And so it begins.

This morning after yoga, where I learned that I can’t do this at all, (I can do the arms, but the legs are not possible. It was inelegant. You have no idea.) I started to feel all zen about the sweater. I started to think that I should let go of the sweater. Allow the sweater to move through me in it’s own time and space. Do not force the sweater, but instead embrace the sweater coming into it’s own being. Let the sweater be only as finished as it can be for right now. Breathe.
(This is what yoga does to you.) Then I checked my comments. My little zen-like self (breathe) read how everybody thought it was nuts. (Note to self: when the general response to your plan is “Well this should be entertaining”, you might want to consider the possibility that you are experiencing unrealistic expectations again. Further to that, when your friends say “Step away from the sweater…” or “Let’s not do this “thing” again” you might want to think over the off chance that your plan makes about as much sense as the time that I wanted to get a miniature sheep and try to convince Joe it was a dog).
I was all ready to listen to the chorus of knitters pleading with me to not take this leap into the abyss, let go, (breathe) and work on knitting as a meditative process when I saw Claudia’s comment:
/Please imagine me chuckling like an evil squirrel/
If you finish that sweater by Rhinebeck, I will buy you a TREAT at the show.
/the evil chuckling continues/

(Please insert filthy expletive of your choice here) I am deeply ashamed to discover that this one little comment was enough to completely drop me. That was it. I have to do it. There is no walking away now. You may think what you will about the fact that I don’t even know Claudia, and that I don’t even know what the treat is. You can also infer whatever pleases you about the fact that I don’t even need to know. It could be the shredded reciepts from the bottom of her purse for all I know. It doesn’t matter.
The game is on.
In true harlot fashion…the plan is loose.
This…(look, I wasn’t kidding about the loose thing) is the pattern.
This is the start. (It’s one of the fronts.)
This is the second of the thrum-a-long mittens…
because you know…I’m not letting the fact that I’m clearly delusional and unrealistic keep me from my mitten knitting responsibilities.

65 thoughts on “And so it begins.

  1. I completely understand; you HAVE to do the sweater now. I mean, someone you don’t know has inferred that you CAN’T do it.
    So you have to prove you can.
    (seriously, I’m the same way)
    And the mittens are so very pretty!!!

  2. You are indeed insane. And this will be entertaining.
    But, I’m rooting for you. And if you pull it off? I think that would prove that you are, indeed, Queen Of The World.

  3. Ah, Stephanie, I, too, will give you a treat if I see you at the fest in the sweater–it might be the number of a good shrink–but it’ll be something!
    Thank you thank you thank you for never crying “Uncle,” even in the face of “loose” plans and wild deadlines. It is inspirational. And way more fun to watch than The Apprentice.

  4. Harlot –
    Don’t do it. I’m telling you, in every movie/sitcom/after-school-special, whenever the good guy steps up to the plate to “show” the bully (sorry Claudia) something horrible happens and results in some painful, coming of age, life lesson. Put the needles down!

  5. This sure is going to be fun!
    Why does it seem like the pattern that you need never exists? You have bad luck that way, Steph!
    Oh, I gifted the snowdrop shawl to a brand-spanking-new niece yesterday. Her mother, my little sister, adores it. So thanks for the great pattern and your support. It was a hit!

  6. ayi-yi-yi! O harlot, the gaunlet (or thrummed mitten) has been thrown and I understand the urge to comply. I think that even if you don’t finish it in time, it will be a lovely sweater.
    why do I ahve visions of you seaming it the night before and repeating a version of mocking the sleeves again? Dunno. But if you get it done you will be happy and exhausted and most possibly insane by the time it is through. 🙂 Happy knitting!

