Complex and Random Monday

That word, complex, is a good way to describe the last few days, and the next few.  For some reason that escapes me now, I’m flying to Portland even though I’m on a book deadline and it’s twelve days before Christmas. 

I think I probably thought I would be done the book by now, and working on SS11 and being able to go to some meetings in person, as well as seeing Tina and her girls before Christmas seemed right – but still, this weekend when I was trying to throw up a tree – finish a book, make plans for the girls, attend Christmas parties – and prepare to leave the country?  I felt like whomever made that plan was a few elves short of an effective workshop, if you know what I mean.

I think I’ve pulled it all off though. 

1. My tree is up and it is very nice.  Maximum height, nice and pointy.  That’s important to me, since it is a little known fact that a roundish tree can spoil the entire season. 

(I had a conversation with the tree guy about round trees.  He said that he has to sell them because some people like them, but that really he thinks those people are misguided about trees.  Then he said that he could never put his name on that statement – because he’s a tree guy, and he’s supposed to think all trees are equal, and because slagging one kind of tree over another really seems to upset people.  Then he said that the round tree people only get mad because they’re so misguided about trees that they think that the people who want a tall pointy tree are misguided.  We spent a lot of time nodding and agreeing.  Joe spent a lot of time looking at us like we were very, very misguided just because we care about the shape of a Christmas tree.  Joe is rather misguided. )

2. The knitting is seriously behind.  I  have twelve days and 5.5 socks to knit, although today could be a game changer.

If this sock is done by the end of all my travels today, I think I might be able to restore some hope. (That’s the Paul Atwell socks, in Zen Yarn Garden’s Serenity 20. Colour is Mocha Olive, I think.  I can’t be totally sure because I’m at the airport and the ball band is at home.) I am at the heel flap.  Anything could happen.

3. I am a huge procrastinator, so because a lot of you said you wanted it, and because I was totally trying to find something else to do besides write a book, put up a tree or doing my Christmas knitting,  I put together a pattern for the circle scarf I showed you on Friday.  (The clincher was when Natalie told me to put the pattern up. Even though she works for me, not the other way around,  I try not to cross her.  She’s the only one who really knows what’s going on or where to find my stuff.) 

I’ve called it Encompass (because it does) and it’s available by either going to Ravelry and downloading it, or clicking here:

(I am hoping that is not a string of code, but a link to the page.  It could be either, and if it’s a string of code I have no idea how to fix it. I don’t even know if it’s going to be code until I hit "post".  It’s a crap shoot.)

I hope you all love it, or at least love it as much as I do.  The one I knit is a gift, and it turns out that I’m a little tiny bit broken hearted about that, so as soon as I get the holiday wrapped, another one of these will be on my needles.  It takes less than 300m of chunky yarn, and knits up fast on 6.5mm circular needles. Still time to make a few before Christmas I think… even if you’re not really quick.

4. I packed yarn for all five socks left to do in my carry-on for today’s flight.  Clearly I am now so entirely deluded by the whole thing that I think that it is totally possible that I will finish the book and knit five socks in a 12 hour travel period.  That is not normal thinking.  I knew that, and I took the yarn anyway, reasoning that my flight or my connection could be delayed or cancelled because the weather has been bad.  That felt reasonable, but it just means that what I actually believed was that all of that was not possible 12 hours, but was if I had 24. 

5. That’s still not a normal level of optimism, and I don’t even care. It’s Christmas.  It’s not a time of year for normal optimism.

152 thoughts on “Complex and Random Monday

  1. Hold on to your socks, everyone — I sense ‘IT’ looming, and it’s got the potential to set some records. (Not that I find my friend’s meltdowns to be entertaining, or anything like that. Nope. Not me.)

  2. Thank you for posting the pattern! Also thanks for the link to the Atwell Socks pattern – I love the idea of paying for a pattern with a story. Of course now I can’t decide which one to add the my Get This Knitted Before Christmas! list.
    I hope your trip west is equal parts peaceful and productive.

  3. I love your optimism, your pointy tree, the fact that you also love Emily Johnson’s designs (aren’t they the bomb??), and Encompass! Hope your flight is delayed somewhere so you can knit like mad and perhaps finish 2, 3, or 5 socks! Good luck!!

  4. I, too like tall, pointy trees. I have a 12 car trip on Sunday and am expecting to knit a pair of socks. I am not nearly as fast as you are. Now who’s delusional?

  5. On top of everything else, do you have people asking you to make things for them to give as presents, too? I’ve had several people asking me for things. One was today asking me what colors I had for felted mittlets. For you, I asked? No, I want to give them as gifts. Sorry, that’s not going to happen.

  6. Having had a simple 2 hour direct flight become a 12 hour oddessy, you are not insane to overpack yarn, you are cautious. Massive knitting time may be in your future, although you may be sitting on the floor in a crowded airport….

  7. about that tree thing? how on EARTH do you “round tree people” get your darn ornaments to stay on?? its like the shape and personality of the tree actually repel ornament attachment!
    Go pointy!

