Turn left at the sign

Welcome to Harlotville, where the sun shines all the time and everyone is noble and generous. (C’mon in. The knitters are fine)

Reasons to never leave Harlotville.

-LOOK AT THE TOTAL. Now go dance in the street. (I don’t know how we celebrate 20 000. Maybe dancing naked in the street? Other suggestions graciously accepted. It’s cold outside.)

Ben’s a pretty happy guy too…

Dear Stephanie and all the Harloteers,

Over 15 grand!?! This is amazing! Like somebody said above, knitters rock! I wonder if it isn’t time to set up TSF – Tricoteuses Sans Frontières or Knitters Without Borders? That’s what this international blog increasingly represents.

On behalf of MSF in Canada, the US, Germany and Sweden – among the various chapters that have benefitted from your generosity – I thank you.

And thanks also to Steph for volunteering to come in to help out on the phones yesterday and for telling the old man who gave $500: “Atta boy!” .

Sorry you had no time to knit, though…


That’s me in the back and Joe’s sister Kelly in the front. We are taking donations at a thousand miles an hour… If you are not Lene you may click


for a very harlot photo. Me, my knitting, the phone and a coffee. As is always the case in Harlotville…please excuse my hair. (Note: No descriptive discussion of the item in the photo will be allowed in today’s comments. The item in question is a present for Lene. You may say things like “very nice” but you should make every attempt to not blow the surprise. You may feel free to torture Lene with hints that do everything but blow the surprise.)

– Taking Ben’s suggestion to heart…the lovely and ever so clever Abby has made us a new button. Giddy up.


Steal the “Yarn Diet For Charity” one she has going on at her house if you are so inclined. It’s beautiful. As the mayor of Harlotville, I declare button making Abby’s superpower. In honour of Abby’s superpower, we will all save the buttons to our own servers, right?

My Your Mittaines Sans Frontiers have borders!


Good looking borders if I dare say so myself. The time has come to decide on a palm pattern. Here in Harlotville we have choices. A) Pinstrips. Never gets old. B) Something else, maybe dots. The stripes are totally getting old. C) Anything but the stripes. You always knit the stripes. Let the stripes go and move on with your life.

-Harlotville has the nicest neighbours. Have you seen Sandy’s mittens? Go look. I’ll wait here and think about stripes. Beautiful, yes? Despite the trouble that Sandy is having with these mittens and their roaming thumbs, she will finish them and when she does? They will be yours. Sandy has graciously donated the mittens to a random donor. Lucky people.

-Harlotville, with it’s fine neighbours also has an awesome postal service.

Look what Mia sent me


Lovely Mia! Very beautiful hats, and well knit! Mia tucked some chocolate into the hats…but, er….I can’t show you that right now ever. Mia…the pink one doesn’t even look very phallic on me. Well done!

-Harlotville continues to have accurate media. While news agencies continue to report that MSF “doesn’t need more money” MSF (like the Red Cross) continues accepting donations to their general emergency fund, sends relief to Aceh, Sumatra, aboard Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, and begs you not to forget about the places that aren’t in the spotlight where suffering meets….and exceeds the losses to the tsunami.

Read about Northern Uganda, where there are more than 1.6 million displaced persons, the deaths rate is surreal, and 20 000 children have been abducted. Ben writes:

We think of the psychological impact of losing family members to a natural disaster but imagine the impact of being forced to execute some of your family members and then being abducted and made part of a crazy child army. Think about the people who wait nightly for a possible attack from this “Lord’s Resistance Army” and leave their villages to hide in towns where they hope to be protected.

This is ongoing. This is every day…and no-one knows.

Harlotville cares. Call MSF. Maybe I’ll answer the phone.

49 thoughts on “Turn left at the sign

  1. I’d have to vote for C. These are important mittens, be creative. My idea would be little diamond lattice thingys but it depends on which pattern you pick for the otherside.
    Hmm… maybe a “Knitters Without Borders” webring for charity knitting?

