hell is next. Chocolate, cake, brownies have been my solace. Knitting too, we will get through this. My jeans won’t but I will. If you haven’t cut out news, do it. One less anxiety producer.

  24. Thee are so many stories behind the word ‘hard’, for all of us. How much pain we feel is, like those stories, personal and it’s own burden.

    I have taken to knitting crazy blankets for some children I love. The craziest wild feathery, bobbly, wavy colourful yarns I can find. Their faces! So delightful.

    So…I say, show us your knitting. As much as I miss your stories and your heart in your humour, I do miss the socks, the sweaters, the way you choose colours and the always intriguing mentions of the stash.

    I was going to corral and sort mine, but then I’d know for sure what I have. I don’t want to be stopped!

    PS ‘Touch the woman’. We ARE touched!

  25. Thank you for inviting us to your virtual living room the past 17 years. It has always felt intimate, open and safe. I look forward to the conversations that take place for the next 17+ years. Until then, take care and stay safe Stephanie. ❤

  26. Two things.

    One, the scoring on that bread is perfection. Nicely done and well worth celebrating.

    Two. Pants really are a problem. Between aging and some associated sagging and the pandemic expansion stupid pants should probably be outlawed. Jeepers! You are not alone in that particular suffering. Lululemon has a surprising line of 7/8 pants that don’t need hemming if you happen to be 5’3. Who knew that a design feature just meant pants the right length for the height challenged?

    I appreciate that you acknowledge that nothing is right in your world. We understand that more deeply than we can tell you with words. It is ok to tell us your sad. I do not think for one minute that your story diminishes my sadness or pain in any way. Empathy is recognizing someone else’s path without having to step on all the same sharp stones but knowing the pain and bearing witness to it.

    Many tiny comforts to you and yours

    • As a totally normal-sized person standing at 4’11” (rest of you are giants), I reluctantly suggest Athleta for pants that are comfy, warm, last, and are not leggings. Ethics-wise, I’m not happy to buy them, but purchasing clothes that aren’t an ethics violation is darn near impossible.

  27. Happy aniversery!and thank you for continuing.When I feel lonesome or tired of this corona world, your blog and instagram has always given me strength!The frequency of your blog doesn’t matter a bit!I hope for our happiness and good health as I knit or cook.

  28. Dearest Steph, we the Blog are not fair weather readers. Life is hard, grief takes its own sweet time, and this virus has changed us all and our lives in ways we don’t even know yet (I’m in Melbourne, Australia – Google that and lockdown to see what our 2020 was like). Life is slowly returning to normal, with periods of gut wrenching anxiety when there’s another outbreak.

    It’s like knitting one of those projects where no matter how much time you spend on it, you don’t seem to make any progress. However, if you work at it regularly, one day you’ll be ready to cast off that second sleeve, or find that you’ve knitted a very complex edging all the way around that blanket.

    Let’s hope for minimal visible mistakes and that the sleeves are the same length. And that you’ve only knit two sleeves not three (please don’t ask…)

  29. Oh, Steph, though I have also struggled with sadness, loneliness, and separtion over the last year, my heart has broken for your family so many times. It is not fair, the pain you have all been through, though I’m not sure fair is really a thing anymore, as the year has seemed far from “fair” for so very many people. And yet somehow, it is a comfort to know you’re still there, to read your words and “hear” your voice. So thanks for dropping by. Sending a hug from faraway, and I hope as much as you so that a year from now things will be different, in a positive way. Peace–as much as possible–to all of you. And good luck with the pants.

  30. During the first lockdown, we did ‘happysnaps’. They were, well, just nice little bits of life. I have a ten year old and every day we would sit down and look at the things we’d done and post them on Facebook. People loved them! I thought all of those things – that they were dull, that they were repetitive, that if it did look like were living our best lives, it was thumbing our noses at people who couldn’t be, that we had more space, time, money, nature or energy than some people could hope for and it wasn’t fair to wave it around. But people saw them as we did. Little rays of sunshine in a grey world. (I was clear lots of times that we knew it was shit, but I wanted to remember the little bits of fun, too). I posted about fresh eggs, milk deliveries and new seedlings, pretty sunsets and local walks, silly crafts out of pop bottles and endless board games. When I stopped, because I got a bit fed up of it, several people messaged me saying how much they missed them and demanded I restart, and they were just, nothing. Not even slightly interesting!

    I’m not meaning for one second to belittle your losses, and I completely understand if you can’t post about or through those. But worrying about being boring? Nope. Chatter away. I bet a post about buying stuff online would have everyone laughing and saying ‘hell, yes, me too!’ We’re all in the storm. We get it. Sourdough coming out pretty is cause for celebration. Sourdough coming out wonky will make someone’s day, cos theirs did too. No pressure to post, but absolutely don’t be concerned about posting little things. They’re important, too. Hang in there. Better times are coming.

  31. Dear Stephanie,
    I have read all the blog entries of these 17 years, and I am so very grateful for the ways you show up. I have learned so much from you over the years- about motherhood, knitting, and being a generally good human. Your honesty and humor are refreshing, and I’m here for either one.
    Charlotte’s death is heartbreaking. She was and is so very loved, and her loss is felt by us all. I hope you will include her in the blog over the years as you remember her and miss her, and help us remember what she should have been doing if she had lived. I will be remembering her on October 15th, the International Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Awareness Day. She will always be a part of your family, and her presence here, so very brief, has made a huge difference on your family and all of us.
    This morning I headed over to the PWA website and made a donation. I’m crossing my fingers for a fantastic Red Dress day.
    I myself received my second dose of the covid-19 vaccine on Friday (my very mild reaction allowed me to still knit, thankfully). I am hopeful that the vaccines efforts will pick up speed, and we will all be able to give and receive hugs, have dance parties, travel, and feast together by the end of this year.
    In the meantime, I wish you every kindness. And I offer my heartfelt congratulations on that beautiful loaf of bread. Once again, I am inspired by the blog.

  32. Please know we are thrilled when you can blog and that you are still willing to do so…when you can. With everyone’s losses of so many loved ones and assumed life realities it is so good to hear from you and all the commenters. We are a community…a sad, confused, sometimes angry or frightened community. But still a community because you brought us together 17 years ago.

    Little things like your comment on the struggle of buying pants…which is hard enough when we could try them on…I to am challenged vertically, as my dear husband use to say…and trying to buy jeans on line is going down the rabbit hole for me emotionally. I was beating myself up that it set me off so badly….So I had a good laugh when I read your note…those little things…we miss them as much as the huge things…and it is OK…our feelings (good bad and ugly) are OK. I am sure you had no idea how that small mention of the buying a pair of pants and the difficulty of it…made my day better…because, you and the community understand it and are in it as well. Thank you Stephanie….for another year with the “Blog”.

  33. Good morning Stephanie! It was so nice to get up this morning and see a post from you. This pandemic has been a lot of things, hard, strange, lonely, frustrating, etc., but it has brought me two things, a return to knitting for myself and my loved ones and funnily enough it has also brought me you as I decided to read the blog through from day one. So I have been reading you a little bit every day (I’m up to 2014). So today, when the blog is 17 years old it seems like the perfect time to thank you for all the posts you’ve ever written and all the joy, and humor along the way. You’re the best!

    • Mm-hmm. Me too. That is one of the most interesting kind of stories. Give me a minute to get the popcorn.
      Ha. Touch the chair. Sitting down for the story!

  34. i am glad(?) to hear i’m not the only one having trouble with pants… and so much of my life is sameness now that even someone else’s well made bread is a step up!

  35. Dearest Stephanie,
    We all feel you. We all understand. That is what makes this space so great. It is a place I come not just for knitting and yarn, but for you. In this world where connections are hard to come by, I feel like you are a bright space in my life. I look forward to every single post. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share.

  36. Shared joy is doubled, shared sorrow halved — Swedish proverb

    Steph, I’ve been following your writing since you were frantically posting on the knit list between raising 3 little girls.  It’s certainly been a year…We don’t expect you to be happy and funny all the time, we’ve followed along with you as your girls grew and married and got lives of their own and as you got a blog, got published, became famous…  We followed when you lost your uncle, and your mother and little Charlotte.  If writing helps, then write.  If it’s a chore, then don’t.   “The Blog” will still be here when we come out the other side of this… bruised and battered but still *here*.

  37. I find reading so-called “boring” blog posts about cast-ons and bread, not to mention you running out of yarn, very comforting in this time. So I say that you can go right ahead and lower your personal standards for blog fodder.

  38. Dear Steph,

    Thank you for putting into words what we are all feeling, always.

    I would recommend custom pants – EShakti is one company that customizes all their clothing – it is like having a tailor. As someone who is short, and not fashion-industry shaped, .i’ve found It to be a revelation. No feeling bad about one’s size or shape, just send your measurements and receive clothes that fit and look good. I imagine that there are places in Toronto that would do the same. It is absolutely worth the cost.

    Your bread is gorgeous.

  39. It was at least 1988 when I gave up on trying on pants, only to return home without a pair that fit. Finally I found a pattern (elastic waist) that is oversized, comfy and can be made in a variety of colours/fabrics. At 59 yrs. old I’ve now used “Fitting Finesse” by Nancy Zieman to swing and slide the pattern to fit the new bulbous contours. Highly recommended to cheat: use zigzag pinking shears to finish inside seams, and ALWAYS make the number of pockets you prefer!
    Go for it. You’ll never look back.

