A woman on the edge

1. Ever since I came back from my trip and found this book in the bathroom:


I have had an impending sense of doom and spotty internet service. Joe has “tweaked” the router into absolute uselessness. (He has also asked me for my “system disks” so that he can “improve” something on my laptop. I’m no idiot. He’s not touching anything until the book is done.) Just when I am about to beat it to a thousand tiny pieces with the blunt end of a hockey stick, the thing springs to life, delivers mail and blogs for mere moments before doing the electronic version of fainting dead away.

2. This is making me insane.

3. I have mere days to finish the book, and am alternately cackling that I am so close to the end, and sobbing that I still have so far to go. I have no idea how it always comes down to this. I am a bright, reasonable woman who has been down this path before. How do I manage to let the whole thing come down to such a wild place that I am yelling “do you want another piece of crazy pie? Just keep it up!” at my family.

4. Knitting socks is keeping me from slipping away into absolute senselessness.


Finished. The Wollmeise socks ( yarn from the Loopy Ewe, but I don’t think she has any right now. She’s sneaky though.) I think it’s “spice market” that I had.


My basic sock recipe, 2.25mm needles. Very pleased. Very pleased indeed.

5. I started another pair. I don’t know how I think knitting works, but it is entirely possible that my fixation with finishing the book is leading to fixations with finishing other things, and when these were not instantly finished…


I thought about snipping them up with a sharp pair of pinking shears for daring to take a reasonable amount of time.

(They are too pretty though. Yarn is from Hazel Knits, with the very clever name “Sailors Delight“. Pattern is the ubiquitous monkeys. (Except I added a picot edge)

6. The house is trashed, but someone who is not writing a book needs to clean it up.

7. There is nobody who agrees with me that the house is trashed who is not writing a book. I have no idea how you can not see that this place is trashed, but this family has dirt immunity or something.

8. This is making me insane.

9. The garter stitch jacket is almost done. I still love it, but am harbouring some resentment that it is not finished as well. Maybe I only like finished things right now. (Maybe that explains why the kids are driving me wild.)

10. This may be a theme until the book is finished. Must go drink coffee now. Book waiting.

PS. For reasons I don’t understand at all (because when I load my own blog, I see pretty red monkey socks) some of you are saying you see tattooed ladies. I don’t know why. I choose to blame the router. I’m going to place the picture here again…….


Better? I swear. Doesn’t technology save us SO MUCH TIME.

189 thoughts on “A woman on the edge

  1. Men will never leave the electronic gadgetry alone until it doesn’t work, then they’ll still try to fix it!

  2. You are RIGHT – keep the man away from your computer. Why do they think that a big enough hammer will solve all computer problems? And crazy pie – I bet that would go great with a can of WHUP ASS. (or arse, whichever you prefer…)
    Write on, lady!

  3. I love both of those socks. I am fairly new to sock knitting, I’ve just knitted my first two pairs and am so addicted to sock knitting.

  4. Touring, finishing a book, messing with many projects…are you sure you aren’t needing to put together a wedding and a few other Big Things? Maybe you need to invent another entire use for wool. I just don’t think you are fully overusing your time yet.

  5. I’m yelling about crazy pie as well today.
    Computers – work piling up – lack of finished objects.
    I also feel the need to cast on a sock tho maybe not monkeys

  6. I think that families are not ALLOWED to think that a house is trashed…. you know that husband or child will fall over dead if they put a breakfast dish in the dishwasher without first being told too….

  7. Back up the book. Back up the book. Back up the book. Chant it like a mantra until you are backing up every hour until the book is done.

  8. Tell them all that there will be no anything until the house is clean enough for your mythical great grand aunt Matilda, and that no tweaking of any computers shall take place before this book is done that has been based on bathroom reading. If he did not learn it in a chair, with a testing deadline, it is not real until after the book is finished.

  9. Wow. See, now these are the things I need to hear on days like this when the school calls and I can hear my boy child screaming in the background while I am furiously working on webpages and lamenting I cannot start my first pair of socks cause I don’t know how to count by twos even though I aced all my math tests in high school. I know I am not alone.
    Although more coffee with a hit of something stronger would be a close second.

  10. “Maybe I only like finished things right now. (Maybe that explains why the kids are driving me wild.)” *LOL* Hee. Maybe that’s why I drive myself crazy sometimes!
    Lovely socks all. Dontcha just love finishing a pair for yourself that you just love and then smacking ’em right onto your feet? Nothing better. I think for once my house is cleaner than yours (Have spent 2 weeks cleaning closets, etc., then did an epic amount of laundry last weekend.) I’m sure it won’t last for long, but for now at least you can take comfort in the fact that I feel better ‘cuz for a few fleeting moments my house is cleaner than the Harlot’s.

  11. Tell Joe I’m willing to blame him for my lack of internet connection as well. On second thought, don’t. He might be proud of being able to mess things up down here.

  12. First, dont let him touch your computer. Second, and most important, we love ya gal! Keep on keepin on and dont worry about the house. Trust me when I tell you that it will be there when you are finished writing. And as long as the health dept doesnt come and close your home, youre ok.

  13. Next time you can come out here and write in the guesthouse for the last week before the book is due. We will feed you, have endless flowing cups of coffee, and leave you alone. The housekeeper comes once a week and Jonathan knows to leave the innernets and the things that connect to them to our friend who does that sort of thing for a living…
    Hang in there missus.

  14. I am surrounded by computers (7 in our house) and computer nerds – DH and the three guys that still live at home. They actually know a fair bit about computers (one of them even makes a living fixing them.) But heaven help them if one of them merely mentions the word “tweak” in connection with my machine, which invariably happens right when I’m in the middle of a big piece of work.
    Picture a wildly ranting woman armed with two fistfuls of assorted dpn’s dancing madly around in front of her tower and monitor. Not a pretty sight.

  15. As the girlfriend to another “tweaker” when it comes to the computer, I feel your pain. I always know I’m in trouble when he comes home with “Dave and I were chatting today about how to make X run better.”
    Take the laptop and some knitting, go to the park or a coffee house, and tell them all to fend for themselves until the book is done. It will serve a few purposes: keeps hubby away from your computer, keeps you from seeing the trashed house, allows you quiet time to work, and you can pretend that the house is being cleaned while you’re gone. πŸ™‚ Okay, the last one is likely delusional, but hey, we can dream. πŸ™‚

  16. Yes, back ups, back ups, back ups….and maybe send me the disks for safekeeping? I promise I’ll be good to them…. I will love them and hug them and feed them and call them George! (oops, sorry, got a little carried away there) Hang on, the end is near!