  7. Well, of course you’re insane. We knew that already. 😉 But being someone who is also trying to finish a sweater for Rhinebeck (just an intricate gansey in 5-ply guernsey wool – just something I haven’t touched in 2 months) I can fully appreciate this urge.
    I fully expect to see you there, in a stunning blue (purple?) cabled masterpiece. Even if it has no sleeves. I think it had better come along, draped on your shoulders, even if its in pieces. Otherwise you’re going to have to dye your hair and wear a disguise, because there are going to be a lot of people looking for it.
    No pressure. See you at Rhinebeck. LOL

  8. Can you feel it, hear it? We are all cheering you on, doing the wave – and sending condolences and casseroles to your family.

  9. Way to Go! I knew you would do this amazing effort. Skip the yoga use the knitting as the perfect workout! Will look for that amazing sweater at Rhinebeck.

  10. hm…how well does claudia know your knitting…isn’t there some sweater somewhere, maybe half finished….something that could be completed in time for Rhinebeck….it would still technically count as no one ever said you had to start and finish one and she can’t very come back now and say that…maybe something marinating somewhere…something you finished and hated just because the sleeves were a bit long but you could fix that oh so easily and be oh so clever and get a treat an everything. i’m just sayin’…

  11. Oh my. So, you’re starting a brand new sweater to finish in two weeks, even though you know it’s complete madness?
    I hope your head doesn’t explode in a big mess all over your knitting. Mine would if I tried that. I still think that, if you have an unfinished sweater somewhere, you should work on that instead (I mean, it’s only fair, Claudia and her sister got a head start on you. You’re already starting late, you might as well take any advantage you can get.)
    If you do manage to pull this off, however, you will be a Knitting Goddess. I will light candles to you whenever I’m starting a project that is above my level of competence and/or needs to be finished in a painfully stupid short time period.

  12. There was never the slightest chance you weren’t going to do the sweater. All debate has been mere noise and time-wasting.
    Engage Third Person. (“Third Person engaged, Cap’n”) The Harlot does not pass off UFOs as new sweaters. The Harlot will now go to Warp Speed, deploying supplementary Passion as necessary. The Harlot does not find power in fear of shame; She knits for Glory, watching jaws drop and faces light at Rheinbeck as the whispers spread “It is She! It is She!”)
    So she’d better get her ass in gear. (Dammit, girl, if you’d do it in the round it would go so much FASTER!!! I’m only thinking of you.)Claudia, you gonna need contributions?

  13. What was that clunking sound? It was the sound of a very large gauntlet being dropped fifty stories. GO FOR IT!

  14. If you’ve read Claudia’s blog today you’ll notice that it’s not just knitter vs. knitter anymore – It’s gone Olympic. That means that you, Steph, are representing Canada. As a fellow Canuck, I can’t bear to see another Canadian Olympic disappointment so I’m gonna sit here and root for you all the way. My family and friends will think I’ve lost it but I’m gonna cheer and everything. Heck, you say the word and I’ll do everything in my power to help you have more (or better) knitting time. I’ll cook and clean your house (not well, but I will). I’ll buy you Addi Turbos. I’ll go to Newfoundland for more wool. Anything…go for GOLD!!!!!

  15. Ooh, I guess you’ve seen the bottom of my sister’s purse! Well hell, no time for yoga now. Get knitting. Of course you realize my sister is a “criminal” lawyer and spends most of her time in prisons–consulting with her peeps…don’t be scared…Good news, I’m almost done with my FIRST Rhinebeck sweater. .
    Personally, I’d still chuck it all, buy me a KitKat at the airport and bean me in the head with it. But hell, I live in laid back California Dude. Gotta go, having an aftershock…

  16. Harlot, lest ye forget, you also need to make something with the Fiber RAOK logo on it for Rhinebeck. We’re all doing it… You wouldn’t want us to exclude from the fun because we didn’t recognize you, would you?

  17. I think you can manage to do the sweater. You just have to modify your schedule a bit. If you sleep only 2-3 hours, supplement meals with coffee, and don’t waste time bathing you could even be done in a week and a half!

  18. Just wanted to tell you how much I have been enjoying your blog…you are such a funny person, would love to meet you some day…
    Love the thrummed mittens…may even try to make some someday…
    and best of luck to you on the sweater!!! I sure hope you make the deadline!

