May 3, 2010
The events of the last few weeks have led me to believe that our family has been specially selected for an experiment in stress. On top of the strains that we've come to think of as normal since Christmas, in the last week or two we've had one extended family member have major surgery, me away for sock camp, been invaded by cluster flies, had an extended family member have a run in with a table saw that resulted in a pretty horrific accident, (They're more or less okay now- though minus a couple of bits.) then the spouse of that person had their mother die. (She was old, the circle of life stuff is easier to take, but still falls into the category of "really big deal".) Then the family member who had the surgery and was recovering nicely suffered a near fatal pulmonary embolism and scared the snot out of all of us.
Posted by Stephanie at May 3, 2010 4:12 PM
My reaction to this has been to go where I am told, do as it is suggested would be helpful and to... um. Knit socks.
(Yarn: JL Vinca colour 551. Very economical, but I can't speak to how long it will last. It's 25% nylon, but rather loosely spun with the occasional slub. Time will tell. Sure is pretty)
Plain vanilla socks, churned out while waiting, while travelling to the funeral, while navigating phone calls...
In all of that though, through all of those really unlikely events occurring in a very unlikely manner, all twisted up together - the unlikeliest of all, was this.
My sister Erin learned to knit. On these socks, in the back of the car on the way to the funeral. Six of these rounds belong to her. (Thanks to my brother Ian for the picture.)
Further to that, she liked it enough to ask for another go later.
And even looked like she enjoyed it. She's pretty good at it too.
Feel that cool breeze? Someone check the thermostat in Hades, will ya?
Hugs to you and yours Stephanie.
Sending positive karma your way. I am hopeful that one day someone in my immediate family will want to knit. Fingers crossed. Lovely colors by the way
I've made a couple of pairs of socks from that yarn..I agree that it is loosely spun. I'm not hard on my socks so they're holding up fine. Does anyone ever comment that your daughters look like their lovely aunt? Glad she's taking up knitting.
In the midst of all of the stresses... there is knitting.
Congratulations on your sister's willingness to give it a go!
...and here's hoping things let up a little - soon would be good, immediately would be downright spiffy.
*hugs* That's a lot of stress to deal with. Hopefully it'll ease off soon. And hopefully the knitting bug will stick with your sister ;)
I'm sorry to hear that more stress has been heaped upon your family. Thank goodness for the knitting! Kudos to Erin for learning to knit in the back of a car. Most people find it difficult when they are sitting still. There's an additional challenge with bumps and turns and such. May she keep on knitting!
I hope things ease up soon for everyone.
How is it possible that you have a sibling who does not knit? That you have not assimilated them yet?
We had a few years like that. But finally emerged intact on the other side. Hang in there.
That sure is a lot on your family's plate, I hope things will take a turn for the better now.
As for your poor sister. Resistance is futile. She might as well make some room in the house for her future stash...
Dude. Things have GOT to get better over there. Tell the mad scientist that he surely must have enough data by now.
When the going gets tough, the tough get knitting!
Sorry to hear about all the family ills and stressors, and very glad you have the fibre to fall back on.
Here's to better days for all of your clan.
I cannot even begin to articulate how much I hate cluster flies. How did you deal with them? I have found that the best solution at our house are window fly traps - they're clear flat pieces of a fly-paper like substance. They saved my sanity when knitting wasn't doing the trick any more!
Geez. Some periods in our lives just seem to pile it on...all of 2009 was my most recent. Condolences to all of you in the varyingly appropriate degrees. I do whatever is necessary to relieve the stress and strain, usually cook and knit. The former allows me to offer real sustenance to myself and my loved ones; the latter is my own Zen exercise. Whatever works. Sending best thoughts to you and yours...(Oh yeah...holding a baby does wonders for me, too!)
With you on the roller coaster. So glad you're back in blogging action.
You have definitely had a rough few weeks. I hope that things settle down soon for you and your family.
Beautiful socks! I can't be the only one who is wondering how you made the picot top edge and hoping that you will tell us.
Sorry to hear about all the stress you and yours are dealing with. I think you're taking just the right medecine - soothing, calming, comforting and joy-inducing knitting. Keep your chin up,
In the face of my own work and life stress, this weekend I cast on for two more socks. I'm also converting my coworkers into knitters, with 5 that have been assimilated into the collective to date. Most shocking of all, to me, is the photo of you *reading* in the backseat of the car. I can't even think of doing that without saying "blarf!"
Love and prayers, Steph. Sometimes it just seems that everything happens at once. And sometimes everything really does happen at once. Thank God for family, friends and knitting.
Positive energy coming your way for you and your family. I was starting to worry that something had happened to you after the many days of not posting. Beautiful socks and what fun that your sister has finally taken up knitting... finally seeing the light of how relaxing it truly is. Best to you and yours.
Condolences Stephanie. We must both have the moon in ca-ca because my family has been in a similar boat since last December. Only I'm the one who almost died this time. Not fun. Glad you're okay, hope the kids and Joe are okay and hugs to anyone who needs 'em. The ONLY saving grace I can think of is the extra knitting time crises tend to provide!
Here I thought you were being sneaky like and writing another book. Life sucks and then one day you catch yourself laughing and you have a picture of it to boot!
You make nice socks.
Oh my. Sending you & yours all kinds of hugs & prayers. We've just been through a 100 year flood here in Nashville, Tennessee; I think I'd rather go thru another this weekend, than try to bear up under the stresses you've had. And yes, knitting helps! When the power went out, I moved to a camp chair on the porch to have enough light to knit! No laundry done, no cooking dinner, but I got 12 rounds done on a sock. Woot!
Much love to you and all your loved ones. I love that Erin is smiling, holding that.
Wow, I'm sorry to hear about all of those horrifying and stressful things! Those are beautiful socks and it's so wonderful that you and your sister were able to share something so special in the middle of it all.
I am in the process of teaching each of my sisters to knit: 3 down, 1 to go :)
It is my dream that one day my sisters will learn to knit! haha
Creating things has such a magical way of making everything else start going in the right direction :)
Your sister learning to knit is the silver lining to a particularly dark cloud. More power to you!