  17. Yeah, won’t peek? Devour, maybe, Presbytera, but not just a peek.
    I can so relate to the knitting-to-finish when a book deadline is looming. I so did that. And the projects had to *finish*, too, not just sit there nagging at me.

  18. I was at your VA ‘gig’. You blew the store manager away, by the way. Several of us in our group bought your book, but decided you needed rest and beer more than signing yet more books. You were, of course, fantastic. I think Blue Heron needs to release the name of that bank!
    Tell your publisher that your fans feel it’s more important for you get some rest (and knitting in) than to get the book out by a given deadline. We’ll still be there whenever it comes out.

  19. What mysterious force controls book deadlines anyway?
    Then again, if you’re anything like me, without deadlines you’d never get anything done.

  20. Crazy pie–I love it! I plan to use this phrase often in the next few weeks. It is so concise and descriptive! Thanks!
    I just keep saying, “this too shall pass, this too shall pass.”

  21. I feel your pain, too, with the boys always wanting to make computer stuff better. Stay strong! πŸ™‚ LOVE the new sock. I am dying to do some monkeys, but I may have to get that red yarn to make ’em. Looks grand! (BTW, only a few inches from finishing my first pair of socks–from your basic sock recipe. Thanks so much!! I can’t believe I’m doing it!)

  22. I’m going to Wen’s – the commenter with the guesthouse and housekeeper, internet and no one who “tweaks” it.
    I’ll call you when (if) I come back…

  23. Please tell me that the book is backed up on discs/CD/somewhere other than the hard drive of your laptop or desktop.

  24. Crazy pie, love it, a desert to describe how I feel day in and out lately. I might be popping valium to stay off the celing and knitting like the wind to finish a Halloween costume commission; I might be in incredible arthritis pain from all the extra knitting I am doing but none of this matters. I am a desert (I don’t think people are looking forward to me after dinner though. Maybe I should add whipped cream.)
    Good luck on your book; I don’t know how you do it but I am in awe and admiration.

  25. DonΒ΄t give up, Steph. YouΒ΄re going to make it.
    Just finish the book, the socks (and anything else) will follow on their own.

  26. I have come to the sad conclusion that kids are never “done.” Ah well. I guess that’s why we knit, right? (Not that I have much luck there, either, frankly. But we must have hope.)

  27. I get the same feelings when I have a university assignment due in! (i knowits hardly the same thing but I share the panic and anxiety, plus Karl seems to be oblivious to dirt at these times, and enable to cook without supervison – oh, he’s my boyf)
    Love the monkeys with the picot, may have steal the idea for my monkey sock swap socks.

  28. Hmmm, very familiar sensations… I think my dissertation is going to kill me too. And I’ve developed tendonitis and carpal tunnel, so knitting is forbidden. (Temporarily I hope.) So, I’m living vicariously through your socks. Not that I’m encouraging you to procrastinate on the book and finish those monkeys. Nope, not me. Nope. πŸ˜‰ Hang in there…

  29. Try this — don’t clean. Seriously. Let the dishes pile up, the laundry go undone. Order enough takeout just for you. Wash your own clothes if you must. When they run out of dishes, food and clothes – remind them that they are all over the age of 13, and must contribute to the household in some constructive manner, and since they do not work full-time as you do, housekeeping is their responsibility. Trust me. Five friends have successfully trained their spouses and children (and in one case, their children’s boyfriends) in this manner.
    Ah, Sandra, I’ll meet you at Wen’s. If one more person tries to fix something on my computer while I’m doing tax returns . . . I shall not be responsible for the consequences!

  30. One must NEVER let a man touch one’s computer until one has finished her book, and then such man must be flogged daily until he comes to realize his improvement of the computer is finished. Then one can spend some of her money to hire an expert, who understands hell hath no fury like a writer whose computer is screwed and expects flogging.

  31. All these same things happen when you are trying to finish a book, even if you don’t have a contract for the book or even an agent. And furthermore, when you read a post like this by someone who actually, truly understands, you start to cry.

  32. paper trail always keep a paper trail
    put your copies or whatever in a safety
    deposit box your panics are worse then
    mine — when for petes sake is the
    dead line once in awhile hire some
    one to clean great storey there
    this computer is a misery at times
    read your book please then go to
    italy or something the heroine in
    romance novels do– there you go
    think italy or yes think italy

  33. Hope it goes as painlessly as possible — and that your jacket finishes itself soon. Feel guilty about laughing at “crazy pie” – but hahahahaahahahahaha, you’re still hilarious when you’re stressed out!

  34. oy! when it comes to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” i should have listened…
    my brother (a fellow computer geek) built me a computer for Christmas ’05. come fall ’06 he asks if i’ve “upgraded” it yet. now, when i hear “upgrade” i really hear “upgrade to a new.” he means “open it up and swap out bits.” it’s still not working… and he’s gone back to being my “idiot brother.” (and he’s not getting his present from Christmas ’06 until the darn thing’s fixed!)

  35. If I had known your book deadline was so near, I’d have brought you some Angel City brew from our local coffee roaster. So much caffeine that I could swear my brain grows larger with each sip. Yum.
    Best of luck finishing the book. We are all cheering you on!

  36. When I was in college, I had a friend who would stay in a hotel for two days before any paper was due, so that she could concentrate and not have to clean or get food for herself. You might consider this as a survival strategy.

  37. Welcome home! Hand in there the book is almost done – the last couple of miles are the most difficult. It will be wonderful, I’m sure.

  38. I am having computer stress, too –and I’m married to a man who is a computer geek by profession. I swear that means we have twice as many problems with our computers as other people. Just now I seriously almost lost what is left of my freaking mind over not being able to upload a simple video to my blog. How hard can that be?? I’m not trying to hack into the Pentagon here.
    I took it as a sign that I needed to finish something: a nap.
    Word up, Steph. Maybe a nap would help.

