Almost empty

The writing deadline (which is another book, should I survive) is starting to figure largely in my life. There is a phase near the end of a manuscript in which all reality is suspended and there is nothing but work and sleeplessness and crying…and I am not there yet. I am in the phase before that, in which one still believes that if one applies themselves diligently and methodically, that they can neatly avoid that nasty bit. This has never worked for me (nor for any other writer I have ever met) but every time I try harder to achieve it. Part of that trying this time is setting goals for each day, not taking days off and never allowing myself to fall behind. Part of this phase is also screaming this at the family, trying to get them to commit to the same structure and goals. They don’t. In fact, although they maintain it is entirely coincidental or even just my perception, I feel that this is the time that they step up their demands and presence. I keep working.

In order to manage this structure and working, I have done a few new things. Firstly, Friday I made this my office:


(Can you see how much we still need rain? That brown grass…)

I am not, as I have come to call them a “coffeeshop writer”. Coffeeshop writers are those of the breed who, when they cannot find writing space in their homes, go to a coffeeshop. I don’t know how they do it. The distraction of my fellow humans is too much for me. I watch people get their drinks, I listen to their conversations (I don’t mean to do it….I can’t help it.) I wonder where they are going, wonder what they are doing. I stop doing my work and start people watching. I am distractible and despite all efforts, I need quiet and a minimum of distractions – which is too bad…because I really like coffee. An empty house is good. A park is good. (A park is really good. There is no internet in the park. That reduces the temptations and distractions even further.) I got a fair bit done.

Secondly, since that empty house thing is good too (and I am less likely to be bitten by mosquitos in the house) Megan and Sam have gone to visit a friend in Kingston (Ontario, not Jamaica) for three days. Three glorious days where all I have to do is find a way to get Joe and Amanda out of my way, and I’m golden. (Joe is really my biggest offender. For reasons that I will never understand, the days that I have no kids and am going to really get a lot of work done are the days that it is essential to his work and veritable existence that he not leave the house or, even more infuriatingly must return to the house at random intervals to piss me off accomplish his day. Today, for example, he is home for lunch and to “review some stuff” before a meeting. If my book deadline were months away and I had nothing to do today but have lunch with my husband I wouldn’t be able to pay him to come home for five minutes, I assure you. The man has radar. I have no idea how he does it.) To make the most of the empty house (should I achieve it) and the park, the knitting was simple over the weekend, and will continue to be boring for a few days.


Joe’s new socks, my own pattern, Knitpicks essential sock yarn in “Ash”.


Now, when self discipline is everything, it is not the time to begin a thrilling love affair with a brand new project,

although truth be told, it is all I want to do, almost all I can think about, and the temptation is overwhelming.

A few notes about upcoming stuff:

1. September 17th, the free day on the tour schedule for September has been filled with New Orleans. (!!!)

2. I screwed up, the time for the event in Wichita is at 3pm, not 2pm. (Sorry. I almost made you all early.)

3. The time for the Los Angeles event is 2pm.

Details, as always, are on the “Harlot on tour” page which is always available for your clicking pleasure in the sidebar on the right.

173 thoughts on “Almost empty

  1. Love the socks.
    I’m jealous as can be that you’re going to New Orleans. Eat something delicious for me.
    See you in LA. Los Angeles, not Louisiana.

  2. Love the cable pattern on the sock! Good luck with the writing. I couldn’t write in a coffee shop either – way too many things to look at!

  3. I came to check out your latest, and while I was reading you posted today’s! I have never been this on top of your blog.. Which I must say I really enjoy.
    Question: on the Essential socks in ash… what heel stitch are you doing? Eye of Part.? Texture of it looks different from mine.
    Keep meeting the writing deadlines… self discipline is so rewarding in and of itself!

  4. I just committed to a “pair or wool socks” for my friend (my kids foster grandfather). I really like the gray ones… might try something similar.
    I entered 3 pairs of socks in our county fair… they took 3rd, 4th and 5th in the knitting category out of maybe 100 items. Next year I’ll do something fancy… like a couple of sweaters. I’m heading off to a restaurant I know to work on documentation, as my office has a revolving door. I get the Park Office.

  5. Good luck with the workplan. I’ve spent the last week procrastinating some (boring) work writing, and I’m just waiting for the crying phase to set in. Love the socks!

  6. Oh come on Steph…..just one new little project to off set the GRAY…..they are lovely socks..but I would be bored out of my head with the must really love that Joe!!! How wonderful to have that park close by…the coffee shop would distract me as well…best of luck with your boundaries and your writing!!

  7. I used to work at a starbucks. Some people would work; others would just type a bit then look and stare all around. Sometimes they’d peek over across at other laptops. So sad.
    I got a place to get knitting done in my bedroom. I don’t get distracted by the tv nor the computer (no internet…yet). I get distracted by all the friggin knitting books, back issues of magazines and my stash. I cast things on, I think, just cuz I see it and it’s there. I’m distracted by more yarn. How’s that for sucky? I’m a lifelong startitis sufferer.

  8. I just picked up my first skein of sock yarn to foray into knitting socks. I am terrified and stil sure I will use this new project to avoid all the other WIPs I have.
    I hope the writing continues well. While parks are very nice, I must admit to being a coffeeshop person, usually more for coffee than work.

  9. New Orleans?!!!! Wow. I’m so glad you’re visiting my old stomping grounds. I hope it’s not too terribly hot or humid, although I know it will be. Bring your shorts, your tank top and your Tevas. Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulez, Cherie!

  10. Love that sock cable pattern down the sides. I am sure you will get lots of posts from knitters in the Midwest offering to trade rain for a dry spell. The Chicago area was hit by the worst electrical rain storm I can remember (& I am OLD) – as a local meteorologist pointed out, we have had worse weather but it has never covered the entire area. A huge percentage of the beautiful old trees in the area were blown down including a 200+ year old historic tree that marked an old Indian trail. Flooding all over the place (fortunately we are far enough from the closest river that we didn’t get any water but it has been difficult going places because of all the closed roads – water & downed trees). The first wave of storms (which were not the most damaging) came through Wednesday night & for about 2 hours around midnight the sky was the color of this page much of the time. The lightning was not in bolts – it just completely lit up the sky & the thunder was deafening – very scary!

