Are These Weeds?

This week has been a trainwreck. A giant tangle of complete crap that just keeps getting worse. Nothing terrible has happened, nobody is sick and another pet hasn’t shuffled of their mortal coil, but everything else that can go wrong has, and at this point I think it’s starting to be a bit of a joke, and I think it’s on me. I won’t go into the gory details, but I think it’s safe to say that I overextended myself a little (right now the voice of my inner monologue is screaming “YA THINK?!)  Two days ago I forgot to go to a appointment entirely, despite looking forward to it, putting it on my calendar and having an alarm set, and this morning Joe got up early and headed across town and reported for an appointment that’s tomorrow.  We’re scrambled.  Nothing’s working. For example, the Advent Tree is pretty much a disaster. I have four ornaments made, which is a very far cry from the two a day I was going to pound out, and apparently I completely hallucinated the red felt numbers I would swear to you I saw at the craft store, because when I went back to get them, not only were they gone, the clerk said that they’d never, ever had anything like them in the shop.  (I feel like she was totally gaslighting me.)  In any case, now I’m embroidering the numbers on, and that slowed me down a lot, especially since I was busy trying to fix the washing machine and we have to do something about the eavestroughs.

numbers 2014-11-13

The four ornaments that I do have are charming, beyond charming, and I feel sure the rest will um…. be there when I get back? Hell. I don’t know.  It will be fine. I’m not going to panic early.  It’s the 13th. There’s time to get it together, and I feel like it’s more important to get myself together, and then everything else will slide into place from there.

numberswithhat 2014-11-13

I’m writing this from the Vancouver Airport, on my way to Port Ludlow and the November Retreat, and even though it’s a working weekend, I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it.  The setting is so nice, the knitters so nice, and it’s a great place to refocus, sort yourself out and get back on track- and it’s hard not to feel like things are in great shape with a fireplace in your hotel room.  The five hour flight here  was the least busy thing I’ve done in weeks.  I tried to knit, but I fell asleep – I picked the nicest thing to knit on while I travel and get the retreat done… perfect, simple, comforting knitting, that even I can’t screw up, even in my current cursed state.  It’s amazing yarn, for starters.  I came across it when I was in Vancouver for Knit City.  There was a nice booth, with pretty yarn, and a couple of striped shawls hanging there.  There was some super nice self striping sock yarns, and I was totally charmed by the colours.  Then I started talking to the proprietors, and then they told me about the shawls.

shawldet 2014-11-13

It’s self striping shawl yarn.  Yes – I know, that sounds dumb, why would shawls need a different kind of self striping yarns? Well, it’s like this.  If you’re using a regular stripey yarn, and you’re knitting a top down shawl, one where the rows get 4 stitches longer with every right ride row, then when you start the shawl you’ll have short rows and big stripes, but as things go on, then you get stripes that are narrower and narrower as you keep going. This yarn? This yarn has stripes that get longer and longer.  She (she being Catherine – at least I’m pretty sure her name was Catherine, of Caterpillargreen Yarns) has done the math to make sure that the stripes stay the same width all the way through your shawl.

shawlabove 2014-11-13

I KNOW.  She told me that, and I looked at all the lovely skeins, and then I pretty much gave her all my money.  Just like that. Aside from the great dye job, the base is pretty easy to love. 70% merino, 20% cashmere, and 10% nylon, cozy, pretty, clever, it’s a ton of fun to knit, and it’s totally not this yarns fault that I fell asleep on the plane.  I don’t really have a pattern for this – although I based my plan on Laura Chau’s Simple Yet Effective Shawl.  I wanted something simple (yet effective) and her idea of alternating garter and stockinette was perfect, and I’m not even paying attention to what I do.  If the yarn is grey, I knit every row, and when it changes to a colour, I do stockinette.  Done.  Absolutely, brilliantly gorgeous, perfect for my current state.  Comforting, warm, fun and going to go by really fast, I think. This weekend it should just run in the background, like a perfect soundtrack in a great movie.

shawlside 2014-11-13

(PS. I know that I could have looked at Laura’s pattern, and figured it out myself, and not bought the pattern, but I don’t think that’s very nice.  I looked at that shawl, thought “Good idea!” and she’s the one who had that idea, so she gets the money.  I have strong feelings about paying for patterns – even if I don’t need the pattern, I needed the inspiration, and that’s worth something too.)

