Can’t ignore that.

Attention: There is very little time left. This is in the living room.


This is not a good sign. An 8 foot tree glittering menacingly in the spot usually occupied by my spinning wheel is not something you should ignore. The presence of the tree is an extremely serious indication that a largish holiday will arrive shortly. The tree is mocking me. Then there are these.


These really, really look like Christmas cookies to me. I baked them, the girls decorated them and they look pretty freakin festive to me. There is no way that anyone would be putting perishable cookies in the house if there was bags of time left. No way. See the cookies, be afraid.

I know I should be reassuring. I know that a kinder person than me would be saying the things that my family says to me. Relax. Enjoy the season. Don’t freak out. Try to stay cool. Well I’m here to tell you….DON’T RELAX. FREAK OUT. THE TIME FOR THE FREAKING OUT IS NOW. DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. There is a tree in my house. There are perishables. This means that there is not time. Not nearly enough time. Go. Go now. Shop. Take your knitting with you because there is not enough time for that either. PANIC NOW. Get someone to drive you to the shop so you can knit in the car. Stay up late. Get up early. Call in the reserves.

When I feel this looming sense of panic I know that there is only one thing left to do. I push my panic button. My personal panic button consists of making a list of all that I must accomplish during the next few weeks. Knitting, baking, cleaning, shopping…I write it all in an email along with the number of hours I estimate it will take to execute each festive nightmare. Then I flip out. Then I email it to Lene, organizer extraordinaire. Lene missed her calling in the world. She’s a writer and a social worker, but really? She should be queen of the world. Lene excels at telling people what to do time management. Lene can boss anybody around organize any situation. Lene saves my Christmas. I email Lene my To do/to knit list, and she takes a good long look at everything that I’ve got to do. She takes a look at my life, works out where I have to be when and then emails me back a schedule.

“A schedule” you ask? Yes, that’s right. A schedule. All I must do to make Christmas work is EXACTLY what Lene tells me to do and it will all work out. I must empty my mind of concerns. I must stop thinking. I must do as the schedule directs me and all my knitting will be done. I don’t need to freak out, as long as I keep to the schedule.

I know it sounds anal retentive and controlling, but it’s actually liberating. No planning. No worrying. Only complete and total compliance. My day is divided into three blocks. Morning, afternoon and evening. My time is my own after I have completed the activities that Lene sets out for me. Take yesterday for example.







See? Because Lene is a knitter, she knows that I need a variety of projects, knit in different gauges to provide interest, and allows for compatible activities. Plain projects for when I am on the bus. Fancier work for when I can concentrate. No two projects that take the same set of needles at the same time. I’m telling you, it’s a relief. Every time absolute wrenching panic seizes me….I just look at the schedule.

Want one?

Gifts for knitters Days 11, 12 and 13

A sweater stone. Takes the annoying little pills off of sweaters and stuff.

Stash bags. I have tons of these. Keeps all the yarn from falling on you when you open a closet. You still run the risk of thirty balls and the stash bag hitting you, but at least it’s only one large object and you have a better chance of deeking it.

Very cool Adopt a rare sheep program. For the knitter who wants one but doesn’t have enough yard space. They even send your knitter the fleece (or spun yarn, for an extra bit of money) from the sheep. Love it.

49 thoughts on “Can’t ignore that.

  1. We should all be as lucky to have a great friend like Lene in our life. It makes me feel better to know that even the Harlot needs a push!

  2. The tree is gorgreous, cookies are darling, and thanks for pushing my panic button, too. Now all I want for Christmas is a Lene and schedule. Although I have never considered dividing my day up by knitting different projects morning, noon, and night. Hmmm….

  3. A-hem. It’s funny how something that completely makes sense in my head looks freaky and a tad obsessive once it’s publicized.
    Ah, yes. Lene Land. Nice place to be. 😉

  4. Me, me, I need a list or a friend like Lene, major panic has set in already.
    You tree looks great, I spy a spider man mitten….