  19. You kick-ass Steph-of course you are going to do it. How could you not, especially now? I am a person who truly believes that there are people in this world who once they set their minds to something, it is going to get done. One of the things that keeps them going is someone saying they “can’t”. You did more with that sweater in a day than most (including me) could do in a week. My only regret is I won’t get to see it in person-but I’ll settle for pics.

  20. Oh. my.
    Here I was afraid that the thrummed mitten was going to succumb to second mitten syndrome – not the case.
    So. To complete by Rhinebeck – just 16 days away. Are you planning on sleeping between now and then? Is Joe prepared for the sheer insanity of this plan? Do you not fear the Claw?
    Sigh – might as well sit back and enjoy the fun.

  21. Where can I start laying wagers?
    If this is Olympic Scale, Canada vs USA, is it unpatriotic of me to be rooting for the Canuck?? Because I sure as hell want to see you finish a sweater in 14 days (and I really am rooting for you to do it). By the way, you’ve set the bar so high as a knitter, I feel like all my expectations of what can be reasonably done are all sorts of screwed up…

  22. First- why are you worried about inelegance when doing a pose called the cow’s face? I’ve seen lots of cows and elegant is not an adjective I’d use. Second- you’re crazy, but if anyone can finish the Aran I’d bet on you. Claudia better have one damn good treat in mind. I wonder what the New England equivalent to Screech is?

  23. Oh, and if my daughter and I run into you at Rheinbeck, please, please don’t mention the mini sheep. We already have a dog, a cat, 2 fish and 11 rabbits (none of them even angora for Pete’s sake!) and I seem to be the chief zookeeper. Mary already has a major collection of stuffed sheep and if she thought she could sneak a real one in……

  24. You’re insane, but I’m definitely rooting for you! Just don’t forget your blog responsibilities – we need this documented so I can show my friends, the ones that call *me* nuts. 😛

  25. Harlot, did you feel that dig Silvia just gave you?
    “Good news, I’m almost done with my FIRST Rhinebeck sweater…”
    Darling, that’s just asking for trouble.
    I may be considered a knitting traitor to my country, but I’m putting ice on the twitching eye (Aran sweater < 10 days, remember?) and joining the rabble for a Canuck victory with shouts of “Go Harlot!”
    (Sorry, no wave action here, bulging discs. Long story.)

  26. Okay, really, not a one of us doubts that Harlot of the Flying Needles can finish the most complicated sweater in two weeks.
    What I want to know is what the shipping is on those mini sheep, because dude, I am SO all over that. (I’ve got my first wedding anniversary three months from tomorrow… I’m sure I can guilt DH into a mini-herd…)

  27. What are you doing wasting time reading my comment, fer cryin’ out loud? You’ve got knitting to do!
    I once spun, dyed in 36 colors–got the next dyepot up to boiling as I spun up the next skein, over and over–and knitted a queen-size afghan for a wedding present in 19 days. If the family wanted to eat, then go open a can or the freezer, hon,I’m busy. My DH put up with it because it was for his brother–and I did it! (The two fleeces had come back carded from the mill 21 days before the big day.) And you are way faster a knitter than I, by all accounts; can’t wait to see your sweater here!

  28. Well at least you know now it might be worth it. If you didn’t think we knew about your competitive streak think again. We knew you�d pick up the gauntlet. I do believe you knit in your sleep�isn�t that what the �queen of the world� would do. WWQWD

  29. Am I alone in worrying that your insanity will eat up so much time as to preclude blogging? (Along with eating, sleeping…)
    That mini-sheep sure was cute. I wonder if they make mini-llamas…
    Oh, by the way, nobody looks good in Cow-Face Pose. The only one that is less flattering is Dead Bug.

  30. You are not alone Rana, but may I say that short photo-blog updates will keep us very entertained? Makes me wish I could go to Rhinebeck to view the products of this insane competition.