  40. I started reading this blog just under a year ago, when my life and plans had already been overturned by the pandemic, a month or two before most people in North America. I had to leave the country I was living and working in, and suddenly I had so much time to fill, and so many big scary questions I was trying not to think about. I (re)turned to knitting at that time, and for the first time I thought that it might be nice to hear people talk about knitting, talk about something that wasn’t the way the world around us was falling apart. I found this Blog at that moment, when I was retreating from the world, and I read every post, 16 years worth of them. It gave me such comfort to be able to experience a world at a different and easier (for some) time, to experience life and birth and death and aging, all through the warmth and honesty and incredible generosity of your voice, Stephanie. And it felt like a gift.
    I understand and respect the fact that you have to take time and space for yourself right now. My escape into your past, hanging out in your living room when my own feels unsafe, is not an escape for you, nor are you obligated to provide that space. But I’ll be here when you get back.
    Sending love and strength.

  41. Time is so fluid now. “What is a week-end?” takes on a whole new relevancy, doesn’t it?

    Just the other day I was telling a friend that my goals for when this … thing … is over are simple. I want to take my husband out for breakfast in a restaurant.

  42. Your bread is beautiful! I’m not sure I would be able to cut it. The end of this nightmare is near. My husband and I received the first vaccine two weeks ago and will get the second in two weeks. Things are starting to look better!

  43. Thank you for posting. I love reading your words, even if they make me cry. Reading about other people’s pandemic lives makes me feel less anxious about mine. Not sure why really, maybe because it makes me feel less alone in it. Life has gotten away from me and I find I’m not making enough time for me. I have not been able to enjoy yarn for months (well over a year actually) I’m working to change that and I’m thinking about a temperature blanket. Have you ever done one?

    • I’ve had some trouble knitting. What has helped for me has been focusing on small things. I knit my husband a pair of slippers, and then a pair for my mom. I knit a headband for the woman who delivers our mail. I’m currently working out dimensions to knit a dog coat for my friend’s chihuahua that has respiratory problems. Not only are they a manageable size, they’re for other people. The things I’ve started for myself keep languishing from disinterest.
      This may not work for you. I hope you find what does. Knitting results in a tangible, often useful, lasting item. Wishing you the best.

  44. Yes–to everything you wrote. I feel the same way about wishing Happy New Year–somehow that seems unrealistic, or flippant, or callous. So I’ve been wishing folks a Hopeful New Year and trying to do a bit to increase the hope in the world. Sending virtual hugs!

    • Thank you for “Hopeful New Year”! We send out cards every new year and this year I’ve just been stuck because I haven’t been able to bring myself to wish the usual wish, because the year that was has left me so wrung-out and skittish, and it feels like a long road ahead. This is perfect, and now I know how to make the cards.

  45. Happy blogiversary! Thank you for letting us into your living room all these years. I’ve learned a lot about knitting and life.

    Once Upon a Time I found myself in a pit. The things that help me were to control what I could control, even if that meant only washing the dishes and tidying up. Also, this little mantra I picked up from an article/interview with a U.S. Buddhist- Life is good; Be happy now; Let it go.

    As others have said, we’re happy to hear about/see your knitting and cooking. If you want to take a break, that works too. Do what you need to do.

    You (we) are worthy of these feelings. It’s not a contest.

    Also- pull on stretch capris/jeans in a heavy fabric. Cuddle Duds has nice options too.

  46. Fit me, 2020 has brought an improved ability to understand people, empathize and to understand that most people are not their best selves. And I forgive myself when I am not my best self, and try to do better. Do what you can. Right now, all of our worlds are small, which means little things turn into big things. Tell us about your love of the Channel Island Cast On!

    I have an assignment for you for 2921, if you’re up for it and if my idea appeals to you. I always enjoy reading about your baby blanket adventures and admire your designs and work. I would LOVE for you to write a recipe book for us to design a baby blanket of our own. Chapters / choices for the main field, borders, lace edgings, etc. A bit like the Estonian Lace books that are as much stitch dictionaries and recipe books as they are patterns. Just a thought….. I’ll buy at least three.

  47. Wow, 17 years! And I have been visiting with Blog all that time. Somehow your words always strike a chord with me. And yes, it has been quite the year. As Amanda Gorman said, there is always light if we can only see it, it we can only be it. Onward together!

  48. There is a theory in psychology that mild depression is your body giving itself time to heal. You’ve been really hit with a lot of bad stuff in the past few years. Turning inward and slowing down are ways to heal yourself. Take your time and be gentle with yourself.
    In your post you said “ they make for boring blog posts because the bar is so low over here. Like yesterday? My bread really came out nicely.”
    Guess what? Most of our lives are really boring right now. The bar is really low for all of us. So I found your bread picture really exciting!

  49. We love you, Steph!! Thanks for stopping by–we’re always here for you. Share as you can–all of us are feeling the grief of COVID and the tremendous losses of the past year. Sometimes just getting out of bed and doing something productive earns a check mark these days. Love your posts on Instagram too. Happy blog-iversary!

  50. You’ve been a big part of my life for the past 10+ years too. I can’t begin to describe what the glimpse into someone else’s life did for me when I needed to look away from my writing or grading or teaching for a little bit. No one can hold another’s grief but your words have so often helped me find my own and I wish I could repay that debt. It’s been a privilege to read what you have offered. I check the blog everyday and remain deeply grateful for whatever you chose to share.

  51. We will always hold space for you, and it doesn’t matter how much of it you choose to fill. You owe us nothing. I haven’t visited the blog since the “Small” post, because I haven’t expected you to say much. Getting to read all these posts at once was such a shining jewel of my day (ahem, week) because I love reading your words. We are all spinning in our own little worlds and trying like hell to hang on to something that centers us… this blog is a little bit of normality, just to click this bookmark, and it’s those little things that matter now. Celebrating your milestone with a donation. <3

  52. About the pants buying thing,,,,it’s our curse for being short and slender!
    Bread – send it my way.

    And YEA! I actually outran my shortage of yarn. Of course, the project was only 81/2 yards, (I didn’t know that at the time..) but I made it with enough to tuck in.

    And speaking of Charlotte, I can’t even imagine that pain. I spend 99% of my days knitting for parents who have lost a child, either thru early loss or, a Preemie who doesn’t survive.

    Thank goodness for knitting, as it keeps me a little bit sane. Well, that and alcohol of course! 🙂

  53. Happy Blogversary!
    The bread looks AMAZING. It may seem mundane to you, but that is just beautiful.

    Someone above said you have a right to your grief and your sad feelings and you can share them with The Blog – I totally agree. I would add that, despite the world situation and everything terrible right now, you have a right to your joy as well. Life goes on, and seeing your small joys may help the rest of us to find ours as well.

    Much love and hope for warmer, happier, healthier 2021!

  54. The takeaway for me for 2020 and the whole pandemic era has been to appreciate, cherish, the small stuff that I would not ordinarily notice such as the storm clouds scudding across the horizon, so, hurray, for small things like beautifully baked bread. The fact that I will forever remember this time as the era of forever pulling up sagging yoga pants, well, as my daughter dryly said, “It’s better than waking up in an ICU wearing a well-fitted ventilator.”

    I always look forward to your posts. Thanks for your charitable works and thank you for writing even when it’s hard.

  55. Happy Blogiversary! Thank you for hanging in there. That’s all that any of us can do right now: take care of each other and ourselves. Blog Nation wants to know about the Channel cast on, but that’s for another day.

    Be kind to yourself, stay safe. See you next time

  56. That bred is awesome and the picture of the white knitting so tantalizing will the blanket be finished before the baby is borne with the added spice of will the post office deliver it or loose it somewhere?. Here in the States I am still waiting to hear that the Christmas presents I mailed to my sister and brother-in-law, just after Thanksgiving, have arrived or are lost forever. what patterns have you chosen? It looks like you are on a transition form the center to a border. I am knitting geek enough to find every detail fascinating and entertaining. A breath of normal in a world twisted all out of shape. Knitting one stitch at a time can be counted on to get you there, a sweater, pare of socks or an epic baby blanket suddenly the end is in sight. Something I fear can not be said about COVID-19. I want to hear all about how the virtual bike rally went? I can just about manage email no twitter no Instagram so have not had the pleasure of reading your other posting mediums. This is a long winded way of saying I have enjoyed your blog for many years. The last year was crap but there have been bright spots. First off take care of yourself and yours. Happy blog Birthday.

    • “Knitting one stitch at a time can be counted on to get you there, a sweater, pare of socks or an epic baby blanket suddenly the end is in sight.”

      yes

  57. Stephanie, it’s your willingness to share your life and to be vulnerable that reminds us how similar we all are deep down. I too have read your blog back to the beginning. At first I was just entertained and then one day I realized that you and your family felt like family to me as I eagerly awaited your next post. I have cried many tears, laughed and commiserated, felt uplifted to learn that I wasn’t the only one struggling with life from time to time, but overall have enjoyed your company. Don’t ever feel an obligation to write because that’s not what the Blog Family is about, as you will have known from all the comments preceding mine. But share when you can and take back what little we can offer you in return. The human family is being tested right now by so much. We need to stand by one another virtually while we cannot do it actually. Thank you.

