Ironically, while I am enjoying diversity in my community, it is driving me batty in my knitting.


Several failed attempts to make these match perfectly have been abandoned as absolutely impossible. (This may be the only flaw I can think of with the Trekking XXL yarn. It seems to make fraternal rather than identical socks.) When I couldn’t take it anymore, I started the second sock of this pair.


Sigh. Let this be a lesson to us all.

I’ve been swinging back and forth about whether or not I should address the explosion in the comments the other day. (Who knew that suggesting we be all equal in the eyes of the public school board would inspire debate?) I decided to let go of the comments. We’re all (mostly) entitled to our opinions, assuming that they are expressed with respect, so I’m going to leave them as an illustration of the different viewpoints possible among equals. (I’d like to remind you that the comments are my virtual living room, and that you should speak there the way that you would in my home, but most of you get that already.)

I am however, going to address another issue. Some people felt it necessary to send me private email. To those of you who sent thoughtful, intelligent email that respected me as a person (even while disagreeing with me) Thank you. To those of you who sent me the mail that was cruel, hurtful and unkind to me and my family, I’d like to say this. (By the way, I think some of you should look up the word “secular” in the dictionary before you continue. Note especially that nowhere does it say “evil, evil, evil”)

1. I still believe that it is ok for our secular school to have a secular concert, and that there really is something wrong with believing that songs from around the world don’t belong in a concert called “Songs from around the world”.

2. You are not entitled to your opinion if that opinion is a hate crime. (Hint: telling people they are bad, trying to send them away from your community, or praying that God will defend you by harming them because they are not the same as you would fall into this category)

I’ve thought about it, and I don’t mind being told that I am being intolerant of bigots. (In case it comes up later, I’m also ok with being accused of intolerance towards racists.)

3. Death threats make the baby Jesus cry. Ho ho ho!

227 thoughts on “Diversity

  1. Hi Stephanie,
    Again, well said. Love it. It reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw once. (I try to think of it to control my roadrageous self.) It says, “I wish for you 10 times what you wish for me.” I think that’s perfect, and I aim that one at all who are nasty and all who are kind, too!
    Thanks for not being afraid of a little controversy in your blog, and thanks for standing up for what you think is right. (I wish I could do that more often – I am usually so stunned that the moment for speaking passes while I sit there open-mouthed.)
    Knit on, lady.

  2. Wow. OK. I have only one thing to add to the discussion – hate mail? Death threats? GOOD GRIEF, Steph, that’s horrifying. Of course people have varying opinions on the issue of religious inclusion/exclusion, how to celebrate, etc. but come ON now.
    I read most of the comments and found the discussion to be fairly civil, if very lively and sometimes heated. But the idea that people are emailing you personally with specific intent to hurt is simply repugnant.
    Happy Holidays and Peace,

  3. Hi Stephanie: it’s unfortunate that reading and the comprehension of the written word is not mandatory to all ages. I don’t think the program could have made it any more clear about what the night’s festivities would hold. Whether or not these people were practising biggots isn’t the only crime they committed. Being unable to read and comprehend simple English language (especially when it’s your native language) is also a crime. You can be sure Santa will put extra lumps of coal in their stockings!

  4. Death threats?? Sigh. By the way, after making you explain the “make the baby Jesus cry” thing in that Chinese restaurant, I have heard several other people use that expression. But I swear I never heard it before that night.
    (I’m not sure you really WANT to know this, but your 877 number was on speakerphone in my office the other day. I’m sure a good two dozen people could hear it.)

  5. Some good juju to wash away the bad: you’ve inspired me to knit socks for my brother & sister-in-law this Xmas. Just think–my family’s warm tootsies can be traced back to you!

  6. Yowza! I never would have thought people would get their knickers in a bunch of that post. It just goes to show, you can’t predict. You be intolerant of bigots and racists all you want. I’m right there next to ya!

  7. Steph, I’m really surprised that so many Christians got offended. I’m one, and I’m by no means a liberal sort of Christian, but…I’m just kind of stunned. The woman behind you had terrible manners, and I’d really have turned around and said “You’re kind of loud,” without feeling any guilt at all. Rudeness is not a justifiable course of action for the Christian who feels excluded or persecuted.
    People think they can hide behind their keyboards and say anything, and they should get a life. I’m very sorry that some of my self-titled brethren treated you so poorly, and I’m very embarrassed by them. I’m even more sorry that they thought it was an appropriate way to represent Christ.

  8. I wasn’t one of the people Kat with a K overheard, but boy-howdy am I ever gonna use that line! Better even than the Southern Drawl version of “Well, bless your heart” as explicated by Jen of JenLa (if I recall correctly).
    Thanks for your thoughtful, adult and useful response to some really weird stuff.

  9. well I wanted to say that Sue and I read it and were all “right one sister! preach it!” in our kitchen.
    so anyone bugging you can come over and bug me and Sue. We’d be happy to take care of them 🙂
    Honestly I thought you wrote the most insghtful and thoughtful article on the topic. Secular schools and around the world discussions should be heard more often. Not just at the chriskwanzanukkah time. And if they didn’t read the title of the program before attending.. shame on them.

  10. Shame on all those who sent hateful messages to you. They do not get the Christmas message, obviously.
    I know you get tons of questions about, well, everything, but can I ask what kind of needles you’re using for your socks? The lovely pink needles?
    I try to match up the striping with my socks, but I’ve decided that fraternal is good enough.

  11. Although I have strong beliefs against what most of your comments were applauding, I found myself coming back, several times, to read the comments to acquaint myself with what others were saying. Without a civil debate there’s no democracy, no choice. I sincerely apologize for the improper and adolescent messages you received through the blog and your personal e-mail. This is what gives ANY group a bad name — zealots.

  12. I didn’t have a chance to comment on your last post, but I just wanted to say I wish I could say all of those things as eloquently as you expressed when I get called a heathen, depending on the day or the family member, for having the same thoughts about these sorts of things.

  13. It amazes me that people who say they are religious can be so cruel and ugly. Acceptance of our differences can keep the dialog open and civil. May your Holidays be full of peace and joy.

  14. Hate e-mail and death threats? Good grief! I’d ask “what’s next” but I am afraid of the answer.
    Peace, love and joy for you and yours.

  15. Dear Stephanie,
    I’m so sorry that you got nasty hate mail. That is so unnecessary. Sending good karma (though I am confident that you’ve got plenty already) your way to ward off the icky stuff.
    Holiday smooches,
    jen in chicago

  16. Well Steph,
    enter sarcasm here~ Who said you could put your opinions on your blog… I say you put them in a book and make people actually pay for them!~end sarcasm.
    I know how hurtful comments and emails can be. I hope that they at least had the “balls” to put their names to them and you were able to reply to them, if you so wished.
    I, personally, didn’t find anything offending in your post. I think people should be more tolerant of others and most of all learn to read and comprehend!
    You go, girl! And Happy Whatever!

  17. I being a Christian and of sound mind, always get a kick out of “Christians” (and I use that term loosly) that judge others so quickly, for their beliefs. Their hatred and intolerances of others and their openness to say it. That is a fine display of Christion behaviour…doesn’t everyone want to be Christlike, like that? Judge not and be not judged is the first bible verse that comes to mind. I feel bad for them and the miserable life they must lead. I just think bottom line the people at the concert were rude for talking through it…and Hello it was Songs from around the world? duh? I pity their children,

  18. I’m a frequent lurker, Stephanie, and I just want to say that Christmas sure brings out the fruits and nuts, doesn’t it?! We should treat everyone with respect–period.

  19. Hey, why should socks be identical? I don’t think feet are! They are definitely close enough to match when they come out of the laundry, and that is the important thing. The subtle varigations of the Trekking are really lovely.

  20. In case you’ve missed it up there so far away in Canada, there are some really special folks in the ‘Merican media stirring up lots of emotions about “those who would kill Christmas” or “kill the Christ in Christmas” by saying “Happy Holidays” and other not-quite-secular tidings. It sounds like you’re getting a bit of backlash from that. I loved your last post (too funny!) and appreciate your response here.

  21. Wow, I’ve been so busy with holiday knitting I’ve skipped comments the last couple of posts. Maybe I should go back and read, or possibly it is better to remain blissfully ignorant.
    Anyhow, all I gotta say is, if anyone is messing with you let me know and I’ll kick their ass. Who’s with me?!?
    And, love the mismatches. They march to their own drummer.

  22. I am so sorry that people were so intolerant of your feelings. I find it incomphrensible that people would send you hate mail, for that blog posting. I wonder if some reactionary person sent it to all the reactionary people they now and told them to post. Since I find it difficult to believe that frequent readers of yours find you hateful. You are incredible tolerant of people and do what you can to help everyone!!
    I make all of my socks fraternal, since if I tried to match them, somewhere they would drift apart and then it would drive me nuts. By saying from the top, “These will not be the same” I get away from that. However that could be since I am not that anal – at least over socks. 🙂

  23. Unfortunately, any post remotely having to do with the Christmas v. Holiday debate this year is going to end up in an explosion, I fear, which is very sad. Sometimes I wonder if we have lost our ability to debate in an intelligent and respectful manner. You are brave to allow your blog to occasionally become a discussion board, and thank you for doing so.
    Happy Holidays (however many and whichever you celebrate–we celebrate two in my house, 3 if you count New Year’s) to you and your family.

  24. I think His Holiness the Dalai Lama says it best…
    “Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”
    Perfect way to celebrate the multi-faith and multi-cultural freedoms we have…with Kindness and Compassion…
    Happy holidays to you and yours, Stephanie…may you receive more well wishes for the season.

  25. Stephanie,
    I wholeheartedly agree with you. Personally I cannot imagine people being that disrespectful to someone on an individual’s blog, but then again I am surprised by people everyday. I’ve never thought that death threats and making people cry was the way to handle things, but then again, what do I know?
    I wish nothing but peace and happiness for you and your family in the upcoming year. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog — you make me smile and think each time I read it. Thank you for that.
    Knit on!
    p.s. as my mom always says, “don’t let the turkeys get you down!”

  26. Alas, I knitted two pair of socks for gifts this Christmas out of varigated yarn. I spent a fair amount of time pondering the fact that they look like a pair of mismatched socks. I finally decided that I did a great job on the socks, the mis-matched-ness is now someone else’s problem. Since they are being gifted to non-knitters (shame on them) they won’t likely look at them as mis-matched like I do. I have now moved on to other projects, like the scarf that I can now rip out faster (backwards) than I can knit forward because my family insists on talking to me while I’m knitting these difficult lace rows. Darn them! Merry Christmas to you all! Chloe

  27. Also a rather conservative Christian here. Once again, there are people who choose to hide behind the title Christian and proceed to behave in a way that Jesus would never have behaved or condoned. Unfortunately, it seems that the people who are the least Christlike are the ones who clamor the loudest while hiding behind the title. I’m sorry that you had to experience their behavior. Please understand that most of us are not at all like that. In case anyone cares what Jesus thought on the subject I’ve put in a quote here. It’s from mark 12
    28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
    29″The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[f] 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'[g]There is no commandment greater than these.”
    In the story of the Good Samaritan Jesus also explains that your neighbor is not necessarily the people who look, act, think, and believe like you as well.
    I’m saying all this to ask you to please not judge Christians by these folks any more than you would judge Muslims by the folks who blow up buildings.
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  28. Another frequent lurker here who agrees completely with your remarks, Stephanie.
    I love your books, love your blog, read both books and blog every chance I get (yes, really! Can hardly wait for bookbookbook to hit the stores I frequent so it can join the other two on my nightstand.)
    I hope you notified your ISP and local poloice about the death threats. That is the sort of thing that truly should not be tolerated. (I guess I’m bigoted against people to make death threats. Ho-hum.)