  11. It must be a man thing. Because my husband does EXACTLY the same thing. Today is the first day of school for us. You know how much there is to do when you finally get rid of the kids –er, send the little darlings back to school? Things you’ve neglected all summer like laundry and, um, napping.
    So my husband is working from home today.
    He keeps asking me if I want to work out with him. Get a little exercise. Lift some weights.
    Oh, I am thinking about lifting some weights, yes, indeed I am. Why jury would convict me? I ask you…

  12. Here in Montana we employ underground sprinklers because it’s very brown this time of year. This was the wettest year in thirty years and we still had lots and lots of fires. I feel your pain.

  13. I’d people watch and listen in a coffee shop, too. It’s just my nature.
    Beignets! Gotta have beignets in New Orleans…

  14. Nothing boring about those socks — they are perfect in their simplicity. Love the heathery blue, the little cable, love the socks.
    Looking forward to your new book. Should I put it on my Christmas list? Or birthday (spring) list?
    In about four months, that new office will be a savory summer memory buried in cold white stuff.

  15. I sympathize with the writing frustration and the startitis – I’m having both right now, and they always seem to go together. (Darned thesis that won’t write itself.) I think those grey socks look great. I’ve got a whack of that stuff in the same colour and have been thinking about knee socks, but then I don’t know if I can handle knee socks in that much grey! I guess I’ll find out if the startitis bites me.

  16. I believe that they are all pulled aside and taken to the School of Husbandry. That is absolutely the ONLY thing that explains their infallible radar.

  17. I’m having to apply the heapin’ helpings of the self discipline also. I had a medical check-up last week and was told my blood pressure was borderline high and I need to lose weight or they will put me on meds. So here I am at the office (with the coffee shop/bakery in the lobby and the treats out by the mailboxes and the deli next door and every other person having a candy dish on his/her desk) snacking on my cherry tomatoes. What is it that Red Green says? “I’m pulling for you, and remember, we’re all in this together.” Or something like that. Hopefully it will get easier for both of us.

  18. You are good!! Even at the park I could find a distraction… or fall asleep from the lack of children yelling “Mooooooooooooommmmmmyyyyyyy”. You know after mothering children all summer long without a break… when there is silence I fall into a coma!

  19. Brown grass or no, that’s a gorgeous park scene. Here’s hoping you get some peaceful moments to write. I know I get a lot more writing done when the kids are back in school and the hubby off at work–writing is a solitary sport.

  20. What? Louisiana? You will LOVE New Orleans; devastation and all. Just pack a knife or gun and you will be just fine.
    Seriously though, it will still be hot as blazes then, but there is great local beer from a brewery outside of New Orleans. Abita Beer ( Don’t know how much wool you will find that far south…

  21. I regularly accuse my family of stalking me. You know that thing they recommend in parenting magazines, where you get up early (before your family) or stay up late (after your family) to get your own quiet space? I’ve tried it. Every time, they all just adapt their sleep schedules so they can catch me just as I sit down to watch the sunrise with a cup of tea, or mull over the night with a nice glass of wine. It takes them exactly 24 hours to figure out the new schedule, and they’re there.
    Maybe if you could figure out how to iron and type at the same time? Ironing does not seem to send out the same pheromones…

  22. I love those socks. And since today was spent waiting for the plumber to put in a new hot water heater (no, you DON’T want to know) and the a/c guy who we had to put in an emergency call to once the hot water heater guy flipped the switches and instead of coming on and cooling the a/c came on and then WENT OUT, I’m thinking that office in the park thing and hiding from the house plan is looking good.
    BTW, is anyone collecting hats for Bailey’s Crossroads? Because while I, determined Marylander, can not cross the Potomac to the wilds of Northern VA, perhaps I can send a hat to visit with the harlot instead.

  23. Well, if you couldn’t come to Arizona for the Bug’s birthday, at least you get to go to someplace neat and touristy. Good luck with the writing, and the socks are lovely and soothing. With all the wild, exciting colors of sock yarn out there, there’s something wonderful and relaxing about a plain blue sock with beautifully executed cables.

  24. New Orleans??!!! We will miss you here in Oklahoma. We were really hoping you would come to Tulsa this year. Oh well…

  25. Startitis nipped me yesterday too in the form of a sweater for my mom. This is the first sweater I’m knitting for her and I’m a little anxious about it. The lady at the yarn store told me this is normal.
    Any clues about the new book you want to share???

  26. Love the sock. It will match the sweater you’re spinning/knitting for him, right?
    Glad to know (for OUR sakes) that you’re working on another book. Do you ever run out of ideas?

  27. Love that sock! I think, maybe, I might be able to commit to dull boring man colours for a cable like that.
    I love the blue-sky office that you’ve created for yourself. I have been trying to convince my powers-that-be of the benefits of working outside. They tell me that I’m very amusing.
    Ah well. Enjoy your undistracted working time.

  28. First off, don’t tempt the Gods with pleas of rain while you are working in the park…..
    Secondly, I am so excited that I’ll be seeing you in L.A.
    I wish I could steal away in your luggage and head off to n’Orleens with you.
    Side note: there is a hugely popular venue here in Los Angeles called the “Knitting Factory” do not fall for it. There is NO knitting to be had there, good bands, but No knitting…..

  29. I sure do feel sorry for the process you go through at the end of writing a book, but know that all of us sure do appreciate the end result. I can’t wait to see what this one is about. Spinning Fiber? Harlot Coutour? Squirrel Wrestling? OH – the possibilities!!
    Love Joe’s socks. You can’t even tell those are cables unless you see them up close. Clever Clever!

  30. That sock is just too gorgeous. I want to knit one. Although not so big. I’m actually knitting socks for my son right now, who, despite being 10 yrs old, has HUGELY long feet. I’m afraid he’s going to be like Joe, wearing size 12’s or something…so he’d better get the handknits while he can.

  31. Love the socks, bet Joe does too. Are you going to share the pattern? . . . hope …hope …hope.
    You are amazing. Marilyn

  32. Love the socks (like everyone else). But even more, LOVE THE OFFICE. If you figure out how to get rid of said husband and said teenage daughter, for even a few hours, let me know. Please.

