Getting there, or somewhere

Things I did today:

1. I got my hair cut and coloured. I’ve been trying hard to embrace the grey, but it’s not coming in fiercely enough yet to justify its existence. Out it went.

2. I asked the hairdresser to make sure that she didn’t cut my hair so short that I couldn’t push it behind my ears, because even though that’s not flattering, I don’t think I can stop.

3. I figured out my coffee plan for the book tour. There are a thousand indignities that I can suffer in the name of the profession I’ve willingly chosen, but bad coffee? That ain’t one of them. My solution is a hand crank grinder, an aeropress, and a mug from the cupboard. Something that looks like home.

4. I went to the glasses place and spoke to them at length about the way my new glasses touch the back of my ears and hurt me. Except this is the third time, and I could tell that while they were super nice, they’re starting to think I’m super crazy.

5. I started reserving underpants that I want to pack for the tour.

6. I knit, although that’s starting to be pretty funny. I’m still working on the Adrian out of the Habu linen. It’s hysterical to me that I was going to finish this, and another vest, and two scarves before I left. Clearly, I was projecting a vision of success that can’t happen.

7. I realized that this has wardrobe implications for how I thought I would look on the tour.

8. I went to the post office and mailed a few friends a copy of the new book. If I cared about promotion properly, I would have done this sooner. I seem to be in a perpetual battle between my self esteem and what I think manners are. For the record, I think self esteem is losing.

9. I continued on my dishcloth plan. For 9 years, you guys have been giving me dishcloths at all my book tour stops. Ones with your state on them, ones with your province on them, ones with your favourite team or your favourite cause. I have been saving them all, with a plan in mind. You’re going to love what I do with them – except I’m crazy if I think I’m finishing by Monday.


10. I planned a menu for tomorrow night, when my loved ones will gather to fete the book. It’s exciting. Despite my fears, worries and straight up crazy stuff around the book, it’s still amazing to have written another. A book is a big deal. I’m looking forward to celebrating with my family. There’s something funny about hanging your heart out there and seeing what people think. I can at least start that amongst my beloved. At the very least they’ll lie to send me out confident.

11. I wish I knit faster – or with my mind.

115 thoughts on “Getting there, or somewhere

  1. I really look forward to your new book! Also I had a lot of fun trying to get the little plane in the circle with my phone. I’m still not sure I was successful! We’ll see

    • So, do you take your oldest underpants on tour and discard them along the way, or the newest and nicest, so you feel well dressed through all the layers?

      • OH, and there are several Costco stores in the Portland area and if you can get someone to take you there (it’s a membership thing), their optical shops do a fabulous job of adjusting the temples of your glasses.

  2. I understand the grey hair thing, a bit looks mousy, you need a fair amount for the contrast to show. When I bit the bullet and let it all go grey, the timing was just right. Good luck with the book, I admire anyone who writes well, as that is something that eludes me.

  3. We a family!! (and if I could remember any other words…) Wish you were coming to NE Florida!! Here’s hoping you have a whole tour’s worth of undies that you can throw away as you go (my mom used to do this when she traveled.) Of course, that only works if you have new ones (or plenty more at least) at home!! Happy travels and many more washclothes to you!

  4. I cannot wait to read your book. I have them all and will buy this one ASAP. Admittedly, it must be scary to out yourself out there for the world. Just know you are loved. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true!

  5. Good news – Tattered Cover has fantastic coffee! If you like to drink coffee in the evening. Better news – Lansdown Arms is across the parking lot and they have great beer!

  6. The book will be great. Can’t wait! As for the glasses, don’t be intimidated. I place my glasses on the counter at the store and show the attendants that I want them to be as wide as my head and NOT to bend towards my head, which causes pain. I don’t care what the optical attendants think anymore. My family already thinks I’m nuts. The only problem with finally getting them to fit comfortably on my head is that they tend to slide on my nose more often. I can deal with that. Can you?

  7. Sometimes when I’m having trouble falling asleep, I will knit in my imagination, focusing on each stitch in a very mindful way. I’m out before I finish a row.

    • i am working on that! my boyfriend replays golf courses to put himself back to sleep, and suggested that i try my version. so far, the mental knitting has not worked, but i keep trying. i am so glad to hear someone else does it!

  8. If you are ever in Fargo, ND, let me know. I will gladly adjust your glasses for you, and make sure they fit great. I promise I won’t think you are crazy.

    Can’t wait to read the new book!

  9. I know your family loves you, and that you will all have a great celebration together. But much as they love you, I doubt they could buy enough copies of a book to put you on the New York Times bestseller list. So give up the self-doubt, please. With others, I am very much looking forward to photos from the tour, It’s going to be exhausting, homesick at times, and simply wonderful, So rock on!