  29. Steph–your attention to sock detail amazes me… I’d let fraternal socks live… And your blog is much tidier than my living room… I am sorry about the rest, though… I guess if racial diversity wasn’t still such a hot button we really would have peace on earth… something to hope for anyway… I just wanted to say that I sent you a poem about stinky, disgusting yarn (yes. a poem about yarn smells. I’m sort of a sick person. Sorry.) and I hope it didn’t get lost in all of the bad stuff… in fact, after all of the bad stuff, I hope it made you laugh. (The e-mail is called “The Un-meant gift” in case you were on auto-delete by that time:-) And if you just didn’t like it, well that’s fine too:-)

  30. Geez, Steph, I’m betting those that sent hate mail probably used an obscure email address so they could remain hidden. I mean really – if they had such strong feelings, why didn’t they post out in the open? Are they afraid? Of us?
    The one good thing that will come of this is maybe they wil stop reading the blog, and you don’t have to deal with them anymore.
    On another note – if you continue to make Trekking socks, eventually, two of them will match up. That’s my philosophy, anyway.
    But if you’re tired of the Trekking, you can always send it to me – I’ll even pick it up…

  31. The trekking xxl is just *like that* — you have to give in and let it do its thing. Sadly. Knitting is all about non-attachment, right? (I mean, you work for hours and hours then give it away, or rip it out, or maybe once in a while keep it — but often not.) This is just part of that lesson. You must relinquish your attachment to perfectly matching socks. Then you will attain knitting enlightenment. 😉 (This is my mantra, anyhow, as I have recently become *smitten* with trekking xxl and have to come to terms with this, um, quirk.)

  32. I also find it appalling that some people would behave that badly under the guise of any religion. I don’t think that the so-called politically correct movement is a solution either. We all need to learn to be more tolerant of different views/beliefs while not losing sight of our own.
    We should consider ourselves very lucky that many different cultures and religions have contributed to how we celebrate this special season and that we are allowed to celebrate as we choose.

  33. I don’t usually post but do read your entries. I think the problem I would have with a “Songs from around the World” concert would be if there were no songs from the western european area, German, English, etc. Clearly this concert was not labeled as a “Christmas” concert. I enjoy learning about other cultures and practices but not at the expense of eliminating “Christian” practices because it might offend someone. If you include the world – it should be the WHOLE world. I live in the states and this is what I am contiually frustrated with. My children attend a Catholic school – it was wonderful listening to their Christmas concert, as in fact, some of the Christmas songs were from other countries whose primarly religion may be something else. Someone at my daughters’ Christams piano recital even played The Hora! If we are to be tolerant, be tolerant of everyone.

  34. Death threats? Oh. My. God. Yep, the baby Jesus is crying all right, that people who claim to be Christian could do that.
    You are a thoughtful and kind person, and I wish you only peace and joy for all the winter holidays, and an extra helping of switches for the bigots.

  35. Having been both a religious and non-religious type in my lifetime, I always liked the message that C.S. Lewis put into the last Narnia book — that we are judged by our actions, not by the gods we profess to follow or not follow. I believe that one way or another, whether we answer to a deity or only other people, we will get marks for generosity, fairness and mercy and not for being members of the “right” church or how often we happen to attend it.
    I’m sorry that some people don’t get it. Maybe they should have read better books as children.

  36. People are insane, just keep reminding yourself of that. And don’t forget the corollary: “Especially at this time of year.” (Or, do I mean coronary, which is what ensues from dealing with insane people this time of year?) Anyway, well put as always. Obviously some of these commenters aren’t doing enough relaxing knitting . . . er . . . that’s right. It’s IT time of year . . . maybe that’s the problem??

  37. Oh come on?! I’m really sorry to hear about the hatemail.
    The biggotry is one of the reasons why I work for the university doing research instead of working for the church. (Got a master’s in theology, could be a minister…) I’ve just never been into imposing my beliefs on people who think differently.
    You are a good person, Stephanie, and you should never let any narrow-minded people tell you othervise.

  38. Stephanie you are and remain awesome. Sorry wasn’t here to support your entry on Friday.
    I had a similar vein on my blog Thursday regarding the Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays greeting.

  39. To the “Christians” (and I use the term very loosely) who sent you hatemail and death threats, I can only say this:

  40. Steph, I admire you to no end. Honestly. I cannot think of a more gracious way of handling what got thrown at you over the weekend.
    And I know that I am now in danger, once again of getting your “I recognize it’s important that we both exist in the world” look and/or comment, but I LIKE fraternal socks. Like ’em a lot. Just as I like pooling and flashing under the right circumstances. Yep, you heard me – I like those too. Heh.
    Let go of the matching sock angst. Embrace the random.
    (p.s. – have you ever noticed how hard it is to type when a soft, fuzzy affectionate 3 month old kitten is trying to help you? jealous yet? oh you know you are. Come play at my Dad’s house. There’s two of ’em.)

  41. Hate mail sucks, but death threats should be reported to the police!
    I *heart* you very much for you post on Sam’s concert, love your books, and read this blog every freakin’ day. I knit because of you. I spin and dye ’cause you showed me it wasn’t all that frightening.
    You rock, and the people who sent you death threats are bad people, no matter what creed, color, religion or race they are.
    Report the email. Don’t let them win.

  42. I never read the comments… and I never comment. Now, I guess I will have to in order to see what is going on.
    By the way, I thought that the Sammy Show post was terrific. I just wish that you had been able to say something to “those people” (the ones that were behind you, that is!)

  43. sarcasm Well the thing is Stephanie, that the International Community has noticed the stash of WMDs (welcoming multicultural diversity) hiding behind that roving for the gansey. We realized something was up when you so wantonly expected a world music concert to contain no Christian songs. You might have noticed some of the more “florid” techniques of our investigation team… but all mentions of death threats will vanish once you remember the one true way ( http://www.phobe.com/fsmhat/index.html ) to look at things. /sarcasm
    May the rest of the year hold much extra knitting time for you.
    PS I am enjoying reading the comments of Christians in support of the Harlot. Thanks to all of you for cheering up my season.

  44. I can’t believe someone claming to be Christian would do such a thing. Awful. Not to sound like my mother, but where is this world coming to? Apparently, there is a serious lack of Golden Rule going around.

  45. All the brouhaha(?) made me temporarily forget to send big congratulations to Sam, who is obviously a fine, talented young lady. Maybe not quite as wonderful as my own DD, but right up there!
    IT status: 5 knitted/felted baskets are done, half done on a scarf, wee mittens, slippers and a hat to go (until I think of more that would be a good idea to knit up before Christmas!).

  46. I can’t believe someone or multple someones sent such evil messages your way. What is it with people who are so scared of what they don’t know that their only response is hate? I’m an atheist, so my opinion probably doesn’t count for much (I hear we atheists worship satan. That’s funnier the more you think about it). You know, I don’t always agree with everything I read in other peoples’ blogs but I keep my bad manners to family get togethers and telemarketers.
    And I think your point is apt, spewing evil is not very Christian. If there is a god, I think he’ll be none-too-pleased.

  47. Wow — our school end-of-the-term-concert is in January. Fixes that. Finished the Christmas knitting Saturday (list was very, very, short). But still have to make a necklace for m-i-l. Being Catholic I had to re-read your post to see where I was suppose to be offended. Still missed it. Love that you still try to match self-striping/graduating socks — I have to get over that too.

  48. Good grief.
    I hope you and your family have a great and happy holiday. This year, I might have to start celebrating New Year’s early — maybe tonight — just to keep my blood from boiling over with all this making a mountain out of a fabricated mole hill shit going on. (I would definitely say that in your living room.)
    : )

  49. Stephanie, please remember that you have many, many admiring readers and please don’t let a relative few individuals with very poor manners deflate you.
    Save your internal fortitude for more important matters, like the whuppin’ those socks are puttin’ on you.

  50. I thought your post was right on. Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s just sad. And when it turns to violence, it’s just despicable.

  51. Much love Stephanie for being true to your fabulous self!
    For those who just can’t get over themselves and their false feelings of superiority…well…I hope they’re happy making the baby Jesus cry. I always figure people like that receive back what they put out and hope I’m not standing next to ’em when it happens.
    You and your family have a joyous holiday and think about all the wonderful things you have and do for others!

  52. You are a great. Is so amazing when people try to explain things with words they have no idea what it means and then put a meaning of their own. I do not tolerate bigotry. One time in a cafe I managed, this guy made a comment about the young asian ladies that were working with me , I guess because I did not fit their profile of hispanic they did not realize I was. In a Barnes N Noble Cafe, in front of a line of people I told them to take their bigotted asses out of my line, my cafe and my sight, before I forgot if I really wanted that job or not, plus things I have left out for decorum of course. Everybody applauded.

  53. It’s a known scientific fact that sending people hate mail causes the senders’ yarn to develop knots, no dyelots will ever match for them again again and a herd of llamas and alpacas will appear on the ill-wishers porches for the sole purpose of spitting on them. Thanks to your inspiration, my nephew’s getting the “Alien” scarf from the Stitch n’ Bitch book. He fell in love with it and I know he’ll appreciate it more than anything I could buy him from a store.
    Hang in there, hon!

  54. death threats?
    what can i say that hasn’t been said already … these bigots and racists suck. and the scary thing is that they’re everywhere. imagine my surprise when i realized that a few of them lived in my blue state neighborhood. it’s interesting what you learn over a few drinks at a neighborhood christmas party.

  55. I skipped over all the comments today after reading all the diversity comments and WHEW! I think that generated almost as much traffic as the “weenie” episode.
    Anyway, this is totally unrelated to diversity, but it IS related to socks. I recently decided to take the plunge and bought some size 2 needles and some sock yarn. I knit from the top down. I knit to the heel flap. I turned the heel (unfortunately, no choir of angels burst forth from the heavens and commended me for my great efforts. I was disappointed.) I am almost to the toe of my very first sock and I am still expecting it to blow up on me at some point. I was inspired by all the kickass socks you make. I wanted them. Then I realized I was a knitter. I could make some.
    Let’s hear it knitters, who else wants to see how Stephanie makes socks from beginning to end? Anyone else slightly stymied by the heel flap? (Please say yes, I know I am not alone in our diverse world of people – there must be people who want to make socks and feel intimidated by needles that feel like toothpicks in your hands and all that… sock yarn).
    I want to know about other people’s favorite sock yarns, patterns, books, whatever. I know I can do it it, but I’m really interested to see what a seasoned sock knitter has to say about the process. Also, any chance you would ever post your “basic” sock pattern? I like the look of it but do you have any idea how hard it is to find just a simple sock pattern with no bells and whistles? It’s vaguely offensive to me that most sock pattern people assume that I have knit a sock before. That I know all about socks. That I am comfortable enough with a sock pattern to WANT to embellish. Up to this point I have purchased all my socks, why would I knit them?(this is a rhetorical question).
    I would happily wait until after, you know, IT to pass. I would say please. I would send chocolate/yarn/colorful metal needles/wine. Honest, it would be worth it to see how someone else does it. Sorry this is a long post. I also appreciate any comments anyone else has. Thanks!!!

  56. You are to be commended for the way you embrace and defend the multicultural nature of your city, and the secular nature of public schools in Canada. Thank you for respecting and caring for all of the kids there, not just your own.
    You are an important part of every week for me, and your writing always touches me in one way or another. So consider this LOVE MAIL.

  57. I just posted on my blog last week about this topic. Even after the “Jewish retailers make all of the money” comments, I got nasty personal emails myself. I’m so tired, as someone who is Jewish, of having Christmas shoved in my face for 2+ months every year, but I live through it. But I guess I don’t understand where anyone who claims to be a Christian can come close to being offended by your comments. Because for me it’s like, dude, you win. You get your overly-commercialized, in-your-face, showing-off-to-everyone holiday. Not just a holiday, but a holiday season. Here you are talking kids who experience this as well, and in the one place where it’s not highlighted, the parents are loudly complaining. And people who read about your post are offended? I just don’t get it. Sorry you had to go through that.

  58. Wow, death threats, that’s so wrong on so many levels… Good posts here get read aloud to hubby and we both have respect for you on this one. You handle yourself well, lady. Knit on.