  8. Gorgeous tree there–this from a cube-tree person. Preferably white pine. Cubes mean that when you’re small, you can slide under, look up and have *no idea* that you’re not in an enchanted forest somewhere. Also, cubes take up much of the room rendering other decorations superfluous. PS: gorgeous socks too.

  9. It was awfully hard to finish reading your post when the buy-now button called, so excuse me but I took a little buy-now break. Now I have returned with your very dotty pattern (reminds me of those candies they used to stick on long white strips of paper and you had to eat just a little of the paper if you wanted the candy)… anyhow, I digress. Thank you so much for the pattern! I was stash diving for it last night (just in case) and have a couple candidates in mind. Luv the socks. Safe and happy travels. Oh yeah, and we have a pointy tree and it is the best!

  10. We have a very round tree this year. This is entirely due to the fact that the only way we could get a tree that hadn’t been pruned to within an inch of its life was to get this unshapely chubby spheretree. I like it anyway. It has character. 🙂

  11. Downloaded the pattern. It’s very nice. Is it just me or is there a problem with the gauge? If it’s 3 sts to the inch, then 120 sts cast on should be 40 inches, right? But the pattern says it’s 60 inches around. Should it be 180 stitches, is the gauge misstated, or have I simply drunk too much egg nog?

  12. Thanks for the pattern! I’ll knit it as a reward to myself after I finish all this goddam Christmas knitting.

  13. Thank you so much for the pattern! I have purchased it and plan to knit it as a post-Christmas treat for myself. Your tree is beautiful. Shape doesn’t matter so much to me. What I really try to avoid, sometimes with more success than others, is the dreaded needle dropper. Safe travels!

  14. I’ve read the beginning of the post several times and can’t quite shake the impression I got that you were using ‘throwing up a tree’ as a euphemism for your book deadline. I hope not since that sounds really painful.
    Nice pattern, BTW. Definitely on my me list for after the holidays.

  15. Re the conversation with the tree guy… Maybe I’ve become cynical… but I wonder if the next customer showed up and was all excited about round trees… would he have been just as agreeable and calling pointy tree people misguided… I’d like to think that folks that sell Christmas trees wouldn’t be two faced… I love your tree. The fact that is up is a tribute to how much you value your family!

  16. Love the violin tree ornament and the cowl!
    Stay calm and peaceful
    (note to self: you do the same)

  17. Lovely tree, lovely knitting, lovely hopes!!! I have so many UFOs for Christmas that I’ll never get them all done in time. . . of course, I have all these papers to grade and the grades have to be turned in BEFORE Christmas. YIKES!!!! And I’m reading a blog and its comments: see what addiction will do? As always, thank you and have a wonderful trip.

  18. Thank you for the pattern. You’re absolutely nuts… you do know that, right? Why not just paint a room or cram a speaking engagement in the seaon while you’re at it? Just kidding, but you are one seriously warped woman when it comes to activities. You bounce around like a squirrel on crack (sorry about the reference to the much-loathed rodent). Hope you find time to RELAX sometime during the holidays. Cheers!

  19. Oh Dear. Is “IT” coming soon? I’m having the same delusions about getting a quilt finished and shipped by Wednesday. And, umm, not all the blocks are finished. Or even started. Most of them. Well, OK. I have four done. And it’s not a wall hanging.
    (hands over ears, rocking, and singing la-la-la-laaaaaaa!)
    It’ll all get done. Somehow.

  20. Love the pattern. I will be making this for MYSELF.
    Have a GREAT trip, I plan to buy your book and your pattern, along with MANY other people.
    If the tree theory is important to you and the Tree Guy, then go for it. I do not care enough about an individual tree to spend a lot of time picking it out. I am 58, and this will by my 58th Christmas tree. Some are good, some are bad, but none stand out in my mind. I view a tree with holes as an opportunity to use those giant ornaments stored away. A perfect tree probably shouldn’t have anything on it to mess it up. Each year’s tree is nice, none is particularly memorable. Even if it’s bad, it doesn’t really matter.
    One tip-I find that I have fewer allergy problems with the tree if I hose it down pretty thoroughly the day before bringing it in the house. It dawned on me that the people who cut trees don’t particularly clean them. This made a big difference in my allergies. Obviously, I live in a place without snow.
    Have a great holiday!

  21. So sorry to inform you that those of us who love round fat tall trees have tree guys on our side, too. Our Farmer’s Market in Duluth has tons of great trees, many of which are tall (good) and roundish. More space to fill with staggering numbers of ornaments. (OK, I have two obsessions–yarn and ornaments. Some ornaments are also yarn. Nice…) Tell your tree guy he might have colleagues on the Other Side.

  22. I think you were totally in the right packing all the socks in your carry on. You just never know how many you might finish!

  23. hmm, a nice cowl pattern in chunky yarn… wow, I too am looking for something other than a term paper (etc, etc,) to do. However I think since I’m on my second extension I’ll have to wait a few days before I download it.
    My kids picked out our tree this year,and they went for a round one with long, evil needles. We have to wear gloves just to get the ornaments on, although I do like the shape. Just sayin’.