  5. I don’t know what those socks say but I’m pretty sure I want them. I don’t have a tree yet. But I’ve already freaked and I think I’m over it. I’m at peace with my workload now (or in serious denial) Did I mention about the socks?

  6. The only thing better than turning lists in to a schedule (besides crossing things off the list) is color-coding the schedule.
    Much mahalo for drawing our attention to the adopt-a-sheep program, which makes for some truly great wool reverie. I was particularly charmed by the photo of a young lamb dressed in a sweater (!).

  7. Don’t think we can’t see the reindeer named Moe, Steph. 😉 And thanks for the sweater stone pointer – I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase an electric de-piller.

  8. I’m impressed you have your tree up and cookies made. I havent even moved my spinning wheel yet!

  9. I only got to knit for 20 minutes over the entire weekend. I was doing Christmasly good deeds, but nonetheless I am in Christmas project hell now. I’d been doing so well, too, but two full days gone is a tough one to recover from.

  10. If anybody asks if I’m done with my Christmas shopping I will not be responsible for my actions (if someone asked if I’ve started, it would be more appropriate, but still not welcome). I’ve taken to throwing catalogs that say “IT’S NOT TOO LATE” on the floor and stomping on them, better them than my loved ones.

  11. Now what you need is someone to actually do everything on your spiffy schedule. I don’t bother with all that organized scheduling, myself. I find the stark panic very therapeutic. Not productive. Just therapeutic.

  12. You don’t pay attention. Didn’t I tell you NOT to panic? And that’s before I knew about Lene. Lucky you. so…. don’t PANIC!

  13. I have already pushed the panic button but have no Lene to reply with the handy-dandy schedule. And there is full-time work to be done all this week. Aack!! Send a map to Lene Land – quick!!

  14. You have origami reindeer on your tree?! My god, how could you want anything else to happen this Christmas — you have origami on the tree and decorated cut-out cookies. If I were you I’d say to hell with everything else, kick back, break out the Silk Nog and start celebrating. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll do it myself (even though my origami Santa-in-sleigh looked so dismal that my kids just looked confused, and no cookies have made an appearance). Then again, I have trained my family to expect fibery goodies in, oh, about mid-January or February instead of during the glut of Christmas — that way they can truly appreciate the workmanship.

  15. My Dh this morning reminded me of all the things that must be done today. Don’t wanna pay UPS $60/box this year, so let’s ship to the relatives nice and early. Like in the next hour? Which means a ton of wrapping, and maybe some panic shopping, and…
    And I wanted to tell him, NO! It’s my freakin’ BIRTHDAY, dude, that gives me the right to toss everything and go *knit,* don’t you understand!?
    So I’m rebelling by going and reading Yarnharlot instead. And I see at least you get to get some knitting time in, which makes me feel better. Go Steph!

  16. As soon as Wednesday’s final exam is over I go into high gear. I have almost nothing done yet – the Springerle cookies I did make, but then I ate them all so now I have to re-make them. And I am only knitting ONE present, everyone else gets a homemade production line item:
    Bath Salts for Sore Bodies
    1 c baking soda
    1 c salt, preferably sea
    7 drops eucalyptus essentialoil
    7 drops lemon essential oil
    7 drops rosemary essential oil
    7 Vitamin E capsues, cut and squeezed out
    (swallow the empty capsules)
    mix and bottle. Use a handful or two in a nice hot bath
    Now back to studying. Bon appetit!!

  17. Oh my gosh, Steph! I love your blog!!! I laughed so hard that I was crying when I read your post for today!!! I am definitely in panic mode, & it helps a ton to be able to laugh about it!!! Thank you!

  18. Oh fine, like the pressure isn’t great enough already. My tree is three foot tall, artificial (free found object) and I don’t have oragami reindeer. Where the heck do you get those?! I may as well give up. Just knitted cat toys for everyone this year and if they are good they get catnip.