  59. Merry Christmas!
    The socks will be just as unique as the wearer and the maker!
    You know, I read your blog regarding the Concert. I have to admit that you were 100% right in your thoughts, and I have to applaud you for holding your tongue. I’m not so sure I could have done that.
    We all know that this time of year is the most stressful, and that it brings out the best and the worst in people all over the world. I offer an apology to you for all the idiots who attacked you for stating your opinions, and would like to remind same persons that there are laws out there to prosecute and protect people from death threats. Just because you thought you were clever and used an obscure email address doesn’t mean that you can’t be tracked by your IP addresses. Shame on you!
    Shame on those who call themselves “christian” and run around acting like little balls of hate. What a great way to win people over to your religion. Sign me up so I can get my Free Ginsu knives so I can get on the stabbing bandwagon too!
    We live in a world now, where even being PC isn’t pleasing everyone.
    I better stop before I rant on and behave no better than some people.
    I wish you and yours the warmest thoughts during your holiday’s! May they be blessed and full of the joy that this season should bring.
    From Me and Mine!

  60. Sometimes all you can do is take the high road and hope for the best. You’re a classy lady. I see the whole non-matching thing a major drawback to Trekking – I’m way too anal to have mismatched (ehem, fraternal, excuse me) socks.

  61. Stephanie, I was just commenting the other day that I think people have not been very nice this Christmas season… this proves it. Funny how people can be so insistent on saying Merry Christmas because we don’t want to eliminate the Christ in Christmas, but then their actions eliminate Him anyway. I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas, despite a few bigots and scrooges out there…
    -Jess in Kzoo

  62. I just have a hard time believing that people (of any belief) would be so cruel against someone else. I am constantly amazed at what people will do/say when they are hiding behind computers.
    I wish a Merry Christmas (Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings…take your pick) to you, your family and all the lovely knitters who read your blog.

  63. Hey steph= on a happier note – I found a set of those needles you like and entire set sizes 0-6 all shiny metal needles – email me I would love to send them your way as a special sorry people are crazy and being mean to yo gift.

  64. Dear, dear Steph…I am SO SORRY about what happened to you. I know your family is not religious but PLEASE do not think that all Christians are this way. I am a conservative Christian and my Dad is a Wesleyan minister and believe me, I was taught that in order to recieve respect you must give it. I was raised to believe that practicing the religion of our choice is a priviledge and we MUST NOT deny anyone of that priviledge or we may be denied one day. My whole family loves you, and my husband always looks forward to me reading funny little bits out of your blog. He totally relates to the “wool house” and wonders how Joe can stand it!
    Luv Ya and happy holidays!

  65. Ah, fraternal twins are GOOD! Most of my socks are fraternal twins. It helps me tell them apart. It’s easier to switch them off from one foot to the other (and thus distribute the wear) when you can tell them apart. I think it’s part of the charm of hand knits. Hurray for diversity – socks and otherwise!

  66. Wow, death threats!??!?! These people could learn a lot from you if they could ever get their hypocritical blind folds off. So much for “love thy neighbour” and other Christ-like sentiments. You weren’t attacking Christianity, just the poor behaviour of these two individuals and those others that -act- like them….
    And as for what to say around this holiday time, there are so many different religious holidays around this time of year that “Happy Holidays” is one of the most globally repectful terms that can be used. After all if someone -is- Christian, I wouldn’t expect them to wish me a ‘Happy Solstice’ or even ‘Happy Hannukah’ so ‘Happy Holidays’ makes it more acceptable to both parties when the religious beliefs are different. (appologies to those who celebrate them for any spelling mistakes in holiday names)

  67. Don’t forget misogynists. I’m not very tolerant of them either.
    After living in the southern US for the last four months, I was really looking forward to being back here in Canada where (I thought) there wouldn’t be any of this “war against christmas” crackpottery going on. I’m so sorry to hear that people have been such jerks to you, especially considering what it was you said that set them off. Anyone who gets upset at someone for suggesting that openness and diversity and loving your neighbour are good things doesn’t deserve any tolerance at all.
    Also, I’ve tried to explain the tax-funded separate school board thing to some of my students and they react as if that’s the biggest crackpottery they’ve ever heard.

  68. Don’t forget misogynists. I’m not very tolerant of them either.
    After living in the southern US for the last four months, I was really looking forward to being back here in Canada where (I thought) there wouldn’t be any of this “war against christmas” crackpottery going on. I’m so sorry to hear that people have been such jerks to you, especially considering what it was you said that set them off. Anyone who gets upset at someone for suggesting that openness and diversity and loving your neighbour are good things doesn’t deserve any tolerance at all, I’m afraid.
    Also, I’ve tried to explain the tax-funded separate school board thing to some of my students down South and they react as if that’s the biggest crackpottery they’ve ever heard.

  69. I agree wholeheartedly with just about everything you write. I am so sorry that people have been rude and even threatening to you. Keep on doing what you do, because you are doing the right thing.

  70. I’m sorry to hear of such ill will spread around during the holidays, but I guess people will be people no matter what time of year. I’ve long considered that what people say (or write) and the way they say it reflects way more about themselves than the target of their attacks.
    May you and yours, Steph, and all of your readers enjoy a blessed and peaceful holiday season.

  71. Peace and love to you, to your good heart and to your good family.
    I happen to be a supporter of the fraternal sock club; my life is too short to worry about self striping socks match. Of course, I am over 50; the 50’th birthday is a watershed. Identical socks are not so important past 50. I applaud those who happen to like identical twin socks, however. And I wouldn’t say no to owning a pair. But, I am to anxious to finish the second sock to find the pattern repeat spot! Long live sock diversity!

  72. I forgot to mention the cultural diversity in MY house — my daughter wants to make a “Baby Jesus Birthday Cake” on Christmas Eve so she can leave out a piece for Santa! Because they are good friends! Now, if those two can get along, why can’t the rest of us?

  73. I guess it’s a known fact that religion, money and politics (not to forget knitting needle scared weenie on planes) are the major sources of disagreement among people. Getting lots of reaction from you entry is thus not suprising; however receiving threat messages is unacceptable.
    IT status: still knitting but have abandonned the idea of completing 2 pairs of socks. Added to the list that nice scarf that you gave pattern for… (IT will never end!).

  74. merry yule…
    happy winter solstice…
    In my house we celebrate Chrismakahwanzadan.
    We are very ecclectic and dont let one holiday take precedence over the other. Everyone is entitled to which ever holiday they want to celebrate.
    Ok So we really only celebrate yule christmas and hannukah.
    But I like Chrismakahwanzadan better….:)
    unfortunately there will always be hatemongers out there
    as long as someone thinks their god is better than my goddess or whatever
    im sorry people sent you hate mail – as long as you know there are more of us out here that love you then those that hate you

  75. People can be so scary, and so crazy. The anonomity of the internet affords people a false sense of bravery (i suppose one could call it bravery, though it would be more accurate to call it cowardice) and enables them to air their vitriol and bile without having to face the consquences of their actions. I’m so sorry that your tolerance and open-mindedness has inspired such nastiness in people. Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday and love from NYC.

  76. why do i love living in toronto? because my neighbours are chinese, hispanic, black and white. they’re christian, jewish, atheist and muslim. tall, short, fat, skinny. knitters and non-knitters. they’re my community. how sad it is that people can’t see the beauty in difference.
    this too is why i love your blog. peace out!

  77. “Convenience Christians”, as we call them, are fond of hiding behind the flag or the Bible or someone else’s interpretation of same. Too bad they don’t read it for themeslves and find out what the lessons really are that they are supposed to be living and preaching. Lessons like tolerence, acceptance, kindness and the biggie, LOVE.
    What I find most amazing is that your blog is, by and large, about knitting. I sure don’t want to encounter those knitters in my life! They should have their needles confiscated.

  78. Wow. And I thought I got a shitstorm of email when I said on my blog that I was glad my son’s view of the new Narnia movie was untainted by Christianity. Maybe I’m glad I don’t have such a sizable readership after all.
    And I thought we were all just knitters here. It’s a little disappointing to find out that they’re not all as cool and tolerant as you are.

    YES! Maggie(see post earlier today) has a great idea. I have a ton of sock yarn but no socks to date – I love Maggie’s idea of bribing Steph with chocolate or yarn or Screech or whatever to get her to do a step-by-step Yarn Harlot sock. Pix! Video! Anecdotes! Intructions for the sock-ignorant (me)!
    Socks, people! That’s what December is really all about. Post here in support of this idea!
    OK I’ve had too much coffee.

  80. It’s sad that there can’t ever be expression of opinions without someone getting completely wired up about it one way or another. Another thought that occurred to me upon reading through the comments you’ve received is that being intolerant of bigots and just saying, ‘F*ck ’em all!’ is kind of the same thing that they’re doing to whatever it is they’re being bigoted about. If only I could suggest a better alternative, heh.

  81. YAY Harlot! The complainers obviously have a LITTLE too much time on there hands, perhaps they should take up knitting and it would give them something to do with their lives…
    Fraternal socks are great,
    symmetry is over rated!

  82. Death threats are the last resort of people with nothing intelligent to say. Run out of arguments?? Never fear, bullying to the rescue!

  83. I was appalled to hear (read) about the horrid responses sent to your personal email. I could not find anything in the Sammy Show post that would offend anyone with half a brain, but maybe that’s where the problem lies.
    I am a Roman Catholic married to a Moslem and my last boss was an Orthodox Jew. Guess what folks — God is the same for all of them!!!!!
    Stephanie, I wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season, however you celebrate it. (I think dancing has something to do with it, as I recall.) Dance on! Knit on! And don’t worry, those weenies will get theirs – in this life or the next.

  84. First: The Trekking XXL sock thing was difficult for me to get past at first too. You know me an my matching. I got over it though and my Trekking socks are my favorite socks, random striping and all.
    Second: While I totally understand that the concert was a concert of “Songs from around the World” and I have no problem with that, (it did what it said it was doing), and I am totally behind learning about other cultures and religions I do have to say that it seems we can learn anything in school these days as long as it has nothing to do with Christianity. Even things that are probably worse than the dreaded Jesus thing. That does bother me. Maybe seperation of church and state should be that, separation of ALL churches and state, not just Christianity.
    Third: (addressing music in general, not the concert per se or Christmas) Being a classical singer and having studied choral music, some of the best music written (choral and instrumental) is sacred. It must be used (probably not at the level your daughter is at right now) for learning and for historical value. This includes music that is not necessarily “Christmas” music, but other sacred music. If we stopped performing this music in our higher music schools, we would be missing out on the learning process this music provides and a huge part of the difficult and wonderful repetoire. If this music was written for the Hindu or Muslim or Sikh religion we would be applauding the conductors for being diverse.
    Last: I am a Christian, one that embraces much of what Buddhism has to offer (one example). I am on the fence with my feelings about Christmas. I will never have a *festive holiday shrub*, I will always sing *Christmas carols*, and am happy to have people jump on the band wagon, even if they are taking the *Christ* out of Christmas. I believe it serves some purpose, but I wonder why they do? Celebrate Christmas, I mean. I know I am not going to be very clear on this, because mostly I don’t get worked up over this. I’m not trying to convert anyone, but I get curious as to why my daughter’s boyfriend’s family (they are Sikh)puts up the tree and decorates and all that. I have not a single problem with my daughter dating this boy, I actually love him to death, it is just my inquisitive nature popping up. This holiday will never be watered down to a non-denominational on in my heart. Okay, I have spent enough time not making my point very clearly and this is more in response to some of those 190 comments than it is to the concert-(during which you sat near the rudest people ever, no matter wtf they were blabbering about, I hate when people talk through concerts-now there is a subject that gets my blood boiling, and I have to go to one tonight in which my daughter is singing a Mozart piece with the orchestra and if one person opens their mouth to so much as breathe loudly they will get it from me). Congratulations for having such a talented daughter. I know exactly what that feels like. Now if mine would just do some homework……
    btw: Merry Christmas! 🙂 or Happy Holidays! Take your pick.