  33. I finished my dissertation as a coffeeshop writer. It was too cold to knit in the park. I refuse to pay for internet at the coffeeshop so that distraction was taken care of. The others were solved by sitting with my back to the crowd and headphones full of Glenn Gould.
    It wasn’t perfect, but I also wasn’t cleaning my stove instead of writing.
    The Toronto Reference library is also a good spot. Vewy qwiet.

  34. If you figure out how to meet a deadline, any deadline (be it finishing a book, packing for vacation, or completing gift knitting), without going through that last stage, please let me know. In fact please write a book about it.

  35. Just wanted to say; I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who uses the ultra fashionable/functional milk crate bike carrier! Looking forward to seeing you in Seattle.

  36. Hi Stephanie,
    Love the socks, pattern and color.
    About working outside, I’ve never been able to do it well. The reason is the same for you and coffe shops. I, too, need to have no distractions, like in a quiet room in a library.
    Take care and good luck on the deadlines,

  37. I’m really looking forward to seeing you in Sept. We are planning a road trip to LA. Thanks for posting the time you’ll be there.

  38. I’m still waiting for a Florida tour date. Pick a January/February date so you can come laugh at the locals wearing sweaters when it’s 18 degrees C out (65 F)

  39. When I was studying for the bar, I used to take my books to the local coffee shop and then do nothing. So I took them to the library – and did nothing. The best places I found for studying? The Indian restaurant down the street (mmm Indian food) and the local mega bookstore, where they are famous for completely ignoring their customers. The neighborhood store was entirely too friendly! My living room was the worst place because my pets were very jealous of anything that meant I wasn’t petting them. (Now, the cat is jealous of the knitting. Silly kitty. That’s no way to get handknit toys.)

  40. Writing in a coffeeshop? I’d go mad as a hatter! Luck, luck, luck – and peace and quiet. Somewhere. πŸ˜‰
    And boy, I’ve got to check for new colors at Knit Picks more often. How have I missed the exquisite Ash? Lovely gray, lovely cable! Drat it, I’m longing for winter, gray, cloudy skies and lovely rain! Sorry. [g] But my webs are drying out. Besides, we have green, green grass all winter. As opposed to, say, snow.

  41. How in the #?$^(%&^# do you get your pick up stiches in the heel to be so firm and nice. Mine look like a five-year old did them and I always have that little open space at the top. Arghhh!
    Love that pattern though, will you share?

  42. AHHH! I can’t believe you’re coming to New Orleans – woo hoo! I’ll be the one in the front row grinning like an idiot and clutching my socks.

  43. i tried to finish reading today’s post, but i got completely distracted and sidetracked attempting to imagine what mental state you’d have to be in in order to allow your daughters to go to kingston, jamaica, unsupervised. ;]

  44. Like everyone, I love the socks, I’ve been looking for a pattern my husband would wear. About the tour, Baileys Crossroads? That’s Northern Virginia, we need you to come to Richmond (Virginia, the real Virginia).

  45. I have a similar problem at coffee shops. I’m too interested in everyone/everything around me. I recall once taking a book and reading the same page over about 5 times before realizing that I was making no progress. And yes, I listen in on conversations, it’s something that can’t be helped.

  46. Inconvenient-schedule-wise, has it never occurred to you that perhaps Joe and the garbage men are in cahoots?

  47. You know how real this is? I have just finished a similar conversation with my own family for the 1000th time. I’m not asking for a lot (at least not in my eyes), but I just want everyone to try cleaning up after themselves & looking after their own space. I’m in the midst of getting all that fleece ready for an Etsy shop (should I live so long) & trying to get a “real” part-time job so I can keep this family afloat. I’m so exhausted & frustrated & have no idea where to turn next other than some relief in knowing that you go through the same thing. Sigh. I’m sure this would be a whole lot easier if I had a penis.

  48. I was in New Orleans a year ago for a conference. Although the hotels and restaurants were back in business, the French Quarter was still much less crowded than it was the first time I was there. The impact of Katrina was still palpable everywhere. I expect it’s still the case. It’s hard to leave without being moved by what the people in that area have been through…
    While I was there, I wanted to get a “yarn” souvenir. I found a little yarn shop in the French Quarter on Chartres Street. The minute I walked in, my gaze fell on a huge pile of Prism Cool Stuff. I’m not usually into novelty yarn, but that yarn in the Cantina colorway just screamed “Mardi Gras” and “New Orleans”. I had to get it, even though it was more expensive than I expected… I still haven’t knit anything with it, I have no idea what pattern I would use. I’m afraid I’ll just ruin the fabulousness of this shiny and feathery New Orleans yarn. For now, I just enjoy looking at it…
    So, enjoy New Orleans!
    I’ll see you in Seattle!

  49. The socks may be simple, but they’re gorgeous.
    As a writer myself, I know exactly what you mean about your family somehow sensing an approaching deadline and stepping up their demands. And I assure you, when the kids move out, the pets step into their position and demand attention during stressful times.
    Sept. 17 is my birthday so I give you permission to whoop it up in New Orleans. πŸ˜‰ Then I’ll celebrate vicariously! Hope your schedule brings you to New Hampshire someday.

  50. I love your Friday office! I too am easily distracted by people around me, the internet (Ravelry, blogs, online yarn shops, etc.) — especially when I have writing and editing to do. And it always seems the noisiest in the office on those days. Perhaps I should just yank up my laptop and head to the closest park and just tell my boss that I’ll be back when my work is done…

  51. Crying phase was last night for me: Thesis proposal due today. Well, actually, last Monday, but, you know, today is really the last absolute possible extended deadline. Heaven help me when I get to the dissertation phase. I find iPod helps with the coffee house thing, at least I can’t hear the interesting conversations, but sadly even the park here has internet, so no avoiding ravelry that way for me. Back to writing now!

  52. Isn’t that the way it works? I work from home, and goodness knows that when I have a deadline, Robbie wants to lunch.