So sorry to hear about all the stresses... sounds like much more than enough.
Knitting helps - as they say, "Keep calm and carry yarn."
So, which month are those socks for? And anybody who is interested in the yarn? They're going fast. The Harlot Effect strikes again.
Sorry for all of life's trauma. It's certainly so much more fun when everything collapses at once, isn't it? Congrats on getting Erin to knit though. Just proves there's always something worth smiling about in the midst of the drama.
My family had a year like that a couple of years ago. One death, then another, then a couple of serious illnesses, then another death. It's enough to make you think, "It's somebody else's turn now, isn't it?" Not that you want to wish ill to anyone else, you just want it all to GO AWAY. It will. Meantime, knit on, girl. And yay to Erin!
2010 has been a rocky year for my loved ones as well, so I totally sympathize with what you are going through.
And I totally understand the grins on you and your sister - I re-taught my sister-in-law to cast on at Thanksgiving, cast-off at Christmas. Now my older sister has bought a learn-to-knit book. Bwuuu-haa-haa. I've been spinning with a drop spindle at the last 2 family gatherings. (rubs hands gleefully)
oh...best wishes to you and your family in these rough times. We are thinking of you down South.
Love to you and the extended family-the entire stressed out clan. Knitting, red wine, and when it's really bad, Laphraoig all work wonders. Hope the sun shines soon.
Lovin the socks and the smile on your face. Strong women knit when life continuously challenges the plans we thought we had made and the route we thought we were going to take. Love,love the smiles and the keepin on.
Stress free thoughts coming your way. May all the hardships be over for you and yours. Thank God for knitting.
Great socks by the way.
You poor thing. Stress is not good.
But what fun that your sister is knitting! Way Cool!
Wow, that does sound stressful. Thank God for knitting!
Very glad to hear you're all coming through, but at the same time... good God! What's with all the chaos at once, am I right?!
The Universe can be such a bugger sometimes.
Good job on the knitting, Sis. :)
What a horrible time! I am so glad there was so much laughter, and silliness - no wait I mean creativity - at Sock Camp to give you a little boost to handle all of this trauma. Pace e bene to you and yours.
We plan. God laughs. Keep on knittin'....
Holy Crap! That is a lot of stress!!! Here's hoping that things get better for you and yours and that everyone who has been in need of medical attention, heals quickly and well.
But the fact that, in the midst of all that, you managed to knit a pair of socks and convert another knitter.... is just mindbogglingly impressive.
So sorry to hear about the stress. Knitting to the rescue (as always!). One question, though: how is it that Erin has STRAIGHT hair?
All the best to you and yours.
That's a lot to go through, all at once. I hope you can have a few weeks of nice, calm boredom now, to give you a chance to recharge your batteries.
Much love and prayers are headed to you and your family. That's a lot to be dealing with all at once.
Those socks are gorgeous!
I'm sorry you and your family are going through such a rough patch. It's no consolation now, but you will surely come out the other side. I'm so happy to see your sister knit! Beautiful socks!!
Sweetie, you and Dr.Bug have an opportunity for a winning partnership if he could explain how to get rid of carpet beetles.
It seems to me that when life gives you stress you. knit! I am sorry that your family is going through a stressful rough area in life. If I lived in Canada I would give everyone a massage. I am so glad that your sister learn to knit and that it looked like she enjoyed it. Very beautiful socks!!
My stressful event started out when my husband's Uncle came to our house and knocked on the door very hard wanting to talk to my husband who wasnt there. He was yelling and knocking so loud I didn't let him in.. Was that wrong??Much love and prayers are headed your way!!
So sorry about the one-after-the-other stressors.
I'm wondering if you sewed the sock hem down or if you knit through the cast on edge into the leg? No matter how loosely I think I'm working it never is loose enough for something that needs to really stretch. These newest socks seem longer than your usual, so the tops would be really up there on the calf.
i'm sorry to hear about all this sadness! speaking of unlikely, your extended family member wasn't a fellow known as "danger ranger" & associated with the burning man community, was he?? either way, i send him my love & healing thoughts!
Stephanie, wow, that is a lot of stress. Hope that everyone in your clan is on the mend.
Sending you and yours happy, peaceful and stress-free thoughts.
Erm...how did your sister manage to avoid knitting for so long? Did she fly under your grandmother's radar?
Been there as you well know. Big hugs always in order and usually welcome. Congratulations on sister slowly maybe hopefully becoming a partner in crime stash raider and knitter. The socks aren't your typical plain vanilla as they have a picot edge. Good on you changing it up like you encouraged us at camp. I had noticed that spring took a turn to the cool side recently but haven't had the energy to travel to Hades to check out the weather down there lately. I think they may have had an ice warning recently though. At least you have some more socks to keep you warm during the cold spell in Hades. I suspect things will return to normal soon but sister will remain a knitter with some fiber-y encouragement. More Hugs, Alice
Glad to know that EZ's advice still stands; "Knit on..." Way to go Erin! We knew you were cool. Best Wishes to You and Yours.
I'm sorry that all the difficulties had to come on top of each other, glad you could grab a few good moments along with the stress (having a family car ride).
The longer the year continues, the more I think adoption of your prepared Sock-a-Month-Kit is a good one (but haven't done it yet). Love the socks, and love the picot edge.
(Future birthday present problems look as though they might have been solved with Erin learning to knit - but it maybe sometime before she feels like tackling Urbanised Aran! I am interested to know what her knitting objects will end-up being - hats, socks, upper garments?)
Yikes. I hope your year of the dump truck is over soon.
Sorry about the stress overload thereabouts. But I have to tell you how beautiful that family smile is in the Sisters Knitting picture. May you have increasing reasons to smile.
Two knitters in one family might be overload. Sorry to hear of all the family stresses. They come in threes so I think you are out of the woods now.
I forgot to mention how cool genetics is. just sayin'.