  24. 1. I love Christmas trees, no matter the shape. Unfortunately tree sap makes me break out in hives, so the days the tree is put up and taken down are horrible. For that reason I stopped getting live trees, but I’m alright with it.
    2. I absolutely LOVE those socks!!!! I may need to make them.
    3. No one to make it for, but I do think it very nice.
    4.You know if you did not bring the yarn to make all 5 pairs of socks something would happen, stranding you, with time on your hands, no socks to knit, and not being able to get sock yarn to knit with. It could happen! The wise knitter is the prepared knitter. When I travel I always bring more projects than I know I could possibly work on or finish.

  25. After buying a large tree before the deep freeze, I discovered what is most important about a Christmas tree is the fact you are able to lug it into the house and the tree stand. I got it into the house. I had to find help to get it into the tree stand. Next year, I will buy a tree that is not as tall as I am. Merry Christmas, and happy knitting!!!!

  26. Our tree selection is always very serendipitous (sp?) based on conditions of trees, lots,and (SOMETIMES) sobriety of sales staff. Just saying…as with many knitting projects…go with what moves you at the moment and love it!

  27. horray for Natalie!!
    Merry Christmas Steph!!
    I bought the pattern and am casting on *as soon as i’m done typing*
    the sock looks great!!

  28. Thank you for the scarf pattern, I know when I purchase it I will love it!! There is only 12 days til christmas *Feels woozy with all the knitting I have to do…I wish I had magical elves to get my knitting done for me..

  29. This year we shall be treeless due to two new dogs who have made a hobby of pulling down the hat stand – at least that isn’t covered in lights!!
    Love the optimism – I took christmas knitting to a supply teaching job today – and made two new knitters instead of a scarf!

  30. I took newbie knitter DD to the knitting shop for a holiday project (she is wishing she was back at school she is so bored – and we have 6 more weeks to go). She was so amazed she understood what the owner was talking about (decrease, stocking stitch, plain, purl, cast-on)she said “I can speak knitting!”

  31. I was trying to explain the crafty-persons unrealistic levels of christmas optimism, to a friend of my who doesn’t. Her house, as a contrast to mine, is much cleaner. That’s because she doesn’t have to store her craft supplies. but I digress.
    I said to her, how do you know it’s Christmas, if you aren’t making entirely impossible to complete lists, and bonding with your other family members, by staying up taking turns on the sewing machine and knitting too much? what do you DO with yourself at 2 am the week before Christmas???
    She thought my attitude was ………misguided. Silly her, she SLEEPS that week!

  32. Thank you so much for the pattern, Steph! I really love the cowl! I’ve ordered some beautiful Misti Alpaca Chunky (in natural white) and I’m getting the pattern now — so, in a couple days I’ll be good to go! Can’t wait to start it–I think it will be a new favorite! You don’t seem like a procrastinator at all — you get so much done! Maybe that should be your NEXT book…..
    Love the sock—you really have a way of inspiring us knitters. Thanks!

  33. It sounds like Christmas Hysteria has finally hit?
    I do the same thing when it comes to packing and flying, I always carry more yarn than I will ever knit, either in my carry on or luggage. It will somehow all be done, you know, wrapping at the wee hours of the morning?

  34. I’m jealous of all of you with real trees. My allergies forced us into a fake and it’s lovely but I miss the lovely scent of real pine. Sigh. I knew I’d never be able to “wash” the tree here in Montana, as someone who must know my allergist suggested above!
    Taking all that yarn with you is a guarantee your luggage won’t be lost. If the yarn was in the checked luggage it would go missing and you’d have to buy yarn to knit! Not that it’s a bad thing when you’re going to Tina’s where there’s an endless supply, but you know what I mean. 🙂
    Merry Christmas and happy knitting!

  35. Rounded tree? What is this “rounded tree” you speak of? I do not admit that such a thing could exist in my universe! Where would you put the top ornament???

  36. In Fairbanks trees don’t grow round. I go out into the woods, or the back yard (one and the same) and cut the least spindly-looking one, one that’s a little taller than I am, that I can find. One with branches, not stubs. Preferable white spruce, not black spruce. Many people cut two black spruce and wire them together. Whatever it takes…

  37. Yeah, well this seems reasonable to me. Usually you are tryng to finish a bascillion projects and someone is charting out your every breathing minute. So 5.5 socks in 12 days. Totally doable dude!
    Have a good trip.

  38. I just purchased the cowl pattern and am so excite. Especially so because I had knee surgery today and expect I will get very bored over the days to come. I do have one question, do you think this would work with a mobius-like twist?

  39. Obviously you have not put Lene in charge of the schedule this year….. I’m sure she would have told you that a trip was not humanly feasible! (But you’ve done it, anyway!) Good luck with those socks!

  40. Thank you, thank you for Encompass. Add me to the deluded: I think I can get this in the Mail in time for Christams.
    Safe travels.

