Like Teeth on a Hen

I only have a few moments before I go and start the day with knitters and a yarn shop and tonight I give a talk and…well. That part is pretty normal, but let me tell you what happened last night.  At exactly 10:32, I cast off  the socks I was knitting, and then something happened that hasn’t occurred in years and years. Maybe decades. 

I had no knitting. 

None.  Not on my person, not in my bag, not somewhere else in my stuff.  No knitting.  I think I was actually dizzy for a moment. I’m surprised you couldn’t feel the shock wave over at your house.  This couldn’t happen to me at home of course, where I have projects tucked away all over the place, but you’d think it would be a pretty easy situation to stumble into at some point with all the travel I do, but I’m super obsessed with knitting careful.  Usually I have several projects with me, and that provides a protective layer of overlap. Usually as I finish one, I start another, and that’s further insurance against finding myself knitless, but there I was last night, with just that happening. I cast off my socks – and there was nothing but a void.

I did the right thing though, I mean, even though I don’t really remember being in that position before. I didn’t panic.  I went to my suitcase and got out some yarn, and I wound it into balls by hand, and I got my spare needles out of my changepurse, where I keep them, and then it was sort of late, so I went to sleep with them by the bedside table.  When I woke up this morning I got ready to teach, and wrote you this, and that means that I have been knitless for about ten hours.  Granted, I was asleep for a chunk of that, and I did technically have it all right there so that I could do it whenever I wanted too,  but I guess it’s still somehow good to know that I’m not so dependent on knitting that I can’t go a single night without somehow winding up in the kind of trouble that has me sleeping in an orange jumpsuit with a new best friend named Beulah on the top bunk.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s this really strange twitch over my right eye for absolutely no reason, and I think I want to start some socks.

126 thoughts on “Like Teeth on a Hen

  1. I always get really ancious if I dont have a project to knit. I have no idea how you slept at all, I’d have been on Rav half the night lookign for the next thing to make.

  2. You could always unravel the “finished” socks and reknit them! I think about having to do that should I ever find myself shipwrecked on a deserted island.

  3. How sad! I know you must have been twitching like a junkie in withdrawal. Thankfully you had yarn with you!

  4. I wondered what shook my world last night – there was a small disturbance in the force…
    But you had knitting. Having yarn and needles means knitting. It was just in the VERY early stages of a project…

  5. Thank God you were able to purchase a small, emergency stash at MadTosh on Tuesday. That could have just saved your life!

  6. It’s amazing the things you can learn about yourself when put to the test. I recently had a day where life was always conspiring against me, and I knit about four stitches that night before going to bed. I was surprised to learn that I didn’t die in my sleep.
    Self-realization is always a startling thing.

  7. I knew there was something wrong last night as I watched the news at 10 PM. I thought it was because “the Yarn Harlot is in town and the news didn’t even have a story about it”. You not only have spare needles in our change purse but they look like signature needles – wow!

  8. Bless your heart, don’t we all live in fear of such a thing happening? SO glad you had the backup yarn and needles with you!!

  9. That explains it…the tremor felt here in southeastern MN last night! I am glad you survived. Have a great time in “The Cities”, as we say in MN.

  10. You have an extremely large change purse. I could believe one of those long wallets. Or do Canadians refer to a pocketbook/purse/bag as a change purse?

  11. LOL – And I thought it was just normal thunderstorms that we were having! Always good to know that you have that one little extra stein of yarn that can soon become a KIP. Don’t you just love socks for that exact purpose? Hope your cold is on the run and that you get a chance to kiss Prince!

  12. I always travel with way too many projects and overly enthusiastic expectations about how much I can really get done, thus needing more suitcase space than my sweetie thinks is reasonable. Just once I’d love to run out!

  13. There must have been some weird shift in the space-time continuum last night, because that’s 10:32 in your current time zone is the exact minute that I decided to order poutine and brussels sprouts (more than a little out of character).

  14. So it wasn’t no knitting at all, it was just no active knitting. But there was yarn with potentiality. So that’s all right, then.

  15. So yesterday evening I heard, for the first time ever, continuous thunder for about 20 minutes. It was quite awesome and unbelievable. Now I know that it was foreshadowing.

  16. I’ve been knitless for nine days!!! I’m getting very twitchy indeed. Yes, there are projects here in my house. Projects I truly want to work on and finish. There’s a room with tons of yarn waiting for me. So what is the problem? The new puppy. 🙂 I’m puppy-wearing, kinda like baby-wearing but furry.