Excellent conversion. Also know that I am thinking of you and your family and hoping you're hanging in there in all of this.
My Mom died last month and knitting was the only thing that kept me sane. Almost a month to the day, my baby sister asked me to teach her how to knit. I burst into tears then packed up needles, some wool and had her casting on within 24 hours. She knit a row, put it down but is now asking for more lessons. There's a 3rd sister ...she doesn't know it yet but she will be casting on soon, too :-)
hugs and condolences, stephanie, as well as wishes that the cosmic truck dumping on you has exhausted its load and will leave you in peace now.
hurrah for generating another knitter. i agree with your calendar sentiment of the other day to the effect that many of the world's problems would be helped if everyone learned to knit. (or spin a la gandhi, or weave or crochet. we all need something to lose ourselves in that also results in the making of something.)
Sorry for all your stresses and troubles. Sometimes it really does come about in a giant lump of crap all at once. I am glad that there have been moments of fun and happiness amidst it all...that's the only way to get through.
One side of me sends every compassion to you and your family, the other side marvels at your sister's straight hair!
Sorry to see so much going on for you in life's sadder ways.
Best wishes to you & yours.
Beautiful socks! The colourway is very pretty, and somehow suits the mood of all these happenings.
Your reaction to events --
has been to go where I am told,do as it is suggested would be helpful and to... um. Knit socks.
-- is top class!
Sorry that all piled on you and yours. I can attest to the stress of having an older parent die. I became an orphan in 2008 at the grand old age of 52. It was stressfull. Not as stressful as becoming motherless at 20, but still, not calm. Going through that at the same time as caring for someone recovering from shredded and lost bits would be a sore trial. I am glad there are bright moments amongst the trials, and harmless flies to distract the berieved and invalids. A good story is just the ticket for me on days when everything is going wrong.
I'll put your family in my prayers.
Sorry things have been sucky, dude. Here's hoping for a better summer.
I'm still attempting to teach my mom how to knit. Don't even mention ribbing. I took me a while to recover from that incident.
Time for the waving of sage and grounding of all involved. Hugs to you- wishing you better days ahead.
Wow, most of the time I tend to agree that bad luck comes in threes, but in your case it seems more like bad luck comes in eighty billions... Take care and hang in there, it just CAN'T last forever!!
Sorry you're having such a rough patch. This too shall pass.
EZ would be proud of your socks since you "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises."
2010 has been pretty crap for just about everyone I know. Sorry you didn't escape.
You say "cluster flies", I read cluster f**k. (I think I'm closer to the truth on that one.) Similar circumstances in my little world (minus the table saw and the flies and the completed knitting projects)... Hope it gets better for both of us soon!
How? How is it possible that your sister was able to maintain a forcefield impervious to well, uh, YOU?? I mean, I've tossed needles against things and cussed at balls of yarn but your blog usually is enough to get me laughing at myself and picking up the #$@#%@ lace shawl and try, try again.
Peace to you and your family Stephanie, here's hoping for a happier time soon. I'll blow some sage smoke north!
I hope that everything will get back to normal for all of your family, and I am glad to see that a knitter may have been born.
I know what you mean about a roller coaster of events...we have had something similiar. Death in the family, two major surgeries, and other things. But what made me laugh about your situation was that your sister decided to learn how to knit, that's what happened to me! I guess they see how sane we stay by knitting and can't help bit want that too! keep up the good work you do Stephanie!
Awww...now that brings a smile to my face (the sister part of course, the other parts seriously suck!). Plus, she's lever knitting from the get go! Lucky girl!!
Hope the unlikely family stuff has passed. Bring on May!
My sympathies to you and yours. You've all had a pretty crap year so far; perhaps after this it will continue to improve. Here's hoping.
Stephanie, that's an awful lot of stress on one family. I'm sorry ya'll are having such a hard time of it this year. I sure hope the family member who had the run-in with the table saw (yikes!) and then the pulmonary embolism, recovers quickly - and completely! My thoughts and prayers for the one who lost their Mother, as well. Bless them. That's SO hard to handle, even when it's "expected". When I hear someone say that, I always wonder to myself, "What's *that* got to do with it, eh?! They're *still gone*!" Anyway...my sincerest condolences to ALL your extended family.
As for Erin ... knitting?!? You could've knocked me over with a feather. I had to go back and re-read that (twice). Kudos, Steph! Congratulations, Erin, you Brave Girl, you. Another one bites the dust.... Here we see the AWESOME POWER a Knitter has to lure at least one vi ... New Knitter! ... into her All Powerful Knitting Net. Kind of like a vacuum. Sooner or later, they ask if they can "do that?" and "is it hard?" I've caught many an unwary soon-to-be-Knitter (and Spinner) in my nets that way. Heh. I never get tired of waiting to see how long it'll take them to fall for the lures cast their way.
This is the perfect illustration of my motto:
"When it all goes to hell....GO KNIT!"
(Lots of positives out to you in the universe! The wheel will spin...I hope for you that it is soon!)
Sorry you and yours had such a stressful April. Hopefully May will bring some respite. The socks are gorgeous. Your nephew looks just like your sister! (genetics are funny that way). Does she have free access to your stash? You may need to lock it up.
We've had more than our share of stress for over a year. I must say that it's the knitting that sustains me.
Sorry for all the challenges. It seems harder when they come on top of each other, but I think I like the space between that restores us.
And my daughter is knitting (not purling).
I love the picot top, makes you want to add it to everything! Such lovely socks.
HI! I know you are sort of an over achiever sometimes, but the list of major life stresses was not meant to be a checklist (just kidding). What with all that knitting things must be looking up soon. I am just glad you let us know - I was really beginning to worry!
It takes a lot of courage to learn to knit if your sister is the Yarn Harlot! Good for her!
My sympathies on your family's loss, and prayers for your family member's recovery from the accident. Knitting (and embroidery and sewing) for me has always been a way to slow down, and let my mind do its processing of stress and strain in its own time. One stitch follows another, one seam follows another. The pattern goes on, and moves your focus a little further.