  58. I have never even heard of a Channel Island cast on, so that sounds like a pretty interesting blog post to me.

    It’s rather fascinating how we are all having a different pandemic. My world is smaller, but so much more crowded. Both of my children have been home since March. With 4 1/2 years between them, I am not used to this. By the time the youngest was more than an appendage the oldest was in Kindergarten. We even break up the summer with a day camp or two. Now we are doing Kindergarten and 5th grade from home. Add in my husband working from home and I now fantasize about having an hour alone without having to hide in the bath.

  59. I am cranky and I am lonely and I have nothing nice to say except that a blog post is really welcome. Thanks for that. We are in this together. We are never as alone as we feel, not even in our worst moment. (that’s for me as much as anyone else who needs to hear it)

  60. Dear Stephanie,
    as someone who had the exact same things happening to them ( the dead child, the pandemic and even the pants) I want to unironically thank you for not just going on as if this wasn’t a shit show. I feel seen.
    Happy birthday, Blog.

  61. Tiny smiles…
    if only your ‘replies’ could accommodate photos …we could send you photos of the ugliest things we have knitted? 🙂

  62. Congratulations on 17 years of blogging! We’re all feeling the pain of shutdowns and stay at home orders. Sometimes it’s just fun to hear about the fun cast on. We know you’re not making light of the problems of the world, but we all know it. A reprieve is just what we all need!

  63. Dear Stephanie, this is my first time commenting although I have been reading the blog for at least 10 years. While there is a million things I‘d love to tell you, today I want to share this link to the most recent episode of This American Life because It is about the things we lost during the last year apart from the obvious big ones. The chapter about the loss of gossip came to mind when I read your post. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/730/the-empty-chair?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+talpodcast+%28This+American+Life+Podcast%29
    Please know that the blog does care about the pants-situation especially because there is so much big stuff going on. Everyone needs these topics and there is no way I would think of you any less just because little life issues are still on your mind – pandemic or no pandemic! I am patiently waiting for you, take the time you need. Even your silent readers will be there when you return to your living room. Greetings from Austria, Birgit

  64. it seems that everything takes so much more effort during these times of pain and loss. I am honored that you used that precious resource of energy to share with us. Your posts, short, funny, long or sad, encourage me: to be honest, to keep going and do something of value (bring joy to a young life, celebrate love, fight/stand/bike for a worthy cause, knit a sock). Thank you for and from the blog.

  65. Please post about all the small successes, like beautiful bread. We are all locked up, waiting this out, and every small win should be celebrated!

    As an American, after over 10 months of pandemic, last Wednesday ushered in, IMHO, a breath of calm and peace. I now feel like me and mine will make it through. I feel that I will be told the truth. I feel hopeful.

    I wish peace on you and yours. Having lost a child nearly 22 years ago, Your words echo my mother-in-law’s and Meg’s words echo my own. Share that too. It’s OK. We love you all.

  66. I so appreciate your honesty that things are hard and nearly all of us are on the edge of cracking every damn minute. That truth said plainly is so much more comforting than pretending that life is all gentle bread making and knitting. Thank you for speaking the truth.

  67. Chiming in: that bread is ART.
    And so is the edge that is visible on that blanket. So pretty!

    I hear you about the pants. I’ve been living in pajamas.

  68. No, no, we want to hear all about the perfect bread and the Channel Isle Cast on, it’s so comforting in these grim times! Glad I’m not the only one with issues buying clothing online. Huge fleecy onesie it is at least until Spring, maybe longer.
    Much love Stephanie, from lockdown London. Xx

  69. Sure, every bit of that. But I think you may be underestimating the comfort inherent in repetition — like failing to order enough yarn. Tell us that and we have a sense of “Ah, not everything in the world is different, some things are eternal.” Not to mention the sense of community that produces, that “yup, I am not the only one.” But all of that aside, WHAT ABOUT THAT CHANNEL CAST-ON? Tease. Get that puppy up here, spit-spot. (And petal? Cast on a pair of bright socks. Loud if possible. Garish if you can manage it. They don’t have to make progress — though it’s never too early to start that Christmas knitting — but white in January is the new grey in February.)
    P.S. Great bread

  70. I tried and tried to find the swear word, to no avail, but then, I’m American. No offense taken. Be you. Don’t worry about us. You have enough on your mind.

  71. If any good can come from the past year it’s that we all may have finally learned to be kind to ourselves always and first. It feels radical and I like it. So take your time. We will get to the other side I think. It’s like when you (okay, me, bc I am a slow and undiligent knitter) cast on for a new project and it’s just like a pathetic bunch of string. And then one day it’s a a thing. All those days in between when it was nothing, until it was something. We‘ll get there. Also, eff pants. Eff constrictions in general. No more time for that.

    I also want to add, in honor of Blog Day, that my favorite thing is still when you threw the paint down the stairs. I’m not saying you should recreate that just for our amusement…but, like, if you wanted to do some more upstairs painting, I would be pro that.

  72. Happy 17th! I always look forward to your posts, but understand and respect how often or how little you post. You are a gift to us. Glad to donate to PWA and help weird them out a bit.

  73. I met you briefly at VKLNY last year (I was the blithering idiot who gave you a vegan brownie) and I told you that your blog had helped me through some of the hardest times in my life. So turnabout is fair play! If you need to blog, I’ll listen. Even if it is sad. Even if you think it’s not interesting. Do what works for you.

    And if you don’t want to blog, then don’t. No one needs that kind of demand on them right now.

    And for anyone who feels they need the blog to get through the day (been there), Stephanie has given us a great gift – a well organized archive. Pick a year, pick a month, pick a day. It works for me and I hope it works for you. I was in such a bad place about 10 years ago that I went back to the very beginning and read it from start to finish.

    And Steph, if you want to commiserate, I actually had to buy a bra online. I have a big rack (40-G) and my g-force joke fell even flatter in the notes section on the website than it does in real life although it makes me laugh every time. And did I mention I kicked off lockdown with a frozen shoulder so it had to be front hook. It’s fine (say that out loud in the same tone of voice when it’s not really fine but you’ll deal with it.)

    P.S. It’s okay that I called myself a blithering idiot. I get pretty bad sensory overload at knitting festivals and embarrass myself on a regular basis. I have a pretty limited filter on a good day and when I’m surrounded by beautiful yarn and even more beautiful people, my filter completely disappears. Seriously, I’m surprised Stephen West didn’t call security.

    Sending much love to you and yours and hope that we all come out the other side of this as best we can.

  74. Dear Stephanie – you and the Blog have seen me through some dark times. Thank you so very much. You have been marvelous. I want to grow up to be like you! I will share my secret for pants. Black stretchy pants. Some places call them yoga pants. I love them. They go with everything because they are black. They fit whatever size I am (and I vary greatly). They usually cost between $10-20 USD. I hope this helps!
    Hang in there! Remember, where there is yarn there is hope! My motto is Life is too short for boring colours!

  75. Please, feel free to post the *small* successes (looks like a fine loaf), ongoing challenges (running out of yarn), and all the feels.

    And also, we who are going through lockdowns and losses need to know we’re not alone in feeling how shitty it all is.

    Someone quite wise said that a sorrow shared is halved; a joy shared is doubled. Please continue helping halve and double respectively.

  76. I, and I am sure that I speak for many others, always enjoy what you have to say. It does not bring us down – you always provide us with joy. Congratulations on 17 years – quite an accomplishment! As always, your baby blanket is gorgeous – I love the fact that even the professionals run out of yarn. LOL. Also love the picture of the bread. See you do bring lots of joy to us. This will come to an end – until then stay safe and healthy.

  77. Maybe it’s time to let go of blog guilt. Whatever you are able to post or don’t post is perfect. There are no blogging in a pandemic rules. Go easy on yourself. We’re not going anywhere.

  78. Stephanie, this year has truly sucked. I’m working again though so I donated to PWA. I’m Ottawa based so i’ve never donated there before, but I’m doing this for you and your community. Why? Because community fucking matters.
    Thank you for your contribution to society in Toronto, Canada, and the Internet world. We all appreciate you.

  79. There are no words, yet you’ve found a way to express what so many are feeling. If silence is your solace, then please allow yourself to be who you need to be.
    The bread is amazing; as to the lockdown apparel, two words to consider. Yoga pants. (Justified by restarting – or trying to – a yoga practice after two knee replacements).
    Sending a virtual hug and prayers for healing strength; moment by moment; one breath at a time. Namaste.

    Bonnie aka Knitsiam

  80. Stephanie,
    You always seem to have the right words at the right time, even if I didn’t know that I needed them.
    Thank you for being the calm in the middle of the storm that was 2020.