  17. I can sympathize. I just sat through an hour-long, extraordinarily tense court hearing with no knitting in my hands. I wasn’t sure they’d let me bring it in the courthouse, so I left it in the car. But holy cow, with the tension in that room, knitting should be required for all participants as some way to deal with the insanity.

  18. Oh good lord! Poor you, how you must have suffered! And thank goodness for your foresight in providing suitable yarn, even if you did have to wind it by hand, so that casting on new socks was possible. This happened to me in July when returning from vacation, but I had had a few Yarn Incidents during my trip so there was sock yarn in the van. I was only lucky that I hadn’t yet changed into night attire. It would have been too desperately awful to have had to run the gauntlet of all the bar patrons sitting out in front of the hotel while in my pj’s.

  19. I can go without knitting, but only if I am doing something else that is creative. Baking counts, drawing, singing. Many outlets, but mostly just knitting.

  20. I wonder if there’s an app for that. Virtual knitting for the scared knitless.
    If not, maybe you could write one.

  21. I’m a little frightened by this, and what it means about my own obsession with knitting – but I think I recognize that yarn. 🙂 Is it Aslan Trends Santa Fe? (Whatever it is, it’s gorgeous!)

  22. Welcome to Minnesota!! Enjoy! I’m waving at you from up north, about 200 miles. Couldn’t get down there for you this trip. Next time!!

  23. Precisely why I have developed the ability to knit in my head – that, and the fact that I can’t have my knitting in the kitchen at our cafe when I’m working…

  24. Winding balls of yarn by hand was going to be my suggestion. Did you have enough sock yarn left to knit a tiny sock?

  25. Hah. I thought I felt aftershocks last night… I always overpack yarn when I travel, I’m convinced I will finish a shawl and a pair of socks in less than a week. Lucky that you had the MadTosh you stuck in your bag!

  26. So, *YOU* are the reason I was obsessed with winding yarn again last night instead of finishing Color Addiction.
    It could have been far worse – you could have been projectless *and* yarnless. That’s when you could possibly have new orange wearables and a new friend named Buelah. See? Wasn’t it a good thing that we gave you ideas on how to pack yarn from MadTosh?
    That’s beautiful yarn that you wound, by the way.

  27. I was anticipating that you had *no* knitting – not that you had another skein in your suitcase! You weren’t without knitting at all. 🙂 And at 10:32 at night, you don’t have to struggle very long ’til bedtime. This morning would have been another issue.
    Luckily there are lots of knitters here in the Twin Cities that would be thrilled to help out if you needed a “fix” after hours!

  28. Knitless: Anxiety 101. Fingers ache and my head seems detached from my body. Made worse by the fact that if I’m in a public place when it occurs there’s no explanation to ‘earth people’ that makes sense.
    Glad you made it through.

  29. further proof of your mental stability: you did not reveal the name of your yarn. very pretty yarn, btw.

  30. This is why I never learned to knit fast. I’m a slow knitter (meaning that I knit slowly, not that I’m a knitter who is mentally slow, though some may argue that point) and that protects me from terrible, terrible moments like these. Also, I have Startitis, so there’s always a project or seventy to work on. Also also, I never leave home (especially not to FLY somewhere!) so actually being able to lay hands on something to work on isn’t a problem.

  31. My husband thinks I should never have to buy any more yarn because I can just frog what I’ve finished (he had just seen me frog part of a sweater) and start again.
    He doesn’t understand at all.

  32. To the person stuck in a courtroom all day: learn to crochet. The Yarn Harlot has detailed for us her, um, challenges… with crochet, but honestly, no security personnel have ever tried to take away my crochet hook. (How could you possibly attack someone with a crochet hook?)
    Crochet doesn’t quite scratch the itch to knit the way actual knitting does, but at least you’re holding yarn. Which does work sometimes!

  33. Oh, my! I finished a project last night, too! And didn’t know what I wanted to start on next, so I didn’t wind any yarn.
    Instead I plied some singles on my drop spindle. 😉

  34. Despite the fact that it makes me seem somewhat obsessed by yarn, I’m going to take a guess too: Tosh Sock, colour Amber Trinket. (Even if that’s not right, I spent enough time searching to I know I’m going to have to buy some, because it’s gorgeous!)
    Spent a while this morning renewing my driver’s license, fortunately not long enough to run out of knitting since the county jail is right next door and I would surely have ended up there. Glad you made it through…..