  19. Some evil person arranged it so that the end of the semester coincides with Xmas panic. Evil, I tell you! Oh, yes, students complain about exams, but there are MORE of them than there are of us. And they all go home to their mothers who take case of them. Unless the aforementioned mothers are professors. In which case, they (read “I”) say “hello” to their beloved returning daughters, hand them handknit Mamluke socks inspired/forced by Harlot reading, and set them to work in the kitchen doing the Xmas baking. If she could grade, I will have her in a production line with me and my many papers, exams, reports, …
    Who has time to knit?

  20. Hey!
    Spidermitten! Did you draw the pattern yourself? For H.. Hank? Stilig. Cool.
    I have an actual panic button. Bought in Stockholm several years ago. Looks like a key from your keyboard, only it’s red an it says *panic* on it. Has glue on the back to attach it to anything, like your keyboard. Should probably send it to you.

  21. Yesterday I was knitting while shopping at the mall. I’m in the midst of a hat-a-day crusade. I drew some looks and a few comments, but really time is very short! What is even crazier? This hat is going to my daughter because she saw it and loved it and that would be fine, except now it’s not even a Christmas present. There’s so much more, but I can’t stay on-line, must knit, must shop, must clean, must make jam for daughter’s teachers and anyone else who doesn’t get a hat or fingerless gloves (my other favorite knit gift this year). Must go!

  22. a. I need Lene (Lene, there’s nut-free chocolate in it for you), and not just at holiday time
    b. I love your tree. So elegant and simple.
    c. Love even more the Spider-Man mitten
    d. I recognize the “morning” item
    e. RELAX.

  23. Stephanie, Stephanie, Stephanie….. The cookies were the big mistake! I gave up the holiday baking frenzy years ago because it too reminded me of how close the big day actually was. Delude yourself into feeling you have plenty of time by not baking cookies!
    Love the tiny basket with balls-o-yarn on the tree!

  24. I gave up on the idea of having everything knitted in time, and made candles and custom blended incense for everyone instead. Want some? Send me your addy via email. 🙂

  25. Moe! but I also spot Olive (or at least I think I do, right above Moe). Is that as in Olive the Other Reindeer (which is a fabulous animated thing about a dog named Olive… If you haven’t seen it, look in your TV schedule).

  26. Yes, yes a schedule! I make lists but those just seem to end up in a little wad in the bottom of my purse. Between student’s progress reports, class outings, and a horribly long dinner party last night at “Forever Fondue” (good lord), I’m thinkin’ I’m not gonna make it!

  27. Schedules are wonderful things, indeed. That’s how I manage to cram ungodly amounts of things into the tiny bit of time left before the unmentioned holiday that is rapidly approaching. Oops, time to knit on those felted slippers. Carry on.

  28. And your organizers email is…? I completely understand the freedom that you get from a set schedule that you don’t have to think about and I desperately wish I could have one of those. You’re so lucky! Love the spidey mittens btw 🙂

  29. A schedule! what a concept. I think we all need our own Lene. Does she have pointy ears and wear green by any chance?
    I love the spidey mittens
    …and maybe this is just the inner nerd surfacing, but did anyone else notice that most of those sheep have Star Trek names? Anyone?

  30. Oh, yes, please! I TRY to make schedules, but really, I have a tendency to spend more time making them than it would take to do the things on them. I’m terribly perfectionistic (I know, it’s probably not a word… tough… and for the record, yes it is terrible… perfectionism is not a blessing).
    I came up with a plan to buy me a few more days. I’m not actually giving the people I’m knitting for knitted items. I’m essentially giving them a catalog:
    See the pretty scarf/mittens/bag? Do you like it? Do you want it? You can have it! Like the pattern, but not the color? Here’s some options (note: it will take longer for you to receive this gift as I have to 1) order the new yarn and 2) knit it).
    Everything I’m making _I_ like and would be happy to keep. If they pick it as is, I’ll knit me a new one.
    And, if they don’t want any of it, that’s fine, too… I’ll go shopping for them, and now I get the after-Christmas sales to save money with.
    The only hang-up (besides knitting the example items before Christmas eve)? Now I have to make up cards directing them to the “catalog” I’ll put up online… and get them done and mailed in time to be there for Christmas opening.
    So… does anyone know… is that more or less work for me before Christmas?