  81. Happy Birthday Blog. Stephanie, I don’t know if this will help, but, you’ve had real pants on in 1 week more than I have in 2 or 3. These velour lounging pants my mom gave me for a Christmas or 3 have been a lifesaver. Knitting LOTS (shopping my stash fairly regularly). Good Luck with your baby blanket. Hope you either win Yarn Chicken or can get more. Sending a virtual hug just cause even though it doesn’t change anything knowing it’s been sent just for you (or as my friend Christi would write Just For Ewe, the name of her yarn shop) somehow helps.
    P.S. And yes, she does “help” me keep my stash healthy …

  82. 1) your bread looks amazing.
    2) Go ahead and give in to the leggings craze. Nobody will judge.
    3) But here’s what I really came here for – a knitting mystery. Gurdeep Pandher (the Yukon Bhangra guy) got a pair of socks from ‘a beautiful soul from Ontario’ and the sock monkey colors reminded me of the hats you knit for your family a couple of Christmases ago. Was this you? How many knitting mysteries do we get in life? https://twitter.com/GurdeepPandher/status/1353119539651776512

  83. Truly your losses this last year were worse than mine, and mine, to be frank, were bad. My heart goes out to you. You are a beloved member of my knitiverse, and I wish you better days to come. Happy Blog Birthday. (Your bread looks spectacular and I thank you for checking in with us.)

  84. Dearest Stephanie,
    I can speak only for myself. You have given me so much over the years with your writing. I wish there was a way I could give some of the joy, wisdom, support, comfort, humour, love, back to you now when you are is such distress. Know that many miles away a knitter in California is sending you all the positive vibes she can.
    As soon as it is possible for Strung Along retreats to happen again, I’m signing up. And I’ll be first in line to give you a hug and a beer. Not necessarily in that order.

  85. Congratulations on making 17 years. I have been a reader for at least the last 10. Thank you for putting the words out there that “nothing is going on.” My parent’s were in a severe car crash in Sept 2019 – my family was scrambling for the next 6 months helping them recover and adjust to their injuries and make sure we had other things in place. Just when I thought I would get that part of my life back and take a breath – the pandemic arrived…. I try every day to focus on the positive, and know what I can’t change, and knit very simple projects. I know I am not doing well when even reaching for the knitting is too much… Last week for the first time, I wrote the words to a friend “I am so looking forward to the day when all of this is a bit of a foggy memory.” Until then, my evening walks and weekend hikes are what keep me mostly on the sane side of life. We will be here when you can write more again, and I am deeply impressed when you are writing. Thank you!

  86. Your recount of attempting to purchase pants online has moved me to comment for the first time ever. I was actually reduced to tears recently over this very thing. To find that my favorite jeans had been discontinued was truly more than my pandemic battered soul could bear. At the time it felt like the straw that broke the camel’s back. I have come to the painful realization that I have 1 pair of jeans, 2 pairs of sweatpants and several pairs of dress pants (let’s face it, those are completely useless now) to see me through to the other side. I feel your pain. Thank you for telling us about the good and the bad!

  87. So many of us have experienced incredibly great change in the last year, whether of a pandemic, political, social, or personal nature, or all of the above. I can not have expectations of anyone else as we navigate this new world we find ourselves in, least of all myself, and certainly not of you.

    Thanks for 17 great years. What happens next doesn’t limit my gratitude. Peace.

  88. Four baby blankets are almost finished. Not knitted, just four blankets made of 100%cotton flannel. Years ago my grandson was gifted with similar blankets and I can’t begin to describe how useful they were. I’ve made many since, but almost gave up when I couldn’t find 100% cotton and the substitute flannels with synthetic fabrics just weren’t the same. And then I discovered that quilt shops have 100% cotton flannels, and I’m back at it again.
    The quilts are square, as long as the fabric is wide. Just measure a length the same as the width and double it. Right sides together, seam all around, leaving an opening for turning right side out. Since I downsized my old swing machine, I did all this by hand, then turned right side out and basted the edges. All they need now is two rows of machine stitching around the edge, which I hope my daughter will do for me. Now it’s back to knitting mukluks with double points. Will I ever learn to love double points?

  89. I can understand you not feeling you have the material to write more, and none of us want you to burden yourself more, but please know that what you do write is valued and appreciated. The way you write about your grief helped me so much through the deaths in my family this year, and the way you write so honestly about the pain of isolation helps us get through it.

    Also, Some writers can write about the bread they made yesterday and the pants they are not wearing, and it’s fascinating. My husband does not understand knitting at all and he still thinks you are great. Here’s to a better year!

  90. Happy Blog Birthday!! They’ve been wonderful entertaining and informative years.

    That’s the most beautiful loaf I’ve ever seen!!
    Perfecto!!

    Re: Pants. Could you keep the pants you have for outdoors and wear a skirt or sarong indoors? I think you once made a really lovely wrap skirt? But a sarong has no sewing, just tie a knot or two.
    Joe might like a sarong as well? My Hubby finds ‘sarong as pants’ very comfy at home because it’s lighter than a towel.

    Re: Blog Authoring. All writers and artists take recharge time – even in non-covid-times.
    There’s nothing wrong with a bit of (Once in a..) blue moon blogging.
    Maybe an occasional pic with a caption like “Still here.” to let us know you’re OK?
    Reading the comments, there’s a lot of love and understanding from this community

    Plus, There’s a lot of good reading available here in previous posts.
    Just recently I searched for all the squirrel posts. Hubby (in pjs for bedtime reading) loved the tales of the theiving rat bastards!!!
    All the very best, to all! Be safe. xoxo

  91. I just wanted to add to what others have said. Yes, everyone is suffering to a greater or lesser extent right now. However, what you write does not overload us but helps to make all of this more bearable; you have a wonderful way of encapsulating feelings that we recognise but have been unable to express as well as you have. I find your posts helpful and uplifting. Always. Nevertheless, please do not add to your own pain by writing more than is helpful for you. Much love Jane

  92. Apologies for commenting twice, it I was thinking about this as I went about my day yesterday and I thought about how people say ‘I love you’. How often I say to my daughter ‘have you got your waterproof boots on?’ ‘Did you have breakfast?’ ‘How’s school going today?’ When really I mean ‘I love you and I care about your comfort’. When my dad says I love you, it sounds like ‘how’s the car running?!’ – I’ve no clue, I only care that it goes, but for him it’s a way he can show he cares about me. My mother will often pull weeds.

    So, in this new world where we live in our tiny bubbles, what do we share with one another? Tiny things. Sourdough, shelf paper and yarn accidents are the new holiday snaps. And while the world will open up again (I’m sorry to say not soon. I think this year is going to be a year of small things, but it WILL) for now, we need to share the small things. We need to say our big ‘I love you’s’ with small actions. I suppose the nice thing is it’s easier to share small things with more people. They are more universal experiences. They are definitely the things that will hold us together.

    I know this time is not fun. Especially for extroverts (my daughter is one. I’m not. We need people!). I’m happy to share whatever you feel you have to share with us just now. However small. I guarantee there will be lots of us who share your small things. I agree that some things are too big for the blog, but nothing is too small.

  93. Steph, as someone who has been with you pratically from the begining, here’s what I know. I read your books for entertainment, and your blog because I’ve come to know and love you and want to keep up with what’s going on with you like any other “friend” in my life. This year HAS been crap (we can say that, the people who decide about curse words don’t consider it a swear word), but in the midst of it all, we need to connect with our people in whatever way we can. There’s a lovely quote somewhere on these great internets about how suffering is not a competitive sport, and while we all suffer differently, it’s not meant to divide us, but to bind us together. Just don’t ask me what it is exactly. As a fellow writer of words, however, I understand how hard it has been to show up and string words together this year. Mostly due to grief and sorrow and anxiety and fear and the complete emotional exhaustion that has come from still having to show up and do my job every day (I run a food pantry and we can’t close). It’s zapped every bit of creativity I have. I just started to be able to read again after the new year, and I’m hoping with time I can get back to writing. So give yourself grace. If you want to come to the Blog ™ and tell us about a wonderful loaf of bread you made (and I’m truly jealous about), please do it. And I’m hear for all the “I ran out of yarn on the baby blanket” posts. My cousin is having a baby soon-ish, due next week, and I’m hopping I can knit that wee-lad something before he’s a year old. Hugs and love to you and your family. We’ll get through this.

    • Thank you for running a food pantry. Thank you for not closing. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking care of all those people.

      (also: I only knit *hats* not even blankets, and I’m also behind, if that makes you feel better. They take me maybe 3-4 hours total, and still: behind.)

  94. Stephanie, I am so glad that you are out there in blog land. I feel like I am a lone knitter here. I guess I am tired of not hearing a human voice? Our wifi is too slow to Zoom or Facetime and the Fiber Arts group that I was ramrodding seems to have fallen apart. I had hopes that we would keep in touch but apparently I am the only one?

    Good to know that you are safe, healthy and running out of yarn for a baby blanket. That is a normal thing and I love hearing that some things haven’t changed.
    We are all so tired of all of it..mostly I am tired of being afraid. I hate being afraid.
    I am rambling here but when reading your post I could hear your voice in my head and it was good. Or I am crazy? Maybe a little of both?

  95. To be fair, I think variations on “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS SHIT” has been the overriding theme of the last year for a lot of the world. So I’m definitely not going to judge you, especially when I’m thinking that a lot myself. It has been, to say the least, a bizarre year.