  10. have they checked to see if your frames are square, as in parallel in their various directions? If mine get out of square, they hurt the back of my ears and the left side of my nose. ——The book will be great. We have every confidence. —–I’ve been pondering coloring my gray, but so far am resisting. Trying to think of it as age-highlights. Not working.

  11. First of all, what, no hair-do pics? Second of all, I am excited by proxy. My daughter lives in Portland, and she is gonna be able to come see you at Powell’s! I told her that you are notorious for causing “standing room only” situations, and to call the store to reserve a seat, but she has assured me it’s a really big book store, so no worries. And third of all, she knows I am expecting a signed copy of your new book, and an awesome selfie of her and the Yarn Harlot! (doesn’t take much to make me happy…)
    P.S. I also think it’s kind of hilarious that you start your tour on March 4th! Ha! (yes, I am easily amused, why do you ask?)

    • Angela, please tell your daughter that this reading is at the Powells in Beaverton, not the big downtown store. What a heartbreak it would be if she ended up in the wrong place.

  12. I am with you on the coffee while travelling – such a pain! I have become the Magyver of motel coffee pots – there’s really a lot you can do with those (oatmeal, etc).

    I suggest a double walled Bodum french press mug instead of the aeropress – you can use it just like the aeropress if you want coffee in your like-home-mug, but you can also take it on the go with you if you are moving around so double duty. And don’t murder me, for suggesting this, but the Starbucks VIA are a decnt backup plan for when you just need a good shot of caffeine. I swear I have mixed them into diner coffee before to amp it up a bit. tons of love for your road trip – Summer.

  13. I tried to embrace the gray about 6 years ago, and at that point, there wasn’t enough of it to look good. I just looked tired. Then last summer, I decided I was done with the time, the money, and the fuss of planning my schedule around how bad my roots were going to be showing and just stopped coloring. It was the best choice I could have made, and I highly encourage it, but only when you’re ready.

  14. I have that glasses problem a lot because my ears are pretty far back, so standard glasses earpieces aren’t quite long enough.

    If the frames are metal, try just taking a pair of pliers and bending it out to a more obtuse angle.

    If plastic, boil a cup of water (use a cup or bowl you don’t drink out of just in case) and hold the earpiece in the hot water for 30 seconds or so, depending on how thick the plastic is. The idea is to get it just hot enough to bend without letting it completely deform. It’s a little tricky. Use a glove or washcloth or something to gently pull it a little straighter. If it isn’t budging, hold it in the water longer.

    Good luck!

    • You should not adjust new glasses on your own. I have uneven ears and it takes a few times for the optician to get it right. Keep after them, and next time I suggest a new optician.

  15. I’ve seen video of you knitting. If you knit any faster, you’d cause a sonic boom!

    However, let me know if you find a way to do telekinetic knitting. That shouldn’t affect my crappy tunnel syndrome. . . .

  16. Have fund with dinner – always nice to start it out with family.

    Hopefully the wardrobe issue works itself out…Or that you develop powers to knit while you sleep!

    I’m excited to see what you’re doing with those dishclothes…

    Good luck!

    Katie =^..^=

  17. I bring my own BIG camp mug (unbreakable) and my own tea bags (PG Tips) whenever I’m going somewhere overnight. I can’t be expected to get through a day in an unknown place with mugs that are too small or black tea that is crap (Lipton *shudder*). So while I’m not a coffee drinker, I completely understand how necessary it is to have the morning (lunch/afternoon) caffeine set to a certain standard. Makes all the other unknowns easier to deal with.

    • Maybe you could instantly farm out the vest and scarf knitting? Even I could finish the vest in, say, 3 to 4 days, except I don’t have your yarn. Who’s on the Tour route, who could meet you at Stop 2 or 3 with the finished product(s)?

      • I’ve tried both ways – it just hates me. However, I’ve learned to copy my comment before trying to post, so the second try goes faster.

  18. I have the same problem with my glasses. Every frame I have does the same thing to my left ear. I think I am on the “crazy list” at my glasses shop. I even asked them once and they said “no”, but I think they were lying. You are not alone. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Congrats on the new book. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. For the record, the snippet I could read on Amazon was delightful. I’m sitting on my hands to wait to buy the book at the Brookline Booksmith. I love that bookstore and want to support them for supporting you, but, damn, is it hard to wait!