  41. You were trying to throw up a tree? That’s what you get for eating it in the first place. 🙂 Thanks for the pattern!

  42. Yay, Natalie! I was wondering why on earth you showed us all the cowl, without letting us have the pattern. 🙂 I have to agree about the pointy tree. We had a narrow escape this year, when my six-year-old insisted that he WANTED a Christmas Bush. I think, though, it was just because he thought that was funny, so I’m not giving up hope quite yet.

  43. Looks like you have some Italian spam in the comments around 7:45 pm.
    I am very excited about the cowl and must buy it immediately. Thank you for writing the pattern amongst all the other goings on.

  44. Love to see that you’re enjoying some of my fave yarn from Roxanne at Zen Yarn Garden. Her colours are spectacular to the point that my stash has become a bit of a collection of her artistry.
    Count me as a member of your deluded Christmas knitters club. I’m 1/3 of the way through mitt #2 of a pair that should be gifted tomorrow night. Good luck with yours and safe travels!

  45. I’m trying to avoid “IT” and I recommend rechecking your list of people who deserve hand knits. Got an aunt or sister that always looks a little disappointed when she opens her gift and finds lace fingerless gloves or a cowl? For the cost of a skien of yarn you can go pick up some nice beads and make them earrings and matching necklace. Cousin that you only see once a year? Tea mug to go that holds the end of your tea bag in place. They are never around so they don’t know what their missing right?

  46. Oh, you are devious! Just a little mention of a nice stitch design, and then another comment of how nicely it’s going, and then Oh, by the way, you can have it yourself “here”. You are a master (mistress?) saleswoman! And yes, it’s perfect!
    Sorry about the rotten weather here on the West coast. Foggy and rainy and just wet. Our snow is now slush here in the hills 80 miles East of Portland. A parking lot in Astoria collapsed and dropped 8 feet into the hidden underground space because of the wet. Enjoy your time planning with Tina!

  47. You go girl, I have faith you can do it!
    And if you can do it, so can I. . . I’m delusional, aren’t I? 😉

  48. It’s really good to pack too much yarn for a flight, because I think it sort of guarantees that
    planes will depart and arrive on time. The one time
    I only took enough yarn to reasonably complete during the flight, it was foggy in Toronto, plane went on to Montreal and stayed there for hours and hours and hours and me with no yarn. So good for you. Your flights will go smoothly!

  49. The perfect way to make sure your travel plans go smoothly is to take multiple projects in your carry on. It always works for me when flying from Portland, OR to the northeast! Looking foward to seeing you at Madrona, SAW and Sock Summit.
    Happy Holidays!

  50. Being in the middle of my own personal holiday/work crisis I REALLY appreciate your procrastination and making up the pattern…merry, merry!

  51. I looked up the pattern for that sock and am heartily impressed by the pattern collection. The family tree is such a creative and wonderful concept. I’m really enjoying reading the history of her family.
    Thank you for sharing!

  52. I’m working on brown Paul Attwell Socks too. I have to say, they aren’t the fastest pattern I’ve ever knit up. I hope yours go a little faster than mine, because I’ve abandoned them as a Christmas present, in favour of a pair of simple vanilla socks.

  53. So here’s the thing, I’ve been following your blog for a few Christmasses now and you always have this pressure and I think that you always MAKE IT! So I’m in this place where I’m thinking, “Stephanie can do this” … but I still have this suspenseful (??) feeling of, “Is she gonna make it in time??”
    It’s quite entertaining. Like a James Bond movie without the hunky actor.

  54. Interesting . . .about your tree fetish. And I do think we would call that a tree fetish. There are also a group of ‘tree people’ that show up late to the party and take home whatever tree will fit on the car, not loose all its needles on the way and will not be too lopsided once it’s in the old rusty metal stand that nobody in the family wanted back ends up at your house simply because you are the only one in the family with a sense of respect for the past and a large helping of guilt. Wait. Where am I? Did I just say that all out loud?

  55. That sock is just gorgeous. The tree is too. (I miss real trees; my hubby finally won that argument by saying breathing is good, but I still say trees should not open like umbrellas.)

  56. Nice to know you’re close to PDX for a few days, even if I won’t see you. Sorry about the weather; if I’d known you were coming I’d have tried to fix it for you. ;o).
    Have purchased and downloaded the cowl pattern; queued the Paul Atwells. They are both gorgeous.
    Have a wonderful trip.

  57. The state of Oregon just seems brighter when I know you are in it. Have a great visit and a when you return home a wonderful Christmas. I for one love your optimism it gives me hope.

  58. Wool fumes + pine fumes + book deadline + airplane cabin air + sock gifts to knit = Truly delusional.
    Stephanie, do you hear someone singing “The Morning After” by any chance?

  59. I wonder how many knitters stranded in the Icelandic volcano mess in Europe wish they had had MORE yarn?

  60. I hope your trip is successful, and you get back home in one piece in time for Christmas with as many socks as you need. And a book manuscript.
    If you get to Cannon Beach, go to Pizza a Fetta. It serves the best pizza in the world, possibly, and the proprietor is a good guy.