    I’ve been rereading the blog this year. It’s funny and human; I think “The Reason for the Divorce ” is my favorite post of all time (and the one I made several family and my husband read), and I have it bookmarked. So thank you for the humor for when I need it, and for having seventeen years of it here for us. I hope for more entries, happy entries for all of you, for eighteen.

  96. Happy Blogiversary! In the interest of levity all I can say is if you think pants are hard to buy online try buying bras! They discontinued my favored style and before long I’ll be braless, believe me not a good look at 63. Hang in there.

    • It took me something like 12 bras ordered online to find some that *mostly* fit. Not fit, but *mostly* fit. Ah, for the days of hauling literally dozens into the fitting room and trying them all on one after another until there were six or so plausible ones, and then trying *those* on while doing various sit down, slouch, sit up, stand up, reach up, reach front, reach down, twist, etc. to find the winners and take all the winners home. Even when there was only one winner. Anyway. Good luck with your bra-seeking mission.

  97. A few days ago, I watched a tufted titmouse (a tiny bird) fly away with one of the peanuts I had put out for the squirrels. I’m pretty sure that peanut weighed at least half as much as the bird, and yet it was able to carry it away. This was such a momentous event, it merited a postcard to my dad.

    I think what I’m trying to say is that even the tiny miracles count as miracles. And miracles are worth sharing, are they not? (That loaf of bread is miraculously beautiful!)

    Speaking only for myself, I’m incredibly grateful whenever you and The Blog show up with a new entry. We’re all having a hard time. Life is simultaneously boring and terrifying, as well as wretchedly sad. I would not have thought that combination was possible, but here we are. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us for so many years!

    (Oh my heavens! I’ve just been told to touch the pants. Online pants, can I find them??? Too funny!)

  98. My two cents FWIW.
    There are very few knitted artifacts due to yarn being reused til it disintegrates, making it ephemeral. Archeologists have generally dismissed it’s importance because of this. Many paintings and photographs of people (mostly women) knitting show groups. Gossip is often denigrated (mostly by men) as being of little consequence.
    My conclusion is that people have gathered in groups to share doing tasks and have gossiped while doing so for eons. Your blog is such a gathering. Sharing our knitting and sharing our stories (fantastic bread) is a continuation of this very human practice. You provide a place (the one with a big enough room for us all) and start the ball rolling with your story (low on yarn again!) to give us permission to chime in with ours.
    We keep on keeping on and improve all lives by celebrating our common heritage. This to shall pass, but we’ll continue to meet at your house. I’m so glad you quit hiding things in your oven to look better. It reassures me to know my perceived shortcomings are just human nature.
    I find I knit better knitting for other people right now, and plan to continue doing so.
    Tell us what yarn you need. One of us may have it just waiting for you to ask.
    Love always.

  99. Remote pants shopping? Psst, I’m still trying to figure out remote bra shopping! Take a look at your average Zoom camera angle – enough said!

  100. Dear Steph,
    Congratulations on the blogaversary. 17 years of sharing your story is impressive. And the number of comments on this post is a testament to you and the community you have built. We keep dropping by to check on you because we miss you and love you and hope you are OK. I hope someday the blog will fit again (just like the pants)! In the meantime stop by when you can–the blog will be here waiting for you. XOXO

  101. If it helps, your blog is the only one I still regularly read. I don’t even use a blog reader service or notifications, just every once in a while I wonder if you’ve posted and I pop on over to hear what’s going on with your life, to see what you’re making, to learn. I am happy every time you’ve written something, no matter the content. Your blog plays an important role in my feeling connected to knitting culture, even in the times when I don’t have any time to knit or make (two small kids, WFH, pandemic, no sleep) because it reminds me there are more folks out there who love this stuff, too. We still appreciate what ever words you wish to share, even if you’re just telling us about pants and bread. 🙂

  102. Thank you for a thoughtful post (as always), and the opportunity to puzzle and delight the folks at PWA.

    On leggings: (I would never presume to tell anyone else what they should or should not wear, just sharing my thoughts.) I used to hate them, but now wear them nearly daily, in length and weight appropriate for the weather. (Today’s, on a cold and snowy day in Wisconsin, are “Organic Fleece Leggings” from Maggie’s Organics). This is important: leggings are not pants. (For me; you do you. Unless you are my teenage daughter, in which case; leggings are not pants.) Leggings are, however, the best pair of tights ever: that never hang down at the crotch or bag at the knees; that encourage you to wear your own lovely socks; that sometimes have pockets (!); that provide sufficient coverage if life provides the opportunity to sit cross-legged on the ground, or some other position in which tights would provide show off more than you care to share; and that come in an unlimited array of colors, patterns, and fabric contents to suit your whims and preferences. On top of these leggings go a dress or a skirt, usually one that feels as close to pajamas as is possible while still looking like daytime clothes (today’s dress is basically a very long but cute and shaped hooded sweatshirt–with pockets!). There was a period of my life where my waistline was no longer comfortably accommodated by my pants; thus my elastic-waist skirts and A-line dresses (with leggings) became a necessary uniform. Now, thankfully, my waistline has returned to its earlier size, and I do occasionally enjoy wearing a well-fitting pair of jeans or other pants. Still, the dress or skirt plus leggings combo is my happy place. I have outfits that I can cuddle up and hide in, and others that are sleek but comfortable. Oh, leggings, how I (have learned to) love you!

  103. Oh friend…is it ok that I call you friend? I feel like you are one though we haven’t actually met- and I promise I’ll never stalk you… at any rate, you’ve given so much of your self over 17 years- entertainment, authenticity, wisdom, humor, …yarn intrigue. You set a pretty high bar for yourself, sort of like the Christmas spreadsheet. But all that you’ve given of yourself in the past does not obligate you in any particular way to what you are expected to do in the future. I come here because I think you’re great. And when you are hurting or sad or just bored from not being able to go do anything, I still think you are great and think you should do whatever selfcare that you find helpful. If writing helps, that’s great and if it doesn’t you shouldn’t do it. Your bread looks amazing and you should be proud and layer it thickly with vegan butter or something delicious. When and if you feel like hanging with the blog, folks will be excited to see you. But there’s no judgement about shoulds or should nots other than you should take care of yourself and your family. Peace friend!

  104. Oh darlin…I feel your pain. I was feeling just like you before Xmas. I hadn’t seen my grandchildren since July and they of course wouldn’t be here for the holiday and it was going to be the first time in 34 years I didn’t need to leave a snack for Santa. I couldn’t shop for gifts and I hate hate hate shopping online. I didn’t have the energy for the treadmill, cooking, baking, knitting and told someone I felt like stabbing the needles in my eyes.

    Then…my MIL, who was in personal care, contracted the plague in early December. We of course couldn’t go see her as per Manitoba rules, and hadn’t been able to go in the place since March. We paced and worried and then she recovered! We were very relieved and that got me out of my funk but the evening of New Year’s Day we got the call to come in and she died on the 3rd. Arranging a Covid funeral was the strangest of strange…no guests, visiting or lunch. She was buried on the 6th and when we got home we thought we’d turn to CNN to see what Trump was doing.

    LOL

    I have held myself in check and WILL NOT hope for any more excitement.

  105. I haven’t had near the heartache as most in the past year, but still had a small breakdown tonight feeling sorry for myself. Pandemic winters suck. I donated so money is still being raised even if you can’t ride.

  106. I haven’t read all the comments, but I do have something to say to you, Steph. I’ve barely ever commented here. I’ve emailed you once. You don’t know me from anyone else on the internet, but I’ve read your books and the blog for years and your perspective has been important in my life. I’ve read (and reread) your words when things are tough and you’ve influenced how we celebrate New Years and solstice (which I chose to celebrate in my family and didn’t celebrate in my family of origin).

    All that to say that you’ve touched me and I need your voice and your words now more than ever. Even the sad/mad/frustrated/repetitive ones that give voice to the experience you are having now. See, I’m a nurse in the US. I care for pregnant and birthing women, but my community is heavily hit by covid. It is hitting my patients and their babies and it is wearing heavily on my friends and colleagues. My girlfriend has covid long haul syndrome and her aunt died; my cousin passed away last week. My days are largely not at home, they’re long and away from my kids as I pick up extra shifts to fill the gaps of sick coworkers.

    So, please. Please tell us about running out of yarn and trying to buy pants online. Because god knows it is a relief to have anything funny for even a second even if it isn’t really that funny. And hearing that everyone else is struggling too, well, at least we are all in this together.

    • Cass – blessings on you for not throwing in the scrubs, I mean towel, while you are under all this pressure. Nurses are heroes – you are a hero. Believe it! I wish you strength and hope.

      • Thank you both for your kind words. I didn’t expect to ever have that word used to describe me, but this year is full of the unexpected, isn’t it? Caring for families is an amazing gift and most days I wake up shocked that I am lucky enough to have such an amazing job. The stress is real, though, and my kids have had to carry more than I like in time away from me and worry about my safety (now that I had the vaccine, my 4 kiddos seem to have collectively had a sigh of relief). We have been settling into life as a post-divorce family in the midst of this pandemic.. it feels like the entire world shifted both inside and out of our home in 2020. I am hopeful we can all build a more just world in this new landscape…

  107. <3 thinking of you, relating to how hard it is to write about things right now. This year's been a shit show, and it's OK to appreciate the little good things (knowing your bread came out so gorgeously makes my day better too!), and even when your blog makes me cry – which it does on the regular – the way you share about your life and feelings and family (oh yeah and knitting :D) helps me remember how to be a human in a time when it feels easier to try to forget. So I'm grateful for it when you put in what it takes to get words on the screen – and when you don't, that's OK too. I know you're out there being a human and doing your best to love the people around you and cope.