  39. “Joe has “tweaked” the router into absolute uselessness.”
    Gee, this sounds familiar. Richard is forever tweaking our firewall or our router or some other pieces of equipment. Naturally everything works fine on his computer after he’s done this, and does not work on mine. Yet time after time he is always so surprised when I complain that suddenly I can’t access the network. I *still* can’t get to the printer that is supposedly on our home network.
    As for your book, backup, backup, backup. You may also want to toss just a text copy somewhere you can access it online (for example, Google documents are accessible from any browser), so in case he does get his hands on your laptop for that “upgrade”, you can still keep on working on your book, on *his* computer.

  40. My family is dirt immune also – and it is driving me nuts too. And I’m not even writing a book.
    PS – I tried the “Strike” method of doing things – but I broke before they did and it took me for freakin’ ever to clean & do laundry in the end. I highly discourage any idea of going on strike when you live with the dirty immune.

  41. How do people not notice what needs to be done? It’s something I’m fighting with right now. That and the “I did it yesterday, so I don’t have to do it today” syndrome. YIKES!!!
    I’m sure I was never that bad when I was a young adult.

  42. The only reason that the love of your life (well, maybe not at this particular moment of your life) needs to fix anything on the computer is exactly because you are coming up on a deadline.
    Trust me on this: all males (human and otherwise) have radar for that kind of, er, stuff.
    When they’re very small, they don’t need to “go” unless you are taking a bath or the plumber is busy pulling out the last toy that they flushed, which was too large to go through, and just large enough to get caught in the trap.
    When they’re in school, you find out about the bake sale that they volunteered your for on the morning of the afternoon of said bake sale.
    When they’re old enough to use your vehicle they only have a date when you will be using said vehicle and take it as personal affrontery that you didn’t ask their permission to use your own vehicle.
    No use in doing anyting drastic. This is like trying to bail during a hurricane. It will happen again.
    My sympathies. Print a hard copy. You can beat him with it later. (No it won’t change anything, but you’ll feel better.)

  43. No food until they have cleaned the kitchen well enough to be enjoyable to use. It is amazing how well that works with my three kids, and two of the three can cook. And, two of the three have to do their own laundry. (The third is not yet out of elementary school, so I don’t make him do his, yet. He hits 6th grade, he is on his way to being on his own for laundry.)
    Backups, yes, many backups, never too many backups, just make sure you label them. CD’s, thumbdrives and whatever other media is available to you.

  44. Oh boy. Burn the book now. Call Ken. If your Ken cannot fix it, give mine a call (Hubby) and he probably will fix it if you promise never to let me buy another of your books πŸ˜‰
    Hmm. That could backfire. Nevermind. My hubby is not computer guru, no siree…
    Love the socks. Would like to actually see the other ones you described though the tattooed ladies seem nice. πŸ™‚
    PS Hubby is actually reading one of your books right now and laughing some. πŸ™‚ Maybe some day he’ll finally get it. Needless to say I’ve started rotating all your books in and out of the bathroom LOL

  45. Those heels! How can something so simple be so beautiful? That spice colourway is pure autumnal goodness! Someone please hand me some warm cider.
    (I’m sorry, did you say something about a computer?)

  46. Chin up. This too shall pass.
    Meanwhile, I went to the Rohrspatz & Wollmeise website and it may be the techmologically coolest site I’ve ever seen.
    They do iron works and wool. Imagine.

  47. I still cannot believe that you are writing another book so soon after Cast Off came out! and so quickly….can we have some hints about titles, subjects (I assume knitting) and when to be published?
    love the socks too!

  48. Yipes – no tweaking till after the book goes to the publisher!!! Got my fingers crossed for ya. (whispering…backup)
    I’m not seeing the second socks, either. Like Mary in Boston, I get the shot of the gals with the knit tattoos.

  49. Bwahaha! I love the idea of the kids being frustrating because they’re Not Done Yet. It’s almost over, and then you’ll have pretty galleys to look at and be proud of. Hang in there…

  50. I am sending much goodwill in your direction, as well as small blocking spells to keep Joe away from the computer. Nothing to do with system disks can be good!
    P.S. does spotty internet mean lack of email access as well? could be a blessing, of course, but you would also be missing a SMALL amount of help sent your way.

  51. It is entirely possible that people who have important book writing to do see cleaning that needs doing even when it doesn’t. Lots of writers suddenly feel the urge to clean when they have important writing deadlines. The kids might be right. Try to breathe deeply and ignore the trash.
    Or you can try Tigger’s all new writing procrastination trick — bake chocolate chip cookies. And then at least you have something to eat while you are alternately cackling and sobbing.

  52. For those getting the knitting tattooed girls:
    I also did and had a nice long laugh wondering what Joe did to make a picot edge look like that. And then I hit reload. And everything was better. However, the wrong picture was still funnier.

  53. *Guffaw* Are children ever finished? I once heard my grandmother threaten to take my father over her knee… he was 52. Priceless.

  54. I think only mothers every truly notice the disaster that is the house. I notice mine lots – doesn’t necessarily mean I do anything about it (there’s too much pre-Christmas knitting on the go)….

  55. Ever thought about renting an apartment for a month when you get this close to finishing a book? No kids, no Joe and no mess. Unless you are foolish enough to give them a key too.

  56. Soldier on, McPhee. You can do it. πŸ™‚
    (I know, I know, the last name is hyphenated, but I liked it like that. Sounded more military-ish)
    Also, I feel obligated to say that the squirrel shirt was my idea, but that Jesse is the one who made it. Still, he was totally jazzed to see his work on your blog. I hope you & Joe got as big a kick out of it as we did.

  57. One thing about backups: back up to a CD or some other portable object – and then take it out of the computer and put it somewhere else.
    A friend virtuously backed up her freshly completed 300-page novel. A burglar stole her computer with her backup disk still in the drive. ‘Nuff said.
    On happier topics – take 5 minutes to imagine visiting your daughters when they have homes of their own. How you’re going to rest on your backside while they get you coffee. How you’re going to leave the coffee cup on the coffee table for them to take into the kitchen and wash. Oh, yeah … bring it on.