  2. Woo hoo!! Look at that total! I have to say… we rock. And that TSF button is great. Way to go Abby!
    As for the Mitts Sans Frontieres, I say go with your gut. They look lovely. 🙂

  3. hey I’m all for that charity knitting thing.
    I was thinking this for what’s going on right now:
    If we all donated one knitted item (not necessarily Latvian since not all of us have those skills), but if all of us who gave money also threw in one knitted item. Like…a knit exchange. You’d randomly be assigned someone else who donated and then have to swap a knitted item with them. It would kind of be like having a knitted reminder of the tsunami and what we as a group did to help.
    There’s a LOT of us here who can knit a lot of different things. Plus, we can meet one of the new years resolutions to use up stash yarn. 😉
    So what do you all think?? I’ll organize it if you all want me to.

  4. Oh, I love Katie’s idea of the swap…
    And it’s gorgeous, but does Lene really need yet another willy warmer?

  5. Very impressive, indeed. And I like Katie’s idea for a swap.
    Lene’s gift is pretty–I love the color choice.

  6. Love the TSF button – brilliant idea on everyone’s part.
    Interesting choice of faux fur for Lene’s gift. 🙂

  7. I vote for Chevrons… they aren’t really stripes.. or how about Argyle? Or am I really the only person who likes Argyle anymore? Although those crosses on Sandy’s were pretty cool…

  8. Lene, are you being good? Is this Stephanie’s revenge for the Christmas knitting bend-time-and-space schedule? You aren’t peeking, are you???

  9. I am happy to hear that your lovely daughters did not try and take your new chapeaux. I am sad to hear that that chocolate has met an early demise. But never fear, I am almost finished with your 3rd hat and that there will be more chocolate accompanying the hat. I happen to like the pink hat myself.
    And I will be donating to the TSF/KWF this weekend after I figure out how much I would have spent on yarn this week. Mine is a weekly addiction. I spend more on yarn than S***bucks soy chais weekly.

  10. Way to go Canadians!! How about little hearts i the centers of a lattace work, to represent the love that has been shown to other countries?

  11. Knit the pattern that makes your fingers the happiest. That will surely make a random donor happy.
    BTW, are you sure Lene is really into that kind of thing? Whew.

  12. Thank you so much for posting Ben’s messages. The violence in Darfur and Uganda is so much more unsettling to think about than a giant wave, so I appreciate his reminders.
    Is it out of line to sugest the Quaker 8-pointed star for the mitten palms? There’s an example at http://www.afsc.org … while everyone is checking, I will add that the American Friends Service Committee is my favorite relief agency (hint, hint). The little square in the middle of the star is optional.
    I love the choice of buttons on Lene’s present. I didn’t realize that you crocheted!

  13. Second the approbation of the Quakers– sorry, American Friends’ Service Committee. They, too, use a startlingly low percentage of their income to run the ship, and have decades of experience in quiet right action. Find us a Quaker doctor and we’re all set.
    What a tribute to Lene’s probity that you can post that picture right in the open and she won’t peek. Glad to see you resolved the issue of how to manage the crotch.

  14. Yes, the crotch is a marvel. Personally, however, I wonder if the metallic eyelash yarn might not be a bit itchy in those delicate areas. I’m also wondering how you are going to attach the knitted fruit…but I am sure you will work it out and leave us all breathless in the process.
    Re: the donations: Way to go, Harloteers! I’m also taking the Challenge and saving my yarn $$ for MSF. (Mia, no need to feel lonely in the Weekly Yarn Budget Club: I’m right there with you.)
    Knitted hats off to all of you (phallic or otherwise….)!!

  15. I was shocked – when I first saw that picture I immediately thought, “Look! It’s Sarah Jessica Parker!”
    I don’t know Lene, but I’d never gotten the impression that she was “that” kind of a girl. Does she go places where she can wear that? Does anybody?
    I like the idea of the diamond cross-hatch, too. It pulls in the pattern from the cuff. And I like stripes. Dots are good. What about little triangle dots? Hee hee – how about a little vertical braid/celtic knot colorwork? Or is that mixing up cultures in weird ways?