  53. Please share the sock pattern! I love it and, though I am not much of a sock knitter, would knit those!

  54. Thrilled you’re going to New Orleans. I spent 18 months living there on a fellowship (with my company) to work with schools in Post-Katrina environment. Wonderful people, but it’s still a mess outside of downtown… great food! But not a decent knit shop except one I found in Baton Rouge (90 min away). There’s a needlepoint shop with some yarn in the French Quarter, but it was basically online shopping for me. Have fun!

  55. Just confirming what Amy in NW Louisiana said:
    Abita Beer is AWESOME!!! Just tried their TurboDog last Friday. Looks very dark but isn’t heavy. Yummy! Perfect for the hot weather.
    And, yes, Abita Beer has made it all the way up here to Massachusetts. πŸ™‚
    Barbara L in MA

  56. Coffee Shop = clean bathrooms
    Park close enough to house = bushes, not even bushes, or porta-potty (worse than bushes)
    writing one hour – park okay
    3 plus – not gonna make it
    most of my writing – 3 plus – coffee shop it is.
    Need for mother and wife directly proportional to deadlines. Increase as deadline nears. Probably could be proven science or universal law. No time to check but I am a believer.
    these are my true thoughts.

  57. Holy cow! Just as I was lamenting the fact that you were coming to Houston a month after I moved from the Houston area to Baton Rouge, you book a date in New Orleans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚
    Oh, and I adore the socks. The mini-cable is too cute. πŸ™‚

  58. I don’t do well in coffee shops, either. I can accomplish something, just not efficiently. From what I’ve seen, those who can write there are the kind who hang out for hours in coffee shops reading the paper, etc. when they’re not writing and so already are inured to the activity around them. In contrast, I have no kids, have a husband who does not expect constant attention, and have a house where where you’ll only hear the noise of the TV when we actually watch it.
    Nice little cable. Should be good for just a little something to keep it interesting.

  59. 1. Nice office. Great view. You can bring your coffee in a thermos. (BTW, those coffee shop writers? They’re not really writing, they are finding yet another way to procrastinate so that the 24 hours before the deadline suck even worse than last time. Ask me how I know.)
    2. Joe is obviously in cahoots with the garbage truck people. How nice of you to finish his dress socks for him anyway. The little travelling twisted stitches are lovely (oops, sorry . . . manly).
    3. Boring knitting is okay if we get another book at the end. (And another book tour!)

  60. Hey, ease up on the coffeeshop writers! πŸ™‚ I actually get a lot done there. My theory is that it has something to do with whether you’re an introvert (get your energy from being alone/quiet) or an extrovert (get your energy from being around people). Me…I’m right in the middle, so it’s a relatively quiet coffeeshop for me…Equal Grounds in Rochester. In the summer, though, it’s my deck…you can’t beat the garden view, and the teenagers have been mostly away at camp!

  61. Oh, and it’s not a man thing! My partner does the same thing…as soon as I have a deadline looming, she wants to know if I want to take a walk/go for a bike ride/some other fun thing I’m already upset I’m missing out on!
    Beignets are a must in NOLA and PLEASE share the sock pattern!

  62. Chiming in for that pattern too — so simple yet elegant, I could almost convince myself that I could knit it . . . and a suggestion for New Orleans – talk first, hurricanes afterward. Seriously. I forget what bar we were in, but two of those drinks and my friend couldn’t remember her name at the conference, much less the subject matter of her speech . . .
    The park won’t work her in Philly soon – our entire city will have wireless net access (they say).

  63. Love the socks!! I could see that they would be boring until you made it to the side. That cable is very nice.
    Stay good and maybe you will even finish early.

  64. Though I’m not a writer, I can sympathize re the knack members of the family -especially husbands- have of interupting when you’re busy with something which requires your undivided attention. Like your solution. Look forward to the finished product. Maybe Tulsa can be included in your tour for it?!? Hope so!!!
    Echoing others… like the socks.
    Question– Have I missed an update on your friend of ‘The Big Pink Thing’? Have kept her in thoughts and prayers.
    Enjoy “Naw ‘leans”. Great food there!

  65. Yaaaaaaaay, you’re coming to New Orleans! I was just wondering the other day whether you would ever make your way here. Too bad you’ve chosen my (former) employer’s competitor! But I’ll be there anyway. πŸ™‚
    There’s not a whole lot to see in Metairie, so definitely make time to go into town and do all of the requisite things like eat beignets and wear Mardi Gras beads.

  66. mmmmmmmmmmm ….. sweeeeeeeeet socks! persevere with that deadline thing! you’ll make it!

  67. So now not only can I not afford to see ya in Witchita, your gonna be so far away on the 17th that I gues i’ll just have to keep wishing!! Heres to hoping you’ll be somewhere closer with your next book! BTW I’m tryin to finish my website for publishin(hopin for grand opening in september, lol) so of course my mom, husband and the cats are driving me nuts!!Love the sock pattern!

  68. Keep up the diligence! It really can work. Somehow I managed it for my masters thesis – always getting at least 4-6 hours of sleep. Then I stayed up all night long the last night to help my fellow co-horts finish up theirs and not feel like slackers who would then hate me. Anyhoo…
    That’s a charming cable you just threw in there!

  69. Can’t wait to see you in LA!!!!!!!!!! Do we need a ticket, is it at the Library or the Mark Taper Forum(both are listed in your schedule)? You are a constant source of inspiration to me not to mention how I adore your wicked humor — CAN’T WAIT!!!!! If you ever have a free second ..I know … do you think you might be able to share the pattern you used for the pink sox you made way back in November. The ones you made in the midst of ALL those green ones for the TV show.I would be greatly appreciative.
    Did I mention I am soooo excited you will be in LA.

  70. When I was in Uni I always wanted to be doing something stitchy when i should have been studying for exams…then after exams the “need” went away. Always would rather be doing something other than that which is foisted upon me by life.
    I’d be too distracted to write in a coffee shop too. Too many people to watch.
    Was great seeing you while I was on vacation in Nova Scotia. You’re still my hero.