  85. To anyone who made a death threat (how pass�!) to our dear Harlot, who does much for us that we are grateful for (like paying for the bandwidth to amuse us all and writing us lovely books), I say with my best Southern inflection, “well, bless your heart.” (If you’ve never heard that said with the proper inflection and pitying glance, you’ve never known the true essence of condescension.) You need to learn a little about the Spirit of Christmas — and not the Dickens version.
    It’s truly amazing how quickly we jump to take offense–if we were all to meet at a Harlot book signing, we would probably behave like long-lost friends, but reading each others’ words we are quickly at each other’s throats.

  86. Hate mail and death threats?!? Are you kidding me? From people who are supposedly Christian hoping to defend their right to have everyone (no matter what religion they happen to be) sing Christmas songs? There is something so horribly wrong with that I hardly know what to say. You should be so ashamed of yourself.
    I’m so sorry, Stephanie. Perhaps these hateful people need to go back and read their bibles. It has been a long time since I did, but I remember Jesus loving all the children of the world.
    Sad…just sad.
    Blessings to everyone,

  87. Socks are supposed to match?
    Seriously – I resisted posting when I read Stephanie’s blog the first time, because I know what happens when what you write is any version of “this is a place or an occasion where there is no religion, or all religions are equal.” Sorry Steph – you can’t even hope to draw – and the people who come out of the woodwork can be very scary. I say that from the perspective of a believing Christian who loves Christmas and hates what it has become. My bugaboo used to be so-called “Christmas” concerts that were nothing but Santa and reindeer – I always thought they should be Winter concerts or Holiday concerts – but don’t take our holiday so you can have Frosty the Snowman. I applaud the idea of songs from around the world. That would have suited my curmudgeonly Christian soul immensely.
    Oh yeah – another reason I didn’t post – the “separation of church and state” – that’s really not part of the Canadian constitution as it is in the States. We have freedom of religion and non-discrimiation on the part of government – but you will recall that our Queen is also Defender of the Faith. That non-discrimination bit is why public schools should only have Winter concerts. And why if you’re a non-Catholic here in Ontario, you can’t complain if the Catholic school has a Christmas concert.
    This crazy and amazing country of ours. Your blog is the best. Keep knitting.

  88. i don’t think i’ll even venture into the Comments from the last post, then. will stick to your lovely writing. have a wonderful celebration with your family and friends this holiday season, despite the Scrooginess of the (vocal) few. this sort of forum shouldn’t get so personal… but i guess there’s the good, the very good, and the awful.

  89. Stephanie, any time you find the fraternal socks driving you nuts, just remember that I prefer mine that way. These big feet will happily accept any of your rejects, even unfinished. And hate mail? Death threats? I much prefer Peace on Earth, Good Will to All, and not just this time of year. And yes, seriously, if you’ve received death threats, you should tell the police — a fake address won’t fool them for long. I never thought I’d have to worry about you here!

  90. Christian hate mail. Hmmmm. People need to get a life and maybe look into what Christianity is actually about. I see my blog as an extension of my living room. If you don’t like what you hear, you don’t have to stay. If you need to vent your narrow-minded hate filled beliefs, find a blog that caters to such needs, and leave the Harlot alone. Steph, I love your blog, books, knitting, stories about your family and outlook on life. You are incredibly inspiring. Keep up the awesome work and have a fantastic holiday.

  91. Stephanie,
    Thank you for your comments encouraging tolerance, compassion and multi-culturalism! I’m Canadian-Australian and I currently live in Australia. I’ve seen first hand the horrors that result from racism – recently we’ve had large race riots in Sydney. It was brought home to me that the way you speak and act can determine directly how safe your community is. Everybody no matter what their race or religion is entitled to be treated with respect, tolerance and compassion. It makes for a better world for everyone.

  92. It never fails to amaze me that one of the most famous, genuine icons of love humanity has can inspire such hatred in people. So much violence has been done in Sonanda’s name…it baffles me.
    Meh, you know you’re doing something right of you end up getting anonymice sending emails of FLAME! I say knit yourself a flame retardant suit and flame on. Debate = good. And hey, blog = opinion. Anyone expecting anything else suffers from an overblown sense of entitlement.

  93. I’m sorry, Ms. Harlot (as we have never met, I feel I must address you formally…hee!).
    Longtime lurker, had to say something.
    It’s a BLOG people…she can say whatever she wants…as can you, ON YOUR OWN BLOG!
    Be nice.

  94. My eyes are buggin’ from all the comments!
    I just hope with all concerts, programs, tournaments, games and competitions and events (you name it, we make sure our kids are involved) that our children are involved in that the audience can remember to ENJOY themselves and BE PROUD of our children and all the hard work they put into ENTERTAINING US ADULTS.
    I usually tend to be a bad listener when I can’t hear over my own words.
    Stephanie, enjoy knitting your socks and your children’s concerts. I hope your next concert is more enjoyable! Bring bubble gum to hand out to the people around you, that may keep them busy and quiet!!
    I love your blog. I look forward to it everyday!

  95. Ahh.. I still think you needed to turn around and tell them that they were disturbing my enjoyment of OUR children’s performance, for which they have practiced MANY hours..
    Then no need to whine on the blog..eh?

  96. I thought of you today as I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is making holiday plans with his family. His mother is Jewish, his father Italian-Catholic and they are from Louisiana. Hannakuh starts Christmas Eve. To top it all off, his boyfriend is a Mexican Catholic (we’re in Texas so that’s a whole ‘nother barrel of traditions). He said Christmas Eve they are going to have tamales, ham, gefilte fish, shrimp cocktail, and latkes made about six different ways including with green chiles! That’s religious tolerance at it’s best.

  97. I don’t have time right now to read the 100+ comments that preceed mine but I do have to say this. I am a Unitarian Universalist by choice and we are supposed to be tolerant of all beliefs and all people. But, Stephanie, I find it really Really REALLY difficult to be tolerant of intolerant people too :))
    May we all find our places in the scheme of things. Blessed be!

  98. Right on Steph. Songs from around the World doesn’t just mean the North American continent.
    oh, and sometimes, school concerts make the baby jesus cry too .

  99. I am sadly unsurprised that you got a ton of crazy email from crazies over having a tolerant viewpoint. I made a brief post on my livejournal about how I was uncomfortable about how Christmas is being pushed on everyone this year (I go to a public university, but the dining halls are quite decked this year) to the exclusion of everyone else, and my cousin actuallly got mad at me over it. I’m not sure why people are so nuts about it this year but it’s getting on my nerves.
    To teresa c., and those Christians confused by those of us who celebrate Christmas, but aren’t religious or Christian: In my family, Christmas is a family tradition, more like getting together on birthdays or Thanksgiving. To us, the gift exchanging and Christmas tree stuff is entirely un-Christian [disclaimer: that means secular, not a bad practice for observing Christians], and the religious side of Christmas is in religious carols and nativity scenes and going to church or whatever practicing Christians do (midnight mass or something? Not familiar with a religious celebration of Christmas.)
    Actually, I wrote a lot more after this, but since I don’t comment here very often and I don’t want to seem antagonistic or draw out the drama, I’m omitting it.

  100. Well Kate (from above) just said what I was thinking – if you don’t like the opinions, don’t read the blog.
    On the socks note, I’d be very happy to have a completed pair of socks, fraternal or otherwise. I’m with Maggie and Anne-Kari, any help with sock knitting or basic pattern is appreciated. I tried to knit a pair of plain grey socks to see if I could do it – took 3 months and 4-5 attempts – I hate them. I have numerous books on sock knitting, looked at video demonstrations etc. but still have trouble with the whole heel turning, picking up stitches thing.
    Happy whatever you celebrate to Stepanie and family and all the commenters

  101. For all of the people who have been so insensitive and downright nasty, karma will catch up. In the meantime, may they stand under an icicle on a warm day and have an *especially* cold drip make its way down their spine! 🙂
    All of my socks are fraternal twins, if I can help it..keeps my patients amused in the winter time while their PT runs around in sticking feet in their homes!
    You inspired me to add yet another knititng project to my list (and almost done), for the newest addition to my husband’s extended family… little Cecilia will have a Santa hat to wear home from the hospital when they leave this week!
    Wishing you and your family all the best this Holiday season. And thank you for keeping me laughing and thinking with your blogs (my husband is hooked, too, even though he doesn’t knit)

  102. Love the socks! That trecking is too yummy!
    Oooo, and I have to go back and read the comments from yesterday-I still, in my naive way, am amazed that there are mean hateful knitters out there…how can someone who knits be so ugly towards their fellow man? It’s contradictory!

  103. Stephanie,
    I was delighted to get your e-mail when I commented on your first book and the wonderful reviews in library journals. I enjoy your blog and read it frequently. I also ordered the next book. The internet and discussion groups and blogs have become a way for many to rant. I prefer sharing…which you do so well and with wonderful humor. I continue to learn and improve my knitting skills and although I do not quite yet share your desire to collect yarn…I can see the issue on the horizon. Please continue to entertain fellow knitters this way!

  104. Like others, I’m absolutely baffled that anyone could get their knickers in such a knot over something like that that they’d send anything even nasty, let alone anything threatening bodily harm. I’m even more baffled that they would think doing so secures them a place in Heaven. Talk about utterly missing the point.
    Hate makes baby Jesus cry. (And he’s been known to pwn a little arse when upset, you know.) ;P
    ANYWAY, 1) I can’t help noticing …. no baby blanket update? :X
    2) You’ve infected me with IT. Last night at 5pm I decided to knit a scarf for my sister. After about 6 starts and frogs, I finally settled on a moss-green with YO candy canes (books says fish hooks, but they look like candy canes to me!) running down the center. I finished blocking it at 2:30 a.m., fringed it while checking email in the morning, and dropped it into the hands of our ever-punctual USPS 12 hours later. We won’t talk about the fact that the purple gloves-turned-gauntlets still haven’t been cast on … no, we won’t …
    3) I like fraternal socks. Honestly, who (besides knitters) looks at them *after* they’re on the feet? 😀

  105. Love the socks! That trecking is too yummy!
    Oooo, and I have to go back and read the comments from yesterday-I still, in my naive way, am amazed that there are mean hateful knitters out there…how can someone who knits be so ugly towards their fellow man? It’s contradictory!

  106. Whoo boy! I should either type slower or spell check before hitting the send button…..
    My patients ind me amusing in my *stocking* feet (although they would probably laugh if they were sticking also)…
    And that was another knitting project

  107. Steph, I’m so sorry to hear that you had to absorb all of that negativity. Please know that you have plenty of support among your readers.

  108. I think far too many people let their ‘religion’ get in the way of their ‘faith.’ If you know what I mean…
    Celebrate your wonderfully talented and very-lucky-to-have-you-for-a-mom-whether-she-appreciates-it-or-not daughter. How awful that your enjoyment of the show was tainted, and that so many people think they have the right to tell you how to believe. Oh, well, they’ll be all alone in Heaven, I guess.
    Also, celebrate diversity, even in fraternal socks! That’s it — you can call them “Diversity Socks!”

  109. Dear Stephanie,
    You are a well spoken person who is extremely tolerant. I do not know why the world is full of idiots but maybe the rampant stupidity is cause for less people and more sheep. They are not bigoted. (neither are you) Happy Holidays and I hope you get your knitting done. (I’m pretty sure I won’t.)
    Therese in Illinois where it’s really cold

  110. I just recently discovered your blog and I’m inspired by your free-spirited personality and stamina. I certainly agree with you that it is perfectly okay for “Songs from around the World” to have just that. It seems to me that whomsoever was offended by your opinion has something up their you-know-what. Glad that you’re taking a stand. I am a Catholic and proud of it, but I love the richness and holiness of other faiths and I am thrilled when invited to share in their joys and celebrations. You go Girl!!