    Strange world, ain't it, when we're catching so many feelings from strangers on the internet? But maybe it's never been strange on your blog. As always, thanks, and happy blogiversary!. <3

  108. Thank you for sharing your life with us, the good, the bad, the heartbreaking. This is where we all are, a world of joy and pain. We are with you and you are very brave. Hopefully, time will bring a degree of healing even with the many, many losses that have happened in this last year.

    Thank you for sharing your knitting experiences through the last 17 years, too. You have made me a better knitter. I am quite sure without benefit of your wisdom, I’d have thrown my first lace shawl attempt in the driveway and run over it several times with the truck, then chucked whatever remaining yarn & needles I had into the trash. But here I still am. Knitting became a slippery slope. . . to spinning my own yarn, to ending up with a small flock of sheep. Now we have retired from that, but I am grateful for every moment of that chapter of my life. So thank you for that, too.
    The loaf of bread is spectacular!

  109. Well spoken. Watching, from afar, my children and grandchildren suffer has been the worst. Knitting and baking have been my escape.

  110. Your bread was beautiful. Your blanket looks lovely. It was good to “hear” your voice. Sending you positive vibes. (Also, it is extremely comforting to know that you don’t know how or what to say or do. I feel that way as well, but when those feelings come I feel as though I am the only one who feels that way. Thank you for sharing. ) Love to you and yours.

  111. I’ll be here for whatever you have to say, and also for whenever you can’t say anything. You’ve brought me so much over these (many!) years, and I love you for it. xoxo

  112. I’ve been reading you since the Blog was a preschooler, and believe me, we all understand all of this. We are all heartbroken over the loss of Charlotte, and the pandemic has surely not helped. We appreciate all that you do and send you love. May the Blog’s 18th birthday be a more joyful occasion. Hugs and all your favorite yarn to you.

  113. Thank you for your post. Your reactions to events have helped me get through many things. Deal with life as it is in the way to help you and your family. The blog will be here when you have a minute. Even if it is just to show that loaf of bread that didn’t come out perfect.

  114. Thank you for this post, and for the seventeen years of posts that came before. I’ve read them all, at least twice through. I don’t have a blog, but I have noticed that I too have stopped reaching out because I have nothing to say. Thank you for putting that into words. As I read this post, I realised that I am happy to hear from you, no matter what you write about. Bread? Bring it on. Pants? Sure. Baby blanket? I’m all ears (well, eyes, but you know what I mean). I’m going to use this as inspiration to reboot my ‘Still alive here. How are you doing?’ email check-ins with family and friends instead of waiting for something ‘worth saying’. Might make someone’s day. Their replies will certainly make mine.

    As for pants: I hear you re leggings. The answer is merino baselayers – no spandex ever!!! – under t-shirt dresses and extra-long tunics. It’s my covid wardrobe. I add snow pants and socks if I have to go out and shovel. And no, they are not leggings. I can’t articulate why, but they aren’t. So there.

    Again, thank you for the post(s) and for sharing your words and thoughts. As others have said above, we’ll be here when you feel like writing more.

  115. I know you’ve been struggling for some time. I’m so sorry. As all the comments show, this is a wonderful place to come together and share our vulnerabilities with compassion. What has alarmed me is the extremes we have seen in our country (USA) these past few years. It has invaded our family and friends. We can’t even agree that there is a pandemic. It’s so important to be truthful. I love your humanness.

  116. Happy Anniversary. This blog is a light in the darkness of the times in which we live. I faintly understand your grief and its effect on what you do and how you do it. My daughter had a miscarriage of our first grandchild the middle of March, the week we were shut down from being together.
    When I read your blog about Charlotte I thought how brave you were to share these details with all of us who love you.
    I am still in mourning. But I want you to know that your story about completing socks for a mother whose baby was stillborn inspired me to tell my daughter that the wee socks I had knit for this baby were not to be saved for the next baby but should be put in the memory box she was making.
    What you write about matters, be it a cast on or a major life event. I am happy to read whatever you have to offer whenever you are inspired to write. Thank you dear Stephanie.
    P. S. A granddaughter is due at the end of April. Life continues.

  117. Thank you for writing the blog. I love the knitting but even more love hearing about the day to day – like the bread (Wow!), or the pants. I love to hear about the good and the bad. We are all experiencing good and bad. I find it reassuring to hear that it is not just me. The blog is not looking “social media perfect” but real life. And your writing makes real life entertaining even if it is just the day to day. The sheer number of replies indicates that we all appreciate hearing from you from time to time. The blog is a bright spot on a dreary day!

  118. Dear Stephanie,

    Thank you for posting whenever you can. You know, I think we have had the world turn upside down. I miss friends and activities that I cannot meet with or engage in. I have lost people that I love. I have watched elderly relatives suffer and decline because zoom visits aren’t enough. I ended my job and am moving my house away from those I love. I have watched my country fall apart-and divide my extended family. I have had startling revelations about friends and family for the better….and not. I have gained weight and lost my knitting mojo. I have prepared normally large holiday meals for two. The Christmas tree broke my heart this year. I put it up- and it took me 2 weeks to decorate- I finished on Christmas eve. I, dare I say it, taught myself to crochet. Do I craft ANYTHING with yarn, something that I have always done? Well. Nothing big. I can’t . No blankets, sweaters, socks, and that seems so alien to me. Crocheted or knitted dishcloths and small creatures seem to be all I can manage, things finished in a few hours. I seem to have developed a thing for knitting…mice. Why mice? Who knows, but I have 5 of them- and a few frogs, fish, mushrooms and leaves.

    And yet, I still come to your blog. I checked daily- and now weekly- to see if you post. Not that I expect you to, because I know how gutting this year has been for you. But just to read someone else who is struggling with how hard this all is. Who can put into words how I am feeling. And how wonderful it is to know that I am not the only one, and that someone does understand exactly how utterly alien the world is. Who can stumble into the kitchen after a hard day to start dinner-and realize that it is only 1:15. Phew! I am not the only one!

    And that is, and always has been the magic of the blog. So, post when you can. Knit when you can. The fact that it is impossible to do either sometimes is achingly familiar right now. And surprisingly comforting. So thank you, my dear friend that I have never met. The struggle means more than you know.

    Here is to a better year for all of us. And maybe socks again.

  119. I’m a relative newbie to your blog, after discovering the retreat in Port Ludlow a wee two years ago.
    That retreat was amazing…I’ve been hooked since.
    Thank you for your writing. Good or bad times I am happy to read it. Thank you Blog-ess!
    Margaret from Port Ludlow

  120. Your blog reading family is also elegant (taking lessons from you, I imagine) and I can’t add more except that I heartily enjoy and agree with them all, from the bread, to have enough yarn to the weird empty holes in the fabric of our lives due to the plague.

    And, I went to donate but there is no PayPal option nor one for Discover. Unless I missed them. Did I miss them? I will figure out a way…

    Hugs

  121. Thank you for coming back. I have missed you, but I totally understand. In 2020, my mother died, and I have had no strength to deal with the terrible problems that ensued, thanks to almost dying myself from sepsis.
    But, thanks to my dear son, who took over dealing with my only sister for me, and the strength of my husband and other children, I am on the way up.
    I have been making all our bread for 46ish years – your bread is BEAUTIFUL.

  122. It’s been a year. Beautiful bread, lovely knitting. One foot in front of the other. Blog when you can. Look for the moments that bring joy. It’s all we can do for the moment.
    Saying thank you for the blog doesn’t seem genuine or enough, but I truly mean it. Take Care.

  123. Sent a donation. FWIW, I like the yoga pants at Lands’End. I’m short and chunky, and mine have lasted several years with no visible wear. They’re pricey, but LE has sales often.

  124. Ditto on the pants situation. Reacquainted myself with the sewing machine and have been sewing my own elastic waist pants. I enjoy choosing the fabric—so many more choices than in the ready-to-wear world. I have had lots of opportunities for cursing, but it has also felt like a productive distraction. Be well, virtual pal.

  125. I would be perfectly happy hearing about your pants. Or your bread.
    I would also be perfectly happy respecting your need for stationkeeping.