  16. I have visions of people calling MSF and asking for the Yarn Harlot. 😉 Hey whatever brings in the donations, eh?
    So far no yarn or “needless” things purchased yet this week so my total is building as much as possible on my non-existant budget. Hey I managed to not buy yarn when by all accounts I may very well be snowed into my apartment for the next several days (they are allergic to snow plows in Iowa… this isn’t “really” snow).
    As for Lene’s gift… I must say, she will need “balls of solid brass” to wear THAT in public.
    And I’m a beginning knitter but all about the swap idea 😉
    Yay knitters! Abby, think we could get a Harloteers button out of you?

  17. How about diagonal stripes? Or fleurs de lys? They are in the Fox and Geese and Fences book as possible palms. Or what about continuing the same pattern from the other side?

  18. Dearest Yarn Harlot,
    Both my daughters want your SJP hair. So don’t go on about your beautiful hair.
    I am delighted to see the way the donations talley keeps reaching higher and higher.
    I haven’t donated as yet because I haven’t totted up what I’d have spent this week on extra’s or yarn and other fiber stuff.
    The fact that I keep dreaming of owning that Latvian mitten book makes me drool over all the wonderful mittens you and everyone else are producing.
    Have I ordered the book…NO!of course not. That price will go into my total too.

  19. I need to start a blog just for the TSF – Tricoteuses Sans Fronti�res or Knitters Without Borders button. Katie – if the TSF exchange gets off the ground count me in.

  20. I shall be proud to call myself a Harloteer. I could never warm to the notion of being a Rowanette.
    I like Jayne’s suggestion of listing some Canadian charities who would make use of hand knit items. I have approached many agencies, only to be told that hand knits are impractical.
    I have requested that a friend of mine call MSF with a donation, and that he ask especially for the Yarn Harlot.
    Stephanie, your hair looks like mine – on a good day!!

  21. atta girl, harlot. I am so proud of you.
    as for the mittens – . . . . ., ******* or maybe ::::::: but no more |||||.
    By they way your <<<<<<<< came out great. Hope I win you mittens. I would wear them. Proudly. Even here in so cal.

  22. I’m with Ellen, fleur d’ lis on the palms would be most appropriate. My pledge is being calculated, looks like I have a couple of minutes before you finish those mitts.
    Swaps are good. Count me in.
    About Lene’s gift, uh, sorry, words escape me.

  23. I love stripes. I also love fleur de lis. Take yer pick. $20,000 – leaves me nearly speechless.
    As for Lene’s gift, the hairy crotch yarn and everything I think she’ll do OK with, but I think she’ll be busy trying to figure out the chart for the paisley.

  24. Love the Yarn Diet idea on Abby’s blog, definitely going to join in! I figure I can squeeze about 9 projects out of the stash I have, though I could have easily gotten 20 before last week–that’s when I donated a bunch of yarn to an elderly lady on a very limited income who wished for yarn in our local newspaper’s Share the Holiday Spirit charity drive.
    Nine projects, and despite the temptations that come my way, I vow I will purchase no new yarn…

  25. P.S. And I will take the money saved during my non-yarn-buying, nine-project-making period to charity. I had my eye on several new yarns to add to my recently depleted stash, so the money I would have spent will be well spent elsewhere. Thanks for the tip!

  26. I have proof now – there is no such thing as a person who is naturally and genetically wholly good. The nastiness will out. However, as long as you evil peoples good twins keep donating to MSF, I’ll put up with the torment. Oh, the humanity…
    I’m off to try to accept that Steph will want a picture for the blog of me wearing The Thing (whatever that is) and well… it’s a good thing none of you know what I look like. I can still find a body double.

  27. I like the idea of fleurs de lys on your mitties. Not very Latvian, though, is it? How about some diamonds… I likes ’em anyhow…
    Don’t worry, Lene, I’m sure it’ll stretch.
    Katie–faboo idea. Count me in!

  28. Steph, that total is amazing!! Kicking ass!! Your readers are awesome. They’re better than awesome but I dont think they have words for the level of awesome they actually are.
    As for Lene’s gift, do you really think she’ll find use for something like that. I mean, it looks so scratchy and where she’s supposed to wear it…. I don’t know what you were thinking.