Oh, and congratulations on the sister front!
Wow, what a rough patch (or as I call it, Karma Brownie Points in Progress.) Hopefully it means all the icky stuff is making way for the fun stuff just around the corner. Hugs to all affected by the table saw/death in the family/ near fatal embolism.
Love the new socks and Erin, welcome to the club. :)
Sending my sympathy and wishes for a quick return to normalcy.
Dude, I can totally relate. In the span of a month we've had the following happen: My mother died, my older siblings when psycho, something died under our bedroom in the vents, I spilled a Coke Zero on my knitting (which happened to be my wedding garter), my wedding hair stylist quit doing hair, our freezer started cooking food, our lawn mower died, the job I was going for went with someone else, etc... You get the idea. Try to focus on the good, and keep laughing. That, along with sock knitting, is enough to pull you through almost anything <3
In sympathy, I am hereby suspending my nagging about Wild Apples and Joe's gansey until Autumn. P.S. Did you find the kitchen today? Hubby found ours!
Mother Theresa said "God gives us challenges because She loves us." Girl - God could love you a little less right now... hugs, blessings and more yarn to you and yours...
Sorry about all the bad. But your sister learned to knit! That's great. The socks are beautiful.
Sending peaceful thoughts your way... no more turmoil & trauma!
We had a cluster fly invasion once when I was a kid... the only "good" thing about them is they're so slow and lazy, very easy to swat. ;)
That's not stress, it's Hell in a handcart! Sharing the knitting ought to score a few Karmic brownie points, at least. Sending good vibes your way...
Interesting that . . just found out about a funeral I'm heading out of town for and first thing I thought about was sock knitting. It's like comfort food, I guess. hugs.
So sorry to hear about all your family troubles. Why do things seem to come in threes, or fours, or fives......? Any way, just saw your tweet about good books. In my library the high school girls are enjoying books by Jodi Picoult (of My Sister's Keeper, book is better than the movie, by the way) She's written some great books that teens are enjoying, try "Nineteen Minutes" or "The Tenth Circle" or "The Pact" but there are many more.
Wow. I'd never heard of cluster flies. They sound horrid. I'll tell myself they don't exist in SE Michigan, and I don't want anyone to correct me if I'm wrong. Also, you've reaffirmed my fear of saws.
But getting your sister to knit? That is cool. Though really I'm surprised you didn't get to her sooner.
My gosh, girl, you've been having a HECKUVA couple of months, haven't you?
That's pretty good, teaching somebody to knit on the way to a funeral. Talk about making lemonade outta a lemon!!
It always seems to work this way. Congratulations on getting your sister to knit. I hope it helps with her stress.
So sorry to hear of all your troubles and trials. Best wishes for the fortitude to get through them.
As far as books, from your tweet, I loved (and still treasure) several books by Edith Wharton, especially House of Mirth, and Age of Innocence. She is such a fabulous writer- she can go around the table of a dinner party and describe the guests, each in one clever sentence, and you know exactly what they are like. House of Mirth also interesting for discussions on what choices women used to have in their lives. A little less serious but nicely romantic (and lovely writing) for that age is E M Forester, especially Room with a View. If she likes those, then try Middlemarch by George Eliot next year!
I'm so sorry for all of your troubles, but I'm glad there was a little bright spot in the middle of it!
Steph & clan, you all have my condolences. I've been through one of those spells of periodic shitstorms with brief periods of raining crap.
Glad you and your sister can now find some comfort (meditative periods?) while knitting.
And if things really get bad, bribe the cat to sit on your lap and purr. Purr. PURRR! Get into the Zen of the Purr. Let your mind focus on nothing but the softness of the cat fur and the Purr. For, as Mr. Spock said of tribbles, "Its trilling seems to have a tranquilizing effect on the human nervous system." And, unlike Spock, you are not at all immune to its effect.
(Joe, when the moment seems right, take your lady out for a romantic -- VERY ROMANTIC -- evening out. Sound like she could use the escape(ism). Maybe you could, too.)
I sure hope that things let up for you and yours real soon. I don't know why stuff like that has to come at us all at once. Knitting & spinning have helped me get through many a trying period.
you both look so happy in that photo! and it's eerie to me how much you two look alike, especially in the smile.
did you teach her the irish cottage method of your grandmother?
Again, I am the one who doesn't twitter but do read yours. Books: how about the 2 long Ayn Rand books - "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead". Great philosophical and readable book with great ideals and story lines. You did say mature, right?
I've been down with my mom for three weeks after a heart attack, so I totally get the knitting socks/stress combination. Just finished the 2nd pair of socks myself!
Books for you daughter: There's a new Yanni Martel, just published.
What do you think about Elizabeth George? Beautifully written, full realized characters.
Doesn't like scifi, how about fantasy? Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series would keep her going for a while! Lots of lovely fat books. Characters grow and change through the series; lots of references to classic myths.
Also Dune? Very thought provoking; others in series less so I thought but the first one was fantastic.
Wow, that has been some bad month if it even drove your sister to knitting!
Here's to a better May.
Steph, I had a massive pulmonary embolism at the beginning of November (6 months ago today, in fact) and also was a lot closer to the other side than I hope to be for another 40 years or more. It is a very slow recovery, but they will get there. If they have questions for one who has been there, done that, they are more than welcome to contact me. Big hugs to you and your family, things can only get better!
Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss and for the accident and attendant issues. Hang in there Stephanie's Family!
In the book recommendation department, I read "War and Peace" last year, and it's terrific! Lots of romance, genuine characters, action, adventure, and a double shot of history.
I handled it by using a razor knife and duct tape to turn it into four 300-page novels, the way it would be released if it were written today. I believe that it was serialized in the newspapers when it was originally written.
It's tons better than that dumb old whaling novel, "Moby Dick."
I'm sorry to hear about all your ailing family members. I hope things turn around for you, and in the meantime, you get a bunch more knitting in.
Augh, what a terrible time! Sending you good vibes for the rest of the year. I believe you have met your quota for bad things.