  61. Merry Christmas – let your days be merry and bright and filled with increases enthusiasm for your art, your work, your family and friends. In other words have one hell of a good time. ;>)

  62. I always travel with far more projects than a normal person would because You Never Know What Can Happen. Only last weekend, I went away for the day, carrying a sock, and 2 cardigans, only to find I left the sock pattern at home. Imagine if I hadn’t had the 2 cardigans!

  63. 1. Lovely tree. I’m a fan of pointy arrow-shaped trees, too.
    2. I have confidence in your sock schedule.
    3. Thanks for making the pattern! My customer swill be thrilled.

  64. I tried a round tree one year. We went out and cut one down with a Tree Permit. It’s like a hunting license but for trees. Round trees are not Trees, they are Bushes. A Christmas Bush just doesn’t cut it. Where does one put the Angel/Star on top if it’s round?

  65. Great sock!!! Thanks for posting the link. One of the things I love about your blog is that you always find great patterns and post about them. I wouldn’t have known about that very nifty sock pattern otherwise. Encompass looks wonderful, but it will definitely have to wait until after Christmas! As for Christmas trees, I like pointy shapely trees too but we like them a little bit fuller than you do. We have our tree in a room with a cathedral ceiling so if it’s too thin it just doesn’t work and ends up looking a bit anorexic. Good luck on your book/Christmas knitting mission. There is no way on God’s green earth that I could get all that knitting done. It’s a good thing that you’re a really fast knitter!

  66. I’m sure Lena is absolutely smug right now saying to herself,”Well, You wouldn’t have all that knitting left if I were in charge!” Thanks for the pattern,it really is lovely. Good luck with all your deadlines and as far as Christmas knitting goes, it’s the thought that counts. Your editors may not see their deadline the same way.

  67. What? Are you saying that taking 24 (knitting) hours worth of yarn isn’t a normal preparation for travel? Why, you could have fooled me. I do it all the time. I even have to confess (don’t get mad at me) that I actually hope for delays at times so as to get more knitting time (sheepish grin goes right about here).
    Don’t fret about the X-mas knitting by the way, the folks will be happy to just have you home safe in time for Christmas, especially if there are many delays about.
    Nice tree! Pointy is good.

  68. Love an ungroomed (pointy) chritsmas tree, very difficult to find here it seems, I’ve clocked a lot of miles at the u-pick.

  69. I just squee’d outloud at the tree, again at the sock, and again that you put up the pattern. My husband thinks I’m having a seizure, but I assure you it’s all knitterly love overload

  70. A Christmas miracle…or two.
    The suspension of the laws of time and space.
    Why not?
    It’s the season for this…to bring light to a dark world. You are knitting for others, right?
    Those socks will travel the world on much beloved feet. Each foot, each toe will be blessed by your hands.
    A Christmas miracle or two… or three…
    a sackful of love, and health and blessings for you and everyone you love…
    A New Year…brand new, shiney miracles for you. So that you will have everything you need for every aspect of your life, exactly when you need them!
    And Christmas miracles for all us that bless you, that love you, and support you throughout your New Year. Because togther we can create knitting miracles for others (Knitting without Borders).
    All this for you, and for all of us too… God Bless us everyone!

  71. First time posting, eek! 🙂
    So, I was at the shops the other day and this caught my eye, and I thought “Yarn Harlot is gonna love this!” I was so taken up by it, and I think you’d also appreciate the fact that someone else out there in the fashion world loves the idea too!
    You’ve got to zoom in to get it…although it’s still nowhere near actually seeing it for real, and feeling it, and turning it the other way round just to be sure! 🙂
    Enjoy, and have a wonderful Christmas!

  72. Christmas optimism is a thing apart – I took enough yarn to work today for two pairs of wristlets and a scarf, and I don’t even get a lunch break 🙂

  73. Personally I’m still holding out for an extra 4 or 5 hours a day for the next week or perhaps someone will make my dreams conme true and put Christmas day back to the 29th?
    Lovely tree, superb socks again.
    Safe trip.

  74. It will happen- and if it dosn’t the world will still turn and Christmas will still happen- and it will still be fun.

  75. They aren’t “round trees”, Stephanie, you silly goose. They are FAT trees. And we like fat trees down here in the states.
    Probably related to our weight problem, now that I think of it. Maybe we think we look skinnier standing next to a fat tree.
    Pretty smart of you to have packed all that yarn in case you get delayed. You have now ensured that you won’t be. Now if you HADN’T packed up all that yarn, you’d have had a 12 hour layover in Oakland for sure….ask me how I know.

  76. Any tree can be purposeful. For our 2000 Christmas tree we chopped down a roadside stag horn sumac, and we have never gone back to a traditional tree. The year 2000 was a huge year of change for my family, so a slight change in tradition felt right.
    Its all about attitude.

  77. All I can say is Good Luck to you, Stephanie! Be careful.
    Thanks for the scowl pattern. (is it a scarf or a giant cowl?) My LYS has this very yarn and it is the softest thing EVER!