(PPS. Something unbelievable has happened, and My latest book is nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in Humour.  There is absolutely no chance my book is winning against the books it’s up against – mostly because two really different things happen if Neil Patrick Harris asks twitter to vote for him, or if I do (He has 11 million followers- which is pretty fair, because, well. He’s Neil Patrick Harris) but also because those are some very, very funny books, written by very, very funny people.  Still – there’s a chance you like my book better, so I’ll ask.  Please consider voting for my book if you liked it. Thank you.)

(PPPS. Taking pictures of knitting in the Air Canada Lounge totally draws attention.)


113 thoughts on “Are These Weeds?

  1. I had one of those weeks, too.
    Do you think it has to do with the mercurial temperament the thermometer has decided to adopt?
    (My kids managed to find enough snow today to throw it at each other. Tuesday they were in t-shirts. )

  2. Advent-comes every year. Don’t stress. You’re totally early for the next one.
    Comfort napping is sometimes more needful than comfort knitting. Too bad we can’t substitute knitting for sleeping. Imagine all the projects we could do.
    Congratulations on the nomination. I’ll vote for you.

  3. Congrats on the book nomination. It confirms my opinion that I have good taste. Yarn looks great. And some weeks just need to be eliminated from the calendar. Boy do I need a retreat. One involving my knitting, a bottle of wine and silence. I’ll talk to God but that’s the only exception.

  4. Congratulation on the book nomination! My week was also quite a mess – refrigerator broke, water pump broke, car broke… Messy, messy. So, I find me retreat in knitting. The self striping shawl yarn is genius!

    • I didn’t see her book there to vote for, am I missing something? (We should all tweet NPH and since he has so much ask him to ask HIS fan to vote for you. WTH not, worth a try, right?)

  5. Sounds like the retreat came at exactly the right time for you. About the Advent calendar: someone in the previous post’s comments mentioned that the 24 ornaments don’t all need to be ready by the first of December. You could work on the later ones while the earlier ones are going up. Hope you have enough time to enjoy the process.

  6. Pingback: Are These Weeds? | Yarn Buyer

  7. Oh man… I have one of those skeins, too, and I’m beyond excited to get it started, and there you go, taking all the wind out of my sails. I was going to go to my knitting group and show off my super-cool find… and now everyone will have read about it here first. Sigh.

  8. Love the yarn, loved your book–congratulations. I’ve had one of those weeks (OK, two) too, starting with my car being totaled and going downhill from there (we’re fine, though, so that’s something). And I need to finish three sweaters in three weeks or something absurd like that. Have a great time at the retreat.

  9. OMG, wouldn’t it be amazing if the crafters of the comments banded together and each sent the Yarn Harlot a knitted or crocheted ornament?

    • OMG you’re on to something there. I’m in. Brilliant. I’m convinced this calendar is for Lou, and we all love Lou, right? (Advent is a curiously Christian celebration for a declared atheist, but we’re letting that go.) Post loud and strong if there’s any support for this.

  10. Sorry to hear you’re having a bad week. On the other hand your weekend sounds loads more fun than mine. Enjoy it for all of us. I just clicked over to the shawl yarn page and apparently some people read this before I did because it is all sold out. Do you think this means she’ll make more?

  11. I am freaking out also…but looked in my “stash” and found nine ornaments I made a couple of years ago. I only have to make five more for this my last year at work because I am retiring.

  12. Mini thoughts:
    1. That yarn is genius. I want some and will buy it when they restock.
    2. Sorry about your screwed up week. Some days is like that. It will get better.
    3. I will vote for your book. You are at least as funny as Neil Patrick Harris.