My dad had a terrible run-in with a table saw, but has successfully lived to tell the tale. It's five years later, but my Mom still flinches whenever she hears machinery. I think she was never so happy as the day the saw went to a new home.
I get your three daughters' names mixed up, but one of them sure looks like her Aunt Erin!
Hope your string of family misfortunes is finally over.
Mary G. in Texas (mother of another Erin)
Sorry about the stressors. May I know your plain vanilla sock pattern?
My sympathy, and hugs. I lost my Mum and my Ma-in-law in the last twelve months, and Pa a year before that. It still hurts, becoming an orphan in your sixties. I knitted socks obsessively, as a de-stress technique. As EZ said, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either.
Books for daughter - if she isn't into SciFi, does she like fantasy - try Terry Pratchett, not only funny, but wise, too.
Best wishes for a less-stressed future.
It happens in threes. Maybe there will be a respite now. After 5 years of knitting I now have family members who pay attention to fiber content in various clothing items that they send me. Does a body proud! Haven't interested anyone in learning to knit as they likely enjoy being the recipients of my largess. : P
I don't do Twitter, so I'll put it here - about the books. Any interest in things like Leon Uris (WWII), Dorothy Dunnett (history), Jack Kerouac, Pat Conroy, John Galsworthy - I have more ....
Wow. You and yours don't deserve to be part of any quack experiment on stress. You do more good than harm here (though maybe they know this and figure that of all the families to experiment on that yours is the least likely to go postal).
Hopefully the stress will die down and go away. You deserve a couple *years* of peace.
Hugs to you and yours, Steph. 2009 was rough for my husband and me, and 2010 isn't looking any better. Illness, deaths, an actual tornado...it just won't stop. Knitting always helps, though.
I'm so happy for your sister! The world needs more knitters. Oooh, and the two of you can have quality sister time while doing yarn crawls--how fantastic is that?
I wonder if it's a stress time of year. A lot of people I know seem to be going through some tough times right now. As for your sister knitting...hell will freeze over only when my sister joins her in attempting to knit.
sheesh. I thought I'd had a pretty bad 6 months, but you've trumped me with (among everything else) the table saw. Chin up.
My own contribution in spreading the word was teaching a left-handed woman to crochet at a craft fair in Aintree last week. I think that counts for 2 people. She was very pleased that I didn't falter when she dropped the left-handed bombshell...
Know exactly how you feel (and wondered if something like that was going on, we are having the same kind of time here (save the flies).I have been knitting socks, round and round, while my head deals with the emotional stuff. I have you to thank for the stress release as your blog persuaded me to try socks.
Your sister and you have exactly the same pretty smile.:)
Good for her! Now that first picture - I thought it was Megan at first.
I am reminded of Hillary Clinton, who, asked along about 1998 if she'd ever had a stress test, replied composedly, "Yes, I'm having one now." I send healing mellow thoughts to you and your family, and I'm glad to see that you've got Erin at least on the best form of Prozac.
So sorry for all your stressful events. Hopefully things will mellow out a bit. I'm not on twitter but I saw your request for a couple of good books for a mature 16-year-old and I have a few suggestions: The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne; Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser and The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. All three are quite tragic but so well written (nothing trite here, that's for sure). The Hawthorne book is my favorite. His descriptions of the women are so perfect you can almost smell them. Oh, and of course, there is Gone with the Wind by Mitchel or Anna Karennina by Tolstoy. All these are classics and so so much better than any movies made about them.
Better days are on the way.
Hang in there. "They can kill you, but they can't eat you"
Boyso boyso, Some days you get the elevator and some days you get the shaft. ENOUGH already for you and yours. Socks are lovely and HURAHHH for Erin.
I believe God never gives us more than we can handle and provides strength just when we need it. Hang in there, this will pass.
Now, how did you do the cute scalloped edge on top of your socks? That does not look like the standard knit/purl rib.
Please note: Mercury has gone retrograde from April 17 thru May 11 - strange happenings all around. Even though you didn't make Maryland Sheep & Wool, you were there in spirit as my friend & I were commenting all day "there's the yarn Stephanie was talking about" and "there's that book Stephanie mentioned" and the like. Thank the Universe for knitting, esp. in the dark times.
I'm going for a good long walk this morning. I will beg the wood sprites and fairies for strong energy for all sorts of people including you and yours.
The smiles mark you as sisters at a glance, but puhleaze. The hair? Explain.
I'm sorry you're going through such a bad patch. I've been through a couple myself (minus the table saw). But eventually you'll look around and realize that there hasn't been an emergency for the past couple of months, and will go back to the day-to-day irritations that life normally gives us.
Books. Kite Runner is excellent. Les Miserables is terrific (even if you do have to read through fifty pages of "How to Build a Barricade"). The Great Gatsby is also good. Does she like poetry? Has she read Dante?
I can personally attest to the soothing capabilities of yarn therapy when life has handed you lemons and you can't find that darn lemonade recipe. I have knit and crocheted my way through many of life's difficulties and even used the yarn I inherited from one deceased relative to make warm cozy things for that person's surviving siblings to comfort them.
Wishing you & yours peace & happiness....although it looks like you're already working on that :)
Sorry you've had such an emotional few weeks. Hope things get better soon. I love your new socks. And that's great that you got Erin knitting!
So sorry to hear of all that stress. The good news is that usually this part is the test and once you get through it, things turn around in a big way. I'm hoping that for you! Wishing you everything that is good!
Wait, that CAN'T be your sister--she has STRAIGHT hair!!!
Seriously, here's a big hug for all the stress and sorrow. Hope things calm down for a while. Knit on!
Popping in with book ideas...some that have stayed in my heart through the years: "Little Women," Louisa May Alcott; "The Good Companions," JB Priestly; "Good Morning Young Lady," Ardyth Kennelly; and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and "Maggie-Now," Betty Smith. These are the books I would grab in the event of a house fire. (Along with my collection of Harlotania, of course.) Don't you love to see a 16-year-old reading? Gives you hope for the next generation.