  78. Now hold on a second, I LIKE round trees. They’re much friendlier and jollier than tall, pointy ones.
    Way to write a pattern on a deadline for everything but! Thanks 🙂

  79. This Christmas tree shape thing is interesting. When I was growing up outside Chicago, my dad would always buy a shaggy tree – you know with the really long needles. I always thought it made the tree look like a monster could be hiding inside, sort of like a green Big Foot. We routinely lost ornaments in its depths, only to be rediscovered when we chopped it into pieces and burned it up in the fireplace.
    My maternal grandmother (who we visited every Christmas) would buy a small super- spindley tree which sat on a table (there wasn’t much floorspace in the house after all the kids/grandkids descended). It had really short and super-prickley needles that were only ever touched once.
    Myself, despite having disliked the shaggy tree as a child, I now wish I could find one. In Peckham/Dulwich the only ones on offer are short-needled sort of squatty-shaped ones. Oh well.

  80. You could always use the reasoning that you brought ALL the yarn so you would have some options on which socks to start next when the current socks are finished.
    I agree, our family likes pointy trees and I would add that we always looked for an ugly tree. Not quite Charlie Brown style, but a tall gangly tree. The holes are great for featuring favorite or bigger ornaments. We have had an undecorated tree in our living room since Friday…

  81. It must be something with the needles – I think all knitters think the same; “Sure, I can finish these three Fair Isle’s by midnight, get the tree up, send out the holiday cards and wrap 27 packages. I just need no interruptions”. Right?

  82. Thanks for the pattern!! Can’t wait to make it for my daughter who will be heading to colder college climate next year. Makes perfect sense to take all 5 sock patterns…you never know what you will be in the mood to knit or what will get finished.. and you will be prepared! 🙂

  83. I prefer pointy trees, but the absolutely essential part of tree-buying is the part where you go on the coldest day of the year and hunt through the entire lot (thank goodness we don’t go in for u-picks). Yup.

  84. thank you. thank you. just bought the pattern. can’t wait to start, you know after i finish the other twelve things on the needles. well, what’s one more?

  85. Love the conversation with your tree guy…. Not sure where I land on the issue. We just bought our first real tree (as decision-making grown-ups) and paid $10 more for a tree that supposedly won’t lose its needles (according to our tree guy) but actually is. Clearly we have a lot to learn.

  86. Love the tree! And I agree – Giftmas is a time for being overly optimistic………and positive thinking brings positive outcomes, so you may well get it all done in the end 🙂

  87. Stephanie, I have a son in the Marines, and recently deployed to the Middle East. In order to keep my hands busy while I pray, I joined the group “Socks for Soldiers” and have begun knitting socks for care packages that go to the soldiers on their lengthy waiting list. They have a Yahoo group with all the info if anyone else is interested. Along with the socks we knit according to military spec, we can also knit leisure socks in a pattern of our choice. Just heard that some of the ladies have chosen your “Earl Grey” pattern, and that you helped a bit with some of their questions. As a mom of this young Marine, I thank you for your help, and for your free pattern that allows us to give a bit of stylish, but manly warmth to our loved ones who are serving our country. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  88. Stephanie,
    I just downloaded the pattern and I have no idea how to knit with a chart. YIKES!! Reading the directions makes my brain go fuzzy. I know you are not reading this because you have too much knitting to do. Have fun.

  89. Stephanie, I loved that “a few elves short of an effective workshop.” You are the best. I wish you good luck with all those socks… and with the weather. Flying this time of year is a “crap shoot.” And anticipating a new book before too much longer.

  90. You know those days when you knit and knit and not an inch of length is added to the sweater/sock/wimple? There must be the opposite of that somewhere. . . someplace else in the universe that all those stitches actually end up. I’m wishing you some of those stitches to speed you along. Merry Christmas!

  91. Ahhh, the holidays. Time for optimism at its finest. We have just moved back into our house after being out of it for 8 months following a fuel oil spill (for a time we didn’t know if it would be torn down or just fixed). Our living room, usually the setting for a 9′, 1200 light tree, currently has two yard sale chairs left over from who knows where, a tv also on a yard sale table, half stripped, and a couple of blankets to keep us warm since the new propane lines have frozen the last two nights due to a faulty installation and @%$#% cold temperatures.
    As for formal Christmas plans, the kids will have to take over this year. We are hoping to have the furniture moved in by the weekend, get one of the new mattresses exchanged and get one of the granite counter tops replaced because they cut two different pieces of stone for the island and counters.
    And did I mention that my mother has decided to get married (#3) on Sunday and would really like me to come since my sisters can’t make it. Don’t think that I’m going to be able to find the 3 days it’ll take to do that.
    And nobody’s getting newly knitted stuff, not finished anyway. Maybe for New Year’s.
    This year is making me realize that you just have to take things as they are, don’t get your undies in a knot over stuff and love your family, all of them.
    Happy Holidays everyone.

  92. Actually, I think this is perfect. You’re captive in a plane with no obligations. I get the majority of my knitting done on trips. In fact, I got 80% of one Earl Grey sock done during a 16 hour flight to Australia. Traveling is the only reason my partner is getting knitted hiking boot socks for Christmas (well, and the fact that I used a heavier weight yarn). As for the book deadline… I can’t help you with that, sorry.