  20. Stephanie, I’m just jealous that I live in Australia and therefore can’t come to a book launch and reading. I am positive that you’ll be appreciated and read by many. Incidentally, I completely agree with your ‘skinny jeans’ comment the other day. I just bought my first two non-maternity jeans in four and a half years (YAY!!!) and I could not bring myself to try on skinny jeans if there were a thousand bucks in the pocket up for grabs. Bad, bad, bad. Have a great tour and enjoy all the praise- you’re a very funny and observant lady and you deserve it.

  21. On the book — YEAH!!! Major congrats! Totally wish you were coming to Atlanta…*sigh*
    On the glasses — totally with you there — I have worn them since I was 8…even though I am in contacts now, if I don’t get my sunglasses properly fitted, it’s nothing but headaches for me!

  22. Another coffee making travel idea for you – maybe for next time if you’re set with the aeropress right now (which I have heard is really good!) . I use a JavaDrip coffee maker made by GSI Outdoors for hiking – it’s a little silicone thing that you use with cone filters. You just pour hot water over the coffee and you’re good to go – delicious! And the thing collapses into a little flat disk, so it’s super easy to take along. Anyway, hope you enjoy the tour – can’t wait for the book!

  23. Thanks for the reminder about the washcloths. Would you like more on this tour? I am so excited to finally get to see you in Texas this month. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Sounds like you are pulled together, and should enjoy your tour. Just a word about your hair color. My hair just started to turn gray, and I am letting it go. My hairdresser told me that it should just make my hair look like it has highlights in it, and they will slowly take over. It is easier for me, because my husband’s hair is already gray.

    Maybe you are not ready for this, but it is not really a big deal.

  25. Your books are all great–human, warm, funny, thoughtful, and I’m now knitting all my own socks, thanks to KNITTING RULES. You manage to teach without making the less competent knitter feel guilty about being less competent; you literally en-courage us. I will buy the new one, read it, love it, loan it, nearly lose it, beg it back, lose it for sure, buy another…etc.

    Hope you have a great time on tour, and safe travels at every point.

  26. Don’t EVER think that your books aren’t eagerly awaited by us all!!!! Am currently reading All Wound Up and my family are at last getting used to me giggling to myself around the house and muttering things like “she sooooooooooo knows me”!!!! xxx

  27. 10. “A book is a big deal.” You’re darn right it is! You should be very proud, and we’re proud of you.
    11. If you figure out how to knit with your mind, would you please share the technique with us?

  28. Mind knitting, yes! A good companion to sleep knitting!

    Excellent coffee plan. I have an aero press and it travels with me everywhere. They are awesome little things. And with a grinder you will be totally set and properly caffeinated.

    Now, along with the traveling undies, shouldn’t you pack companion bras? At least one or two?:)

    Can’t wait for my copy of the book to arrive! Have a great trip!

  29. My kids always know when I’m prepping for a trip. I buy a bag or two of new underwear (a brand / line that has been bought over and over), and a bag of new socks. They stay in the living room so that I’m not tempted to open them while getting dressed in the morning.

    Yes, this means I have nine million pairs of underwear. Don’t care, though. New underwear is one of the perks of travelling.

  30. Last time you came within 100 miles of me, I was 9 months pregnant. This time, I’m going to be in San Francisco! I’m beginning to despair I will never see you on book tour (this means, of course, you must write another). I horde the good underwear for trips because sitting on the plane in bad underwear is so uncomfortable. To me, the good underwear is also the oldest because they’ve lasted a while and obviously know the drill.

  31. An aeropress is the best thing for travelling and coffee. You should check out the Porlex mini hand grinder to go with it. It fits neatly inside the aeropress (leaving more room in your bag for yarn!).

  32. I don’t get to travel much, but did do a big trip in January. Much of your plans were just like mine! I keep saying I’m going to embrace the grey, but there’s just not enough grey yet. As well as reserving certain underwear, I also make sure to not touch my favourite wool socks so they’re fresh to travel. Coffee while travelling is also one of my big concerns. I’ve tried a little mesh/plastic thing like a loose tea “ball”, I’ve tried the paper cone filters in a holder that sits on your much; I used to rely on General Foods “International Coffee” a lot. I can’t imagine using a handcrank coffee grinder, though I have a small Braun grinder that would easily fit in luggage, along with a single-serve French press. However, I just got this French press and was terribly disappointed that it barely filled my usual mug! Except for wilderness camping, I think this set up will work well…even at non-wilderness campgrounds you can always find a plug in the comfort station.
    While waiting for the flight back on our last trip, they made an announcement that there would be no water, hence no tea or coffee, due to frozen pipes. You should have heard the groan in the waiting area, followed by a panicked seige on the coffee stand!