So sorry for the all the bad stuff happening at once. I'm glad that knitting helped a little, and so great that your sister found "the way" as well.
My thoughts are with you and your family. Seems like things always come in "clumps"...but knitting has always been my comfort and escape, too. I remember knitting an entire baby blanket (big needles, thick yarn) while my husband was in surgery...it's the only thing that kept me sane.
Your 16 year old reader is a bright spot in all of the crap you're dealing with. When I was 16 I got all obsessive about various authors and read everything they wrote (foreshadowing of a later hobby, perhaps?) If her sense of humor is like yours, I recommend Evelyn Waugh.
Oh, what a time :(
Napping in the sun with a mojito sounds like what the doctor ordered; the email (and the knitting) will always be there later.
Hugs to you and yours; take it easy, and try for some rest!
Oh, good lord! I hope everything has settled down. Have to admit that I am pretty horrified imagining the table saw incident. But yay to Erin for finally learning to knit!
My condolances and best wishes to you & yours.
I don't have twitter, so I'm replying to that here. Book suggestions: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (and really anything else by her), Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (short stories), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. All ones I loved.
Awesome that your sis is knitting!
Hugs to you and yours. Sounds like you and your sister just knit a little silver lining :)
Sorry you guys have had a tough year. My elderly mom has been in & out of the hospital and I know it takes a toll on everybody in the family. Thank goodness for knitting!!
Chiming in to send you good thoughts. As my mother says, hang in there.
Good things will come out of bad things. Hang in there!
Stephanie, I offer condolences, and sympathy, and prayers that God will guide you and your family and friends through this time of trial. When I began reading your blog, I thought about knitting a prayer shawl. So, in your honor, I will knit a version of your Snowdrop Shawl, and give it to my friend, who is having surgery soon. May God give you and yours comfort at this time.
More books. Anything by Jane Austen. Jane Eyre. Wuthering Heights. If she likes Regency style romances, then Georgette Heyer. Has she read "Kim" by Kipling?
Hope things start going a bit smoother for you and the rest of the McPhee clan. Take care.
What about The Deptford Chronicles by your countryman Robertson Davies?
Glad your back @ the keys... Like I tell my kids if we don't have the bad, we never know when we'er having the good suff. Glad your back to the good stuff....
You may already know this, or been told in the previous comments...but make sure to stay ahead of the cluster flies...their dead bodies draw the dreaded Larder beetle...and those buggers eat WOOL! Vacumn every dead fly you see and search for those you don't see! I just tossed a ton of donated yarn...all types, because it was infested with larder beetles! Yuck!
Some contemporary suggestions:
Girl with a Pearl Earing -Tracy Chevalier
The Birth House -Amy McKay
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society -by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The comments above have some fantastic suggestions, thanks everyone!
Oh yeah, Sorry to add that above bit to the stress level...hope things are getting better for everyone there.
Sorry to hear about such a stressful time in your life. I hope that things improve.
I can't believe that it took your sister this long to succumb to the joys and stress-reduction of knitting!
About those cluster flies... I once lived in a home where we struggled with them year after year. Hated them! Probably the number one reason I wanted to move out of that house was to get away from those flies.
My dog loved them. He was quick and could catch them and he would eat them. Ugh. He did pass away hours of time concerned with those cluster flies...
Since I don't twitter i'll put my book suggestion for your 16 year old here. She might like the Flambards Trilogy by K.M. Peyton. She also wrote a fourth volume and Masterpeice Theatre did a great adaptation in the 80's.
I'm sending good vibes your way. Surely the researchers have collected enough data from your family by now.
Do you think teaching Erin to knit was wise? You already have daughters raiding your stash. Now there could be someone else eyeing the good stuff. (I know from experience--one of my three daughters knits, and she never liberates the stuff I'm not so fond of.)
As for books, I'm a big Rohinton Mistry fan--"A Fine Balance" and "Such a Long Journey". Doesn't hurt that he's Canadian.
Hope the stress eases soon. You and your sister remind me of me and my sister - one of us has straight blonde hair, and the other has voluminous curls!
I admire you and want to be like you in so many ways... your knitting, your writing, your wildly hysterical sense of humor... but until reading your post yesterday I had never heard of cluster flies. Guess what I have? Heard them buzzing around yesterday morning but it was behind the blinds in my basement window, right above my desk where I work from home. Last night I killed two and thought I got the two that were driving me crazy all day. Wait until this morning when I lifted the blind and saw about 7 of them, then went to the other window and saw the same. I am now on a mad fly hunt- they keep coming. I sit at my desk armed with a can of lysol (slows them down and allows me to whach them with my little pad of paper). I called the exterminator and sure enough, I apparently have cluster flies! Hey, next time I'd just like to whip through a sweater as fast as you... can we leave the wildlife out of it? I hope all of your other family woes work themselves out... hey, maybe try lysol!!
I wish you the best lemonade possible from all these lemons that have been thrown at you.
And I have to say that sock knitting seems like a perfectly reasonable and constructive way of coping with all this. The socks are pretty, by the way.
Lets hope that you've got all the bad stuff out of the way for at least the rest of the year, and it sounds like your share for next year, too, so maybe things will be good for a while.
I wish you the best.
As to your sister learning to knit, my husband would say this (which is what he says when I teach someone to knit):
Bwa-ha-ha.....come to the dark side...
I recommend "A Suitable Boy" by Vikram Seth. But can't you entice her to read a little SF? Start her off with "Ender's War", I mean, who can resist anything by Orson Scott Card?
You are the WINGS Steph, that have always carried us to that better, safe place in life when things are down.
Now that your sister ia knitting, you have a friend to fly with!
Thanks for all that wind, haha
It will always push you up to that higher place when you need it:)
By the way....Your wind is beautiful!
Wow. I think you've met your quota on family incidents for... well, you are actually probably owed a refund! My best to you and your family! Great socks by the way.