  31. Have you noticed that you have more readers named Alison (or some version thereof) than any other name? Are the rest of you all type-A’s also, getting huge adrenalin rushes from Steph’s super A-ness? Better than caffeine.
    So it looks like Renee and I will head up the ‘team support’ for this olympic event – cooking, grocery shopping, supervising kids’ homework, laundry, cleaning, brewing, mopping brows, buying caffeine pills (fewer pee breaks required). Whatever it takes, Steph – YOU ARE TEAM CANADA!!!!
    It’s either that, or I hang my head in shame for my comparative inadequacy as a knitter/speed demon.

  32. Oh lord, you’ve been seduced by a Claudia “treat?” I spent last year’s Rhinebeck weekend with her and all I can say is bwahahahahahahaha! 😉

  33. I do not know where I read it but the crossing guard with the duck taped together mittens is haunting me. Is someone thrumming for him? If that was your story, can you update us?

  34. Hey! Fedex me the yarn and pattern. I’ll do a sleeve for ya. I’d bet Wendy J. or somebody would do the other sleeve…. anybody?
    We’ll show Claudia!

  35. You can tell when you have caught the spirit of this blog. I read Alison’s comment and found myself immediately standing and doing my share of “the wave”.
    Let’s have some true support. From now until sweater completion, All of Stephanie’s fans – up on your feet three times a day – and WAVE!

  36. Alison (& the Al(l)isons)
    I am sooo type A. I keep it in alot so it fools people sometimes. I actually have to chew gum while I knit so I don’t grind my teeth. It was really interesting when I was starting out and knitted so tightly that the stitches squeaked.
    BTW my family/friends/co-workers prefer I don’t have caffeine.

  37. I only wish I had a reason for thrummed mittens… they’re so pretty… it just doesn’t get that cold here… and it’s hard to think about making toasty mittens when it’s still 70 degrees outside.
    Good luck with the sweater… I think you can do it… it’s 14 days, not 2. 🙂

  38. Hook up the caffeine IV! I’ll be looking for the sweater and the sleep-deprived, over-caffeinated twitch at Rhinebeck.

  39. And all this effort just to go and look at sheep ?? Or am I missing something about this Rhinebeck thing ?
    If you were feeling really clever,you could attach a pair of mittens to the ends of the sleeves – kind of like pyjamas for newborn babies – of course, that would just be showing off …

  40. Go Girl Go!!! Huxley and I are rooting for you big time! Let us know if you need some help with something… being just around the corner from you could certainly come in handy or should I say into needles?

  41. Go girl go ! I have total convidence that you can do it ! Just keep the blog going and the heck with all this till the sweater is done ! Love the rainbow colored thrums by the way ! I usually only use natural color but now may-be I will dye some . Thanks !
    Happy speedy knitting,
    Kim O

  42. OK… I never comment twice. Here goes.
    Margene – I think that should be a button. Or a t-shirt. OR a knitting bag. WWQWD. Or WWHD (What Would the Harlot Do).
    Its my new philosohpy!

  43. Hmm. I should probably go someplace else for some sympathy, then, huh? I just learned last night (late last night, really, really late, as a matter of fact) that I need to get that second baby bootie knitted by Friday…

  44. Here’s the thing, Steph. You will notice that I didn’t comment yesterday. I had a good reason. The minute I finished reading about your dilemma, I turned the computer off, and started going through all my pattern books and folders, stacks, etc while trying to make my husband understand that I haven’t flipped my lid. Now, he being of the male persuasion, did not understand. MEN NEVER UNDERSTAND. Anyway, his comment? “So just because the Harlot must have a new sweater, you must too?” No. I do not need a new sweater, I need to finish the ones on the needles. All of them. I am not going to Rhinebeck and have no need to prove anything. I was trying to be helpful and find an alternate pattern meeting your specifications and available yarn. See, even if I were to send you something from my stash, it would never get to you on time to make your kick-ass, make-’em-drool sweater! So you see, I have absolutely no doubt that you will be wearing your new sweater as you step off that plane. You are the Yarn Harlot. You are invincible. So shorten the blogs (I can’t believe I just said that!!) and knit already!! All the best. Take many pictures at Rhinebeck.