  33. I’m definitely one who collects my old, ratty clean underwear, one last wearing away from tossing in the trash, and save them for my next trip. I hate bringing home used skivvies in my suitcase because I envision either the customs guys opening my bag and sorting through them or the suitcase popping open on the baggage carousel in front of the whole planeload of people I was with.

  34. Allow me to provide one of your first reviews….(even though I had to sleep and was forced to put down the book long after midnight!)….

    “Yet another example of Stephanie’s incredible, down-to-earth appealing humour! This book is a winner — for her dedicated knitting followers — but for anyone who appreciates a good laugh. Awesome!”

    Can’t wait for the Canadian leg of your tour!

  35. I hope you are reserving your oldest and most tattered underwear for the book tour. I learned to pack those when I travel so I can throw them out after wearing. Makes room for yarn purchases!

  36. About ten years ago, in my mid-forties, I experimented once or twice with covering the grey. Then I gave up and embraced the grey. Now people ask me where I have my highlights done. So liberating.

  37. Good luck with the tour, and with the knitting faster. As I’m starring at the shawl that was supposed to be finished today, I can sympathize.

  38. I’ve been in a bit of a manners/self esteem battle myself for the last little bit about my Master’s thesis. I found this mental training for Navy SEAL training (I know, I know, it’s not REALLY the same) to be exactly the sum of it for me: Step 1: The decision to do something BIG. Step 2: You are rocked by your self doubt about what you decided to do in the first place. It happens to everyone, so get it over with in as short a time as possible – hopefully. Step 3: Moving past the self doubt knowing that you can do anything you set your mind to (repeat steps 2 and 3 frequently) Step 4: You’ve conquered it. You’ve either done it, or you see the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s no more self doubt. You are actually a different person than when you started. Step 5: Start a new decision and repeat everything all over again. Taken from the randomness of the internet:

  39. Congratulations on the new book! The way I see it you knit faster than 90% of the rest of the knitting world. In our eyes you could never produce anything that wouldn’t have a great following. Seems to me you are right on track for knitting greatness.

  40. Happy new BOOK! Wow!
    Now, regarding #2: I found from an experience of moving to a different city and the long subsequent hairdresser search that my one stipulation of “my hair needs to be long enough to go into a ponytail or I shall go crazy within days” was not clear to the hairdressers that I had chosen to try. Of five different trials of different hairdressers, fully three of the first-time haircuts when finished were too short to pulled into a ponytail! I was astounded. Was it just me and my mild speaking, or were these hairdressers dense, or perhaps egotistical enough to think that they would change my mind? It’s my hair, after all, and they weren’t around in the mornings and through the day as I tried to deal with it falling in my face, or (worse yet) trying to find time to blow it dry with a wee baby in the house. Since then, I have found the code hairdresser phrase of “I’d like to keep the length” and clung to it, no matter what. It seems to be respected in the same way that me stating my need to have my hair pulled back is challenged.
    All the best on the book tour, and with the knitting!

  41. “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” We love you. We love every word you write. We love every stitch you knit.

    (We only hate the fact that you knit more than all of us combined, and find time to write books, blog, clean house, teach and have wonderful family get-togethers at the same time. So what if the price is sanity.)

  42. Hmm. A couple of posts ago you mentioned you had only one bra (and couldn’t find it). And now you mention matters of manners and self-esteem. I’m going to suggest your packing plans should include a second bra. Cause you gotta know that if you only take one it’ll disappear just before that TV thing and your manners will suggest you ought to wear a bra on TV and then you’ll wind up doing a TV show wearing a diamond-studded bustier the wardrobe guy borrowed from the little theatre group across the street. And that will be the one TV interview you do that gets picked up by the nationals and goes viral. Just sayin’

    • HI, not only do we have the same 1st name, but I see we share a weird sense of humor, glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I read “diamond studded bustier” probably would have killed my computer. Wish I could get in touch w/ you.

  43. Apparently, some spouses think it’s weird and a little unreasonable to jet from Omaha to St Louis in the middle of the week just to see the Yarn Harlot. If possible, knitters should screen for this before marriage.

  44. Enough with diry underwear stuff, ready to throw up our lousy free office coffee. Just sew 2 of those dishclothes together and pin it on like a diaper. There! problem solved. So show us the ‘do, since we in SOUTHERN California aren’t going to see you.

  45. I cannot WAIT to see the book. And the pictures of the washcloth project…

    As for the glasses, don’t mind what the eyeglass people think. Mine did that too and I know they thought I was insane, but it’s their job to make sure you don’t have big old welts behind your ears…especially if you’re as blind as I am and your specs are thick.