  31. After all my grand plans for lovely knitted Christmas gifts for all on my list, I ended up making….a scarf for my sister in law. That’s it, one scarf. Everything else non-knitted, bought gifts. The shame of it!
    Guess I’d better start knitting now if I want to increase my Christmas gift output for next year!
    P.S. It was a really nice scarf, though, and according to my mother in law, it matches perfectly with SIL’s winter coat…

  32. Ah, I see a whole bunch of us have Lene envy! Me too, I’m not ashamed to admit.
    A list. Yes, I am there.
    A schedule you say? Okay. I see where you are going here. Taking the list and making it work. I think you may be on to something! 🙂
    What, praytell, are the long, sparkly wonders on your tree? I must get me some of those.
    Pass the cookies.
    Nod and kisses

  33. I noticed the Star Trek names on the sheep. I thought it was great.
    I’m a new (last 6 weeks or so) knitter and am doing the “everyone gets a scarf for Christmas” thing. I have completed 5.3 scarves. I’m tired. I need a .3 friend so I don’t have to finish that last one.

  34. Crap, now I have to make reindeer cookies (too cute!), along with ice the cake and sew up my MIL’s plum pudding tea cosy. Only one knitted gift this year (I only started knitting 6 months ago, so I reckon that’s pretty good!). Argh, and brave the crowds to buy the rest of the family presents. Need a list!!

  35. I checked out those stash bags and they are the blanket bags I save and use for my stash! They do work great and mine were included in the price of blankets, mattress pads, etc.
    Oh, I have a large Christmas tree in the living room too but no ornaments or lights – maybe tomorrow night. I figure I will be in a tailspin around the 21st when I realize everything I have repressed. I enjoy stress???

  36. I haven’t made mitten yet, in 44 years of knitting, but if I keep reading our blog I must try them. After Christmas. Gee, maybe Santa will bring me those 14k needles you mentioned. I’ll settle for the $2 bamboo ones I heard about in Richmond, BC.

  37. i’m reaching the end of denial and about to head into panic mode.
    gifts: i am on a tight budget this year. simple home made gifts. but not knitting because that would take too long and i’m not as fast (i mean insane) as the yarn harlot. ;o) that’s ok i’ll do other homemade budget gifts.
    what are they? i’m waiting for lene to tell me. meanwhile i’m starting to order stuff online, er well, waiting until payday thursday to order stuff online, hopefully avoiding those $60 shipping fees mentioned above.
    somehow the handmade AND budget part of the plan got lost….
    and then there’s time. i thought i had all free weekends this month, don’t know where they went. and i work full time (hence the online shopping). and get guilt trips from my personal trainer that i don’t get to the gym enough (2 times a week i was going – now it’s none until after new years. but still twice is a LOT! and better than none.)
    why am i here? i should be productive….. (hmmm – sculpt christmas trees from paper clips. that’s homemade and budget! ;o)

  38. Under normal conditions, I’d look at those adoptable sheep, thinking “huh, that’s a cute idea. I wonder what that roving is like?” But since they’re all named after Star Trek characters, I’m scanning the captions, looking for one that’s available NOW NOW NOW. Thanks for the link!

  39. I need your friend Lene’s email address! I’ll pay money!! Your blog is just cracking me up these days. Oh, and the little Spidey mittens…he is so going to love them.

  40. Someone that adopted one of my sheep, refered me to your web site where they had found out about my program. I want to thank ewe for mentioning my adoption program on your site. I really love your tree and the knitted projects you have on it. Thank Ewe. And yes, I’m an old Trekkie fan, that’s why all my sheep are named after Star Trek characters!

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