  35. And THIS is why you must pack a ballwinder and swift. If you had, you totally would have had the time to start last night and therefore your sleep would have been more restful, and not so full of those “naked without knitting” dreams.

  36. I always think that IF this should ever happen to me, I could just go tag all my favorites in ravelry…because I always seem to prefer to knit rather than tag.

  37. This happened to me once. It felt so awkward I still remember it. I believe I also was projectless overnight. Just one of those things you don’t forget.

  38. Why am I picturing a Sheldon Cooper twitch going on here ( i.e.,The Big Bang Theory” You had me scared–I thought you were completely yarnless & w/o needles. I did that once after falling & breaking an ankle…I can tell you, it wasn’t pretty.

  39. I love your post. I really don’t feel bad about me suddenly having the need to carry a project with me. Hubby thinks I’m cuckoo. I took knitting with me to my induction and while waiting on contractions knit a bit. I bring knitting with me to work so that I may knit when I need a break or on down time. I think the most brilliant part is that you had yarn to wind and spare needles to use in a pinch. I’m not there yet, but there is hope.

  40. I do find it hilarious that ‘no knitting’ actually means ‘no current projects, but I do have emergency yarn’. If that were me, I would have no yarn, no needles.

  41. There was a tiny earthquake in Berkeley last night at 10:25 PM, and it felt different to me than other ones I’ve felt; maybe it was a shock wave…

  42. Without knitting? Really!! That’s why you pack a small drop spindle and some fleece wherever you go…….you can spin miles and it keeps the crazies away while you are out of knitting.

  43. I’m not sure what would happen if I ever ran out of plane knitting.. Fortunately that’s never occurred. There were a few near-run things, like the Beret Incident of 2011, but it’s probably best for the world that that’s never happened. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one!

  44. Ahem…just how big is this change purse that you are able to carry needles in it?? lol Be careful you don’t hurt yourself carrying around all those pennies! 🙂

  45. Reminds me of the time I got on to a train for a three hour journey and found I had the wrong size crochet hook. Ouch.

  46. None of the colors in that skein of yarn are “my” colors, but I really love it! What the heck, it’s sock yarn, right? There are no ugly colors!

  47. sometimes, I just hold the yarn, when I’m feeling anxious. I can’t imagine how you slept- total exhaustion?

  48. Oh, when I read “I had no knitting,” I was getting prepared to express you some yarn. I thought you meant really NO KNITTING, not “nothing cast on.” I thought you meant “no yarn, no needles, no pattern, seriously, I’m going to unravel these socks just to start over again,” kind of no knitting, not “oh, dear, I must wind this yarn by hand before I can cast on, and winding yarn is really part of knitting when you think about it,” no-works-in-freaking-progress, kind of no kitting.
    Seriously, lady, you had me SCARED. Now that I understand, I’m a little shocked, but no longer feeling the need to leave my husband a note while I sprint to the airport to arrive, panting and sweaty, with a hit… erm… skein for you.

  49. Wow….. worse terror than anything the Halloween ghouls can dream up. Take heart, however, and know that you will soon be at Steven Be’s, which has everything. I mean everything. I was fortunate enough to be there 21/2 years ago, and it remains one of the defining moments of my knitting life. It’s like the set of Sex and the City with the most and best yarn anywhere. Wish I could be there.

  50. How is it possible that so many of us, as knitters, are the same. I won’t lump all of us into this same category – but – although I have several items on my needles (and I imagine that most of those commenting do as well) we are still wondering what that yarn is in the photo. I almost had to wipe my mouth (drool). The yarn I am using is wonderful but I am looking for my next fix. I hope you are going to share with all of us (in photo form) the spectacular yarn you have purchased.

  51. To Elizabeth at 1:06 p.m….I had security take a crochet hook from me in Las Vegas several years ago….left the knitting needles. Said I could stab someone with the hook….never mind that he didn’t take my ballpoint pen or the needles. The inconsistency makes me crazy!

  52. If only the twitch above my right eye was caused by something so easily fixed as lack of knitting. No, mine comes from a pattern that’s driving me batty… I hope. I’m almost done with this adorably cute and horribly maddening baby sweater, then I will return to a nice pair of socks.