  46. Haha – i did one and two yesterday EXACTLY! my hairdresser is nice, she does what i ask. She agreed the grey isn’t enough yet. but we’re getting closer. i will enjoy not having to color but mine doesn’t look like highlights when it comes in, and grey on mouse brown is not a nice combo. Yay for the book! Yah for Stephanie!

  47. book love!
    i kept going back to adjust my glasses because they were too tight. Then too loose. i think it was the fourth or fifth time that I came in, they greeted me with a friendly “hi goldilocks, again?!” and i replied that I had proof. the right one had actually rubbed enough to form a blister on the back of my ear.
    don’t forget aeropress filters!
    let me know how that mind knitting works project works out… i keep trying it and i don’t see progress. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  48. Have you ever given dressmaking a go? I know it’s not quite as much fun as knitting, but it is quicker. You actually can make entire garments for yourself in an afternoon, all without actually darkening the doors of a clothes shop.

  49. I was just musing this week on why we set ourselves unrealistic knitting targets. It’s supposed to be fun! I have a newborn, why am I trying to knit a lace shawl in two weeks?!

  50. so jealous: my favorite knitting author in my favorite city — portland, where i got to attend sock summit ’11. ds would move to portlandia in a heartbeat. wish i could persuade dd. please tell your publisher to send you back to indianapolis. you need to visit our children’s museum dinosaurs!

  51. Be sure to report back on how that aero press/grinder combo works for you. I was considering purchasing it for a camping setup, and would love to hear how you like it. Oh, I am also really very excited about your new book, and didn’t mean to make it seem less important than coffee, but…you know, sometimes good coffee is that important.

  52. Congratulations on your new book! I wish I could be there! I looked at Changing Hands’ website and they need to put your picture on the banner of recognizable authors, right next to Ozzy’s pic!

  53. I had a similar problem with my last new pair of glasses. What finally fixed it was an adjustment to the nose pads to make them sit a bit higher on my face – hasn’t been a problem since!

  54. Lol, reserving underwear! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m very curious to see what you have planned for all those dishcloths. A Dr. Who sized afghan in the shape of each state using all the dishcloths for that state? No? Can’t wait to see what it is!
    Ha! Wish you could knit with your mind – wouldn’t that be a great super power?! I’ve daydreamed about it. In the meantime, check out a video of the OpenKnit printer.
    I noticed your tweet about the American mile. Don’t worry about it, the car will count it for you. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a safe and wonderful tour! You’ll be great, as usual.

  55. I am really looking forward to reading your new book.
    Please go to a different eyeglass store, as those folks don’t sound like they know what they are doing. Comfortable glasses really matter.

  56. What if you sew some of those washcloths together (even if you only tack them at the corners and middles of sides) to make the unique clothing you long for? Just a thought …..

  57. You’ll get great coffee in Portland. Just ask for Stumptown coffee. And I’ll be there to see you at Powells! I’m bringing a muggle friend! She does not knit. (yet.)

  58. SO excited to see you in Portland! I am a big fan of your books. And I totally get the grey thing… I have decided that I will color my hair until I’m 90 because my grey is not attractive. I admire people who can do that classy grey thing. If only…

  59. You may not be in “my” city, but your books are in the public libraries of Singapore. Congratulations on the new book. I order your books online so will probably get your new book soon enough. I wore a wig for 6mths till my natural hair grew out and had compliments i never had before; should have done it earlier.

  60. I’m delighted about your new book and can hardly wait to read it. I have all of them so far. Your book tour will be a rousing success. Very best wishes to you and your family!

  61. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen with all the dishcloths.

    Is there any chance that you are coming to Salt Lake City? I’m trying to decide if I can make it to Denver or Tempe.

    • As soon as I saw this I had a feeling that Renate Heller was coming from an Anthroposophical (Steiner) background.
      Waldorf (Steiner) schools bring a lot of knitters into the world, they may put down their needles for a while but they come back to it!

  62. My pre-ordered copy of the book arrived last Wednesday, and, having read it by Thursday, I can say it is very good!
    Helen (in the UK)

  63. You made a very good choice coming to Portland first, where you are well known and loved. That ought to give your confidence a boost!

  64. Wow! Not long ago I was wondering whatever happened to all those dishcloths. . . I thought about asking but then I thought I had just missed it somehow. Can’t wait to see what you have planned! The coffee plan sounds perfect to me!

  65. I am so with you on #11. I think they should stop worrying about space travel and work on how to get mind control to work needles… just saying.

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