  111. Steph, ignore Evil people who try to mask their Evilness behind a “Good” label. You already get that… just *remember* it and don’t let the (Christmas) turkeys get you down.
    I know some wonderful Christians who embody the true spirit of Christ’s teachings (they are truly acccepting of all those that differ from them in many ways) and they would be horrified at how some “Christians” have reacted to what you wrote. I enjoyed the concert post – well, the writing of it, as it wasn’t a happy thing to read about the apparent state of the “spirit of the season”, and I agreed with your perspective. I would have had to practice my Compassion Breathing in order not to turn around and bop those people on their heads…
    Hang in there.
    P.S. I received your first book for Christmas (early… and despite not being a Christian) 😉 and am REALLY enjoying it. Thanks! It’s funny as H-E-double (Canadian) hockey sticks!
    P.P.S. Sorry about the fraternal Trekking! I HATE it when that happens!!!
    P.P.P.S. When I listen to my Bob and Doug McKenzie “Twelve Days Of Christmas”, I am very sorry that it reminds me of you. 😉 I know you said not all Canadians keep moose and live in igloos but Bob & Doug, Screech, and you are All Things Canadian to me. Merry Nondenominational Holidays!

  112. Steph,
    Way to stand up to discrimination. I’ve often run into this when I not only wish people Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Kwanza, but tack on my own personal preference of Happy Solstice. As I like to point out Pope John Paul II, recognized by most people as a fair and compassionate man, found that accepting those who thought differently than you but still had the same goals (read here love, compassion, good will towards men) were good people.
    Do unto others ….

  113. Diversity – “Great achievements are not born from a single vision but from
    the combination of many distinctive viewpoints. Diversity challenges
    assumptions,opens minds and unlocks our potential to solve any problem we may
    face.” – unknown

  114. Well, wow. Steph, I am SO sorry you got nasties in your email. I’m sure the people who sent those nasties will have their karma smack ’em eventually.
    As to the socks, I second a feature (by you, darling Harlot) detailing how you knit a sock. I love fraternal socks, if you can’t stand them, I wear a size 7 1/2 shoe (giggle)
    You’re marverlous and I truly appreciate the humor and honesty you put into this blog. Thank you SO much!
    P.S. Sammy dear is very talented, isn’t she? You must just burst with pride when you think of your daughters (when they aren’t causing you to rip your hair out)

  115. nuf’ said – but I believe in numbers, so count me as another intolerant of bigotry and racism.

  116. Oh, dear Lord in heaven! I get so peeved at those “Christians” giving the rest of us Christians a bad name. Death threats??!!??? I agree – WWJD. NOT what they’re doing, that’s for sure. “Those people” at the concert were just plain RUDE, and I would have turned around and given them my “patented” silent Death Glare. What blithering rudeness!
    Congratulations to you and Sam on a wonderful concert. It must have been fabulous, aside from the aforementioned a**es.
    Must add – in diversity, either include *everyone*, including Christianity and Western Europe, or just don’t include anyone. Partial diversity or partial inclusiveness isn’t. Inclusive means … inclusive!

  117. Steph: All I can say is “mean people suck” so sorry that your children’s program was hit with such a wet blanket. Ya’ know, here in good ole California (USA) we have this thing called the District Attorney’s office – the prosecute criminals who make threats – and how convenient of them to email the evidence of their threats. I say press charges baby. Also, ever think about changing your middle name to P-U-R-L?? I purchased your book, Yarn Harlot, for my Secret Pal, but loved it so much, i kept it for myself!! Love the blog – hope your grey squirrels are tucked in for a long winter’s nap!!

  118. People sent you nasty emails? Shame on them! I read your (as usual) great post and just smiled to think of the comments you received. I never got around to looking at them. I can’t believe that someone could be mean to you!

  119. Where can I join the Club of those who are intolerant of bigots and towards racists? I would love to be accused of that.
    Ph! Some people just don’t get it. Never mind them. Sometimes I feel like stupidity in this world is growing every day but population stays the same!
    I love your blog. And you are so spot on with what you say. You go girl
    Have a wonderful Christmas. Froehliche Weihnachten und ein wundervolles neues Jahr from Germany.

  120. Hugs & Love Stephanie!
    I gave up on trying to match my socks…even after trying to find the begining of the repeats they never ever match. So I decided to learn to love fraternal socks. If I want identicals I have to use a solid yarn. 🙂

  121. Jodi-you were saying, “Anyone who gets upset at someone for suggesting that openness and diversity and loving your neighbour are good things doesn’t deserve any tolerance at all, I’m afraid.” and then finished with, “Also, I’ve tried to explain the tax-funded separate school board thing to some of my students down South and they react as if that’s the biggest crackpottery they’ve ever heard.” I’m Southern, tolerant and open-minded with good will towards all….how sad that you had to end that with such a cultural generalized slam against Southerner’s.

  122. Just want to throw in my support! I’ve read your blog regularly for a while know and you never fail to surprise, inspire and delight me with your adventuresome life! Don’t let ignorance get ya down! It seems once religion gets brought up, people can become irrational and out of control (personal experience speaking here). Just know that we are big fans and love ya and its good to know there are people in the world like you with their heads on straight!
    lots of love!
    The Mitchell’s in Florida

  123. I don’t know why anyone would object to being wished Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah (sp) or anything. Are they so insecure in their own beliefs that they are afraid to hear of anything different? I think all religions should be taught in school as comparative religion. It could only broaden our outlook and understanding of others and if our own faith is threatened, it only means it wasn’t very strong in the first place and shame on us for that.
    The more we know about anything, the better off we are. The Golden Rule is universal. Knit on, and I love your blog and books.

  124. I just finished reading your book and found it hysterical and at times very, very sad. When I read about your friend with arthritis, I saw in print one of my greatest fears.
    Anyone who doesn’t understand our passion for knitting, and our need to keep our stash growing, needs to read your book to get the feeling of joy and accomplishment that only knitting can give.
    I applaud you for your talent as a Knitter as well as one hell of a writer!

  125. OK. In the time it took me to read your comments, people left ten more comments. Now I’m paranoid. Will someone say (better than me) the appropriate words of support and goodwill that will bolster you through these troublesome times, in the time while I am composing this masterpiece. All of your supportive blog-readers will think, “yeah, that’s nice, but Knits-In-A-Blanket just said the same thing, and so much better. So sad…”
    Lucky for us all, the rapid spread of hate and fear made possible by the internets has also made possible the rapid spread of support and love for those brave enough to see the truth and point it out.
    Happy Christmas and… crud! Another ten posts…

  126. Steph,
    I loved your post. It’s hard to believe that people can be so cruel especially during the one time of year that we are supposed to care for our fellow man. Sounds to me like those people suffer from opticrectumitis. They have their heads stuck so far up their rears they have a crappy outlook on life.:) May your holidays be filled with many wooly treasures.

  127. Oh DEAR
    I’m so sorry that evil bigots befouled your comments .. and your personal e-mail!
    May the universe send them reminders of how they’ve erred.
    Ever since my daughter’s class changed their little gift giving sequence from a Secret Santa gig to a Clandestine Holiday Pal gig (after some parent complained that Santa excluded them, since he’s Christian and they’re not), I’ve come to the conclusion that we should stop trying to accept and promote diversity by hiding all the things that make us diverse. We should, instead, celebrate diversity by celebrating all the things that make us different. Thus, our schools should openly celebrate Eid, Channukah, Kwanzah, Ramadan, Yule, Solstice, Sich-Go-San, Divali, the Chinese New Year, St. Lucia Day, Tet, Taeborum, St. Nicholas Day, oh, and Christmas… and any other winter holidays. And the schools should teach eanough about EACH of them tha students get a clue what each celebration is about. They should not DENY them, or hide them, or forbid music about them… they should celebrate them all equally!

  128. Another explosion (sp) of comments! Hot topic I guess. Being a person who embraces all kinds of religions and belief systems I find I am intolerant of those who do not. Unbelievable that people think that it is proper to e-mail directly to you hateful things! I hope that you were able to block any further e-mails from said people! Alot of us agree with your views!

  129. The holiday season induces stress. Stress places pressure on the brain that squeezes the sensibility gland into a speck, preventing it from secreting sensibilitine onto the urge-for-protection gland. When that happens, the urge-for-perfection gland gets inflamed and starts spewing perfectionine. That’s why at this time of year everyone feels everything must be perfect. Absolutely. Otherwise you feel you’re are a failure at what you do, that you’re not worth the boatload of gifts waiting for you under the tree, and that the next thing you want to do is crawl under the bed and not come out until the crocuses pop up out of the ground.
    Take your socks and set them aside. Drink some of the beverage of your choice. The sensibility must be released to drown this nasty perfection bug. You will have fraternal socks because of the nature of the yarn. They will look good on your feet. They won’t care because they will be warm. And isn’t that the point, hon?
    And those that send email death threats and nasty notes are boogers.
    Take care hon. We love ya!

  130. Well, when things get hairy SEND CHOCOLATE. Could the guy sitting behind you at the concert have been the same one as on the airplane who didn’t feel “comfortable” with your knitting needles? (small minded) I hope the rude couple behind you can feel our virtual outrage that someone was mean to our beloved Stephanie. Your kind heart shows in your blog everyday. The world needs more like you. You inspire more than our knitting. I’m going to go look at the twins now so I feel better.

  131. I do not live in a diverse area, so I (sadly) don’t know much about diversity. I do, however, know about being pressured by religious groups. The first words out of most of the kids’ parents at my daughter’s public school is “what church do you go to?”. I do not-and I never have. I am not baptized, and practice no religion. It is hard when my 7 year old daughter comes home and tells me her classmates told her we will be put in jail because we do not attend church. What do I tell her? Of course I tell her that is not true-but at the same time I do not want to generalize about Christians. I also tread lightly in this area because I am not any expert on the Christian faith. She also has to attend school with these children for the next 12 years, so I do not want to say the wrong thing. Growing up in this community, I lost a lot of friends because we were not Christian Reformed (the religion of choice here), and always felt that is why no one ever asked me on a date-because who would want to bring a sinner home to meet mom? It is hard for me to go to the public school concerts, because it sounds a lot more like a church choir than a holiday concert. Its funny, but my dad asked the same thing-where are the Christmas songs? He wanted to here about Santa and reindeer with red noses, not only about the holy night and the birth of Jesus. My family has always celebrated Christmas, but for us it means family and being together. At the same time I was raised not to judge the negative people in our community and try to fight them, but instead, as my mom would say “rise above it-you will be the better person for it”. In my opinion, that is what you did at Sam’s concert-you were the better and bigger person. Some of my dearest friends are frequent church goers, and are deeply religious. We just don’t talk religion. We respect each other’s differences, because in the end that is all we can do. I empathize with you and the situation you found yourself in. It is never fair when people or a group of people assume everyone believes as they do. On the other hand, death threats aside (that is horrible-hope you report them), it is nice to read all the diverse comments here. We all need to decide for ourselves what we think is wrong and right, and how we want to live our lives.
    ps-I have been saying “your racism is showing” since high school. How cool to see someone else saying it too-love it!!!!

  132. Steph, Honey………..I just love you!
    Let it RIP!!!!!!!!!!
    If they can’t stand the heat…….they need to get the hell outta the kitchen!
    You were right-on with your comments with the kids school program.
    Wish there were more moms in the world like YOU!
    Esp love the comment about Baby Jesus.
    Should we tell the Jesus was NOT a WASP???????
    Do you suppose they know?????????
    Sue J

  133. I’m with Maggie…more sock info!! Some day (soon!) I’m going to attempt to knit socks. I keep seeing them on the knitting blogs (yours, Cara’s, Juno’s)…and a WANT hand-knitted socks. So soon, I’ll get over my sock intimidation, take the plunge, and cast on!
    WOW! The comments latetly! I love your blog. You are who I want to be when I grow up (ok – I’m technically a grown up, but I so admire your thoughts, attitude,etc.). I think this world would be a better place if more people thought like you!
    Thank you for having this blog.

  134. Steph, you continue to be the coolest. I have to admit that sometimes, ultra political correctness tires me. But racism and intolerance make me want to slap the racist and/or intolerant upside the head. I can be intolerant at times (we all can), but I have enough sense to keep my intolerant thoughts to myself, thank you. We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to try to be better than our usual self. You, dear lady, are always better than your usual self (and your usual self is pretty durned awesome!).