As for books for 16 yo, what about ones by Barbara Kingsolver (ex. Poisonwood Bible)? My SIL was in Peace Corps Nicaragua and I shipped a bunch of BK to her and she raved about them. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Blindness, The Good Earth, Yiddish Policemen's Union are also all quite good IMO. Let us know what she picks! :)
Sorry I don't have twitter so I'm taking up two comments here... Water for Elephants is one of my all-time fav books.
Plus, I forgot about this list from NPR. Now keep in mind that this is just whoever responded to the survey.
My condolences for a Very Hard Week, but I am happy to hear that through it all, there is still good.
Does she like plays? There's Cyrano de Bergerac, and the Burgess translation opens up all sorts of meaning. The Madwoman of Chaillot by Giradoux, which was finally performed in 1945, and sounds as though it could take place tomorrow.
Does she like mysteries?
Re: book request. Check out CrazyAuntPurl.com in April. She had similar request. Great suggestions.
I'm sorry for the pain you've been going through. You have my good thoughts.
And those SOCKS. The colorway fascinates me, I almost didn't read the post for staring.
It was a horrible year like that that led me to learn to knit. All I can say is thank heaven for knitting!
I hope things get better for you. :)
I'm so sorry you have been having a rough time of it lately. You bring so much joy and laughter to our lives that I know there's a lot of good karma coming your way *hugs*
Congratulations getting your sister to knit! I'm still working on my sisters. Any tips?
Barbara Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees" is a book that I recommended to many teen girls. Great writing, great storytelling and the author has several books out so if she wants more by Kingsolver it is readily available. Great fuel for discussions, too. Been in print for many years--probably available used.
led twentieth reports part
My and co-workers' condolences and hopes to you and your family for a quieter and happier future.
Knitting is the great stress reliever. Knit on.
Sisters rock. It doesn't matter if they're near or far. My two both drive semi across the U.S. We may see each other only once or twice a year but the conversation picks up right where it left off. It's just something that can be counted on without thinking twice about it and how comforting is that in this uncertain world.
Hi ...sending good thoughts your way and hugs and condolences from Vermont.... xoxoxox Kathleen
My mom made me some socks from the Julia's yarn, I think they last a couple of years before the heel wears out, but I'm especially hard on heels. My socks were made on a sock machine so I don't know how gauge/tension differs.
I'm sorry to hear about everything going on, I hope it gets better.
Stupidly, I followed your link to cluster flies.
Stephanie, I hope things settle down and the stress stops. But on the upside, it must have been nice to teach your sister to knit. I have 2 older sisters one knows how to knit, but doesn't, and the other doesn't want to learn. But they live in warm places where they don't need warm socks.
Happy (stress-free) kntting:-)
My favorite books - Bryce Courtney's The Power of One, Romeo Dalaire's Shake hands With the Devil (very disturbing but a worthwhile read) and Margaret Visser's Much Depends On Dinner and the Rituals of Dinner
Motto through a few tough years has been "just keep knitting..." sung to the same tune that Dory from Nemo sings "just keep swimming." The other thing l learned to tell myself, "every day ends," which gets you through the bad days and reminds you to enjoy the good ones. Many good vibes to you and your family.
I am so sorry for the crappy stuff that's been happening. I sometimes wonder why things can't just come one at a time...give us a chance to breathe.
And then I realize that it's times like these that make me so thankful for the boring, non-eventful stretches (all two hours of them).
Hugs and prayers to you.
There's something kind of satisfying about vacuuming flies off the windows. Like therapy, but gross.
I've knit many a pair of socks in the emergency ward. Soothing. Wishing you calmer days ahead.
Just to clarify, I vacuum the flies when they are alive and then release them outdoors.
I've been downloading free (copyright expired) books from Guttenberg Press on my ipod touch. Lots of classics available. I enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo.
Wow! I taught my sister how to knit a few years ago and now she's better at it than I am! Should we be looking for her blog sometime soon? All my best wishes coming your way!
I send my condolences and love for your family - that is a wollop. And, there is wool and knitting needles. I hope Erin gains some comfort from knits and pearls. You two look alike :)
"Knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either." -- Elizabeth Zimmermann
And, of course: "Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises." -- EZ
Good luck with all the stress. Knitting may not actually fix things, but it does improve them, or at least make them less bad.
What is they saying, "The palm tree grows best under weight" and "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and tons of other phrases... Utter bullshit. The has to come a point when enough is enough... You (and yours) deserve a break now.
I wish you'd get it...
Thank god for knitting... I would go crazy without it.
What is they saying, "The palm tree grows best under weight" and "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and tons of other phrases... Utter bullshit. The has to come a point when enough is enough... You (and yours) deserve a break now.
I wish you'd get it...
Thank god for knitting... I would go crazy without it.
Don't know about the cool breezes but I did see pigs flying today!
Stress does seem to come in threes or more. We are on vacation, staying with a dear friend in North Carolina who hasn't had visitors for years--due to the fact that she is an Episcopalian priest and is ALWAYS busy. Two days after we arrived, her mother (who has had cancer) began to take a downward turn and is dying. At the same time, a very, very dear friend of hers (who has had cancer) also took a downward turn and is dying at the same time, but completely in the opposite direction geographically. She had to make a decision to drive directly to Chicago and her mother, and not to see her dear, dear friend again. She graciously has offered her house to us for the duration of our vacation. I've kept knitting. As Elizabeth Zimmerman said, Keep knitting through all of life's crises!
Books I recommend, because I read them over and over: All of the books written by; Mark Twain, Ralph Moody, and Betty MacDonald. These are semi-autobiographical, older books, history, humor, drama, life lessons and thought provoking. They show life as it was at the time, with lots of political incorrectness?, but real. Also, if mysteries are enjoyed, try Dorothy Gilman, Charlotte MacLeod, Dorothy L. Sayers.