  126. I know this response is odd, but I am grateful for this blogpost. I feel terrible. I feel like a passenger on the ill fated fishing boat in The Perfect Storm. Like we have sailed through the first storm, and by some miracle made it, barely, and then. Out of nowhere is that huge horrifying wave and the other storm. And I didn’t suffer the loss of a tenderly loved grandchild, Perish the thought. Even the thought of such loss makes me ache. Your family has been through an incalculable loss. All deaths are terrible, but that one was so cruel. And yet, your post made me feel better. Less alone with this terrible grief I feel over all our losses. Over all the life unlived by all of us this past year. Over the constricting smallness of what my personal existence has become. Please don’t silence yourself. Being funny is a gift, but speaking your truth is full of grace and it helps. It helped me to not feel so alone. We just have to keep bailing water and holding each other up and doing our small best and maybe we can survive this most terrible time and meet on the other side. Xoxoxoxo

  127. Hi Stephanie … and hello to all the others who are writing here … Thank you for being out there, and telling stories, and having a place in my heart. My year has been tiring: grocery store cashier who has not had time off because I don’t have small children or anyone in the household needing care, and my health is good. I know I’m lucky because no one in my immediate family/circle has died, but I sure get stories at work from customers who have had deaths in their families, difficult work loads (health care people and teachers), or no work. Being a cashier must, in some ways, be like being a bartender. Stephanie, I agree with everyone here that you should take care of yourself and write when you are able to. I am always willing to listen to any story of frustration, sadness, or silliness you care to write. I hope you realize that your situation and stories touch us, help us remember we all have life and moods that change and change and change. Kindest wishes to you and family, Stephanie, and kind wishes to all. Maureen

    • Maureen,
      Thank you for being willing to step up in your critically important job to help your fellow cashiers and your customers.
      And thank you for being willing to listen to everyone’s story.
      Yours is an often thankless profession, so let me say “Thank you for your service” on behalf of myself and all those who rely on you and don’t say thank you!

  128. I’ve heard tell the hardest thing is to lose a child. Perhaps. I think watching one’s daughter lose a child has to be at least as bad. I can’t begin to imagine. Again, my condolences.

    Basically, the most anyone can ask for is for one to do what one can. The bread is mouthwatering and gorgeous. I’ve not managed as much most days. Congratulations on a beautiful loaf.

  129. Upon rereading this post I followed the link and read last year’s. You said (among many other noteworthy things) that we are still the ones you want to share with. This year you haven’t wanted to share as much. I’ve been wondering whether your new video channel has replaced us. But now I’m thinking that what you’ve been through this year is too deep for verbal sharing. If I wonder what you’re up to I go to your Instagram, and I’m thinking maybe the one sentence and one photo format is all the sharing you can muster. Just know that whenever you do find yourself wanting a loving, understanding ear; and find yourself able to write to us, we’ll be here.
    Oh, and last year’s blogaversary: AMAZING MITTENS!! (Seriously, fellow members of The Blog, if you haven’t gone back and looked, you’ll be glad you did.)

    • I just saw them and agree, beautiful mittens!
      Additionally, I read her blog and highly recommend that everyone read it. It applied then and doubly applies this year.
      Stephanie, never doubt the good your writing does.

  130. You’re allowed to be happy or unhappy.
    P.S. If you call the Vermont Country Store, they will happily measure anything from their catalog or website with a tape measure, including pants.

  131. Steph, I’m back because I’ve been thinking about your pants comment. I only wear pants that I order online, and I’ve had great luck with Land’s End. I think they have a service where they’ll hem your pants to size if you need that. They have every type of pant you can think of and their jeans are the best I’ve ever owned.

  132. Hi Stephanie, I don’t comment often, but I read all your entries and appreciate what a fine writer you are. I just want to say that what I crave these days is the mundane and day-to-day. So please don’t feel like you have to say something profound, or that by posting something frivolous is somehow unfeeling. I loved the little tidbit that you baked bread yesterday and I’m happy to hear all about it. I never tire of hearing about your knitting and I don’t think you could be boring if you tried. I wonder if sometimes writing helps you through the pain. I hope that’s true. We’ll always be here to read when you feel like posting.

  133. Yup to everything you wrote. I’m a fairly new reader but when I expressed the hope that the sweater for my son-in-law that had taken 2 years to knit MIGHT shrink when I washed it, my good friend laughed and said, “You should have read about THAT hope being futile on “Yarn Harlot!'” But I wasn’t reading back then. Now I’m trying to decide whether to pick out all the yarn and start over with a new pattern. (And I did match the gauge, really!) I suppose it’s just a pandemic sweater that should be quarantined…and never come out again.

  134. I just re read your post and realized that your blog is 17 and my career as a nurse is 17. I also heard in great volumes how much pain you have inside and how you’re struggling through the best you can. I don’t have any wise words to ease your suffering. We all have our personal work to do regarding the challenges we are facing, grief is harder when you can’t come together with those you love and are restricted by things we have no control over. No need to fake happiness or feel guilty for anything here, this is a safe place. And if you find yourself happy or pleased about something, that is ok too, nobody is judging your mood here. Randomly, I can’t help but think about those socks you knit with THE LEAVES! I remember how excited you got and how crazy the comments got! Regarding pants, I actually found some in a closet that I had forgotten about! Amazing!

  135. All of our personal problems keep happening (for some, very bad ones) in spite of the ongoing pandemic. I take solace in knowing that there is global suffering, having a deep feeling of empathy and compassion for those who are hurting just as much as I am, if not more.

    I find it helpful to talk to a therapist, do good deeds for others, and take very good care of myself. I also have found I need to lower my expectations these days, and maintain and amplify my gratitude for all those daily blessings, great and small, that come my way.

    Sending love & hugs to Steph and all of her readers. Peace be with you!

  136. It really has been a year of sadness, fear and loneliness for everyone. It’s nice to hear on occasion that others feel it too. I feel like I know on an intellectual level that everyone else is feeling something similar but then my mind likes to tell me that nope, everyone else is just plowing through this whole pandemic happy as anything, loving all their along crafting time and thrilled beyond belief with every Zoom meeting they attend. Sometimes hearing someone else say what I am feeling is a nice reminder that I am not in this alone.

    As far as pants go, my wife forced me to buy new pants online. I had worn my jeans down to rags and she said that even during a pandemic, wearing crotchless jeans (yes, they were that threadbare) was unacceptable. Amazingly, I round pants that fit relatively well without having to send that back 50 gazillion times. The sending things back was the reason I didn’t want to buy anything online. I am like Goldilocks when I shop apparently.

    Lastly, your bread is a masterpiece! You could have written an entire blog just about your bread and I would have read it at least twice. It really is spectacular.

    Well, happy blogiversary. I’ll read whatever you want to write but it running out of yarn, bread wins or bread fails, or whatever. Until then, I guess we will all just keep hanging in there, hoping that better days will be with us soon.

  137. I say do what brings you comfort. It’s been one long year.. and it ain’t over. I’ve had a lengthy hospital stay which was dreadful ( ruptured appendix w touch of gangrene) and it’s just downhill.. we are your friends.. but you don’t owe anyone anything. Rest and restore… xxx from Vermont.. and yes we need that border to open

  138. As I read this post I am in a place of loss. My Mom passed away a week and a half ago and I feel like I have just been in a fog since then. She got sick on January 8th and we lost her on the 27th. It is heartbreaking to say the least. I hope that things will get better for you and for us all this year. I have been visiting your blog for most of the 17 years you have been writing and I will pick up your books when I need a good read.
    Thanks for keeping it real and sharing what you feel.

    • I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Please be kind to yourself and patient with yourself and take all the time you need to move through the fog. I experienced that fog when my husband died, but to me it was like being in a tunnel wearing blinders.

  139. Stephanie

    We are all right there with you and understandng that there just isn’t much to say these days.. other than that I am thinking of you and all of my friends who have endured this year with optimism (although that is wearing thin)

  140. Dude. All of this. It’s hard and it sucks.

    In a surprising positive, yesterday I got a lovely voice mail from PWA thanking me for donating and telling me what they accomplished last year. My sense of time is so messed up that I have no memory of donating and their gesture was so kind and thoughtful and appreciated.

  141. Stephanie, you’ve been such a constant in my life for sixteen of those seventeen years, that it makes you feel like someone I know. I know that’s a false intimacy – you are a writer, and I am a member of your audience. But you’ve always been very *real* here on the blog, and the things you share, even when they are hard things – *especially* when they are hard things – they’re you, they’re your life, they have the ring of authenticity and it’s why I keep coming back to read.

    I’d be an ungrateful reader indeed if I expected you to have fun and lightheartedness here for us on the blog when you are not experiencing that in your life.

    I’m grateful for what you are able to put here; I’m that I get to continue to learn from you on Patreon; I’m grateful for the select few online teaching events you’ve chosen to do. And I’m grateful that you intend to keep writing here, when it feels right for you to do it.

  142. I was so hoping to see a new posting from Stephanie. She has brought so much enjoyment to my knitting and my internet life through this blog. She has had some terrible emotional blows and I can identify with that through my own life. Her depression is understandable. I hope she has gone to a professional for care and perhaps medication. There is so much available that can help her.

  143. I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but today I will. Our world is small too. We are near Seattle and have been under some degree of lockdown for almost a year, kids schooling at home, only leaving for groceries, etc….I for one am glad that you share, even if it is hard, because it lets us know that we are not alone, with so few opportunities for social time here outside of a house full of rowdy teenage boys it is comforting to hear your voice. Having a baby blanket and a loaf of bread to share is plenty. You are doing plenty. And so am I.

  144. I has been a trying year, indeed. Here’s a hug from Texas.

    If you ever feel stumped for blog fodder, I know we’d all love a tour of your yarn stash or an introduction to your various spinning wheels and winders and whatnot.