  71. I get the husband/radar thing. My kids went back to school today (youngest to all day school for the first time) so of course my husband decided it was his day to watch the remaining hours of “Dexter” in the living room. Ho hum. Love him, wish he had somewhere to go out…

  72. Squeee! New Orleans! At long last… I thought you’d never make it to the West of the South East! I’ll be there with bells on! I’ll knit you a beignet!

  73. do go to k-paul’s and eat.. well, anything, or better yet, everything. it’s all too fabulous for words.
    i think you should insist that your people book you in calgary. we really need to see you.

  74. I’m coming to see you in Wichita! I’m going to the “Squares for Greensburg” charity seam-up party on the 15th, spending the night in Wichita & heading to the High School to see you! (I heard the LYS is going to be open special on Sunday, just because you’re coming to town!) We’d hoped you could make it to Kansas City, but nobody I know shies away from a road trip. It sounds like you’ll be doing a whirlwind of traveling…. hopefully you (and the sock) will get to see some good stuff! (besides me. I’m good stuff & a bag o’ crackers bonus.)

  75. WOW! Love those socks. Please, please share the pattern. Hope your writing goes better than mine. In my haste to post after reading your blog I knocked over the big glass of iced tea….yucky.
    PS There is also a Kingston NY with several book and knitting shops nearby should you desire to meet us upstaters!

  76. Those people who can tune out distractions have no idea how difficult coffee shop work is. I used a 4’X4′ typing room with no window to study for exams in college. Even a library is distracting for me. Thank goodness I’m a PhD dropout – needed the time to knit.
    Good luck meeting your deadline.

  77. love the socks! good luck with the deadline. i was sorry to miss you when you were in NS, but dang, that’s a lot of ocean between NL and the mainland!

  78. I don’t write, but my job requires me to sit quietly and think (scientist). Empty conference rooms are good (I have employees and coworkers, husband & son are at home, but it’s the same thing), libraries are good, out-of-the-way pieces of mall are good, airport lounges are better than my office, but not ideal. There are coffee shops I can work in, before 10 when the ladies-who-lunch roll in to meet up for coffee before starting the mall-crawl. At which point I become fascinated by how the other half lives, and loose focus. Libraries don’t have that problem. Pubs are suprisingly good after the lunch crowd clears and before the after-work crowd arrives. How long can you nurse one beer? Quite a while, is my experience.

  79. There used to be a nice LYS called the Quarter Stitch (I think) in the French Quarter, pre-Katrina. Don’t know if it’s still there. And, if it’s still there, the Gumbo Shop in the Quarter has the best gumbo & very nice salads (just remembered you’re a vegetarian so gumbo is out).

  80. ok, yeah, we’ve had a lot of rain in ohio. i like rain. i like cool. and i like your socks. i am a coffee-shop writer/reader/sometimes knitter. if i am outside i get nothing done. i’m listening to birds and breeze and buzz. and light bothers me a LOT. give me a coffee shop and i tune everyone out. if i can’t — why are people so noisy! — there are either earplugs or ipod. classical music (or Dan Gibson’s cds with nature and music — just wonderful). i sure wish you were coming back to ohio. i did not know you were here in march, 45 minutes away from me!

  81. Boo hoo. The Wichita stop is STILL too early for me to be able to make it! I was so hopeful when I saw that practically EVERY stop on your tour was at 6 or 7 in the evening, but I live almost 3 hours away, and can’t leave Topeka until 3 or 4, so no luck for me! Maybe on your next book tour…

  82. About Husbands –
    I do family childcare in our home while the Hubster has a “virtual office” downstairs. It’s a given that regardless of my workload, his is lighter but more in need of my undivided attention. I get nothing accomplished until that man physically leaves the house!
    And regardless of where I have it hidden, why is it Hubsters can always smell cash money? Even if it’s a dollar I’ve squirreled away for myself (ye gods!), the Hubster always knows to ask for it.

  83. Stephanie,
    I think our husbands share a couple of male genes. Refrigerator blindness? Check. Completely unaware of his ability to interrupt my trying to work? Check, check. My husband always starts a major project right when I’m at my maximum stress level. I used to think he MUST be conspiring, but I realized a few years back, unfortunately, he’s just clueless.
    When I sign a new book contract and am crunching deadlines, he decides to gut a room or two in the house and wonders why I’m not interested in participating in the remodeling process. Oh, did I mention I work at home, too?
    So he’d be traveling for work during the week, get as much done on his project on the weekend, and then leave town again for work, leaving me with deadlines, a project in the works (including the gutted kitchen), and kids who continued to want to eat dinner.
    This past spring I accepted an artists residency and was busy trying to plan for and move my studio when he decided the time was perfect to start building that carport he’s been planning. He never did understand why I wasn’t interested in helping with the design and labor. Finally one Sunday morning I think he understood a little bit better. He asked me to come review the lighting diagram, which included sensor lights, outside lights, ceiling lights, multiple switches, etc. I looked at it and told him that asking me for my input on the electrical diagram was like me asking him to help me figure out the next step on the socks I was designing.
    A brief look of understanding crossed his face before I turned around and went back inside to my knitting.
    Good luck with the deadlines!

  84. Dear Dear Yarn Harlot: You can do no wrong in my eyes, so it can be no one’s fault but my own that I never saw anywhere on the LA Public Library website until today that one must RSVP to see you, and that you are already completely booked!
    I swear I scoured their website daily looking for the time, and not until today did I see your lovely face and the announcement about your appearance! I am actually weeping and gnashing my teeth in bitter disappointment. I have never wanted to see someone in person so much since I wanted my parents to take me to see the Beatles in Portland Oregon when I was 9 years old.
    The good folks at the library put me on a waiting list, but unless you rent the Mark Taper Forum instead of the auditorium, I will be relegated to standing with the other unwashed masses outside the library, clutching our books and weeping pitifully.
    Well, I will keep my fingers crossed.
    ALL the best on your solitudinous work space search!!!

  85. If Treeling knits you a beignet, be sure to poast a picture.
    J. K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book in coffeeshops, so it *can* be done. I’m glad I don’t have to try– my husband is gone 11 hours a day, so I’m glad to see him when he finally gets home. And if I don’t write, I can’t blame lack of privacy.