  53. Love! You know, it happens to the best of us. That you survived is a great testament to your adaptability.
    Hahaha….Have a great day.

  54. Wow! You went to sleep with that gorgeous ball ready to knit at your bedside? No wonder you’re twitching today! 😉

  55. Breathe deeply and think of calming things.
    You took the correct actions. You found or otherwise obtained yarn. As it was not already in balls or center-pull skeins, you wound it into balls you can knit from. You located needles that seemed appropriate.
    So far, so good. You are now at the point at which you need to knit a swatch to make sure that lovely yarn will knit up at the gauge you need, will look even more lovely with whatever pattern stitch you choose to use, and will wash and wear appropriately for its intended use.
    Before you pack up for your next destination, consider these facts: Your smallest nephew needs sweaters and other knit wear. Christmas is coming and you should have started your Christmas knitting last June. Even if you have buried the gansey in an unmarked grave on the outskirts of town, Joe deserves some handknits. For that matter, so does your cat Millie (a cushion cover or half a baby blanket should suffice). Between tiny clothes, not-so-tiny scarves and socks, and a cushion cover suitable for Her Royal Highness — you’ll find suitable yarn and a suitable pattern you can tuck behind your ear with no one, not even airport security, being the wiser.
    Go forth and knit. PS: Quit spraying tea/coffee/beer/screech through your nose.

  56. I’m voting for Amber Trinket as well- looks just like a lovely scarf I made out of that. I’m in the midst of travel as well and am happy to know there are two projects in my bag though I did panic thinking I might run out of the skein on one (didn’t happen). I do love being in airports when I know you’re travelling because I wonder if I’ll bump into you. (I mean that in a kind, it would be fun to meet you way, not a creepy ‘I’m a stalker way’- I promise!)

  57. You can knit in a courtroom. I have done it many, many times. I have had the judge comment on the genius of it, but have never been stopped going through security or anything.

  58. Miraculously you did not come away with any yarn today! It was great having lunch with/near you, and you were ABSOLUTELY RIGHT about the sewn bind-off being super stretchy. I remembered your instructions and on the plane to SFO I bound off my sock and it’s perfect!
    “Hey, the Yarn Harlot was right about this sock knitting thing” seems like an obvious and silly thing to say, but there you go.
    (also, FWIW in the discussion above, every courtroom is different. I have had to put my needles back in the car twice – once I was fighting a ticket, and once I was doing jury duty – but the building had free wifi so I wasn’t THAT unhappy…)

  59. ERm.. how can you say ‘without any knitting’ and then casually announce you had wool and needles to hand? For a (shocking) (breathless) moment there I thought you meant ‘no wool, no needles, no plan’. Don’t DO that to me!

  60. Worlds collide: over here in Marin County CA, I ran out of mawata, and my highest priority WIP was left at Verb…when I took your class. GAAAHHH!!!!
    No worries. I cast on another project.

  61. Wow! I had the same experience yesterday. I’ve just relocated and found myself having the two brain dead garter projects finished. Well, the cover for the new coffee pot needs buttons but I don’t know how to obtain them yet and it turns out that matching light purple stitch markers fill in quite nicely. So, there I was with nothing on the needles and quite a bit of time to try and stay awake. Panic ensued but soon I dug out some MadTosh lace (color unknown, the ball band might be in the middle of the cake, but it was used to start some other project and now has frogged yarn around the outside) and cast on Omelet. I know I’m a little late to the game and hubbo says it has to be called, “Sky, a project inspired by Omelet,” as the yarn is blue, not yellow, but what ever. Only on row 20 or so, but the shakes are gone and I can breathe again.

  62. Well, you balled the yarn, so at home you can start knitting right away, not first using the ballwinder and having to wait to start knitting, could be a win-win situation after all. In hospitals they frown over here at knitting (getting wooly hairs on the clean, white cotton sheets, oh my, how awful and they don’t wash away) so I crossstitch when bedbound in hospitals. Once there was no project left before the end of my stay, so I contacted my niece if I could have her bellpull to stitch on for the second time, the first time I was send home very soon, so did not finish it and she took it back. Now, this time I got it finished. So now I have made sure my husband knows where to find crossstitch packets, scissors and needles, might I ever end up in hospital unexpected. Hospitalbeds and nothing to do, horrible, maybe even more then hotelrooms without knitting, maybe!