  58. This reminds me of a saying Quark had (on ST Deep Space 9), “On our planet, females are not allowed to wear clothing.” In my house it’s , “On our planet men are not allowed to futz with the computer.”—It just never goes well. Totally make a paper copy and 10000000000000 backups of the book, just in case.
    Also–I don’t know if those ladies want to be “snipped.” he he he

  59. Sorry, I couldn’t make sense of anything you wrote, something about the socks and sock yarn colors created a spontaneous hum in my brain and a fuzziness developed around all the text.
    (you can finish! we believe in you!)

  60. nobody but us mom’s ever see that the house is a mess. but it does my heart good to hear that it happens in other families too!

  61. I have a few suggestions. Email everything you write for the book to Ken. Stop worrying about the house. Carry-out food. As painful as it is for me to say this: stop blogging. We will survive, and it may help the pressure you are feeling.

  62. If you bring the hacking book up on amazon, it comes as a pair with
    “Wardriving & Wireless Penetration Testing [ILLUSTRATED] ”
    Bet you are glad he didn’t buy that one!!!!

  63. I am also amongst those guilty of giggling at the ought of servin’ up son “crazy pie” πŸ™‚ Thanks for making all of us laugh even amid all your stress, Stephanie. I hope the book (and lots more knitting) find there way to ‘finished’ without too much more craziness.

  64. Tattooed ladies? Whaaaa??????
    Love the first set of sock – lovely greens in there.
    Don’t let him mess with your computer – w e’re all waiting for the next book! Travels With Sock?

  65. No tweaking, book due!
    Yarn is pretty, knit away
    Next time, slow tour down.
    Okay, okay. When I am stressed, I resort to haiku. It isn’t great but it makes me laugh. Next time your wonder publicist plans a tour, have her check with us. They are too short (too hectic) and should not be done when a book deadline is looming. Hang in there!!!

  66. Back up your book. How much of your writing are you willing to lose and have to rewrite? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? Whatever your ‘I will go crazy if I lose that much writing;’ number of minutes is back up that often.
    ‘Improving’ computers is like fixing the plumbing: it will get worse before it will get better.
    Hang in there. Actually you seem more together in your blog than you have before other writing deadlines… at least it appears that way to me. Good luck.

  67. I *LOVE* those Monkey socks!! Love, love, love! Now, to get some DPNs… Oh, and lotsa money. Anyone want to pay me to teach their children to crochet? Please?

  68. Times like these are the basis for the American TV show “Snapped”. Back up everything and inhale large doses of caffeine and chocolate. Good luck girl. You need it.

  69. Don’t forget to keep making those back up disks of your writing. Erratic computers freak me out!
    I’m one to talk, I have nothing backed up, but then I sew for a living, not write πŸ˜€

  70. I, too, have let our dishes and laundry pile up because I was “so close” to the finish line of knitting Sock Number One, started months ago. I pressed on, did the best job I’ve ever done on kitchenering that toe closed, and now, instead of rolling up my sleeves to set my house in order, what do I feel urgently compelled to do?
    You know. Cast on and start Sock Number Two.
    Think I should start the Procrastinator’s Knitting Club … where you knit instead of doing all those other things that need to be done. And sometimes, you knit OTHER things instead of knitting the things you should be working on!!
    ~ Dar

  71. You are having an emergency with the deadline because your Wonder Publicist scheduled you to be away on a book tour a week before your deadline. I know you’re the Harlot, but, if you can’t learn to say “No!” you’re going to have this problem repeatedly.
    Bad publicist. No socks for you.
    Love you, and wishing you all peace and contentment.

  72. I only see socks, just finished cleaning the house, who knows why when I leave in the early!!! am to go far away. I will return to trashed house and empty food pantry Saturday night. That is if I am able to change planes in Chicago, i am doing Midway, not O’Hare. I think that the dogs are the only one’s who will miss me. Still need to pack, do more laundry, and make a toga that is due tommorrow for the 7th grade. Did not learn of assignment till last night. I would rather knit, have a one almost finished for a friend and I hope that I get the other done tomorrow while I change lots of time zones

  73. Pink sky at night. The socks are certainly this sailor’s delight. Please don’t take the scissors to them or the lovely tattooed ladies.
    Peace. We will love the book. Write on.

  74. I feel your router pain. Mine also faints dead away for no apparent reason. The solution in our house is to go downstairs, stand on a richety stool, unplug the router, unplug the modem, plug them back in and offer a pair of doves in the temple. Sometimes it works.

  75. If Joe touches your computer, the router, or anything else in your household’s computer system before the book is done, at least you have the comfort that no true jury of your peers would convict you for his murder….
    …unfortunately, your jury probably won’t be composed solely of knitting authors suffering from deadline-induced stress…

  76. Now I see pretty red socks at the end. I also see the tattooed ladies in the beginning.
    Why do guys need to tweak things that are working perfectly fine? How did that end up on the y chromosome?

  77. Amen, lady. Amen. Wouldn’t it be nice if mothers working on books could hire a “writer’s helper” as well as a “mother’s helper”?
    If it makes you feel any better, I’m going to use your basic sock recipe to make footies out of some wild-colorway Waikiki. Soon. I swear. πŸ™‚

  78. Don’t let him near your computer!!
    And I like that idea of sending everything you write to Ken’s computer. Actually, maybe you can just go visit Ken and his computer for an extended stay (until the book is done) and let your family fend for itself.

  79. Hey, the tatooed ladies went away. Was it something I said?
    Maybe the Wireless Penetration Testing scared them.

  80. Kinda sorry I missed out on the tattooed ladies!
    As someone who just spent half the day editing (read: twiddling with) a ONE-PAGE article for a magazine, I have all the sympathy you can imagine for your current deadline-facing BOOK-writing self.
    But, Bon courage, Yarn Harlot! You will (again) prevail, and we, your faithful readers who love you, will be there at the bookstore to welcome the results!

  81. I think you should order another router, have Joe configure it, and swap it with the tweaked router when you NEED the internet. Demand a tweak free router. Hide it in your stash.

  82. I don’t read the comments (and frankly I don’t know how you read them, if you do) but if you get to this, I have been looking for a cuff-down monkey pattern. The knitty site original pattern are for toe-up and I can’t find a cuff-down version. Thank you so much for your blog, I know you probably hear this but you are a wonderful writer. I have two girls, 16 and 11, and your mothering stories keep me going. I look forward to the book.