  13. When life sends you “weeds”, simply be at peace, accept what is, change what you can, focus on being present in the “now” and know that you are loved. And ….of course, knit more!

  14. Hi Stephanie,

    just thinking about the numbers – do you have a set of number cookie cutters in the right size? if so they might work as templates for cutting out red felt numbers (although the embroidery might still be faster, looks good too 🙂 )

  15. Congratulations on the nomination!! And I need some of that yarn, AND the pattern. I hope there’s some left. As for your week, totally empathize. Port Ludlow WILL help you regroup. How could it not, with a fireplace in the bedroom.

  16. Love the teeny hat and am being mindboggled at someone’s actually figuring out how to dye so shawls will–I mean…wow. Cool. And very pretty.

    Wishing for a greatly improved rest of the week for you all.

  17. I am also having a bad day – I lost my knitting somewhere between the pediatrician’s office and Value Village – I either accidentally put it in with what I was donating or dropped it and set it free to the world. I hope someone who knits finds it and appreciates the lacey mohair with a touch of sparkle!

  18. Just visited the yarn seller’s website — every single one is sold out. I see the Harlot Effect is in full flower. I bet Neil Patrick Harris couldn’t do that.

  19. That yarn is sooooooo cool – and of course it’s sold out, anything the Harlot features sells out! Next year, for Christmas, someone is getting one of those shawls, even if it’s just me.

    If this is the first time you’ve done a knitted Advent calendar, you know that you can totally have Advent without one. I agree with Kathi – you’re way ahead on next year’s Advent calendar. Don’t add the stress.

  20. BTW, I came perilously close to typing “Neil Hattrick Paris” for some reason. Thank dawg my fingers didn’t follow my brain on that one. That’s what he gets for having an easily spoonerized middle and last names. People with easily spoonerized middle and last names should NEVER win book prizes. I think there’s a law.

  21. Don’t look back. Trudge ahead and forget the timeline it will only mess with your head. Sometimes it’s best not to spit into the wind.
    LOVE the self striping shawl yarn – wish she wasn’t all sold out of EVERYTHING!!!!
    Hang in there things could be worse.

  22. Two things come to mind: Mama said there’d be days like this. And, This too shall pass. I love the tiny hat. It’s perfect for an advent pocket or one of the Borrowers.

  23. The shawl is breath taking. I too have had that type of week and tomorrow at 6am will leave for the airport. Not a knitting project packed……..not a good sign. Nothing seems to be working for me, I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

  24. I just voted for you. I haven’t got the book – yet – but I happen to know that the Christmas Fairy (the official giver of all things book-like at Christmas) is giving me a copy this year.

  25. I noticed your book on there a few days ago when I helped my son vote for a book he read. I voted for you! 😉 Good luck and hope you have a great weekend! Lovely yearn and pattern by the way!!!!

  26. Two things. What looks like a train wreck to you looks productive, accomplished, even graceful from the outside. Also, I immediately clicked through to look at the stripey yarn, saw that it was all sold out, and LOL’ed. Because of course it is!

  27. Regarding your wild week, remember the old bumper stickers: “Sh*t Happens”. As you know when the baby’s diaper needs changing or the cat’s litter box needs cleaning. . . .

    That shawl looks great so far and what a clever idea for dying the yarn! I wonder if it would also work well for an afghan or a sweater made in pieces that have to be sewn together.

    Congrats on the nomination. For your sake, I’m praying Neil Patrick Harris never learns how to knit.

  28. First: I already voted for your book! I was so happy to see it there.

    Second: I recently had a Polydactyl set of mini-skeins from Miss Babs and ended up whipping my poor brain into a frenzy trying to create a shawl that would use approximately even stripes of color…you can easily guess that I failed. But it had me thinking all kinds of wild thoughts and getting into crazy illusions of far-off grandeur. Until I just read your post. Now I must contact Caterpillargreen Yarn and purchase all the self-striping shawl yarns and die a broken woman, happily wrapped in warm haps. Aw, shucks.