  86. I have no idea why, but for some reason I never followed the link you provided to the Los Angeles library event next month. If I had, I would have know Before TODAY that you had to make reservations for that event. TODAY they started a waiting list. TODAY. Arg. I’ve been waiting forever, seemingly, for you to come to southern California, and now still I won’t be able to. Probably. Unless the “less than a page” of reservations before me all get called, and I get called, too. The lady on the phone was less than pleasant, but that I can rise above. The frustation, self-induced, it is tue, will take a little longer.
    Glad you were able to get some writing done in the park. Sounds like you need to go there more often. Love the sock!

  87. Stephanie, your “boring” is my “ooh! Pretty socks!”
    Wait a sec. if they’re for Joe…”Dude! Manly socks!”
    Must tell you: I was at the Hancock Shaker Village in western Mass last week, and there in the very very nice gift shop, who did I run into? In the form of her book??? The funny thing was, I actually felt exactly as if I had suddenly come across a friend in an unexpected place. It was nice! Whereas if I had actually seen you in person, you would have thought, “why is that woman staring and grinning at me? Creepy!”
    I tried to Kinear your book display, but it was – did I mention? – a very very nice shop and I didn’t want to be pitched out as a Gift Shop Marketing Spy.

  88. A new book?!!! Hooray!!! When will it be out? What is the premise (besides the obvious of knitting)? When would the next book tour start (and you haven’t finished this one yet!)? Be sure to include Cleveland (advance notice, please, in case I need to use a vacation day)! I might even be working on my first pair of socks by then (I’m still chicken to try). I’ll have to dedicate a bookshelf to your works (you currently share the space with some other knitting books). Hope you find some quiet time to write.

  89. Okay, I love the socks and I hope you publish the pattern. Especially since I have a husband with large feet who requests socks also.
    I don’t think they look totally boring. I think you are getting yourself into trouble with something just interesting enough to keep you from writing. πŸ™‚
    Good luck and best wishes.

  90. Listening to other people’s comments?!! That would be Kin-hearing! (Just don’t take pictures of them, okay?)

  91. N’awlins, huh? Wish I were there. Since there’s very little chance that you will yield and grab youself an oyster po’boy (a shame, really) then you should know to beware the fried okra, collard greens, and anything called “homefried”. Bacon, with or without lard (usually with) lurk in many a veggie-sounding food. On the other hand, sweet potatoe pie, and sweet potato frites are in such plenteous supply that one pair of homepants is a good idea.

  92. You made me snort. Your first paragraph sounds just like when you talk about doing your christmas knitting. [duck]

  93. Dude, I. Want. Those. Socks. Yes, along with being an obsessivish crocheter/knitter/yarnoholic, I’m an obsessive gotta-have-hand-knit/crocheted-stuff-person.
    Oh, on the distractiblity, I’m the same way… Love watching people, which is probably why my friend’s blanket is taking so long… And I love the Knitting Rules! book. Got a copy from Micheal’s on my birthday (August 21st, it wound up being a birthday pressie to myself), and read it through by Friday.

  94. Apparently, your spouse uses the same spies as the garbage men to figure out when to come home and when not to! LOL

  95. oh my driven out in the open the rat bastards
    are just going to love this -all those beady
    little eyes watching and waiting
    i am back reading after a terrible computer
    melt down one does lose it all does one not
    and another book on the way its terrible
    to have all the words running around in your
    head that no one else can hear or see
    its hot here in florida really hot
    readingfestival sarasota november its a fun time

  96. ohhh… i so understand where you are in the writing process. i’m supposed to write a 25 page paper for my graduate program before the end of september. i keep putting it off. i think i’m in denial. but that write-through-the-night stage is quickly approaching.

  97. OMIGOD YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!!!! Sorry. I did mean the shrieking. When you come down to southern California, I will have probably already left for college in Northern California. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! Life is cruel. Cruel cruel cruel.
    You know, if you really wanted to get rid of your children, send them all away to friends’ houses. Or make them get summer jobs. Pay for college and all that.

  98. Good luck with the book plan. Being an erstwhile magazine writer myself, I’m glad to hear that it’s not just me who works that way with deadlines. (I wasn’t like that in school. Really. At least not always . . .)
    Don’t worry about almost making us early. We Wichita knitters have been known to fill an hour in each other’s company before. πŸ˜‰

  99. Ladies, it’s called “Man-Radar”. EVERY man has it. Every. Single. One. Some just hide it better than others. I found this out when I was venting to a male friend about a particular man who always seemed to contact me when I was contemplating seeing another man! (The particular man has a job that requires much travelling and little contact with a potential girlfriend…i.e., me. The dating scene does sometimes suck!) His response? “Do you really think we have it?” HA!! He couldn’t keep a secret if it was locked in Fort Knox!
    How else can you explain the emails just when I seriously consider asking that guy who seems interested out on a date? Happens every time.
    Oh yeah, there’s also a “Man Club” we’re not supposed to know about…
    Like the socks by the way…

  100. Go and sit on Mr Washie! Apart from the happy side effects of a spin cycle, you can be sure that NO-ONE will find you. That is because you are the only person in the house who knows the location of the washing machine or how to operate it.
    Somedays I think of the peace I could have if only I could fit inside the drum…

  101. Go to Central Grocery, and get a mufaletta sandwich (or half a sandwich) and take it along with your favorite libation to the levy and have a wonderful picnic for me. Root Beer or Coke are my favorites, but being New Orleans, you may be able to get a beer. I’d reccomend a local brand – Abita Beer.
    I’ll be seeing you in Houston the next day!

  102. Love the socks. Want the pattern. I can’t wait to see you in Seattle. I’ll be bringing several members of my Friday Fibers group from Tacoma. Remember to sleep and breathe!

  103. Steph, I’m looking forward to hearing about your “Nawlin’s” trip. Given the news lately about how much our country/government hasn’t come through with help/revitalization there, your honest take (if you so choose) will be nice to read.

  104. I can’t believe your coming to New Orleans! I’m trying to get my stitch n bitch group to go. ya, the yarn harlot in new orleans!