  135. Thanks for the heads-up on trekking not making identical socks. I’ve been worrying about that over the last 9 months while I’ve been procrastinating on my gentleman friend’s socks. And congratulations to Sam on being so in it.
    And the rest of it? Call me for New Year’s Day.

  136. Stephanie,
    I’m in a corner of your virtual living room shaking my head in disbelief that someone would spend the time to send anyone, let alone you, hate e-mail over something this trivial and muttering “someone should have just stuck a sock in it… check out the etymology of holiday already…” But that’s unkind, and so I’m keeping my head down and busily knitting this pullover sweater with the really wide neck for a new baby, and muttering to myself. Pay me no mind.

  137. Stephanie,
    Oh my! That this should be sent to you.
    To balance, I wish you and your family peace, happiness and joyful lives.
    Happy knitting. You have brought me many smiles and many to those to whom I relate your stories. That is a wonderful thing in this word.

  138. So I was thinking about all those people who have accused you of being intolerant of the people spewing intolerance. By their logic, aren’t they being intolerant? Where does it end? Am I being intolerant of their intolerence for your intolerence of the intolerant?
    Calling hate, racism, bigotry, and intolerance by their names is the most effective way of eradicating them. I’m impressed with the grace and candor with which you expose these social sins for what thay are.
    Though I have typed and deleted repeatedly, I cannot come up with a way to say how deeply it has affected me that even a single person would respond to your personal opinions with death threats. It staggers the mind, it does. They fight love with fear, for they fear love. Fill your heart with the love of all of us who support you so there is no room in your heart for that which is directed your way by those who fight their own fears by spreading fear.
    And I agree with those who are encouraging you to register the death threats with the police.
    Oh, and nice socks.

  139. Dear Stephanie-
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. You embody the high road. And you lead by example.
    Here is one of my favorite pieces of writing which I thought you might identify with:
    There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer;
    no disease that enough love will not heal;
    no door that enough love will not open;
    no gulf that enough love will not bridge;
    no wall that enough love will not throw down;
    no sin that enough love will not redeem…
    It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble;
    how hopeless the outlook; how muddled the tangle; how great the mistake.
    A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
    If only you could love enough you would be
    the happiest and most powerful being in the world…
    Emmet Fox
    Ya hear folks- it is Love, not hate that gets us through. L-O-V-E. And love is what makes the Harlot a force to be reckoned with. Yes, she may get grumpy or crazed but as far as this reader can tell, she is about the Love. And isn’t that something to aspire to?
    Merry Christmas and Love to the Harlot Family.

  140. As another Christian, I too, hate to see those judgemental “Christians” throwing around hatred and nastiness. One day maybe they will realize that with calling themselves “Christian” comes certain responsibilities and none of those responsibilities include hate mail or death threats.
    Thank you for being so eloquent in your response. Obvioulsy, some others only save their good, Christian manners for church on Sunday.

  141. KT: Yes. You did–that’s it. That’s our Stephanie. She’s the most innately kind and loving person you could ever hope to meet.
    Which is what the rest of us aspire to be in the season of brotherly love. That season being, hopefully, the length of our lives, unending.
    Go Steph.

  142. That comment was, of course, supposed to say “You did it” (etc etc). The keys on this ‘puter are duds, I should kick the kid off who’s on my ‘puter over there. Uh, brotherly love and all that. (Hey, John, my turn, get OFF that. Gimme.)

  143. Hello Stephanie, as a very conservative Christian fundamentalist, I was taken aback by your post today. I read yesterdays posts, not the comments, and was not offended by any of it. The people sitting behind you were rude, racist, and self-centered. Those are the things that offend me. Why in the world would anyone be offended by you being offended over clearly yucky things?
    I went back and read some comments, and I have to say you have a disproportionate amount of intelligent, kind and caring commentors. There are always a few extremists, and I see you have some on both ends represented. I hope you take your death threats seriously, and contact your local law enforcement. I’m concerned for your safety now, please do everything in your power to stay safe.
    This whole debate leaves me shaking my head, much like the debate after the last U.S. elections. We all need to respect one another, regardless of our views. Yes, the views of racists offend me to my core, but if I treat them as they treat others, I am only lowering myself to their level. I refuse to let them move me to their realm, and I will treat them like the amazing miraculous creations of God that they are (however misguided), knowing God is disappointed in their choices, and hoping to reflect His peace and love to them in a way that makes them crave peace and love. (I will step away from the podium now, back to the wonderful world of wool…)
    As far as the Trekking Sock yarn, you are a spinner as well as a knitter so maybe you could confirm (or debunk) my theory. I’ve examined my Trekking XXL yarn, and it appears to be 4 strands each dyed in different patterns. For instance, in color # 108 one goes from blue to brown to purple, another goes from yellow to orange to lavendar, etc, etc. As they are plied randomly at will, they create endless color combinations and no color repeats. What do you think? I’ve knit 2 pairs of these, and have 3 more skeins waiting to be knit. I love the colors and randomness of it! Until we can get a scientific commision up and underway, they will fall under the category of “magic” for me.

  144. Identical socks come from the store.
    Fraternal socks share the same yarn DNA, but are individuals that work as a team.

  145. Add me to the list of upset and appalled fans. I am so sorry you got such horrible mail. Keep on doing your thing and don’t let them get you down.
    Maybe the photo in my lastest blog post will cheer you up. Your fans are legion and quite diverse. ;o)

  146. I tried to resist commenting because I didn’t want to fan the flame or not be able to make my point without being accused of something. I’m gonna give it a try. I apologize, in advance, for the length of this comment.
    So… let’s start with this. I am an evangelical, devout, born again Christian. (…and southern.)
    1. I fully believe that the concert you attended was to celebrate our world’s many nations and cultures that, I believe, were created by God and should be known, learned about, enjoyed and respected.
    2. The behavior of the individuals behind you was exceptionally rude. In addition, it was quite disrespectful to the child they had come to supposedly support.
    Now… here’s where I’m going to get flamed…but please stick with me… at least until #5
    3. Christianity is about a relationship. A relationship and love of Jesus Christ and a dependence on Him for salvation.
    4. Not all individuals who identify themselves as Christians, according to what we are taught in God’s word, would be recognized by Jesus as a Christian. Jesus said that we will know Christians by their fruits (their attitudes, actions, adherence to His teachings, beliefs, humility before Christ and humility in spirit before others, etc.). Jesus also said that at the final judgement that many will come and say Lord, what about all of the things that we did in Your name and He will tell them to get away from Him and that He “never knew” them. I think this addresses that many who claim to be a Christian do so as if it’s a nationality (i.e. I’m an American = I’m a Christian… and example of our rampant ethnocentricity) In addition, there are likely many in our nations churches who attend regularly but really don’t have that relationship with Christ. They just go because they think they should or something. God is aware of this, but to the outside world it appears that they follow Christ, etc.
    5. Evangelical Christians believe that when they are born again, that Christ, through the Holy Spirit, dwells within each of us. We are taught and believe that if we are to speak harshly or call another believer a name, put them down, etc. that it is equivalent to murder as it is a murder of the spirit. According to Christ’s own teachings, it is a type of murder to call another a fool. In addition, if we refer to another believer as a fool or some other derogatory term, because Christ dwells within that person, we are calling Christ that same name.
    Therefore, when reading the comments over these past days (not Stephanie’s post, just the comments) I have been so heartbroken over the implied degrading comments that Christians are all stupid or dumb (because of the intelligent design debate, feelings over Christmas. etc), that we are hateful, that we are all hypocrites, we are all liars, etc. I am heartbroken because in this debate about diversity and acceptance and tolerance… each of those derogatory things were said or implied about my Lord Himself. If, I or anyone, was to say those same things about Allah, the Dali Lama (sp?), Buddha, Goddesses, etc it would be perceived as bigotted, hatefull and intolerant and such an assessment would be correct. But, why is it appropriate to say these same things about the individual that is the Holy of Holies of the Christian faith?
    I do realize that many may not have understood that one of the tenants of the Christian faith meant that they would be perceived as being derogatory to Christ Himself through their comments about Christians. But now that this is understood, could the debate be honoring and respectful of that?
    I agree, debate is one of the blessing of living in a free nation, having a free internet and how blogs really got going in the first place. It is simply a shame that a debate about diversity and respecting all of God’s creation has had multitudes of people defaming the Son of God (intentionally and unintentionally) and exhibiting hate toward one particular faith as a way of showing that they are “tolerant”.
    Stephanie, if the individuals who have been deragatory and hateful and threatening toward you have represented themselves as speaking for Christ or representing His followers then I apologize to you, for all evalangelical Christians and hope that you know and understand that their actions would be considered a sin and are not in line with Christ’s teachings. In addition, it is difficult to believe that Jesus could actually be the Lord and Ruler of their life if they are behaving in such a manner. (i.e. see “know them by their fruits” above.)
    I’m sorry for the religion lesson. I have just been so saddened by the comments. I try so hard to respectful of all peoples and I am trying very hard to convey in this comment what our faith is really about while at the same time, not promoting the hate that seems to be the perception of my faith.

  147. What, knitters? Said what? How disillusioning. I suppose with all the fuss there’s no going back to things like, what yarn and pattern is that 80 inch long rectangular shawl-(technically needs to be done the 28th)–that one? The color is developing in blocks on its own?
    In other knitting news, one of the socks I’m knitting has been sucked into the Twilight Zone–I knit many rounds and it grows 1/16th of an inch. The universe will even it out later, I’m sure. And I caught myself thinking today, what could I make that’s fast for all the nice nurses I’ve worked with this year.

  148. Report the hate mail and the death threats to your ISP and the police.
    Rudeness and bigotry are one thing; personal attack (even via the internet) is something else. That kind of behavior is not to be tolerated. I think Laura from Sydney said it best in one of the comments here: “It was brought home to me that the way you speak and act can determine directly how safe your community is.” Yes. Exactly. I hope your post today has embarrassed them — and if they can be prosecuted, all the better!

  149. I loved the post yesterday, but didn’t bother reading the comments (i often think, what can I add to 70, 80, 100+ comments?).
    But like many above, I have to say, behind you all the way steph.
    And keep in mind, there’s hope. I was once a pretty rabid fundie myself…till I realized I was lesbian…woo hoo!..if I could come full circle…it can happen. Maybe you planted a seed…just one seed…that will sprout in one of those people’s consciousness (?sp).
    Meanwhile, seriously, your safety and that of your family is top priority. Report it, please.

  150. DEATH THREATS????? Were these from the good Christians? Makes me proud to call myself an atheist!!!!

  151. Oh, that is awful! Happy freakin holidays, I guess. How dare you have an opinion on your own blog!
    Sending lots of positive energy your way to counter the kooks. Please stay safe and imagine the nasties poking themselves in the eye with their needles. They clearly do not have enough holiday knitting to do if they have so much time to be horrid.
    Be Blessed.