  45. I’m not sure that WWHD is suitable as a general philosophy. After all, if you followed it, presumably you too would be attempting to knit a sweater in two weeks. No doubt achievable for the real harlot, but beyond the reach of the rest of us mere mortals.

  46. P.S. About the cow thing: I have a milk cow (yup, me is a farmer girl). She doesn’t look even remotely as ridiculus as that pose. While she may not be particularly elegant, she is cute. Her calf is even cuter. And as long as she keeps providing me with cream for my coffee, I don’t care is she ever develops any sort of grace or elegance. LOL

  47. Curse you. Curse you to wool hell, Harlot. I’ve been “away” on a job and I come back to see these thrummed mittens. While on the job I flip-flopped and found no love in the Projects Suitable For Work Knitting. I live in Los Angeles. That’s the desert. It’s where the hot lives. It’s not for people who own things like thrummed mittens. I talked myself out of it for days and I just looked down to find a pair of thrummed mittens on my needles and I can’t explain it. Not only that, I’ll just be damned if I’m giving them away when I’m done. I don’t need these. This is all your fault. So um, sign me up for the thrum along??? There’s another thing I didn’t need, another KAL….where will it end?

  48. Woo hoo… I love a good competition! All the girls are gonna be at Rhinebeck! (Heather… you should be shot for that remark about “just going to look at sheep”… Rhinebeck.. ahh.. words fail me…. hubby and I are taking the camper there for the whole weekend – yay!! Anyone want to pick a place and meet up maybe for a blogger lunch? Anyone taking the novelty yarn class besides me???
    Ok.. ok.. harlot.. see what you’ve done.. how can I NOT go pick up that stupid domino vest that only has six more squares to go before it’s finished which I started last year and thought would be fun to wear to Rhinebeck THIS year.. if you can do a whole sweater, I SHOULD be able to do six teeny weeny little squares….. well, I SHOULD, right? right? Especially if I’m going to convince hubby that I NEED all those new yarns and rovings and needles that I’m going to buy…. ok, now where the heck DID I put that &*%$! domino vest thingy….

  49. Duh! You are DOING it. And it is beautiful. The two pattern photos don’t LOOK like the are the same weight or “snugness” in the patterns.
    As for cow face… I would need new shoulders were I to do the cow-ears portion of the pose. Do you think people who manage “camel toes” are as proud as cow faces?
    Are you going to Vermont’s festival? I envy you being in/near Rhinebeck.

  50. I can do the legs but not the arms on the cow face pose. Good luck on your sweater. (I, on the other hand, was thrilled to have completed a single sock for my size five foot in 16 days.)

  51. Another one here who can do the legs but not the arms on the cow face pose. What use is that, when I cannot ride 100 meters on a bicycle without falling off and injuring myself seriously (well… bleeding anyway). I’d say dancer’s legs are in the greater perspective more useful than cow face legs.

  52. Steph – if this is indeed an Olympic knitting event… and you are representing Team Canada, then I think you might increase your chances of “winning”… er, completing your project if you remember the 2002 women’s and men’s hockey teams – and put a loonie under your knitting chair, for the love of God, woman!
    I’m rooting for you, even as I try to finish a scarf for my nephew’s b-day party this afternoon…

  53. I just can’t take this anymore. All this knitting smack talk with the Rhinebeck Cage Knitting going on, I decided to finish my ever-suffering (it was started in March of this year) hand-painted chenille evening stole. And I’m not even going to Rhinebeck.
    Harlot, where will this end? First the Very Harlot Cape alteration on the poncho, now attempting to finish a stole that’s 75% complete?

  54. Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I think you are super talented. I just got my own blog up and running and would like to be added to the list of Thrum alongers. Thanks for starting this!!

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