  29. A medical professional – a doctor! – told me yesterday that it’s often this time of year when things go wonky for many people. So let’s blame it all on autumn.

    That shawl yarn is insanely smart — everything is just maths in the end, isn’t it?

  30. About the advent ornaments: you only have to stay ahead of the date! One year my niece and I made 4 calendars, for her brothers and her families. They each got a little collection every few days, and the gifts were complete by a few days before Christmas. You can totally do one calendar!

    The little hat ornament is gorgeous!

  31. I totally voted for you. The best thing about the book? I quit agonizing about the house and trying to make it look fake perfect when company comes over!!! Thanks for the okay to relax. Your mother is a wise woman.

  32. Just out of curiosity: what is a great movie with a perfect soundtrack, in your opinion?

    Congratulations on your nomination. I hope you win!

  33. I so agree with your view on paying for patterns! There have been some lovely patterns highlighted by different knitting pages on Facebook that link back to patterns on Craftsy. Some are free and some are paid patterns. I get very upset when I see snarky comments about patterns that aren’t free. I’m not a designer but I do appreciate the time it takes to think up the design and put it to “paper”. The fact that some people … knitters … aren’t willing to pay a scant few dollars for a designer’s time and effort and inspiration is just very very wrong.

  34. I already voted for your book (on the basis of your other books and the blog, but I am going to read it, I swear!). Of course you are funnier than Neil Patrick Harris. I ask you, does he knit?

  35. I bought some of Caterpillar Greens’s sock yarn in the same colour way at KnitCity. Same yarn content. It made gorgeous socks and I could have knit a pair for a size 11 foot, I swear. Lots of yardage. She awes me with her talent. And no she didn’t pay me to say that, lol.

  36. Steph!
    I sense that you need a rest, mentally, physically and spiritually. You and all of Canada are where we were, as a country when 9/11 happened. You are in psychological shock even if you don’t really feel anything. As you try to grasp the things around you that is familiar, make sense and is easy to understand,what you find is…a garter stitch shawl.. Your world and all that you depend on is disrupted. All seems well on the outside and looks like it is put back together…but it will never really be the same.

    That is why knitting is so important in our lives. It is what does not change…mistakes and all. It is always there when we want or really need it…kind of like a faithful dog. Knitting waits for us and makes no demands. It becomes what we want or need it to be..socks, shawl, hat, Advent ornament, cat toy…what ever.
    Slow down Harlot. Take time to just be. Sleep on the plane, pray. We and our needles will make it thru. We have in the past and will do so again.

    Barb R.
    Shelton CT, USA

  37. It is something in the atmosphere. I spent five hours at work on Sunday . . . in the office . . . by myself . . . and I didn’t log on to email until the very end when I needed to send out the stuff I had been working on. On Monday, it was like the little flippin’ fairies laughed in my face and trashed my office. No one would have been able to tell the labor involved on a beautiful Sunday stuck in the office.

    There was a MANDATORY parent meeting on Wednesday for my son’s HS swim team. I forgot about it. Totally. Gone. Looked at my calendar yesterday and, truly, the thought that went through my head was “I would only be so lucky that they would kick him off the team because his parent is incompetent.” No such luck. Yesterday, he came home with the packet of information. Including that he needs a white dress shirt and black tie by Monday morning. Really? What self-respecting 13 year old has a white dress shirt much less a black tie?

    Yesterday, I had a mtg that was supposed to end by 11:00. I finally got home at 3:00. And it snowed. A lot. In northeast Ohio. I was trying to knit every evening this week, working on a simple EZ BSJ and have ripped it out THREE times.

    So, I’ve decided to go to a wine tasting tonight, sleep in tomorrow and start Sunday fresh.