  152. Oh my gosh. Death threats? That’s just wrong! Please, please report it. And, creepy weirdos? The ones who did this, who are obviously reading the remarks posted here? Shame on you! BTW, I’ve been inspired by the remarkably sane and respectful conversation that has been going on here. Just goes to show that people with pointy sticks in their hands don’t necessarily feel the need to poke others with them (most of the time). 🙂

  153. Winter Greetings from Manitoulin Island!
    I was a good girl and read all the comments from yesterday and today! Since I am a guest in your virtual living room, I would like to tell you a story. I�m a great storyteller. My main focus in life is organizing a group of approximately 100 volunteers here on the island. Most (not all) of my volunteers are at least 60 years old, or older and farmer�s wives. From September to June, we make blankets (quilted, knitted or crochet) for local children in need here on the island. One of the most controversial cultural differences here on the island, is whether you were island born and raised or are an �Outsider�. Those who were born on the island and raised on the island, usually also related to most other people born on the island, enjoy pointing out how insignificant those not born on the island are. Such as when we are working together in a group, they like to ask, �So those born on the Island raise your hand?� Then there is usually some debate about being how being island born and raised is better and all others are not worthy.
    Being an �Outsider�, I am often criticized for not doing things in the best interest of the island. Hello there? This is my community, too. This is where my home is. I love it here. Finally, one day, this lady said the most meanest hurtful comments behind my back. When I found out about it, I cried for a week. I just could not understand how someone could be so cruel and hateful when I was trying to be so generous and kind. Well, after a bit, I came to a realization. �Half of these women are on medication and the other half are just plain crazy�. It made me laugh. (Yes, it is a generalized categorizing of a group of individuals and probably a stereotyped, and whatever else those politically correct people out there want to say) but it was that moment that I decided to not let someone else�s negativity get me down. I was going to laugh, and have been laughing ever since. So whenever one of my volunteers get her feelings hurt (some of these little old ladies can be just downright nasty), I tell them my story. I pat them on the back and I tell them that they are doing a good job that it is VERY appreciated and I love them. Because I do love all my volunteers who dedicate their precious time.
    By the way, it has taken me two years to develop a proper response to, �So those born on the Island raise your hand?�
    �Just because your parents decided to breed on the island, doesn�t make you that darn special� (insert proper swear words liberally!) Yeah, I like to stir the pot a little.
    By the way, LOVE the idea of a sock tutorial. Not that I need help making socks, I ONLY knit socks. But I love when you do a tutorial and socks are like, the best thing in the world, you know. =) You should totally do it. Later. BTW, speaking of later, whatever did happen to the SILK CORSET??
    A note on the content of your blog. It is, contrary to the beliefs of a selected few, YOURS and you can do whatever the freak you want to do with it. Who the feck are we to judge and dictate what the heck you write about. We should be thankful that we are privileged to so much good knitting information and smiles. Stephanie, you are truly wonderful, I really do enjoy and appreciate the laughs. Just because you are a �public figure� does not mean that you are or should be held accountable to a certain �moral or ethnical code�. That includes poo poo from the Grammar Gods, good grief, get over it. There is more to life than �proper� and technical use of a language. (I really think Grammar Gods whom bring down the lightening bolts of DOOM are compensating for other inadequacies and shortcomings in their own personal lives, don�t you think?) No one is forced into reading YOUR blog, and it is quite easy to click the little mousey elsewhere. Though sometimes, in my humble opinion, some people have a SERIOUS disconnect between the chair and the keyboard.
    Thanks for the virtual living room time; can I have a refill on the coffee? A lot of holiday knitting to do, you know. I am fully consumed by IT, 2 days now of the insanity. Are we there yet?? I don�t think I have stabbed anyone with my DPN�s yet (I�m really not sure about it though), it�s been rather tempting�.

  154. Oh yeah, another thing I tell myself when these little island folks get nasty and cruel.
    I figure, it must be good for them. Why that little Mrs. So and So, it must keep her little heart beating to be so rallied up all the time. Bless her sweet dear little soul. I am so glad to do my part and piss her off, with respect, of coarse. I was raised to respect my elders, even if they are drooling.
    Of coarse, I never think that I am decades younger than most of them and will most likely outlive them. Never Never. Never have those kinds of thoughts.
    Some of them are the sweetest little dears, and most of them I will miss. I often think about all the funerals I will be attending over the next 10 years, and yes, it does break my heart. Especially with the ones who decided to be so cruel in their final years. It helps me to remember to LIVE each day.
    And yes, IT is still happening. Why? Why? Oh Why?? Make it go away, please!!

  155. Stirred up a wasp’s nest, eh? (as in white. anglo. saxon. protestant. I think…)
    There I was all congratulatory at your clear exposition of tolerance, global music etc. Never dreaming how riled people could get.
    I feel moved to write about just why I’m tired of Christian/religious content in public life.
    My parents called themselves Protestant rather than Christian: They didn’t so much LIKE Jesus as they disliked Catholics; I have no idea why. Dad came from a long line of Quakers, Mother’s family switched religions every generation leaving her to be raised Christian Scientist. As you might imagine, my Sunday mornings devolved into eating donuts and reading the comics.
    As an pregnant mother-to-be, I thought I needed religion and cheerfully found myself what may be the most liberal, socially conscious church in the country. (It’s the one that the IRS is threatening because they dared say that war wasn’t something that had to be automatically supported.)
    The more zealous religious people insist they be heard and be heard right now by ME, the more I’m going to want to turn down the volumne.
    Back in the 50’s I wasn’t exposed to clumps of self-righteous proseletizers and doomsayers. (Even the Salvation Army in LA had jazzy upbeat MUSIC) We were all was careful not to offend. We knew who the Jewish kids were, and lots never went to church. And amazingly enough, there was a lot of tolerance. And thus I was happy to hear and see customs that were different/foreign/not-mine. When I feel cornered, I tend to fight back.
    My husband says he saw a bumper sticker that read:
    WWJD? He’d smack you!
    I’m sticking with the FSM and Pastafarians for now.

  156. well said, keep it up – love to you and yours at this holiday — word intended — season
    (raised Christian, understanding and age have put me more in the realm of tolerant agnostic)

  157. Ooh how I simply LOVE this blog. Always inspirering and this time (not only this time, but especially this time) so very funny.
    Keep it up. I�m following your next move.
    And a merry Christmas to you even though you are not selebrating it.
    Hope you can read this. I�m from Denmark
    Best regards Trine

  158. I work in a Catholic School where we recently had a Celebration of Advent concert – my children attend public school where we had our “Holiday Concert” – they were both wonderful, the children played their instruments well and sang their hearts out in BOTH concerts.
    All I can say to all of this is WOW!

  159. Being a leftwing liberal, non-religious person living in the Bible Belt down here in Oklahoma, I have to say I feel for you, Steph. There are so many times it’s just easier to keep our mouths shut than not…
    However, we CAN’T stay quiet, and we shouldn’t have to! And we don’t!
    So sorry this happened to you. I am continually taken by surprise on the things that set these wingnuts off.
    Susan in Oklahoma

  160. mean people suck, people who are mean in the name religion suck even more ( don’t let anyone think I am refering to anyone religion, there is not a religion in the world that justifies hating another person) and that is all i have to say about that…
    Since I know you celebrate Christmas Steph, a heartful Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  161. We love you Steph. Merry Christmas.
    BTW, my daughter Steph has decided that for her social studies project this year, she is doing a project on Doctors without borders! I am so proud of her. She has done this on her own accord, no hinting or suggesting to her.

  162. Gosh, Steph, I’m so sorry. Hate mail! It’s truly shocking to see how little politeness and common decency people have in them. Some of the comments really made me wonder if people were aware that a blog is a place to post, oh, what’s the word… opinions! And no one is making them read your blog.
    Anywho, crazy knitting going on here. Still not done with mom’s sweater. Miles and miles (or 21 inches) of stockinette (in cotton!) on size 5 needles is sucking the life and soul right out of me.
    Merry holidays and peace and joy to your family.

  163. Dear Stephenie. I was very moved by your concert and diversity blog comments. I feel a kindred spirit of a fellow knitter and human being. I am hoping that you will comment on an experience that I had at my daughter’s holiday concert. I say holiday b/c it truely was a holiday concert full of Christmas carols, decorations, and Christmas cookies. I am not Christian but like you, I love their holiday and I love to hear Erin sing. If there was an “angel’s voice”- it would be my Erin. Erin is also Autistic and Mentally Retarded. Fortunately she has good communication skills and perfect pitch. She sings with a chorus that is for adults with developemental disabilities. Some of these persons have no traditional communication skills. Some are only able to yell and wave theri arms around. Some hold on to bells or shakers and make instrumental music. Everyone in the chorus is there b/c they love to make music. Erin usually sings a solo, this year it was White Christmas. When Erin isn’t singing, she helps a friend with severe cerbral palsy hold her bell.
    I can’t tell you how distressed I become with the rudeness of the audience at these concerts. So many individuals not only talked throughout the concert, they spoke in a loud voice- chit chatting away about their holiday plans, their busy time at work, etc. etc. etc.
    I would just like everyone to know that diversity also includes persons with disabilities. Regardless of who is performing – the performers should be affored respect and courtesy. If a person in the audience does not want to listen and appreciate the performers- they should stay home. I apologize for using your forum as my sounding post and promise to not do so again. Sincerely, Terri

  164. Stephanie,
    I am so sorry about the ignorant, rude, STUPID, jacka&*( who felt it was appropriate to send those emails. The parents sitting behind you should have been muzzled for being plain rude to their kids, along with everyone elses. As for the stupid people – karma will take care of their gene pool.
    Have a VERY merry Christmas with your lovely family and a happy and healthy New Year.

  165. Steph…I read your blog yesterday and was rendered absolutely speechless (ask anyone who knows me…that happens about once a decade…maybe less).
    I can’t let this go without saying I support you…if we can all do anything for you, just let us know…if having, say, a thousand of us show up on your lawn to protect you would help…let us know…a thousand people with pointy sticks (you didn’t think we weren’t going to knit, did you?) surrounding your house could intimidate anyone wanting to harm you, doncha think? And thanks for continuing to blog…I think I might have been convinced to take a hiatus for some time…
    Now back to my actual knitting emergency (baby boy born early…thought I had all of January and a few other months to procrastinate…but no…he has to be born the week before Christmas…thank goodness I had the red, green and white wool in the stash for the stocking).

  166. It sometimes amazes me how some individuals (of whatever religion) can become totally irrational when faced with anything different from themselves. However, when they become really annoying to me, I remind myself that one day they’ll face a higher court than any we can convene here on earth, one way or another. That thought makes me smile (a somewhat evil smile at times, but that’s just me).
    Stephanie, don’t let the irrational ones win. Continue to be your marvelous harlotty self, bringing smiles to your readers’ faces (not to mention the occasional giggle-fit). You’re a fantastic role model for your daughters, too.
    As for the socks, I’ve given up on trying to get identical twins out of any self-patterning yarn; it’s too much like w*rk.
    Best wishes for a wonderful season, no matter which holiday(s) you choose to celebrate (or not).

  167. oh Stephanie, I live in Ithaca, NY where we totally agree with you. Why do people bother to read your blog if they are not enjoying it? sigh
    The USA, at least, is in the midst of this garbage with the president being who he is and saying anything he does not like is evil.
    But I did agree with your comment about why would those people even have their child in that school if they did not understand the true meaning of diversity. sigh
    Well I work in a public school, and even though it is Ithaca, we also have people who are so insecure that unless they try to control others they feel too scared. I really think that is where alot of it comes from and from not allowing themselves to really see that nastiness comes in all colors and shapes, oh and from being taught as a child that there is only one right way to see the universe.
    You have a big heart and take so many risks by writing online. I applaud you.

  168. It amazes me what people believe they have the right to say because the Net allows for anonymity. You are a lot more generous than I am — I would have tried to find the source of the death threats and told the police.
    Bigots are bigots. Never tolerate intolerance. And you, dear Yarn Harlot, are an amazing woman and writer.
    Have a fantastic holiday with your family.

  169. Speaking from this corner of your virtual chesterfield, dude, that well and truly sucks. I hope you reported the assturkeys. (Sorry, Rabbitch. A new word had to be invented for such “conneries”…)
    Don’t get Norma started. Because then I’ll get started too and all hell will break loose…rabid sheep will be herded, nay, enthusiastically encouraged, to bite the fesses of anyone who dares to make the baby Jesus cry, and I don’t even want to think about what might happen if the mercenary rastafarian llamas get wind of this.
    On second thought, they probably won’t be a problem. They’ll forget why they came, set up a drum circle in your living room, and you’ll be picking straw out of your hair until the next world music concert. Might be fun, though…
    I’ll be thinking of you when security threatens to confiscate my knitting…and I send warm fuzzies your way. Joyeuses f�tes, sweetiepie.