  29. Dear All,
    We are just TOO much, don’t you think? Evil twins all around poor Lene.
    Count me in for the mitten-swop.

  30. Stephanie, how is Lene going to keep the batteries from falling out? Is Ken going to put in the zipper for you?

  31. The total is amazing!
    Hey Canadians, I just saw a news report that three major credit card companies are waiving their fees on transactions (I’m assuming it’s just transactions to donate to legitimate charities in the wake of the tsunamis) and will return all fees collected on donations made by credit card since Dec. 26. The length of time that the waivers cover is different for each company, but it’s good news b/c that means even more money will go to each charity!
    (I say “Canadians” b/c I don’t know if it was the American counterparts as well…)

  32. As for the mitten palms:
    so… like a stripe… but with interesting V’s in an alternate color?

  33. You are inspirational. I drove by a local book store that has the most amazing collection of knitting books AND they were advertising a SALE… AND I DROVE BY! My willpower astounds me, but not nearly as much as the ever growing total donations to MSF!
    By the way, has anyone else considered adding the amount of their internet costs to the wants column? I mean, it’s a definite NEED to check in with the Harlot everyday, but I don’t really need to have an internet connection. The library provides the service for free, as do quite a few places a short distance from my house. Yup, my total keeps growing. Steph, you really opened my eyes.
    I attended a Home and School meeting tonight. You all want to know the generosity of kids? The grade 4’s at New Germany Elementary School have decided to donate all the money they raised for an end of school class trip to UNICEF for tsunami relief. Approx $400.00!! I don’t think there is anything we need to teach these kids about charity. They could teach others.

  34. I’m just imagining yarn shops worldwide checking their sales figures for this week, and saying, “WTF?”
    I’m sorry to say I did buy yarn today. (Hey I have 8 birthday gifts to make over the next month and a half. Cut me some slack.)
    as for mittens, I vote for whatever makes the harlot happy.

  35. Go Yarn Harlot and the Harloteers! I checked the total first thing this morning, and it was over 18.000! We might need to figure out the substitute for dancing naked in the streets by tonight. I like the idea of knitting mittens to celebrate the 20.000. (I just asked my husband if he wanted a pair, and he instantly fell for the little Latvian braids. Looks like I’m learning a new technique soonish.)
    I’m sure Stephanie will solve the problem with the batteries for Lene’s gift. Maybe she’ll put them inside the knitted pineapple?

  36. I’m all for the dots..lots of dots. They could represent tiny coins in the palms of your hands… (yeah, I’m a corny american)

  37. Dear Steph…as I’ve written in e-mails to you, I could only donate $10, due to lovely after-Xmas emergencies. However, I decided that this year, my primary resolution is to donate $10 a month to MSF. I can do that I think, if I look at it monthly…I never have a lot of extra money all at once. But, by the end of the year, that will tally up to a good amount, right? So, here I am, vowing publicly (so that the pressure stays on) to do this for a year, and to help the folks that are not in the spotlight, each month. I’m proud to be a harloteer!

  38. My husband just matched my donation, so up that total Steph!
    And you want us dancing naked in the streets at 20 grand, I’ll do it… it’s not any weirder than me taking pictures knitting and spinning on the front walk, is it?

  39. Stephanie, what a sweet idea to have all your children and Ken too, each knit a few rows of Lene’s birthday gift. Overall, I’m sure she will think fondly of all the gauge changes. And Joe’s perseverence to complete a row is admirable!

  40. (Elbowing everyone else out of the way) …. Hey!! Where did you get the tiger stripe sock yarn, Stephanie?????? I thought it was out of print????
    Lori, I heard on the news this morning that British credit card companies are donating their “service percentage” (or whatever-the-f***, grrrr) back to the charities, as well. This is why I wrote MSF a cheque, did not use a cc.

  41. Hey Steph – any ideas for a Harloteers button, as requested by one of your lovely readers?
    *puts on her button-making hat and cape*

  42. Could you replicate the MSF logo on the palm of the mitten? That would be really cool.

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