    By the way, that yarn is super fabulous. Even though I’m on a yarn diet (LOL), I think I’m going to have to get me some for under the Christmas tree. What the heck, I should at least get ONE present that I want!

    You made my day. Thanks for the laughs!

    • Mary Lynn, I was in that snowstorm myself (traveling in northern PA on business) and spent over 4 hours in a ditch waiting for a tow truck while missing my plane flight home. I would srsly have joined you at that wine-tasting…

  38. I’m expecting the Port Ludlowers to step up to the mark with the advent calendar decorations.
    I fully expect the next post to show a full set.
    Just spent several minutes explaining to DH about the really clever yarn in the picture. He’s not convinced.

  39. May I suggest that each of the lucky ones that are joining you in Port Ludlow this week conceive of, knit and gift to you a charming ornament for your advent tree? There’s some cosmic balancing for you!

  40. Voted. You’re a shoe-in. Thanks a lot, by the way. I’ve not really been buying yarn lately, but my credit card just jumped out of my wallet when I clicked on their link.

  41. I voted for your book. I loved it. I love your blog. And, in most cases, when I’m having a crap day or week I look to you for comic relief. You never fail to give me the ability to find humour in the craziness.

  42. 1. Congrats on the nomination.
    2. How do I vote for you?
    3. That hat ornament is (how do I do bold here?) adorable!
    4. The temperature finally dropped here (way down south) and sent me scurrying to look at worsted weight yarns (which one can only wear for a month of the year down here during a normal fall/winter. Really.) So I’ve been too busy with yarn porn to knit or spin. Me bad.
    5. Sympathy for you. Here’s a virtual mug of hot cocoa, topped with marshmallows and whipped cream (and a shot of rum or brandy if you like that sort of add-on).

    • You do not need Twitter to vote.

      1) Click on the blue link to Goodreads Choice Award in Humour in Stephanie’s PPS above.

      2) A new page with 20 nominated books will open. Click on the “vote” button under Stephanie’s book. A screen opens up requiring you to establish a Goodreads user account with a name, e-mail address and password. (Note: An e-mail is generated to the address you provided. Using a link in the e-mail, you can immediately opt out of future e-mail from Goodreads, if you wish.)

  43. Voted (Yay for you!!!). Tried to buy yarn (Yay for Caterpillargreen Yarns – SO sold out!!!).

    Knew something was up when you didn’t post for a while – glad that you’re all okay, and this wonkiness will surely pass. Port Ludlow – in my mind, it is the perfect place for a retreat, though I’ve not yet been there.

    And Presbytera gets to enjoy her popcorn and Merlot. All is (or will be) right with the world.

  44. I’m starting to think I should start another SYE Shawl. I knit one several years ago when I was dealing with some tough family stuff, and it was just the thing. Maybe I’ll mod some sort of edging. Should make for a fun experiment since I’ve never done that sort of thing before. Yours looks lovely. Stretch out the weekend as long as you can!!

  45. Love the Advent – we have one my step-mom made for my kids & been using it for 15 Christmases, the same idea, ornaments on a tree, we love it and you’ll love yours too. Love the shawl. Voted for you on Goodreads – Love ya.

  46. Ok.. I just wanted to thank you for letting us know about this yarn. Brilliant!!! I went to get some and it is of course sold out- NOTE your influence and the trust we your knitting public have in you! Anyway I also wanted to let you know that I hope things get better. Sometimes things are just plain hard. It doesn’t have to be anything ubertragic like the death of a friend or ill health. Sometimes its just the accumulation of little things. You do a LOT of good in the world Stephanie and you have put GREAT kids into the world. Try to take comfort, and be soothed. (Preety sappy but it is heartfelt)

  47. Voted! 🙂 *LOVE* the shawl yarn — an inspired idea! Me? I’m making that same shawl out of stashed Gedifra “Dandy” and a couple balls of “Molash” yarn. Amazingly, it looks okay, if a bit…um…hairy. Have a great weekend!