  93. Tall, pointy trees have dignity; also the ornaments stay put and the upright branches hold the lights better and the beaded garland I favor. I’ve had the beads just slither right off, taking ornaments with it. Usually, if I can find one, we get a blue spruce. The needles are just that – hypodermics – so you need to wear leather gloves to get it up and straight in the stand and tuck the lights in a bit. Blue spruces definitely discourage touching from kids and cats. Not a bad thing at all.
    Keep safe and well, and please watch your back so you aren’t lying down and missing all the fun(?) of getting it all together at the last minute.

  94. Pointy trees are perfect! Thanks for posting the pattern in your ‘spare’ time. Have a safe trip!!

  95. Thank you so much for sharing the link to the Family Trunk Project – I hadn’t run across it before and find it simply amazing. (Plus, I really, really love that sock!)

  96. Just finished buying and printing out the pattern for Encompass…and I have JUST the yarn for it too. Your timing was perfect. I had just looked at one of my chunky yarns last night and wondered what I could make with it. Now we know.
    Also, I have a fake tree. Very easy to keep ornaments on it. Just hang and bend the end of the tip up. And NO! I don’t hate Christmas. We had real trees the whole time my children were growing up (I was raised with fake trees) and I do love a real tree but I’m allergic to them and a few years ago, I just couldn’t face another year of welts all over my arms from handling, stringing lights on and decorating it any longer since my kids are always a) working or b) just to busy to help. Also, no one else bothers to clean up after it or keep it watered. I’m still hoping that in a few years, the 2 1/2 yr old granddaughter will be willing to help me decorate and won’t be allergic herself. Then perhaps we’ll go back to a real tree.

  97. I am one of those dreaded round-tree people. I like my Christmas tree to be almost as wide as it is tall (taller than me)—at least wide enough to hide a small moose behind if it were out in the woods. But your tree is beautiful. It takes all kinds. Happy travels, and knitting, and book finishing!

  98. So happy you got the pattern out to us. I just purchased it, and am only mildly sad that I only have 2 skeins of misti in the stash. This means I will have to go to the yarnstore, behind my husband’s back … again.
    Anyways, a BIG SHOUT OUT to Natalie as the cool kids say. It was a timely response considering everything you guys are doing in chez busy a lot.
    Sending thanks and happy

  99. The scarf pattern is lovely. I wonder who I can knit one for, since I generally prefer my scarves long and narrow.
    I also wonder how many people (besides me) will go buy that sock pattern now that you’ve mentioned it? I wonder if the author will wonder why she’s getting so many sales all of a sudden. 🙂

  100. For a second there, I thought you said you had to knit five PAIRS of socks. NO way!.
    But then I saw it was five socks (2 1/2 pairs).
    That’s TOTALLY doable (says the lady who only has three socks to knit by Christmas).
    Really. You knit super fast.
    Keep the faith.

  101. I am a pointy Christmas tree person (I grew up out in the woods and I know that’s how trees grow), although I’ve never tried to “throw up” a Christmas tree. In the US, that expression ususally means ‘vomit’. Are things that much different in Canada? I know different cultures have different customs, but seriously. . .?

  102. Wow. I decided to punt most of the holiday knitting when I decided certain bits of housework were more important.
    Of course, the fact that I also wanted to read three or four books from the library instead of knitting has nothing to do with it.

  103. Thank you for posting the Encompass pattern. I was really, really hoping you would because that’s my Secret Santa gift sorted (well, once I’ve knitted it).

  104. We have a very portly tree this year and it is just right for us. It’s a Douglas Fir so the twigs are very sturdy and it has lots of “pockets” to put the ornaments in, if that is not too confusing. The surface of the tree is not smooth at all, just its profile.
    It also has a forked trunk and came with a bird nest (birds had flown, fortunately). I love it dearly.
    Good luck with the travel and knitting! Hope the yarn is all in a carryon.

  105. Lovely tree, lovely sock, and yes, i think you can do it.
    As for the pointy vs round tree, i like both. I tend to get round trees because we have low ceilings in our house, and it seems the shorter ones are squatter.
    I have a knitting project that i’d like to start and finish sometime in January, so not quite the Looming IT deadline you have. But, i do have to send it internationally, so that does take away some serious knitting time. As does my “real” job with looming deadlines. Which explains why i NEEDED to come here and look at your beautiful photos and hope some day i can knit things as wonderfully as you do.

  106. WHO is the tree-decorating person in the picture? It is not Joe, it also does not seem like one of your beautiful girls. It seems like a male-type person. Inquiring minds want to know!

  107. Oh, good. Like Marsha (above) this will be the first time knitting from a chart and not from words. But the payoff looks to be awesome. Thanks for the pattern, Mz. Harlot, ma’am.

  108. I am so ready for another road trip. When is SS11? My bags are packed and car keys are in my hand… waiting…. waiting… tap tap tap.. anyone there??