  83. I hear your pain – my family’s lack of initiative & self-anything bears a direct co-relation to my deadlines. No, mine don’t learn either. Pavlov would have had a field-day with them as test subjects.
    Funny, but that thought is really hilarious!!!

  84. Did you just call me “sneaky”? I guess that’s better than calling me “Loopy”. And yes, you had Spice Market. Gorgeous socks.
    Hang in there with the book. It’ll be all over before you know it. πŸ™‚

  85. All I can say about computers and writing deadlines is this………Save early and save often and backup onto every kind of separate device/disk you have at least 2x per day!! and keep those devices far, far away from the computer! πŸ™‚ Best wishes.

  86. Strange.. I can also not get anyone who is not working on a book deadline to acknowledge that my house is trashed. OK.. well maybe my husband is halfway there.. after tripping on a few more toys and re twisting his ankle a few more times.. he might just go over …sigh. Fear not! You are not alone!!

  87. hey stephanie you can do it!! chin-up shoulders back put some muscle into it, and you’ll be done with it before you know it. at least thats what they say anyways. or you can do like the little red train did. “I think i can” “I think I can” and before long he had made it up the hill by his self hehe The socks are looking great!!! wish i could knit that fast!

  88. “””Machines “”!!! Technology !!!I could call them by so many differnt names!!!! They haven’t saved me one nano second of time lately. As a matter of fact they have taken up two whole days of my life and driven me into an utter state of hysteria. DAMN things– the washer, the computer , the DVD. and worst of all the C.D. player. Whilst escaping the house with all these malfunctioning ahem -wonders -I came upon a C.D. of Paul Potts ((the tenor that won on the English IDOL)) and bought it immediately and rushed home to play it . Thats when I found out the C.D. player was on the fritz!!!! Talk about an UGLY peson. I said a LOT worse than “Do you want another piece of crazy pie”” It must be something to do with the alingment of the stars oe whatever–who cares!!–Just get stuff to work and people to be quiet and let the knitting begin to sooth us . PLEASE GOD GIVE US PATIENCE NOWWWWW!!!! GOOD luck to you The socks are beautiful.

  89. After seeing you in person at the Atlanta get together I was inspired to knit my first sock!
    I finnished it in 1 day! Im so excited! I loved meeting you in person! I hope you had a good time while you was in Atl.
    Incase you can remember I was the 2nd inline to get my book signed in the theater and I asked to hold your sock (because I had people on the net wanting me to tought your needles for them) while my hubby,who was first in line, took our pic. πŸ˜‰
    I know you cant remember everyone you meet but I was just so excited to meet you Stephanie!
    Well I will be quiet now so you can get to work on that next book. I cant wait to read it! You do wonderful work!

  90. Well, I’ve been reading along for quite some time now but have yet to comment (always makes me wonder how many folks like me are lurking out there…). However, you hit the nail on the head with your mention of the kids being “unfinished” and perhaps that’s why they are so bothersome to you at the moment. Exactly! I knit because I CAN finish something and have the satisfaction of looking at a finished object that I created from start to finish. This is so appealing because in my line of work–mom to two young boys–that sort of satisfaction is a long ways off and not at all guaranteed. The pink stole for my dearest friend, however, is about to be bound off.

  91. My husband can’t see the dirt, either. But he will vacuum and mop the kitchen on request, so it sort of evens out.
    Sort of.
    And my child is 5, so she looooooooooves to “help” Mama “clean”. After which, I have to clean.
    I feel your pain. And would be willing to bet that my dog equals at least two of your teenagers. Next time, I’m getting a poodle – they don’t shed.

  92. Like my dear Dad always says, “They told me, ‘Cheer up things could be worse’, so I cheered up and sure enough, things got worse!”

  93. You’re doing better than me. The last time Jim fixed something on the computer, Microsoft Word disappeared on my side of the computer *altogether*. And I’m sending out resume packages etc. for *jobs*!!
    He tried to say I was being testy. I told him to fix it right-fuckity-quick and get me a gin and tonic!
    Hiss and snarl when Joe goes near the laptop. And lock it up at night.

  94. Colorway Spice is scrumptious and those socks are wonderful (both pictures). I read of Q/A sessions between recognized author and young writers; young writers asked where/how the big writer got all his ideas. The big guy said – the writer who leave their butt in the chair longest gets the good ideas. Makes me crazy to think of it. I’m sure all that sitting included some knitting. Thanks for doing all the work!

  95. I’d say don’t let hubby anywhere near your ehem, equipment until he & the girls have the house in perfect shape. You’ll have a clean house lickety split, I bet.

  96. Relax. Revel in the fact that, like socks, the book will someday actually BE finished.
    After all, there are so many things that only give the illusion of ‘finished’, like housework and children.
    And if you think dirt-blind spouses and progeny are bad, I had to explain to my MOTHER the other day why I said the kitchen wasn’t clean. I mean, she’s the one who taught me what a clean kitchen looked like…

  97. Yarntopia in Houston has the perfect shoes for the sock knitter! Clear clogs – your socks can be seen through them. They are Sloggers brand. I finished my first socks this morning (oh, happy day), slipped them into my new sloggers and showed off all day! I love a pair of shoes that can go with everything =)

  98. Iam the queen of the linksys routers, deal with them all day long. If you get in some trouble with it, just holler I can get it back online πŸ™‚
    Just keep that man away from it..lol

  99. 1) Print that book out! Now! On paper! don’t even bother with eco-correct double sided! Fell trees!
    2) Toss out the nasty computer porn book you found in the bathroom. What men will read, I swear.
    3) Hire a maid service.
    4) Then put Baileys Irish Cream in your coffee and drink up.
    5) Write book.
    God Bless.

  100. The WORST words I can hear coming out of my husbands mouth are “I’m going to do some upgrades on your computer.” The last time I let him do that was my little Toshiba laptop. He ruined it! I couldn’t do anything with it. The mouse wouldn’t even work, and he refused to do anything to fix it.
    I have a new laptop now. He touches it over my dead body.
    Back up–on a CD.

  101. Oh, yesh. I did the same every single paper I ever wrote in college (yet still I got A’s). Swore each time I’d do it better – like *not* staying up *all night* before the deadline – next time. Makes the knitting & such lots more fun, though. Even housework. Anything but what must be done!