  48. Is this the yarn that ‘has direction” that gave you so much trouble with the ball winder a few weeks ago? Very pretty stripes. I have a shawl on the needles where I am trying for the same effect by cutting the yarn when I get to the right place to change color. Her yarn is much easier. Mine is about 8 shades of leftover greens against a black background. (had to buy the black) then a green and purple ruffle edging. This all started when I found a ball of green and purple edging in the sale bin and got to thinking about all the leftover green bits I have. Goes in the Christmas box. I have a friend with your coloring who wears lots of olive green like you do. She’ll love it.

  49. I was just looking at pics from a few years ago from Port Ludlow…it was shortly after my son died and to have a “normal” few days was such a blessing… I want to go back…..the silk retreat was amazing….enjoy your stay……(Brooke)

  50. I was just looking at pictures from the silk retreat a few years back at Port Ludlow…It was shortly after my son had died and the few days of “normal” was such a blessing…..I miss that place – need to go back.

  51. I think it’s been one of those weeks for everyone. Mine’s been high stress, crazy, and had a major stress and drama day (on the upside, I have been knitting… on the downside, it’s NOT the never ending socks I need to finish for my 16 year old for Christmas and then knit his little brother a bigger pair.. I didn’t want the negativity from the stress going into something I was knitting for someone I like.)

    What pattern & yarn are you using for the ornaments? they’re adorable! 🙂

  52. Neil Patrick Harris has got nothing on you! Hope that you have a wonderful time at the retreat and that order is restored to your life and household soon.

  53. I cast my vote! I hope you have such a fabulous weekend that it will make up for the week. Also, just want to say my name is Jeanne and I’m a yarnaholic: I immediately purchased a skein of that amazing shawl yarn and the shawl pattern. Thank you for enabling me. At least I’m in excellent company! ☺️

  54. Take as much time as you need for the Advent ornaments, write up the patterns and sell them to us. If the hat is an indication of what the rest are/will be like, they are awesome and we will all want our own! So cute.

  55. I saw your book on the Goodreads Awards page, and I immediately cast my vote for it! See? You didn’t even have to ask. Your peeps have got your back…

  56. I love, love, love what you said about paying for patterns because of the inspiration they provide. I often think the same thing: yes, I could do it without the pattern, but I would never have thought about putting that particular idea together, and I value the idea.

    Hope you get some good R&R and things settle down. I second the notion that advent comes every year, and you could be super ahead for 2015!

  57. And mama said there would be days like this days like this…. Yep we all have those days. Finished three pages on the novel I am working on on Friday. Opened up the file today and poof– they are gone!

    I love your blog and you are an inspiration. I saw the wee hat and thought “ooh Advent calender I could do that! Then realized I have only ever knit a dishcloth and a half a sock. **insert snort and eye roll*.

    You are one of three authors I have liked right from the start — the others were L.M. Montgomery and Ray Bradbury. Knit and Write on Harlot, Knit and Write on.

  58. I hope this week is going better for you. I made your roasted carrot soup for supper last night, what a hit – the cold weather finally hit northern California and it was perfect. Thank you for sharing.

  59. I completely understand your week. It was my last week of October and all of November. It will only get worse for me. Second week of December looks good though.

    Love the shawl. However, I’m going back a couple years from your reds to yellow with black honeycomb pattern to use for a shrug for my daughter in law for Christmas. I’m doing it in leaf green, turquoise blue and violet with the defining rows being a nice soft grey. Reminiscent of peacock feathers and she likes them.

    Right now though I’m working on her birthday present that was due a month ago. It’s a crochet death star. I doubled the size to match what I know was in her head and mine. it’s an illness. However, she will only be getting it on the American thanksgiving. I have 12 rounds to do, the laser disc and the embroidery

  60. I see some people here have said they’ve voted but I, like several other people who’ve posted, don’t see the book among the 8 finalists in humor. What are we missing?

  61. Pingback: Sweaters, large and small » DesigKnit

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