  105. I’ve also never been able to figure out how anyone can work in a coffee shop. I’ll have to try the park!

  106. Oh. You mean you *can’t* really avoid that sleepless part? Even if you try really hard? Waaaaaaah! My next deadline’s in a week! πŸ™

  107. As soon as I peel myself off the ceiling, please allow me to offer myself as your official New Orleans sightseeing tour guide and vegetarian chef. I worked in disaster recovery and can show you some of that too if you wish.
    LYSes: please do not be discouraged by non-natives speculating about the inavailability of wool in New Orleans. Our three good LYSes all are located in the narrow slice of the city which was outside of the flood zone. The Quarter Stitch is in the French Quarter and is fun and funky and glitzy. Bette Borneside is in the historic Marigny, JUST outside the high water line — you have seen this store in “Knitter’s Stash.” Excellent service and great selection. Garden District Needlework is a large store in a funky neighborhood and has every kind of yarn you can imagine. All three stores are in very old and wonderful buildings. All three are within 15 minutes of each other if it’s not rush hour.
    Borders is not in New Orleans, it is in Metairie, also known as “the New Jersey of The South.” It a neighboring city that overlaps with New Orleans, but it is mostly sprawling suburbs, apartments and shopping malls. Lotsa nice people but not very much to see. For expediency, you’ll need an experienced and fearless Southern Driver to get you into New Orleans and to see the important things. Please do not rent a car — it’s a waste of time and money and there is no place to park anyway (it’s like Manhattan in that respect).
    Also, do you have a hat person yet?
    P.S. — no ‘dis intended to you Metry folks, but Steph can see Borders and the Gap anywhere. πŸ™‚

  108. LOL! I have that same husband problem. While I love the husband, I hate having my schedule messed with, especially since I already had to make my schedule around everyone else’s schedules and conveniences! SIGH! I think we both need the same thing, a studio!!! I’m thinking sound proofing, my own bathroom, kitchenette, and an armored door for mine! I’m so jealous that you get to go to New Orleans! Make sure that you have a Po’boy. I swear I’m addicted to Shrimp Po’boys. I’m not sure if they make veggie Po’boys, but if you can find one, yum! Ohhh, and pralines, mmmmm. Then there are beignets, hushpuppies, butterbeans,…….the list is long! The one thing you have to try is Dixie Blacked Voodoo Beer. It’s wonderful! Good luck on your deadline. Now about that studio………..

  109. About the only time I’ve ever really wanted to deck hubby was when he was not working. At one point I was, and he wasn’t but there was still a lot of stuff for me to do on weekends, and he would want me to do something else. So why wasn’t he doing what I was taking care of?
    There was also one period where I was on disability leave and he was not working. Was very nice when I was really incapacitated, but later on, when I could do stuff but it would take me twice as long as it should, he decided he could decide what we should do at any given time, without asking me. However, he still lives.
    I can be at my desk at work all day, but if I go to the bathroom, I’ll come back to 3 voicemail messages.
    Hubby manages to call me at work when I’m in the bathroom, at home when I’m in the bathroom or my hands are in the sink – you get the idea.

  110. Forgot this part –
    New Orleans for heavens’ sake! How about central Ohio?
    Someone once told me I couldn’t go to college in Oregon because my hair would be in permanent frizz. Used to go to New Orleans in March for a week-long meeting, and it would rain the whole time. Ugh.
    Here’s looking forward to a pic of you from New Orleans. –snicker–
    Has anyone told you about the size of the insects down there? After your last shower experience without your glasses… I won’t tell you about my experience in a French Quarter hotel.

  111. Working in the park is great, quiet, peaceful, bucolic. My favorite place to work, however, is on my front porch, looking out at the mountains. That to me is heaven.
    Oh, and is there anyway that you can make a tour stop in Charlottesville, VA? We have a couple of great LYSs, and a Barnes and Noble – plus lots of knitters! Please oh please oh please???
    Oh, and we have the BEST chocolate – Gearhart’s Chocolate….

  112. Okay, so if sneeking the cell phone picture is Kinnearing, what is the verb for listening to conversations of others in Timmy’s? Timming? Hortoning? (Sounds like something out of Dr. Seuss…)Pearl-McPheeing?
    Good luck with the perseverance.

  113. Ah, this reminds me of my favorite writing quote ever: A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. ~ Thomas Mann. Just remember, all those coffee shop writers? Slacking. Good luck finishing up!

  114. Excellent. I do love me some deadline blogging. Especially with a glass of wine. From a nice, safe distance.

  115. You’re coming to New Orleans?!?!?!? Really truly! Oh my gosh, I can’t wait! If you want to go out and see the town, let me know, I can so hook you up!

  116. Fabulous socks! But if that is the “ash” color, it explains a lot about why I am always dismayed when I receive yarn I ordered online…stupid computer monitor…

  117. I have to agree with Dez. Having grown up in New Orleans for 23 years, not much to see in “Metry”. Definitely check out the Quarter and if you have time, the homes in the Garden District almost make me weep they are so old and grand. Like something out of Gone With the Wind. I went to Loyola (St. Charles Ave. in the heart of Uptown) and used to love walking up and down the street looking at the houses.
    Try the Crescent City Brew House in the Quarter. If it’s still there, they have some great home brews. Abita is a good choice but seriously, you have to try a Dixie (Get the Blackened Voodoo version- dark and tasty!)
    Incidently, I’ll be seeing you with my friends from Twisted Yarns (Shelley and Eve rock!!!) the next day in Houston where I’ve been for the last 13 years.
    Can’t hardly wait dawlin’.

  118. I want a pair of socks just like those! They’re comforting just to look at. What size needle are you using?

  119. Wow. It just occurred to me that I might actually finish a first pair of socks if I do them in stockinette with maybe only one feature, instead of starting Jaywalkers as my very first pair of socks and annoying the heck out of myself by forgetting the repeats.
    My husband’s mother also has that radar, so I don’t think it’s just male. She sends me documents to “review” (i.e. edit the English *heavily*) right when I’m up against a deadline or three, and says “just take a few minutes to look at these, please…I’m sure there’s not much to fix.” Her timing is uncanny.
    Husband merely drinks all the coffee, somehow forgets how to make another pot when he’s taken the last cup, and “takes a break” by playing really loud video games right next to me. And he’s not dead yet! Amazing!