  109. 5 socks to knit on 12-hour travel 12 days before Christmas…that is so totally in the realm of a crafter’s thinking as to almost not need mentioning.
    Because, we all know that if you only took what you could “realistically” knit…you would be stranded somewhere hideously without knitting for hours on end for some stupid reason (like someone in the terminal “thought” they saw a man in a red suit jump into the belly of the last plane to take off so they had to divert it back to the airport, but the landing gear wouldn’t deploy, so they had foam down the runway. And, because it was so cold, the foam froze, so it took a WHOLE day to scrape it away…or you get the idea!).

  110. Steph please ignore this as you are too busy to worry about this…
    Everyone else.. help.. never knitted with charts before and got it right… but do I read each line the same direction or do I read even rows one way and odd rows the other??? thanks you all in advance..

  111. If Santa can cross multiple time zones and deliver a gazillion presents in one night, you can definitely knit 5.5 socks in 12 days. What does that come out to in inches per day?
    Have a safe trip.

  112. Extremely handsome socks. Yes, I like space for ornaments. However this year’s tree is an electric lights (appropriate green/tan colors) palm tree. I laugh every time I plus it in. Big spreading palm fronds of tiny green lights.

  113. You know…nobody has mentioned silvertip trees! Lovely straight-out branches with upright needles that hold ornaments and lights beautifully all the way to the trunk and back (ok, and the occasional parakeet, but nobody’s perfect).
    The ‘dense’ and ’round’ and all-of-a-piece trees drive me NUTS. You don’t ‘hang’ ornaments and lights on those, you GLUE ’em on, ’cause otherwise they all slide off!
    Here’s a hint for the UFO recipients…You started it, and hey, guess what? they have a LEARNING EXPERIENCE to finish it! 🙂 Just add directions/lessons and off they go…and the grin just hit your ears. 🙂
    Enjoy the holidays one and all, no matter the finished object status!

  114. I try not to think of it as a delusion and more of being really, really prepared. Prepared for what I’m not sure. I’m also trying not to start x-mas gifts now since I want to get to work and to sleep at night.

  115. “This is not a time for normal optimism.” Of course not! Look at that beautiful cowl and believe!

  116. Two thoughts: a) I hope you’re giving one to Natalie, because she looks awfully happy in that one in all your photos… and b) just think: if you DID get them all done in 12-24 hours, you could do a post on Christmas miracles. 🙂 (I’m about to pull off a Christmas miracle with finishing all this school work by the 20th plus knitting plus getting some writing done, so that’s where my brain is right now… Christmas miracles are TOTALLY possible, dude!)

  117. I agree with you about spiky trees versus round trees. You can’t hang ornaments on the really round ones, you just sort of lay them on the surface. Looks funny to me. I like alpine firs, myself, because they have so much room for ornaments to hang.
    As for taking too much yarn with you, I went on a trip to tour two lumber mills yesterday, and I took three balls of yarn (different colors) and two books with me even though I knew car time was limited and I would be riding with talkative people. Needless to say, I didn’t get beyond the first color on my project and didn’t read a page. But I like to be prepared; when I go to visit my family in eastern Montana, I take a whole library and an afghan’s worth of yarn (sometimes two, if I’m crocheting a baby afghan) because in their town there is no bookstore and no LYS. I become dangerous if I run out of books or yarn, even among people I love dearly.
    Also, on the trip yesterday, my camera stowed away in my bag. I had no intention of taking it, but it apparently wanted to come along badly. And I kept wondering why the darned bag was so heavy.
    Good luck on meeting the book and knitting deadlines, Stephanie!

  118. Thank you SO MUCH for the pattern. I ordered it immediately and am very happy to have the possibility of pulling off a last minute gift. It is truly beautiful and I have just the stash yarn to make it! I know you had other things to do but I really do appreciate your putting the pattern together for us….

  119. Well, I thought about it, and I probably would have to take the yarn for all five socks as well. I mean, you’re leaving the country. Anything could happen….. Yarn stores could be closed…. and then where would you be?
    Gorgeous scarf and lovely name for it. 😀

  120. On my way home from buying yarn to make Encompass I was on the subway with Margaret Atwood! So this scarf is well worth it already.

  121. I have a vague memory of a forgotten by reliable source ( University of Guelph?, StatsCan? ) that a study was made of size/shape of christmas trees and it correlated to the size/shape of the tree farmer. Tall trim farmer – tall trim tree; shorter rounder tree……

  122. It’s not delusional to carry all of that yarn… it’s called preparedness. Anything can happen with the weather. Just look at us here in the Twin Cities. Eighteen inches of snow in less then 24 hours and over 1000 people stranded at the airport.

  123. I understand about the ridiculous knitting optimism – I’m nearly killing myself trying to be finished in time for the big day and have taken to carrying hundreds of projects with me everywhere I go, even if that place is a restaurant. Clever Marie. At the beginning of the month I took half a cardigan for a 4 year-old, a just-cast-on mitten and half a tea cosy to my boyfriend’s house for the evening, cheerily convinced I would be done the next day. I had the rage when I returned home the following evening and still had just over half a cardigan.

  124. Well, I just had to order Encompass! December 13th was my 25th anniversary married to a wonderful man! This beauty will become part of my personal winter wardrobe. Thank you for sharing!

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