  102. I’m not sure what the problem is, but if you go to your NOLA post, there’s a pic of your new Monkey sock, right in the middle of the tattooed knitters. Love that monkey yarn.

  103. I wish we could all have one “get off the edge without falling over it free” card. Sigh. I’m up to my eyeballs in edge. I think I’ll go knit.

  104. Get a portable hard drive. I have 2, just in case.
    I am paranoid, ever since my computer started smoking (not cigarettes, but like FIRE smoking) and said “TERMINAL THERMAL FAILURE” and wouldn’t do anything else in the middle of final proofing a presentation for my old boss.
    Jakob the Stephanie Paparazzi says hi. He’s doing a series of drawings of superheroes saving you from various perils. I would like to point out that in these drawings, your hair is stick straight. πŸ™‚
    I will scan some and send them if you’d like.

  105. I know the exact tone of voice used in that last line. I have it when the dishwasher quits in the middle of a cycle, the toilet backs up, or the washing machine stops with a full load of white clothes, one red sock, and a tub full of dirty water.
    When you have finished the book, take a moment for breathing and enjoying, and then take each child by the hand and point out to her the dirt that is her responsibility. And then tell Joe that he suffers if they don’t do it well. And then go for a beer or six.

  106. well, the socks are lovely. but the tattoed ladies were also a nice distraction!

  107. I do empathize. What’s worse than one man mucking around electronics that he only has a passing familiarity with? One with passing familiarity with electronics and a wanna be. DH thought that having FIOS would be cool. Shot us right into the dark ages. They cut our land line, but somehow didn’t have a ticket to install the phone so we were a week with no dial tone, the internet wouldn’t stay up and we could only get Disney movies on those TV boxes Thank God for work!
    As for the viually impaired members of the family who couldn’t see a mess if it walked up and introduced itself, I have always fantacized about 1 orderly room that would be mine.
    Back up the book, dim the lights, and have a beer. We’ll collectively keep our fingers crossed for you!

  108. Stephanie, how does your family feel when you complain about them in your blog? I’ve begun blogs with a similar theme more than once, and then deleted them because I feel guilty about hurting their feelings.

  109. Sailor socks are lovely but the Tattooed Ladies now have me seriously curious. Guess the Internet censers wont allow Tattooed Ladies in the Atlanta Internet world.

  110. The amount of mess in any one house is found to be in direct proportion to the size of the blinkers worn by every member of the household bar the one who is generally responsible for cleaning up the mess.
    I think my family wear eye masks.

  111. it just occurred to me that one of the good things about having adult kids(22,24,25 & 27) is that child services can’t take them away when my house is a total tip! hurray for a nest still well stocked with people who can reach the top shelf!(even if i have to wait for them to come home from work/school)…kath

  112. Please tell me that you’ve backed up all the info on your computer. It would be beyond sad for all your work to go into a black hole….

  113. I have three computers (one desktop and two laptops) plus a degree in the wretched things – and I’ve taught at Tech College..
    There is no way in Hell’s Spicy Kitchen that I would let someone else near my ‘puter when I’m staring down a deadline!
    Breathe, Steph!! Go hold a ball of mohair – you’ll feel better πŸ™‚

  114. I think I have a little cottage in Montana to sell you. (isn’t that where the unibomber, hater of all technology, lived?) lol. Just kidding.
    seriously, I am blessed with a mac that my husband knows nothing about and so then doesn’t get fucked with.
    However, I am still dealing with toddlers, so I guess we are even.

  115. Tuesdays are for SPINNING!!!!! Girl, go spin a bit! It always makes you relax. Then, breathe, breathe, breathe. Then tell yourself “this always happens, I will finish, I will live…”! We know you can do it!!!We’re ALL rooting for you! Go Steph! Go Steph! Go Steph!!!

  116. Why is it when you are on a deadline that they try to fix the computer to “make it better for you?”
    Have I told you I love you and I love reading what you write? I rarely comment but often read, laugh and commiserate. I hope one day to meet you. But that will require me taking over our knitting guild from the old ladies so that we would do something huge like bring the Yarn Harlot to Buffalo, NY. I should work out the timing with your agent…LOL Don’t you have family here?
    Virtual hugs… you’ll finish the book… hopefully with family intact.

  117. My fifteen year old daughter saw my picture from your Atlanta post. Her response: ‘You’re weird, Mom.’ What would we do without our families? πŸ™‚

  118. I feel that way sometimes too, except I don’t really have a family here, so I just yell at myself if I want crazy pie! But then I want actual pie, and so sometimes I get distracted and make some or brownies. Or start new sweaters. All of these are good possibilities.

  119. My dear Harlotta – the moon is full tomorrow. You are LITERALLY fighting the cosmic tide. Just take it as it comes.
    However, I feel your pain. I saw the word Linksys on the box and about created my own crazy pie. I bought said company’s wireless router for our modem some moons ago. I have ONE desktop for two teenagers with teenage homework; I have my own laptop and so does the teenaged knitter, but not internet attached. The router sat around here for awhile as things are wont to do during the school year, and then I had time to install it. Plug it in, let the cd basically click itself, and be ready to roll. Of course this thing does not care what kind of propaganda is on it’s box. It THINKS it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, my laptop THINKS it’s connecting…but it’s not. Grrrrr. I try to call customer service for the company (customer service is in India) and am served up with a canned message with regard to how long they will be unavailable…due to a tsunami or typhoon in the south Pacific. It still sits right next to me blinking away, sending out electronic smoke signals that no one will be getting anytime soon.
    I am missing pic number one of the Wollemeinse socks, have no tatoo pics on this day’s entry and am loving the red sky at night yarn (I love creative yarn color names…this blue #5 thing is just not inspirational)I am very glad that the teeagers here finally (I think…) have gotten the INSTALL AND DOWNLOAD NOTHING WITHOUT ME, YOUR NETWORK MANAGER memo and that my husband cannot even remember his own passwords.
    Again, the moon is full tomorrow. Ride it out girl and think happy thoughts of DC metro area knitters stretching out like they have come out of a clown car, waiting to see you. We don’t care how clean the house is, as long as the wool is in the bag(gie).