  120. *FINALLY* you come to Los Angeles and it’s when I’ll be in Oregon. (I know you were here a couple of years ago, but again it was when I wasn’t!)

  121. More people should use parks for purposes such as yours – use ’em or lose ’em! I love your bicycle basket.
    Also I love the socks.. will they become very harlot socks and go to the sidebar for the rest of us?
    Keep on writing! Love your books!
    Also dry in Way Northern New York (as in almost Ontario – just across the river)

  122. Rockin’ clocks, babe. If you’re going to attempt to clock Joe, that’s the way to go — sublimate, sublimate.

  123. ALREADY SOLD OUT in Los Angeles, fer gawd’s sake. I called this morning before they were even open, and just got a call back. No space. NO SPACE. Please, please, think of me…there in knitterly spirit.

  124. You can’t begin to imagine how much I adore that milk crate strapped to the hind end of your bicycle.
    While going through the crazy, hair-ripping, manuscript finishing push remember that you are living your dream … take a deep breath and a few moments every day to revel in the pleasure of being paid to do what you love. πŸ™‚ Best of luck with that ending.

  125. I have an idea of what you mean re: distractions. My puppy seems to have that same radar. Whenever I pull out my knitting, she makes a beeline for my lap, upon which all goes flying. She is too cute to yell at, but sometimes… anyway, love those socks! Joe must feel so lucky. Good luck on the writing !!

  126. OMG! You’re not going to Houston, you’re going to *Spring*, where I went to high school!! It might be the most historic thing that’s happened there since the railroad moved the roundhouse to Houston. My family still lives there. How cool! (Oh, maybe it’s the most historic thing since Twisted Yarns opened their doors, actually).

  127. New Orleans! Finally! I’ll be there! Let me know if I can hook you up with anything.
    Love the new sock for Joe, that cable is fabulous!

  128. You’re coming to New Orleans!! I’m thrilled. Borders is about a mile from my office which makes it even easier. I’d be there anyway but this is truly wonderful.
    If I can help in any way, let me know (airport stuff, food, drink etc.).

  129. Husbands do have a radar. I cannot clean with my DH around (my own personal quirk) and I swear he knows when I want to clean because I can’t get rid of him!

  130. LA….I’m flying into San Fran on the 9th (from Australia) for a month for work. I saw Los Angeles on you tour schedule and I’m thinking…how can I get down from SF to LA for the weekend?
    And then I see the posts here about it being booked out…..BUGGER!!!
    Oh well. Here’s hoping that some day you make it to Oz.
    Good luck with the new book.

  131. Stunning socks. Thank you for birthing yet another book – yours are my most referenced. One of my most oft reads is the auto-biography of Agatha Christie; she wonderfully shares the odd bigts of miseries of getting the writing going, being interrupted, needing a spot to write and the unalloyed joy of the process and when it all works out.

  132. How can LA be booked out? There wasn’t even any info on the library’s site before – I checked regularly and it wasn’t even showing up on their list of events! And now suddenly there’s a need to RSVP and simultaneously it’s sold out and waitlisted? Hey – can the wonder publicist have a chat with the folks at the Library? Help!

  133. I fill my days by getting two puppies so I can’t get any work done even if I had time.
    You should have come to Oklahoma on set 17th. It would have been between KS and TX and we love you here and want to see you again!

  134. Clearly, Joe is your Toronto Sanitation Department inside man. Try telling him the hours you’ll be at the park. You won’t have to go. He’ll be gone, waiting to come home and bang doors and ask stupid questions (“Have you seen the salt?” “Do we still have that green mug?”) while you’re around. Go to the park shortly before you’ve told him you’ll be home. Quiet house AND quiet park.

  135. re Wichita – that’s ok, the nice lady at Waterstone books set me straight (and I’m sure all the others who have called). But she had no idea about the hats!
    Does your wonder publicist have somebody to collect Kansas hats? If not, have her email me and I’d be more than happy to volunteer.
    K (stalking the postman for my ticket)
    PS – I’ve noticed that the midwest booksellers have gotten smarter – they are scheduling you in HS auditoriums instead of small shops with not enough chairs LOL

  136. I returned from a trip to New Orleans about a month ago. Let me assure everyone that it is safe to go, the citizens are SO appreciative that you are there and everyone NEEDS to tell their story of their Katrina experience. (A large portion of the mental health professionals have moved away.) Since I don’t build houses, I feel that the only way I can help these wonderful people is to encourage others to visit. They must have tourists to survive. We stayed at a wonderful B & B called The Lanaux House. There is a separate cottage in the garden called The Enchanted Cottage. Ran across The Quarterstitch on Chartres St. (pronounced Charters). Very nice shop, people working there very friendly, and they wrapped my yarn in bright colored tissue paper, put it in a clear bag and tied the bag with bright ribbon. So caring. I recommend Irene’s and Camelia Grill as non-touristy places to eat. Frenchman St. has good music. I know you’ll have fun and to all your fans–make a trip to New Orleans if you can and help out our friends there! They’ve shown so much courage in light of the devastation there.
    thanks for listening.

  137. Love those socks! I can’t get enough of knitting socks! Come on, Steph, share that gorgeous pattern, won’t you???

  138. I wait until all the children are in bed and my husband is in a w.o.w. coma…and then I surf the internet for fifteen minutes before I get my ass into gear.
    Some nights, when everyone needs a glass of water and there are fifteen bits of paperwork that need to be signed RIGHT NOW I make plans to run away to the Antarctic. But they have no internet. And then I couldn’t read you:-(

  139. Your sock design is fabulous!
    I’m so excited you’re coming to Los Angeles. I’ve been waiting a long time to see you, and I even have a CA state dishcloth for you too! You’re still collecting those, correct?
    Safe travels & best of wishes for your next book.

  140. I love those socks! When will the pattern be available?
    Joe’s radar is similar to that of my phone – it doesn’t ring all day until just after I’ve gone into the bathroom. (I really hate that.)

  141. I reopened the blog today just to see if the squirrel had figured anything out yet. The suspense is dreadful!

Comments are closed.