Sorry for all the stress, Steph. Glad that your sister learned to knit, tho :) I'll send good thoughts your way so that the stress is done and the rest of the year picks up.
sending hugs and support for all schhhhtuff - but so glad for one more knitter (for the record, I'm so confused that you can have a sibling who didn't already knit - lol)
Love and hugs and peaceful vibes to you. Now how 'bout that massage? You know how to reach me. Cheers, Veronica
You will always remember the current events when you wear those socks. I'm sure there will be a new book out called "how to get thru stressful times by knitting socks"? or stress and your feet? or knit your stress away with Cat's socks? or Foot massage by Cat?
Sorry to hear about all the difficulties. Best wishes for less stress from now on...
Oy, that's a lot at once. Simple knitting is always soothing in stressful times. My wish for you is that life eases up soon.
First of all, I hope things improve for your family and everyone recovers nicely. Secondly, your sister must have quite a bit of natural talent, because I can't imagine learning to knit 1) in the round, 2) on DPNs, and 3) with sock yarn. Pretty doggone impressive.
Sorry to hear that you are having such troubles.
As I don't do twitter, to add some more books: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons and any PG Wodehouse particularly the Jeeves and Wooster ones. Always makes me smile.
Oh dear! Your family has been in the wars! It's even driven your sister to knit! (And I was struck by the similarity in appearance between Erin and Sam.) Table saws are jolly dangerous things. If that person/family wants to continue using a table saw, maybe they should check out SawStop.com - hope it is available in Canada. Fingers are precious! I hope the bad luck is over now... We've had a bit of cancer strike us. One of my cousins died a couple of weeks ago, then there's me. Makes for interesting times in just the wrong way.
Sending healing thoughts and condolences to you and yours, Stephanie. I'm so sorry to hear about the traumatic time your family has had.
Sisters are irreplaceable, I'm so glad you and Erin have each other. Last year I moved across country, and my dear sister drove from Wisconsin to Michigan three weekends in a row to help me pack up for the moving van. Actually, I think she did it all--she could see I was in a state of mental paralysis and wouldn't make it on time. This year our family has also had its share of exhausting, frightening drama (fortunately not including physical illness or injury) and I've spent many hours on the phone with my sister, sorting stuff out. My (former) sisters in law have also reached out to commiserate and offer help, one from halfway around the world (Australia). That kind of love is priceless.
Books for your daughter: At the top of my list would be "Kristin Lavransdatter" by Sigrid Undset, in a recent translation by Tiina Nunnally. Undset won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1928 for this trilogy. I read an earlier, rather archaic translation as a teenager and was completely captivated. I still remember the powerful impact of this book. It is the life story of a Norwegian woman in the 1400s. From a customer review of the Nunnally translation on amazon.com: "'Kristin Lavransdatter' brings you the full spectrum of medieval life, from the constant threat of violence to the ambiguous attitudes on sexuality, the hyper-religiosity at odds with a still-thriving pagan sensuality that wants to legitimize itself. The character of Kristin shows all these conflicts and how they might have played out in the soul of a woman who will not let herself be treated as property in a patriarchal society." In fact, I think I'll read it again in the new translation!
"The Heaven Tree" trilogy by Edith Pargeter (check the online reviews on Amazon or elsewhere, I can't do it justice), and
the Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian. This is the story of a ship's captain and his friend, a ship's surgeon and naturalist, as they sail and fight all over the world during the Napoleonic wars. This fascinating series is really one long novel in 19 volumes, so start at the beginning with "Master and Commander." If I were marooned on a desert island, this is one series I'd want to have with me.
Oh dear! It sounds like you're hanging in there--good job!
Sending caring prayers up for you & your family. I hope it helps to know that many people truly care. Hang in there!
Good books- The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz)- has some sci-fi references, and In the time of butterflies (Julia Alvarez)
I'm feelin' ya about the last few weeks being horrible. My family also had a saw run-in, except this one was a chainsaw and a leg. We've had a car (bmw no less) get flooded in TN, and a lost job of someone who is about to get married. I'll be sending some good vibes your way!
Sending caring prayers up for you & your family. I hope it helps to know that many people truly care. Hang in there!
Good books- The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz)- has some sci-fi references, and In the time of butterflies (Julia Alvarez)
I especially like the edging on the socks
Definitely avoid do it yourself hair color as well as table saws! So sorry to hear of the too many family upsets, but reading, and those sharp sticks are a great source of comfort. I never leave the house without a selection of reading material. Hope things calm down soon. If Sam hasn't already read it,The Diary of Anne Frank, and To Kill a Mockingbird are good additions to the list. Audio books are great too, since I still love being read to. Extra good in the car.
Eve from Carlisle.
Whoa. That's enough now, don't you think? All sorts of good wishes coming your way. Hope everything looks up soon!
I don't tweet, or I would have posted this there. A nonfiction book selection for your daugher: Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.
First picture I've ever seen of you holding something other than knitting! And that photo is awesome - you look 17! Congrats on teaching your sister to knit - and letting her knit on your socks!
And that is why I knit socks - when hell freezes over, my feet will be warm! :) Congrats to your sis on learning to knit, and I hope things turn around for you and your family.
life gives us what we can handle...although a lot of times that can really suck!
about the socks. i have yarn in place to attempt my first pair and, well, i want to make THOSE ones.
what are the odds of posting a pattern?
PS: do you really read all these comments?
Hi, What edging was on your plain vanilla socks? I just learned how to do them recently and don't remember seeing that edging in your pattern.
Wow. Sorry for all that you are going through. I just want tosay that picture of you in the car laughing next to your sister is great. I have never seen a picture of you where you are truely smiling or laughing. You are sunshine beautiful when you do that.
woohooo...i found the pattern after searching your website(which i love btw and helps me to not feel too insane about knitting and stashing, or at least not alone in my insanity).
it's in your book! (i feel like a toddler discovering the lightswitch). your book is on my powells' books wishlist.
do people know about powell's books? do they know that their prices are fabulous and they do shipping?
i understand things are better in your world... i hope they stay that way for a while :)
Egads. Sorry that you've had your share of the bad karma. My brother (and the rest of us) suffered through him getting to know the table saw a little too closely when he was something like 10...and he's also minus a few bits. Hope things look up soon.