  63. OMG, I’m glad you’re ok. The first paragraph was a scary read….
    I’m a serial monogamous knitter myself so I’m used to not having the layering of multiple projects on the needles. But I totally recognise the dangers of having no follow up project. I once took a new ball of yarn along for a two hour bus trip because the underway socks were too near finished. My colleagues thought it hilarious but we arrived at our destination with finished socks, new toes on the way and no people stabbed (with unused needles or other implements). I’m particularly proud of that last feat as one does not get to choose all ones colleagues.

  64. I think the shock wave is what woke the baby and started her crying.
    When you said you had no knitting I thought you were out of yarn too. Your ball looks like some yarn I used to make baby stuff last year, it’s nice.

  65. I started a new project last night. At about 10:30 or so it started to unknit itself. I bet it was because you were befuddled.

  66. Yup. I could tell right away – MadTosh. Amber Trinket. Socks await my beloved skeins of the stuff.

  67. Wow, how could any security personnel be concerned about a crochet hook? That’s madness. Perhaps they were simply poorly trained. They were told to confiscate knitting needles, but they didn’t know the difference. ?
    The only way I can picture doing harm with a crochet hook relates to mummies, and removing “stuff” through the nose–sorry to be indelicate–but definitely the victim would have to cooperate to make it work.

  68. Okay….. so it’s not like you had no YARN or NEEDLES… you could START knitting. You just didn’t have anything already started. That’s not so bad. Imagine now finding yourself with no yarn or needles, too late to go out to buy more, and casting off.
    Stop hyperventilating. See? Aren’t you glad you had that extra yarn in your suitcase?

  69. I took my MIL to the dr. last month without my knitting along. Usually that office clicks right along, I only manage 25 or so stitches while we’re there. The ONE TIME I don’t bring my knitting bag they are running 2.5 HOURS BEHIND!! The newest magazine in the waiting room was June 2009. Never leaving home without my knitting again…….EVER!!!

  70. I know what you mean, but from a different direction. I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO KNIT or do any other sort of fibery thing for two weeks now due to shingles blisters on my right hand. I’ve even had to cancel the looked-forward-to trip to Wales in ten days for P3. I’m beyond twitching, but I did manage to crochet about ten stitches with a size H hook yesterday.
    Even worse, until the blisters start to dry up, I have to stay in quarantine as I could give an unimmunized person or in utero baby chickenpox!! No visiting my highly knit worthy niece who’s expecting!

  71. I had a bike fall a few weeks ago and needed stiches, to the hospital I go. Took along my knitting because you all know about emergency rooms, but to my surprise I had two rounds on a sock done and they called me into the room. Moral of the story…you never know! Be like the Scouts always prepared.

  72. When I read the line “I had no knitting” I literally gasped and almost disturbed the beginning knitting class happening in the back of the store.

  73. I’m travelling home to visit family in Canada next weekend. I’ll be there for five days. Thanks to this post, I’ll be packing 10 projects. You know, just in case this happens.

  74. Hilarious! But I bet you weren’t seeing the funny side of this when you finished those socks. What about just reading about knitting as an emergency thing to do? Would that work? You could always carry a small book or pattern and simply read it until you fall asleep. Love your obsession!

  75. Randomly, but I can’t think of a better place to write this, I need to switch to a 4.5mm needle for the crown of my hat, and it’s in a box in the guest room. There is a guest sleeping in the guest room right now. I want that needle. I like knitting this hat.
    Thus far, I have not gone into the guest room to get the needle. I believe that I am to be commended for my strength of character.

  76. Must be a thing with the fiber women, sounds just like posts/rants my wife had recently (or numerous times), especially when she returns from teaching or lecturing out of town… Now I can tell her it is the “bad seed” not ME!
    I don’t know but isn’t the definition of insanity “doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result”? 🙂

  77. I bet that “Suki” went with Sam on that bus!Once I read “She Loves Shawls” I Got that feeling :)))))

  78. I think winding yarn by hand can be very calming (assuming you don’t run into more than three snarls). So I think that counts as scratching the itch before bedtime. I’d also like to know the source of the beautiful yarn you wound.

  79. I know just how this feels. It happened in exactly the same way to me last night. I considered winding my sock yarn into two balls (even by hand) then couldn’t even wait that long. So I cast on for gauge. I’m better this morning, so I’ll divide my ball into two for these socks that I now know I get 8spi on size 1(2.25m)cubics.

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