  170. Steph-I went back and read the comments from yesterday and am also shocked and horrified. You’re such a lovely witty kind person and I can’t believe anyone who reads your blog would do such a thing (as I’ve said before..wow, third post on this!)I think what had already been said about the anonymity of the internet and people being assholes is really true and I have a suggestion..(besides calling the police on the threats-too scary!) It might be silly but what about installing Frappr! on your blog? It maps where everyone lives as well as a picture of your fans and it might discourage the cowards from leaving hate mail if we all know where they live right? Just a thought.
    Love, peace and good thoughts sent your way!

  171. I agree that you should report the death threats to your ISP, people who do that sort of thing should not be allowed to get away with it.
    The socks look great, and Sam is very talented!

  172. I feel better now! After starting over more than 6 times last night trying to get a second sock to at least half-way match the first and finally giving up, your column was perfect. I decided if they come out too different, I will have a new pair of wonderful socks for myself ’cause I won’t care if they don’t match!
    Love ya, Carol in Colorado

  173. about socks: you know, some of us in the world delight in wearing mismatched socks. on a daily basis. i seem to have this odd affliction, whenever i see sock yarn on your blog, i have this surprisingly strong urge to go out and buy some for myself. then i remember the two pairs of socks i haven’t finished for about six months….
    about people: frankly, people suck sometimes. especially crazy ones with internet access.
    <3 there’s some love from this corner of the internet at least!

  174. I totally, 100% agree with your comments in your last post and in this post. Please ignore those who cannot express their views in a mature fashion. I think it’s clear most of us respect the right to disagree, but not the right to abuse another person with words.
    I’m not Christian, but I do believe the Bible begins “In the beginning was the Word.” I have a feeling that word was not a hateful one.
    And to the comments about Christians being persecuted in the US, I am very sorry they feel that way, but from the other side, it appears as if the Christians are taking over. Suddenly, the separation of Church and State has been removed and we are bombarded with ideology and an “if you are not with us, you are against us” intolerance. Non-Christians are forced to accept Christianity into every part of their lives–it’s even on our money! My daughter’s school is doing the Pledge of Allegiance again, and I simply do not approve of blind patriotism (does no one read the US Constitution in this country?) and having my daughter swear by a god we don’t believe in, but to request that she be excused from the activity is to have her ostracized by her peers. It’s scary, and sad. Some day, “those people” are going to have to realize that the majority of the planet is not white and Christian. Religion should be your comfort, not your weapon. A big thank you to tolerant people, whatever your beliefs!
    Keep it up, Steph. You are very wise and kind, and I adore you!

  175. Love you blog, your books and I have a tremendous amount of respect for you. I completely, wholeheartedly agree with everything you have posted. I hope your get IT done on time with minimal hair pulling, and i wish you a most joyful holiday celebration with your family.

  176. I find the older I get (I’m 50) the less I worry about other’s lives, beliefs or going’s on. My life is full enough for me to worry about thank you. Being on the cusp of mental-pause has created in me the desire to just get through the day without forgetting something or embarassing myself. Live and let live is my motto.

  177. Stephanie, you are 100% on target,(my opinion). I am a Christian, and I am embarrassed by the intolerance of those who claim they are Christian. Jesus’ message is one of love. He loves everyone, he may not love what they do, but he loves all people. One day in heaven there will be a big surprise for some people when they see everyone else who is “up there”. Besides, its your blog, your opinion.

  178. People who decided to send you “personal” emails rather than post their opinions were just too chicken to be as honest about their opinions as you were with yours – maybe they don’t believe (in) thier opinions as much as they (want others to) think they do. A Christmas Concert would be called “A Christmas Concert” and would stick to “Christmas” music. A “Holiday Concert” would celebrate “Holidays”… a “Songs From Around the World Concert” would and should contain SONGS FROM AROUND THE WORLD! jeesh! Whoever named the concert at the school shows wonderful insight! As an American I am grateful everyday that I can worship (or not) where and how I choose

  179. I hope this experience hasn’t put you off. It’s really hard not to respond in anger when someone has hurt you. And isn’t that what all of this is about? I imagine that even the Harlot doesn’t always have the perfect response handy at the exact moment it’s required. I often have to practice, mull over, perfect my pithy (but worthy) retorts and unfortunately, in the case of racism and bigotry, those moments will come again. And again.
    I remember a French student asking me why we had to discuss racism yet again in class. She was heartily tired of the subject and thought that we (Americans) were entirely, and ineffectively, obsessed with the subject. I thought about it. Really thought about it and then it came to me. How much of the world’s pain can be attributed to this one thing? It’s worth studying. It’s worth talking about. And it’s heartily worth looking at ourselves and our own behaviors and ask how much we contribute to the same endless cycle.
    So on that note, thank you. Again. I handed your Meditations book to a knitter who had a double masectomy and she genuinely thanked me. Her head was so cloudy from all the treatment that those little bits of funny knitting epiphanies was exactly what she needed. And I handed it again. To a woman whose husband has just been diagnosed with Alzheimers. She’s going to lose him in bits and pieces. She needs the funny. And I’ll hand it over again. Like we all hand over those bits of knitting. Sometimes to people we love, sometimes to people we’ll never meet. The how is not important (although knitting is a fabulous how). The important thing is that we do it. A bunch of kids made music in front of a lot of people. That’s great. We have this forum where we share knitting and all the things it touches. That’s amazing.
    So thanks. And forgive the sappiness. I’m drinking hot chocolate with Baileys for breakfast.

  180. All righty then. Let’s hope that was that. I think/hope that the person who suggested that a couple of crazies alerted their [nonknitting] bigotweb was right on the money. As a not-good-enough-Christian and second-wave feminist I have noticed that in any movement you’re more liable to be maddened by your allies than your enemies. Just as a group in Zeeland formed “Muggles for Harry Potter” when fundamentalists tried to remove it from the school library, so maybe we should link elbows around Stephanie. We’d be in good company — Jesus himself was criticized for associating with publicans and harlots.

  181. Oh, one more thing: interestingly, Jesus Himself was criticized for hanging out with tax collectors and “harlots” (hee, hee, hee) and sinners by the “religeous leaders” in his day. Hmmmm, makes ya think, don’t it? Just sayin’….. Peace, Love, and Knitting!

  182. The socks are lovely Stephanie. Don’t worry, whomever they are for will love them because YOU knit them. I am truly sorry to hear that people felt they had to email you and be nasty for your comments of last friday. Is it naive of me to still dream that one day we’ll all realize we are ALL THE SAME regardless of where we grew up, what religion we choose to follow (or not follow), and how we look? Merry Christmas to you and yours and everyone else out there! Oh and since I have friends in other religions. Happy Chanukkah, and Happy Eid (ok so I might be a bit late on that one….)

  183. I just want to say that I think you showed great restraint the other day with regard to the folks sitting behind you at the school concert. And although my family celebrates Catholic christmas, we also celebrate solstice and santa claus. My son is also well aquainted with the spiritual celebrations of other cultures at this time of year and I think this makes him a better person who is curious about all different kinds of world celebrations and religions. I’m all about making the world a bigger and more diverse place rather than closing it off to my offspring.

  184. Death threats by mail or email are a federal offence and should be forwarded to the FBI. Seriously.
    May you and your family have much Love and Light in this Season.

  185. Dear Stephanie,
    Another voice of support in the face of rudeness and frighteningly self-righteous types who fear happiness most of all (or so it seems).
    I’m not a Christian and I don’t celebrate Christmas in the traditional way. But I do celebrate it as a time to look for the rebirth of light in all its metaphorical and literal senses. A good thing to do in the great northwet! And it works. Along about the middle of February, the light does start to return. Besides, I love the sights and smells and sounds of the holiday.
    You are an inspiration as a knitter and a writer. I loved the first book (my #1 Christmas present for the year) and the second book. The little blue sock story was poignant beyond words.
    Thanks to everyone for the description of fraternal socks. I’m going to go upstairs (where it is warmer!), cast on a pair and get started!
    I hope everyone has a wonderfully sweet celebration, whatever the denomination.

  186. Stephanie- you are an inspiration to me in so many ways(knitting and otherwise)- I am so very moved by some of the recent postings, too. You- and your fans-rock! My very warmest wishes to all, whatever you’re celebrating!
    PS wanted to cast my vote in favor of the sock tutorial, too. If I keep reading your blog, maybe I’ll branch out from the scarves and afghans to which I’ve limited myself recently(too chickensh*t-or lazy- to attempt anything more complicated. But as I said above, you inspire me!)

  187. good grief, what a bunch of nutters. well, forget them. there’s, like, WAY more ppl that agree with you and have benefited from the good you and your blog and your knitting and your humor and your generosity do.
    and as a good (recovering) catholic girl, i was always taught that christians were supposed to ‘live by example’ and ‘turn the other cheek’. so somebody’s not practising what they preach, eh?

  188. Beautiful socks… Could you tell me the color of both socks and what size DPN’s you are knitting them on. Thanks. Oh…Is the second pair also Trekking XXL?

  189. I can’t stop laughing at the ‘death threats make baby jesus cry’ line. Perfect. thanks for the laugh.
    love your wonderful, logical, sensible, hysterical, interesting blog. keep up the good work.

  190. always so affirming to read you. your home life is more crowded than mine, your writing is funnier than mine, & your knitting is in a whole nother galaxy from mine, but politically we are on the exact same page. sending you much love & psychic protection against the haters.
    rock on, yarn harlot!
    back to lurking now…

  191. Ho Ho Ho – You are my word hero. When I read your blog, books, articles I often think we are family or friends seperated at some point. Our mind set is so similar. The event at school mirrors many of my own experiences. I will never forget ‘death threats make the baby Jesus cry’ – so simply said but massive impact. Happy Knitting – and congratulations on the completed blankets :0)

  192. Hi Steph…I am going to follow your example of restraint and not post my comments about the #$%%^&holes who were sitting behind you…Many of the comments already posted share my sentiments ( it would be the more liberal postings..;-))
    But, about those fraternal socks…I think they’re groovy..I think anyone can wear matching socks..I mean, that doesn’t take much creativity, does it? I think it takes a profoundly gifted and self-assured person to push the envelope and wear non-matching socks…I decided this after I bought several hanks of Lorna’s Laces Rainbow, hand-painted yarn to knit toe socks..( for me, ya..) And one came out striped and on the other the colors pooled…ohmy…(Actually, what *I* did was buy some more yarn and I kept making socks until I had pairs that were close enough that *I* could live with..and the other people that inherited the extra pairs, as well..)And, truth be known, I actually pulled out the first toe sock..I had knitted from the knee to the first toe before I decided that I really didn’t like the way the colorways had worked on the foot..so, it is the never-ending sock project..I say this because,you haven’t even heard my puppy’s part in all this, too…I have 7 socks of this yarn in all..and I am sick of this colorway…#7 is in the drawer until I can bear to look at it again…

  193. Oh..P.S. about the fraternal socks…In a famous sock book that I have, it talks about making socks from scrap yarn, so they can match the sweaters..and it says not to worry about if the stripes or patterning isn’t the same color sequence..as long as you start with some of te same color and end with some of the same color, no one will notice..well, I have several mis-matched pairs..and either no one DOES notice, or they’re too polite to mention it….works for me…love love love my mismatched socks…

  194. You know, those socks on top are really beautiful. The yarn doesn’t look like it was made to be matched though. It looks like clouds.

  195. Here Here Stephanie – good for you. My mother always said that if you don’t have antything nice to say you shouldn’t say anything at all. She also said that if I had enough tome to worry about what other people were doing (like when I’d try to gossip) I wasn’t busy enough. Then she’d hand me a dust cloth and demand that I “get busy”. These people were obviously NOT raised in my mother’s house!

  196. Death threats?
    Damn, that turn-the-other-check message really isn’t having a great year, huh?
    Hugs and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and happy new year to you.

  197. Hello Stephanie,
    I really like your blog. The knitting, the wits, everything. Though I am a christian, I would tend to agree with you … If a concert is named songs from around the world, it is what you should hear. Keep on knitting … Louise

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