  120. Stephanie, every writer I’ve ever taken a class from says they do this with every book and every writer they know does, too. You are not deficient or inferior, just normal. Would that the life of a writer just included the stereotypical mornings tapping away with coffee and a favorite slouchy sweater and not the deadlines and touring that make up so much of the reality.
    Best of luck with the router. No adult conversation should include both ‘hacking’ and ‘router.’
    I often feel fortunate I found the kind of guy who actually knows how to do most computer things (programmer by trade), knows when he doesn’t know how to do something, warns me of big fixes, and has the manners to always check that it’s OK before fiddling with my laptop. Does his own laundry and cooks, too. Love that man.

  121. P.S. (yes, I post long and then I remember stuff…sorry)
    I say Joe needs to have an amplifier dropped on any fingers that want to try to tweak anything electronic.
    And the strike that someone mentioned is an EXCELLENT idea. I say you go for it.

  122. Pick a quiet moment and have a calm and thoughtful discussion with Joe about his death wish. Suggest he talk with clergy about it.
    Betraying my age here, at the precise moment that man first reached out a trembling foot to place it on the surface of the moon, a moment when people all over the world stopped and held their breaths and watched with fear and awe, my brother, the engineer, leaned over, blocking the view of the screen, to fine-tune the picture.

  123. Your comment about people-not-writing-books who do not see the dirt made me think that maybe they have an undiagnosed version of beer goggles – crud goggles! (or maybe that was only funny to me.)

  124. I read a bit from Elizabeth’s Zimmerman’s The Opinionated Knitter today that reminded me of your writing struggles:
    “I find more and more that a writer in this family garners little time and no sympathy for the practice of the craft.” And she wrote in longhand!
    (I’ll be so impressed if I find out you actually read all 150-200 comments you get daily, especially when on book deadline!)

  125. Dirt, house is trashed, I believe all this would lead to a natural immunity. I think anti-bacterial soap is an oxymoron. I mean we do have good bacteria living on/in our skin. Building immunity is good, exposed while young can sometimes lead to lifetime immunity and healthier lives.
    Let it all go knit/finish your book, ignore the crap and see how far it goes. Sooner or later, hopefully, “the other inhabitants” of your abode will become disgusted and do something about it. If not, what are children for? Free labor! That’s why our first generation ancestors had so many children. From our previous 12-17 children the work load is now reduced, they need to suffer so they can tell their children how bad “they” had it. Make them feel the pain.
    Good luck on the book.

  126. Funny how this reminds me of when I was supposed to be studying for finals or writing linguistics papers I always was overwhelmed with inspiration for a sewing project and had to make a shirt, skirt, or whatever before I could return to the task at hand. I got burned out on sewing years ago, but I think I may have gotten more sewing done when I was supposed to be doing other things than at any other time.
    Tell Joe if he even attempts to touch your computer you’ll duct tape him to a chair until the book is finished and delivered to the publisher. Say it while a vein in your forehead is throbbing and/or your eye is twitching so he really believes you. He needs to know you mean business. (Joe, don’t push your luck. Just toss the book in the recycle bin and go make dinner.)

  127. The commediane Elaine Boozler says that they only way anything should be labeled a time saving device is if when the grim reaper shows up you could say something like, “Oh no. I have the microwave, the vaccuum, the dustbuster, … and he would have to reply, “Well okay, but I’ll be back next Tuesday.”

  128. The only way I get anything knitted OR written is to pretend that my house IS clean, my children ARE grown, and the world WILL end if those socks aren’t done and nobody reads my crapfest of a novel. Since both socks and books get finished, I can only jump up and down and shriek “Ha! I’m right! Now call the monkey gods to clean the house or I shall stop writing and knitting immediately!”

  129. my personal favorite is men’s inability to estimate how long it will take to do technological things. ACK. my husband continually says things like: “it’ll take 5 minutes” and 6 hours later he’s still swearing about how it should have taken 5 minutes. eeeeek. don’t let him have the computer. Just say NO. hehe

  130. Ah the computer, if it was a horse we could shoot it! ( not really, but it is so frustrating ) I have read about writers, and it is very rare to have the writing done early. Really, it is a human nature thing. I mean, look at tax deadline time in this country. The post office has to hire extra help every single year just to handle the last minute rush.

  131. If it wasn’t for your last story about the dead hard drive, I wouldn’t have spent the $150 to get a separate hard drive to back up my Mac; as soon as I did it, the ‘puter started making weird noises. So I know fer sure you learned your lesson, and won’t be letting Joe anywhere near that baby until the book is in your publisher’s hands.
    Sockses is yummy – but I missed the tattooed ladies! Ratfarts!
    Write on, dear Harlot – we want to buy you a new appliance again!

  132. Have Ken take a look at the router. If Mr. Harlot did it right, it should work and make the internet connection for the other computers, the non-main ones, much faster. Theoretically of course. You could botch the job and make it completely not work.
    But hey, practice makes perfect right?

  133. Yep! Variation on the age-old theme “If it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it!”. This one being “If it ‘aint broke, don’t for heaven’s sake let the male of the species near it!”. IT Books being second only to the pruning shears in regard to the amount of havoc they can reek!

  134. My sympathies…I have a husband who is not allowed near anything remotely technical or powered by electricity. When we got married, one friend got us a blender and a power drill, presumably with the idea of “a gift for each partner.” Wrong. I use both, the husband will not go near either of them. It wouldn’t be so bad, but he’s an electrical engineer by training…chill on the book, you’ll get there! Need to have a look at the itinerary and diary next time!

  135. I have a much higher dirt tolerance than my poor husband who spent over 20 years in the Air Force before meeting me… the Queen of Clutter… and Dame of Unfinished Projects… In any case, when I notice that the house is a wreck it’s really, really bad and I end up doing a whirlwind cleaning frenzy for about a week. Then it’s back to the old neglect. I am also the one who has managed to screw up her own computer and am now begging my dh to fix it for me. He just laughs. Sigh. I think you put into words what he feels about me sometimes. Thank goodness he loves me!

  136. Tattooed ladies? Where? No tattooed ladies here. I just see beautiful socks. Don’t see any dirt, either. Folks, have your eyes checked.
    Harlot, keep writing. It’ll be over soon. Promise.