  145. Scrolled through the comments to say that 2020 and 2021 (or the Pandemic or the Time of Covid) is like the sweater your least favorite relative has asked you to knit. The pattern sucks, the yarn is acrylic (and twists on itself and sheds in a color that contrasts in a not good way with everything. The sofa, whatever you are wearing, even the cat.) the color is one you hate and to top everything else off, it is being knit in a 3X. Extra tall. With fingering yarn on US#3s. But you soldier on with it, stitch by stitch and day by day and someday, it will end. You can put it behind you and have pride that you finished it and made it to the end. Now, you just cross your fingers another project from hell doesn’t come your way.

  146. Suspended animation–just the phrase to describe the feeling of waiting, waiting, waiting. But we’ve done it a year, and the vaccines are a boost of hope. Life happens, pandemic or no, and it will be as joyful or painful as always. You are a breath of fresh air to this very weary US citizen, and your bread is lovely! Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

  147. Here’s the good news….. You don’t have to write if you don’t feel like it. We will all be here when you decide you are ready. I will say that I am sustained by your wonderful Patreon presentations and I LOVE my color stacking cowl ( much to my amazement as I would never have chosen those colors or probably made the cowl but for your class) I vacillate between being utterly sad and feeling like crap and being grateful for the roof over my head etc. I guess life is just like that and I’m also grateful for not hurting anyone yet…
    My heart is with you all. Write when you want and not when you don’t without guilt. This will be over sometime.
    Until then, hug Joe and live some of the time on Zoom with your babies.

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  149. Near the end of Feb I finally remembered to check ‘the blog’. I stopped checking regularly months ago because I figured that shows up in a metric somewhere and I didn’t want you to feel pressured.
    I’ve been reading for what feels like a lifetime. Long enough that one of your books was what I read aloud to my first child in those first weeks of rocking chairs and constant breastfeeding. He’s 11 now. As I explained to my husband the flow of your writing was like reading poetry and was the calm I needed (I read slowly. He wanted The Hobbit to be the first proper book read and I could work with that). And I remember spending considerable time reading the back catalogue. You are the reason I’m the knitter I am. And amusingly the reason I’m a mother that doesn’t hide my dirty pans in the oven when friends visit…
    I almost feel guilty. I’m in New Zealand. As an island nation with a small population we’ve weathered much better than most and life continues fairly normally – more or less. Reading your posts is honestly the best insight I’ve had of what it’s like out there in the wider world.
    Point being it’s okay if new knitters looking for a blog don’t find yours does what they need. It’s okay that it’s not your season for that. I’m currently only good for knitting dishcloths. Life is relatively easy here but it’s still f’n mentally exhausting. Seasons change. (and the patreon is quality stuff) For those of us here for the long haul personally I want that bread recipe. I can only aspire to such heights. We have vastly improved our bread repertoire over lockdowns but I want what you’re cooking. I’m not just here for the knitting but for the slice of life. And I don’t think I’m alone. In the end if the blog plods along I’m happy with that. You owe me nothing. If it picks up that’s great, but only if you want that. If your life is going in a different direction that’s okay too. Again – you owe us nothing. And we have gained so very much <3

  150. I just watched your 2019 late fall appearance at River Yarns having accidentally discovered their PodCastOn. It was a joy to watch them, and you, and mentally picture the risqué varigation-tessellation and hear the laughing and planning for the year ahead. It reminded me that it is a blessing to not see what is coming, good or bad, so we can enjoy the moment we are in. Sounds like it makes sense, right, but bloody bonkers 10 1/2 months into a s***show, so I wanted to tell your current self that I appreciate and respect your past and present and all you have given me without even knowing to whom to send the bill, and to pre-send a message to your future self of deep gratitude for putting one breath to the next to the other side of this mess. You are strong and you are loved, and if you never blogged or patreoned again, it would still be just as true. May your yarn stack up in interesting ways to bring you humor through this very long winter.

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  152. I have been a fan of this blog since my early teen years. It was a place where my fascination with yarn and creation was not weird but celebrated. As I grew older and life got more complicated I appreciated that you were honest about life. How there would be ups and downs but really that is life and at the very least we are all in it together. When I made a major career/life change and everything was scary at least I could take a break for a few minutes and read this blog. It felt like talking with the Auntie I did not have. I appreciate this last post because I feel so many things on many different levels. (I can’t even remember the last time I wore real pants. I am grateful to be able to work from home but my wardrobe is primarily pj’s at this point. I have not been able to put a handle on how I have felt about this past year and I think you put into words what I have been struggling to process. Know that you have made a significant difference in this stranger’s life. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share your life with us. Thank you for continuing to reach out and share what you may think is not important but for me at least is confirmation that I am not alone.

  153. Actually, I think it is profound that your day’s highlight is a perfect loaf of homemade bread. May you have many of these small joys and comforts. Love you muchly though we are not acquainted.

  154. Your feelings all seem legitimate and true and familiar and I am still glad to read that someone other than me is going through the same things and feeling just as helpless. Makes me feel that it is not my fault that I am, indeed, helpless, so thank you for continuing to write.
    Also – I just adopted leggings, although I hate them. Enough said…

  155. Ah, LIFE.
    We aren’t allowed to cherry pick it and live only bits and pieces of it. We HAVE TO live all of it. That is a good thing, though. To me it is proof that we are all connected – all of us have to live all of it, it is what we most have in common. I will pray for sunny days, real and imagined, to come your way on a regular basis.

  156. I just came by to check in. I am tired, and all I can manage is checking the spots where people feel the things I feel. I am writing to say I appreciate your words, and I appreciate your silence, and I look forward to reading more when you write more, no matter how long it takes.

  157. I would LOVE to hear about the Channel Island cast on and can’t wait until you tell us about it.
    The Blog is also quite excited about Blanket Bingo (period of time for completion, yarn supply, dyelots, crib size morphing into king size,early arrival of giftee…We’ve laid in snax and adult bevs…do tell…..
    Thank you for your continued commitment to PWA. It shows us that we each CAN and DO make a difference.
    Miss hearing from you. We can commiserate together that despite a lock down, there are still corners of the house that haven’t been scrubbed, stash that hasn’t been sorted, rediscovered elation when hearing a friend’s voice on the phone, long chats with a cup of coffee and phone….I’m ready to create my own bubble with a coffee pot and several knitting projects and camp out on friends’ lawns.

  158. It’s been over a month since you have posted on the blog! We are all stuck inside and your writings and projects are an inspiration to all of us. Sit down and send us some love!!!

  159. My heart aches for you. Pain, whatever the cause, simply hurts! I miss you and the Blog. I’m beginning to wonder if the Blog will make it to 18! Don’t know what I can to to help you? Don’t know what you need to do, what changes are required, to help yourself? This Blog has always been so enjoyable and sane. Everyday I look, has there been a post? Alas, no. Please take very good care. Know you are being thought of and missed.

  160. Echoing what Amanda, and several others, have said. When you’re ready, in your time – not the Blog’s – I’ll still be here.

    In the meantime, stay safe and well and take good care of you and yours. Touch the cloud – how apropos.

  161. My life is so small and monotonous that the bread looks amazing, I’m fascinated by your struggle to buy trousers online and it’s exciting that you’ve run out of yarn. I looks very pretty BTW

  162. As you approach a terrible anniversary, I want to share a caring hug and let you know I am thinking of you and your tiny grandbaby. I have made a donation in your honour to the Bike Rally.

  163. There’s 251 comments ahead of mine, and I’m sure that I’ll say exactly what someone else said, if I can figure out what to say at all. Coming and reading your blog is so comforting. Even when you really don’t say anything. It’s just nice to know of shared feelings and situation, extend a virtual hand to help cope, and generally just feel not so alone.

  164. Please write again soon. It makes such a difference to my personal happiness, that I can only beg for more. I check every day to see if you have written. I can also say Thank You for being who you are and for sharing so much. (How about the bread recipe?) You should win a prize for that !
    Hope we all get back our energy soon!
    Love you,
    A Beggar

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  166. Sending best wishes for the health and happiness of Stephanie and family. I greatly enjoyed your knitting blog and all the smiles you gave me. It was inspiring..

  167. I wish to show thanks to you just for bailing me out of this particular trouble.As a result of checking through the net and meeting techniques that were not productive, I thought my life was done.

  168. Thank you, Stephanie. I don’t know why it helps, and it does. This year can just go f— itself. Along with the people who complain about all the small stuff – “I can’t travel; I can’t go to shows’ I can’t eat in restaurants.” Because there are so many of us out there suffering with grief and loss that is made even more difficult by the pandemic and inability to hug, comfort and be together. Unexpected deaths (well, any death) are horrible to deal with at the best of times, and this is not that. Thank you for expressing what so many of us are feeling – and to the complainers out there (surely not your readers), give your head a shake.

  169. I recently lost my dad in January.
    I remember a quote from a book and it said that “there is the before and the after, no one said the after would be so hard”.
    I think it sums up everything when it comes to grieving. I haven’t been on your blog in quite some time. I am sorry for your families loss. I myself have started to knit a lot more since January. It soothes somehow. (hugs)

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