  137. I sent you an email with my ideas for getting people to clean up, but I like the idea above that says that you should take care of your needs and let them squirm in their own mess.
    A thought: My husband pointed out to me once that when he hears “men do this” and “men don’t do that,”
    he wonders why he tries to be a good feminist man.
    This guy cooks dinner every single night and did all the house stuff for a while so that I could get tenure. So I now say “Many men do….” How would we feel if people said in comments “Women do this” and “Women don’t do that”
    Anyway, it does seem that most men do things that can be tough to live with. And yes, I did win the lottery on my husband…even if he does do a few annoying things. Keep the cook happy!

  138. You are absolutely right. DO NOT let anyone improve your laptop at a time when you need it to work. You need to put it under your pillow. You need to have a trusted friend keep it at her house.

  139. As of 09/25 Hazel Knits is sold out of “Sailor’s Delight” – and I was actually thinking of accomplishing a few firsts – buying wool online and knitting a pair of funky socks. . .oh well, next time!

  140. Maybe it was the full moon, maybe the HIDEOUS humidity (did you hair even fit through the doorway?) but the crazy pie was being flung all over my house last night, until my 2 year old looked at me and said “I love you, mommy”. Could anything else make you feel so awful?
    My sympathies and best of luck with the deadline/computer/family liabilities.

  141. Just remember: whilst others in your house seem to not be making any progress whatsoever, you are:
    -finishing a book
    -making another pair of socks
    -finishing another cardigan
    -and probably seeing to it that everyone is fed.
    If anything, you need to hold your head real high and feel smug and superior.
    And the dirt? It always waits. Always.

  142. Your house isn’t trashed. Repeat this mantra (said by my wee daughter, 40 years ago): “Our house isn’t messy. It’s BUSY.” Also, I don’t know what caused it, I didn’t get tattooed ladies (although that’s an interesting thought) but I’m grateful for TWO pictures of those wonderful socks. It’s contagious and flying all over North America, maybe the world: SOCKITIS is setting in!

  143. Have you posted your “basic sock recipe” anywhere? I have a pattern that calls for 56sts on 2.75mm but they always seem a bit smallish.

  144. My husband has so far managed to “fix” every WinTel machine in the house except for my laptop, which he is forbidden to touch. (He’s really a Mac person.) I keep backups of my books on various SD cards and two separate removable hard drives, which live in the fireproof media safe. I’ll feel much, much safer when they’re published and released into the wild… (which, at the rate I’m going, will be 2010 or so).
    Good luck finishing your new one; I’m looking forward to reading it!

  145. Hang in, Steph; the book will be finished soon. Two thoughts: (1) go make a back up of your book from that damn laptop — NOW! Grab the first flash drive you can (Joe must have one) and save, save, save (lest you encounter the dreaded “brick”) (2) develop a dirt/dust immunity yourself — use your best acting or mind-twisting skills to just pretend the d&d doesn’t exist. If you can calm yourself enough to speak before hundreds of knitters a night for 10 days straight, you have the mental capacity to ignore the d&d. See if anyone else notices first.
    Love the picot edge. Can’t wait to read the book.

  146. Why do men always have to mess with the electronics? I agree with others. Back-up that book onto a flash drive — they are mucho cheapo now that they are so common — and save it from your husband. Routers do not NEED to be “tweaked.” They work just fine out of the box.
    Maybe if you just started washing YOUR clothes and taking care of YOUR rooms and cooking YOUR meals, they might notice? They’re all (young) adults and need to learn to do these things since I’m sure they think they’ll do just fine when they’re on their own because, like adolescents everywhere, they have ALL the answers.

  147. That’s it.
    I’m including a flash drive with the package I’m prepping for you.
    Back up to it. Wear it around your neck. Tell Joe he touches it and I come after him. Period.
    He may be bigger than me, but I’m short and I fight dirty. πŸ™‚

  148. Hey! Aren’t those the socks you were knitting in New Orleans? That yarn is soooooo yummy.
    I have one guy who fools with our computers. His name is Jake and he is a Fully Certified Wonk. Only Certified Wonks, Licensed Geeks and their rarefied brethrern are allowed to do anything to a computer in this house, by Royal Decree. Me being Queen and all.
    Back up early and often and keep your flash drive on your person.
    Tell the daughters and Joe I am doing some Shut Up, Clean Up and Feed Yourself Voodoo this week, and they can disobey the spirits at their own risk.

  149. Belated, as I was whacked from my own writing (first ever fiber festival this weekend – oh. my. gawd!). All I could do yesterday was stare at the pretty socks and the book and giggle in a feeble-minded way. But now that I’m functioning again, my first thought on seeing the words “Rosetta stone” in the cover blurb of that book…
    Joe. *Dude.* If you need a Rosetta stone to do something?
    Back away *now*!
    (Your prospective defense lawyer will thank you. If it goes to trial, any women will hang the jury against the men. Trust me on this.)

  150. My husband likes to remind me that I can’t kill the teenagers, that’s where the grand children will come from. Piaget needed to add to his theory that not only are teenagers feeling invulnerable, they are impervious to many things; like the presence of mess and dirt. They seem to be able to only see pretty and shiny things. Bliss, I guess. Maybe that’s a version of heaven, we can ignore the less desirable. Good luck with the book deadline.

  151. Aah, but you can secure an OpenWRT-based router and tweak it any way you want to. Taking one out of the box from the Big Box Store and plugging it in is a wide open invitation for people to park down your street and capture everything you do…and everything stored on your computer….or to dork up everything on your computers…. and whatever else they want to do. OpenWRT lets you secure your router the way you want to.
    But I admit his timing could be better….

  152. Ugh — my family has that dirt immunity, too. I hate that. I am happy to claim a husband who actually knows his way around a computer, um, Mac. I think that is why! He keeps me safe from the internets!
    Good luck with the deadline.

  153. “do you want another piece of crazy pie?”
    Also love the line about liking only finished things and that is the problem with the kids. You are freaking genius.
    Sailor’s Delight is such an inspired name for a colourway — picot edged Monkeys are next on my sock list. You know…whenever I finish the other socks…

  154. That is a good book and a very good router. Hacking a Linux based router is way more fun than knitting and it certainly doesn’t leave a mess of fibers all over the house the way some activities are known to do. Besides, if your router takes a dive just plug your DSL/Cable modem directly into your laptop and you should be good to go. You can make a whole crazy outfit out of a ball of string but you can’t figure out how to plug a computer into a modem?

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